Thursday, December 27, 2007

We get to be Kathy's gays!!!

Peter and Eric gave us tickets to see Kathy Griffin in NYC next month with them!!!!

That so rocks!!!

We love you guys!!!!


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Letters from the Edge

It's that time of year, again. Time to get your family and friends' lives over the past 12 months summed up in a typewritten letter in a very small font so it will fit on two sides of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.

We've done the holiday letter thing in the past - and we've largely ignored it many years. But this year, I'm trying something different.

I am including the URL of this blog in the holiday cards that we send to our friends (not our family, tho - then we wouldn't be able to blog about them), giving them the choice as to whether they want to read our holiday letter...or not.

We're also trying to avoid the back-patting and boasting "Little Jimmy turns 11 next week and just finished his law degree..." that seems to pervade those letters.

So here goes:

Our 2007 Holiday Letter

2007 turned out to be a lovely year for us. We finally had the flexibility and finances to get some house projects done - new awnings, a new back door, fencing, real walls and trim in the dining room.

We love this house and we love living in Kingston. I recently had a headhunter approach me about a very cool social networking job - in Detroit. I politely declined. We're just digging the Mid Hudson Valley too much.

And we love our friends here. As in the past, our house was the party spot of choice after the Farmer's Market each Saturday - in fact, our friend told his new boyfriend that he better get used to being at our house every Saturday, 'cause that wasn't about to change. LOL

Not to say we don't socialize at other folks' houses - we get to attend some great gatherings. In fact, Darren's house has become the Halloween event destination and we had a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner with Lesleigh & Danny this year at their digs. And Peter gets the New Year's Eve crown for his "non-lame New Year's Eve party." He also throws a mean but always enjoyable summer (and sometimes an indoor-outdoor luxury) barbecue.

For those of you who got the Hyacinth reference just there, good for you.

Readers will be glad to hear that our pets continued not doing anything remarkable or noteworthy and will not be discussed further.

It came to our attention that Brian and I have been together for 16 years, as of this past summer. Go us.

Our old faithful Toyota Camry gave up the ghost this year. With about 215,000 miles on it - this bi-coastal trooper followed us from the Napa Valley to Northern Vermont and thence here. One day, it simply stopped going backwards.

And now we have the delightful "shoe."

Brian continues to love his employment and is eternally grateful that he spotted the lunacy in his potential new business partner and beat a hasty retreat from the kingdom of crazy. His employers adore him - and he really enjoys being back with wine again.

This year's gardens were Brian's masterpiece - with the judicious help and application of about 5 cubic yards (think 5 garbage dumpsters) of black dyna-mulch. It was a great growing season this year - with our roses still growing and trying to bloom into early November.

Big Blue continues to be a land of sunny delights for yours truly. I joined the corporate internal and executive communications team this year as the internal web editor for technology and innovation. I designed and launched (and solely maintain - sigh) a new internal web site around our innovation strategy. I also had the stretch assignment of creating and executing an entire I&E communications plan - web, video, audio, etc. - for a four day event in New York City where we hosted more than 300 chief information/technology officers from around the world.

It's been a rewarding year - in a number of respects. Especially since our stock value has creeped back up again - wheee!

Aside from a couple end of the year colds, we've been healthy, happy and prosperous in 2007.

We continue to love our lives and where we live. And our friends (and even our families) keep the laughter and joy moving ever forward.

We wish you all a beautiful and joyous holiday season - full of love, laughter and friendship.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Back in the game - I think...but I don't know if I want to be

Well, fans - it's been an interesting week.

I feel like I've lost the entire week to being sick, regardless of the fact that work got done, meals got made and Christmas decorating is well underway.

But there's light at the end of the tunnel. The coughing is less, the sneezing has slacked off, and I had the first truly good night's sleep in over a week last night.

And just in time to get buried by a winter snow storm. We're expecting 7-8 inches of snow today.


On top of all that, my dad has been back in the hospital since last Friday. He - as we feared - developed a staph infection where his hip had been replaced and became massively ill.

They had to remove the replacement hip components, clean all the infection out, and start him on a course of antibiotics.

The surgeon says it will be at least six months before they consider trying the hip replacement again.

Which don't have a hip, you don't get to go home.

So, Dad will be moving to an assisted care facility for the duration. With no guarantee for the future that he'll ever be able to walk again. Or go home again.

Mom is still in adrenaline-driven "dealing with it" mode - she hasn't been home for three days due to the ice storm that rolled through there earlier this week - she's been staying at a hotel near the medical center.

I know that the moment she gets home and out of the eye of the storm, reality is going to hit. And I'm just sorry I can't be there for her when that happens.

We'll have lots of things to discuss - living situations, long-term care, protecting assets, and all that jazz - the kind of stuff that makes me want to roll up in a ball in a corner with my favorite blankie and hide from the reality of being an adult.

I feel so badly for her. She's been a virtual prisoner of my dad's life for the last 12 years and she's planning to retire in June.

But to what? An otherwise functioning husband - mentally sound and reasonably healthy - stuck in a nursing home for the rest of his days? Or bed-ridden at home?

I hope I'm wrong, but I think the new year is going to suck, ya'll.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Sick. Pissed.

I am still fighting this damned cold - after five days. And I am so not a people person right now.

I haven't had a cold in decades that lasted longer than two days - so I am not taking this at all well.

My head hurts from coughing - my back and neck are out of joint from coughing - and I feel like I'm hiding a bowling ball behind my eyes.

For a short and glorious period of about four hours yesterday, I was cough free. No medication, on inhalers, no nothing - just good Irish whiskey and soda whilst watching classic holiday films and decorating the house for the holidays. Perfect.

Now it's back. Has been all day. And I'm out of whiskey.

Did I mention that I was pissed?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Happy holidays, red demon! I got you Nyquil...

Oh boy - first cold of the season is here. And just as I was getting into the holiday spirit. But thanks to modern medicine, I am hopeful that it will be short lived, as I have ingested enough Zicam to wipe out plague.

Fingers crossed.

I took Nyquil the last two nights, which usually works well for me. But I'm starting to see a difference from previous years.

I used to sleep soundly through the night and wake up feeling refreshed, cheerful and sunny - almost like a Disney film. Now it zonks me out for only a couple hours and then I'm wide awake and have to go sit in the living room and read - till I fall asleep in my chair.

Then the fun begins.

Last night's hallucinations began with me waking up - speaking, in mid-conversation with someone - and seeing myself in a blank stuccoed hallway with a heavily -barred arched door at the end.

When I challenged whomever was behind the door - the huge red demon on the other side let loose with a deep and reverberating ROAR and blasted the door with fire - the entire hallway shaking , stucco falling from the walls in chunks.

Then I began to mock the demon because he couldn't get at me.

Smart move.

He roared and spit fire some more - then he sent his minions to visit me in my living room.

I awoke again (?) in my darkened living room (I don't remember turning the reading light off), able to just discern the dark, hulking and misshapen forms surrounding me - one over in the corner, one just barely silhouetted against the front window sheers, and another atop the couch.

I laughed at the demonic minions, peeling the flaking plasticy coating from my clothing (you know, the coating the aliens gave me - in between yelling at the demon and this little exchange) and began to fling the flakes at them and telling them "begone, demonic minions! I have dogs and can reach this lamp, so you had better not mess with me! I will fling alien plastic stuff at you!"

Then, from out of nowhere, our dog Boris (deceased two years) came running into the living room, barking and scaring away the demonic shapes. I called him to my side and he ran towards me - then flung himself against my feet and disappeared.

He did not like the alien flaky stuff, it seems.

My current, living and breathing dogs could be heard upstairs. Snoring.

Damn non-demonic-minion chasing dogs.

After Boris disappeared in a puff of white vapor, I reached over and turned on my reading lamp.

I put the kettle on the stove to make tea, popped another Zicam, sat back down and picked up the novel I am reading.

It was just 5 am - still dark. And there was no way I was going back to sleep - or whatever that last few hours was.

As for dealing with that "achey, coughing, stuffy head feeling" so I can sleep? No more Nyquil or me.

Tonight- it's back to bourbon.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Good. Bad. Good. Bad.

Lovely train ride into NYC. Good

Festive holiday decor abounds and uneventful walk to Madison Avenue office. Very Good

Start coughing a lot. Bad

In closed conference room with teammates sick with colds.
- See teammates
- Be so close to this much sickness. Bad

Visiting colleague that I like and finally get to meet in person joins us in NYC. Yay Good

Coughing gets worse. Bad

Begin to get that tingly, fuzzy behind-your-face tickly sensation that alerts you to the fact that you are getting a cold
. Bad

Try catching an earlier train because you don't feel well.

Not getting to Penn Station in time. Bad

Killing time by doing some Christmas shopping at Macy's Herald Square. Good

Getting to see (and ride) some of the original wooden escalators. VERY Good

Getting to original 5:45 train on time. Good

Train engine breaks down. Bad

Getting sicker...and cranky. Bad

Sitting on train for over an hour - waiting - with no news from crew except that engine is broken. Bad

Combining 5:45 and 7:10 trains into one no built to accommodate that many passengers. Extremely Bad

Listening to passengers bitch and moan for an hour and 45 minutes while you cough, chill and want to die . Very Bad Indeed

Arriving at home train station nearly two hours later than you should have. So Bad there's usually a body count associated

Knowing you still have a 20 minute drive home - and you need to stop in the arctic chill for gas. Why don't you just kill me and end this day?

Stumble in the door, warn away spouse, pet dogs in transit, dropping baggage as I go - a hot shower, flannel pajamas and NyQuil applied.

Joyous oblivion - Nirvana, in fact.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Caption this photo

"Charles! It's Camilla. I demand you come out of Condi Rice's head immediately!"

Monday, December 03, 2007

Wintuk wrap-up

Well, the trip to see Wintuk at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden was a success! (Doesn't WaMu sound like the noise a bull moose would make?)

Despite poor weather conditions, sticky public transport and my desire to shriek in the crushing masses of humanity as we plowed through Times Square (I have some really BAD personal space issues), we had a lovely evening in old Manhattan.

Thanks to inclement weather, we were forced to resort to public transportation to get into the city. Arriving at Grand Central, we then traipsed over to the Pig and Whistle on 47th street for some lovely dinner fare (and some Guinnesses for me). Then we proceeded to stroll down to MSG to meet up with L&D, our dear friends and procurers of the tickets.

Once inside, we took our seats (nicely positioned - cheers, L&D!!) - in the spacious and comfortable WaMu theater seats (sarcasm alert) and proceeded to sweat our you-know-whats off.

It's a little disconcerting to be attending a show about a little boy's desire to find snow when you're stripping off layers and struggling for oxygen.

Anyhoo - the production began and, as I stated, the premise appeared to be about a little Haley Joe Osmond look-alike who apparently can't function without snow.

Meanwhile, he has been surrounded by what appeared to be the cast of the Big Comfy Couch, ZOOM and Tony Hawk's last video game. Skaters, skateboarders, and bicyclists jumped and cavorted and BMXed and - God help us - breakdanced, as we were all informed HJO look-alike that something was wrong ....something was missing.....snow.

Picture, if you will, three thousand cramped, sweaty people stifling the urge to shout out "hey kid - have you looked outside?"

Wintuk was not your traditional CdS show - it was definitely designed for children. And it was severely limited in infrastructure, since the WaMu Theatre (I just love saying that with a cow voice) stage height is approximately 1/5 the height of any CdS stage I've ever seen.

Regardless, the show had its amusements - some very talented performers, and - as with all CdS shows - an somewhat inscrutable storyline (beyond the "where is the snow" topic) and cast of characters that look like they've been shot with make-up guns.

To its credit, Wintuk featured much less of the random bendy-people writhing around on the floor - it had some gorgeous and lyrical aerials in the second act, and little French Canadian people being thrown around on poles. Another lithesome acrobat dressed as a rag doll was tossed around the stage in a rather amusing piece, and a beautiful young acrobat was dazzling with silver hula hoops.

In the "WTF are you on stage for" category, however, we had:

  • the lead character with a rather un-wholesome snow fixation
  • an annoying little ballerina girl who reminded me of Rhoda from The Bad Seed (we were perpetually teased with her apparitional presence - I kept hoping for a lightning bolt to take her out)
  • a coterie of Muppet-y dogs
  • a repurposed Ursula from the Little Mermaid - made up in Gypsy rags, moon boots and Divine make-up, who apparently was some kind of Inuit Snow or Moon Goddess, despite being unable to speak or sing - grunting, yes. In fact, when she first appeared, making "Gungggg" and "nurrrrrhhh" noises - Peter turned to me and said it sounded like Project Runway night at our house after a few cocktails
  • Some very unusual talking and singing lampposts (see video) which I can't figure out whether I liked or not.
Regardless, we had a great time and adjourned to Mustang Harry's for refreshments after the show (where we nearly killed a gaggle of drunken heifers who insisted on singing despite lacking any vocal talent).

Would I recommend Wintuk? If you have a kid or a Tony Hawk fixation - yes. Or if you've dropped acid. Otherwise, hang on for another more traditional Cirque show.

And oh yes - he found the snow. As did we all, when zillions of tissue snowflakes were blown into the audience and we were all able to breathe a sigh of relief that the fans they used kept many of us from passing out.

First snow! That means food, shopping and NYC!

We had our first real snowfall Saturday night.

As is our tradition with every first snowfall, B and I bundled up and headed out to have brunch, do a little shopping and - had we not needed to prepare for a trip into New York City to see Cirque du Soleil's new show "Wintuk" - might have ended with the two of us basking in the post-shopping glow over French onion soup and glasses of red wine at our local French brasserie.

Instead, we dashed home and prepared for our trip to the Big City.

Forecast is for the snow to turn to rain and then freezing rain! Guess we're taking the train.

We're so excited - we love Cirque and we're going to have dinner in the city beforehand.

Damn. Could this be the holiday spirit creeping up on me so early?

This could be a record, boys and girls.