Family, Observations from..., Random DJB Thoughts
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Observations from home: The 2014 year-end edition

Brown Family, December 2014

When posting while on travel, I’ll often string together several unrelated thoughts and title them Observations From the Road  (see, for instance, the Jeez, Montana is a Big State edition from this summer.) So, I have two or three unrelated items that have been rattling around in my head while at home for the Christmas break, and have decided to title this post Observations from Home (The Year-End Edition).

Here are my observations – take ’em or leave ’em.

We would never have a family picture if it weren’t for John Thorne – When we were assembling our group of pictures for 2014, I commented to Candice that we didn’t have one that included all four of us. Then I realized that our friend John Thorne hadn’t been with us when he had his camera and all four of us were in the same room.  Luckily (with three days to spare!) we now have our 2014 family photo.  John came up to us at church this morning and asked if he could take a family photo. We quickly agreed. The best photos we’ve had of our family in recent years are due to John and his talent with the camera.  You’ll see the results for 2014 at the top of the post.

Andrew and Claire, December 28, 2014

John also took a great photo of the twins this morning, using his neat new filter to get those sparkling stars in the candles. I’ve noticed that John likes to try out his new toys, which I strongly support.  (Keep buying those new lenses and cameras, John, we’ll be your willing subjects.)  For our 2013 photo, it was the black and white look.

Brown Family, December 22, 2013

The first family photos John took for us…and the ones that made us hope he’d ask each year…were in 2012.  Candice was bouncing back from her fall and concussion (not to mention a hip replacement) and we were thrilled to have a photo of the twins early in their college careers, with Candice on the road to recovery.  Then we visited John and Sara at High Brewster in the fall of the year, and John captured two people who had been through a lot over the past twelve months…but were clearly pleased to be on the other side.

The Brown Family, 2012
Candice and David on Cape Cod at High Brewster, September 2012

Thank  you, John!  What a gift you’ve given us during these past few years.

John’s photos also capture my weight gain, weight loss, weight gain… The careful observer will note that my weight ballooned up in 2012 (I used the stresses of being a serious care-giver as an excuse), then fell off in 2013, and then in 2014…well, you can see that I haven’t quite kept that New Year’s resolution from early this year.  (More to come on that in a later post).  I’m going to push for an odd year weight loss in 2015 – and one that I can maintain!

Candice is a pretty good photographer as well – On Christmas morning, the twins and I were just trying to stand upright and not spill our coffee.  Candice, however, was on top of her game – including getting a photo of our stockings before we opened our gifts.

Christmas 2014

Best napkin ring ever – Candice started collecting antique silver napkin rings a few years ago, beginning with the one monogrammed I.A.H. that her mother took to school with her.  (Hey, I have a modest collection of guitars, so she has a long way to go before we have to worry about the amount of money we have locked up in napkin rings!)  Whenever  a small box shows up via UPS, I don’t have to open it to know that she’s found a new treasure on e-Bay.

Candice's Napkin Rings

So I didn’t pay particular attention when I saw a new one around my napkin a few weeks ago.  That is, I didn’t pay attention until Candice asked if I had looked at the inscription.

Daddy Napkin Ring

Oh my – the Daddy napkin ring.  One that identifies the Paterfamilias(Knowing that O Brother, Where Art Thou? is one of my two favorite movies, careful readers will know where the “I am the damn paterfamilias” quote comes from….others can watch the clip below, around the 2 minute mark.)

Let me say this simply.  Best. Napkin. Ring. Ever.

Thank you, love!

More to come…


This entry was posted in: Family, Observations from..., 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.


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