We were still in Massachusetts on vacation in January. The night of the 1st we moved to Jill’s mom’s Sue’s house. On Wednesday the 2nd Dave dropped us off at the Springfield train station on his way to work at 6:30AM. We caught 2 trains and arrived at Penn Station in NYC by 10:30. We stopped at Schwartz Luggage Storage to store our luggage, then stopped at Mood Fabrics so Jill could look around. After a while I went on to Midtown Comics where I picked up a toy for Nina and Jill met me there.
We had a delicious lunch at Dim Sum Palace, then walked over to the Lyric Theatre for Show #1: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (our Christmas present to each other). Part One started at 2PM, and ended on quite a cliffhanger. We also had ticket to Harry Potter: A History Of Magic at the New-York Historical Society and didn’t have a lot of time before our start time (which was also the last of the day), so got a Lyft up there (which we almost missed because my GPS had us on the wrong block). The exhibition was wonderful, the best part was J. K. Rowling’s early drafts and drawings.
We took the subway back down to the Theater District and had dinner at City Kitchen (I had the supreme seafood crossover of sushi from Azuki and a Lobster Grilled Cheese from Luke’s Lobster). We were back in our seats just in time for Part Two at 7:30. The whole thing was truly wonderful and unforgettable, a day of magic. Jill said it “was especially amazing since most of the principals were the original London cast. I would have loved to see it in London but this made it especially wonderful for me. It was such a special gift; the experience was worth anything I could have asked for.” I got our luggage while Jill tried a jumbo slice (plus she’d pulled a muscle in her leg), then we took the subway out to Brooklyn where we stayed in Seth and Emily’s guest room. It was too late for anything but sleep, but the next morning we shared the train with Emily halfway back to Penn Station. I picked up lunch from Pat LaFrieda (again) and donuts to share from The Cinnamon Snail. We only had a single train on the way back to Springfield, where Jill’s mom and Nina picked us up and told us all about their adventures.
The next day we drove home, stopping at White Castle in the Bronx on the way. Eddie From Ohio’s Quick is still a marvelous driving CD (although “Let’s Get Mesolithic” hasn’t aged well) and singing along to “Number Six Driver” as we approach Point of Rocks from a long day of driving can’t be beat. Nina’s favorite song from the trip was “Manic Monday”. While I can’t fault her taste in singers (or songwriters) we had listened to “The Essential Bangles” 4 times in a week, which is a bit much. Parenting is not having a lot of options for breakfast but still making these cream cheese cinnamon rolls from scratch Saturday morning, only to have my child tell you she prefers the “normal” ones. I added bacon and raisins to a third of them. They were delicious. That night Jill had a work party at 2941 – unsurprisingly excellent food.
Saturday the 12th Nina went to a birthday party at a dance studio where she learned a routine, then we helped her with her newest obsession, Disney’s Descendants, by watching the first movie (it’s got some pretty catchy songs – Adam Schlesinger wrote one). Sunday Nina saw this and now is rethinking cheer… Monday I saw these cool views of our house over time. Tuesday I got to rent an SUV as my car had developed a leak somewhere and I dropped it at Pollet’s.
Friday the 18th I got dinner at Liberty Barbecue (fried chicken sandwich was superb, hush puppies were meh) before concert #2: The Smithereens at The State Theatre. I like both The Smithereens and the Gin Blossoms, and with Robin Wilson filling in for the late Pat DiNizio it was a must see. Great show, especially the encore with a cover of “No Matter What” into “Girl Like You”. Jill was reading: “I finished Heavy by Kiese Laymon a few days ago. I’m letting it sit with me; it was so powerful and challenging to read; I felt it on a guttural level. Next up, Hunger by Roxane Gray.”
The next day it was strange to listen to Sharon Jones cover The Rolling Stones when you know she’s gone and Mick and Keith are still here. That night was concert #3: Eddie From Ohio with Sarah Niemietz & Snuffy Walden at the Birchmere. Only Mike Clem could write a song like “China Uses Facial Recognition Software To Crack Down On Toilet Paper Theft”. Great sounding show as usual thanks to Bob McNichols. Nina’s 3rd efo show and 1st Birchmere show, plus first time meeting the band. Good times all around (except the average food at ridiculous prices and no water problem) as Sue and Mrs. Cannon joined us and we sat with Janice, Chris and Joel.
Monday I was wrong, this picture is the clear winner of the aging challenge meme. Wednesday I posted what may be my most popular social media picture of the year (caption: Well, who isn’t?)
Thursday the 24th I got my car back (the windshield had been replaced on my car at some point and the glue they had used had failed), but then some sad news as we lost Jill’s father’s father, and Nina’s only living great-grandfather. Jill said “We love you and will miss you, Pepere. I imagine you are meeting Jack LaLanne right about now and challenging him to a chin up contest. Thank you for all your love.”
Friday we got another fun rush hour departure for a cheer competition, this time to Pennsylvania. But the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square was very nice – Nina got to go to the pool before she and Jill had food from the hotel restaurant. I was willing to wait until bedtime so Sue and I could go to The Pressroom for dinner (we both got the duck two ways).
The competition the next day went well – Nina’s team got first place in their division, a best performance trophy, and a zero deduction routine! Everyone else wanted lunch from McDonald’s (and Jill bought boxes of nuggets for the girls), then I got lunch at Silantra Asian Street Kitchen (perfectly spicy hot wrap on a cold day). The next day we went to show #4: The Phantom Tollbooth. I love the book, but the actors mimed to prerecorded songs, and it felt lacking.
Monday the 28th I was disappointed in PledgeMusic, I’ve backed a number of projects there, but they “failed to hold artists’ campaign funds separately and securely and instead invested it back into the company”. Jill flew up to Massachusetts for the funeral on Tuesday, then it was fun to have school closed Wednesday due to weather. I got Nina over to Lifetime for the day and rewarded her with a Glory Days dinner (she loves face paint night).