Thursday, October 27, 2011

Off-Season Begins.

With the first use of the word 'snow' by Ashley over at the 22 News desk today, Halloween next week, and the end of Daylight Savings Time not far behind, it seems safe to say 'off-season' has officially returned to Mt. Tom's and me.

The lines are rare from here until early Spring, and the crew schedule is much thinner. Meanwhile, the espresso machine steps it up for those deep dark hot chocolates, hot apple ciders, and Chai lattes. Thankfully, we live in New England where her hearty residents have been known to hold a cone with a down-filled mitten while walking through a blinding snowstorm.

May thru September are a whirlwind for we ice cream purveyor folk, and that's a very good thing. In these latitudes, you definitely gotta make hay when the sun shines from high in the sky. With your support, it's been another banner year. So a wholehearted thanks for coming out all summer. And for telling your friends about us. That's the part that really makes the difference, and I can't thank you enough. We'll keep making the best ice cream we can, and if you keep telling your friends, this little adventure I started now eight years ago will be around for many, many more.

Last time I blogged, I mentioned a few off-season projects I was kicking around for the trusty Diaries. One is the Sundae Experiment - stay tuned. That one, although takes some time, is really fun, and I still plan to continue it now that I've gotten my life back.

The other was to take a stab at a rewrite/reprint of the original Ice Cream Diaries. You may have caught the first episode here a month ago or so. After rereading a few more of those early rants, I've decided not to redo the whole set. Although there are definitely some great nuggets in there and it certainly captured those early days, at least for me, I realize they might be better left where they lie. You're welcome to peruse them at your leisure if you haven't already, and I have every intention of stealing material from them for future projects, but I'm scrapping plans for a rewrite. I wasn't technically a kid back then, but in entrepreneur time I definitely was, and while I've shaken those start-up jitters along with a bit of the thrill of the newness of it all, it's still a great gig, and I wouldn't trade it for eight years of weekends off.

Speaking of writing, next up, Novel-in-a-month, 50,000 words in 30 days, who's with me? If you don't see many blog posts around here next month, it's not for lack of writing anyway. Wish me luck. I have only scattered thoughts and random notes, but I figure I'll just hatch a few characters and see where they take me. Should be fun..

Along with burying myself in this challenging project, my other November goal is go on an internet diet. I can't deny that Facebook, email, Google News, MassLive, and the like have changed the way we live and interact. Sometimes, though, it just feels like too much information. I know that probably sounds a bit hypocritical coming from someone writing in his blog for anyone to see. I just thought it might be refreshing to see if I could live without constantly knowing what all my 'friends' are doing, or about the next war casualty that happened just twelve minutes ago. With all that reclaimed free time and a couple good ideas, 50,000 words should be a piece of cake.

Ice cream cake of course.

And if you're out and about for the upcoming Easthampton ArtWalk, I hope you can pop in and take peak at some of my favorite new and local images. My untitled show starts with the November ArtWalk on the 12th.

Thanks for reading, and hope to see you soon.


Saturday, October 01, 2011

Change Happens.

I bumped into a friend the other day in a local bookstore. She had just traded-in a box of books for cash, which she most likely returned to the owner of said bookstore for a smaller stack of books on the way out. 'I'm cleaning out my house, getting rid of all the clutter,' she jubilantly declared.

My response was, 'me too!' Clothes that haven't been worn in years, blog notes and to-do lists for things long done or left undone, weeds in the yard, expired condiment bottles turned science projects in the back of the refrigerator. Out with the old, make room for the new, as they say.

A friend/customer came in the other day and was giddy about the dumpster that just got delivered to her driveway. 'I can't wait to clear out the house of all my old stuff!' She could hardly contain herself.

It seems the change in seasons often finds us hankerin' for change in our own lives.

So we attack the things under our control. Like the basement. Or the garden. Underneath the driver's seat of our Honda.

Saying goodbye to that which no longer serves us well. Although I've yet to see a scientific study to verify this, it seems the changing of seasons is a common trigger. Case in point, 'spring cleaning'.

Right up there with sports team collapses.

As I try to write about change and cleansing and rebirth, my mind can't help but return to the Red Sox and their 'historic' meltdown. Like a train wreck you just can't look away from, I can't seem to stop listening to the constant barrage of angry and broken-hearted Sox fans venting on talk radio or ranting through the comments section of the endless sports pieces from every analyst and blogger who ever heard of David Ortiz. It seems clear. Someone must take the fall for the fall. In a desperate attempt to gain some control over the situation, we fans, die-hard, bandwagon, pink hat or otherwise, speak our minds - 'Theo must go. Tito must go. Crawford must go. It's all Lackey's fault.'

Ah, if only we had keys to that cluttered Red Sox locker room, could we do some cleaning.

No one likes to feel helpless, so we fester and try to tell ourselves it's just a game. It doesn't matter. There are way more important things to get worked up over. We'll get 'em next year.

Perhaps they will or perhaps they won't. It seems clear, though, that when you don't get what you ultimately desire, you can either do the same thing again and hope it works out better on its own, or you can make changes you hope will improve the odds.

Last time it was art imitating life. Today it's sports.

I think 'Hoop' summed it up pretty well over on I found this in the comments section of one of those countless post-mortem pieces..

John Henry may look like a milquetoast, but you don't build that kind of wealth without stepping on a few folks, and knowing that change is always needed from time to time to keep an organization on its edge. This organization has lost its edge, that is clear. It doesn't mean Tito and Theo are not immensely talented, it simply means it is time to refresh and rejuvenate.

Refresh and rejuvenate, I like that. I had to look up the word 'milquetoast', but I totally get the rest. I'm not going to lay all the blame on Tito or Theo or Letters to Cleo, but the point is clear. Change for change's sake isn't the answer, and cleaning your garage is much easier than facing a dysfunctional relationship or improving your self-confidence. But when things aren't working, perhaps a little closet cleaning may just be the gateway change needed to steer the ship toward what it is you seek, whether it be a world series ring or your own happiness.