So skiing,

My brother-in-law Peter, my LA brother-in-law, invited me to join him skiing in Colorado with Jay, one of my Wisconsin brothers-in-law (the third one was lolling around somewhere in Costa Rica), and I jumped on it. I love skiing, the bros-in-law are fun, sorta. And the lodging was free (Peter’s brother’s vacation home—amazing). So, sign me up. We’d just had a week of super-sub-zero weather so I thought, hey, this’ll be like a trip to, well, Costa Rica. It was not. 

Snowmass, CO. . . I believe it was -1 when we arrived to the ski hill the first morning. So, no, the banana trees were not in bloom. What I had failed to grasp was that not only were they younger than I, they were waaaay better skiers than I am. Think walruses skiing with gazelles. 

We made a couple of preliminary trips down one or two of the hills (They, streaking like greased lightening; me, windmilling my way down, whooping and shrieking like Goofy) and then, on the recommendation of some lunatic riding with us on the lift, took a freaking interminable hike up another hill, in ski boots, carrying our skis to some goddam place called “Long Shot.” I recall my alarm level rising dramatically as what was supposed to be a “quick 100 yards” mushroomed into a full on quarter mile trek—UPHILL AND IN SKI BOOTS—at the very least. 

Eventually, and not without a great deal of effort, panting and anxiety, I reached them waiting impatiently for me at the summit. I did not, as I wanted to, lie sobbing in the snow and beg to be shot. Instead I gamely plunged down the slope with them into what I was pretty sure would be my final act of insanity, er, bravery. This run was 5 full miles of panic, punctuated with occasional hysterical whimpering, hyperventilating and some extremely heartfelt prayer, ok, bargaining with God. They went ahead without me at my insistence. It was a win for all of us. They got a great run in and I made it down alive. 

I may have had icicles of tears frozen to my face but I did not fall once. 

 Me, in my foolish innocence imagining I could ski about to embark on my first run.

The demon hill. Hundred yards my goddam ass. That’s the path to the top on the left. 

And my brothers-in-law waiting for me.

Despite the fatigue, the terror, and cold, I somehow stopped to take pictures.

The sign says “You are 3/4 way down.” I was like ARE YOU GODDAM SHITTING ME??!!!

Me with Frick and Frack


On the flip side of the irish thing, there’s my German heritage. I imagine that I like German food. It is the food of my grandfather and theoretically I like all the heavy cream sauces and gravies, the dumplings, cabbage, the dark winter dinners laden with long roasted fatty meats, potatoes and lugubrious side dishes. My mother, Loralyn, my sister Ann and her husband, what’s his name, and I had dinner at Pandl’s. I didn’t recall that it was such a GERMAN place. Rouladen, schnitzel, and god knows what else was on the menu, all of it heavily teutonic except for maybe the cobb salad or some such thing.

Sauerbraten was the evening special. Mit dumplings and red cabbage. So I imagine that I like German food, in reality it wasn’t so great. But maybe that was Pandl’s problem. There was a vague nod to my German forebears on the plate but in my memory sauerbraten has a far more deliberate impact on my taste buds. More sauer and less braten. The dumpling was nice and who can resist red cabbage? (OK, I cannot. Most people can. Realizing that I could buy a jar of red cabbage and eat it all myself was one of the rites of my adulthood along with some other things not quite as doofus-y.)

Below is my grandfather’s hand-written recipe for “instant” sauerbraten. It appears to have been provided by somewhere called The Blue Dot. Not so German sounding. It hangs on the wall in my mom’s kitchen. She’s never made it that I am aware of.

Rehearsal dinner

My sister Ann got married last weekend and we had the rehearsal dinner at our family cottages. I thought it would be something very informal sitting around having beers on lawn chairs. The morning of, Ann brought out some tables and chairs. It was lovely.

I made mango sangria, scalloped potatoes on the grill, a couple of salads and grilled chicken for 30. I only had a little difficulty with the flashover in the grill when the chicken fat caught fire.while I was making it. Unfortunately I took no pictures of food but someone got me with the fire.

Food for thought, or something

When my sister Mary Kay and her husband were nearing Vail last Saturday she texted me and told me she was stopping to buy groceries, did I need anything. I replied that we have coffee (which in my mind is all one needs). She and Peter arrived with 5 bags of groceries (and a pound of coffee). I can see now, when I look back at my text, that by saying I had nothing here I was not saying I want nothing here which is what I was thinking. My bad. They were here 4 nights, 3 full days.

I do not cook on vacation, OK, I made ratatouille that one time, still. I don’t eat breakfast much. I eat lunch on the hill. I don’t like to have food on hand because I am on the lifetime-diet-plan and if I am hungry I will eat nearly anything, so best, no food in the house.

When I returned from skiing today I discovered that my sister Ann and her fiancé who left today had surreptitiously (and thoughtfully) left a box of food at my door. I should have known there might be trouble two days ago when we stopped on the hill for a break and Jay, like the Banana Man, took a completely full bottle of water out of his jacket, and then a bag of sesame snack stuff, power bars and a full package of landjaeger. Who carries dried sausage product in their pockets? The landjager was on the top of the box of food.

This refrigerator was empty. There was no food in this house. I brought none of it in here myself. Nothing. Nada. You don’t even see the stuff on the top shelf in this photograph. The yogurt is full. There is an unopened jar of mayonnaise. Two jars of salsa. three half gallons of milk or soy-based, milk-like products. Three quarters of a pound of butter. Cheese, lettuce, peanut butter, girl scout cookies, jelly, eggs, orange juice, awful organic cottage cheese, two unopened bags of tortilla chips.

I have only 3 more days here. I’d better get eating.

Near death skiing

This glorious and sunny morning in Vail my sister Peggy lured me onto a run called Showboat. It is a blue run, and therefore considered intermediate. I would like to meet the person who decides on this. And punch him. 

To say I was fearful on this mogul hill, I mean hell, would be an understatement. Technically I was not screaming as I cartoonishly fumbled my way down the hell, I mean hell, 10, OK, 15 minutes after Peggy. But then we had lunch with Ann and Jay. 

 I had the falafel burger and pickled vegetables. I also had the bloody Mary and glass of wine. I took these photographs shortly after. Courage is easily imbibed. The Wizard of Oz should have given that lion a beverage. 

The first pic is looking up, the second, down. The little dark spot in the in the second is Peggy. I joined her moments later, gracefully shushing my way down to meet her. Well, graceful might be an overstatement but I deserved a medal for my courage.

Lake Park Bistro

Friday night Ashish and I had dinner with my sisters (two of the 4 and one fiancé) at Lake Park Bistro. As I have said, I am leery about the place because I find the service lacking sometimes. More often than not actually. But last time I went it the service was really good. This time is was good, too. Our waiter, who looked like Clark Kent, was attentive and quite chipper. When he mispronounced the wine (the house haut medoc) as “hot medoc” I felt compelled to correct his pronunciation. I know this sounds asshole-y but he was new and if it’s the house red wine he really can’t be walking around mispronouncing it. He was very receptive and thanked me sincerely.

I, however, got mine. The manager Didier then came over and proceeded to speak to me in French. I can’t describe the panic that grips me when I have to speak French. With sweat pouring off my face I had a jaunty little conversation with him (he corrected my French, thank you very much) about really nothing. But I impressed my future brother-in-law so that’s really all that matters.

Patty had some fabulous curried carrot soup, Ashish had a small bird with foam on it. He liked it but that foam looked a little too much like something my dog herked up last week. I had steak.

Our meal was good.

Jay (future BIL) ordered bouillabaisse which is far more French than my speaking it.