Friday, February 21, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

A wonderful family vacation spent skiing at Vail and Beaver Creek, and my brother and sil for planning it and pulling it off seamlessly.  Everything was sublime.

The majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  We were in God's country.

Miss Bit took 2 days of lessons and progressed from a level 1 to a level 4.  She loved being on skis, and cannot wait to get to a level 5 so she can get some poles.  She was fast and fearless just like her brother.

Ski school.  Specifically, Brian and Jason, her knowledgeable instructors.

T. Bone was a snowboarder until this season.  He switched to skis this year, and he kept up with his Dad and even his Uncle on many a black diamond run.  He is also a big fan of terrain parks, back bowls and tree skiing, which he captured thanks to his GoPro.  I nearly had a heart attack watching some of the footage.  It is not for mothers or the faint of heart.

Helmets. And goggles.

I gravitated to the greens.  I prefer runs with names like Cinch, Solitude and Dally to Ripsaw and Fool's Gold. I hadn't skied in 15 years.  In some respects it's like riding a bike, but I was never on the road to the Tour de France so I embraced my limited abilities and managed to stay mostly upright and moving forward. Without a need for speed, I was able to enjoy the scenery and clear my head. Still exhilarating in my opinion.

Coach for his patience as I worked to get my ski legs back.

Ski patrol.  Bill came to my rescue when an out of control teenager careened into me and lodged his skis beneath and between mine.  As he pulled to free his skis, he forced my legs further and further apart until I was doing the splits and praying not to break my leg or dislocate my knee.  Screaming too.  Like a banshee actually.  I asked him to release my boot with his pole, but by the look he gave me, I doubt he understood English, or else I scared him bad.  Bill lifted me up as the kid raced to catch up with his friends, but not before Miss Bit gave him a real mean face.

Advil and daughters who have your back.

Overcoming fears.  My first ride on the chair lift in over a decade is sure to be a family legend for generations to come.  I'll let someone else tell it, but suffice it to say it may be the only time I've been called Wonder Woman!

Apres ski, or happy hour whether it consists of champagne toasts at the foot of the mountain on a spring-like afternoon sans jackets, Colorado Wildflowers as a sudden squall blows in and we huddle under blankets beside fire pits, homemade cookies hot out of the oven delivered by a team of chefs as we ski off the mountain, or rockin' loud music, IPAs and a family reunion at the packed from wall to wall Red Lion.

Hot tubbing before and after dinner.  Soaking in the suds under stars or snowfall after skiing.

Russian showers.  My brother and my daughter went from snowbank to steaming tub time after time.  Also not for the faint of heart.

Bearcat Stables and dinner in their magical little clapboard cabin after a sleigh ride at gloaming.  Twinkling lights can make anything cozy and quaint, and the comfort food was so delicious....the chicken, beef and gnocci, and especially the mixed berry cobbler.

Cinnamon tequila and's numbingly good.  Hot cocoa too.

Frank and Jessie (James) our Percheron, strong and so so beautiful, and a toast to Doc who passed on one year to the very day of our visit.  RIP old fella.

Elk camouflaged throughout the landscape, but almost always outside the horse corral after dawn acting all nonchalant and trying to sneak some hay.

Early to bed and early to rise.  Waking up to the sunrise over the mountains every morning.  That jolt of Mother Nature lovin' energy is better than any cup of caffeine.  Going to bed bone tired every evening after a day of working hard and playing hard.

Taking off my ski boots at the end of the day.  Feet that hurt so good.  Calves and quads too.

 Smart Wool socks.  Cute and warm and most importantly...dry.

A wardrobe of hats is all one needs.  T. Bone got lots of high 5s for his Packer hat, and Coach was comped a drink or 2 for his Badger hat.

The best of both worlds.  The hustle and bustle of Vail and BC are palpable and intoxicating, but so is the peace and serenity of the out of the way lodge we return to each night.  The Cordillera Club is such a welcome remote retreat.

Our Suburban and my brother who was a most accommodating, accomplished chauffeur pot holes, back seat drivers, gate keepers and all.

Christys.  If you go there, rent from them.  They are a class act of down to earth employees who treat you like friends of the family.

Finally getting to dine at the infamous Irish Pub aka Grouse on the Green, T. Bone's favorite restaurant in the whole wide world.  The wings were every bit as good as he's promised, and we all enjoyed the Scotch eggs too.

A ladies lunch at Sweet Basil with my sil.  It was swanky sheek and so good. I enjoyed every drop of the roasted red pepper with goat cheese soup, and every bite of my kale salad with chicken, dried cherries, crispy onions, pancetta, Parmesan and a Dijon vinaigrette.  The olive bread and savignon blanc perfectly completed the meal.

Kismet.  Ogling a baby out and about in the village, and then realizing it was my cousin and his mama who made it from stormy Atlanta.  I was so delighted to finally meet baby Wilder in all his cuteness.  The kids were quite smitten as well.

Ice rinks in the middle of town and fire pits here, there and everywhere.  Racks for skis instead of bikes. Ski-wear appropriate at all times and in all places.

Little altitude sickness, only 1 24 hour bug and 2 colds.  I was mostly plagued, but able to almost keep up with the unafflicted.

Being under the weather, afforded me the time to curl up with my book and relax within mountain view.  It was some of my favorite time while on vacation.

Few screens for the duration.  Unplugging was good for the mind, body and soul.

Time to think and ponder and grow.  Time to listen and to see.  Time to laugh and smile and share.  Time to cry and heal.  Time to be real.

Thunder snow, and the way squalls pop up out of thin air..very thin air.

The way the big mountains make me feel so small and so much closer to God.

How it can be sunny and warm near the base of the mountain and like a blizzard at the top.  I am grateful for a world that continues to awe, inspire and delight me.

My sweet, funny Valentines.  The best gift of all was the making of memories.  Also the exchange of copious amounts of candy.

Dinner at the big table in the lounge with the fire behind us and the music around us.  The singer reminded me of a male Diana Krall as he belted out Van Morrison, Frank and Nat King Cole.  It was quintessential cozy.

The way it all worked out so we could meet our Colorado cousins for lunch in Golden on our way out of town.  We talked fast while the kids played a quick few games of pool making the most of what little time we had.

We made it home on time despite the fact there was a winter storm warning at home and most other flights were delayed or cancelled.

Luck and angels smiling down upon us for the entire trip.