Day 243 – Last Commandment for Seniors (#12)

You sill haven’t learned to act your age – and hope you never will!

Hear-Hear! I never ever ever wanted to act my age. I never acted my age all my life, and now is most certainly not the time to rethink that strategy.

When I was in my early teens – and by this I’m referring to that torture chamber we call High School – I was way to studious and concerned with math and science in particular to take notice of the things ‘girls my age’ considered important – like clothes and boys. To be very honest – I’m still not overly concerned about clothes – See Commandment #2 for Senior – “In Style” are the clothes that still fit.

I did go thru a ‘boys are amazing’ period – but for my time – it was very late, and ended rather abruptly with me marrying my still to this day husband – Victor! I arrived at University as a ‘Southern Belle’ – complete with breathy accent – and was immediately considered a very desirable date. This was beyond amazing to me – no boy had ever considered me interesting outside of class before – and I would have 4 dates a weekend. One on Friday night, One on Saturday afternoon, One on Saturday night, and one on Sunday afternoon. With 4 different boys. And for the record – no kissing until the third date!

Sunday night thru Friday afternoon – I was the model student – taking high level math and science classes, and for the first time discovering that there was history after the end of the civil war (for the record – that ended in 1865). I was raised in Atlanta Georgia – and that’s when our history classes deemed that history stopped. Surprise Surprise – it didn’t stop!

So between fending off boys (I took to hiding in libraries to be sure to get my studing done) and then going to parties all weekend – I was very busy.

I suppose this period is the closest I came to acting my age.

After I met Victor – things got really interesting in the ‘boy’ department. Victor was in the habit of waiting until the last minute before making a date – and I would be ‘taken’ long before. After several ‘I’m sorry, I can’t go out with you, I’m busy” conversations, he learned to book me ahead – and eventually we agreed to go steady. I think the crisis was ‘Homecoming Weekend 1967’ when I was the Princess from one fraternity – not Victor’s – and thus too busy to be with him. I think he asked me to go steady so that he could stop having to ask me out so far in advance.

But I still had to keep up my studies – but now I had to hide out in new places – and just from one boy! Fortunately, Victor pretty much hated libraries – and there were lots of smaller ones on campus that I don’t think he ever found. I was able to keep up my work weeks, play weekends lifestyle.

Then I spent my Junior Year Abroad. I choose to go to London to study Drama – which for a Math/Physics Major was a bit of a stretch. But the folks in the Drama department were ok with it, and while the Math Department got their knickers in a knot (I had to drop my double major), the Physics Department agreed to it. So – London, without my boyfriend, for a full year abroad.

This was, I admit, one of my favourite years (Fall of 68 to the Fall of 69)… and again – I wasn’t acting my age. I was interested in studying, getting good grades, visiting Museums and Art Galleries – and my Drama Department co-students thought me dull, boring, and not really a decent drama student. Push came to shove when I won a lottery to go behind the scenes at the Royal Vic and meet Sir Lawrence Olivier – then starring in Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”. Despite pressure to give up that opportunity to a ‘real’ drama student – I persisted in taking advantage of that win, a meeting I remember to this day.

My year aboard ended the way a year aboard for a square peg in a round hole must always end. I drove with my friends to Istanbul – then waved goodbye as they crossed into Asia on their way to India. I traveled alone by train and hitchhiking (ok – I was 20 – it seemed acceptable) back into ‘Europe’ and met up with a friend who I didn’t really know – but who wanted to do a bicycle trip thru the German speaking section of Romania. We met up in her university town – took our bicycles by train into Romania and spent 2 weeks or so biking from village to village. In those days (Summer 1969) the way you showed off your wealth was by the height of the manure pile in front of your house. I grew to love Lard Sandwiches – and we feasted off the garden crops of peas and green beans. One of the villagers bought my bra for her daughter for the equivalent of a weeks living money – and in a Youth Hostel in Czechoslovakia we swapped a $1 American bill for a day’s worth of food and lodging. Interesting times to visit behind the Iron Curtain.

I eventually made my way back to Paris, met up with my sister who flew in from the US, and we continued to wander thru France and eventually to England. We flew home from London – and while she returned back home to Atlanta and University – I went back to Tufts for my final year. Victor had meanwhile changed schools and was now at Cornell. Our plan was to see if we were still ‘an item’, and if so – I’d graduate and continue my schooling at Cornell – provided I could get accepted of course.

We did, I was – and we got married Sept 11, 1970. It’s 50 years and counting today…

Enough of this – bottom line – I’ve always persisted in being a tad different. I had my kids a bit later than other folks, I got married a lot earlier (I was 21 – Victor was 20), I was studious to the point of embarrassment to most of my peers, and when I got close to retirement – my friend ‘The Intrepid Traveler’ and I started our yearly trips to far off places. Not to be left out Victor and I did a fair amount of traveling too!

I’ve been to China, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Japan, South Korea, Bali, France, Fez, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Scotland, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Malta, Liechtenstein, Vatican City, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Israel, Amsterdam, South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Rwanda, Zambia, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Czechoslovakia, Greenland, Northern Quebec, Most of the US, Eastern and Western Canada, Venezuela, US Virgin Islands, Mexico, British Virgin Islands, Grand Cayman, Belize, Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahamas, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. I realize of course that traveling now is not the same – but I was young, I was keen – and I was willing to travel cheap. Mostly – I was lucky to have a friend willing to travel with me! And grateful to have a husband who also found travel interesting.

There are so many places that I loved at the time I was there that I couldn’t imagine going back to – my ‘roughing it’ ability is seriously suffering from concerns about where there’s going to be a clean toilet – but I would recommend doing it NOW – don’t wait till you are your age to travel. It’s never too late – and it’s always rewarding – Masks on for safety of course.

Enough of this trip down memory lane. It’s getting embarrassing. Bottom line – I’m not planning on acting my age any time soon… Get over it.

Signing off to think of something else crazy to do… Mask on of course – The Soup Lady

Oh Bummer – They closed the Ski Hill!

How could this happen? We’d planned a wonderful 6 week ski holiday – 3 weeks in Deer Valley, Utah, 2 weeks in Jackson, WY, then back to Deer Valley for one more week before hanging up the skis and calling it a season.

Everything was going perfectly too. We arrived as scheduled in Deer Valley – Well – Park City to be honest – and stayed in two different timeshares. Ok, and not so OK. But we knew what we were getting into – and hey – it’s location first and second right? So ignoring the self flushing toilets of Park Plaza and the kinda crummy tiny spaces of the Park Regency – we skied and movied. Well – I skied, Victor movied. It was the Sundance Film Festival – and thanks to our good friends Kit and Mike, Victor had tickets to over 24 movies. He ended up only seeing 19 – even the most fanatic of movie goers runs out of steam I guess.

Meanwhile – I skied. I generally got on the hill at 9:00 – tried for first tracks (yum), then headed into the trees if there was powder, or stayed on the groomers when the powder got skied out. I had a blast. A blast and a half to be honest.

Three great days were spent with Jeff – a friend I met in an intermediate tour who wanted to have more challenge in his life, but not ski killer stuff. I was happy to oblige. I skied him all over Deer Valley – we found powder shot after powder shot – and I even got him back to his palace (in comparison to the shack I was staying in) on time. It was a Blast I tell you.

After the movies ended, Victor and I even got a couple of ski days together – and a lunch at Stein Erikson’s that was amazing. All the crab claws I can eat – and trust me – that’s a lot of crab claws! Awesome bread pudding for desert too. Of course you can’t ski after such a meal – but hey – I’m on day 19. I’m cool.

Then we rented a car – a Fab Jeep Grand Cherokee – with 4 wheel drive and tons of space – and drove ourselves down to Salt Lake for the Regency Romance Ball. It was a ton of fun too. I adore the caller from Old Glory Vintage Dancers, she is best. We danced, we ate – and Victor was given the Mr. Darcy Award – 2nd year in a row! He’s so adorable in his uniform, and he guarenteed the win by sweeping the floor with his plume when he bowed for the ladies. Sigh – I’d take him home even if I wasn’t married to him!

Next morning – it’s up and at’m. We have a long drive today – we’re headed for Jackson, WY. Home to Jackson Hole Ski resort – one of my favorites. And they have tons and tons of snow – I shall have a ball.

We actually drive thru the Teton Pass – skirting around droves of cross country skiers, snowmobilers, and snow shoe fanatics. There is even a car tipped over on its side to be avoided – but our Jeep shows it’s true blue colors, shifts effortlessly into 4 wheel drive and motors on.

Our new home is another timeshare – Jackson Town Center. It’s basic – very very basic – but at least they use wood for decor not antlers – and there are 2 bathrooms and 2 bedrooms. Unfortunately – there are bunk beds in the 2nd bedroom – not sure how Alex and Rachel – who are coming next week for a couple of nights – are going to love that.

But worst – it’s unit 13. Lucky 13. It’s on the 2nd floor – diagonally oppositive from the parking lot – and up a full flight of stairs. Did I say this place is basic? Well – there’s no elevator, no luggage carts – no nothing. It’s lift and drag everything from the car to the condo. And we have 6 weeks worth of supplies – including stuff for 6 meals. It’s a lot of stuff.

But it’s Jackson – and the skiing is amazing. I’m excited.

Monday morning I’m up bright and early – Victor decided to work, I’m going to ski. Victor helps out by bringing all the skis and poles into the locker room – and promptly gets his Carbon Fiber Leki poles stolen. Well, probably just borrowed actually – whoever took his poles, left a pair of Leki poles (not the fancy ones), in their place. Bummer. But hey – these things happen.

I leave a sign at the Locker desk – maybe the ‘thief’ will notice – and get in my first day at Jackson. The ski trails are great – powder almost everywhere – and super easy skiing. But I have a problem. On what turns out to be my last run of the day – around 1:00 PM – I have a relatively bad fall on flat icey ground. I was going a bit fast, caught an edge – and oops – down for the count. My knee gets bent under me – and it hurts. Fortunately the skier behind me stops and helps me get untangled – but the damage is done. My knee wants no more of skiing – and besides – they are closing lifts due to high winds. I carefully ski down, and head home. I’ll be fine tomorrow.

Tuesday I wake up – my knee is still a bit achy – so I opt to stay in the condo and ice and heat it to get the ligment back in place. Not a bad plan – but I didn’t count on what happened Tuesday around 6:30 PM.

I’m watching TV and the lights flash – TV reboots – lights flash – TV reboots – and all seems fine.

But it wasn’t fine at Teton Village where the ski hill is located. 17 Huge Metal Power Poles are blown flat in a freak flash wind storm. They are guessing that the wind was up to 90 Mph for just a few seconds – long enough to completely down the poles. No powder. None.

We get up Wednesday AM to discover that the Ski Hill is closed until they can get power back – as is all of Teton Village. We’re staying in Jackson – and are completely uneffected – from here it looks great. But it’s not so hot in the hotels in Teton Village. They are sending their guests on to other lodging, and telling their employees to go home. And the ski hill is closed. Shut down. No power, no lifts, no grooming, no nothing!

We had bought 7 and 10 day ‘passes’ – which at first they said they would not be refunding – after all – with a pass we can return – but I just got told today that they have rethought that – and whatever days I don’t use – they will refund. Right now it looks like the Ski Hill might be reopening on Monday – which is pretty amazing actually. I’ll be lucky to get 3 days of skiing in – and Victor will be lucky to get two out of the 10 and 7 we’d expected. On Wednesday Feb 15, Alex and Rachel arrive – and we are so keen to see them we aren’t planning to ski. We shall take it easy and probably see the Wildlife Art Museum here – it’s reputed to be spectacular.

But that’s looking forward – meanwhile it’s Wednesday Feb 8th – the Ski hill is closed – and we’re sitting in Jackson. And it starts to rain. Guess what – rain on fresh snow is what they call a recipe for Avalanches – so now all the passes in and out of Jackson are closed. Teton Pass in particular is a no go – but even the ‘lower’ passes are blocked by Avalanches. The gal at the front desk here at Town Center had gone home to Idaho Tuesday night – and just got back to work on Saturday! She’s been stuck in Idaho because the passes were all closed.

What to do? Well – I play bridge one afternoon at the Senior Center, we have tickets to theatre for 3 nights, there’s another bridge game on Monday evening – and we opt to take a snow coach tour of Yellowstone.

We’d done a snowmobile tour of Yellowstone some years back and hated it – you can’t drive off the rutted road – so the snowmobile bounces and bangs you for hours on end. We figured a snow coach – heat bus with giant fat tires – would be fun.

It was underwhelming. I did like watching Old Faithful, and it’s pretty cool that they can predit when it will errupt with in 20 minutes – but you aren’t exactly close, and the sky was grey – so the pictures are – well – dull.

My favorite part of the entire 12 hour adventure was the 20 minutes we took to visit the Sapphire Pool. That was cool. Rest was a waste. We spent more time eating then seeing sights – had only an hour total to take pictures otherwise we were stuck in the coach with rain drops on the windows – so photos were yucky. And it was expensive. Bottom line – waste of money and time. My frustration was increased by the boorish behavoir of some of our fellow travelers. One gentleman in partcular decided to describe – in a very loud voice – all of the other trips he had taken. We got to hear about his 40′ fifth wheel, his career choices, his trips scuba diving, his home, his marriage – etc. etc. Twice I worked up the nerve to say – I can’t hear the guide – which would shut him down for a bit – but soon enough he’d be back at it.

So 12 hours trapped in a 12 seater bus with a boor, a guide who tried to talk over him, rain streaked windows, and little in the way of heat at my seat. (The heater did manager to melt the boot of one of my fellow travelers – so I guess it was on. Just lousy circulation.) It was such a relief to get out of the bus – even for a few minutes.

Oh well – at least I can definitely cross Yellowstone off my list of National Parks to visit.

Back to our ski hill – the latest news is that they have managed to get replacement wooden poles set up – and are predicting getting power back to Teton Village by tonight. The mountain is hoping to have skiing on Monday – and we will be there.

Today we walked the village – and bought a pair each of Yaktracks – things you attach to your shoes to walk on ice. They really work too! Tonight there’s a comedy show, tomorrow a talk on Grizzley bears – and then – finally – skiing again!

I can’t wait.

Signing off to make dinner – The Soup Lady.

A Tale of 2 Ski Hills – Deer Valley and Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole – wild, wooly, in your face, hard-core, deep powder, tight trees, lousy grooming – VS – Deer Valley – elegant, fashionable, respectfully, friendly, warm, happy, sunny, clear skies, awesome grooming.

A Tale of 2 Cities – Jackson, Wyoming and Park City, Utah

It’s odd how cities with so much in common can be so fundamentally different. So lets start with what they share.