Thursday, April 17, 2014

more pudding!

first off, i'm only doing this because cookie wants it. second, i am super honored that kristin used the bread pudding recipe from a week or so ago as a jumping off point because i read what she posts about in her kitchen and i think i am just a small fry.

uh, anyway. today i am experiencing pain that i would describe as intermittently subsuming. today because it was warm this morning i did not put on my tights. more specifically when i woke up i took them off and did not put them on again. i was feeling jaunty, so i called up a friend and offered to make a light dinner and a little light geocaching after.

so i took pizza dough out of the freezer and started making chocolate pudding and because i was feeling a little jaunty, i cleaned the upstairs bathroom, emptied the trash, did a little vacuuming, and washed the front windows.

then the pain started.

the kind of pain where you just lie on the sofa panting, trying to figure out what the hell you DID.

so. ice, elevation, compression.

but i have half made chocolate pudding and shaved asparagus pizza, so bit by bit i'm forcing myself to get up and finish those tasks.

and i realize that i've just made a long post about how i came to be making pudding, but i hate it when i'm looking for a recipe on someone's blog and i have to wade through tons of story to find out HOW TO MAKE THE BLASTED PUDDING, so i'm going to make that a separate entry. sit tight, it's coming.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

holy diluvial inundation, batman!

sunday morning it rained.

monday morning it rained.

tuesday it rained. alllllllll day.  i went out to find a geocache. there's a lot of flooding. mostly the culverts and bridges are holding, but down on governor peck there's a four foot culvert that rose from a foot of spare room to over capacity in about a half hour and once the culvert fills, water all upstream back up and the dominoes back up.

the jericho road crew is hot juggling tonight to keep from losing the road. water is coming over it and part of it is washed out.

all along nashville road the water is lapping at the edges of it.

and only tangentially related, today on nashville i was behind a schoolbus with three cars behind me. we were all moving along at about twelve miles an hour, which was not fast enough for the red car two cars back.

idiot. if that schoolbus COULD move faster on this jelly-soft road, it would. and if i could pass it, i would. but there's not point chafing abotu stuff that's not gonna happen, so i settled back. and the red car worked REAL hard to pass the car behind me and then me and then sat on the schoolbus's bumper for the next three miles because she'd learned what we all knew: you can't pass the schoolbus on this road today.

you just can't.

yesterday it was eighty degrees out.

tonight it is not raining.

you know why?

because it's snowing.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Month of MAYhem Blogging Challenge™

hey, boys and girls and everybody else on the gender/age spectrum!

it's almost time for the 2014 Month of MAYhem Blogging Challenge™!

of course, you may choose to perform any of the old Month of MAYhem Blogging Challenge™s, but the important thing is that you  DO perform one of them.

it's time to start talking about it on your blog and on your twitters. be sure to spread the word that you are participating in this year's Month of MAYhem Blogging Challenge™.

instructions for this year's fun activities will be posted later.

in the meantime, please enjoy the archive of past Month of MAYhem Blogging Challenge™s:

Monday, April 14, 2014

bumpalumps and bruisles

they're more fun if you give them a cute name.

ok, that's an out-and-out lie.

today is day nine of the bruises and i am now quite firmly bored of it. quite frankly, that time i was run over by a truck on route two i got less bruising, plus it SOUNDED more dramatic.

"fell skiing" just does not have the same ring to it as "run over by a truck", even if it is only a light duty pickup.

today was my first day without the compression sleeve, and i felt pretty good walking around up until the part where i had to go out and find a geocache. more to the point, i felt pretty good up until the point i was looking for my THIRD UNFOUND cace in a row and sadly moving on to another cache i might be able to find without too much suckage and my the time i started on that fourth attempt, i was moving only slightly more sprightly than my grandmother, who is ninety-four years old and has a broken hip.

i don't need to look sprightly, or even stylish for that matter. all i need to do is find one geocache.

and if i'm going to be brutally honest, all i NEED to do is continue breathing in and out. performing basic life maintenance tasks like bathing and eating are a plus.

the sun will go down soon.

then it will be bedtime.

meantime, i have a little dish of pudding to eat.

mmm, pudding.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

new generation

last week i was on the interstate behind one of these puppies. it's a spectacular looking vehicle, sporting advertising on the sides that it includes such and such many beds and so and so many screens.

it's kind of like a huge bus, only it's a converted big truck rig.

and apparently it is a new thing in luxury bus transport.

faaaascinating.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

mud derby

ok, so you're just driving along a familiar road and you notice a driver careering wildly across the road, traveling at erratic speeds, weaving from shoulder to shoulder, sometimes taking the oncoming lane, and sometimes taking the center. they move along at a clip in their own lane, and creep to a dead crawl most other places.

do you call the state police to report a drunk driver?

do you honk at them and yell at them to STOP TEXTING and get off their frakking phone?

do you silently fume about the incompetency and rudeness of other drivers?

or do you silently thank them for testing the five mile track of axle-deep quiver-sucking mud that the roads have suddenly become because it's MUD SEASON and that's the way we all drive?

woo! mud bogging! we drive in any lane we want!

usually there's a path you can pick that will hold up under the weight of your car.

if not, someone will come and give you a push.

Friday, April 11, 2014

groomer

At about five past six thursday morning I was standing in the dark outside the lodge at Bolton Valley waiting for my ride.

If you're anything like me, you think the two coolest things about seeing The Shining were the opening scene in which you suddenly realize that the Dies Irae is playing in the soundtrack and the super cool footage of the snowcat.

When you're skiing sweet corduroy first thing in the morning you should carry an awareness that someone worked all night driving a huge and complex machine up and down the slopes. I have always wondered what it's like to be inside the cab of one of those things.

So Thursday morning I met Mike, the snow reporter, in the hotel lobby at six o'clock and he walked me up to the place where the driver would pick me up on his downhill pass.

It is very quiet on the mountain in the early morning, and very dark. I am often on the mountain when the first chair spins, but that happens after sunrise, so I don't often see the mountain during hours of darkness. Yes, I know they have night skiing and I used to go sometimes but really the best hours of my day are before noon and with my minimal skiing skills and my failure to have a full set of connective tissue in either knee it's best if I go when i'm fresh and the trails are fresh.

It is a weird, silent landscape and I am straining my ears to hear the machine. I see the light way up through the trees and I'm guessing It's on Lower Fanny. Slowly the huge machine comes into view. It drives just past me, then stops. The driver gets out.

This is Bruce.

He comes around to my side and he shows me how to work the door handle (rubber covered and not where you might expect it) and where to step on the steel treads and where the handles are for climbing up into the cab.

Already this is way cool.

The door handle, by the way, once you are up in the cab is not so much a handle as it is a pedal.

The striking thing about the cab is how much of it is window. Past that, the seats are huge and comfortable and there's plenty on foot room right up to the bottom of the windshield, where there's a sort of footrest. That footrest will seem more important to me later.

Bruce has a wide array of controls around his seat: he has a pair of levers for his left hand, and a joystick for his right. The joystick has more buttons than a bassoon. 

OK, not. A bassoon has nine buttons for your left thumb alone and the joystick in this vehicle probably only has six or eight buttons total.

It's still a lot.

And at Bruce's elbow is a console with rows and rows of switches. One of these switches controls the snazzy heated windshield wipers. I can only guess what the other switches do.

Above the driver's seat is a set of controls that works a really cool spotlight that shines out ahead of the cat and swivels very usefully so he can see way out ahead. That's really handy when you're driving a thing the size of a small condo on a ski slope.

Sometimes, Bruce tells me, you slide it a little.

It makes sense, but the idea of sliding a thing with that much mass sounds a little scary to me. When we go up a steep trail, we are nearly lying back in the seats. Going down, nearly standing on the footrests.

We're on trails I know well, but it's a little disorienting because bruce is driving up and down, around and around in circles. up one trail, down another. He makes a pass to smooth the trail and a pass next to it and then one to smooth out the seam until he gets all the way across.

He is so skilled that he seems hardly to be paying attention but I am noticing a lot of complicated machinery making a lot of subtle movements. On the front of the tractor is a 12-way plow. At first I mishear bruce and I think he is telling me it's a 12-weight, and I make a mental note to ask later what that means. 

The blade goes up and down and side-to-side and it tilts and also has remarkably agile side flaps. 'Member that joystick with all the buttons?  Yeah, that.

He uses the blade to scrape snow from where it's too high and to fill the bellies where there's not enough snow. It's kind of delicate; it's important to smooth the snow out so it skis nicely, but also you want to keep most of the profile of the underlying terrain.

The weight of the machine and the tracks themselves pack the snow down quite a lot behind the blade. Those levers for bruce's left hand? They control the treads, which move independently.

Behind the cat is the tiller. This is a huge wide thing with a spinning bar of teeth that chop up the snow very fine and then "dumbo flaps" that shape and comb it down after.

Bruce gives consideration to how many passes he needs to make to make the trail ski well. He thinks about whether beginners will be on a trail, or where bumps should be left in or how the snow will drift and which trails should be done just before the first lift spins. Trails off the Vista Chair need to be done before Vista opens and then he's got another hour to work Timberline.

After that, he grooms a terrain park, which is some fancy driving. 

All those boxes and boards and jumps in the park? They're dug in. You can't just drive over them.  The snow is only right once you have gone over it FORWARD, so anything that has an edge needs backing up and then pulling forward.  Bruce has to back up to the edges of both the takeoffs and the landings and then pull forward. It's close quarters in there, with a lot of turning.

The most impressive driving of the morning, I think, is the part where he does the ramp at the top of the Timberline Chair. When we're there the chair is already spinning, so he has to back the tiller in and pull forward between chairs. 

He could ask the lift op to stop the chair, he tells me, but if he can time it right he doesn't have to. He does it so smooth you almost wouldn't notice.

If he's showing off any, he's got a right to. It's a very good show.

The sun is up. The lifts are spinning. A little boy riding a lift above us waves. We wave back. The boy keeps waving. We wave some more. The boy's dad waves, too. It's the end of Bruce's shift. Before he goes home he has to clean the snow off the blades and fuel up the cat. He drops me off at the lodge and drives off toward the shop, snow falling.

The mountain is waking up. The snow is perfect.

I'm going home.


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