There were some open rows, so the two guys next to me moved up, the one next to me commenting a bit snippily that he'd leave me to my settled in spot. Um, hello, me climbing over the two of you would have been a pain, I wasn't going to move. Plus I had the window, so enh. Two rounds of snacks, and read a lot of "The Great Game" by Hopkirk and tried to ignore the movie, "In Her Shoes".
I got a message from Andy that his flight was delayed, so I picked up my bags and took the Express shuttle to the Hotel Monaco. The other couple in the van commented that it looked like a neat little hotel. Checked in, up to room to wash face, and dig out a lighter fleece (not even freezing here), and got directions to the Albertson's. Four blocks, but long ones, and it was a bit of a haul coming back with my gallon of water, but the other bags had light snacks and toiletries that I forgot. Talked to Andy briefly after he landed, will meet in the lobby for 7:15 to get breakfast and head to the rental shop for them to get boards. Had yoghurt and a plum for a late snack/supplemental dinner, then took a much needed bath to soak out the knots from hauling all my stuff around (not as bad as it could have been, but the pack was definitely over loaded), and now to bed nice and early. Left a message for Cris.
We got there just past 9 and parked right at the bottom of a minimal service area and lift and skied right on. We tried to stick together, but the three way radios that Andy had borrowed helped us get back in touch. It was sunny as we got up there, but windy, and as the day wore on, the wind died down a bit - enough to open the little cloud chair so we could get up to the top, though we were huddling against snow and ice pellets blowing up off the snow banked at the top of the run down. It was pretty steep up there, and Andy and Matthieu wanted to do the back bowl which was all diamonds, so after we had a water break at the mid slope cafeteria, we split up (around 1pm). I had the keys to the truck, so I went down and got my lunch from my pack and ate in the truck, then tackled the gadzoom lift serviced runs on my own for the afternoon. The Bassackwards was my favourite, though I once got misled by a blue that was narrow and full of moguls. My second last run almost led me down there again (huge hill, so many ways down even when just following one run mostly), but I backed out and went down a different way. The top top bit was a combo of wind sculpted and groomed, and the rest of the hill was mostly groomed snow with enough ski and board marks to make it interesting. I only had cold fingers for one run after lunch (probably due to eating with the door open), but otherwise the new helmet and jacket kept me warm. I only had on one pair of socks, and my exercise pants under the sheep's fleece lined wool pants. As the afternoon wore one, I'd occasionally come to the top of one run where the sun was trying to break through the clouds and was tinting them purple and illuminating the valley below, but then realised that my purple tinted goggles were colouring the shades of greyish light.
My last run, around 3pm or so, was done gingerly, as on the ride up the chair lift, my knees were both screaming at me to stop. Even with the ski rests it was really painful. My quads had done well due to the exercises I'd been doing lately, but the joints gave out. I put my helmet and poles into the truck and got my book out and sat and read at the meeting place, getting a bit worried as they were fairly long showing up - even though they were there 20 mins before our meeting time, the lift we'd started from had closed at 4 and even the cleaning crew had left, locking the downstairs doors, just leaving the rental return processors to mind the shop. We got the truck packed up and the trip down was faster as we didn't get stuck behind any slow moving cars as we did on the way up to the hills.
We split up to freshen up and met back in the lobby at 6pm. I called Cris to chat for a bit, then took a shower and was down there last. They were settled in by the fire with Dennis, Josh and Lauren, and we all headed out to dinner together. We went to Ah Sushi, a left and a right from the Bambara entrance, though we went around the long way. They started us off squeezed in at a table for four with two extra seats at the end, and moved us into a room with rice paper screens and a pseudo sunken table. Our waitress was wonderful, putting up with Andy as he was totally inappropriate (he earned the name Dr. Preg for asking if she was pregnant when she rubbed her tummy once - I got Mary Poppins for being nice and apologising for him, Lauren got Congeniality Girl for being herself, Mathieu was the French Guy, Denis Veggie Veg, and Josh got stuck with an unfortunate first nick due to Andy having asked for a new chop stick due to dropping his first one in Josh's lap. Lauren and I shared two hot sakes, and Josh and Denis got goblets of beer, and I laughed until I cried a few times, it was really fun, and we ended up with a goblet of ice cream on the house at the end, though we gave her some extra for putting up with us for close to 3 hours. She told us a sweet story about meeting her boyfriend, there to go to a movie with her, involving the song One Love and a bracelet fell off when she was with him that marked him as her true love. Walked back to the hotel, and I was beat and beaten from skiing all day, so up to my room, after agreeing to meet again at 7:15 to get breakfast, my lift ticket and go skiing. They did the turn down service, with a chocolate on my pillow, lights on and the radio on. I think I'm on the cat floor as I saw a cat toy on the room service tray left for pickup at one point, but my allergies are fine.
The only time I fell today was when I lent Andy my pole to get him through a flat spot, and that was more of a tip over than a real fall. My shins are sore from a fold of pant pressing inside my boot. We stopped at one point to take a picture of the sun setting with just the peaks still illuminated. I love the fact that the mountains are so close to the city here, it they had an ocean instead of a salt lake, I'd be perfectly content. My technique was a bit rough the first run, but I settled in soon enough as my skills came back and I had a few moments of perfect contentment, swishing down the slopes.
I took a bathroom break at 3 or so and just kept going, I was kind of surprised that I lasted right to 4:20, taking the chair up one last time at 3:55 when it closed at 4 (ie by the time I made it to the top, about 8 mins per trip up on Gadzoom) I went through a little bit of trees, and braved the canyon off of Assbackwards after Andy and Mathieu assured me that it wasn't bad, just a little bit of moguls. I also found another route down that bypassed some incipient moguls. On my last trip, I ducked down Mini Mining Town - mistake, as it was a toboggan chute, but I made it down w/o hitting any trees.
I sat and waited for them on a bench on the first floor of the Creekside lodge, and Andy came to get me (and the truck key) at around 4:40. The drive down was a bit dicey, the roads were slippery and the train of cars was going slowly. It had snowed in the valley as well, so the highways were slick too. I put my skis in baggage claim, and they ran off to return the truck to the airport Hertz. Saw Ron and Marty as I ducked upstairs to ice my knee, stretch and soak in a hot bath. Put on a CD while soaking and locked the door, luckily, as housekeeping came by for turn down while I was in it. Waiting for a call to get dinner, 7:20 now, going to go downstairs to read, I think, and see if I can gather some people to go out - not many I hope, six last night was perfect. Plus I'm almost headachey - should take an ibuprofen to combat that and my knee. Need to hit the gym tomorrow to work out the shoulder knots from poling on those two flat stretches, or catch the chair massage hour in the lobby.
I had time to settle in on the stone hearth w/my back to the fire & read a few pages before Andy called me. On my way up to get my coat, I passed Josh & invited him. Steve + Dan & co came @ same time & we ended up all going to the Blue Iguana across the street. Randy & Josh & co came in after us. I was between Andy + a former Bostonian well versed in Mexican food & then Steve @ end then Mathieu (who got carded, so I skipped alcohol). We got a couple of mole sample plates. The verde was good enough to settle me on the veggie tamale, but they were out, so I went w/the veg burrito. I skipped apps. Just browsed on nachos in salsa & mole negro. I had to threaten to hit Andy w/the inappropriate stick as debate on personal privacy raged. My headache blossomed to utter pain & I ducked out as Dan offered to put it on his exp act. I asked @ the front desk if they had a heating pad, and the clerk promised to send house keeping up with one. They arrived just as I finished changing into pjs (the woman darting away so quickly that I guess they're not allowed to take tips), and I plugged it into the bathroom outlet as the closest that I could find easily and arranged it behind me to cook the knot out of my shoulder. That and the ibuprofen that I took conked me out, and I woke up two hours later sweating under the covers and over the pad. I threw off the covers, turned off the pad, shut the lights and slept through to 6am, turned over and slept to the alarm at 6:50 after briefly considering going down to the gym.
I had to get some help from Katie getting my laptop reconnected to the wireless network (had to click on the signal strength icon and explicitly connect to a WLAN node). When I got back to my room and turned it on again to check, I had good signal there was well, so I was able to look up restaurant reviews. But first I went down to the gym (er, fitness room) and used the elliptical machine w./o the moving arms as someone got to it first. There were two treadmills in use right behind us, but I was able to get my intervals workout in, upping the base resistance after the first cycle to 5. Didn't quite get up to my regular calorie total, but I'd started easy. The rate measurement is in strides per minute instead of rpms, seems about double. Then I stretched and did arms with free weights on the bench, but there were no leg machines, so I just did one leg squats holding onto the ab bench. Up to the room to find that Cris had just called, so I called back and chatted for half an hour - his slow cooked lamb dish turned out great. Then it was shower and time to figure out where to go eat. I sort of let myself get left behind on the Beervana trip, not in the mood for a huge group dinner this time. I ended up walking a mile south to Cafe Trang for Vietnamese food. My waiter was very polite, we were trying to out polite each other it seemed, but it was fine. Not too busy, though a good turn over rate. I had zero wait for my spring rolls and iced tea, but then the catfish hot pot took a while to cook. I also had a Thai iced tea, my total bill with rice was only $20. I walked back a bit more quickly, as it was chilly (glad for hat and gloves, and I got another wear out of my new ski jacket), walking from 800 S Main to 200 S Main where the hotel was. I passed The Hot Pot, a fondue restaurant that I might try out sometime this week, it also had a good rating on Citysearch, but tonight I wasn't in the mood for cheese or chocolate. The Zion bookstore was closed when I came back by it at 9:10, so I just went up to my room, running into the guy from Kitware that Mathieu and Andy had been talking to on the phone at the Blue Iguana last night. Now I've got some Tom Waits on the room stereo and I want to finish at least another couple of chapters of The Great Game, as I've only got 7 left. 9:47pm, and we start again at 8am tomorrow, though I might get breakfast at Bambara if I can't face a continental one tomorrow morning, I'll see how the catfish lasts. It was really bony, but the meat fell off as I picked at it with my chop sticks and bit at it with my teeth - very peppery, but the spicy symbol by it on the menu wasn't really warranted.
My phone rang as I was getting ready for bed, I didn't answer it, as it was Andy, and then it rang again as I was falling asleep - Andy's cell, but not him, I told the guy (Josh as it turned out) that I was asleep.
Anyway, more presentations, then a bag lunch, with me running around trying to fix things for people - the cvs server and web mail kept going down so it was hard. Bag lunch of a turkey and provolone sandwich (huge, I put back the two cookies and chips). I ran out to the convenience store to get water, ended up with two expensive 1.5L bottles, as there were no gallons. Programming week started after lunch, with introductions and then putting in bug tracker items for Andy to work on, putting the atlas on Ron's computer, getting a bin version of 2.6 for Sonia, etc etc etc. Caught a bit of Kilian's demo on em segment, but missed a lot of it due to working on other stuff. Kept leaving my laptop by itself, I also noticed that only one other person locked up their snow board at Snowbird, trusting out here.
Stopped at 5:30, brain going to mush as I tried to help Karthek with out of source building. Andy tasked me with finding a restaurant, found an Afghan one and got some consensus on it. I did a quick change and went down to the gym to do 24 mins on the other elipitical - the settings were closer to normal, though the moving arms were sucky, no hear rate monitor on them. Brett was running behind me.Just stretched out and then back to my room for a quick shower, meeting David (not sure) in the elevator who said he'd make sure they waited for me. I did a quick shower and change, and ran into Katie and Sonia coming out as I went down again. I double checked with the concierge on the direction to go and off we went. The Baba Afghan turned out to have closed last week and Star of India was there instead, but we (14) stayed. Katie never did join us. My chicken tikka massala was quite spicy, the naan was slow to arrive and then was abundant. The serving dishes were copper and on candle lit warmers. No alcohol license there,David complained bitterly. Thomas and the woman across from me had to catch a plane tonight, so they were antsy at the slow rate of food and bills, the waitress had us and another table but we were overwhelming, I think.
Walked back up from 400 to 200 and through the hotel, losing a few people, and Andy, Tom, David, Mathieu and Dennis and I went to the Red Door. Lots of chairs close to each other, we moved to the corner when the group there left. Neat decor, very red based, with a neat star outlined in scribbly black next to us, and a stuffed monkey holding a stick with a monkey skull on it in a shrine in the corner. I had a death by chocolate martini, very good, but not very alcoholic.David and Tom had about three huge debates, on existence, evil, and the nature of man. I stayed mostly out of the general debate on gender. Back to the hotel around 11:20 and up to my room. Have a bit of a cough, the cigar smell in the lobby didn't help.
At 5:30 I went back up to my room to drop off my laptop and then down to the lobby for the wine reception. Had a glass of okay merlot and then was able to get into the massage line after Josh. Talked a bit with the workflow guy from MGH while waiting my turn, and then joined Andy, Josh, and Dennis on a couch grouping. Up to my room to get my jacket, brush my teeth to get the purple wine stains off, and change into boots and cargo pants for going out to supper. We waited for Lauren, and a part of the group took off to eat somewhere, and Andy eventually got us to Red Rock Pub. There were thirteen of us in the end, at a long table, I was at one end with Delphin and Lauren and Tom, with Karthek and Dennis just past them. Katharina and Michael came to say hi after a bit. The rest of them shared five pitchers of beer, but I stuck to the pinot grigio. I had a smoked cheese and pesto pizza that was okay, but the no where near as good as the appetizers. The make your own bruchetta was good as well as the warm goat cheese and pear salad. It was snowing as we walked back, and I was chilly so I darted ahead to warm up by the lobby fire place. Only Karthek came in, asking if I wanted to go to the gym tomorrow morning. Things had gotten a bit rowdy at the pub, with odd things being put in the glasses, and them being switched around when people weren't looking. Denis had the perfect innocent face, but he got burned when he drank the beer he'd put cheese in, as well as the hot peppered water. I think they went to the red door again, but I cam upstairs, to a bowl with a dead white goldfish floating in it by my neighbour's door. I called Cris, and am debating on going to the gym or just finishing The Great Game and starting my next book - I got library noticed via email that my next two books are ready for pickup, I need to get cracking. 10pm. I ended up finishing TGG and falling asleep with the light on, getting up at 2am to brush my teeth and turn off the lights.
After some confusion getting everyone back to the cars, we were all in and coasting down the mountain on the gas fumes. We stopped at the gas station at the mouth of the canyon. Sonia jumped out to take a picture of the inn sign nearby - "we party like we're not in Utah". Much phoning and debate and changes later, we had dinner at Red Rock again, sticking mostly to a pile of appetizers.We saw our old waiter, but didn't get him. They dropped me off at the hotel and went off to a party that Gordon's friends were throwing. Cris called as we were sitting down to dinner, so I got to say a quick hi. My theory is to pack up most everything tonight, but it's midnight already.
Finally they called my group, and I went on. The woman on the aisle seat
was determined to get a seat in a row to herself, but ended up, after
changing twice, back where she started. I settled into my window seat with
my book, "The Harmony Silk Factory", and read my way across the country,
finishing it as I waited for my skis to come out at Logan. The moon was
just rising over the mountains around Salt Lake City as we were taxing and
taking off, it was gorgeous, and highly reminiscent of heading into the
canyons for night skiing the night before. As we flew over the mountains,
their peaks were rosy with the light of the setting sun. It was clear most
of the way over, but very cold in my seat, I ended up taking the fleece
insert out of my jacket and wearing that, and putting the jacket around my
legs. The movie was "The Corpse Bride" and I would glance up at it very so
often, but was engrossed in my book. I grabbed a taxi at Logan, with a
very very tall taxi driver (his head brushed the roof), and we were
detoured around the North End and the Fleet Center until we finally got to
Storrow Drive as the meter hit $20. I was in the front with him as my skis
were sitting in the back seat, crosswise, and we chatted a little, and I
responded to a test message from Andy asking how the flight was. I got
home just a couple of minutes before Cris and Theresa got back from dinner
with Richard at Craigie St. Bistro, around 12:15, as the flight had landed
fifteen minutes late at 11:30.