Life, On Pause

What if I told you a month ago that we’d all be sitting at home.  Not just the people who usually sit at home, or prefer to sit at home but we’d ALL be sitting at home.  Crazy huh?  Well, that’s where we are on March 29 2020, I don’t even know what day it is.  The phone calendar tells me it’s Sunday but that’s just a social construct at this point.

We’re all stuck inside because of something called coronavirus.  In January, there were some cases in China but no need to worry, we’ll be fine.  Now, now is a bit different.  A reality that at times is just too difficult to process.

There’s the surreal aspect to all of this.  The Boston Marathon is postponed, the Olympics, and many other things.  But then there’s the real aspect of this.  Every business is closed and whatever can happen online is happening online.

I’ve been thinking lately though, that life on pause might have an upside to it.  I work in an industry where people don’t get paid sick time so for the past ten years, I have almost constantly been sick.  A cold passing and one on its way.  Now I can finally breathe well after so many years.  I’ve reconnected with people that I haven’t spoken to in a decade.  We’re all praying for each other.  I’ve discovered the joys of video calling.  I had quite a hilarious conference call with some friends that live in another state.  And my best friend of a quarter century called me her hero for helping her son with his homework!!!!!  VICTORY.

Everyone is in the same boat so everyone is helping each other.  I’m not going to lie.  It is not going to be easy.  But we are actually in this together.

Here are some pictures from one of my few trips outside in the past 10 (???) days:

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

So we’re nearing the end of another magnificent ski season.  The last few have been particularly good, just because I know a lot better what to actually do, how to have consistently good days and how to enjoy myself on the mountain more.

I realized something early though when I started going skiing.  The amount of focus it involves is immense but in another way the sport helped me was to make me really focused.  When I first started going skiing, I would fall when I thought of something that upset me.  It taught me to focus more on the positive things or at least be able to push the negative thoughts away when I went skiing, in the hopes that this would have a reflection on my outside life.

Last weekend, I skied this slope at Killington called Panic Button.  It’s a black diamond but an groomed slope that has a bit of a feature at the beginning and then a normal ride down.  My favorite.  How I came to find this trail is a bit of an interesting story.  As I said in the last entry, my two earlier trips to Killington this season were, um, interesting.  One with 11 million of my closest friends and the other when the mountain was covered in insane, dense fog.  It was in this insane dense fog that I decided to first ski Panic Button.  Why I decided to do this still mystifies me.  Anyway, last weekend I decided to ski Panic Button again, but actually be able to see this time.  That’s where the focus came in.  I’d never been on this thing when I could actually see all of it so I was laser focused on every feature.    Small bump here, straight down there, make a turn there.  When I ski, I try to memorize as many of the features of the trails so I can ski it again, in good weather and bad weather or crazy overwhelming fog.  Anyway, it was very pleasant.  As long as you keep your eyes on the prize while skiing.

Oh and there are pictures.  OF COURSE:

The Slope Life

Well, ski season has started and as anyone who has even been on this blog once knows, that is my favorite time of the year.

Over the past few seasons, I have really changed how I ski.  First I was learning.  Then it was mastery of different levels of trail.  Now I set goals for myself at the beginning of each season.  How many runs, how many times and how well I hope to do all of this.  I tend to stick to one side of the resort, so there are fewer pictures taken, but by this point, I’ve been to all of these places a multitude of times.

This ski season has been really interesting.  Well, some new people have entered my life as a result.  I found myself a guy to drive me at 5am for my ski bus, this incredibly crusty guy from Bawstan, I mean Boston who has the thickest Boston accent I have ever heard.  But he’s good guy who is always early to get me and delivers me on time and with no drama.  I’ve also started to ask friends to drop me off at the place we take the bus from.  A new friend named Liz was tasked with this last weekend and it all worked out with the ride.  She came to get me, we chatted and off I went.  Last year I asked two friends to drop me off and it went off fine.  Did these people get to a new friendship level with me??  Possibly.  Nah, I love them.  Ten years in a place, right?

Well and then there’s the actual skiing.  My first big skiing trip this season was to Sunday River, which was a good day but really tiring.  But the best kind of tired is skiing tired.  Then two hilarious trips to Killington.  The first one was on the biggest ski day of the year with approximately and I can’t get too exact, 11 million of my closest friends.  I have never seen that many people on a mountain anywhere, ever.  The lift line at the bottom of the Killington base was super crowded and it took a half an hour to get anywhere.  The mountain was FULL of people.  I hate to sound like a snob but one day a year ski people, not us crazy people who sleep with our skis by our beds and joyously run outside at 4am to go skiing.  Just vacation skiers or as a local in Killington calls them — Jerrys.  A Jerry is ski parlance for an individual who cannot ski well.

But it was still a fun day.  Because any day on the mountain is a good day.  The conversations on the lifts are the absolute best, especially since this man appeared on my ski helmet:


If you don’t know, this is Nick Offerman playing a wonderful character named Ron Swanson, on the exceptional Parks and Recreation.  Ron is a very conventional man who likes wood working, breakfast food and dark haired women.  This above though, is when Ron lost his mind and re-married his second ex-wife, Tammy 2.  Within 24 hours of remarrying, he’s got the corn rows and the kimono.  It is one of the funniest transformations ever to be put on screen.  At one point during the hours of crazy, Corn Rows Ron watches a videotape of regular Ron, where regular Ron warns him about the dangers of getting involved with Tammy 2.

I’m a member of multiple Parks and Recreation groups on Facebook and one day I saw that some website was selling stickers of him in this great moment.  I got three.  One for my fridge, one for my mirror and of course, one for the ski helmet.  Ron is there to remind me to be a little bit evil everyday.

So three young men on the lift were passing a flask of bourbon between them and joking about stuff.  At one point, they asked if I wanted a swig from their flask.  God, I love skiing!!!!!  Well, since the only was down was a black diamond with a rope over it that said — experts only, I didn’t partake.  But we did get into a conversation about the Ron sticker and by the time we were at the top, a lot of laughter had passed between us about Parks and Recreation and the sticker.  Give me all of your bacon and eggs!!!!!!

The next weekend I decided to return to Killington.  This time it was 11 million of my closest friends and fog.  A lot of fog.  A LOT OF FOG.  How much fog?  Well, at one point I took my goggles off and all I saw was white.  I could not see the horizon or the person in front of me.  It was as close as I ever come to actually being blind in my life.  So I decided that day to go down an icy trail called Panic Button.  It should be renamed “Get Your Head Examined.”  I got on it.  I can’t really see well.  All I thought was — let the people in front of you go and keep your eyes on the horizon.  And we were fine obviously, but when I starting going down, I thought — honey, you in danger now.  Skiing — you got yourself into this mess and you have to get yourself out of it now.

And of course there was fun lift conversation.  On the same ski lift where I encountered the boys with the flask of bourbon the week before, this time I was riding the lift up with a guy whose been skiing for farty years.  I don’t know how to write it but that’s what it sounds like to me.  Farty years this guy has been skiing.  Then another guy on the lift started talking about how Baywatch had been digitally remastered and it was hilarious to watch.  I said that they use phones that are the sizes of paperbacks and the TV screens are huge.  The Farty guy goes — I had a phone in my caaaaaah and a beepaaaaah.  And now his ex-wife has the numbaaaaaah from his caaaaaah phone.  I think I was laughing about this conversation for at least an hour afterwards.

The skiing was, um, interesting that day.  It was ice skiing and some moguls.  Moguls in fog.  None of this bodes particularly well, but it was all right.  Gotta be ready for everything.  Get the practice in with those turns for days like that.

Last Sunday’s ski trip was the calmest and most beautiful not just of this season, but of all my seasons chasing the dragon, I mean skiing.  Every year since I started going skiing, I sign up to go to Bretton Woods and every year the Patriots are in the Super Bowl, so the trip gets cancelled.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I love the team but you can go skiing and then watch the Super Bowl.  But the trip always got cancelled.  Well, this year this team didn’t make it.  Look, we have to give other people the chance to win.  BURN.  Nah, well, better luck next year.  Anyway, so the ski club finally did go to Bretton Woods and the views, were, kind of unbelievable.

Bretton Woods is the home of a very famous hotel were an agreement about the post war monetary system was signed and where two nights costs the same amount as my rent for my old apartment in Allston, Chez Kelton.  Next to the hotel is a ski area also called Bretton Woods.  As I always update Facebook to let my parents know that I have arrived at my ski destination, my aunt saw my post and wondered what I was doing wandering in some kind of a forrest.  I was wandering that forrest with my skis, thank you very much.

What a glorious day it was.  Weather was perfect.  The runs were magnificent and the views, well, those below.  Words just won’t do them justice.

Now to the photography.  You’ve been patient.  There will be photographs in a second:

These Streets

I always wondered what it would feel like to get older.  When I was 10 years old, I used to sit in bed and wonder — what will my life be like when I’m 30???  Or, gasp, 40????

Well, now I know and it’s nothing at all like I expected.  I always say the future is, um, weird.  No flying cars or talking refrigerators.  But there’s something deeper to it.

I’ve walked the streets of New York since I was a little kid.  My favorite building in New York is the Chrysler Building.  My one fantasy in life has been to go inside the spire of the building.  It is a structure that has long fascinated me.

In 2007, when I started this blog, I was working in the Graybar building, right next to the Chrysler Building.  One day, the air conditioning went out in the building and they opened all the windows.  I looked out of the windows at all the buildings and there was an incredible view of the Chrysler Building.  It was almost like I could reach out and touch it.

What happens when thirteen years go by after that???  You walk by that same building but now you are walking around with a student you taught when he was 16 and you are telling him about this, still walking these street.  And the Chrysler Building is still so beautiful:

new york city chrysler building spire 2new york city chrysler building spire

Color World

This is an exhibit at the Peabody Essex museum of the works of a painter named Hans Hoffman I went to over the holiday.  These pictures were taken with a little Olympus tough camera, not my big camera.

Yeah, it’s abstract art, and not everyone likes that, but those brush strokes though.  Those brush strokes:

Crazy Weird Futuristic Beehive

So I journeyed to New York some days ago, no matter how many days exactly.  I went to see a tornado of a human being named Arturo, who is 33% my child and his lovely girlfriend Juliana.  They had come to visit from Florida, so Juliana could feel what life in the North Pole is really like.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Arturo and Juliana had seen a lot of New York, so we went to a place none of us had been yet and well, didn’t exist until really recently — Hudson Yards.  Well, it did exist a space but wasn’t exactly a desirable location.

Recently though, this thing has been built over there called The Vessel.  It looks like a futuristic beehive.  And I need to photograph any futuristic beehive.

The beehive has a mall next to it, filled with tons of the most expensivest shit.  We went in to go to Shake Shack and for Arturo to horrify the New Yorkers with his boisterousness.  Love it.

Anyway, here’s the Beehive with a few with the High Line, the replacement for  overgrown railroad tracks.  Ah New York.  There’s no other constant but change there: