Monday, July 13, 2015

Kelly Clarkson Concert

Clarice (Cindy)
My sister-in-law turned sixty years old, so I got us tickets to see Kelly Clarkson at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA. I haven't been to this venue in over twenty years. It was "Great Woods" when I last took my Self to see Bonnie Raitt for a birthday I can't remember which one it was. My SIL and I call each other "Clarice".

The Selfie
Anyway, Clarice suggested we tailgate before the concert. Other than tailgating before a Gamecock football game in SC, I have never done it. We each brought food, and I shared gin and tonics because she didn't like what she brought.. It was a beautifully clear night; warm and humid. The parking lot was packed. Police rode on bicycles and golf carts in and out of the lanes between parked revelers enjoying hot dogs on the charcoal barbies, and certainly not advertising their alcohol because, after all, there is no public drinking allowed. One such cart announced over a bull horn that it was time to pack up and head into the concert. We grabbed a frozen margarita in a plastic guitar glass and found our seats.

Xfinity Center
The concert began on time with a young female artist, Abi Ann, I never heard of. I was surprised because Pentatonix were the only other act advertised. She sang a couple of songs I recognized ("My Future Ex-Boyfriend" for one) and thanked Kelly for inviting her to join her. Abi Ann was quite good. Next came Eric Hutchinson. A huge sign hung behind him saying, "Eric Hutchinson is pretty good." He was, but he was also pretty boring. His songs sounded much the same. There was another break to tear down one set and build the stage-on-stage with lighted stairs for Pentatonix. All I can say about them is, "Wow!".

Pentatonix is an incredibly talented, twenty-something a capella group of five: one female and four males. I discovered them on Facebook, and bought a couple of their Christmas CDs. Hearing them live and with Xfinity's sound system was an out-of-body experience. The tonal quality of their voices is angelic. They rock with the best of them, and I could not sit still. This is the real reason I bought these concert tickets. I wanted to hear this group. Boy, was I happy I did. Go see them. Really.

Kelly's hair
Kelly came out last, of course, and her performance did not disappoint. She looked beautiful. She wore gorgeous, sparkly gowns and lovely, chic dresses throughout the concert. She looked very much "the Lady", but also "the Diva". I loved her new hair! She had it pulled up away from her face in a sixty-esque pompadoo with a gigantic braid down her back. The sides were cut very short, like a little boys' cut around her ears. The affect was quite stunning.

Her voice was perfect too. I only heard one minor mishap, but she can really hit those powerful high notes. We stood and danced throughout her performance. We had no choice. Everybody in front of us was standing. When I needed a break from dancing, I sat and watched what I could of the stage and used the large screens to see her. One sweet moment I witnessed was a small group of two young mothers and their ten-year-oldish daughters a few rows in front of us. During one song each daughter sat with her mother's arm around her swaying back and forth. Next, they were up and dancing together like girlfriends. What a joy to watch this perfect mother-daughter bonding night.

I have to say that I was also impressed with Kelly's generosity of spirit. She made a point of saying she encourages would-be singers to send her videos. She got her start "in a big open-mike night covered on national television" (that made everybody laugh"), and likes to help others get their start. So, out of all the videos she received, she chose one from a very talented young woman of about sixteen (I would guess) from Millis, MA. I regret I can't remember her name. Her voice was solid, high and really good. Kelly asked her if she had a web site so everyone could find her, and she announced her You Tube site, but I can't remember what it was. Sorry. I confirmed again that if you want to make a living doing what you love, you need a web site. Just sayin. During the encore, Kelly gave a song to her backup singers. She claimed to have the best singers in the world and wanted us to be able to hear them perform. They were very good. Once again, I am impressed by her generosity.

What a night!
It was a great, rockin' concert. Clarice and I danced the entire time. It felt really good to be in the open air, in comfy seats with plenty of leg room, and up dancing to fun music. I have never been to a Kelly Clarkson concert before, and I have to say that she puts on a very good show. Bravo, Kelly! I'd go again. Thanks for a great night. Happy Belated Birthday to me and Clarice!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

There's a new library in town.

Larry and I attended the dedication of the brand new Tiverton Public Library. This was a project fourteen years plus in the making, and the results are just beautiful. The building itself is lovely, and according to many who spoke, very functional. There are free-standing computer workstations throughout. I was also told my existing library card will still work, and ordering books online will remain the same.

The event began with a local Boy Scout color guard, who led the Pledge of Allegiance. Larry, of course, took off his hat. The rest of us stood and recited what we learned so long ago in elementary school with hands held over our hearts. I teared up a little, and felt sad at all the controversy over this very patriotic ceremony. I just love it.

Next, the Greater Tiverton Community Chorus sang "From Sea to Shining Sea", by Samuel A. Ward. This is the chorus I sing in once a year. I plan to go back just to sing again this summer as well, but won't be here for the late August concerts. They did a beautiful job, and made me tear up again! I hooted loudly at the end feeling so proud of all my friends up there. I wished I was with them. They also ended the ceremony with a beautiful and very appropriate song, "Take Care of This House", by Leonard Bernstein. "...this house is the hope of us All." Lovely words.

Local people spoke about their love of this project and all the hard work that went into make this dream a reality. A particular favorite was Brett Pelletier, Town Council Liaison. He quoted his favorite author, P. G. Wodehouse, with "Right Ho!" to all involved, referencing his "Right Ho, Jeeves" book.

The keynote speaker was Michael J. Tougias, whose best-selling book, "King Phillip's War", includes this town and Little Compton's roles in that war. I bought a copy and asked him to autograph it. His latest book, "The Finest Hours", will be made into a Disney action movie set to come out in 2016. His entertaining speech talked about how libraries influenced his life in three different phases: when he was thirteen and got into lots of trouble in school, at age thirty when he began to write, and at age fifty when he continued to do research for his writing. He praised librarians and archivists for all their hard work, and credited their efforts to making his research and published works a success.

Childrens' Library
Larry also has shared with me how the principal of his middle school told his parents to, "get that boy to a library!" His parents followed that advice and now he is a successful Ph.D. Physicist. Libraries also played a huge role in my life. It was a place to get away from home at night, and meet my friends. I also got some work done that could not otherwise be done at home. I wonder if today's children will use the library in the same ways we did growing up.

Reading Room
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, we were all invited in for refreshments and to see the new library. We were very impressed, and glad we attended. Even though we didn't vote for the library, we will support it and use it about as much as we do now. It could be what the speakers called, "the Crown Jewel" of our town, and use of its building is "only limited by our imaginations". Let's assume they are all right, and it becomes the community jewel everyone hopes for. Congratulations to everyone who made it happen. It really is a lovely addition to our little town.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Last Night

After a hearty breakfast at Black Dog, we packed a bag and hopped on the #3 bus towards Aquinnah. We are very impressed with the bus system on the island. It is affordable, dependable, and easy to get anywhere you want to go. I don`t remember it being this good.

I read they moved the lighthouse 129 feet back from the cliffs. Erosion has really taken its toll, and we wanted to see it. The lighthouse is closer to the road, but there is still lots of landscaping to be done.

We got a soft serve ice cream and headed for the beach. The walk is still long, but also very beautiful. It was a gorgeous, sunny day in the high 60`s. Joanne picked our spot and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon of topless sunbathing.

She needed to leave her mark, so Joanne built a rock tower. I had a great time taking pictures. When we`d had enough, we dressed and headed back to the bus. We were exhausted, and knew if we came back to our room first, we would not get out again. So, given there aren`t many restaurants in Vineyard Haven, we went back to Black Dog to see if they served dinner.

We had delicious haddock and beef tenderloin dinners with red Sangria! We waddled back to Harbor Landing ready to shower and crash for the night.

This was another great day in a most welcomed and enjoyable early June weekend. We`ll get  Continental breakfast tomorrow, check out and head back on the #13 to Oak Bluffs for chowdah before boarding the ferry for home.

We are very glad we came. Thanks for coming along.

Saturday Night

After a lovely afternoon nap, we ventured to Main Street in Vineyard Haven to meet my friend, Claire. I hadn't seen her in many years. As we turned the corner, we ran into our new friend, Caitlyn Ferragamo wearing his Burberry skinny jeans,  and his friend coming out of The Mansion House. Screams and big hugs of welcome ensued. He said, "We`ve been talking about you all day and how you busted our balls." We said, "We`ve been talking about you all day, and I called you a diva in my blog!"

He showed us pictures they took yesterday, including a selfie in sombreros. Caitlyn had been showing us family pictures on the ferry too. They invited us up to the pergola tonight for wine. They belong to a wine club called Knights of the Wine Table, complete with a crest patch. We just might go.

After catching up with Claire, I asked her to drop us in Oak Bluffs. It was on her way anyway. We enjoyed several cocktails and food on the harbor at Lobsterville Restaurant for sunset, and made several more new friends.

We walked to Our Market for wine and beer, then flagged down the #13 bus to Vineyard Haven. It was packed with drunk young women. We all hooted and hollered together like girlfriends, then they hopped on the ferry and left the island. "Love you!" We all yelled. Then, we ended our evening drinking on the third-floor deck with a much improved view of the harbor lights now that the fire station is gone, and the ruckus in front of Cumberland Farms. Police were called. Another exciting night in the dry town of Vineyard Haven.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Visit to Martha`s Vineyard

My little sister invited me to use our other sister`s Harbor Landing timeshare in Vineyard Haven this weekend. What a great idea!

She came to our house in Rhode Island last night so we could leave at 7:00am to catch the 9:00 fast ferry out of New Bedford, MA. Neither of us had taken that ferry before. We decided the only thing that justified the $70 round trip ticket cost was not having to drive an extra three hours round trip to Woods Hole. I got the senior price of $60.

We left my car in the satellite parking lot a half-mile from the pier and took the shuttle. On it, we met two hilarious guys on their way to a Vineyard weekend bachelor party. One of them couldn`t find his Ferragamo wallet to pay for the $12/day parking fee after his friend drove and paid for gas. So, he became the butt of jokes for the rest of our trip over. Joanne nicknamed him Caitlyn Ferragamo because he wore red/pink shorts and was a bit of a diva. We enjoyed Bloody Mary`s on the very comfortable hour-long ferry ride into Oak Bluffs.

On arrival, we bid our new friends a dieu and headed to town. I over-packed my shoulder bag and exclaimed out loud how I wished there were lockers to put our heavy bags in. Check-in wasn`t til 3:00pm, and it was 10:00am. A guy overheard me and told us there were lockers at The Dockside across the street. I love being a member of the loud family!

After stashing our bags for $5, we headed to Circuit Ave., ending up at Linda Jeans for breakfast and watermelon mimosas. We talked about how much our mother loved this place. She came up a lot today. We were recapturing her memory and some of our own of this beautiful island.

We walked the Avenue to see what had changed in the more than a decade since either of us had been here. The Island movie theater has been condemned as unsafe and will likely be torn down. The only theater right now is in Vineyard Haven. We strolled around The Methodist Campground where the Gingerbread Houses are, and reminisced about our mother`s friend, Phyllis` cottage and her mother`s cottage next door. We talked about how Joanne`s girls played in the park out front with the cousins and how much Ma loved it here.

We stopped for a beer and Sushi afterwards, grabbed our bags and headed to the bus to Vineyard Haven to check in and take a nap. Now we`re getting ready to meet my friend, Claire, to get caught up. I haven`t seen her in a dog`s age. More laytah.