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A Weekend Excursion

 It was a weekend of contrasts. Right off the bat – I have NO recollection of what I did on Friday. I must have done something, but it’s gone. Completely. If I drank, I might blame it on that, but I haven’t heard anyone blame Diet Pepsi for short term memory loss. Unless I’ve forgotten...

Saturday was an opportunity to sleep in, followed by ironing. Why would I iron? Because just short of 3:00 we headed out to collect my co-worker Kari and 

vynehorn and drive to Providence to see Loreena McKennitt. The drive in to Providence on Route 6 went well, but we were very early. The forecast had been iffy, so Bob had factored time for rain to slow us down, and we had both intended to leave wiggle room for getting lost – which didn’t happen. The upshot was that we were able to get a good spot in the parking garage across from the performing arts center, and we were able to have dinner in a leisurely fashion.

 Dinner was in an "Irish" sports bar/restaurant type place called "McFadden’s." It was a little loud, but the food was excellent – at least mine was. Also, there were things on the menu that Kari (who is vegetarian) could order. I had worried about that. I ended up being glad that we were running early because at one point while we were eating there was a crowd waiting. I think we managed to catch dinner before the crowd, AND clear out before the baseball game. Good timing is everything.

The concert itself was amazing. I am incredibly happy about the string of circumstance that led to this – so it’s a good thing that I hadn’t known about the new CD when it first came out. (See – I’ll admit it.) She had nine other musicians on stage, playing probably over a dozen different instruments. Amazing music – just amazing. I particularly adored the hurdy-gurdy. I always come home from Pennsic with the urge to learn to play the hurdy-gurdy, and now I’m wanting to again. It’ll pass – the cats would never stand it, and I already own enough instruments that I don’t play yet... I was also quite taken with the Greek lyra. It’s an instrument that was unfamiliar to me, but it’s a lovely sound. Part of what I really enjoyed was being able to match some of the sounds up to their instruments, because I listen to the CD and think "what IS that?" I was startled to see her playing the accordion. Maybe this is just indicative that I need to start reading the liner notes, but I wasn’t expecting it.

The theater was spectacular. I would recommend the Providence Performing Arts Center as a venue to anyone who is toying with the idea of attending something there. There is a parking garage across the street that was relatively easy to get to, there are restaurants all through the area, and it’s a lovely site. It’s an old theater in the process of being restored, and it’s going to be glorious when it’s done. It’s got the old baroque style decor, with all the detail and gilding – completely over the top. AND the seats were comfortable.

My amusement for the evening? The cello player. To start with, there isn’t any very graceful way to hold a cello while wearing a skirt. It’s a big instrument, and you’re stuck with it. The thing I found amusing was the hair. She had hair past her shoulders, and did not tie it back. So the hair became a very dynamic part of her cello playing – trailing down the cello, tossing around during the dramatic passages, etc. Bob commented at one point "I didn’t know Cousin It played the cello." Here’s the thing that I can’t help but wonder – doesn’t it get tangled in the strings/bow? Wouldn’t that hurt? Does anyone out there play a stringed instrument who can offer some insight?

The music was wonderful. I had decided that I didn’t want the bottom priced tickets, since I might never get the opportunity again, so I took the mid-priced ones. There’s always a certain feeling of guilt doing that when you’re asking other people along, but I was completely justified – the seats were excellent. We were close enough to actually see what was going on, and coincidentally we were on the side of the theater that she was facing when she was playing the harp. I’d like to say that I’d reasoned that out ahead of time, but it was a happy accident. They played for two and a half hours with a short intermission, and performed many of my favorite pieces, including "The Highwayman." They did pick up the tempo on that one to bring it down from it’s (I think) eight minute run time. She also dropped a couple of verses from the "Lady of Shallot" to shorten it. Beautiful music, amazing musicianship, and it seemed like everyone up there was enjoying themselves, even though they were towards the end of the tour. It was also the first concert that I have ever been too where I did not need ear plugs. Which is good, because I forgot to bring them.

I figured that we would get lost leaving Providence, since we hadn’t coming in, but it worked out okay. In order to get us out of the traffic I decided to improvise my way across the city center, which didn’t go quite the way I planned (my map didn’t indicate the one-way streets), but worked out with no trouble. I don’t know if we saved any time, but I don’t think it cost us any.

Sunday wasn’t very productive. I got the side door frame painted out in anticipation of new weather stripping, and did some other puttering around, but was feeling kind of run down so I didn’t push anything. I do need to get the weather stripping all finished up before it gets much colder. I’m still pushing to get the doors hung over the laundry area so I can get "after" pictures. Hopefully that’ll get done soon (right hon?)

I think that I need to pick up "Nights from the Alhambra" to complete my collection...