I neglect my site. I know this. It is true. 2008 has gone and 2009 is almost a third over. I am still coming to grips with the fact that next month I will be 31. Perhaps I should make a 31st year resolution to update my site more frequently and to give it the love it deserves.
In reality, I haven’t been doing much but working for the last few months. Generally speaking, life has been relatively stable. I work; I go to the gym; I try to keep my desk and life organized. (There was the one exception when our apartment building caught on fire).
Inauguration was certainly the highlight of the year thus far. Julie and I went with our friends Steve, Mirellise, and Tom, along with a million other people and stood out on the frozen National Mall to watch jumbo screens of Obama being sworn in. It was a memorable day to be sure. I did manage to snag a few photos that I was happy with. My favorite two are below, but you can see a slideshow of the whole set on Flickr.
Spring is arriving in spurts here in DC. Today was beautiful, tomorrow will be chilly. Julie and I are looking forward to some Spring backpacking and sleeping in our new ultra-light three-person tent (well, two-people and a short hound dog). We shall see what future adventures await. Stay tuned.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. I'm writing this in the 10-12 minutes our sweet potato biscuits are baking in kitchen oven. Julie and I borrowed a recipe from our dear friend, Nicole, in an attempt to impress our foodie Thanksgiving hosts later today. This year we're the tag-a-long couple with nowhere else to go, so some kind friends invited us to join them at dinner hosted by another couple, who apparently has rather high food standards. This is all very good for us and I expect to waddle back tonight very satisfied.
Julie and I have had a relaxing autumn. We managed to take a tropical getaway trip to Hawaii and a weekend backpacking hike to West Virginia. Hawaii was as beautiful as ever and my friend Steve's birthday was just the excuse to travel. We stayed in Kauai at a house on the beach and spent each day outdoors swimming, hiking, riding a tandem bicycle, snorkeling and scuba diving. Oh, and we learned to surf, which was the most memorable and difficult activity we attempted.
Our backpacking trip to West Virginia was a short three-day affair. Julie, Louie and I piled into a rented red Ford Mustang and headed west. The backpacking was beautiful and we arrived near the peak of autumn. Louie did very well and as always, packed in his own food and water. It became a bit chilly at night, but the weather was perfect in the day.
That's all to report for now. Here are some photos of the above activities and some winter portraits. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone.
Hawaii Photo Slideshow
West Virginia Photo Slideshow
Washington has experienced an unusually pleasant summer this year. August, normally a month best spent underground, was filled with sunny, breezy, low-humidity days and relatively cool evenings. Julie and I took advantage of this by taking a backpacking trip to Shenandoah, seeing Les Miserables at the outdoor amphitheater, Wolf Trap, and spending several nice evenings eating water-ice (a combination of soft-serve custard and flavored, shaved ice) at the new Rita's across from our gym.
On September 5 and 6, tropical storm Hanna gave DC a glancing blow as it moved northward along the Atlantic coast. The storm's duration was short, but it dumped a significant amount of rain in the short time it passed. Rock Creek swelled to river size and a large tree fell with a large crack outside of our apartment building, blocking all of Harvard Street and crushing a parked truck. I captured the following short video just after the storm passed with my new Canon HV30. It shows the creek, the tree, and the beautiful sunset after the storm. The video is best viewed at vimeo.com in HD and full-screen.
Where do I start? The campaign that had consumed most of my life is over. It’s end brings a combination of sadness and relief. In the weeks that have followed the campaign’s suspension I have caught up on sleep, resumed working out at the gym, been on two backpacking trips, watched several movies, and had friends over for games. It’s nice to have a life again and I’m actively working on having an enjoyable summer.
On my to-do list are several more posts over the next few months. I have a near-complete review of my Amazon Kindle, and a wrap-up post on the campaign sitting in my drafts folder. For now, I’ll leave you with a few links to photos from some of my recent adventures.
Finally, I’d like to include a photo of the “Group One” summer camp group I met while out hiking. Hi guys!
I'm sure many of you have been wondering if I am, in fact, still breathing. Rest assured I am, despite ignoring an impressively large queue of unanswered instant messages, emails, voicemail, and Facebook requests. If you haven't heard from me recently, take solace knowing that you're not alone.
The campaign has officially consumed my life. Last night I arrived home relatively early at about 7:30 PM. Within 30 seconds of entering the door, work called with a question. This morning, within 30 seconds of getting out of bed I received another call. I'm beginning to wonder if they have cameras hidden in my living room.
At least I knew what I was getting into. Julie didn't quite realize the ramifications of my new job and it's been a difficult task attempting to balance my job, marriage, and household chores. The best approach I've found is to simply redefine what “balanced” means—working 12-13 hours a day is fine, but 14 is just too much!
Despite the workload, I occasionally get a chance to read, daydream, and plan vacations I'm unsure if I'll ever be able to take. This afternoon we've been researching short trips to the Caribbean. We could use some sun and I have new dive equipment I'm eager to break-in. The Bahamas look pretty tempting right now.
My belated post has come to an end. In this break from work, I have dishes to wash and a living room to vacuum. It's all worth it though, right?
To our dear friends and family,
Please accept this electronic message of season's greetings and yuletide cheer. Work and travel plans this year did not allow us time for our semi-traditional photo and letter that we have sent out since 2005—give or take a year.
Having reached a certain age, we have received a growing number of Christmas cards featuring our friends and relatives with their increasing numbers of children. This year saw cards featuring only the children, with the parents only noted as the senders. Not having children, and not wanting to be left out of this trend, I've included a few photos of our friends' children I've been fortunate enough to photograph in the past few weeks. You'll find them below.
Two-thousand seven presented Julie and I with more challenges than we had anticipated for our first year of marriage. New careers, and promotions, along with sicknesses and deaths in Julie's family supplied more drama than we needed. But we have weathered the year unbroken and are looking forward to an exciting 2008.
In January I began a new job developing the Hillary Clinton web site. Campaign work is extremely rewarding, but the long hours, frantic pace and significance of the job occasionally lead to daydreams of packing my camera and GPS in a backpack and hiking the Appalachian Trail for six months. Very soon though, the efforts of our first year-long endeavor will be realized with the Iowa Caucus on January 3rd and New Hampshire's primary five days later. With any luck, we'll then begin the general-election campaign. Please vote for Hillary and keep me employed.
I must now take this opportunity to thank Julie for her patience and understanding this past year. She used to be accustomed to arriving home from work each evening with dinner waiting on the table. Now we're lucky if we eat two dinners a week with each other. It's been difficult to juggle work and marriage (and Louie, of course), but I'm managing better than many people. Thank goodness we don't have children yet.
Julie had a much rougher year than I, with cancer affecting both her uncle and mother. Early in the year Julie's uncle died from a brain tumor. He had been in remission for over a decade, but the tumor came back and there was nothing the doctors could do. Soon after, Julie's mother, Cathy, was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer. Thankfully, after an extensive surgery and months of chemotherapy, she is now cancer-free.
While Cathy was undergoing treatment, Julie spent a good deal of time in California helping out her mother around the house and with daily chores. Despite the frequent trips, Julie became a fully licensed social worker and received two raises and a promotion this year at the MS Society. She no longer has to deal with equipment logistics and mundane transportation requests and is now focused on respite for caregivers and guiding the many local MS support groups.
With all of the drama in our lives we didn't have as much leisure time as we would have liked, but we spent much of our spring and summer weekends biking around DC and took a few short trips when we could. We attended the weddings of Julie's brother Danny and of our friends Mirellise and Tom. The latter was my first paid wedding as a photographer, which was quite a learning experience. Aside from wedding-related travel I took a wonderful four-day scuba diving trip to the Cayman Islands in July. It's been six months since that trip and I'm eager to get back underwater again.
That about wraps it up for 2007. Below are the promised photos of cute children.
Baby Naia (two days old)
Brothers Joey and Anthony
Brent (just hanging around)
I decided it was high time for a minor site facelift and functionality update. Most of the site has remained just as it was, but I've changed the top banner, modified a few font and spacing styles, updated some content and added a bit of new functionality.
I think the new banner anchors the site much better than the old one. I decided to appropriate a standard man sign since I lack a world-recognized trademarked logo of my own. Maybe someday. As for the tagline, while I clearly have the "man" and "web site" part of my life figured out, I'm still working on the "plan" portion. But it will be a great plan, I promise.
In the upper right, I am now publishing my life status. Currently it pulls from my Facebook profile, but I may switch to another service if I find the "Brian is" construct too limiting. (Developer's Rant: If you're a developer and can't seem to programmatically load your feed, it's because Facebook does browser sniffing on all http calls, including feeds. Stupid? Yes. Just adjust your User-Agent string to fake IE or Firefox and you'll be all set.)
I'll have a general life-update to post soon. It's been a busy couple of months and I'm writing up the highlights.