Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I'm waiting for my iPod to sync before I hit the road for Steamboat (this must be taking so long because both the iPod and the computer are 5 years old), so I'm stream-of-consciousnessing for a minute. Here goes.
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There's something really fun and special about asking a typical four year old blonde girl a question, having her look at me quizzically, and then having her instructor say, "Oh, she doesn't speak any English. Only Russian."
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Right now my life affords me infinitely more opportunity to act impulsively than it ever has before. I dig it.
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I have no New Year's resolutions...at all. Yet.
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I really miss my family. I wish I was in Rapid with everyone. I guess there's a first time for everything...including spending New Year's Eve with friends, like everyone else my age, but I'm going to miss doing Irish carbombs with Grandpa and playing Bunco with my favorite people in the world.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Prodigal Boot Has Returned!

Sneaky's patio at sunset. (Not shown: my exhausted, cold, happy friends and I after a long day at work.)
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Saturday was maybe the coldest I've ever been in my life. It was so cold that as I was teaching, I was thinking about ways that I could describe it when I got home to my blog. It was miserable. The cool thing about life is that one tends to rebound relatively quickly from things like the cold, so I won't dwell on it now that I'm warm again. (Also, it seemed like my kids weren't really affected by the cold, which made me feel pretty embarrassingly pathetic.)
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AB just proposed to me the most spectacular idea: we're going to sublet our apartment during the X-Games, crash on a friend's floor (RS, I'm looking at you) and make enough money for maybe two months' rent. OH MY GOSH, I'M SO EXCITED. Done and done.
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I cut my hands more than anyone I've ever met. In the past two days, somehow I've made myself bleed TWELVE TIMES. Honestly, who does that? It happens on the most random crap, too, like my ski boots or boxes of hot chocolate. BAH.
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I'm happy.
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MY BOOTS ARE TOGETHER AGAIN! Yesterday I lost one of my snow boots - the ones I wear EVERY DAY - on a ski run. It's a long story. I was devastated and really made a bigger deal out of it than I should have, especially considering I was reunited with it this morning. Hallelujah, God is good.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The "Recent Great Quotes" Edition, Part 3

"Just don't...just don't worry about it. Just don't worry about it." - AB after she cut herself on an apple corer

"I like pizza better than I like most people." - RS

"Whenever I'm on an airplane and I hear a crying baby I always look around and ask, 'Won't somebody just shake that kid?!'" - RS

My life is better than your vacation.

There came a point during the past few weeks when I started actually living here - working, making friends, playing in the snow, enjoying my life - instead of just existing, and since then I've found it increasingly difficult to write. Hopefully I can reverse that trend.
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Here's what my typical day looks like.
I get a wake-up call from CC at 6:30am and drag myself out of bed and into the shower. I watch the news, throw on the same black long undies and have a bowl of raisin bran before leaving the house around 7:15. I drive 10 miles up US82 to Snowmass (listening to either NPR or an awesome Randy Travis album), park my car in the employee lot and take a bus the rest of the way to work at the Treehouse in the new base village.
Sunday through Tuesday I head to the employee locker room in the basement, put on my blue uniform, grab a radio and start hauling the ski racks onto the plaza in front of the Treehouse. Technically I'm part of a crew called the "Kids Kave" (I hate that it's spelled with a K) and I work with a few other people - my boss TL, LH (the only other girl), MT, DB, RB, AK, JM - and on any given day they're there to help with setup. Our job is to help the ski school function - we pack down the kids trails, organize the areas where parents drop off and pick up kids, run the lodges where instructors take students for breaks, set up and take down fences, shovel, etc etc etc. We're the backbone of the Treehouse and the job is NEVER boring, which thrills me. After the plaza is ready to go, I grab my skis and hop on the gondola, which takes me to the Elk Camp Meadows Beginner's Magic Lounge. This place is "my baby," as TL calls it. I spend the next two hours getting it running - making coffee, cleaning, putting up fences and ski racks outside, etc. At about 10am dozens and dozens of ski pros and students show up, so I greet them and help people figure out where they're supposed to be. I'm a certified ski tech and almost every day someone needs me to adjust their bindings or fix something. Then I ski down for lunch, which is SO good - free, delicious, and I eat with some combination of people I really like. After lunch, TL usually has random projects to tackle around the mountain, so I spend the next couple of hours on my skis. At about 2:30 I head back to ECM to clean everything up. At 3:30 my friend RS rides the gondola up after his class is over and we ski down together (perhaps the most fun part of the day). We head to the locker room, change out of our snow pants, and some contingency of us (usually 10-15 people) head next door to the new tavern, Sneaky's, for a $3 Fat Tire before heading home.
Thursday through Saturday I head to the employee locker room in the basement, put on my red uniform, grab my skis and head upstairs to wait for my class - a group of three- to six-year-olds that can be anywhere from one kid to seven, brand-new skiers or level 6s (better than some of my friends). Once everyone arrives, we get bundled up and head outside for the day. Sometimes this involves me catching kids or picking kids up off the snow all day (whilst in my 161-length skis); sometimes this involves me tearing down tree runs with a group of incredible skiers behind me. In both scenarios, I LOVE what I'm doing. Their parents pick them up at 3, at which point I head to the locker room, change out of my snow pants, and some contingency of us (usually 10-15 people) head next door to Sneaky's for a $3 Fat Tire before heading home.
Once I'm home I go for a run, find something for dinner, check my email, talk to CC and/or my family...and go to sleep. On fun but rare occasions, a group of us will go out - we already have favorite bars in Aspen (or we poach hot tubs) - but most of the time we're all so exhausted from skiing uphill all day that we call it an early night.
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I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said "Aspen/Snowmass: My Life is Better Than Your Vacation." It should be our motto because it's SO true. I LOVE living here. My job is amazing; I'm incredibly lucky to be working full-time (everyone else had to find a second job) and I honestly don't know which job (the "blue" one or the "red" one) I love more. I absolutely love the people I'm around, all of whom have turned into close friends. I couldn't pick a better group of people to spend an odyssey year with. It will NOT quit snowing here, either - we've had EIGHT FEET in the last two weeks. The whole experience has been phenomenal. I just feel so darn lucky.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm not in Kansas anymore, Toto

Just a couple of thoughts, and then I really need some sleep:
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I've mentioned that Aspen is not an overly-expensive place to live, but I can't say it's a cheap place to visit. Take, for instance, the cost of a full-day private ski lesson for your 3-year-old: $605. No, that's not a typo, and it doesn't include the $100+ you are expected to tip your instructor (me, thank you). An "average" night at the Little Nell in downtown runs a cool $1,443 PER ROOM. I'm not in Kansas anymore, Toto. Fortunately for me, families visiting my new hometown need babysitters, and those services are also heftily marked up; I made business cards (tomorrow I'm dropping them at all of Aspen's hotels and condos) and I can hopefully expect to babysit 5-6 nights a week at $25+ an hour.
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I'm doubling up on the Emergen-C as AB has Bronchitis and I'm about to get 10 kids a day sneezing in my face. My vicious immune system is going to get a workout this season.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Greetings from snowy Aspen, Colorado

This morning I had to use my Fab to figure out if that was really my car.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thoughts on Christmas

Lately I've done a lot of thinking about the circumstances surrounding Christ's birth.

From The Message, Luke 2:8-20 -
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:
"Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him."
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!

The same passage from NRSV -
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
'Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!'
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Mary puzzles me. She deserves her own separate post.
The angels, though - oh, the angels. I can't even fathom what the shepherds experienced that night - can you imagine?! One minute you're alone on a hilltop, far outside the city, passively living out your existence and then THE ENTIRE EARTH AROUND YOU IS QUAKING IN SOUND AND LIGHT!!!!! It would be terrifying! It would be terrifying for us, and we live in a culture where song and light effects and surprises and out-of-the-ordinary types of things are commonplace. These shepherds didn't even interact with other people because their occupation prevented them from the opportunity. To be at once enveloped by blazing glory and light and the chorus of a multitude of God's angels would probably kill lesser humans. And then to go DO something about it?! Ah, if I had but half the faith of those shepherds...
They barely give me pause, though. The angels are really kicking me. I can't help but wonder a) if angels have conscious thought, and given that, b) if God made them aware of where Jesus' life would lead. My best guess is that they lack conscious thought. Because if they did, how could they sing so joyfully and profoundly and with such exultation without feeling incredible angst about the impending death of this beautiful newborn? Then again, without conscious thought, how could they truly, passionately be as excited - elated - about Christ's birth as they were?

These are the kinds of questions I wake up with. I'm going to get a cup of coffee and let me brain really start to work. I'll come back to Mary after that.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The "Recent Great Quotes" Edition, Part 2

"I live in El Jebel with a 65-year-old Vietnam war veteran. He has night terrors." - JSG, a friend from work, on his stellar living situation

"That's your cute face, huh?" - AL, another friend from work, commenting on how bored I looked

"Hey, this is my grandma! Oh, wait - nope, it's Simon and Garfunkle." - CC driving through Aspen after a song came on from a CD in his car

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jealousy is an ugly thing.

Not that I'm complaining, but why is Keith Olbermann providing commentary on Sunday Night Football?
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I just ate a very If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (remember that book?) dinner - first, I had some bread, because it was about to go stale...and I pulled the Brie out of the fridge to eat with it...which made me want a glass of wine...and that perfectly complemented an apple...which obviously needed some peanut butter.
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My family - Mom, Dad, Jeff & Courto, Randy, Karen, Katie & Tom - all went to the Broncos game today. Together, of course. And I had to work just a 3-hour drive up the road. I'm bitterly, angrily jealous that I couldn't go and resentful of my job because of it. Mom didn't help matters by continually texting me little things like, "Are you watching? What a great game!" NO, MOM, I'M NOT WATCHING BECAUSE I'M WORKING - THAT'S WHY I'M NOT THERE!! Bahhh...being an adult sucks.
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Sprint gives away free ringtones about every two weeks. I think it's good marketing, because as their customer I feel like I'm getting something great for free and I can't determine the catch (although I'm sure there is one).
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Okay. Time to watch "Casablanca." Again.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday

Monday was my cousin Tom's 16th birthday. At about 11pm, I called him and left a voicemail that went something like this:
"Happy, happy, happy birthday, Tom! This is Kelsey. I'm sorry it's taken me until eleven to call you and wish you a happy birthday. I've been thinking about you all day and just haven't called. I'm so thankful you were born, and I love that both of our birthdays are in December. I never need to be reminded that it's your birthday on December first, actually, because - actually, I don't think I've ever told you this story - but when you were born, I was in second grade and the day you were born I got up in front of the whole class and made an announcement that I had a new cousin and everybody clapped. And I'll never forget that I'm seven years and 345 days older than you because of that. Anyway, I hope you had a great day, and I love you and I'll talk to you soon." Tom sent me a Facebook message the next day saying that he got my message, and thank you, and it took him almost his whole drive to school to listen to the whole thing.
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I just completed my very first legitimate 40-hour work week (not counting camp, since...well, it's just different). Five days into it, I can honestly say I love this job. I already love the other people working in the Treehouse and I've met maybe 1/8 of the total staff. I ski every day. I've met kids from around the globe - Slovenia, South Africa, Russia, Peru, Argentina, Boston (heh). Aspen and Snowmass are both stunning. I'm a lucky girl.
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The guy in front of me at the grocery store tonight bought a box of saltines, a half-gallon of chocolate milk and a sixer of Corona. AB says that's what happens "when these Latinos come up here and their mothers have been cooking for them their whole lives."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Five inches in four hours and counting

Snow is pouring forth from the sky. I'm so excited I could spit - FINALLY, a decent snowfall in Snowmass!
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Yesterday at "work," I got to play fetch with a 2-year old black lab named Dante for almost an hour. (Aside to JS & AS: Dante was about twice the size of Dally and had at least twice the energy, if you can believe it.) Then, after lunch (which is provided every day for all employees of the Treehouse), I spent the whole afternoon on my skis. I was working, but we managed to fit in about four runs, too. Life is rough. :)
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Katie is home. I am so, so glad.
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My naivete just bit me in the butt. Again. When I moved into this place, I was SO excited to live very close to the Aspen Chapel, the most charming little stone church you've ever seen. My first night here I marched up there to scope out the times for their services; as it turns out, they have a Sunday morning service at 9:30 and a Friday evening Shabbat. I was psyched, because I have to be at work on Sunday by 8 but I'm free as a bird Friday evenings. Yeah, well, so much for that. I came home and Wikipediad "Shabbat," only to learn that "shabbat" is hebrew for "sabbath" - as in, my new Friday church service is actually Jewish. Whoops. I suppose there's a mixed blessing there in that I didn't actually show up for one. :)
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So I went to the liquor store tonight to get a bottle of wine (this is how you go on dates when you and your significant other live 400 miles apart - both of you buy a bottle of Pinot Noir at the same time, go home and have a glass together...over the phone) and on the drive home I realized that I don't have a corkscrew. Well, crap. These are the kinds of realizations I come to on a daily basis living in this teacup-sized apartment - I want pizza, but I can't have pizza because I don't have an oven. I can't bring my uniform home from work because I literally don't have the space for it. Obviously I have the space for a corkscrew, but...I just don't have one. Anyway, as I'm pulling into the parking lot (which, mind you, is about 1/4 a mile from my front door) I was debating whether to a) turn around and go buy one, b) gamble and hope that AB (my roommate) had one, or c) just break the top off the bottle (very risky, naturally)...and then EUREKA! I remembered that my trusty Leatherman could do the job. I was much more excited than the situation warranted, I promise you that.
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I'm honestly amazed at how inexpensive everything is here. Aspen is not living up to its reputation. There's a silver lining, eh?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Necessary

I mean this seriously, not sarcastically: I love that all of the women up here - the natives, the aging hippie ones in their late 40s and early 50s who moved here when they were my age and haven't been able to get away but instead raise their kids in Basalt and work salaried jobs for the mountain and wear more Patagonia than I do and eat lunch with the lifties - have deep lines in their faces from sun, wind, laughing for too long and living the right way. By comparison, my Auntie Brenda is the same age and is also radiantly gorgeous - her skin is clear and bright and happy, and also moisturized since she's lived in Boston all her life. I guess I just find something really strikingly beautiful about that cracked, orange peel, lived-in rugged look that only Colorado women achieve.
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I'm amazed at how nice the people are here. At the post office today, the three dudes (if you saw them you'd understand why I refer to them as such) working behind the counter knew everyone's name but my own...ostensibly because I'd never been there before. When I left, the one who helped me said, "Hey, I'll see you around!"
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This is hard to believe, I'm sure, but I think I'm going to invest in a pair of Uggs...strictly for their functionality. They're standard attire up here and it's clear why: the ground is covered in snow, and it's cold. So far my trusty little Merrills are not cutting it, because I'm perpetually cold and wet. And none of the aforementioned ├╝ber-women parade around in Uggs and miniskirts, by the way.
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Matthew 28:20 - "And remember, I am with you always, to the very end of the age."