Nostalgia comes early

One of the most famous sce­nes in the AMC show Mad Men comes near the end of sea­son one. Kodak has asked the adver­tis­ing firm to cre­ate a cam­paign around a new slide pro­jec­tor that has a cir­cu­lar tray. Don Draper presents the Carousel and gives a nostalgia-steeped pre­sen­ta­tion that use his per­sonal pho­tographs to move both the Kodak execs and the view­ers at home, who know that these semi-focused pic­tures will soon be all that left of his dis­in­te­grat­ing fam­ily.

No falling apart fam­ily for me, but I find myself already feel­ing nos­tal­gic for a fam­ily vaca­tion to Dis­ney World that doesn’t start for another six days. I’ve recently been look­ing through our Flickr archive of past trips (four for me) and real­ize that they are our Carousel. The start with my fiancée tak­ing a cyn­i­cal me on my first trip. Later vis­its bring kids to the pho­to­graphic lineup: newly-found legs to run, the joys of messy ice cream, the scare of not-very-scary rides and the big eyes of parades all run through the sets.

In less than a week we’ll start a new set. There will be two new chil­dren in this one. “The babies” are both walk­ing and tod­dling and are at their peak of baby pho­to­genic cute­ness. The older two are real kids now and the eldest is start­ing to show early glimpses of teenage-hood: eye-rolling, exha­la­tion of air (“uh!”) to show dis­ap­proval of incon­ve­nient parental instruc­tions.

Iconic fam­ily pic­tures will hap­pen. Since our last visit five years ago, my wife’s lost her father to can­cer and my mother’s been slip­ping into the for­get­ful­ness of Alzheimer’s. As the wheel of life turns it some­how becomes more pos­si­ble to see our­selves as part of the turn­ing Carousel. Some decades from now I can imag­ine myself going through these pic­tures sur­rounded by indulging chil­dren and antsy grand­chil­dren, exclaim­ing “look how young every­one looks!”

Theo and Francis, Dec 2008
Theo (then 5) and Fran­cis (3) zonked out after a long day in 2008. Hard to believe they were ever this cud­dly.


Update post-trip:

There are 104 pic­tures from this trip in our pub­lic Flickr set, with one of our four kids hold­ing hands as they walk to the pool a stand­out iconic shot of their child­hood together:

Bits and pieces, remembering blogging

I really should blog here more. I really should. I spend a lot of my time these days shar­ing other people\‘s ideas. \"\"Most recently, on Friends Jour­nal you can see my inter­view with Jon Watts (co-conducted with Megan Kietzman-Nicklin). The three of us talked on and on for quite some time; it was only an inflex­i­ble train sched­ule that ended my par­tic­i­pa­tion.

The favorite part of talk­ing with Jon is his enthu­si­asm and his tal­ent for keep­ing his sights set on the long pic­ture (my favorite ques­tion was ask­ing why he started with a Quaker fig­ure so obscure even I had to look him up). It\‘s easy to get caught up in the bustle of dead­li­nes and to-do lists and to start to for­get why we\‘re doing this work as pro­fes­sional Quak­ers. There is a real­ity behind the word counts. As Friends, we are shar­ing the good news of 350+ years of spir­i­tual adven­tur­ing: obser­va­tions, strug­gles, and imperfect-but-genuine attempts to fol­low Inward Light of the Gospels.

\"TheoMy nine year old son Theo is blog­ging as a class assign­ment. I think they\‘ve been sup­posed to be writ­ing there for awhile but he\‘s really only got­ten the bug in the last few weeks. It\‘s a full-on Word­Press site, but with cer­tain restric­tions (most notably, posts only become pub­lic after the class­room teacher has had a chance to review and vet them). It\‘s cer­tain ironic to see one of my kids blog­ging more than me!

Enough blog­ging for today. Time to put the rest of the awake kids to bed. I\‘m going to try to have more reg­u­lar small posts so as to get back into the blog­ging habit. In the mean­time, I\‘m always active on my Tum­blr site (which shows up as the side­bar to the right). It\‘s the bucket for my inter­net cura­tions – videos and links I find inter­est­ing, and my own pic­tures and mis­cel­lanea.

Cub scouts down 25% in last decade

Cub scouts down 25% in last decade:
One piece of con­text behind pos­si­ble changes is the freefall in mem­ber­ship over the last decade:

Since 2000, the num­ber of young peo­ple involved in scout­ing has fal­len by close to 19 per­cent, accord­ing to the Boy Scouts of America’s most recent fig­ures, from 2011. The num­ber of boys in the youngest cohort of mem­ber­ship, the Cub Scouts, was down more than 25 per­cent, mark­ing an even more alarm­ing por­tent for the future.

Our kids are in cub scouts but it’s been really hard to find a sta­ble den in our area. Locally, I see any evi­dence that the insta­bil­ity has come about because of the LGBTQ ban. The decline seems more the result of dis­or­ga­ni­za­tion and inabil­ity to com­pete effec­tively against other avail­able youth pro­gram­ming like soc­cer and soft­ball leagues.

Bike ride to Pleasant Mills

Bike ride to Pleas­ant Mills — a set on Flickr, orig­i­nally uploaded by martin_kelley.

Fran­cis and I had a nice 22 mi. bike ride on Sat­ur­day. Lots of back
roads through blue­berry fields, and a good off-road jaunt past
car­niv­o­rous plants, orchid-filled bogs and mos­qui­toes galore. Full set of Flickr pic­tures here. (Julie & Theo were busy hang­ing out with the bishop instead),