On Monday the 1st, Nina and Jill were still in Massachusetts, but flew back that night after a busy travel day and I picked them up at Dulles. Nina had StudyPro on Wednesday, so I stocked on beer at Total Wine. Thursday legendary drummer Mike Portnoy shared that it was
Crazy that we’re living in a time where this Summer will see Joe Satriani & Jason Bonham joining Sammy Hagar & Michael Anthony for an evening of Van Halen music and now this Fall will see Steve Vai & Danny Carey joining Adrian Belew & Tony Levin for an evening of King Crimson music…This is a great time to be alive!
And I shared that, saying that’s why I’m going to both of them.

Maddy Sue Jake Nina

Saturday was a travel day for all of us as we drove up to Rochester. We were staying with our Shanty friends the Hays, so we hung out with them until it was time to go to dinner with Mom. She was there with her stepdaughter Jeannie, who’d brought her boyfriend and her youngest son, Logan. The McElroys (Sharon and her family) were running late, but we were able to order for them. I was able to share with everyone that day was Dad’s 90th birthday, and we did not do a party in according to his wishes, but I did have a singing Marilyn Monroe show up at his door. Or at least that was the plan, since he’d told me he’d be at Patricia’s that day, and he arrived 30 minutes after “Marilyn Monroe” left a confused Patricia there with balloons. After dinner we and the McElroys came back to Mom’s to take of the fixit list.

Chris Benjy Becca Kerry Nina Jill Joni

Sunday we were able to sleep in some, then met Sharon’s family at the Strong National Museum of Play where Josh had been dying to do the new ropes course. Jill and I did rock paper scissors – I lost, so I got to go up with Josh and Nina. My reward was lots of pinball (they have 31 machines), and the Hays came to visit too. I did my best on the first two. The last was just a crazy game. I managed to make it to The Record Archive before the Hays grilled burgers for dinner later.

Nina Josh

Monday the 8th we met Logan and Jeannie for brunch at The Great American Diner; the McElroys joined us a bit late. Then we all went our separate ways to view the total eclipse, but no one feeling great about it as partly cloudy skies in the morning had turned into completely overcast by the afternoon. And we did not get to see the eclipse, but it was pretty cool. It looked like a huge storm was approaching, and then slowly all the light went out and the temperature dropped ten degrees. The birds quieted down and we saw a bat come out, then as quickly as it had happened, everything reversed course. We had already packed the car as we’d taken Nina out of school for that day and didn’t want to take her out a second one. Traffic was good for a while, then we got a 30 minute backup due to a lane being closed for construction. It was smooth sailing after that, and we got to stop at a rest stop with the best views.


Wednesday Nina got yet another travel day as she got dropped off at school at 4:30am for a bus trip to New York City. It was mostly chorus and theater classmates, as they went to a workshop with some cast members from Wicked showing them some routines, then got dinner before seeing the 7pm show of Wicked. She had a great time, and Jill and I got to walk over to Red’s Table and have dinner. She actually met another CRNA who almost spilled his beer on her. Thursday I went to see Joe Satriani & Steve Vai at Warner Theatre with Carl (dad of one of Nina’s friends). Satch and Vai’s sets were great, but the 3 song encore at the end was just amazing. They ended with “Enter Sandman”!


Since we’d missed Dad’s actual birthday, we went over to take him out to lunch at Traders Seafood on Saturday the 13th, where we managed to go in through their gaming room. That and the dark environs turned Jill off, but we all enjoyed the food. Monday we got a rare hailstorm. Tuesday night I went to see Madison Cunningham & Juana Molina at the Barns At Wolf Trap. I’ve gotten more into Madison Cunningham since I first saw her at Live From Here from Wolf Trap in 2019, and was looking forward to this show, but apparently she really likes Juana Molina and was trying to showcase her. In addition, Juana had some technical issues with her loop pedals. So we got more Juana than Madison, so I’ll have to catch her again.

hawk at Dad's

Wednesday the 17th Nina did her 3 hour tour at StudyPro. I actually had documentation to work on, so I was able to bring my laptop and work outside at The Union. Then I read the paper and got some of the lamb chop appetizers and a beer to finish the time. Friday Jill volunteered for Career Day at Langston Hughes Middle School. Sunday Jill wanted tacos for lunch, so she got all of us takeout from Taco Zocalo. Monday Nina was off, and she’d been learning to cook for herself, but I had to take a picture to show Jill that cleaning up lessons weren’t working too well.

Nina's lunch

Tuesday the 23rd I went to the Kennedy Center to see Chris Thile with the National Symphony Orchestra. I had an early dinner before I left and went up to the KC Café for a drink and a cookie. The first set was a traditional set (as much as any can be with him) as the NSO performed with and without him. The second set was his piece Attention! Which was kind of a story driven standup set with musical accompaniment. He was joined at various points by Moira Smiley (who tours with Tune-Yards) and Exigence. The encore was just him doing an aggressive cover of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”.

Chris Thile

Wednesday Nina did another 3 hour tour at StudyPro. This time I stopped by CD Cellar for a bit, then onto Solace for a beer and some pinball. Friday Jill was off, letting me go into DC early and have dinner at Soi 38 before heading back to the Kennedy Center for Here It Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen. It was based on the CD curated by Larry Klein. First up was Madison Cunningham again (not what I really meant by catching her again), then Gregory Porter. Bill Frissell led a top notch band, but Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks (from Tedeschi Trucks Band) were stellar on “Anthem”. Ben Folds was last before intermission, then Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks again before we got the evening’s big guns, Don Henley & Trisha Yearwood. Don Henley was the only artist to get to talk, and Trisha Yearwood closed out the performance with the expected “Hallelujah”.

Saturday we went to see Bye Bye Birdie at Langston Hughes Middle School. Nina had passed on participating because of her workload, and it was for the best, but she enjoyed seeing all her friends. Sunday Nina had a confirmation class, and we had tickets for Alan Doyle at the Barns At Wolf Trap. I had the clever idea to buy her an extra ticket and she could sit in the lobby, but the show was sold out. But I kept checking, and the day before I bought 2 tickets (because they were better than the two I had). I offered the extra one up for free, but had no takers. Nina was happy to sit there on her phone as long as we got her food (and she ended up ordering fish & chips and apple pie), and we enjoyed the show, although it was a Sunday night and Jill left early. Tuesday I thought this was brilliant, and shared it with Jill’s friend Paula, who’s a huge Phish fan.

Alan Doyle