Enjoying the Slopes with my Aunt and Cousin

Part 1

Warmer weather hit the Berkshires and Chris and I were ready to really enjoy our “weekend” days (Thursday and Friday). Added to the fun, today I got to share the experience with relatives, including my aunt who also loves snow and mountains. I think a lot of you already follow her, and if not, you should check out her site 😉 She is a brilliant writer who takes everyday life and makes it super fun to read about. Anyway, today she joined us on the slopes — virtually. And my cousin joined in later as well.

At the base we met up on Facebook video from my phone. Any video service would have worked, but this was easiest at the time. I popped in my earphone and held the phone as we went to the ski lift and journeyed up. We showed her the slope we planned to hit, a hotel where a relative had stayed recently, our home and a windmill we would see closer in a bit.

This image was actually taken at the end of the run. It's David and Aunt Anne checking out the slopes.
Actually an end-of-the-run shot

She was very patient as I got off the lift and strapped in. We were able to talk even when the video was shaky, then it was time to hit the hill. I went down a relatively easy trail that I knew I could handle. It was a good day for this. Warm, slightly slushy and some patches of ice, but not terrible, and no crowds.

Our piece of paradise is Jiminy Peak Resort in the Berkshire Mountain Range in Massachusetts (answering her questions from her post here). As I went down the mountain, I kept the camera facing away so Aunt Anne could see the run in front of us. She got to see Chris playing around, demonstrating proper snowboard techniques (not my heel-side only stance). I did explain people who do it right mostly point straight down and not keep going side-to-side as I do. haha.

She saw the mountain coaster, the alpine slide and the pool and hot tub in front of our place. Also seeing how close we are to the slopes. When I was nearing the bottom, my cousin’s son, David, joined us for the run.

It was really fun for all of us, and they agreed to let me take the screenshots above. I hope we can do it again sometime.

This was the Ski Tracks app stat summary for our run together:

In her blog post, Aunt Anne commented that I was telling her about toes and heels. The rest of this post is kind of about that. Once upon a time, a bit over 24 hrs ago….

Part 2 of my fun slope days this “weekend”

Yesterday (Thursday) the slopes were unbelievably perfect for a person of my skill level. As Chris pointed out, you could point straight down and not worry about going too fast.

Ice was rare, and the sun was shining. The rides on the chairlifts were like basking in the sun on a beach (but a bit more fun). I heard robins and phoebes and saw some buds on the trees. And even some friendly faces in the woods 🙂

Small stump with a smiley face
If you look closely, that little one has a smiley face etched on it. Kind of reminds me of a tree Gumby.

This is always a bittersweet time of year. Summer temps and longer daylight are wonderful, too, but it’s sad to say goodbye to all the beautiful snow. So we are grabbing all of it we can.

This season I was really working on turning right (toe-side) better.

As you can see in this pic, I’m a rather embarrassing heel-rider. Can you tell which part of the board is closest to my heels?

Bottom of a snowboard

The toe-side turns are kind of starting to happen. I don’t have video from today, but I was able to do it at a much faster pace than in times past. Here are some video clips from last autumn and yesterday. Feel free to mute. Some people like the sound of snow scraping, but it can be annoying if you aren’t in the mood.

Here is a clip from November:

And here is a clip from yesterday (March 14, 2019):

Please note how stiff I was and how flat the terrain was in the first video compared to the second video 🙂 I’m working on relaxing, bending my knees and leaning down the hill before I turn.

If you want to see the entire top half of that run – here it is. Beautiful views at the start:

Jumping back to today. I saw this video of my turns last night. I do see how my right arm is winging out and is quite tense. Today I practiced going down the hill with my right hand pinching the left side of my jacket as if it was in a sling to train myself to not count on it for balance.

Chris noticed I was much more relaxed when holding the phone for my aunt so in my final few runs, I let my right arm hang down, but pretended she was on the other side of a camera and focused on keeping it smooth. It’s really working. Yay!

The Views Here Blow my Mind Regularly

Windmill at hill top
Zephyr, the windmill at hill top
Mountain view
Chris enjoying the view
Clouds and mountain
Clouds extending the mountain view

Yup, God done good! And I’m so thankful to be able to be out enjoying the gifts given.

Starting my Year off Right – On the Slopes Again

Windmill and Slopes at Jiminy Peak
Windmill and Slopes at Jiminy Peak
Windmill and Slopes at Jiminy Peak

According to my Ski Tracks app, January 16 marked my 13th day on the slopes this season. Thank you Jiminy Peak! Pretty good when you consider last year I went seven times before slipping a disc in my back. And half those times were icy days that made the slopes not-so-fun.

Now, as I approach the one-year-mark of my 2017/18 season’s demise, I’m finding myself extra thankful for slope time.

Last summer I wrote about our new place in Massachusetts. We had a feeling we wouldn’t regret getting a place at Jiminy Peak, but we also didn’t realize how great it would actually be. Before we got the place, we talked with friends and locals and heard about the great grooming there. Sure enough, thanks to a bit of cold, snow guns, and grooming, we were able to hit the slopes November 17, 2018.

Since Chris and I can work from anywhere with an Internet, it’s really easy to set up an office slope-side. Check out my view as I work 🙂

desk and snowy view

You can’t see it in the picture, but there are some trails we can see from our window so when I look up, I can see skiers and boarders coming down.

My job allows me to choose the hours I work so I’m trying a new schedule out. Generally I work four 10-hr days, but I’m testing a five-day week. I generally work ten hours on Saturdays and Sundays, which isn’t a problem since the slopes are busier on those days. Then I work for four hours in the morning, and three hours at night. In the morning time, you will often find me working in front of this fire:

Fireplace at Jiminy Peak
Fireplace at Jiminy Peak

In the early afternoon I hit the slopes with my favorite snowboard buddy.

Chris enjoying play time on the beautiful hills at Jiminy Peak.
Chris enjoying play time on the beautiful hills at Jiminy Peak

I work for a few more hours in the evening then either wind down in the hot tub or in front of the outdoor fire as I watch the skiers and boarders. Chris will sometimes grab extra runs then as well.

Happy Chris at slope base
Fire Pit at Jiminy
hot tub at Jiminy Peak

Of course, we aren’t always there. Often we are back in New York, enjoying the beauty of snow there as well.

Snow through Window

The east coast hasn’t had much snow this year, but the slopes have been fine. My last two days there were amazing. I didn’t want to stop. And now we have a load of fresh snow thanks to the latest storm. I can’t wait to get back out there…

Snow Surprise Saves our Season

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Three. That’s the pathetically low count of times we were able to go snowboarding this past year. We’ve been spoiled enough to average 5-7 times a week for the past few years so it’s been a bit rough this year. With the move and our travels and such, we just haven’t had time this year. Our deteriorating muscles and expanding bellies attest to the fact that this is not an ideal situation.
Now it’s the time of year where you can get annual passes for next year, and snowboard for the rest of this year as part of the deal. As much as our hearts are with Swain, it’s too far away now that we have moved. So we planned to get passes for Greek Peak. And that was exciting.
We were supposed to go last weekend. Timing was critical since the snow has been rapidly melting. To our great disappointment, I was ill and couldn’t garner the strength to hit the slopes (all good now. It was just a nasty cold).
Then this east coast storm came down from heaven and gifted us with fresh powder the day before my weekend (I work Saturdays through Wednesdays). Greek Peak got 28-inches of fresh powder, so we grabbed hotel room and planned a two-day slope getaway. Wahoooo!

As I wrapped up the work week on Wednesday the 15th, Chris pulled our boards out in the hallway, and they looked really happy in their escape from our basement. The entire visit was perfect.
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December 23, 2016

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March 16, 2017
We had been there the day before Christmas Eve with Hudi and Zeb, so happy memories assailed us as we pulled into the parking lot and got ready to hit the lift. It was windy, but the temps were in the upper 20s F. Much better than the near-zero-degree-F temps of last weekend. A face guard, helmet and decent coat kept us warm so the air that did manage to hit our faces actually felt invigorating. And I got to wear my new snowboard boots that I picked up in Utah. So happy memories of time with CJ and Zeb there as well.
My boots and Chris about to go down the hill. Beautiful views.
The views were amazing, and there were enough bumps and jumps and powder pockets to keep Chris entertained while I boarded on the side, practicing my s-turns and squiggles. My snowboard was so happy it started doing some tricks I’ve been working on for years. All by itself! It just seemed to flow, bless its little board heart.
If you look closely at my board, you can see that I had a Wapuu on for the ride as well 🙂 (actually there are two, but one is under that snow on the front of my board)
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When we got tired (definitely as out of shape as we thought we were), we headed back to the hotel for an in-room picnic and movie-time. No rush, no fuss. We knew we were going back the next day.
And that day was super fun. It was St. Patrick’s day so we got to listen to Irish music as we loaded onto the lift. The sun was shining, the wind had dissipated, and the skies were super blue. Paradise. After a few hrs of boarding we headed to the car for a hot chocolate break, and I soaked in the sun.
I don’t know if we will get out again this year, but that getaway already gave me a lot of things to dream about for next year. That snow storm was such a gift.

Sun, Sons and Snowboarding

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After Friday night’s snow who would guess that we would be sipping coffee on the deck Saturday morning? Even better, we were sunbathing by the afternoon. It was over 50 degrees. We slept in, yakked, read, took naps and basically took the day off as a quasi spa day. Pure luxury.

In the evening we headed over to Zeb’s to check out his new home.

Zeb is in a pretty fun living situation now. He’s with CJ’s pre-marriage housemates who also happen to be delightful young men from the area where our boys grew up. Aaron and Thomas and Zeb made some delicious coffee (can you tell we are big on coffee?) and yakked with us until Robert and Anthony came home. Then we chatted a bit more and started playing a game called QuipLash. Anyone with Internet could join our game if they had to code, and the guys decided to call Hudi (back in NY) to join the fun. That made me really happy — knowing my boys wanted to hang out together, even long distance.

After a really enjoyable evening we headed home to get a good night’s sleep. The next day was busy. We went to Lauren and CJ’s church (a church with a view!) then grabbed some pizza and headed off to Solitude for some slope time. It was interesting since we were on borrowed/new-to-us equipment, but we adapted pretty well and had a fantastic time. The road getting there was winding and kinda crazy. There were definitely rocks in the road on the way down that weren’t there on the way up. And it was wild how we had snow, but half an hour away, there wasn’t any.

As the day wound down, we settled in with some nice drinks and tv time.

Monday was our last day there 🙁 And we were far from ready to go. But the good news is that we plan to travel back next summer. Sadly, CJ’s car had been backed in to over the weekend so Chris and CJ spent most of Monday finding repair shops to get quotes. Lauren and I worked on websites, read and yakked.

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She made me one final drink (a mint hot chocolate thing this time with white mocha or something. Yum!) then we headed to a burger place they enjoy as we headed back to the airport. Our flight left at 11:59pm, and Chris’ birthday was the next day – beginning one minute into our flight 🙂 The screenshot of the plane is when were were pretty close to flying over their home on our way back to NY.

That trip was fortunately uneventful, and we were home in plenty of time to unpack, plow out the driveway, clean the house and have a birthday celebration thanks to Mom Pollock.

I took the next few days as AFK so we had time to rest up and get our life back in order. And here we are. Back in the flow of our reality, and loving it. With a ton of new fantastic events stashed into our happy memory arsenal for times when we miss our kids and want to look back on times together.

 

Happy Birthday to my Man

IMG_20160207_132555302This is quite possibly one of the most temperate birthdays this February baby has ever had in his 53 (gasp!) years. And while we still have a few hours left to go, so far it’s pretty close to perfection.

The plan was for him to have a Mario Kart marathon with Hudi, Zeb, Bri and Lauren, but that plan changed very quickly when we woke up to gloriously sunny skies and warm air. It was 45 degrees when he and I hit the slopes after a few cups of coffee (and a wee bit of work)!

Swain today was a complete gift. We are so fortunate to have a place to play during this depressingly snowless winter. The slopes were powdery, there were lots of IMG_20160207_171335167people around, but it wasn’t obnoxiously crowded, and smiles were abundant. Happy sigh.

After a few hours we went home to a house where the Grateful Dead was playing, and the dog had already been walked. We ordered a Highlander pizza and a Veggie pizza then Chris and the kiddos took up the controllers. I happily listen to them as they play.

We sure miss CJ, but we know he’s super happy out on the slopes in Utah.

Want to know something crazy about this year? In a few months, I will have been part of Chris’ world for half of his life. That’s pretty pivotal, and I’m really happy he has let me be part of his journey.

Happy Birthday, Chris. I love you!

A Digital Mini Time Capsule

Last week my friend and co-worker, Pam, posted a cute blog post in which she asked her kids questions, and they answered. She opened by saying it was a meme going around Facebook. Remembering the past, I dredged up a link to the trend from 2009 and pulled up my own kids’ answers (different questions, though). Then I realized it would be fun to see their answers now, many years later. I asked them the same questions, and they hadn’t known I had the original answers so it was pretty much a blank slate. It’s interesting to see how we all have grown. And they pretty much nailed me. Thanks for humoring me, CJ, Zeb and Hudi! Love you guys!

1. What is something mom always says to you?

CJ (15): Don’t eat in your room.
CJ (22): I love you.

Zeb (12): get your grades up
Zeb (19): I love you

Hudi (9): take a shower
Hudi (16): Don’t eat my chocolate!

2. What makes mom happy?

CJ (15): chocolate
CJ (22): Simple, stress-free things.

Zeb (12): chocolate
Zeb (19): Chocolate and family time

Hudi (9) chocolate
Hudi (16): Chocolate

3. What makes mom sad?

CJ (15): when chocolate’s gone
CJ (22): When the rum/wine is gone.

Zeb (12): broccoli (I have an intolerance and it makes me sick, but I love the taste of it!)
Zeb (19): Death and drugs

Hudi (9) when people die
Hudi (16): When I do eat her chocolate

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

CJ (15): when she laughs when people get hurt (disclaimer from Chrissie: it’s an involuntary reaction I can’t seem to control, and I think it’s horrible! Definite character flaw)
CJ (22): When she gets excited over small things that I don’t think she should be excited over.

Zeb (12): being random
Zeb (19): Funny jokes and stories

Hudi (9): jokes
Hudi (16): By trying to make puns.

5. What was your mom like as a child?

CJ (15): a boy in pink overalls (explanation from Chrissie–I looked like a boy and was forever mistaken as one even when I wore pink overalls one time).
CJ (22): Driven and goal-oriented.

Zeb (12): active
Zeb (19): energetic and curious

Hudi (9) nice
Hudi (16): preppy

6. How old is your mom?

CJ (15): 18 (Does anyone else detect sarcasm here)?
CJ (22): 26

Zeb (12): 37 (he got it right)
Zeb (19): like 20

Hudi (9) 36
Hudi (16): still 29… right? 😉

7. How tall is your mom? True answer (5 ft 2 in)

CJ (15): SHORT
CJ (22): Short.

Zeb (12): 5.9 ft
Zeb (19): 5’2″

Hudi (9) 6 foot 1
Hudi (16): 5 ft 2 in

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

CJ (15): Be absorbed into either screens or the sun.
CJ (22): Do things with family; like snowboarding and camping trips.

Zeb (12): eat chocolate
Zeb (19): read, work or play

Hudi (9) play Rock Band
Hudi (16): spend time with her boys

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

CJ (15): go online
CJ (22): Works, watches movies and talks about traveling.

Zeb (12): work
Zeb (19): work and hang out. Snowboarding in the winter.

Hudi (9) exercise
Hudi (16): watch movies

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

CJ (15): writing
CJ (22): Helping somebody.

Zeb (12): writing
Zeb (19): Helping a bunch of people on the internet.

Hudi (9) writing
Hudi (16): cooking…… XD no no I kid. she would be a famous writer

11. What is your mom really good at?

CJ (15): not being on the same page as everyone else (note from Chrissie – not sure if this is a compliment or not)
CJ (22): Putting thoughts into written word.

Zeb (12): writing
Zeb (19): Happiness Engineering and mothering

Hudi (9) Rock Band
Hudi (16): writing

12. What is your mom not very good at?

CJ (15): Skiing
CJ (22): Being observant.

Zeb (12): guitar
Zeb (19): Some cooking

Hudi (9) video games
Hudi (16): cooking

13. What does your mom do for her job?

CJ (15): write
CJ (22): Helps people.

Zeb (12): write
Zeb (19): Helps people with website problems

Hudi (9) write
Hudi (16): she is a happiness engineer

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?

CJ (15): chocolate
CJ (22): Cold strawberries coated in dark chocolate with whipped cream.

Zeb (12): chocolate
Zeb (19): chocolate

Hudi (9) chocolate
Hudi (16): strawberry rhubarb pie or lamb

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

CJ (15): When she lets me eat in my room and keep the laptop in it.
CJ (22): Sticking with snowboarding even though it’s tough for her.

Zeb (12): being there when I need her
Zeb (19): she puts up with all my crap

Hudi (9) her new dresses
Hudi (16): her love for everyone and everything. she’s not negative about most things

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

CJ (15): Takeshi Saehara… but that’s a guy. (Note from Chrissie – I just asked him about this now in 2016, and he said it was because he wrote and always stuck to his deadlines).
CJ (22): –

Zeb (12): Elmer Fudd
Zeb (19): Smurfette

Hudi (9) Bugs Bunny — (Note from Chrissie in 2009 – He said I make him laugh, and I’m sneaky like when I go into his room at night and he doesn’t know it)
Hudi (16): Wanda from the Fairly Odd Parents

17. What do you and your mom do together?

CJ (15): Facebook
CJ (22): Troubleshoot technology and snowboard.

Zeb (12): Rock Band
Zeb (19): Snowboard and talk

Hudi (9) play games
Hudi (16): watch movies especially Les Miserables and Across the Universe

18. How are you and your mom the same?

CJ (15): Same hair color.
CJ (22): We’re both able to talk to anyone about anything, and can make something happen out of nothing.

Zeb (12): we like Rock Band and cooking
Zeb (19): we like extreme sports like snowboarding

Hudi (9) we are both in the same family
Hudi (16): we’re both usually happy about everything we do

19. How are you and your mom different?

CJ (15): Everything else.
CJ (22): She likes getting up early.

Zeb (12): she’s a girl
Zeb (19): Different opinions in lifestyles

Hudi (9) she is a girl i am a boy
Hudi (16): well she’s a lot more wise then I am

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

CJ (15): When… she tapes my concerts and puts them on Facebook.
CJ (22): Somewhere between raising me, helping me through early adulthood, giving me countless opportunities, and telling me that she loves me.

Zeb (12): she says so and is always there for me
Zeb (19): she puts up with me and my brothers and always cares

Hudi (9) she told me
Hudi (16): she tells me constantly

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?

CJ (15): I don’t know
CJ (22): His hair. In all seriousness, probably his rational thinking, abstract thoughts, and ability to accomplish anything.

Zeb (12): He protects her
Zeb (19): His ability to do whatever he puts his mind to

Hudi (9) You like everything about him.
Hudi (16): his humor

22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

CJ (15): Places with sun, chocolate and a massage.
CJ (22): She just likes to travel. She tends to like beaches and mountains, but I don’t think she’d be content staying in any one place. If I did have to pick one though, I’d say Southwick Beach.

Zeb (12): Disney (or the bath tub)
Zeb (19): Disney World

Hudi (9) Disney
Hudi (16): Disney World

Hudi Turns Sixteen

He stands over half a foot taller than I, but he will always be my baby (as are his brothers). I’m not certain when my youngest child morphed into a young man, but it happened.

His zeal for life is inspiring. Whether he is teaching people how to snowboard and ski, mowing lawns for neighbors, taking steps toward a desired culinary career by taking classes with Rebecca Lindamood or spending time helping others in need, Hudi is ready to help with a joke and a smile. It makes a mama’s heart glad.

We are so blessed to have him in this family. We love you, Hudi!!!! (and yes, we will be off to the DMV tomorrow to get your permit 😉 )

Coming Home on a Day Off

IMG_20150312_165054453_HDR-EFFECTSToday was a day off work for me. We homeschool Hudi, and Zeb had a day off college, so we decided to use the reciprocal we got with our Swain season pass to go to Holiday Valley.

It was a beautiful day. Hardly a cloud in the sky and 34 degrees when we left (we were sweating like crazy after getting used to sub-zero temps for so long). What did I discover?

  • There is definitely nothing like a day out with family.
  • Our family doesn’t feel whole without CJ, although we know he is really enjoying his time as a ski instructor at Deer Valley in Utah.
  • My men love to go fast and jump and turn.
  • I do not do so well in slush and ice, and I have a sore shoulder to prove it.
  • No sore shoulder can take away the joy of a perfect day.

There are some video clips of my guys at the end of this post.

I also tapped into some of my Photo 101 experience to grab some nature photos:

But while I learned these things, and they are all super true, I think we all learned that there is no place like our home ski slope with our buds. So we packed our gear and headed off for chicken wing night with our friends at our favorite home slope, Swain Resort. This is why we love it so much:

Then to top it off, we had a Skype call with CJ, making the day complete:

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A fantastic day off. And it’s true what they say. There’s no place like home.

Videos from today: