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May

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Wednesday the 2nd it was my day off while Jill chaperoned Nina on the class field trip to a farm, so I dropped my car off at the body shop to start getting it fixed, got a rental car, ran errands and did projects at home like finally clearing the clog in our bathroom sink. The next day my insurance company called and let me know that after starting work on the car the body shop had discovered more damage and now the car would be totaled. It was fun times looking for a replacement after that.

Nina

Friday night Jill’s sister Robin flew in, and the next morning she and Jill drove to Hershey to meet their older sister and their mom for a spa weekend celebrating their mom’s 60th birthday. Nina and I celebrated Free Comic Book Day at Big Planet Comics as well as Cinqo de Mayo with dinner at Tequila Grande and dessert at Cold Stone. Sunday Nina had an end of year Cheer party at The Zone, having great fun playing laser tag and getting tickets by playing games (and unlike Chuck E. Cheese there’s a separate restaurant/bar area that cuts down on the noise). Later that night I saw that Queen + Adam Lambert was doing a residency in Vegas and noted that could finally get me to go back to Sin City.

Nina

Friday the 11th Nina wanted Tacos and More for dinner, so we did. Saturday I headed into DC but missed a subway train at the last minute, so made a quick dinner with dim sum from the Jenny’s At The Wharf popup and a shake from Shake Shack. The last time I was at a concert in DC, my phone was almost out of power, so I also stopped by Politics & Prose for John Scalzi’s latest. Of course I was there for concert #11: David Byrne at The Anthem. Few and far between are the concerts that are actually shows, and he definitely had one. From moving in syncopation, to choreography, to an actual freaking drumline, he had it all. Early contender for best concert of the year. I liked the new album just fine, but it was this 10 year old track that was a highlight for me (NSFW video).

Nina

Sunday was Mother’s Day and Jill chose to take Nina on that day while I went to Maryland to look at a car. Bad choice, the dealership closed for Mother’s Day without letting anyone know on Facebook, their website, or their answering machine. I read this article Sunday and reacted strongly. We’ve left concerts early, so many times – but she’s already seen Rush, Queen, Paul McCartney and Yes. #worthit Also I don’t know how I didn’t get spoiled by this, but it’s amazing. Skip past the pitch session if you must, but don’t miss the greatest Beatles cover band ever.

Nina Jill

Monday afternoon I went back to Maryland to look at the car – a 2015 Honda Civic Hybrid (I really liked the 2009 version I’d had). I signed the contract, then went back home to get a cashier’s check and leave the rental. Jill was planning on bringing me to the dealership, but traffic got bad fast on the Beltway so she dropped me at East Falls Church and I took the subway and a bus to return. The sale went smoothly, but by the time I was done, there was a ferocious storm (with a tornado warning) headed through. By the time I got to Silver Spring, it was coming down and I made it inside Bibibop just a bit wet – Jill, Nina and Illa were at home downstairs in the bathroom. Bibibop was like a Korean Chipotle, very good, but didn’t take long and traffic was terrible, so I went across the street to Copper Canyon for a beer before heading home.

Nina

Saturday the 19th I went to a document shredding event run by Fairfax County while Jill took Nina to cheer tryouts. In the rainy afternoon we went to the Wolf Trap Summer Season Kick Off. Fairly deserted due to the rain, which meant no lines for face painting, pictures, or shaved ice. That evening was concert #12: Lewis Black at the Warner. Always angry, always hilarious. Plus so nice at the meet & greet. Sunday afternoon I picked Nina up after Girl Scouts and she did some art and played some games at the Fine Arts festival (giant size chess pieces are not ideal to learn on). Concert #13 later: Sons of Apollo at The Howard Theatre. Progressive metal supergroup with members of Dream Theater,Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mr. Big, & Guns N’ Roses, only half full theater, but easily the loudest show I’ve seen or will likely see the year. And halfway through the show was the best time to find I still had on the junior deputy sticker my daughter put on me.

Kerry Lewis Jill

Friday the 25th Nina had her first meal at Chik-fil-A (the biggest hit was the playground), then hit the trifecta: 1st time seeing a movie opening weekend, 1st time seeing a Star Wars movie opening weekend, and 1st time cosplaying Star Wars. And she makes an adorable Rey. The movie was pretty good, too. I had to forward to my former co-owners this as it reminds me of conversations in a certain record store.

Nina

Saturday was concert #14: Girlfriend at Signature Theatre. A coming of age/coming out story based on Matthew Sweet’s album. Good show, and the all female backing band took the songs to the next level. This Twitter status made me think it needs to happen at every q&a I ever go to. Wednesday the 31st was Nina’s final field trip for the year, and Jill volunteered to chaperone before she knew they’d be walking to Walker Nature Center from school. She vowed never again.

Nina

April

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

April 1st, in addition to being a day for fools, was Easter this year and we woke up in Massachusetts (on purpose). Still there for Spring Break, Sue made us Eggs Benedict for breakfast, then we went over to the Bradys’ for the egg hunt and Easter dinner. Monday we’d planned on leaving early, but a late spring snow arriving during morning rush hour delayed our start and we didn’t get back to the area until rush hour, so we stopped for dinner in Silver Spring at Jewel of India (Nina likes her naan).

Nina

On Wednesday, Nina was delighted that Olympian Maame Biney came to school (she got a high five). Nina had lots of new foods on vacation due to her new egg tolerance, but my favorite moment was finally introducing her to Popeye’s Chicken Thursday (she’s a fan of the tenders). Friday I knew the weather the rest of the weekend won’t be as nice, but it was delightful having dinner outside.

outside

Saturday the 7th Jill was working, so Nina got to take a friend to Rebounderz to use a coupon after practice, then we had dinner at Glory Days. Sunday I noted that if the news about Fleetwood Mac replacing Lindsey Buckingham with Mike Campbell and Neil Finn of Crowded House had been posted on the previous Sunday, I would have laughed. But instead I was shocked – and intrigued. I also seconded the notion that it’s okay to sit down at shows. Thursday at an extra cheer practice I discovered that Old Ox Brewery was within walking distance.

Nina

Saturday the 14th Nina had her 3rd cheer competition out at Mount St. Mary’s University, where her team did the best all year, coming in 2nd place in their division and getting a Sportsmanship Award (after their first performance had lousy sound). Sunday we went out in the rain to have lunch with Dad and Patricia for his birthday, then stopped at Mrs. Cannon’s house on the way back as Chris and the family were down for the week. We left at dark, so we stopped at District Taco for some tasty Mexican.

Dad Nina

Friday the 20th the Cannons came over for dinner (more Mexican) and the kids ran around until they dropped. Sunday I worked to get a day off, but that ended badly as I was rear ended hard while waiting at a light on Fairfax County Parkway. It was better later at concert #9: Alan Doyle at The Hamilton with Fortunate Ones. Good set of solo and Great Big Sea songs, plus good food upstairs for Jill and I. Tuesday I was solo for concert #10: Steven Wilson at the 9:30 Club, busting out some fine Porcupine Tree tunes (and a long show, 2.5 hours plus an intermission).

Alan Doyle

Wednesday was a busy day off, as I took my car in for an estimate, then ran lots of errands before tackling jobs at home like clearing the clog in our bathroom sink. Friday Jill went to lunch with Nina at school, then Jill’s sister, mom and youngest niece came down as her oldest niece had a birthday. The ladies of age went to Filomena and Georgetown Cupcake, while I took the younger two out to Glory Days and Baskin-Robbins.

Nina

Saturday morning we all drove up to Coppin State University in Baltimore for Nina’s final cheer competition. On the way back we stopped a couple times and it was getting late, so we met the Bradys in Alexandria for an early dinner at Eamonn’s, then took the water taxi over to National Harbor. Everyone but me wanted to do the ferris wheel, so I spent time at The Brass Tap. They were still waiting in line when it was time to meet at the water taxi, so I went to get my car, and then was convinced to squish everyone in to take them to get the other one. Luckily I didn’t miss out on Ben & Jerry’s since there was another in Alexandria on the walk back to the car.

Nina

Sunday I worked again and Jill took the younger ones to Cirque du Soleil in Tysons. Everyone else joined them to shop later and I went there after work and we all had dinner at Cheesecake Factory (Nina had spaghetti for the second time in 3 days).

Kerry Jill

March

Sunday, April 29th, 2018

On Saturday the 4th, Dad and Patricia came over for lunch and brought pizza so I could fix her laptop. Thanks to Jill’s gym’s parents night out, we got dinner and a movie later: tasty Turkish food (at Anatolian Bistro) and Black Panther. 10/10, would do again. Monday I found this and a selfie of my daughter on my phone. That’s why I don’t let her hold it.

toilet

Friday the 9th Nina’s school was on lockdown after police received a report that a student with a gun was at the nearby high school. It turned out to be untrue and she thought it was just a drill, but it made me more certain than ever that guns need to be restricted, and in fact I’m perfectly ok with melting down all the guns. Saturday I finished Nina’s first mashup request: “Look What You Made Me Do” and “Skip to My Lou”. Sunday Nina did not want to wait for Last Jedi to arrive on Blu-ray, so she saw her first Star Wars movie in a theater. Now she loves Rey even more.

Nina

Tuesday the 13th was concert #6: I’m With Her with Andrew Combs at the 9:30 Club. On at 9:30, 19 songs later off at 10:45 with a much more enthusiastic crowd for a Tuesday than I would have thought (and sold out, to boot). I’m guessing I was the only one there buying a ticket for Steven Wilson the next month. Illa had a vet visit on Thursday and lost 10 lbs – his kidneys aren’t doing so well. Dad came over again on the 17th for more laptop help, so we celebrated St. Patricks Day with corned beef and cabbage for lunch. Sunday we had Red Snapper for dinner – Mmmmm, very tasty.

Jill Kerry Patricia Bryce Nina

The night of the 19th I was at Nina’s school because Fairfax County proposed turning South Lakes Dr. into 1 lane each way to allow for bike lanes. Traffic isn’t horrible now at rush hour, but that would be a disaster. Thankfully the majority of folks were opposed to the idea. Tuesday night we trusted the Capital Weather Gang and were rewarded, as they said there would be a long window between winter storms early in the afternoon and after midnight. Jill and I had dinner at Green Bamboo in Rockville where I couldn’t resist getting moar red snapper (still very tasty) before concert #7: Weird Al. I finally got to hear “Nature Trail to Hell”, plus “Albuquerque” a second time.

Weird Al

Nina wanted to do something “special” Friday the 23rd, which turned out to be her first dinner in a Chinese restaurant at Lakeside Asia Cafe (she can now eat a little bit of egg in anything, so cross contamination isn’t an issue for us anymore). Saturday the 24th I noted that Amanda Palmer had summed up how 2 years of Patreon has gone. Well, I think. We also got an amazing care package from Shelly. There was another parents night out at the gym, so Jill and I finally used the gift certificate to Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm – a really nice dinner (I had the duck and Jill had the trout). Sunday Jill made some delicious Asian lettuce wraps, then Monday night we’d promised Nina we could go to the new Tacos and More in Reston (owned by the dad of a friend of hers) for her first taco (she’s a fan).

Nina

The finale of The X-Files Season 11 was not as bad as the premiere, but it wasn’t great. It’s a shame because the rest of the season was pretty good. I’d be ok with it ending. Treat it like Star Trek Enterprise. Some episodes must be skipped.

Nina

Tuesday the 27th, Jill, Nina and Maddie drove up to Massachusetts for spring break. They celebrated Jill’s mom’s 60th birthday, went to the Dr. Seuss museum, and Nina got her first tick. Meanwhile my week was fairly dull until Friday night when I went out for concert #8: San Fermin with Gracie and Rachel. Great baroque pop, improved by the fried chicken sandwich on an Old Bay donut from Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken earlier.

Nina

Saturday the 31st I took Illa to the kennel (after I cleaned out my backseat and found a cup used to have milk in it), then drove to Dulles and had a breakfast pizza and beer at &pizza.com. Jill picked me up in Hartford, then we got Nina and went to visit Memere and Pepere. After we got back the kids all came over and decorated Easter eggs; later Sue watched Nina while we went to concert #8: Cry Cry Cry at the Calvin. Only had to wait 15 years for it, but totally worth it. Pre show dinner at Coco and post show ice cream at Herrell’s were excellent.

Cry Cry Cry

February

Monday, March 26th, 2018

Friday the 2nd I read that Best Buy is giving up on CDs and thought damn, only 22 years too late to save our used CD store… Saturday was concert #3 of 2018: Steven Page with the Art of Time ensemble. They moved it from the Strathmore to the Amp by Strathmore, and it was perfect at a club. Also great was the disassembled duck with Banh Mi fixings at City Perch next door. I had strong opinions about which songs should be selected. Beware if you watch this, because you can see me rocking out, and that can never be unseen.

program Steven Page

Sunday Nina had her cheer team pictures, then we went to see the Super Bowl at one of Jill’s knitting friends and had potluck (I made chicken skewers). The Dinklage/Freeman ad was my favorite ad of the night (closely followed by Dundee). The full Solo trailer they released the next day was better than the short one, though. The next week was busy leading up to Nina’s first cheer competition. They had a practice Monday, then Jill met with Nina and her niece in Tysons on Tuesday night to pick out and practice makeup. Wednesday school was canceled for ice and Nina went to camp at Lifetime, then had a second practice Thursday.

Nina

Saturday the 10th was Nina’s first cheer competition. We woke up early and drove down to Fredricksburg. We were supposed to get there by 10, but doors didn’t open until 10:30, so we had to kill time outside in the rain. Once in, the girls went to practice and we waited about 45 minutes until it was their turn to perform. Then we all watched all the other groups, then the girls danced for a while and they announced the winners (Nina’s Delta’s were 3rd out of 4 in their division). We had packed lunch to eat there, and got a snack at 7-11 for what turned out to be a much longer drive home with the rain and traffic.

Nina

Our babysitter got sick, so I was the only one going to Beth Patterson for concert #4 at the Old Brogue Sunday. It’s not unusual to hear a Rush cover at her shows, but Crack The Sky? I’ve never heard anyone cover them before. I knew it was gonna be a good day on Monday when we were almost late to school because someone got her feelings hurt that she was accused of knocking a box over. Which she totally did. She lost another tooth Tuesday.

Nina

We had a low key Valentine’s Day at home Wednesday. Nina’s new hero during the Olympics was Maame Biney, alumni of Terraset, her elementary school. She didn’t make it far this time, but she was fun to watch.

Nina

Saturday the 17th Nina wasn’t feeling well, and Jill was expecting a Strep diagnosis. Instead, it was flu – and I got it later that night. So we had a miserable couple of days, but that was all, probably due to us both having the flu shot and using Tamiflu. We did have fun sending emojis on Skype and watching movies, including The Force Awakens. I was back at work on Wednesday but Jill was off and they did a picnic outside for lunch.

Jill Nina

Saturday the 24th was another cheer competition, this one in Bowie. Dad and Patricia joined us, but Bowie High School was smaller and more crowded than Mary Washington and we headed out immediately after the first section of winners was announced. We went to Old Town Deli in downtown Bowie for lunch, it hit the spot. That night Nina had a babysitter and we met a bunch of Shantytowners at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington (Chris Ch. was visiting) before concert #5: Robbie Schaefer’s new musical Light Years at the Signature Theatre. A delight for fans of his (like us).

Wednesday was Nina’s next egg challenge: french toast. Not entirely successful, but she’s now on to the next stage: a little egg in anything once a day. That night the Scary Godmother doll I’d helped crowdfund years ago finally arrived, and Nina loved it and the story.

Kerry Nina

January

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Tuesday the 2nd I watched the premiere of The X-Files and was not happy. A moment of excitement couldn’t make up for the rest being boring. Even the Robert Patrick era wasn’t that bad. I also agree that Marvel’s Inhumans was one of the worst shows of the year, but it still wasn’t as bad as the first episode of X-Files. #xfilesdoubleburn Schools were closed Thursday and Friday. I got Nina over to Lifetime gym too late for camp, but Ursula offered to take Nina and her two swimming.

Nina

Just as I was putting Nina to bed Friday night, a fire engine pulled up in the parking lot, then another one (eventually 8). Nina insisted I go out and check, and there was a fire in the townhouse on our row – challenging with temps in the 20s. We hosted the girls from the townhouse next to the fire until it was out. Saturday I took her to a Princesses and Pirates Party, which was hard at first because she got there late and didn’t know a lot of the kids, but she rallied. She had a playdate later.

Nina

Sunday the 7th Lake Thoreau had been frozen solid for a week straight, so we took the kids out on it for the first time. Later I wanted to let Fairfax County Public Schools know “monitor the weather” all you want, close early if you must, but for God’s sake, open on time tomorrow. They didn’t, of course. Over the last month, and finishing on Monday’s snow day, I showed Nina the first two Star Wars trilogies. I thought that would answer all her questions. I was severely mistaken – I’ve got a bad feeling about this. Tuesday I had my first colonoscopy, happily results were good.

Nina Kerry

That Friday was my 1st concert of 2018, and a doozy: Ben Folds and the National Symphony Orchestra hosted Sara Bareilles & Caroline Shaw. I wished there had been more Ben Folds, but Sara Bareilles doing all her hits was fun. While I was out Jill and Nina went to Terraset movie night. The next night was a potluck with Jill’s knitting group – it was all ladies chatting yarn and Nina played with the kids in the house, so I curled up in a chair and read most of The Children of Húrin, finishing it the next day. Sunday was concert #2: Eddie From Ohio on their annual 3 night stand at the Birchmere. Hard to believe it’s been 12 years since it started, and that we haven’t missed a year yet. Jill’s sister and mom had come down to drop her niece back down at college, so she had Chinese food with them and then came to the Birchmere with her sister. Meanwhile Chris had come down with daughter #2, so I met them and his brother and mother and we all went out to dinner at Holy Cow (great burgers), then Chris and I went to the Birchmere. Jill didn’t get there until Eddie From Ohio started and left before they were done.

Nina

Saturday the 20th my sister was in town for the weekend and we met up with her and her family as well as my dad and his girlfriend at The National Museum of the American Indian. The kids area was a great place for Nina and her cousin to explore. Afterwards we got lunch from some nearby food trucks. That night Jill’s work had its holiday party at Congressional Country Club, very elegant. Sunday Jill started a new weight loss program with lean meats and no breads – definitely a cooking challenge for me, especially compared to our usual fare. I realized I don’t know when I first noticed (I think it’s been a month or two), but it’s so awesome to be able to wake your kid up to reposition them and have them go right back to sleep.

Jill Kerry

Friday the 26th I was reminded of the only time I saw The Cranberries. Funny, I remember she’d been hit by something and they left instead. Saturday we got Nina’s new loft bed, which had been built by Stuart for Olivia, then gifted to family friends, and now it needed a new home, while someone had been asking about one. Jill rented a truck and we picked it up. It was painted white and had a lot of writing on it, so Nina picked new colors for it at Home Depot (her favorites, pink and blue). Luckily the day was mild after the weeks of bitter cold and we painted it outside. Sunday we put it together after Jill got padding and fabric for the plywood landings.

Nina

Tuesday I was wondering which classic rocker would be a must see for Nina next, then I saw Roger Daltrey would perform the Who’s ‘Tommy’ with the Wolf Trap Orchestra in June. Later that night I found emmet swimming’s set at the HFSMas Nutcracker.

Nina

December

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Our last day at Disney World was the 1st, and also the only day Jill joined us in the morning. It was straight to Magic Kingdom as we had breakfast with friends from The Hundred Acre Wood. Next, Nina wanted to meet Merida again (but they didn’t let her shoot the bow and arrow this time) and we went over and waited to ride Splash Mountain – Nina loved the end. Nina and I explored Tom Sawyer Island, then we rode the train back to the entrance and our lunch at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. We were going to use a VIP lunch there to secure a VIP spot for the parade, but gave that a pass because we would have lost our Fastpass for the Buzz Lightyear ride (Nina preferred the Toy Story ride though).

Nina Jill

We saw the line wasn’t bad for Rapunzel and Tiana and met them again, and finally caught the Wicked Stepsisters after missing them last trip. Nina and Jill rode the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad then Jill went shopping and I took Nina to see The Muppets in Liberty Square. Nina and Jill rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Nina got to do some shopping, then it was time for dinner at Be Our Guest where we got to meet The Beast after dinner. We had time to stop at Beaches & Cream for ice cream all around before an early bedtime.

Jill Nina Kerry

We got on the Disney bus for a 5AM trip to the airport and an uneventful flight, getting back just in time for Nina to go to a birthday party and Nutcracker rehearsal. I’d nearly forgotten that I’d bought tickets to the NPR Music Turns 10: Concert and Party at the 9:30 Club that night, and Jill was toast. I sold my extra ticket and went anyway. I wasn’t really into heading into DC on 3 hours sleep, but then I walked in and Jeff Tweedy was on stage and somehow I was wide awake. They had kept the guest list a complete surprise – other big names were Bon Iver and Margo Price.

Nina

Saturday the 9th it was snowing, but not bad enough to stop Nina and I from going to Scrawl Books to see Dar Williams sing and talk about her new book (plus Nina got a couple new books) while Jill went to her monthly sewing class. Nina had a dress rehearsal for the Nutcracker that night.

Dar

Tuesday I took off in the middle of the day so Jill and I could have a lunch date at Fiola. Some fine Italian food, and thanks to the egg in her pasta only the second time ever we’ve switched entrees (I thought it was delicious and she enjoyed my lobster ravioli). Wednesday the 13th Nina had her dance recital (to the tune of Jingle Bell Rock), and I was incensed over the new Patreon fees – this is how it worked out for me:
14 $1.00 per month pledges, so $14 -> $19.32
4 $2.00 per month pledges, so $8 -> $9.64
3 $3.00 per month pledges, so $9 -> $10.32
1 $5.00 per month pledges, so $5 -> $5.50
For a total: $36 -> $44.78. Unacceptable, so I deleted all pledges and vowed to supporting creators on new platforms. Then of course they reversed course the next day, and I reinstated all pledges.

Nina

Friday Nina had the real dress rehearsal for the Nutcracker at Centreville High School, then we each got takeout and headed home (the banh mi’s from Park N Shop were delicious). The next day we were all back at Centreville High School for the official performance at 2PM (Dad and Patricia came as well), and it went off without a hitch.

Nina

Things that they don’t warn parents about #43: It will take an hour to convince your child to go into winter break camp. That’s what I learned on Monday the 18th as Nina was very anxious about going to a new school where she might not know anyone (turned out she did, and made a new friend). She didn’t make it back that week, as she got 2 colds in little over a week, and that triggered a severe asthma attack. I was home Tuesday and she got to watch Star Wars for the first time, then that night I went to see The Last Jedi, and it was even sweeter for having just watched the original. Thursday I was home again, so I made her watch Phantom Menace and gave her an ice cream cone in the bathtub. History will decide if I’m the best or worst parent ever.

Nina

Friday Nina was better and we went to Jammin’ Java as planned for Todd Wright’s Annual Santa Clauster-f@%! Christmas Spectacular – some great Christmas songs, as usual. We usually have host a holiday party in early December, and because the Nutcracker rehearsals had taken all our Saturdays, tried having a party 2 days before Christmas. Surprisingly we had about average attendance and most importantly 7 kids so Nina had a blast. I had not hit Whamageddon yet, so I introduced Whamageddon Roulette – it was added to the playlist for the party (I hit it about an hour after the party during clean up).

Nina

Christmas Eve we headed to church, Nina opened her new pajamas and then we got to work. After all the gifts were wrapped and stockings were stuffed, it was time to break out the nog. Happiness abounded on Christmas – Nina’s favorite gift was a pink Polaroid camera from Nana (until the film runs out), lovely ham dinner with my dad and Patricia, and the Doctor Who Christmas Special was brilliant. Only bad part is that it was too cold for Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights with Nina still vulnerable and Jill coming down with bronchitis.

Nina

Nina was back at winter break camp on Boxing Day. Jill’s dad and his wife came to visit on Saturday the 30th, then Nina got to play games with the neighbors on New Year’s Eve before I made roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding for dinner. Nina asked to stay up until midnight, but we showed her the video of Times Square and she got to see the London fireworks before bedtime, then Jill and I had a games night with my new Christmas gifts until it was almost midnight, then we were in bed not much later.

Pepe Nina Meme

Artists To Watch 2018

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

Eyeball
Again this year my music buying was mostly online, free tracks from NoiseTrade, Bandcamp, and Amazon as well as preordering mp3s and CDs from Kickstarter and PledgeMusic.

Here’s a playlist of everything available on soundcloud.com.

Band Song Why them
01. Scars on 45 Crazy For You Opened for Tori Amos and blew me away.
02. Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie Red Sun You know them from Fleetwood Mac, but their new album together has some of the best songs they’ve written in years.
03. Little Silver Fall From Me A spin off from Hem with a fellow kindergartener on vocals.
04. Anthony D’Amato Rain On A Strange Roof Galloping pop in the Paul Simon vein.
05. The Secret Sisters He’s Fine Brandi Carlile produced and you can feel the influence.
06. The Struts Could Have Been Me Opened for the Foo Fighters at The Anthem and brought the glam power.
07. Good Lovelies I See Gold Lovely harmonies from these ladies.
08. Somerdale Take It From The Top Power pop in the Splitsville vein.
09. The Doubleclicks Extra Gin The only NSFW track here comes from this girl geek duo.
10. Corin Ashley Wind Up Boy Lovely Beatlesque tune with Belly’s Tanya Donelly.
11. Noah Guthrie Razor Blade Fromer Glee cast member rocks a little harder than you might expect.
12. JJ Heller Free Indeed I found her through her Christmas music.
13. See She Cries Great chourus, produced by the ledgendary Brad Wood.
14. The March Divide Exit Signs Their 80s covers were so great, I wanted to know if their originals were good, and they were.
15. Nicole Atkins A Little Crazy Patsy Cline-esqe throwback.
16. Adam Ezra Group Let Your Hair Down Folk-rockers were a FRFF discovery.
17. Callaghan Surrender My daughter and I found her at Jammin’ Java playing a matinee.
18. Joshua Radin High And Low Great chrous and beat.
19. Kim Pittinger Glass Heart It can’t be ATW without a Todd Wright co-write.
20. Cotton Mather Better Than A Hit Got that Stone Temple Pilots vibe.
21. The Daybreaks The Machine Kind of an 80s feel with a modern sound.
22. The Wild Reeds Catch And Release This one’s for Dave.
23. Heather Aubrey Lloyd The Animal Crackers Song Member of ilyAIMY steps out on her own.
24. Weird Al Yankovic Please Don’t Nuke Us, North Korea Serious and funny, just like Al, from Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (and a nice callback to “Christmas At Ground Zero”).

November

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Friday, the 1st was Spirit Day at Nina’s school, and she dressed up as her favorite book character: Princess Leia (made this old Star Wars fan proud). Lucky her I had a figure already, so she got to take the accompanying R2-D2 to school. That night I got to conclude my survey of piano goddesses with Tori Amos. And she had a 90s throwback night, even finished my Little Earthquakes bingo (I’ve seen every song live now). We had dinner before the show at Ginger – not bad, but we’d try something different the next time we were stuck at MGM National Harbor.

Nina

Saturday I took Nina to Plaza America’s Fall Fest after her cheer practice and swim lesson for face painting and crafts, then over to Nutcracker practice. Monday I got an ad for a whisky advent calendar in my Facebook feed right after I got it as a gift. Good job listening in, Zucks.

Nina

Tuesday the 7th I was in early so I left early for a late lunch of tacos and a beer – the new Crooked Run Brewing in Sterling has a Señor Ramon Taqueria hidden inside (and Rebounderz is across the street). Thursday I got a spot on my face checked – luckily benign. That night I substituted kimchi for sauerkraut in a Reuben. 10/10, would do again.

Nina

Saturday Nina had cheer team tryouts (she made it), then that night we got a real night out thanks to Sue (who’d arrived the night before). We drove to the Hampton Inn in NoMa Union Station, then had an exquisite dinner at Komi (the reviews were right about the roasted goat and the dates stuffed with mascarpone). After a lovely full night’s rest, we went to the nearby Emporiyum, a pop-up food market next to Union Market. We enjoyed fried chicken with cinnamon-maple sauce in a waffle cone, shots of dumplings, and a doffle (a donut/waffle combo).

Jill Kerry

Friday, Jill, Sue and I joined Nina at school to watch a cute 2 song concert, then had Thanksgiving lunch with her in the cafeteria. Unfortunately the food was just as good as I remembered. That night I wanted to use up some roasted chicken and thought Pad Thai sounded good, but I only had peanut butter and spaghetti on hand, so I found a recipe for that. Once we were eating, Nina asked what it was, and when we told her “peanut butter noodles”, asked to try and liked it a lot.

Nina Jill

The next day Sue drove home with Maddy, then we headed up to Philly for Friendsgiving with the Shantyfolke. We didn’t have much time there besides dinner and some cookie decorating after a late start and traffic. Maybe next year we’ll spend the night, but this year we’d made plans to catch up with Jill’s grad school friend Kelly near Hershey who’s oldest daughter is Nina’s age. The girls had a great time playing that night, and we took them to a nearby playspace in the morning so they could run around before we hopped back in the car, taking a slight detour to get Sonic.

Nina Kerry

Our friends Meg & Toby beat us home from Friendsgiving Sunday and Nina got to play games with them. I found out my dad was in the hospital with kidney and prostate issues so I went to visit him – happily he’d be discharged 2 days later. Jill worked late Monday so I got Flippin’ Pizza for everyone, then played an epic Settlers of Catan game with Meg & Toby. Tuesday I made “peanut butter noodles” for everyone and after Nina’s bedtime played Cyanide and Happiness plus Cards Against Humanity.

Toby Nina Meg

Wednesday I thought this captured Nina in a nutshell. Thursday the 23rd Jill took Nina to The Star so I could cook, then we had the usual spread for Thanksgiving, and Nina tried all the trimmings – she finally likes stuffing and gravy. Very weird being just us 3, though. Friday we went to the Reston Holiday Parade, then to Kennedy Center to see the touching musical Me… Jane, and finally had a scrumptious dinner at District Commons (pumpkin beer cheese soup FTW).

Jill Nina

Saturday the 25th we started a week of Disney by going to see Coco (still with the Frozen short), then managed to finish packing with plenty of time before our flight to Orlando Sunday afternoon. We got to Disney’s Yacht Club Resort too late for anything but sleep – we were tired, plus Jill needed to be up early for her conference the next morning (we hadn’t planned to come back to Disney World so soon, but couldn’t pass up a deal where the room and her flight were paid for).

Kerry Nina

Monday was day 1: Animal Kingdom, and more importantly Stormalong Bay, the giant pool at our resort. But first we had to wait for our Amazon Now driver with our breakfasts and some medicine we forgot. After breakfast we explored the pool until Jill was done, got changed and had lunch next to the pool at Hurricane Hanna’s Grill (where the birds descended on Nina’s momentarily unguarded Pringles), then caught a bus over to Animal Kingdom. The only ride we didn’t have a FastPass for was of course the newest one with the longest line, Avatar Flight of Passage. We had a FastPass for the nearby Na’vi River Journey, so we did that and then started the line for Avatar Flight of Passage. Nina was a trouper and we made friends in line for the nearly 2 hour wait. But it was worth it, definitely the best ride I’ve ever been on.

Jill Nina Kerry

After that we crossed the park to ride Kali River Rapids as it was getting dark – not fun getting the most wet, but the smoke and fire on the ride is more pronounced then. We took our seats for Rivers of Light and enjoyed the show. I’d screwed up and made a reservation at Boma for dinner, which was in the Animal Kingdom Lodge and not the park. But when we found out it cost us $20 each to cancel, we toughed it out for what turned out to be one of my favorite meals, an African themed buffet. Our ride home took us to Disney Springs, and we took advantage of that to do our shopping there – good decision, we never made it back.

Jill Nina Kerry

Tuesday Nina and I spent another morning at the pool before changing and joining Jill and her Aunt Kelly for a meal at the Ale and Compass restaurant there in the resort. Then we walked over to Epcot to ride the Frozen Ever After ride and find a fun mariachi band in the nearby Mexican pavilion singing Coco songs – Nina was mesmerized. We rode the monorail over to Magic Kingdom where Nina got to meet up with Captain Jack Sparrow before we rode Pirates of the Caribbean. We were there for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Nina’s #1 request to meet Moana, who was only coming to the party. But I did my research and knew she was near the Swiss Family Treehouse, so Nina and I rode The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and then she dodged the spitting camel while we waited.

Nina

Moana was happily greeted then we had dinner along with what seemed like half the park at Columbia Harbour House. Later we rode the Haunted Mansion, which broke down for a couple minutes while we were riding it (Nina wasn’t too scared). Nina had said she didn’t need to meet any more princesses, but that changed quickly once we passed by where Aurora and Elena were greeting fans. We caught a show and a parade at Cinderella’s castle, then headed back to the resort.

Nina

Wednesday morning we didn’t have much time at Typhoon Lagoon because it was hard to get a certain child moving, but we got to go in the big wave pool and several giant slides. We all had lunch at the Beaches & Cream Soda Shop before taking the boat over to Hollywood Studios. Toy Story Mania was a hit, as well as the live action Star Wars show in the center (Nina’s already a big fan of Rey). We were happily surprised that For the First Time in Forever now featured the songs from the new short. We rode Star Tours and caught the live Beauty and the Beast before Nina and Jill rode the Tower of Terror. Then we watched Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular before having dinner at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano Dinner (second favorite meal there) and watched Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! before leaving (Jill was delighted by the nod to Nightmare Before Christmas).

Kerry Nina Jill

Thursday it was more pool time before it was back to Epcot on the boat for a full day. We found the line for Alice in Wonderland was very short as she was about to come out, giving us just enough time to make to the San Angel Inn for lunch. Delicious, but they didn’t seat us until 45 minutes after our reservation. Jill found Starbucks and Nina and I tried various soda flavors, then everyone enjoyed Soarin’ and Turtle Talk with Crush. Next Nina and I rode The Seas with Nemo & Friends, then Jill convinced Nina to get in line for Test Track and they enjoyed that. We headed to Germany to have dinner and a show at Biergarten, then watched some of the Candlelight Processional before walking back to the boat. It was nice to watch the Epcot fireworks from right outside our hotel before going inside to bed.

Kerry Nina Jill

October

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Sunday the 1st Nina played in the parking lot with the neighbor kids (skateboards, car washing, and microscopes), then my dad came over for lunch and computer help. Later she and I went to the Fall for Fairfax Kidsfest – I bought her an unlimited rides wristband and she went on everything she could.

Nina Dad

Monday I was sad as Tom Petty’s passing meant their were only 2 Wilburys left now. This seemed appropriate for all of today (including the Las Vegas shooting), from the last time I saw Tom Petty. Also, we must never forget this awesome “Wildflowers” b-side. I was also amazed by this double bill:

Rush/Petty

That week’s important work was: Not So Petty: A Tom Petty covers collection. Only one duplicated song, because I loved both versions of “Free Fallin'”.

A Bird in the Hand, a nest-like sculpture at Reston Town Center (and Nina’s favorite place to play hide and seek) was coming down, so Nina and I went over on Saturday the 7th for one last game on our way to Flavors of Fall (formerly Reston Oktoberfest). That night we all went to Disney On Ice (now with Moana). They’ve deployed new technology: a machine that can produce smoke in the middle of the air. I fear for our future.

Nina

Sunday Nina had some important musical education: karaoke “Free Fallin'”, guitar practice, and watching Rush’s “Exit Stage Left” to learn about double neck guitars. That night I met up with Linda and drove to The Wharf to check out the soft opening of The Anthem, the new giant club from the owner of the 9:30 Club. The lines to get in and at the bars were pretty crazy, and the way you got your food was insane (shouting out numbers during a rock concert?), but we got an interesting show: Danger Painters (with Bob Boilen and Michael Barron from Tiny Desk Unit), Bat Fangs (with Betsy Wright from Ex Hex), and The Messthetics (with Brendan Canty and Joe Lally from Fugazi). It was nice to get the feel of the club before the official opening. I tried to make the Little Silver show over at Galaxy Hut as well, but got to see some fellow elementary school alumni (Steve Curtis was a neighbor).

Kerry

Thursday I was back at The Anthem, this time with Rob for the sold out opening with the Foo Fighters. I was relieved that Metro would be running late due to the Nationals playoff game (no thanks to the skinflint owners). While waiting in line, I initially tried to get dinner at Shake Shack (all of the open restaurants had an hour long wait or more), then Rob texted me that he was walking past the Red Hook Lobster Pound kiosk and I hightailed it over there (we also got to see The Bacon Brothers performing a free show outside with fireworks afterwards). We missed the last minute added opener Trouble Funk, but The Struts were great fun. And the Foo Fighters are a heck of a band, great career spanning setlist. I could do without the 2:30am bedtime, though. I took a picture of my tickets to thank the owner for 25 years of his concerts.

tickets

Saturday the 14th Jill was out all day working and at a sewing class, but I kept Nina busy. After cheer class we went to the local fire station open house where she got to sit in the truck and use the hose. Later she had her swim lesson, then we went to Frying Pan Park’s Fall Festival, and finished up with the Comic Drawing Workshop for Kids, part of Fall for the Book. She did a hike the next day in Daisy Scouts with Jill.

Nina

Tuesday the power was scheduled to go out at 9AM, which was fun since that was Nina’s school picture day, but she was ready on time before the power went out. Saturday after swim lesson we went to the police station open house, then she got her face painted at the Woodland Park Crossing HarvestFest before she started practice for The Nutcracker.

Nina

Sunday started with kids fishing, then we had an afternoon at the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore (not bad, but it turned out it was music only, and Nina had requested it because she like the dancers in their videos). Traffic was so bad on the Beltway we diverted into DC, and made an last minute decision to have an early dinner at Cactus Cantina (Jill had been craving it, and I certainly didn’t mind the jalapeno margarita). Later we went out for an evening at The Glow before I got my homemade birthday carrot cake and Sue and Dave arrived for a visit. I’m another year older, I don’t know if I’m any wiser, and many more grey hairs. But I know to be true these wise words on marriage.

Jill Kerry Nina

Monday the 23rd we found out cancer took another good one. R.I.P. Sandy. Tuesday I was gobsmacked to find Darius Rucker covering a Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ classic (we played it at our wedding). Friday I actually had too many hours and left work early, getting a late lunch at the new Crooked Run Brewing in Sterling (they have a Senor Ramons Taqueria inside) before going to Home Depot and picking up new lights for the deck (a nice warm day for installation too). Saturday Nina tried on her costume and we went to Lane Anne for Boo & Brews (Nina did not get the brews).

Nina

On Halloween, Nina had a blast with the neighborhood kids, then I got a treat: my first concert with The Dresden Dolls. Of course they brought along a horde of zombie Madonnas, and an amazing Rage Against the Machine cover.

September

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

Friday the 1st Nina and I went to JamBrew to see Todd Wright & Tommy Gann. I found out she didn’t like the school pizza and preferred the pizza they had there. Saturday was Nina’s birthday, but since we knew rainy and cool was not time to have a birthday party at a water park, we postponed it to the next day. But we had Dad and Patricia over for lunch, as well as Nina’s cousin Maddy, then Nina got cake and presents. That night Maddy stayed to babysit and Jill and I went out for an early anniversary sushi dinner at Sushi Prince.

Bryce Patricia Nina

Sunday was the party at the Water Mine. It was a little cool, but the sun helped; some kids had to cancel, but we sent out some last minute invites and still had a decent turnout. Afterwards I took Maddy back to her dorm, then continued on into DC and parked near the Capitol so I could watch Aoife O’Donovan rehearse with the NSO for their Labor Day concert (preferable to being out late on a school night). I tried to stop at Cactus Cantina on the way home because Jill had been craving it, but they stopped doing takeout at 6, so I got kabobs from Arlington Kabob instead (so good). While I was out, Jill took Nina to get her ears pierced (a birthday present).

Aoife

Thursday the 7th we all headed over to Wolf Trap to see Sting with Joe Sumner & The Last Bandoleros. Nina was a little more interested in playing with a girl she met there, but the show was good and we had a nice picnic dinner Jill put together.

Jill Nina

Saturday we flew up to Hartford and rented a car, had a quick lunch at Whole Deli, then picked up some supplies at Target. We drove over to Jill’s dad’s house and hung out with them for a while, then got changed before driving over to Andrea and Jim’s wedding at Wickham Park. The ceremony was lovely, Nina loved the outdoor photo booth, and it was nice seeing our Shantyfamily.

Kerry Nina Jill

We stayed with Melissa and her family that night. The next day was more of a chore, because the cheapest flight was at 6am, and due to mechanical issues we had a 5 hour delay. But we made it home without too much fuss.

Nina

Tuesday the 12th Nina read a book about the blues, listened to some songs, and made her own: “I’m So Sad”. I watched the new TV show “The Orville” and was pleasantly surprised that this felt far more like a Next Generation episode than anything else. Having Brennon Braga probably helps. Wednesday I took Nina to see Yes (West) at Wolf Trap. She was more interested in playing on the lighted handrail, but I was so happy they switched in “Changes” for “Lift Me Up” (I’d seen them do that last year).

Nina

Thursday I endured some truly horrible traffic to Annapolis to see Dennis DeYoung of Styx. The happy hour at Level: A Small Plates Lounge almost made the trip worth it on its own (maybe it was the 2 cocktails – but the food was mighty good). He put on a good show, and his pipes were in amazing shape for 70 (very odd that he has a Tommy Shaw soundalike sing lead on some songs, but maybe he needs some breaks).

Nina

Sunday the 17th Jill took Nina apple picking in the morning, and in the afternoon I took her to the Cox Farms Fall Festival where we met up with a friend and her mom. Monday I made a quick ramen – I have no idea why I never tried making it before. It was easy and delicious. Later I was looking for setlists for concerts I’d been to and found a real blast from the past.

Nina

Tuesday I went to an appointment and saw the Google Maps car on the way back. I also got an authentic Philly cheesesteak at Bolzano’s Deli for lunch. That evening I realized the mix CD we handed out as a wedding favor has a track from Nina Gordon (of Veruca Salt), Nina’s namesake. I was also thrilled to learn that my favorite book, Good Omens, had finally started filming the TV version.

Google car

Wednesday the 20th I went to VetsAid, a new charity concert for veterans created by Joe Walsh and featured him, the Zac Brown Band and Keith Urban. I came up with some new rules of concert etiquette:
1. Whensoever the house lights dim, thou must dim thy screen all the way down
2. If thou holdest the phone vertically while recording video, thou shalt be mocked
3. If thou leavest thy flash on, thou shall be stoned (and not the good kind)
My favorite cover that night was a tie: the Zac Brown Band’s mashup of “Kashmir/The Devil Went Down to Georgia” vs. their cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. But this song by Keith Urban was just incredible – never heard it before. I did wonder at what point did Joe Walsh turn into Neil Young – lots of long solos with plenty of feedback. Also, I was out way too late on a school night if the traffic lights in Fairfax are blinking on the way home.

Joe Walsh Zac Brown Keith Urban

Saturday the 23rd Nina auditioned for The Nutcracker her dance school is putting on – and she got a part. That night we got a babysitter for her, and Jill and I had dinner at Northside 10 (short rib poutine was great) before going to see Red Molly at The Birchmere, where we bought efo tix, saw Brian from WA9, and toasted missing friends.

Jill

Sunday Jill took Nina for one last pool visit before it closed. And I didn’t want to tell Nina, but I think I found the surprise she mentioned earlier in the day.

note

Saturday the 30th we went to a community yard sale in the morning (picked up some cheap pads so Nina could try skateboarding), took a walk around the Walker Nature Center with some neighbors, then got a babysitter so Jill and I could go see Dave Chappelle – just hilarious. Apparently they were filming for his Netflix special as well. It was weird having our phones locked inside a pouch though. Afterwards we had dessert at Co Co Sala.

Kerry Jill