Sunday, October 01, 2006

Our Evening of Elegance

Weeks ago, Don got an invitation to An Evening of Elegance which was to celebrate his division, Baxter Bioscience, and Baxter's 75th Anniversary. I ordered a dress and jacket that I found in the Coldwater Creek catalog back in August and hung it uncreased in my closet.
On Saturday mornings, Alan goes to Actors for Autism at Joey Travolta's Entertainment Experience in Encino. Knowing this, Cate and Jim gave me a gift certificate at the Burke & Williams spa in the Sherman Oaks Galleria. Don and Alan deposited me there about 9 a. m. They went off to wash Don's car before Alan's class. I entered the mall. I even rode the steep escalator to the second level when I couldn't find the elevator right away and found the spa.
Once inside, all is hushed. It isn't tomb-like but more like church before the service. A few muted voices could be heard. I was given a tour but was too timid to do any of the spa services that are complimentary. I didn't even take off my clothes and put on a bathing suit and robe. I will bring a bathing suit if I ever go again. Clothing is optional in parts of this spa. Not me. I didn't even think I wanted to try a massage by a stranger.
I had booked a manicure and pedicure. I probably have had seven or eight professional manicures and maybe three pedicures ever, all in the past five years. I was given a technician who led me, gently pushing me, I would say, through a maze of halls to the manicure room. There were two chairs and two technicians in this room. It was airy and though dim, not dark. The chair was a massage chair, which I have experienced before. However, a few more amenities befitting this type of spa were given to me. Kappy brought me a warm neck pillow first. She began to work on my hands and filled the foot bath. Everything was done in slow motion. I had a paraffin dip after she trimmed my nails. I thought the wax a bit hot. She covered my arms with towels. Then, the woman next to me was startled when she had her feet dipped into the wax. I was surprised but at least I was prepared. When it was my turn, I found that I too thought the wax too hot for my feet and each one was dipped three times. It did feel good once the wax coated my feet. Both my arms, up to my elbows, and my legs up to my knees were also massaged. Several times, Kappy asked me to relax. That is really hard for me to do.
I chose clear polish for my hands and splurged on pink for my toenails. After she was done, Kappy suggested next time I try a body massage as she said I deserve it. Hmmm.
Don and Alan picked me up outside the mall and we went on home for a late lunch. Around three, I showered and did my hair. Don put my dress and jacket into the garment bag with his tuxedo. I ought to have known it would get creased. It wasn't until we were dressed and leaving the hotel room I realized my sleeves were creased but I had to go like that. Next time I think I will bring a yet to be purchased steamer or steam it with the iron before dressing. Don wore his tuxedo and put on a bow tie for the first time. He took several tries before he was satisfied it looked right. I thought it was especially fine with the white shirt and black buttons, his vest and tux.
We settled Alan with his computer. He was good about it because we had long promised he could watch a DVD of Hoot. When the computer that could play DVDs crashed, we were counting on being able to hook up the DVD player to the t. v. in the room but it didn't work. I was under the impression that DVD players worked independently of the t. v. but apparently not.
When we went downstairs, Don suggested we get our photo taken first which was a good thing. There was a long, long line. We both felt stiff while being posed, especially after watching some of the people pose like Hollywood starlets. Luckily, I think one of the poses turned out.
Despite not being the first to arrive, we found that not many people took their seats at the assigned tables. We went in and located ours and since nobody else was there yet, went back out and got glasses of wine. Eventually, some people did sit at our table, so we went in and found places.
I thought the dinner was well done. I ordered a vegetarian meal. The dessert was cheesecake. I noticed several men wore tuxes. After I read the invitation, I saw that it said "semi formal" but there were several ladies in formal gowns and several men in tuxes. I didn't see the invitation until the day of the event. I got an e-mail for the Evening of Elegance weeks ago. Many people must have read that as formal and I don't blame them.
The band was extremely, extremely loud. We did dance a few times but kept escaping. We claimed our gift of the heavy crystal photo frame and took it up to the room. We went up around three times to check on Alan. He was on the computer, showering and in bed. He managed fine and was unconcerned. We left him with his cell phone and told him to call us if he needed us. There were breaks for the chances on the prizes. Those were some prizes! One was a complete home theater with flat screen t. v. One was an ipod Nano. A couple were nights at hotels and one was a Malibu restaurant dinner with a limo ride to and from the restaurant. The person at each table who had been with Baxter the longest got to take the fragrant bouquet of lilies and irises home and since Don had been there 21 years, we have the vase in our kitchen where we can see and smell them for a few days.
The people who were at this event all work long hard hours and travel a lot for the most part. There was a short video of some of the products and patients, along with workers comments. The president of the division gave a short speech, and she was appreciative of everyone's efforts. Don paid for a room in the hotel for us to stay in. I think it was well worth it. We were able to have Alan right there, to have a couple of glasses of wine and relax, rather than worry about the traffic going home on the freeway. When he drove back this morning, Don commented on how easy a drive it was on Sunday morning, unlike the same drive on Saturday. This wasn't a sunny summer Sunday with people going to the beach so the freeway wasn't busy.


Blogger Junosmom said...

Hi, Mary, What a lovely day that must have been! Oh, I'd love to go to that spa. Go for the massage, you'll love it! Okay, I'll email the questions you asked me next. Looks like you have everything set up very well.

4:56 AM  

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