Birthday surprises: Patience is a virtue and Diana Krall is worth the wait!

Just a few hours after penning a post about patience and “surviving” the wait for my early birthday surprise on Friday (see here), Mr. T and I hit the road for he-only-knew-where. Dolled up and clueless, I sat shotgun and tried to discern our destination by predicting freeway choices. As we turned away from Tahoe/Reno and toward San Francisco, a bow-clad manila envelope taunted me.

What could it be, what could it be, what could it beeeeee?

Now, in my I-can-have-patience-I-swear post, I described how I wasn’t allowed to know the surprise until we got close to the actual destination. It turns out that I actually drew the “find out in the car” option and was technically supposed to learn the nature of the surprise as soon as we hit the road (how I mixed that up is beyond me). But I wanted to wait. I was practicing patience, remember? So I did. For about 90 minutes before the bow proved too much (and after navigating towards San Jose and realizing I had absolutely NO idea what T was up to).

Finally, I opened up the envelope to find that T gave me her for an early birthday surprise:

Check out Diana Krall’s music here. (Photo from her web site)

Or rather, an evening with her, who happens to be Diana Krall, a favorite (and freaking talented) jazz pianist and singer. And if that wasn’t enough, I got to have an evening with Diana Krall, here…

Photo by Leonie O.

…at the incredibly gorgeous Mountain Winery in the Saratoga hills, complete with dinner on the Winery Deck overlooking the venue. A-mazing!

The Mountain Winery’s Summer Concert Series boasts an impressive line up of stars. I’m guessing that Diana wasn’t joking when she told the crowd that this was one of her favorite places to play.
I only snapped a few shots because of the “NO CAMERAS!” signs everywhere. Ah hem.

I’d seen billboards for Diana’s upcoming concert in Tahoe (and even mentioned it to T!) but ruled out the possibility of seeing her as we drove towards the Bay Area. Having never been to Saratoga before, it didn’t even hit my radar. The venue proved to be beautiful and the view incredible, despite the late afternoon haze.

Must to be coming back on a clear day.
Serious haze over the Mountain View/North San Jose/Sunnyvale area.

We dined on the Winery Deck and per usual, I liked T’s dinner choice (duck bolognese) better than mine (flank steak). Luckily, he shared.

Thoughtful husband!
A very surprised birthday girl.

Listening to music in the open air on a beautiful Spring evening was a most excellent birthday experience. Note for next time though: Wear pants. Although warned to expect 60-degree temperatures, I figured I’d be okay in a dress as my normal exposure to night time nature is time walking between buildings. My first clue as to the impending frigidity was familiar concert goers toting blankets and heavy coats.

From our table, we could just see the concert venue and enjoyed the opening act while dining al fresco.
Such a small, intimate venue.
Since my cell phone doesn’t provide a wide enough angle. Photo credit.

Having only a few concerts under my belt, I love, love, loved being up close and able to make eye contact with the singer and band members. It was cool to watch the interpersonal interaction, the little gestures, the face pulling when someone started improvising…

That blonde blob at the piano (blown out because my cell phone camera sucks) is Diana Krall not 30 feet away!
The guitar player to the left made some wicked awful faces but he played well.

And in the intervening hours, I found out that despite the sultry voice and sexy album covers, Diana Krall seems just as dorky as me. I found myself liking her all the more for her quirky, dry sense of humor and amusing asides including stories about her old piano teacher, musical crushes and her kiddos.

We got her to play an encore after the 90 minute or so set. It was funny to watch nature play along, too. In the tower, a chorus of bats sang along and towards the end of the night, an owl started circling the crowd and I’m pretty sure, hunting bats.

In all, it was a perfect, romantic evening orchestrated by my thoughtful husband. What better way to celebrate getting older than with sweet music and loving company? Thank you Mr. T!


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