April

Thursday the 1st we were still on spring break at Disney World. Another early morning as this day we headed to Animal Kingdom. We got some pictures and headed over to Pandora to ride the Na’vi River Journey, then off to DinoLand U.S.A. where Ava rode Expedition Everest, then joined me and Sue on Dinosaur while Nina rode TriceraTop Spin and she and Jill played carnival games. Next we had lunch at Restaurantosaurus before we walked to the Wildlife Express Train and took the train to Conservation Station, where Ava, Nina and I did The Animation Experience. After the train back, we waited in line (and got drinks), then rode Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Nina

The wait was down somewhat, so it was time to ride Avatar Flight of Passage, Nina’s favorite ride from our previous visit. Jill had stopped to get coffee, and barely made it back into line before we were in the part of line that went inside. Inexplicably, right before we were about to ride, Nina said she didn’t want to do it – first time that happened (she had misgivings at Tower of Terror, but still went on). But she was old enough to wait outside, so she did. We got some pictures and shopping done afterwards, then left.

Jill Nina Kerry Sue

We dropped Jill and Sue at Disney Springs to shop (at Goofy’s Cando Co and The Spice & Tea Exchange) while the rest of us went to the hotel. I picked them up later and we drove south with a quick stop at Wawa for my meal as we were meeting Aunt Kelley and her paramour at their house and they were getting Subway and Popeye’s for dinner. We stayed on their porch as we didn’t realize they had 2 cats, but Nina did well.

Kerry Jill Kelley Jake Nina

Friday we returned to Hollywood Studios. Jill and I had gotten up early again and both got on a boarding group on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. We didn’t want to take any chance, so we headed back to the park. We got guest services to make sure both parties were merged into the same group, then walked over and soon were in line. Once again Nina decided once we got to the ride itself she didn’t want to go on, but this time we went through the first part after a cast member convinced her it was tame (it was). She didn’t want to do the 2nd part, so Jill and her mom waited with her while Ava and I rode, then we waited outside with her while they rode. It’s a shame, because that was an outstanding ride and experience. Next we waited in line for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Once again, Nina wanted out at ride time, and Jill went with her. We decided that was a wise decision as Jill was getting weary of the violent motion simulators.

Nina Kerry Jill Sue

We took some pictures next to the Falcon, Nina and I wandering around Star Wars Land (aka Black Spire Outpost) while the others rode the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. When Nina and I wanted a break, I got her popcorn mixed with candy, then we went over to BaseLine Tap House where I got a beer flight and Nina had a strawberry lemonade. We went back to Star Wars Land for a bit, then met with Sue and rode Toy Story Mania! while Jill took Ava back to the hotel so she could catch up schoolwork.

Jill Ava Sue

Jill brought us McDonald’s for lunch, then she, Nina and her mom went to ride Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and watch Muppets 4-D while I got to explore Star Wars Land by myself in person and virtually (you can interact with characters through the Play Disney app). I bought a Porg which Nina immediately confiscated. Later we had reservations at Oga’s Cantina and we all got funky drinks: I got a Bespin Fizz and Nina got Oga’s Obsession, then Nina and I had an appointment at Droid Depot and built droids: she choose an R2 unit and I got a BB one. Meanwhile Sue rode Slinky Dog Dash.

Nina

Jill choose takeout from Kobé Japanese Steakhouse without realizing it was in Orlando, so we drove up to get it (it was delicious). The next morning was Saturday and we checked out and going. Not too quickly as we’d already decided to take our time and split the trip back into 2 parts. We stopped at the new Buc-ees north of and stopped for lunch at a Sonic in Savannah. We ran into a lot of traffic, getting to our planned takeout at Pier 41 Seafood just minutes before they closed at 9PM, then it was still 30 minutes before we got to the Hampton Inn Fayetteville Fort Bragg. The drive was shorter on Sunday and we did run into some traffic (including seeing an accident in progress just before Fredericksburg), but were home by early afternoon. We had an Easter dinner and all the girls (Maddie had come over too) played games while I cleaned up.

Nina Maddie Sue Ava Jill

Jill took the next 2 days off. The relatives left Tuesday morning, then we got back to our schedule, with one change that week: the second dose of my vaccine. This time it was at the Government Center, and with long lines that wound around and made me think I was back at Disney World. It was still fairly quick though.

Nina

Not too much went on the rest of the month. Nina had her regular routine of in person Tae Kwon Do Monday and Thursday, plus virtual voice lessons on Wednesday. We had takeout on Fridays (Maggianos, Flower Child, Sweet Frog & Pista House) and family night on Saturday. Nina had a belt graduation on Friday the 23rd and finished her Saturday morning virtual drama class on the 24th. Sunday the 25th we went to visit my dad to celebrate his birthday belatedly.

Patricia Bryce Nina Kerry

Friday the 30th I’d signed Nina up for the virtual Lego Brick Fest Live. A package of Legos had arrived beforehand so she could build during the show. She liked it – too bad Jill got home from work after it started so we had a late dinner.

Nina

March

Friday the 5th I remembered Saturday night at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2005, I went to see GrooveLily and Jim Infantino at the Budgiedome and when I got back Mike from efo had stopped by with bandmates, then returned with friends, Randy, Mark and Rhonda, two guitarists and a mandolin player. They and about 30 other people (and Stuart on guitar) were out in the middle of the road singing cover songs. I finally asked Mike permission to post it my recording, and he said yes. Later that evening Nina’s school was hosting another drive in movie at Wolf Trap, but last minute Jill’s car wouldn’t start. Nina went with friends to pick up ours and theirs food from The Sandwich Shop while Jill and I transferred everything to my car and met them there. The movie was Sing, which I’ve seen several times so I didn’t need to pay full attention as I tested out using our big power bank in the wild for the first time – radio worked fine, crockpot with the hot chocolate (it was a cold night) was quite a power drain.

Celina Leila Nina Pearl

Saturday I ran errands with Nina including stopping at Duck Donuts and Flippin’ Pizza. That night Jill and had our postponed Valentine’s Day date at Le Diplomate. They had really taken pandemic dining to a new level with their “Streetside Chateus”, partioned stalls with tables and chairs as well as a vent with heat (so hot in fact I took off my jacket and sat near the outside edge). The food was wonderful, I went with the lobster frites as they made the fries unsalted. We maxed out our time, and Jill got creme brulee and I got a bottle of port to go (Nina got to play with her friends).

Jill Kerry

Saturday the 13th was nice enough the girls wanted to kayak after starting to build a cardboard boat. Tuesday was Nina’s return to school as she was back on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Unfortunately her teacher did not return to school, so she used headphones and a laptop on a classroom with other students whose teacher was still virtual, but getting do Specials (like Spanish and gym), playing on the playground with friends and going to the library made up for some of that. I thought it was very strange to drop my daughter at school for the first time in a year. But it felt right. What felt wrong was making her lunch in the morning. So used to making it at lunchtime now.

For Saint Patrick’s Day on Wednesday the 17th, I brined the corned beef, made pumpernickel bread and what I thought was my mom’s chocolate cake, cut into the traditional clover. Turns out it’s her mom’s recipe, and great-grandma’s dad immigrated from Ireland, so that was traditional as we can make it. That weekend we had a European tour of seafood: paella on Saturday, mussels for lunch Sunday, and fish and chips for dinner that night. The good news: Nina ate them all. I got my first shot of Pfizer on Saturday morning at EagleBank Arena (aka Patriot Center) and it was weird to be there for something other than a show, but I was in and out fairly quickly. Tuesday the 23rd I took advantage of Nina in school to get the maids in for the first time in over a year, then went out to get a haircut. When I took a walk on Thursday, I realized that the cicadas don’t feel like waiting any longer to go outside. I feel ya, fellas.

dinner

When the pandemic started, we had been planning a trip during Spring Break to Orlando with Jill’s mom and Nina’s cousin. We had moved it to the fall, and when it was clear that wouldn’t work, moved to this Spring Break (the Disney World tickets would expire soon after, and were not cheap). There was disturbing news as in Miami people weren’t masking or observing social distancing, but Disney World and Universal Orlando had enforced the restrictions strongly since reopening. Nina’s pulmonologist told us he was ok with her going, but she shouldn’t fly. So we decided to rent a minivan. Jill decided to go with Dollar, and after all the extra fees they added on, then didn’t have the minivan she’d reserved. But they had a Chevy Traverse that had Florida license plates, which made it a winner. Sue and Ava drove down that Friday, so we were able to leave early morning on Saturday the 27th.

We had decided to try and do the whole thing in 1 day because we had a packed week. Besides Jill driving, most people slept after our 4:30am start. We made our first stop at Anne’s Donuts in NC where they had the most delicious cream cheese donut. We also stopped at a Sonic for drinks. Nina loves White Castle, and one is opening up in Orlando soon. We had heard Krystal was their equivalent in the South, so decided to stop at one past Savannah in Georgia for lunch. Of course thanks to many backups, it was late afternoon when we got there, and that and the Starbucks were drive thru only. We made the best of it, sitting at a Starbucks table, but the food just wasn’t that good. We didn’t make it to our hotel, the accurately titled DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando until 9:30pm and didn’t manage to do much besides fall asleep.

Kerry Nina Jill

Sunday we were up early because while Universal Orlando didn’t require park reservations like Disney World, they did stop letting people in when the parks reached current capacity. It was the easiest park to get to that week with a 15 minute walk to CityWalk, but then we had a wait as the Universal Orlando tickets had expired. I had set up an exchange with someone at their Twitter account, but still needed to go stand in line at guest services and then find the original pdf of the tickets from my email. But after that we were good to go inside Universal Studios Florida and soon got on the Transformers ride. Ava really wanted to do The Simpsons ride, so we went there next (Jill and will skip that in the future), then went over to what we’d been waiting for a decade, Diagon Alley.

Diagon Alley was as real as we’d hoped it would be. After wandering around Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes (astonishing how close the Wizards Unite version was to it) and around, we noticed there was a long line for Ollivander’s Wand Shop, so I got in it. It was 90 minutes long, so Sue and Ava left so Ava could ride the rollercoaster, and Jill and Nina went to the Leaky Cauldron to get lunch. I did get to see the 2 shows there while I waited, plus we tried the Gillywater from the Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment stand (I had the Fire Protection Potion). As the line got closer to the front, Jill switched with me and I had lunch as Nina finished up. Then we went inside and Nina got to choose her wand with Ollivander (very well done) before we did some videos with Sue and Ava who had finished. Nina got to play with her wand as there’s a number of places to interact with it there, and as we were about to get in line for Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, the ride broke down.

We went over and rode Men In Black (shooting fine, 720 degree spins not fine), then Ava went to ride the rollercoaster again and we got drinks. I had managed to get a virtual line pass for Revenge of the Mummy, and Jill and Ava rode that. We decided we were done, but then saw there was a photo op with Optimus Prime in 30 minutes. Jill and I waited while Sue, Nina and Ava did the Transformers ride again. We stopped on the way out to take pictures at a studio (we had purchased the photo pass, so no additional cost), then walked back to the hotel. We still had to get our luggage and put it in the SUV, then take a short drive over to Universal’s Endless Summer – Dockside Inn & Suites. Even though I’d checked in online, I still had to wait through a long line of guests to get the room keys. In the meantime Jill decide we’d just get dinner there at Pier 8 Market and got orders for what was essentially a cafeteria. I got the room keys and parked the SUV and we all met for dinner (mostly burgers), then got the luggage and went to the room (it was nice with 3 beds – Jill and I got the separate room).

Jill Sue Nina Kerry

Monday morning we got the benefit of staying at a Universal resort as we got into the park an hour early. Most of the girls got food and drinks from the Starbucks in the hotel before we got on the bus. Jill had the genius idea of doing Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts first, so we did that and then took the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure (we had the 2 park pass), then explored Hogsmeade. Unfortunately Hogsmeade was very crowded and there wasn’t as much room to move around as Diagon Alley which was in an area by itself. We stood in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Nina and I got off right before the ride started. Then we all had a snack and headed down to Jurassic Park which Ava wanted to see (Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure was virtual line pass only, and I hadn’t gotten one yet). Jill was trying to fix Ava’s unlimited soda cup, so the rest of us took a picture with the raptor, then had a drink break. Nina and Ava saw prizes at the carnival games they wanted, so they played the games and won (Nina’s prize was a sloth).

Kerry Jill Nina

I finally got a pass for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, so while Ava went to ride the Hulk rollercoaster, the rest of us waited in line for that. However, the line was very long even with a pass, plus the ride broke down for 20 minutes. By time we were close to the front, Nina needed to use the restroom (and we weren’t going to ride anyway), so we went to Honeydukes where Ava was. I hadn’t had anything to eat and was exhausted, so I decided to leave. Ava decided to join me (after we got her a Ravenclaw hoodie) and we took the bus back. At that point the exhaustion took over, so I napped while Jill and Nina rode Pteranodon Flyers and Sue rode The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, then stopped for pizza. When they got back Ava went down to Pier 8 Market for another burger and I went to Del Taco for tacos (gotta love chains that give you sodium counts) and Walgreens for a beer and wine. Jill, Nina and Sue meanwhile had found the pool.

Kerry Ava Sue Nina

Tuesday morning I checked out virtually, then we got on the road to Hollywood Studios. Jill and I had gotten up early to try and get on a boarding group on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, but failed. We parked, then again I had to find the pdf of my tickets, then walked over to the Tower of Terror. Everyone rode but me, so I hung out with the stuff and surfed on my phone or people watched. Next we got in line for a new ride: Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Again quite a wait, but the ride was a classic, all ages ride. We had lunch at Backlot Express (burgers again, but Ava loves them and they’re usually low sodium for me) and Jill and I failed again to get a boarding group. Nina wanted to see Vacation Fun – An Original Animated Short with Mickey & Minnie so we watched that. Ava went to ride the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster while the rest of us did Toy Story Mania!, then walked through Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Knowing ahead of time getting onto the Star Wars rides would be difficult we’d already planned a 2nd day there, but I still wanted to see the layout before we left.

We still had to check into DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Disney Springs™ Area, so we did that. Thankfully it was the first hotel we could fully check in using the app on my phone as a key at first. We got to relax for a while, then ordered takeout from Miller’s Ale House. Nina got to check out the pool with Jill before Sue and I picked up the food.

Nina

Wednesday we were off to the Magic Kingdom. The hotel we’d picked had allowed early access into the parks and transportation, but the early access was on hold and the transportation was a chartered bus that didn’t run often, so we decided to just drive and park each day. We paid for preferred parking and were pretty close to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Due to long lines, I decided to ask whether the monorail or the ferry was faster, and got directed to the buses, and 10 minutes later we were in the park. Fantasyland was our first destination, and soon we were riding The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan’s Flight. The line for it’s a small world was pretty long, but moved quickly. We shopped for ears next, then lunch for most at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (I found that Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant carried a lobster roll).

Kerry Nina Jill Sue Ava

Next, Sue and Nina did Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid while Ava, Jill and I rode The Haunted Mansion (which broke down just like the last time we rode it). Ava, Nina and Sue took a spin on the Mad Tea Party while Jill and I waited in line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train; when we got to the front Ava, Jill and Sue rode while Nina and I headed to the front where we had a Capture Your Moment scheduled. We took photos in front of the castle, of course.

Sue Kerry Jill Nina

Then it was off to Tomorrowland where Nina and Ava rode Tomorrowland Speedway, then Nina joined me in line for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, then we did Prince Charming Regal Carousel. The others did Space Mountain, then we met up. I’d read this genius idea to take a boat to Fort Wilderness and eat at P & J’s Southern Takeout, so that’s what we did. It was a relaxing ride over, and we were able to mobile order ahead of time. We sat picnic tables on the patio – the ribs were ok and the chicken was delicious. I only wish I’d known about the open bar so I wouldn’t have gotten a can of beer (I made up for it with the Smoky Mountain Apple cocktail from Crockett’s Tavern, the bar in the front). We took the boat back to the Magic Kingdom and then Nina had requested to ride the monorail back to the car.

Nina Sue

February

Tuesday the 2nd I laughed at The Harry Potter Spinoff You Didn’t Know You Needed parody. Friday because of Wayne’s World being in the news because of their Super Bowl commercial we’d shown Nina the Queen scene from the movie, and it was fun watching her teaching all her friends to headbang. We had takeout from Santini’s for dinner. Saturday Nina started her new remote drama class: Ace Diamond: Fairy Tale Detective. Sunday Jill had ordered Pączki for Fat Thursday and we had a taste test of the flavors for breakfast. The Super Bowl was that evening and I made blue cheese dressing and wings in the air fryer. The game was a bit one sided, but the halftime show with The Weeknd was entertaining (and as usual marked Nina’s bedtime).

Nina Jill

Monday the 8th I got to take Nina to her pulmonologist before school, then Tuesday had the water in our fridge fixed. Friday we got takeout from Dolce Vita (lamb chops were excellent). Saturday Jill and I had planned to go out to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day early (we often try to skip the craziness of the day), but an ice storm had other ideas, so we pushed it to March. We noticed Nina’s hair was getting long.

Nina

Sunday the 14th we went to see Crystalline at the Artechouse in DC. We were supposed to go 2 weeks prior, but there was a big snowstorm then, so we moved it. It was fun (Nina really enjoyed it), then we got an accidental Valentine’s Day. Artechouse was near The Wharf, which neither Nina nor Jill had been to. I’d found a couple places that had warm outdoor seating, but the 1st place didn’t have their heaters on and the 2nd place was full. Jill had seen a near empty Italian place, but when we got back it was filling up, and we tried it anyway and were seated next to another party who had no food or drink but already had masks off, so we left. As we walked, the next restaurant was Del Mar, which the Post had rated top at The Wharf. They had outside seating, so we figured we’d ask. Those were full, but they had space inside (good to eat lunch at 3PM), and definitely were adhering to safety standards, so we went in and had a great meal. Nina enjoyed a mocktail, pasta, and trying all our food (Jill and I shared the seafood paella) and desserts (churros, apple cider ice cream and cheesecake chocolate cake).

Jill Kerry Nina

I had wondered if they would ever cancel schools again, since a couple times it seemed likely they just switched to virtual learning. But on Thursday the 18th everything closed. Nina had so much schoolwork left, she didn’t finish until almost 6 and barely saw her friends. Friday we got Flippin’ Pizza for takeout, and on Saturday saw her friends plenty as they turned our backyard into an ice skating rink. Also Nina’s Wednesday night voice teacher brought her entire box of wigs to play with.

Nina

Monday Nina returned to Tae Kwon Do. We took her out of the in person classes in January when the numbers were bad, and she had been having trouble doing the classes virtually, so she had just taken a break, but was happy to get back. Wednesday Nina was happy I let her have pizza for breakfast. We also had a plumber from Wacker over to fix a leaky toilet and replace two faucets. Friday we got takeout from Kabobi By The Helmand (the lamb shank meal was delicious).

Lake Thoreau

January

Friday the 1st we started the year by making Eggs Benedict and artichokes for brunch, followed by hours of cleaning the kitchen because my helper cracked an egg into a drawer. The girl squad made gingerbread houses in the afternoon. As always, I found wise words from Neil. Monday Jill faced black ice on the way to work, and got her second vaccine dose – she said “Second dose done! I’ll update in a few days with any side effects, but I feel so blessed to be able to be one of the first to get this vaccine to start helping us recover.”

gingerbread houses

Thursday the 7th, Seth says it better than I could. Friday we got take out from MyHome Thai Bistro and I got a duck roll & calamari (Nina had Popeyes instead). Saturday 2 of Nina’s friends celebrated their birthday with a party held in the park across the street. Luckily it wasn’t terribly cold and we ate food and watched the girls run around. Monday Nina was selling cookies again.

birthday party

Friday the 15th we got takeout from Flippin’ Pizza and I made this mashup and posted it (after initially being denied for too much Go-Gos). Saturday we hosted Nina’s friends. Sunday Nina had Girl Scouts and she decided she wanted to be a chef – first up was brunch where she helped make a smoothie and a “turtle waffle” (waffle with pineapple feet and head and strawberries on top). Monday she helped cook cheeseburgers for us and chicken sliders for her. Tuesday Jill woke up to a flat tire and brought it to a mechanic and then took the bus to work. Happily it was fixed by the time she took the bus back.

Nina chef

Wednesday the 20th was the second student holiday of the week, this time for Inauguration Day. Nina and I watched the ceremony and I felt a great weight lift from my chest where it had been since the 6th. Jill said “So grateful to close Chapter 45 and start Chapter 46. The best parts of my day were listening to NPR on my way home recap the inauguration and watching Amanda Gorman with N on my lap for a cuddle.” And about the Bernie Sanders viral photo said “This is honestly my favorite Bernie pic/caption. (A photo showing Bernie at the inauguration sitting with his arms crossed wearing a brown winter puffy coat and handmade brown patterned mittens. It is captioned: The chairman of the senate budget committee wearing his only heavy coat and gifted handmade mittens made from recycled plastic bottles and repurposed wool sweaters. We found the right person for the job.)”

Nina

Friday I saw this article about Nina’s school. We got takeout that night from Panda House Chinese Restaurant – I enjoyed the half roast duck. Later that night I needed to talk to Disney and they left me on hold for a while.

on hold

Sunday the 24th Jill ran errands with Nina and they came home with frozen yogurt. Monday Nina started an appointment for neurofeedback, where she gets to choose to watch a show on Netflix while she’s being monitored (It’s not hard to convince her to go). Wednesday Nina played indoor gymnastics with her friends. Friday we got take out from Ariake – more sushi! At the end of the month, Jill said “A reminder to myself: the work is not done. It is neverending, but that is ok. It is good work, and good will overcome. Art and words by @ohhappydani . (A picture of an 8×10 art print; printed words in a rainbow gradient. It says: “You were created to do good work. Work that empowers and inspires, liberates and transforms, restores and softens. Yes, work can be hard – as it was meant to be. The verb itself calls us into action. Rejecting passivity and demanding sustained effort. It provokes, agitates, and disturbs. But this work – the call for justice – is good work. It defends the oppressed and frees the captive. It tears down walls and destroys barriers. It changes things. So when you’re feeling weary, or hopeless, or spent, remind yourself that the darkness is being flooded by marvelous light. Yes, this is work. And it is good.” -Danielle Coke)

Nina

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

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

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

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

On the 1st we should have been at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, but we still had a virtual meeting and family picture with our Shantytowne peeps. And we still got to see a concert, another boat concert, this time great to have Tommy Gann for concert #6 (so now I’ve been to 6 concerts this year, when I normally would have hit about 50 by now and I’ve produced half of them. 2020 is so strange). I also got requests by text from a neighbor during the show (Jack Johnson was a success, but she also requested Hall and Oates while he was playing one).

Nina’s musical theatre camps had come to an end, so we made our own plans for August. Our friend Seth taught ukulele to her on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the morning and she started voice lessons with Rachel through Jammin’ Java on Wednesday afternoons. She also worked on 2 pages of a 3rd to 4th grade workbook each day. In the afternoons, she joined the “Girl Squad”: her and 3 other neighborhood girls, who played together (all masked) under the watchful eye of Julia, our babysitter (that continued from June and July, but more officially with the other girls this month). On Tuesday the 4th I was so glad my state is part of this. Also, this came and looks great to display the alcohol. Wednesday Nina left soap in the tub, then I found she was watching unauthorized videos, plus Seth had a migraine and couldn’t teach. So she practiced ukulele in my office, then went upstairs to do her workbook. When I went upstairs after 30 minutes, she was playing and told me she couldn’t find the workbook. FML. Thursday’s out of context quote: “Dad, how do you clean Gatorade off a skateboard?” Also we found out contact tracing will have to be automated for now.

Nina

Saturday the 8th we took the boat out and Jill and Nina went swimming. Tuesday Nina started Wet N Wild, a twice weekly social distanced pool playtime from RA Camps that she loved. Friday, if you wanted to hear Margo Price cover WAP, here ya go. NSFW if you’re still in an office or have small children nearby. Also, They Might Be Giants made a Schoolhouse Rocks song. Later I took the Girl Squad out on the boat, but swimming was done for a while.

Jill Nina

Saturday the 15th Nina asked for a special breakfast and got a waffle with ice cream toppings and strawberries and peaches with whipped cream. Sunday I wondered if anyone else’s child was cosplaying as all The Loud House children? Just mine? Alrighty then. Also, this was powerful. Thursday we got lobster rolls from Mason’s. Friday was Nina’s last day with her babysitter Julia, so we made a video for friends and family to commemorate the occasion. Saturday we were singing this so had to introduce Nina to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Sunday Nina had an early birthday party as 2 of the neighborhood kids were moving to Spain for the year, so we brought out the slip ‘n slide, juice boxes and cupcakes for all the neighborhood kids.

Nina

Monday the 24th we found new babysitter Catherine, who a long while ago lived next to us. That worked well for our last regular week of summer, then we’d found a good way to have a socially distanced vacation: rent a condo in Bethany Beach for 5 nights (leaving before Labor Day craziness). We left Saturday morning and then stopped at the shopping center. The paddleboard Jill had purchased several years earlier had been shedding fiberglass, and no surf shops around us would repair it, but she had found a place near Bethany that would fix it. Getting the paddleboard tightly tied to our portable roof rack took some doing, but we were soon on out way again without any problems. We stopped for smoothies at Smoothie King in Bowie and lunch at Sonic in Bridgeville, then went to Dollar Book Shuffle in Laurel, DE. They say they have “over 40,000 quality used books and 15,000 DVDs & CDs” and I don’t doubt it, but the CDs are completely unorganized and it I spent a good long while sorting through them. We then ended at Bethany Beach and checked in to our condo. After we unpacked, we checked out the beach, then walked to the downtown area (masks required everywhere) where we had made a reservation at Ropewalk. Unfortunately as were walking there I’d taken my glasses off to wipe the sweat from my face, and felt a hot pain in my right eye, and blinking didn’t help. I went to the restroom in the restaurant and couldn’t see anything, but the pain had lessened. I had crab legs and we all had crushes (Nina’s in a fish bowl). After dinner they left early and stopped at Candy Kitchen, then we had candy for dessert in the condo.

Nina Jill

Sunday we stopped at the nearby Dunkin’ to get donuts for breakfast, then dropped off the paddleboard. I dropped off Jill and Nina, then spent a couple hours shopping at Giant. It turned out one of the neighborhood families, the Grunspans, also decided to spend some time in Bethany Beach and Nina was delighted to go to the beach with her friends, while I spent the afternoon in the condo (my eye had not gotten better, so I got to research eye doctors). I made ribs for dinner, then we went to Ba Roos Ice Cream for dessert. Monday we got to Sussex Eye Center, where my cornea was diagnosed as scratched, and I got a prescription to fix that. We went to DB’s Seafood Co to get takeout for lunch (good lobster roll). For dinner, we’d decide to trade off with the Grunspans and we’d host all the girls while they went out to dinner, then switch the next night. I made grilled chicken and spaghetti for everyone, then we took them to Shipwrecked for mini golf & ice cream.

Nina

July

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”.

Nina

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.

fireworks

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).

Nina

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.

Robbie

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

From Senator Janet Howell’s newsletter
Continue reading “July”