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…

A Tale of a Turtle

This post is for those who want to take a step back from the chaos of life to view a slow-moving beautiful story. Of course, calling it a story at all is a bit grandiose of me. It’s how my mind perceived it. But here is the simple tale I saw.

Once upon a time there was a turtle. This turtle was on a quest. All its life it wanted to be a rock, and on this particular day, it was determined to find the best place to become a rock. Legend told that it would have to navigate under the bridge of the great unknown before it could become the perfect rock. So it set off toward the bridge.

After making it past the bridge the turtle had a few choices. It could follow its dream to become a rock, make friends with little fish around it, eat said fish, or meet other turtle buddies. For a few minutes, it hesitated. Then it continued on its quest.

When it found the perfect spot, the turtle ducked its head under and let its shell rise in a true rock formation — the epitome of its dream of rock stardom. But all was not simple. In the same arena there was another turtle determined to find a friend with whom to play.

There was Another Turtle Looking for a Friend

But our turtle was a determined sort of soul. It could camouflage and camouflage well, and by golly, it was meant to be a rock. So a rock it was.


Camo turtle
Camo turtle


Meanwhile the social turtle finds our rock star and tries to engage in some play.


It’s not meant to be, however. Sometimes a turtle just needs a bit of its own space. After a minute of “hey, just so you know…I’m here for ya, buddy…” the other turtle goes on its way. Surrounded by fish friends.

Social Turtle Leaves to Find New Adventures

I see two endings for this. Take your pick depending on your mood:

  1. And they all lived happily ever after.
  2. A Simon and Garfunkel connection:

I am a rock, I am an island. I am shielded in my armor, Hiding in my room, safe within my womb. I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock, I am an island. And a rock feels no pain; And an island never cries.

https://www.lyricsfreak.com/p/paul+simon/i+am+a+rock_20262017.html

 

Perception

When visiting museums, I appreciate the art. This is true. But even more so I appreciate the creativity spawned by the living art around me.

On a visit to The Clark  I looked at the works of some of the old masters, and I totally appreciated the talent while I was there. Then I moved on.

When the day was over Chris and I realized we missed a really cool part of an exhibit (Jennifer Steinkamp: Blind Eye) and decided to go back to the museum the next day ( a great perk of this museum deal we signed up for) . Since we were in art-mode we watched a movie entitled Renoir, and suddenly, I was seeing things in a different light.

When we went back the next day, we visited the Renoir paintings we had seen the day prior, and suddenly I found myself analyzing the brush strokes, color choices, and I related to the passion of an artist who wouldn’t let go of his gift even if his hands were in excruciating pain. The paintings took me to a completely different realm of appreciating than the day prior, thanks to some time and the film — another beautiful form of art. I think his son would have approved 🙂



The exhibit we missed was a computer rendering exhibit in which the artist used programs like Maya to create magnificent art. I was intrigued by the actual images, while Chris was absorbed by the display itself.



How did the cameras work and show the full canvas? I never would have thought of that if he were not in the room. But it certainly added to my experience. Thanks, Chris 🙂

A few days later we were talking with some of our kiddos, and I was rhapsodizing on the museum experience, expounding on how it was so much more than the art itself. It was about how people reacted to the art, and the history behind it, and all that jazz. Even the walk through the woods between buildings was beautiful.

We saw a tree that had fallen, and I thought it was pretty cool. My imagination kicked in, and I wondered how and when it fell, and I imagined the new animal homes the fall created. A children’s book was niggling in my brain as Chris commented on the amazing support system that naturally occurred under the tree in the fall. At least until rot kicks in. It made a natural bridge with support. Without his eyes and comments, I don’t think I would have seen it, but it made the experience all that much more magical.



CJ pointed out that it’s like that for him on the slopes when he is with friends and students he teaches. He observed that is was really interesting to see the lines they chose to navigate down the mountain. Apparently one friend has a really unique eye, and the lines he chooses bring all sorts of unexpected adventures ranging from new trails on new hills one didn’t previously notice to complete drop-offs (ack!).

My eyes have been opened to the importance of perception and seeing what others’ see. It’s so interesting!As you might have noticed in past posts, I’m kind of into quotes. So I’m going to leave off with this one that I love:

No two people see the external world in exactly the same way. To every separate person a thing is what he thinks it is — in other words, not a thing, but a think.Penelope Fitzgerald

Museums

I think I might become a museum junkie. I’ve been researching the treasures of Massachusetts and have found some incredible deals. Back in my other post, I talked about the importance of being back in the art corridor for my artist husband, but the actual reality of it is pretty fantastic.

After spending a few decades in the boondocks, where large art museums were a long drive from me, the proximity is a treat. We had different, natural art in those years, and believe me I met many artists (musicians, performers, masters in kitchen arts, etc) who are amazing, but I did not have easy access large places one can stroll through on a rainy day.

For a few weeks, we researched — read tons of pamphlets, hit web sites and talked with locals and tourists. Then we took the plunge and purchased season passes for the Berkshire Museum and for Mass MoCA. This gives us all sorts of opportunities to see lots of exhibits and artistic styles as well as to attend performances and go to openings and other activities. My favorite part of our plan is that the Berkshire Museum membership came with reciprocal passes to over 1,000 institutions (art and science) across the US. Even Utah 😉 (that’s where the majority of my kids live).

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One of my favorite parts of the passes is that we can go back any time we want this year, so we don’t have to feel rushed. If we only want to pop in for an hour, that’s okay.

I love the inspiration one derives from a museum visit. And I also love the human connection — the vibe of appreciation from other gallery viewers. The paintings and educational tidbits on the plaques link me to the past and spark my imagination in a way I haven’t felt in a while. I mean, really, did you even know that some snakes change their sleep cycles from diurnal to nocturnal? I never knew this before. I’m certain there is a children’s story in there somewhere.

Imagination officially ignited. This is good stuff.

Porch Work

Working on the porch
Working on the porch

One of my favorite things to do in Massachusetts is to walk from my place down to the main lobby, grab a cup of coffee, and head out to the front porch for an hour or two of work. Since I work from home, it can get quite isolating.

When I’m on the porch, people come and go around me, and I love hearing all the different accents, and feeling the energy around me. Since most people are there on vacation, it’s a very happy place generally. There are lot of people from the New York city area, and I have to admit that I feel like I’m home listening to their accents.

I grew up on Long Island then moved to western NY, where I spent a few decades. I hadn’t noticed that I missed the accent, but when I hear the accents around me, it feels so right.

Chairs on the porch

Aside from the general conversations and energy mentioned, I love the view I get. In particular, I love when it’s raining, and I’m cozied on the porch, under shelter, listening to the rain fall as I work, looking at a beautiful view when I glance up. My image collection doesn’t have a record of that, so I will try to get that photo sometime in my future. But I bet you can imagine hills framed by rain and immerse yourself in the beauty of that mental image.

And then there’s one of my favorite parts of porch work. I have a work buddy who is there almost every day. It’s really tempting to offer treats, but I don’t. And yet, the little one still comes regularly to check things out. So fun!

By Jiminy, Life in Massachusetts!

It’s still okay to dream when one is in your 40s or 50s right? Chris and I have been dreaming of having a snowboard condo, preferably near our kiddos in Utah. As we researched and dreamed, we realized that Utah wasn’t ideal for our situation, but thanks to computer cookies, we started getting ads for places a bit more local, and found ourselves looking seriously at Jiminy Peak — a medium-size resort in the Berkshires, near where Chris grew up. This seemed kinda ideal because:
  • While our home has tons of snow, there are no “real” hills. We have to travel 90 minutes each way to get to a decent slope.
  • It’s close to a bunch of family and friends.
  • It’s within an hour of the gallery where Chris had shows in the past.
  • It’s right smack in the art corridor so we are surrounded by music, artists and museums when we visit.
  • We walk about 500 feet out the door to get to a ski lift.
  • Summers are super quiet (even though there’s still lots of fun stuff if we want to do it).
  • It has a bed for Mom and is closer to my sisters-in-law, which is nice for her visiting.
  • It has a year-round heated pool 🙂 and coffee in the lobby in the mornings and evenings.
  • It’s only 3.5 hrs from our main home so it’s easy to take quick trips there.
  • A hundred other reasons
Last spring, we visited the place as guests, testing the waters, and next thing you know, we were signing some papers. Now we have a very humble condo (really, a small hotel suite) at the base of some beautiful hills. I’m certain I’ll be writing posts referring to the area, so I wanted to let you all know the story behind it. Maybe I’ll even make my next bunch of posts highlights of what I love about it. There’s an idea…

Nature – Restoring the Soul

When life gets stressful, sometimes the best medicine is sitting back and looking out a window. Chipmunks scampering, birds flying, the wind rustling tree leaves, and even the occasional hoot of an owl (the video below doesn’t have visuals, but you can hear the owl). How soothing for the soul.

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