I always enjoy a tribute concert, like the ones BandHouse Gigs has been putting on for almost 20 years. The show on April 1st at the Barns At Wolf Trap celebrating Fountains of Wayne was truly special, with Todd Wright, Ryan Wright, Pat McGee, Naked Blue, and a host of other DMV musicians celebrating the songs of Adam Schlesinger & Chris Collingwood. While I was out, Nina had some friends over for ramen.


The next morning we were up and out on the road early, heading to Rochester to visit with my mom for the first half of Nina’s spring break. We visited the graves of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, then we had purchased tickets for a tour of the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House. I had no idea that Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony were friends and he would visit her there. We visited an Anime store and Nina found lots of things she liked, plus we picked up some stuff for her Easter basket. We had dinner at Mom’s house that night as she made her famous egg rolls.

Jill Nancy

Monday I wanted to visit the main Rochester library book sale, so we did that, then stopped at a vintage store where Mom found a new coat. We had scheduled the Starter Smash Package with iSmash Rochester for Nina and Logan – her youngest cousin (grandson of David). We wanted to hang out some more, so we went to Pittsford on the banks of the Erie Canal. We had Artisan Gelato & Espresso on the side of the canal, then I wanted some tea and everyone ended up at Neutral Ground Coffeehouse for drinks and snacks. We stopped at Record Archive so I could shop for some CDs, then had dinner at the “big house” (the main Cloverwood building).

Logan Nina

Tuesday the 4th we had brunch with Jeanne and her younger two boys and the newly christened The Great American Diner (formerly The Original Steve’s Diner), then met up again with Jeanne and her youngest at Flower City Arcade to play pinball and video games before they had an appointment. We returned to Cloverwood for a nice long walk with Mom and Cece before we had dinner at the “big house”.

Nina Logan

Wednesday we had breakfast with Mom before driving home. Thursday Nina had a doctor’s appointment with all her shots for middle school (and got pho for her troubles), then late that night Jill’s sister Robin and her son Finn flew into Dulles where Jill picked them up and brought them to our house. Friday we all drove over to the Reston Metro, parked, and got on the Silver Line headed downtown. Finn loves trains, so he was fine with the long ride. It was a short walk from the station exit to the National Museum of Natural History. Finn likes mummies, so we checked out the Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt exhibit, as well as the Hope Diamond. He needed a stop for a snack after that, then he indicated he was ready to leave, and we swung out through the Sant Ocean Hall (the Megalodon as you exit the dining area is pretty impressive). Everyone was ready to eat, and we walked over to Central Michel Richard for lunch. We weren’t the best dressed group there, but everyone waited patiently for their food. Later I took Nina and Finn to the Terraset playground to play.

Nina Finn Robin

Saturday the 8th we all drove over to Udvar-Hazy and checked out the planes. The space shuttle was a hit, as well as going up in the tower to watch the planes land at Dulles. I took Nina to her flute lesson in the afternoon (she didn’t want to miss it with her concert coming up soon). Jill and Robin took Nina and Finn to a trampoline park later.

Finn Nina Jill Robin

Sunday Nina and Finn opened their Easter baskets, then we all went to church. Afterwards there was a big Easter egg hunt, as well as the destruction of a giant chocolate bunny the church had gotten as a gift. Since John Oliver’s show that night was about HOAs, he made a bonus episode for people under 35 (because they can’t buy homes) about the history of Chuck E. Cheese. I think it’s one of his best.

Nina Kerry Jill

Thursday the 13th I went to see Great Lake Swimmers at Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. It’s not often I can go to a concert, come home and learn I need a haircut, but here we are (3rd row left on the aisle, flashing a peace sign 43 minutes in).

Friday Nina was invited to a friend’s birthday party at a pirate themed escape room, which of course meant dressing up like a pirate. Sunday we celebrated Dad’s birthday belatedly by going to his house and taking him out to Plaza Mexico. After we got back Nina had a Girl Scouts meetup at Kung Fu Tea. Monday I asked who needs Wordle? The Oatmeal has a new word game out!


Friday the 21st Nina’s friend Avery joined us for dinner as we ate at Big Buns. That Saturday and Sunday Jill was out both days studying for her license exam. So Saturday was an excellent day to take Nina to Fountainhead Park for an archery class. She’d liked it in summer camp, and I’d liked it back when I had summer camp, and it was fun to do it together (we did get a little competitive about target practice). Next we went to Springfield Town Center (aka Springfield Mall) where she liked shopping at Box Lunch for anime/manga merch, having Popeyes for lunch, and playing games and Dave & Busters. We stopped at Burke Nursery before her flute lesson so she could meet their cat and I could get some more plants (tomatoes, grapes and peppers), then I walked the nearby trail while she had a double length lesson.


We had been doing a family tradition where each person choose takeout on Friday night and an activity on Saturday night. Usually the activity was a movie or a game, but some time in January Nina had chosen the first two episodes of Demon Slayer. The next week, she asked if we could continue watching. Jill and I looked at each other, shrugged, and agreed. On that Saturday we were going to finish watching the first season and I wanted to do something special, so I made sugar cookies and Nina and I decorated them with Demon Slayer characters and logos.

Demon Slayer cookies

The spring concert for Terraset Orchestra, Terraset Band & Terraset Tiger Chorus was Tuesday the 25th and Nina was in the latter two. This one was held at Langston Hughes so there was plenty of seating room for once. Jill and I were scheduled to see Robbie Schaefer play and talk about his new movie on Thursday, but Nina hit her head during recess and felt drowsy after returning to class. The EMTs were called and so was I. They advised a trip to the ER and Jill requested Fairfax Hospital, so off I went to meet them there, Jill arriving not far behind me. Fortunately Nina had no concussion symptoms once there, and once she’d was cleared to go home and had no problems afterwards (except the whole no devices for 24 hours thing).


Saturday the 29th Nina had some testing in the morning. I met her and Jill at a nearby Qdoba, but they’d already finished eating, so I picked up a delicious avocado melt at Lil’ Cow Cafe Bistro on the way to her flute lesson. She had friends over in the afternoon for talent show practice. They had been getting together before school to rehearse, but they thought they needed extra time, so they hung out and we got them pizza.


Sunday Nina was asked to join Avery for a Girl Scouts activity. Her mom agreed to watch both of them afterwards, which has awesome as I’d scored tickets for a matinee of Tina Fey & Amy Poehler at Constitution Hall. We went to Dupont Circle first and had brunch at The Admiral (neither of us could resist the French Toast with bourbon bacon butter). The opener Zarna Garg was pretty good, but Amy and Tina were incredible. My favorite part was them returning to their Weekend Update roles.

Tina Fey & Amy Poehler


Wednesday the 1st Nina had her spring school picture taken. That evening we went over to Dominion High School to see the Dance Team that is coached by two of my coworkers, then stopped at Baskin Robbins on the way home. The next night was the Terraset basketball challenge, a fundraiser where teams of teachers and students played each other. Nina and the rest of the chorus sang the National Anthem before the game.


Friday to Saturday, Nina was camping with Girl Scouts at Camp Winona. She came back with a cold and was out on Monday. Jill and I took advantage of Friday to try Mattie & Eddie’s Irish Bar and Restaurant as it was Cathal Armstrong’s new placew in Crystal City – great fish and chips. Also Monday, I saw the video for Extreme’s new song Rise and mentioned that Nuno’s solo is just incredible. Tuesday we had ATR Appliance Repair to look at the dishwasher, the washer, and the dryer (aka the homeowner’s trifecta) for 2 leaks and a fail to dry properly (who knew the heating coil cold break?).


Thursday the 9th Nina and some of the chorus sang the National Anthem before the School Board (before the board had a very busy session), then they all got ice cream at the McDonald’s across the street.


Tuesday the 14th was Pi day, and Nina’s class celebrated by using math on pies. Wednesday I went to see Aoife O’Donovan at The Birchmere with Hawktail opening. Aoife started the evening by performing all of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. Yasmin Williams joined her on “Used Cars”, then Hawktail came on for “Reason To Believe”, as well as all of the encore.


Friday was St. Patricks Day, and I had to share Banshees: The Game. My mom and Jeannie came down that night and I made the traditional corned beef and cabbage (plus lamb for me). The next morning, Jeannie, Mom and I drove down to Fredricksburg where we met CJ, who’s a volunteer with PetHarbor. Mom had wanted the 3 year old Husky that PetHarbor had, but after Sharon, Jeannie and I tried to convince her to change her mind, the lady in charge of PetHarbor told her she couldn’t have it, so instead we met the 10 year old Claire. It was love at first sight, so we went in the nearby PetSmart to sign paperwork and get food for the dog, soon to be renamed Cece.

Nancy Cece

That night Nina had friends over for dinner. It was Jill’s idea, which was good, as I had tickets to see Yonder Mountain String Band at the Barns at Wolf Trap. I’d only seen them previously play one song (Shakedown Street) at the Dear Jerry tribute. I was a little surprised when I walked in and the floor was GA, as that’s very uncommon for the Barns. But they came out and started jamming right away, and I got caught up in the groove. Lots of great covers, including Tom Petty, The Beatles, Grateful Dead and Talking Heads? Weird, but fun.

Yonder Mountain String Band

Sunday the 19th Jill took Nina and several other Girl Scouts to a babysitting class out near Winchester. So after chores I had nothing to do, but I’d seen that Todd & Ryan Wright had a pop up gig at the Starr Hill Biergarten (on top of the Capital One Hall). It was surprisingly cold that day, and I was happy that the outdoor bar was enclosed – until they said they were playing at the outdoor stage. So I was literally the only one in the audience outside for the whole show. Luckily, they took a couple breaks to warm up, and it was a fantastic cover heavy set.

Todd & Ryan Wright

Tuesday Nina field trip had a field trip to Smithsonian American Art Museum. Friday Jill had a dinner out with coworkers. Nina and I looked on Yelp to see what we could eat, and settled on The Lobster (Thai street food & seafood). We both got lobster, of course – she got the “Pasta Lobster”. Saturday Nina’s friend Celina came by to hang out. I’d been plant shopping the day before during Nina’s flute lesson, and since veggies weren’t available yet, I’d purchased blueberries (Nina’s suggestion) and strawberries. I planted them and found two baby turtles burrowing in the dirt, and called Nina and Celina down to check them out.

Celina Nina


Wednesday the 1st I had to buy some tickets, as I don’t make it to Richmond often, but I saw that in June that Talking Heads’ Jerry Harrison would be doing their “Remain in Light” with Adrian Belew and Les Claypool will be covering Pink Floyd’s “Animals”. Friday Nina, Jill and another Girl Scout ran a cookie booth in the bitter cold at Pupatella (I gave them hand warmers from my go bag). We got takeout from Bartaco for dinner.


Saturday Nina was with the Girl Scouts doing food sorting for a simple gesture. Sunday Nina did volleyball and had a Girl Scout meeting in the afternoon, so we moved going to the Anastasia musical from matinee to evening, with predictable up way too late results, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.


Saturday the 11th my mom’s husband David passed away peacefully. She had dated him in college, but they went their separate ways and got married and had families. But in 2015 with both of them single again, they met at the nursing home Mom worked at after he had back surgery. They married a year later and moved up to Rochester where his family was. We were sad to see her go, but happy to see love can happen again, no matter what age you are.


Sunday was the Super Bowl and I made possibly my best wings yet. We usually all watch the first half and the halftime show, but this time we couldn’t convince Nina to hang out and watch the commercials. Tuesday (Valentine’s Day), I was going to see Stephen Sanchez at the 450 capacity Union Stage when I saw he’d been covered by Blackpink’s Rosé. Apparently that is still not enough to make going to see him cool, according to Nina, who is a Blink (Blackpink fan). I still had fun, and I think he’s going to get famous fast. Plus they have some good beers there.


Friday the 17th I had bought tix for The Judds: The Final Tour for that night at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax on the chance that Brandi Carlile would join her. That date got Tanya Tucker (with Martina McBride as an opener). We weren’t really interested otherwise, and since I couldn’t give the tickets away at StubHub, so I did give them away for free on BuyNothing. Saturday was a big day, as we started early by getting to Katsucon when it opened. Nina has developed a powerful love of anime and manga, and she and 2 friends cosplayed as My Hero Acadamia characters. They got a picture with one of the voice actors, then we walked over to Mezeh to get some lunch. We stayed long enough in the afternoon for everyone to finish their shopping, then left. We had a babysitter for come over at 5, then left. I had decided to try Royal Nepal because it was nearby and we hadn’t tried Nepalese before. Jill realized we’d eaten there before when it was a Thai restaurant. It was a delicious meal, best meal so far after Little Pearl. Next we saw Matt Nathanson with Stephen Kellogg at the Birchmere, and our good friend Linda saved us some fantastic seats. Nina and her babysitter got takeout from Ariake for dinner.


Sunday afternoon we took Nina and some friends out again, this time to the Renegade to see another friend perform in Vienna School of Rock, and it turns out they’re in the “nu metal” group. And that resulted in me hearing a live cover of Tool for the first time and it was great. The food was once again very good as well. Monday Nina and I were off, so she choose mini golf outside. Only bad thing was she left her hoodie on a fence, but I was able to get in later in the week. She also asked for boba tea and pho for dinner.


Wednesday Connie, Jill’s father’s mother, and Nina’s great-grandmother, passed to be reunited with her beloved Gerry. Her memorial wouldn’t happen until May, but the memorial for my mom’s husband David was the next weekend, so on Friday I took the RIBS 2 bud from my house to the Wienie Metro station, then the Silver Line to Dulles for the first time. Remarkably easy, then I satisfied my craving for Five Guys (and beer at Firkin & Fox).


I had an uneventful flight to Rochester where Budget gave me a Kia Soul, and I was soon working through the hours long list of projects my mom needed done. We had dinner at the main Cloverwood building that she calls the “big house”, and I found out when I ask for a steak with no salt, that may not be what I get. Later I picked up Sharon from the airport. Saturday was the service, and David’s daughter Jeanne was there with her boys and some of David’s friends, including a college roommate. They served lunch at the VFW across the street from the funeral home, then Sharon and I went back to Mom’s where we spent the afternoon going through pictures. Jeanne joined us at the “big house” for dinner. Jill and Nina kept busy in my absence, meeting with Girl Scouts, going to flute lessons, and trying out a cat café.


Sunday Sharon and I went to church with Mom then had brunch with her at the “big house” before we drove to the airport and chatted before my flight boarded (hers took off an hour later). Jill and Nina picked me up at Dulles.



Sunday the 1st was New Year’s Day and we forced Nina to get outside as we walked around the lake and she rode her bike. Saturday we left Nina with pho from Teabreak and Phoebe, her new favorite babysitter (she lets her do TikTok) and went to Lorna and Dave’s in Herndon as they threw a party to celebrate their retirement. The genius was they hired a bartender and caterer so they didn’t have to do any of the work. Next, we went to the 9:30 Club where Everything was already on stage. We met up with my friend Norm, and enjoyed a fine show from emmet swimming. They brought Everything up to jam on their cover of “So Lonely”. We couldn’t hang out as we got home right before Phoebe needed to leave.

emmet swimming

Sunday the 8th Nina started a volleyball class after church, then Monday started a horseback riding class after school. Wednesday we all went over to Langston Hughes for the rising 7th Grade Curriculum Night and toured the school.


Friday the 13th we tempted our luck by heading to Mount Airy to our friends Laura and T’s house (who we’d shared a dinner table at the Eddie From Ohio cruise). They were hosting a house concert with Michael Clem and we enjoyed some great food and a great concert. Monday Nina and I were off for MLK day and we went shopping at Lotte Market and she got bubble tea. Then Nina managed to spend most of her Christmas money at 2nd and Charles (mostly on a box set of My Hero Academia books).

Jill Kerry Laura Michael Clem

Sue took the train down on Thursday the 19th. The next night and Saturday Nina was performing in Broadway Night at South Lakes High School, and we were told to only go once, so we all got takeout Friday night before she performed, then Jill and I volunteered Saturday afternoon before we all went to the show Saturday night.


Nina was off Thursday the 26th and the next day for the end of the school quarter. Nina, Jill and Sue went to a tea that day, then Friday night Sue took Nina to Glory Days Grill. Meanwhile, we went into DC and had dinner at Little Pearl. I didn’t realize it because I’d seen a menu on their website, but they did a tasting menu. After Jill got through the first course of steak tartare, she was pretty happy with the rest of it. We stayed at Hampton Inn & Suites in Navy Yard and did some bar crawling when we were done at Tap99 and Chicken + Whiskey.

Kerry Jill

Monday the 30th Wolf Trap announced their summer schedule, and was bummed as Brandi Carlile would host a new two day festival to start the season, and said “Dang it. We start summer vacation that day.”



Thursday the 1st I took and passed the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam. Friday I took Nina to get her Invisalign checked after school, then Saturday Jill and I went to her work party (shockingly before Christmas). When she told me it was being held above a gun range, I had a much different vision in my head than what we got at XCAL. It was a lovely evening with appetizers, dinner and an open bar.


Sunday the Girl Scouts met at our house for a meeting where they “start[ed] with budgeting for future events and activities, and do some cookie sale planning. Then we’ll do a gift swap, a Hanukkah craft, and gingerbread house decorating”. That night after I saw “Covid hospitalizations rising post-Thanksgiving after an autumn lull.” I posted that with the hashtag #MaskUpVaxUp. Monday I posted this sad news from the wonderful restaurant that hosted my birthday party.

Nina Girl Scouts

Tuesday the 6th Nina had joined Broadway Night again, and that night started rehearsals for it. Wednesday I noted there have been people predicting the death of rock music, but judging from that night, it was alive and well. DC101 had their DC101-derland concert at The Anthem, featuring Jimmy Eat World, Spoon, The Struts & Silversun Pickups, and while The Anthem doesn’t have the same capacity as the Capital One Arena where Hot 99.5 would hold their Jingle Bell Ball the next week, it was packed with jumping, screaming fans. It was a good example of rock bands in the last couple decades who are still popular.


Friday Nina went to a cookie rally with the Girl Scouts, then Saturday the 10th we hosted our annual holiday party, for the first time in 3 years inside and people invited from outside our neighborhood. Nina had lots of friends and neighbors there, and we had a parent cocktail party in the kitchen. Some had views about the non-AAP program at Nina’s middle school next year, and that worried us enough we had a conversation with Nina about continuing in AAP. That kicked off a long week to work on her application and have her do a math worksheet and some art to submit to get into the county AAP program (she’d been in a school based one since 3rd grade).


Monday I had to post “Been there” after reading this: “Parenting means constantly looking for the silver linings, and so far I’ve identified two: 1. Sick kids can be atypically sedate and snuggly, which is sweet if they aren’t too disgusting; and 2. If society crumbles, and the resurrection of art and culture depends entirely on the recollections of “Fahrenheit 451”-style wanderers who have committed certain works to memory, I am fully prepared to dictate “Encanto” frame for frame.”, from this article.


Tuesday the 13th was Terraset’s Winter Concert for their orchestra, band and chorus where Nina performed in the last two (they also had done a performance in the afternoon for the other students). Friday we got takeout from Mezeh. Saturday we were invited for cocktails and pizza at Dee & Paul’s and the girls hung out while the adults got to talk. Nina’s winter break started Monday, and she luxuriated in practically unlimited device time. On International Rush Day (21-12), I celebrated with my favorite Rush acquisitions this year: pinball and beer. Friday evening we got takeout from Big Buns as Jill had to stop at the nearby Whole Foods to get a cake for Christmas.


Christmas Eve was Saturday the 24th, and after Nina started her catsitting duties, we got surprise Cannons as the VRBO they were renting wouldn’t open and it was bitterly cold that weekend. We had just finished our dinner, but cooked the pizzas they bought and started a fire so everyone could have s’mores. Nina got her usual pajamas gift that evening, but really liked them.


Christmas morning we got up relatively early and opened our stockings and gifts. This was the first year Nina didn’t ask for or receive toys – her favorite gift was the Crunchyroll membership that my mom and sister got her. I had made a roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding meal the night before, and we brought that over to my dad’s house, where he and Patricia were waiting. We ate the meal, exchanged gifts, and played with their dog Justin. Later we had a video call with Mom and Sharon and their families, as well as Jill’s mom and sisters. I also had to share my favorite comic of the day.

Patricia Bryce

Monday Penny came over for a sleepover and helped with the catsitting, then they had pizza. The next morning when they went outside they walked briefly on the lagoon as it was still below freezing and pretty solid. Wednesday Nina had a couple friends over and it was finally above freezing, so they smashed the ice and threw it towards the geese. That night we met up with the Cannons for dinner at the Dogfish Head Alehouse. Friday we had the Cannons, Larsens and Norwood-Hochradels over for a New Year’s Eve Eve party since the Cannons were headed home the next day.

Nina Penny

New Year’s Eve itself was quiet. We got sushi from Arete and watched Demon Slayer before watching the ball drop. And I had to post this hilarious example of karma.

Kerry Jill Nina

Artists To Watch 2023

Again this year my music buying was mostly online from Bandcamp, high quality audio from Qobuz & 7digital and preordering mp3s and CDs from Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I also got free mp3s from WNRN.

Here’s a playlist of everything available on Spotify.

Here’s a playlist of everything available on YouTube.

Here’s a playlist of everything available on SoundCloud.

Band Song Why them
01. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Honeysuckle Blue (feat. Sadler Vaden) I’ve tried to leave my love of covers out of Artists to Watch, but this stunning cover of Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ with former DnC guitarist Sadler Vaden on vocals was the highlight of their show at Wolf Trap in June.
02. Summer Woods Pasadena I started following Summer Woods on Patreon after she released a Weird Al covers EP, but she has some fine songs as well.
03. Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs Wicked Mind It won’t surprise anyone that the ex-Heartbreakers guitarist writes songs that sound like Tom Petty, but who knew he could sing too?
04. The Loyal Seas Mary Magdalene In The Great Sky I’ve loved Tanya Donelly in everything she’s done, so when she formed a group with Brian Sullivan (from Dylan In The Movies), I was there.
05. Stephen Sanchez Until I Found You I found this first on MTV-U and loved the sound merging the 50s with today.
06. Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway Crooked Tree A fine bluegrass album.
07. Peter Mulvey & SistaStrings You And (Everybody Else) I’ve been following Peter Mulvey for a while, but when he brought in SistaStrings for his latest album, it became my favorite of his.
08. Suz Slezak This Life Is Kindly I would have enjoyed a new album from the David Wax Museum member, but seeing her perform it at their studio barn made me more of a fan.
09. TEOA (The End of America) Wait No More The first of my Falcon Ridge Folk Festival discoveries this year.
10. Envy of None Liar If you don’t think I’d be predisposed to like a group that includes Alex Lifeson of Rush, you’d be wrong.
11. Bleu & Carly Paige Holding On To You I was already a fan Bleu but this duet with Carly Paige made me a fan of her.
12. Aespa Life’s Too Short This was the year of K-pop for us, as Nina was all in this year. Blackpink is her favorite (and the biggest girl group in the world right now), but I also took a shine to Aespa (and an English version of their single).
13. Oshima Brothers Disco Down The Aisle The second of my Falcon Ridge Folk Festival discoveries this year.
14. Sharon Van Etten Mistakes What if Spoon’s Britt Daniel was female?
15. Tedeschi Trucks Band Hear My Dear These guys have always been great live, but now the songs are catching up to their talent.
16. Shannon Curtis Take It If You Want It What if Kate Bush started now?
17. Bhi Bhiman It’s Only Just Begun Been following him for a while. Not a Carpenters song.
18. Shemekia Copeland Too Far To Be Gone Timely slice of R&B.
19. Plains Problem With It Waxahatchee & Jess Williamson come together for this rootsy duet.
20. Nikki Lane First High A bit Sheryl Crow-ish. Never a bad thing.
21. Lula Wiles It’s Cool (We’re Cool, Everything’s Cool) Lovely harmonies.
22. Overcoats Clingy I found this on a compilation, but loved the sound made by the team of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell.


Sue was still here on Tuesday the 1st so she, Jill and Nina walked around the lake. Saturday Jill, Nina and I all got our updated Covid vaccines. Monday I posted “Get that booster shot before it’s too late. And vote blue tomorrow.”


Friday the 11th Jill and Nina went camping with the Girl Scouts at Camp Coles Trip in Stafford. They painted the archery range while they were there, and according to Jill “Nina used a ton of patience and perseverance and found this sharks tooth after 30 min of looking”. Saturday night I went to Shirlington and ate at Taco and Piña. The food was good, but there weren’t many other customers when every other place was packed, mostly because they were out of half their menu. I only had a couple tacos, then went over to Big Buns for fries and a beer. Later I was just expecting a selection of covers as Robbie Schaefer and Danielle Wertz did Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell at Signature Theatre, but it was an actual show, and this review does it credit.


The next week featured two very different sold out concerts. First up on Monday the 14th was Blackpink, back at the Prudential Center in Jersey where I’d seen Iron Maiden (and the same section of seats). The K-pop dance show was in full effect, and we knew what to expect as it was always the same show. I was particularly amused by them thanking their band and their Pro Tools guy. I might not have been the target audience, but you can’t deny their earworms, and Nina had a great time. Driving up was the worst: we left at 2:15, and got there at 7:40. Driving back in the middle of the night was better, but we got back at 2:40am and I still had to get her to school by 9:20 the next day (luckily she fell asleep not long after we left around midnight).


I got back into jam bands this year, and saw that Goose and Billy Strings were two of the hot new ones. I was excited when Billy Strings was added to several of the Outlaw Music Festival shows, but saddened when ours was left out. So when I saw in October that Goose was touring with the Trey Anastasio Band and coming to Fairfax, I snagged a ticket for Thursday night. I anticipated some collaborations as both bands had been sitting in with the other all tour, so it wasn’t a surprise when Goose brought Trey Anastasio out for the end of their set. And when Trey announced a special guest that needed no introduction halfway through his set, I wasn’t surprised either. Until who I saw who it was: Billy Strings. And he stayed for the rest of the show, marking the first time he played with Goose. The jam band world had their heads blown by this (the top tier bands live stream their shows for $), and I really loved the show (even bought a shirt).

Friday the 18th Nina went on a ropes and zipline field trip that had been postponed due to rain on the previous night. As soon as she got home from school and Jill got home from work, I was driving to Jersey once again, this time for Friendsgiving. Tony had hosted from 2016-2019, and felt obligated to this year, but was unsure. Then Bill and Tassy had the wonderful idea to host a party the way Chris used to host his TinyTim parties, by renting a house at the beach during winter (and testing for Covid twice before we left). We got to Ocean City, NJ late at night, forced to get Wendy’s on the way.

Benji Nina

Saturday morning I slept in, then went shopping for food at Acme (finding yet another in the Safeway family) and alcohol (Ocean City is dry, had to go back across the bridge to Circle Liquor). I started cooking Orange Cranberry Pork Loin Roast, then some of us went for a walk and I stopped at Jilly’s Arcade on the way back to play some pinball. We managed to squeeze all 24 of us in the downstairs level for a fabulous potluck dinner, with an after dinner reading of the pickle story. After cleanup, Tony and I went out to play more pinball. Sunday we had a bit of breakfast, then a family picture on the beach before we packed up and headed home, picking up lunch at Wawa (one of the few fast food places where I can get a low sodium sandwich).


Tuesday the 22nd I took and passed the Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals exam. A week early, the long term contract I’d been working on ended and there were no available contracts, so I figured I’d start to get certified in some of the cloud computing I’d been working on. Late that night, Jill’s sister Melissa drove down with her two oldest kids. Wednesday we got Nando’s for takeout. Thanksgiving morning I got up early to put the 18 pound bird in the oven. Jill had already made her pies, Melissa had brought one from Ava, and when my dad arrived with Patricia, he brought 2 more for a total of 7. It was timely that the quilt Dad’s mom that we had finished had just arrived, so Jill was able to show him it. We ate around 2, and we had all the classics – everyone was happy. Dad wanted to leave before dark, so he had pie right away, but the rest of us spaced it out (I didn’t have pie until 7).

Bryce Jill Nina

Everyone but me went to the Walk of Lights at Meadowlark that night. Black Friday everyone was around, but off doing different things. The Bradys were shopping, Nina and Jill went to the parade in Reston and met one of her friends there, and I slept in. Saturday I took Nina to her flute lessons, and the Bradys left soon after we got back from that.

Nina Melissa Jill Maddy Jake

Tuesday the 29th the 3 Day Blinds people were here putting up the blinds on the middle level Jill wanted. That night I was at the 9:30 Club for NPR Music Celebrates 15 Years. I was also at the 10th anniversary, which had a great lineup. We got Amber Mark, Hurray for the Riff Raff and YENDRY, plus a surprise guest. I enjoyed the first three acts which all had a dance vibe. The surprise guest was Moonchild, who brought a jazz meets rock vibe, which was a nice way to end it.

NPR Music Celebrates 15 Years

Friday I was full of social media posts, as I got an unusual Wordle score:
Wordle 529 3/6
Then I found out about Christine McVie’s passing, saying “Dammit. RIP Christine McVie. I guess I know what I’m listening to tonight. The album she made with Lindsey Buckingham in 2017 was one of my favorite of the last decade – truly a Mac album (only Stevie Nicks is absent)”. And I also posted “Vax up and mask up, folks.” Nina also got her school picture taken this month as she was out in September.



On Saturday the 1st, we went to see a matinee of Hamilton, but headed straight home afterwards as Nina finally got to have her sleepover birthday party. It was very loud, Jill and I played pinball downstairs after she helped me install a cup holder. The next day Nina put up her Girl Scouts fall product page, and Jill posted “I’m very proud that N is a Girl Scout Cadette this year! They’re making big plans to go on lots of camping trips this year and start their Silver Award project journey this year! If you feel so inclined, please help her troop this fall!”


Thursday I went to see Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros featuring The Wolfpack perform with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, an excellent integration of classical music with jam bands. That weekend Nina went camping with the Girl Scouts again, this time with an emphasis on caving. Jill and I took advantage and went to have dinner at Tail Up Goat on Saturday the 8th in DC. So delicious (and I loved the Decorative Gourd Season cocktail). Sunday I went shopping at CD Cellar, Dominion Wine & Beer, and Big Planet Comics. Monday was a holiday (Indigenous Peoples’ Day), Nina and I were off, so I let her choose a friend, and we went to Tea Break Pho & Boba, then played minigolf and went Halloween costume shopping.


With Nina gone for the weekend, the next weekend Jill was out. I found out that Owl House, Nina’s current favorite TV series, would premiere Saturday night, so I told her and she wanted to have a watch party with her friends. Too many of them already had plans, so we switched to Sunday night; Vonda, one of the moms, came over to co-host with me. Meanwhile Jill posted “Ahhh Rhinebeck. So fun, so many people I got to run into and to meet….so much. I can’t see myself going every year but I really loved spending time with my mom and one of my very best friends and her son. I didn’t go crazy with purchases but I got some nice things and I’m happy with what I purchased. The trees had they’re beautiful fall gowns on of leaves and they were stunning. Bonus I got to see my sisters as well as nieces and a nephew for lunch and dinner. My heart is full.”


Tuesday the 18th I hired Ecosteamobile to come over and detail my car – they did a great job. That night Jill took Nina to check out artistic swimming in Annandale. Wednesday I was back at the Kennedy Center, this time with the family, to see “Weird Al” Yankovic doing his non-parody songs again. Friday night Jill took Nina to the South Lakes Homecoming Parade. I usually had done it, but I was on my way to Philly for my weekend off. Traffic was terrible as expected, so as soon as I got to Tony and Charissa’s house we jumped in their car and drove to Newark. We got some dinner at Mercato Tomato Pie, then walked over to the Prudential Center where Within Temptation was already on stage. They were soon off and headliners Iron Maiden were soon on, performing all their hits. After the show we went back to their house where I slept in their guest room.


Saturday morning Charissa had to work, so Tony and I drove down to Delaware and had lunch at Dom’s NY Style Pizzeria. He had wanted to take me to the Delaware Pinball Collective while I was up there, but that day they were holding the First State Flippers pinball tournament and he convinced me to play with him. I hadn’t realized until we were discussing it the night before the tournament would run 4-5 hours. It was very anxiety inducing before it started, but pretty straightforward. For each round, I was assigned to a machine with 3 other players, and we’d play until all of us had played. During the 7 rounds, I played Tron, Rollergames, Godzilla, Space Shuttle, Star Wars, Flight 2000 & World Cup Soccer 94 (there were 43 available games to select from). Although we’d shown up an hour early to practice, during the tournament I performed much worse, happy to finish 57/60 (not dead last). Jill had posted “Happy Birthday to the guy I feel lucky enough to call my partner in life! You are a fantastic husband, father, and an awesome human being! N and I love you so much and looking forward to celebrating you this evening!”


So after another fun drive home (only 2 hours home from Delaware, but with traffic it took 3. When I got home, Nina and Jill took me out to Makers Union Pub in Reston for a tasty dinner, and we watched the Juliet Lloyd Trio perform inside while we sat outside next to a heater. Later we enjoyed the homemade carrot cake cupcakes Nina and Jill had made. Sunday night I went over to The Birchmere to see the Watkins Family Hour. No Fiona Apple this time, but they did have special guest Willie Watson from Old Crow Medicine Show. Wednesday Jill posted this picture and said “I still wear these socks! Much less vibrant now. Loved knitting the legwarmers out of my leftovers; it would take a bit more yarn to make them for N nowadays.”


Friday the 28th Sue flew down. Jill was out for a CRNA dinner so the rest of us got takeout from Tea Break Pho & Boba. I mentioned finally getting to Minibar in August, but originally we’d planned to invite friends to celebrate my 50th birthday. When we decided to do it this year, Jill had a good idea to separate Minibar and dinner with friends, and we ended up doing it that Saturday. Sue was down to babysit as other parents were only able to attend that way. It was so much fun to rent out the whole restaurant and have it all to ourselves. Jill said “this year we finally celebrated Kerry’s 50th birthday. Friends who are like family came from near and far to celebrate my amazing guy and to have an incredible meal at Maple Ave Restaurant. It was a perfect evening full of friendship, laughter, and community. My mom came as well to take care of the kiddos so we wouldn’t worry and got to experience her first Halloween with us!”


Sunday Sue shot pictures of Jill and Nina at Meadowlark. And yes, Nina got her Halloween on. She and a friend coordinated costumes from “Owl House”, and Jill and Sue walked with them in the rain. I handed out candy while I made dinner. Jill also said “I’m also writing to let you know I’m taking a much needed social media break; I’m not sure when I’ll be back but rest assured I’ll still be crafting and doing my best to cultivate and enjoy the community I am blessed to be a part of. I wish you Serenity.”


Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert

When they announced members of Rush and Queen would attend the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert, I knew I would attend no matter what (those groups had never been on a bill together). I was surprised and happy when Jill said she wanted to as well, so I’d made plans. I got shutout of the presale and regular sale, but went to a reseller for seats (in the highest section). The London show just made me more pumped, and I had made a playlist for us of what I guessed the LA would bring. When our tickets were scanned successfully, the anxiety melted away and I was ready for a show that would surpass all my expectations.


In London, Violet Grohl had come out late in the show to perform several Jeff Buckley songs. Right at 7PM, she came out first and played “Hallelujah”, a Leonard Cohen song Jeff Buckley had famously covered (with Eleven’s Alain Johannes). Then the Foo Fighters came out and introduced Joan Jett, along with drummer Travis Barker (from Blink-182). They did “Cherry Bomb”, a song from her first group The Runaways (the first all girl band) and “Bad Reputation” (I had called for “Bad Reputation” and “I Love Rock ‘N Roll”). Then the Foos left the stage, and as in London, we got sets from Taylor’s bands Chevy Metal & Taylor Hawkins and The Coattail Riders. Chevy Metal did a completely different set of covers, this time breaking out AC/DC’s “Riff Raff”, Yes’s “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” (with current Yes singer Jon Davison) and David Bowie’s “Heroes” (with Kesha, who’d covered T. Rex’s “Children Of The Revolution” at this point in London). The Coattail Riders were then up, with Justin Hawkins from The Darkness on vocals again. They did “Range Rover Bitch” and “It’s Over”, but then brought up Mark King from Level 42 to do his song “Something About You”. In a move I was surprised they didn’t do in London, drummer Rufus Taylor (son of Roger Taylor and current drummer for The Darkness) joined them for a great version of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”.

Dave Grohl Joan Jett

Next was the James Gang, doing the same set as London (“Walk Away”, “The Bomber” & “Funk #49”) with Dave Grohl on the last song. Still a nice treat, as they’re only doing 3 reunion shows this year. Mark Ronson didn’t do Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” like he did in London (he produced that song), instead throwing a cover of Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down The Line” at us. Them Crooked Vultures was up, again covering Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and frontman Josh Homme’s own “Long Slow Goodbye”, but subbing in “Dead End Friends” instead of “Gunman” for their sole track of theirs. It was so nice to see them again – I saw them 3 times in 2009, but all before their album came out. Dave Grohl came out to introduce Mammoth WVH’s Wolfgang Van Halen and Justin Hawkins as they tore through Van Halen’s “Panama” (in for “On Fire” from London) and “Hot For Teacher”, all showing that while Wolfgang Van Halen was understandably reluctant to do any tribute to his dad, he is remarkably capable of doing so.

Dave Grohl

The middle section of the show (already 2 hours in) featured the Foo Fighters returning to the stage with different singers and drummers. The first guests brought the most press of the night, as Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot, Phil Collen & Rick Savage were joined by Weezer’s Patrick Wilson for “Rock Of Ages” (called it) and Photograph (thought they’d pour a little sugar instead). On the latter song Miley Cyrus came out to duet with Joe Elliot as a sea of phones were raised to record it. Derek Day came out and sang “Live Wire” and “Home Sweet Home” with Nikki Sixx & Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe, then Josh Homme joined Elliot Easton from The Cars for “Shake It Up” and “Just What I Needed”. I had thought Nancy Wilson of Heart would have shown up play “These Dreams” (which she sings lead on), but instead they brought up P!nk and drummer Jon Theodore (from Queens of the Stone Age) for a run through “Barracuda”. Stewart Copeland did the same set with the Foos as London: “Next To You” and “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”, but on the latter Dave surrendered vocal duties to Jon Davison, back again. Seemingly the only act to not get an introduction, Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers counted off “You Oughta Know” as Alanis Morissette flew in from the side of the stage. Finally Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) & Lars Ulrich (Metallica) joined for a run through some Black Sabbath classics: “Supernaut” and “Paranoid”.

Nancy Wilson P!nk

The next part was my favorite. Jack Black strode onstage to introduce Rush. They played the same set as London: “2112 Part I: Overture”, “Working Man” & “YYZ”, but instead of Dave playing the first two on drums and Omar Hakim playing “YYZ”, Dave slid out and Chad Smith slid in between the first two, and Tool’s Danny Carey took over for “YYZ”. One of the rumors for the gig had been the possibility of a Nirvana reunion, since Joan Jett had sung for them at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Krist Novselic was in the bill. Instead we got a taste of the I Am The Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell tribute concert from 2019 as Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil from Soundgarden were joined by Krist Novselic on bass with Taylor Momsen (from The Pretty Reckless) on vocals for “The Day I Tried To Live” and “Black Hole Sun”. Great stuff, and the first time I’d seen Krist Novselic (or Taylor Momsen). Then Queen came out with thunderous drums, as both Roger & Rufus Taylor were there, along with once again Justin Hawkins (surely the MVP for both shows) on “We Will Rock You” (a medley of slow and fast versions). Roger Taylor took lead on his “I’m In Love With My Car”, then Justin returned to duet with Roger on “Under Pressure”, and finally P!nk returned to take us through “Somebody To Love”. Everyone left but Brian May, and he told us how Alison Hawkins, Taylor’s wife, had asked for him to do “Love Of My Life” as it was their song. So he did it with help from all of us singing along.


It was after 11PM by this point, and finally time for the main event: Foo Fighters. They started with “All My Life” (with Josh Freese), then P!nk came back to duet on “The Pretender” (with Jon Theodore). Travis Barker returned to drum on “Walk”, and Matt Cameron came back for “Low” (Dave acknowledged the drum fill owed a debt to Soundgarden’s “Jesus Christ Pose”). Rage Against The Machine’s Brad Wilk filled the drum throne for “This Is A Call”, while Patrick Wilson was up again for the next two songs, starting with “The Sky Is A Neighborhood”. At this point in the London show, Paul McCartney came out unannounced. The surprise here was more out of left field, as the band started into Radiohead’s “Creep” and Dave Chappelle came out to sing it (in London he’d told stories of Taylor instead). The only mosh pit of the night started as Omar Hakim subbed in for “Run”. “Best Of You” was next as Rufus Taylor was back on drums (I really think he may be the next drummer for the Foos). Finally they brought out Taylor’s son Shane to play “My Hero” and “I’ll Stick Around”. Dave did a solo “Everlong” to close out London, but here Chad Smith joined them for the last song before we left on a high, 5 1/2 hours after it began.

Foo Fighters

It may have been the best one I’ve ever attended, and that’s after crossing 3,000 concerts a couple years ago. I was inspired to create this chart that shows where in the songs came from, making the show an excellent primer for rock in the last 50 years.



On Friday the 2nd, the ladies took advantage of the day off from school and all got pedicures. Of course it was Nina’s birthday, and we took her to Melting Pot for the first time to celebrate. She liked all three fondues, but being able to dip fruit and brownies in s’mores and pure chocolate at the end was her favorite. Saturday the ladies went apple picking while Dave and I sat out on the deck on watched the livestream of the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert from London. I thought it was insanely awesome. I especially liked Foo Fighters covering The Police with Stewart Copeland on drums when we were about to go see Sting that night. Originally we were going to take Nina with us, but since Sue and Dave were there, Sue stayed home with her and Dave came to the show and had a good time. Labor Day I took Dave fishing on the boat.

Nina Jill Sue Dave Kerry

Friday the 9th Nina woke up very congested and didn’t want to go to school. A Covid test was negative, but Jill urged me to go to the walk in clinic for Nina’s pediatrician. They were very busy and we waited outside for an hour for a room to open. They tested her for strep and flu, and to my surprise, she had the flu. She was mostly upset that meant her birthday party (a sleepover with her friends) would be bumped to October. That night I went to Patty Griffin & Neko Case at Wolf Trap, great sets by each. Nina was taking Theraflu and mostly just sat around watching YouTube and playing Minecraft. She missed a Girl Scouts meeting, so they walked over to give her some well wishes. Jill felt she could go back to school on Tuesday.


It was a rare concert tripleheader the following weekend. Friday the 16th was Jill and I going to the Encore Circle, then enjoying Boyz II Men with SWV bringing some new jack swing to a sold out Wolf Trap. How did I not know that Shawn Stockman from Boyz II Men could shred? He did a very respectable cover of “Wonderful Tonight”. Saturday we went to The Food Market again (dinner and a show really makes me want to go to more shows at Merriweather Post Pavilion), then walked over to the Outlaw Music Festival where we saw Zach Bryan, The Avett Brothers & Willie Nelson (Nina says “how could you drag me to see country music?”). Then Sunday I went solo to Porcupine Tree at The Anthem for their first tour in 12 years (3rd row from the presale didn’t suck).

Boyz II Men

On Saturday the 24th we were up not too early to get to Dulles for a 12:30 flight to Los Angeles. The flight was uneventful. We chose a cheaper car rental company, Priceless Car Rental. That meant we took the Renaissance Hotel shuttle and went up to the top of the parking garage where there office was. It was amusing to me a guy arrived after me cut in line to be next, and then I got a Mercedes Benz C300 while he got a Kia. Once we got to our hotel, the lovely Hotel MdR Marina del Rey, we were hungry and decided to walk over to Burger Lounge, eating outside. I went to the Pavilions grocery store, which turned out to be another store in the Safeway chain, to pick up some medicine and snacks. After for relaxing a while with the Wi-Fi in the room, we were still hungry, so we walked over to Capri Gelato & Coffee for dessert. Nina still had energy later but Jill didn’t, so we went down to the pool and she swam while I watched.


Sunday morning we had breakfast at the hotel buffet, then both Jill and Nina had online meetings. We gave Jill the room and went to the empty café next to pool so she could attend her Girl Scouts meeting. I walked over to T-Mobile to get a USB-C to USB-C cable as the Benz only had those ports. After that we hopped in the car and drove to Autozone as the Benz also had funky vents and couldn’t hold my phone holder. I tried to order one online, but they were out of stock so I picked one up at the store. Then we went north to Santa Clarita where Jill’s cousin lives with her husband and son (Jill’s aunt and uncle live nearby). We hung out and chatted while the kids played outside, then we had takeout pizza from Tomato Joe’s.


We left as it was getting dark, I took Jill and Nina back to the hotel where they swam. I met up with my friend Jay (from Shantytowne) at the legendary Whisky A Go-Go. We were there for the return of Robby Krieger (from The Doors) 55 years after The Doors got their start there for a sold out show. We picked a good spot on the balcony for what turned out to be a very long show (not bad for an 76 year old).


Monday Nina wanted pho, so we went to Blossom Vietnamese when they opened and sat outside in the sun. I dropped Jill and Nina at the hotel to swim while I continued on to Soundsations, which had a lovely used CD section. We then drove up to Santa Monica where we parked in a garage, got some boba tea from Sharetea, then walked down to the Santa Monica Pier and looked around, then Nina and Jill frolicked in the ocean for a bit.

Nina Jill

We cleaned off in the hotel, then met our friend Teresa (also from Shantytowne), her daughter Pauline and their dog Dandy at a nearby playground/dog park where all the young ones got to play. Then we went to their house where her husband Travis had come home and we got takeout from xxxxxx before heading back to the hotel.

Travis Kerry Teresa Jill Nina

Tuesday I’d managed to snag timed tickets at The Broad for both Kusama’s infinity room and the museum (the museum is free but the parking definitely isn’t). Nina didn’t want to go into the infinity room, but she was taken by the modern art in the museum itself. Nina wasn’t in love with the main reason for our trip (later that night), but as a budding K-pop fan, definitely wanted to go to Koreatown. We started with a lovely lunch at Yellow House, which had several open air rooms around a courtyard.


Next we went down to Koreatown Plaza, an indoor mall. We walked around and Nina really liked Music Plaza, I bought her several CDs (Twice and Jennie’s single). Next stop was a music store for me, Amoeba Music. Nina wasn’t really interested, but Jill had seen Funko Hollywood across the street, and both Nina and I were very happy with our purchases. We also had to make a stop so Nina could take a picture of the iconic Hollywood sign (who knew that the Hollywood Home Depot is a good place to stop?).


Jay was planning on coming with us that evening, but had caught something non-Covid but bad. We asked Teresa and Travis since they were local and had expressed some interest, and Travis agreed to come. So we got back as quickly as possible given the traffic (The Californians don’t exaggerate), then I walked over to Sharky’s and we ate and went outside where Travis was waiting for us. I made parking reservations for a garage about a half mile away. I’d planned on reviewing the show in this month’s entry, but that review is so long it’s getting its own entry. Travis dropped us back at the hotel afterwards, where we had only a couple hours sleep until we had to checkout and get to the airport for an early flight back on Alaska Airlines.