Monday, April 30, 2012

Random phone photos

Sometimes I take a photo with my phone with a blog post in mind, but the story is the photo itself and there's really nothing more to say.
Other times there's a bit of a story, but not really enough to spend more than a five second caption explaining, and those are the treasures best saved for a Monday morning camera dump all over your blog.

It's a pack of notecards! Do you have 8 people you'd like to correspond with in this format?

Swing set? Torture device? S&M? 

The beach at 5pm on an April Saturday. Bliss. Cold Bliss.
My children showed me where they are building a lair in the canyon. In case of apocalypse,  find me here.
That is all.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend 3-Way: Oh So Scary

I know; I was scared too.

Okay, perhaps not *scary,* but creepy nonetheless

You want to see something really scary?

Friday, April 27, 2012

I heart new orleans

I typically enjoy attending neurology conferences, where we are able to connect with our authors and editors and attempt to secure more subscribers. I've had the good fortune to go far and wide on these trips over the years, from Argentina to Canada and to many places in between.

But this year's trip? I think this year's trip takes the cake. Don't get me wrong, last year's trip to Hawaii was fun, and Chicago is always a blast. Buenos Aires was a treat, and Toronto was a perfect place to rendezvous with my mom a number of years back, but New Orleans? New Orleans was a blast.

First off, I have always wanted to go there, but never have. Secondly, my friend Dana was there, and although she continues to work full time for the company, she moved to South Carolina 4 years ago, and I've not seen her since her departure.

We both started working here the same year -- 15 years ago! We've both grown up here, and have gone through life's milestones at roughly the same time. We have a lot in common, and she is a good time.

In addition, although children and spouses are great, and life would not be the same without them,  what mother do you know who wouldn't appreciate a few days away? In a hotel room by herself? Peace, quiet, and complete clicker control, if she in fact even wants to ever turn on the TV. Plus the temperature set to just her liking?

So, the Crescent City, Dana, and time away? A recipe for an excellent time.

In true me style, I have very few photos to testify to my good time. I am no Mistah Schlecker. But I do want to give you some of the highlights.

Music. Music. Music. It's everywhere, and I say that even though I headed home last night, the opening night of Jazz Fest. Dixieland jazz breakfasts and Frenchman Street were my personal favorites.

Food. Food. Food. My boss outdid himself on the dinners he took us to. Emeril's, Bayona, August. Reservation-only, at least at this time of year, and the type of place where the waiter brings you a 'little something from the chef' between your courses or before your meal, and matches the cloth napkin to your pant color (two blacks and a white for me, thank you). And when we weren't fine dining, we were feasting on chargrilled oysters, crawfish, seafood gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, home-made biscuits with butter, bingets with two inches of powdered sugar, etc. Plus we were washing it all down (sans the bignets) with various types of Abita, the local and very tasty beer.

Architecture. I loved the French Quarter. Giant painted shutters and hanging plants, old brick buildings with ornate metal work, hidden patios and slanted walls. It was enchanting. True, some of it smelled, especially early in the morning, before the beer stench was sprayed down, but enchanting nonetheless -- making those 'for sale' signs mighty tempting.

Of course I only scratched the surface of NOLA. Work kept getting in the way, and a week is way too little time to experience the city even without a minute of work. Dana and I did manage to knock a fair amount of activities off our our combined lists, but there was so much left to be done....

Jacquie, I think it might just be the perfect place for us to meet up with Aline. And Hap? Grab your banjo and head out, you would have been the perfect sit-in for the band we heard on Tuesday night.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Asheville Love Fest

To attend Thirsty Thursday in Asheville, you first have to get there. As discussed.

Mistah and I like to drive south on I-81* into Tennessee . . .

[*Thank you, Lisa.]

. . . and then drop down into Western North Carolina.

Actually, I say "drop down" because we're heading south . . .

. . . and it feels like we're going forever downhill . . .

. . . but Mistah pointed out Johnson City TN's elevation is 1635 feet and Asheville NC's elevation is 2134 feet.

The bastid is right again.

But nevermind that. Have I ever told you how much I love Runaway Truck Ramps?

I love Runaway Truck Ramps.

And I'm getting pretty good at the ol' taking-photos-while-in-the-passenger-seat photography.

Ah Asheville. Just when you think you've seen all its beauty in its mountains . . .

. . . you start to see its people.

And, man, does Asheville have some good-looking people.

And I'm happy to report I know a lot of them.

I'm related to a lot of them.

The world's cutest goddaughter. And she's all ours.

What did we do in Asheville, you ask?

Well, besides visiting with the world's most beautiful peeps . . .


I'm changing her name to Goddessdaughter.

. . . we ate a lot.

Yum, Salsa's.

And one afternoon I found a sunny spot to do the puzzle whilst Mistah book-shopped.

We kept looking around Asheville and saying, "Why can't New London be like this?"

Oh, and we also drank a lot.

Everywhere you turn in that town there's a pub that brews delicious beer.

Jack of the Wood is one of our favorites.

Yum. Beer.

Mistah finessed a new way to photograph beer.

Pretty cool, huh?

And everywhere you look, those mountains . . .

. . . and look! My beautiful sister!

Our last night we went to a taco place down by the river . . .

Yum. Tacos.

Fill in your own captions for our facial expressions here.

Asheville was always a great city, but now they've embraced their river and railroad track spots, and it's better than ever.

It's a fabulous place on the Earth . . .

. . . especially if you're Thirsty.

Oh, Asheville, what a town you are. How hard it is to leave you. But you know what makes it a whole lot easier?

 We're Chapel Hill bound, baby.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

game face

Turns out, I'm not really a casino person. It's not that I dislike gambling, as evidenced by my throwing around of cash at the horsey track each summer. It's just that I am not entirely clear on what I'm supposed to do with myself at a casino, and I have this thing about liking daylight and clocks and, you know, air.

All this aside, I had a really fun time at a casino recently! We spent a couple of nights at a wacky place just outside of Palm Springs in celebration of a great friend's great big birthday. I think part of the reason it was such fun was that I'd had a little training on gambling behavior the previous week at that very same friend's most righteous house party.

Believe it or not, their house doesn't usually look quite like this. They moved all of the furniture out and brought in some peeps to set up a working casino! It was very cool, and completely risk-free since the chips we were gambling with would eventually be traded in for raffle tickets that we used for chances at fabulous prizes.

This didn't devalue the chips, though. It was serious gaming with serious rules and serious expectations for serious behavior.

I wasn't just being silly, though. I was teaching people serious, valuable life skills.

See how the student surpasses the master!

Walk the lily, grasshopper.
So, I'd had some refreshing about how to handle myself at blackjack, although I came away without a clue as to what goes on at the craps table. No matter, though! Soon enough, we found ourselves out in the desert at a strange sort of oasis where a cloud of smoke hung overhead and daylight seemed a distant memory.

The first night, we whooped it up like high low rollers and came out ahead. But we really weren't there for the gambling, it was a big fancy hotel and we had many small people to entertain! Thankfully, we were lacking nothing in the fun-to-be-had department. 

That is not a bong in Desi's hand. You know how when you go to a resort, you buy one house drink in a souvenir cup so you can  refill it for the duration of your stay from your own stash while maintaining your stealthy decorum? Those green numbers were our decoys. Because they were so stealthy. And nothing says decorum like an arm's length of mai tai at dinner.   
There was also a lazy river to keep the small peeps  happy and entertained.

It was enjoyed by the big peeps as well.

At the end of the day, there were big beds full of beautiful girls.

And nearby, there was Palm Springs, with its pretty sidewalk eateries and brunchie spots for our pleasure.
And shops in which to find ourselves sufficiently entertained.
So I'm not a casino girl, no. But the peripherals one can find in casino land? I'll gamble on that kind of fun any day.