Not everything translates.
In case you've been wondering, I've been light on the blogging because of an extended trip to the States for both business and pleasure. It started with NXTcomm and ended with my sister's getting married. Here is my sister Sara and Brett, my new brother-in-law. They smiled like that practically the entire time I spent with them.
Sara and Brett decided to build their home on some land out in the Catskills. Meanwhile, they are living in a rickety trailer. While visiting we stayed in a pop-up camper we borrowed. Other friends and family stayed in various places, including inside the trailer, in an array of tents on the grounds of the farm, and I don't know where else. Some mornings I woke up and couldn't find all the people I knew had gone to sleep there the night before. By mid-day everyone emerged, but it's still a bit of a mystery to me where they had been all night.
Since it's taking a while to get the building permits for their house, Brett has taken on a number of other useful projects, like clearing the future driveway and the future space for the home. He's upgraded the barn, and started building a stone hen house. So when we got up there, there was plenty of barn-painting, cement-mixing, and other stuff to do. And there were plenty of us to do it. Almost all of these people in this picture were staying in tents, pop-ups and the trailer at some time during the week. At some points there were 16 of us, so there was plenty of work just making food and cleaning up after eating (There's no dishwasher and we tragically out of paper plates for a few meals.) Oh, and we were organizing the last details of the wedding, too.
The most intensive job was building the hen house. I have never heard of a stone hen house, but Brett dreamed it up and everybody got involved. You know, for people like me, who produce things like blogs, there really is nothing to compare with the satisfaction of creating an actual solid thing out of stone. Unfortunately, joint injuries prevented me from taking active part in that activity, but I got a good shot of my kids, nephew and brother doing it.
Brett's brother, Brad, spent many a day on this project, happily. When the friends of Sara and Brett came up to the farm, they also pitched in building as well as painting the barn.
I looked for some good pictures of myself among the many taken by myself and family members. I chose this one for this blog, because it is a testament to my and my family's ability to express skepticism in any situation. Here we are, dressed to the hilt, in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable, rehearsing the wedding. My daughter, my brother, and I have the unmistakable look of disbelief and suffering, despite having faith and enjoying ourselves.
I've been involved in a number of community projects, as you, my faithful followers, probably know. One of the main secrets to successful projects (of which my last one was not) is to get other people on board. No matter how ridiculous or enormous the project, if you can get enough people on board, you can get the project completed. How else can you explain landing on the moon? How ridiculous was that?(I know it's unpatriotic to say so, but to this day, I am not sure exactly how useful the moon-landing activity was.)
Brett is exactly the kind of person who could get people to think that landing on the moon is a good idea, or that it makes sense to build a hen house from stone, or that the barn must be red because brown just isn't good enough. He doesn't convince anyone of anything. He's not slick in any way. He's just a guy who believes. He isn't skeptical and he never puts down an idea. He believes it's going to be fun, and, in fact it is. Everybody had a blast.
This vacation helped remind me of the importance of the kind of optimism and love of life that is necessary to achieve truly great results. Hey, if nothing else, I have to drop the attitude just so I can have some decent photographs of myself.