Jerry and I ventured out in the dark at 5 in the afternoon — I hate this dark time of year — to see the tiny house built by the son, Zack Giffin, of Island friends, Holly and Brian. It was on display at the Taproot, which is in the cellar of the Willows. The Willows is the island’s high, high end restaurant where dinner will set you back $500 for a couple. But at the Taproot you can get a glass of wine for $6 and there was the adorably cute tiny house in the parking lot. Zack, his girlfriend Molly Baker and his brother Sam and many of their friends (he said at one time 16 of them were staying) lived for 6 months in the house he built with loving care. They made a film about it which you can see here. These creative young people are professional skiers and film makers. They pulled the house, which is on a trailer, around to various ski resorts and had a wonderful, if perilous, time. Here’s a picture of Jerry and me and Zack visiting in the Willows parking lot.
My next outing, somewhat more substantial both in time and in expense, was a trip to Vancouver to the opera. I left Jerry on the island to take care of the poodles, since he is not an opera fan, and I took my Granddaughter for her birthday and her mother, lawyer daughter. We saw a matinee performance of The Pirates of Penzance which I hoped would be suitably entertaining for a 15 year old.
The night before the opera lawyer daughter treated us to a dinner in Vancouver and a night in a pleasant hotel. Vancouver is a beautiful city, buzzing with diversity and youth, with a strong Asian flavor. It was full of Christmas lights, a place where East and West mingle in harmony. The restaurant we went to had excellent food but was big, noisy and crowded with the affluent young. A young couple at the table next to us, all dressed up in the latest styles, did not seem to know each other well, but I guessed that by the end of the evening they would know each other a lot better. We shouted our orders to our jolly Filipino waiter who shouted cheerful compliments and suggestions back to us. Lawyer daughter and I sipped martinis and shouted snatches of conversation while granddaughter silently sipped her orange smash.
I enjoyed the frantically festive milieu, but was glad to walk the 7 blocks back to our quiet hotel.
The next day we spent a lazy morning, all three of us doing hair, putting on opera wear and jewelry. I forgot to bring jewelry, but lawyer daughter had an adequate supply. We looked elegant when we left the hotel, but it began to rain hard, so by the time we got the car parked our grooming had drooped a tiny bit. I pondered getting dressed up to go where we would know nobody, and very likely, unless we looked spectacularly outre, nobody would pay any attention to us. I suppose we did it for each other and for the sheer fun of dressing up and going out.
We got to the Queen Elizabeth Theater in time for the pre-performance lecture, which I had hoped would get my granddaughter interested in the performance to come, but it was academic in tone, perhaps designed to make The Pirates seem suitable for a grand opera venue. Too bad, because I think it put her off.
The performance was nicely done. The chorus was lively and precise, Frederick (the tenor) was handsome and had a good voice, Mabel (soprano) was lovely to see but a little difficult to hear. I loved the crisp choreography and the handsomely lit sets. Christopher Gaze (of Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach) directed the performance and played General Stanley. He was wonderfully funny and sang well. The patter song was not overdone as it can sometimes be in performances of Gilbert and Sullivan. There was a lot of witty stage business and jokes of all sorts — opera jokes, political jokes, romantic jokes. I had a great time.
I spent the long intermission standing in line for the ladies wash room (Canadian term), but I made it just in time to get back to my seat. My granddaughter played games on her telephone. I hope my granddaughter found some enjoyment in the performance. She didn’t say anything about it, and was preoccupied doing homework in the car on the way home.
The next day I played bridge with 3 island friends whom I enjoy being with. My bridge playing, which was never great, is rusty, and the game is not important enough to me to take the time to study up, so my friends have to put up with my sloppy bidding. But they don’t seem to mind and we enjoy the afternoon, which is often capped with a glass of wine.
Things began to tend downhill (figuratively) when Jerry and I took our late afternoon walk. These days it’s dark by the time we get home at 5 o’clock; I’ll be happier when the days are getting longer. On our walk yesterday our poodles were attacked suddenly by a loose German shepherd. Jerry scared him off, but I had to push the button on my heart monitor which I am wearing for this month because of an irregular heart beat. The thing is a bother. Every night I must call up a place — who knows where — and play the recordings that I make during the day. Jerry has a stomach ailment. Tomorrow we see the doctor about that. And I am beginning to get the Christmas jitters. How can I possibly remember all the things I have to do, and then how get them done?
I remind myself that the balance between pleasure and annoyance is much on the side of pleasure. Life seems good, and when Christmas is passed it will be even better.