Wednesday, March 30, 2011

fake it 'til you make it

Through some incredible stroke of luck, I finally managed to find myself in the right place at the right time.  Just so you know, that person is never me.  I'm the one holding the lotto ticket that is just one digit off from winning.  I'm the one who gets to the party after everyone is drunk.  I'm the one who walks out of my front gate just in time to see the bus fly by.

This time, though, I had something on my side.  It's fairly well-known at work that I couldn't possibly care less about sports unless someone paid me to care less.  Instead, I enjoy "the finer things," and long for a subscription to the Orchestra or the Ballet.  It just so happens that the CEO of our company is on the Board at the Kimmel Center, a huge performing arts venue in Philadelphia.  It just so happens that the Kimmel Center is hosting the amazing opening night gala for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA).  It just so happens they needed some volunteers and it turned into a great opportunity for the CEO to send some over...which turned into a great opportunity (read: chance of a lifetime) for me to attend a black tie gala people are paying $750 to attend, completely free, aside from my obligations to help herd people.

While wearing an evening gown.
While seeing a joint performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the best in the world, with the Pennsylvania Ballet, for the first time in the history of the venue.  (as a side note, I've been fortunate to work for both organizations.)
While eating a dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck in honor of Georges Perrier (of Le Bec-Fin fame).

I live for this stuff.  So, when people say to me, "Oh, you got volunteered, eh?" I just smile.

Today I got to leave work early because I had to attend volunteer orientation.  According to the fine folks at the Kimmel Center, ordinarily they just do a quick briefing a half hour before an event, but since this is kind of a big deal (800 confirmed attendees, plus people who are only attending the concert, plus cocktail hour under an 80-foot tall replica of the Eiffel Tower strung with lights) they wanted to be a little more organized.  They had a pretty little spread of stinky French cheeses (Paris is the theme) with strawberries and grapes, alongside bottles of Perrier.  I could get used to this.  They also gave us "party favors"

Chocolate Eiffel Tower on a stick.  Yes.

In addition to this incredible privilege, I also got to leave work after only a half day in order to ensure I had plenty of time to get to the Kimmel Center.  The venue is conveniently located about 11 blocks from my home, so another great thing about today (and next week, when the actual event occurs) is that I got home early since I had a noticeably shorter commute.

Obviously, I took advantage of this opportunity to cook something time-consuming and intricate for dinner, instead of heating up the leftovers dominating our refrigerator.

No.  Actually, I took the opportunity to "enhance" our leftovers of Sicilian Market Pasta with an incredible find from Superfresh.  In a perfectly ironic move, Superfresh has packaged up produce they deem to be defective in some manner - rotting, or otherwise past its prime - and sell it for a dollar.  If a person was in need of tomatoes so ripe they were about to rot and needed a layer of plastic wrap to keep the flies away, this would be a tremendous bargain.

What luck!  I needed perfectly ripe tomatoes tonight!  So for one measly dollar, I brought home 6 perfect-for-sauce vine-ripened tomatoes and turned them into a very flavorful sauce with the help of some olive oil and my magic Tuscan Seasoning from California.  While I had only planned to get the tomatoes, I ended up with what looks like a perfectly fine bundle of tiny potatoes, perfect for roasting, also $1 and two heads of not-brown-yet iceberg lettuce for another $1.  Let's total that up:  6 tomatoes, about a dozen potatoes, and two heads of lettuce for....drum roll, please....$3.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

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