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August

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

We were still on vacation in Maine on Tuesday, August 1st. We went to visit the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in the morning, then met up with Mom and David to spend the afternoon at Pemaquid Beach, which is where Mom used to come to the beach when she was a girl. That evening we had dinner at Shaw’s Fish & Lobster Wharf, then ice cream at Harbor Ice Cream on the way back. Wednesday we drove back to Holyoke and hit a big rainstorm on the Mass Pike that had just missed Hillsdale.

Nina

Thursday morning Nina got an art lesson from Gram in the morning, then it was time to grocery shop and head over to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. We had just finished getting our tent set up when the Cannons arrived. The girls got to run around and we got to hang out and meet up with everyone – I handed out the prints and magnets I’d made of the Lego print. For dinner I made quesadillas and fajitas with my portable single burner stove, and later got to see Abbie Gardner, Joe Crookston & Jesse Terry at the Lounge Stage.

Nina

Friday we took the kids over to the craft area for play and crafts. I did make a point of seeing Heather Aubrey Lloyd at the Emerging Artist Showcase, but most of the music I saw that day was later around the campfire. The girls discovered it was fun to attack the grownups with inflatable toys, and there was an 90s themed potluck Shantyballe that evening.

Nina

Saturday Nina and Penny danced with Jill and Jess in the dance tent, I got to see several acts including Brother Sun’s final appearance, The Slambovian Circus of Dreams featuring The Kennedys, and new find Upstate Rubdown twice. Sunday we tore down and left as early as possible because Jill had to work the next day, and traffic wasn’t as bad as it usually is (actually got home before dark).

Kerry Nina Jill

Wednesday the 9th Nina and I had a picnic dinner at Reston Town Center where she ended up running into her friend Meghana on the way to an unplanned bathroom break and they got to play together. Sunday I was pleased with the first (pitch perfect) casting announcement from the Good Omens TV series: Michael Sheen as Aziraphale and David Tennant as Crowley. The next day I wondered why “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” was stuck in my head.

Nina

Friday the 18th I was home with Nina as there was no camp, and took her to a 4 hour playdate with 2 other girls (there was much dressing up). That evening we went out for dinner at Not Your Average Joe’s where she didn’t find much she liked besides the bread and I tried the ramen (not bad). The next day Jill took her to a birthday party. Monday the 21st Jill got Nina out of school early for the eclipse while I watched from work – not as exciting as totality, we’ll try for that in 2024 (Mom’s house is in the path).

Nina

Tuesday the 22nd Jill’s sister Melissa came down with her husband and oldest daughter, who was starting her freshman year at Marymount. We all had Hunan East for dinner, then Jill helped them move in the next day. Nina was starting to get a little anxious about starting first grade in a new school, but Terraset had an open house on Thursday that did much to ease her anxiety – it helped that Jack (our neighbor) and Rose & Violet (from Daisy Scouts) were in her class. Sunday we had Lorna & Dave and Janice over for a Mid-lanty Shanty fajita dinner.

Nina

Nina was pretty excited for her first day of school on Monday the 28th. We all walked up Ridge Heights together, and she got to meet the tiger mascot.

Nina

July

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Nina had a playdate with her friend Olivia on Saturday July 2nd. It was Jill’s birthday, and her friend Emily (who shares her birthday) came up with her son for a couple days in the afternoon. Naturally we went to Wolf Trap for summer concert #3 to see The Little Mermaid (the colorblind casting was a delightful surprise). We didn’t stay until the end, and still didn’t get the kids in bed until after 11.

Nina

Sunday we went to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival where we watched The Hebei Golden Eagle Acrobatic Troupe and The Wallenda Family Troupe. Nina tried walking on a tightrope, and rode the carousel before we had lunch at the popup Irish pub there (the Irish Spring Rolls were delicious, as was the alcoholic popsicles). That night Jill’s nephew Jake came to stay with us.

Nina

Tuesday July 4th I took Nina and Jake to buy fireworks and we set them off later before taking the dock boat out on the lake to see the big booms. Wednesday we went to Tysons Corner for Shake Shack. We enjoyed a lot of fajitas in July as Nina decided she liked the marinade I tried (Pappasito’s secret is pineapple juice).

Nina

Thursday Jake went home and we headed to summer concert #4: Natalie Merchant at Wolf Trap. Still kind, still generous. Bonus: the kiddo fell asleep in the car, and we still got her in bed with only minor fussing. Saturday Nina and Jill went to see the dance of the daughter of one of Jill’s coworkers while I worked on the boat, then Sunday Jill and I picnicked with some of her knitting friends at Wolf Trap and saw summer concert #5: Neil Gaiman. I was delighted to hear some Good Omens cut scenes.

Nina

Thursday July 13th I noticed this was an accurate look inside a place if you’re a fan of American Gods or just weird roadside attractions. Saturday we picnicked at Arrowbrook Centre Park to see The Pietasters (my favorite ska band I went to high school with) and discovered Shantytowners Bill and Andrea had conspired to make a Lego version of Shantytowne.

Lego Shantytown(e)

Harold Cannon, late father of best bud Chris, made an album in 1958. After having an poor quality version for years, 2 copies popped up on eBay within a year. The first arrived snapped in half, but the second came from England in decent condition. I ripped it and put it up here Thursday.

Harold Cannon

The next night was Friday the 22nd and I’d bought tickets to see Robbie Schaefer previewing his new musical. Jill ended up had to work so I brought Nina with me. Unfortunately a panel on the bottom of my car came loose on one side on 66 and dragged on the ground. Luckily I always carry rope and after spending 5 minutes on the pavement after getting off in Rosslyn it held ok. We were almost there and hungry, so we drove the rest of the way to Shirlington on side streets and had dinner at Busboys & Poets, then walked over to Signature Theatre for Summer concert #7. The repair held on the slow trip home on 7, and Nina decided she was a big fan of “Stupid American”. Saturday was supposed to be a free Eddie From Ohio show at Arrowbrook Centre Park but got rained out, so we just went to Reston Town Center and had dinner at Hen Penny.

Nina Jill

Sunday morning I flew to Boston where Chris picked me up. We hung out at his house, then hit the road to Connecticut where we stopped at These Guys Brewing Company in Norwich for dinner (good beers, okay South Asian Beer Wings & Lobster Tater Tots). Then we drove over to Mohegan Sun for summer concert #8: Queen + Adam Lambert. Great show, almost as good as the company. The capacity was 3,935. May have been smallest venue on the tour – certainly felt like it. I took the train and subway early in the morning so I could catch an early flight and be back to work by lunchtime. I found out Nina had started her first knitting project while I was away.

Nina

Thursday July 26th was summer concert #9: Regina Spektor and Ben Folds. Alas, we didn’t stay for her encore when they performed together (school nights are tough). Saturday was the start of our summer vacation, up early with our first big stop at Jill’s dad’s house for lunch (with Meme and Robin and her family), then stayed at Jill’s sister’s house for the night (they had just bought an Alexa and everyone had fun interacting with it).

Nina Finn

Sunday morning (after Nina and Ava got to play outside) we drove to my sister’s house in Hingham – their first houseguests! We went to the Hingham Harbor Beach where Nina and Josh played in the sand, then we helped make spaghetti for dinner. Later we went out for Nona’s Homemade Ice Cream (we all got kiddie scoops because they were huge).

Nina Kerry

Monday the 31st we drove up to Pemaquid where we met my mom and my uncle – their uncle had a cottage up there and they used to come up during the summers when they were kids. The first night we went down to Pemaquid Seafood where I had a delicious lobster roll, then Jill and Nina decided to walk back the half a mile to the house we all stayed in.

Don Nancy Jill

April

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Saturday the 1st I took Nina to a birthday party at Rebounderz (think trampoline heaven). We were supposed to have Nina’s first tee-ball practice that afternoon, but it was raining and the fields were closed.

Nina

Thursday I sat in a chair most of the day like any other weekday, but previous to that there was a plane and subway ride and my view was band rehearsals for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame instead of a computer. I arrived in Brooklyn around 8:30AM to windy and cold conditions, made my first stop a bodega for an umbrella and walked around. I found Brooklyn Crêpe & Juice Bar and waited for them to open at 9, had a quick breakfast of a crêpe and a smoothie and was at Barclays Center right at 9:30.

Journey

First up was Journey. For all the rehearsals they seated us in section 23, and there wasn’t much happening on stage yet – Gregg Rollie and Jonathan Cain were at their keyboards. Steve Smith sat at the drum set, and they started playing “Separate Ways”. After that, Ross Valory, Neal Schon, and Arnel Pineda joined them on stage and ran through “Separate Ways” again – Gregg did not play keys. There was some discussion after that and Arnel teased “I’m Cryin'” and “Patiently”, then one more time through “Separate Ways”. Aynsley Dunbar switched in on drums and they played “Lights”. Arnel stepped off for a discussion, and the rest of the band played “Lights” again (with backing vocals). Then they were ready for a full run through: Gregg and Aynsley left and the band played the intro for “Separate Ways” and stopped, then played the whole song. Neal introduced Gregg and Aynsley and they played “Lights” together, then Gregg and Aynsley left again. Finally they played “Don’t Stop Believin'” of course, then Arnel had to leave and the band played “Don’t Stop Believin'” again (with backing vocals). No sign of Steve Perry, but I was not surprised. “Don’t Stop Believing” still sounded fantastic even without vocals.

Journey

There was a break after that and I walked over to Bricolage for lunch where I had the 5-Spiced Fried Chicken and a beer, as well as an iced tea to go (I was feeling my 4AM wakeup by then). I made my way back to Barclays and they were still setting up instruments, and we watched the Chuck Berry and Journey videos they would show the next night. Finally Electric Light Orchestra was ready to go – but Jeff Lynne wasn’t there. So they ran through “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Evil Woman” without him, playing riffs of Yes’ “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” (bassist Lee Pomeroy is also a member of Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman) and Rush’s “Cygnus X-1” in between. Finally Jeff rolled in, grabbed his guitar and got down to business and they went through the whole set twice: “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Evil Woman”, and “Mr. Blue Sky”. Then he left, and we left. They sounded as tight as they did when I saw them in September, but I was surprised that Richard Tandy didn’t join them this time (I learned later he wasn’t well).

Nina

They’d asked us to leave the arena between Journey and ELO, but this time they just asked us to go to the concourse where I charged my phone and read. They let us back in about 30 minutes later, and soundcheck was still going on. Yes was the rehearsal I was most excited to see, and the rumors were quickly proven true, as out came most of the Union era lineup (Steve Howe, Alan White, Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, and Trevor Rabin) as well the one and only Geddy Lee (of Rush) slappin’ that bass on “Roundabout”. And then something more amazing happened. The other song Yes was doing is “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” (and Steve played bass on that – founding member Chris Squire was the bass player prior to his death two years ago). Jon wasn’t happy with the chorus, and looked over at the audience and asked if we knew the words. Quick as a flash half of us were on stage behind a microphone. Unfortunately the powers that be put the kibosh on it, but Geddy was standing 10 feet from me. So now I can say I’ve shared the stage with Geddy Lee. They ran through “Roundabout” and “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” one more time after that. Also Alex Lifeson was sitting at the table closest to the stage watching the whole thing.

Jon and Geddy

After sitting all day, I made up for it by taking the subway to Manhattan and walking around NYU. I found Generation Records to shop in, then met up with my friend (and host for the trip) Chris. We walked over to nearby Tim Ho Wan where he knew we wouldn’t have to wait if we ate standing up at the bar and shared some delicious dim sum (especially their dumplings). I managed to get on the wrong subway line back to Brooklyn necessitating a long walk to transfer to the correct one. I was tired after my very long day, but I rallied to leave the apartment and make it the half block to the grocery store to buy some Lithuanian beer that convincingly replicates US craft brew labels. Too bad I hurt my foot not paying attention to the step down from the bathroom.

beer

The next morning I was limping and decided not to go shopping as I’d planned, instead got a Bulgogi cheese steak from Hanki before getting back in a seat at a Barclays for Pearl Jam’s rehearsal. It was more crowded and enthusiastic as we waited for the band – the techs tuning got cheers when we recognized parts of “Daughter” and “Better Man”. They started and stopped “Not For You” and “Better Man” before the band entered. First drummer Dave Krusen played as they went through “Alive”, then Matt Cameron took over. Mike McCready played the riff to “Black Diamond” as they waited, then they played “Given To Fly”. They got through the intro of “Better Man”, then stopped, then played the whole thing and they were done. Next, “set for finale” announced a voice and soon Alex Lifeson appeared stage right playing what sounded like the intro to “Rockin’ In The Free World”. Soon Geddy Lee, Dhani Harrison, Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon, and Trevor Rabin joined the band and they played it one time through. We also got to see Geddy and Alex’s induction speech and some of Dhani Harrison’s speech before they kicked us out.

finale

My foot was feeling better and I was walking close to normal, so I did manage to go to Fifth Avenue Record Shop and Music Matters before taking a break. I was back at Barclays for the end of cocktail hour, where I found out my life was not all roses – a Pearl Jam fan saw my Rush shirt and asked me who he got pictures with. It was Geddy and Alex. Sigh. Someday. At least the bar had Magic Hat #9 on draft. Also Barclays closed all the cool local food vendors I had planned on eating at. At least Nathan’s is authentic NYC. The ceremony itself was great, the Joan Baez and Lenny Kravitz segments were great and Tupac was ok. Things I learned that night:

  • Rick Wakeman should get a job as a comedian
  • Steve Perry ain’t ever playing with Journey again
  • Geddy and Alex are awesome (OK, I already knew that)
  • If you go get a drink after a show with a fraternity brother (Henry), be prepared to hang out until it appears they’ve started closing the bar down (at the North Pole Pub).
  • If the train you’re looking for shows up on the express side instead of local DON’T get on it (then later I found out that due to construction there was no local stop there, but I might have switched lines if I knew that).
  • Googling “how to unfold a futon” saves you from waking up your host or sleeping on a couch.
  • You can see the back of me in the lower left corner of the picture below.

Me and Yes

My trip back had only one bit of excitement – my determination to get the Cubano I’d missed the night before took so long I nearly missed boarding my flight (it was 100 feet away, but still). The next day was Nina’s first tee-ball practice, and she really enjoyed it (she was a natural at batting, need some work throwing and catching).

Nina

Thursday the 13th was Jill and Nina’s turn to travel – up to Massachusetts for Easter on the train. After some long days at work to make up hours, I spent most of Saturday cleaning and sealing the dock boat. Then I followed up the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a tribute to Pete Seeger, who would surely be in a Folk Hall of Fame. I started with a lamb burger at Red Apron Burger Bar, then walked over to Foggy Bottom and took the shuttle to the Kennedy Center. The night was like a super-sized Falcon Ridge Folk Festival workshop. I was pleased that Judy Collins, like Joan Baez the previous week, still possesses her full powers (she brought the house down with “Both Sides Now”). Too bad I had to skip Peter Yarrow & Noel Paul Stookey to catch the last train home. The next day I got to drown my sorrows that Barclays Center had closed all the cool Brooklyn food stands with all that Nats Park has to offer (like kimchi tater tots) with my dad (celebrating his birthday).

Nina

Nina had a great time celebrating Easter with her cousins, even lost her fourth tooth. She visited the Zoo in Forest Park there, and then her class took a field trip to the National Zoo on Thursday the 20th. Saturday was the official start of tee-ball season and Nina got to meet Nationals mascots Teddy and Abe before she walked in a parade with her team. Unfortunately rain started at the end and the rally and the games afterwards were washed out (but Nina and I had breakfast at Ted’s Bulletin). Jill’s mom had surgery a couple days earlier and recovery wasn’t going well, so Jill decided to go up and help out on Sunday, so it was just Nina and me until Thursday night (her mom’s doing much better now). When I took Nina to Daisy Scouts on Sunday I had a fun experience as we were listening to a new CD by Peter Mulvey in the car and he slipped a “f*ck” into the first verse of 2 songs in a row.

Nina

Friday there was a meme about 10 bands you’ve seen (and one is a lie). Everyone knows I’ve seen way too many bands to participate in that meme. So I did a different one: 10 bands with special guests on stage, one is a lie:

  • John Mellencamp (with Tiffany)
  • The Dead (with Tipper Gore)
  • Metallica (with Ray Davies)
  • U2 (with The Black Eyed Peas)
  • R.E.M. (with Thom Yorke)
  • Fleetwood Mac (with Warren Haynes)
  • Dave Matthews Band (with Herbie Hancock)
  • Yes (with Geddy Lee)
  • The Wallflowers (with Jewel)
  • George Michael (with Garth Brooks)

Answer: Fleetwood Mac

Nina

Saturday the 29th was Nina’s first tee-ball game, and I never knew watching it could be so stressful. Things I’ve said:

  • Watch the ball!
  • Stop fighting over the ball!
  • Get your glove off your head!
  • Run to first! No, the other way!
  • Stop climbing the dugout!
  • Stop digging in the dugout!
  • Stop watching the boy peeing in the woods!

We followed that with her school’s International Day and then her swim lesson, and we all needed a break after that. Nicely timed was an offer by Janice to host dinner as Tony and Charissa were down picking up Stuart’s train set.

Nina

Sunday I again went to watch the Nationals with my dad, this time bringing along Nina and Jill for the first time in two and three years, respectively. As I hoped Nina was much more into the game now. The Nats were up 5-1 after 1 inning. Nina may be a good luck charm. She certainly can scream loud enough to be heard from across the field. They finished off the Mets 23–5, one of their biggest offensive performances ever. That night I noted that the new season of Silicon Valley is now 2 for 2 with laugh out loud moments at the end of each episode.

Nina Dad

March

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).

Tremblant

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.

Nina

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

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.

Nina

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).

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

chatka

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.

Nina

December

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).

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

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).

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

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).

Jill

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.

Nina

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

November

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).

Nina

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).

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

Vai

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?

Nina

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.

Friendsgiving

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.

Darth

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

October

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

Nina

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.

Nina

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).

ARW

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

August

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Monday the 1st we were on vacation in East Longmeadow, MA at the Bradys’. Jill and Melissa took the kids to Spec Park that morning where Dominic works, then we were bird paramedics in the afternoon for a fledgling. It was rare for me to be caught up on pop culture other than music (as that day I was watching 3 kids in a pool), but having watched Ghostbusters 2.0 the previous week and having read Harry Potter 8 over the past two days, I thought both were excellent.

Ava Nina

Tuesday we took Nina to Nonotuck Park in Easthampton, then went to Northampton. We had lunch at Sam’s Pizzeria and Cafe (it was ok), then caught Pokemon with Nina as the other ran errands (CDs and yarn, natch). Jill had downloaded Pokemon Go that morning as Maddy and Tiernan were into it, and we started to get competitive. That night, Melissa, Jill and I went out to Max Burger for some delicious burgers and shakes.

Nina

Wednesday all the kids visited a friend’s pool. We forgot Nina’s medicine, so I went back for it and stocked up for camping at Table & Vine (the important supplies). We got takeout from Nick’s Nest for lunch at Sue’s house, then spent the rest of the day there (where even more cousins showed up). I went back to Northampton with Maddy and Tiernan so they could hunt Pokemon (and go to their first gym). For dinner I picked up McDonald’s and Chinese takeout from Golden Chopsticks (not bad, but I feel they were better last time we went).

Ahna Nina

Thursday the 4th we bought food at Stop & Shop, then found a Sonic that was kind of on the way for lunch before leaving for the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. We got the tent set up and welcomed the Cannons’ arrival, then helped them make Mexican for dinner. Afterwards we took the kids down to the Lounge Stage to see Reggie Harris with Pat Wictor, then I came back later to see Pesky J. Nixon, Peter Mulvey, The Sea The Sea, and Joe Jenks (summer concert #18).

Kerry Nina

Friday was lots of running around, followed by Stuart’s wake and the Shanty luau/steak and martini night. After the main stage, I went over to the Budgiedome for Summer concert #19: Mike + Ruthy, Eric Schwartz, and Pesky J. Nixon. Saturday had some light morning rain (pretty much the only precipitation of the fest), then Nina and I joined the Cannons at the kids tent for crafts and play (I managed to catch the Most Wanted Song Swap twice for summer concert #20). That night Jill, Nina and I joined some other Shantytowners at the main stage to see summer concert #21: The Mike + Ruthy Band. After all the kids were in bed, there was an epic singing night in camp.

Shantytowne

Sunday we packed up and unusually started heading straight home (we often had spent the night at Sue’s before going back). We made the early decision to go through Pennsylvania, and stopped at Salsa’s Mexican Grille for dinner. Nina had 2 more firsts that day: 1st pee on the side of the road, and 1st use of “dammit” (after discussion, she’s now using “shucky ducky”). Monday Jill and I were off, but work ended up needing me for half a day, plus I had to meet a contractor at my mom’s house (and inadvertently risked exposure to hepatitis A).

Shantytowne

Tuesday the 9th we went to Nando’s Peri-Peri for dinner before heading over to Verizon Center for summer concert #22. I was very tempted to take Nina to Paul McCartney 2 years previous when he played Nationals Park, but I’m glad it worked out to take her that night. He was in fine form and she had a great time. Hopefully someday she’ll be able to appreciate what he’s done for music.

Nina Paul McCartney

The next night Jill and I saw Matt Nathanson put on his usual crowd pleasing show on a sweltering night at Wolf Trap for summer concert #23 (and missed out connecting with our friend Linda). We had dinner at the Encore Circle, which has expanded in size and decreased the quality and quantity of the food.

Matt

Saturday the 13th was possibly the hottest day of the year, so of course I made the unwise decision to walk with Nina over to a birthday on the next lake. At least I was smart enough to have Jill pick us up at the end. Later I went to the 9:30 Club for summer concert #24: Belly. Amazing that I’ve been to so many concerts, but there are still acts I missed for some reason. Plus I even took Chris to a listening party for “King” and had them sign a bootleg (I was so snarky). Situation remedied, Tanya and Gail were rock stars that night.

Belly

The week of the 15th was no fun. Nina got strep and stayed home Monday and Tuesday, then caught a cold Thursday night and was home on Friday. Thursday the 25th Nina and I got takeout (Wendy’s for her, Santini’s for me and went to Lake Anne. We saw Iona for summer concert #25, played in the fountain and caught some Pokemon (Nina’s developing a really good throw of the ball).

Nina Barbara

Getting a dinner out (at Jardenea) and seeing John Oliver would have been a good night on Saturday (minus the idiot in the hotel lobby outside the restaurant), but we almost literally ran into the Greenes on the way into the Kennedy Center. Couldn’t have had a nightcap afterwards with nicer folks (at Bourbon Steak). Jill’s mom and Dave came to visit that night, and the next day Nina got to fish with Dave before we went out for dinner at Ford’s Fish Shack.

Kerry Jill

The last week of August Nina’s school didn’t offer summer camp, so we had put her in a half day camp at her gym. Sue and Dave picked her up each afternoon so neither Jill nor I needed to use vacation time that week. Wednesday Jill, Nina and Sue went to Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios in Tyson’s, and Dave and I walked over to Red’s Table for drinks.

Sue Dave Nina

July

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

April

Friday, May 13th, 2016

I’d only seen Heather Nova once before because I was in London the same time she was performing there in 2002. So when she came to Jammin’ Java on Saturday the 2nd I was pretty excited. She put on a great show with all the classics I wanted to hear (especially “Heart And Shoulder”). The next day I took Nina to a birthday party at JW Tumbles – I would have thought she was too big it now, but she loved playing there with her friends.

Heather Nova

Wednesday I went over to Mom’s as she and David were having a civil ceremony since Tom wasn’t certified to perform the ceremony in Virginia. We drove over to the celebrant’s house with her friend Mary and witnessed the deed, then Mom and David took us out to lunch at Villa Mozart. It was delicious, but I had to make up a big chunk of work later in the week.

Mary Nancy David Kerry

It never fails that there’s at least one show each spring that has me looking forward to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Thursday the 7th it was the lovely voiced Aoife O’Donovan with Anthony da Costa on guitar while Mark Erelli opened. Great night of music that had me looking forward to summer. Saturday I took Nina to the Reston book sale after her swimming lesson and she picked out a bunch of books. We thought about going over to Reston Founder’s Day at Lake Anne but it was windy and rainy. That night there was a price glitch at Amazon and many albums were marked down to free – I spent hours downloading over 200 free albums (late that night the prices reverted).

Nina

Sunday the 10th I headed to DC after breakfast to take the train to NYC for my 2nd solo trip since Nina came along. I got to the Seton Hotel in the afternoon – the one bad thing about it was the “shared bathroom” meant 2 bathrooms for the whole floor. I walked over to the Num Pang Sandwich Shop and got the Five-Spice Glazed Pork Belly sandwich (hit the spot), then read for a while before heading over to Radio City Music Hall.

David Gilmour

The reason for the trip was David Gilmour. The voice and guitar of Pink Floyd hadn’t toured the USA in 10 years and I figured it would be the last (last time we took a trip to Toronto). I bought a ticket for the Monday show at Madison Square Garden and figured going to the smaller venue would be even better. But I was wrong. I was way up front, but couldn’t see much of the visuals. Also the subwoofers were right there and the bass was too loud, never mind the asshat behind me that never stopped yelling out requests.

David Gilmour

The next morning I slept in, then headed over to Academy Records to shop. For lunch I went across the street to The Gander and had a delicious lunch of duck and charred cauliflower. I also went to Other Music to shop as well. I had a quick break back at the room (got a Shake Shack shake as they were next door to the hotel), then I picked up a “Killer Bee” pizza from B Side Pizza as I walked over to stand in line at the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. You’d have thought I learned my lesson from the first time we tried (and failed) to see the Daily Show, but it was a long line with only about 10 people behind me. When I made it in, I figured everything was fine, but when we got seated, the music stopped with 5 people to go (including me). The lady in charge offered to seat 3 of us on the edge and offered 2 VIP tickets as a consolation prize – luckily the first folks opted for VIP and I got to see the show. Good show and panel (frankly, one my favorite shows anyway) but weird to hear the unbleeped profanity.

Nightly Show

The reason I stopped for food was there was no time afterwards, just straight over to Madison Square Garden (well, time for a drink there before the show started). I was already enjoying the show more than the night before (amazing visuals, perfect sound, great performance)… and then I ran into Neil Gaiman in the bathroom line at intermission. He showed me a lovely picture of his new son, we talked about phones (he still has the BlackBerry). The rest of the show was great, but I kept chuckling to myself about the weird way the universe works. Vacation is the only time I can justify both starting and ending the day sitting at a bar. I was hungry by the time I got out of the subway at Grand Central, and stopped in at the Park Avenue Tavern. Unfortunately their kitchen had just closed so I had a Ludlow cocktail (with muddled cucumber) while I pondered my options. I settled on Scotty’s Diner down the block, where I could have two things I’d been craving: fried eggs (perfect) and carrot cake (meh). The next morning I stopped at Bagel Express for a bagel sandwich for me and a dozen to take home to Jill, then had a pleasant trip home in the rain. I started reading the Walking Dead comics when I left, got up to issue 80 by the time I got back.

David Gilmour

Wednesday the 13th Jill was a chaperone on Nina’s class trip to the National Zoo. Thursday Jill and I met at Lake Anne for the Lake Anne Brew House Pre-Opening Event (I was a KickStarter backer) and tried their new beverages (now we just need a brewpub at South Lakes). Friday Nina and had dinner at Cafesano with her BFF and his family (she can’t have the pizza anymore since they added an eggwash, but she ate some chicken skewers with her lentil soup).

Nina

Saturday Nina and I took the Metro to the USA Science & Engineering Festival. Nina loved the science fair – her favorites were the army VR (interactive helicopter mission) and building a neuron. She wasn’t impressed by They Might Be Giants – after 10 minutes asked where the giants were (and she really wanted a light up yo-yo).

Nina

Sunday Jill took Nina to Meadowlark Gardens in the morning while I did yardwork and went shopping. Later I took her to Toys “R” Us to get a yo-yo (it didn’t light up but she wanted one right then) before we were to meet Jill at the nearby Don Pablo’s for dinner – except they’d closed it (bye to my favorite queso). So we went to Plaza Azteca (and you can’t go wrong with table side guacamole when you have a picky eater).

Nina

Wednesday the 20th Mom came over to watch Nina and Jill and walked over to Red’s Table for a beer dinner with beers from Fair Winds Brewing (ironically I’d just filled my growler with their anniversary ale a couple days earlier). The first course featured the largest calamari I’d ever seen stuffed with sausage and Jill loved the spiced butter chicken, but the topper was the hazelnut cream doughnut topped with a rhubarb compote. Thursday the 21st Prince passed away, and it felt like that was the heaviest musical passing yet, as I spent weeks hunting down great performances and covers of his songs.

Nina

Mom’s wedding was on Saturday the 23rd. It was a small crowd of relatives, including my sister and my uncle. After the ceremony, we all went over to the Peking Gourmet Inn for lunch. I thought Nina might try the duck, but I was wrong – she settled for some chicken and broccoli without sauce. After a break, we came back in the evening so we could visit with my sister and her family, and brought over some Flippin’ Pizza and Bon Chon Chicken for dinner.

Nancy Tom David

We had the Norwoods over for brunch and playtime the next day. Later I went into DC and saw Generation Axe (Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme, Zakk Wylde from Ozzy, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Steve Vai) with my college buddy Eric. I wasn’t going to take pictures that night, but then Zakk Wylde decided to demonstrate shredding behind his head right next to me.

Zakk Wylde

Tuesday Jill took Nina into DC to see the Renwick Gallery and the Building Museum. Saturday the 30th I went to Scrawl Books for Independent Bookstore Day and got my Neil Gaiman coloring book after being 8th in line. They’re teeny tiny but have lots of books. Later, Nina’s school had International Day and Nina got to go to all the activities in the different rooms before the African drum concert at the end.

Nina

Two big accomplishments for Nina this month: she learned to write her name and learned to whistle.