Sign Adam Dunn

I returned home last evening from the last “Back to School” night of my parenting career in time to catch the last half of a swiftly and beautifully played game between the Philadelphia Phillies, Champions of the National League East, and our home-standing Washington Nationals.

There was great pitching between Roy Oswalt and Jason Marquis.  Rookie Danny Espinosa showed once again why he’s becoming a regular in the web gems highlights with a great pick and throw at second base.

But the best was saved for last.  On a night when fans received a “Mr. Walk Off” T-Shirt with Ryan Zimmerman’s name down the arm (it was long-sleeved), Adam Dunn did the honors, with a blast as the first batter in the bottom of the ninth to break a 1-1 tie and send everybody home happy.

Please tell me why it has taken the Nationals so long to figure out that Adam Dunn can be a great part of their future for the next 3 or more years?  He’s only second in home runs, has over 100 RBI, and – while a defensive liability at first base – he has three other terrific young infielders in Zimmerman, Desmond, and now Espinosa to take up the slack.  You can find defensive players, but pure power hitters who are as consistent as Dunn are hard to come by.

Plus, how can you not want a guy on your team who, when asked by Debbie Taylor in the post-game interview what it is like to play with certain Hall-of-Famer Pudge Rodriguez (who was mugging beside the camera) replies dead-pan, “Yeah, I’m glad he gets to play with me.”  Priceless!

Come on, Nats.  Sign Adam Dunn!

More to come…

DJB

Three Days in the Tetons

I’m trying to remember the beauty of Grand Teton National Park as I face a two-hour layover in the Denver airport.

With Sunday NFL Countdown and FIBA basketball competing on the airport television screens, it isn’t easy…but pictures always help.

We just spent three terrific days in the park, studying the work to save both natural and cultural resources.  As a first time visitor, I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s work with the National Park Service to save the White Grass Dude Ranch demonstrates how the country can achieve a  proper balance in saving and reusing its historic legacy in a place of stunning beauty and critical environmental preservation issues.  The dude ranches were instrumental in proving that this land could be attractive to tourists visiting from the east.  The places that remain in telling that story deserve to be preserved.

So take a look at a few of the hundreds of photos I took at Grand Teton National Park – beginning with the Snake River shot below – and enjoy.

Here’s a view from Mormon Row.  A colleague says this is the most photographed barn in the entire National Park system!

The following are several shots of the restoration work underway at White Grass Dude Ranch.

A view of the valley floor from the top of the mountain above Teton Village.

More to come…

DJB

Hiking to Phelps Lake

I was fortunate to spend today in some of the most beautiful country America has to offer:  The Grand Tetons.

And within Grand Teton National Park, the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve is a special place, with its sagebrush meadows, cool forests, life-giving wetlands, and the beautiful Phelps Lake.  I hiked there today with friends and two wonderful National Park Service rangers.

It was a wet day.  We hiked in rain, sleet, and some mixture of the two.  However, it seemed the sun would come out at just the right time.  All that didn’t really matter.  We accepted the weather and enjoyed the Preserve as we found it.

Along the way I took pictures of trees with bear claws, the stream that runs from the lake all the way to the Pacific Ocean, and – of course – the Teton range.  The mountains were topped with snow that fell just last evening.

It is one of America’s special places.

Enjoy the photos.

More to come…

DJB

First Day of School

For the past thirteen years, we’ve taken a picture of our twins, Andrew always on the left and Claire on the right, as they head out for the first day of school.

We began this practice as they took off for Kindergarten, looking smart in their new uniforms and not a little bit apprehensive.  Candice and I love this picture at the top of the post because it captures this time in their lives so perfectly.

Yesterday, we took the picture below of our two seniors in high school, heading off once again for another year of  school.  There are so many wonderful memories between these two photographs.

Later in the day, I was headed to the airport in a taxi with a driver who told me he was from Togo.  He couldn’t stop talking about his daughters – the oldest is a student at St. John’s University, the next is a high school junior in Washington, and the youngest is in elementary school.  It was clear that they had achieved a great deal, with a great deal of sacrifice.  But he told me that he wanted his children to avoid the mistakes he had made, and I thought that so much of parenting is trying to impart wisdom as we see it.

I’ll have to admit that when he stopped for a breath, I did a bit of bragging myself.

So here’s to Andrew and Claire.  Have a great senior year guys.

More to come…

DJB