Sara Watkins at Rams Head on Stage

This past Tuesday night I dragged my husband down to Annapolis to see Sara Watkins in concert at Rams Head on Stage. It was my first time at that particular venue. It’s one of those venues like the Birchmire that I find very odd where you’re sitting at tables during the concert and can order food and drink from your waiter or waitress. I found it a little less terrible than some of the other similar venues I’ve been too mostly because the chairs were more comfortable and I didn’t feel quite as squished in, but it’s still terrible. Sitting at tables means that unless you happen to have the exact right number of people in your party you are going to be sitting with strangers. This introvert is not down with that. It also means that half of the people are going to have to facing the wrong way unless they shift in their chairs awkwardly. It’s just a really dumb set-up for a concert venue and I don’t know why places like it exist.

Our seats were right up next to the right side of the stage, which would have been great had there not been a piano on the stage blocking our view. I could mostly see from my seat, but my husband really couldn’t see much with the piano in the way. This was especially true for the opening act who happened to be a harpist and was thus sitting down on the opposite side of the piano. He couldn’t see her at all.

Speaking of the opening act her name was Mikaela Davis. It was definitely the first time I’ve ever seen a solo harpist in concert. I determined that harp music is just not for me. I thought she had a great voice and had written some really lovely songs, but the harp music backing them did nothing for me.

I’ve seen Sara Watkins a number of times before both solo and as part of Nickel Creek and the Watkins Family Hour. She is always a delight. She played a lot of stuff off the new album, which is understandable and fine with me since I really like it. She also played a Nickel Creek song and some of her earlier solo stuff as well as a few covers. Despite all the problems I had with the venue it’s a really intimate space, which allowed for some great back and forth with the audience. As always I enjoyed seeing her live. It was well worth the trek down to Annapolis on a school night.

Farewell My Flip Flops

Now that summer is officially over and flip flop weather seems to be pretty much over for the season, I have decided it is sadly time to retire my favorite pair of flip flops. I don’t remember exactly how old they are, but I know I’ve worn them to every Newport Folk Festival I’ve been to which makes them over five years old. They are the best pair of flip flops I’ve owned my life, but unfortunately this summer is their last. They are so worn out there is barely any shoe left under my big toes. I’m going to miss them.

They were the most comfortable flip flops I have ever known. I’ve never owned another pair of flip flops that I could walk around in as much as I did those. The straps never cut into my feet and they never gave me blisters. I’ve worn them everywhere. They’ve pretty much been on my feet at every outdoor concert I’ve been to in the past 5+ years. I like being able to kick off my shoes and be barefoot on my blanket, plus if it’s too dusty or muddy it’s easy to wash the flip flops off and not ruin a regular pair of shoes. I never had to think twice about putting them on for anything because I knew my feet would be fine wearing them. I rarely have shoes I can 100% say that about.

These were cheap flip flops I picked up at Target on a whim, and now I wish I had bought 20 pairs of them. This many years later they of course aren’t carrying anything like that now. Knowing it was time to give these up I started looking for new ones. I perused all the flip flops in places like Target, Zappos, and various shoe stores, but didn’t really see anything akin to the ones I’m trying to replace. I asked for recommendations on Twitter and ordered about a dozen different pairs from Zappos based on people’s feedback. They were all fancy name brand flip flops way more expensive than what I spent on the pair I’m getting rid of and none of them were as comfortable. I settled on a pair of Sanuk’s, but I’m still not super happy with them. They do actually have more support, but if it’s hot they make my feet super sweaty and I can tell that if I tried to walk any length in them the straps would totally cut into my feet and leave me miserable. I was hoping that they would break in a little bit and get more comfortable in that area, but it hasn’t really happened. They’ll have to suffice for now, but hopefully next flip flop season will present me with new options and I can find something that will truly replace my beloved flip flops.2016-09-25-17-30-30

Songs I Love: Red Earth & Pouring Rain by Bear’s Den

I am currently obsessed with the song “Red Earth & Pouring Rain” by the band Bear’s Den. They’re a London based band and this song is the title song off their sophomore album. I don’t remember hearing anything off their first album, so I’m not sure if it really got any play in the US or if it just flew under my radar. At any rate I’m in love with this song and the whole album really. It sort of reminds me of slower 80s guitar rock. I feel like rock of all kinds has fallen out of fashion, so I’m always happy for it to show up in my life.

Apple Cider Donuts

There are many things I love about fall, but one of them is apple cider donuts. I don’t know if they’re a new phenomenon (probably not), if they just weren’t a thing in the places I previously lived, or if I just somehow was unaware of them, but I don’t ever recall hearing about apple cider donuts until I started my current job 12+ years ago and one of my co-workers brought them in. Now I very much love them and look forward to their appearance in the fall.

At least near me they’re not that easy to get though. There is one farm I know of that sells them, but it’s a 30 minute drive for me to get there so it’s not like I’m driving up there frequently to buy donuts. It kind of surprises me that none of the orchards that go to the farmers’ market we go to every weekend sell them, but it’s probably for the best. I really shouldn’t have easy access to them for my own good.

I met some friends at the Perry Hall Apple Festival at Chapel Hill Farm yesterday. They too sell apple cider donuts in their little store, so after enjoying our time at the festival I stopped in on the way out and bought a couple of containers. There’s a chance someone will bring some into work once, but it’s also quite possible these will be the only apple cider donuts I get this season, so I’m going to savor them.