Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Steamboat - Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday morning we woke up to beautiful skies. It was not quite clear and sunny, but it wasn't snowing and it didn't look as if it would start to snow. We could see the clouds clearing in the distance and knew that this would be a great day of skiing because of the new snow from the day before.

We set the alarm so we could get an early start on the day, however, Cornbread woke up and promptly took a 45 minute nap while I was buying tickets;)

We had one more section of the mountain that we had not tried yet and this was the day. It was a bit intimidating on the map because it was almost entirely black diamond runs with only one or two blues mixed in. Once again, though, the runs were almost empty and we were out there on our own to take them as slow as we wanted and as many times as we wanted.

We did the same run a couple of times because it was so challenging and we were alone and having a good time. The previous day we did a lot of tree skiing, this day we did moguls and moguls and more moguls.

We started out with Middle Rib - a black run that was extremely steep and narrow. It was super fast and we had a great time with it.

(these are not my photos - I took them off of flikr)
This is a photo looking up at Middle Rib - it didn't look like this the day we did it - not so many branches in the middle of the run.

We veered off of Middle Rib onto Outlaw.

This is a picture from the top of Outlaw (again, not my photo). It is a good picture of the view... the run winds around to the left of the photo.

When we got to the top of outlaw, we had absolutely no idea what we were getting into:) As it turns out it was winding and twisting moguls on a very narrow run with a pretty severe drop-off on the right side. We had a great time with it, though. The fresh powder from the day before slowed us down enough that we could confidently work out way through the bumps. We were not good. We were not graceful. We fell a lot, but we had an awesome time on those two runs.

We also ventured into some ungroomed runs, which was not so much fun;) I think the only run that had been groomed the night before was Middle Rib... we tried them all, though. Skiing through heavy, deep, ungroomed powder is pretty difficult. I fell so much on this side of the mountain and got really banged up. We did one run, Fool's Gold, that was incredibly ridiculous. It was entirely moguls with trees on either side and they had 4 inches of fresh powder on them. We had no bailing options so we had to get through it. We both had several experiences of one ski getting stuck while the other kept going - causing a pretty harsh fall where my legs felt like they were getting ripped out of my torso;) I got pretty beat up on those runs. We clearly had no business being there, but no one was watching, no one was waiting for us, we charged forward and tried - without trying we would never get better.

After doing that side of the mountain for most of the morning, we made our way back to Storm Peak - the part we did in the snow the previous day. The runs there were much better on this day because we could actually see what we were doing! We enjoyed them for a while and then went back to the part of the mountain that we did on Sunday and Monday and did a few runs there. It was pretty amazing how slow and boring those runs felt now that we had done some pretty difficult stuff on the other side of the mountain for two days.

We opted to ski late into the day and grab lunch back at the condo instead of spending so much on the mountain. We made lunch in the condo and watched LOST from the night before (and it was GOOD - so many answers in one episode AND a theological conversation between Jacob and Richard Alpert...).

Wednesday night was the last night that we were responsible for paying for dinner so we decided to do some shopping in the little downtown area and go out for my birthday. We went to every tshirt shop on the street (and for some reason they all smelled like farts) and also picked up some gifts for Carol. It was nice to tool around and follow our noses through the shops and have no agenda at all.

We chose Giovanni's for dinner. I had scoured the menus of many of the restaurants while we were in the condo and finally settled on this little Italian place that didn't serve mainly pasta, but mostly other dishes that looked delicious. I ordered the smoked duck risotto and it was incredible - mmmmm.

Our dinner was interesting. The product partner was hosting another dinner at the table next to us. We walked past the table when we were seated and said hello and joked about how we were following them. I had my back to the table and could overhear much of the conversation. Apparently, he was hosting an FA/spouse and the FA's daughter who is married to another FA. The Father (following this?) is exceptionally successful and makes gobs of money. The daughter, having grown up with all of this money and all of these trips, was quite the spoiled brat. At one point I heard her say, "I wasn't going to marry anyone who wasn't already an FA or was going to become an FA." Yeah, impressive. It is a thought-provoking comment from our perspective... however, it was amazingly spoiled coming out of her mouth.

As we left the dinner, we stopped to say goodbye and told the product partner that we were happy that his son was feeling better and that his whole family was able to be at dinner (at our dinner with him the night before his wife was back at the condo with his sick son). His wife, then, turned and gave us the dirtiest look I have ever seen. Cornbread saw it, too, so it wasn't just my imagination. We still have no idea what that was about... but this particular person gets more impressive through the end of the week - stay tuned for that;) We walked away kind of stunned - not sure what that was about, but whatever...

Went back to the room and called Mark and Jane to challenge them to a game of Euchre. Spent the rest of the night playing cards and chatting, preparing for our last day of skiing.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Steamboat - Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday morning we woke up to snow. Snow is much more appreciated on a ski vacation than at home. It was pretty and exciting. We went out that morning dressed for colder skiing and got out around 10:30. Mark was skiing with his family that day so Cornbread and I were by ourselves. We went to the back side of the mountain - Morningside Peak.

We got to the top of the lift and looked down one of the only runs off of that peak - Huevos. It was a black diamond mogul run with pines near the bottom on either side of it. We weren't super confident, but we decided to try it. We both fell many, many times:)

When we finally got to the end of the moguls we veared off into the trees on the left side of the run. There were trails through the trees and the snow was was soft. We took turns leading through the trees - a very basic game of follow the leader. Cornbread, though, decided not to follow me straight into one of the pine trees that I got a little intimate with;)

I wasn't necessarily hugging the tree, but I was caught up in the branches and my skis were crossed. The snow was deep and my right ski was covered, so every time I tried to free myself the other end of it would get caught under the snow. I finally popped my skis off and went to step out of the tree and immediately sank up to my knee in snow. I still had my left ski on and it was on top of the snow - I had enough leverage to get myself out of the snow, however, once I did so I took another step and immediately sank up to my HIP! I was laughing so hard. At this point my left ski was in the same position as before, but I had no leverage to get myself out so Cornbread had to help me out by pulling... after which he immediately fell over. I thought I was going to wet my pants - we were laughing so hard.

We skied that run several times because we were having so much fun - on the moguls and in the trees. That side of the mountain was pretty empty - we were basically the only ones back there, which made it even nicer.

When we decided to move on from Morningside Peak, we went over to Storm Peak. At this point the snow was coming down harder and the visibility was terrible. We were also so high up on the mountain that we were skiing through a cloud - making the visibility even worse. At this point I was wet and cold and the snow was stinging my face as we skied down the mountain, I couldn't see what I was skiing over - bumps, moguls, ice, etc - couldn't see it. I told Cornbread that I was skiing because I felt obligated to do so - not because I wanted to or was enjoying it. He agreed, so we made our way over to get some lunch and then made our way back to the resort.

We had been invited to have dinner with the product partner that was on the trip with us. We were looking forward to a nice dinner at L'Apogee. From what we could tell, it appeared to be an extremely high end restaurant - but in Steamboat, everything is still casual so we could wear jeans;) We were definitely looking forward to a really nice (free) meal!

We met our group at 6:30. There were 4 other EJ FA's and spouses/guests along with the product partner. The wholesaler's wife was back at the resort with their sick 2 year old son, so he was on his own. One of the other FA's (and his guest) were on our trip to Cabo in October 2008, so we chatted with them quite a bit. There was also a couple from Virginia, a couple from Sheboyagan, WI and another couple from the south - Mississippi perhaps? The wife of the Sheboyagan FA sat next to me and was drunk when she arrived. She is 35 (her husband is 56 and has been with the firm for 19 years) and was pretty much being an idiot because she was drunk. I don't normally do this, but I tried to avoid engaging her in conversation. It was pretty obnoxious, actually.

The dinner was lovely, though. Cornbread ordered a filet mignon that was $7/ounce - what? I had the sea bass, some escargot, some really nice merlot, and a wonderful creme brulee. The food was great. The dinner took FOREVER. Between every course the servers cleared the table, left the room and then came back with new utensils. I think we ended up being there for 3 hours, which was a little long and we got back to the room too late to do anything afterward so we went to bed, hoping for a better day of skiing in the morning.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Steamboat - Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday morning began with meetings. Cornbread had to attend a meeting hosted by the wholesaler that was on the trip. I stayed in the room and bought some Lady Gaga tickets for work. I joined him at 10:00 for the combined FA and Spouses meeting, which lasted until about 11:30.

Cornbread, Mark and I got out to the mountain around 1:00 after having lunch in our rooms. Cornbread and I took a step outside of the resort and immediately turned around and went back in to remove some of our under layers - it was beautiful out! The day was gorgeous. Warm and sunny, which made for some slushy snow.

The skiing was beautiful and we did the same part of the mountain as we had on Sunday, but finished up the runs that we had missed the day before. We also attempted some moguls and with the slower snow and lots of tries we were getting through them without crying.

With a half day of skiing we weren't quite as tired as the day before. We had been told that we should visit the hot springs while we were out there. The only hitch was that if we drove ourselves, we had to make sure it wasn't snowing at all as there is 2 miles of unpaved road right before the springs and if you get stuck there is a $500 fine. Otherwise, if we went with a tour group is was $30 more per person than if we drove by ourselves. We knew that snow was in the forecast for Tuesday, so we decided to try the hot springs that night. We showered up and went on our way.

The drive was beautiful and the springs were gorgeous.
There were two moose eating off of the trees about 100 yards up the mountain. We watched them for a while and then decided they were pretty boring. Cornbread asked me if he should throw some snowballs at them... not such a good idea in my opinion:)

There are 3 hot pools and one pool that mixes with the mountain stream that is cold. Some little girls (probably 10 years old) were being dared by their father to swim in the cold pool. They did. Cornbread, of course, had to try it, too. He said he could barely breathe because it was so cold. I opted not to go in!

We didn't stay at the springs for very long. It was beginning to snow and while it was absolutely beautiful, it wasn't worth $500 to get stuck on our way back. In addition, clothing is optional after dark - and there are no lights. I wanted to avoid whatever came along with that situation as much as possible:)

We grabbed some dinner at The Steamboat Smokehouse, which was fine. The food was alright and it was rather inexpensive. Out of all of our meals out there (with the exception of lunches on the mountain) it was probably our least favorite. The atmosphere was very casual - peanut shells on the floor, most locals were in cowboy hats, etc. It was here that I was convinced that we were vacationing in the land of


While we were waiting to be seated, I watched the host do his job. I mentioned to Cornbread that one thing that I was beginning to understand about Steamboat is that all of the guys are cool. They dress cool, their hair is cool, they're good looking. This host was no exception to that. He had on the perfect pair of jeans, was built just right, had the perfectly fitting tshirt on, hair was cool and he kept putting his dish towel in the back pocket of his jeans - making him even cooler. He was probably 20ish. I was admiring him as he did his job. Then he brought us to our table. I sat down and asked him, "So, what do you like here?" And then he opened his mouth... and ruined everything;)

[insert Spicoli laugh here] "Uh, you like meat, right?" [another Spicoli laugh here].

That was enough... Cornbread and I then decided that the guys in Steamboat are cool as long as they don't open their mouths;) We heard the Spicoli laugh everywhere all week and wondered: Do people turn out that way from smoking weed OR are people who are like that naturally drawn to smoking weed? What comes first - the chicken or the egg? I told the guys (who were cool) at the ski storage place that they were a bunch of Spicoli's and they thought it was hysterical.

Seriously, dude - all about the Spicoli's.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Steamboat - Sunday March 21, 2010

Lifts opened at 8:30. I was woken up by my lovely Cornbread at 5:30am. He was simply too excited to sleep that morning. We had 5 full days of skiing ahead of us and we were eager to get going - even if the lift operators weren't willing to open early for us;)

We got to the gondola around 9am after picking up our skis and getting ready. It was a beautiful day - totally clear, not too cold, but not too warm. Sunny, clear skies and a lot of ski runs to cover.

Our friends in the (EJ) region had booked the same week for this trip to Steamboat. The wife and children were in ski lessons all day for 3 days, so the husband skied with us everyday. It had been a while since any of us skied, so we took the first day to figure out how to do it again:)

As you look at the map,

we spent the day skiing on the entire right side of the map. We particularly enjoyed Tomahawk, Buckshot and Baby Powder. We glanced at some mogul runs and then went in the other direction - I've never been able to do moguls and I wasn't about to try to figure it out that day... Mark, however, is a seasoned skier and had no hesitation with the moguls.

We skied the entire day. I think we finally left the mountain some time after 3:00. We were sore and tired and ready to sit. We went down to the hot tub for a bit and then went out for dinner to Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill. We had invited our friends to join us, but they declined... and ended up showing up for their own dinner right as we were finishing ours. Mahogany Ridge is a normal brewery, but they had an interesting entree menu with 20 different kinds of dipping sauces to go with the entrees. Cornbread ordered the pork loin and I ordered the maple glazed chicken, which came with a port brew cream sauce which was amazing. We both agreed that this was the best restaurant meal we had had in a very long time.

We had full intentions of going back to the resort and play cards with Mark and Jane that evening, but as we were sitting at dinner, we both realized that it just wasn't going to happen - we were WAY too tired. So we grabbed a movie at the redbox and went back to the room. I believe I saw about 15 minutes of the movie before finally giving in (it wasn't hard to give in as the movie was terrible) and falling asleep. We cashed out for the night, ready for an great night of sleep... if this is how we'd feel for the entire trip, it was going to be a long week:)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Steamboat Springs, CO - Saturday March 20, 2010

Last Saturday we finally left for our trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We have been looking forward to this trip since Cornbread earned it last October... back then it seemed like it would never come around and then in the last month or so it just creeped up on us!

So we left for the airport on Saturday morning. Got on board the plane, everything was good. Until the pilot came on to report that we would be delayed due to a break in the main de-icer line. We sat on the plane for 2 hours and 15 minutes before finally leaving O'Hare.

We arrived at the Steamboat Grand Resort around 4:30pm MST. Grabbed our lift tickets, unpacked, went to the welcome dinner and then headed out to the local grocery store to stock up for the week. We were spoiled enough to be staying in a one bedroom condo with a full kitchen, so we grabbed food for breakfasts, lunches and snacks. As it turns out we grabbed WAY too much food:)

View from our room:
We were exhausted from not sleeping well on the couches the night before, going to bed late the previous night and getting up early to catch our flight. We didn't do anything for the rest of the evening... brought our groceries in, hung out for a bit and went to bed.

Traveling days are long and BORING!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Quiet Man

My grandpa died in early 1999. He was a very quiet man. In fact, I hardly knew him. Between very little effort on everyone's part to have a relationship with that set of grandparents and the fact that he didn't talk much it would have been difficult to ever get to know him.

My grandma did a lot of talking for him;) One of Cornbread's favorite (and only) memories of this grandpa was at a family dinner (which was a rare thing). Grandma and Grandpa were sitting at the head of the table, we were sitting at the other end. We hear: "Dad wants the ketchup." We still laugh about that - that grandma did his bidding. We're not certain that Grandpa really even wanted the ketchup!

When he died, we drove in for the wake and the funeral. Admittedly, it was not an extremely emotional event for me. I was more emotional seeing my dad's emotions - he's not a very emotional guy, my dad:) On the extremely rare ocassions that I've seen him cry it immediately causes tears for me.

I recall standing in front of the open casket in the narthex of the church the morning of the funeral. My dad walked up and I told him that he and grandpa had the same hands (they were hand twins... this hand is my hand. this hand is your hand. no wait thats my hand...) There was some sadness at that moment for my dad - I could feel it and see it. I asked him why Grandpa hardly ever spoke. He told me that Grandpa used to say, "If I don't talk, I know what I know and I know what everyone else knows."

Cornbread and I tucked that away and refer to it often. Cornbread often cites my grandpa - who he knew even less than I did - when he talks about how he relates to his clients, his prospects, his colleagues and his competition. In a world where everyone seems to want to hear their own voices, be in power, have their opinion counted it is unusual for someone to sit back and take it in and learn what everyone else knows. Not that either one of us are perfect at it, but we both work on it.

I wonder if my Grandpa drew that lesson from this verse in Proverbs...
Proverbs 10: 14 - The wise accumulate knowledge - a true treasure; know-it-alls talk too much - a sheer waste.

Honestly, I don't think about my grandpa very often. But I read this verse this week and immediately thought of him. I have a few memories of him and although I didn't know him well, the memories make me smile. I consider myself blessed to have been taught something so simple, yet so insightful by a man of very, very few words.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Something needs to change

Discipline - dis·ci·pline
1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.
2. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control

Disciplined. I have been described many times with this word. I know that in many areas of my life I am quite disciplined. On the pendulum of self-discipline I am well aware of the fact that I am on one extreme. My ways seem way far out of reach for many. And while I have friends that say they admire me for this, I'm also certain that none of them desire the extent that I go;)

* I work out. Six days a week. And nothing keeps me from doing so. If I skip a workout I feel like I've let myself down - not because I think I'm going to gain weight or because I think I'm a bad person, but because I have expectations for myself and one of them is to workout - every.day. Non-negotiable.

* When I'm really trying to lose weight, I'm fastidious about the number of points I eat. I'm extreme in the amount of water I drink. I eat the exact same meals - except for dinner - every day. I don't deviate - unless I plan ahead.

Control issues? Perhaps. I don't find that I have a controlling personality, though, I'm just self-disciplined. Why do I find a distinction? Because I don't go out of my mind if I am not meeting those expectations. In addition, I have no desire to control the people around me - just myself:)

Anyway... I'm thinking about discipline right now because while I'm incredibly self-disciplined in some areas of my life - exercise, diet, laundry - I so severely lack discipline in other areas at times. Right now is one of those times.

Proverbs 8:33 - Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don't squander your precious life.
Proverbs 10:4 - Sloth makes you poor; diligence brings wealth.

A couple of verses from my morning readings... really making me consider my daily routine right now. While I will not negotiate my workouts, I'm easily distracted into avoiding my daily home-work.

I don't like cleaning. I really don't. I don't intentionally avoid it, however, I am finding that my day is more often than not getting away from me and I look back and find I've accomplished not much of anything. I have not been truly productive in quite a while.

Computer. Puzzle. TV. Work. All have provided the appropriate distractions to keep me from making my house a home. My house is fine - it is usually picked up and okay, but I haven't CLEANED in a while. And my mother-in-law is coming in two weeks - uh oh:)

So these Bible verses have touched me in a spot that I've known for a while needs some work. I KNOW I've been undisciplined in my home-work. I know I have. I'm not in denial. But I haven't been doing anything to change it either.

Today I will spend a little time mapping out my day and finding a routine/schedule that I can manage. I will also check back into flylady and find out where they are in the whole taking-care-of-the-house routine.

I can feel in my soul that I've been unhappy with myself about this. It is time to start working.

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