Acoustic Music, Baseball, Family, Random DJB Thoughts
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So How Did Your Summer Go?

Shortly after Memorial Day I wrote a post entitled Got Plans for the Summer? where I outlined ten things I hoped to accomplish during the Summer of 2011.  Well, Labor Day is here – and we’ve reached the moment of reckoning.

While I was not a perfect ten-for-ten, I can explain.

1.  Play more music with friends – It is bad when you come up short right out of the box, but this was one item where I failed miserably.  We had a very busy summer, and this one just got away from me.  Luckily, playing music with friends isn’t bound by season…so I’ll try and schedule some fall play dates.

2.  Summer in New England – Technically, this was completed.  I did spend two days in Portland, Maine in early June and I’ve just spent 8 days in New England…but it wasn’t the vacation we planned.  To cut to the chase, Candice fell when we came here to Providence to drop Andrew off at school and she’s been in the hospital this week dealing with a severe concussion.  So I’ve had a great view of the water this week…but it is the Providence Bay as seen from her hospital room and not the view from a Nantucket deck that we envisioned.  Oh well, at least Candice is on her way to a full recovery and that trumps all plans!

3.  Savor the last year of summer swim team – This was a ten strike!  We had a great last year with the Gators, and Candice and I enjoyed being the parents of the older swimmers.  Claire and Andrew enjoyed their final year, Andrew swam on a relay team that set a new Gators record in the All-Star meet, and Candice and I were awarded one of the Volunteer of the Year medals at the swim team banquet.  It was great fun…and now Claire is continuing on by swimming for her college swim team.  (Andrew is at a Division I school where the competition is much harder, so he’s planning on swimming on club teams.)

4.  Take at least three friends to a wooden-bat baseball league game – I made it to a couple of wooden-bat league games, but unfortunately without friends in tow.  The good news:  the winner of our Cal Ripken League playoff – the Bethesda Big Train – was just named the #1 ranked summer league team for 2011.  The Big Train were an awesome team this year and they were  fun to watch.

5.  Reread The Last Best League and watch Bull Durham – Check and check!  As I’ve said before, I don’t believe in heavy reading over the summer when I can get away from it (work-related reading not included), so I also read These Guys Have All the Fun – an oral history of ESPN.  But to show that fall is just around the corner, I’m halfway through Nixonland.

6.  Ride my bike – This one didn’t get done.  Bummer.  No (real) excuses.

7.  Balance, balance, balance – I’d give myself about a 5 on a scale of 10 on this one.  Work has been pretty demanding, but I’ve tried to ensure that family also got its fair share of time.  One example:  Claire and I did get to see the last movie installment of the Harry Potter series this summer.  We loved it!  Last week, I also saw my favorite move – O Brother, Where Art Thou?on the big screen at AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring.  For someone who doesn’t watch movies regularly, this has the makings of a film festival.

8.  Connect with a friend every day – Here I was probably 75% successful.  It was great to be purposeful on this point, and I plan to continue into the fall.

9.  Learn how to play an alternating-bass pattern on the guitar – I’ve been working on this, but haven’t succeeded.  I’ll keep working to nail that pattern before Thanksgiving.

10.  Try not to cry when we drop Claire and Andrew off for college – I had a 50% success rate on this…but truth be told I probably will fail miserably when all is said and done.  Our college drop-offs all began as planned, as the four of us went to California two weeks ago for Claire’s launch.  We had a great couple of days, met and spent time with wonderful folks (students and parents – including a work colleague whose son is a freshman at the same school), and got Claire settled in to her dorm (see the picture below of her room – still a work in progress when this was taken).  I cried just a bit when we said our goodbyes, but I had a harder cry when we got home and I went up to her room and found the stuffed dog and baby blanket she slept with every night until leaving for college.  Andrew’s drop-off was not at all as planned, given Candice’s fall and our focus on making sure she was safe.  Andrew was a true champ and really helped me manage everything that was going on.  But that meant that he and I dropped all his stuff off in his dorm room, made his bed, and then left to go right back to the INCU.  But as you can see below, a week later Andrew is settled in and managed very well by himself.  Once I have the chance to reflect, I may shed a few more tears for Andrew’s departure into the next phase of his life as well.

All in all, a great final summer before college.  And now Candice and I get to explore the empty nest.

More to come…


This entry was posted in: Acoustic Music, Baseball, Family, Random DJB Thoughts


I am David J. Brown (hence the DJB) and I originally created this personal blog more than ten years ago as a way to capture photos and memories from a family vacation. After the trip was over I simply continued writing. Over the years the blog has changed to have a more definite focus aligned with my interest in places that matter, reading well, roots music, and more. My professional background is as a national nonprofit leader with a four-decade record of growing and strengthening organizations at local, state, and national levels. This work has been driven by my passion for connecting people in thriving, sustainable, and vibrant communities.


  1. Debbie Crocker says

    It has been a summer of emotions for all of you. We continue to pray for Candice’s continued improvement and healing. We pray for Andrew and Claire as they adjust to being away from home and from each other. I know God has wonderful plans for them. We pray for you as you balance it all! You are awesome! Now on to Fall!

  2. Carol Ghattas says

    Loved the pictures of the dorm rooms! Thanks for posting! I’m just impressed you had a list for the summer…I didn’t get that far, and it went by so fast. We are praying for Candace’s recovery and both your adjustments to the empty nest (you’re going to have a hard couple of weeks without Candace there too, Brother…I’ll be praying for you!). I know the days ahead will be filled with new adventures for you and Candace. Love you. Carol

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