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Out of the Ordinary

Just when I was extolling the virtues of finding joy in the ordinary, I do something way, way, out of the ordinary for me. Our friend Bea asked if I would be willing to help at an opera event. Being the somewhat amendable type, I agreed, however, I know zero about opera, and pretty much zero about what she wanted me to do. Not one to let a lack of knowledge stop me, I drove out to Trinity Prep around noon yesterday, dressed all in black, as requested. This was a little harder for me than you might expect what with my colorful closet!

In any case, I arrived, and before noticing much of anything else, I saw purple ribbons tied around tree after tree in the common area between the buildings. Asking another volunteer if she knew what they were for, she explained a very sad situation involving a young athlete. Of all things, his story was front page news in the Orlando Sentinel today. Be prepared to be very sad if you read it.

What was a newbie like me assigned to do? Not very much, as it turns out. Greeting people as they came in, offering a program, and a soft plea for a donation. How hard is that? In between I chatted up a storm with the other ladies who all had very interesting life stories.
So what was the event you ask? The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for the Southeast Region. 35 singers, aged 30 and under, were competing for a chance to move onto the Atlanta competition. There was a nice lunch provided which we ate outdoors on the patio on a very beautiful day.
You know I can't resist a lakeside shot! The temperature was in the high 70's, and just plain lovely. That said, it changed dramatically overnight which I'll explain in a moment.

After lunch I went into the auditorium to watch a few performances. Can you believe I've never been to an opera before? You would think that sometime in my 62 years I would have been, but nope--never once. So, what did I think? I was impressed!

The singer chose one piece to sing, accompanied by a pianist. At the judges discretion they sang another chosen by them. Talking to a few of the singers afterwards, I asked how it felt when after one song they were dismissed. I sound like a reporter asking a dumb question, don't I? Surprisingly, there are two schools of thought...one, that they were so impressed with the first song that the judges had seen enough. The other--well, you can surely figure that one out.

Seated pretty far back, without a zoom, I took one, not very good shot, of this nice young woman performing-- Lauren Feider.
She sounded great to me, however, they all pretty much did! I was seated behind a group of performers and when the competition was complete there was some idle time while the judges made their selections. I began chatting with them, and took a photo of the group who seemed to get along quite well despite competing against one another.
As it turns out, they are all Florida State Seminoles!!! Thus the plain colored dresses and bone heels. :)

Another contestant, who was not asked to sing a second time, had a little time to chat. A beautiful young woman, she told me she'd taken a break to have two children and was just getting back into auditions. She, unlike the girls above, wore a super sparkly red dress and heels--very striking indeed. Anxious, she sat with her husband waiting for the results.
A crazy coincidence happened as well. Judith, one of the other volunteers asked me what I do. Trying to be low key I said I sold art photography. She clamored for details, asking if I could show her my photography. Since closing down my website that is not as easy as it once was, so I resorted to showing her the SunDance website. Of all things, last evening when I had time to peruse the program who should be listed as an in-kind donor? Yup, SunDance, who I suspect printed those very programs I was handing out! Small, small world.

Wanting to get home, I left around four before the winners were announced. Sitting down to write this post I looked them up and what do you know......here they are. I did have a chat with one of the Encouragement Award winners, Shannon Jennings who was competing all the way from California where her husband works for Google. As well I heard Ana Collado who seemed very good to me.

So, how is that for out of the ordinary?

Here's something else that does not happen every day....
We had quite a flock of these little cuties, who not only rode on the pool cleaner, but did their best to drink out of the pool by leaning into it. Here's a look at their sweet little face.
This morning they would not have had to lean far as the pool is filled to the brim by a super wild overnight storm. In fact, Bruce and I both woke up around 3 AM to the loudest thunder clap we've ever heard! I can seriously not describe how loud it was. Around 7 this morning, the clouds moved out and it is beautiful once again, albeit chilly.

I took a recent drive through the peacock neighborhood to see how they were doing.
She looks supremely uninterested doesn't she?

In the last year or so I've noticed that my reading glasses, in spite of increasing their strength to about the max you can buy at any store, are not really doing the trick. I finally did something about it, visiting the optometrist at Costco. Also in the midst of a wild rain storm, but I digress. They convinced me to get a retina image done.
All is well in that department, however, I have had a tiny digression in my distance vision which still remains good. The near sight, not so much. Reader strength? 3.50! Glasses forthcoming. Cute, or so I hope.

Our heron remains on the nest. Wonder how they handle it when the winds are more than 25mph like last night? This tree is at least 80 feet tall and probably sways like crazy.
Have you noticed the evenings getting longer? Have you noticed the mornings getting shorter? My goodness it stays dark so late in the morning. I'm looking for some balance.

Speaking of balance, Judith, another volunteer gave me a little lecture on pilates and yoga doing wonders for balance. And, she also mentioned that at 58 she has ripped abs. The things people tell me.....

Bruce is over at Bill's house helping, while I'm writing and learning how to make Half Square Rectangles.  It's a tough life I lead...

Never taking my good fortune for granted,

Gail




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