When I last left off, we had arrived in Portland, Oregon. Early on Sunday the 1st, we took the light rail to meet Meg. We met her at the MAX stop, then walked over to Voodoo Doughnuts where Nina enjoyed her vegan grape donut. We were happy to find out that the Saturday Market was open on Sunday as well, and Meg and Nina had fun splashing in the fountain while we took a break from shopping.

Jill Kerry Nina

I’m a fan of food carts, so to learn that Portland has permanent dedicated areas for them was fantastic. At SW Washington and 9th Nina had a quesadilla, I had a great Banh mi from Rua and Jill had Georgian (Europe) food from Kargi Gogo. After naptime, Meg came back over and we got takeout for her and Nina so we could sneak off and have a delicious Mexican fusion dinner at Taqueria Nueve. I’d backed them on Kickstarter, and the chef’s dinner we got was outstanding, lots of dishes based on corn and some of the best grilled asparagus we’ve ever had.

Meg Nina

Monday we took the light rail over to the Children’s Museum. We had a breakfast there (I had a delicious egg wrap), then lots of fun activities for Nina, including an interactive ambulance, a dam in a stream and a plant maze. Her favorite (and the one we had to drag her away from) was the stage, where she got to perform. We had popcorn for a snack, then Jill and Nina used the freezing cold pool while I went to the next door mall to buy a pillow. We had pizza delivered from Pizzicato for dinner, pretty good.


Tuesday we had Bowery Bagels for breakfast, then stopped at the same light rail stop as the day before to go to the Portland Zoo. Nina loved the polar bears, elephants, lions, hippos and giraffes. We enjoyed more food trucks for lunch (I had Hawaiian pork and grits), then met up with Meg and Mackenzie at the Deschutes Brewpub for dinner (yummy wings).

Nina Jill

Wednesday was a lazier day around Portland with stops at Powell’s and Finnegan’s Toys and more food truck goodness (Steak Your Claim was my favorite yet, Jill enjoyed some fish). Actually napped while Nina did that afternoon, then we did McMenamins (Ringlers) for dinner, again with Meg and Mackenzie (the tater tots were great).

Jill Meg Nina Mackenzie

Thursday we did OMSI in the morning (Nina loved the grocery store and sandbox area), food trucks for lunch and dinner, shopping (finally made it to a CD store, Everyday Music), and one more Voodoo Doughnuts hit. Friday was a long day of travel followed by dinner at Cafesano, and catching up on TV.


Saturday the 7th Mom came over and Jill and I drove down to Constitution Hall to see The Kids In The Hall. We’d seen Kevin McDonald & Dave Foley 5 years previously, but never the whole troupe before. They were pretty funny, even for a casual fan like me. Nina finally got to see Felix again on Sunday and had a good time running around.

Felix Nina

Nina started summer camp at school on Monday the 9th – happy her friend Felix was there, also her teacher Jenny and other friends from school were there as well. I’d seen Ringo Starr before, but not with his All-Starr band. Thursday at Wolf Trap it was an amazing show, full of hits from Ringo, Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie (Santana), Richard Page (Mr. Mister) and Steve Lukather (Toto). The next night Dan Wilson (ex-Semisonic, co-writer with Dixie Chicks and Adele) was at Jammin’ Java singing his perfect pop songs and great songwriting stories.


Saturday the 14th I slept in, we saw Todd Wright at Finnegan’s and had tasty burgers from BurgerFi, then I mowed the lawn while Nina napped. I made breakfast for dinner (French Toast and banana bread muffins), then I came up with a nice idea. Jill and Felix’s parents walk them over to Yogiberry in South Lakes to get frozen yogurt. Meanwhile I drive the deck boat over and pick them up to eat it on the ride back. For Father’s Day we went to my dad’s house for lunch and a nice walk on the boardwalk, then Nina played with Felix for a bit while Jill shopped. Bojangles chicken for dinner was delicious, and the Game Of Thrones season finale after a good call swapping dad stories with Chris Cannon was icing on the cake.

Jill Nina

Wednesday the 18th I had to congratulate True Detective and Fargo for coming out of nowhere and being some of the best TV shows out there. Their season finales got me as anxious as Game Of Thrones. Thursday I knew I didn’t want all my favorite musicians to be openers, but Jim Boggia was in the perfect spot for a school night, he was awesome and we left 3 songs into the headliner. Saturday we had dinner at Bungalow Lakehouse (decent lobster roll) then went to see Luke Brindley on the Leesburg Town Green.

Nina Kerry

Wednesday the 25th I decided someone at the Wolf Trap box office has a sense of humor. I was in the exact same seat for Ben Folds that I was for Ringo Starr. No Jill, once seeing Ben was sufficient for her, which I didn’t know until after I bought tix to see him again with an orchestra (sold it for a nice profit). I saw him with the Five at the Virgin Mobile Freefest in 2012, and was glad to finally see him with an orchestra (the NSO). His new Piano Concerto was quite good, second set even better (don’t think I’ve ever seen an improv jam with an orchestra before). Friday I finally got Nina down for the count at 10:42PM with no bath. I honestly don’t understand how parents can be alone with more than one child. And to top it off, I came downstairs to a phone message from my credit card company. They put me on hold listening to a Muzak version of “I Want It That Way”.


Saturday the 28th, Jill’s mom came down to visit, and we headed back to the Leesburg Town Green to picnic and watch Todd Wright. It was a nice night in Leesburg for a concert, and when he brought Mary Ann Redmond their playing together was like peanut butter and chocolate. Sunday we celebrated Jill’s and my mom’s birthdays with lunch at Ford’s Fish Shack (fried fish and lobster, so good). Later, this happened –

Nina: I want to tickle you, Mama.
Jill: You can’t, your hands are dirty.
Nina: I need a napkin.

The bonus – it was her second use of deductive reasoning that day.

Nancy Nina