Saturday, January 05, 2008

On Balance It's All Downhill

After putting in a few more hours at the office this morning, I did something kind of crazy.

I took the skis and bindings left behind by Souncreative, and the pair of boots I picked up at the local Ski Swap, and left them in the hands of people who will make them work. Ok, maybe that's a stretch. They will assemble them and tune everything up, and I will attempt to make them work.

I have a friend who swears he can teach me to do this. According to him, he took a complete novice from never-having-skied to down the slopes at Aspen within days. Given that we're in Ohio which is nothing like the Colorado ski-scape, I'm hoping his skill and patience with working with athletically-challenged people like me will make the odds even greater that I will be able to do this.

I'm not an athlete, but I'm not a blob, either. I love to be outdoors. Except, of course, during the winter. When my kids' biodad got them into skiing last year, I determined that it looked like so much fun I'd have to try it myself. Next year.

And so next year is now this year.

There are two reasons I see for doing this. The first is that my kids are doing it. I spend a lot of time with them, and this gives me one more thing we can do together. The second is I need to do something new for me, especially with all the extra hours I've been putting in at work and as a mom. Sometime during the last 20 years I must have been taught that doing something for myself is against the law. But now I'm livin' in a new land, and I make the rules. I need the exercise, I need a good winter activity for out of doors (besides hiking in the snow which I also love), I need the release into an exhilarating and challenging new activity to take my mind off my constant challenges, and I need to prove to my kids that I can do this without totally embarrassing them. Actually, already being fairly low to the ground and possessing reasonably good, if underused, musculature in my legs, the odds ar better than I give myself credit for.

Now if we can only solve climate change, we'll be in business. Today, when my daughter was supposed to have had her first lesson of the season, it is raining and nearly 50 degrees in Northeast Ohio. I'm wondering if the kids put on wet suits and went innertubing instead. It might be better in the long run to take up water skiing but I'm making the investment, just in case.

So wish my friend luck. If it doesn't work out, I can always go back to hiking, maybe pick up a pair of snow shoes, and spend my evenings picking by the fire -- indoors. Or maybe I'll start a movement to have live music at the Lodge. After all, there's a lot about bluegrass and skiing that are alike -- speed, skill, the ride up and the thrill coming down. Check out this favorite old Monroe tune of mine here done by the masterful Tony Rice Unit and you'll see what I mean.

Jerusalem Ridge by the Tony Rice Unit


At January 05, 2008 10:42 PM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

I admire your bravery, MandoMama! I keep thinking I need to break out my hockey skates and work on learning again.


At January 05, 2008 11:55 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

OH Shameless, I'm not brave yet. The thought of the lift--nope, not brave. Definitely not brave. When I make it to the bottom of the hill, I think I'll just be lucky.

On the other hand, perhaps 2008 is THE year to let that inner hockey babe out. With all you've got on your buffet, why not add your own personal hat trick!

At January 06, 2008 3:23 PM, Blogger Blueberry said...

Best of luck with the new skills! I tried learning to ski several years back, and the results were hilarious... but YOU will do fine. Really! Most people do. (not me, but most people)

At January 06, 2008 4:41 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi Blueberry!
Thanks for the encouragement--I hope things turn out as you say! I picked up my skis today, and despite myself, I am excited. Of course, it's supposed to be in the 60s for the next several days, followed by 40s, so perhaps climate change will thwart my good intentions (and let me off the hook JUST one more week...)

At January 07, 2008 12:40 PM, Blogger DrDon said...

Mando - You are ever the optimist. You say that if it doesn't work out you can go back to hiking. Of course, you fail to mention that "doesn't work out" can mean breaking both legs. Than again, how often does that sort of thing happen? :-)

From the news today, it sounds like it's more dangerous taking the bus to the lodge than actually skiing.

At January 07, 2008 10:06 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hey Doc - I mean, Old Hickory, I mean, Hickory Dickory Doc...

You're right. I could break both my legs. However at the speeds I'm likely to be going this first season, that would more likely happen because an expert speed skier came down the hill and snagged my slow-moving body, dragging it behind him or her until I was nothing but a sorry-looking carc-ass. Hopefully my very tall buddy turned temporary instructor will be able to steer me away from such tragedy.

I will say that, walking through the parking lots at Brandywine and Bostin Mills can be a challenge. But most folks are pretty nice once you get inside. The folks at the place I had my skis tuned were totally cool and quite sweet, actually, and they promised no one would make fun of me. So I believed them.

I'm not only optimistic, I'm gullible.



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