LAST weekend was the super-intense-everything-happening-in-one-weekend weekend. It's taken me a week to recover and get the photos/videos together.
Friday night was the World Premier and Grand Finale of our pirate play (written by my good friend Melynda Kiring) "Yo Ho Ho". We've been working on it all semester, and the kids were just frazzlin' AWESOME! Max especially rose to the occasion as Captain Johnny Goodfellow Stanton, as did his leading lady who played Melch. Here is my little ham. . .
. . . and here is the cast . . .
I was so proud of them I could have peed. And plotzed. Simultaneously. AK spent a day and a half putting that vest together for him, and she also got the PAC to buy swords, eyepatches, earrings and a couple of hats to help with costumes. Mad props goin' out to my main sho'ty A-Kizzle.
We rushed from this performance to the church lip synch. Max and I had put together a Blues Brothers routine, but with this play and his recital to prep for we just didn't have time to perfect it. The lip synch was a total blast, and while a couple of acts were highly polished, our bumbling Blues Brothers would have fit right in. Oh well, we'll be really really ready for next year's lip synch.
About that time, our good friends the W's from VT dropped in for the night. Awesome. They make the most adorable little red-headed dolls of daughters. Maybe if Mr. McDaddy W reads this he'll forward me a photo or two of the kids all in the backyard? The Internet has to see the cutefest that is our 4 littles. As much as I cringe when ALL the 6th grade girls go "AWWWWWW!!!" every time Ben or Milo says something? When Littlest Peanut W says anything, no need to be cuter than "That'sthe vaccuum cleaner"? Guess what I do. Yeah.
Then Saturday was the big big piano recital. And HOO did it go well! We were all anxious for Max. This in addition to his own usually overwrought-but-in-this-case-perfectly-appropriate performance anxiety. He'd long ago mastered his two smaller pieces for the recital (though he paused & stumbled once at the recital, see below. . .). But Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" was way beyond his skill level. We didn't know this when we recommended it to him and his teacher last year. She didn't know either when she agreed to it, looking only at the first page or two of music. But then it digresses into a funky jazz piece with dissonance & stuff. He's worked so hard on it for so long, taking breaks when necessary from over-working it and losing perspective. It's also a very long piece. But by recital time he had it totally memorized and I hear he'd had a few good complete rehearsals. I hadn't heard any. That and the fact that he took deep "OK I survived that, now lets see if I can live through the next one. . . ) sighs after each of his first two pieces -- had me a little edgy.
But that boy of mine; the talented one? The one who makes music? Nailed it. Never have I heard it go so well so consistently. It's long, you may not want to watch/listen to the whole thing (though the ending is good, different than your usual Suzuki piece, and the audience got it wrong. . .). But AK and I were just balling through the whole thing and he knew he did the best he ever had and he was so proud of himself!
Here is Ben doing "Horse Sense". . .
Here is Milo doing "Love Somebody" but only at about 50%. He hasn't been as consistent as Ben lately in piano . . .
I'll only post the video of Max's final piece, Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk". But know that his 2nd piece was strewn with feeling and the "lyrical style" his teacher loves so much. . .
Between that weekend and this weekend, AK started her new job, I had a biz trip to Baltimore, we had a Scout Court of Honor, Max's school got a new playground, I got to play raquetball a couple of times, and the W's dropped in again. Oh yeah, we got our Honda mower back and mowed Gramma's 40-acre yard, then a truck dumped some dirt on a tarp on our lawn. And my wife was so excited about that that she used a relatively fancy camera to document it and post numerous photos of the dumping on her blog. And Hillary won the PA primary, making my wife very happy. And some other stuff. Big week, actually.
And this evening was our first raucous, righteous thunderstorm of the year. Thank you so much, Pennsylvania.
. . . it's wanting what you've got. That's what Sheryl Crow says on the Springtime CD I made for Alaska. And I bet she got it from someone else. In any case, that's what I keep telling myself. I'm not listening to myself, though. Don't you hate that? When you tell someone something they really need to hear? But they dont' listen? And they're you?
I just speculated that lumbego could be defined as odgida in your back.
That previous statement has got to be on someone's list of Statements Least Likely To Ever Be Uttered By Anyone. At least my me. I lived in the midwest for years, but I have no idea what lumbego is. I certainly can't spell it. And I'm only barely aware of odgida. I had a friend from Jersey who's father used so say ". . . got a touch o' the 'odge" and the leads me to believe it's something like indigestion. But in New Jersey.
That's what the birds are saying. And I am so grateful. One has moved into our awning, one has moved into the hornets nest that was constructed last summer. It makes me glad we didn't take down the hornets next last year. Lawns are starting to turn green again. Today we took Gramma Gaye's raised-bed garden boxes out of her basement, where they were built, and placed them out in her yard (AK made one of them 8' x 8'. It was magnificent. And it had to be dismantled to get out of the basement). We're planning out the summer's physical activities. AK is putting tomato seeds in peat pots, and I'm looking at calendars to plan scouting trips. I do believe spring has sprung.
Triangle Institute of Professional Photography That's where I was all week. My concerns were in vain it would seem, as I definitely got our money's worth in education from the seminar. I took a course in portraiture and it was just perfect. I learned from the other students and from the administration and others as much as I learned from the excellent teachers of my class. I learned about the business of photography, I learned about marketing and pricing, I learned about lighting and most importantly studio lighting. And I was lucky enough to learn all of this from working photographers who volunteer their time to teach others. It was an intense, fulfilling and tiring week. And while the cost was certainly a stretch for us, in truth it was a bargain when we consider the food and hotel expenses. I got to do stuff like this . . .
And I learned a lot about equipment. Everyone tends to believe/teach/preach that what they use is the most important and necessary equipment. So it was a challenge for me to remember that what I need is based on what I want to do. It was easy to remember that, well, I don't yet KNOW what I want to do. So I think I left Pittsburg, specifically the vendor show, having spent much less than most on equipment. One piece I did fiend supremely useful, and I knew it would be something I could use as soon as I saw it in one of my books about outdoor portraiture, was a giant 4' x 6' "gobo" with a black fabric frame hinged to a white diffusion fabric frame. It allows me to make a photo like this . . .
. . . even in the harsh noon-time light of a sunny day. Gotta get me a gobo. Or, as my shooting partner called it, a "gooboo". And a lightmeter. And a D300. And a large studio with a wall of northlight windows and 13' ceilings.
My goal for now is to try and NOT think about the business. This will be a challenge, I do so love marketing and I am so anxious to learn a new way to earn money for my family in a way that better suits us. But I feel these are distractions from the important question: what pictures do I WANT to create? What pictures would I get up everyday and create even if I had to pay to do it? What I've learned about the business is that you have to love it that much to stand out and have a truly marketable product. So for now, I take pictures. All kinds, of all people, in every type of lighting and context. In doing this, I hope to find my own joy and my own vision. I trust that if I can create something that is genuinely inspired, it will find it's own place as a foundation for business.
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.