Friday, December 24, 2010

Weekly Dose of Dangle

Hae and Oscar and I are on an adventure in the Sierras. Even though the pavement was clear of snow and ice on the way up they made us put on chains to cross Donner Summit. The noise was deafening. It sounded so wrong we pulled over to check. One of the chains had broken and was flapping into the wheel well and making a horrible racket. Hae used her girl scout ingenuity to fashion a solution, tying off the flapping chain with a nylon rope. It held for a while but then the nylon gave out. The sound was twice as bad but we drove along anyway. Eventually we just couldn't stand it anymore so we stopped and took the chains off. A three foot length of plastic shell from the wheel well was completely mangled and just hanging there. We broke most of it off but one last end wouldn't come free. Hae pulled out some super sharp scissors she just happened to bring along and cut it free. She didn't want to litter the roadway so we packed it and took it with us as a souvenir. I was glad she had those scissors.

We have a cute little house on the west side of Lake Tahoe surrounded by snow-covered firs and there's a tiny sliver of a view of the water. The snow is many feet deep and Oscar likes to roll around in it until he's soaking wet from head to toe. I did that when I was a kid too.

Hae was determined to get me out on the slopes this year with skis attached to my feet. Oscar and Hae ski like experts, so I agreed to try it. The first thing to get used to about skiing is the monstrously painful boots you have to wear. You cinch them down with big buckles and with each pull your feet are bound more tightly into the heinous plastic devices. They are impossible to walk in but you have to walk across the huge parking lot to get to the office where you buy obscenely expensive tickets. The place is crowded with hipster snowboard dudes who come sailing down the mountain at a hundred miles an hour. Once the skis are on your feet you are next to helpless. You can't go anywhere on flat land without strenuously pushing yourself along on the poles. So of course the bunny hill requires you to cross three hundred yards of flat ground to get there. Skis only allow you to go downhill and they are waxed and sharpened to go very fast. They tell you to point the fronts of your skis together so that your feet are awkwardly pigeon-toed. You have to stay in that knock-kneed position for hours, fully concentrating on preventing another fall. You try to control your speed, but you end up going faster and faster and then the only way to stop is to crash into something or someone. It looks like a lot of fun for expert skiers, but having fun as a beginner would take a very rosy attitude.

Oscar's Auntie Soo and cousin Sarah came up from LA to meet us. Sarah is a heckafresh fourteen-year-old fly girl. She just gave herself two lip piercings, a procedure so gruesome that they wouldn't even make Marines do it. I'm considering putting some hardware into Oscar's lips so I can hook them together when I want him to shut up. Just kidding! Sarah is also taking a break from vegetarianism. Last night we had bulgoki. Sarah made cookies. Tonight I'm going to make one of my signature dishes, a spicy coconut curry with spinach and tomatoes, except I'm doing it with chicken instead of squid or scallops.

Oscar is happily prodding the fire in the fireplace. Sarah, Soo, Hae, and I each have a laptop computer with us, and we usually have them all out at once. We're all checking our Facebook. Hae and I had an argument in the grocery store about a piece of ginger and now she's all pissed off at me.

Today we went to Squaw Valley and rode up the mountain in a gondola. Soo and I drank coffee in the lodge and watched the rest of them ice skate. I'm as terrible ice skating as I am skiing, so I decided to pass. I sketched ski bums and skaters and shot some video of my son break dancing on the ice. We had a panoramic view of the rink and the vast frozen Sierra mountains with the plummeting skiers looking like tiny specks. It was outstanding.


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