Sunday, April 17, 2011

They call me "The Shack Hunter"

First off, let me start with the fact that I will wholeheartedly admit that I have become completely spoiled living the life of a "ski bum"  for the past three years (living outside of what "normal" people will call "reality" -- but that's best left for a whole 'nother post). Not only that, I have also completely ruined with good snow….as in, if there isn't at least a good few inches of new snow (say 6" at the bare minimum) and fresh tracks, I don't want to waste my time. (ok. that's not totally true. i'd still go….but i'll definitely be pining for new snow the whole time).

That being said, living up here at Big Sky there's nothing else to do BUT ski, even when conditions are not exactly up to my standards. (ooh, life is SO hard sometimes!). There have been days where there hasn't been any new snow, the mountain is pretty much tracked out, it's too crowed and just too many gapers, and I just plain don't feel like going. However, like I said, if I don't want to go ski, pretty much my only other option is sitting around in my compartment (which is probably about the size of most people's living room) and looking out the window and watching other people ski. But, oh, what to do, what to do when conditions are (though still decent) less than ideal?

Answer: Shack Hunting.

It is said that there are 32 shacks residing on this mountain. Some are old gondolas, some are made from trees and branches, others from old skis, some even from plexiglass and plywood. There is even one that is an old VW beetle (it's true!). Some are pretty hidden and you don't know there there until you, literally, ski right on top of it, and others are pretty out in the open (…if you're not skiing with tunnel vision). So far I have found 10, and know the general location of at least one more (though, when I say "I have found 10" I really mean "I was shown 9. I found the 10th one on my own, but was shown the general area in which it stood").

So on the days where I don't know what else to do, I go in search of these:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Letter to L____

Dear L____,

26 is way too young.

I was in complete shock and disbelief when I heard the news, and while somewhere along the way we stopped talking and lost touch, you were always someone I thought I would see again. Someone I'd be able to say "Hey, I'm sorry we stopped talking. I know these things happen and people move on with their lives, but I'm sorry anyway. I hope your life has moved on in the direction you have always wanted it to. I hope you are happy where you are right now."

26 is way too young.

You were such an exuberant young lady, and anybody who knew you (whether friends or not) can not deny that you had a certain, special zest for life. You were fiercely loyal to the people you could call your true friends, and though I hadn't spoken to you in years, I can tell that you still cared deeply and passionately for your family, for your friends, for people in general, and for life, this world, and everything that encompasses it.

26 is way too young.

I believe in a connection that everybody in this world shares. That once you have been connected with someone, no matter if you lose touch with that person at some point in your life, you are always, on some level, connected with them. I feel that all of the experiences we shared, breakfasts in Dillion, classes, late nights, galavanting across Europe......that those experiences connected us. And now I feel that you are gone, though you will live on each day in the memories of all who knew and loved you, that a little part of me is gone along with you.

The world has lost a special soul, and my heart breaks for your family and loved ones.

26 is way too young.

Rest In Peace, old friend.

May you find more happiness and joy in your next great adventure.

Sincerely yours and never forgetting,


Friday, December 31, 2010

The Beginning of a New Year -or- A Recipe for Disappointment

It's the end of 2010. The beginning of 2011. New Years. Reflection of what has occurred, and anticipation of what is to come. It is when we are able to turn over a new leaf, wipe the slate, and begin to further better ourselves and our surroundings........blah. blah. blah.

Yeah, I'm a New Year's humbug. I've never really enjoyed it. Making resolutions I've never had any real intention of keeping (and it's always the same ones.....pick up after myself. exercise more. etc.) It's a nice thought, but after the first two weeks, it's just not going to happen.

The actual eve of New Year's isn't much better either. I think it's all the hype that ruins it. The pressure to have epic plans at some raging, completely private A-list party.....Whether you go out or stay in, it's all just a setup for disappointment.

If you stay in, you start to think "Gosh! What am I missing! I should be out celebrating and having a grand ol' time with everyone else!" And then you can't enjoy the rest of the night because you are thinking that if you had gone out you'd be having so much more fun.

If you go out, you are just surrounded by people you don't know and could care less about ringing in the new year with, and either you are too drunk to know you are having fun (in which case you wake up with a terrible headache and can't, for the life of you, remember why you wanted to go out in the first place), or you are not drunk enough and can only focus on the fact that you don't know a single drunken idiot that is around you. Your favorite watering-hole is packed full with every hermit in a 50 mile radius who has decided that New Year's Eve is the one night a year they will venture from their cave, so not only do you not recognize a single face, you also can't even shoulder your way up to order a drink.

Either way, you aren't enjoying the moment of celebrating the things that are to come, but are instead far more concerned that you aren't having the fun you think you ought to be having, which, in turn, makes your night even less fun, so then you start to concentrate on the fact that it's New Year's Eve and you aren't having any fun. Then something happens which causes you to miss the count down, and then not only are you not having fun, but you've also  completely missed the beginning of the New Year! Now, your night is ruined, the end of your year is ruined, and the beginning of the new year is already off to a bad start. It's a terribly vicious cycle, and it happens every year.

So if you are wondering if there is something wrong with you because you can't even enjoy a simple night, like New Year's Eve, the answer is no. Everybody is disappointed on New Years. It's the way it works.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Living the Dream

Big Sky, Montana, in an apartment the size of a shoebox (maybe 400 sq ft), less than 10 minutes (walking) to the lifts, and skiing every day. I really don't think it gets much better than waking up to this every day. Ok, maybe waking up to this and 15" new powder would be better.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fall in Review

So here it is, mid-November, two weeks away from Thanksgiving. I've spent the majority of the Autumn feeling essentially homeless; all of my belongings strewn about between three different locations and not having a place to call my very own. My computer kicked the bucket, I had a dog for a week (which is a slightly short story for another time), I went on a hike or two, and I've traveled between Whitefish and Edmonds to Eugene and back to Edmonds to Whitefish to Bozeman and Big Sky and then back to Whitefish and down to Portland, back to Edmonds to Whitefish, and finally I have been able to settle down in the little shoe box I can now call home at Big Sky (ski resort), Montana.

Since arriving at Big Sky, I have done twice as much hiking as I was able to do this summer, got a new computer (well, technically it isn't mine, but I get to use it), the snow has started to fall, and I was able to cross a few things off The List:

#45: make an earring holder
# 46: knit a sweater #55: finish knitting my pink blanket

#58: learn to knit socks

and, most importantly

#89: see a moose

Monday, October 11, 2010


The lids sealed, the jam set, and it's delicious (but, what wouldn't be with six cups of sugar in it?).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

#7: Learn to Can Foods

Status: in progress

I don’t have a canner. I don’t have access to one either. Nor do I currently have the funds to go out and purchase one. However, I am now out of the woods and I do have access to a kitchen. So naturally I thought today would be a good day to attempt to make and can some huckleberry jam.

In theory, canning seems to be quite easy. All you need is the fruit, some jars, and pectin (oh, a canner too, but that’s just a minor detail). I followed the directions in the pamphlet from the pectin box; mashed up my berries, added the lemon juice and water, boiled everything, and added the six cups of sugar (yes. six.), boiled again, then jarred and lidded. (I was told, from a trusted source, that it isn’t completely necessary to do the water bath with jam) Now…..I’m waiting. In less than 24 hours I may (or may not) have some deliciously sweet, sweet huckleberry jam. I may also be able to cross an item off of my list.