She came by 'Maggie' indirectly from Magellan (because she was such an intrepid explorer...as a kitten and even on her last day in my front yard). But her full name, Maggie May, came from this song.
Still missed...still seen, though very seldom now. I think she knows we've got our hands full with Princess Fiona, her rightful heir.
Keep exploring, Maggie.
Totally forget to mention this recently shared-love gem:
I'm surprised that there's some early-70s trivia that I DIDN'T know...but apparently the 'pilot' of "Happy Days" was this episode of "Love American Style." Too cool!
Neo? That's me and you-oo-oo.
Yesterday, I heard this song on the way to work. And inexplicably, I got a lump in my throat and tears came to my eyes.
(Sorry, couldn't find a decent embeddable version.)
Now, I will confess...I think "Dirty Dancing" is one of those completely wretched movies that is still a delicious guilty pleasure. Behind "Road House" and "Red Dawn", I think it's one of the top examples of Patrick Swayze overacting. And it has one of the best movie lines ever uttered: "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
But still...I'd never much liked this song, and my reaction to it puzzled me somewhat.
But today I figured it out.
As you've likely surmised from my entries, the past several months at work have been very difficult. We've undergone change after change after change, losing so many valued coworkers and enduring repeated new directions to our program plans.
One bright spot for me, throughout all this turmoil, has been the people I work with. For instance, I have the honor and pleasure of 'supervising' some of the smartest, quickest, hardiest editors I've ever known. (I used the quotes because so little is needed on my part to supervise these folks...I've always contended that the main job of a manager is to make him/herself obsolete. If I'm right, then I've certainly done my work. My editors continue, on a daily basis, to humble me and make me proud with their knowledge and their good work. THEY teach me something new every day.)
But my most favorite person to work with over the past year isn't even employed by my company. No, it's Neo--mentioned a few times before on this blog--our book designer who works for another company in the Chicago area.
The majority of the time Neo and I have spent together has been over the phone...collaborating on photo selections, status meetings, and 8-hr chapter layout meetings. He and I have been face-to-face only on two occasions...once when he came to Austin when the project first started and I briefly popped into a meeting he was in, and then again for a long lunch when I was visiting the Chicago area last spring.
I've worked with lots of book design folks over the past 15 years, and I can say without hesitation that Neo is by far the most talented designer I've ever had the pleasure to work with. He cares about each page and how the images work together with the text to provide the best possible educational impact to the student. He's gone above and beyond any designer I've ever known to find the best images, to create the best balance between images and text, to make sure that every page is doing what it's supposed to do. It would be hard to make the average reader of the SSC understand how unprecedented this is--but in so many occasions in working with my editors on certain pages and pieces, I've said "Let's engage Neo on this to see how best we can make this work." I can't say that I've EVER had such confidence in a designer before in my career as an editor. And I'm simultaneously proud and humbled to know that he has a similar respect for me as an editor and editorial lead on a program strand.
But beyond all that...working with Neo has just been plain delightful. He's one of the funniest, easy-going people I've ever known. A lot of people dreaded those 8-hr chapter meetings but I secretly looked forward to them, because it meant lots of fun time in the presence of Neo and his talent and humor. Despite working together for less than a year, we developed lots 0f 'in' jokes that resulted in laughter and good times: anything Hello Kitty, rusticles, narwhals, Marsha, dog-heaviness, kittens on skateboards, sad trombones, male ballet dancers in unfortunate leotards...and, most recently, Schneider from "One Day at a Time. "
Remember the crummy goings-on at my company that I've chronicled in the past months/weeks? Here's what led me to understand my reaction to the cheesy song.
First, they took Robert (our former department director).
Then, they took Il Duce, my beloved boss.
Thursday, they took Neo.
That's right. Due to further 'organizational changes,' we are once again stopping the program that we are working on, which means that we are no longer engaging the design group we were collaborating with. Which means I am no longer working with Neo.
Soon, I expect that 'they' will come and start cutting off my fingers.
Okay, maybe that was a little morbid. But it's an accurate reflection of how pained I am and how uncertain I about what my 'work' is now. Whatever it is, I won't be doing it with anything close to the engagement I had before last Thursday.
Anyway, to loop back around...despite the sheer craziness of the past year, I've had some unbelievably rewarding times at work--and most of that is due to working with Neo. Neo...I genuinely had the time of my life working with you over the past year. My job was not only bearable but also fun and rewarding.
And I owe it all to you.
Thanks for all your Xmas presents today (sorry I broke the big one already--but really, what did you expect from me?!?) and for accompanying me on a very fun-filled lunch. And most of all, for introducing me to this great song:
Merry Christmas, and thanks for being my bestest girlfriend EVARRRR!
P.S. Let's learn that dance in the new year, mmkay?
Congratulations on your big day, Mr. and Mrs. Dad! Here's hoping your marriage is always a safe harbor. Bon voyage!
(P.S. Pirate theme not intentional...it was the only version of the song that was embeddable. Works quite nicely, though...)
Scout Nation, it's unlikely that you recall it but several months ago, during a long-lasting, late-night session of video making with my friend Jul, I managed to lift her flagging spirits with a cold-medicine-induced jaunt of midriff-baring, fake-cowbell-playing around her little editing studio to the tune of "Hard Day's Night." (For the record, that may be the greatest number of hyphens I've used in a paragraph.)
I assumed that Jul was laughing because she understood the source material I was riffing on. I learned today that this was a false assumption because, apparently, Jul has this thing called 'a life.' She had, in fact, never seen the legendary skit from Saturday Night Live in which Will Ferrell achieves cowbell genius.
But someone tipped her off, and now she knows that that bit, along with most of my unabashed ploys for making others laugh, is based on someone else's genius. But somehow, learning this seemed to make it even funnier to her.
It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. All I know is that I can make Jul laugh with my pale imitation. Though I really do think (read: hope) that my midriff imitation falls a *bit* short of the real deal. (And don't you miss the word 'midriff'? Nobody says it anymore.)
Here now, the original iconic bit from SNL. And as funny as Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken are, also pay attention to Jimmy Fallon. His inability to keep a straight face is what really sends it over the top for me.
If Jul wants more cowbell, we should probably give her more cowbell!
Scout Nation, last we spoke was before Thanksgiving, and I halfheartedly promised to post over that holiday. I should have known it was not to be. Aside from Bosco being laid low with a cold during that time, I was pretty much paralyzed emotionally and creatively by the impending layoffs that my coworkers and I knew to expect upon our return in December.
As it turned out, my job was safe and I am still employed. I know I should feel lucky that in these economic times I didn't lose my job, but mostly I feel that I kept my position at too great a cost. You see, in addition to several other brilliant coworkers/treasured friends in my department, my boss--known on this blog as Il Duce--was also laid off.
Aside: The backstory of his nickname is this--Once Il Duce was telling me of a particularly heated discussion he had with our then-departmental director. In his retelling, he likened the scene to a tense standoff that occurred during WWII between Mussolini and Hitler over a piece of land in Italy. After his analogy, I queried for clarification--
"So, in this scenario, [Department Director] is Hitler."
"So, therefore you are Mussolini."
As the real Mussolini's nickname was Il Duce, I thereafter bestowed the nickname "Il Duce" to my boss, especially here on the blog.
Back to modern times.
This past Thursday, 12/4, my coworkers and I watched as several people were led into our now-director's office to be given the official news. In what I consider to be The Biggest Blunder Ever Made by a Corporate Entity in the History of Capitalist America (tm), Il Duce was the first called in.
Several of my coworkers and I watched in disbelief, in tears.
We considered a Quaker-type protest....a huge group of us standing silently outside the director's door, conscientiously objecting to Il Duce's passage to Human Resources for his 'outplacement counseling.' But we knew it would do no good, so we just continued to watch and cry as more and more of our dear friends were led down the hall and then to HR.
Later that day, after taking several of the finest people I've ever known out to lunch after their own 'separation from the company', I caught up with Il Duce. After a long hug, this was our conversation:
Me: I'm EXTREMELY unhappy about this.
Il Duce: I understand that, and it's okay. But please, be happy for me. I'm happy.
And then he walked off. HUMMING.
All the people laid-off in my department were kept on the payroll another week, ostensibly to take care of unfinished business and transfer things to other folks as needed.
Il Duce was back on Friday morning, wearing dress clothes with a tie, no less (we have casual Fridays, and I've been so apathetic [and fat] as of late I've not gone beyond jeans for the past couple of months). I went into his office for one final session of inappropriate questions.
Another detour: (I don't think I already mentioned this on the blog, but if I did, give me a break, ok? I had an 8-hour meeting today followed by a 2-hour Brownie Christmas party in *extremely* close quarters. My long-term memory is shot.) One of the best things about working for Il Duce is that I could ask him anything, tell him anything. I referred to this as my "inappropriate" sessions with him. Almost every day, I would go to his office, close his door, and either tell him things I shouldn't regarding office politics, etc, or I would ask him company questions that were not rightly my place to know the answer to. He always gave me an honest answer when he could, told me he didn't know when he seriously didn't know, and told me he couldn't tell me when it was OFFICIALLY none of my business. I cannot begin to express how much he taught me not just through his answers but also through his treatment of me and his serious commitment to my growth as an editor.
So last Friday, the day after Black Thursday (that's what we're calling it) , I went to his office for one more inappropriate session. I asked him, "Are you *really* happy about this? Or are you just putting on a brave face for the rest of us?" And he stopped his file-purging, looked me right in the eye, and said this: "Let me tell you something. I couldn't sleep last night. And the reason is because for the first time in many years I'm EXCITED about my future."
This gives me comfort, though I have absolutely NO idea how I, much less our department, will get along without him. Il Duce was just coming up on his 18th anniversary with the company. The monumental amount of institutional/publishing knowledge that walked out the door with him is staggering. Despite his long tenure in the industry, he had visions for the future, was still taking risks, was ready to meet the challenge of the digital age full-on.
But it was not to be. And that's a damn shame for me, my company, the publishing industry, and the children of America.
Il Duce and I met about 14 years ago...he was still a baby editor, too, with just a few years' seniority over me. We never worked on the same products at that point, so he was always just my friend (and also my chemistry consultant). Occasionally, before he became such a high-falutin' exec with the company, he would grab me as we walked past each other in the hall and start waltzing with me. (He was instructed to give those kinds of shenanigans up as he rose to the management level of our company.) He came to my wedding. I have a treasured picture of him holding an 8-wk-old Bosco at a company party. Only once I returned to the company after a 4-yr hiatus did he become my boss---and our friendship deepened as we developed the most rewarding working relationship I've ever had.
Today was his last day in the office, and he spent it cleaning out his files and turned over lots of materials to other people. He was still there this afternoon, as I was leaving. I stopped in, and he honored the two requests I made of him before he left.
1) He can affect an awfully stern, loud voice that he often used to faux-yell at me: "DAMMIT [my last name], WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!? This never did a lot of good, because I always dissolved into hysterical laughter whenever he unleashed it. At my request, he yelled at me one more time this afternoon--after I ensured that there were still coworkers around to hear it.
2) One last time, we waltzed together in the hallway.
At the edge of tears, I broke away and told him I would miss him and that I love him. He replied in kind, but then said, "Ill be around...we'll be in touch."
And that simple sentiment will be the last line of the 2008 Science Department quote list, which those of us that remain have decided to shut down after today. I will post that quote list here soon.
Long live Il Duce--my friend, my colleague, my boss, my mentor. He will be missed...in so many ways, but most especially just as an everyday reassuring presence in my daily life.
P.S. Much to the Jr. Scouts' delight, Il Duce left me his company candy jar, which he always had filled with M&Ms. I vow to keep that jar always filled for the (dwindling) remaining editors in our department who need a sugar fix. Who knows...maybe I can even make them laugh by faux-yelling at them or answering and/or evading their inappropriate questions.
Honesty, though? I don't feel anything like fine.
Now, in no particular order, are The Reasons I Love McLovin:
--How she got her blog alias: Out for an "off-site meeting" with some other female coworkers, McLovin and I went to see "Superbad." While the other women in our group were cringeing awkwardly in their seats and watching with one eye closed, McLovin and I were guffawing constantly and hysterically. Her blog alias comes from the nickname of the breakout star of the movie.
--BTW, when are we going to watch that together again!?!
--McLovin and I have a Mutually Assured Destruction Pact. We know sooooo much dirt on each other, if one of us spills we're BOTH goin' down.
--She's one of the top 5 readers/commenters of this blog. Sure, sometimes I have to MAKE her read it, but still...
--We have completely different tastes in men, in almost every single way. This means that not only do we not infringe on each other's market, we can offer objective opinions to each other about said markets.
--She thinks I'm funny. And she has an awesome laugh, which makes it even that much better. Some of my favorite memories of work are talking to her on the phone and hearing her laugh through the receiver while stereophonically hearing her laugh from across the building.
--If our company goes belly up, we have plans for an EXTREMELY successful moving company.
--We complement each other very well physically. She's dark and exotic, I'm fair and Celtic. She's bubbly and friendly, I tend to the shy and reserved in public. I've more than once been her 'wingman', and it's a role I not only don't mind but am happy to serve. Though I'm not above giving a 'come-to-Jesus' talk to any candy-ass 20-something boy that toys with her heart. I've wagged my finger in guys' faces and everything.
--She'll sing any song I ask her to at the Hut...and she'll keep singing even if my laughter at the hither-to-unknown lyrics (see: "Santeria") borders on hysterics such that I'm falling out of my chair and she can hardly stop laughing herself.
--We both think the word "Pronk" is extremely funny in a cartoon sound-effect way.
--She is freakin' COMPETENT. More and more in my life, I appreciate competence. McLovin doesn't hesitate if she doesn't know how to do something...she gets in there and figures it out or finds out who can tell her how to do it.
--She's hands-down the best dance partner I've ever had. (Sorry, Whit.) We could jitterbug the pants off anybody on that silly "Dancing With the Stars." If you want to be twirled, McLovin's your girl. (Hey...there's a motto there.)
--The Junior Scouts adore her. Really, what more stringent criterion is there? When I tell the girls I have a surprise for them they almost always ask "Is it McLovin?!?" (Well, they use her real name. But you know what I mean. And yes, GG, they almost always follow it up by asking if it's you.)
--I can tell her she looks like a bag lady...and while those around us are horrified at my insensitivity, she just laughs cuz she gets where I'm coming from. And because really, she was actually going for the 'bag lady' look.
--No matter what I tell her, no matter how often I ask "Is that wrong?", she answers, convincingly, "No! Not at all!!!"
--She's been through hell and back, and she survived. She's had to make tough choices, but she always has done what's been right for HER. She helps me to understand every day that you can't take care of anybody else if you don't take care of yourself.
--She's a bigger sucker for adopting stray animals than I am. And THAT'S saying something.
--All my male friends are in love with her.
--She not only laughed at my particularly offensive curry joke, she still remained my friend after I said it.
--She understands, and doesn't question, my feelings about Wilford Brimley mustaches.
--Three words: Hungry For Health. ROAWR!!!! (Or is that four words?)
--Despite our close friendship we can also work together professionally, quite well. She's saved my ass so many times at work I often call her the "Ass-Saver." I was technically her 'boss' for several months...that was a cushy job, lemme tell you. The girl is a dream to work with.
--She has tasty shoes (thank you, Marc Burgamy!!!).
--She's a role model. This is a girl who ROLLER BLADES to work. Like, many miles and stuff. I'm cranky if I have to sit through more than 3 minutes of commercials on my 10-minute drive to work. She's done marathons and half-marathons, on roller blades and off.
--She knows that you should always 'ask a trusted adult' for help if you have any kind of problem.
--When I asked her to house-sit for me, not only did she take care of and give lots of loving to my cats but she also fixed my dryer, oiled my squeaky door-hinges, and befriended my cranky alcoholic neighbor. THIS is McLovin in a nutshell.
--She's happy when I'm happy; she consoles me when I'm sad. She's ready and willing to stomp the s**t out of anybody who hurts me. She's willing to accept as her close friend anyone who's MY close friend.
Those are just a few of the reasons why I love you, McLovin. I hope I get to help you celebrate many, many more birthdays.
Bless your heart. :-)
Totally unexpectedly, but totally needed, I heard this song--my lifelong favorite--tonight. It really helped me.
Here's a beautiful cover from Ben Harper.
"The grand facade...so soon will burn. "
More thanks than I could ever express to sk8erboy and Grandma for your loving words today.
Eternal gratitude to my fellow MHS 80-something graduate, Sk8erboy, for turning me on to Butch Walker.
I can't wait to see you rise, and I can't wait for you to shine....
Leaving work today, I turned on the radio in the middle of a song. I soon recognized the singer as Sheryl Crow. Frankly, I'm not a big Sheryl Crow fan. But I liked what I heard, so I kept listening. And soon, a man' s voice was singing along.
A duet. Cool. I looked at the radio console...one of the things that made me buy my car was that the radio display showed the radio station, song, and artist currently playing. (I'm easy that way...plus I liked the 6 speeds.) Pretty low-tech today, but 3 years ago that was IMPRESSIVE!!
And what did I see? Sheryl Crow and....KID ROCK.
OMG!!! I like yet ANOTHER Kid Rock song.
Kid Rock and me...one of us is changing. More than likely, it is both of us.
After the final presidential debate, I can't offer more analysis than this: It's a great song. Enjoy.
"I put your picture away... sat down and cried today.''
The Jr. Scouts (still enthralled with all things Harry Potter) love this video. They attempt to enact their own version of this 'song' often...even though there's only two of them. Sometimes they begrudgingly let me join in, just for the extry voice.
My favorite part? Ron...Ron...RON WEASELY!!!
P.S. Why does Dumbledore mysteriously become naked halfway through?!?
My new fave song, by semi-unknown artist Matt Nathanson.
He's been around a while, but this is the first song to get significant radio play.
I love that he's not the traditional pop pretty boy...wonder how long before he gets those snaggle-teeth fixed?
Also heard a radio interview with him...and he is funny. Very, very funny. And funny goes so far with me.
Hold on, hold on...
Rough weekend. Bile laid me low yet again, perhaps the worst since my last hospital stay. Sinuses got messed up, too. And too many memories.
The upshot was that the Jr. Scouts were housebound due to my being cut low. They were oblivious, building an intricate campsite in their bedroom. Complete with tents, lean-tos, and hiking trails. I daresay they had more fun than if I'd taken them to SeaWorld, a fleeting thought I'd had on Friday night.
By this evening, I was feeling much better and decided to take them out for a fun dinner at Benihana, which they enjoyed very much. (I'm going to have to learn how to make a volcano with some onion slices and some oil, for sure.) And their joy made me feel so much better. On the way home, they were drowsing in the backseat when this song came on. For some reason, it gave me something to hold onto.
"Reverend Green be glad to see you, when you haven't got a prayer...."
I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemies eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt, and pillars of sand
I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
Once you'd gone there was never, never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world
It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in.
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People could not believe what I'd become
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?
Hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world
Happy 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day!'
This is a BIG holiday in my department at work. And even though I worked at home today, through the wonders of the IntARRRRRGHwebs and remote connectivity I was able to partake of the pirate goodness that abounded.
For example, someone emailed in about "Just exactly what are we supposed to finalize at step ARRRRRGH of the production schedule?"
Jokes were circulated: How do you know you're a pirate? You just ARRRRRGH.
I was introduced to a pirate keyboard (only one letter...R. Would make manuscript development soooo much easier.).
And though I was only connected via email, I was still called 'matey,' told to 'walk the plank' (can't I just lie down on it? I'm so tiARRRRRGHed), and saw the phrase 'Avast ye' several times in the opening lines of serious emails.
Again...if we couldn't laugh...
So...today, at least: "I'm a pirate, that I be!!!"
In the 15 minutes or so between the time I lie down and I crash into sleep lately, I've been re-reading my Sarah Vowell collection. In one story from Take the Cannoli, she talks about her love for the Beach Boys' song "Wouldn't It Be Nice."
Which dredged up something...
Verrry early in my pregnancy with Bosco, I had lots of aversions and a few cravings. Not atypical, if you're talking about food.
I had the food ones, but I also had aversions to and cravings for MUSIC.
At the time I was trying to listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a Pakistani singer of Sufi devotional music. I wasn't trying to be pretentious, I swear. A friend had played some of his songs for me a few weeks previously, and I really liked it.
But newly pregnant, I couldn't listen to it. It made me nauseated. Seriously. No matter how often or how many different times of day I tried to listen to it.
What I craved? The Beach Boys. I have no idea why. I'd had no real exposure to the Beach Boys in my life, except for that gawd-awful 'Kokomo' during my college years. But suddenly I couldn't get enough. I wore out a burned copy of the Beach Boys' Greatest Hits.
In particular, I craved "Wouldn't It Be Nice." In those first three months I could listen to that song hundreds of times in a row, much like later in that same pregnancy I could have Tuna Helper at every meal (and between) for weeks at a time.
Just remember: I was not driving that music/tuna bus. Bosco was.
Anyway...the literary reminder made me pull up the song on YouTube, and it brought back a rush of much-needed warm, happy feelings. Really....wouldn't it be nice?
The Jr. Scouts are quite enamored of this commercial:
After seeing it for the first time, they were rockin' around the house singing "Don't you forget about me" and trying to do that side-to-side shuffle dance.
Imagine their surprise when I flawlessly executed that dance move myself.
"How do you KNOW that?!?" they disbelievingly asked.
I explained briefly that that whole commercial was based on a very important movie from my younger years. To which they responded, "Oooookay...now show us how to do the dance!!!" Which I did, though I'm not quite sure they've gotten it yet. I think you have to be a teen to do it right.
Of course, the movie being ripped off in this commercial is "The Breakfast Club." I have seriously mixed emotions about this commercial and how it trivializes such a ground-breaking film about being a teen in the 80s and teenhood in general. But I'll save that for another post. For now...here's the real thing:
And Tebe? Major props to you for pointing out, I think after even your very first viewing of this movie, that during the opening credits the camera pans across a previous class's photo showing that Carl the Janitor was president of his class at Shermer High. It's one of those special John Hughes nuances that lends such weight to (some of) his films.
P.S. And Jul? Beyond the movie, this song will forever remind me of Robert's video and our time spent making it. (See the entry https://sweetscout.typepad.com/sschronicles/2008/02/salute-to-rober.html )
Last Sunday, 9/7, was Grandparents' Day. Due to my preoccupation with many things, mostly Julius's death and its aftermath, I completely dropped the ball on getting the appropriate cards and greetings sent out.
Luckily, all the grandparents know that I tend to run late with such things anyway (still working on that bday present for you, Grandma).
Better late than never, here's my tribute to the Scouts' grandparents. It's directed at the grandmothers, but I think Papa will get a kick out of it anyway.
The Grandmothers' Song:
(Yes, that is Steve Martin, from the groundbreaking 70s comedy album "Let's Get Small." (I had it on 8-track tape.) The pic above shows Steve Martin with a fake arrow through his head...someday you'll see an extreeeeemely interesting post about an adventure Tebe had in his younger days while wearing a similar fake arrow.)
Just promise me, grandparents...if you DO decide to put a live chicken in your underwear, give me advance notice. I want to videotape it. And then put it on the blog, natch.
Happy (Belated) Grandparents' Day to Nana, Grandma, and Papa!! (And to Granddad Scout and Grandpa, too--may you get a good laugh out of this together.)
This post can be thought of, in biological terms, as a hybrid cross between my feelings of late and GG's alerting me to the existence of the following website: www.80smusicvids.com.
Bitter, much? Maybe a tad. Let's hope it's just a phase.
Yep, GG, you were the first (and only) to answer my Summer of '69 challenge correctly, including the name of the singer--Bryan Adams. (Jeebus...weren't you like 4 when that song came out?!?)
For anybody else, I would have provided the clip of 'Summer of '69' as the prize. But for you, GG? No, I have something far more special in store for you...
And yes, that is in fact Bryan Adams singing. And apparently wearing my glasses.
Face it, GG...there's simply no escape from this monster we created last 4th of July. :-)
A couple of times on this blog (most recently yesterday, referring to Jon Bon Jovi's big-hair pic) I've referenced Bumby's hair having had a party the night before.
Bumby inherited The Dad's and my super-fine hair, with a tiny bit (but not much) of Tebe's curl.
On top of this, Bumby is an incredibly active sleeper. She thrashes a lot, the most annoying effect being a kick in my side or a fist in my face if she ends up with me by morning.
The most EVIDENT effect, however, of her nighttime whirligigging is her Amy-Winehouse-cum-Bob-Marley hairdo every morning.
Yep...we get dreads AND a beehive to comb down before school starts every morning.
So here is a song for Bumby...by the infamous band Trout Fishing in America. (Jr. Scout Trivia: TFA was Bosco's 1st concert, at 6 months of age; she slept through the whole show at the Cactus Cafe on the UT campus).
This video was filmed in Austin at the Backyard, a lovely outdoor concert hall.
Bumby...you may have it hard in the hair department. But you've got us all beat in the dimples and laughing categories.
I can inspire myself!
After writing the last paragraph of the post titled "All Summer Long" below, I searched YouTube for Barry Manilow's "It's a Miracle." Found it!
Not one of his bigger hits...in fact, I'm not sure it ever got any radio play (Tebe...any memories?). But still it was one of my faves of the Barry Manilow album we played in the den. This is the song that made me want to be a backup singer. (There's a whole blog entry unto itself there about wanting to be a BACKUP singer, not the main singer...a theme that's lasted throughout my life. But that post will wait for another day.)
I think my favorite part is the bridge...where Barry unexpectedly ventures into manly territory with his lower-octave "I never knew you looked so good...I never knew anyone could..." etc.
Oh lord...searching for this video, I found many many many other Barry Manilow (almost abbreviated to 'BM' but, um, ick) songs that I loved and will have to be posted soon. I'm prepared for the readership drop-off that will follow...I think.
Maybe I'll keep posting pics of the Jr. Scouts occasionally, just to keep you coming back.
[Warning: Very long, and probably not interesting to anybody but me and Tebe and Grandma Scout.]
Scout Nation, "summer" is sorta over for us, as school starts tomorrow. Bosco enters 4th grade, Bumby enters 2nd. Both are so excited they cannot sleep (and therefore I cannot blog uninterruptedly. All is as it should be.). Expect first-day-of-school pics (in their spiffy new vests from Nana) by Wednesday at the latest. I wouldn't project such a late posting date, but I was out sick from work most of last week (some kind of avian flu, I'm sure) and expect it to take me at least until EOD Tuesday to catch up on work email.
Anyhow. On other fronts...
Had an interesting convo with Grandma Scout tonight. She confirmed that it is, in fact, Jon Bon Jovi himself that makes her a big fan of the band Bon Jovi. (Geek fact: His name is actually Jon Bongiovi...it was changed to make sure his prepubescent fans could pronounce it properly, of course.) Oh and Grandma? You said you are not familiar with JBJ from his big hair days? Here's a big fat dose of it:
Then again, maybe this is just a pic of Bumby when she's just woken up. (Her hair tends to have parties at night. Though she doesn't have any tattoos yet...that I know of.)
Still, I stand by my man, Richie Sambora. Even in his own big hair days. Look pretty and sing? Okay. Look pretty and sing AND play a scorching axe? You had me at hello.
Funny how long it took me to find a pic of big-hair Richie. The first 3 pages of Google images either showed his mug shot or him cavorting on the beach with Denise Richards. Whatever...I'm nothing if not patient.
So...further into the convo, Grandma mentioned how surprised she was that she liked a Kid Rock song, the recent hit "All Summer Long." My response? Helllllooooo!!! Have you not been reading my blog?!? (See the 7/15 entry "God Help Me..." https://sweetscout.typepad.com/sschronicles/2008/07/god-help-me.html )
Grandma Scout remarked how she couldn't help but love it, as it included riffs (my words, not hers) from "Sweet Home Alabama." I replied, "But didn't you notice the other song sampled?" (or words to that effect...I'm embellishing here, Grandma). She replied, "No." Shocked (Tebe? I know you're busy raising the Meryl Streeps of tomorrow, but C'MON!!!! I can't keep Grandma Scout up on her pop culture all by myself!!!!), I informed her that the song not only pulls from that Lynyrd Skynyrd anthem but also from Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London." That's part of the sublime genius of this Kid Rock (KID ROCK!!!!! OMGPONIES!1!!!) summer anthem.
Here now, Grandma Scout, to show you the blend (and go to Tebe's house if you need to to hear how it all works out so beautifully)...
Werewolves of London, by Warren Zevon:
Sweet Home Alabama, by Lynyrd Skynyrd (which by the way is almost as hard to type as 'chihuahua'):
"All Summer Long", by Kid Rock:
And just so you know, Tebe and Grandma Scout? Have never given up my dream of being a back-up singer, formed so long ago singing to Barry Manilow's "It's A Miracle" in our den on Michigan (look at that? Kid Rock sings about Michigan!) Ave. I want to be the blonde with feathered hair and the scarf, naturally.
August is almost over. Yay!
The Jr. Scouts came home from camp yesterday seeming to know bits and pieces of this song and dance (though, thankfully, not the slutty parts). Bumby is especially good at the Hammer wide-leg scooting back and forth move. So, the Junior Scouts will likely be heading off to school on Monday with a whole new schtick.
But I draw the line at parachute pants. I could barely date guys with parachute pants...no way would I ever let my darling daughters show up in school with them. Or skin-tight bike shorts, for that matter.
I don't listen to the radio very much. Maybe 30 minutes in the morning while I'm getting ready for work; maybe another 30 minutes total while I'm driving to and from work. (And often then I'm listening to my iPod, not the radio.)
Which is what makes this soooo weird.
Ever since Grandma Scout revealed her secret devotion to Bon Jovi (see the post "Another Unexpected Surprise From my Blogging Efforts" on 8/9), I've been hearing Bon Jovi on the radio constantly. Seriously? I'd say every 3 out of 4 times I've turned on the radio (and I flip stations a lot), I've heard a Bon Jovi song.
I've come to believe this is all some sort of magical thing Grandma Scout has conjured to make me post more Bon Jovi tunes. For instance, here's the Bon Jovi tune I heard on the way to work this morning:
At least I was able to find a version in which the band members have lost the big 80s hair and settled into their more masculine new-century shags.
Tebe got me to love Nickelback, but he used the subtle method of slow exposure and shared experience. But you, Grandma? You worked some serious radio mojo. Well played, Grandma Scout...well played.
P.S. Grandma, I suspect it's Jon Bon Jovi himself who won your heart. But me? I'm a Richie Sambora girl through and through.
GG begged that I ''please, please, please find an excuse to post this?!"
Though I believe THIS is the original version (and sorry, GG, but I like this one better):
But here is by far the best musical version, by Cake, and somehow magically animated with my beloved "Lost" characters among others (including good old Napoleon Dynamite). But seriously...just listen to the music. So sublime.
And just so's ya know, GG? McLovin ADORES the Cake version.
Still...so sorry, but I WILL be posting about *that* movie soon. Long, multiple posts even.
Nice try, though.
to give a shout-out to the best line in "Wanted, Dead or Alive" (see post directly below):
"I've seen a million faces, and I've ROCKED them all."
Of course, as is often the case, it's all in the delivery.
And just so you know, Grandma...I've now played this song enough on YouTube that the Jr. Scouts are big fans. Don't ever think you aren't leaving a legacy. :-)
Scout Nation, several very positive, surprising things have come from my year+ of blogging. Chief among these is my reduced fear about writing, which has grown into a true love of writing (not to mention my viewing EVERYTHING I see as potential blog--or someday even, gasp, BOOK--material). Also, I've learned just how much my family and friends care about me. And finally, I've discovered that you can find many wondrous things on YouTube.
My recent surprising discovery due to blogging? [I hate ALL CAPS but in this case they are called for.] MY MOTHER IS A BIG FAN OF BON JOVI. Yep, Grandma Scout admitted this recently after the 8/5 blog entry "Have No Idea Why...".
So this one's for you, Grandma Scout. McLovin and I have a shared history around this song...we have on a few occasions provided backup vocals to folks performing it at our favorite dive bar, The Canary Hut. (Whose mustard gold Brady Bunch barstools I STILL totally covet. I actually asked about buying a set last time I was there...the lead bartender looked confused about whether to hug me or throw me out. But there was no sale. Dammit.)
Actually, McLovin (who can actually sing) provided back up vocals, while I did cheesy dance moves and pretended to fire my awesome cowboy pistols. Think Solid-Gold interpretive dancing, people.
Grandma Scout, you simply must come visit and let me and McLovin take you to the Hut. I can't promise you'll hear any Bon Jovi, but you will certainly be entertained. And more than likely hit on.
...but I CANNOT get this song out of my head.? I'm not even close to being?a Bon Jovi fan.
In any case, I'm going to download it here in the hopes that it will move from my brain into yours.
(And sorry about the random question marks...TypePad's got some bugs tonight.)
I have some decent, substantive blog entries in the pipeline. Many even about the Jr. Scouts! But until then, please indulge my ADD-like wanderings among YouTube. Recently took an online 80s-music-knowledge test, which uncovered these Phil Collins gems from my subconscious.
KC, did you happen to notice the shoes Phil Collins puts on with his suit? Yep, the ever-cool Converse All-Stars. Stop fighting it, already.
As of today, I've been blogging a full year. That's been 499 posts, 199 comments, and almost 21,000 (!) page views, an average of about 56 views per day (admittedly, a good half of those have been mine to proof my work or to get to my fave websites from the list at left).
I had it in mind to make a big deal of the anniversary, with awards and everything. But as the Junior Scouts are leaving for Girl Scout Camp tomorrow, I have more pressing business to take care of. Maybe soon I'll hand out the awards and the lame prizes that go along with them.
But I will say this...thanks for reading. I think I'm up to about 15 regular readers--not bad.
And I'll share that on this day, my greatest joy has been driving in the car, listening to "Here Comes the Sun" and hearing Bosco and Bumby sing along. There's a backstory there, which I'll share soon (though GG, you probably know what's coming).
Here's to the next year of blogging.
This one goes out to Dr. Subtext, who yesterday tried to do some home improvement without the proper safety equipment and ended up with a big load of sawdust in his eye. He apparently tried to tough it out by simply writhing in terrible pain and exposing his children to horrible cursing with each turn of his head. I urged him by email and phone text to go to the ER...NOW. An eye is a terrible thing to waste. Apparently, he heeded my advice. (See, Bosco and Bumby?!? Some people DO listen to me!!!) By his account, his cornea is scratched but nothing was 'embedded' (ewwww).
Though I've yet to see it, Dr. Subtext is now apparently wearing an eyepatch. But he informs me it's the "Karloff kind, not the cool Depp kind." In my opinion, any eyepatch is cool. (An aside...a first-grade classmate had to wear an eyepatch to help strengthen her lazy other eye...I was so jealous.) Dr. S, I have a whole cache of safety goggles/glasses at work I can swipe for you when you're ready to begin the home improvements again.
This song seemed fitting, plus I'll take any excuse to play a Heywood Banks song. The audio sucks and I have no idea what's going on with the video. But just listen to the lyrics.
Heal soon, Dr. Subtext--you Columbo cutie.
Told ya it'd be a short hiatus.
Scout Nation, I may fall short in the boyfriend department, but I am abundantly wealthy in the boys-who-are-friends department. Big blog hugs to Senor FT, The Friend, Dr. Subtext, KC, and Hank for your kind and comforting words over the past few days.
And one for you, too, GG...I know you were out of the loop on this one, but you're my best friend and your love follows me everywhere. (Awwwww....)
But extra special virtual hugs and kisses to Dirty Dan, not just for his comforting words but his beyond-kind gesture. ([sing-song] Somebody's been reading past entries!!! https://sweetscout.typepad.com/sschronicles/2008/05/imbalance.html)
You got it exactly right, right down to the seashells in the bottom of the vase.
And trust me, this bouquet is NOT going to be placed in the bathroom!
Oh Lord, how I still adore that old guy with the ZZ Top beard and the powder-blue tux.
Finally at Midway, waiting for my flight back to Austin. I have a few hours before my flight, but I like to get to the airport early. I'll admit that part of that's because I'm my mother's daughter. But also, 1) I LOVE the people-watching the airport affords you and 2) I found on my NY trip that I do my best writing in airport bars.
This trip has been a weird one. Equal parts good, bad, and just plain bizarre. The good part I already blogged about below--my meetings with my Evanston counterparts and my best bud Neo. Also, the driving tour of the John Hughes School of Filming History.
The bad part? Well, we'll just chalk it up to bad timing. See also: the song "Everybody Plays the Fool." As a scientist, I decided to test my hypothesis that if you have a strong virtual chemistry with someone you should meet them sooner rather than later. My observations and data confirm that my hypothesis is quite faulty, and more research is needed.
The bizarre? Thanks to the GPS system I got with my car, I saw practically every inch of the Chicago suburbs, good and bad. I checked the system repeatedly, and each time it showed that it was set to navigate me through the shortest distance between my starting point and my destination. But what it really was doing was sending me on whichever route would possibly make me stop every two blocks at a red light. Often, this was very pleasant...many of the wealthier Chicago suburbs have sweet little town centers with honest-to-gawd village greens. Other times, I spent my every-two-block-stop watching sloe-eyed people lounging against corners of buildings or listening to the deafening beat coming from the car next to me...at least I think it was a car--the tires were so large I actually couldn't see up far enough to determine the type of vehicle. At least not without risking getting shot in the face. Or perhaps that's just my Grandma gene talking again. (Grandma, you know I kid because I love.)
More bits from the trip, divided again into good, bad, and bizarre...(and as I write this, I'm sitting next to an older couple in a pub...the woman is non-stop complaining about the smell, the crowd, the lack of dessert on the menu, the slowness of the service...her husband is pretending to doze. It is a people-watcher's bonanza!)
The good--the Indian waiter at the restaurant in my hotel was so nice I thought he somehow must have intuited the bad parts of my trip. He was so attentive and sweet, and when I wiped up the butter that I'd managed to smear on the table, he thanked me.
The bizarre--A wedding took place at the hotel over the weekend. It was a BIG AFFAIR. Black tie, satiny dresses, everyone dressed to the nines. Yet all involved seemed to be from the Baltic States. It was bizarre to see bridesmaids walking around in their champagne-colored bridesmaids' dresses and hearing them talk in what sounded like Borat's native tongue. Fascinating. This morning, when I went out to put stuff in my rental car, there were hundreds of flower petals strewn about, many of them mixed in with cigarette butts. I thought, quite sincerely, best wishes to the happy couple.
(Brief aside: The grumpy woman next to me in the pub is complaining about how disgusting her cod sandwich is. My thought: That's what you get for ordering a cod sandwich. At an airport!!! But still, she continues to eat it.)
The bad--The couple next door to me in the hotel woke me up with their rowdy sex at 4 am. In a way it was fascinating...this had never happened to me before; I thought you only ever heard people having sex in the movies or in bad novels. But no, there it was...the headboard knocking, the woman's moaning, and then the man's overexaggerated exclamations that he was 'finishing.' Seriously, he was so over the top that I thought about clapping and shouting "WELL DONE, SIR! THANKS FOR THE SHOW!!"
(Update from the grumpy woman next to me: "This place is pretty lame (as she tries to squeeze the last bit of ketchup from her bottle on the table). They can't even invest in ketchup." There's a full bottle on the table next to her, less than a foot away from her hand.)
Enough of all that. Scout Nation, I've got some emotional weirdness to process...I may take some time off from the blog. I don't know how long it will be. Check back in periodically, is all I can tell you. Someday, probably sooner than you'd think, I'll be back from hiatus.
Until then, here's the BEST part of the trip...I'm going home. I'm going home to see my babies, whom I've been apart from over a week. As the song below says..."I'm going home to the place where I belong, and where their love has always been enough for me....
Feeling particularly gray right now, but I will never forget the years of color you have brought me.
Who knew how ironic these words would be...
"I know you will love me, either way."