Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Holiday Travels

For some reason, none of our family trips when the kids were little included the Grand Canyon, an omission we've been hearing about in recent years. So this year, we punctuated our holiday get-together in Las Vegas with a post-Christmas, pre-New Year's Eve road trip. It was great and, I suspect, a whole lot more fun with 20-something kids than it would have been with younger kids (who, after all, can't be expected to appreciate the extraordinary geological implications and would likely have been more interested in the hotel pool than anything else).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow, the Aftermath

OK, first of all, check out the sky in the next-day photos below. Nice, huh? To be fair, I do remember sunny skies immediately following snow in the Midwest too, but maybe not quite so brilliantly blue. My view has reappeared, the mountains are heavily blanketed in white, the rooftops slightly less so, and I can see the patches of snow shrinking in the sun before my very eyes. I imagine the humidity is higher than usual, although it feels cool and crisp. You wouldn't think someone who spent 50 years in the Midwest would be so thrilled by a snowstorm, but hey, context is everything and I like the unexpected.

I especially like the fallen snowman in the last picture below. For some inexplicable reason, people here love to use giant inflatable things as holiday decorations, and the irony of an inflated snowman face-down in actual snow is pretty great.

Click here for a news story about our rare event and, if you do, be sure to check out the picture of snow covering the sides and Sphinx of the Luxor.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

According to the weather people, we're having something called "a rare snow event" today in Las Vegas. It's incredible. The palm trees look depressed, with nothing but skinny central spikes reaching upward and the tips of all their fronds sweeping the ground, weighted down by snow. Drivers can't negotiate the slightest of inclines or declines and are generally going about 4 mph. I can't see much further out the window than my own backyard; my glorious view of the Strip and the mountains has completely disappeared into a bright cocoon of white, white and more white. And we're doing a great imitation of the Midwest - snow has been falling consistently since mid-morning. I guess I'll have to dig out some non-flip-flop footwear. Do I even have snow boots?

Here are pix:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pleasures Expected and Unexpected

I finally finished the last of the items on my current to-do list that fall into the "obligation" category. Since mid-September, I've had more than my usual complement of these things. They're not all bad. Preparing for and giving speeches, co-conducting a business development workshop, writing articles, etc. are all fine. But they have deadlines, and so they usually end up creating some pressure for me. I get all enthusiastic when someone makes a request and I tend to say yes too quickly and then regret the feeling of obligation, the knowledge of a deadline, the compulsion I feel to do a bang-up job. These pressures don't really get in the way of what I consider my real life, but they do take up space in my mind and eventually, even as I resent the distraction, it becomes more trouble to ignore them than it does to handle them.

Finishing the last of them this morning felt absolutely fantastic. I decided to celebrate by writing a poem in response to a prompt from a new Twitter connection. It's amazingly difficult to try to be pithy and rhyme at the same time - and totally gratifying to come up with something you're not too embarrassed to post. My poem is quite bad, if slightly charming, but it does manage to express how I'm feeling about social media at the moment. Just when you think it's all one big self-serving infomercial, you find some cool, interesting people and get inspired to do something unexpected.

(In case you're a glutton for punishment, my poem and several others may be found in the comments to the December 13 post on Blogging Roads, an interesting and thought-provoking blog from a person whose Twitter bio endearingly reads "Marketing Copywriter, Professional Blogger, Mom, Soc Media'er, Lover of Butter."