Friday, March 30, 2012

The Great Big Lottery Winnings Musing Entry

As many of you in the United States know, there is a huge lottery drawing tonight. I don't usually play the lottery, but our project manager bought each of us a quick-pick ticket the other day (as well as some crazy stress relief toys and candy and stuff) which I thought was exceptionally sweet of her.

So I have a ticket. And that ticket could win. Like I have a chance, but I actually do. Statistically speaking, it is incredibly unlikely... but there is a chance.

And as it happens, when there is a chance or glimmer of hope or something, one gets to thinking. What would I do with all that money?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Eagle Project Workday

As you know,  we here are active with our local Boy Scout troop. Our neighbor Thane is a year older than Geoff and they've been friends  (with a hiccup here and there along the way but all told they're buds) for years.

 He started his Eagle service project  this weekend. At the end of our street, there is a building that the town Historical Committee is renovating so it can be a museum and meeting place. It used to be THE hot spot in town "back in the day" as it were. Right there at the end of my little street!

The building had fallen into disrepair because no one was using it anymore, and it was most likely going to be torn down. The historical society rose to the occasion, wrote grants, did fundraisers, made all kinds of effort and Washington Hall was saved. Someone found the giant sign that is hanging on the front of the building down in their basement, and gave it back to the town, freshly painted and fully restored. The place looks fantastic from the outside, and in the inside, work is ongoing. There is a meeting hall downstairs and a concert stage upstairs. It would make for a fantastic coffeehouse space. I may have to arrange something like that amongst peoples that I know musician wise.

Anyway, our neighbor Thane decided that he wanted to improve the exterior space by doing a huge property clean up, tree thinning, and planting perennial plants along the slope on the corner.  Seeing as he's lived in this neighborhood pretty much his whole life, and sees this building ever day, he thought it would be the perfect thing to do for his service project.

Not quite Ferris Buehler, but I have a day off...

Today we had a meeting at Geoff's school. He wrote an essay, tongue in cheek, satirical, meant not to be taken seriously, that was taken very very seriously, and I mean... very.

I won't repost the essay here, though tempted I am, because I do not wish to get into some heated debate with a reader who doesn't know my kid is kidding and thinks we should institutionalize him. I'm fighting a battle right now on the administrative front to make sure that he isn't suspended or expelled or punished.

But I've said it before and I'll say it again -- Jonathan Swift would have been sent to the principal's office for "A Modest Proposal" had he written it at age 15. And Doug said, no one should listen to 15 year olds, ever. That's how the Salem Witch Trials got started, because someone took a 15 year old seriously.

We laugh, we joke, it's how we cope.

Anyway -- the meeting went well, the people we WANTED at the meeting were not there, much to my disappointment and actually my anger. The people who WERE there were already on our page, and we were singing the same song, chanting the same chant... it was a good meeting but I just feel like this isn't over yet, we'll get another call that the people who weren't there now want to take things a step further and at that point I may just get all Momma Bear on them. We'll see. We'll see.

Doug and I got home, and I loaded the dishwasher, he poured a cuppa, and we chatted for a few minutes while he figured out what time the train was that he wanted to take. He left, and I cleaned the kitchen sink, went upstairs to check the virus scan on the computer (Geoff had told me the internet wouldn't run for him, that he was getting all these pop-ups that said he had to click here with a master card to clear the viruses... we had a talk about that ... he went to school and the scan was still running when we got back. Three viruses later, I think we're all set. I decide to head to work, feeling marginally not late at all...

and cannot find the car keys.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Observations in Contractor Land

In other news, I sit in a room with about 10 people or so. The six people on our team, myself included, talk very little. We come in, we set our noses to the grind stone, we cut and paste and QA and edit.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

What do you call a flock of eagles?

This past weekend, we had another Eagle Court of Honor for our Boy Scout Troop. Since Geoff' joined the Troop, we've seen the following boys get their Eagles: Jason, Chris, Rory, Colby and Christian. This weekend was Steven. And we've got three more in the lineup, Dallis, Andrew and Steve,  having their events in April, May and June. They passed their Eagle boards of review, but we're having their parties once a month which is pretty much going to make all the parents' heads explode. 

We have a ton of guys who are Life Scout which is the rank before Eagle. And there are kids like my son who have one or two merit badges to finish to enter the Life rank. Right now, I think we have about 5 Life Scouts working on Eagle projects, and 4 like Geoff who will become Life Scouts by the end of this academic year.

This is semi-unheard of. And we're only kind of super proud of this fact. A lot of boys quit scouting when they discover wheels, work and women.

I know I've said it a million times in the last 4 years, but I love this troop and the boys in it, and the families associated. Steven asked me to deliver the Invocation, the opening prayer, and as the Troop Chaplain I was incredibly honored. 

His dad had emailed me a list of different options from an online guide for Eagle Ceremonies. I asked him if it was okay if I wrote my own. He told me he'd check with Steven, and came back with "He trusts you, whatever you want. He likes the way you put things when you pray for the Troop... I was just sending these as examples." So I felt that it was a good time to be creative and pull out all the stops, for his honor and his special day. 

I am glad he asked me in advance. 

Literally, it took me days to write this thing. I thought about it, over thought it, under thought it, timed it while speaking quickly, slowly. Wanted it to be perfect, both religious specific and vaguely ecumenical, as he doesn't have a church relationship and I didn't want to O LAWD him to death. I did want to set the tone of the ceremony as one of reverence because, a Scout is .... reverent. In the end, this is what I ended up with: 
We are taught that when two or more are gathered, the Lord is with them. Please join me now in prayer.
God, we ask Your presence here today as we celebrate our friend, Your child, Steven.

Thank You for walking with him through the process of arriving at this day. Thank You for his parents who have stood by him, supporting him. Thank You for the adult Troop leadership who train the boys well so they are able to make it to this point in their Scouting careers. We thank You for each Scout who has gone before him, and each Scout rising behind him. Continue to love and support this Troop and all associated with it as we continue to love and support one another.

Bless each of us here today, and those who cannot be here with us for all different reasons of time, distance or departure. Keep us mindful that your spirit unites us across all of these obstacles.

On this very special day, we ask that You bless Steven. Remind him all the days of his life ahead of the words You spoke to us through the prophet Isaiah, that You will always renew his strength when he needs it, he will soar on wings like eagles, he will run and not grow weary, and he will walk and not be faint.

In Your name we pray. Amen.
I wanted to let the people in the audience know, especially our Troop Chairwoman who's husband just died last month unexpectedly, that we were all bonded together through this spirit, this family, this love. And a lot of Steven's relatives live very far away and could not be there, so the distance thing is for them. 

It was a wonderful ceremony. the VFW and Marines were there with commendations. 

Our local State Senator, Bruce Tarr, was on hand with a great speech and commendation. Steven was fantastic, his Eagle response was a speech that was fantastic and moving, and I was more than impressed. 

All told, great time had. Great time. And then we found a magnifying glass. Pictured is our neighbor, friend, and most likely our next Eagle, Thane.

He and I are dangerous together sometimes. Too much fun.

Monday, March 05, 2012

So, how's the new "Not Awesome" going?

Finished my first full week at the contracting position. I can't really talk about where it is, no one has SAID that I can't, but I have a pretty much long-held believe that one should never blog about work, bosses and co-workers unless one's boss is someone you met while blogging (Hi Jo!) which is why I wrote so much about "Awesome" and the people there in the past year of this blog.

I showed up nice and early last week, it is a beautiful facility. And I cannot stress that enough. Located on a former estate, there are trails and horse paths and a beautiful pond and greenhouses, and mansions (like 3 of them and I work in one). There is art everywhere, sprinkled about the grounds and all through the main part of the building. There is even an art gallery off the main lobby, and the installations there rotate out, and are published for people to come in and see for free.

There is a humongous state of the art production facility for the stuff they do there, all "green" and "sustainable" and whatnot. All told, it is a nice place.

Everyone is lovely, everyone is sweet and kind. They have a cafeteria that serves tremendously good food at a really decent rate, and I've had about 6 different kinds of soup, all hand made and delicious. Hands down favorites are the green curry lentil soup and the lemon chicken orzo.

It's not as good as the lunches Jo would make me at "Awesome" but ... I won't starve to death and die.

Our team leader is a Belgian with a great name and an even better accent, and fantastic sense of humor. There are six of us, and what we are doing is cutting and pasting content from one web based CMS database to another. It is boring. It is tedious. But .... headphones and getting there at 8am make the day move very, very fast. And I'm hoping it will be over soon. Three of the guys I'm working with were told by the recruiter it is a 2 month contract. I was told 3. So ... we'll see if we can quickly work ourselves out of a job.

There are girls on the other side of the partition from us who are doing graphic design, and reformatting print publications into a new template for PDF usage. I kind of would rather have THAT job but they sound like what they're dealing with is rather frustrating and I maybe should just count my blessings and cut and paste, cut and paste, cut and paste and go home.

In the meantime, I miss my "family" at "Awesome" and was very jealous last week when I put Jess on the train to go to work and I wasn't going with her.

But when I waited for her train to come back from the city, I got to sit at one of my favorite pubs and enjoy some Ipswich Ale while watching the news.

And with that, I leave you with a photo of one of the sculptures near where I park.