Ally and I had a nice long discussion about opera tonight.

She can’t stand it… mostly because she likes / engages in realism and opera is kind of everything that realism isn’t.

I adore opera because of the set pieces and the emotion and the heartbreak and wonder that opera can inspire.

It doesn’t hurt that my parents took me to Barber of Seville when I was a child and I solved two of the riddle in Turandot when I was in high school and watching it on PBS.

She wants to try to get into opera and I recommended grabbing some dvds out of the library.  You shouldn’t try to get into it at live performances because that’s a costly way find out that no… you really do hate opera and always will.

But for me… I’m just excited that San Francisco Opera is performing Turandot this fall.  Maryellen says that the first session will be the best.

Opera… it’s what’s for dinner.

night

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It’s been a week or two of consistent parties at work.  Which is nice because it cuts back on the lunch bills.

But the best part is the fact that a few of these events involved Amanda’s cupcakes.

I LOVE Amanda’s cupcakes.  They are very good quality and she makes interesting flavors.

Today I had a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting.  And she had melted down colored chocolate and made stars and letters to decorate the cupcakes.  Very nice touch.

If I had been thinking with my brains instead of my stomach I would have taken a picture.

But I wasn’t… I just ate it!

I love when other people bake and bake well!

Don’t you?

night

I said I’d talk about the Balenciaga and Spain exhibit that I saw on Saturday.  It’s closing at the DeYoung on the 4th and I hope it is packed until then.

Just a few little notes about what I noticed while I was wandering the exhibit.

Some tags had the original wearer / owner of the garment and that’s only right.  They do that with pictures – who donated it or how it was collected.  But the dresses had something extra on the information tags.  They noted the makers of the fabrics!  How amazing is that?  Fabrics at that level were so unique that they demanded recognition.

The dresses in the plastic boxes were fantastic because you would walk around them and see the full dress 360.  But me, being me, wanted someone to turn the dresses inside out so I could see the seams and the darts from the inside.  I want to know how they did that!!!  Especially the darts at the very center of the breast bone that looked like a cross that made the dresses fit like a glove and that no one else would ever be able to wear it as well.

Terry talked about the green, trapeze dress during the difficult fabrics class at Stone Mountain.  She talked about how the fact that there is only one seem at the back and because of that the nap of the fabric flips… it’s almost like a variegation in the color.  And I saw it.  I understood what she was saying.

The exhibit was full of magnificent dresses and suits and cloaks and history and the story of a fantastic designer that had skill and talent and vision… enough to leave a legacy.

I’m so glad I bought the book!

night

Tonight I stood in a long line to go into a church and up the stair and sit in the balcony to listen to Adam Savage interview Neil Gaiman.

My life does not suck.

There was a fabulously fun opening act – Zoe Boekbinder.  Her version of Single Ladies is hilarious, made even more-so by the audience participation she coerced out of the audience at First Congregational Church.

Listening to Neil talk just made me wish I could find a way to solidify the stories that seem to slip-slide around my mind, like wriggly ferrets that just don’t want to be caught.  I think I like the idea of writing but I’m not willing to put the work in.  Until I am willing to push and try and fail and get back up and go again then I can’t be a writer.  It’s not something that just happens.  You have to work at it.

I feel like I should do a moment by moment, quote my quote retelling but really what’s the point?  The moment happened and I experienced it and it was wonderful and I feel brighter and lighter.  I hope there are many things in your life that make you feel like that.

If not, you should try to find a few because it’s a wonderful feeling.

Here’s hoping that Neil does write American Gods 2 (because Shadow does need to say more), and Seven Sisters (because I DO want to read that), and another Dr Who (because he seemed to love his first episode so much) and that when he and Miss Amanda come to do an evening with Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman they do it at Zellerbach.

Now this was a reading in celebration of American Gods’ 10th anniversary but it was not a signing.  Neil said there are just too many of us.  We’d be there until 3pm.  Which was fine, but I wasn’t going to buy another copy of the book to get his signature.  Then on the way home I thought… wait… didn’t I get that hardcover from Moe’s and wasn’t it signed from an event he did there?  When I got home I looked.  And it was signed.

All in all a magnificent evening.

night

Well today has been an interesting day.

I slept in a bit and then headed out to the DeYoung for the Balenciaga exhibit… and Picasso too since I was going to be there anyway.

But when I got to the Muni stop I found out that there were changes to the 5-Fulton line and instead of trying to figure them out I decided to take the N-Judah instead.  But since I was above ground already I decided to do some window shopping before getting on the train.

First I went to Shreve & Co. where I was treated much better than I expected.

See, I was dressed for a day out, not really to impress.  I was wearing a pair of reef flip-flops in faux cheetah fur, Levi’s, an ivory and navy sailor sweater, and a blue down vest.  Now I was wearing good jewelry but really if you started at the bottom, I could be easily dismissed before you even reached the vest.  So it was going to depend on the sales person.

But the first guy I met at Shreve was really cool and we chatted just a bit.  He practically dragged me over to look at a ring, not because he wanted me to buy it because I think I was pretty clear that I didn’t want to buy a ring but because he wanted me to see it.  He thought I would appreciate it.  And it was STUNNING!  It was hand carved and then enameled with flowers … oh and the top part spun independent of the part touching your finger.  So cool and I’m so glad he showed me.

Gumps and Tiffany’s were neither here nor there.  I was asked if I wanted help and helped where I needed it.  Not above and beyond but good, solid support.

Cartier and Saks Fifth Avenue were strong, professional and very, very helpful.  They didn’t have what I wanted but they tried to help the best they could.  Saks even had a pow-wow to come up with other options for me.

Barney’s ignored me until they realized I wouldn’t just go away until someone showed me some earrings.  And in Neiman Marcus one of the perfume girls actually looked at my feet and then decided I didn’t exist.  It was almost impressive to watch her dismissal happen in real-time.

At that point I chucked it all in and headed to the museum.  I won’t go in to that because I need a whole post to talk about the exhibits.

After the museum started to close around me I headed back to the N-Judah to get back downtown and get some dinner.

The driver actually waited as a few of us rushed for the train.  Lovely man!

I decided that instead of grabbing some fast food from the food court at Powell, I would go to a big chain restaurant.  Wait an insane amount of time to get a table and eat my favorite chicken salad sandwich.  So I did.  I think I waited about 45 minutes.  My table was outside and even though they had heaters it was COLD.  My server seemed cool, I made my order since I knew just want I wanted.  I got my soda and my food and another soda in quick order.

And then he disappeared.  I got colder and colder.  I waited and waited.  I thought he would come back.  He was just a few tables away.  What the heck was going on.

Was it because I was alone?  Was he seriously so slammed he couldn’t come back to give me the bill at least?  I started to wonder if anyone would notice if I just got up and left.  Dining and dashing isn’t my thing but I was COLD and getting more and more angry.

Then another waiter came over and said that he was taking over since he was back from his break.

And I blinked.  I told him I had been waiting for over four songs for someone to notice me.  I understand taking a break but getting lost in that transition was not okay.

I wasn’t even angry.  I was hurt.

He said he was sorry and said he would get my bill.  He had the hardest time figuring out which of the half-dozen bills in his apron pocket was mine.

Then he asked if I would like him to talk to the manager about getting a discount.  I said that would be nice.

I wasn’t going to ask for anything but if they wanted to do something fine.  I just wanted to go.

The manager was very sorry and wanted to make things better.  I told her that I understand breaks but that losing a table in the confusion isn’t okay.  And the fact that every other table around me was cared for but I was the only one person table and I was ignored didn’t feel good.  And that someone else should have noticed something.

Mostly I just wanted there to be some training so this doesn’t happen to someone else.  Honestly I most likely will not go back there.

The manager gave me here card, she comped my meal and gave me dessert to take home.  She wants me to come back so I can see that they aren’t like that.

But the issue is… if I need to tell the manager that I’m coming so they can prove they have good service…. isn’t that a lot like back in the olden days when restaurant critics would call ahead to make sure they are given the best treatment?  It’s not the same treatment anyone would get.  It’s best behavior.

Now I’m not made.  She fixed the problem for me and I’m happy with the solution.  But I really don’t think I’ll go back again.

It’s not worth the chance.

I took my dessert and got on BART and headed home.

Looking back on the day I have come to some conclusions about customer service.  I think it depends on the people involved.  Sometimes you’re having a bad day, sometimes the sales person is having a bad day, sometimes they are over worked or you’re in a rush or they have other things on their mind, and sometimes they just don’t think you’re work their time.  There are times where I don’t think they are worth mine.  And when you get right down to it both those instances are very wrong.

So many variables.

Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

The only thing you can control is yourself and your wallet.

Most days, that’s enough.

But I think I’m done with shopping for a while.

night

into the lion’s den

June 24, 2011

It’s Pride Weekend in San Francisco.

And I’m thinking that I really need to get to the deYoung before the Balenciaga exhibit leaves next weekend.Am I insane?  Probably.

At least I’m not planning on going during the parade, right?

Happy Pride everyone!  And kudos to New York and the passage of the Marriage Equality Bill!

The way I see it, if you’re crazy enough to want to bind yourself to another person for life then nothing should stop you.

Be safe everyone!

night.

We had a party at work on Wednesday and someone brought little ice cream tubs.  We didn’t really get to them since we ate SO much from the taco bar that was set up.

But today…. after the staff meeting we all remembered that there was ice cream!

WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!