If you visit the main sperger.com page, there is now a slide show of recent photos from our crazy family. In lieu of maintaining the blog any longer, I’m going to see if we can get in the habit of maintaining this slideshow. Much less writing!
Author Archives: Mike
Whatever Happened to This Blog?
In December of 2008, I needed to change the front page of Sperger.com because of some changes that had taken place on the server of our Web site host. I decided to replace the old front page with a family blog, heavy on the photos. Actually, Nick and I decided we would blog together.
Nick lasted a month. He wrote every day about how many days remained until Christmas. After Christmas, he forgot about the whole thing.
I lasted a bit longer. I was posting faithfully on the site, Mondays through Fridays (Werktage, as they say in German) for the last four and a half years. I carried my camera everywhere and took a ton of pictures. Believe it or not, we’ve put over 11,000 pictures online in support of this blog since we got started. Eleven thousand!
From those years, I discovered that I loved photography. I learned a little bit from Chelsea about composition, lighting, ISO speeds. I learned that your average point-and-shoot camera is far more versatile and well-equipped than most people realize.
I also had a new and wonderful line of communication to my grandparents. (Hi again, Grandma and Gramps!) Though we might not see each other every day, or even most weeks, I could keep them up to date on the swirling dance of our daily lives. Our readership stats have never amounted to much, but I’ve always felt anyway that I was writing for an audience of two. I wrote for that audience with dedication and great love.
About a year ago, I started wondering if I could keep up with a permanently faster pace of schedule. It felt like our home life was heading in that direction, and I was feeling the same impulse at work. I started experimenting with a conscious effort to pack my schedule as fully as possible. Early mornings, late nights, lots of travel.
It’s hard to explain, but I have actually felt more peaceful in the last year than I had in a long time. I’m a planner by nature. In college, I used to write my term papers three weeks before they were due. It still feels good, and I still enjoy the virtue of work done well in advance of when it’s needed. However, the truth is that sometimes work, and life, demand a little more improvisation. I knew that I needed to develop that side of myself.
We have also reached an age at which the kids are deep into their activities and their own hectic schedules. I just asked Chelsea last night, “When people ask you, ‘have you been busy’, how do you answer?” Because our level of activity no longer changes. It is high, and it is constant.
Chels and I like to tell ourselves that our schedules will be less hectic when the kids start leaving for school. This is a lie we tell ourselves. Hours spent driving kids from place to place will be replaced with professional commitments, travel, volunteering.
This is our life. This is what we’ve chosen.
The blog started to slow down when I ran into a patch of technical problems with both the server and my camera. I stopped carrying my camera everywhere. Uploading pictures from my iPhone is cumbersome, despite the fact that everything involved is both computerized and network-connected. (Thanks for nothing, Apple and Flickr.) The server problems went away, then came back again. Days and weeks without posting slipped past.
Now I’m on a train, riding to New York, writing a eulogy of sorts for this wonderful thing. I’m hanging up my blogging robe (huh?) and taking a very active retirement. My kids are still out there, being cute and having adventures. I’m still traveling the world, and sometimes Chelsea comes with me.
We always carry you with us, whether we write about it here or not.
Kids in Flight
Spring Break: Hersheypark
So we’ve just wrapped up the kids’ spring break. This year we stayed close to home because of some schedule commitments, so rather than sunning ourselves in Florida, we were visiting a bunch of local sights. (I say “we”, and the truth is that it was mostly Chels and the kids. I had work.)
One of the highlights of the week was the kids’ visit to Hersheypark. I had no idea they were open this early in the season, but nothing escapes my eagle-eyed wife.
More to come tomorrow!
Late Night on the Parkway
A couple Saturdays back, I got to ride around on my bike for the first time this season. It was an unusual scene – 1:00 on a Saturday morning, at the foot of the Art Museum steps. My high school buddy Jim was taking part in an event called the Goruck Challenge. Part of it involved – eek – crawling up and down the steps of the Art Museum. Backwards.
I hung out and watched these guys do crazy stuff for about two hours before turning in for the night. It was chilly, but the air was crisp and it felt like spring even though it was cold. I was very happy to get out on my bike to start another season, even if only for a little while.
Gentle readers, we are having some trouble accessing photographs to post here. Which is a shame, because we have a TON of new pictures and new adventures to share! Hope to be back with you in the next day or two.
Happy birthday, Nick!
Over the weekend, our boy celebrating the big one-six. How did he get so old? In my mind he still looks like this:
Or maybe this, perhaps, since he’ll be driving now:
But definitely not this old and this big:
Neither one of us is standing on a ladder in that picture. He’s just about taller than me.
Holy cow, they’re becoming adults right before our eyes.
An Old Friend: The Train Room
(I’d like to start out here by saying: Grandma, I have some very fond memories of visiting the big train room at the Franklin Institute when I was a little guy. In my memory, you took me there at least once. If you remember it that way too, great. If not, pretend you did! Because I visited this place and thought of you.)
Anna and I have something unusual in common – we both have strong feelings about trains. When we are doing something together around the city, I usually look for an opportunity for us to ride a train, or the subway, or even a trolley. So I was very happy to bring her to my very favorite part of the Franklin Institute: The Train Room.
Since this was an evening event, they weren’t running the big train back and forth on the tracks. I’m not even sure they do it anymore, although all of the equipment looks like it’s still in place. Here is Anna trying her hardest to get some machinery to work:
We simply HAD to climb into the big train, the centerpiece of the room, and snap a couple pictures.
Bear in mind that all this came about because of a comet we didn’t even see!
The Train Room was the last thing we were able to visit that night. They started closing up the exhibits right after this. So we headed out and did the only reasonable thing – we stopped for ice cream on the way home.
I hope Anna remembers all this as fondly as I will.
We’re going to take a long weekend for Easter. Posting will resume on Tuesday next week. Best wishes to all of you for a lovely holiday weekend.
The Giant Heart
The biggest heart in Philadelphia doesn’t belong to an elephant at the zoo (they all moved to Tennessee – really) or a great humanitarian, though many people could lay claim to that title. No, the most massive motivator in town lives at the Franklin Institute, where a ‘temporary’ exhibit about cardiology from 1954 has been going strong for 60 years now.
It’s hard to get a full appreciation for the size of the thing in this picture, but trust me – it’s the height of a two-story building, and apparently would be the right size for a human being 200 feet tall. Maybe in the future people will be that big, if we all eat our vegetables.
Anna had brought along one of her friends for the evening, and as you can see from this picture, our girl was maybe even more excited about the heart than about Jupiter or the comet. (In my experience, a ‘crazed’ look on Anna’s face just means she is having a good time.)
Tomorrow: Flying in the danger zone.
By this point in our evening, we had realized that we had the run of the museum, with almost no one else there. (The observatory nights are well attended, but they pale in comparison to the usual crowd of field trips and other guests in a typical day at the museum.) So our next stop was the Aviation room, where we got to climb around on an old Air Force training jet:
Now it was my turn to look crazed with excitement as I jumped into the pilot’s seat:
Back on the ground, Anna was running experiments in aerodynamics, trying on a pair of wings to see if she could fly.
We were all having a grand time, and we still had more fun ahead of us.