Wednesday night I had tickets to see The LIght in the Piazza at Arena Stage. The traffic was heavy but tolerable. But the conference sessions went on until just before 6 and, with a 7:30 curtain, I still felt stressed. It would have helped if I had remembered sooner that garage parking in Crystal City is free after 4. I probably still wouldn't have had time for dinner. (Cliff Bars are a life saver at times like these.)
As for the show, it was okay. The music was better than I expected. However, the scaled down orchestration (just piano, violin, cello, harp, and bass) did not work well for me. At least give me a viola! I also had some issues with the story. My understanding is that the original Broadway production had more mystery about Clara's secret, which might have helped. A deeper issue is just my own preference for musical comedy over romantic melodrama. That said, the show was helped a lot by some fine performances, especially Nicholas Rodriguez as Fabrizio.
Thursday had the conference highlight, in the form of what I refer to as "astronaut home movies." This example of the (admittedly small) genre even featured Tang! I don't think I've seen that stuff in years. I also learned that they use tortillas instead of bread on the shuttle in order to avoid crumbs.
The worst traffic of the week was Thursday night, as the Beltway was just crawling the whole way. I ended up being about a half hour late to the Flyer Talk dinner. The food at Sea Pearl was better than the previous time I'd been there and the conversation was an enjoyable mix of gossip and travel-related subjects.
Fortunately, the conference ended around 12:30 on Friday, as I was driving south for the weekend. It was cold and rainy and generally unpleasant out. The drive along 301 and 17 would have been lovely in nicer weather. I was glad I'd chosen to do it this way and stay at the Hampton Inn in Gloucester overnight, as it was a lot less stressful than leaving the house early on Saturday morning would have been.
My objective for going to Gloucester, which is allegedly the oldest continuously inhabited village in Virginia, was to do a volksmarch associated with the annual Gloucester Daffodil Festival. The walk route looped around a few residential neighborhoods, but was focused on the historic town center which is very cute. It also provided the opportunity to browse the crafts vendors (though I didn't see anything that really called out to me) and to watch the parade. The parade was a great example of small town spirit, with everything from the high school marching band to the various local businesses. My favorite parade participants were the woman who had been an army nurse in World War II and the group of men representing the county library who wheeled strollers in elaborate patterns while shouting out "Real Men Read!" (That slogan was also on their t-shirts, by the way.) All and all it was a lovely way to spend a clear and chilly morning.
After I finished the walk, I drove down to Chesapeake to spend the night. Why Chesapeake? Well, I had a free Hyatt night to use. It allowed me to be well rested for driving to Hampton this morning and doing another volksmarch there. This was the year-round downtown event. Frankly, downtown Hampton is remarkably dead on a Sunday morning in March. I always like walking near the water and it did count for several of the special programs I am doing, but it wasn't a particularly notable walk otherwise. The highlight was seeing the carousel. Even that would have been nicer had it actually been operating so I could have done more than just look through the glass doors.
Finally, I made the long drive home. Fortunately, the only area of real congestion was just north of Richmond (where I-295 merges into I-95). I stopped to run a few errands and now I am trying to catch up on things at home, including the last of the Pesach preparations. I was going to say that the oven isn't going to clean itself, but actually it is once I turn it on.