Monthly Archives: March 2022

Tuesday ski day

I had another day on the slopes today.  Our summer nanny is back for spring break, and I had a free lift ticket, so I decided to pay for the day of babysitting and go down to Crystal.  As always, it was interesting.  There are so many weather and snow variables in skiing.  Even on the same slope, the experience can be vastly different.  Today, the theme was slush.  I have never done any spring skiing before, and I now understand why it’s not super popular.  I started out with a couple runs on the easiest greens at the bottom of the mountain, and it just wasn’t fun.  The problem was that I kept hitting slow patches of snow.  My speed would suddenly drop drastically and I would practically go over the front of my skis.  It was exhausting and demoralizing.  I really felt like I was getting ready to have a nasty wipeout, but I headed to the harder runs at the top of the mountain, and thankfully, the snow was way better up there.  It was definitely still slushy, but not nearly as bad.  On the one hand, the skiing was noticeably slower, which, when it wasn’t a sudden change in speed, was easier on the steep parts.  On the flip side, the snow was just heavy and clunky and messy, which was harder to deal with.  By the end of the day, I was feeling much more comfortable on the slush.  Still, when I finally went down to the bottom of the hill to go home, the final run close to the bottom where I was warmest and slushiest was pretty unpleasant.

I did the “easy” blue run, Downhill, at least six times, and I felt really confident on it by the end of the day.  In some ways, it would be harder if the snow was normal (faster), but I still feel like I made some good progress.  Crystal wasn’t at all crowded, and for once I was able to have a long, leisurely lunch indoors instead of an outdoor standing up lunch like I’ve been doing on the weekends.  I needed the sitting time because my quads were not enjoying the slush.  I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the day.  My legs were shaking with fatigue.

My skis are about 12 years old and have never been waxed since I bought them, so I do wonder if that might make a difference.

For the first time, I went on the new gondola, which goes to the top of the mountain.  I am not good enough to ski runs from the top – they are harder blues, blacks and double blacks.  (I can go about 2/3 of the way up.)  Therefore, before the gondola, I couldn’t go to the top.  I am not a huge fan of gondolas.  It’s interesting.  Some people don’t like lifts, or really want the bar down on lifts, because they feel like they’ll fall off.  I like the footrest on the bar but otherwise don’t really care one way or the other.  I have zero concern about falling.  What I don’t like is feeling trapped, and so I much prefer the open air lifts to the claustrophobic gondola.  I really didn’t enjoy the gondola because of feeling claustrophobic.  With that said, the scenery was stunning near the top and at the top, so I’m glad I got over myself and went up and had a look.

I was just saying to Jonathan that I’m glad we got back into skiing this year.  It’s not exactly a hobby we can pursue in our old age, and it’s also a lot harder in most places than it is in Seattle.  It’s been great to get out of the rain into the snow, to conquer some of my anxieties, and to get the kids skiing as well.

flu shot

I went to the Safeway pharmacy this year to try and get my flu shot.  40 minute later in the oddly chilled waiting area I decided I couldn’t take it any more without a sweater, and I estimated I was still at least 40 minutes from getting my shot, so I gave up and went home.  I looked up the CDC flu monitoring and saw there was little flu going around and decided I’d get the shot if more flu started circulating.  Yes, I was lazy.  But it turns out it didn’t matter because this year’s flu vaccine only reduced your likelihood of getting mild or moderate illness by 16%.  Really?  16%?  That’s the best we can do?  I suspect if we don’t end up nuking the planet and reducing ourselves to our primitive origins, our descendants in 100 years will look back upon our general ignorance about how disease spreads and our inability to make long-lasting and effective vaccines for either Covid or the flu much the same way I look back upon medical care in the 20s.

With horror and fascination.

In a study of more than 3,600 Americans in seven states, the C.D.C. said in a report that the vaccine was only around 16 percent effective, a rate that it said was “not statistically significant.”

Huh, not statistically significant.  Kind of like the impact of cloth mask wearing.  But I digress.

“The next pandemic could be an influenza pandemic,” Dr. Goodman said, “so we need better vaccines.”

Ya think?  I’m sure they’re working on it.  Hopefully the fruits of their labors will help our kids and grandkids.

Since the agency began calculating the vaccine’s effectiveness in 2004, the efficacy rate has been as high as 60 percent — for the 2010-11 season — and as low as 10 percent, during the first season the C.D.C. tracked it.

What’s interesting to me is that they used to vaccinated people without calculating how effective the vaccine was!  It boggles the mind.  But I’m glad they’re doing it now.  It’s kind of like investing in the stock market.  It’s easy to feel like you’re doing well if there’s no actual calculation of your results.

On another note, does anyone else do dry January or dry Lent?  I’m giving up alcohol for the second year in a row for Lent.  My Dad always used to do this, and I think it’s good practice for me, since I really enjoy drinking.  Kind of an annual reset.  In any case, we’re a week in, and I am really missing my daily beer.  I’m finding I am so tempted to munch on carbs or chocolate instead.  It’s like I just want a treat at the end of the day.

another day of skiing

The two older girls and I had another day skiing today.  They have been getting twice as much skiing as me since H and I alternate who goes with them.  I think it won’t be long before they’re better skiers than we are – certainly by the end of next year.  We are improving as well, of course, but there is a lot to be said for being under 25.

It was a bluebird day today and crowded as a result, but I really enjoyed the beauty of it.  You feel like life must be good when you’re gazing and snowcapped mountains against blue sky.

The girls both made major progress today and were cruising down the lower hill greens comfortably.  L did the hardest green, which I think would be a blue most places, and said it wasn’t all that hard.  I can’t believe it!  Her instructor said she needs to work on her speed – no surprise there.  She is our cautious child for sure.

I got a great video of B – sadly no videos of L.  Let’s also pause to appreciate the miracle that I managed to stay on my feet while taking this!

As for me, I skied more than 14,000 vertical feet, a record for me by a significant margin.  By the end of the day, I was so exhausted I could barely stay upright – and of course I had to drive us all home, an hour and 40 minutes one way.  Skiing is not for the faint of heart, but I’m glad we’ve had a chance to do it this winter.  I also skied Downhill, the easiest blue run at Crystal, a couple times today.  It was certainly a challenge for me if not for the other skiers whizzing by me, so I’m glad I was able to progress my skiing today.  If I had a skiing goal, it would just be to be able to ski all blue runs on any mountain.  If you can ski blues, you can go all over the mountain.  (Well, not into backcountry and bowls and stuff, but that’s ok.)  Maybe by the end of next year if we ski then, too?

peace in our time

“My good friends, this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time.  Now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds.”

– Neville Chamberlain, September 30, 1938

(While the Munich Pact would become synonymous with “appeasement,” some historians believe that since the German and Italian air forces were twice as strong as the combined British and French airpower in September 1938, Chamberlain’s agreement gave the British military valuable time to bolster its defenses to ultimately defeat Hitler.)

Ukraine is under attack, and the slactivists are out in force.  Before criticizing them, though, it’s probably worth acknowledging the possibility that tagging #istandwithukraine on my Insta might have an actual significant impact.  As some columnist noted, Putin is far from the first despot to randomly attack another country, but he may be the first who’s at the helm of a nation “deeply dependent on international commerce.”  As such, the actions of various virtue-signal-seeking companies can actually have a huge impact.  Boeing’s response, for example, has been . . . modest.  Could the pressure of a million Insta / FB tags make a difference?  Perhaps.  Some sports organizations have banned Russians, but world #1 Medvedev will still be playing at Wimbledon right now, which I consider absolutely unacceptable.  In conclusion, I should probably stop criticizing and start tagging.

But what’s going on right now is not getting it done.

The particular target of my annoyance is Orca running, a local running company.  They’re putting on a virtual run to aid Ukraine.  Plunk down your ten bucks, and they’ll send it on to charities ostensibly aiding Ukrainians.  The first problem is that there is an additional entry fee that goes to of about $2.77, so more than 20% of the money won’t even go to the charities.  Also a $10 donation is really extremely modest.  Don’t get me wrong.  If you’re poor or young or a grad student or something, I think it’s awesome that you’re giving $10.  But if you’re a runner running in $150 running shoes and a $100 Orca top and spending $$$ on race entry fees and so on and so forth, I feel like we can probably give a bit more than $10.  Of course, no one should feel pressure to support a foreign military if they don’t want to.  Or any cause.  I just feel like a $10 donation is a virtue signal for the well off, not a meaningful contribution.  But again, maybe this type of signaling makes a difference in terms of the behavior of powerful international companies that are currently just not doing as much as they could be.

I am in the middle of reading Last Witnesses, which is a collection of first person sources from the German invasion of the Soviet Union.  Since Ukraine is in the West, most of the sources are from Ukraine and Belarus.  It’s disturbing and much darker than fictional accounts of WW2 that I’ve read, which of course can be quite dark.  There are no “good” or even not so bad German soldiers in these accounts.  I feel like what is happening right now with the current invasion is likely similar in terms of impact to children as what happened nearly 100 years ago.

If you feel like donating, some links are here.  For me, China and Russia to a lesser extent represent the greatest international threats to our children’s happiness and freedom and our own national integrity.  China, naturally, is fully supportive of Putin’s invasion.  I can’t see Ukraine winning this.  So what happens next?  Moldova?  And then what?