Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunshine Village

I love to ski. No really. I LOVE to ski. I have been downhill skiing since I was about 5 years old. We spent every Christmas in Colorado for years and, many times, Spring Break as well. I married a man who also loves to ski. I will freely admit that the opportunity to really ski again was on of the reasons I said yes to this assignment.

So with a high temp of 22 degrees and flurries in the forecast we headed out to the slopes. Jealous? Wanna see where we went ...

Sunshine Village

Oh my, was it ever as good as I remember. Maybe even better because now my kids are able to ski with us. We don't do the same runs as we used to ... more green and easy blue slopes, but the weather was perfect and the snow was like "champagne powder." I loved it. And who wants to put money on the fact that the boys will be out-skiing us by the end of the season.

Want to see my kids?

My goal - 20 days on the slopes this season. Hey, it lasts until may 23rd.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It Certainly Feels like the Holidays

It is cold here. Bitterly cold. -22° C and -7° F. To cold to even take off my flannel pjs. A good day to stay inside, watch college football (even if my choices are limited here in Calgary) and think about Christmas presents.

I've decided to participate in Chronicle Books 2nd Annual Happy Haul-idays Giveaway. They're giving one lucky blogger $500 worth of books (and one commenter on this post, if I win, will receive the same). Some books for myself to peruse on the next day like today. Some books for my nieces. A little something for everyone ...

First, for me:

This is me. A nomad. I would love to recreate the interior of that fabulous Thai hotel in my home in Texas one day. Or the colors of the Indian market. Never before has Nomad had such a wonderful connotation.

I almost purchased this yesterday. Plenty. I would cook from this. I would be inspired by this.

And perhaps I could learn a little of what the amazing photographers in these books know. If I read The New Photography Manual this winter, I can use the knowledge when I return to the world in the Spring.

Also on my wish list ...

Waves, because I only see mountains now - not that I am complaining.
God's Amateur, how could you resist this one?
Dante's Divine Comedy, so expensive, but if you are going to read this classic, why not read in style?

For J and M:

This would be a wonderful way to introduce my kids to one of my favorite operas,

and one of my favotire artists (little known fact, but Georgia O'Keefe was a Kappa Delta - AOT).

And then help them find their own creative way in the world.

For my husband, because he is always complaining the boys don't read enought COWBOY books:

For my Dad, the man who introduced me to the icon (but I would have to look at it before I gave it to him):

For my mom:

So she can have some peace while my dad is talking about Mr. Cash. (I think I'll get two of these ... one for my mother-in-lw as well.)

For my beautiful twin nieces (and because I never got to buy stuff like this for the boys):

I hope they let me play with them when I visit!

For my nephew, who is a hard nut for me to crack:

This (and the one on the Celtics) will be a slam dunk!

I have more money left to spend!! I am giddy. I guess if we are going to be inside all winter, we should at least eat well. I will round out my wish list with more cookbooks:

The Glorious Pasta of Italy
Quick and Easy Mexican Cooking

And I am done ... $498.53. Let's see someone try to get closer to $500 than that. And yes, I have a US mailing address.

Now for the charity. With cutbacks across the board in all areas, I can't think of a better charity for books than the public library system in the US. My choice for these books would be the Harris County Public Library system. That way, if the box with these books gets lost in our move home, I could still enjoy my choices. (It happened, by the way, we lost a box of books on the move up here - and M's cowboy hat!)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Barrier Lakes Lookout

This was the worst hike yet. And to see a view like this from the "worst hike" reminds me that I am lucky to live in a place so beautiful.

Barrier Lakes is not in either of my two guide books, but J had already done this hike with the scout troop and we wanted a hike not completely snow covered. This fit the bill and did not seem overly long. Up and down.

Except we went up ... 4.9 km or 3 miles. While at the top and feeling good, we decided not to come back down the same way, but complete the loop instead. Another 8.3 km or 5 miles. That made a total of 8 miles on a chilly and blustery day with the wind whipping through us on the last 3 miles at about 40 miles per hour. While it was nice going up and while we were in the trees, the last few km were miserable and I never want to do this hike again.

A consolation prize? well of course, the Rockies don't ever let you down.

This guy was one of a family of wood grouse who were almost tame.

Our totals:

Miles Hiked as a Family Since Arrival in Canada: 69
Miles Hiked by J with his Scout Troop: 9.5
Mile hiked by J: 79.5
Miles Hiked in the Snow: 5.4

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We Are Penn State

I'm not a Penn State grad, but my brother is. Next to Northwestern and Texas A&M, Penn State has long been one of my favorite college programs.

The board made the right decision, JoePa had to go. I am sorry that his career ended under these circumstances, but it was the right decision.

Mr. Paterno, those boys were the ages of my kids. They were helpless and defenseless against a sadistic madman. You should have done something more.

My God, Mr. Paterno. I do not understand how you could sit by and just let that man walk around your stadium. Did you have him over for dinner? Did he attend functions at your house? How could you speak to him? How could you look at yourself in the mirror?

The players did nothing wrong, so on Saturday I will still be wearing blue and white. Well, I'll actually be wearing purple and white, but I'll be cheering for Penn State.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Not Just Hiking - October 2011

War and Peace (Book One) by Leo Tolstoy
Oh, how I love this book. After reading Pat Conroy's small tome on reading, I was persuaded to pick this up again. I didn't realize how much I had missed Prince Andrei and Natasha and Count Bezuhov. And this time, I can take my time. The best way to read Tolstoy is slowly.

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
For book club. Early comments are on how disturbing this book is. I did not find it disturbing. I think the author tried to write a disturbing book ... and failed. It did make me want to re-read Great Expectations, but I have to get in line behind my 12 year old son. He has his hands on the Dickens classic. This was shortlisted for the Booker?

A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
When stuck in a rut go back to those books that give you comfort. Like hanging out with an old friend. This is another character I didn't know I had missed until I stopped by for a visit. Also a perennial favorite of one of my favorite bloggers.

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant
Finally, a book club book I could sink my teeth into (pun intended). The first two choices were poorly written drivel (and they are both being made into movies?) This was well-written. The author managed to combine the story of this tiger with the history of the Tiger and the lager eco-history of this part of Russia. Great read.

The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal
I enjoyed the first half of this book, but then it seemed to bog down in Vienna. I finished it, but I really skimmed the last half of the book. I was disappointed that there were no photos or illustrations of the netsuke.

The Perfect Game
Baseball, faith, family, redemption, love, underdogs. Everything I love in a movie. This was a great one.

Dolphin Tale
Oh what a great movie. I cried the entire time. I want to see it again.

Alpha and Omega
Just dumb.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox
My boys loved this.

The First Dog
Completely unrealistic, but a sweet story.

I admit it. I shamelessly love the movies by this Christian group. My favorite is Facing the Giants, but this one was great. I love that I can take my kids to a movie and NEVER worry about what they will see or hear. It is a shame the ratings agency gave this a PG-13 rating. It must be the cleanest PG-13 movie I have ever seen.

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown