Saturday, August 7, 2010

Except for a glitch in my laptop, which threw off my PowerPoint presentation by stopping it mid video clip, followed by me fumbling around with my pointer finger on a key pad that showed activity only on the screen everyone in the room was looking at but not on the screen of my MacBook Pro where I was used to seeing it, which would allow me to restart the slide, but what I’m now just realizing perhaps was possible by just following where it was on the big screen in the room and clicking “later” as fast as I could before finding what was still open in PowerPoint and getting back to that big squall when Jamie and Sol visited, the rest of the presentation went fairly well and was very well received.  When the Q & A was opened up there were no hands in the air but many supportive smiles.  France thought it went well.  She was nervous.  She admitted on microphone at the start of the presentation that she would not talk long because her heart was racing and she’d had a glass of wine to calm her down but it had had the opposite effect.  I stuck to the script and I think it was received well.  I still think the funniest part was watching James and his son Erik fold the flag in the wrong way from the beginning which resulted in a rectangle, at least with stars out, which could not be folded in such a way as to end with a triangle.  Watching them get to that realization is watching a family that seems to be so in sync it was impressive.  The part of the presentation which got the audible “awes” was the two slides that Jamie had just sent this week of their silhouettes, of him and Sol, made long in an open country field by the setting sun, the first of him on bended knee and the second of the two, locked in a kiss.  And she said yes!

There was a fellow there, Tom, who had lived on Seguin, the son of caretakers in the early part of the 20th century, from age 18 months until he was 12, who talked my ear off but was none the less fascinating and I wouldn’t have missed a word of what he had to say about rich details of events and the mechanics of how things worked and what they were for on the island.  He had a lot of stories to tell.  What was even more revealing was hearing from a knowledgeable local source that his older sister, whom I met at the same event, was as interesting and engaging as he was but their stories were often conflicting.  There was a woman in Michigan who wrote a book about Tom’s family – they were the shipbuilding Schofields – who had contacted him by phone with questions for which she sought answers to tell her story, but because she hadn’t adequately identified herself or her motives, was rebuffed by Tom, yet he still recommends the book which, he says, I can probably find in the gift shop of the museum about his family, but alas, he isn’t in it because he didn’t know what her intentions were when she contacted him so she left him out altogether.

Our weekend guests were lovely and brought great hostess gifts including two bottles of sauvignon blanc and dark chocolate, the Friday New York Times and the latest New Yorker.  Are we that transparent?  The wine was enough to win me over.

I wrote this to Dee on Friday:

And we’re excited today as it is Darko’s 25th birthday and I’m making a chocolate mousse cake.  We had dinner guests who spent the night in the cove, a French couple and their daughter who live in Massachusetts.  Naida made moussaka and Ann brought a tomato salad and added basil from our garden.  They’d run out of all their fresh provisions.  I think France was delighted to speak French for a while.  We had three languages going around the table and at one point realized that the only Americans present were me and the little girl.  Most of the day was foggy and Darko and I almost finished the mowing in the rain.

And this to Chris and Amy on Saturday:

I was in the middle of grilling last night when you texted so I only responded to your most pressing need, that of the recipe.  Some folks use twice as much lime (Alex and Doug use about ten times, which makes for a very tart margarita) but I think the proportions I sent you are the best.  Never use Rose’s Lime Juice.  It tastes like Lestoil.  One part fresh lime juice, one part Triple Sec and two parts tequila.  We grilled zucchini and Bosnian style hamburgers with brats, and for desert, the second day of chocolate mousse cake left from Darko’s birthday celebration on Friday, but this time with ice cream we’d managed to bring out still frozen, after the Summer Fest.

I think we were a hit.  I tried to follow the advice your company put out in their statement and used the slides and videos as a tool in helping us tell the story.  It seemed to work.  The best was the flag video which I edited per France’s suggestion to use the sound from Tony (David’s brother from Vermont) playing The Star Spangled Banner on guitar and cut everyone’s best moments to show one single lowering and folding and then everyone presenting in the end.  I got Chris’ Happy Fourth of July comment.  I realized in the process that the most interesting clips where when I kept my mouth shut and stayed out of taking over the process.  It worked best when I just let people do it and captured their style.  It’s an important lesson for me.

Also Chris, you were right about the grill.  I took the lid to the Whistle House to tighten up the handle, which had gotten pretty loose.  Then I thought maybe the vent could be tightened as well and sure enough, with the right tools, it could.  Now the handle is at the top and it doesn’t flop around.  I’m learning many lessons here.

I’m up often to see the sunrise but I’ve never gotten a decent photo until now.  Here’s this one plus some other recent shots of Darko and Naida.

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