Wednesday, February 6, 2008

at last, a blogging breakthrough

A few days ago, I was tagged. By my friend Susan who always looks out for me and makes sure I am included. I have a fear of not being included. Indeed of being Left Out Completely.

Apparently there is a blogging equivalent of not being kissed before your 16th birthday which is not being tagged for a meme (I'm not sure what a meme is but I think I don't want to be one?) before your first blogiversary. What's that? Of course, I had not been tagged. Uh oh, I was on the verge of Being Left Out and I didn't even know it.

So I promptly emailed Susan for clarification, because, as a Virgo, I must have complete clarification on all aspects of everything before I can begin the meticulous planning involved with all parts of my life. It's very involved I assure you.

So here I go with the necessary steps of being tagged. First, here are the rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share five random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
3. Share the five top places on your “want to see or want to see again” list.
4. Tag a minimum of five random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment in their blog.

So I'm good on the first 3 rules, but what about the last two? Is this like a bad chain letter that you will be cursed at for forwarding? Let me start with the first three things while I decide on the last two.

1. She's been linked since I began my own blog and the rules are posted.
2. Five things about me:
a. I was Greta in the Sound of Music production put on by my summer camp St. Margaret's Episcopal Camp for Girls in S. Duxbury, MA because I was the only small white blonde girl there. It's no longer a camp but it still exists. My mother went there too and almost became a nun (bonus weird fact).
b. I am adopted and have no interest in discovering my "birth parents" however, if they tracked me down, I would love to meet them.
c. I moved to Vermont for seven years based on nothing more than falling in love with snowboarding.
d. I refuse to wear the color orange and believe that polka dots are a sign of madness. (i.e. Joan Crawford).
e. Local newspapers from three different states all had me on the front page with my mouth open.

3. Five places:
a. New Zealand because of the beauty of Mt. Hutt and also cus the Lord of the Rings was filmed there.
b. Nova Scotia after my parents visted there and showed us the photos. Yes please.
c. Martha's Vineyard (Chilmark) again and again and again because we love it.
d. The Four Corners and the Grand Canyon (can't decide which here).
e. Italy - all of it. Over several months.

I'll have to get back on the tagged blogs - stay tuned!

keeping up with the Joneses

There is a bumper sticker out here that reads "Vail - perfecting the art of keeping up with the Joneses" and how true it is. Like nowhere else, Vail is about being a Who in Whoville and being the biggest and best at it. Not just having the most money, living in the biggest house and having the most toys, but being the best skier, the best road biker, having the biggest diamond, the most plastic surgery, the grossest fur coat, etc. Being The Best. Always and Forever.

I have to say that the majority of people here, both visitors and residents, subscribe to this philosophy. It's really a crying shame that people are so superficial. Is it this way everywhere? Or just here. As Vail is developing a multi billion dollar a year industry, the humaness has left. In very short order.

Quality of all kinds has certainly left the valley for other locales. Multi million dollar houses are being built that have windows that aren't level. With fixtures that don't work. All for people who will not even notice that the floorboards are warped. Meanwhile, a local free bus service ceased stopping at the Wal-Mart/Home Depot plaza because the town didn't want to pay for it anymore. The bus service still continues in the rest of that town. It was estimated that over 5,800 people a month used that stop in the winter. BTW - the Wal-Mart is pretty much the only grocery store in town and Home Despot has driven out all of the home supply and hardware stores. Home prices are soaring and property owners are complaining that taxes are going up - surprise?! Taxes for schools and public services are being voted down by the same home owners who don't want thier money going to places that don't directly benefit them.

Most of Vail Valley surrounds I70. The busiest highway in the country. Truckers using I70 are being forbidden a truck stop in which they can chain up to go over Vail Pass or rest on thier way across country. Complaints about the noise of idling trucks abound. Currently, truckers have to pull into the breakdown lane and be in traffic to put tire chains on. All because, apparenly, the homeowners did not truly realize that I70 was a highway that actually was used by any type of vehicle when they purchased their million dollar homes. They'd rather have truckers in danger (2 were killed this year already) than traffic noise. Hmmm.

The elk population is being thinned out because they are showing up in people's back yards and the golf courses. Did someone not realize the elk lived here first? There are shops that sell jeans for $900 and pay their staff $10/hour.

When the race for money is on, the human spirit seems to flee. Why is that? It bothers me to the extreme that the pursuit of money destroys what basic thoughtfulness people may have had. Even though much of our culture and society no longer promotes the golden rule or even the niceties of human interaction such as please, thank you and excuse me.

Perhaps my husband & I are jaded by the people that surround us at home - there is no competition among the Usual Suspects even though there very easily could be with the variety of social and economic backgrounds. No one cares about the Accomplishments, the American Dream status, the Employment excellence, the Education, the TV or SUV size, blah blah blah. Are you a good person? Do you have values and morals that you stand behind? Do you care about the world around you? Are you fun? Can you cook? Perhaps this insulation of like minded people has made us think that perhaps the rest of society should interact this way.

Well, why shouldn't it?

a night to remember

Recently my husband and I went out on a date night. No really - a full date with dinner and a show included!

Finally, a chance to dress up in clothes that didn't say Marmot, North Face or Patagonia (the uniform de riguer here in the mountains). Real shoes instead of Sorels. Suede pants, button up shirt and my black biker boots (note to self - do NOT wear treadless shoes in mountains between October and May - how do people live in Danskos here?). A chance to wear those clothes that I just HAD to tote across country positive that I would need them on a regular basis.

Dinner was not Mexican fare. Instead, we splurged on The Grouse Mountain Grill. A five star restaurant in Beaver Creek. A 40 page wine list. The car was valeted, we were ushered in at the appointed reservation time and we were seated overstuffed, wood-framed upholstered chairs by the floor to ceiling windows which had a spectacular, panoramic view of the Beaver Creek & Vail valleys. We were Somebodies! Yes, Randy had the chops pictured on the site - pretzel coated pork chops with a honey mustard sauce and brussel sprouts - how could he POSSIBLY resist that?? Dinner was unbelievable, perfectly served and portioned, the waitstaff friendly and professional, and in fact, with the prices being what they are in many of the establishments here, the cost was actually comperable to many other places. So why would we even consider dining at a lesser rated place?? I mean really. Dessert was chocolate crème fraiche cheesecake with chocolate truffle topping & lemon scented chocolate cookie crust.

We then un-valeted and parked in the heated, yes, I do mean heated at 65 degrees, parking garage and walked up to the glittering Vilar Performing Tarts Center, I mean Arts, to see Keb' Mo', who by the way, is an absolutely amazing blues singer/performer. He was performing solo - just him and a selection of guitars for almost 2 hours to the most rapt audience ever. This venue is a fairly new structure and what an acoustically perfect building! It seats 500 and there is not a bad seat in the house. Here's where we sat.
What a night!! And the best part, we were home by 10:00 p.m. which for us is the magic hour in which we turn into pumpkins. Yay - date night!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

a tree survives in colorado

A much earlier post lauded the aspen tree and it's wonderful addition to our homestead here in the snowy West. Here's how it's doing now.
The way I see it, we won't ever have to water it again. Ever.

Monday, February 4, 2008

snow anyone?

The snow is about 100" deep in places and Randy has shoveled the roof at least 5 times now.
The neighbor's car in the alley behind the house. I dont' think 4 wheel drive is going to help...



sometimes they are worth it

Most of the time "forwards" bug me. You know the ones, if you don'r respond to this, you'll have bad luck, your nose will fall of, no one will like you, etc. The ones with the horrible grammar and punctuation and unusual placement of capital letters. You all know the ones of which I speak. But sometimes, you can cull the crap out and the dire consequences for failure to conform and there remains some tiny nugget of goodness left over. Like a waxy piece of chocolate coating from a Ring Ding. Here's some chocolate:

"Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here we might as well dance!"

"Whenever [insert diety of choice here] closes one door He/She/It always opens another, even though sometimes it's hell in the hallway."

Good friends are like stars... you don't always see them, but you know they are always there.