January

Not too much was going on early in the month. The other Dogfish Head Alehouse in the area closed – I didn’t go often, but they always had the best beer. Nina started cookie sales, and I noticed the following in my newsfeed and posted “Wait… Does that mean Iggy Azalea is the new vocalist for Rage Against The Machine?” Friday we had takeout from Dolan Uyghur.

Inoreader

On Saturday the 6th, Jill dropped me off at the Metro. At Union Station I picked up the Cava order I’d made, and was soon enjoying my salad on my first Acela trip to Philadelphia. I’d planned on driving, but the day’s winter storm made me reconsider, and it turned out to be a good. It was a bit slippery in Philly as I walked to Long In the Tooth and scoured their CDs. After I was done, I walked to Suburban Station, where I had to cool my heels for a while as the line only ran once an hour on the weekend. I checked out Classic Game Junkie in Glenside, then went over to Roberts Block where I enjoyed the duck breast and the crème brûlée with bourbon. After my meal, I walked up to the Keswick Theatre where the Rush tribute band YYNOT was hosting Bubba Bash 2024, a fundraiser around Neil Peart’s birthday for Cedars-Sinai.

YYNOT

Ordinarily a cover band is not much of a draw, but the guest artists with them included Jonathan Dinklage (a violin player who was the player on the original version of “Losing It”), Dan Avidan (Ninja Sex Party) and Frank Bello (Anthrax), as well as drummers Ed Toth, Andrés Patrick Forero, Seven Antonopoulos, Jason Bittner and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater). It was a wonderful show, and happily I didn’t have to reverse my travel then as my friend Tony was playing in a pinball tournament in NJ and went a bit out of his way on the way back to pick me up. I stayed overnight in his guest room, then the next morning we drove to Delaware to play pinball at the co-op (no tournament this time, thank goodness), then he dropped me off at 2 at the Wilmington train station and made my way home. Jill was under the weather when I got home, so she tapped out and I took nina to her confirmation class at church, then had delicious bibimbap at Maru while I waited.

pinball

Monday I had to LOL at this and Tuesday I had to say Nice one, Oakton!

Kerry Lillah

Friday the 12th Nina was home sick. She had a fever and I took her to the CVS Minute Clinic, where I learned she was 96lbs, 5’1″, and strep, flu and Covid negative. Jill got takeout from Santinis on the way home. We had tickets to see Seth Meyers at his 7PM show at the Kennedy Center the next night, and Jill volunteered to stay home. I’d posted about a free ticket on Facebook and posted it for sale on Stubhub with no takers, so I was prepared to eat it. But as I was walking up the ramp to the entrance, a lady asked if I had an extra, so I gave it to her. Good set, even better if you’ve already seen Lobby Baby.

Nina Lillah

Monday was a holiday and would have been a snow day, so we stayed indoors, I cooked Eggs benedict and artichokes, then made a fire. Did the kitten prefer her first taste of snow or seeing her first fire? Neither, she spent most of her day hanging out on a secondhand cat ledge we got that apparently smells like cats. I also saw this video for the first time that’s for fellow Doctor Who fans only: Leela vs the Time War!

Lillah

Wednesday the 17th Nina’s chorus had a graded, mandatory concert, so we all went over to Langston Hughes to see it. Thursday I finished Season 5 of Fargo and said it is the best since the first one. Good to the last bite. Friday we got an actual snow day. I got to work, Nina slept in, and Jill went over to Walker Nature Center to finally try out her snowshoes.

Jill

Saturday I had to say kudos to the editor of The Washington Post’s letters to the editor page for making all the titles song lyrics (gift link). Monday morning Nina had a nightmare and crawled into our bed, followed closely by Lillah. When I realized we had the whole family in the bed for the first time, I tried to take a selfie of all of us, but it turned out crappy.

Nina Kerry Jill Lillah

Juliana Hatfield just released an album covering Electric Light Orchestra late last year and appeared at Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage Friday the 26th to perform, so that was a must for me. She did mostly her own material, but did two ELO covers, as well as songs by The Police and Olivia Newton-John. On the way home, I stopped by the Lost Dog Café and picked up takeout for the family as well as Lera, one of Nina’s friends.

Juliana Hatfield

December

Friday the 1st Nina and the Panther chorus were busy. First they performed at the Holiday Open House at the Governmental Center, then I got to create a fundraising account and website to sell popcorn for their planned spring trip. I shared “Want to send Nina to Broadway? No, just for the day. Grab yourself some popcorn, or donate some to essential workers.” We held our annual holiday party on Saturday (again with adults in the kitchen and kids everywhere else), then on Sunday I went to see Emmylou Harris at The Hamilton with Rodney Crowell as part of her annual fundraiser for Bonaparte’s Retreat. I went with the VIP tickets because it guaranteed me a seat down front, it was for a good cause, and who doesn’t want their picture with Emmylou? The concert was great, too.

Kerry Emmylou Harris

Monday the 4th I saw this video, and my first reaction was “Holy f*ck”. Tuesday I went to see the Allman Betts Family Revival at Capital One Hall. The Allman Betts Band was formed by three sons of members of the Allman Brothers Band, which was kinda interesting, but this show was them doing all Allman Brothers Band songs along with a lot of start from the jam band scene. Standouts were Ghalia Volt and Tal Wilkenfeld (the latter whom I’d seen play when she was in Jeff Beck’s band). Thursday I didn’t read the Post as the writers were on strike. I also thought this video was interesting – Sinead O’Connor doing the Kirsty MacColl part on “Fairytale Of New York”. R.I.P. both her and Shane.

Allman Betts Family Revival

We had a quiet weekend starting Friday, getting takeout from Pista House as the next several weeks would be busy. Nina went to her first school dance on Wednesday the 13th. Then her advanced chorus was invited to South Lakes High School for their Tis the Season for Jazz winter concert, and Jill and I went to see her do that on Thursday.

Langston Hughes Chorus

Friday the 15th we got Nina out of school an hour early and started driving north at 1:30, listening to holiday music all the way. We stopped for dinner at Wawa and arrived at 10 at Robin’s house. Saturday we drove out to Ski Butternut. Nina joined her cousins for tubing while I had brought my skis to go skiing. But there was a problem with my ticket I needed to wait in line to fix, then when I finally got my skis on my boots wouldn’t stay in the bindings. I found the repair shop and they told me my bindings had blown. So I rented skis and terrible boots, and I was finally on the lift when I texted Jill to tell her what was going on and she said they were done tubing. Nina had complained on the trip over that she didn’t get to ski, so we told her she could now, and she did.

Nina

After I’d made two runs, she was ready. But it had been 3 years since she’d skied, and she was unsure of herself, so we went over to the bunny slope and I attempted to reteach her. After a number of runs, we took the lift up and the green trail down – she was doing really well until the bottom of the green, which was steeper and she fell a couple times. After another run, she was done, and I did one more run for myself. It was a fun afternoon as I don’t think we talked that much in one day all year. That evening Jill and her sisters, spouses, plus her mom and Dave met up for dinner at Donovan’s (the former Slainte) in Holyoke. It took a while to seat all of us, but we had some drinks, and the food was decent.

Kerry Nina

Sunday Jill and Nina went to church with Robin and Finn. They had a cookie sale that Robin had made cookies for and came home with a selection of tasty ones. We got takeout from Elm Pizza for lunch (I had the roast beef), then went to Old Sturbridge Village with most of the Bradys. The threatened rain soon started to fall, and it wasn’t as fun walking around. Nina asked for food and we went over to the Bullard Tavern where we waited in line for food. We ate upstairs where Dominic, Maddy & Tiernan had also camped out, and were treated to a string duo performing in front of the fireplace. Nina wanted to do some present shopping for Jill so we spent some time in the gift shop. At some point my glasses slipped out of pocket when we were walking around, and calls back later were never answered. I heated up some of Nina’s leftover Wawa pizza and decided they’d stolen the recipe from Domino’s.

Old Sturbridge Village

Monday the 18th the rain was intense all day, so of course that was the day we drove to Framingham to meet my sister and her son Josh. We met at Burtons Grill for lunch (where we were lucky to get our orders in before the 2 huge tables of companies having holiday lunches), then went over to Fun and Games. It was like a tiny Dave & Busters, but unlike them they had pinball. Jill was out for dinner with her mom and sisters, so Nina had the spaghetti that Mike made, while I had bought lamb and grilled that.

Kerry Josh

I slept in most days we were up there, but Tuesday really slept in past noon. Nina was getting a cold that Jill also ended up getting (I remembered to bring the zinc lozenges and pounded them). After Finn got home from school, Bob & Sue came for a visit and we got takeout from Alessio’s Pizza for dinner. There was lots of speculation on the estimated total of this that night.

Nina Finn

Wednesday Jill was with Missy who had a procedure done. After she came home, we got fajitas ingredients at Stop & Shop, then I made them. Jake, Sue & Dave came over to eat as well. That night I thought “Why did I never think to do this?” Thursday we went to visit Gram, where we picked up Jake and went on to Northampton. Sue met us there and everyone else went to Webs while I went to Turn It Up. Sue took Jake home after that while we went back to Robin’s house where Mike made us burgers.

Lillah

Friday Nina wasn’t feeling great, but roused herself in the morning for a haircut with Jill and Maddy. In the evening we went over to the Bradys for an early Christmas dinner, with ham, roast beef, and some very good Yorkshire Pudding. Gifts were exchanged and ugly sweaters were worn (over great objection from me). Saturday we left at 6am with a quick Starbucks start, taking 87 for an almost guaranteed traffic free day. I slept in New Jersey. Nina asked for seafood for lunch, and there was a Phillips at the next rest stop. She got the crispy shrimp and I got the hush puppies, astounded that they reminded me of the ones from the long gone Chesapeake Bay Seafood House. Since both Jill and Nina weren’t feeling good by that point with a cold, I went out and picked up pho from Tea Break.

Nina

The Cannons came down for the week again, and brought a bunch of store pizzas over for dinner on Christmas Eve while I made my own pizza and a salad (I used up my bad luck for the year by smashing the jar of leftover pizza sauce just as I was putting it away downstairs). My dad didn’t want to meet for Christmas as he was taking care of Patricia, so Christmas Day was just us and Lillah, who was very happy to have us home (she had warmed up to the neighbors catsitting and allowed them to pet her after 5 days). We had plenty of time to open and enjoy our gifts, and I made a rotisserie duck for Christmas dinner.

Jill Nina Lillah

My mom was scheduled to fly in on Tuesday the 26th in the afternoon, but her flight was delayed over 7 hours and she finally arrived at 10PM, and Nina and I picked her up. Mom was delighted to meet Lillah, and we mostly hung out and talked. No one had a preference for dinner, so I made peanut noodles figuring everyone would like it, and I was right. Thursday we’d planned on having a joint dinner with the Cannons at Peter Chang in McLean, but Nina had fallen asleep in the afternoon and didn’t feel great after that, and neither did Jess, so it was just me and Mom with Chris and his kids. But it was a great meal (their Peking duck is worth it) and we made new orders for the homebound before we left.

Nancy Lillah

Friday the 29th I dropped Mom off the airport in the morning, then we had an early New Year’s Eve party again (this time on New Year’s Eve Eve Eve) as the Cannons were leaving early the next day. Again the Larsens and Norwood-Hochradels were able to join us, this time with all family members. Saturday we picked up Nina’s friend Avery and drove to the Wharf where we had lunch at Del Mar and again had the enormous paella. Next we went to the nearby Arena Stage to see Swept Away, based on The Avett Brothers’ album Mignonette, but featuring songs from their whole catalog. Jill and I really enjoyed it, and Nina thought it was a bit cringe.

Jess Chris Amy Kai Chris Morgan Kerry Mike Jill

Sunday the 31st was New Year’s Eve, and we felt very lucky that one of Nina’s friends invited her over, as we’d already made plans. After we dropped her off and hung out a little, we drove to DC and managed to drive around an accident scene and park. We got to The Atlantis just as ebo was ending, and had obtained drinks and a good spot by the time emmet swimming went onstage. I wouldn’t have minded staying, but since we hadn’t made a plan for Nina, needed to be back by shortly after midnight to pick up Nina. So we left at 11:15 as traffic was still gnarly, and arrived at 11:50, plenty of time to do the countdown, then head home.

Nina Kerry Jill

Artists To Watch 2024

Eyeball
Again this year my music buying was mostly online from Bandcamp, high quality audio from Qobuz & 7digital and preordering mp3s and CDs from Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I also got free mp3s from WNRN

Here’s a playlist of everything available on Spotify.

Here’s a playlist of everything available on SoundCloud.

Band Song Why them
01. Muna One That Got Away They were on the side stage at the All Things Go Music Festival, but they put on my favorite performance of the day, including boygenius & Lana Del Rey.
02. Extreme Rise With Aerosmith’s coming retirement, this is the band from Boston to see. And if you didn’t know their guitar player is one of the best ever, check out quite possibly the best solo he’s ever done.
03. Kings Elliot Ashes By The Morning She opened up for Stephen Sanchez at Union Stage (who was in last year’s list) and was just great.
04. Genesis Owusu Leaving The Light If you know me well, you know that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is my favorite soundtrack. So it’s with the highest praise that I think this song could fit right on that album.
05. Melanie Martinez Void I’m not immune to the lure of current pop, and if my daughter is also a fan, that’s a plus.
06. Dopapod Black Holes I do love me some jam bands, but I made a special point to see them after finding out for Halloween last year, they did a whole set of Weird Al covers.
07. Skating Polly Louder In Outer Space They had me at “featuring Louise Post & Nina Gordon”, aka the singers from Veruca Salt.
08. Smartbomb Not That Simple I went back and checked, and I’ve never featured Smartbomb. Like emmet swimming, my favorite Fairfax band, they have Scott Brotemarkle on bass and vocals, but Chuck Andrada on vocals as well.
09. (G)I-DLE I Do My daughter’s a big fan of K-Pop, and now I am too.
10. Paperhouse The Devil Didn’t Win Specaking of Fairfax bands, this duo features Shane Hines who’s been making music a long time solo and with the Trance.
11. Ryan Wright What’s Not To Love One more local hit with the daughter of Todd Wright now making music on her own, with her latest single her most fully realized song yet.
12. Middle Kids Highlands A hooky chrous that hooked me.
13. The Warning Money They had this hard rock trio of sisters on the side stage for this year’s MTV VMAs and I wanted to know more.
14. Roberta Lea Too Much Of A Woman A Kickstarter project that proved worth the wait.
15. The Swell Season The Answer Is Yes Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová reunited and I wanted to see them because I hadn’t yet. What I didn’t know is they’re still making astonishing songs.
16. Caroline Polachek Sunset When we saw her open for Dua Lipa last year and found she used to front alt/rock group Porchlift, I knew to keep an eye on her.
17. Overcoats New Suede Shoes Always a sucker for harmonies.
18. Greensky Bluegrass Congratulations And Condolences This year’s jamgrass entry.
19. Le Sserafim Fearless Yep, more K-Pop.
20. Dori Freeman Why Do I Do This To Myself Pop country with a nice riff.
21. Nichole Wagner Raised By Wolves Another Kickstarter project I liked.
22. Larkin Poe Bad Spell Did I see them open up for Indigo Girls at Wolf Trap? Nope, saw them open for Guns N’ Roses in London. I guess it was inevitable.
23. Duane Betts Saints To Sinners Son of The Allman Brothers Band founder Dickey Betts, I just saw him with fellow sons of the original band in the Allman Betts Family Revival. He’s got some chops.
25. Hurray for the Riff Raff Saga She was one of the surprise guests for NPR Music Celebrates 15 Years late last year.
26. Twice Set Me Free And one more K-Pop track to finish us off.

November

My first concert of the month was the closest one all year that wasn’t on the lake. Michael Clem was playing in Julie’s backyard in Vienna on Saturday the 4th, and it was a 6 minute drive for me. Our friend Susan had set it up and was playing the host. It was billed as a “cocktail and mocktail party under the stars”, so they had a dedicated bartender you could get one of two drinks, with alcohol if you wanted. Naturally I did, so I had the whiskey and cider. It was my second time seeing Mike at a house concert that year, and they were almost completely different setlists, but he had some nice new songs too. After the show, they’d made pies for someone who’d just had a birthday, and served us slices with some of fellow guest Susan Soorenko’s Moorenko ice cream.

Michael Clem

The next Friday Jill was out and Nina and I got delivery from Tea Break via DoorDash (my first time ordering, Nina wanted not to go). Saturday Jill and Nina left in the morning for a Girl Scout overnight camping trip near Solomon’s Island. I needed to get something from a coworker and we met up at University Mall, then I ran errands. First stop was Chubby Squirrel in Fairfax where I stopped for a flight of beers and some pinball. What was appropriate for that day being Veteran’s Day was the “Buy a vet a beer” board, where you pay for it and they put your name on it, to be crossed off when a vet wants a beer later. I had a light lunch of shishito peppers and a fried chicken bao at High Side, where I was happy to eat outside in the sun as they had a private party coming in 30 minutes. I checked out Mobius Records – disappointing as they only had new CDs. I also stopped at the ABC store and Safeway to pick up supplies. The next day Nina and I tried Lillah on a leash in the backyard. She was not a fan, and scrambled under the Azalea bush to seek shelter for most of the time we were outside.

Nina Jill

Tuesday I said that some bands have been accused of inappropriate promotions, but this is very on brand.

Stones ad

I also got a stuffed cat and Coraline figure from the Coraline movie, and tried the stuffed cat and Lillah as companions.

Coraline Lillah

Thursday I went to see Valerie June, Rachael Davis, Thao & Yasmin Williams at Sixth & I. They were playing together in the round, and I missed the first three songs as Jill had to work late. But it was still a great show with a fair amount of playing together. I stayed after to get some merch and said hi to Thao and Rachael Davis, the latter of whom I told was probably the only person there who was on my Facebook friends list.

Valerie June, Rachael Davis, Thao & Yasmin Williams

Friday the 17th Nina came home from school and we got on the road for a rush hour trip to Ocean City NJ. It was time for Friendsgiving again, in the same house we rented last year. The folks who’d arrived already had gotten pizza, and I wolfed down a couple slices before heading over to Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City. And no, not to gamble. In 2005 and 2006 VH1 had a show called Decades Rock Live, where a classic artist performed a show in Atlantic City with some famous fans. Heart got Alice In Chains, Carrie Underwood, Duff McKagan, Dave Navarro, Gretchen Wilson & Rufus Wainwright, Elvis Costello and The Imposters got Death Cab for Cutie, Fiona Apple & Billie Joe Armstrong, Cyndi Lauper got Scott Weiland, Pat Monahan (from Train), Ani DiFranco & Shaggy, Pretenders got Iggy Pop, Shirley Manson, Kings of Leon & Incubus, while Bonnie Raitt got Norah Jones, Alison Krauss, Keb’ Mo’ & Ben Harper.

Lillah

So when I found out they were starting the show again on a weekend when I was only 30 minutes away, I was in. So much so I sold my ticket to see Geddy Lee talk about his new book in Maryland. I had a little bit of time before the show, but by the time I’d worked my way to the entrance (good call having Wi-Fi available for the Ticketmaster app as I had no cell service that far in) and found my seat, I only had 3 minutes before they started showing videos. Chicago started playing about 7 minutes after the 9pm start time, and went straight into 4 songs off their first album (and I had no idea it was the 55th anniversary of that). The first guest was Robert Randolph, and he played sacred steel guitar and sang lead on “Listen” (the last time Chicago played that song was in 19xx). Next up was Steve Vai (and the true reason I was there), playing amazing solos on “South California Purples” and “Poem 58”. Then both Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram & Chris Daughtry joined the band for their cover of “I’m A Man” with a truly unnecessary drum solo in the middle. Robert Randolph returned for “Dialogue (Part I & II)”, then the band played 4 songs without guests, then brought up Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram again and singer Judith Hill to sing 3 of the songs from the “Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon” suite. She stayed for “Alive Again”, then we got a Christmas song from xxxx: “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”. After “Old Days” and Chris Daughtry rejoining for “Hard Habit To Break”, we got an unplanned intermission (one of the Chicago guys called “set break” and walked off the stage.

Chicago

I wasn’t sure how long it would be, but after 5 minutes it was clear it wasn’t soon, so I stood in the bathroom line (rare parity in length for both men’s and women’s). I got back and they still hadn’t started, but I as I was considering a cocktail, the lights dimmed and I resumed my seat. They had an enormous fake bonfire at the front of the stage, and chairs ringing it. Chicago was joined by the a capella group VoicePlay for “Wishing You Were Here”, “Happy Man”, “If You Leave Me Now” and “Look Away”. Then we got a great cover I wasn’t expecting: The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour”. That was just the band, and it was just them for “Just You ‘N’ Me”, “Hard To Say I’m Sorry/Get Away” and “The Christmas Song”. Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram was back for “In The Country”, then we got our final and most miscast guest: Robin Thicke. Thankfully he was mostly there as a hype man for “Saturday In The Park”. They played “Free”, then Judith Hill returned for great versions of “You’re The Inspiration” and “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day”. The encore of “25 Or 6 To 4” featured all the guests, with some sharp solos from Steve Vai, Robert Randolph and Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram.

Steve Vai Chicago

When I got back to the house, everyone was fast asleep. I was up by 10 the next day to go shopping at Acme (remembered to bring bags this time). Jill, Nina and I walked on the boardwalk in the afternoon, then I played pinball with Tony for an hour. I’d chosen a relatively quick recipe of pork, apples and brown sugar, but the apples took a while to slice finely and Jill helped with that task. We had dinner upstairs (there had been a sewage leak downstairs where we had it the previous year) and it went well. There were lots of desserts, but I brought the makings of a pecan pie martini, and it was pretty tasty.

Wednesday the 22nd we had Cardinal Chem Dry stop by as the rugs (especially the stairs) were looking haggard. They recommended a two step process, starting with a deep stain cleanse. Jill made pecan, apple, and pumpkin pies from scratch. Thursday was Thanksgiving, and I got up at 11:30 to start the turkey. Jill made rutabaga, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce while I made the green beans and stuffing. As I pulled the turkey out of the oven, I rested the pan on the counter while I transferred the turkey to the cutting board. Turns out it was unbalanced, and tipped over onto the floor, leaving half the juices on the floor. It took me an hour to mop the kitchen and thaw some homemade chicken broth so Jill could make gravy. But the dinner turned out wonderful anyways. This was the perfect recipe for a juicy turkey that I was able to start and forget.

Nina Kerry Jill

No Black Friday shopping for us, but Nina wanted to go see the Reston Town Center holiday parade since one of her besties was going. She was dead asleep when they came to pick her up, so I had to take her when she was ready to go 30 minutes later. I didn’t stay because I hadn’t dressed warmly enough, but leaving 10 minutes before the parade started was crazy, as half of Reston was headed in (there was a half mile long line of cars on Reston Parkway waiting to turn in). Nina got lunch with her friend and stayed at their house during the afternoon, so I was able to do computer stuff and go out for a walk with Jill when she got home from work.

Nina Avery

Saturday morning we drove off to Maryland to see my dad. Jill chose to have lunch at Ketch 22, which had lovely views, and we all had seafood except Dad, who chose the meatloaf. Afterwards I got to serve as tech support. I think a power surge of some sort fried his router and phone service, so I scheduled phone repair. We took the router to the nearest Verizon store where they exchanged it, then I mailed it to him the next day. That night I went to see Mark Williams and Friends at Jammin’ Java. Lena Traynham opened, then I finally saw Ryan Wright with her band, then Mark Williams’ band T.O.E. (Things Over Easy). The real magic came next, as we got a covers set that featured the previous bands, as well as Todd Wright. And if you start with a Fountains of Wayne song, why not get the original guitarist?

Mark Williams Todd Wright

October

Sunday the 1st I returned to the All Things Go Music Festival. It was two days this year for the first time, but I really just liked the second day lineup. I got there around 4, but didn’t have a ticket (I wanted to see boygenius this year, but they also played Merriweather in June as part of Re:Set, and by the time I decided not to go to that, All Things Go was sold out). I had been monitoring Ticketmaster and StubHub, but there were no tickets at face value, which is what I was hoping for. So I went to the entrance near the mall and spent 20 minutes asking people coming in if they had extras. That didn’t work, so I went down to the box office to ask. They only had lawn tix, but that was fine with me.

boygenius

I had hoped to catch some of Alvvays, but by the time I got in, Arlo Parks was on stage. She was good, but I didn’t have a lot of time, so spent the rest of her set and the break playing pinball (Merriweather has a nice selection of all musical acts). I got in position in the back of the lawn to see boygenius (the supergroup of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers & Lucy Dacus) and they delivered a fun set to an audience who knew every word. Then I was positioned to switch stages and see my favorite new discovery, Muna. The female trio puts a very Chvrches like vibe with their dance pop, and the crowded hill was there for it. I had noticed when preparing for the show that Lana Del Rey has an Axl Rose like approach to starting on time, and the same was true that night. I wasn’t that into it, plus I hadn’t had anything to eat since brunch so I left, stopping at Brew Dog where I wolfed down a cheese pizza and a beer before driving home. I did find out later I missed Jack Antonoff joining her on a couple songs, but I’d rather see him with Bleachers (or a Fun! Reunion).

Muna

On Tuesday I observed “Gonna be loud tomorrow afternoon” as they had scheduled a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday at 2:20 pm. Wednesday I got to experience one of my least favorite things as I needed to get to Baltimore on a weeknight. When I was waiting to drop Nina off at her horseback riding class at 5, I checked Google Maps. The time it would take to drive straight there using the Beltway was only 5 minutes shorter than going west to 15 and then come back using 70, and it was only going to get worse, so soon I was going very fast on the Greenway. I got to the parking garage I’d reserved at 7:05, and arrived at CFG Bank Arena at 7:20. The problem with that is that the ticket I bought was a “VIP” that came with merch and a “buffet experience” that was scheduled to end at 7:15. So I dashed around, got my merch and finally found my way to a sad looking buffet. I couldn’t have eaten much of what was left, but I did take and eat a gigantic plate of salad before I got a drink and went to my seat.

Queen + Adam Lambert

Queen + Adam Lambert took the stage shortly after 8. Ordinarily I’ll make a playlist to listen to before the show to listen to songs I’m not that familiar with. I didn’t for this show for two reasons: 1. This was the first show of their tour, and 2: I’m very familiar with all their music. Absolutely fabulous show, no notes for it. I will say that watching two elder statesmen of rock and roll perform a full two hour show (Brian even ran back and forth on the runway) show how fit senior citizens can do their job. On a related note, I support re-electing the president. I think he can play the hits for a long time. Nice review here.

Queen + Adam Lambert

Thursday Nina took her school picture, and I urged people to support Say No to a Reston Casino. Friday we got takeout from the new Eve’s Garden. Saturday the 7th Nina got an invite to a friend’s birthday party and sleepover, and we took advantage of it. We drove to The Wharf and had a lovely dinner of pasta and fish at Officina. Then Jill got to go to The Anthem for the first time, but not for a concert – she wanted to see the Hey Ladies Fierce Female Comedy Show. First up was Ego Nwodim (from Saturday Night Live), funny as usual. Jill’s favorite was up next: Nicole Byer (she loves her podcasts), then Aida Rodriguez and Luenell, both good. Sunday after dropping Nina at her class I played pinball and drank a flight of beers at Solace (former home of Mad Fox).

Jill Kerry

Friday the 13th I tempted fate and completed my Police solo trilogy by seeing guitarist Andy Summers. He performed solo at the Barns At Wolf Trap, projecting photos he’d taken since the 1970s and playing songs to backing tracks, about half solo/half Police (plus a nice cover of “‘Round Midnight”).

Andy Summers

Saturday Nina and I got our flu vaccine. Safeway was running a clinic at their entrance, and she was weirded out by getting as people came in and out around us. I go to a lot of concerts, and a lot of them are really good. But some are exceptional, and that night’s show with the Pat McGee Band featuring John Popper was one of those. It was an attempt to recapture lightning in a bottle after he guested on a set of theirs at The Bayou 25 years ago. But years of experience plus a rehearsal made it a one of a kind night, a great run through of the hits of both bands.

Jill Kerry Pat McGee John Popper

Sunday the 15th we had Michelle and Morgan and family over in the afternoon with pizza from Lucia’s and a salad Morgan made. The kids got to hang out and the grownups chatted. Later I took the boat out to read the paper and realized I’d forgotten about the last Lake Thoreau Concert with Felix Pickles, so watched him for a while instead.

Lillah Nina

That week Nina had catch up with a bunch of unfinished work for school. Friday we took Metro from East Falls Church and had dinner at Immigrant Food and ice cream from Larry’s Cookies and Ice Cream, then saw the hilarious Randy Rainbow at the Warner Theatre. Saturday was a windy, cool day so there was only one thing to do (pictured below). Jill had a dinner out, so Nina and I got Tea Break to go.

Lillah

Sunday was my birthday. I went to Maryland to go to a record show, play a bunch of pinball, visit a record store, and home to cuddle with a kitty and read the paper. Then Jill and I got Thai food for dinner while Nina was in her class and finally there was homemade carrot cake. Wednesday the 25th I saw the kind of story we need right now: Rock star Bret Michaels adopts hero stray dog also named Bret Michaels.

Nina Kerry Lillah

Friday we got takeout from Big Buns. Saturday we returned the favor for the family that watched Nina while we were seeing the Pat McGee Band by babysitting their 4 kids. The oldest is Nina’s age, so it wasn’t that hard. Although I managed to nearly blow the whole thing up by texting their mom a picture of the little girls cuddling next to Nina to watch her play Genshin Impact with the ironic caption “Things are getting out of control” and thanks to crappy T-Mobile coverage only the text went through, so I got a panicked text back…

Jill Nina

Tuesday the 31st was Halloween, and Nina dressed up with 2 friends, and one of the dads and I chaperoned them for hours in the cold. At least the last stop had more friends, a fire pit, and spiked cider.

Nina

September

Friday the 1st Jill was off, so we scheduled Lillah’s first vet visit with Vet In A Box – they’re a mobile vet, who don’t do house calls, you go outside and there’s an exam room in the back of their van. Lillah got some shots and was pronounced healthy. She was so busy during the day she didn’t want to do takeout, used DoorDash to get food from Bollywood Bistro.

Lillah

Saturday was Nina birthday and her birthday party. After her flute lesson in the morning, Jill and her went to Wegman’s for cake and drinks, while I hit Ledos for pizza and wings. We got to Monster Mini Golf before the previous party was over, but managed to get in and setup before any guests arrived at 3. Jill served them food while I greeted. The staff kept bugging us to finish in the first 30 minutes, but it just wasn’t happening for the girls to get through pizza, cupcakes, and ice cream cake.

Nina

At 3:45 they went upstairs for Laser Tag (Megan was the high scorer), then went back down for a round of mini golf, during which Jill and I packed up the leftovers and threw out the trash. Finally they played arcade and coupon games and the laser maze, before most left and we took the remaining ones back to our house for a hang.

Nina

Sunday we all collapsed – I rallied to make the Eggs Benedict and artichokes she’d requested for her dinner the day before. Monday I went to see Lauren Mayberry, singer for Chvrches, do her first every solo show at the 9:30 Club. She had released a new single, “Are You Awake?”, but other than that, no one knew what to expect. As it turns out, she’s working a new solo album, and those were the tunes she played, with the addition of a nice cover of Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”. Her songs were very Chvrches-like, but I liked them.

Lillah Nina

The next night was Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service at The Anthem. Jill had to work late, so I missed seeing Lauren Mayberry two nights in a row (no great loss, as she performed the same set minus two songs) and got in during the middle of Death Cab for Cutie performing their album Transatlanticism. Both that and The Postal Service’s self titled album were released in 2003, so Ben Gibbard, frontman of both bands, was pulling double duty celebrating the 20th anniversary of both albums. Death Cab was fine, but I would have preferred Plans. The Postal Service was wonderful, though, and having Jenny Lewis tour with them was crucial to getting that right. For the encore, first it was Ben & Jenny only, reprising “Such Great Heights”, then the rest of Death Cab for Cutie joined them for a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence”. The only thing I was bummed about was that this poster was sold out when I got there, it’s just so great.

Death Cab for Cutie The Postal Service

Friday the 8th we all went to Vienna to get take out. Jill and I wanted to try The Mixx Delight, next to Clarity. Nina noped out once she saw the menu, so I took her to the Wendy’s down the street while Jill waited for the food. Then we drove over to Wolf Trap where James Taylor was playing for three nights, all sold out. We chose a picnic table near the restaurant as it would be too crowded inside, then ate. Afterwards we went inside, and he played all the hits (along with a well timed intermission). Jill was big fan of his storytelling in between songs. We left during the encore.

James Taylor

Saturday I tried Scissors & Scotch for a haircut after they offered me a discount. The haircut was decent, and the drink afterwards was good, but the discount was mysteriously missing when I paid, so I doubt I’ll be back. Sunday Nina started 2 new classes, a study skills class at StudyPro and a confirmation class at church. Her being in downtown McLean for 2 hours in the morning at StudyPro was a perfect excuse to go to CD Cellar and pore through the discount CDs. Monday we found out Nina had only slept an hour the night before, so we banned Lillah from her room, and she slept in class, on the way to and from her flute lesson, and before dinner (we made her go to bed at 8).

Nina Lillah

I don’t know how it got to be 2023 until I realized that I hadn’t seen great pop bands Crowded House and Squeeze, but I corrected both of those mistakes, Crowded House back in May and Squeeze on Thursday the 14th at Wolf Trap. It was actually a double bill with The Psychedelic Furs opening. I didn’t know them well, but I enjoyed their show (and the big hits, of course). Squeeze’s singers and writers, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, sounded like they haven’t aged a bit, and neither have their songs. The crowd was very into it. Fun trivia fact: Amanda Kramer, keyboardist for The Furs, is an early member of Information Society, while Simon Hanson and Richard Fearless, playing drums and percussion for Squeeze, are the drummer and singer for Death in Vegas.

Squeeze

Friday I did not have a ticket for The Jayhawks at the beginning of the day. I hadn’t seen them since 2014 and I wanted to, but it turned out Jill was working late and I thought I might have to miss the show. Meanwhile the show sold out. Then Nina got an offer to hang out at a friend’s house, and I asked if it was possible for her to stay through dinner and Jill could pick her up. So I waited until resale ticket prices dropped closer to the show, picked one up, and raced over to Alexandria. I had time to stop at Five Guys and wolf a burger down to avoid the food at The Birchmere, then got a seat only minutes before Freedy Johnston came on (I was still hungry, so tried their carrot cake, which was a mistake). If you thought 9 years between seeing The Jayhawks is long, it was 28 years since I’d last seen him. I was happy he was still playing “Bad Reputation”.

Freedy%20Johnston

The Jayhawks came on strong after the break with “Backwards Women” from Back Roads And Abandoned Motels and “This Forgotten Town” from XOXO, songs from their two most recent albums that fit in perfectly with their older material. “Angelyne”, “Waiting For The Sun”, “Nothing Left To Borrow” and “Tampa To Tulsa” followed to crowd acclaim. Singer Gary Louris wrote “Everybody Knows” with The Chicks and showed it’s equally his song. More classics followed: “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”, “I’d Run Away” and “Trouble”. The new “Dogtown Days” was a stunner, then a pair of covers: Gram Parsons’ “We’ll Sweep Out The Ashes In The Morning” and The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”. Stephen McCarthy joined them all set on guitar and pedal steel guitar, and having done that for them on 2003’s Rainy Day Music, especially shined on album cuts “All The Right Reasons” and “Save It For A Rainy Day”. The set ended with rousing versions of “Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces”, “Smile”, “Blue” and “Tailspin”. The encore was “Sound Of Lies”, “Big Star”, and a cover of Billy Walker’s “Down To My Last Cigarette” with Karen Grotberg on vocals. It was shortened (other stops had also gotten Gary’s contribution to Golden Smog “Until You Came Along”), but with three covers I was satisfied.

Jayhawks

I was glad I went as the next morning Jill ended up going north as her mom was admitted to the hospital with chest pains. Nina had gotten Chinese takeout at her friend’s house, but really wanted Big Buns, so she asked if she could go and bring a friend. The friend’s mom offered to have Nina come over first and hang out for a couple hours, so naturally I went home and went on the boat. When I went to pick them up, the mom came too and we all ate at a table inside. Sunday Nina was back at StudyPro so I got to go to CD Cellar and finish poring through the discount CDs (yes, 3.5 hours total, they really have that many). Jill’s mom ended up getting testing and getting a stent. Jill came home Friday – she was thinking about coming back Saturday, but a tropical storm was going to give us a glancing blow, and driving would have been miserable. So we spent a 3 day rainy weekend at home, with a sleepover for Nina on Sunday.

Lillah

While Jill was gone, I posted some links. I found The real reason(s) food allergies are on the rise fascinating. On 10,000 Maniacs hiring Leigh Nash and Matt Slocum from Sixpence None The Richer, I posted “Huh. I wasn’t the biggest fan of their last singer, but this is quite a surprise. I’d go see them.” Finally, one of the joys of buying used CDs is occasionally coming across editorial changes:

Final Rip Off

Also, I sent this to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter: We’ve had Lillah (aka Cagney [& Lacey], aka Hiss [& Vinegar]) for a month now, and she’s settling in nicely. She was categorized as a working cat, but our daughter cuddled her for 30 minutes and we brought her home. She started out in a bathroom, and really responded to wet food. It turns out she has the loudest purr I’ve ever heard on a cat, and while she’s still skittish about loud sounds, will come to us for pets and playtime. Her favorite toy is a bundle of feathers attached to what looks like a fishing rod, and her favorite food is anything with fish.

Lillah

With Jill back, on Wednesday the 27th her cousin Greg and his son Peter stayed the night so the next day they could move Peter’s stuff from his apartment in DC to his new home in Colorado. Thursday the Lemon Twigs at the Black Cat were a must for being for being one of the best power pop bands out there now. I’d put a song from their last album on my Artists To Watch, but this is the first I remember seeing them tour in our area. And it was an excellent show, they reminded me of The Greenberry Woods, a local power pop band from the 90s also with two brothers in it. They put an exclamation point by covering The Beatles’ “Hold Me Tight” as an encore. Friday Nina walked with a friend in the Homecoming Parade – for the first time I didn’t walk with her. We got Big Buns for dinner that night.

Lemon Twigs

August

Tuesday the 1st we were still in Massachusetts. I browsed the CD selections at the Westfield Salvation Army, then I finally got to see Sue and Dave’s new place. We went with them to Bond 124 for lunch, then we drove to Powder Hollow Brewery and enjoyed their samplings (I got “beer on a stick”). Later we went to Melissa’s for a spaghetti dinner, and slept there.

Kerry Sue Jill Dave

Wednesday we were up early to leave. Ava came with us, and we had the car packed and were quickly on our way, home a little after noon. I needed to mow and cook, so Jill took the girls to Great Falls (Ava had a new, nice camera). Thursday and Friday Nina had middle school orientation in the morning, so I worked both days. Jill brought Ava to Udvar-Hazy Thursday morning.

Ava Nina Jill

When we were driving down, we were playing a Regina Spektor playlist for her show, when Ava piped up from the back saying that she loved Regina Spektor. So instead of leaving the two of them at home together, we got lawn seats for the two of them. We brought a picnic and ate with them during some light rain, but it cleared up by the time Aimee Mann went on. I’d elected not to tell Jill Jonathan Coulton was touring with Aimee Mann and seemed to come out and sing with her even when he didn’t open, so she was truly surprised when he came out. Regina Spektor was pretty great as well.

Aimee Mann Jonathan Coulton

Friday we hosted some of our neighbors who’d moved away, most significantly one of Nina’s pod during the pandemic. Everything went well, except I started hiccupping and couldn’t stop, bringing up some crazy amounts of phlegm. All I had was a burger, salad and beer, but it was a big bottle of beer that didn’t fizz at all, so I’m thinking it went bad. Everyone else had a nice time going out on another neighbors’ boat.

Leila Nina Pearl Celina

Saturday we’d made reservations to go ziplining at Go Ape. Jill went around once and was done, I went around twice and drew blood on my second landing and that was enough for me. The girls ran the clock out on our time and had a blast. In the afternoon Nina attended a birthday party at Dave & Busters, and Ava and I came as well and did our own thing. I found some Willy Wonka coin pusher cards from a couple years back, and started playing that again, along with a nice long stint on Aliens: Armageddon.

Nina

Sunday the 6th we took the subway into DC. Ava wanted to see the Tidal Basin and visit the National Museum of American History, so we did that. We stopped at Red Robin for a late lunch as Ava is a fan. Random quote from the lunch: “I didn’t know you could be a professional cornholer.” Later, I read an epic thread on Twitter about this. A case study in FAFO.

Nina Jill Ava

Monday, Nina started her last camp of the summer, a 2 week theater camp at Frying Pan Park. She also got to do another round of catsitting. I got a last minute ticket to see Drive-By Truckers at The Atlantis Thursday, and was eager to see the outfit that gave Jason Isbell his start. I liked them a lot, but I think I prefer him more.

Drive-By Truckers

Friday, I had to post this and comment that this is why Bloomberg, Bowser and the WaPo editorial page are wrong. Jill also chimed in, saying “Our lives are so much better with Kerry working from home. We’re not willing to change this.”

Nina Kerry Jill

Saturday the 12th Jill said that she was “enjoying a relaxing weekend, getting last minute supplies for N’s foray into middle school and about to enjoy some theater and book festival time. I’m in a good place rn and with therapy, meditation, and medication as well as hypnotherapy to help me finally put my compulsive overeating into remission I feel the best physically and emotionally than I have in my memory. I’m so grateful.” And that’s what we did, attending a matinee of The Play That Goes Wrong at the Kennedy Center, then heading over to the Convention Center for the National Book Festival to look around and see John Scalzi in conversation with Linda Holmes.

I missed The Swell Season on their first go round, then they broke up (personally and professionally). When they announced they’d be touring this year, I bought a ticket to their show at The Anthem right away. Tuesday’s show was fantastic. They’re also writing music again, and their new single is one of their best.

Thursday Nina’s new middle school had an open house, so I got her early from camp and we both went. Friday Nina had a performance for the last hour of camp, so I picked up two of her friends she’d asked to attend and we watched the show, then everyone came back to our house to hang out. I’d gotten ramen for Nina and the friend that was still there, but only got 2 small poke tacos for myself. I took the girls to an ice cream social a friend had invited them to, then left for DC. I’d posted a poll the previous night that I could go to 1 of 2 concerts: Crack The Sky or Earth, Wind & Fire (opening for Lionel Richie, who is meh to me)

  1. Pros for Crack The Sky: local rock band, have friends who are superfans, free
  2. Cons for Crack The Sky: I know their one hit and that’s it, outside so rain would stop it
  3. Pros for Earth, Wind & Fire: I know most of their songs
  4. Cons for Earth, Wind & Fire: In DC during rush hour, not free

The overwhelming majority came down in favor of Earth, Wind & Fire, so that’s where I went. I didn’t have a ticket, and I thought the prices on StubHub would come down closer to showtime. I was wrong, so I bought a ticket from the box office and sat in my seat. I missed a song doing that, but I saw all the songs I wanted to see. After about 20 minutes of Lionel Richie, I was done – and hungry. When I found out that Taffer’s Tavern offered “cocktails on a stick”, I was in. I also had an order of onion rings and their PB and Rye – jelly donuts that you use a syringe to inject peanut butter rye whiskey into. Absolutely delicious.

Earth, Wind & Fire

Saturday the 19th Jill had breakfast with an old friend, then brought her over for a bit. We’d turned paperwork to foster a cat in June, but never heard back. We did it again the week before, but crickets again. So we went to the Fairfax County animal shelter on Sunday. We learned that the lady doing fostering was overwhelmed handling 3 jobs, and might take a while to get back to us. We also visited the cats. There was a playful calico cat that a couple was looking at, then a couple black kittens that had been categorized as “working cats” because they weren’t responding to socialization (they would work in a barn). Nina really wanted a black kitten, so one of the volunteers wrapped her up in a blanket and let Nina cuddle her. And neither of them moved for half an hour. So we filled out the paperwork and brought home Lillah (aka Cagney [& Lacey], aka Hiss [& Vinegar]).

Nina Lillah

That night was also a concert for me (of course). I’d raced home from the shelter and made dinner fast, as I didn’t want to miss a moment. I arrived in my seat at Wolf Trap just in time for Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening to take the stage. They played a great hour of Zep songs, but the most unexpected thing was the guitarist being a dead ringer for Jimmy Page (until he took his shades off). Next up was Gov’t Mule. Despite being a big fan of everything Warren Haynes does, this was my first time seeing the Mule. And after a fine first set, came the reason I couldn’t miss this show: Dark Side of the Mule, a second set of nothing but Pink Floyd covers. And a killer start as they opened with the first three songs from “Wish You Were Here”. I thought they might do the whole album, but no – into “The Dark Side of the Moon” they went. And with vocalists Machan Taylor & Sophia Ramos, plus favorite local saxophonist Ron Holloway, they really did it justice. I really anticipated them finishing Dark Side, but with two songs to go, they swerved into “Meddle”, playing my three favorite songs from that: “One Of These Days”, “Fearless” and “Echoes”. Jackie Greene joined them on the last song, then came out again with them for an encore of “Comfortably Numb”.

Gov't Mule

Monday was Nina’s 1st day of middle school. Lillah lived in Nina’s bathroom for a couple days, then graduated to her bedroom as she got friendlier. Jill said “Introducing Lillah! She’s an adorable, cuddly, mischievous kitten that has helped usher in some family bonding time and lots of conversation; both hard to come by sometimes with a 7th grader.”

Nina

Thursday I was back at Wolf Trap for Jethro Tull. Jill and I had seen Ian Anderson with the Filene Center Orchestra back in 2006, but it was their “Seven Decades Tour”, and I figured that would be fun. Instead, it was a lot of obscure and new songs, with only three songs I would consider hits. At least Ian Anderson was an entertaining frontman, but least favorite show of the summer. Nina had her first sleepover at another house with her friend Avery on Friday, and Avery’s parents had us over for takeout from Taco Zocalo.

Jethro Tull

Sunday the 27th we went to visit Dad and go to a concert at National Harbor. We had a late lunch at City Sliders in North Beach that was delicious (duck and lamb!) then timely enough I got to fix his laptop which started having problems on Thursday. Nina had a sore throat that morning but her Covid test was negative. As we were leaving, she started feeling worse, so with an hour to go I tried to sell my tickets at face value on the Ticketmaster app while they picked up stuff at CVS. Gotta love a super popular show, as the tickets sold 15 minutes later. I think I was the most bummed about not seeing Aespa, but Jill enjoyed being home early on a school night.

sunset

Speaking of school, Nina had a fever the next morning (it was a cold), so she was out. I worked and she had device time, until we realized the cat had vanished and we couldn’t find her. I brought Nina with me and got her some pho as I went to Autozone to pick up a thermal imaging camera, but still couldn’t find her. Later I was downstairs on the couch with Nina looking up sounds a mother cat would make. I played a couple, then we heard a plaintive meow from the direction of the laundry room. After moving lots of clutter around, we still couldn’t find her. Jill had the idea of getting canned tuna for her, and as we were playing more cat sounds with the lights off, Jill saw a shape on the thermal imaging camera. The cat had found the tuna and was happily munching away. The cat was cuddled and put back into Nina’s room, who went back to school the next day.

Nina

Wednesday the 30th Nina had a horseback riding lesson. She was hungry after school and had her dinner, and Jill got home later and wasn’t in the mood to eat quickly and go. So I’d already been making this tasty dish to go with leftover ribs and grilled chicken, and I made it into a picnic dinner we enjoyed at Frying Pan Park while Nina rode, then we walked around the park and got to enjoy the truly stunning sunset.

Lillah

July

Saturday the 1st we woke up in London, checked out of our hotel, and took the subway to King’s Cross, then walked over to Halfcup King’s Cross where we stood in line (only time we had to queue all vacation) for a very tasty brunch. It was Jill’s birthday, and she said this: “Today I am 44. I am so extremely grateful for the life I am living today. K, N, and I have been enjoying some much needed family time here in Europe. We had a lovely train journey from London to Paris via the Eurostar. We just enjoyed an amazing meal at Beitna; a charming Lebanese restaurant with incredible food – we all cleared our plates! We have a whole week here in a lovely suite to relax after a whirlwind 3 city tour of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London; we’re excited to unpack and stay in one spot. Thank you to all for birthday wishes and looking forward to the next year ahead!”

Kerry Nina Jill

Sunday we had nothing planned, and subsequently did nothing. I slept in, then everyone went grocery shopping at Franprix and napped, got takeout from La Route des Indes and we went to sleep early. That was a good decision, as the notice we had from the Royal Regency Paris Vincennes where we were staying was that our balcony would not be available during our stay. What it actually meant was there was scaffolding all over the front of the building, and every day at 8AM the hammering would start.

Kerry Nina Jill

So with an early start to our Monday, we were off to see Tim Burton’s Labyrinth, with life size recreations of his characters plus original artwork. Next up was Sacre Couer (we took the funicular up), then we had lunch at the nearby Breizh and Nina found some boots at Maje, just down the street. Back to the subway again to go over to O’CD (used CDs and DVDs) and Lil Weasel yarn shop, except the yarn shop was closed that day, so Jill and Nina got a snack while I browsed. We stopped at FNAC on the way to the subway to get another charger (and a couple CDs) as the room didn’t have any USB ports as our previous hotels had. The two of them had plenty of leftovers for dinner; I got some sushi from Saga Sushi.

Kerry Nina Jill

Tuesday the 4th we took a train to get to Vernon and a shuttle bus to get to Giverny, home of Claude Monet. Sunday night we’d planned out our week, buying museum tickets and the like, and realized we had an extra day. We had been toying with Paris Disneyland, but didn’t seem to be a lot different than Disney World. Jill suggested going to Brussels, but it would have been too expensive because it was last minute. I had a guidebook to Paris and it mentioned day trips, and Jill was taken with the idea of visiting Giverny. We had timed entry tickets so we went in and went straight under the street to see Monet’s pond, then saw his garden and home. We had lunch at Brasserie des Artistes, next to the Musée des Impressionnismes (which was closed). With time to kill, we returned to Vernon (having read the shuttle buses fill quickly before train departures) and shopped. Hôtel du Nord ended up having a purse Nina liked, Cash Express was a pawn shop with Funko Pops and cheap CDs, and Barney’s Grooves had a nice CD single section. After we got back, we had pizza for dinner from Villa Capri.

Jill Nina Kerry

Wednesday we hadn’t planned on visiting the Arc de Triomphe, but we had to change from the subway to a bus there. Nina was more interested in the street dancing. Next it time for the iconic Eiffel Tower (only halfway), then Nina bought a selfie stick from a street vendor as the rain started. We had to walk for a while to get to the subway, then we did the overcrowded and hot Musée de l’illusion. Jill finally got to visit the Lil Weasel yarn shop while Nina and I got boba tea, then we spent some time at Ground Control where they had a bar and a nice selection of pinball machines. Jill wanted to visit a French restaurant for dinner, but they didn’t mess around with closing times at the one she wanted (wouldn’t let us order when they closed in 40 minutes), so we ended up at Brasserie 967 for a fancy dinner (I had a Brenne single malt whisky to start).

Jill Nina Kerry

Thursday we took the train and a bus to Versailles to visit the palace. It mostly went ok, but it got very crowded in some of the galleries and we sped up to get out. We also walked around the gardens for a while before leaving. We managed to just miss a train while going across Paris, and ended up sitting in a station for 20 minutes – our longest wait (and how great is Google Maps, showing which subway routes are fastest). We got to our destination of La Seine Musicale in the middle of the Seine, but we had a delicious dinner at Café Renaud before we crossed the river (great beef tartare). We got a little lost looking for Grande Seine (the venue), but if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have discovered that La Seine Musicale is built into the hill like Terraset. Mavis Staples was great and so was Norah Jones, but I was so happy that Norah brought Mavis out to sing their song. Based on the time Norah had Mavis on her podcast, I thought she might bring her out again for an encore since Mavis hadn’t sung “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” or “I’ll Take You There” so we stayed until the bitter end. As we left, someone was putting on a display of drones. Jill wanted to get a taxi, but none were available, so we took the subway to the nearest taxi stand.

Norah Jones Mavis Staples

Friday the 7th it was museum day. We started with the Musée d’Orsay we’d loved so much on our last trip. Monet’s works in particular had a new meaning after our visit to his house. After we finished, we were taking the subway and a connection let us out near Notre Dame, so we got a picture. Nina was hungry and wanted crepes, so we found Le Minos nearby and ate upstairs in a charming space. Then we made it to La Bagagerie where Jill got a fancy bag. Unfortunately Nina took a tumble on the sidewalk just before we got there and skinned both knees, but happily La Bagagerie gave bandaged and supplies to clean. Next I wanted to go to Crocodisc, but the others didn’t, instead finding a Starbucks with blistering cold air conditioning and Wi-Fi (it was a very hot day).

Jill

Next we went to the Louvre. We were early and had talked about ice cream, so we walked over to Les Glaces to get some. Then we got in line and got into the museum, where we did not do the dash we did last time. Jill wanted a picture of herself knitting in a quiet room with a bench she’d read about, that proved harder to find than we thought at first. The crown jewels and the Mona Lisa were hits, of course. We found Pylones, a cool quirky shop after we exited through the underground. We went back to the hotel where I cooked up the rest of the food (with a little extra chicken and naan from La Route des Indes). We discovered Jill had the most steps of any day of our trip with over 25,000.

Nina Kerry Jill

We said goodbye to Vincennes as we took a taxi to the airport. We were glad for the early start as both the line to check bags and security were very long. Our plane was a little late taking off, and in Reykjavik we had to hustle through the airport to get to our plane on time. The flights themselves were pretty good, and we were arrived at Dulles right on time. A couple months earlier we’d applied for Global Entry, and it’s very hard to make appointments. But TSA had a simple solution: do the interview when you come back through the passport line. Luckily, it was literally only our flight coming through passports at that time, so it was a very quick process.
We got home and relaxed.

view

I’d seen there were still tickets available for emmet swimming that night at the Tally Ho Theater, so decided to just drive there and avoid service fees. That was a mistake, as they were sold out. I waited outside and was surprised no one came up with extras. Finally I thought about going to StubHub, and bought one and headed in. The show was a benefit for Andy Waldeck, so they had 3 bands with emmet going on last, doing a shorter set. That was good news for me, as I hadn’t been able to sleep on the plane and I was exhausted by the time they finished.

emmet swimming

Sunday I slept in but didn’t sleep great, felt like I was going to puke at one point. I’d had an upset stomach the night before and wrote it off to travel. I didn’t eat most of the day Sunday, but had a small dinner and felt better Monday. Sunday Nina started catsitting, then Monday started Girl Scouts Camp Summer Magic – Aides in Training. That was at Algonquin Park and was my longest commute of the summer. Happily one of her friends from Girl Scouts was there and we managed to do some carpooling. We also had to do some doctor appointments as she wouldn’t be able to the next three weeks. Speaking of medical issue, Jill managed to take her to one appointment Tuesday morning, then went down for the count, in bed the next two days with what turned out to be norovirus. We’d masked on the planes on the way to Europe, but as almost no one was masking over there, had let down our guard and didn’t mask on the flights back. That meant I was patient zero.

Nina

Sue and Dave came down on the train Thursday the 13th in time for Sue to join me at The Anthem Friday night to see First Aid Kit. She really loved them, and she asked about seeing them the previous year and I told her next time they toured, we’d go. Saturday we found out that Todd & Ryan Wright were playing at Summer Jams in Leesburg, the concert series formerly known as Acoustic on the Green. Nina wasn’t feeling great (she threw up on the way to her flute lesson that afternoon, but she has gotten carsick on that trip before so I didn’t think much of it), so Jill, Dave and I went. The rain came after hour causing the concert to end, but we would have left anyway, as Sue had taken Nina to Cold Stone and she threw up again.

Ryan & Todd Wright

Sue and Dave had asked for airline tickets to Florida as an early Christmas gift to see her aunt Kelley, but after Nina showed she got the norovirus as well, postponed their trip as they didn’t want to get Kelley or her boyfriend sick. Ironically, Kelley was happy about it, telling them they were crazy to want to visit Florida in August as she didn’t leave her house after 9am. Jill and Sue got in some garden visits while they were here.

Sue Jill

Nina had a second round of catsitting the next week, along with Road Rulz Camp, a different field trip every day. She did skip Monday, due to still feeling under the weather, but enjoyed the rest of the week. She said the illusion museum in Philly was her least favorite on so far, and she liked the pirate themed waterpark. Sue and Dave hung out, I took Dave fishing several nights on the boat.

Dave

I was not expecting metal watching reggae-jam band Dispatch performing with the National Symphony Orchestra Friday the 21st at Wolf Trap, but damn if the first encore song wasn’t “Crazy Train”. And they did it justice, too. Saturday Jill dropped Sue, Dave and Nina at Union Station to take the train to Connecticut as Nina would be staying with them and Jill’s sisters.

Dispatch

Sunday I posted “Don’t tell us we don’t know how to act when our daughter’s gone for the week. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Saturday night at Reston Town Center (and you can walk around with their overpriced beers), then most of the day yesterday at Wolf Trap with Nickel Creek as we bought Celebrants Club passes and we had Encore Circle Lounge passes. We also got a chance to finally meet the lovely voiced Aoife O’Donovan after 18 years.”

Aoife O'Donovan Kerry Jill

The following week while Nina bounced between Massachusetts and Connecticut, Jill and I mostly had a quiet week and worked a lot. However, I’d bought a cheap ticket for Matt Nathanson (opening for Matchbox Twenty) at Jiffy Lube Live Thursday the 27th, then Jill got out of work early that day and also wanted to go. We tried out the I66 express lanes and got dinner at Wawa before going to the show. After Matt played, we found our friend Linda and talked to her between sets, then listened to Matchbox Twenty for about 30 minutes before leaving. They were better than expected (and I really liked this song), but…

Jill Kerry

We got up to hit the road at 4:30am Friday, and it was a pretty pleasant trip. We avoided NYC and stopped for lunch at a Sonic. We got to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival around noon. Our friend AJ was the only one of Shantytowne camping on site this year, so we met up with her. After a grocery run to Stop & Shop in Litchfield (and stopped at Arethusa Farm for ice cream cones via a recommendation from our friend Chris), we tried to set up our tent and realized we only brought 3 of 7 poles, so tied and staked the tent’s rainfly on top of the popup shelter we also had. Jill got dinner from the vendors, while I had snacks we’d bought. First up was Richard Thompson. When we first came to the festival in 2003, we missed him by a day and Stuart always used to remind me of it. But he was great, breaking out all his classics and a Fairport Convention song. Next up was Joe Jencks, Lucy Kaplansky, Stephen Kellogg & Tracy Grammer, doing what we felt was the finest Summer’s Eve Song Swap ever (it doesn’t hurt that Lucy and Stephen are 2 of our must sees). Jill and I slept on our air mattress cot and anything exposed got bitten by mosquitos.

Jill

Saturday morning Jill took off to Robin’s house. AJ made breakfast and I gratefully combined some of her eggs with my sourdough and Swiss cheese. We went to the main stage at 11 to see Joe Jencks. I’d seen him there with his group Brother Sun, but I’d really enjoyed him on Friday and his solo set was nice too. I was back at camp for an hour, the went to the hot workshop stage for “Our Roots Are Showing” with Stephen Kellogg, Tracy Grammer & The Ebony Hillbillies. Stephen Kellogg played two songs and left soon after as he had a main stage set next, Tracy was good as usual and The Ebony Hillbillies were great. I’d seen Amy the night before, but Andrea, Jim and Nate showed up to hangout at the camp after that. We knew rain was in the forecast, but we got one of those classic Falcon Ridge storms around 5. Nate saw what was coming and left, but AJ and Jodi had returned and the 5 of us kept AJ’s shelter from blowing away as we huddled under it.

Joe Jencks, Lucy Kaplansky, Stephen Kellogg & Tracy Grammer

I could had survived another night at Falcon Ridge except for one thing – I only had one pair of shoes and they were drenched. I’d wanted to see Lucy Kaplansky and Tony Trischka’s EarlJam, but it just wasn’t worth it. Andrea and Jim offered to put me up for the night and I accepted, and they helped me pack everything up and lug it to their car. Once at their house, they ordered pizza for delivery and we sat on the couch while 3 of their 5 cats showed up and demanded attention.

cats

Sunday morning the 30th Jill picked me up in the morning and we stopped at a drugstore (in addition to flip flops, I’d also left my toiletry bag at home. When we got to Robin and Mike’s house, we put everything wet out in backyard to dry off. It sounded like Nina had a great week hanging out with her cousins. Soon after the McElroys and the Cannons came over. Josh and Finn hadn’t seen each other since they were babies and went off to play, and Nina and Penny hung out, then almost everyone went in the pool. Sharon ordered sandwiches from Hot Table for everyone, and we were planning a round of pizza later, but the Cannons had to leave as their oldest was having problems at home, and the McElroys left not too long after. Monday we didn’t have plans, and I said I wouldn’t mind seeing the Berkshires if Jill was serious about living in that area. Plus AJ had talked up The Clark and that sounded like a good outing. We drove up to the Clark and saw all their art, then drove over to Water Street Grill and had lunch. Then we went to Stockbridge where I shopped at 7 Arts and Jill and Nina shopped in the Stockbridge General Store.

Kerry Jill Nina

Also at the end of this month, If you read this article, you can help trans folks travel and gets the vote they need by donating here: https://www.pointofpride.org/donate. And on a lighter note, here’s a Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 spoiler:

Spock T'Pring

June

Friday the 2nd Nina had decided that instead of more archery lessons, we’d just join the Northern Virginia Archers at Fountainhead Park. I ordered some Genesis bows via the manufacturer (you get to pick the colors), but the closest places to buy arrows was Double X Archery in Leesburg or Cabelas in Manassas. Happily, I called Double X Archery and since the store wasn’t open yet, went over to one of the owner’s in Herndon and he made us arrows in his basement. So the next morning we went to the orientation (all 3 hours), then Nina’s flute lesson. Reston Pride was that afternoon at Lake Anne, so we all went. I was delighted to meet up with my friends Jenny and Vicky, and spent most of the time talking to them.

Nina

Sunday Jill and Nina were enjoying a lovely Drag Story Hour inside their church. Unfortunately 3 asshats with a megaphone showed up to protest. They faced a speaker loaded with Disney soundtracks, but I tried to make their lives a little more miserable by finding their social media accounts to block and report their hateful speech. That afternoon we hosted the end of year Girl Scouts family potluck, including a boat ride that turned into a dance party.

Nina

Tuesday the 6th I worked a half day, then drove down to Richmond. I parked on the street near the James and walked to Wong Gonzalez and had an excellent Asian/Mexican banh mi (and could not pass up a cocktail called a “Pale Fire Red Molly”. Next up (after a very long entrance line) was a fantastic show featuring two classic albums. The show was at Brown’s Island, and first up was Remain in Light: Jerry Harrison & Adrian Belew with Turkuaz. Jerry Harrison was the guitarist for Talking Heads, and Adrian Belew is the legendary guitarist from King Crimson who also is known for touring with David Bowie and Frank Zappa. Belew also recorded and toured with Talking Heads for the Remain in Light album, and that was most of the songs in the show. Turkuaz was their band for the evening, and boasted three talented vocalists in their own right, as well as a horn player, 2 saxes and 2 percussionists. I felt it was similar to David Byrne’s American Utopia tour, where all the musicians really brought out the essence of the songs. In addition to the Talking Heads songs, Jerry Harrison did his “Rev It Up” and Adrian Belew did his King Crimson song “Thela Hun Ginjeet”, grinning all the while. I got into guitarist Steve Vai early on, and when I worked my back to his work in Frank Zappa, he was listed as “stunt guitar”, and I felt that was also an excellent description for Adrian Belew’s work during the show.

Remain in Light

Next up was Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, who had been opening their shows with “Thela Hun Ginjeet” – they opted not to that night (Les referred to Adrian Belew as “one of the greatest guitarists in the history of guitar”). After opening with some solo and Frog Brigade songs (and a train going by during “Up On The Roof”), they featured Sean Lennon (yes, son of John, who’s been working with Les as the The Claypool Lennon Delirium) singing “Cricket And The Genie”. And then they got into the fun stuff. Frog Brigade was formed in 2002 when Primus was on hiatus and Les had been in Oysterhead with Trey Anastasio and Stewart Copeland and wanted to keep on in the jam band scene. He wanted to not do Primus songs, so instead added a second set where they covered Pink Floyd’s Animals. And he decided to resurrect that for this summer’s tour.

train

The audience was in the mood, and it was a fantastic version of it (I always felt it was Pink Floyd’s must unappreciated album). And I should mention that on keys was Harry Waters (yes, Roger’s son and the one who says “Look, mummy, there’s an aeroplane up in the sky” in The Wall). The band was wearing some kind of jungle inspired uniforms (with most wearing pith helmets), but for the later “Precipitation“, Les donned a disco ball helmet as he played a one string bass. The rest of the show was basically a 3rd set, and as the cool breezes rushed in and the light show amped up, it was truly a wonderful way to spend an evening (minus the 2 hour drive home). Can’t wait for the next time – yes, thanks to fate, this is only the first time this summer I will see a jam band cover Animals (next is Gov’t Mule at Wolf Trap in August).

Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade

Friday the 9th I wondered what you call a butt dial when the phone is in your front pocket? Because apparently I had just called 911. Saturday Nina had a dentist appointment, then wanted to leave right away so we could get in some archery practice before her flute lesson. We had tickets to see Lucy Kaplansky do an early show at Jammin’ Java, and Nina got an invitation to hang out with a friend. After the show and talking to Lucy, we ate dinner at Sweet Ginger. I got a duck roll in addition to my usual sushi order.

Nina

Sunday we pushed our luck and held yet another get together. Nina wanted to have a party for two of the sixth graders that were moving away, so we had 15 of them over. After a potluck meal, I made the mistake of offering to drive all of them over to the pool on the boat. At full throttle, the boat barely moved and once too many kids went to the front and water started sloshing in. But we made it, then they walked back afterwards.

Nina

The next week was insanely busy as a request to alter Nina’s 504 had turned into a request for an IEP, so we had 4 meetings during the day and ultimately we got the changes to the 504 we needed. I also got to visit Dr. Miller on Tuesday, the orthopedic surgeon I’d seen for my ankle in 2005. The thorn that hit my knuckle had done some damage as my knuckle was still in pain. An x-ray was inconclusive, but an ultrasound revealed part of the thorn was still in there. I was relieved as the knuckle wasn’t damaged. Also Nina had lots of school events including a sponsored sixth grade send off on Thursday and her promotion ceremony on Friday morning. It was a surprise to all of us when she was awarded a President’s Award for Educational Achievement.

Nina teacher

Friday the 16th I got a haircut for my costume the next day as Captain Pike. That evening one of our parent friends invited us over for end of year block party, then I went to see Marc Roberge and Mikel Paris (from O.A.R.) at The Atlantis to do a set full of O.A.R. classics. They even brought up Mark Williams (from Jonasay) to play guitar. Saturday Nina and her friends dressed up as characters in Genshin Impact, and we carpooled to Awesome Con. They saw a panel on cosplay makeup while I caught the end of Christopher Eccleston’s panel, then we got a picture with him. I also got his autograph while the others were at a My Hero Academia panel. We met up at the Unconventional Diner for lunch, then one of Nina’s friends had to leave. We went back to the con for shopping, and one more picture with Mandip Gill & Jodie Whitaker. I felt the day and the first decade of Awesome Con were best encapsulated by a meme:

Frey meme

Sunday was Father’s Day and we drove out to North Beach to take Dad and Patricia out for brunch at Hook & Vine. It was dog friendly, but a bit hot out in the sun for Justin. Back at Dad’s house I installed the new TV he’d asked for. We stopped at Old navy in Tysons on the way back for clothes for the trip for Nina. Jill said “Happy Father’s Day to the best Dad I know and am blessed so share this life with; Love you Kerry! Enjoy your day!”

Patricia Nina

Monday I worked the first half of the day, then dropped Nina at a friend’s house and drove to Jill’s surgery center to get the thorn out. I got stitches for the first time ever. Tuesday Nina started Junior Lifeguarding Camp, happy one of her Girl Scout friends was there. Thursday I went to Jammin’ Java for Bullet the Blue Sky – An Evening Dedicated to U2. I thought it would be the usual Songwriter’s Circle format, but it was a fully rehearsed full band show, a nice surprise. Cal Everett’s tenor is a great match for Bono, and Ryan & Todd Wright were great as usual. Lots of guitar pyrotechnics from Jonathan Sloane and Sean Chyun. Friday I got my stitches out rather than have them in for 2 more weeks.

Nina friends

Saturday we started things as normal with a flute lesson, but Rachel took us to the airport around 4 as we had a red eye flight. Traffic around Dulles was the worst I’d ever seen, but we were quickly through security and at our gate. We bought snacks and a USB charger for Europe, and it was a pretty uneventful flight to Reykjavik (I was the only one who couldn’t sleep). We didn’t think we had much a layover, but there was a problem with the plane, so we left for Glasgow 2 hours later than planned. Customs wasn’t bad, we found our bus and were soon on our way downtown.

Iceland

The only thing we had planned for the day was tea at Willow Tea Rooms, so after we checked in at the very nice DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central, we took the subway over. It was raining and Nina and I hadn’t prepared, but it wasn’t bad enough for us to want to do something about it. The tea was lovely and we also did some shopping, mostly at The Vintage Scene (I kept calling Pound Land “Pound Town”). That evening we decided to get Chinese from a place near us, or so I thought. When Jill was getting ready to pick it up, we discovered the place near us had closed, and I’d placed an order at Banana Leaf several miles away. I called them and they were able to change to delivery.

Nina Jill

Monday the 26th we checked out and walked over to the Charing Cross station. We were early, but we managed to figure out it didn’t matter, we could take the train at any time, so we did. We arrived in a very busy Edinburgh and walked to our room at Cityroomz Edinburgh. We were hungry and got lunch at The Huxley nearby (the fish and chips with a Rhubarb Rickey hit the spot). I walked over to the Oxfam Music Shop while the others went vintage shopping. We walked through Princes Street Gardens before sunset, seeing some nice views of Edinburgh Castle. We’d been told by our friends Meg and Toby of St James Quarter the shopping center next to the hotel made of swirling ribbon, or “The Turd”. Nina got some bubble tea, and we did some shopping (she got a new pair of boots from Dune). We had made reservations at Duck & Waffle, and I had to try the namesake dish. We went 1 floor lower to try out Haute Dolci for dessert – it was such a hit, Nina asked we go to brunch there the next day.

Jill Kerry

I left early on Tuesday to visit Vinyl Villains before joining the others for brunch (and it was good). Then walked to and up the Royal Mile. It was raining harder that day, so when Jill went into a shop later Nina and I ducked into a Boots to get umbrellas. We had a planned stop at Edinburgh Cashmere & Lambswool to pick up a cashmere sweater my mom had requested (gotta love a sign that says “since 1437”), then it was time for our scheduled visit to Edinburgh Castle. We toured the whole thing, and saw the Crown Room with the crown jewels, as well as the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum, then had a snack. Nina requested to visit Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, but the current timeslot was sold out, so we went back to shopping. One of the sweaters at Edinburgh Cashmere & Lambswool had caught Jill’s eye, and Nina and I went across the street to Thistle Do Nicely. Camera Obscura was big hit, then we walked back to the hotel. We went out again for Mexican at Miros Cantina Mexicana, then stopped at Italian for dessert.

Jill Kerry Nina

Wednesday we took the train from Haymarket for a long trip south to London, stopping at the Marks and Spencer there for provisions. The time on the train was nice and relaxing (even online food delivery available), but a bit hectic when we got to London as we had to switch to the underground, then back to the overground. The DoubleTree by Hilton London – Chelsea was only steps from the Imperial Wharf station, so we were quickly in our room to relax some. We went north to Notting Hill, then I shopped at the Music & Video Exchange while Nina and Jill walked around Hyde Park. We had dinner at Deep Blue for some outstanding fish and chips, then dessert at Amorino Gelato. I had to share that this was much better than I thought it would be.

Jill Nina

Thursday the 29th we slept in some, then went over to the Tesco next door to get snacks. We only had to go one stop to get to the BBC Earth Experience, an immersive set of screens that makes you feel like you’re in one of their documentaries. We explored the grounds at Kensington Palace, then we had a reservation at Dishoom Kensington, recommended by a friend (I liked the lamb chops, Jill and Nina both got butter chicken aka chicken ruby and weren’t big fans). Next we took pictures at Buckingham Palace and went to Heathers the Musical at The Other Palace. It was Nina’s pick, but she wasn’t feeling it at intermission, so we left (it is pretty dark).

Jill Kerry Nina

We had hoped to catch The Ocean at the End of the Lane while we were in London, but it was playing in Milton Keynes and the logistics didn’t work. But we did see The Wolves in the Walls at the Little Angel Theatre Friday and it was a lot of fun – the puppets were taken directly from Dave McKean’s artwork. After that, we split up. Jill and Nina took a bus down to the Tate Modern and had dinner from Wagamama, while I took the Tube to Hyde Park, where they were holding British Summer Time Hyde Park. I saw the size of the venue when I bought tix, so I got VIP, which was wise. First up was Larkin Poe, already in progress when I arrived at 2:30. They were great, but I was hungry so I got a burger from Holy Cow and a beer. Up next were The Darkness, and they did a great job of squeezing new and old songs in a 45 minute set, plus some nice crowd work. The ticket I bought came with a private area, so I got a banh mi and water from the cold tap they had and relaxed there until the Pretenders came on. I don’t know how I’ve missed them in all these years, but Chrissie Hynde is a legend and proved it on stage. The next break was long and crowded everywhere – I got a Jack and coke and sat next to a tree until it was time for Guns N’ Roses. They didn’t go on right on time, but it wasn’t more than a minute or two and they were out. My favorite discovery about the show was that they were covering a Velvet Revolver song, my second was they actually put out new music with the current lineup. Here’s my favorite picture from the night: big Slash, l’il Axl.

Guns N' Roses

May

The morning of Tuesday the 2nd I went over to Lorna and Dave’s house after dropping Nina off to help them bring in some equipment to their new cottage. That night it was the Terraset Talent Show, with Nina’s group going on last and bringing down the house with a dance set to “California Girls”.

Nina

Jon Anderson (lead singer of Yes) is 78, but hasn’t lost a step. On Wednesday at Capital One Hall, he sang 3 hours of Yes epics and classics. I think the classic rockers are like the bluesmen – they’re going to perform as long as they can. The Band Geeks were his backing band, led by Blue Öyster Cult’s bassist, and total pros. Thursday we went to see Bright Star at South Lakes High School.

Friday the 5th Jill and Nina left early from school with the Girl Scouts as they spent the weekend at Camp Mayflather. I naturally consoled myself with concerts. I went with Linda to Jammin’ Java on Friday not to see David Cook, but openers Todd Wright & Shane Hines, performing as a duo for the first time ever (short but sweet). Our friend Maria was there as well, and after about 3 songs from David Cook, determined he wasn’t our style and sat out front to listen and chat (and get ice cream from the new nearby Bruster’s).

Nina

Saturday I’d been planning for weeks to go to M3 Rock Festival where Extreme was playing. I hadn’t bought tix because I was hoping to get some cheaper ones down front, plus I had to go in 2022 when Extreme pulled out the day before because Gary got Covid. Then they pulled out the day before AGAIN because Nuno tore his ACL playing basketball on the Monsters of Rock cruise that week, and I decided I didn’t care to go if they weren’t there. Luckily, I already had a backup plan: The Natural Lines (the new band from Matt Pond PA) were playing Rams Head On Stage that day, so I drove up to Annapolis to see them and opener The Lighthouse And The Whaler (both bringing some loudness to matinee time). I also had the duck tacos, pretty good. I missed seeing my brother-in-law, but Dad invited me to come over and fix Patricia’s laptop, so I did that and went for a walk with him and Justin. Next I went to College Park to shop for CDs and play pinball before going home.

The Natural Lines

Wednesday the 10th I went out to Leesburg. Jill and Nina were getting pizza at the final PTO meeting, so I went out early enough to eat at the bar at Tarbender’s Lounge (flatbread was tasty) before I left too early as jam band Moogatu had dropped out and dub reggae band Shamans of Sound had stepped in, and I was not a fan. Dopapod redeemed the night with their spacy jams. I wasn’t aware of them until they did a whole night of “Weird Al“ Yankovic cover songs, and I knew I had to check them out. Thursday Jill got a turn at the weeknight out thing as she and Rachel went to Jammin’ Java to see Chris Fairbanks.

Rachel Chris Fairbanks Jill

Friday Nina got her own special night as she had some friends over. I took them over to South Lakes Shopping Center on the boat and they hung out, then came back home while we got takeout from Taco Zocalo. Saturday Nina and went shopping for Mother’s Day after her flute lesson, and Sunday Jill got two books and a flowering plant. She also asked for a family walk, and Nina took her bike and got lost, but did a great job getting back on track and getting to us. She was suffering this week as apparently birch and ash pollen are close enough to dust to activate her asthma.

Kerry Nina

Thursday the 18th I saw this article and loved this quote: “But it’s as unfair to judge Matthews himself by the perceived predilections of his audience as it is to judge David Lynch by the most insufferable dorks at a midnight Inland Empire screening.” Friday Jill and I took a walk after she got home and I grabbed some handheld clippers to clip thorn bushes on our way. There was one plant about 8 feet tall near Nina’s school that bit back – I felt the thorn hit the knuckle. I was at the 9:30 Club later to see The New Pornographers, who I hadn’t seen since 2014, and they were fantastic. I was a little concerned when I got there and looked at my ticket and Neko Case wasn’t part of the band picture, but she and her voice showed up front and center. Saturday Jill was out studying for her license exam, so after Nina’s flute lesson, we went over to Mosaic where I’d reserved a book she wanted at the Barnes and Noble there. She chose lunch at Playa Bowls as well as ice cream from Cold Stone. I did stop at Red Apron for some beer.

Nina Kerry

Sunday Nina got together with the Girl Scouts for a boba tea meetup, then after dinner I drove to the Wharf to see Liam Finn and Crowded House at The Anthem. Liam Finn was funnier that I thought he’d be, looping like Ed Sheeran. Crowded House was fantastic, adding longtime producer Mitchell Froom and both of Neil Finn’s sons has reenergized them and a third of the songs were from their most recent album or brand new songs written on the road, including one that was a debut that night. The funny add on was I’d walked over to South Lakes Safeway with Jill as she had to go to CVS, and during the five minutes I was inside, heard all of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”.

Thursday the 25th Jill was out early flying to Hartford for Jake’s graduation. Nina had had a vision appointment the day before where she was given reading glasses, and I took her to get them that night (and she needed boba tea, of course). Friday we got takeout from Yu Noodles (Nina was not a fan of either dumpling dish she ordered, but Jill thought her pork and chive dumplings made great leftovers). I thought this is so great in so many ways. R.I.P. Tina. Saturday I had to take Nina for a followup vision exam and barely made it to her flute lesson on time. I took her and her friend Megan to the pool after we got back, then to Monster Mini Golf and Wendy’s (we won our group game of laser tag at Monster Mini Golf).

Megan Nina

Jill flew back Sunday afternoon to a packed Dulles (took us 15 minutes to make it around the circle to get her). That evening, Nina had been asking for her favorite babysitter, and she got her as we got to attend the soft opening of The Atlantis. It’s the new club inside the 9:30 Club meant to invoke the original 9:30 Club. We were curious about opening band venray, but then it turn out their drummer Christopher Peli is the architect behind The Atlantis. They were good, but I’d never seen the legendary go-go band Trouble Funk, and they brought the booty shaking funk. First impression: not exactly like the old club. The poles hardly are in your way, and you can breathe in the bathrooms. The balcony is nice, feels like half the old club, half the new. Owner Seth Hurwitz was at the far end of the balcony overlooking the stage. Afterwards we went out to eat at the nearby 801 for a delicious dinner (I had the steak bites).

Trouble Funk

Monday the 29th was Memorial Day and a bit rainy so we mostly hung out around the house doing chores. Jill requested burgers and dogs for dinner, and Nina requested an early dinner so we could start watching the second part of the second season of Demon Slayer, so they both got their wish. I had been upset with the family of geese sneaking on to our lawn, skipping the fence by going over our neighbor’s flowerbeds. I’d gotten up twice Saturday morning, so over the weekend I planned my revenge, and Tuesday morning they tried it but walked into the place I’d set up my motion sensor water sprayer and on of the parents got sprayed, flew six feet straight up, then landed to usher the goslings back. I laughed so hard. Wednesday the local Girl Scout troops got together at Reston Community Center for a potluck dinner and award ceremony; Nina was happy to hang out with her friends.

Nina