Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

So we survived the blizzard. Not that there was really any doubt, the only concern was if the wind would knock out power. It didn’t. But events like this conspire to keep you from your goals. It’s a regular block party on our street, with everyone out shoveling and plowing and snow-blowing. I did get a lot of laundry done, organized and put away the bulk of the Christmas presents and in general got the house together. Which it needed.

The kids enjoyed it – they played for a few hours, had snowball fights and the like, came in for soup and hot cocoa and played with their Christmas toys. Nice life, eh? lol

Overall, we were lucky. There are horror stories of people stranded in their cars, on trains, in the airport, for hours. People literally abandoned their cars, as it became clear it was the only way they’d get home. Haven’t heard of any injuries or deaths in our area, thankfully, but part of me has to wonder. Some of these people admitted getting on the road at 6:00pm or later, when the storm was at one of its worst points. I mean, really? Come on, have you not listened to the radio or watched TV in the last few hours? Didn’t they tell you to STAY AT HOME?

I will give some people who had no choice the benefit of the doubt. There were those that definitely had to at least try to get to work. But the others, who decided let’s go see how bad it really is, or maybe we can get over to cousin Joey’s house and spend the storm with them, just boggle my mind. When the state declares a State of Emergency, usually that means the roads and other travelways are impassible. Technically, you’re supposed to stay off the roads so the emergency crews can clear and get through as needed. If you venture out in such conditions, you’re only going to get stuck, so why not just stay where you are? It’s warm, you have food, and if anything dire should happen, emergency services know how to get to you.

But it’s all over, save the mountains of snow all over the place which make driving a delight. I really am not a big fan of snow, it annoys me. I’d like a few inches, enough to cause a snow day, then have it all melt completely away by the next day. Oh well, the price you pay for living in NJ, I suppose.

So for now, I’ll dream of May, which leads to summer, and beach vacations, and pool parties and barbecues. It’ll be here fast enough!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I both love and loathe this time of year. I love it because for the most part, people act human, and it’s such a joy to enjoy all the sights of the season. Plus my kids’ excitement is infectious, so you can’t help smiling or laughing with them. I loathe it because it also brings out the worst in people – rudeness, stupidity and a total lack of all human decency. I spent an entire day on a marathon shopping spree, and for the most part, people were nice and helpful. But there were a few I would have loved to have clocked with my armloads of shopping bags.

The other reason the season grates is that there’s so much to do. Between all the pageants and concerts and plays, I feel like I spend a huge chunk of time in churches and school auditoriums. Not to mention the shopping – though with online shopping it is much easier than it used to be. But then there’s the tree to put up, my Christmas in the City houses that need to be put out, lights to put on the house, cookies to bake, and endless presents to wrap. Another dilemma facing me is hiding the kids’ gifts. My daughter is 14, so she knows who Santa is, but my 6 year old son is still a believer, and had quite a list to present to Santa when we visited this year. And my hiding places are growing more and more limited each year.

But the tree is up (not without some drama from above-mentioned 14 year old), the houses are out (with some heart-stopping moments from the 6 year old who insists on playing with the people!), lights are bright and cheery on the house, and the cookie ingredients are ready (I’ll be bringing some to my critique group holiday gathering, so get ready ladies). So I guess I’m ahead of things this year, which is unusual. Of course, my house looks like a few dozen bombs went off since yesterday, so there’s the downside. There’s always a downside, isn’t there? Overall, though, we had a lot of fun

But the point is, I really am feeling the season this year. Definitely more love than loathe. Last year, I had foot surgery, so everything was rushed and then I was disabled and couldn’t do much of anything, making it a “loathing” year. So I’m really enjoying even the maddening moments this year. The Ipod is loaded up with holiday songs that I’ve been playing every chance I get. And walking the malls was a lot less painful too.

What about everyone else? Are you ready? Close? What fun traditions do you have for the season, that really make it feel like holiday-time? Anyone expecting any lumps of coal this year? 😉 Hard to believe that a month-plus worth of prep is all over in a day!

Playing Around

As I travel around the web, I’ve come to the realization that my blog is rather plain. Sure I have a pretty background design, but that’s about it. I see so many really cool blogs with animated graphics, rolling pictures, etc. I’ve tried to add a couple of pictures with links on them, but I screwed that up and still have not been able to figure out. I keep playing around, but nothing seems to be working.

I do some web work at my day job – most of it consists of adding product information to an information repository that auto feeds the data to various pages on our site. The rest of what I do web-related is provide information and articles to the web marketing group, and they do the programming and uploading.

I’m in awe of some of the sites I’ve visited and follow. I want to jazz my page up a bit, but I’m not sure where to start. I’d love any input or guidance anyone might have, and I might even be willing to pay for some design services, though, being the penny-pinching bargain hunter I am, I’d prefer to keep the costs down as much as possible.

I’m sure I’ve got some internet tech-savvy friends out there – can anyone enlighten the clueless? Because after that, I’d love to learn how to make trailers, banners and other types of graphic promo materials. Then again, maybe I’ve got pipe dreams