Going to the Symphony – Being there

After my wonderful 7-11 tuna sandwhich, it was time to think about changing into the clothes I would wear to the symphony. Given I was already wearing a skirt and pullover top, changing in the suit I had chosen to wear to the symphony should be pretty easy. I had purchased this JNY suit on ebay almost a year ago but had not worn it anywhere. As I have mentioned before, I have become more casual in what I wear over the last few years. It was not long ago that I tended toward a more professional look, favoring skirt suits and pant suits over anything more casual. I had accumulated way too many such outfits along the way and have been loath to get rid of any of them as I love them all. Still, the opportunities to get dressed up are mostly limited to the symphony or some other classical performance like the ballet. Going to the mall in a skirt suit or other professional attire makes blending in harder.

The skirt suit I had chosen was a lighter shade of blue although not like a powder or pastel blue. It is sort of a hard color to define, almost like a steel blue.  Given it was almost like a spring day (although in the middle of winter) the suit fit in perfectly. If it had been cold or rainy, I would have worn something more somber but on a clear, sunny day it worked. The jacket had a zipper front without any decoration and without a collar. It almost looked like a more casual jacket but it was clearly a dress garment. The skirt was knee length and straight. I tried all sorts of tops but none really worked except for a sleeveless shell that had horizonal stripes across it. The stripes were in all sorts of shades of blue and so it worked with suit. The only problem is that it was a little tighter around the bust than I recalled. Still it was comfortable and looked nice with the skirt. My shoes were midheel black pumps that looked nice and were comfortable.

I ended up changing in a parking garage that was next to the mall. It was done in just a couple of minutes and I was on my way. I arrived at my favorite parking lot near Davies Symphony Hall and left my car with the attendant. He asked me “Ma’am, how long will be leaving your car” and I told him just a few hours. I paid my $10 and walked to Davies. I had printed out my ticket and so was able to get right in. I was almost 20 minutes early and so I killed some time wandering about. Shortly before the symphony was to start, I made a stop at the ladies room as the lines at intermission are often long.

I made it to my seat with time to spare. I sat in a short row of just 3 seats and the other two were filled with women who clearly had come together and were engaged in a lively conversation. Both pretty much ignored me. Since I had forgotten to get a program I entertained myself by people watching.

The first program was Mozart’s Piano Concerto #9. I had not heard it before but generally enjoy Mozart. Unfortunately I found it rather dull and unmoving. It was one of his early concertos but lacked, at least to me, the thrill and emotion of his later ones. The audience seemed to feel the same way as afterwards the applause felt a little unenthusiastic. The piano soloist played well, but it was just not that moving.

At intermission, I left my seat and wandered around the symphony hall. I purchased some bottled water that I could take inside and visited the ladies room again. I decided to sit someplace else for the second half of the performance and found a nice place that was to the immediate right of the orchestra. At Davies there are seats that form a “U” around the orchestra and which provide a great view of the performs. They are the cheapest seats in the place (normally only $25). I had seem some were not taken and so I slipped into one of them.

After the performance started it occured to me that I was sitting in such a way that virtually everyone in the hall had a clear view of me!! I had a moment of panic but at that point it was not like I could get up and move. I consoled myself that everyone would probably be looking at the orchestra and hence I would just blend in with dozens of other faces. So much for keeping a low profile…

The performance itself was Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony. I am an absolute fan of him and love the emotion and passion of his work. I always feel like I am on an emotional rollar coaster when I listen to his works. The 3rd and 5th Symphonies are among my favorite pieces. I discovered the 5th years ago by mistake. I thought I was attending Bethoveen’s 5th but I had misread the date and got Techaikovsky 5th instead. It was a wonderful surprise.

The performance this time was like meeting a wonderful old friend. I knew what to expect and still loved it. Where I was sitting I could see what instruments played which parts and that added a whole additional level of enjoyment. When I hear recordings of it now I can visual the trumpets, french horns, violins, drums, and other instruments and where they are located. It is not longer just music but is almost a 3D experience.

The performance soon ended and I walked back to my car and drove out of the City. The traffic was a mess but I was happy. I finished the day with a quick dinner with my BFF at a local India restaurant. The day had gone mostly as I had expected. I had done some shopping and found some nice things and then went to the symphony and heard some of my favorite music. All had taken place without incident and I was treated well by all I encountered. Even the unexpected work meeting had its own pleasant twist. How often do I get to attend work meetings “en femme”?


Going to the Symphony – Getting there

As Denae mentioned in her last post, I went to the San Francisco Symphony this week. I had originally planned to go Friday night with a friend but problems arose with that and so I went alone on Thursday afternoon. The symphony performed Mozart’s 9th Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony. The later is one of my favorite pieces but I will get back to the Symphony later.

Since the performance was in the afternoon, I decided to take the day off work and enjoy some extended time “en femme”. It had been a while since I had a whole day free and so I decided to make the most of it (I thought). I was planning on getting a little dressed up for the concert and thought that it would not quite be appropriate for wandering around shopping malls. I wanted to be able to make the change between outfits fast and so I decided to wear a long sleeve top and skirt for the shopping time. The skirt is a black JNY corduroy one that is a real favorite. I like them so much I have them in olive and tan. They are comfortable and look nice. The top was a patterned t-shirt I bought at Kohl’s. I have really gotten to like the patterned t-shirts at Kohl’s. They seem to have a new one every few weeks and it usually ends up in my closet. They are $10-15 and so it is not a large investment. This particular one had lots of colors: black, olive, brown, violet, tan, etc.. Somehow they were all mixed together in a nice pattern. I often combine the t-shirts with my collection of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans for all sorts of looks. It is a much more casual look than I used to have but I feel a lot more comfortable in it, both in terms of physical comfort as well as “fitting in” with how other women dress. Oddly enough, it still feels as “femme” as a skirt suit or a dress. This day, however, I combined it with the corduroy skirt and it still felt pretty casual.

I wore some black MJ shoes that look nice and are very comfortable. They are leather and have a little bit of a rise in the heel. I have worn them for hours and hours and just love them. I brought along a knit jacket but did not need it as the temperature was almost 70 degrees! I visited a mall along the way to SF and it had a Sears, Penny’s, and my new favorite show store, DB shoes. I stopped at JCP first since they have changed all their pricing away from sales and to sort of a “everyday low pricing” model. Macy’s did the same thing which lead me to not shop so much their. Getting rid of sales seems to have the opposite effect on me that what they expect. If I can get it tomorrow for the same price as today, why buy it today?? I wandered through JCP and was nicely greeted by various sales people. I ended up buying one thing, a lightweight black cardigan sweater. I am trying to do more layering and it goes well over my t-shirts. It was a nice price ($14). Unfortunately I did not like most of the rest of the clothes there. They have more problems that just pricing.

From there I stopped at DB Shoes. I was actually a little irritated at them since they refused to accept a pair of boots I tried to return on the grounds that they had been worn. I was returning them since it turned out I had a pair just like them at home (which is why I liked them in the store). I bought them off the clearance rack ($169 marked down to $39) but did not need another pair. Both the clerk and the manager claimed they had been worn (they had not) and so refused to accept them. I stormed out of the store and vowed never to return. Unfortunately they have great deals and so it was an empty threat, but at least I refused to go back to that store. I had never been in this particular store but it was a lot like the others. Lots of shoes from running shoes to boots to outlandish heels. Mostly well known brands but some unknown ones too (and some “store” brands). Too many choices, I could spend lots of money here. I ended up getting a pair of black “scrunchy” knee high boots in a faux suede material and a pair of black Keds walking shoes. Both are closed with zippers. Neither have much of a heel and so are comfortable for wearing for hours and hours. The boots are big enough to go over my jeans and since they are black, they go with most of the jeans. I could also wear them with a longish skirt. I was treated nicely by the sales clerk as were all the other customers in the store.

At that point, I had hoped to spend even more time exploring the mall but got a phone call on my cell phone from my boss who wanted me to call into an unscheduled meeting. Although I was officially not working, I needed to be part of the meeting and so spent the next two hours sitting outside a McDonalds on the phone watching slides on my notebook courtesy of their free WiFi hotspot. It was hardly the day I planned but I did take perverse delight in attending the meeting en femme. Once again, I was really glad we don’t use video conferencing!! I had planned a nice lunch but ended up at 7-11 buying a tuna sandwich as by the time the meeting was over I had very little time to get dressed for the symphony and drive into San Francisco.

This has gone on longer than expected and so I will cover my time at the Symphony in my next post.