August

Tuesday the 1st we were still in Massachusetts. I browsed the CD selections at the Westfield Salvation Army, then I finally got to see Sue and Dave’s new place. We went with them to Bond 124 for lunch, then we drove to Powder Hollow Brewery and enjoyed their samplings (I got “beer on a stick”). Later we went to Melissa’s for a spaghetti dinner, and slept there.

Kerry Sue Jill Dave

Wednesday we were up early to leave. Ava came with us, and we had the car packed and were quickly on our way, home a little after noon. I needed to mow and cook, so Jill took the girls to Great Falls (Ava had a new, nice camera). Thursday and Friday Nina had middle school orientation in the morning, so I worked both days. Jill brought Ava to Udvar-Hazy Thursday morning.

Ava Nina Jill

When we were driving down, we were playing a Regina Spektor playlist for her show, when Ava piped up from the back saying that she loved Regina Spektor. So instead of leaving the two of them at home together, we got lawn seats for the two of them. We brought a picnic and ate with them during some light rain, but it cleared up by the time Aimee Mann went on. I’d elected not to tell Jill Jonathan Coulton was touring with Aimee Mann and seemed to come out and sing with her even when he didn’t open, so she was truly surprised when he came out. Regina Spektor was pretty great as well.

Aimee Mann Jonathan Coulton

Friday we hosted some of our neighbors who’d moved away, most significantly one of Nina’s pod during the pandemic. Everything went well, except I started hiccupping and couldn’t stop, bringing up some crazy amounts of phlegm. All I had was a burger, salad and beer, but it was a big bottle of beer that didn’t fizz at all, so I’m thinking it went bad. Everyone else had a nice time going out on another neighbors’ boat.

Leila Nina Pearl Celina

Saturday we’d made reservations to go ziplining at Go Ape. Jill went around once and was done, I went around twice and drew blood on my second landing and that was enough for me. The girls ran the clock out on our time and had a blast. In the afternoon Nina attended a birthday party at Dave & Busters, and Ava and I came as well and did our own thing. I found some Willy Wonka coin pusher cards from a couple years back, and started playing that again, along with a nice long stint on Aliens: Armageddon.

Nina

Sunday the 6th we took the subway into DC. Ava wanted to see the Tidal Basin and visit the National Museum of American History, so we did that. We stopped at Red Robin for a late lunch as Ava is a fan. Random quote from the lunch: “I didn’t know you could be a professional cornholer.” Later, I read an epic thread on Twitter about this. A case study in FAFO.

Nina Jill Ava

Monday, Nina started her last camp of the summer, a 2 week theater camp at Frying Pan Park. She also got to do another round of catsitting. I got a last minute ticket to see Drive-By Truckers at The Atlantis Thursday, and was eager to see the outfit that gave Jason Isbell his start. I liked them a lot, but I think I prefer him more.

Drive-By Truckers

Friday, I had to post this and comment that this is why Bloomberg, Bowser and the WaPo editorial page are wrong. Jill also chimed in, saying “Our lives are so much better with Kerry working from home. We’re not willing to change this.”

Nina Kerry Jill

Saturday the 12th Jill said that she was “enjoying a relaxing weekend, getting last minute supplies for N’s foray into middle school and about to enjoy some theater and book festival time. I’m in a good place rn and with therapy, meditation, and medication as well as hypnotherapy to help me finally put my compulsive overeating into remission I feel the best physically and emotionally than I have in my memory. I’m so grateful.” And that’s what we did, attending a matinee of The Play That Goes Wrong at the Kennedy Center, then heading over to the Convention Center for the National Book Festival to look around and see John Scalzi in conversation with Linda Holmes.

I missed The Swell Season on their first go round, then they broke up (personally and professionally). When they announced they’d be touring this year, I bought a ticket to their show at The Anthem right away. Tuesday’s show was fantastic. They’re also writing music again, and their new single is one of their best.

Thursday Nina’s new middle school had an open house, so I got her early from camp and we both went. Friday Nina had a performance for the last hour of camp, so I picked up two of her friends she’d asked to attend and we watched the show, then everyone came back to our house to hang out. I’d gotten ramen for Nina and the friend that was still there, but only got 2 small poke tacos for myself. I took the girls to an ice cream social a friend had invited them to, then left for DC. I’d posted a poll the previous night that I could go to 1 of 2 concerts: Crack The Sky or Earth, Wind & Fire (opening for Lionel Richie, who is meh to me)

  1. Pros for Crack The Sky: local rock band, have friends who are superfans, free
  2. Cons for Crack The Sky: I know their one hit and that’s it, outside so rain would stop it
  3. Pros for Earth, Wind & Fire: I know most of their songs
  4. Cons for Earth, Wind & Fire: In DC during rush hour, not free

The overwhelming majority came down in favor of Earth, Wind & Fire, so that’s where I went. I didn’t have a ticket, and I thought the prices on StubHub would come down closer to showtime. I was wrong, so I bought a ticket from the box office and sat in my seat. I missed a song doing that, but I saw all the songs I wanted to see. After about 20 minutes of Lionel Richie, I was done – and hungry. When I found out that Taffer’s Tavern offered “cocktails on a stick”, I was in. I also had an order of onion rings and their PB and Rye – jelly donuts that you use a syringe to inject peanut butter rye whiskey into. Absolutely delicious.

Earth, Wind & Fire

Saturday the 19th Jill had breakfast with an old friend, then brought her over for a bit. We’d turned paperwork to foster a cat in June, but never heard back. We did it again the week before, but crickets again. So we went to the Fairfax County animal shelter on Sunday. We learned that the lady doing fostering was overwhelmed handling 3 jobs, and might take a while to get back to us. We also visited the cats. There was a playful calico cat that a couple was looking at, then a couple black kittens that had been categorized as “working cats” because they weren’t responding to socialization (they would work in a barn). Nina really wanted a black kitten, so one of the volunteers wrapped her up in a blanket and let Nina cuddle her. And neither of them moved for half an hour. So we filled out the paperwork and brought home Lillah (aka Cagney [& Lacey], aka Hiss [& Vinegar]).

Nina Lillah

That night was also a concert for me (of course). I’d raced home from the shelter and made dinner fast, as I didn’t want to miss a moment. I arrived in my seat at Wolf Trap just in time for Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening to take the stage. They played a great hour of Zep songs, but the most unexpected thing was the guitarist being a dead ringer for Jimmy Page (until he took his shades off). Next up was Gov’t Mule. Despite being a big fan of everything Warren Haynes does, this was my first time seeing the Mule. And after a fine first set, came the reason I couldn’t miss this show: Dark Side of the Mule, a second set of nothing but Pink Floyd covers. And a killer start as they opened with the first three songs from “Wish You Were Here”. I thought they might do the whole album, but no – into “The Dark Side of the Moon” they went. And with vocalists Machan Taylor & Sophia Ramos, plus favorite local saxophonist Ron Holloway, they really did it justice. I really anticipated them finishing Dark Side, but with two songs to go, they swerved into “Meddle”, playing my three favorite songs from that: “One Of These Days”, “Fearless” and “Echoes”. Jackie Greene joined them on the last song, then came out again with them for an encore of “Comfortably Numb”.

Gov't Mule

Monday was Nina’s 1st day of middle school. Lillah lived in Nina’s bathroom for a couple days, then graduated to her bedroom as she got friendlier. Jill said “Introducing Lillah! She’s an adorable, cuddly, mischievous kitten that has helped usher in some family bonding time and lots of conversation; both hard to come by sometimes with a 7th grader.”

Nina

Thursday I was back at Wolf Trap for Jethro Tull. Jill and I had seen Ian Anderson with the Filene Center Orchestra back in 2006, but it was their “Seven Decades Tour”, and I figured that would be fun. Instead, it was a lot of obscure and new songs, with only three songs I would consider hits. At least Ian Anderson was an entertaining frontman, but least favorite show of the summer. Nina had her first sleepover at another house with her friend Avery on Friday, and Avery’s parents had us over for takeout from Taco Zocalo.

Jethro Tull

Sunday the 27th we went to visit Dad and go to a concert at National Harbor. We had a late lunch at City Sliders in North Beach that was delicious (duck and lamb!) then timely enough I got to fix his laptop which started having problems on Thursday. Nina had a sore throat that morning but her Covid test was negative. As we were leaving, she started feeling worse, so with an hour to go I tried to sell my tickets at face value on the Ticketmaster app while they picked up stuff at CVS. Gotta love a super popular show, as the tickets sold 15 minutes later. I think I was the most bummed about not seeing Aespa, but Jill enjoyed being home early on a school night.

sunset

Speaking of school, Nina had a fever the next morning (it was a cold), so she was out. I worked and she had device time, until we realized the cat had vanished and we couldn’t find her. I brought Nina with me and got her some pho as I went to Autozone to pick up a thermal imaging camera, but still couldn’t find her. Later I was downstairs on the couch with Nina looking up sounds a mother cat would make. I played a couple, then we heard a plaintive meow from the direction of the laundry room. After moving lots of clutter around, we still couldn’t find her. Jill had the idea of getting canned tuna for her, and as we were playing more cat sounds with the lights off, Jill saw a shape on the thermal imaging camera. The cat had found the tuna and was happily munching away. The cat was cuddled and put back into Nina’s room, who went back to school the next day.

Nina

Wednesday the 30th Nina had a horseback riding lesson. She was hungry after school and had her dinner, and Jill got home later and wasn’t in the mood to eat quickly and go. So I’d already been making this tasty dish to go with leftover ribs and grilled chicken, and I made it into a picnic dinner we enjoyed at Frying Pan Park while Nina rode, then we walked around the park and got to enjoy the truly stunning sunset.

Lillah

July

Saturday the 1st we woke up in London, checked out of our hotel, and took the subway to King’s Cross, then walked over to Halfcup King’s Cross where we stood in line (only time we had to queue all vacation) for a very tasty brunch. It was Jill’s birthday, and she said this: “Today I am 44. I am so extremely grateful for the life I am living today. K, N, and I have been enjoying some much needed family time here in Europe. We had a lovely train journey from London to Paris via the Eurostar. We just enjoyed an amazing meal at Beitna; a charming Lebanese restaurant with incredible food – we all cleared our plates! We have a whole week here in a lovely suite to relax after a whirlwind 3 city tour of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London; we’re excited to unpack and stay in one spot. Thank you to all for birthday wishes and looking forward to the next year ahead!”

Kerry Nina Jill

Sunday we had nothing planned, and subsequently did nothing. I slept in, then everyone went grocery shopping at Franprix and napped, got takeout from La Route des Indes and we went to sleep early. That was a good decision, as the notice we had from the Royal Regency Paris Vincennes where we were staying was that our balcony would not be available during our stay. What it actually meant was there was scaffolding all over the front of the building, and every day at 8AM the hammering would start.

Kerry Nina Jill

So with an early start to our Monday, we were off to see Tim Burton’s Labyrinth, with life size recreations of his characters plus original artwork. Next up was Sacre Couer (we took the funicular up), then we had lunch at the nearby Breizh and Nina found some boots at Maje, just down the street. Back to the subway again to go over to O’CD (used CDs and DVDs) and Lil Weasel yarn shop, except the yarn shop was closed that day, so Jill and Nina got a snack while I browsed. We stopped at FNAC on the way to the subway to get another charger (and a couple CDs) as the room didn’t have any USB ports as our previous hotels had. The two of them had plenty of leftovers for dinner; I got some sushi from Saga Sushi.

Kerry Nina Jill

Tuesday the 4th we took a train to get to Vernon and a shuttle bus to get to Giverny, home of Claude Monet. Sunday night we’d planned out our week, buying museum tickets and the like, and realized we had an extra day. We had been toying with Paris Disneyland, but didn’t seem to be a lot different than Disney World. Jill suggested going to Brussels, but it would have been too expensive because it was last minute. I had a guidebook to Paris and it mentioned day trips, and Jill was taken with the idea of visiting Giverny. We had timed entry tickets so we went in and went straight under the street to see Monet’s pond, then saw his garden and home. We had lunch at Brasserie des Artistes, next to the Musée des Impressionnismes (which was closed). With time to kill, we returned to Vernon (having read the shuttle buses fill quickly before train departures) and shopped. Hôtel du Nord ended up having a purse Nina liked, Cash Express was a pawn shop with Funko Pops and cheap CDs, and Barney’s Grooves had a nice CD single section. After we got back, we had pizza for dinner from Villa Capri.

Jill Nina Kerry

Wednesday we hadn’t planned on visiting the Arc de Triomphe, but we had to change from the subway to a bus there. Nina was more interested in the street dancing. Next it time for the iconic Eiffel Tower (only halfway), then Nina bought a selfie stick from a street vendor as the rain started. We had to walk for a while to get to the subway, then we did the overcrowded and hot Musée de l’illusion. Jill finally got to visit the Lil Weasel yarn shop while Nina and I got boba tea, then we spent some time at Ground Control where they had a bar and a nice selection of pinball machines. Jill wanted to visit a French restaurant for dinner, but they didn’t mess around with closing times at the one she wanted (wouldn’t let us order when they closed in 40 minutes), so we ended up at Brasserie 967 for a fancy dinner (I had a Brenne single malt whisky to start).

Jill Nina Kerry

Thursday we took the train and a bus to Versailles to visit the palace. It mostly went ok, but it got very crowded in some of the galleries and we sped up to get out. We also walked around the gardens for a while before leaving. We managed to just miss a train while going across Paris, and ended up sitting in a station for 20 minutes – our longest wait (and how great is Google Maps, showing which subway routes are fastest). We got to our destination of La Seine Musicale in the middle of the Seine, but we had a delicious dinner at Café Renaud before we crossed the river (great beef tartare). We got a little lost looking for Grande Seine (the venue), but if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have discovered that La Seine Musicale is built into the hill like Terraset. Mavis Staples was great and so was Norah Jones, but I was so happy that Norah brought Mavis out to sing their song. Based on the time Norah had Mavis on her podcast, I thought she might bring her out again for an encore since Mavis hadn’t sung “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” or “I’ll Take You There” so we stayed until the bitter end. As we left, someone was putting on a display of drones. Jill wanted to get a taxi, but none were available, so we took the subway to the nearest taxi stand.

Norah Jones Mavis Staples

Friday the 7th it was museum day. We started with the Musée d’Orsay we’d loved so much on our last trip. Monet’s works in particular had a new meaning after our visit to his house. After we finished, we were taking the subway and a connection let us out near Notre Dame, so we got a picture. Nina was hungry and wanted crepes, so we found Le Minos nearby and ate upstairs in a charming space. Then we made it to La Bagagerie where Jill got a fancy bag. Unfortunately Nina took a tumble on the sidewalk just before we got there and skinned both knees, but happily La Bagagerie gave bandaged and supplies to clean. Next I wanted to go to Crocodisc, but the others didn’t, instead finding a Starbucks with blistering cold air conditioning and Wi-Fi (it was a very hot day).

Jill

Next we went to the Louvre. We were early and had talked about ice cream, so we walked over to Les Glaces to get some. Then we got in line and got into the museum, where we did not do the dash we did last time. Jill wanted a picture of herself knitting in a quiet room with a bench she’d read about, that proved harder to find than we thought at first. The crown jewels and the Mona Lisa were hits, of course. We found Pylones, a cool quirky shop after we exited through the underground. We went back to the hotel where I cooked up the rest of the food (with a little extra chicken and naan from La Route des Indes). We discovered Jill had the most steps of any day of our trip with over 25,000.

Nina Kerry Jill

We said goodbye to Vincennes as we took a taxi to the airport. We were glad for the early start as both the line to check bags and security were very long. Our plane was a little late taking off, and in Reykjavik we had to hustle through the airport to get to our plane on time. The flights themselves were pretty good, and we were arrived at Dulles right on time. A couple months earlier we’d applied for Global Entry, and it’s very hard to make appointments. But TSA had a simple solution: do the interview when you come back through the passport line. Luckily, it was literally only our flight coming through passports at that time, so it was a very quick process.
We got home and relaxed.

view

I’d seen there were still tickets available for emmet swimming that night at the Tally Ho Theater, so decided to just drive there and avoid service fees. That was a mistake, as they were sold out. I waited outside and was surprised no one came up with extras. Finally I thought about going to StubHub, and bought one and headed in. The show was a benefit for Andy Waldeck, so they had 3 bands with emmet going on last, doing a shorter set. That was good news for me, as I hadn’t been able to sleep on the plane and I was exhausted by the time they finished.

emmet swimming

Sunday I slept in but didn’t sleep great, felt like I was going to puke at one point. I’d had an upset stomach the night before and wrote it off to travel. I didn’t eat most of the day Sunday, but had a small dinner and felt better Monday. Sunday Nina started catsitting, then Monday started Girl Scouts Camp Summer Magic – Aides in Training. That was at Algonquin Park and was my longest commute of the summer. Happily one of her friends from Girl Scouts was there and we managed to do some carpooling. We also had to do some doctor appointments as she wouldn’t be able to the next three weeks. Speaking of medical issue, Jill managed to take her to one appointment Tuesday morning, then went down for the count, in bed the next two days with what turned out to be norovirus. We’d masked on the planes on the way to Europe, but as almost no one was masking over there, had let down our guard and didn’t mask on the flights back. That meant I was patient zero.

Nina

Sue and Dave came down on the train Thursday the 13th in time for Sue to join me at The Anthem Friday night to see First Aid Kit. She really loved them, and she asked about seeing them the previous year and I told her next time they toured, we’d go. Saturday we found out that Todd & Ryan Wright were playing at Summer Jams in Leesburg, the concert series formerly known as Acoustic on the Green. Nina wasn’t feeling great (she threw up on the way to her flute lesson that afternoon, but she has gotten carsick on that trip before so I didn’t think much of it), so Jill, Dave and I went. The rain came after hour causing the concert to end, but we would have left anyway, as Sue had taken Nina to Cold Stone and she threw up again.

Ryan & Todd Wright

Sue and Dave had asked for airline tickets to Florida as an early Christmas gift to see her aunt Kelley, but after Nina showed she got the norovirus as well, postponed their trip as they didn’t want to get Kelley or her boyfriend sick. Ironically, Kelley was happy about it, telling them they were crazy to want to visit Florida in August as she didn’t leave her house after 9am. Jill and Sue got in some garden visits while they were here.

Sue Jill

Nina had a second round of catsitting the next week, along with Road Rulz Camp, a different field trip every day. She did skip Monday, due to still feeling under the weather, but enjoyed the rest of the week. She said the illusion museum in Philly was her least favorite on so far, and she liked the pirate themed waterpark. Sue and Dave hung out, I took Dave fishing several nights on the boat.

Dave

I was not expecting metal watching reggae-jam band Dispatch performing with the National Symphony Orchestra Friday the 21st at Wolf Trap, but damn if the first encore song wasn’t “Crazy Train”. And they did it justice, too. Saturday Jill dropped Sue, Dave and Nina at Union Station to take the train to Connecticut as Nina would be staying with them and Jill’s sisters.

Dispatch

Sunday I posted “Don’t tell us we don’t know how to act when our daughter’s gone for the week. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Saturday night at Reston Town Center (and you can walk around with their overpriced beers), then most of the day yesterday at Wolf Trap with Nickel Creek as we bought Celebrants Club passes and we had Encore Circle Lounge passes. We also got a chance to finally meet the lovely voiced Aoife O’Donovan after 18 years.”

Aoife O'Donovan Kerry Jill

The following week while Nina bounced between Massachusetts and Connecticut, Jill and I mostly had a quiet week and worked a lot. However, I’d bought a cheap ticket for Matt Nathanson (opening for Matchbox Twenty) at Jiffy Lube Live Thursday the 27th, then Jill got out of work early that day and also wanted to go. We tried out the I66 express lanes and got dinner at Wawa before going to the show. After Matt played, we found our friend Linda and talked to her between sets, then listened to Matchbox Twenty for about 30 minutes before leaving. They were better than expected (and I really liked this song), but…

Jill Kerry

We got up to hit the road at 4:30am Friday, and it was a pretty pleasant trip. We avoided NYC and stopped for lunch at a Sonic. We got to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival around noon. Our friend AJ was the only one of Shantytowne camping on site this year, so we met up with her. After a grocery run to Stop & Shop in Litchfield (and stopped at Arethusa Farm for ice cream cones via a recommendation from our friend Chris), we tried to set up our tent and realized we only brought 3 of 7 poles, so tied and staked the tent’s rainfly on top of the popup shelter we also had. Jill got dinner from the vendors, while I had snacks we’d bought. First up was Richard Thompson. When we first came to the festival in 2003, we missed him by a day and Stuart always used to remind me of it. But he was great, breaking out all his classics and a Fairport Convention song. Next up was Joe Jencks, Lucy Kaplansky, Stephen Kellogg & Tracy Grammer, doing what we felt was the finest Summer’s Eve Song Swap ever (it doesn’t hurt that Lucy and Stephen are 2 of our must sees). Jill and I slept on our air mattress cot and anything exposed got bitten by mosquitos.

Jill

Saturday morning Jill took off to Robin’s house. AJ made breakfast and I gratefully combined some of her eggs with my sourdough and Swiss cheese. We went to the main stage at 11 to see Joe Jencks. I’d seen him there with his group Brother Sun, but I’d really enjoyed him on Friday and his solo set was nice too. I was back at camp for an hour, the went to the hot workshop stage for “Our Roots Are Showing” with Stephen Kellogg, Tracy Grammer & The Ebony Hillbillies. Stephen Kellogg played two songs and left soon after as he had a main stage set next, Tracy was good as usual and The Ebony Hillbillies were great. I’d seen Amy the night before, but Andrea, Jim and Nate showed up to hangout at the camp after that. We knew rain was in the forecast, but we got one of those classic Falcon Ridge storms around 5. Nate saw what was coming and left, but AJ and Jodi had returned and the 5 of us kept AJ’s shelter from blowing away as we huddled under it.

Joe Jencks, Lucy Kaplansky, Stephen Kellogg & Tracy Grammer

I could had survived another night at Falcon Ridge except for one thing – I only had one pair of shoes and they were drenched. I’d wanted to see Lucy Kaplansky and Tony Trischka’s EarlJam, but it just wasn’t worth it. Andrea and Jim offered to put me up for the night and I accepted, and they helped me pack everything up and lug it to their car. Once at their house, they ordered pizza for delivery and we sat on the couch while 3 of their 5 cats showed up and demanded attention.

cats

Sunday morning the 30th Jill picked me up in the morning and we stopped at a drugstore (in addition to flip flops, I’d also left my toiletry bag at home. When we got to Robin and Mike’s house, we put everything wet out in backyard to dry off. It sounded like Nina had a great week hanging out with her cousins. Soon after the McElroys and the Cannons came over. Josh and Finn hadn’t seen each other since they were babies and went off to play, and Nina and Penny hung out, then almost everyone went in the pool. Sharon ordered sandwiches from Hot Table for everyone, and we were planning a round of pizza later, but the Cannons had to leave as their oldest was having problems at home, and the McElroys left not too long after. Monday we didn’t have plans, and I said I wouldn’t mind seeing the Berkshires if Jill was serious about living in that area. Plus AJ had talked up The Clark and that sounded like a good outing. We drove up to the Clark and saw all their art, then drove over to Water Street Grill and had lunch. Then we went to Stockbridge where I shopped at 7 Arts and Jill and Nina shopped in the Stockbridge General Store.

Kerry Jill Nina

Also at the end of this month, If you read this article, you can help trans folks travel and gets the vote they need by donating here: https://www.pointofpride.org/donate. And on a lighter note, here’s a Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 spoiler:

Spock T'Pring

June

Friday the 2nd Nina had decided that instead of more archery lessons, we’d just join the Northern Virginia Archers at Fountainhead Park. I ordered some Genesis bows via the manufacturer (you get to pick the colors), but the closest places to buy arrows was Double X Archery in Leesburg or Cabelas in Manassas. Happily, I called Double X Archery and since the store wasn’t open yet, went over to one of the owner’s in Herndon and he made us arrows in his basement. So the next morning we went to the orientation (all 3 hours), then Nina’s flute lesson. Reston Pride was that afternoon at Lake Anne, so we all went. I was delighted to meet up with my friends Jenny and Vicky, and spent most of the time talking to them.

Nina

Sunday Jill and Nina were enjoying a lovely Drag Story Hour inside their church. Unfortunately 3 asshats with a megaphone showed up to protest. They faced a speaker loaded with Disney soundtracks, but I tried to make their lives a little more miserable by finding their social media accounts to block and report their hateful speech. That afternoon we hosted the end of year Girl Scouts family potluck, including a boat ride that turned into a dance party.

Nina

Tuesday the 6th I worked a half day, then drove down to Richmond. I parked on the street near the James and walked to Wong Gonzalez and had an excellent Asian/Mexican banh mi (and could not pass up a cocktail called a “Pale Fire Red Molly”. Next up (after a very long entrance line) was a fantastic show featuring two classic albums. The show was at Brown’s Island, and first up was Remain in Light: Jerry Harrison & Adrian Belew with Turkuaz. Jerry Harrison was the guitarist for Talking Heads, and Adrian Belew is the legendary guitarist from King Crimson who also is known for touring with David Bowie and Frank Zappa. Belew also recorded and toured with Talking Heads for the Remain in Light album, and that was most of the songs in the show. Turkuaz was their band for the evening, and boasted three talented vocalists in their own right, as well as a horn player, 2 saxes and 2 percussionists. I felt it was similar to David Byrne’s American Utopia tour, where all the musicians really brought out the essence of the songs. In addition to the Talking Heads songs, Jerry Harrison did his “Rev It Up” and Adrian Belew did his King Crimson song “Thela Hun Ginjeet”, grinning all the while. I got into guitarist Steve Vai early on, and when I worked my back to his work in Frank Zappa, he was listed as “stunt guitar”, and I felt that was also an excellent description for Adrian Belew’s work during the show.

Remain in Light

Next up was Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, who had been opening their shows with “Thela Hun Ginjeet” – they opted not to that night (Les referred to Adrian Belew as “one of the greatest guitarists in the history of guitar”). After opening with some solo and Frog Brigade songs (and a train going by during “Up On The Roof”), they featured Sean Lennon (yes, son of John, who’s been working with Les as the The Claypool Lennon Delirium) singing “Cricket And The Genie”. And then they got into the fun stuff. Frog Brigade was formed in 2002 when Primus was on hiatus and Les had been in Oysterhead with Trey Anastasio and Stewart Copeland and wanted to keep on in the jam band scene. He wanted to not do Primus songs, so instead added a second set where they covered Pink Floyd’s Animals. And he decided to resurrect that for this summer’s tour.

train

The audience was in the mood, and it was a fantastic version of it (I always felt it was Pink Floyd’s must unappreciated album). And I should mention that on keys was Harry Waters (yes, Roger’s son and the one who says “Look, mummy, there’s an aeroplane up in the sky” in The Wall). The band was wearing some kind of jungle inspired uniforms (with most wearing pith helmets), but for the later “Precipitation“, Les donned a disco ball helmet as he played a one string bass. The rest of the show was basically a 3rd set, and as the cool breezes rushed in and the light show amped up, it was truly a wonderful way to spend an evening (minus the 2 hour drive home). Can’t wait for the next time – yes, thanks to fate, this is only the first time this summer I will see a jam band cover Animals (next is Gov’t Mule at Wolf Trap in August).

Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade

Friday the 9th I wondered what you call a butt dial when the phone is in your front pocket? Because apparently I had just called 911. Saturday Nina had a dentist appointment, then wanted to leave right away so we could get in some archery practice before her flute lesson. We had tickets to see Lucy Kaplansky do an early show at Jammin’ Java, and Nina got an invitation to hang out with a friend. After the show and talking to Lucy, we ate dinner at Sweet Ginger. I got a duck roll in addition to my usual sushi order.

Nina

Sunday we pushed our luck and held yet another get together. Nina wanted to have a party for two of the sixth graders that were moving away, so we had 15 of them over. After a potluck meal, I made the mistake of offering to drive all of them over to the pool on the boat. At full throttle, the boat barely moved and once too many kids went to the front and water started sloshing in. But we made it, then they walked back afterwards.

Nina

The next week was insanely busy as a request to alter Nina’s 504 had turned into a request for an IEP, so we had 4 meetings during the day and ultimately we got the changes to the 504 we needed. I also got to visit Dr. Miller on Tuesday, the orthopedic surgeon I’d seen for my ankle in 2005. The thorn that hit my knuckle had done some damage as my knuckle was still in pain. An x-ray was inconclusive, but an ultrasound revealed part of the thorn was still in there. I was relieved as the knuckle wasn’t damaged. Also Nina had lots of school events including a sponsored sixth grade send off on Thursday and her promotion ceremony on Friday morning. It was a surprise to all of us when she was awarded a President’s Award for Educational Achievement.

Nina teacher

Friday the 16th I got a haircut for my costume the next day as Captain Pike. That evening one of our parent friends invited us over for end of year block party, then I went to see Marc Roberge and Mikel Paris (from O.A.R.) at The Atlantis to do a set full of O.A.R. classics. They even brought up Mark Williams (from Jonasay) to play guitar. Saturday Nina and her friends dressed up as characters in Genshin Impact, and we carpooled to Awesome Con. They saw a panel on cosplay makeup while I caught the end of Christopher Eccleston’s panel, then we got a picture with him. I also got his autograph while the others were at a My Hero Academia panel. We met up at the Unconventional Diner for lunch, then one of Nina’s friends had to leave. We went back to the con for shopping, and one more picture with Mandip Gill & Jodie Whitaker. I felt the day and the first decade of Awesome Con were best encapsulated by a meme:

Frey meme

Sunday was Father’s Day and we drove out to North Beach to take Dad and Patricia out for brunch at Hook & Vine. It was dog friendly, but a bit hot out in the sun for Justin. Back at Dad’s house I installed the new TV he’d asked for. We stopped at Old navy in Tysons on the way back for clothes for the trip for Nina. Jill said “Happy Father’s Day to the best Dad I know and am blessed so share this life with; Love you Kerry! Enjoy your day!”

Patricia Nina

Monday I worked the first half of the day, then dropped Nina at a friend’s house and drove to Jill’s surgery center to get the thorn out. I got stitches for the first time ever. Tuesday Nina started Junior Lifeguarding Camp, happy one of her Girl Scout friends was there. Thursday I went to Jammin’ Java for Bullet the Blue Sky – An Evening Dedicated to U2. I thought it would be the usual Songwriter’s Circle format, but it was a fully rehearsed full band show, a nice surprise. Cal Everett’s tenor is a great match for Bono, and Ryan & Todd Wright were great as usual. Lots of guitar pyrotechnics from Jonathan Sloane and Sean Chyun. Friday I got my stitches out rather than have them in for 2 more weeks.

Nina friends

Saturday we started things as normal with a flute lesson, but Rachel took us to the airport around 4 as we had a red eye flight. Traffic around Dulles was the worst I’d ever seen, but we were quickly through security and at our gate. We bought snacks and a USB charger for Europe, and it was a pretty uneventful flight to Reykjavik (I was the only one who couldn’t sleep). We didn’t think we had much a layover, but there was a problem with the plane, so we left for Glasgow 2 hours later than planned. Customs wasn’t bad, we found our bus and were soon on our way downtown.

Iceland

The only thing we had planned for the day was tea at Willow Tea Rooms, so after we checked in at the very nice DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central, we took the subway over. It was raining and Nina and I hadn’t prepared, but it wasn’t bad enough for us to want to do something about it. The tea was lovely and we also did some shopping, mostly at The Vintage Scene (I kept calling Pound Land “Pound Town”). That evening we decided to get Chinese from a place near us, or so I thought. When Jill was getting ready to pick it up, we discovered the place near us had closed, and I’d placed an order at Banana Leaf several miles away. I called them and they were able to change to delivery.

Nina Jill

Monday the 26th we checked out and walked over to the Charing Cross station. We were early, but we managed to figure out it didn’t matter, we could take the train at any time, so we did. We arrived in a very busy Edinburgh and walked to our room at Cityroomz Edinburgh. We were hungry and got lunch at The Huxley nearby (the fish and chips with a Rhubarb Rickey hit the spot). I walked over to the Oxfam Music Shop while the others went vintage shopping. We walked through Princes Street Gardens before sunset, seeing some nice views of Edinburgh Castle. We’d been told by our friends Meg and Toby of St James Quarter the shopping center next to the hotel made of swirling ribbon, or “The Turd”. Nina got some bubble tea, and we did some shopping (she got a new pair of boots from Dune). We had made reservations at Duck & Waffle, and I had to try the namesake dish. We went 1 floor lower to try out Haute Dolci for dessert – it was such a hit, Nina asked we go to brunch there the next day.

Jill Kerry

I left early on Tuesday to visit Vinyl Villains before joining the others for brunch (and it was good). Then walked to and up the Royal Mile. It was raining harder that day, so when Jill went into a shop later Nina and I ducked into a Boots to get umbrellas. We had a planned stop at Edinburgh Cashmere & Lambswool to pick up a cashmere sweater my mom had requested (gotta love a sign that says “since 1437”), then it was time for our scheduled visit to Edinburgh Castle. We toured the whole thing, and saw the Crown Room with the crown jewels, as well as the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum, then had a snack. Nina requested to visit Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, but the current timeslot was sold out, so we went back to shopping. One of the sweaters at Edinburgh Cashmere & Lambswool had caught Jill’s eye, and Nina and I went across the street to Thistle Do Nicely. Camera Obscura was big hit, then we walked back to the hotel. We went out again for Mexican at Miros Cantina Mexicana, then stopped at Italian for dessert.

Jill Kerry Nina

Wednesday we took the train from Haymarket for a long trip south to London, stopping at the Marks and Spencer there for provisions. The time on the train was nice and relaxing (even online food delivery available), but a bit hectic when we got to London as we had to switch to the underground, then back to the overground. The DoubleTree by Hilton London – Chelsea was only steps from the Imperial Wharf station, so we were quickly in our room to relax some. We went north to Notting Hill, then I shopped at the Music & Video Exchange while Nina and Jill walked around Hyde Park. We had dinner at Deep Blue for some outstanding fish and chips, then dessert at Amorino Gelato. I had to share that this was much better than I thought it would be.

Jill Nina

Thursday the 29th we slept in some, then went over to the Tesco next door to get snacks. We only had to go one stop to get to the BBC Earth Experience, an immersive set of screens that makes you feel like you’re in one of their documentaries. We explored the grounds at Kensington Palace, then we had a reservation at Dishoom Kensington, recommended by a friend (I liked the lamb chops, Jill and Nina both got butter chicken aka chicken ruby and weren’t big fans). Next we took pictures at Buckingham Palace and went to Heathers the Musical at The Other Palace. It was Nina’s pick, but she wasn’t feeling it at intermission, so we left (it is pretty dark).

Jill Kerry Nina

We had hoped to catch The Ocean at the End of the Lane while we were in London, but it was playing in Milton Keynes and the logistics didn’t work. But we did see The Wolves in the Walls at the Little Angel Theatre Friday and it was a lot of fun – the puppets were taken directly from Dave McKean’s artwork. After that, we split up. Jill and Nina took a bus down to the Tate Modern and had dinner from Wagamama, while I took the Tube to Hyde Park, where they were holding British Summer Time Hyde Park. I saw the size of the venue when I bought tix, so I got VIP, which was wise. First up was Larkin Poe, already in progress when I arrived at 2:30. They were great, but I was hungry so I got a burger from Holy Cow and a beer. Up next were The Darkness, and they did a great job of squeezing new and old songs in a 45 minute set, plus some nice crowd work. The ticket I bought came with a private area, so I got a banh mi and water from the cold tap they had and relaxed there until the Pretenders came on. I don’t know how I’ve missed them in all these years, but Chrissie Hynde is a legend and proved it on stage. The next break was long and crowded everywhere – I got a Jack and coke and sat next to a tree until it was time for Guns N’ Roses. They didn’t go on right on time, but it wasn’t more than a minute or two and they were out. My favorite discovery about the show was that they were covering a Velvet Revolver song, my second was they actually put out new music with the current lineup. Here’s my favorite picture from the night: big Slash, l’il Axl.

Guns N' Roses

May

The morning of Tuesday the 2nd I went over to Lorna and Dave’s house after dropping Nina off to help them bring in some equipment to their new cottage. That night it was the Terraset Talent Show, with Nina’s group going on last and bringing down the house with a dance set to “California Girls”.

Nina

Jon Anderson (lead singer of Yes) is 78, but hasn’t lost a step. On Wednesday at Capital One Hall, he sang 3 hours of Yes epics and classics. I think the classic rockers are like the bluesmen – they’re going to perform as long as they can. The Band Geeks were his backing band, led by Blue Öyster Cult’s bassist, and total pros. Thursday we went to see Bright Star at South Lakes High School.

Friday the 5th Jill and Nina left early from school with the Girl Scouts as they spent the weekend at Camp Mayflather. I naturally consoled myself with concerts. I went with Linda to Jammin’ Java on Friday not to see David Cook, but openers Todd Wright & Shane Hines, performing as a duo for the first time ever (short but sweet). Our friend Maria was there as well, and after about 3 songs from David Cook, determined he wasn’t our style and sat out front to listen and chat (and get ice cream from the new nearby Bruster’s).

Nina

Saturday I’d been planning for weeks to go to M3 Rock Festival where Extreme was playing. I hadn’t bought tix because I was hoping to get some cheaper ones down front, plus I had to go in 2022 when Extreme pulled out the day before because Gary got Covid. Then they pulled out the day before AGAIN because Nuno tore his ACL playing basketball on the Monsters of Rock cruise that week, and I decided I didn’t care to go if they weren’t there. Luckily, I already had a backup plan: The Natural Lines (the new band from Matt Pond PA) were playing Rams Head On Stage that day, so I drove up to Annapolis to see them and opener The Lighthouse And The Whaler (both bringing some loudness to matinee time). I also had the duck tacos, pretty good. I missed seeing my brother-in-law, but Dad invited me to come over and fix Patricia’s laptop, so I did that and went for a walk with him and Justin. Next I went to College Park to shop for CDs and play pinball before going home.

The Natural Lines

Wednesday the 10th I went out to Leesburg. Jill and Nina were getting pizza at the final PTO meeting, so I went out early enough to eat at the bar at Tarbender’s Lounge (flatbread was tasty) before I left too early as jam band Moogatu had dropped out and dub reggae band Shamans of Sound had stepped in, and I was not a fan. Dopapod redeemed the night with their spacy jams. I wasn’t aware of them until they did a whole night of “Weird Al“ Yankovic cover songs, and I knew I had to check them out. Thursday Jill got a turn at the weeknight out thing as she and Rachel went to Jammin’ Java to see Chris Fairbanks.

Rachel Chris Fairbanks Jill

Friday Nina got her own special night as she had some friends over. I took them over to South Lakes Shopping Center on the boat and they hung out, then came back home while we got takeout from Taco Zocalo. Saturday Nina and went shopping for Mother’s Day after her flute lesson, and Sunday Jill got two books and a flowering plant. She also asked for a family walk, and Nina took her bike and got lost, but did a great job getting back on track and getting to us. She was suffering this week as apparently birch and ash pollen are close enough to dust to activate her asthma.

Kerry Nina

Thursday the 18th I saw this article and loved this quote: “But it’s as unfair to judge Matthews himself by the perceived predilections of his audience as it is to judge David Lynch by the most insufferable dorks at a midnight Inland Empire screening.” Friday Jill and I took a walk after she got home and I grabbed some handheld clippers to clip thorn bushes on our way. There was one plant about 8 feet tall near Nina’s school that bit back – I felt the thorn hit the knuckle. I was at the 9:30 Club later to see The New Pornographers, who I hadn’t seen since 2014, and they were fantastic. I was a little concerned when I got there and looked at my ticket and Neko Case wasn’t part of the band picture, but she and her voice showed up front and center. Saturday Jill was out studying for her license exam, so after Nina’s flute lesson, we went over to Mosaic where I’d reserved a book she wanted at the Barnes and Noble there. She chose lunch at Playa Bowls as well as ice cream from Cold Stone. I did stop at Red Apron for some beer.

Nina Kerry

Sunday Nina got together with the Girl Scouts for a boba tea meetup, then after dinner I drove to the Wharf to see Liam Finn and Crowded House at The Anthem. Liam Finn was funnier that I thought he’d be, looping like Ed Sheeran. Crowded House was fantastic, adding longtime producer Mitchell Froom and both of Neil Finn’s sons has reenergized them and a third of the songs were from their most recent album or brand new songs written on the road, including one that was a debut that night. The funny add on was I’d walked over to South Lakes Safeway with Jill as she had to go to CVS, and during the five minutes I was inside, heard all of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”.

Thursday the 25th Jill was out early flying to Hartford for Jake’s graduation. Nina had had a vision appointment the day before where she was given reading glasses, and I took her to get them that night (and she needed boba tea, of course). Friday we got takeout from Yu Noodles (Nina was not a fan of either dumpling dish she ordered, but Jill thought her pork and chive dumplings made great leftovers). I thought this is so great in so many ways. R.I.P. Tina. Saturday I had to take Nina for a followup vision exam and barely made it to her flute lesson on time. I took her and her friend Megan to the pool after we got back, then to Monster Mini Golf and Wendy’s (we won our group game of laser tag at Monster Mini Golf).

Megan Nina

Jill flew back Sunday afternoon to a packed Dulles (took us 15 minutes to make it around the circle to get her). That evening, Nina had been asking for her favorite babysitter, and she got her as we got to attend the soft opening of The Atlantis. It’s the new club inside the 9:30 Club meant to invoke the original 9:30 Club. We were curious about opening band venray, but then it turn out their drummer Christopher Peli is the architect behind The Atlantis. They were good, but I’d never seen the legendary go-go band Trouble Funk, and they brought the booty shaking funk. First impression: not exactly like the old club. The poles hardly are in your way, and you can breathe in the bathrooms. The balcony is nice, feels like half the old club, half the new. Owner Seth Hurwitz was at the far end of the balcony overlooking the stage. Afterwards we went out to eat at the nearby 801 for a delicious dinner (I had the steak bites).

Trouble Funk

Monday the 29th was Memorial Day and a bit rainy so we mostly hung out around the house doing chores. Jill requested burgers and dogs for dinner, and Nina requested an early dinner so we could start watching the second part of the second season of Demon Slayer, so they both got their wish. I had been upset with the family of geese sneaking on to our lawn, skipping the fence by going over our neighbor’s flowerbeds. I’d gotten up twice Saturday morning, so over the weekend I planned my revenge, and Tuesday morning they tried it but walked into the place I’d set up my motion sensor water sprayer and on of the parents got sprayed, flew six feet straight up, then landed to usher the goslings back. I laughed so hard. Wednesday the local Girl Scout troops got together at Reston Community Center for a potluck dinner and award ceremony; Nina was happy to hang out with her friends.

Nina

April

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.

Ava

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!

Nina

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.

Nina

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).

Nina

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.

geese

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

March

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.

Nina

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?).

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

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

February

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

family

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.

Jill

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

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).

flowers

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.

Nina

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.

Nina

January

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.

Nina

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

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.”

Nina

December

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.

Nina

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.

DC101-derland

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).

Nina

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.

Nina

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.

Kerry

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.

Nina

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

Eyeball
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.