Last Friday, we went to Hershey to see Dave Matthew's Band. The show was on the exact date of last year's Jimmy Buffett Debacle. Hershey is one of the many places that Bobby and I go to enough that it is nearly a hometown to us, so we set out with an exact itinerary of where we were going and how long it would take to get there, with extra time built in in case there was traffic or other such madness.
There was. First, we hit rush hour going into Harrisburg and sat in that for a half-hour. However, we had built in extra time, as I said. We were planning on trying a new restaurant, Hoolihan's. Normally, we go to an old fave called Duke's, but we were feeling adventurous, and when Hoolihan's opened, they sent me a menu, since I used to be on a mailing list for dining in Hershey. At the time, they had a decent number of vegetarian options.
We get to the restaurant with just enough time to eat to make it to the show by 8. It started at 7:30, but the Black Crowes were opening, and Bobby and I weren't particularly interested, so we didn't mind arriving late. First, Bobby passes the restaurant and, through a series of almost-comic missteps, we spend another ten minutes getting back. Then we get there, and there is a twenty-minute wait. Fine. It would take ten minutes to drive to Duke's anyway, so we decide to wait. As we're sitting, Bobby suggests that we might look at a menu and pick out what we want, and I agree and laugh, "I should probably check that they still have a vegetarian option!"
Good thing that we checked. They didn't.
So, fifteen minutes more wasted, we are heading down the road to Duke's. I am getting increasingly crabby because it seems that anything fun to do these days involves buckets of rigmarole ... and I'm hypersensitive to the fact that, a year ago to the day, we missed another concert that we were looking forward to because of traffic, and we're running late to another concert we've been looking forward to because of traffic.
Duke's, luckily, came through for us, as it has before, and the service was quick and the food was good, and we were back on the road.
And, about two miles from the stadium, guess what? Traffic stops.
It is eerily familiar: sitting in a line of cars, most going to the concert, and not moving, watching time tick closer and closer to the start of the show (well, in our case, the Black Crowes would have been finishing their set by now), and listening to the artist on the radio. The difference here is that we know Hershey pretty well, and we know that traffic can get sluggish (it's a small town with about one hundred different touristy things going on), but we've never known it to freeze ... and then an ambulance goes screeching by.
Well, that explains things. It's clear we're not going anywhere, so we take matters into our own hands and turn onto a back road and try to wend our way around the blockage. We make pretty good progress and end up on the road that takes us to the vicinity of the stadium, but that's stopped as well, so while we've made some progress ... not much.
As it turns out, we got lucky: Whatever was holding up traffic cleared, and we surged forward about a quarter mile at once, then crept our way through the stupid light that lets through about a dozen cars before turning red again for five minutes (with law enforcement "directing traffic" ... and much like last year, letting through mostly cars in the lanes that the light favors anyway and that weren't backed up. >.< ) It really was almost an exact replica of last year, except that we did get there. We put our bums down on our rain-soaked seats at the very moment that DMB walked out onto the stage.
And it was a great show! I've been wanting to see DMB in concert for years; I have been a fan of them since I was 14 years old and Under the Table and Dreaming was released, and they are one of the few musical acts that I have remained a fan of for the twelve years since. Maybe the only band; some that I liked them and still like now (Hootie and the Blowfish or the Goo Goo Dolls come to mind), I haven't kept up with their new music. My tastes have changed, but I still love Dave.
They played a few songs from their upcoming new album, and they played a lot of old-school stuff. They played "Two Step," which surprised me immensely, as this is one of my favorites and one that I never thought I'd hear live. Bobby was happy that they played "Jimi Thing," and I was happy that they played "Crash into Me," that song of double entendre that was released right when I was at the age when I was started to understand what it meant.
The next day was Celtic Fling, at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, which is about a half-hour from Hershey. Our grand design was to get a hotel halfway between here and there, but true to things going wrong for that weekend, we couldn't find a babysitter for the Goldens. My parents had a concert and weren't going to be home. My sister-in-law Erin was excited to do it and was going to switch her shifts at work ... but then she found out that she was training someone and couldn't. My in-laws were next on the list and were going to come up, but halfway through the week, one of my father-in-law's best friends had a massive heart attack while driving, crashed his car, and died. After that, I think we accepted that it just wasn't going to happen.
So back to PA we went. I wore my Elf ears. Bobby wasn't sure if garb was appropriate, but he wore his SCA T-shirt in case any SCAdians were there. We were walking from the parking lot to the gate when the first SCAdian approached us, and he and Bobby talked about fighting for a while, and Bobby invited him to our fighter practice. Garb, it turns out, was appropriate; we know for next year.
The Fling was great. It was primarily music and shopping, which was okay with us. Bobby and I are Celtic music addicts. It was also terribly hot. I spent the whole day with my butt-length hair stuck to my back. My legs were sweating. When my legs start sweating, I know that it's hot.
I "discovered" two great new Celtic groups. The first was Albanach, who literally play Scottish war drums; in their own words, women frequently tell them, "Oh, your music is so erotic!" ... so they said to all the guys in the crowd, "Go buy a CD!" Their music is visceral and driving ... and I could see how it could be erotic. ;) The second was Scythian, pretty much the polar opposite of Albanach. Their music is more playful and fun (they have a song called "Technoccordion," for love of Elves!) and blends a variety of styles from around the world. So Bobby and I spent the day wandering from musical show to musical show, stopping at the shops along the way. One merchant was selling recorders and recorder music, which excited me immensely ... until I saw that I already had all the music being sold except for a lesson book for the alto, which was well below my own skills on the alto, and those are pretty meager. Bobby and I each acquired some shinies: I got a silver ring with a Celtic knotwork and spiral pattern; Bobby got a silver sword pendant with a Celtic dragon that resembles his tattoo. We laughed because the only time we ever want to spend money is at SCA events and Ren Faires! Typical!
This Friday was 4th of July, and my Aunt Debbie had her traditional party, so Bobby and I got to see my extended family, which is always cool, since we only see them a couple of times a year. (Usually Aunt Debbie's 4th of July and Christmas parties!) Two of my cousins have new babies, so we finally got to meet the new elflings. There was also a large owl in the tree, which was great: Bobby and I love birds of prey. (I prefer falcons, but he favors owls.) We still don't know what kind of owl it was; it was about 18 inches (45 cm) tall. According to my uncle, there are four of them in the area.
(Okay, I spent less than a line on my cousins' new babies and almost four lines on the owl. Typical!)
The next day, we had our 4th of July party. We invited eighteen people, and everyone came. It was the biggest crowd we'd ever had at our house. It threatened rain all morning, and Bobby and I were practically trying to blow it away because ... well, our house isn't that big, and twenty noisy, jostling family members and SCAdians would have proven a challenge. It was also Lancelot's birthday party (he'll be a year old in a week *sniffle*) and my father-in-law's actual birthday.
Because I detest traditional cookout food with a passion, Bobby and I never make the typical fare for such events. Last year, for Alex's party, we did fajitas; this year, we did Caribbean. We had jerk chicken, a bean-and-rice dish that Bobby makes, and corn with peppers. For starters, we had fruit and veggie trays, miniature crab cakes with wasabi sauce, and queso-bean dip. And for dessert ... well, I kind of went all out. We had banana-rum ice cream, coconut ice, kiwi-lime sorbet, and mango-pineapple sorbet. I made homemade chocolate syrup and toasted coconut for toppers. My mother-in-law brought a birthday cake, and my sister-in-law Erin made a dirt cake.
We were busy all week buying and making all of this stuff and cleaning the house. Sorbets, though, and generally much easier than ice creams, since ice creams tend to be custard-based and require cooking and cooling for a day before they can be frozen. Sorbet recipes, literally, tend to be mashed fruit, dash of sugar, splash of alcohol, freeze, and done. However, they don't yield as much since heavy cream tends to swell in the ice cream maker, and sorbets don't use any dairy, so I had to make multiple batches, so I suppose it's the same amount of time and work in the end. Just a nicer variety on the latter!
Anyway, my dad had recently allowed Bobby and me to join on his BJ's membership so that we could save the cost of our own membership, so Bobby had to go to our local BJ's to have his picture taken for his card so that we could buy institutional-size quantities of meat for the party. And his picture looks awesome! It's black and white and grainy, and his beard blends with the shadow under his chin to make it look like he has a huge, bushy beard! He calls it his Viking beard.
Meanwhile, next week should be just as exciting as this week. hrymfaxe is arriving on Wednesday and will be here for almost two weeks. One day, we are going to New York to visit the Met, and we are meeting heartofoshun and pandemonium_213 there; we are also bringing along my illumination mentor Tristan and his husband, so it will be quite the motley crowd of nerds. That weekend, we are going to Ocean City. It's funny because, even when Bobby and I were planning to take a summer holiday, I wasn't as excited about any of the possibilities as I am having a friend come visit and getting to show her all the cool things about our home state.
And Bobby just won me a wooden soprano recorder on eBay for $5! I have two soprano recorders, but both are plastic, so I guess he figures that after having to listen to me honk and screech on those for seven months now without reprieve, I might as well have one that sounds halfway decent. It's probably not coincidental that he prefers my alto, and the alto is wooden.
I'm going to try to update in the coming weeks because I'll want to remember all of this, but I might also want to take a second to breathe!