Sunday, April 25, 2010

So, the last day of the ski season was tons of fun. Snowbowl ended up extending the closing for another weekend because of the great snow base still in place. It was a little hairy at first, because they only had one chairlift turning - and it was the one that went all the way to the top of the mountain. Sure, you can get off at Midway, but on the last day? Who wants to do that? So, our first run of the day, sans warm-up on the more bunny slope-like Hart Prairie, was straight down from the top. We made it just fine, though, and throughout the rest of the day we got to see all the beautiful sights, like Sumo wrestlers, cross dressers and chickens.

Fortunately, for the guys, there were plenty of cute ski bunnies dressed as fairies, butterflies, etc. at this end-of-the-season tradition as well. (And, yes, that is a bottle of ketchup standing to the left of the chicken. I didn't get his friend Mustard in the picture, but she was was their mutual friend, Hot Dog. I wish I'd gotten a pic of the three of them loading the triple chair.)

So, that was big fun. But then things got a bit rough last week. We were walloped by another out-of-the-blue snowstorm, for one - and Snowbowl was already closed by that point, so it's not like we got to really enjoy it. And I guess it wasn't totally out-of-the-blue. The weather folks saw it coming, and I think it was somehow tied into the rain system that's been walloping California as well. At any rate, my body went back into Permafrost/hibernation mode, and back out came the boots for keeping our tootsies warm and the snowscraper for clearing the windshield every morning before driving the kids to the bus stop. Have I mentioned that I am SO OVER winter?

Then, my daughter's very best friend in the entire universe (VBFEU) moved to another state. The girls were born on the same day in the same hospital, though her mom and I didn't meet each other until they were in preschool. They've been pretty much joined at the hip ever since, and my heart hurts not only for my sad girl, but because I'm going to miss that cute little mug myself. I got to give VBFEU a ride on Zzari before she left (she's completely horse crazy, much like I was at that age), and I made her promise that she'd come back for more rides someday.

But then things got a little better. Friday night was cooking group night, hosted at the lovely home of one of the ladies in the group. She made these outrageous seafood enchiladas with cilantro cream sauce. The rest of us brought things like seasoned rice, a shrimp dip, an avocado salad and flan (that last one was my contribution. It's a tempermental thing, flan: Turn your back on that carmelizing sugar for just one second too long and you'll have charred goo on your hands. The caramel sauce turned out great the second time I tried it, though).

Then, yesterday, the snow and rain finally cleared off, leaving me with the perfect opportunity to dive into my outside chores. First, I planted the live Christmas tree I bought back in December. Then, I finished clearing the dead foliage from around the red hot pokers on the side of the house. I'll know how to handle those better this fall (clipping the greenery back after the blooms are done), so I don't end up with quite as much ugly dead stuff next spring. While I was doing this, one of my neighbors whistled to me from across the fence. He had told me about the divinity that is pickled eggplant (I'd taken his word for it, but I'd had my doubts), and now he had brought over a sample. Okay, have you ever eaten pickled eggplant? It really is divine. This version was from an old "secret" (not anymore) family recipe from southern Italy, and it involved cider vinegar, garlic and crushed red pepper. I can't wait to make it myself.

This morning, I got some work done and then said to heck with it and saddled up Zzari for a long ride out in the National Forest. The trail was slippery in places from the recent moisture, and there were still some patches of snow in the shady spots. But it was good for both of us to head out and stretch our legs and our brains. It was good to remember that life has a way of providing opportunities for re-balancing when things seem to tilt toward the not-much-fun side.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

both hands

For some reason, it seems like everyone I know is tired lately. What's up with that? Is it the change of seasons? The pollen in the air? All I know is we're all acting like we're about ninety years old - everyone from my kids to their teachers to our neighbors... Maybe it's not necessarily a bad thing, though. Maybe we're gathering our energy and strength for the months to come - months that are shaping up for my family to be full of baseball games and barbecues, horseback rides and hikes, visits with family and friends scattered far and wide...and let's not forget home improvement projects (which promise to be ongoing, possibly for years). But it's okay. There's not much I'd trade for our little house on our little acre, especially now that the spring bulbs are sprouting up along with the red hot pokers and new buffalo grass.

I was blessed with an awesome hike with some cool chicks down in Sedona last weekend. We did the Brin's Mesa trail, which involved a drive in to the trailhead that was shockingly reminiscent of the Indiana Jones thrill ride at Disneyland. I didn't feel like schlepping my camera along this time (which I, of course, regretted as soon as we set foot on the lovely trail and were immersed in all that wildness). The halfway point is an outcropping that affords a 360 degree view of Sedona's famed Red Rocks. Vortices and rock cairns abound, as do cacti and some surprisingly lush greenery - even a creek or two to cross. We ate lunch, sunned like lizards on the mesa for a while, and then headed back toward home, stopping at a Sedona watering hole on the way. Oh, we got some yard sales in as well. All in all, a lovely day spent with the girls.

What else? Oh, yeah. Wanna laugh and cry? See Young at Heart. I added it to my NetFlix queue on a whim, and I was so glad I did. Never seen anything else quite like it. Reminds me a bit of what Eddie V. has to say in one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!