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Norfolk, VA








We had a lovely train run from Ohio to Virginia.

The weather was finally warm enough to spend time on the vestibules.
Passing through the mountains, I saw many interesting houses half-buried in the woods.
Leaves are just starting to appear on some of the trees, and the grass is new.
The fresh mountain air was wonderful. For a while our train followed a stream where
locals were fishing or sunbathing. I saw donkeys, llamas, horses, goats, turkeys, chickens,
and cows. What a beautiful change from the city!!

Train going around a bend:



Snuggling up to a mountain:


Interesting houses:




White cliffs on the river:


These guys stopped working on the bridge to take pics of us :D


All week we had wonderful weather. Pity we can't do shows outside :P
Scope Arena (interesting building, huh!):


Throughout the week I spent as much time as possible outside.
On Friday we had split shows, so after the first show I went to a nearby
pawn shop with several of the band guys, then Brett and Catfish (latest trumpet sub) and I got
some really good sushi. After that they went to see a movie at the mall, and I
took two-mile trek to a farmers market!

On the way it started to rain, and I dove into a nearby shop for cover.


The owner was super nice! He roasts his own coffee right there in the store.
He gave me a bag for free! I was supposed to share it, but the production office
uses a Keurig and the wardrobe dept. had enough coffee for the week.
So I kept half for myself and gave the other half to Ashley (preshow host/equestrian).
It's very good! The flavor is rich and delicious.
Thank you, Chris, for your generosity!

At the farmers market I picked up some produce, and of course a loaf of bread.

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It's from Sugar Plum Inc., an organization dedicated to teaching baking skills to people with disabilities.
As you can see from the website, these guys make all kinds of tasty treats!
The farmers market only carried their bread, so I got a 6-grain with molasses.
It's a small oval loaf, smaller than it looks in the picture, and it's kind of chewy. The molasses gives
it a really nice strong flavor. And it's the perfect size for poached eggs too :)


While walking around at random, I also discovered a small "oriental" garden!




This was near the waterfront. Very peaceful and lovely :)

We were fortunate to be near a large mall this week as well.
I did a little shopping...got some sparkly black shoes for the show,
and some juggling balls, and fancy shampoo from Bath & Body Works.
Retail therapy!


Shows this week were as normal. Nothing unusual and let's keep it that way.

As you've probably heard, one of the elephants on the Gold Unit was shot recently.
The elephant is fine; she will be resting for about 2-3 months while her wound heals.
No one else was injured.
Because of this incident, we were under extra security this week.
In addition to regular venue security, there were police backstage.

Norfolk is PETA's headquarters, so there were LOTS of protestors here.
I went to get groceries before our show on opening day, and when I returned
there were at least 50 sign-wavers standing near the employee entrance.
I'm told that several hundred showed up and surrounded the building.
We still had big enthusiastic crowds though :)


Way back in 2010, I worked for several employers in coastal VA: Busch Gardens,
Wythe Candy & Gourmet, Jeanne Reeds, and Blockbuster. Most of my friends from
these jobs will be coming to shows next week in Hampton, but I got to see a few this week!
My friend Simón, his wife Noreen and their son came to our opening night.
Sim
ón and Noreen are musicians; I worked with Simón at Busch Gardens, and his wife repaired
my horn several times. It was great to see them!

My dear friends and former Blockbuster bosses, Paula and Dan, took me out for dinner on Sunday.

It was great to catch up with them! In addition to working for them,
I was also privileged to house/pet sit for them on occasion.
I'll get to see them again on Thursday when they come to a show! Yay!!!

A funny photo from this week:

IMG-20130413-00634