Went to Austin this weekend to see Puccini’s La Bohème at the Austin Lyric Opera. It was opening night of the 2010 season and, as mentioned earlier, I had purchased VIP tickets for me & Larry’s anniversary. We drove up to Austin on Friday after work and took the scenic back roads. Here in Texas, they are called “Farm to Market Roads”. Yeehaw. On the way, we saw not one… not two… but three miniature horse farms! Mini bundles of cuteness with winter coats! Anyway, we arrived at the hotel (@ the Omni for $84/night… thanks Orbitz!), checked in and had a beer or two at the bar. We went out for sushi and Larry is slowly warming up to the idea of sashimi. He likes the shrimp and salmon… but noms teriyaki beef much quicker.
Delicious Bento box!
Saturday was the big day of the opera. In the morning we ate a big breakfast and headed into Austin’s downtown area. There was a neat rock n’ roll store I wanted to check out but didn’t get a chance to last visit. Walking by a bar, I noticed it said “UT vs UCF @ 11am”. My university was playing the Texas Longhorns right there in Austin! If I would have known, I would’ve bought tickets to the game to see them get obliterated, 35-3. A beer and watching the second quarter was quite enough for me.
So around five we headed to the opera across town. When we arrived, valet was free because of our awesome tickets, and you walked through a Arc de Triomph. Speaking of awesome tickets, we were eight rows back from the stage, on the end so we didn’t have to crawl over anyone. Bonus: no one showed up for the three seats next to me… & we had just one flight of stairs to the intermission VIP party area. Upon being seated, the old dude in front of me was attempting to impress his homely date with his iPhone. I creepily watched him tweet “Opera is about to begin. So exciting!” The show was absolutely amazing. The sets were awesome and colorful to recreate Paris in the late 19th century.
In between each act (during intermission), we had access to a beautiful area featuring a mini Eiffel Tower that had an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, live music, and even artists doing caricatures in berets. I spied an Air Force major in his mess dress with some wings, talking to a group of older men. I couldn’t get close enough to identify the type without being obvious, so I said what the hell. I walked up, interrupted (most tactfully tackily of course!), identified myself as an aviation student, and asked about his wings. He was a medical evac doctor on C-130s and C-5s. I said thanks and walked away.
A couple minutes later, the major came over to Larry and I with one of the older gentlemen. They began to ask about us and wanted to know the usual answers to the usual small talk questions. The older man seemed so delighted, he said “I just HAVE to introduce you to my wife!” Come to find out, his wife looks like a disco ball: covered in diamonds and assorted bling. She introduced herself as Kirby, and she’s the chairman of the finance committee for the Austin Lyric Opera. Figures with all that bling: Tiffany & Co were one of the sponsors for the evening’s event (Although I doubt she’d rent or just wear any jewelry from them, she probably just cleaned the place out for the occasion). She thought we were “fabulous” and invited us to a dinner party at her home on Friday. Her husband mentioned they had a “guy make up some really nice things”. In other words, they don’t even have to COOK at their dinner party – they pay someone else to do it!
At the “second tier” dinner on an outdoor patio overlooking the Austin skyline, we sat with a very fun and nice Austin Fire Chief and his wife, who was an M.D. The whole table was a lot of fun, which made it very easy to talk and joke with everyone. I was obnoxious and had a vegetarian meal (thank God, because everyone else was having beef). The caterers identified me as “the woman with the dress.” Everyone was wearing black and I guess I did okay wearing white and gold. Lots of glittery biddies were very complimentary.
After dinner, there was dancing and dessert downstairs on stage. There was a live brass band, a French singer, and lots of champagne. Larry and I secured a small table next to the stage for easy access when a song we liked played. We danced to “La Vie En Rose” and a Sinatra tune or two before we noticed Kirby and her husband, William, emerging from the “first tier” dinner and making a beeline for our table. William pulled up some chairs and got me a drink, and wrote his address down on a piece of paper for Friday. They still want us to come out! Kirby was hilarious, strangely enough, introducing me to fancy chairspeople then dishing a little dirt on ’em after. Nice.
When “Beer Barrel Polka” came on, Larry and I hit the stage. The photographers liked the fact we were spinning a million miles an hour. Those candid photos will be up later in the week when they post them.
All in all, it was an amazing night. Quite a romantic anniversary gift, if I may say… even though the opera itself was quite a tearjerker. Speaking of tearjerkers, Larry moved to San Angelo, about 200 miles away to begin his Officer Intelligence school. The house is really quiet, boring, and less hairy. He was trying not to let me see him cry as he said goodbye today. I said, “C’mon now… see you Friday!” At least it was a wonderful last hurrah for us here in Texas.
What is this? When Larry does laundry, this is how my clothes end up.
Impeccably neat and folded.