Thursday, September 4, 2008

San Francisco Symphony Opening Night Gala

For seven years, my husband has been responsible for raising over a million dollars a year for the San Francisco Symphony. We share alot of enthusiasm for the Symphony-both for the fundraisers and the experiences with and around the Symphony. Especially Robbie who made last evening possible, and is the reason my husband's life flows through river and dales with equanimity. Robbie is the Director of Membership Gifts for the Symphony and my husband's boss. Robbie is the gracious waters that provide the channel for symphony giving, and a delight in our life. Each season is unique and this year due to the economy, the gifts have not flowed and it's been a touch year. Even so, because of George and his staff, the steady Brian, the relentless Cyd, the long reach of interest and empathy provided by Ellen, and the dynamic Kassy, the campaign has done all right, better than most across the country. But then it is San Francisco; It is the San Francisco Symphony.

Part of the charm of life with the Symphony has definitely been our sharing the delight of a Symphony evening like last night. It's unique. You see, only at the San Francisco Symphony do you find such a mixture of class and style. You have the old guard dressed to the nines, very regal and yet accessible; you have the young successful professionals with gowns beyond your imagination and all the young men with good haircuts who probably had their $250/person ticket given to them by their employers as a benefit/compensation for their good work; and you have your in tune couples from Noe Valley, Los Altos, Marin and Walnut Creek who enjoy the experience the City provides within the context of the warmth of the the Symphony community. Eyes meet, expressions are shared as you walk the promenade and receive your first glass of champagne.
And then there's Michael Tilton Thomas who speaks to the audience as the world class Conductor and pride of the City; he steps from the side door of the stage and takes his rightful place, turning to the audience and commanding elegantly and wordlessly, their respectful silence by his own as he looks deeply into the full house. Before he turns and begins the experience of West Side Story, "Are you ready?" he asks then turns and begins the evening's main offering. West Side Story has never sounded like it sounded last night. My husband told me Leonard Bernstein had been a mentor to child prodigy Michael Tilton Thomas at the age of 13. The mellowness of the saxophone in Somewhere had the audience motionless and receiving each note fully and every sound, every snap of the fingers held us all spellbound.

And then the dancing: On the dance floor, everyone is a San Franciscan. Up for fun, down for rocking, and Out for a good time. Great food by several restaurants was offered, the wine and vodka flowed and it was a fitting celebration to begin the season for the Symphony. Some years we've danced next to Nancy Pelosi and her husband, the Gettys highly visible near the dance floor enjoying all the action but not engaging, the Mayor around flashing his attention to different people like a beacon of light. Unexpected delights in seeing everyone enjoying themselves and each other. But what I loved was meeting a new friend. Standing at the long bar almost the length of the entry to the lobby, a gorgeous bar laden with poured glasses of champagne allowed a great vantage point to see the people, the gowns and make contact. A smile here. A nod there. Appreciating exchanges going on throughtout the large floor space with the ceiling to floor windows looking out at City Hall all lit up in blue lighting. Even with the crowd, I noticed a woman and her husband, and simultaneously, I inched over feeling her turn in the direction toward us as I did so and proceed towards us. Katherine with a K and I launched into such an intense conversation and found so many common areas of interest that Katherine exploded with 'I love you" right there in the lobby of the Symphony, while our husbands also were deeply involved in a conversation. Actually Katherine and I made plans as she is very much involved in the education of womens health issues, an area of common interests to us both. Did you know, she said, that the one correlation they have established that is consistent in the area of Breast cancer is that Exercise is the main prohibito, the one and only definite claim of a prohibitor. I'm going to go to be her guest on Monday for her presentation, and I invited her to be my guest at the Wisdom Connection. We left with a - This is great! We have a future now! A future plan.

As we left around midnight, the click of heels on pavement and lights ablaze, the energy still high and the bands and dancing still going strong, I felt the future with the Symphony is one I will count on as well. More than just a great evening, which it was, it also is a validation of best parts of the City open to the people for their pleasure represented so well by its Symphony.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Nine of us began a nine month course of study on feminine wisdom together: a discovery of a state of being and communication distinct and clear bringing into our lives the reality of what that is Like many things what it isn't defines it as well as the essence of what it is. For me, it has been the hearing, feeling and seeing between the cracks of positions that have served me to a point, to reach for a broader deeper realm of knowing, allowing, and acknowledging. All of the women in this group have researched with their lives the elements of knowing and discerning the passion and desire, the call that we honor and respond to. Witnessing in each other the shifts and changes that provide the inspiration toward realizing what femine is to the world- distinct and precise. in our daily lives is what we're up to. What it isn't is equally clear-emulating the masculine model of power, masculine standards and measures.

To that point: Hello Sarah Palin. Wow. It's all right with me that a woman is running with McCain if she has the ability to take on the office of the Presidency. However to try to lump Sarah Palin's stand/position in any way as related to the depth of respect for the issues truly worthy of passion and desire for good as demonstrated by Senator Hillary Clinton at the DNC last week is inaccurate. Insulting to all women everywhere, to all people. A bad joke. To slur because you're a woman and feisty, you are the same IS sexism at its most rank form. It is completely insultiing to women who stood for Hillary Clinton that the Republican candidate for President would attempt to confuse and purchase that affection earned by Hillary for her candidacy as President to a woman with totally different positions; Sarah is pro life and a creationist, a step back to the 50's is not what we need. Mc Cain and the Republican party owe the women of America an apology for their obvious sexism, but the pundits are all saying - hey, the blue collared women in the midwest may vote for Sarah since they were going to vote for Hillary. The steps forward that Senator Clinton relentlessly pursued then will not be taken away by Barack Obama and Joe Biden as they go towards the Presidency and include her work, her voice and her commitment to quality of life for American people, Instead that work is being toyed with by as a strategy, an attempt to misguide and bamboozle the women who followed Senator Clinton. Shameless exploitation, and not of Sarah Pain's doing. And you know, there's a hall pass for the RNC here, they can attribute the loss of the election to this woman. Sarah Palin obviously has no women friends in the senate or house of representatives to give her a heads up, no Nancy Pelosi, no Diane Feinstein with whom to take measure of the politics she has been thrown into hells bells. The Republicans have wanted this election to be about personalities rather than their record of the last 8 years, and this is their latest attempt to do that and they have shoved this woman on the political stage to, as Rushed Limbo would say, create chaos and confusion.

More tomorrow on feminine wisdom