Saturday, September 12, 2009


This is the second installment of "The Glavins in Europe." We decided to name it "The Past Time of Vienna" since we were not going anywhere for 3 weeks. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Architecture & Dad's Birthday by Pearse

Oh my gosh, I did not know that those opera people could sing so low and so high pitched voices. Those songs are amazing like Figero. I liked our seats, we were in a box and it had its own door. I also liked the architecture. Before we went, I got my hair cut. I hope Dad likes it. Today is Dad’s birthday. His presents were a kilogram of peanut M&Ms and the 4th season of MacGyver. This will be fun to watch since we are almost finished with the 7th season of 24.

Bugs Bunny & Opera? by Eamon

The Barber of Seville, one of the most famous Italian operas in the world. Many may not know the actual opera; however the songs such as FIGERO were used in many famous TV series. Bugs Bunny used many variations of the story line and Woody Wood Pecker sung it one time.
Our seats were great, a level above the ground seats and strait smack in the center, perfect to see the orchestra and the opera. Seeing the conductor, Dad was reminded of an old Bugs Bunny cartoon, he’s still a kid at the heart. Although today is his birthday.
We watched in awe as the women who played Rossina belted out the high, a glass piercing experience. When I was younger I think I was able to get that high, but not that loud. We all were very thankful for the little display screens that put up the words being projected in a musical manner. Overall it was a very spectacular, once in a lifetime experience to see a famous opera in a famous opera house in Vienna.

Opera and Dad's Wrath? by Seamus

Last night the Glavin family went to the Opera - it was called The Barber of Seville. To get ready for this marvelous event we needed to do many things. Such as in the morning we read over the Opera so we could understand what was happening. Then we went to go and get hair cuts. I was the first one to go when we were getting haircuts. It was really scary because the girl who cut our hair barely understood English, who knew what I was going to get… maybe even a buzz cut. After haircuts we did our second real “workout”, then we took showers to get ready. The Opera is in Italian, so they had electronic screens right in front of you that said what they were singing in English. You will see more in the video. Today is my dad’s birthday, only god can’t help us from his wrath. He was arguing with Eamon about Facebook. Eamon said that my dad is very unreasonable.
Tune in tomorrow for Did Eamon Die?

My Boys!

Opera! It has been over 18 years since I saw an Opera at the Vienna State Opera House. The last time I had standing room only and was up close to the rafters. At this point, I can’t remember what I saw. This time it was different. We purchased center balcony seating, and instead of experiencing the Opera alone, I was with my family. It was wonderful to watch the faces of the boys as the Orchestra tuned up and people of all walks of life moved to their seats. The boy’s curiosity was apparent. They were checking out the screen that would present the words in English and wondering how this was all going to work. We had discussed the plot earlier in the day so they would have some understanding of what would take place and the characters. It really was an amazing experience. The Opera was excellent and kept everyone engaged. It was another wonderful experience for the Glavin Family!

Culture ?????

The Opera and team Glavin. Can those words be in the same sentence? Yes, I know they can and I have the tickets to prove it. The kids were “spit shined” and ready for their introduction to the Opera World. The tram #37 was packed and with each stop the traditional “dress black” increased like a dark cloud of culture from one car to the next. The trolley was buzzing and the “Barber of Seville” was on everyone’s mind. Seamus in his normal “orange”, Pearse in his “green” and Eamon in his Under Armour “Red/Black” makes them easy to spot as they bandy up the Opera House stairs like the “iPod Color Splash” in this sea of black tuxedo’s and evening gowns. They know something special is in store for them tonight, it is palpable.

Camera flashes are everywhere as person after person wants to capture their visit to the Historic Vienna Opera House. The Glavin’s are no different. Eamon takes a picture of his mom and dad and proudly states: “Christmas Picture.” Statue after statue reminds us that we are literally in the seat of classical music. There is a life size statue of Mozart here and one of Strauss there. Ancient chandeliers hang in every room and the aged parquet wood floors are still scuffed from the Waltz of famous Heads of State from centuries past and present.

As the lights dim and the chime sounds we make our way to the “box” in the balcony. Pearse pumps his fist and says “we got a box” and reminds me that he likes watching sports in a “box”. I think here’s to hoping he feels the same when the next 120 minutes passes. There won’t be much in the way of “balls flying” or “pucks careening” but instead a famous story and I hope some familiar music. I laugh to myself as the overture begins to play…Isn’t that from Bugs Bunny?

Carpe Diem

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So What Does Orale Chirurgie Mean Anyway?

It started in Germany, the dreaded "Something is hurting me in my mouth." You know the feeling, "Say it ain't so, please not now?" that deep unsettled feeling you get in your stomach. We did all the precautions before leaving the USA. We visited all appropriate Doctors and Dentists for preventative care. Uncle Eugene and our physicians stocked us up for almost every imaginable challenge while abroad like "bad water", the not so infrequent ear infection, the errant bee sting (yes we had one on the train platform in Innsbruck) and hey we even managed to be prepared for the "horse" allergy (see previous blog). Our Vera Bradely medicine bag looks like the batting practice ball bag for a major league baseball team and is as heavy as one too! Don't believe me, take a look!

Now, I didn't go to medical school or dental school, hell some would argue I barely got out of high school, but a quick inspection inside Eamon's jaw line and I see a super ball size lump on his gum line, "rut row Rastro" is all I can say and "Houston we've got a problem" is all I can think. Like any parent you start to "run down the options", ok we need a dentist and potentially an oral surgeon. We need to time it so that if there is surgery required we're grounded long enough for recovery. We leave for Russia in less than 14 days and I'm not totally sure but I think you shouldn't fly just after surgery, right? Hmmm, okay 1 step at a time. Let's find an oral surgeon and get an opinion. First call the Blue Cross Blue Shield "International Collect Call" hot line. "Yes" there is such a thing which makes me wonder but I'll think more about that later. I get a helpful person on the line and they give me 2 oral surgeons in Austria. Our brief time in Europe has taught me "go in person" it is simply easier to beg in person in a different language than on the phone. Besides, I hardly know the words "wisdom teeth" in English let alone German. I'll need Eamon with me so I have a dummy to use for explanation, no not a 2+2=5 dummy more like a VOLVO crash dummy, you know so I can point and say "It hurts him here" Eamon open wide and use those puppy dog, please pick me from the dog pound, eyes we talked about! So off we go to where Wharinger Strabe splits and becomes a different named road. Great, I gotta find a road I can't pronounce and then make sure I find where it splits and is renamed to another road I can't pronounce. At least it has a number "23". Okay, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 27 Are you kidding me? As the kids would say "Fail". I ask a dozen "passersby" "English?" Surprisingly a few say "yes" I show'em my paper "No not know that #" I ask "Dental Clinic?" "No" not here. So back to the apt we go and reload. Maybe I copied the info wrong or maybe Blue Cross gave me the wrong address, possible right? When in doubt blame the insurance co. Another search on the web and a phone call to the States and "all is confirmed." They didn't seem bothered by the fact that I said I was there and no building existed with a dentist!! Did I mention that it's Friday. Now I am out of time and it is the weekend. Eamon is not in pain and the concept of going to the dentist/oral surgeon has had that "magic effect" we all know "It doesn't really hurt all that much dad!"

Sunday is "find the building day" for me. I take my backpack, fill it with water and a few snacks (you never know how long you'll be lost) and head off to in search of the dentist. Everyone else asking directions around town have their WEIN books and are looking for famous landmarks like "St Stepehens Cathedral" or "The last house of Beethoven" or the "Rathaus" but yours truly is sauntering up to every person that speaks any English and saying "know where I can find a dentist?" I get many a puzzled looks but a few point me towards the university and the hospital. I am in business now. There are blue/white signs with words remarkably similar to many Latin/German words for orthopedic, ear nose and throat and other medical stuff. I am in the right place. I walk and walk and walk and look at every sign, glasses on, glasses off, glasses on glasses off (OMG I am going blind too but I'm not looking for an optometrist). Make a few wrong turns and learn that's the word for microbiology and I think say to myself that mean radiology. Sooner or later something will make sense. This quest is about 2 hours and I must have talked to 20 medical school students here and there. They all speak broken English but like med school students the world over, they have no idea where anything is unless it is on their semester schedule. You'd think one of them would have needed a dentist since getting to med school wouldn't you? I am standing in front of a blue sign marked Orale Chirurgie and I think hmmmm. Could be, maybe but not sure, it is right next to ambulance so what could that mean? I grab a young lady walking by "not literally" and start the "I'm a foreign dope dance", "Do you speak English?" She replies "yes, little bit" and I ask her to come over a few yards and read the sign for me. She agrees to come over to help. I say "dentist?" She says "um, not sure how to say in English" I point to my teeth and she nods "Yes yes" I say "surgery?" She says "Not sure how to say in English" and I'm dying here, not literally. So we know we have dentist but we're not sure if we have the right kind of dentist. Finally, as she looks quizzically and working her brain to say something to make me understand and I keep saying "surgery" and then a little louder "SURGERY." We all know if you raise your voice and get close to a scream people understand you better, right? Finally in a desperate attempt to get a "yes" I launch into my greatest effort of charades. I put my hands together on top of my chest and make a "ripping it open gesture" and then a "pulling back together motion" with a nice added "needle and thread motion" and a quick point to my jawline. I get a wildly excited "YES" from the girl. We found the building for the ORAL SURGEON, victory is mine!!!

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 The trip to the Dentist, is that a fly on the instrument tray?