December concert flashbacks

December

Tuesday the 1st I watched the virtual book launch of Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell’s Pirate Stew. Wednesday I learned don’t mess with Nina’s school. The 4th was the last Bandcamp Friday of the year, and I’d saved a bunch of links to listen to and buy music, including this gem. On the 5th Jill said “Getting ready to decorate with some festive sustenance! Mince pies and coffee out of my Grinch mug! Also pictured is N’s lego advent that she is making out of her own legos as a surprise for Kerry and I every day; this one will be added to as the days progress! I love my daughter’s creativity”. We had the girl squad over to help decorate the tree and then they ate pizza and drank cocoa on the front porch.

Nina

Sunday the 6th in the afternoon we hosted my dad and his girlfriend outside for grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, and pie since we missed getting together the weekend after Thanksgiving as we usually do. I’m delighted with the front porch situation – electric heater on one side, patio heater on the other. I also discovered that I want this. And after reading this I shared it with the hashtag #wearamask. On the 7th I posted this: So let me get this straight: the vaccine starts arriving this month, we get a new president next month, and the Washington Football Team just upset the undefeated Steelers? Keep up the good news, 2020 – you’ve got a lot to redeem yourself for.

Nina

On Friday the 11th I said “Whoa”, due to the new restrictions. We also got takeout from Makers Union that night. On Saturday I went out while Nina was doing her last virtual Wicked Christmas Carol class, stopping at CD Cellar and finally made it back to Dominion Wine and Beer to stock up for the season. I also stopped at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken to pick up lunch for everyone. That night the Grunspans had us and the rest of the girls over to celebrate Hanukkah. Sunday Jill chaperoned Nina and her Girl Scouts at Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights.

Nina

Monday the 14th was just supposed to be a braces adjustment at Nina’s orthodontist, but they took a look and said she was done. They also gave her a huge mug full of candy and gum to celebrate. Wednesday was the first day of my vacation (my vacation time was use or lose, and I opted to use since we’d only taken the one small trip to Delaware in 2020). I made a note to myself: when you’re on vacation and what would ordinarily have been a snow day, do not let the other parents know you’re free for recess. Girls are ruthless. I was still picking snow out of my clothes much later. I also got my new ROTO-Q 360 Non-Electric Self-Rotating Rotisserie on which I promptly cooked a chicken – very tasty. On day 2 of vacation Nina woke up at midnight, and it was after 1 before I got her back to sleep. So of course I was woken by Jill at 7AM with the news the HVAC was shaking the house. After I removed the ice connecting it to the house, no sense in going back to sleep. Then I played “Rock And Roll All Nite”, “Back In Black”, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” & “Don’t Stop Believin'” to wake Nina up for school, and barely made it.

Nina

Friday the 18th we got takeout for the first time from Bombay Velvet (the lamb egg kathi roll was fantastic). Saturday not all cheery music needs to be holiday related. That night was the holiday party. I’ve hosted one every year since 2001, and while we scaled back to just socially distanced neighbors, it was still fun. We had cookies, beer and hot chocolate (in the Crockpot) and another neighbor had eggnog and cider, and we sang carols. The electric heater, patio heater and firepit were all out, and the snow melted and the ground got muddy in spots. Jill said “I got my Christmas wish. I got vaccinated on Thursday and feel just fine. A bit of a sore arm yesterday but otherwise no symptoms. Please continue to protect yourself and everyone around you. I really wish I could be with family for the holidays this year but this is a great first step. (A picture of a covid vaccination card in focus with lights from a Christmas tree in the background)”.

Nina

Sunday the 20th Jill dropped Nina off for a Girl Scouts hike and then shopped with her later. Wednesday Nina and I picked up her new retainer, and later on we watched the Santa Clauster!$@k livestream during dinner, and I had the perfect beer for Todd Wright’s performance. Thursday I was always glad to see fellow Pine Ridge Elementary alumni adding to the season. Friday was Christmas and we had a lot of presents – Nina was particularly excited by her new hoverboard and I liked my 12 days of beer. For dinner I made duck, and Nina was a big fan.

Nina Jill

Monday the 28th we went over to Chesapeake Beach to have lunch at my dad’s. On the way back Jill asked if I’d been to my family’s old house since the sale, and I said no, so she was curious if anything changed. Spoiler alert: it did (they’d torn it down and rebuilt). Tuesday I posted that I don’t know if it’s just 2020, but the way we watch movies now is my daughter picks a show on Netflix based on a movie (Home and Boss Baby so far), watches it, then wants to see the movie. On New Year’s Eve it’d only been in the past week or so I’d been having pandemic anxiety dreams, where I suddenly realize I’m not wearing a mask. The bad thing about the previous night’s dream is we were in a hotel room and we’d just convinced Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to play a song for us when I realized I wasn’t wearing one and had to leave (moments before I’d asked Mick if I could video them, and he told me Lewis Black had tried that the week before, and Keith had smacked the phone out of his hand with his guitar). I don’t think I’ve ever looked forwards to a year ending more, and that includes the year I got dumped on NYE. We finished the year by eating sushi from Ariake, then watching Nina and the rest of her fall class perform Wicked Christmas Carol, ending with 5 minutes to go before the ball dropped.

Kerry Jill Nina

Artists To Watch 2021

Eyeball
Again this year my music buying was mostly online, free tracks from NoiseTrade, as well as paid tracks from Bandcamp, and preordering mp3s and CDs from Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Here’s a playlist of everything available on Spotify.

Here’s a playlist of everything available on SoundCloud.

Band Song Why them
01. The Misses (Todd Wright, Cassidy Ford and Ethan Daniel Mentzer) Devil’s Got Nothing On Me Local pop supergroup with nice harmonies.
02. The Lemon Twigs No One Holds You (Closer Than The One You Haven’t Met) Two brothers, rockin’ out.
03. Capitol Sun Rays (Luther Dickinson, Amy Helm, Grahame Lesh, Allison Russell, JT Nero & Drew Lindsay) Dream Of Spring Another supergroup, this with some legacies.
04. Man Man Cloud Nein They hade me at “Instruments played by the band include clavinet, Moog Little Phatty, sousaphone, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, flute, bass clarinet, drum set, euphonium, Fender Jazz Bass, Danelectro baritone guitar, xylophone, marimba, melodica and various percussive instruments including pots and pans, toy noisemakers, Chinese funeral horns, spoons, smashing plates, and fireworks.”.
05. A Sound of Thunder Udoroth (That One Club From the Movie Blade Where the Sprinklers Spray Blood) Possibly the best song subtitle ever.
06. Sam Roberts Band Ascension Canadian rocker with pop twists.
07. Kings Daughters Get Up (with Brian May) Harmonies? Brian May? C’mon!
08. Crown Lands Leadfoot Canadian duo known to cover Rush.
09. Drive-By Truckers Armageddon’s Back In Town Ok, they’ve been around for a while, but they’re great.
10. Pillow Queens Handsome Wife Lovely vocals.
11. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Be Afraid Former Drive-By Truckers member, also great.
12. Twisted Pine Papaya Got a summer feel; coincidentally, they also have a fantastic holiday EP out now.
13. Mt. Joy Death I think they’re going to be fun to see live.
14. Pete Droge Skeleton Crew (feat. Elaine Summers) He’s back!.
15. Bonny Light Horseman (Anais Mitchell/Josh Kaufman/Eric D. Johnson) Deep In Love Great new supergroup.
16. We’re About 9 On The Other Side Of The Internet This song’s only here right now, so not on any of the playlists. But it’s perfect for this year.
17. Ellis Delaney You Got This Another song for this year.
18. Midtown Social Savoir Faire Dig that groove.
19. Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters Automatic The Belly singer joins this band for a covers album, including this Go-Go’s song from out of left field.
20. Static In Verona Poor Juliet Nice power pop.
21. Molly Venter Hold It All The Red Molly member has been exceptionally prolific on her Patreon this year, here with a remake of a song she wrote for the group.
22. Julian Velard Half Done My theme song this year, as I turned 50.

November concert flashbacks

November

Sunday the 1st I wondered if Timothy Olyphant was in all my favorite shows this year – as now he’s shown up in The Good Place, Fargo, and The Mandalorian. Monday and Tuesday Nina had no school; Tuesday was Election Day and it was a good day to watch girls run around outside and read a book about the touring history of Rush (due to the mail in ballots, the presidential election was not called for several days). Wednesday I saw this tweet that said “If anyone wants the most poetic piece of poetic poetry to come out of the coronavirus pandemic, there are three Carnival cruise ships in a muddy shipyard cove in Turkey, slowly being dismantled into scrap. The names of the three ships are Inspiration, Imagination and Fantasy.” Inspiration was the host of Edhead Cruise IV & V, which we were on. My daughter told us about her class election at dinner that night. I thought she was exaggerating when she told us the hearts covered Biden. I wanted to keep on counting them hearts.

election

Friday we’d already lost Best Buy in Reston, now we were losing Pet Valu. Illa always enjoyed his baths there. Jill wanted cheesecake that night, so we got takeout from Cheesecake Factory. Saturday we took a walk around the lake with Nina’s friends, then the news finally called the election in favor of Joe Biden. There was cheering in our neighborhood, followed by someone playing “God Bless America”. Biden and Harris gave great speeches that night, and I posted this “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over … Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy.” – Gerald Ford. And with karma, Sunday brought us this laughfest.

Kerry Nina Jill

Tuesday the 11th was Veterans Day, and I thought this was appropriate. Wednesday I saw you can get a framed poster and ticket from your favorite show at the 9:30 Club, Lincoln Theatre, The Anthem or Merriweather from 2005 through 2020. Then I just needed to choose from the.. 29 9:30 Club, 3 Lincoln Theatre, 3 The Anthem or 11 Merriweather shows I’ve seen in that time period… Spoiler on my choice (got Beach Boys for my dad too):

emmet

Friday the 13th Nina’s school rented out the big parking lot at Wolf Trap with another school and got some food trucks for a socially distanced popup drive-in theater showing “Trolls World Tour”; we parked next to the Grunspans. Saturday Jill had ordered a Solo Stove firepit and it arrived and we had impromptu s’mores. Monday I was that years old when I learned The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme is actually called Yo Home to Bel-Air. We got takeout from Flippin’ Pizza that night as a school fundraiser. Tuesday I read this article and this stuck with me: “Their last dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening. It’s not real’” Thanks, Trump. Also, I was shocked that they were already canceling May events and said wear your mask, people. This was a satisfying ending to the year.

Nina

Friday the 20th I said breathe in; breathe out after reading this. Saturday there were food trucks at the Reston South Park & Ride, so I recycled our glass, then got platters for Jill and I from Taste of the Pacific. Later we had one of Nina’s school friends over for outdoor playtime and a boat ride.

Nina

It was not unusual for us to have Christmas on days other than the 25th of December when I was young for trips to see family, but Thursday the 26th was the first time we had to postpone Thanksgiving. But we were thankful nonetheless, as Nina is now appendix-less. We were also thankful she was doing well, for the hospital workers who were taking care of her in the middle of a pandemic, and most importantly for realizing a week before she had no insurance (We thought she might have an ear infection – she was on Jill’s plan, and then we had looked at my enrollment and put her on mine for next year, while Jill just signed up solo for hers and didn’t consider the rest of the year. So I signed up that night on my company’s site for a “Spousal job change” event and added her to my insurance for the rest of the year). Jill said “We are grateful this Thanksgiving for dedicated Healthcare workers who give up holidays to care for us. I’ve worked my share of holidays and today I get to thank the amazing folks who helped care for Nina today as she got treated for appendicitis. She’s doing well post surgery; eating chocolate cake and watching videos. Please respect the Healthcare and other essential workers who sacrifice their holidays with loved ones by wearing masks and respecting each other. Much love.”

Nina

Friday Jill said “What makes a kid feel better? Making selections from the holiday toy catalogue! We are happy to be home but actually enjoyed our time at Fairfax Children’s Hospital; check out the cool viewfinder they installed on the unit! It was a fun surprise while we were taking our walk around the floor. Thank you all for the supportive thoughts, vibes, and prayers. We feel the love”. Friday night we had our delayed Thanksgiving with turkey and all the trimmings, then shared the 4 pies Jill had baked Wednesday evening with Nina’s friends and families. Saturday we got takeout sushi from Sweet Ginger while Nina reluctantly recuperated (already ready to run).

Nina

October concert flashbacks

October

Friday the 2nd I found a concert recording with this description: “Fifteen minutes into his rousing set, Mellencamp invited to the stage the unspeakably influential, NYC rock provocateur icon Lou Reed. There’s something almost meditative about the crowd’s piercing din — like when DeLillo’s protagonist in ‘White Noise’ finds a zen in a baby’s primal wails.” It does get pretty loud. I miss it. Saturday we and the Grunspans went to the Reston Farm Garden Market Fall Fest which had a moon bounce and bouncy slides, but very little social distancing. The girls did get to do a train ride and pick out pumpkins and plants and one slide, but we thought it would be better to have the moms grab their skateboards from home and head over to the Lake Fairfax skate park, but that was a bust as there was no social distancing and no mask wearing either. So we found a little playground and the girls ran around and played for a while.

Nina

Tuesday Jill took Nina to the dentist. Also I said “Damn it 2020 – just stop” as the news came in about Eddie Van Halen’s death. I found great stories like this one: “After the record’s release, Van Halen would remember shopping in a Tower Records while “Beat It” was playing on the sound system. “The solo comes on, and I hear these kids in front of me going, ‘Listen to this guy trying to sound like Eddie Van Halen,’” he said. “I tapped him on the shoulder and said, ‘That IS me!’ That was hilarious.”” and one of my favorites: “If the riff to 1991’s “Top Of The World” sounded familiar to you when you first heard it you weren’t imagining it. It just so happens that Edward Van Halen used that same lick on the band’s #1 single “Jump”. Just “jump” to the 3:49 mark of the song and you’ll hear that familiar riff make its brief appearance as the song fades out. Seven years later it would return and carry Van Halen to the top of the charts once more.”. I also made playlists of Van Halen covering other bands, and other bands covering Van Halen. Also this was not the appearance I expected.

Nina

Friday the 9th Jill picked up takeout from Sweet Ginger and I enjoyed some sushi. I don’t know why it took me so long, but I finally figured out that grocery stores carry sake, so now I’ve got some at home since it’s my favorite drink to accompany sushi. Saturday the 10th Nina had been pressuring me to use the refinished paddleboard, and it was getting colder, so we did it. Of course she moved while I wasn’t expecting it, and we both fell into the lake. It was cold, and I was done at that point. Sunday I liked the cold open on SNL fine, but this is friggin’ hilarious. Jill said “Actually cooked tonight! Made this with delicata and butternut squash, dried instead of fresh sage, and half and half instead of heavy cream. I also roasted the delicata seeds to use as a garnish. Win!” On Tuesday Jill said “I’m so happy about my clean countertops and my new mug rack so I can display my seasonal mugs and other favorites!”. Wednesday I was not surprised by this: “Be not afraid of the accusations that you’re a voter suppressor, you’re a racist and so forth”. Thursday I laughed at Nickelback greatest hits compilation just a blank CD.

Kerry Nina

Friday Jill went to stand in line at the Government Center to vote. She said “I voted for Biden/Harris. Proud to do so, proud to say so. 1.5 hours later, no sticker but I get to keep this nifty pen?” Saturday Nina started rehearsals for A Wicked Christmas Carol with Acting for Young People in the morning, then in the afternoon we did the special drive thru hayride at Cox Farms where the jump scare got Jill and we got to pick our pumpkin. Jill said “I may be missing Rhinebeck weekend but we had a great (and pandemic safe) time and the apple cider donuts are on point!” Later the girls had cleaned out our front deck and made a sitting area, so we set up the projector and they watched Halloween themed Phineas and Ferb episodes outside. Sunday Nina had her Girl Scouts bridging ceremony in person. She also started selling magazines, nuts and candy to raise money to go camping and do community projects. After dinner we had a fire in the fireplace and made s’mores. Monday we got takeout from MOD Pizza as proceeds benefited Nina’s school. Late that night, Nina started losing teeth again (eventually lost 4 in the 4 weeks) for the first time in a while.

Kerry Nina Jill

Wednesday the 21st the girls made a massive leaf pile and had fun jumping and rolling around in it. It was a foggy morning on my birthday and there was only one song to wake Nina up… Jill said “Happy Birthday to the one who keeps this family on track through it all, providing that loving, stable foundation we need especially in these times! Next year, minibar, but this year, a homemade cake lovingly baked and decorated. We love you!”. We planned on going out the next night, but I chose some of my favorites for dinner that night since I’m the cook (burgers and artichokes). The restaurant Jill and I went to Friday while Nina had pizza with the Grunspans was Trummer’s, which we’d last been to 10 years earlier. The one weirdness was I told the waiter I was on a low sodium diet, and then the salad Jill and I both had was so salty neither of us took more than a few bites. Good thing the short ribs and the chocolate bourbon pecan pie which followed were delicious. Saturday I said to vote like your life depends on it… because it does. Sunday we saw this and Jill said “Extreme leaf pile antics. I was curious when she ran to get her bike helmet…. safety first?”

Nina

Thursday the 29th Jill started her new job in a hospital. I noted that this was useful information about the pandemic. Also, this is why I supported Alcorn wholeheartedly – they need to stay golf courses. Later we got to livestream with our FRFF friends as we watched this:

Friday we had the girl squad over to watch the livestream of In Search of The Sanderson Sisters: A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover, with the reunion of the original cast. But they thought it was boring, so we had them watch cartoons and eat s’mores instead. Saturday was Halloween. Jill said “Ready for trick or treating! It’ll be a grab your own treat bag thing.” and “A vampire roamed the neighborhood tonight looking for socially distanced treats… and got loads!”

Nina

September concert flashbacks

September

Tuesday the 1st we were still on vacation in Bethany Beach. It was another beach day and I brought lunch to the beach. That night it was the Grunspans’ turn to take the girls and they took Nina for pizza and Captain Jack’s Pirate Golf while Jill and I walked over to 14 Global and explored their tapas (the Blood and Smoke was a spicy strawberry cocktail and the shishito peppers were excellent).

Nina

Wednesday morning I went to get a haircut at Cut Above. The Grunspans had left and Jill and Nina went to a big pool in the condo complex. I brought them lunch there. Later in the afternoon, we drove up to Dogfish Head where we picked up a order from the brewery. Then we parked in Rehoboth Beach and shopped a bit, then spent some time in the arcade off the boardwalk. Then it was time for Nina’s birthday dinner on the roof at the Cultured Pearl (sushi is her current favorite) where she enjoyed feeding the koi. Jill said “Today we celebrated this girl’s annual trip around the sun. She’s fierce, feisty, has BIG dreams and is not afraid to chase them! Her confidence grows each year and I’m so proud to know and love her. You will always be my Sunshine Girl.”

Jill Nina Kerry

Thursday we packed up and headed out, stopping to pick up the paddleboard. We stopped in Annapolis to have lunch outside at Blackwall Hitch with Dad and Patricia. Nina got to open the rest of her presents after we got home. Friday it was our wedding anniversary. We only have the live music from our wedding, but I unearthed the proposal and put it on Facebook. That evening we had Catherine the babysitter over and had dinner at Clarity in their parking lot. I had a choose your own cocktail called the “Builders Permit” where I elected to have the Lagavulin 16 Year Old Whisky in honor of it being our 16th anniversary (the tasting menu was excellent as well, especially the Wagyu steak). Saturday Jill drove to Ikea to get a bookcase just for Nina’s Legos (she had a lot). That night we had pork porterhouse chops from Sylvanaqua Farms crowned with sautéed skillet apples and green beans. Jill said “It feels like Fall!” That night I pulled a bottle of 30 year old port out of the wine rack to drink. Upon closer inspection, it was bottled in 2008, making it 42 years old. So I posted “In honor of that auspicious number, a toast to you and yours – may the rest of this godforsaken year be better than what’s occurred so far.”

Kerry Jill

Tuesday the 8th was Nina’s first day of school and it went a lot smoother than the virtual learning in the spring (the new laptop also helped). She got and hour for lunch and recess, and as soon as she finished eating, she would go outside to play with her friends. Thursday I observed that the British Avengers are gone with the passing of Diana Rigg. Saturday we went out on the boat for lake concert from Irresponsible. During the weekend, a wire came loose from Nina’s braces, so Tuesday I took her to Northern VA Orthodontics for a fix, picking up some Nando’s next door for lunch as a treat. The next day Jill’s mom arrived for a visit (the only possible time with Jill about to start a job in a hospital).

Nina

Nina’s first visit to Jammin’ Java was at 3 weeks old to see Séan McCann (from Great Big Sea). 9 years later she was there on Thursday the 17th to perform “Tomorrow” at the Open Mic for The Music School (she’s been taking virtual lessons there since last month). Friday we started having Catherine the babysitter over after school so the girls got to play at least one guaranteed afternoon a week as virtual and in person activities started filling up the time (Tae Kwon Do, voice lessons, tutoring, etc.). Saturday Nina and Sue made breakfast, then in the afternoon my mom and sister and their families joined us on a Zoom call. Later we walked around the lake and went out on the boat for the last lake concert with The Nighthawks (after a power scare that later turned out one off the batteries in parallel was bad).

Nina

Wednesday the 23rd I had to share this video because we’re briefly in it. I also got an email received today: “I’m writing in regards to some music of mine that you are selling via Amazon. I am no longer playing music professionally, and would like to remove these albums from the Internet. I was wondering if you would be so kind as to take down these albums from your site. I’d really appreciate it.”
My response: “I would be happy to remove those albums. Just add them to your cart and pay for them and they will be gone from the Internet”. Thursday it was back to Northern VA Orthodontics again for a loose wire (unfortunately the Reston location is closed on Thursdays so we had to go to Brambleton). Friday we had the girls over for a pizza party and a planned backyard screening of the premiere of “Miraculous World: New York – United HeroeZ” with our new projector, but the rain had other ideas and the girls sat socially distanced inside to watch the movie.

Kerry Nina Jill

Saturday the 26th Jill and Sue went yarn shopping in Old Town, then in the evening Jill and I went to H Street in DC where we had a lovely dinner at Maketto including some dim sum favorites. Jill had spotted the Pie Shop on the way in, so we got some sweet slices for dessert to take home and share and some savory slices for lunch the next day. We also took the boat out on Sunday.

Kerry Jill

Tuesday Nina managed to sprain her left wrist at her desk (not at the gymnastics routine she’s been doing at recess minutes earlier), so after school got a bandage wrap after a doctor visit. I also asked Facebook that since I had received my absentee ballot and dropped it at the polling place, I had now voted, so please stop giving me ads asking me to register and/or vote. Wednesday Nina and Sue turned their bedtime routine into a show they performed us (Sue was leaving the next morning).

Sue Nina

August concert flashbacks