let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

By the time you read this, the snow will be gone. I, for one, will be sad to see it go.

I love the snow.

I grew up in a beach town. I learned to ski in the local Southern California mountains, on snow blown in by snow machines. Snow that falls at my own home, in my own yard, still feels magical to me.

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I know that many Portlanders were frustrated by it. I completely understand why: kids out of school, difficulty getting to work, having to shovel your way out the front door or the garage or the driveway. I get it. And I know how lucky I am that I work part-time, that I have a husband who is a teacher (and gets snow days, too!), and that we didn’t lose power or heat. I do.

Still, to me, these days were so welcome. I loved seeing the snow pile up so quickly that first night and then stay and stay and stay! I loved seeing Bonesy frolic in the yard and on the deck, swimming in snow. I loved being at home with David and Quinland and whichever of Quinland’s crazy friends decided to hike over and then stay over. Every 6 am call from Portland Public Schools announcing another day off was music to my ears.

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The kids* had the best time: sledding on the hills at the middle school, building a snow fort, making snow angels and throwing snowballs. They dug out all our snow clothes and boots and gloves, got them soaked, and then hung (or flung) them all over the laundry room. Q  even hiked a mile in the deep snow to see Hannah on her birthday – almost two hours to get there! (*Edited to add: These kids are all in high school; most of them are seniors.  Everyone is a little kid when it snows!)

People who deal with snow on a daily basis for months at a time might roll their eyes at my naiveté. They know that I’d grow sick and tired of it just like they do. They are probably right.

For now, though, I’m celebrating the minor miracle that this last snowy month has been to me.

plan #21 – find photos of 80s bathing suits

First, I suppose, one has to determine if they say “bathing suit” or “swimsuit.” Apparently I say bathing suit; David does not. Now that we have that important discussion out of the way…

Reminiscing about growing up in Huntington Beach got me thinking about high school bathing suits. There are a couple of styles that stand out distinctly in my mind, but as far as the internet is concerned, they did not exist. I, of course, am quite sure that they did.

bikini bottomsFirst: the classic two-piece of my high school days. It had a fairly standard top, and fairly standard high-cut bottoms (which I think were usually shirred down the front like the ones shown here, actually).  The important distinction is the length of the strings on the top. Instead of just tying behind you, as a normal bathing suit would, these strings were extra-long. You would criss-cross them behind you, thread them through the sides of your bottoms, then bring them around and tie them in the front.

Did this only happen in a tiny part of the world? How is it that the entire internet does not have a picture of this? I am usually an excellent Googler – no, seriously, I am; you can ask anybody – and I have not figured out a way to describe this suit that Google can understand. I am embarrassed to admit how much research time I invested in this in the wee hours of the morning today.

Second: my all-time favorite one-piece suit, circa 1983-1984. OP made these one pieces that were actually skimpier than a two-piece in some ways. This particular one was actually my sister’s, although I coveted it. It was black with white pinstripes that came to a V in the center; the straps were white. The classic OP details – besides the little “op” on the front hip – were a) that the back and front were connected at the hips by three strings and b) that the front was a very deep V.

I don’t know what I was thinking, borrowing that suit from Gina. She had way more of a figure than I did, at that point; instead of showing cleavage, that deep neckline probably just showed each of my ribs. (I’d had a terrible case of mono my junior year – got hospitalized, had parades of medical students in to study me, couldn’t eat or drink – and I was down to 93 lbs.) But every time I wore it, I felt perfect.

Yeah, that bathing suit doesn’t seem to have made its presence felt on the interwebs, either. I found one pretty close to it:

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Source: a fantastic site called liketotally80s.com, which you should go to because it is amazingly comprehensive and super cool.

I never would have worn these bright pastels, though, and I remember the neckline as much more drastic. Whether it was actually different or not we may never know, but the black-and-white suit of my memories was way cooler.

As long as we are on the subject of 80s bathing suits and the beach, I suppose I should be required to put up photos of myself from that era. I could only find ones from my trip to Corfu in 1988:

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Lori and what must be an Irish or English woman, working on our tans.

I only had a one-piece when we got there, which was not conducive to tanning, so I think Deb and I skipped eating for a day to buy these old, stretched-out bikinis at a local shop. (I have no idea why I have my foot on a piece of paper. I may not even know it is there.)

What’s hilarious is the difference between how I looked and felt before and after we spent each day on that Corfu beach:

Lying in the hot sun for hours makes me a wee bit cranky and disoriented, but you do what you have to do to get that beautiful bronzed look. Then you get melanoma and are forced to stay out of the sun for the rest of your life. It’s definitely a trade-off.

plan #16 – get those photos stored safely!

Forever

Photos. They are an incredible joy; they can be an incredible pain. I have so many photos stored in so many places: On my phone. In my email. On my home computer, my work computer, my laptop. On SD cards. On CDs. Slides and negatives and prints, in boxes and bags and piles and – believe it or not – scrapbooks.

Over the years, I have been organizing my digital photos using a product I love. It goes by Forever Historian now, though it was once Memory Manager from Creative Memories. It lets you sort your photos into “Albums,” tag them any way you like, and search for them easily. It even recognizes faces after you label them once! You can rank your photos, write notes about them, edit them, and share them, all from one program. I’ve been using it for years now, and I really like it. (I’ve also used their Artisan program for photo projects for years as well. In fact, all my blog headers have been made on Artisan!)

I still have had two little problems with digital photo storage, though. First, I am not good at backing things up. I have known for ages that I should be backing stuff up online, but how?? Kryptonite? Dropbox? One of the photo services like Snapfish or Shutterfly?

Apparently the people at Forever have got our backs. They have integrated Historian with a permanent online storage program, so now all I need to do is upload the photos I have in Historian right to my Forever online account. In fact, I even got an app for my phone that automatically backs my phone photos to the storage account without my even having to think about it. I have just barely started using it, and I already love it. I’ll keep you posted as I transition the photos to that account and learn all its ins and outs. I’m totally psyched to get up to speed.

Now, if only I could get Forever to organize my future scrapbook room for me, I’d be set!