Friday the 1st Jill and I saw Neil Gaiman at Constitution Hall. He read from “Good Omens”, which I’ve never heard him read before. A real treat, and a fun night. Saturday Nina showed me how advanced she’d gotten at climbing trees – 6 feet off the ground without help. Sunday we were Nina’s BFF’s sister’s birthday party, and sometimes didn’t have to watch any kids at all. Monday Jill chaperoned Nina’s class trip to the Rust Nature Sanctuary.
Wednesday the 6th I found out about the Wheel Of Lunch, which looks like the evolution of the lunch spreadsheet some coworkers ad I used to use. Friday Nina and I played hooky and were joined by our friend Lauren and her son to take Metro down to the National Mall to see the WW2 flyover. We met my dad at the Smithsonian stop and staked out a spot. The planes ended up flying closer to the museums and we would have moved, except by that point Nina was more absorbed with playing with all the kids – at least I could still see the planes (loved the Boeing B-29 Superfortress). Afterwards we walked to L’Enfant and had lunch at the food trucks there (fried chicken was Nina’s choice for her first food truck experience) before heading back. Only 2 minor tantrums, and none when we had to stop in Target (it helped that she got to pick out some gifts for friends’ birthday parties).
Once she was headed for bed that night I took Metro into the city for the second time to kick off my Minneapolis based concert bucket list weekend. The trip there was fine, the Echostage school bus dropped me off right in front of the club. A sold out show there is as bad as sold out shows at Rams Head Live or Webster Hall – poor sightlines unless you’re up close on the floor or on the rail of the second level, plus bartenders that took forever. But The Replacements were good, and played pretty much all the songs I liked. Leaving was a pain because the bus does not leave from the club because of the traffic, instead stops at a nearby McDonalds, and I didn’t find that out for nearly an hour. At least Metro was open late, went to bed at 2AM.
The next day I posted “As God as my witness, I will never agree to taking Nina to 2 birthday parties in 1 day again”. Jill flew to NJ for a work meeting and didn’t get back until night. Nina and I left the house at 10:30, stopped at Bakeshop for cupcakes, and went to the first party – Teddy Bear Princess themed at a playground. She had a blast (and I got to talk to friends), but we got back a little before 4 and she had just fallen asleep so I let her sleep another 20 minutes, than we had to leave for the 2nd party at 5. That one was at Kid Junction where she had fun playing video games, in the pretend shops, and in the playground. And then she didn’t go to sleep until 10:30.
Sunday the 10th was Mother’s Day. I picked my mom up at Dulles as she was returning from her chorale tour of Ireland that day (here’s her last concert). The moms were served the tastiest steak in 12 parsecs for dinner. Jill said “I love it” – I said “I know”. Later I took Mom home and headed up to Baltimore to see Prince. I’d tried once before to see him and failed, so I’d bought a ticket the minute they went on sale. I also bought parking nearby in advance. There was heavy security at Royal Farms Arena 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.
Despite the worst traffic I’ve seen getting to Merriweather on Thursday the 14th, the Dear Jerry show was amazing. The core 4 showed up so much, it was practically a greatest hits show with special guests. And a nice passing of the torch to the next generation. The finale of “Touch Of Grey” and “Ripple” was a perfect way to finish the evening and especially nice to spend it with the Jewells.
Saturday the 16th we went to the Chantilly Day after Nina’s gymnastics. There was an enormous bouncy slide and she got to sit in the firetruck, but her favorite part was watching the dance groups perform. Sunday I worked while Jill took her to the Fine Arts Festival after church. Tuesday Jill and I went to see Blues Traveler at Tally Ho in Leesburg, but it was late and we were tired and only stayed for about half the show (but did chat with the Jewells there).
Thursday the 21st I took the day off to do some basement cleaning (I never seem to have both the time and energy to do it), and I wondered what was worse: a dead mouse that smells, or a mouse that’s been dead so long it doesn’t smell? Friday I took Nina to Prairie Home Companion at Wolf Trap and went to the Jewells’ spot to find fellow Shantytowners Pete and Lisa. I wanted to see I’m With Her (Aoife O’Donovan, Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz), but Nina enjoyed the whole show – I hoped she will like the other 3 shows there this summer that much. Saturday my dad and Patricia came over for lunch and a boat ride before they also went to Prairie Home Companion, then later Jill and I saw Dave Matthews Band at the Lube, and since we went so late we missed dinner ended up at Ciao Osteria for some delicious Italian food (I had a pizza and she had the Eggplant Parmesan). Memorial Day Jill took Nina strawberry picking with her BFF while I slept in and mowed.
I was an idiot twice Tuesday the 26th, but lucky. For a variety of reasons (including a heretofore unknown allergy to jazz flute), I’d never seen Steven Wilson solo (only in Porcupine Tree or Blackfield prior), but I really liked the new album (and if you don’t know the godfather of progressive rock 2.0, here’s a free sampler). I felt the show was amazing, just the right number of older songs as I wanted to hear the new stuff, but great performances all around. Afterwards I stopped for a quick snack at the Satellite Room (tasty tots) next door before heading back to Metro with plenty of time to catch a connecting train to Reston before closing. Or so I thought, because when I looked up from the book I was reading on my phone, I saw “Fort Totten” on the wall. I was so perplexed by that, the doors closed before I could do anything. I got off at West Hyattsville where I’d just missed a train, and had to wait for the last Green Line train back to DC. I went to Gallery Place and checked the next train page at Metro’s site and saw there was one more Orange Line train leaving in 11 minutes from Metro Center – I made it there in 5.
In West Hyattsville I’d downloaded the Lyft app (and a promo code), so I was good to go when I got to East Falls Church, and the driver soon dropped me at the Reston stop. Except he dropped me at the garage entrance, and rather than go down the ramp or outside and around to the plaza, I decided to look for another way up – and found an elevator. Up one level, and I was on the plaza – but inside a locked building. No problem, just take the elevator back down – except it wouldn’t go down. The doors closed, and it beeped, and then nothing. I checked all the doors, verified they were all locked, and didn’t find any stairs. I hit the call button (got nothing) and tried the elevator again. Finally I realized that the door hadn’t completely closed, and I shoved it closed and held it there – and it started moving down. This time I didn’t wait to go down the ramp.
Two things I learned:
a) Lyft is very useful
b) Nina can’t be told about this ‘til she’s 21
Friday the 29th we went to Nina’s class picnic at the Herndon Festival to see Love Canon (a bluegrass band that does ’80s covers) at night. Saturday I took Nina to meet the author of Dozi the Alligator at One More Page Books (he called her his biggest fan), then she played at nearby Tuckahoe Park. That night we all headed to the Lube, had a quick tailgating picnic (we were late, a lot more traffic than the previous week’s show), then Nina and I headed in to see Rush. Jill was supposed to wait in the parking lot, but it turns out they patrol and threatened her with trespassing if she didn’t leave, so she went to Panera. Nina was a trouper at the show, made it through the entire 1st set. And since my dad took me to my 1st Rush show it makes her a 3rd generation fan. Jill picked her up at the front gate after they had her park in the VIP lot, then I watched the 2nd set (it was awesome, I really enjoyed “Roll the Bones”, “Jacob’s Ladder” and the extended section of “Cygnus X-1”).
Sunday I went back to the Herndon Festival in the morning and Nina and Jill joined me after church. My favorite was Pat McGee at the Depot Stage as he had Eddie Hartness on percussion. Later we went to O’Sullivan’s for lunch and Stuart joined me for a drink. We set up at the main stage to see Donna the Buffalo and Gaelic Storm, and left towards the end of Gaelic Storm’s set. Unfortunately Nina had another asthma attack start on the way home, but was doing better after using her nebulizer.