Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Our roots say we're sisters, our hearts say we're friends."

For the first time since moving here in August 2011, I left Denver!  I spent this past weekend in Chicago hanging out with my sister.  Without my husband or my children.  Without work.  Totally relaxing.  And absolutely indulging.

I arrived in the Paris on the Prairie Friday night, and enjoyed a lovely evening of sushi and a movie.  On Saturday, we fought through the St. Patricks Day revelers to shop on Michigan Avenue for something to wear to our brother's upcoming wedding.  Then, after a lovely late afternoon nap followed by a delightful late afternoon mani/pedi, we ate an insanely delicious dinner at an Armenian restaurant.  Sunday, we got hot stone massages, and then ate lunch (more sushi) and walked around Lincoln Park.  Oh my how I love you Armitage & Halsted.

And now, I accept, its time to stop doing things because "it will be"/"is"/"just was" my 40th birthday.

While being in a great city was fun, what made the weekend so perfect was, of course, and undoubtedly, the pleasure of the company.  My sister.   My insightful, intelligent, wickedly funny, and beautiful sister.  We've lived and traveled together to Newport News toVirginia Beach to Israel to Disney World to Silver Spring to New York to Paris to Truth or Consequences to Baltimore to Columbus to Chicago to San Francisco.  To Denver.  What, you're staying in Chicago?  I guess its time for me to settle down too.

And the fact that I'm here, happy, at 40?  There is no way I would have made it without her.



She celebrated with me through the big moments.  Like when I made my big, single-girl in the city move to Manhattan after law school.  My sister was there with me then, meeting the movers and helping me unpack.  When I gave birth to my son, we lived in the same city so my sister came as soon as I called and was with me in the delivery room.  When it was time for my daughter to arrive, I called, and my sister got on the next airplane.  She was at the hospital in less than 24 hours and the first person to hold my daughter besides me and my husband.

And through thousands, maybe millions, of mundane every day moments - good, bad, and everything in between - she's been there, listened to whatever it is I have to say, listened to it again, and yes, sometimes a third (& fourth) time, offered her advice, and when I rejected that, her unconditional support.  And love.  Always love.

It was a great weekend with my person.  Next big birthdays?  Little sister - 40; big sister - gulp, gasp, can there possibly be enough carbs to help me deal - 50.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

I skied a black diamond with moguls and lived to blog about it.

Here's a fun story.  The kids got me a ski lesson for my birthday.  Said lesson occurred yesterday.  At lunch, my instructor Kevin said that I am an "advanced intermediate" and he'd like me to try a black diamond run.  I laughed.  We got back out to the blues.  A little bit later, he insisted.  Said the black we would try is the same steepness as the blues I've done, just longer.  Sure.  Ok.  The day is almost over.  Challenging myself to the next level seems a nice way to end it.  I power up with a chocolate chip Z Bar I'd stuck in my jacket for my daughter and agree to give it a go.  

Kevin and I start down a run entitled "Go Devil."  Thats right, "Go Devil."  Its steep, but I take long, slow turns and don't look down.  I feel pretty good.  Then, wait.  What?  Moguls?  There are moguls on this run?  I've never even done moguls on a blue run.  There are a lot moguls?  Uh, KEVIN??!!#$*&&?    

I stop.  I turn around to Kevin who's been skiing behind me so he can watch and critique, and Kevin says, "I'm so sorry.  This was a mistake."  

Direct quote.  

Now I haven't taken many ski lessons, but "I'm sorry; this was a mistake" from the instructor does not seem like a good sign.  Kevin further explains that he didn't realize this run had moguls.  And I realize that a) Kevin is an idiot and b) I've still got to get down.

I really don't know how to explain how I made it down.  I do know that it was very, very slowly.  And with very little skill except a great big surge of that little ole thing called survival skill that kicks in when one has to save herself in a highly dangerous situation.  So I pizza wedged, and I stopped.  And I pizza wedged and I stopped.  And, very important note here, I did not freak out.  And finally, I made it through those bumps. 

A little bit further on some smooth, groomed steepness I'd expected, and I arrived safely to the base of Mountain House.  Thankfully I was stunned into silence at this point because completely securing his place as a person I never want to see again, Kevin then patted me on the back and said, "You were awesome.  I can't believe you didn't just take off your skis and walk down.  Or slide down on your bottom."  

Thanks Kevin; I wish I'd known those were options!  

Oh, and by the way Kevin, I just used this super secret method of finding out stuff, plugged in "Go Devil," and ... "Go Devil is a black run on Dercum Mountain, right below the terrain park . . . Go Devil is a long steep run with moguls and could be difficult for intermediate skiers, please be sure you are up to the challenge."  

Anyway, you'd think that the best part of this story was that after congratulating me for keeping my skis on, Kevin handed me his card, said he hoped I'd request him next time I signed up for a lesson, and then skied away, leaving me me standing there at the bottom of the mountain drooling.  Nope.  The best part of the story is that LARRY ARRIVED AT GO DEVIL A MINUTE OR SO BEHIND US AND WITNESSED THE WHOLE DAMN THING.

And what does Larry have to say?  "I saw your brown jacket and pink helmet and just couldn't imagine what you were doing there.  I would have no more expected to see you than the pope."  

Great.  And why didn't my husband intervene?  Well, he had this to say, "I'm just so glad it was that guy who got you into that situation and not me."

Ok.  Alls well that ends without a major injury or death, right?  I can't say that I will be rushing to do another black diamond run anytime soon.  Still, it feels pretty good to know that I made it in one piece.  And, I am fairly certain that a Take2 down Go Devil is in my extremely, need a lot more lessons from someone other than Kevin, distant future.