My favorite water coaster says, “Pretending to be a Normal Person day-after-day is exhausting.” But in a good way!
My sister Madeleine loves Austin so we try to pack in a lot of restaurants and even touristy things while she is in town. The heat was rather a welcome respite from the chill left behind in Columbus, Ohio. They had a very warm March in which everything bloomed, then a late frost killed off some of that bounty. Now they’re warming up again.
A baker’s dozen of things we did:
- Austin Overtures 90-minute tour with our friend Maggie who loves Austin probably more than anyone else. She knows the history and even where the bodies are buried–in the Texas State Cemetery. As it happened, everyone else on the tour that day was also from Ohio. Originally from the Cleveland area, these 7-8 friends have an annual reunion from all over the place. This year they chose Austin. We’re so glad they did!
- Favorite restaurants such as Magnolia, Zocalo, Galaxy, Wildflower Cafe; and pot lucks with friends.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which is absolutely bursting with spring blooms. QR Codes provided information about various sections right on my phone, either spoken or in text. I took lots of cell phone pix as well and we enjoyed browsing in the gift shop.
- More shopping! Madeleine needed something special for a wedding luncheon and the wedding itself. I helped her spend lots of money on some good values.
- A children’s orchestra performance on the plaza of the Long Center. Jon recognized Elizabeth Whitehead, their conductor, who was a friend of his daughter’s from 15 years ago. I took pictures, including one of the two of them together.
- Conspirare Symphonic Chorus and the Austin Symphony, conducted by Peter Bay and Craig Hella Johnson. This was a wonderful concert that included two Stowkowski interpretations of Bach (Toccata and Fugue in D Minor; and Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor).
- The Chorus sang Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. Orchestration was mostly with woodwinds and not a single violin or viola! . . . and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. How beautiful! A boy soprano, Lucas Revering, sang the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew. It was dramatically interrupted by the chorus breaking into a furious “Why do the nations rage?” Then the boy’s clear voice came back in and sang, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Familiar text added to the effect.
- Lost cell phones! Madeleine literally lost hers somewhere. We retraced our destinations as soon as we could, to no avail. She was eligible for an upgrade so it cost her about $1 plus some angst. On the very same day, my iPhone completely died! It’s only 2 months old, but even Apple’s Genius Bar expert said it gave her an error message she had never seen before. They gave me a new phone, but I lost the day’s pictures from the Wildflower Center. Fortunately, Jon had emailed himself some of the pix of him with Elizabeth Whitehead so those were safe in cyberspace. Phone contacts were restored through iCloud.
- Tapestry Singers concert! It was wonderful, if I say so myself. Since I was concert co-coordinator I was grateful all the logistics went rather smoothly. A great committee makes a world of difference. This year we added colorful scarves to the basic black and we added a Scarf Diva to the concert committee. Well done, Sonya! Excellent conducting Jenn Goodner; sound by Tom Johnson of AltaVistaRecording.com. We eagerly await the polished recording. Already we enjoyed watching the video of the concert at our after-party. It was fun to sing our favorite parts again and to laugh at our missteps. (Literally: Mary missed a step and fell, though she is just fine.) Musical mistakes are not nearly so noticeable in the video as they had loomed in our minds!
- Tapestry Singers were joined beautifully by Westlake High School’s Chamber Women’s Choir, also directed by Jenn Goodner; and the Westlake Middle School Choir, directed by our accompanist Andrea Snouffer. Each choir sang one song and they all came up for the encore. Over 100 voices sang another favorite, “For Good,” from the musical Wicked. (“Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better, but … because I knew you … I have been changed … for good.”)
- More shopping! I had borrowed Madeleine’s new skirt for the concert and decided I liked it well enough to get one of my own. The ruffles make it swing nicely. I also found a crocheted top that will look great over a camisole.
- The Bakery Jam! We topped off Madeleine’s visit with my weekly musical jam. It was something of a house-warming, too, in the newly remodeled home of one of the Jamsters. Sheryl was thrilled to have us fill her home with joy, laughter, and best of all, music.
- Up around 4am Monday morning to get to the airport in time for Security Follies. Even with a doctor’s note about her fake knee, she always has to be patted down :~) … Love and hugs as she goes away for a while. We are already planning our next get-together.
Now I’m just waiting to know she landed safely back in Columbus (she did). A wonderful week and new memories. Plus, I recorded her telling some family stories from long, long ago. Deviled eggs, pie and ice cream also made this week heavenly and special.
Two full days later and Jon and I are about to hit the road to visit friends in North Carolina. More travel tales await!