- 7/01 Concert flashback #53: Live 8 in Philly in 2005. Very crowded, and we only stayed for the first half, but worth it just for Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff getting everyone to sing along to the theme from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.
- 7/02 Concert flashback #54: Live Aid in 1985. The only concert I’ve listened to so far I haven’t been to, but I was drawn to it after Live 8 yesterday. I remember being physically pulled away from the TV because we had to go somewhere, and turning it on again the second we got back.
- 7/05 Concert flashback #55: the Foo Fighters 20th anniversary festival in 2015 with Gary Clark, Jr., Heart, LL Cool J, & Buddy Guy at RFK Stadium on 7/04, 2015.
- 7/06 Concert flashback #56: Page & Plant at MCI Center in 1998 (aka the closest I’m getting to a Led Zep reunion).
- 7/07 Concert flashback #57: Live Earth at Giants Stadium in 2007. Bon Jovi\The Smashing Pumpkins\Roger Waters\The Police still one of the best back to back lineups I’ve seen.
- 7/08 Concert flashback #58: Rush at Nissan Pavilion in 2002. First show for me after the break. Great set.
- 7/09 Concert flashback #59: Pink Floyd at RFK in 1994. My first time seeing them and so amazing I went back the next night (Ok, I was going anyway but cool to see how the disco ball came out when no one was looking).
- 7/10 Concert flashback #60: What better way to follow the finest moment of a Roger-less Pink Floyd than with Roger Waters’s finest post Floyd show, namely The Wall tour in 2012?
- 7/13 Concert flashback #61: Weird Al at Wolf Trap last year for Nina’s 1st time and my 8th. The symphony really took it to the next level.
- 7/14 Concert flashback #62: Pat McGee Band at Wolf Trap in 2000. Classic lineup joined by Michael Ghegan on sax, plus a nice cover of “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”.
- 7/15 Concert flashback #63: The Police at Hersheypark in 2007. And we won the tickets!
- 7/16 Concert flashback #64: Veruca Salt at the Black Cat in 2014. I was always sad I never got to see them do songs from “Eight Arms to Hold You”, and I got over half of them.
- 7/17 Concert flashback #65: Brandi Carlile at Wolf Trap in 2015.
- 7/20 Concert flashback #66: The Rolling In The Aisles workshop at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2005 with Paul & Storm and The Arrogant Worms.
- 7/21 Concert flashback #67: Queen + Adam Lambert at Mohegan Sun Arena in 2017. With a capacity less than 4000, the most intimate show with them.
- 7/22 Concert flashback #68: Eddie From Ohio at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2005. With Paul & Storm!
- 7/23 Concert flashback #69: Red Molly at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2008.
- 7/24 Concert flashback #70: Our Native Daughters at the National Museum of African American History & Culture last year.
- 7/27 Concert flashback #71: Crooked Still at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2008.
- 7/28 Concert flashback #72: The Songs of Paul Simon at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2009.
- 7/29 Concert flashback #73: Dave Matthews Band at Classic Amphitheater in 1995. A charming show, and now it’s not all FRFF this week.
- 7/30 Concert flashback #74: Dar Williams at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2007.
- 7/31 Concert flashback #75: The Shantytowne fireside jam at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2017. This is the one that really hurts to miss.
For Jill’s birthday on Wednesday the 1st, she was still recovering and we stayed at home, but I made her request for dinner: chicken nuggets and fires in her new air fryer. I was sure everyone will be focused on the election in November, but noted that voting is important every year. Turning the VA statehouse blue was crucial for these new laws in effect now. This seemed like a good cause. More info here. Thursday one of Jill’s friends came by for a belated birthday visit, and Jill said “It was so wonderful to get a drive by birthday celebration from her and her sweet girl! Made me feel so special! Love you”.
Friday I took the workday holiday off (usually I work part of one day of the weekend because a number of days I only get 7 or so hours in) and we went to Lost Dog Cafe in Merrifield and had lunch outside, then I picked up meat and beer at Red Apron. I also said to wear your mask. Saturday Nina requested something special for breakfast so got strawberries with regular and blue dyed whipped cream. Then we watched a cardboard boat float and had the neighborhood kids over to open a pinata filled with candy and alcohol to belatedly celebrate Jill’s birthday (grownups took the alcohol) and play on the slip and slide. In the afternoon we took 4 hours to watch Hamilton (someone had so many questions: about history, blackmail, casting and song genre choices), then made these scrumptious ribs (the little bottle of Jack Daniels from the morning really came in handy). In the evening we went out on the boat, and as usual, Lake Thoreau did not disappoint (they were still going off past midnight). Sunday I saw “Weird Al” Yankovic had put up a video version of his Hamilton Polka.
Monday the 6th I felt this will happen to me in the future. Tuesday I had to quote this interview: “That mask is not for you. That’s for everybody around you. If you care about your neighbors, your family, the people that you encounter in the store — wear that mask.” Wednesday I saw that The Far Side was back. Jill was still off while she recovered from her surgery and said “I took a walk around the lake for the first time after my surgery 2 weeks ago and discovered 2 trails I didn’t know about before! 10 years in and still new things to discover.” Friday I saw this and knew what I was listening to the rest of the afternoon. That night we had dinner outside at Ariake, where Nina ate all her sushi and then proceeded to finish off Jill’s bento box (after she watched a ladybug escape it).
Saturday the 11th I went to Meadowlark Gardens for a socially distanced memorial to my elementary and high school friend Gretchen. Later we were so happy to host another boat concert, this time with Robbie Schaefer. Perfect ending to the day. Monday I thought we’d already come to this conclusion. After a Banh Mi on a handmade sourdough hoagie roll Thursday, I may never go back to store bought. Friday I noted that you can apply to vote absentee by mail now for the November election in Virginia.
Saturday the 18th my friend Norm pointed out that an artist had painted giant wings on a parking garage nearby, so I brought Nina to take some pictures. She convinced me that since we were out, we also had to go to Duck Donuts. Monday Nina had finished her 3 weeks of virtual camps at Lopez Studios (with songs from Wizard of Oz, Lion King and School of Rock) and chose to switch back to AFYP for the last 2 weeks of virtual camps, with acting camp and musical theater bootcamp. Tuesday I said “Oh dang” as Fairfax County Public Schools switched between hybrid and all-virtual classes to all-virtual classes. Thursday I thought this is a fantastic Dolly Parton parody for our times. Friday I saw this was a quick way to let Congress know live venues are important. Later I went to Golden King to get dim sum while Nina and Jill were at the pool.
Saturday the 25th Nina and Jill had a spa day. Sunday after having listened to the amazing feat of Hamilton Act 1 but it’s The Muppets, I figured he was done, but he did Act 2 too! Tuesday I said just wear your mask. Wednesday morning after forgetting our CSA veggies the day before I bribed Nina to come with me by offering Dunkin’ Donuts. Thursday I was today years old when I found out Levar Burton was “a police detective trying to arrest the band”. Also, this was tweet of the day and I made this intriguing image of Nina at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2012 and 2019 in response to a post on a Facebook group asking for pictures of kids at their first and most recent Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Later Jill got takeout from Mama Tigre, some wonderful Mexican with Indian fusion.
- 6/01 #31: Fastball Live at the Herndon Festival in 2008. One of my favorite 90s bands so close to home.
- 6/02 #32: Garbage at HFStival in 1996 plus Queens of the Stone Age at the 9:30 Club in 2002 with L’il Davie Grohl on drums.
- 6/03 #33: Double shot of Herndon Festival – Brindley Brothers in 2005 and Girlyman in 2006.
- 6/04 #34: Double shot of last time I saw artists: Lowen & Navarro at The Birchmere in 2009 and Mudcrutch (with Tom Petty) at the 9:30 Club in 2016.
- 6/05 #35: The Excentrics at Friday Night Live. Remember when they didn’t just have cover bands?
- 6/08 #36: Celebrate Fairfax doubleshot – Gin Blossoms and Sister Hazel, both from 2002.
- 6/11 #37: Tom Petty with Trey Anastasio at Nissan Pavilion. All the hits, plus songs by Phish, Bo Diddley, Fleetwood Mac, Traveling Wilburys, Them [Van Morrison], and Stevie Nicks with a special appearance by Stevie Nicks? Just an amazing show.
- 6/12 #38: One more trip to Celebrate Fairfax, this time for a double shot of Rick Springfield from 2005 and They Might Be Giants from 1999 (bonus points if you can spot me in the latter).
- 6/13 #39: Da Vinci’s Notebook’s last show at Crystal City Street Fair in 2005. Still the most distractable band in the land.
- 6/14 #40: The Pat McGee Band at the Alexandria Waterfront Festival in 1999. Notable for being the first time I saw them and Eddie From Ohio. Don’t have efo’s set, but Bob McNichols promises he’ll find it for me someday…
- 6/15 #41: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss at Merriweather Post Pavilion in 2008. I really enjoyed them together.
- 6/18 #42: A special number for a special show – the Tibetan Freedom Concert at RFK Stadium in 1998. Day 1 was cut short due to someone getting hit by lightning, but day 2 was super packed: Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Wyclef Jean, Blues Traveler, The Wallflowers, Luscious Jackson, Jungle Brothers, R.E.M., A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, and Pearl Jam (who snuck in Red Hot Chili Peppers to finish their set, but we left during Pearl Jam).
- 6/19 #43: U2 at MCI Center in 2001. My first time seeing them and what a fantastic setlist.
- 6/20 #44: Dave Matthews Band at Nissan Pavilion in 1997. Béla Fleck & The Flecktones opened and Béla Fleck sat in for quite a while. One of my favorite Dave shows.
- 6/21 #45: The Beach Boys at Merriweather Post Pavilion with my dad in 2012.
- 6/22 #46: The much missed 4 Way Street (Philly songwriters) at Jammin’ Java in 2004.
- 6/23 #47: Guns N’ Roses at the Capital Centre in 1991. My first time seeing them, and as usual they started late.
- 6/24 #48: Norah Jones at Wolf Trap in 2003. Good show, and she ended with an AC/DC cover. This one’s from a different show, but you get the idea.
- 6/25 #49: Sting & Peter Gabriel at Verizon Center in 2016. Nice selection of hits, and I love it when the good double bills actually play together.
- 6/27 #50: Counting Crows with The Wallflowers at Wolf Trap in 2013. Very nice career spanning sets from both bands – this is a good review.
- 6/29 #51: Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie at Wolf Trap in 2017. A nice mix of their great album and Mac tunes.
- 6/30 #52: Extreme at Bank Of America Pavilion in 2006. All the hits, all the members, plus half of Boston (the band).
Tuesday the 3rd we started picking up our CSA from Potomac Vegetable Farms. We were members there from 2005-2009, and rejoined when we saw how hard it was to find some foods during quarantine. We started with lots of leafy greens. Friday Jill said “I know how many of you love stories, especially sci fi, fantasy, etc. Check out this podcast from Ariel Therkiel as she narrates some of my favorite fiction genres in at talesfromablackuniverse.com. I’m hooked. And it goes without saying to support her for her work, and check out the authors as well and support them too.” Saturday I had to go into the office then picked up some beer from Aslin on the way home; this just seemed appropriate for the news. Monday I thought maybe we don’t need to go back to eating in restaurants quite yet. Wednesday Nina had her hair dyed blue for the last day of class and got takeout from Flippin’ Pizza, then Thursday they had a virtual popsicle party before school ended early and we took the boat out and she went swimming in the lake with friends.
Friday the 12th was the start of Phase Two of reopening (now eating inside a restaurant, going back to the gym and in-person worship services was ok). But we didn’t do any of those. That week after finally getting Nina’s summer schedule set (virtual musical theater camp, baby sitter, math tutor) I realized she had nothing to do the say after school ended. Plus I hadn’t taken any vacation days yet in the year, so we had a daddy daughter day for the first time in months: Whole Foods for sunscreen and fruit, Dulles Golf Center & Sports Park for mini golf, Frito Chicken for a fried chicken lunch outside, Target for toy selection (Barbies, with her own money) and curbside beer pickup at Old Ox Brewery. Delighted to see almost everyone wearing masks inside and practicing social distancing. Later we got takeout from Bebop Korean-Mexican Grill. Saturday we had a nice family walk and admired some BLM sidewalk chalk art, then had Morgan and her family over for a boat ride and swimming.
Monday the 15th Nina started virtual musical theater camp from the Mason Community Arts Academy – she and Jill got takeout from Cafesano when I had to go into the office. Tuesday I was excited that Terraset’s Virtual Talent Show was finally out. Friday I noticed that Fountains of Wayne fans may like this (plus that day (Juneteenth) Bandcamp was donating their profits to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund). Saturday we had an early, socially distanced Father’s Day with my dad. We brought Bojangles and sat apart and ate. Jill said on Sunday “He’s always up for an adventure with our fearless girl. He’s the best Dad I know. Loving, patient, understanding, supportive. Much love to you always and forever”. Nina gave me a voice message, and her phone transcribed it like this: “Hey dad you’re the best kid that I love you all the way The Odyssey the Darth Vader when hes me …. You are the One anyone could ask Like you let me have Fine and you me Sometimes I don’t care the kids Nice stat Indian I love you with my whole heart I love you don’t make the It’s fine To have UA …. It is Yes In the best one I need one Today Israel or Ask for Fast Said III could have I love you With my heart I love you all the way yo all the way hello you you only you only do All the way ugly way even in event it please thing isn’t exactly spell that’s how I say has how I say I said Can I say I hate how I say how I say ye I love you too minute one minute is not fun I’m gonna sing you this is”. Monday I saw Black Sabbath is selling Black Lives Matter T-shirts themed after Black Sabbath’s iconic Master Of Reality album cover. The shirts are being sold for $25, with all proceeds going to the non-profit Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
The next week was a hard one, even for 2020. Jill had stomach pain making it hard to sleep on the Saturday, but by Tuesday the 23rd was experiencing constant pain, went to urgent care, who sent her to the emergency room. She chose Reston because she knew the surgeon who would remove her gall bladder the next day. She was home Wednesday (Covid-19 patients on her floor was a big motivation to leave) and recovering nicely; Nina and I got takeout from Nando’s for dinner. Then Thursday Gretchen, an old elementary school friend, has passed and a teen has drowned in the lake next to ours. That night I wondered if Gretchen would have appreciated having her memory toasted with a whiskey made by blasting Metallica at it as it aged? Yes, I think she would. Jill said “Finishing my Sante Fe cardigan now that I have much more time on my hands for the next week or two. Just have unexpected abdominal surgery and you too can be a Lady of Leisure!”
Saturday the 27th I couldn’t believe in 2020 I had to order a bootleg from Japan, but now I have the 2 best performances from the 2001 WBCN River Rave (the Black Crowes and Aerosmith). Later I hadn’t been to a concert for 4 months – until that night. We’d discussed hosting house concerts before, but the need for social distancing forced us to get creative. We hosted Todd Wright on our boat for concert #4, and it was so much fun. Monday Nina started virtual musical theater camp from Lopez who she did in person camp with last year, then the month ended on another down note as Jill’s friend Joanna passed, and she said “I just found out that she passed away a few days ago. She was an amazing friend and I loved her dearly. I had been trying to get her to come down for a visit so we could reconnect in person and I’m so sorry it never happened. She will be missed so much by everyone who knew her.”
- 5/01 #10: Equality Rocks concert at RFK Stadium in 2000. Also, the only time I’ve seen Garth Brooks or George Michael.
- 5/04 #11: Blues Traveler at the 9:30 Club in 2001. I had to repost without the link to the audio that day, because the post was banned on Facebook (most links to archive.org were banned).
5/05 #12: Robbie Schaefer at Jammin’ Java in 2003. I posted it late in the day because I discovered I’d never uploaded the show, and it features one of my favorite Eddie From Ohio moments. He mentioned both “Irish Dream” and the then new “Baltimore” were written from the viewpoint of an Irish female, and then completely lost it when starting “Baltimore”.
- 5/06 #13: The Replacements at Echostage in 2015. My first time seeing them and apparently the last. Bonus show: Metallica MTV Icon.
- 5/07 #14: Morphine at the Black Cat in 1995. Has it really been 25 years since I first heard the magic of “Pulled Over The Car”?
- 5/08 #15: Prince in Baltimore May 2015. The only time I saw him and a great show. Scrubbed off the internet even though the first hour was streamed live on Tidal; I can offer some Foo Fighters from the very nice tribute show recently.
- 5/11 #16: Nine Inch Nails at Merriweather Post Pavilion in 2000. I’m disappointed that I can’t even find a setlist for A Perfect Circle (who opened). Bonus: Trent Reznor & Peter Murphy – Live Radio Shows 2006.
- 5/12 #17: David Byrne at The Anthem. Basically the same show he brought to Broadway, and my favorite one of 2018.
- 5/13 #18: Coldplay at HFStival in Baltimore in 2005. No trace of it on the net now, so imagine it.
- 5/14 #19: Dear Jerry: Celebrating The Music of Jerry Garcia. 5 years ago exactly. Amazing show, last one with the Jewells.
- 5/15 #20: Eddie From Ohio on the 2nd Edhead Cruise, and our first cruise. Also Jill’s first real efo show.
- 5/18 #21: Sons of Apollo (2 ex Dream Theater members) at Howard Theatre May 20, 2018. Not on the net (I taped but haven’t distributed), so here’s their new song.
- 5/19 #22: Trey Anastasio in Baltimore at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
- 5/20 #23: Bangles at The State Theatre in 2009. Nice review here.
- 5/21 #24: The Cars at the 9:30 Club in 2011. Only time I saw Ric, so worth it.
- 5/22 #25: Paul Simon accepts the first Gershwin Prize at Warner Theatre in May 2007. Stunning show, and as a huge Graceland fan I had always hoped to see him perform with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. It didn’t disappoint.
- 5/24 #26: emmet swimming at the Herndon Festival in 2003. And brand new, as HCTV just broadcast it this week and I hadn’t seen it before. Somewhere I have a DV tape of it too, but I know that has even more wind noise. At the time I was excited to record my first emmet swimming show, but I’ve had many more, but still excited to get a soundboard of this.
- 5/26 #27: Double festival feature: Jane’s Addiction at HFStival at RFK in 2003 and Green Day at WBCN River Rave in 2001.
- 5/27 #28: Velvet Revolver at the 9:30 Club in 2004. That was a fun supergroup, and being willing to play their old songs was a bonus.
- 5/28 #29: Rush at Jiffy Lube Live 5 years ago. My last Rush show and Nina’s first and last.
- 5/29 #30: Gotta end May the way we almost always do, with a trip to the Herndon Festival. Today a double shot of Pat McGee from 2015 and Carbon Leaf from 2002.
Friday May 1st I thought this is great. That evening Nina got her purple belt in a virtual ceremony. Monday Jill said “This girl has been asking for a couple of weeks to try kayaking on her own, and I was finally brave enough to let her try it! She did great, although she did say it’s harder than it looks.” Wednesday Jill said “Fun science adventures in homeschooling: So Nina wanted to try out her science experiment kit as a rainy day activity. She chose a color changing liquid experiment (bases vs acids). One of the ingredients was red cabbage powder, but it wasn’t labeled as such. So I took a discreet sniff: sure enough, that’s what it was. Nina decided she wanted to also confirm, and thus inhaled a good amount of it up her nose. I tell her (ok, yelled at her) to blow her nose: purple snot ensues. Then I tell her to use the nasal spray and flush it out: to her delight, the snot turned blue. Then she read the label of the saline spray: contains baking soda. Successful experiment? We think so!”. And “Wearing my now favorite stay at home outfit: cozy hoodie, black leggings, and hand knit sport weight socks (these are Must Stash sport in the Kama Sutra colorway). Currently spinning sunshine aka a luscious batt from Frost Yarn . I’m probably in the minority, but I’m very ok with the slow spring we’re having here. It feels fitting, somehow.”. Plus “Voila! Sourdough pretzels with jalapeno cheese dip! Take my word for it, they’re as tasty as they look!”. Later I had to thank to Honda of Chantilly for picking up my car and doing my inspection and emissions, oil change and other maintenance, while I only had to leave the house to give them the keys. They even washed the car. We got takeout from Founding Farmers that night, before finding out the next day the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival was cancelled…
The next week Jill was back at work due to the governor allowing elective surgeries to resume. Friday the 8th This happened before Axl started feuding with the Treasury Secretary… Later Nina made her first video game in Girl Scouts. Use the arrow keys to catch the broom before the other cat catches you. She also recorded her part for the school talent show that afternoon. Monday Dave Grohl gets it. Also finally, someone has encapsulated how I feel about DJ Khaled: from a summary of last year’s musical-guests on SNL (this year’s is here) “DJ Khaled is the most successful Guy Who Screams His Own Name While Other People Perform in the business, and he brought his screaming-his-own-name A game for SNL’s season finale. Imagine a medley of performers and songs you’re interested in hearing, except that medley is punctuated every few seconds by an airhorn, and that airhorn is a man, and that man is shouting, “SING IT, GIRL!” at SZA while she’s already attempting to sing. You know who’s really great at singing? SZA. You know who does not need to be heard yelling, “SING IT, GIRL!” at SZA as she sings? Three guesses, and if you somehow guess wrong the first time, I will appear in the clouds overhead like Mufasa in The Lion King and bellow “ANOTHER ONE!” at you, because that’s how the universe works.”
Sunday the 10th Jill said “I had such a lovely day today; thoughtful gifts, yummy food, great company both at home and digitally, and got to do so many of my favorite things: crafting, being out on the water, and rewatching a classic. Nina really got into Mother’s Day this year which really warmed my heart! Bonus favorite: finally getting to introduce her to the Princess Bride; she seemed to really enjoy it which was pretty awesome. I know this day is not an easy one for a myriad of reasons; no matter what this day holds for you I hope it was a peaceful one; what you needed it to be.” Wednesday we got takeout from the finally reopened Reston Kabob. Tuesday the 18th I finally found a mask that speaks to me.
Fridays there were no virtual classes, just assignments, but on the 22nd Nina joined a new virtual Storytelling Club and got one last lunch bunch with Mrs. Zemke. That night we had takeout from Bollywood Bistro. Saturday Jill said about our hike at Lake Fairfax “It was the perfect day to go on a new adventure by hiking a new trail! Nina said she was bored with our walking paths so we tried something a little more challenging and we all had fun.” On Memorial Day we had Janice over for a socially distanced boat ride. Jill said “New growth. I’m astounded that my orchid has lasted and is actually getting ready to bloom with minimal fuss from me.”
Thursday the 28th the governor ordered face masks indoors and we were pleased about that. Friday we got takeout from Glory Days Grill, and on Sunday we had one of Nina’s friends and her family over for another socially distanced boat ride. Later Jill said “Give money. Give time. Give respect. Give love. Give knowledge. We must do better. We know in our hearts what is wrong and what is right. Black Lives Matter.”
After a month in quarantine I decided if I can’t go out to see live music, I’m going to start listening to my collection. A concert a day from this week in the past.
- 4/20 #1: Earth Day 1995
- 4/21 #2: Earth Day 2000. Carole King was joined by David Crosby and James Taylor for “You’ve Got A Friend”, but the most WTF moment was Clint Black covering Monty Python’s “Galaxy Song”.
- 4/22 #3: Earth Day 2008. Umphrey’s McGee brought the crowds, but Warren Haynes was the highlight for me with some choice covers, worth braving the rain.
- 4/23 #4: Earth Day 2010. Probably the most star studded of the 4 I’ve been to, as Passion Pit and Jimmy Cliff opened, then The Roots took over and did a set, then brought out guest stars (including Mavis Staples, Booker T. Jones & Bob Weir), and a set with John Legend before backing up Sting.
- 4/24 #5: Alan Doyle and Fortunate Ones at The Hamilton in 2018.
- 4/27 #6: Extreme at M3 Rock Festival 2014. Bonus flashback later: The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.
- 4/28 #7: Hootie & the Blowfish at Reston Town Center 2003 for the Jack Diamond Morning Show. Bonus flashback later: VH1 Honors April 1996.
- 4/29 #8: Rush at US Air Arena for the Counterparts tour 2004. And “Winken, Blinken, Nod” is a great name for a bootleg. And as a bonus, my only published review of a Rush concert.
- 4/30 #9: Steven Wilson at the 9:30 Club 2 years ago. Bonus content: Porcupine Tree at House of Blues Orlando 10 years ago.
April was the first full month of quarantine and it was hard at times. Jill only worked two days, so she was primary teacher for the first half of the month. April 1st I had my first virtual meeting with my massage therapist as she taught me some Egoscue techniques so I could get a better posture. On the 3rd I said “Oh, come on!” to Bill Withers’s passing. That day Jill said “Leveled up on the stealth teaching today. I roped Nina in with Cat Heaven Island on Amazon Prime, first film she’s ever watched with subtitles. As we were watching (and reading) they kept referring to the before and after of the tsunami in 2011. So we did a little sideline into learning about tsunamis. It was a neat documentary and now we both need to go.” Saturday Nina continued her musical class online; Monday evening we took the boat out.
Tuesday the 7th Nina’s Tae Kwon Do classes went virtual through Zoom. Wednesday we got takeout from Taco Zocalo (trying to support local restaurants once a week) then that night started the howl – initially just an 8PM howl at the moon, but people kept doing it every night. Thursday Nina built a box fort in the basement with all the boxes we’d moved the book in. Friday I said farewell to John Prine with a cover by Stuart and Susan. Jill said “Knitting a thing for a friend and wearing my Nightmare before Christmas leggings bring me joy today. Enjoying my newly enforced hour of Alone Time is also bringing me joy!” The 12th was Easter and we had a virtual tea with the grandmothers over Zoom, then I made Eggs Benedict and artichokes for dinner and now Nina loved artichokes. Jill said “The Easter Bunny also hid Hershey kisses around the room because she’s cheeky like that.” I love it when I wake up earwormed with a song, look to see what the artist has been up to and find out they released a lovely Stones cover for charity the day before on Monday.
Monday Jill said “We’ve started working on the packet for distance learning and…well. I had to explain that at school she doesn’t sit in her teacher’s lap and get constant validation about each individual problem she’s working on. She does her work and then the teacher checks her work. So, needless to say it’s going well.” Tuesday the 14th was supposed to be the start of virtual learning, I was tech support getting Nina ready. I’d gotten her laptop ready and put it in sleep, but I could not get it to connect to Wi-Fi even with a reboot. I remembered where the ethernet -> socket -> ethernet system was, so pulled it out and got her working, then came downstairs, turned on my laptop, and then the feedback came from the speakers. I thought that had gone away with the new PC I bought in January to get Windows 10, but turns out I needed to find my well shielded speakers instead. In other support news, I had to jump start Jill’s car, but that’s another story. Nina was very happy to see her class for the 1st time in 4 weeks. Unfortunately despite having a month to prepare, Fairfax County Public Schools didn’t prepare for scaling or security of online classes, and the next day (after a 2 hour delay) cancelled the rest of the week. At least Nina’s teacher gave out several assignments each day. Wednesday Jill said “Springtime nature walks… I wish I had seen more people maintaining social distance on the trails though…”
Friday the 17th we got takeout from Ariake. Saturday Nina’s musical theater classes at Lopez Studios resumed over Zoom. That afternoon we proved there’s still entertainment in the middle of quarantine, especially when we get a beer delivery from Old Ox Brewery with one of the delivery people dressed up as Left Shark. That night we used Zoom to play Cards Against Humanity with the Cannons after Nina was asleep. Sunday I made sourdough bread with starter Teresa sent me. Monday Nina was taking classes over school channel 21. Wednesday we got takeout from Neighborhood Restaurant Group (aka Neighborhood Provisions), which got us beer resupply as well. I have not laughed so hard in a long time as I did at one scene in that night’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine season finale Thursday. Friday I was pleased someone’s been fired for this nonsense in school. Jill said “Just really digging these tiny ripples on the water tonight. Trying to find peace where I can; hoping you all can as well.”
Saturday the 25th Jill and Nina created a games book case in the dining room. Jill said “More adventures in quaran-cleaning…. I had no idea we had so many games. It’s one in, one out from now on!” Sunday I made brunch with sourdough cinnamon buns and homemade turkey sausage. Monday school finally got started online for real, with 30 minute sessions at 9:30, 1, and 3:15 with assigned work in between to do online. Jill said “Look at this STUNNING watercolor that chantaleliseart created for me! This is one of my favorite photos of me and my daughter, and she turned it into a piece of art I will cherish always! Thank you so much!” Tuesday we got donuts from Duck Donuts in Herndon. Wednesday we got takeout from Nando’s.
Sunday March 1st we decided to get in one more day of skiing and drove up to Whitetail. Nina went to ski school, and Jill and I hung out in front of a fire before taking a run. The warmth of the day had made the snow chunky and Jill was done after a run, while I wanted to try the blue trails. The conditions made my thighs hurt after a while, and I took a break before it was time to pick Nina up. When she hadn’t shown up after 15 minutes, we talked to the school. Turns out they were confused and thought she was a full day school student, and was feeding her lunch. But she got her wish and we all took a run together, then Nina and I did another couple runs together. On the way back, we stopped at Family Meal for a scrumptious early dinner plus some good beer shopping next door at District East. We finished watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as Wizards Unite had an event coming up that would deal with events in the sequel.
The coronavirus was on our minds all month as it graduated into a pandemic. But first Nina got a cold on Sunday the 9th so she was home from school the Monday (Jill off) and Tuesday (I took care of her until Jill got home, then went in for 8 hours). She was back at school Wednesday but we could see the writing on the wall. We started stocking up on groceries and I asked for a laptop from work so I could start teleworking. Sure enough, as the closings started to come fast and furious (including lots of concerts), Fairfax County schools closed on Friday the 13th. The governor of Virginia closed all schools later that day and we started our home schooling with a half day of work and a half day of play for Nina (I managed to get my work done too). Saturday we stayed at home (but we decided the kids could play outside) and worked hard on getting all the books out of the office as the carpet was getting replaced Monday. Jill caught Nina saying “It’s time to chill with Art.” That night, after starting Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, I took a late night trip to Safeway to see the pasta, rice, flour, meat and hot dogs sections vacant. Good thing I was mostly after produce and staples not in those sections. Sunday I went into work to work a half day as no one else was there, then needed to bring home some things I was missing (including my chair).
Monday the 16th started our full time social distancing. Jill had her day off that day, but I had to stay upstairs as well since the carpet guys were there, then the room needed airing out the rest of the day. The rest of the week was hard as it was me and Nina until Jill got home around 4:30, trying to balance her studying and recess time with my telework time. Unfortunately I had to work after she went to bed some days. We started the week still playing outside with other neighborhood kids, but by the time the week ended the news had gotten worse and we stopped (it was hard on her with the spring weather starting and the cherry blossoms blooming). We still had St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday with low sodium corned beef and cabbage.
Sunday the 22nd we started getting a lot more virtual. The Shantytowne stitch and bitch started the previous week morphed into a general catchup, and we had to move off Google Hangouts to Zoom because of the 10 person limit in Hangouts. Nina started doing her Tae Kwon Do lessons online, and on Tuesday our friend Seth taught Nina and Penny the basics of flight during a virtual teaching session. We still had plenty of food after stocking up and on Monday we had a four course dinner delivered from Equinox (the pasta course was my favorite). The week was a lot easier on me as Jill’s surgery center changed to only be open 1 day a week, and they didn’t need her, so she was the teacher all week, and I got to work mostly uninterrupted downstairs. They also announced on the 23rd schools would be closed for the rest of the year. There are some silver linings. If the rest of the maple syrup hadn’t been sold out, I would have never known about bourbon barrel aged maple syrup.
On the 25th we did a Zoom call with my sister and her family. Later Jill said “Today’s first homeschool activity: spelling/vocabulary
I explain the meaning of synchronize and use a couple of explanations: it’s when you make the same movements at the same time, like the Rockettes kicking or synchronized swimming when they’re all doing the same routine at the same time.
N: What if one person is doing one thing and then right after the other person does it?
Me: nope, it has to be at the same time
N: what if the 2 people are dancing different moves at the same time then switch those moves?
Me: no, same movement at the same time.
N: what if there are 20 dancers and 10 are doing 1 move and 10 are doing the other move?
Me: well, there are 2 groups of synchronized dancers.
N: but what if…
Me: Look, this is what the word means. I’m not going to change what the word means!
… 19 words to go….”
Friday the 27th we used Zoom to play Cards Against Humanity with the Cannons after Nina was asleep. Saturday was gloomy and Nina had an online drama class while I worked on restoring the library while Jill made pierogies (she said “Adventures in cooking with lots of time on my hands…. pierogi. They’re stuffed with sauteed cabbage and I really hope they’re yummy because whoa. A lot of work.”), then we did another Zoom call with the Cannons over dinner (it was mostly Nina and Penny playing). Sunday was really nice in the afternoon, so we took a walk, finally got the boat out, and grilled and ate dinner outside. Monday the governor finally issued an official stay at home order, so we knew the previous two weeks had been just a preview. Jill said about the boat ride “Doing our very best version of social distancing. We said hello to many of our neighbors from a safe distance this afternoon. Many of us were out enjoying the sunshine!” Monday Jill saw this and said “Thank goodness. Just what I needed to read right now. Any parent trying to navigate with school aged kids right now, here’s a common sense, concise article filled with wisdom.” Tuesday she said “I know people love the full bloom of the cherry trees, but this part, when it rains gentle pale pink petals, is my favorite. Redbuds then Dogwoods after that! It’s still Spring, after all…”
Saturday the 1st was a very busy day. Nina started learning the songs from Annie at her weekly musical class at Lopez Studios, then we went to Lake Anne after lunch to see the end of the Polar Dip and Nina got to play with some friends and eat a s’more nearly the size of her head. After that, we headed into DC. We were planning to go to The Reach at The Kennedy Center to see the Winter Lanterns + Korea, but as a big rainstorm was blowing through, went inside to check out the Millennium Stage as Metro delays had us there at nearly 6. The show tonight featured performers from Footsteps in the Dark (intersections of hip hop, dance, and Muslim culture put on by Words Beats & Life). We thought Nina would be into it, but we had no idea this would happen. Jill said “My little soul dancer got selected to bust a move on stage after learning about the origin of hip hop from the incredibly talented and awesome teacher @amirahsackett last night at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage! We had such a great time learning and N got some greatly appreciated words of encouragement from Amirah as well! An experience to remember!”
The 5th I posted “Real talk: Is it ok to take your adult multi-vitamins with a single malt scotch? Asking for… a friend.” Saturday the 8th Safeway’s Monopoly was back on and I didn’t know what’s going on with the promotion, but anytime I get money back instead of spending nearly $200, I’ll take it. Sunday Nina had an audition workshop for 101 Dalamations summer camp, and Jill and I took a Wizards Unite stroll around Reston Town Center (with beers and a pretzel at Crafthouse).
Thursday the 13th I didn’t think I wanted a death metal cover of a Weird Al song – but here one was anyway. Valentine’s Day I picked up Korean fried chicken for dinner and we’d all gotten chocolates for dessert. Saturday was concert #2: NSO Pops: Megan Hilty and Cheyenne Jackson. They were great (and she does an amazing cover of “The Heart of the Matter”). Plus Nina found a new favorite restaurant – Sweet Ginger in Vienna, where she can have sushi and chicken tenders. My surprise of the evening was learning that the conductor was Damon Gupton, who also plays the police chief on Black Lightning.
Nina and I were both off on Monday the 17th and this looked like a preview. The actual day was not bad, she had a playdate with a classmate at a trampoline park. Sunday the 23rd we went to Reston Town Center for a Wizards Unite Community Day event, walking around catching creatures. That night was concert #3: Beth Patterson at The Old Brogue. She only plays in the area once a year, so we try not to miss her excellent shows, paired with the fine menu there. Plus she played both of my requests!
Tuesday the 25th Nina got her full braces put in. Thursday she earned her green belt in Tae Kwon Do. Jill said “My strong, suddenly serious green belt. She passed her belt test and is now in her last belt before getting to level 2. So proud of my fierce girl!” Friday she had a talent show audition after a quick rehearsal at home the night before. Later as I read this article, I was struck by this passage: “I gave a talk about what happened in 1918, how society broke down, and emphasized that to retain the public’s trust, authorities had to be candid. ‘You don’t manage the truth,’ I said. ‘You tell the truth.’ ” I hoped that doesn’t happen again, as it appears the coronavirus was heading for us.
The 29th Nina had a Girl Scouts event all morning, so Jill and I met at Lake Anne for Wizards Unite. It was cold, so we went inside the Brew House for beer and coffee (there’s a fortress there), then walked around a bit more before it was time to get her.