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Archive for the 'Music' Category


Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Monday the 1st I was thinking of leaving after the first half of Game of Thrones Live, but I’m glad I didn’t. Quick jump cuts of various scenes with orchestral accompaniment made way to long scenes with pyro and lights. Don’t know if I would go again, but props for something different than just showing a movie while the band plays on. I had planned on eating at Reren before the show, but Jill got stuck at work and I got there right as it started. So I got my Kung Fu Noodle on after the show – no wait as it was practically empty. Meanwhile at home, Nina lost her 3rd tooth.

Jill Nina

Wednesday the 9th we flew to Canada (Nina’s first international trip). The flight to Montreal and the drive up to Mont-Tremblant were fairly painless, stopping just short for a late lunch at McDonalds for Nina (someone finally started eating french fries again after a 2 year break) and grocery shopping at Metro before arriving at our resort. We had roasted chicken for dinner after we unpacked (Nina didn’t like the chicken nuggets we bought, so she ate my chicken and I ate her nuggets).


We had wisely planned nothing for the next morning. In the afternoon we took the resort shuttle over to Tremblant and got our gear. Nina had a 3 hour intro lesson, Jill had a private lesson, and I went up and skied on my own. After I warmed up (hadn’t skiied in 2 years) I had fun on the green and blue trails until it was time to meet up. We had an early dinner together at Ya’ooo Pizza Bar – ok pizza, and when Nina had more another day Jill said it was fresher. We picked up some missing clothing at Explore! before heading back.


Friday morning Nina had a full day of ski school, and Jill and I skied together until she got tired, then I went alone for a while until lunch. Because we weren’t sure about Nina’s food allergies, we picked her up from ski school and walked over to Le Shack. Jill and I both had burgers and Nina had a adult portion of roasted chicken and fries after the kids menu didn’t work. After lunch Nina and I went back to skiing while Jill knitted, then back to the resort where spaghetti was on the menu in our kitchen (plus I needed to make a quick grocery run because I’d left the milk out that morning).

Kerry Jill

Saturday turned out to be the coldest day at Mont-Tremblant in 8 years. Jill and I were already planning to take the day off, but we had to get a balaclava for Nina to stay warm on the bunny slope. Meanwhile we went back and enjoyed the hot tub and massages before picking her up in the afternoon. Later Jill enjoyed knitting in front of the fire while Nina and I played games in the arcade and game room at the resort.

Nina Jill

Sunday we discovered there is no better way of dealing with “Spring forward” than being on vacation – we never felt it. Jill and Nina went swimming in the morning while I finally took on some black trails on the mountain while it was a toasty -4 degrees Fahrenheit at the top (it was below freezing the entire time we were in Canada). Jill and Nina had lunch at Ya’ooo again, then I joined them after getting some maple syrup taffy (it was my candy day, had a bar for breakfast). Later we went to Aventures Neige (located out back of a Comfort Inn) to go snow tubing before eating delicious Mexican food at the nearby Tacos Lolita.

Jill Nina

Monday we spent our morning separately, Nina in ski school, Jill snowshoeing around the top of the mountain, and me in the hot tub. We had lunch together at Le Shack again before we all headed up in the gondola for our first family ski down the south side. Jill was tired after her morning, but Nina was raring to go and we went down to the bottom while Jill went back to the gondola and down. After about 10 falls later, we made it. Nina wanted more, so we headed up and tried the north side. This time Nina didn’t fall once, holding her snowplow well and starting to turn, then zooming down the mountain like a rocket. It was getting late then, so we went back up to head down to Jill on the south side and Nina only fell twice (and once wasn’t her fault, someone fell right in front of her). I was glad to be done with skiing as my knee had started twinging. We picked up some poutine to try for dinner. Turns out adding bacon is very filling, and Nina found a french fry she didn’t like.

Nina Kerry

Tuesday the 14th we checked out of the resort and headed back to Montreal. We tried to leave on the early side, as the giant snowstorm that had hit the DC area the previous day was due to hit Montreal that afternoon. It started snowing when we were on the highway, but the streets were pretty drivable and the accumulation didn’t start for a couple hours. After we checked in to the hotel, we walked over to a pizzeria in Montreal where Nina decided she wasn’t a fan of the authentic neapolitan pizza. Later Jill checked out the hotel gym while Nina and I did some grocery shopping, then played 2 rounds of Laser Quest (the harness was too much for her the 2nd game, but an employee wore it for her while she ran around, which she loved).


Nina and I had been gone so long that Jill and Nina had room service for dinner while I went out. After reading about it for the first time two days previous, I went to the Montreal Opera’s world premiere of Another Brick In The Wall. The snow had started to pile up, but I only needed to make it 2 blocks to the subway (the theatre was accessible from underground). It was considerably sexier and more violent than previous versions of The Wall, but the music is different enough to be almost a new thing. My favorite moment was “Outside The Wall” with 50 people singing. Afterwards the snow was really coming down and cars were getting stuck, but I soon made it to the hotel bar for some drinks and a cheese plate.

Nina Kerry

Wednesday it was supposed to snow all day, so we didn’t go too far. Luckily the Museum of Fine Arts was only a couple blocks away, and we spent a long morning checking out the exhibits, especially the Chagall one. Nina loved Stuffed Animals by Claude Cormier (She also loved “Untitled (Schooner and Fireworks)” by Sarah Anne Johnson). We walked over to Mesa14 for Mexican, and owing to the snow, street construction, and lateness we were the only ones there. Which was great, as they let me order the Tacos Alambre off their dinner menu. Jill and I were stuffed after that, so when we walked to McDonald’s for Nina’s dinner, we stopped at vegan restaurant Copper Branch to get a salad for me and a soup for Jill.

Nina Kerry

Thursday the snow had ceased and the streets and sidewalks quickly appeared as a great number of vehicles removed the snow. Jill wanted pancakes and there was an Eggspectation visible from our hotel window. As we walked up the stairs to the second floor to eat, my knee started bothering me again (I had to baby it the rest of the day but it’s been fine since). After breakfast we walked to the subway, took it 2 stops and then explored The Underground City (didn’t match Nina’s expectations, but she loved watching the purple fountain in one mall while Jill went to David’s Tea). We exited at the subway station to the south and walked past Notre Dame to the Montreal Science Centre where Nina had a fun afternoon playing with the activities there, including building a sail car, boat that floated, and a light. We picked up some cupcakes on the way back as well as roasted chicken for dinner from St-Hubert.


Friday was our driving day. We got the car and drove to Espace Tricot for Jill to buy yarn and accessories, then on to Le Nouveau Soundcentral so I could browse CDs. We ended up at the Biodome, our only returning spot from our previous trip there, after a quick lunch at McDonalds since Jill perused the food options at the Biodome and didn’t see anything Nina friendly. It was a nice afternoon excursion and Nina enjoyed the colorful birds, the otter slide, and the penguins. She loved that when she finished coloring near the exit, she was able to hang her picture next to two other Ninas’ pictures.

Jill Nina

After we get back I walked over to Cheap Thrills for more CDs, then since it was St. Patrick’s Day, we went to a restaurant called Reuben’s, where I had fried wontons filled with beef brisket, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, and washed them down with Murphy’s and Jameson. Jill had a smoked meat sandwich and Nina, who claimed she was full (after polishing off an avocado and 3 strips of bacon), ate nearly an entire plate of French fries, barely saving any for me. When we were waiting for a table, Nina and I stumbled on the HMV on the next block having a closing sale, so I did the most shopping of my trip after dinner (Nina insisted she needed this cat).


Saturday the 18th it was time to head home, so we gassed up the rental car and returned it, got the shuttle to the airport and then had lunch (Jill and I split a Cuban and a salad) as we had 2 hours to kill. The flight back was fine and soon we were at National, then home. Nina got to play with some friends outside as it was warm while Jill shopped for groceries, then it was an early night.

Kerry Nina

Tuesday the 21st I was a chaperone on Nina’s class field trip to Meadowlark Gardens. It was a little cool to do the planned picnic there, but she enjoyed being in the gazebo where we took some wedding pictures.


Wednesday the 22nd all the Shantytowners held an online chatka for Stuart – gone but not forgotten. I enjoyed the stout crafted in his memory. Thursday I had to share the 100km mark I passed in Pokemon Go (just about every time I’ve walked outside since December, with the daughter, the dog, or alone). #whoneedsafitbit Saturday I signed up for CrashPlan and it said it would take 36.3 days to back up all my data online. I wondered if that was a good thing, but guessed 2.6TB of data would take a while.


Sunday Nina and I went to Modell’s to buy her a bat and glove for tee-ball, then tried them out when we got home (she loves batting the best so far). It’s hard to explain how to throw and bat – I decided to wait for the coaches. Wednesday I decided after the first season finale that Legion is officially my favorite comic book turned TV series ever. Noah Hawley can currently do no wrong – now I’m looking forward to Fargo Season 3. And if you watched, I hope you stayed through the credits.



Monday, March 6th, 2017

I was already looking forward to the concert to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Band’s Last Waltz on Saturday the 4th, but then they added Garth Hudson (one of two living members). The biggest pain was the location, the new MGM National Harbor (where parking was horrendous). But I’m a fast walker and I still arrived for the opening song. On vocals was Jamey Johnson, Michael McDonald and Warren Haynes, with John Medeski on keys and Don Was on bass. Special guests included another player from the original album (Bob Margolin) as well as a couple Neville Brothers. Great long show – I’ve been to a lot of concerts but that show featured the first tuba solo I’ve seen. Earlier that day I introduced Nina to Lada Gaga, so I became a backup dancer. No costumes yet, but she’s a demanding choreographer. That was in preparation for the Super Bowl the following day. I made wings and we attended a party at one of Jill’s friends in Reston, stayed until the 3rd quarter (so I didn’t get to see that comeback until later).


Monday and Tuesday were teacher workdays and Jill stayed home with Nina, bringing her to my work Tuesday afternoon as we started our new schedule of me taking her to dance class while Jill took a health class. Jill flew to Newark for the day for work on Saturday the 11th, then she took Nina to a birthday party at Sport Bounce on Sunday and later we saw Beth Patterson at The Old Brogue.


Wednesday the 15th I was a chaperone on Nina’s class field trip to Tae Kwon Do in South Lakes. We wore pads and the kids got to hit and kick at us, then everyone broke a board. I’ve seen Queensrÿche twice, but it wasn’t until that night’s Geoff Tate show at Jammin’ Java that I finally saw “Silent Lucidity” live. Great revue of their whole catalog.


That week I finally hit 2003 on my current project of digitization of my concert videos. This was notable for being the first proto Quitter UK show (wasn’t true 1st show because Chuck was on vacation) and finally I have a recording of the song “emmet swimming” and of course “The Mailman Song” with lots of other great covers.


Nina had Valentine’s Day at school on Friday the 17th, and then another birthday party to attend on Saturday where Nina swam for 2 hours, then ate 4 slices of Domino’s – finally eating pizza other than Flippin’ Pizza (we walk over for dinner once a week when Jill works late). She also had a slice of cake and came home with a tummy ache.


Thursday the 23rd I noticed this calendar for Merriweather Post Pavilion from the summer of 1973 and wished for a time machine. After a crazy warm couple of days, we took a family walk over to Terraset on Saturday when it was in the 70s, then I took Nina for yet another birthday party at a Reston gym, this time during a thunderstorm (in February).



Monday, February 27th, 2017

Sunday was New Year’s Day, and I wondered if “Last Christmas” or “Firework” was more annoying to hear at the maximum volume five year old lungs can achieve – we were subject to a scientific experiment and results were inconclusive. Friday Nina was very excited about getting to touch a snake at school.


Saturday the 7th Nina got glammed up at a birthday party, then I went out to a concert, for what would prove to be 5 Saturday concerts in a row. First up was 3 weeks of Eddie From Ohio related concerts, with singer/bassist Michael Clem kicking things off at Jammin’ Java with ex-Red Molly Carolann Solebello’s No Fuss and Feathers opening. It was cold the next day, and we stayed indoors so Nina worked on her songwriting. Of course Illa wanted a 20 minute walk that night. Brrrr. Then by Thursday I couldn’t believe it was mid January and I had to open the basement door because it was warmer outside.


Sometimes I go through my collection of videos and wonder why I recorded it. Then I get to jaw-dropping gems like this one, the 6th song in the show. It took me a minute to realize he wasn’t making a joke. Jazz and/or metal fans take a look at this Slayer medley by jazz guitarist Frank Vignola (he also threw in a nice Frank Zappa cover that day).


That was on Friday, when I also saw this shiny meme: Ten influential records from my teenage years (all cassettes save the first, then mostly from Columbia House and RCA Record Club):

  1. K-Tel Blast Off (1982 compilation with Billy Idol, Genesis, Van Halen, Kansas, Joan Jett, John Mellencamp & more, still feels wrong when I hear the songs and they don’t skip)
  2. Rush – Grace Under Pressure (the very first cassette I bought, explains why I never gave up on the synth years)
  3. Queen – Greatest Hits (still expect “Somebody to Love” to be followed with “You’re My Best Friend”)
  4. Hall & Oates – Rock ‘n Soul Part 1 (it’s criminal there was no Part 2)
  5. Weird Al Yankovic – In 3-D (I like them all, but I got this first and played it the most)
  6. Paul Simon – Graceland (the first cassette I wore out)
  7. Foreigner – 4 (“Juke Box Hero” was my first favorite song)
  8. The Cars – Heartbeat City (I had Greatest Hits too, but it didn’t have “Hello Again”, very memorable after the high school cheerleaders performed a routine to it)
  9. Heavy Metal soundtrack (great songs from Sammy Hagar, Devo and Don Felder among others, plus the movie…)
  10. The Traveling Wilburys – Vol. 1 (so perfect)


Saturday the 14th Nina had babysitting at school and we were off to The Birchmere to see Eddie From Ohio in the middle of their annual 3-night run there (with singer/violinist Jake Armerding opening and playing with them), and helped make a big cheering section for a mention of Stuart with Shantyfriends Lorna and Dave, as well as Seth, Chris and Anna making the trip from NYC. I passed 3000 concerts sometime last year, and this show was the most moving of all of them, an emotional night – reminders of loss and how we respond to it. Afterwards we ended up at Pork Barrel BBQ for a late dinner because we’re meh on the Birchmere’s high priced food, and folks were delighted by their vintage soda. The next morning we joined them again for brunch at Lorna and Dave’s.

Kerry Nina

Monday the 16th was MLK day and Jill was working. Nina had mentioned wanting to go to the “Space Museum” on Monday, so we ended up Metroing to DC, meeting up with the Norwoods & Marcia for a couple hours of exploration, as well as an IMAX movie and lunch at McDonald’s (weird how their Happy Meal toys are 2 years old from Hotel Transylvania 2).


Tuesday I had dinner in DC at Brick & Mortar (investor credit to use up and they have good bar snacks and drinks) before heading over to Lincoln Theatre to see Keane’s Tom Chaplin touring behind his new solo CD. Thursday it was Father’s night in Nina’s class and she showed me her number chains.

Saturday the 21st Jill had many adventures getting to and from the march, while I took Nina to a birthday party over at Life Time. That night we all went to see Robbie Schaefer at Jammin’ Java where he busted out a cover of Paul Simon’s “Graceland”. Bill and Tassy had come in for the weekend, and we joined them for another brunch at Lorna and Dave’s on Sunday. Bill’s eagle eyes spotted me in this video. Jill took Nina to yet another birthday party that afternoon. Tuesday Nina had a kindergartners only field trip to Lucia’s to learn how to make pizza.


Saturday the 28th was the day we introduced our daughter to the wonders of the Spice Girls – she memorized their names faster than The Beatles. That night I went solo to the Tally Ho Theatre to see emmet swimming (with ebo opening) where I was delighted to see their cover of “Angel Of The Morning” return. Nina’s music education continued on Sunday with Zwan (totally underrated) and ZZ Top (aka she can only reach the Zs on the shelf). Also, she had her first Daisy Scout meeting and created her first sandwich: sausage, avocado, peanut butter and cheese on an English muffin. Monday Jill and I attended her annual company dinner at L’Auberge Chez Francois for what’s probably the last time, and I will miss it – always a fabulous meal.



Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Saturday the 3rd Nina got to see her first Nutcracker ballet with dancers from her dance school with Jill, then I took her to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese in the afternoon. Jill and I went out to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in Mosaic that evening – very well done addition to the canon. We needed a very quick meal beforehand and Spice 6 obliged with tasty Indian food, then had a drink at B Side afterwards. Friday I wondered if 2016 would not give up as I learned Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer had passed away right after I was listening to his Christmas song. I suggested if I was Carl Palmer, I’d spend the rest of the year in a bunker (Keith Emerson died earlier in the year).


Saturday the 10th was our annual holiday party, and the kids threatened to outnumber the adults. Nina had a blast, as usual (she helped bake cookies the day before too). Too bad the next night we hosted a party as well: St. Nick’s night at Emmaus UCC for a “spaghetti dinner”, actually a giant potluck dinner with a special visit from you-know-who, but the weekend exhausted everyone.


Thursday the 13th was parent’s night at ballet, with a special performance of “Frosty The Snowman”. The next morning was Nina’s school’s winter concert with her class singing “Shake Those ‘Simmons Down”. Saturday our next door neighbors hosted a party, which resulted in the following firsts for Nina: first grownup party (with downstairs babysitter) and first caroling (she was one of the doorbell pressing scouts). Other firsts from Sunday included first programming (with a robot) and first time losing a tooth at a concert (and 2nd tooth ever) as we went to see David Wax Museum at Jammin’ Java.


Wednesday the 21st Jill’s mom was down and the girls were going to Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, so I got takeout from Dumpling Queen for dinner (delicious), then went to see Rogue One in IMAX – enjoyed it (although I liked Episode 7 more). That was a good day – the next morning was not as Nina refused to go inside the jump camp she’d been to twice before because there were “too many kids”, and I had to drop her off at the dentist where Jill was. Of course I left my coat at the camp so I had to go all the way back there again (plus we thought her backpack was there as well, but that turned out to be at the dentist).


Friday the 23rd we got an early start on our drive up to Massachusetts. Not too bad a time until we got to Hartford, then we needed to stop at Blue Back Square to get a gift that was on hold and ended up at The Cheesecake Factory for lunch. The food was fine, but it took a while and then there was a traffic jam on the highway so we took back roads to get closer to Melissa’s house.


Christmas Eve my Mom and David and my sister and her family arrived and we all met up at a church for their Christmas Eve service. We planned on everyone getting takeout but the baby was tired and the visitors went back to their hotel while Jill and I got Chinese food for everyone else. It was probably a good thing they didn’t stay as it was over an hour until our food was ready (got some last minute shopping done at Walgreens). I had to post the best tweet of the day later:
@omically: John: I’ve done it. I’ve written the worst Christmas song ever
Paul: Hold my beer

Nina Dominic Jake

Christmas started with Nina and her cousins opening stockings and gifts (and there was a special video for Nina from Santa explaining why her bike was at home and not there), then all the immediate family on both sides trickled in. We opened more gifts and had a big dinner of ham, plus the 1 year old boy cousins got to play for the first time. My sister in law doesn’t have BBC America, so we used the Verizon Mobile app (first on my phone, then Jill’s tablet) to watch Doctor Who live later. Worth it, that was a good one.


Boxing Day we went to Jill’s sister’s Robin’s house for lunch with my family, and the boy cousins got to play all afternoon. We followed my family over to Northampton with the intention of exploring but it was getting icy, so we explored Thornes Marketplace before ordering takeout from Paul and Elizabeth’s. Jill, Nina and I stayed to wait for the food while everyone else went to Jill’s mom’s, and Nina and I got a chance to shop at Turn It Up! and the surplus store before we had dinner (almost everyone got the fish and chips, very good).


The next day my family went we went to Jill’s dad’s house where we met up with Robin and her family as well as Jill’s dad’s parents. More gifts were passed out, and we had meat pie and sandwiches for lunch, then Jill, Melissa, Dominic and I went out for dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Wednesday Jill and I took Jake out for Indian food in Springfield (nicely spiced lamb for me) before taking Nina and Ava to see Moana.


Thursday morning Melissa and I took Nina, Ava and Maddy to see Sing (both movies were good with catchy songs), then we’d planned to go to an escape room in Easthampton. The weather had different plans (snowed hard enough to close the road to Easthampton), so we came back to East Longmeadow and had dinner at Center Square Grill (the best meal all week, I had the lobster roll). I went to Walgreens for materials, then designed an escape room for everyone else after the little kids went to bed (Jill knew she’d solved the puzzle of the two presidents when she figured their order was 21 and 12, won’t get away with that number sequence again). Friday morning we took our time to let the roads clear, then started the long drive home.

Us and Bradys

Saturday the 31st was New Year’s Eve, and we actually went out for the first time in years (so out of practice, but it was the 15th anniversary of our first date). We did late dinner at the reincarnated TenPenh in Tyson’s (absolutely fantastic selection of dim sum), then walked over to Earls (we had taken the Metro from Reston) and had drinks at the bar while we did the countdown before heading home (babysitter Julia slept over).

Kerry Jill

Artists To Watch 2017

Friday, December 9th, 2016

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

Here’s a playlist of everything available on

Band Song Why them
01. Look Park Shout Part 1 Chris Collingwood leaves Fountains of Wayne, but brings Winterpills.
02. The Dollyrots Save Me Power pop punk parents.
03. Tommy Gann Medicine A Todd Wright co-write he sings at his shows.
04. Letters To Cleo Can’t Say Reunited and it feels so good.
05. Miike Snow Genghis Khan The video is great, but so’s the song.
06. Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion Chairman Meow Woody’s granddaughter goes in a different direction, but I like it.
07. Elle Macho Your Sister Called Butterfly Boucher returns as part of this trio.
08. Ryan Wright More Than You Another Todd Wright co-write, this time with his daughter.
09. AJR Weak Brothers who toured with Ingrid Michaelson, good match.
10. The Krickets Guinevere Lovely folk harmonies.
11. Pop Etc Please, Don’t Forget Me Released a lot of great covers as The Morning Benders before coming out with their own stuff.
12. Valerie Vigoda Just Getting Good GrooveLily singer and violin player goes solo.
13. The Cowards Choir Name The Fear Local Andy Zipf’s new band.
14. The Accidentals Parking Lot Wants to work with Ben Folds and Jack White – sounds about right.
15. Miles to Dayton Reason And Rhyme Second married couple in this year’s mix.
16. No Fuss and Feathers Union Pacific Folk supergroup with an ex-Red Molly.
17. Tom Chaplin Still Waiting Keane frontman tries the solo scene.
18. Cimorelli Up At Night Six sisters singing.
19. Abbie Gardner & Jesse Terry Joyful Noise Speaking of Red Molly, here’s Abbie with her tourmate.
20. Applewood Road Honey Won’t You Amy Speace’s new trio.
21. The Legal Matters Anything Power pop pizazz.
22. Infamous Stringdusters Run To Heaven I like Aoife O’Donovan solo, but still miss Crooked Still. This track is the closest thing since they split up.
23. Johnny Kasun and Caroline Powers Haven’t Seen The Sun Todd Wright co-write one more time.
24. Birds of Chicago Dim Star Of The Palisades Lovely song to end on.


Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Wednesday the 2nd I was up way too late to watch the Cubs win the World Series (extra innings and a rain delay?). We needed to figure out a winter camp for Nina and she wanted to do ice skating, so on Friday she had a lesson to see if she liked it (she did). Saturday I had to go to my mom’s house to meet a furniture donation truck, and I took Nina as she wanted to play on teh Wakefield Forest playground. She was hungry and we stopped for lunch at Jason’s Deli and got soup for Jill, who took Illa to the vet (he’s getting very anxious at night).


Sunday Nina and I went to a playground in Vienna in the afternoon, then saw Callaghan’s early show at Jammin’ Java. Monday school was closed Nina tried the other option for winter camp, Jumping Jack Sports, and liked that even more than ice skating, asked if she could have her next birthday party there (although in the morning she didn’t want to go, told me to drive slow on the Toll Road).


Tuesday the 8th we were over at a neighbor’s for pie and drinks and election returns (I made homemade tonic so we could have gin and tonics, but left when the kids got tired (and there wasn’t much worth celebrating). Friday I was off for Veteran’s Day, went to my mom’s house to meet a junk removal truck, hit CD Cellar and stop at Taco Bamba on the way back for a tasty lunch before working on cleaning the basement. That night Jill’s sister Melissa and her daughter Maddy came to visit.


Saturday everyone but Nina and I went to visit Marymount while Nina had her swim lesson. Sunday we all had dinner at Nando’s, then Jill saw Serenity at the nearby Alamo with her knitting group.


Tuesday the 15th saw Wolf Trap’s summer schedule released (Little Mermaid 6/29-7/2, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 7/7-7/8, and Neil Gaiman 7/9? Going to be a busy week), followed a short trip to the Barns. I’ve only been to a handful of concerts where they play an album all the way through, but Steve Vai’s Passion and Warfare was worth it. Man, it was loud – my ears rang a little, even with earplugs. My friend Eric would have especially enjoyed him playing “Liberty” alongside video from 1991’s Guitar Legends in Seville.


Thursday Jill and I went to Nina’s school for her classes’ Thanksgiving luncheon. The kindergarteners baked chewy bread, and guess who lost her first tooth in that bread?


Saturday the 19th we drove up to Philadelphia. Nina loved the Smith Memorial Playground and did not want to leave, but we were there to have “Friendsgiving” (early Thanksgiving) with our Shantytowne friends. An excellent spread, we wished we could have stayed longer but we needed to make it back home that night.


Wednesday Jill got maids to clean and need to cook, so Nina went to Jumping Jack Sports again. She was shy again at first (only 1 other girl there), but enjoyed herself. Thanksgiving itself on Thursday the 24th wasn’t too bad, we hosted a family from church with two kids (since we no longer have close family with my mom moving to Rochester), as well as having another family with two kids for dessert (Nina was exhausted). Friday Jill worked and I took Nina to Reston Town Center for the Annual Reston Holiday Parade. We found several friends, sat with one and had a playdate afterwards, another exhausting day for everyone.


Sunday the 27th we went to my dad’s for a delayed Thanksgiving. It was good, but Jill went from feeling a little queasy to a a lot by the time we got home, and was in no condition to go see Dave Matthews host a concert for Standing Rock that night. Out friend Linda came, and I was glad not to miss unforgettable performances Dave and Tim Reynolds had with Graham Nash (“Teach Your Children”) and Neko Case (“The Maker”, if you can believe that).

Nina Dad


Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Saturday the 1st my nephew Jake was still in town. I took him and Nina to play at Kid Junction, then Jill took them to watch a roller derby game before meeting up at Nando’s for dinner (preferred dining destination for all my nieces and nephews). Sunday Jake and I took Metro down to Nats Park to watch the Nationals beat the Marlins in the last game of the season. He’d never seen a major league game of football or baseball before, and I had offered him a choice since both teams were in town that day. While we were out, Nina was at a birthday party at Walker Nature Center, then we had takeout from Hunan East for dinner


After we couldn’t find her vest, found out she had Spanish class that day, and didn’t bring the troll toy from the cereal box that morning, Nina had a world class meltdown right in front of school on Thursday. And when we sat on the bench, of course it was wet.


Saturday the 8th we had a photo session (this power loader comes with the tea party option package), I took Nina to the Oktoberfest Reston after swimming, had some food and walked around. Later, we all went to see Beth Patterson at a house concert in Fairfax Station. Nina wasn’t into the concert, but did enjoy sitting on the circular stairs, watching their dog run around. The next week I was home with Nina on Columbus Day (finally got around to making her the car out of cardboard boxes she’d been asking for since she saw it in her Highlights Magazine), then in training in Sterling for 3 days, trying to study and answer work emails.

power loader

Some years, all the tours I want to see hit DC. This year, not so much, so Saturday night the 15th I was off for the 3rd concert trip this year. This time, just a drive up to Philly for the closest stop on the Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman tour. All former Yes members, and most importantly included Trevor Rabin who hasn’t toured in 20 years and wrote many demos that became 90125. His tenor combined with Jon Anderson’s alto tenor are a large part of my favorite Yes performances, and I was not disappointed by the show. I also stopped at Main Street Music before the show for some really good used CD shopping, and at Lee’s Hoagie House on the way out to get a hoagie for the 3 hour drive home (shopping earlier meant skipping dinner because of traffic on the way up).


Sunday the 16th Jill and Nina mad fall candles. Tuesday Nina had a field trip to Trader Joe’s to shop for pumpkins. Friday I went by myself to Lisner Auditorium for the Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees tour. I try never to miss Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle were good, and The Milk Carton Kids were a delight. Saturday was my birthday and was fairly ordinary to start – vacuuming, mowing and tree trimming. Then Jill brought Bon Chon chicken home, and we all went out to Disney On Ice. Finally we came home and I had homemade carrot cake my girls made – delicious.


Sunday I worked to get a day off the following week – Jill took Nina to church and had her during the early afternoon, then dropped her off at my work and I took her to Arrowbrook Park to play. I was caught up to issue 150 of The Walking Dead, but that still didn’t prepare me for the season premiere of the TV show that night – devastating.


Tuesday the 25th Nina had decided gymnastics was no longer for her – instead starting dance (ballet and tap) at Greater Washington Dance Center (she loved it). After the class our friend Patty was in town, so we went to Lorna and Dave’s for dinner for a Mid-Lanty Shanty and all had takeout from Thai Tada.


Wednesday was Nina’s school picture day and my day off, with lots of errands and cleaning. That night and the next I had the pleasure of two concerts at the Barns at Wolf Trap with the former lead singers of Fountains of Wayne and Great Big Sea. Both offered good helpings of their former bands, while following new paths. Chris Collingwood’s Look Park (with Philip Price from Winterpills, I was hoping he might be opening, but I’ll take him anytime) was a bit softer than his old band while Alan Doyle has brought electric guitar into his mix. The second night was vastly improved by Jill joining me and our dinner beforehand at Caboose Brewing (belated birthday celebration, good cheese plate and beer sampler combination). Also on Thursday Nina had her physical (first flu shot) as well as her passport application.

Jill Alan

Friday the 28th Nina rode her bike while I followed and we had dinner together at Flippin’ Pizza. Saturday Nina’s school had their Halloween Party and I volunteered to work a shift of games. That evening we went to a chili party at the house of some of Jill’s friends from knitting, and Nina got to roast marshmallows.


Sunday I was out for the 3rd night in a week, this time to see Weird Al, Emo Philips and Tig Notaro talk over UHF at the Lincoln Theatre. Great fun, especially when they turned up the audio so we could yell our favorite lines. Chris would have loved it.

Emo Al Tig

Monday was Halloween and Jill made scary popcorn bags for Nina’s class potluck lunch. Later we met at one of Nina’s friends and had pizza, then the 3 friends went trick or treating around the neighborhood.



Monday, October 24th, 2016

Friday the 2nd was Nina’s birthday. She got the entire collection of DC Super Hero Girls in the morning (including Katana, a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive), then we went to Disney In Concert at Wolf Trap that evening with Sue and Dave for summer concert #26.


The next afternoon was Nina’s birthday party at Goldfish Swim School, and truly the best run birthday party we’d ever been part of, plus Nina had a blast with all her friends. My dad and Patricia came over for lunch, and Mom and David were over after the party for dinner, as well as brunch the next day.

Jill Nina Kerry

Monday the 5th we went into the city with Sue and Dave. We visited the Natural History Museum, then walked over to the Old Ebbitt Grill for an early dinner. Tuesday school hadn’t started yet, so Jill took Nina apple picking. Wednesday Nina was excited for her first day of kindergarten.


Nina got a Luigi figure at school, and wanted to know all about him. She was excited when she learned he helped rescue princesses, and wanted to know all about them (and we downloaded an emulator and Super Mario Bros. to her tablet). Then she ran across this image and had me read it to her, and wanted to know why Princess Rosalina was good. #sheisnotoldenoughforthisconversation


Sunday the 11th I took Nina to see Cheap Trick and Joan Jett at the Lube. She had an ok time, but it would have worked better on a Saturday night or a closer venue. That was summer concert #27 and a wrap on summer concerts; Nina was with me at 18.


Friday the 16th I finally got to the top of my concert bucket list: Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra. And they’d been there for a long time – when they were going to tour in 2001 they weren’t scheduled to hit the DC area, so I’d planned my first trip just for a band. I was going to fly to St. Louis to see them, but ticket sales were bad and they scrapped the whole tour (later that year I flew to Seattle for 1 song from someone else, but that’s a story for another time). There were two small shows last fall for the new album that sold out instantly, so the 3 shows last week in LA and 2 this weekend in NYC felt like my only chance.


But the show was worth the wait (and the trip). His voice hasn’t let up one iota, he’s got a crack band, and a killer set list. The weirdest part was noticing the bassist is the same one that’s playing in the mini Yes reunion next month. The trip up and back was easy, took Amtrak as usual, had a quick early dinner at Antico Noè and stayed at Pod 51. I can’t see me in this picture, but I’m in there somewhere.


The next morning I stopped at Ess-a-Bagel to get a breakfast sandwich for myself and a dozen bagels for Jill before catching my train. In the afternoon we met up with a lot of Shantytowners at Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern for the Stuart Jewell Memorial Concert. Lots of locals and friends on stage to honor his memory in the way he would have enjoyed the most. We had made no special plans, and belatedly realized a babysitter would be a good thing. Luckily Sarah, our regular, was available and we joined the crowd at Lorna and Dave’s for a bonfire after the show.

Kerry Jill

Friday the 23rd Nina had her first field trip of the year – back to Stribling Orchard where she’s gone apple picking before. The next afternoon I took her over to a friend’s house where most of her class was gathered for a get together. Later she started going down hills on her balance bike.


Wednesday I saw an interesting question on a message board: Longest span between seeing same band/artist?

My response:
21 years apart seeing Mr. Big (open for Rush, than at M3). Yeah, so uncool, I know. Oh, wait – 22 years apart seeing Joan Jett. Much better. And Veruca Salt would also be 21 years.


Friday the 30th, my nephew, Jake, came to visit, and his first event was with us at Nina’s school birthday celebration (which I had to leave early because a contractor at my mom’s house showed up early).


Top 10 concerts

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

I posted my top 25 several years back, but a friend posted a top 10 on Facebook and asked for responses, and I couldn’t resist updating.

10. The Beach Boys at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 15, 2012
Got to see a fabulous reunion concert of the remaining five with my dad, a lifelong Beach Boys fan.

9. Monty Python at O2 Arena July 4, 2014
All my favorite songs (“Every Sperm Is Sacred”, “The Lumberjack Song”, “Bruces’ Philosophers Song”, and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”) as well as my favorite sketches (“Nudge Nudge”, “Spanish Inquisition”, “Argument Clinic”, and “Dead Parrot”) made appearances. The additional singers and dancers were used to good effect and the old video clips and new material were deftly edited together. A really great show, and they barely showed their age.

8. Brian May at Hammerjacks on March 5th, 1993
The solo CD had not left my CD player for nearly a month when I heard on the 98 Rock radio station the Queen guitarist was doing a last minute show in Baltimore. Amazing show with all his great solo songs and a number of Queen ones. I went with a girl I worked with on the school paper, and she ended getting us back stage just in time to meet him before he left.

7. Jimmy Page & Robert Plant at US Air Arena on March 23rd, 1995
I’m sorry I didn’t make the Zep reunion in 2007, but the pair of shows they put on in 1995 felt like a reunion.

6. Prince at Royal Farms Arena on May 10, 2015
There was heavy security at Royal Farms Arena (shortly after the Baltimore riots) and a long wait, but at last he took the stage, and it was all worth it. Not many people can get away with four encores, and that was after a pretty thorough greatest hits set.

6. Jerry Lee Lewis/Aretha Franklin (with Annie Lennox and Lenny Kravitz)/Jeff Beck (with Sting, Buddy Guy, and Billy Gibbons)/Metallica (with Lou Reed, Ozzy Osbourne, and Ray Davies)/U2 (with Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, The Black Eyed Peas, and Mick Jagger) at Madison Square Garden on October 30, 2009 for the 25th Anniversary of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Look at that lineup. ‘Nuff said.

5. Pearl Jam at Patriot Center on April 8th, 1994
I don’t know if I can ever properly describe what it was like before this show. We had just gotten the news that Kurt Cobain had died and this show was his wake. Eddie Vedder can surf a crowd like he can surf a wave.

4. Rush at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 18th, 2013
I’ve seen them from the front row, in Canada, and with superfans when they recorded a concert for a live video. I’ve never heard a crowd be louder for them than this night (bonus points for drowning out Jann Wenner for 5 solid minutes).

3. Paul McCartney with Ringo Starr at Radio City Music Hall for Change Begins Within on April 4th, 2009
Never got a chance to see George, wasn’t passing up a chance to see the last two Beatles together. Totally worth it.

2. David Gilmour with Richard Wright at Massey Hall, April 9th, 2006
I did see the Waters-less Pink Floyd twice, but “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and “Echoes” in a small theater blew the top of my head off.

1. Queen + Paul Rodgers at Continental Airlines Arena on October 16th, 2005
I was hoping for a show like this for years, and the anticipation before the amazing show was electric. I saw U2 for the second time a week later – they might as well been a tribute band, this show set the bar so high I wonder if it will ever be hit again.


Friday, August 26th, 2016

Friday the 1st was Jill’s birthday. She had the day off (after our rugs were cleaned), but Nina and I weren’t so we got takeout for dinner. The next day she had some of her spinners over to spin in the afternoon while I took Nina to her first piano lesson, then Nina and I went to Jiffy Lube Live to see summer concert #13: The Doobie Brothers and Journey. I wanted to wait for a Steve Perry reunion, but 2016 has been a cruel one to musicians. We didn’t stay too long, and had to get ice cream again, of course.


Sunday we drove over to my dad’s house. Jill’s sister Melissa met us there with her 2 youngest kids (cousin Ava is closest to Nina in age and her favorite), and we went out for a late lunch at Plaza Mexico. We weren’t planning on staying long, but the fireworks which they normally set off on the 3rd had been scheduled for the 1st for some reason, then postponed back to the 3rd, and we weren’t going to any big displays the next night.

Ava Nina

Monday I took Tiernan over to a fireworks stand to pick out some fireworks, then we grilled steaks for dinner and set off the fireworks in the parking lot and the floating dock. Tuesday I was at work while everyone else went to the water park at Lake Fairfax, then we got takeout from Flippin’ Pizza and Buffalo Wing Factory and went out on the lake.

Ava Kerry Nina Jill

Thursday the 7th we went to Wolf Trap for summer concert #14 and watched Melissa Etheridge, then everyone else left as Jill’s had to be up at 6 and Nina was getting cranky. I wanted to stay to hear Pat Benatar do “We Belong”, written by Lowen & Navarro. Lowen & Navarro were one of my buddy Stuart’s favorite bands, and I knew he was very ill – it wasn’t until the next morning came that I found he’d passed away that night. A sad day, but very nice to have Facebook for pictures, videos, and stories.

Kerry Stuart

Saturday the 9th we went to Leesburg and got takeout from Señor Ramon Taqueria, then saw Todd Wright at Acoustic on the Green for summer concert #15. A perfect summer evening for a picnic and concert, and Nina loves it when he brings his daughter up to sing.

Nina Kerry

Thursday the 14th I thought that maybe someday I’ll learn that while my dog doesn’t want to walk more than 10 feet in the morning, he’s fast when he wants to be. So I won’t have a repeat of Wednesday night, chasing him around the neighborhood in my socks, after I let him on the boat to chase the ducks.


Saturday afternoon Nina played Pokémon Go for the first time with me while we walked Illa. She liked designing her character, but wasn’t that much into the gameplay after catching one. She still had energy after her usual crazy weekend day for a performance at bed time (original songs plus a bonus cover or two). Sunday Jill took Nina to a birthday party where she got stung twice by wasps while playing outside – her first stings. Later I went out solo for summer concerts #16&#17: a doubleheader. I don’t mind North Mississippi Allstars, but I love the power pop of Air Traffic Controller, so I headed to Jammin’ Java first to see them, got the Angus Pastrami from Chase the Submarine, then went over to Wolf Trap to catch the rest of Los Lobos and finally see the amazing Tedeschi Trucks Band (I’ve seen them both before, but not the product of their musical marriage).

Air Traffic Controller

Tuesday the 19th Jill took Nina to her egg challenge (a muffin with egg) and passed – now she continues eating baked goods with a small quantity of egg to get her system used to it. Jill took her to the splash area at Reston Town Center later and I brought home ribs from Sweet Heat. Thursday Jill went with her friend Radhika to see Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! at Wolf Trap while Nina finally cracked the code that night – I won’t rush her into bed if she wants to talk superheroes.


Friday my mom and David were in town, and they came over for dinner and we got takeout from Lakeside Asia Café. The next day I took Nina to a splash birthday party (thank goodness, heat index was over 100), then that night Mom and David watched Nina. It was too hot for concerts so we went to Tavern 64 for dinner (delicious) and then saw the new Ghostbusters (absolutely fantastic). The next day Nina got her first poison ivy rash.

Friday the 29th we left on our annual summer vacation. We routed around backups and made it to Connecticut before stopping at Olé Molé in Stamford for lunch (fabulous fresh salsa), then hit bad traffic the rest of the way up 15 and later on 91. But we were still on time for Jill’s sister Melissa’s surprise birthday party at Nathan Bill’s, and Nina notched some firsts:

  1. 1st request from a DJ
  2. 1st dance on a dance floor
  3. 1st drink ordered from a bartender
  4. 1st drink spilled in a bar
  5. 1st sleepover
  6. 1st failed sleepover

Bridget Robin Ashley Jill

We stayed at the Bradys’ that week, and Nina got to hang out with her cousins (minus Jake who was in Ireland). Nina’s other cousin Finn and his folks came by the next day, and playing in the pool and swinging from the tire swing was on the agenda every day. Sunday we went to lunch at Jill’s dad’s house with his parents and Finn and family as well. Afterwards we stopped to buy the new Harry Potter book, and later picked up pizza from De Nardo’s Pizzeria & Restaurant where Madelyn works.