My mind has been thoroughly taken up with GOING AWAY that last few days. This is utterly normal for this time of year as it is up to me to figure out and plan and book family vacations . The kids have both February and April school vacations because of the common need for Seattle people, if able, to SEE THE SUN for a few days. I think you can get numb to the rain and the grey instead of totally miserable over it, but it seems healthy to take an opportunity to touch base with Friend Giant Gasball. So I start thinking about what would be fun and also reasonable to the pocketbook. I often fail on the latter, but you can’t take it with you, eh? Don’t mess with my rationalizations; I’ll f you up, man. Heh.

There is nothing more exciting to ME than to travel to go see ROCK AND ROLL. Seattle has a truly superior music scene, and look what I have booked already just through the first week of March: Phoenix, The Soft Pack, Wilco, Mavis Staples, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club! Oh mah gawd, I am pretty excited about this all. Last year was a fantastic year for shows; 2010 is looking SUHWEEET too. Another opportunity to travel and rock has occurred and I am taking it. Dave Davies of The Kinks will be playing a handful of small shows in February, and I am going to fly completely across the country to see two of them. Is this crazy? Well, I hope so, because crazy is often quite fun. This is the first time that Dave is taking the stage since a devastating stroke he suffered in 2004, and I am going to be there to cheer him on. I also get to hang out again with two of my bestest oldest pals in the whole world, which makes it a total treat. My pals are both nine years older than I am, which gives me the delightful opportunity to be the leaping sprite of the group, which I enjoy to no end because I get to poke at them mercilessly. I hope this can continue well into advanced old age for us all.

So 30 hours or so after I return from that, it’s off to California again with the kiddies, this time to the L.A. area. I have such mixed feelings about Los Angeles, maybe more than any other place I have been. There’s loads to do, there’s the ocean, it’s funky and funny and weird and elegant and unique, which is all good. I guess what bothers me is the almost-tangible feeling of endless possibility enmeshed with disappointment and failure. There are so many reminders of the haves and have-nots, of those who come to be something and end up not getting what they wanted, surrounded by pretty flowers and palm trees and the shining sun. Los Angeles is the Beach Boys and Charles Manson and Mickey Mouse and Gidget and Octomom all at a dinner party that you may or may not want to attend. I RSVP’d “yes” for February. Please pray for me, you prayer types, that I can convince the kids that the Santa Monica Pier is way way cooler than Disneyland.

The April break is still in the shaping stages, but it looks like we all shall be returning to Washington, D.C., a year since the rather-difficult experience Mr11 and I had there. Yes, I remember that this is a dumb time to go there because of all the school groups and it’s friggin’ Cherry Blossom time and all, BUT…BUT! Two of my favorite bands are playing there then, so this is a major decisive factor, because I BOOK THE TRAVEL. One of them is Vampire Weekend, a major fave of MissSeven as well. She just about popped with happy when I told her that it was looking good for her to attend her very first concert ever. And as it so happens, two days later BRMC is playing! I would see them every night if I could so that’s a DONE DEAL.

I have no air tickets. I have no hotel. I have no planned schedule of educational day trips. But I will, and everyone will be happy. I was so frustrated last year that there were so many cool things to see in DC, but we didn’t have time. Mr11 is already saying we must go to the Spy Museum and MissSeven wants to go to the National Museum of Women In The Arts. Throw in maybe a little sun, the rocking and rolling, and we have a vacation! I am so glad to be able to do this for the kids, because they do seem to really appreciate it. We only have a few years to Do Stuff together, because they grow up, you know. And there’s also the whole depleting the pocketbook thing. Everything comes to an end. Om.

Because this post primarily was just a means to organize my thoughts, for your entertainment I bring you a compilation of the best viral videos of 2009, courtesy Stereogum. Enjoy.