Thursday the 3rd we had dinner at the bar at Pork Barrel BBQ, then a very funny night of puns, Jabba the Hutt impressions, and a 30 minute long song about pirates with Paul and Storm & Wil Wheaton. The next day Nina’s outfit choice for the evening was a 9:30 T-shirt, monkey pajama bottoms, and pink boots, and she proceeded to climb the ladder at the playground, grab the first rung of the monkey bars, then swing back to the ladder. And I won’t discuss how she got to the bouncy. Saturday Nina was exhausted after a morning where she danced her feet off at Robbie Schaefer, then bounced around at Fall For Fairfax ’til she got hot, and we had hot dogs from Top Dog.


Wednesday the 9th I had to add to the list of things I’ve said to my daughter: “Get your toes out of your oatmeal!”. Thursday I took Illa to the vet, and it took 30 seconds from his arrival to an impressive pool of pee. And then then nurse asked if we had a fecal sample. I told her no, but 30 seconds later guess what! Friday Nina didn’t want to leave daycare early and had a meltdown as we walked home in the rain, but recovered enough to splash in the puddles and eat her mac and cheese from Noodles & Co. Later it was toddler dance party time (her favorite jam is now Jason Mraz’s “Outdoors”) and we both wore sweatpants and matching Roger Waters t-shirts.


Saturday the 12th it was vacation time again, packed up the car and headed north. We made our usual stop in Edison NJ for Sonic, and found a very nice playground nearby at Lincoln Elementary School for Nina to run around at. It was dark by the time we got to Holyoke, but Nina was thrilled to see her Nana and Pop-Pop. The next day Nina went to visit her cousins while Jill and I drove down to Stamford to catch a MTA train to NYC. My early birthday gift from Jill was Matilda and a dinner, so we started with a matinee (very well done), then an early dinner at Hakkasan New York – I don’t know if they have the best dim sum in NYC, but they certainly have the best dim sum I’ve had in NYC.


Monday was Columbus Day. We took Nina to Community Field in the morning and had hot dogs from Nick’s Nest for lunch. That afternoon the Bradys were hosting a house party. They’d rented a bouncy slide, and it was near impossible to get Nina to do anything else (the live band with Melissa’s dad on drums was a close second, though). Tuesday I did something even crazier than going to NYC – I flew to Baltimore for a musical. But I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Brian May play “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Queen’s musical We Will Rock You was playing at The Hippodrome Theatre, and it was the start of their US tour. Brian always plays opening night, and I wasn’t going to miss it (even though it meant a longer travel time than usual for Baltimore on a weekday).


Sue dropped me at the airport and the plane was massively delayed (Southwest of course, and I got a package deal on the hotel), but I arrived in midafternoon, enough time to check in and relax before getting a ride in the hotel shuttle over to the BWI light rail stop. I ate again at Alewife (short rib platter this time, but had to get the duck fat fries again) before heading over to the theater early to try and sell my extra ticket. No luck, but got a wave from Brian as I stood next to the failed autograph seekers. I gave the biggest tip to a bartender ever at Alewife (couldn’t sell the ticket) and headed in. The musical was better than the last time we saw it (10 years earlier in London) with lots of current music references that make the show even more relevant. And the end was perfect and worth the trip (it occurs to me I’ve now seen Brian May 5 times, and each time he’s played “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Never gets old).


I flew back the next morning and Jill and Nina picked me up (we stopped at Table & Vine on the way back). That night Jill’s sisters came over for dinner and tomfoolery. Thursday the 17th we went to the nearby reservoir with Sue for a walk and pictures before packing the car and heading over to Woodstock. We rented Moonrise Mountain House with the Cannons for three nights, and they soon arrived. The four girls had a blast playing, and we had a quick dinner of chicken nuggets. The next day we went into Saugerties (almost 20 years since I was there last for Woodstock ’94) to the Lions Club Playground, then stopped at Catskill Mountain Pizza Company for lunch. Jill and Jess had a dinner meetup with fellow spinners, so Chris and I grilled steak and hot dogs for dinner.


Saturday the 19th was the start of Rhinebeck (I called it Comic-Con for yarn geeks). Jill and Jess got in line for some “con exclusives”, and I took Nina to see sheep and llamas. There was a number of kids activities she liked too, especially the balloon man. The little girls napped in the afternoon while the big girls watched a movie, then they had pizza for dinner. Jill’s mom came to visit us and babysit, so the adults went out to dinner at Peekamoose. Great meal (I had the chicken and everyone else had steak), weirdest thing was all of us had different cell carriers and no one had service (Jill borrowed the restaurant’s phone to call her mom and let her know). Sunday it was back to Rhinebeck for a couple hours before driving home (and we took the next day off).

Cannon girls and Nina

Saturday the 26th Nina’s school had a Halloween party, so she got dressed in her costume (as Piglet) and we went over. Much fun: food, games, a fire engine, and mayhem at the playground. The next night my parents brought over takeout from Generous George’s to celebrate my birthday. We were supposed to meet them there, but Nina was under the weather and it took 30 minutes just to coax her out of bed. Wednesday the 30th I had thought Don Henley had a tough job, but then I watched Nellie McKay sing and play marimba while wearing heels. Not so impressed with Don anymore. Halloween night I thought I’d take Nina out for her first trick or treating for about 20 minutes. She didn’t mind the light rain, and I had to drag her back home after an hour. Not a big fan of any of the candy she tried, though. And Jill only got two kids at the door while we were gone.