Monday, January 31, 2011

Hey, Kool-aid

Remember this?

Ah, the good ol' days. You just don't see this guy anymore, do you? Well, I don't, but apparently, he's still pretty popular.

My older girls and their friend decided to have a kool-aid stand a few weeks back; yes, it was barely 60 degrees, but they didn't care. Who needs warm weather for kool-aid, right?

I was skeptical, but happy to help with the all-important signage, as everyone knows that marketing is an essential part of any successful commercial enterprise.

Tastefully displaying the merchandise is important as well,

as is a good location, the right equipment, and a clear division of labor.

With all these in line, it didn't take long for the local neighborhood peeps to gather round.

Then to muscle in on the coveted corner spot.

But they did provide variety, offering, as they were, lemonade. But their sign?

Thanks goodness for those missing two front teeth!

Chilly as it was, some combination of cunning and cute got the people rolling in.

hey thanks, mail man!
And a few hours later?

They were all sporting a "big wide happy ear-to-ear Kool-aid smi-i-i-le."

Oh yeah.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekend 3 way: ready, set, go

First exercise

Then cocktails

Then even the sky seems to be moving

Friday, January 28, 2011

Magic January Fireworks Snowflakes

Our San Diego girl Jacquie wrote an email yesterday that read:

The talk around here is all about keeping quiet about the perfect weather so that our snowed-in friends and family members don't send us mail bombs.

I told her not to worry, not about me at least; San Diego's perfect weather is for enjoying, for the love of pete. I mean, they don't call it San Diego, yeah well, you know.

But the peeps around here? They do love to complain. About the snow, about the cold, about how badly the roads are plowed, about the slush. The thing is? It's winter. And the complainers actually seem to be the same people who complain about the heat in the summer. And I firmly believe -- and Mom backs me up here -- that if you complain about summer, you're not allowed to complain about winter too.

And not to be a sanctimonious basitd, but if you do complain about the winter, you end up complaining for fully half the year around these parts, and that is just too grim a life to live, if you ask me.

Plus, if you don't have winter? And, well, if you don't have a Mistah Schleckah, preferably with a few glasses of wine in him and a camera in his hands? you would not get weird psychedelic cool snowstorm photos like these:

Mistah was out there the other night during another doozy of a storm, aiming the camera to the skies, and that is exactly when the magic started to happen.

Man, it was snowing hard.

This one reminds me exactly of Sailfest fireworks:


A wild windy wacky winter night.

I know. I know it's hard. I know in one day hats fall into veritable lakes of brown slushy street water (check) and city buses drive right by without stopping (check) and cars and trucks pay no heed to pedestrians and do that slushy splash right onto said pedestrian's jeans while walking downtown (sigh, check) . . .

. . . but at least there's a cool sky, and our cool trees . . . 

. . . and sometimes Mistah switches into his Blue Period, and then things start to really get wack-o . . .

. . . then they switch back to to reality . . .

. . . and then . . . back to Blue.

It's fun, right?
Do you know that the State of Connecticut has now officially had more snowfall in Januray 2011 than any other month in recorded history?

Sure, those Cavemen may have had lots of snow in a random January back in their day, but they didn't properly record it, now did they?

And even if they had, Cavemen's records were always suspicious. Someone really should have audited their Caveman asses.

But Cavemen or audits or January precipitation records notwithstanding, Wednesday night was a fine night to stand on the deck and gaze up at the heavens and into the gigantic snowflakes falling down below.

It really was something. And anybody who knows us, or who has been on us deck, or who has vicariously enjoyed the lovefest that is Champagne Homerun Derby upon that selfsame deck recognizes the trees:

It's these guys. They're just in a little bit of a different mode these days. We're all in a different mode around here these days. Sometimes we have the beach and a blanket and a cooler of beers and an umbrella. And sometimes we have snow-covered sneakers and mud-splattered jeans and mittens and a slush-soaked hat.

Sometimes we have corks flying into the green, tall, stately evergreens of Champagne Park.

. . . and sometimes we have to content ourselves with Magical January Fireworks Snowflakes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

keep on with the force, don't stop

I really, really love my friends. I love Beth, and we had such a great time at the brewery the other night, laughing about the fact that we were both too lazy to photograph the ultimate blog fodder of walking inside to find all available barstools occupied by our offspring. And I love Des, whose baby-est girl ran in circles around that brew pub until the other patrons didn't know whether to start making big-eyed babies or join the convent. And I love Autumn and  Mary, (holy cow, their guest posts were genius) and Missy, my rock star posse, with whom regularly executed theme evenings never cease to thrill and entertain. Just today I received an invitation to Missy's upcoming Poker party, which promises myriad laughs and adventure; but today I'm here to tell you about the  dance party that Mary hosted last weekend, where a big time was had by all.

Ever since Santa brought a wii to her happy home, Mary has been engaged in a fierce battle to become supreme ruler of the Just Dance revolution. Apparently, her son held the title, and was a force to be reckoned with.

But last weekend Mary's boys went out of town, and all da single ladies came out to play.

To play Wii Dance, specifically.

At Mary's we always re purpose the breakfast bar to become an hors d'oeuvre bar  for the ages.
I mixed my sister Jane's newly shared recipe for our cocktail of choice: the Hop, Skip, and Go Naked!

And we were off.

Mary had moved apart the furniture, hung glittering stars, and secured no fewer than four remotes for our dance par-tay .

The little girls were ready to go first, after Mary set them up for certain success:

but those little girls very quickly discovered that the grown ups were willing to fight hard (and dirty) for equal time on the dance floor

So we took turns

and continued to intermingle the generations

So here's the thing - you choose a song and then depending on the program (hint: Choose MJ! Choose show tunes! Choose girl groups!) you sometimes get to choose from an array of representative cyber dancers. Other times, there's no choosing - when it's Hammertime, you get MC Hammer.

wait... what????

Nevermind the total-lack-of-pigmentation Hammer, it was finally time to hand over the camera and take up the remote! Unfortunately (for you), the recipient of my camera hand off was none other than my wild girl. Who, unfortunately (for me), delights in the unflattering.

Thank you, baby!
Screw her, though. I was on FIRE.

What's that you say? I'm going right while everyone else goes left?

Who had the high score, beeeeyaches????

At some point, the props came out.

looked how confused we are!

Look how chagrined we are! Check Autumn, in her sky blue lei and gangsta attitude

But then suddenly , Yaaaaaay!

'cause this is THRIIIIILLER
The show tunes were righteous, but MJ stole the night

Don't stop 'til you get enough

Who could ever get enough?

I really, really love my friends.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Monday was a bleak, bleak day. I arrived at work in a timely manner, booted up my computer, made a quick cup of tea in the kitchen, then made my way back to my desk only to find I had no access to ANYTHING!

That's right. Nothing. No Internet access, therefore no email access, and not even access to our file server, which houses every single file and database and program needed to get anything done around these parts. I promptly emailed, Bryan, our go-to guy for all things IT.

Thank god for smart phones was all I was thinking at this point. What if I didn't have one, with his number already in there, how would I have even contacted him?!

His reply was less hopeful than I'd hoped for:

Yeah, something got screwed up there. Steve is supposed to get a tech in there.

Wha?? That's it? It's beyond your help? We're calling in a tech?

I took things into my own hands, as there were no other hands around, and promptly got the file server to come online. Doesn't anyone know that you need to unplug the thingymabobber before you do the hard boot of the file server? Well, I do. So I did. I unplugged the thingymabobber, restarted the server, and viola, access to all of our files was restored. (Audible sigh of relief.)

Next I called the local cable company, our Internet providers. I requested they ping us to see what was what. They did. There was access o'plenty, the problem was on our end.

I unplugged then replugged the cable modem a couple of times. No change. I'd hit a pretty big wall. There are way too many server boxes and cables and monitors and other techy stuff in the server room for me to even guess where to start.

I had to face hard reality.

I'd just have to attempt to survive without it. I forged on. But I'd start a task, get one fourth of the way through, then realize I need to get just one web address, or check our website for just one fact before I could go further. We're an online publishing company, for goodness sake,  we are online for, well, everything.

It was hellish. Seriously. I know that sounds dramatic, but it took a lot  of creativity, and copious sticky notes to myself, to remember what I would need to check online before every single task would, in fact, be complete.

Add to this the fact that our authors, who had no access to our online submission system, were calling to let us know that they had no access to our online submission system, and that I couldn't even get any personal business done, being as I was, totally cut off from the world (okay, I did have my phone), and you'll know why I barely survived unplugged Monday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Way Home

San Diego is, apparently, experiencing some lovely weather these days, while the rest of us poor suckers are in the midst of a Deep Freeze.

But good for them, I say. It's supposed to be sunny and 75° and perfect there every day; I mean, they don't call it San Diego for nothin'.

Gazing longingly at Jacquie's sun-drenched and beachy photos yesterday made me almost like the contrast between that West Coast and this East one. Okay, like's not the right word. But at this point in January it seems like winter will be here forever, so looking at those photos is like watching a science fiction movie, or reading fantasy fiction about a world far away and totally different than ours.

And nothing shows the difference between that far-away world and this ice-encrusted one more than our trip home from Chicago last month.

Despite our hugely successful drive west, Mom had planned to fly home, so Mistah and I pointed Lexie east and drove it ourselves.

And the land was absolutely frozen in.

The colors were all muted blues and whites and grays, as opposed to those vibrant California ocean blues and azure skies and pinkpurpleorange sunsets.

But because I'm now convinced it will be winter forever, I'm living in the moment . . . 

. . . appreciating the stark, frozen landscape . . .

. . . reveling in the glory of winter misery.

I love these half-blurred, out-the-window shots;
they're so Rainman.
Yes, my friends, it looks like winter is here to stay this year.

So  my advice is to revel in it and glory in it and appreciate it for what it is:

Cold and muted and icy and snowy and frozen.

They don't call it winter for nothin'.