And there aren't even any REDS in that picture. HOOSH you should see the reds we got poppin up in this joint!
I watched a romantic comedy today called "Raising Helen". It was neither funny nor romantic. I DID however learn a line of a classic 80's tune I'd never caught before:
"When a problem comes along, you must whip it, BEFORE THE CREAM STAYS OUT TOO LONG, you must whip it"
Update Job Hunt continues. I keep painting. Our scout camp trip was postponed by the first real weather we've had here in months, and now I'm having trouble rescheduling it before Thanksgiving. Readers Theater is going great, though our play about Archimedes running naked and yelling "EUREKA!" somehow lacked energy after our climactic performance of "The Legend of Lightning Larry". So now we're reading an excerpt from a very alliterative Vachel Linsey poem my brother hooked us up with.
Speaking of my Brotha From a Different Motha, please refer along any rich patrons of the arts you may know in Columbia, MO! He is working his tail off to start an alternative theater space there in the college town's downtown area.
And while you're hooking a brother up, think healthy healing thoughts for those people in SoCal who's stuff is all being incinerated. We've got family and friends there who have lost and may yet still lose their homes.
Much catching up to do. You are behind, all 4 of you.
Readers Theater is about the most rewarding thing I've done in a long time. The more I put into that, the more those 5th/6th graders give me back. We've done two international folk tales, and we're now in the middle of a western spoof called The Legend of Lightning Larry. We're spending more time than usual on it because there is a performance night coming up, and this one really lends itself to performance. But we are ready for a break and I want to show them some movies with good examples of funny over-the-top spoofing and also of great narration (the main roles are the narrators. . . ). Any ideas? A lot of movies start off with great narration (Big Lebowski, Road Warrior, LOTR. . . ), but I'm looking for something a little more. I don't know what. Oh I also want to show them examples of character roles stealing scenes since many of the roles are small but have the opportunity to be hilarious. Anyone? Bueller?
Boy Scouts is just about as rewarding. I wish we had more boys, because when one of them doesn't show we're really up a tree. While I do appreciate the small size in this my first year of Scoutmastering -- it's easier for me to manage -- I also understand that a little more would be a lot merrier. There is a lot of fun to be had! The boys are fascinated with the concept of becoming men, and I'm happy to help them cross that bridge even though we're only at the very beginning of the bridge. They are hungry for whatever I've got to give, and the scouting program provides a wide array of values-oriented stuff and outdoorsy stuff. I'm learning the outdoorsy stuff right along with them, and that's fun. There isn't much time in this the first year -- they're supposed to hit the first THREE big milestones this year -- but I try to help them be as independent as possible. The plan is for the scouts to run the Troop themselves, with only guidance from the Scoutmaster. We are pretty much separate from the rest of the troop, and there are only 3 boys, and we're all new at it, so there are challenges there. What I've been doing is having them study up on and then teach each other the things they need to learn for their badges. At this age, that's a lot of hounding and harassing, but with only 3 boys (and their parents are on my side) I can manage that.
Max is particularly pumped about scouts right now. His cool uncle LR called us one afternoon and Max answered. In their chat Max told him he was trying to learn the 2-Half-Hitches and Taut Line Hitch knots. LR was thrilled to report that just that morning he went and adjusted the Taut Line Hitch he was using to train a tree in his yard! So they bonded as only fellow scouts can and Max thought that maybe there was a reason we play with ropes all the time. Then we went to an Eagle Court of Honor last week, and nothing sells the whole experience to a boy like that. All sorts of fancy-Dans came by to honor the two Eagle Scouts, and they got MAD SWAG including a big Ka Bar knife with their name engraved on it! Made ME wanna be an Eagle Scout.
Straight Job I'm officially in the hunt for what I call a Straight Job, or a W-2. While Lux has never done better and is contributing more than ever to the family coffers -- it's not enough. Despite paying all our bills AND $25K in debt last year, this year has been one rough doozy. As much consideration has been given to what my next career should look like -- it would seem a job-that-pays-as-much-as-possible is a little more pressing right now. It's been tough, reaching out and networking like I'm supposed to, with no industry-specific vision of what I'd like to do. My skills and experience apply to any industry almost, and I enjoy doing anything I'm good at. I've done/been good at management/leadership, marketing/branding, training/presenting, and public relations. I'm not ready to pick just one and sell myself that way. In talking to a few people so far, I might be able to sell myself as a manager/director/leader for hire. All companies suffer from The Peter Principle (a tendency to promote people to management, just beyond their level of optimum competency and job satisfaction), so there are a lot of unhappy, bad managers out there. I put at the top of my resume that I consider management to be a skill wholly separate from those of whom I manage, and people seem to be keying on that, so we'll see how that develops.
The rules regarding resumes have changed in the past 10 years (never needed one at Honda. . .) so I did have to completely rework my resume and that was a challenge. Mostly because I have enough experience in a broad range of areas that I could tailor the resume for any one of a variety of jobs. Which is good, when you know the job you're applying for. But just generally reworking the whole thing on principle? Shoosh.
Gramma Gaye continues to settle in. Today we called the State College post office and put her on the map, since not piece of mail has ever been delivered there since the house was built (original owner never got a mailbox, just used the nearby Pine Grove Mills post office). She bought a nice new mailbox, I installed it, and put her name and number all over it, but so far only outgoing mail service. Hopefully that's fixed? She got new glasses, so hopefully she can see the wild color show that Penn's Forest is putting on display right now. All of the dragons are unpacked, and if you know Gramma Gaye you know what an accomplishment that is.
Today Max spent the day with Gramma. His idea, no one elses. He's ridden over to her place a few times now and seems to enjoy it. I imagine he likes the independence, riding relatively far away by himself. I imagine he likes forming a relationship outside of the house and outside of school, getting to be a whole new version of himself. I imagine he finds Gramma very funny and down-to-earth. I imagine that Gramma gets to learn a little bit about why we are so head-over-heels in love with our Number One Son, or maybe at least why we try to be patient with him. I don't know and don't need to know just how it goes on Max & Gramma Saturdays, I just know that I'm grateful Gramma is here in PA for Max & Gramma Saturdays.
Since last Fall, when the move really started, it's been a lot of work, some sacrifices, and a lot of adjusting. I never really question it all. I know we belong here together, don't care to argue the point with anyone, and I look forward to the day this becomes Gramma's "home". But I sure like being reminded that we belong together :)
ACK! Halloween is coming. Max watched "The Mask of Zorro" with me and was impressed enough that he wants to be Zorro. Which is good, that's a pretty economical costume to put together. In trying to avoid the overpriced don't-last-the-day-and-night store-bought costumes, us grownups brainstormed Ben/Milo costumes last week over Wegmans potstickers. Gramma Gaye was always good at dressing me up, as a child, on a budget yet with great impact. We thought we had it figured out, we decided Ben and Milo should be Mormon Missionaries! How cute! And they adore the missionaries, especially the Samoan Rockstar missionary we've had for awhile now. Ben and Milo have not bought into this idea, however. They seem to be very attached to the "I want to be _________ for Halloween" game, and at dinner the other night we heard about 360 different things they want to be for Halloween. At the end of the night the front runners were Ketchup and Mustard. AK thinks she can swing this, so we encouraged them along that path. But Milo insists he will be orange. Mustard, but orange. Stay tuned. . .
Nando Speaking of Antonio Banderas, I took a couple of days last week and with AK's help made this little movie as a favor for a friend. His company is making a website where people can upload stump speeches and apply for the job of president (it's a recruiting software company). Anyway, each employee is required to submit a video! Since he's into making videos about as much as I am into recruiting software, he asked if I wouldn't do it. Not remembering how much time these projects take, I got right on it. I planned out two videos. One was a long behind-the-scenes Christopher Guest'esque mockumentary look at Minnesotan Thorvald Larson's presidential bid. It was called "The Winds of Change Are Chilly: Thorvald Larson, the Man Beneath The Hat". Oh, it would have been good. But circumstances conspired against the "Vote More For Thor" project, and I had to return the props/costumes I'd bought and spend the filming days painting for money instead. In retrospect, I think many of the jokes would have been lost on those who are not intimate with the upper midwest.
But we did move forward with the smaller, shorter "Nando For President" video. Nando is a character borne of both Antonio Banderas and an old John Paragon sketch character named Ramon Aztecas. Nando is one of my more persistant alter egos, though we don't see him so much now that I don't drink so much anymore. He's a bit of a flirt. Also, after editing footage of Nando for a day and a half -- I think Nando has more chins than anyone should ever have and I don't care if I ever see him again.
So check it. If they ever get the website up and running, I'll ask you to go there and actually vote for Nando because if Nando wins Nando gets $100 in recruiting software or something :)
Pets Emily continues to be the bestest dog that anyone ever has been licked and inappropriately sniffed by. One upside to our house being so cluttered and messy is that it's a much more appropriate place for a large lumbering dog to chase balls in. We don't mind her crashing into things and knocking things over when it's mostly already crashed & knocked-over already! CONSUMER ALERT: Petco tennis balls, the ones that you would think are made just for dogs and would last longer than real tennis balls? Are actually designed to be FLIMSIER than normal tennis balls. So you have to go buy more than you normally would. You know, until you figure it out and buy some real tennis balls as an experiment, and find out you and your poodle have been duped. Yeah.
She gets groomed Monday, thank heavens. She has a lot of surface area for stink to live on. AK, remind me why we don't ever bathe the mutt? Does she get dreadlocks or something with her funny hair?
Sissy and Bubba seem to be acclimating and making Grammas house their house. Both of them are consummate kittens and very accomplished tail-chasers and dust-stalkers. Sissy has a purr box louder than a Harley, and drops on her side for petting at the drop of a hat. Bubba is a little too cool to let on, but does appreciate a good rub behind the ear and a warm lap to chill on.
Photos I like to put photos up on a blog. I just went through my photo folders, and there just isn't much today that's new. I did find a CD of photos from 5 years ago when the twins were just born in Minnesota. Here is Little Miss McBlurkerling holding an infant BLUE WHALE. . .
The monster's name is Milo. And I want you to notice that Milo (who's genetic code seems to be nearly 100% Alaska. . . yes, the Alaska who told a doctor once, regarding the size of our offspring's crania, that their father came from The Land of The Big Head People. . . . ) has a head nearly equivalent in mass to that of his pretty 5 YEAR OLD friend
And here is B and I in the 8th grade. . .
B and I had a very special friendship in middle school, and we've managed to stay connected through the years. This photo is from the yearbook, of the whole yearbook staff, which B and I were on that year. We never did a darn doodly thing for the yearbook, and therefore I learned nothing about publishing or photography. What we did, every day for the whole schoolyear if I remember, is make posters advertising the yearbook for sale. I remember getting in a lot of trouble in that class, because B and I found each other to be the funniest humans on the face of the earth. It wasn't a matter of not laughing in class. It was a matter of holding your wee wee becaue you were laughing so hard for so long that you'd long since lost the ability to sit upright, were flailing helplessly for breath, and were sure you'd soon lose bladder control as well. Oh yeah. Nando we weren't.
Pupp Daddy Dog spends his days working as an entrepeneur and as a Dad. He is passionately in love with/obsessively neurotic about his family. Imagine Kicking Bird mixed with Albert Brooks. Oh, and throw in some Notorious B.I.G.
Alaska is the frustrated but caring cat at the center of our canine universe. All of us alternately worship, rely on and ceaselessly whine to her. Her need to control everything is confounded by the fact that she really pretty much does control everything, so in her few free moments, she knits and searches desperately for things to fuss about.
Max is smart and handsome, with a big heart. He is not only growing like a weed, but he has the attention span and concentration abilities of a weed. Despite my best efforts, AK keeps feeding him and he keeps growing. Our plan is to keep him so busy with school, sports & the arts that he won't notice he's a teenager and is supposed to hate us. T minus 2.5 years to teen launch, so far so good.
Ben and Milo are phenomenal little creatures who remind us minute-by-minute not only how little control we have in this world, but why we should cease our controlling efforts and just laugh at all of God's jokes. Lately, Milo likes to dance and is good on the piano. Ben likes to mimic Max and enjoys manipulating adults and anyone else who has no idea how quietly brilliant he is. Both of them would love your full and complete attention. Really, stop reading silly blogs and join the fan club now. Ok? Ok.