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May 31?

Friday, May 31, 2013
Can it really be May 31? We ended up with 10" out of that storm.  I went out for a ski tour this afternoon.  It was still a bit chilly.    It hardly looks like tomorrow will be June.  The skiing was quite good today.  That little, tiny slush puddle is Lake Reveal.  It should be just about right by June 7, 8, and 9. After 4 wintry days, we are heading back to spring and summer.  The weekend looks sunny and warm with highs approaching 60 F. I am picturing a lot of Hawaiian shirts and bikinis.

lalalala it's Friday!

Well isn't this exciting! Thank you Steph for tagging me!

Here's how the Liebster Award works:Acknowledge the blog that nominated you
Tell 11 facts about yourself
Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger created
List 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers that deserve some recognition
Post 11 questions for them to answer
Notify them that they've been nominated
You can't nominate the blog that nominated you
11 things about me!
  1. I am always cold.  My feet are popsicles.
  2. I had three herniated disc in my neck my sophomore year of college and if it had been one higher I would have been paralyzed.
  3. I drink milk out of the jug.  Cups? Who needs those?!
  4. My first CD was the B-52's Cosmic Thing.  I used to dance on our coffee table to "Love Shack".  It is still my favorite!
  5. I am a Criminal Minds junkie. I will be devastated when they quit filming.
  6. I have a scar across my right cheek from where I cut and broke my cheek bone on an upholstery nail when I was four years old.
  7. I have one tiny tattoo. It says hope. The "o" in hope is a peace sign because my GranAnn always tells me to hope for inner peace.
  8. My mother and grandfather both call me Punkin and now SamIam calls me Punkin Butt.
  9. I HATE olives.  Like really hate them.  Picking them out of my food isn't even an option.
  10. I love cooking and trying new recipes! I'm pretty good at throwing something together!
  11. Eleven really is a weird number.  I don't even remember being eleven years old.

11 Questions from Steph to Answer!

1. What is your drink of choice?  My drink of choice lately has been Pinot Grigio, but after Magic City Brewfest this coming weekend I will probably be back on a beer kick.
2. What is your guilty pleasure? Shopping. I wish I was kidding.  I have a problem.
3. What is your favorite time of day?  Any time after 12 pm, because it becomes socially acceptable to start drinking.  It's always 5 o'clock somewhere! Right?!
4. What blogger makes you laugh every single day? Whitney and her yoga pants crack me up!  She is part of the reason why I wanted to start blogging.  
5. We are at a karaoke bar and I'm forcing you to sing a song, what would it be? Haha I asked Sam what song he thought I would sing...that boy is not right.  This is what he chose.
Three Times A Lady by Lionel Richie on Grooveshark

6. What is your favorite thing about blogging? I love all of the people that I have come across so far! I am really looking forward to building relationships and making new friends!
7. Name your go-to comfort food (or other comfort item.) Macaroni and Cheese all day!
8. You're stranded on Gilligan's Island, what 3 people would you want with you? Haha this is so funny because we were just joking about Gilligan's Island last weekend while we were at the lake!  I would take SamIam of course and then...Riley and Dakota.  They are people in my mind! 
9.  Star Wars, Star Trek or Star Magazine? Star Trek.  We went to see the new one last weekend with my sister-in-law to be.  It was AMAZING! I was emotionally invested in that movie. If you have not seen it yet...GO!!
10. What is your favorite thing about your hometown? My favorite thing about my hometown is that the older I get, the cooler the city gets!  Growing up my friends and I would all call Birmingham "Boringham." We really didn't realize how much was really going on!  But right now Thirsty Thursdays at the Barons games are on the top of my list!  Just look at that beautiful new field!  The Barons are our local Minor League team under the Braves.  Baseball and $1 beer!

11. What is your favorite color? I swear my favorite color changes with the seasons, but shades of blue seem to always be a constant.  My closet is proof of that.
These are the ladies I am nominating!

    And here are my 11 Questions for you!

    1. Who is your favorite band or musician?
    2. If I came to visit you where would we go?
    3. What is your favorite book/magazine?
    4. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
    5. What is your biggest pet peeve?
    6. Who inspires you and why? Celebrity, political figure,blogger, friend, family member?
    7. Do you have any strange habits or quirks?
    8. What is your all time favorite nail polish color?  
    9. Who is hotter...Ryan Gosling or Ryan Reynolds?  This is serious!
    10. Do you have a signature drink, if so what is it?
    11. Who is your favorite blogger?

    Now...who is ready for some #backthatazzup Friday?!

    Harder, Better, Faster by Daft Punk on Grooveshark
    Venus Trapped in Mars

    Gentlemen's Day, May

    Today is Gentlemen's Day, the day that male readers are invited to say what they think in the combox, as long as they don't think naughty words. Gentlemen do not type naughty words onto the blogs of respectable married ladies. It's one of those defining characteristics.

    The fact is that my majority female readers love to read the Gentlemen's Eye View, possibly because the vast majority of my female readers are great fans of gentlemen and, like me, believe they are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life.

    Today I have two letters upon which gentlemen readers are asked to comment. The first is a doozy.

    Dear Gentlemen Readers,

    I have a couple of grown-up brothers (in age more than maturity), and they are sweet as can be, except for their sense of hygiene. Somehow - and I don't for the life of me know how - they seemed to have missed learning some major life skills that my sisters and I picked up without trouble. Examples include not brushing their teeth or showering on any kind of regular basis, not throwing away trash or food wrappers like EVER, but actually SLEEPING in them;  never ever attempting to put away or fold or hang up clothes....leaving gross messes in the bathroom that they share with some of us girls...

    Now, I understand that some people are chronically messy and that's okay by me, but we're dealing with unsanitary messiness, which I cannot stand. I am embarrassed for my brothers, and ashamed that they will not do even basic things like brush teeth and take showers. They are big, strapping, college-going boys, and they often smell bad. Really bad. 

    My sisters, mom, and I have tried many things to get them to care - everything on the spectrum from negative to positive, from shaming them and asking them how they ever think they'll get girlfriends to encouraging them and complimenting them when they occasionally deign to put on deodorant - and yet they still behave the same way.

    I feel that hygiene is not only a personal issue, but an issue that effects everyone around you, and that therefore this is partly my business too. I want the best for my brothers. I want to feel proud of them and know that they'll be able to make it in the world without being total slobs. Unfortunately,  I know I would never want to marry someone as slovenly as they are at this point.

    My question for you gentlemen is: How do I help affect positive change in my brothers' lives? If you had a sister, what could she say or do to help you improve? I feel like everything I say, no matter whether it is negative or positive, has absolutely no effect. Will they just magically grow out of this one day?

    ~ Concerned Sister

    My own first thought is "Where is their father in all this?" Because frankly it sounds like they need a huge chewing out by a patriarch. However, as the father has not been mentioned, I am assuming he's not on the scene. If I were their mother, I would throw them out of the house until they cleaned up their act. For me the issue would not be "Will they ever attract a girl?" For me the issue is "How can my daughters and I thrive and feel happy in a home made extremely unpleasant by anti-social men?"  However, it's Gentlemen's Day, so hopefullly the men will have something to say.

    The next letter is about how men feel about tall girls with thriving businesses.

    Dear Auntie Seraphic,

    I have a question for the eavesdroppers that I'm not sure how to phrase so I'm going to type my thoughts out to you and hope for the best!

    Do men find women who are taller than they are intimidating? I'm sure it depends on lots of things but in general? I'm 6'1" in flats and find that only guys who can look me in the eye (so not shorter than ~5'10") are the only ones to ever express interest, not that there's been lots of that...

    But that leads me to other intimidation related thoughts: I'm 27, have been running my own [...] business for the past 10 years, making a full time living from it for the past 5. Also, I own a house now.  I've only been asked out twice in the past three years and neither of those went beyond a second date. How intimidating to men is the whole owning a business and house thing?  

    Tall Girl with Business and House

    Perhaps it is because I am a woman, but I am not a whit intimidated but extremely impressed. To have your own thriving business and a house by the age of 27 is amazing. Well, let's see what the men have to say.

    Gentlemen, please feel free to comment on these and other issues, and to ask your own questions.

    Ladies, you may not comment on the gentlemen's comments until tomorrow.

    Dark Skies Over Pali

    Thursday, May 30, 2013
    Another typical spring day at A-Basin.  The only thing typical about a spring day at A-Basin is that you never know what to expect.  This morning we had 4" new.  It snowed off and on throughout the day.  Now the dark clouds are building just before dark.  Let's see what tomorrow brings.

    Driveway: 1 Rachael: 0

    If you follow me on tweeter twatter than you already know why I am in a ultra foul mood today.

    I went out for Happy Hour with a couple of lovely ladies that I work with yesterday evening,
     which then turned into Wine Wednesday.  No complaints about that!
    The roomate and his now fiance were getting back in from Ireland last night and I really didn't have it in me to ohh and ahh over her and pretend to be excited about her ring. 
    So I was avoiding going home...
     and it was half-priced wine night.  Can't pass that up! 
    Of course we bought drank two bottles. 
    Then we took these adorable pictures...while sitting at the bar. 
    The man next to us seemed a little confused.

    So I get home. And have to park in the driveway because someone parked in the garage. Well my driveway is a pretty steep little incline so getting in and out with all of my stuff is difficult a pain in the ass and even more so with heels on because my doors are so heavy that they won't stay open. So that's exactly what happened. I grabbed all of my stuff. Phone in hand. Went to turn around and WHAM! Door smacks the shit out of me and knocks my phone out of my hand. It landed on its back. It even had a case on it. Didn't do jack diddly. The whole front is shattered. So that damn driveway won. I cried.
    Over my phone. Just a little embarassing. I haven't even had that stupid thing a year.

    Falling Out 2

    How many times can a heart break? Seven times seventy-seven, I'd say. My heart has been broken so many times, I've lost count. And it is interesting what broken-heartiness can do to you. It can make you into a tough, angry, insensitive person, and it can make you into a caring, deeply creative, sensitive person. Or both.

    I had a particularly bad break when I made a new female friend in my early thirties. She was twenty or so, talented, fun and both amused and frustrated to find herself a fish out of water. She was as brilliant and enthusiastic as the sun on a July day. Always the youngest around, she gravitated towards me, and although I was much older, I learned all kinds of things from her: new kinds of food, new dances, even how to use crayons. (She: "Are you AFRAID of the crayon?") I read over her papers. And I offered a listening ear when she told me about a troubling atheist classmate. I gave solemn advice about the atheist classmate. Atheists, ick.

    As luck would have it, she started dating the atheist classmate, and my earlier sympathetic denouncements of the atheist classmate came back to haunt me. My young friend worried that I would not like her classmate-boyfriend, and although he seemed like a nicer guy than she had first described him, I could not be sufficiently enthusiastic. The upshot was her out-of-the-blue, incandescent-with-rage email that accused me of, among other things, racism.

    In my town, the worst thing you can call someone, especially a white person, is a racist. And I hadn't started writing for the CR yet, so I was still very thin-skinned. The unfairness of the email struck me so violently that I burst into tears, and as soon as I could, I went to see my spiritual director and cried my heart out. I hadn't felt so betrayed by a female friend since elementary school, and I was completely bewildered. I decided that the easiest explanation was that my friend had not really seen me as a friend but as a mother/mentor figure and had had to violently break ties with me so as to bond with her new man without getting mad at her real mother. Or something. And I said I would never be friends with someone so much younger than me ever again.

    But the next term, Lily arrived. Lily was not much older than my friend (who had left town with her man) and she was even more beautiful--model-beautiful, in fact--but she was a lot quieter, a lot deeper and an old soul. Somehow we became friends, and we still are friends, even though we have had at least  one really bad fight. Fortunately, that fight was on the phone, not over dratted email.

    As Single women in your thirties, chances are that you are going to make friends with people much younger than yourselves because you are more likely to share the Single lifestyle with them than with women your own age. This can be challenging because many of the young are still in flux. They are still working things out, and their adult brains may not be entirely hooked up yet. Although you may think you are equals, they may even project all kinds of ideas onto you---"mother figure," for example. Mothers are not just loved by the young;  they are avoided, rebelled against and sometimes even hated. Being a mother-figure when you are not actually old enough to be your friend's mother is a recipe for disaster, if you ask me. It's safer if your young friend has an old soul.

    It is safer, too, if you stop yourself from ever writing an angry email to a friend. In the case of younger friends, I belatedly think you should avoid anything at all contentious. "Hey, you know, you will have a  lot of trouble in life from Macedonians if you make such anti-Macedonian remarks to Macedonians" is best saved for the phone.

    Meanwhile, I suppose you have to watch against a tendency to turn your younger friends into your children. This is more of a murky area for me, for I never had any older friends who did this. I imagine, though, that some older friends could become overbearing, especially if they are much richer or successful or advanced in their careers and convinced that they know better than you what is good for you. They might completely underestimate their effect on you, too, as pop culture constantly tells us (especially women) that our social value to the young decreases us we age. (This, incidentally, is nonsense, but it is hard to forget that it is nonsense.)

    In that case, I think the best thing to do is tell your older friends exactly what you are thinking, only in friendly language. "I love the time we spend together, but I feel X when you say Y" is a good start when talking to an overbearing older friend. Overbearing older friend might not have any idea she is overbearing. I rarely have any idea of what effect I am having on people, as one of my theology profs once observed. (Apparently I often intimidate people [like left-wing priest-professors], and I really don't understand why, as I am so small and powerless.* Maybe it's because I say whatever most things that come into my head, e.g., "Not only was Cardinal Ratzinger completely right about the liturgy, he was terribly handsome," because my filter is rather eccentric.)

    Anyway, I very much wish my young friend had told me right away when she felt annoyed with me instead of letting her discomfort build up until she wrote me that horrible, friendship-ending email. A nice coffee date and an explanation that she had to work through a lot of issues as she got so intimately involved with a man so different from her would have been nice although, I suspect, too much to expect. As for me, I think I could have listened more carefully and to what she said about at least one issue on an earlier occasion.

    When sex is in the air--as I suspect it was--older woman friend is rarely a match for wily young lover. Sex is a freight train, and sometimes when your friend is stuck in the tracks, looking with avid interest at the steel behemoth racing towards her, all you can do is skip out of the way.

    *That said, any adult who assumes he or she is powerless should do a good examination of conscience. Some priests assume they are powerless flower petals ground down under the boots of the parishioners, entirely unaware of the emotional and spiritual power they have over those very same parishioners. Some young women have absolutely no idea that their clothing, conversation and behaviour are driving male friends to distraction because "I'm so ugly/famously pure, it doesn't matter what I wear/say/do."  At any rate, if a friend is driving you crazy, it is most charitable to assume she doesn't know and to tell her--but very probably not by email.

    Update: Tomorrow is Gentleman's Day, so send me some question for les gars and I will post them up tomorrow. If any men are still reading, they may answer them and ask their own questions for you to answer on June 1.

    P.E.W.S. ~ Purely Elegant Wedding Statements

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013
    We're a huge fan of pews here at Weddings Unveiled. Their stately hard backs harken an era gone by, when Southern brides wed only in churches and ceremony was as important as the ceremony itself.

    You can imagine our excitement, then, when we learned that Southern-based P.E.W.S. (Purely Elegant Wedding Statements) rents this delightful vintage seating arrangement for brides that still hold tradition dear.

    From white-washed pews from a back country church in Cairo, GA, to classy pews with newly-upholstered cushions from Hilton, NY, P.E.W.S. offers an assortment of pew styles and sizes to fit your big day.

    Visit their darling website for more information, and to see more photos of P.E.W.S. event offerings.


    Images courtesy of Allison Lewis Photography.

    Images courtesy of Clark Brewer Photography.

    Images courtesy of W&E Photographie.

    Let's Extend The Season

    You know it has been a tremendous spring.  It was snowing again this morning.  There has been a lot of discussion about staying open longer.  As you know, we are going to be open seven days a week through Sunday, June 2.

    Well, it is official, we are going to extend the season.  We will close for four days, Monday through Thursday, June 3-6.  We are going to reopen for three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday June 7, 8, and 9.  We will have top to bottom skiing on Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Mountain Chairlifts.   The chairs will open at 8:30.  BMX will close at 2 PM and Lenawee will close at 2:30.

    Come join the fun.  Lake Reveal is rearing its head.  There will be music on the Black Mountain Lodge deck with plenty of BBQ to go around.  Most importantly, don't forget about that famous Arapahoe Basin SUMMER skiing.

    Days are getting warmer...FINALLY!

     Man! Yesterday was rough!  That Tuesday was totally a Monday in disguise.  But hey! At least today is Humpity hump day! We are almost to another weekend!

    How is that whenever you come back from a weekend vacation you wake up the next morning completely exhausted??  The whole point of the weekend away was to relax and you end up being completely wiped by the time you get home.  Does not make any sense.

    Our entire slough at the lake now knows the names of both of my dogs because we were calling yelling at them all weekend. 

    Riley learned how to swim!  AND he is an even better swimmer than Dakota! 

    Proud Mommy moment!  I didn't even have to get in with him to teach him!  He followed Dakota down the boat ramp and all of a sudden he could no longer touch.  And awhat do ya know?! He was swimming! I thought for sure I was going to have to save him at least once, but nope!  Just a swimmin' like an otter!  I guess all of that running he does in the backyard has really built up his endurance because I had to force him to get out of the water.  He was swimming in circles all day and if he saw a duck he was after it!   He swims faster than the ducks too! The only reason he never caught one was because they would fly out of the water!  SamIam had to go and get him on the Seadoo from out in the middle of the slough at one point because he was after those ducks tails and would not turn back!

    "Wait for me guys!"
    Gotta get those ducks!

    Those are some tired babies! 
     Before I went to the lake this past weekend I attended a going away party for a sweet friend.
    She will be moving to South Africa for the next eight months to do mission work. 
    You guys really should go check out her first post about her journey to get to the journey!
    Her mom had the cutest cake made!
     There is a little plane flying from the US to South Africa.

    Rach you are going to be amazing!!!

    Falling Out 1

    I read a fascinating column yesterday about how cavemen did not have friends. They had wives and children and parents, and that was allegedly it. Of course, the columnist did use the word cavemen, which makes one wonder about the cavewomen. And the column also insinuated that cavemen lived in nuclear families,  which is ridiculous. I would be very surprised to discover that cavepeople did not live in huge extended families and that the various women added to the families did not make friends with each other. I mean, hello!

    In Austen's day, people spoke of family as being friends; instead of writing about people being returned to their "family-and-friends", Austen just said "friends." And I think that it is sensible to conflate family and friends, especially in cultures where your family and friends are for life.

    When I was in Germany, Germans assured me that Germans took friendship more seriously than "Americans," which is why it can take a very long time indeed to be invited to a German colleague's home for supper and why next door neighbours may call each other "Frau [This]" and "Herr [That]" even after forty years. Once Germans make a friend, they told me, they keep them forever. Thus, the caution about friendliness and the home-as-fortress attitude.

    This makes perfect sense to me because until very recently Europeans did not move around a lot--at least, not voluntarily. In Canada and the USA, we move all over the place--for work, for school, for adventure. As the descendants of immigrants, we have migration in our blood. Not so with the majority of the Europeans who stayed in Europe. My mother-in-law won't leave her town even to visit us. That's how rooted she is in her town. And I loved seeing German students, when summer term was over, rushing off by train in huge numbers to their ancestral villages.

    Being able to make friends quickly and being able to drop friendships with as little pain as possible are, perhaps, very North American skills, and if Europeans think we are no deeper than our bathtubs, well, alas. Maybe we are. But if we are, we have to be to survive the mad migration patterns of American life.

    As a child, I read various books that hammered home the message that girls have to say good-bye to their friends when they get married because they often go away to live somewhere else. Nineteenth century girls seemed quite traumatized by this: Jo March was furious when a man wanted to marry her sister Meg. Anne of Green Gables mourned when her best friend Diana got engaged. And Anne herself eventually (plot spoiler ahead) leaves Green Gables to live clean across Prince Edward Island, the horror, PEI being 140 miles long. The message was that you may feel that your friends have dumped you but getting married, but you have to accept that change is a part of life, etc. Note that Little Women and the Anne books are North American books.

    Still, women need friends. When I came to Scotland, I missed my Canadian friends terribly and it was a long time--possibly even a year or more--before I made women friends who felt like friends (przyjaciółki) instead of just amiable and admirable acquaintances (koleżanki). (You know what I mean.) For company, I spent a lot of time with male friends, for traditional Catholicism is rather male-dominated in these here parts, which was great fun but not the same thing as having women friends. You can't phone male friends and weep because professional historical house curators invaded your flat without warning when the flat was a disaster area because you are a lousy housekeeper and now strangers know. At least, you can't phone my male friends.

    And because women need friends, it is terribly important not to fall out with the friends you have, especially if you have moved to a new city. When you go to your old home city, you will want to catch up with your old friends, and as you are in your new home city, you need the friends you have made. You may not see some of them that often, but you have to treat them well and speak of them well for you are likely to run into them, and you want your interactions to be pleasant and a source of joy and strength.

    The ordinary patterns of contemporary life are generally what keep you from seeing your friends, or what make friendships crawl underground and fall asleep for a bit.  Friends who fall in love have a tendency to disappear for weeks or even months before reappearing, smiling or weeping, and although you can text, write or call saying pointedly that you miss them, you have to make allowances for human nature. Friends who have babies are slaves to their babies, and although they miss you terribly, they have no time for themselves, let alone for anyone else but their baby-masters and their increasingly jealous husbands (if, indeed, husbands they have). Friends who leave town come back to town expecting to see a whole shopping list of people. And friends have shifting jobs, timetables, budgets, health, etc., etc. Really, it's almost a miracle adults have  friends.

    All the better reason not to fall out with your friends.

    Tomorrow I will ponder further the issue. For now, the combox is open.

    By the way, this morning I discovered to my horror that almost all the comments you sent yesterday went straight to Spam. If you ever send a perfectly reasonable comment, with a name attached, and you are a girl, and you can't think why the comment didn't get passed, it's most likely because it mysteriously went to Spam. Sometimes I remember to check Spam, but very often I forget.

    tuesday shoesday

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013
    Tuesday Shoesday shot from our own  Elise & Joe at  their April 19th wedding! 

    Surviving Baby Shower Season

    As I set my fingers to the keys, I suddenly asked myself how I would feel if there were a baby shower for me. After all, most of my Edinburgh friends are childless. Actually, I am not sure who would host this baby shower. Obviously I could not host it for myself. Thus, if there were a baby shower for me and my imaginary miracle baby (or babies, since twins would be better), it would be held by one of my Single, childless friends, which would be an act of tremendous love and generosity.

    If I, aged 39++, managed to have a baby, I would be deliriously happy, and the baby would be such a magnanimous gift from God that it would seem to me horribly self-absorbed of childless Single friends not to come to this baby shower unless they had a really good excuse. Hello! Miracle here. Years of waiting. Scary doctors. Blood test phobia. Husband struck mute.

    Ideally this baby shower would involve delicious cocktails that everyone but me could drink as I sat in the middle of room like a fat spider sipping water. Also ideally it would be in the ninth month of pregnancy when I would be an object, not of envy, but of pity--terribly swollen and sweaty and moaning, "Baby!!! When are you coming out?"
    That would be extremely awesome. Much more awesome than when I went to a baby shower in my early-30s and everyone there except one other woman and me was married or widowed and babies swarmed the floor. I hadn't been to a friend's baby shower before, so I was excited to be invited to this one, and I was not expecting to feel so out of it. The other Single woman felt out of it, too, and we hung out for most of the afternoon, talking about our world travel. I wonder if frazzled mothers  overheard us and felt intensely envious and resentful. Oh to be single and childless and participate in world travel.

    There are two kinds of baby showers that I know of: work baby showers and social baby showers.

    Work baby showers are great because they give you an excuse to stop working, and also an excuse to duck out of the baby shower early. They aren't usually that expensive because all you have to do is chuck $10 or $20 at the woman organizing the baby shower. (At least, I hope it's only $10 or $20.) Although it is pretty ridiculous to have baby showers at work, it is a good time to witness to the Christian beliefs that babies are good and that being a mother is more important than being the purchasing manager at Beeptronics.

    Social baby showers are great if you love the woman having the baby. How many of your woman friends do you love? I don't mean like. I mean love. If you love someone who is having a baby, you don't care that much about yourself and your own disappointed hopes after your first effects-of-original-sin twinge of "When will it be my turn?"  It is natural to think, "When will it be my turn?" but it would not have been before the Fall.

    However, social baby showers are not great when you are the only--and I mean the only--adult woman there without any children. In fact, they can be pretty darn boring because, if the few baby showers I have been to represent the genus as a whole, women at baby showers talk a lot about their babies. And why not? If a woman can't talk about babies at a baby shower, where CAN she talk about them? I don't think it would be fair to expect fifteen women with babies to watch whatever they said so that poor childless Seraphic didn't feel sad.

    By the way, for sheer grotesquerie, read an online message board for fertility challenged married women. After that, you will not complain about baby chat again. Nor will you ever want to read an online message board for the fertility challenged. Trust me. Ick.

    My recommendations are as follows:

    1. For work baby showers, pay up your $20, sign the card and say you are very happy for your co-worker. Have a glass of whatever and go back to your desk.

    2. For social baby showers, consider the invitation carefully and ask yourself if you love the woman having the baby. Be honest. If you like her, but you don't love her, RSVP that you can't attend and send a card. If you feel guilty, send a present. Cards and presents symbolize respect. Post some respect, and nobody feels disrespected.

    3. That said, if you don't love her, but you see her socially at least once a week anyway, you should accept the invitation.

    4. At a baby shower, keep an eye out for the other childless women. Ask them how they know the mother-to-be and then ask them how they enjoyed the circumstance, that is, did they enjoy their high school, college, job, living in that city. If you start feeling sad at a baby shower, the attendance of other childless women can perk you up. Remember that the party is not about you but about the guest of honour.

    5. Don't be dramatic or wallow in your feeling of being left out. Who knows what the other women have suffered, and yet there they are. Perhaps the mother-to-be had two miscarriages before this baby. Perhaps the cheerful woman gabbing on about breast pumps lost her first child to crib death. The great-grandmother making sandwiches in the kitchen may be thinking about how her late husband would never let her have another child. The glowing woman with the five year old may be ten days late on her period and is hoping against hope that her second baby has finally come. Fifteen women in a room means fifteen stories that are mostly secret to everyone else.

    Other suggestions welcome in the combox.

    Alpine Race Training and Development

    Monday, May 27, 2013
    The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding.  It is the parent organization of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing. At A-Basin USSA recently held a development camp for many of the top 14-18 year old alpine ski racers in the country.  From 6 - 9 AM, athletes were training on GS and Super G courses on the Upper Mountain. This opportunity gave many athletes and their coaches a chance to train with the USSA coaching staff.  Personally, I always enjoy watching these athletes grow and prosper.  And they know how to turn a ski.

    The Burden of Love

    Love can hurt, as we all know. But not having someone to love can hurt, too. I think this one of the similarities between being Single and being childless by not-choice.

    Of course, it's more complicated for Singles. Our world seems to be absolutely obsessed with pair-bonding, or a very least with the power to attract the opposite sex. The more admirers you have, the better. The more deeply and sincerely they care about you, the better. There's an amazing scene in Fellini's 8 1/2 where the hero imagines all the women he ever admired in his life living in his childhood home, telling him he is wonderful and kicking and screaming rather than be expelled from his god-like presence. The female version of this is Scarlet O'Hara in the party scene in Gone With the Wind. Of course, not even Scarlet can make all the men fall in love with her for, annoyingly, Ashley likes good little Melanie better.

    Since the world has always told women that we can find our ultimate value in the eyes of good men who love us, it can hurt like absolute hell to be Single. We have to remind ourselves again and again that we find our ultimate value not in the love of human men but in the love of God. Mother Teresa was never a looker, not even when she was young. Do you think she cared? No. But when Elinor Roosevelt, who was as famous and almost as beloved a celebrity, was asked if she had any regrets about her life, she apparently said, "Just one. I wish I had been prettier."

    Well, no wonder, poor lamb. Her husband cheated on her like crazy.

    So on top of wanting someone to love, there is a terrible need to feel loved, and if we listen to the world and its obsession with sexual attraction, we don't think the love of God, the love of family and the love of friends are enough. In fact, the love of God, the love of family and the love of friends can seem like a hollow mockery when we don't have what the world says is the ultimate love: sexual love. Many women even hold the love of their dependent children as nothing compared to the love of a man, as is quite obvious from the women who consent to live with nasty bruisers who are a danger to their children or grandchildren.

    Happily married women do not feel starved of love. But we can feel frustrated love anyway, if we do not have enough people to love. Most happily married women have a baby or more, and that does the trick, although I have come across mommy bloggers who are sad because they even though they have had their eighth baby, they would like another, and Baby Nine hasn't made an appearance.

    It's interesting, this hunger to love. I am sure Single women have this, too, for I know Single women who throw themselves into service and are never happier when they are doing something for someone else, expecting nothing more than thanks. And sometimes just having the opportunity to express love is sufficient thanks because not being able to do so is such an intolerable burden.

    I felt quit frustrated during my Ph.D. years when I couldn't find a way to serve others that did not conflict with going to my favourite Mass. That's why this blog exists. And I think it is a good solution. Do-gooding is only a problem when it makes others feel oppressed.

    And that is the terrible thing about the burden of unexpressed love: it can make others feel oppressed, as you might if a besotted auntie kept knitting you ugly jumpers that she expected you to wear. Poor you, and poor auntie, trying to unburden her heart by way of wool. Germaine Greer writes about this in The Whole Woman, and although I am not a Germaine Greer fan, I was deeply struck by her thoughts in this book.

    What is the solution? I have more ideas about fighting the inordinate need to be loved than I do about about fighting the inordinate need to love. I suppose on a spiritual level, the solution to one is the solution to the other: to pray to God for remove the inordinate feeling, every hour on the hour, if necessary. There is volunteer work, if your work is so badly needed that you know you are making a difference. And after that, there are, of course, pets.

    Dog people know they are loved by their dogs. Cat people do not know they are loved by their cats. I will go out on a limb and suggest that cat people have a greater need to love than to be loved. Ditto rabbit people, I imagine. The human instinct to have pets suggests that human beings will love any order of creature rather than to have nothing or no one to love at all.

    Sadly, my domestic circumstances are such that I cannot have any animal pet. I accept that: it's the price of living in the Historical House, which I dearly love to do. But having grown up in a home that was packed to the rafters with relations (and the occasional cat), I feel extremely frustrated in my maternal instincts.  So I have bought a basil plant.

    This is a big step for me because I have always have a brown thumb and terrible luck with plants. But this time I am taking the survival of my basil plant alive as a challenge. I realize that this sounds extremely pathetic, but a basil plant is better than nothing. Also, unlike a cat or dog, a basil plant is very useful in that I can use some of it for seasoning meals and it doesn't mind at all.

    Well, sound off in the combox.

    Wedding Signs and Man Wedding Things in Marbella!

    Sunday, May 26, 2013

    We have had a fabulously busy weekend creating gorgeous details for our weddings and thought we would share some of them with you albeit they are our own photos taken on our iPhones and we will of course be sharing the pros photos with you as soon as we receive them and start blogging our weddings we design and create to share ideas and inspirations with you.

    This week seems to have focussed on man things, the often forgotten and neglected groom!!  

    Most of our grooms are thankfully modern men and are totally involved in the planning when it comes to a) the cars and b) the music and c) the bar, but usually when discussing all the decoration details, including bridal bouquets, their eyes often glaze over and within 30 minutes of most of our meetings they have managed to wander off to find a cool beer in a local bar which is conveniently situated next door to our shop!

    This is when the fun starts as our brides then open up to us and we can plan all sorts of lovely surprises for their men, from groom´s cakes to personalised bar signs and cigar bars.  It does not take much to add some special details into the day and honour your man. We have even created football themed candy bars as a surprise which is really fun.

    A simple groom personalised bar sign adds a cute touch and setting up a high table with a cigar bar is a really fun idea and overcomes the often asked question what do we do about favours for the men.

    This idea is proving very popular as we dress our cigar bars with personalised cigar menus and various manly props including camping lanterns and a cool hat stand creating a special corner for the men of the wedding to discuss football things!  

    Apparently at yesterday´s wedding the styled cigar bar was a huge hit and delighted all the guests!  It is the small attention to creating little details without spending a huge sum of money that can make such a difference to a wedding.

    We have been busy creating our gorgeous stationery from our Sevillian Orange stationery range to our vintage Spanish signage for our weddings and we have been having a lot of fun so we thought we would share some of our daily inspirations and weddings with you before our professional photos arrive!

    Winding Down Zuma

    It is like saying good bye to a friend for a few months.  Monday, Memorial, May 27 will be the last day of the season for Montezuma Bowl.  While we started a bit late back there, we sure finished strong.  As I look back in time, I remember good ski seasons, I remember good storms, I remember good days.  Sometimes I even remember that incredible run.  I made a post on April 15 about a great ski day.  The entire day, skiing with Kay and her friend Annie, was absolutely incredible.  I will always remember that first Schauffler run in Zuma that day.  It dumped all day.  Every run was great.  West Zuma opened in the afternoon.  Incredible. But, that first run on Schauffler, OH MAN was it good.  Snow going over my head.  Feeling nothing but powder under foot.  That is a run I will always cherish.  We had a special 104 days in Zuma this year.  That Schauffler run was over the top.  Can't wait until next season.

    Summit County's Premier Festival