Well, it seems that we aren’t going to Bozeman.

Ethel’s powers-that-be have decided that she can’t go full remote.

h-lone-peak-montana

I admit that this seems a mite strange to me, as Ethel was working remotely while all of her her current powers-that-be were actually being hired into the company; then, when we came to Utah, they decided that a) she would be a manager, and b) she would be in the office, and c) she would move from hourly to salaried.

Moving from hourly to salaried cost her money; going to the office every day cost her money. Sounds like “being a manager” is a demotion at depth.

And they won’t let her go back to her old position, either. It’s sort of a “nanner-nanner-boo-boo” whilst thumbing their nose on a corporate scale; this doesn’t seem cool, since Ethel was there before the school had any classes or students.

But I reckon that the folks who are in charge aren’t really in charge; it’s God who is in charge. So might as well drop it.

So we’re not going to Bozeman.

So, we’re not.

(Just gotta keep saying it over and over so that it will sink in).

…certainly not when Ethel Andretti is behind the wheel. She made it home from Big Sky to our front door in 5 hours two weeks ago, and that included stopping for gas and fast food.

MaptoBozeman

Today we’re driving up to Bozeman, probably leaving before noon. Two weeks ago we went up, rode with realtors in Bozeman and Big Sky, and skied Big Sky. We’re not skiing this weekend – instead, we’re going to make meetings, go to church, and drive around town.

Obviously, we’re thinking about moving – either to Bozeman or down to the Salt Lake Valley, and we don’t know which. This will all depend on many factors, and God makes those decisions. But we are probably leaving Park City.

Now, we aren’t leaving Park City for any non-skiing place, because I learned my lesson there, and it’s stayed learned. In fact, we’re only going places with more skiing – more real skiing, that is. Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons are now on the same ticket, and next year the gondola will join them to be the largest single lift-served operation in North America, but an amazing amount of that terrain is green and blue, or mellower blacks, and now that Extreme Ethel has tasted the truly steep and deep, she’s unsatisfied with the Wasatch Back. But Snowbird suited her just fine, and Big Sky is…well, see my last post :)

So we may just scoot around to the Sandy/Cottonwood Heights area, or we may go up to Bozeman, if our bosses are okay with that option. I’ve checked, and flights from Bozeman to Oakland are in the same price range as flights from Salt Lake (although they take considerably longer – well, hey. That’s on me, then) so such a move wouldn’t interfere with my ability to get to Workday’s home office. And it’s a small university town, and bandwidth is not an issue.

Park City – I still love Park City, but it doesn’t seem to love us. I did all the research before I came back home here, and thought that – despite the aphorism – I could, indeed, go home again. But our church is not the same church – same rector, same deacon, same location, but it’s a fuzzy church. We only went once, and I can’t get Ethel to go back and try again, and I can’t say that I blame her.

The first time back, when I was first interviewing here two years ago, I had dinner that first night with my old running friends, and thought that that connection was solid – but it didn’t last. They weren’t interested in running with me for more than a few months, and they fell away. That was truly a disappointment, but that’s what I get for being appointed.

Now, I suspect that, had we had snow, a lot of this wouldn’t be bothering us, but I haven’t had a powder day since I moved back to Utah. And that is Just. Not. Right. On. So. Many. Levels. There hasn’t been any snow in my yard in weeks- maybe a month. When I left Summit Park in late May of 2005, we still had piles of snow in my yard. This affects me on a visceral level. Park City shouldn’t look like spring in February.

And Ethel is suffering from a problem that I had ten years ago; when I left Park City for Anthem, AZ, it turned out that I could never, ever be happy in Anthem, AZ, because Anthem, AZ, was the place that I’d left Park City for, so it had to be wrong. I didn’t get happy in Arizona until we moved out to New River.

Well, Ethel left her beautiful home in New River and her friends in Arizona for Park City, so she’s never felt comfortable back here. Dang. I’d never thought about that, and she’d never mentioned it until last night, when we were eating dinner at the Baja Cantina at PCMR.

So last week we were looking at homes down in the Salt Lake Valley, and today we’re driving to Bozeman. We already know that we can afford to live in Bozeman; we just want to find out if we really want to be there. Is the church fuzzy? What about meetings? Sure, it’s a college town, so it’s liberal, but I strongly suspect that “liberal” in Montana is different than, say, “liberal” in Vermont.

Now, it’s possible that by next weekend, Park City could be deep and white again, and who knows? I’m sure that that would be a comfort. And since it’s only a 40 minute drive from here to Alta and Snowbird, we might just sit still where we are.

Or we may be on the move again, in a permanent sense. But, for now, we’re driving to Bozeman.

Driving up to Bozeman, we decided to take the slighly longer route through a corner of Yellowstone and the Gallatin Mountains, which goes past Big Sky. As we drove down from Yellowstone, I kept pointing and saying “Maybe that’s Lone Peak…maybe that’s Lone Peak.”

Then Ethel said, “Uh, Jim, I think THAT’S Lone Peak” :)

SkiPorn

I think she was right :)

It’s obscene. It’s crazy. You drive up the access road, and there is simply so much terrain – and I say this after skiing the Canyons for a year, with 4000+ acres. Not only is there so much terrain, and so many runs that are so top-to-bottom, and views in every direction that are magnificent – in the middle of the embarrassment of riches, there’s Lone Peak, with a tram running up to the top.

It’s absolutely pornographic. It’s sort of embarrassing, but you can’t look away. And it makes your pulse and breathing race, and your eyes bug open wide. Surely, surely that…that thing is not actually skiable?

Yes, it is.

Although it wasn’t skiable on Sunday – there were such severe winds on Saturday, that the snow was actually blown off of the runs on Sunday; the only thing open that was served by the tram was Big Couloir, and that is actually reserved in fifteen-minute chunks of time; you have to sign up for it in advance, and two people ski it at a time, and both have to have avy gear and a transceiver. Since I didn’t know this, I didn’t sign up for it, and now there is a Big Couloir-sized hole in my life. It ain’t Corbet’s, but it’s close.

(And it turns out that skiing Bridger wasn’t a very good idea either).

We were going to ski Big Sky on Saturday and Bridger Bowl on Sunday, but when we got to Big Sky on Saturday morning, it was raining in the village; it was wet snow at the base area, and very windy. Most of the upper lifts were on wind hold (which is what caused the mess of conditions on Sunday). So instead of skiing, we moved things around and saw real estate in Big Sky that morning and early afternoon, and then real estate in Bozeman on Saturday afternoon and evening.

Then we skied Big Sky on Sunday, which turned out to be a BEAUTIFUL day!

So now we’re back in Park City, and it rained here today. Global warming may cause us to move north.

My training isn’t going well.

Here’s the dreadmill that I’ve been using for my recent spate of 4.5 mile intense run workouts. Note the bottle of electrolyte replacement (Squincher in a Gatorade bottle), the can of Monster, and the new ultralight shoes for repeats.

ArmedAndReady

Some weeks back, I started doing these workouts because Herr Doktor wanted me to do some “short intensity”. Well, I’ve been doing ‘em, and they’re short and intense.

This is a Tuesday/Thursday thing. I precede the dreadmill work with a moderate hour on the bike trainer, and I follow it with some mild core work. Noon on Tue/Thu is yoga.

MWF I’ve been swimming. Now it seems everybody in my support system (read: folks on Facebook) all think that I should be swimming hard, as well. I’ve been doing 2000-2500 yard single sets for several months. The only thing I really care about in swimming is swimming out into Sand Hollow Reservoir and back on May 2nd. I don’t have any time to work on open water swimming, because it’s winter until the race. So I’ve been doing long slow sets; one of the things that I noticed a year ago was that it took me a long time to warm up to the point that I felt comfortable in the water, and an open water swim in Sand Hollow Reservoir does not give one a long time to get comfortable in the water. So I’ve reached a type of conditioning where that warmup is no longer necessary; I can just start swimming and swim with no breaks at all. That gives me some sense of confidence.

But everybody who knows anything about swimming is telling me that I’m doing it wrong. Well, I can’t do intensity on Tue/Thur and turn around and do intensity on MWF. I’m 56 years old. I’m surprised I can do anything more intense than a bowel movement. So the heck with it. I’m giving up.

Spudman is in July, and Ethel’s doing that, and it’s a downriver swim. So the heck with it. I’m just gonna redirect my efforts towards Spudman.

There. That feels better.

Here’s Iron Icon Julie Moss finishing up our chili cheese fries this weekend at PCMR:

Julie Moss Chili Cheeze Fries

It was a rough weekend. Saturday morning I rode a little over two hours – I kept it easy, with my heart rate at 110 or less, and then when I was skiing I felt fresh and lively (well, as fresh and lively as a 56 year old is likely to feel, anyway). Managed a good bit of skiing, but Ethel was feeling poorly, so we went home mid-afternoon and napped.

We had planned to go to a Salt Lake Tri Club season-kickoff meeting on Saturday night, but when I woke Ethel up from her nap, she didn’t want to go. Now, I’m God’s Own Introvert, so you can bet that I didn’t want to go, but I’m supposed to do what I don’t want to do, and I’m supposed to put aside my wants in favor of somebody else’s wants; thus I found myself in the uncomfortable position of convincing Ethel that we wanted to so somewhere that I did not, at all, want to go. I gotta tell you, that’s a strange feeling.

And she took some convincing. But, eventually, she got out of bed and got dressed, just in time for us to be late to the get-together.

And she had fun! I managed to keep a stiff upper lip; I did not want to ruin Ethel’s evening, and I managed to keep myself entertained, especially since I wasn’t called upon to interact directly with other people very often.

However, I was also on the hook for a Salt Lake Tri Club Ski Day event the next morning, whereupon – after missing our regular Sunday morning meeting – we met up with SLTC folks and skied with them the entire day. That maxed out my people endurance – and also required skiing half-naked (no, I don’t know why):

blurry

In the middle of all this, we stopped for lunch – Ethel and I split some chili-cheese fries (two years ago, when we skiied 100 days at Purgatory, chili-cheese fries was our standard lunchtime fare – didn’t cost much, and a serving split between us had plenty of calorie to keep us going all afternoon).

What was funny was watching a top-level world-class superfit triathlete finish off our chili-cheese fries.  You won’t see that every day. No doubt it won’t hurt those folks – but they have an image to keep up, right?

Speaking of images to keep up: people are often surprised – and often react sarcastically – when they hear me say that I’m an introvert. Of course, this is because they don’t know what the word means. But this weekend really drove it home; after being around all of these people Saturday night and all day Sunday, on Sunday night I just wanted to crawl into a cocoon. I even considered taking Monday off from work, just to recover.

It occurred to me on Sunday evening, when I was sitting by the fireplace (“sitting by the fireplace” in this context means, literally, BY THE FIREPLACE, because after I lit the fire, I couldn’t get up – I just sat there on the ground for quite some time) that introversion is, quite possibly, at its core just a fancy type of ego-centrism. Being around other people probably wears me out because, when I’m in those situations, I’m probably operating out of my ego the whole time.

That’s why I can’t really “rest” until I’m alone – or it’s just Ethel and I, which is the same thing. I like this theory, because it fits the Spiritual Axiom that “anytime we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us”. I think that for a while I thought that crowds wore me out because “I’m an introvert”, but not wanting to be around folks is a type of disturbance, which means that it is caused by something wrong with me. And there’s only one thing really “wrong with me” – “Selfishness, self-centeredness. That, we think, is the root of our problem.”

So maybe if I could get rid of my ego, I could get rid of my introversion.

Of course, if I could get rid of my ego, all of my problems would be over!

“When your body and your ego and your dreams are gone, you will know that you will live forever” — A Course in Miracles

Now, it’s been a good while since I read the Harry Potter books, but there are so many questions that watching the movies are bringing up.

For instance, why does he still wear glasses?

harry

We’re currently halfway through Order of the Phoenix, which is, as my friend Paul said, very difficult to watch. It’s sort of like Season Six of Buffy, right down to the half-comical (but irritating) aspect of the villains involved. (no, I’m not talking about Voldemort. Cornelius Fudge comes to mind. And Dolores Umbridge is comically fat and insipid, although I admit I’d rather shoot her with a large piece of artillery than laugh at her).

At any rate, there are many questions which, at this point, are very perplexing:

  • Madame Pomfrey can fix a broken arm overnight, so why can’t she straighten out Harry’s myopia?
  • Why did Dumbledore ever hire Gilderoy Lockhart?
  • Why didn’t they press to have Sirius cleared of all charges?
  • Why don’t they just use the Time Turner to solve every and all problems?
  • Who was supervising the rest of the students from Bauxbatons and Durmstrang? Their school heads were at Hogwarts for the entire school year.
  • Come to think of it – where are the other UK wizarding schools? You can tell from the crowd at the Ministry that there’s no way all of those folks went through Hogwarts. When there’s all the talk about closing Hogwarts, there’s never any mention of transferring.
  • Given the relative point structure, why does anybody in the game of Quidditch do anything except chase the Snitch?
  • Why haven’t they had a pogrom and killed everybody in House Slytherin, root and branch?
  • Speaking of which – how does Voldemort manage to get so much done with such idiotic minions? If the kids are any reflection, Crabbe and Goyle as top-level henchman doesn’t speak well for Voldemort’s recruiting and interviewing skills.
  • Why do the other houses let Dumbledore get away with those ridiculous impromptu points awards that result in Gryffendore winning the House Cup?
  • What happened to Voldemort’s nose?
  • I know that the Dursleys are the epitome of dumb, but how is it possible that they would still be willing to torment Harry, years after learning that he could turn them all into warthogs? Wouldn’t they become at least a little circumspect?
  • Why is Fawkes the Phoenix never in Dumbledore’s office after Chamber of Secrets?
  • You mean that the only supply of mandrake root in the *entire wizarding world* was the immature crop at Hogwarts? They had a ward full of petrified folks, but they couldn’t send out to the pharmacy for some mandrake – they had to wait until the next spring?
  • And, lastly – what did Harry see in the Mirror of Erised after he went through puberty?

One thing has been bothering me a bit, though, outside of the fictional world of the Potter series, and that is this – that these child actors were under constant supervision, and yet, nobody bothered to say to the kid playing Dudley Dursley, “We need to get you to counseling and a nutritionist”. They let that kid blow up that big without even trying to help him, just because it fit the casting for the part?

…in case you haven’t heard.

cfp

It’s weird being a Crimson Tide follower while all of this is going on. Sorta like being unemployed, but without the government checks coming in or the free counseling.

The worst part is this – Ethel has Oregon fans coming over to watch the game.

Now, the only thing that I could really do during this game is turn it off, read the next Jack Reacher novel on my Nook, and pray for a Russian air strike. I’ve always found tOSU distasteful, and Oregon – well, once upon a time, Oregon was a quirky little school that was fun to watch because they didn’t take themselves seriously, and would win the odd game that they weren’t supposed to win.

But then Chip Kelly threw Legarrette Blount off the team after he punched the Boise State players, the fans, and his own coaches – and then turned around later that season and let him back on the team. And after that came the fiasco with 118 mph/”we smoked all the dope”, followed by “well, they weren’t charged with anything” – how can anybody root for a team like that?

And the Ducks fans are not one bit apologetic about any of this. They seem to really believe that that is how big-time teams operate. And, since they do, they have to run down everybody else to justify their own excesses; since they are guilty, and know that they are guilty, they have to play the kindergarten game of “Everybody else is doing it”, screamed shrilly and loud, the vocal equivalent of their uniforms.

I’m not saying that Oregon is bad. I am saying that we have no common values, and since all entertainment (for a guy like me) is a morality play, I find my favorites in those who share my values. So I cannot – and will not – root for the Ducks.

This wouldn’t be a big issue if Ethel weren’t making me be social, which means, in this context, “watching the game”. And this will leave me in the worse social position of being the only one in the room rooting for tOSU, and doing so because the rest of the room is rooting for an evil kingdom.

As you can imagine, I’m not looking forward to the evening :)

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