Saturday, March 08, 2008

The awning is rolled up again. We had it down for most of the day yesterday, but late in the afternoon the wind got up again, so back it went. I hope we can open it today and leave it for a while. Of course, this is good practice. If we don't open and close it once in a while, we forget the drill, and that's embarrassing.

Thursday's Arizona Choir concert was a pleasant surprise in some ways, not so pleasant in others. There were four Ave Marias in a row to start - first a Gregorian version, then ones by Tomás Luis de Victoria, Igor Stravinsky, and Javier Busto. I liked that part of the programme. Suddenly there was Maria from The Sound of Music, followed by Maria from West Side Story. There were pieces by Handel, Hayden, Mendelssohn, Brahms, then Meredith Willson (The Music Man), Schmidt (The Fantasticks), and Bernstein (Candide). The programme ended with three spirituals.

My favourite piece came just before the spirituals. It was an art song composed by the pianist, John Nauman, and performed by him and one of the sopranos. Unfortunately, I can't remember her name, and the programme doesn't credit her. The piece was very beautiful, and the performance was exquisite. It brought me to tears.

The only thing I truly did not like about the concert was that before each piece or set, someone would come forward and introduce it. But the introductions were more like short homilies. I wanted to stand up and yell, "This is not a church!" I was very uncomfortable with it, and I'm glad Robin had decided not to attend. He might just have done it!

All in all, though, I did enjoy the concert - but I think I was the only one of the four of us who really did. Roger confessed he liked a couple of things - the spirituals, for sure - but that most of the programme did nothing for him. The soprano (Lynnel Joy Jenkins) who soloed on Wade in the Water was splendid, and I'm not surprised he liked that.

Robin and I met Jeane and Charles at the estuary in the morning. They had their newly-arrived houseguests with them, and we had a lovely chat. They are all supposed to come over today - after the Carne Asada Fiesta at the local school - to watch a bit of Robin's narrowboat footage from England.

We had tickets to the fish fry at Tecalai last night. $12 US each, all you can eat fish and cole slaw and beans. The cash bar ($1/drink) opened at 4 o'clock, dinner at 5:30. Robin and I decided to stay at home until 5 o'clock. Then we wandered over and joined Roger, Chantal and Terry. I knew right away that it was my turn to have a not-so-great evening. Too many people (I'm thinking maybe 70) were in too small a space, making w-a-a-y too much noise. I had a headache within five minutes. By the time dinner was ready, I was thoroughly disgruntled. Then there was dinner - battered, overcooked fish. The big pan of beans looked delicious, and smelled fine, but tasted like nothing. If possible, the cole slaw had less flavour than the beans. There were white dinner rolls, apparently imported from Tucson. There was a pretty good tartar sauce, which I used (surreptitiously, I hope) to liven up my cole slaw. The entire roomful of people seemed delighted with the fare, so obviously it was my problem. There wasn't a chile to be seen - and no cilantro, no tomatoes, no garlic - it reminded me of hospital food. I didn't know it was possible to produce such a bland meal in Mexico.

The one highlight was dessert. One woman had produced the dessert on her own. She had some lime marmalade that hadn't jelled, so instead of throwing it away or re-cooking it, she made cr
êpes (for seventy people!) and used the lime mixture as filling. Then she made a sauce from orange juice and poured that over each crêpe as she served it. Those crêpes were really good - I had seconds on dessert.

Well, the grumpy old woman (that would be me) sneaked out right after dinner and came home to watch Bones on television.

See? I told you. Robin interrupted me a few minutes ago to ask for help in opening the awning. I went out to do it, and I had forgotten something important, so there was a time there when Robin's side of the awning was up and ready, and mine was waving, flag-like, in the breeze. He had to come over and help me. I guess I really should do the drill more often.

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