Saturday, August 9, 2014

Why do Family Pictures Have to be So Hard?

When people think about the challenges of big families, they often think some thing are really difficult that aren't so much for us (getting all the kids to bed, cooking for a crowd).  But they often don't consider how hard other aspects are.  

Let me share something that is extraordinarily difficult for a large family - taking a group picture where everyone looks good.  Or even okay.  Why does it have to be so stinkin' hard?

We recently had our family picture taken for our church directory by the professional photographer they supplied.  Before we reviewed the photos to choose from, the photographer admonished us not to expect a picture where everyone looks great.  He basically told us to lower our expectations.  I let him know they were already sufficiently low and that I just wanted everyone looking in the general direction of the camera.

Because of copyrights, I can't scan in the picture to show you how it turned out. 

But I can share a sample photo session we did at home after church one day with just 6 of the 7 kids.  There were a dozen others equally entertaining.  And no, these were not intended to be silly.  These were suppose to be the "nice" pictures.

Finally, the best we are going to hope for.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Date With Sir Paul (and Ben)

Best.  Date.  Ever. 

For an early birthday present, Ben got us tickets to see Paul McCartney in concert in Minneapolis on Saturday.   I won't invoke your envy by describing all the awesome songs he sang (just to me, I am sure) on a perfect summer evening.

Yes, this photo was taken with a flip phone.  Ben was so embarrassed to use it he tried to talk me out of taking a picture of ourselves when we were there.  Finally, during the encore he relented.

A big part of a concert experience is the crowd surrounding you.  And we had some characters around us that added to the amusement of the evening.  The demographics for the concert were all over the map.  They ranged in age from the pre-pubescent to those with white hair, white athletic shoes, and white fanny packs.

Within an arm's reach of us, we had the 20-something weeper.  She cried through Blackbird (understandable).   She also cried through Lovely Rita, Helter Skelter, and Day Tripper. 

There was the sweet guy sitting in the row in front of us who shouted encouragement between every song.  "Great job, Paul!"  "You can do it, Paul!"  "Keep it up, Paul!"  His enthusiasm was infectious and he added to my joy of the evening.

We also had the hipster who really, really liked the Wings songs.  Sure he was polite during the  Beatles songs and Paul's most recent songs.  But once those Wing songs came up he hopped the entire time.  His vertical was impressive while holding his beverage of choice. 

But the most memorable audience member of the night was the, for want of better word, slutty dancer beside me.  She spent the first half of the concert taking selfie after selfie on her phone while posing in what I  assume she thought were alluring poses.   She wore what can only be generously described as a fringed sports bra and floppy hat.  When she wasn't taking her own picture, she kept asking others to take her picture, sometimes with her boyfriend, sometimes alone.  I avoided eye contact to prevent being trapped like the poor couple who spent two whole songs taking her picture for her.

Toward the end of the evening, she grew tired of documenting the evening and flipping through the selfies.  As the alcohol either wore off or kicked in, she grew slightly belligerent with Boyfriend.  Then at one point she grabbed a socially awkward, middle age man heading toward the bathroom and began doing a provocative dance while holding his hands.  He clearly did not know how to disengage.  I was equally parts horrified and amused. 

I was close enough to look up Paul's nose if I wanted to.  Not that I would.  That is weird and gross.  But I could have if I wanted to. 

One of my biggest concerns for the night turned out to be nearly a non-issue.  You see, I hate the part where the audience is suppose to clap in unison.  I dread that part because I can never find or stay on the beat.  I end up feeling extraordinarily awkward either from clapping at the wrong time or from looking like I am not enjoying myself by not clapping at all.  I had discussed it ahead of time, letting Ben know that my lack of rhythmic clapping is in no way an indication of my enjoyment of the concert.  Fortunately, we were only prompted to clap together for half of a song. 

I left with my little crush on Paul intact.  No, I don't want to do anything really inappropriate. I just maybe want to hug him for a moment too long - just when it gets to that slightly uncomfortable phase.  That's all.  Ben seems to be okay with my little crush on the 72 year old man - who to be fair, looks and acts like a man a couple of decades younger.

The only down side I can think of from this evening is knowing that I am not going to see a better concert.  How could anyone be better in concert than the cute Beatle?  Thanks Sir Paul and Ben for the best date ever.