This is crunch week for me – the last full week before we leave for our Bayreuth adventure (See “The Hunt for the Perfect Special Occasion Shoe”).
|Amalia Materna, the first Bayreuth Brünnhilde with Cocotte, the first Bayreuth Grane|
My Bulletin Board is full of things to do and I’m waaaaaay behind. Contrary to popular belief among my friends and family, I’m not always as on top of things as they think, and I do daily battle with that little voice in my head that insists there’s no need to do today what can be put off until tomorrow. I blame my parents for this internal, eternal struggle.
Mme Mère was obsessed with arriving early for everything. My Father, on the other hand, would show up right on time – most of the time. You could count on an argument every Sunday morning before church. Isabelle would get angrier and angrier with René’s leisurely approach to getting ready. Finally, totally exasperated, she would grab my brother’s and my hand and storm out of the house her high heels click-clacking on the sidewalk as we walked briskly to church, genuflected, took our seats in the pew and sat there waiting and waiting for Mass to start. Sometimes we arrived before they even lit the candles. It seemed the angrier she got at my Father, the earlier she left. Exactly one minute before the priest walked out to say Mass, my Father would slip quietly into the pew beside me and give me a little wink. Is it any wonder why I am the way I am?
Anyway, as I said, I’m waaaaaay behind, but entirely due to circumstances beyond my control, mostly.
First of all, the opera tickets sent from Bayreuth, via Registered Mail, on May 5th, never arrived. We spent weeks trying to track them down through the US Postal System, but all they would say was, “They are in transit.” Luckily, the opera house box office was able to set aside duplicate tickets for us.
Then, my poor husband had to deal with a series of nasty bouts of Vertigo, which left him unable to function for days at a time. For a while there, we thought we would have to cancel the trip.
And then one of our cats, Allegra, suddenly fell ill. Sadly, we were unable to save her and on July 1st, our beautiful, seven-year-old Allegra lost the battle she was waging alone against cancer. If only we had known. I’m still devastated by her loss. But, life goes on and, happily, my husband’s Vertigo attacks seem to have abated, for now, and with any luck will not recur.
So, I have finally gotten around to putting things together for the trip. The first things to put together were my four outfits for the four operas. Since these are black tie events, I need four formal dresses and each one needs to be accessorized (jewelry, wraps, purses, shoes, etc.). Yesterday, my husband walked in to the bedroom with his tux freshly retrieved from the dry cleaners to find our bed strewn with jewelry.
“What’s all this? Did you rob Tiffany’s or something?” he asked.
“Don’t ever bother a woman when she’s putting outfits together. This is serious work and demands the utmost concentration,” I replied.
Quietly, he hung up his tux and left the room. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being a woman, always have, always will except when it comes to packing for a trip. Here I was struggling to put together four perfect outfits and all my husband needed was his black tux, cummerbund, bow tie, studs, a couple of white, frilly front shirts a pair of black dress shoes and he was good to go. It’s so unfair.
And then there’s the makeup and toiletries we need to pack to look our best. I remember a time when all of that went into my carry-on bag, including my moisturizer and liquid foundation, which are now considered potentially lethal by the TSA and must be “deactivated” by placing them in a separate zip lock baggie.
The truth is that I’m now at the age where I take more medicine and less makeup when I travel. Gone are the days when I packed five different shades of eye shadow and threw in a little bottle of aspirin, just in case. When did that happen? And don't get me started on the number of eyeglasses I now need (readers, cheaters, distance, you name it, I can't see without it!!)
So, slowly, but surely, I’m getting everything together, and, ready or not, next Wednesday, we will be on our way to Bayreuth, Germany, to see the “Ring Cycle” at the festspielhaus, the opera house Richard Wagner built for his masterpiece. For Wagner groupies, the hard core Trekkies of the opera world, it doesn’t get any better than this.
I promise a post with pictures when we return. And so, until then, auf wiedersehen.