Sunday, July 22, 2007

Death-Defying Adventures

According to my older brother, my blog has become “more and more boring” and I need to “spark things up considerably” before the end of August, when I shall cease blogging and turn things over to Joshua for a while, in order “to end things on a high note”.

I would, accordingly, describe the many death-defying adventures Joshua and I experienced this weekend--but we did not have any. Our weekend was pretty uneventful.

On Friday night, Josh and I ran errands and did food shopping and laundry and housecleaning and such, to get all of that out of the way.

On Saturday, we went over to my parents’ house and we mowed the lawn and we washed the cars (my parents’ cars and our car, too) and we did a few other small things around the house and yard. It was fun, because we were fed well and we were able to play with the dog and we had plenty of time to kick back and talk with my parents.

On Saturday night, my mother made us Italian food for dinner: an Italian salad, and vegetable lasagna, and Veal Parmigiana, and Italian vegetables. We had Italian Ice for dessert. It was very, very nice.

After dinner, we watched, on DVD, the film “The Garden Of The Finzi-Continis”, which Josh had never seen. My parents first saw the film on its initial commercial release, when they were dating, and it is one of their favorite films (and one of mine, too). Josh liked it enormously, which I knew he would.

The dog, however, seemed not to care for the film. He did an awful lot of yawning, and he made no attempt whatsoever to conceal it—loud, conspicuous, blatant yawning, in blithe disregard of all sense of manners and propriety, as if the normal rules of social etiquette did not apply to him—and then he went to sleep. We were shocked and dismayed at his frightful lack of social graces, and we considered getting up and leaving!

We decided to forgive him, however, because it appears that he dislikes foreign-language films—it must be having to read the subtitles that he objects to.

We were prompted to watch “The Garden Of The Finzi-Continis” by an online friend of mine, who had watched the film the previous weekend, and who had written about it on his blog. That inspired us to rent the DVD and watch the film, too, creating, in the process, a special “Italian Night” for all of us. Thank you, Opera Chanteuse! Because of you, we all enjoyed a very special Saturday night!

And my mother wants me to pass on to you, Opera Chanteuse, that she loves your blog. It was my mother’s idea, after reading your foreign-film entry last week, to rent the DVD of “The Garden Of The Finzi-Continis”.

Today, after church, my parents spent the day with my mother’s relatives. Josh and I, after church, went over to my parents’ house to retrieve the dog and we brought him back to our apartment so that he would not have to spend the entire day alone, by himself. We gave him a nice lunch, and then we went out to play basketball and swim. We took him with us, and he had a nice time. When we were done playing basketball and swimming, we took him to his favorite park and ran with him and played fetch ball. He had a wonderful afternoon.

Then we went home and prepared dinner. My parents joined us for dinner, but we did not prepare anything significant because my parents had had a major lunch with my mother’s relatives earlier in the day. It being Sunday night, the dog got his chicken, of course, but the rest of us ate chicken breasts baked in cream, and green beans, and parsnips, and fresh tomatoes, and nothing more. Josh and I were such poor hosts that we did not even offer my parents any dessert. My parents were so offended that they considered getting up and leaving! (In truth, no one wanted dessert.)

After dinner, my parents asked Josh and me about subscriptions, and whether we wanted to get any for the coming season. My parents subscribe to the Minnesota Orchestra, and to the Minnesota Opera, and to the Guthrie Theater, and to the Schubert Club. They do not subscribe, however, to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra or to the Metropolitan Ballet. Sometimes they subscribe to The University Of Minnesota Performing Arts Series, and sometimes they do not.

Josh and I really are not interested in subscribing to anything. We certainly have no interest in full subscriptions--full subscriptions almost control one’s life, and quickly become nothing so much as a burden—and we genuinely have no interest in short subscriptions, either, for that matter. Josh and I prefer to go to an individual event if it appeals to us, but we do not want to sign up for the entire Guthrie season, or the full Schubert Club season, or the complete Minnesota Orchestra or Minnesota Opera seasons, or the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra or Metropolitan Ballet seasons, either.

My parents understand this, but there was one item my father asked us about that gave us pause: he wanted to know whether Josh and I wanted to get season tickets to The University Of Minnesota Mens’ Basketball Team.

My father would enjoy going to the games, but he would only enjoy going if Josh and I were to go with him. He would not be interested in going to the games by himself, and he would never pressure my mother to go to the games with him (my mother simply has no interest in going more than once a year, if that).

Deciding whether to get season tickets was a difficult matter for Josh and me.

Both of us love college basketball. Both of us are excited about Tubby Smith now heading the program, as both of us respect and admire Tubby Smith enormously. Both of us like the old, decrepit field house, which is a marvelous venue for college basketball. Both of us would genuinely enjoy having the opportunity to see all the other Big Ten teams come to town and play in Williams Arena.

The other side of the coin is that we truly do not want to see eighteen or so home games (the home schedule has not yet been announced) within a relatively short period of time—that is simply too many games to attend. During the workweek, the games are scheduled on different nights of the week, with different tip-off times (anytime between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.). On weekends, games are sometimes scheduled on Saturday afternoons (anytime between 12:00 Noon and 5:00 p.m.), sometimes on Saturday evenings (anytime between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.), and sometimes on Sunday afternoons (anytime between 12:00 Noon and 4:00 p.m.). If we were to get season tickets, our lives would be governed by the basketball schedule for fifteen consecutive weeks. Josh and I would be required to plan each and every week around the games.

And that is just too much for us. It would become tiresome before the season was even half over.

And we explained this to my Dad, and he understood. We told him that we could pick out a few individual games to attend once the season was under way. We also told him that we would be able to watch most of the games on television anyway, and that this would be almost as much fun as attending the games in person, with the added benefits of not having to drive to Bloomington and back, and not leaving my mother alone and without company, and being able to relax and eat and play with the dog during the games.

I think that my father appreciates the situation, and he knows that he will enjoy watching the games on television, and he also knows that he will not have to watch the games by himself--Josh and I will be there with him, watching alongside him (since Josh and I have no television, we have to go to my parents’ house if we want to see the games). I think he is fine with that.

This coming week will be a very special one, because we will all help my father celebrate his birthday. On Thursday night, Josh and I will take my Mom and Dad out to dinner and afterward we will take them to see “1776” at the Guthrie Theater. On Friday night, my father’s actual birthday, Josh and I will have my parents over for dinner (and we will even give them dessert!). On Saturday night, Josh and I will take my parents to a “Sommerfest” concert of the Minnesota Orchestra. On the program will be one of my father’s favorite compositions, Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, played by his favorite young cellist, Daniel Muller-Schott. It will be a wonderful way for my father to celebrate his birthday over a few days, and he will enjoy everything very much. The only thing that could make things better would be for my brothers to join us, but they will be with us in our thoughts, and we will be with them in theirs.


  1. I'm glad you had a a great weekend, Andrew. You are most welcome.

  2. And thank you, Opera Chanteuse.

    We did not rent the whole sequence of films, because we knew we did not have enough time to watch them all--plus, the dog wouldn't have permitted it!