Mountains in the Mist

Spring warmth was teasing the leaves out into the open, and after days of rain we were ready for some fresh air. It was the first Saturday in a very long time I didn’t have to work, and we had a friend nearby ready to hang out.

We decided to hike in our backyard rather than on Mount Greylock as initially planned. Snowboarding down a slope uses very different muscles from hiking up a slope, and the first incline immediately reminded me of how out of shape I was. But the views were so great we just couldn’t stop. I don’t mean just views of the valleys. I mean the simple, nearby views. Animals getting spring busy and snow melting and amazing layers of rock. Those sorts of views.

Hiking at Jiminy Peak,
View from the hill
Cool rock layers

As we went higher up, we crossed into the fog zone. That was fun. Usually I get off the lift and board through that then break out of it as I go lower. It was wild doing that in reverse.

Since it was so foggy, I didn’t get a shot of the Zephyr – my favorite windmill. But Chris did find a little salamander (we actually saw two, but I just photographed one).

Little orange salamander

We reached the top and headed down. This was the tough part for me. A bunch of years ago I hurt my knees and have had trouble going down hills since. Not gonna lie, it was pretty excruciating. I walked backwards down the final quarter-ish of the hill, which helped a lot.

After I got back to my home later I was researching options. Next time, I think I will try walking sticks. I also learned that contrary to instinct I should lean forward when feeling the pain and try to walk faster (but not so fast my nose kisses the ground πŸ™‚ ). I slowed down and leaned back. Wrong move. Ah well.

Of course, I had to get an image of a mini waterfall for Aunt Anne.

small waterfall

And for me — I got a picture of my favorite flower.

dandelions

All in all, we walked a bit over 3 miles, and it took 2. 5 hrs. We wrapped up the day with one of my favorite games by the pool.

card games by the pool

See what I mean? A perfect. day!

A Relatively Perfect Day

David, Uncle John, Me, Aunt Anne and Chris

For many, it was a normal Friday. A day to get through before the weekend kicked off. For us, it was kind of like a holiday. You see, may aunt, uncle and cousin’s son were coming to spend a few hours with us in our Massachusetts haven (amazing how close that word is to heaven). Why would they go many hours out of their way to visit us? Because they love us. Which made the day even more incredible.

Expecting them around noon, Chris hit the slopes, trying to catch some runs before it began raining too hard. A tough time of year for us slope-fiends. We embrace the warmth and beauty of spring, but know the fun time on our sloping playground is limited. Then I got a message that they were close, even earlier than expected. Bonus!!!

David, Aunt Anne and Uncle John

It was a bit drizzly when they arrived, but amazing sports that they are, they popped up their hoods and walked outside for a tour of our little ski center. A soaking wet Chris passed us as we headed out, and we said we’d join him soon.

We walked past a small waterfall, which was pointed out to Aunt Anne, since she loves waterfalls so much. Then I showed the lift she vicariously rode on with me and the run we went down together. Strolling past the coffee shop and firepit area and shop, we headed back to the room for our now signature luncheon of egg sandwiches (a fun machine Hudi and Mollie gave us makes those).

Aunt Anne eating our traditional lunch - Egg Muffins
Aunt Anne eating our traditional lunch – Egg Muffins
A few fun finger foods with family
A few fun finger foods with family

Of course I had to take a picture of the handsome chef as well πŸ™‚

Chris making egg muffins

We have to make the sandwiches one at a time, which might bother some, but we were all of a like mind that this gave us plenty of time to talk and catch up on each other’s lives. I shared my new favorite drink of seltzer mixed with berry tea, and Uncle John shared his train magazine. I swear the man knows everything there is to know about railroads. I particularly love how be brought us an article about the new train bridge in Letchworth, a park near where we used to live.

Train Article in Magazine

Aunt Anne is a big fan of Chris’ art so they spent some time looking at the pieces in our place, and Chris showed her some of the processes he goes through in creating — sharing drawings and such. A very pleasant time!

After lunch, we hit the pool and hot tub. And I got a nice pic of this wonderful couple and some other treasures.

Aunt Anne and Uncle John

I particularly enjoyed having the bonus of seeing David. While he and his brother used to spend time with us every other year, his life got busy with college and all (and our kids grew up and moved out). It’s been a bunch of years since we have seen him. Back in the day, we charted him on our growing wall, and he was so small, you couldn’t even see Chris’ name on the wall above him in a standard picture.

Just look at him now! All grown up.

David is as tall as Chris now
David is as tall as Chris now

Although not so grown up, he won’t take time to play in a pool when given a chance (see images of that on Aunt Anne’s Blog post). She got the action, I got the residual hair style, haha πŸ™‚

David's fun hair after a swim
David’s fun hair after a swim

They had to continue the journeys so we wrapped up the day with some coffee final smiles for the gift of our time together. I love this image of Aunt Anne particularly because it shows the twinkle in her eye that is familiar to me. And Uncle John is grinning as if he’s already working on coming up with a new pun. I feel the beauty of their souls really shine through.

Visits with relatives really are the best.

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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…

Windmills in Winter

We had a glorious night snowboarding a bit ago. At the top of the hill, I sat down for a minute to listen to the windmill and enjoy the snow fairies dancing around me. How awesome is this view and the sound of the windmill in action?

Windmills at Jiminy Peak

I’m a bit late on this post, but it was for Nov 30.

A Festival of Trees – Thankful for Community

Dinos in the Museum Christmas tree
Dinos on the tree? Perfect at a museum!
Dinos on the tree? Perfect at a museum!

Generally we have a house rule that the Christmas season doesn’t kick off until after Santa waves at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but this year, Chris and broke the rules. We’re going wild now that the kids are grown and out of the house πŸ˜‰ Friday night (yes, almost an entire week before Thanksgiving) found us heading to the Berkshire Museum for a fundraiser highlighting a Festival of Trees.

Persuading me to go was not difficult. πŸ™‚

As a newbie to the area, it was really cool seeing all the different business represented. And seeing community members themselves coming to support the museum.

Local businesses created trees based on songs. It was up to us to figure out while songs each tree represented. See that one on the left? It's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Local businesses created trees based on songs. It was up to us to figure out while songs each tree represented. See that one on the left? It’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” 
Ribbon Candy on the Cookies
Ribbon candy on the cookies
Holly Jollytini and snacks. So festive!
Holly Jollytini and snacks. So festive!
There's just something about seeing classic animations highlighted next to classic sculpture.
There’s just something about seeing classic animations highlighted next to classic sculpture. 
Funky tree toppers
Funky tree toppers
A “tree” made by musicians. 
Info about the musicians' tree.
Info about the musicians’ tree. 
Info about the musicians' tree.
Info about the musicians’ tree.
Chris enjoying the delicious hot chocolate and cookies.
Chris enjoying the delicious hot chocolate and cookies.
My favorite room - the ones with the trees from local daycare and child centers :)
My favorite room – the ones with the trees from local daycare and child centers πŸ™‚
Chris took this pic of me by one of my favorite singers. There's nobody quite like Ella Fitzgerald, imho.
Chris took this pic of me by one of my favorite singers. There’s nobody quite like Ella Fitzgerald, imho.
So many creative trees!
So many creative trees!
See Chris in the tree in the corner? That one had woodsy sounds inside. Calming.
See Chris in the tree in the corner? That one had woodsy sounds inside. Calming.
Had to take this one for our Bri, who loves pugs. Great tree topper, and the list is what the animal shelter needed donation-wise. So smart.
Had to take this one for our Bri, who loves pugs. Great tree topper, and the list is what the animal shelter needed donation-wise. So smart.

The video above this paragraph gives a bit of the feel of the museum. Love how the art is surrounded by so many different trees. If you listen closely, you can hear the high school choir singing “Silent Night” in the background.

The video below is of a tree depicting “Stairway to Heaven.” It was created by our friend Mark and his team. I think they did a fabulous job.