Friday, January 30, 2009

Allergy Free Bread recipe

Allergy Bread Recipe: Gluten-free, Casein-free, Egg-free, Wheat-free, Nut-free, Worry-free!
People with allergy problems have a hard time finding good bread - until now. This bread is tasty and can be modified to suit any allergic or sensitivity condition.
http://www.associatedcontent.comarticle/232719/allergy_bread_recipe_glutenfree_caseinfree.html

Monday, January 26, 2009

Silent Toast

I am happy to report that I have now experienced nearly an entire week of sleep undisturbed by the sound of the world's loudest car. But there were still aural assaults for my noise reducing, bathrobe clad superhero to tackle. M. recently saved us from the jarring sound of our alarm clock by ordering us a BioBrite Sunrise alarm clock. This clock gradually lights up for a half hour before you have to get up. The fake sunrise wakes your body up more naturally and means that we are no longer wrenched from sleep by the insistent "beep beEP BEEP" of a regular alarm clock. Our new wake-up light does have a back-up beeper, but it's much quieter and less abrasive than your typical alarm.

And then, this Sunday morning, M. donned his bathrobe once more to rescue us from our toaster. I know, I know, you wouldn't think a toaster would fall under the jurisdiction of a noise reducing superhero, but our new toaster has the extraordinarily strange feature of beeping loudly, with the same screaming pitch of an alarm clock, to alert you that the toast is going to pop up. My question is: wouldn't the sound of the spring releasing be enough to let you know that your toast is done? After we had just rid ourselves of the alarm clock sound in the morning it seemed unfair that our toaster now produced a very similar racket. In all other senses it's a perfectly good toaster. It even has a defrost function. But the beeping had to go, and M. was on it with gusto. He got out a selection of screwdrivers, disassembled our toaster, managed to identify the noise producing component inside, then produced a soldering gun and actually unsoldered the thing and managed to put the entire contraption back together in perfect working order. I was extremely impressed. I felt a brief moment of sadness for our overly vocal toaster who had been silenced like those poor dogs who are rigged up with anti-barking collars, but then I decided it was all for the greater good. If the beeping had continued either M. or I would have eventually thrown our toaster out the window and the toaster would no longer be able to fulfill its toasty duties.

For lunch on Sunday M. gallantly announced that we would be having "Silent Toast," which somehow managed to be just a little more tasty than Noisy Toast. Thanks to M. my world is a slightly more peaceful and ear-friendly place.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Synchronicity

The fog that has mired the city for the past 19 days has finally lifted, leaving in its wake a brilliantly sunny day that makes me squint like a groundhog just emerging from the darkness of the earth. It's bizarre how the shifting patterns of Vancouver weather are so deeply tied to my own mental and emotional state. This morning, standing in the clear, cold air at a bus stop on 41st avenue I felt a fog lift off my mind as well. The world suddenly seemed to be a pristine place full of vibrant promise. It was a world ripe for the synchronistic events that can often change the path of your life, or allow you to see something more clearly.

The notion of synchronicity has been rattling around in my brain lately. The idea is Jungian, and Roderick Main provides the following definition:

C.G. Jung's (1875-1961) concept of synchronicity describes and theorises those coincidences in which, for example, a person's dream or thought is matched by something that happens in the outer world, without it being possible that either event could have caused the other, and where such coincidences seem especially meaningful to their experiencers, who are therefore prompted to wonder whether something more than mere chance may be involved.

Main notes that Cambray "re-frames synchronicity...as a form of order emerging through self-organization at the edge of chaos."

The thing that interests me most about synchronistic events is that they are capable of shifting our outlook and direction in life without having any real basis in rationality. The example that sticks out most clearly from my own experience occurred when I was attempting to decide which university to attend for my undergraduate degree. The idea of going somewhere away from home held a certain appeal, but there were also great advantages to staying in Windsor. I struggled with myself to make a decision and then, while I was taking a tour of the University of Windsor, I boarded a shuttle to go from one end of the campus to the other. The shuttle must have doubled as a school bus, as there were cards with children's names written on them posted above each seat. I sat down and then idly glanced at the card above my seat, only to find that the two girls who usually sat there were Andrea and Kristin. I was a bit startled to find my first and middle names so boldly scrawled above the seat I was in. I had a sharp sensation that something of great importance had happened--I was being hailed by the world and I answered. I decided to stay in Windsor--not necessarily because a bus had called my name, but because the moment brought to light the conclusion I had already made about Windsor being the right place for me. And so, a strange instant of synchronicity taught me something about the state of my own mind, producing a decision that had previously been tangled in the fray of sub-conscious agonized debate. Amidst the chaos of a very difficult decision emerged the tentative strands of order--my name thrust back at me from an extremely unlikely place.

Jung thought that the world was plagued by excessive rationality in the form of secularism. Though I have no problem with a secular existence I agree that extreme focus on the rational can make you miss some rather extraordinary events. It is possible to rationalize away the magic of an unexpected coincidence or the intensity of an emotion and to be able to do so may very well be a useful exercise. But it seems equally important to be able to transcend the rational and be awed by all that is mysterious in the world. I could have said that sitting under a sign pronouncing my name on a bus was unlikely, but still explained by rules of chance. If I was getting on a bus where every seat had a name on it, it was possible that one of the names might be my own, and, beyond that, possible that I would randomly choose that seat. But the fact that both of my names occurred at once seems so unlikely that it begs a more meaningful explanation. Such coincidences pull at the fabric of our rational minds and stretch it out of shape just a little bit. We find ourselves wondering whether consciousness might extend beyond the confines of our physical bodies so that we can speak to ourselves in signs perceived in the outside world. I am not suggesting that some external being is leaving notes for us on buses, but rather that our interpretation of external events allows us to leave notes for ourselves by seeing our sub-conscious reflected back at us in the outside world.

And now, on the first sunny day in ages the air seems charged with the potential for synchronistic events that might tell me something about my own thoughts and the direction of my life. And if such an event does occur, I will meet it with wonder and amazement and resist the urge to rationalize it away.

I'd be very interested to hear any stories anyone might have about synchronistic events in their own lives.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kittens

Okay, some of you didn't find yesterday's pictures of the Capybara that cute, so I thought I would try again today. The Vancouver sun posted a photo gallery a few days ago with the following headline: "Yes, the weather is awful. True the economy is looking bad. Okay, most of us aren't wealthy. But don't let that get you down...Look, Kitties!" This was followed by a whole slew of cat pictures that were bound to warm your heart. I provide my favourite for your enjoyment. I can forgive you for not loving the Capybaras but if you don't think this is painfully adorable, I conclude that there's something wrong with you. :)


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Capybara

Every once in awhile you encounter something in the world that brings inexplicable joy and amusement--inexplicable because the people around you just can't seem to understand your enthusiasm--and you know that you have stumbled across something that makes the world a much more fascinating and wonderful place. For me, this discovery is the existence of the Capybara. I had vague notions that such a creature existed, but I had never really seen one until a fateful trip to the Vancouver zoo a number of months ago. When I saw the Capybaras I could believe in love at first sight. They lit up the part of me where unrestrained mirth is stored and I couldn't stop smiling at them.

I realize at this point that my description of myself makes me sound a little off-kilter, but allow me the chance to convince you that the Capybara is an extraordinary animal. Capybaras are the largest rodent in the world, weighing somewhere around 100 pounds. They are a semi-aquatic animal and have webbed feet. In less clinical terms this is an absolutely massive hamster with duck feet--what's not to love? They have these square faces that lend them a somewhat serious and contemplative appearance--sort of like that guy from the Karate Kid. They are docile and round and it was very difficult to keep myself from leaping over the fence at the zoo to hug one--there's just something about them that invites affection, probably because they're just so damned unlikely. Their ancestors were giant, guinea pig type creatures that were actually up to 8 times larger than a modern Capybara and you have to wonder how such a large rodent even came to exist.

Lest you think it's time I be condemned to an institution, I am not the only person enamoured of the Capybara. For more Capybara information please see the following website. It has lots of hilarious and grin producing images of these animals and all sorts of information on where you might go to actually see one.

http://www.rebsig.com/capybara/

I suspect that infatuations with Capybaras are infectious so please be cautious with your Capybara exposure. You may find yourself giggling to yourself uncontrollably, and generally this makes you look insane regardless of how warm and fuzzy you may feel.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Secret Agent Part 2

Last night we secret agents orchestrated our first field mission. It was a rather spontaneous project brought about when we were once again woken at 5:20 am by the sound of roaring in the street. Some spying out our window revealed our obnoxious neighbour idling his monster car, which I believe I will call Grendel from now on, while he scraped frost off his windows. Even just idling the car made enough noise to wake the dead, or at least any semi-sentient living. After his windows were scraped clean he drove off. We were a little confused since usually 5:20 am is the time that this guy returns from wherever he goes, so we couldn't figure out why he was just leaving. Both M. and I pondered this silently as we began to drift off to sleep, but not 5 minutes later Gredel was back and growling horribly as the car's incompetent driver attempted to parallel park. This, we mused, was bizarre in the extreme. We could only conclude that he had taken his car for a quick spin around the block just for fun and was now heading back to his warm bed. We did our usual swearing and name calling but M. had finally had enough and was geared up to take real action. He threw on shoes and a bathrobe and ran down the stairs. He had plenty of time to catch the moron because it took him so long to edge his car into the parking space. M. actually had to stand in the street for awhile waiting until the man successfully parked and emerged from his car. I waited in our bedroom watching the whole thing from the window with my portable phone clutched tightly in hand in case a fight broke out and I needed to call for back-up. I watched as the cornered driver made very grand hand gestures. And then suddenly, a small Chinese woman emerged from our building to add her two cents. It became clear that we were not the only people annoyed nightly by Grendel and I could imagine this poor woman watching from her own window every morning, wanting to give the guy a piece of her mind, but being too afraid to venture outside and confront him. M. was her ticket to retribution. In the safety of his presence she railed against the irresponsible driver. She took out her cell phone at one point and photographed Grendel's license plate with the confidence of someone sure that justice will be served. Despite being wrenched from sleep at a horrific hour, I couldn't help but be vaguely amused by the scene below: M.--a superhero in a bathrobe--accompanied by his unlikely pyjama clad sidekick ridding the world of unnecessary noise! I thought that M. was awfully brave to go down there and confront the idiot. I wouldn't have had the guts to do it myself (and so I am likely to avoid any field missions as a secret agent if at all possible--I'll stick to subversive letter writing thank you very much!) and I was proud of M. for standing up to him.

When M. returned to our apartment he gave me a run-down of what had transpired. It turns out that the nightly coming and going is the result of Grendel's owner driving his wife to work. This seemed odd to us. If the man returns in 5 minutes, then it must be a 2.5 minute drive to the wife's work. In which case we had to wonder why she didn't just walk or ride a bike rather than dragging her no-good husband out of bed to jerk the entire neighbourhood from sleep with his offensive car. But it did explain the consistent timing and the mystery of why Grendel never seemed to move at other times of the day. It seems that this guy doesn't have a job of his own. The guy claimed financial trouble when M. insisted that he should get the muffler on his car fixed. He also smugly informed M. that we all lived in a city and it's a noisy place to which M. informed the guy that his stupid car is louder than the dump trucks that occasionally travel down our street. The Chinese woman picked up on this line of reasoning and reiterated it a few times for emphasis, which I'm sure with her fairly heavy accent was pretty amusing. She also informed the man that he was extremely selfish and should consider other people around him. The woman finally threatened to call the police. The man called her bluff and told her to go for it, but when she whipped out her cell phone to make the call he caved and promised to park on the main street instead of in front of our building.

And so M. returned from his field mission triumphant but skeptical about the results of the altercation. We both agree that this may not be the end of it. We might get a week or two of silence, but there's a good chance the guy will start parking in front of the building again the first time he can't get a parking space on the adjacent main road. We are now considering canvassing our building to see how many other people have been bothered by the noise. That way if we have to go to the police we'll have the backing of a number of annoyed sleepers. M. and I settled back into bed, but the adrenaline kept us from getting back to sleep. Such is the life of a secret agent--there is no rest for those determined to see a wrong set right.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Secret Agent

Admit it. You sometimes pretend to be a spy, or a gangster, or a secret agent. Okay, maybe you don't. But I do, and the guy across the street has given me a perfect opportunity to hone my secret agent skills. Before Christmas I was woken up at almost exactly 5:20 am every morning by the ear destroying roar of some wacko across the street revving his engine. M. and I, in our initial secret agent analysis, decided he was most likely a grouchy old man with nothing better to do at ridiculously early hours than go outside and revv his engine. I watched him from my window one morning and after a good few minutes of noisy idling the guy got out of his car and went inside. It didn't appear that he had actually gone anywhere. He just had some strange compulsion to get in his car and wake up the entire neighbourhood. I eventually left a very polite letter on his windshield asking him to cut it out, and to my surprise he did...for a few weeks.

Over the past week the engine revving has revived. After catching him pulling up to his building during daylight hours my original profile was proven false (I never said I was a good secret agent). He's actually a younger man with, I can only guess, an obsessive need to be as annoying as possible. So it's on to phase two of the project which will involve placing another letter on his windshield along with a copy of Vancouver's noise bylaw policy with all relevant sections highlighted. There's something kind of exciting about sneaking out to someone's car in the dim hours of early morning and sending forth an anonymous communication. But really, I would forgo the excitement if he would just fix his stupid car and stop acting as a nerve-grating 5 am alarm clock. I will keep you updated on my progress. The bylaws are going on the car tonight!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Anti-Resolutions

With the new year now in full swing it is clear that many people are in the throes of attempting to carry out their New Years resolutions. There seems to be a strange proliferation of health food about and the gym is much busier than usual. By February the "Resolutioners" have usually cleared out of the gym, meaning that I will once again be able to get an elliptical machine without having to race the other people that are eyeing the equipment with a glazed look of desperation in their eyes. Though I certainly respect the essence of New Years resolutions I have not made any concrete promises this year, except perhaps to carry on with all the self-bettering projects that I already have in action. In a bid to be contrary I thought I might come up with some anti-resolutions. You should try it--it's fun. An anti-resolution involves making a list of things you will not promise to do, for whatever reason.

Andrea's Anti-Resolutions:

1. I will not resolve to stop eating Kettle Chips. I love Kettle Chips. I don't care if they have enough saturated fat to take out a horse. I don't care that my arm comes out of the bag covered in artery clogging grease. They're the tastiest chips in the world and I will continue to enjoy them regardless of their detrimental health effects.

2. I will not promise to stop making impulse buys on Amazon.com. Even in light of the current economic crisis which should be forcing me to resolve to be as frugal as possible, I will not stop myself from occasionally browsing craft books and fiction on Amazon and buying things that I really don't need at all. A recent example would be my purchase of Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Knitting Without Tears." Did I need another knitting book? No. But was I absolutely thrilled when the package arrived at my doorstep. You bet. I figure that intermittent book buying is better than intermittent designer shoe buying or something. My vices could be worse.

3. I briefly considered resolving to push myself and sign up for the Vancouver Sun Run. I later decided this was a dumb idea. The Sun Run clinic would involve going outside in the dark and the pouring rain to run ridiculous distances with other cold and exhausted people. The reward for all the training is getting to run in the pouring rain for ridiculous distances with other cold and exhausted people (but at least it would be during the day). I'm already putting my body through a strange form of muscular torture by learning to ski this year, so I will not resolve to attempt the Sun Run as well. Maybe I'll give that a shot when I've run out of other ways to injure myself.

I feel that defining what you will not expect yourself to do is just as important as figuring out how you want to challenge yourself. We all need to be allowed our weaknesses and limits. If I refuse to promise not to eat chips then I don't have to feel guilty for eating them. I've weighed the risks and deem them acceptable. Allowing yourself to slip on some insignificant things often makes it easier to stick to the really important promises that you have made. So I challenge each of you to make an anti-resolution this year and celebrate the imperfection of humanity.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why Bowling Should Be Avoided At All Costs

I would like to present you with a short list of reasons why bowling is torture, based on a recent bowling experience:

1. You discover the lung aggravating properties of dry ice (why a bowling alley requires black light and a fog machine is beyond me).

2. A guy in the lane beside you screams like a banshee every time one of his team members hits a pin. He occasionally jumps up and down and offers bear hugs as well.

3. Your boyfriend gets a strike on his first ball. Your first ball magically bounces out of the gutter at which point you discover the bumpers haven't been removed.

4. In reference to your newly discovered food allergies your bowling screen name is set as "eggless" by your team-mates. Some misinterpret this as pointing to a fertility problem.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

To Sing or Not to Sing?

As I was walking to the gym the other day I encountered a man who was entirely non-descript except for the fact that he was singing. Loudly. Abrasively. With absolutely no skill and with great gusto. He didn't even seem to be singing so much as performing a vocal experiment to see how many bizarre but melodic sounds could be produced by human vocal chords. He sounded a bit like Louis Armstrong in a blender emitting raspy vocalizations at an alarming volume. He was walking along with a spring in his step and his arms swinging freely. My first instinct was to put more distance between myself and this man, because it was clear to me that he was either on serious drugs, had just escaped from a mental institution, or possibly both. I concluded instantly that there was something seriously wrong with this man who refused to go quietly about his day.

It was only later that I began to question my reaction a little, because I couldn't really come up with any reason why singing out loud outside in a space that didn't demand silence as a point of decorum should produce fear in others and a snap judgement of insanity on the singer. As a society we often view singing as a joyful thing--a mode of self expression that somehow conveys more to the listener than speaking alone ever could. Though we do tend to censor bad singers we also see them as routes to personal amusement--American Idol try-outs are a good example of how we exploit the vocal humiliation of others for our personal entertainment. Furthermore, the existence of musicals suggests that many of us desire a world in which spontaneous side-trips into song are commonplace and add a bit of flair to the otherwise dull plots of our daily existence. So if singing out loud in public indicates either an expression of joy, a mode of entertainment for others, or a brave manifestation of our collective, but secret, desire to break into song then I should have been applauding this man rather than crossing the street to avoid him. Seeing as he was in a space where other manner of noise and self expression are allowed--the university is often host to students with loudspeakers announcing various causes, spontaneous concerts, and people thrusting pamphlets at you as you pass--then I had to wonder why I saw him as nuttier than the rest of the self-expressing public.

Who is crazy really? The man who freely expresses the musical soundtrack of his life, regardless of how bad a singer he is, or those of us who keep our music bottled up in our heads and only gain release by singing in the shower, singing in the car, or secretly indulging in karaoke in our basements? The quieter of us may come across as more properly socialized, but I wonder if we're happier.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

An Arctic Adventure

A journalist for the Vancouver Sun recently pointed out that in our coastal city winter is not so much a season as a recreational option. This might be a perfectly valid description of Vancouver any winter but this one. This holiday season winter was an in your face, unavoidable onslaught that kept many people housebound into the new year. So when I accompanied M's family up to a cabin in Whistler the weekend before Christmas we weren't choosing winter; we were choosing an unexpected foray into the Arctic.

Things started out in a Winter Wonderland type way. The cabin was just about as cabin-y as they come, with high vaulted ceilings, a loft, and a wood-burning fire place in the living room. One wall was covered with a giant circular animal pelt. Our bed had not one, but TWO down duvets which we actually made use of. It was to be a weekend of whisky, warm blankets, and mulled wine dotted with ski adventures on the slopes. The first morning was clear and perfect and we were all stunned by the view out our cabin windows. We could see the sun coming over the frigid mountains. Everything was stark and white and clean and completely breathtaking. Looking out the window I got a glimpse of a desolation and vastness that made my skin prickle. The sense of endless height and distance was only slightly marred by the interruption of the new Peak to Peak gondola that travels between Whistler and Blackcomb. I was astounded by my good fortune to be waking up on a cold December morning to the sight of a winter wilderness outside my window. As it turns out I probably should have just stayed inside and enjoyed it from there, because going outside didn't end in happy things.

Everyone was keen to go skiing. No one seemed to mind that the weather report on television was warning that mid-mountain temperatures were dropping to -25 Celsius.

"Just a few runs!" said the mountain keeners. I stupidly figured it couldn't be too bad. I would take an easy trek down a few green runs and then come home to a hot cup of tea. I packed my brand new ski gear into the trunk of the car and headed up the mountain. As soon as I got out of the car and attempted to put my ski boots on I should have known it was not going to be a fun-filled afternoon. The sub-zero temperatures had frozen the plastic casings of my boots so that they had absolutely no give. That combined with the fact that they were new and hadn't been broken in meant that it was a battle of epic proportions trying to pry the plastic apart far enough to jam my feet in. I stood outside in just my socks while M's dad wrestled with my ski boot. I leaned on his shoulders for balance while I tried to force my foot down into the boot but after fifteen minutes of painful cramming, jamming, and twisting my foot remained stubbornly outside the boot. I alternatively felt like one of Cinderella's extremely disappointed step-sisters and a 5 year old child trying to get dressed to go make a snow man. With one last valiant effort I managed to force my right foot into the boot, but we had to give up on the left one. I put on one of M.'s dad's shoes and limped to a ski shop to see if they could sort out my left boot. I suspect I looked like a wounded animal dragging my heavy right foot and slipping out of the huge shoe on my left. When I arrived at the ski shop they took one look at my boot, declared it frozen solid, said this happened to all sorts of people (read: inexperienced idiots like me), and promptly stuck my boot in a small oven. I was a little astounded by this. But my boot came out warm, toasty, and infinitely more flexible and I got my left foot in without any trouble. However, it didn't bode well that both my feet had already been exposed to the elements for quite some time before I even got up the mountain.

With both boots finally on I joined the others outside where they were attempting to apply sunscreen. There was another small hurdle to get over here, because our sunscreen was frozen in the tube. I guess it's no wonder that sunscreen isn't designed for Arctic temperatures, but we wondered if we should contact Banana Boat and let them know that they could cater to skiers if they put anti-freeze in their sun block. Getting sunscreen out of the bottle eventually required one person to stand on the bottle while the sunscreen recipient knelt on the ground waiting for a dollop of frozen lotion to be forced free. We have some fairly hilarious pictures of this event. In the meantime we were all entertained by the people above us who were enjoying a dip in the hot tub at the hotel. One man, wearing nothing but swim shorts, came over to the railing to grab a towel only to find that it had frozen solid on the railing. He was able to stand in up in a V shape. All of these preliminary events should have screamed "what the hell are you doing? Go home and read a book in the bath like a civilized human being! Only a moron would stay outside in these wretched conditions!" but everyone else was bound for the mountains and I was determined not to be left behind.

My feet were already painfully cold when we got onto the gondola. I was having a bit of trouble wiggling my toes and was beginning to get a bit concerned about the possibility of frost-bite. Certainly it wouldn't be too hard to get frost-bite in -25 degree weather. I wondered how I would know if I had frost-bite. I envisioned taking my ski boot off and finding that all my toes had snapped away from my foot. I wiggled my toes with panicked fervour and hoped I would live through the afternoon.

I am not an accomplished skier. My ski experience is limited to a previous disaster of a trip to Whistler, one disastrous trip to Cypress where I fell down the mountain for an afternoon, and one successful trip to Cypress where I was smart enough to take a lesson from an accredited instructor and actually learn something. Based on my having learned something in that one lesson I was fairly sure that I would be able to get down a green run at Whistler, even if I had to go slowly. M's dad was kind enough to ski with me while everyone else zipped down the mountain looking completely confident if a little cold. I quickly learned that "Green Run" is not a static term. It is, in fact, entirely relative to the overall difficultly of the mountain. Therefore, a green run at Cypress is not remotely the same as a green run at Whistler. Whistler green runs were more akin to Cypress blue runs and as I stared down the steep gradient of the Whistler "Green" run before me I felt a lot like crying. In fact, it wasn't long before I actually WAS crying. I was completely unable to navigate the run. First it was too steep for me. Second, Whistler hadn't had much snow and the run was extremely hard and icy. Third, I was horrified that my feet were frozen through and I would soon join the ranks of amputees. Fourth, the run was ridiculously long so the torture went on for an unbearable length of time. I fell about every ten meters or so. My hips were bruised, my ego was bruised, and I was battling a mild flu that probably wasn't helping me out much. I was sobbing and my goggles were fogging up. I felt extremely bad for M's father who managed to remain upbeat and encouraging even as I proved myself to be the world's most incompetent skier. If I managed to travel more than a few feet he would tell me I was doing great.

"All people have to start somewhere" he said. I seemed to be starting out with the coordination of of a baby elephant. Who knows. Baby elephants might actually turn out to be better skiers than me. As M's dad cheered me on while I pulled myself off the icy slope for the 20th time he was actually looking for the ski patrol Snow Cat to rescue me off the side of the mountain. Sadly we never found the ski patrol. It took me an hour to get half-way down the painfully long run where we finally encountered a chair lift. It was like water in the desert to see those chairs lifting into the air signalling my rescue from this dismal ski adventure. We took the chair up to the Roundhouse where we were meeting everyone else for lunch. I pulled my weary body into a chair and yanked off my ski boots. I discovered inside two pale white corpse-like feet pressed all over with the knitted pattern of my socks. My feet had no circulation and felt like two bricks of ice. M's dad tried to warm them up and became rather alarmed by how cold they were. At this juncture I would like to point out that M's dad was a field geologist who spent all sorts of time in adverse weather conditions, even sleeping outside once on the side of a mountain in -20 degree weather in nothing but a sleeping bag. As far as I can tell, he's seen it all, so the fact that he was alarmed by my frozen feet didn't seem like a good sign to me. I cradled my frozen appendages in my hat and it was like holding something that didn't belong to me. I couldn't feel them at all. It took over 20 minutes to get circulation going again. There were a few hold-out toes that I thought might never warm up, but they finally did. I went home from my day of skiing humiliated, shivering, and defeated.

You may think that this trip spelled the end of my attempts to ski, but despite 3 of 4 ski trips so far being rather horrific there is something about the idea of skiing that I find endlessly appealing. In those few moments where I have been skiing confidently, hearing the swish of snow beneath me, and watching the peaks that go on for miles from the vantage point of the lifts I experienced a deep thrill. This is something I am determined to get the hang of even if it means brushes with frost-bite and bruises the size of basket balls. I'm signed up for a whole season of skiing with lessons at Cypress and I had my first lesson on Sunday. I'm happy to report that it was a huge improvement over the Whistler debacle and I only fell a few times. There is a possibility that I'm insane to continue hurtling myself down mountains that seem intent on breaking me but I've started now and I'm not turning back