Our Year in Photos – 2015

Sunday Brunch

A family celebration at Le Chat Noir’s Sunday Brunch before Claire heads to LA

As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I continue my tradition of posting family photographs from the past year on More to Come… This was certainly a year in which we had much for which to be thankful – and to celebrate

2015 was – to put it mildly – a year of transition in so many ways.

The year began with Andrew and Claire halfway through their senior year in college.  I was busy with work at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, while Candice was keeping everything together from headquarters.

In January, I was fortunate to be able to join colleagues in Nashville for work to help save the unique heritage of Music Row.  As I say on the website designed for capturing Music Row’s stories:

“Music Row is the very definition of a National Treasure. The sounds created here have echoed throughout the country for decades, earning it an unparalleled place in America’s cultural life.” 

Studio A Press Conference with Ben Folds - Photo Credit Rick Smith

(Photo Credit: Rick Smith)

Studio A Press Conference, photo credit Nathan Morgan, Nashville Business Journal

(Photo credit: Nathan Morgan – Nashville Business Journal)

In a wonderful kick-off to our work in Nashville, I joined musician Ben Folds at historic Studio A to announce our designation of Music Row as one of our National Treasure campaigns.  The next month I was with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in Chicago at President Obama’s announcement of Pullman as the country’s newest National Monument.  I get to meet some very smart and talented people as part of my job!

Secretary Jewell with DJB

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell with DJB at the community celebration in Pullman

Candice and I were able to get away for family travel, and we especially enjoyed our final Pomona Parents Weekend in February in sunny Southern California.  It was bittersweet, in that we knew that we’d no longer have a great excuse to fly from the snow and cold of Washington to Claremont in February, so we could walk around in our shorts and polo shirts, grab a coffee and slider at Some Crust Bakery, and see Claire and all her talented friends at college.

Swimming Coach JP Gowdy with Claire

Swimming Coach Jean-Paul Gowdy with Claire following a Family Weekend practice

Then life threw us a bit of a curve.  Three hours before turning 60 years old, I was hit by an ambulance.  You read that right.  Needless to say, it made for a different type of celebration for my 60th, but the story – now that all is passed – gets better with each telling.

 

60th Birthday celebration

Celebrating my 60th birthday, along with my fractured shoulder and new sling

Andrew’s March was eventful…but in a better way.  Perhaps as a reward for enduring the New England winter of 2015, he traveled to Cuba with the Brown University Chorus over Spring Break.  Andrew loved the architecture, the music, the chance to use his Spanish extensively, and – most of all – the weather!

In Cuba

Andrew in Cuba

Andrew and Fred in Cuba

Andrew with Fred Jodry – director of the Brown University Chorus – wearing clothes in Cuba that would have led to immediate frostbite had they been in Providence at the time.

Candice also traveled in the spring, as the Hollywood Gang – friends from grade school in Hollywood, Florida – took in the sites around Atlanta.  This has become a much-anticipated weekend for Candice and her friends.

Hollywood Gang

Hollywood Gang in Atlanta

May was all graduations all the time.  We began on the west coast with Claire’s graduation from Pomona College.  It was a wonderful weekend, and of course I wrote about it and photographed it – all from the perspective of the proud father.  It was delightful to be together with the families of Claire’s wonderful classmates.

Graduation Lei

Andrew helps Claire with her graduation lei

Claire at Pomona

Our Pomona Class of 2015 Graduate

The Browns at Pomona

The Happy Family

Swim team cheers

The swim team cheers for the graduates

Sophomore and Senior Suitemates

Claire’s suitemates from her Sophomore and Senior Years – Susan (Sr), Ali (So/Sr), Jackie (So/Sr), and Kyra (So)

Parents celebrate

The parents celebrate graduation!

At Union on Yale

Celebrating the graduate at Union on Yale – Claire’s favorite Claremont restaurant

One week later, we all gathered in Providence to do it all again – this time in celebration of Andrew’s graduation from Brown University.  As an equal opportunity proud father, I covered it all from start to finish.  As I have told many people since then, the last half of May was among the happiest times of my life.  I was so proud of these two and all they have accomplished…and they’re just getting started!

Andrew and Claire

Andrew and Claire at the Big Dance

A D Phi Seniors

Andrew and his fellow seniors from the Alpha Delta Phi Society in the procession to Saturday’s Baccalaureate Service

Alex and Andrew

Alex Warstadt and Andrew, the two graduating singers from the Madrigals

Andrew waves from the procession

The happy graduate!

Andrew and Dietrich

Andrew with Professor Dietrich Neumann, Director of the Urban Studies Program at Brown University

Brown Celebration at the Salted Slate

Celebrating Andrew’s graduation at The Salted Slate, one of our favorite Providence restaurants

The celebrations continued in early July, as we flew to Tennessee to celebrate my father’s 90th birthday.  Brothers, sisters, in-laws, cousins, and all sorts of friends gathered to honor Tom Brown and his wonderful life.  My father is such a down-to-earth yet holy man.  It was wonderful to see the love that came pouring out for him from so many different people and places.

Celebrating Tom's 90th

Claire, Candice, Tom, DJB, and Andrew celebrating Tom’s 90th birthday

The DC and Chicago cousins

Claire and Andrew with their Chicago cousins Zoe and Kelsey

With Brittney

Andrew and Claire with cousin Brittney

Pool time

In the pool with the cousins

Candice with Joseph

Candice and Joseph rest by the pool

TB and his children

Tom Brown with his children (clockwise from upper left) Joe, Steve, Debbie, David, and Carol on July 5, 2015 – his 90th birthday

Tom Brown and Family

Tom Brown (yes, the one with the suspenders) with all his family members to celebrate his 90th birthday

In July, Candice and I were also able to get away for a weekend in the Shenandoah Valley for roots music and time with our friends Margaret and Oakley Pearson at the Red Wing Roots Music Festival.

At Red Wing III

Margaret, Candice, DJB, and Oakley at Red Wing III

Watkins, Jarosz, and O'Donovan

Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan at Red Wing Roots Music Festival on July 11, 2015

A work-related trip took David to Southeast Utah, and some of the country’s most evocative landscapes.

DJB in Cedar Mesa

Hiking in Southeast Utah

Claire took off for her new adventure in Los Angeles in early August (see the picture at the top of the post), and so we had Andrew to ourselves here in DC for the month.  We decided to go all-in on Restaurant Week, and what a treat that turned out to be.  We also squeezed in a dinner of the Ambulance Survivor’s Club with our good friends Nancy Williams, Steve Cambell, and Sarabeth Watson.

MXDC

Andrew gets ready to dig into the seabass at MXDC

At Fig and Olive

DJB, Candice, and Andrew wrap up DC Restaurant Week at Fig & Olive

Nancy and DJB

Nancy and DJB – the charter members of the Ambulance Survivor’s Club – toast our good health at Jackie’s Restaurant in Silver Spring

Work on the international front took Candice and me for a wonderful week in Cambridge at King’s College, followed by a family weekend in London.  It was a treat that we’ll long remember.

Candice in the rose gardens

Candice in the Rose Gardens at Anglesey Abbey

King's College Courtyard

King’s College Courtyard, Cambridge

FoodFilosophy

Candice at a small London cafe during a day spent rambling, exploring, and connecting

2015 was a tough season to be a Nats fan…so much so that Claire defected as soon as she hit the west coast this summer!  Nonetheless, bad baseball is better than no baseball, and I did pick up a couple of new bobbleheads – including the most recent addition to the racing presidents.  (I have a request for a Bill Taft in to my family as a stocking stuffer this Christmas!)  As you can see, Claire has adjusted well to her work on the west coast, but Candice and I went out in October to check on her anyway!

Claire at a Dodgers Game

Claire goes over to the dark side – at a Dodgers game with Caroline and Graycie

Jubliee Consortium

Claire with other interns from the Jubilee Consortium in LA

Claire in LA

Enjoying life in LA

Silent Cal

Calvin Coolidge joins the Racing Presidents in 2015

Claire, Candice, DJB at the Getty Villa

With Claire at the Getty Villa

In early November, Candice and her friends from the Weavings group traveled to Binghamton, New York, to celebrate the installation of one of their members – Elizabeth Ewing – as the new rector of Christ Episcopal Church.  It was a joyous celebration!

Ewing Installation

The Weavings Group celebrates the installation of Elizabeth Ewing as rector of Christ Church, Binghamton

As we enter the holiday season, we have so many blessings to be thankful for.  From all of us – Candice, Andrew, Claire, and DJB – we wish all our family and friends a wonderful Thanksgiving and a blessed Advent.

Pastishe

A celebration at Pastishe in Providence fit for a year of celebrations and transitions

More to come…

DJB

 

 

 

 

 

Hearing the Voice of God

Armistice Day

Armistice Day (photo credit: Janet Hulstrand)

My friend, the writer Janet Hulstrand, lives in France, where she makes observations on literature and life.  On November 11th, she wrote a wonderful blog post entitled, In France, It’s Still Called Armistice Day.

Janet begins her post as follows:

The war memorial in our little village in Champagne is much like the war memorials found in every little village in France I’ve ever been in: on three sides of the base are carved the names of those who gave their lives “pour la France” during World War I. And on the fourth side, the names of those lost in World War II.

The German invasion of France in 1940, just 22 years after the end of World War I, was achieved with stunning speed.  And forever after the French have endured shallow, frivolous jokes about that defeat, which was of course anything but funny.

Those who make jokes about French resistance (or lack thereof) are usually right-wing blowhards who generally did everything in their power to avoid military service.  But as Janet notes, the massive loss of life France suffered in both World War I and II (“Per capita, French casualties were 30 times higher than the US ones during WWI and 5 times higher during WWII….”) can be seen in these war memorials.

Janet provides more story, and then ends with this wonderful quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions.

So this book is a sidewalk strewn with junk, trash which I throw over my shoulders as I travel in time back to November eleventh, nineteen hundred and twenty-two.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

What a wonderful thought.  The Voice of God was heard when peace arrived.

Do yourself a favor and read Janet’s full post.  You’ll appreciate her writing, but – more importantly – you’ll find something sacred.

More to come…

DJB

For the Mets, Halloween is Extended by a Day

BaseballYou just knew it was going to happen.  The New York Mets keep the Kansas City Royals at bay for 8 innings.  It looks like the World Series is headed to KC for a Game 6, with the two New York flamethrowers ready and waiting.

But then, stuff happens.

How Royals.

The Mets – who lost on Halloween night when Daniel Murphy, their NLCS hero who didn’t hit a thing in the World Series, booted an easy ground ball – saw the goblins and gremlins of Halloween return for a November 1st appearance.

Lorenzo Cain walked to lead off the 9th against Harvey, and four innings later the Royals are dancing in the middle of Citi Field.  Two things about this play.  First, I’m fine with Collins leaving Harvey in to pitch the 9th.  The Mets closer hadn’t exactly fooled the Royals this series.  I believe in trusting the heart of your ace.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Second, Lorenzo Cain was the revelation of this postseason for me.  Is there anything this man can’t do?  He hits, he flies around the bases, he catches anything hit his way in center field, he is patient at the plate.  Perez (the MVP) had a great World Series, but so did Cain.

In any event, the suspect Mets infield defense allows the tying run.  (Gotta love the New York tabloid headlines:  Cruel Hand Luc – after Lucas Duda’s throw to end the game “could have sailed to Staten Island” according to the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga.)  And yes, Murphy made another error in the 12th to help seal the defeat.

So there we have it.  A very entertaining World Series where the good guys come back from devastation the year before to win it all.

Four months until spring training.

More to come…

DJB