Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sacramento Adventure

I drove to the Sacramento area yesterday. My main purpose was to see a Yanni concert in the evening. I left in the early afternoon to do a couple of other things in the area before the concert.

First on the agenda was lunch, and I drove 10 miles to have Round Table Pizza buffet lunch. I love Round Table! I left very full, and headed out to the highway for Elk Grove, south of Sacramento. I got to Elk Grove about an hour later, and kept my eyes peeled for Joann's on Bond Rd. A friend told me that this Joann's was really big, so I had to check it out.

I pulled into the shopping center, and spied a Panera restaurant close to Joann's. I love Panera! It's a bakery/soup and sandwich restaurant, with a Starbucks kind of feel. The nearest one to my house is about 20 miles away, but one should be opening in my own town soon--probably very near me, since I live within a half mile of a major shopping area. Normally I can't pass up a Panera, but I was still stuffed from lunch, so I didn't go in.

I went into Joann's, and it reminded me of the one in Stockton, about an hour from where I live. The stores are about the same size, I think. I bought metallic thread in blue and gold, for quilting Scrappy Stars. I don't know which color I'll use yet. I'm a beginning machine quilter, and although the gold would add a lot of sparkle, it would also show every mistake in my quilting. The blue would be a little more subtle and hide more boo-boos. The thread was half off, so I bought both colors. I also bought a freemotion machine quilting book: Mindful Meanderings by Laura Lee Fritz, half off with my coupon.

Next on my itinerary was Country Sewing Center on Elk Grove Florin Rd., just a few minutes away from Joann's. As I pulled into the parking lot, I wondered if this was the same quilt shop I'd visited years ago, but in a different location. I went in and started looking around. It's a nice shop, well worth visiting. I asked the lady if they had always been at this location. She said they'd only been there a few months, but they'd been in a different location for many years. They're the only quilt shop ever in Elk Grove, so this had to be the same quilt shop I visited maybe 10 years ago. If you're in the area, be sure to stop by.

I saw some metallic thread just like the ones I bought at Joann's. I asked the lady if I needed special needles for this metallic thread, and she said I needed metallic needles. I bought a package for a little less than $5--my only purchase there.

My next stop was IKEA in West Sacramento. Getting there was going to be tricky. I'd never been there, and my map was pretty sketchy--just an overall view of several freeways and a few major streets. It was far from turn-by-turn directions. My familiarity with Sacramento is pretty minimal, but I'm adventurous. I headed out to the freeway, took a couple of connections that seemed right. I got myself into the situaiton of having to take the first exit for West Sacramento, not knowing if this would work or not. At the stop light, I turned away from City Hall (which sounded like the old part of town) and drove and drove. I was hoping to see a big IKEA building come into sight. After a few miles I saw a shopping center that looked promising, so I pulled in. No IKEA. The road seemed to dead-end into a ballpark, so I decided to turn around and go back.

Back to the intersection where I started, I made a turn that seemed good. A little way down the road was a nice shopping area, which I noted but kept driving, and driving, and driving. Before long I stopped seeing buildings, and was surrounded by farmland. I said to myself: I the middle of nowhere. I wasn't afraid, though. This was an adventure.

After a few more miles, the road ended with choices of freeway and freeway. Okay, now I was nervous. There were a couple of gas station/convenience stores nearby and I decided it was time to ask for directions. I told the lady at the register that I was trying to find IKEA. She said that was easy. All I had to do was get on the freeway Sacramento Reno East, and take the first exit. Really? I was that close? Amazing!

After missing the turn the first time, I turned around and got on the freeway. Not feeling completely confident, I drove a short distance when I saw IKEA. Yippee! I kept an eye out for possible dinner places while I made my way to IKEA, but nothing sounded very interesting. The IKEA store looked small from the outside, but once I started walking around, it seemed just as big as the Emeryville store I've visited several times. I text messaged my daughter-in-law Laurie to see if she needed me to pick up anything. She asked for a roll of paper for my granddaughter's Reghan's easel. I happened to be picking up the same thing for Reghan's easel at my house. Not a problem. I spent close to an hour wandering around, but didn't buy anything more than the two rolls of paper.

I needed to get to ARCO Arena for the Yanni concert next. Once again, my map wasn't much help. And I wasn't really sure where I was, but I thought I saw a sign on the freeway saying it was the right one for the airport, which wasn't far from ARCO. It was a very short drive when I saw the arena off the side of the road. Man, that was fast!

I had time to get something to eat, so I drove along Del Paso in search of dinner. I saw another Panera. Really, two in one day? It was an option if I didn't find something better. I pulled into a big shopping center and spied Tuk Tuk Restaurant. I didn't know what it was, but it sounded interesting. I decided to try it. It's a nice place, with candles. I felt underdressed, with my jeans and tennis shoes. I had nicer clothes in the car for the concert, but I decided I would be okay.

This was a Thai restaurant, and I like Thai food. I chose Cashew Chicken cooked wok style, which turned out to be very similar to "the usual" that I get at my favorite local Thai restaurant. It was delicious, and I'd definitely come back again. Sorry, Panera, I don't think I'll be stopping in today.
After dinner it was a short drive to ARCO Arena. I changed my pants and shoes in the back of my car. Nobody was around, but I hurried as quickly as possible. I made my way into the Arena and found my seat between two couples. I asked the lady on my right if she'd seen Yanni before. She said her husband was his friend. He's Yanni's friend??? She said no, he's a friend of the violinist. Wow! I said you have to be a really good musician to play with Yanni. The husband (in a thick accent) said his friend played in chair number one. Double Wow! The husband asked me if it would be possible to go down and talk to his friend. Backstage? I said probably. He asked if it would be better before or after the show. As a performing musician myself, and since the show was starting in a few minutes, I suggested after.

The show started, and I experienced this rush of emotion, and I cried a little. It doesn't happen at every concert, but it did this time. The Yanni I'm used to hearing is mostly instrumental, with a touch of vocals. For this concert, he added words to some of his classic numbers as well as some new ones. I'd say two out of three pieces had words. Personally, I prefer no words, but I still enjoyed the concert.

A few songs into the show, the violinist did a solo. The guy and gal next to me cheered. He was great! He was featured in several solos and duets, and each time the guy next to me would stand up and cheer. It was so fun to watch. At one point, Yanni said the violinist was from Armenia. At another point, Yanni mentioned an Armenian instrument, the duduk. The guy and gal next to me applauded. They must be Armenian, too. I still don't know exactly what the connection is, whether they came from the same area or if they met in America.

During the intermission, I talked to the lady on the other side of me. This was her first time to see Yanni. She said she was interested in learning the violin, and that the violinist was very inspiring. I told her about the guy next to me being his friend. She was blown away. She and I had a nice conversation about music, and she offered me some of her popcorn.

The concert was nearly over, and the orchestra was playing encores. The introduction to a piece started, and I said to the lady I love this song! I hope nobody sings! She laughed and said it was her husband's favorite song. (No singing, thank goodness.)

As we were getting up to go, I asked the Armenian lady if they were going to go down and try to talk to the violinist. She said yes. I hope they got to talk to him.

Back out to my car, I had to figure out how to get on the freeway to go home. I saw the shopping center where I had dinner, but I must have missed the turn. I drove and drove until I convinced myself I'd gone too far. I turned around, made my way back, and finally got on the freeway for the drive home. I had a great day.

Video Sample of Samvel Yervinyan, Main Violinist for Yanni:

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