Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One final Napa story (then back to work)

Last but not least on our Napa vacation. The real secret to the success of our wonderful week away was the incredible research and planning that Liz had done, from picking the right places to stay to the best wineries to visit. My job was just to show up (and I did that quite well).
But a couple of days into it I started hearing about the "Calistoga mudbaths" and became very intrigued and eventually obsessed.  I must admit I love to be pampered, huge fan of deep tissue massages, room  service and drinks by the pool. So when I heard that Calistoga, just up the road from us, was the heart of mudbath land, it became obvious that this was something we simply had to do and of course it became my job to find the best place to partake. So on-line I went and discovered the attractive (enough) web site of the Roman Spa at Hot Springs  Resort, made the reservation for two for mud baths followed by 30 minute massages and off we went.

And the lesson is: any one can create a nice looking website. The reality is not always the same. Mudbath in Motel 6, not quite what we had in mind. In spite of this, the mud baths weren't so bad and the massages were actually quite nice. 

Monday, September 29, 2008

More of our Napa trip.

If you haven't been, Napa and Sonoma are clearly places that you need to put on your list. And so here are a few more snaps from our relaxing and exciting five days on the road.

Liz workin' at it!

So  Californian!  The rest of us will eventually catch up.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stranded in LA watching the Debate

Heading home from Napa, very, very slowly. Our flight from SF to JFK was cancelled, seemingly because of the stormy weather in the East.  With all other later flights fully booked, our only choice seemed to be to fly to LA and then catch the red-eye (hmm, sounds familiar, having just been on it a couple of weeks ago) home. So here we sit, killing some time, watching the presidential debate on our lap top (American Airlines terminal at LAX must be the only major airport terminal in the world without any tv sets in the lounges), hoping to take off on time and expecting to land in NY by 6 am and to then pop into the car and head to PA to visit Molly at Bucknell for Parents' weekend. A little bit late, but we'll be there, Mol. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Travelling in Napa

When you don't have a lot of time to take vacations, as we haven't recently, you want to really pick your spots well. With much love and appreciation for Liz, who has spent countless hours planning this trip, we find ourselves in the most fabulous Napa Valley, California for five very special days of relaxation, wine tasting, massages, mud baths and tomorrow night dinner with dear old friends. A very special way to belatedly celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Thanks Liz

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Unexpected Visitor

The evenings of late have been cool and inviting, perfect New England sleeping weather, the windows all open, the gentle but occasional breeze, the covers pulled up high. Great opportunity for a relaxing and full night of sleep before another big celebration to photograph on Saturday night. All was quiet on the home front.
And then at about two am, maybe it was closer to two-thirty, the dogs suddenly start barking, not something they typically do in the middle of the night in quiet little Weston, and then through the open bedroom window there's the sound of a car pulling up the gravel driveway. A sound so very familiar from the years of hearing the kids pull up, often as we lay awake waiting eagerly and sometimes anxiously for them to return from their night out with friends. But now both kids are away, Hannah living and working in NY, Molly back at school in PA, so suddenly the realization, even half-asleep as we remained, that something out of the ordinary was happening.  
At that point I lookout the window to see a taxi turning around and pulling back out of the driveway and in the silence that follows I hear some very quiet but distinct foot steps walking down the path to the back door. Again, could it be for some strange reason one of the kids is home? Well, brave man that I am (not) I do what the man of the house simply must do and perhaps foolishly and without baseball bat (ok, it's a house mostly of girls, there are no baseball bats) I walk down stairs, turn on the outside lights, sheepishly look out the back door, and there's this decently dressed middle-aged man in blazer and baseball cap leaning against the outside of our house.  What the heck? So with a bit of adrenaline pumping and the necessary bravado to face up to the situation at hand, I rapidly open the back door, slowly peak through the screen door (like this mesh of torn screen is going to save me from his concealed weapon of death), and sternly blurt out "can I help you?". OK, truth be told, I'm not even sure what I said, maybe it was more like "what are you doing at my house?".  And then as I eagerly wait for his delayed response to my seemingly simple question it becomes very clear that I'm not only speaking with someone who's been just drinking all night, but someone's who's very, very drunk and totally incoherent and able to stand in a vertical position only because there's a very solid 200 year old farm house right over his left shoulder that he happens to be leaning against. So again, mustering the courage and the tremendous insight into the situation at hand, this time I spit out, "Ok, I'm going to call the cops". No response. "OK", I try again, a little louder and more forcefully, "I'm going to call the cops, what are you doing at my house?"
This time a brief response, barely coherent, "They told me to come here", or something like that, details a bit fuzzy at this point. He's drunk, I'm asleep. OK, let's keep this story going and bring it to its tidy conclusion (right, Liz?). So I call  911 and the Weston policeman answering the phone says "911, where's the emergency?" at which I feel a combination of silly, for I'm no longer feeling that this is quite an emergency, and smart citizen doing what anyone in suburbia does when there's an intruder at his back door at what's now almost three in the morning.
Well, long story, just a bit shorter, two cruisers pull up about five very long minutes later, the man is no longer holding up the farm house, but sprawled out in the back yard by the woods, simply drunk out of his mind.  The cops pull him back up to a standing position and gently but sternly bring him to one of their cars, place his hands on the hood, search his pockets for that potentially deadly weapon I imagined, ask him his name (John Doe Photo for the purposes of this entry) and try to find some sort of identification on him, initially unsuccessfully but eventually coming up with a driver's license. Oh yeah, in the course of all of this a story starts to unfold about he had spent twenty hours taking his son back to college by train earlier that same day, blah, blah, blah... And then finally the answer comes to the cops' repeated question of "where do you live?"  Whether the effects of the drunken stupor are beginning to dissipate or perhaps it's just a sudden moment of enlightenment, the man blurts out "I live at 88 (name of street withheld to protect the innocent, including me who lives at 68 on that very same street)". So there it is, the guy's my neighbor that I've never met, down the long driveway that I've never been, probably three houses away.
And that taxi cab driver that dropped him off: dark night, no street lights, barely visible addresses on the mail boxes, and most likely very anxious to get this drunk out of his taxi as quickly as he possibly can. Moral of this story, let your kid find their own way back to college.
It's much safer that way. And oh yeah, don't own a gun, most suburban hand gun deaths are caused by neighbors mistakenly shooting neighbors. I certainly don't own one (but please don't tell the real bad guys this).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Notes from the sky

How crazy is this, flying somewhere over St. Louis, heading to LA for Pictage's annual Partner Conference (partnercon in Pictage speak) and actually on-line. I'd add a photo or two, but then the girl sitting next to me with the sleep mask on might not appreciate seeing herself on the world wide web at not her finest moment. So my brief words will have to suffice. Looking forward to catching up with some old friends, meeting some new ones and talking shop with the Pictage folks for the next couple of days. So if you're looking for me and I'm not getting right back to you, patience. I'm recharging the batteries and hope to return with lots of new and exciting ideas and inspiration. See you soon.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Canaan Magazine Cover

Earlier this summer we were invited by the editors of New Canaan-Darien (Rowayton) Magazine to photograph a group of "real people" for their Fall fashion make-over stories.
Always a treat for me to be involved in any of the Moffly Publications' photo shoots and this one in particular was very special because we were able to suggest our good friend and former bride Casey with her beautiful baby Reagan as models. And how exciting that they not only picked the two of them for their story but decided to put them on the September cover. But then again, how could they not!  As a little side note, it's always both fun and a bit nostalgic for me to get involved in beauty and fashion make-overs with "real" people.  Some of my earliest assignments back in my days as a magazine and advertising photographer were to travel the country shooting make-overs for Mademoiselle and Glamour magazines.  So once again, here we are with a bit of a full circle. But even better, in my own neighborhood.