Month: December 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

We left the blizzard of 2009 behind us and headed out to Tennessee to visit with family and friends for the Christmas season.  It has been rejuvenating and restful to be with those folks you don’t choose, but with whom you share so much. Some highlights: Seeing my 84-year-old father with 11 of his 13 grandchildren and all five of his great-grandchildren. (He’ll get to see the other two grandchildren next weekend.) Having Andrew and Claire reconnect with all their cousins and their cousins’ children. The latter group includes two babies born about four months ago (Leighton) and just 10 days ago (Oliver).  Little babies are such great additions to Christmas. Visiting with my sister and her family who have returned to the states after 17+ years overseas. Their older son David is maturing into a wonderful young man while their younger son Nathan is full of life and mischief.  My brother-in-law is a real artist in the wood shop, having built most of the beautiful furniture in their house by himself.  And it was …

Saying Goodbye to Lilly

Lilly is our 13-year-old Sussex Spaniel.  We’re spending this weekend saying goodbye to her. On Friday we took her to the vet for a “Quality of Life” visit, and the news was what we’d feared for some time.  The slow-growing tumor is getting bigger, she has fluid that has swollen her belly, her breathing is labored, and she’s lost most of her appetite.  We had seen that Lilly could no longer navigate our stairs without help and that her hearing and eyesight had both deteriorated over the past few months.  She has some medicine to help her with the fluid and keep her out of pain, but… It is time.  It isn’t easy. Candice and I had promised Andrew and Claire a dog when they were old enough to help care for one and when we had a proper house (having lived in an apartment for our first two years in Washington).  When that time arrived more than nine years ago, Claire (who drove this process) did a lot of internet research and use to …

When Passions Collide

I love it when my passions collide. Like when the November/December issue of Preservation magazine has a story on the saving of one of the few remaining Negro League baseball stadiums.  Any preservation story that begins with the name Monte Irvin is guaranteed to warm the heart of this old NY baseball Giants fan.  My mother-in-law thought that because of my position with the National Trust for Historic Preservation I must have chosen the cover picture for the magazine.  I didn’t (although I gave writer Eric Wills lots of encouragement as he put the story together), but I do have a beautiful print of that great shot ready for framing for my office.  And from Preservation Online comes the encouraging news that Patterson, New Jersey’s  Hinchliffe Stadium… …may be restored. The city of Paterson and the school board entered into a shared services agreement in late October 2009, and in early November, voters passed a referendum asking for $15 million to fund the stadium’s renovation. If all goes according to plan, the city will receive permission to issue a …

A Jerry Christmas: Some Coal Mixed in With the Goodies

Last evening several friends (old and new)  joined me as we caught the last show on the short “Jerry Christmas” tour featuring Dobro master Jerry Douglas along with John Oates and Irish singer Maura O’Connell.  This was my first trip to the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, and while the room has much to recommend it (especially an intimacy that connects performer and audience), the sound mix wasn’t great and O’Connell’s mic was especially bad, with a buzzing and poor sound quality that should have been fixed after the first song. That sound mix was a bother, but it didn’t stop the musicianship of Douglas and his band from coming through.  The music alternated between seasonal music and “palate cleansers” as Douglas described his regular tunes.  The best of the former was a beautiful In the Bleak Midwinter.  There was a tie for weirdest of the former – between a “spooky” Santa Claus is Coming to Town and a well-named Do You Hear What I Hear where Douglas, after announcing that Christmas melodies were sacrosanct, …

Calatrava’s Samuel Beckett Bridge Opens for Traffic

Santiago Calatrava’s beautiful Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin opened for traffic this morning following an official ceremony marking the event yesterday. This is a work of art that I was privileged to see in September while it was still under construction. To view Calatrava’s work in the context of the other historic and contemporary Dublin bridges along the River Liffey, check out my September post entitled Santiago Calatrava’s Dublin Bridges (And More) By Dawn’s Early Light. More to come… DJB

St. Nicholas Day 2009: We Are Always Every Age We’ve Ever Been

Last year’s post about St. Nicholas Day generated a number of favorable comments from friends and family.  Several friends especially remembered the Madeleine L’Engle comment that we are always every age we’ve ever been. So on St. Nicholas Day 2009, when Andrew got a new Calatrava-inspired tie from the Milwaukee Museum of Art and Claire received a beautiful scarf in her favorite color of purple, I will link back to that original post for those who missed the first time or for those who’d like to see it again. Keep up those childhood memories. More to come… DJB

Phone Booth Library

My late mother – the librarian – would have loved this post I found on the RADDblog. What an innovative use of a structure that has lost its original purpose.  (These days you have to explain to kids what a pay phone was.) Check out the post – there’s another great photograph along with a listing of ways others are using these historic British phone booths. More to come… DJB