Today, Sunday, 4 November: A Reading, A Concert, a Prosciutto Panini, a Calendar, and Finally, a Dog

Spent long, long day with hubby in the City. Creeping into the dark and silent house at 10:30 PM this evening, realized we half expected to see Bella stiff, lifeless. For the past week, she has not responded when we call her for her normal feeding times. Self has to go right up to her and yell, “Food, Bella, food!” Sometimes not even that will rouse her: Bella will remain lying on her pillow, seemingly lifeless. Once, looking down at her, self’s heart constricted and she thought Bella was actually dead. But eventually she did stir. Yesterday, she seemed normal when we took her for her usual walk. But today it took a long long time and much coaxing before she would get up from her pillow.

Self’s friend Sandy had a dog named Rocket, who was as frisky as could be, even at 13 years of age. Then, one day, Sandy went to the backyard and found Rocket stretched out on the ground, lifeless. She had to cart Rocket’s stiff body to work with her, as she was already late. And then she decided not to have Rocket cremated, as the vet was going to charge her $80. Self doesn’t know what eventually happened to poor Rocket’s corpse, she is afraid to ask.

Anyhoo, today was an extremely busy day. First we went to the San Francisco Jewish Community Center to hear Ehud Havazelet read. What a beautiful center that is! Self had no idea it was there, even though she’s come within a few blocks of it many times, when she used to teach at USF. Inside, there was hustle and bustle, lots of tables filled with books, and even a coffee and pastry stand. Self filled out two raffle tickets and, aside from purchasing Ehud’s book (and having him sign it, of course), she also picked up a really neat calendar that shows, month by month, all the events happening in the San Francisco Bay Area well into 2008 (Calendar ends at August 08). For instance, on December 16, 5 PM, there’s a Cooking Class: How To Make Israeli Appetizers.

Then, on Christmas Day, there’s a double feature of Israeli films: Three Mothers (“the saga of triplets born in Egypt, their offspring, music and secrets”); and Souvenirs (“a documentary about a young filmmaker who takes his Yemenite father on a journey in the footsteps of his service in World War II in Europe”). Film showings to be followed by Chinese dinner.

On Friday, January 11, there’s something called an Ethiopian Shabbat, which is described in the calendar as “a celebration of the contribution of Ethiopian Jews to the life and culture of Israel, including a Shabbat meal.”

On Thursday, February 21, there’s a lecture on “Botanical Sensations From Israel,” described as “a journey through Israel’s flora, including basic botany, tasting, literature, legends and art.”

And so forth and so on.

Self had not seen Ehud for perhaps 10 years. He was his same gracious and self-deprecating self. He pointed out his wife to self and revealed that he has two sons: one 19 and the other just 6. Then self brought up a couple of old Stanford classmates and Ehud said to tell them he said hello. Which self most definitely will do. In fact, shortly after leaving the Center, self called old friend Penny in New York and told her she had just seen Ehud, and Penny was disbelieving and said it was simply amazing.

After Ehud’s reading, hubby and self headed to the Hayes Valley to walk around and kill time before the 7 PM concert at Davies of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra from Venezuela. Naturally, we did not intend to spend much money, so we skipped Absinthe; Sauce; Jardiniere; and Citizen Cake. Instead, we ended up at Arlequin, a wine merchant and coffee shop. And that turned out to be an inspired choice, for hubby thought of ordering a sandwich, which we ended up sharing: prosciutto, sliced pear, and Swiss cheese on panini. God, that was heavenly. And afterwards self decided to chase it down with a glass of Chardonnay and a cream puff and also a bag of Arlequin’s “home-made” potato chips.

Then, it was off to Davies, which literally rocked this evening. The orchestra consisted of youngsters between the ages of 12 and 26, they played Shostakovich and Bernstein flawlessly, and their conductor was a 26-year-old who, according to the programme notes, has just been named the next musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Self had never, ever experienced the like of such a concert, anywhere in America or the Philippines or in Europe. The students played with wicked speed, the conductor reminded self of the drum major for the Stanford Band, the many Venezuelans in the audience whistled and clapped and stamped their feet, and there were three encores. Finally, someone shut the hall lights, and in the complete darkness people began to boo. “Llanera, llanera!” people called. And when the lights went up again, the entire orchestra was wearing the jersies of the Venezuelan soccer team. The crowd went absolutely wild, and the orchestra played for half an hour more. Self thinks only an orchestra this young would have stretched themselves to the absolute limit that way.

So, it’s been quite a successful day, and now self has to settle down and finish grading papers. Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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