Little Mountain

My hydrangeas have died. So it goes. They were beautiful while they lasted.

I continue to have trouble keeping up with my posts–and my writing in general. I am still getting some decent reading in, but work continues to draw more energy than I am willing to concede.

I broke away early Saturday morning and drove to Ellicotville in upstate New York for a weekend of skiing at Holiday Valley. I decided to stay at the lodge just for convenience. It was surprisingly nice. The skiing was small mountain but there was plenty of new snow and it was not very crowded. A beautiful day to be on the hill actually.

I drove through a hell of a storm to get there–much of the time not making more than 35 miles in an hour on a treacherous highway. But I arrived, checked in and was on the mountain by 9:30. Took a quick lunch for a beer and Bavarian pretzel at Noon and then back out until 2:30. Afterwards, I headed for the bar. I wandered outside to the patio overlooking the whole damn place. It was picturesque with snow falling and the lifts and outdoor fireplace. I had my flask and shared with a nice lady from Ontario, who was there with a group of 8 gals. They make an annual trip and this was the only one who doesn’t ski or board. So we bullshitted for a while and pretty soon the rest of her crew showed up. And they were there to party. They ordered a bunch of pictures and produced another, much larger flask, which also got passed around. We stood outside and drank and laughed for a few hours. They invited me to go to dinner with them, but they were going to town and I did not want to drive.

So I headed back to the main lodge and hit the hot tub and had a bunch more beers there with a group that ebbed and flowed. We then headed to the bar and I had a couple of vodka tonics and then dinner at the main restaurant. Nightcap of scotch back at the bar and called it a night.

Lousy night in the kitchen last night. I made pizza with dough I had frozen from my last batch–but it had been there too long. It was lifeless and not very tasty. I short-cutted on the sauce and it was also flat. I made chocolate mousse but it came out more like a heavy pudding. All in, not my best effort. Too lazy.

I did listen to Gary Clark Jr and Springsteen on LP while cooking. I listened to ‘Born to Run‘ straight through. It reminded me of my trip to Copenhagen around 2014. I had never seen Springsteen outside the US and had read about his European tours. So while I was visiting Sjoerd and Onah, I caught a flight to Copenhagen and saw the boss there. And part of the set included an end-to-end play of the entire Born to Run album. It was an amazing concert. Full of all the energy of his shows, but this time surrounded by 85,000 Danes. I saw Clarence’s nephew Jake out at a cafe–he is clearly living his best life and it showed.

Some ongoing reflections about behaviors. Through the ups and downs and ins and outs of normal life, I see self-absorbed and insecure people using influence and power to bend others to their will. Politically, obviously. But also at work and in personal relationships.

As always we have choices. In politics; we can choose to not-participate, minimally participate by voting, or maximally by being an activist and financial donor.

At work, we can accept a situation where someone in a position of power is abusing their leverage, endeavor to change their behavior, accept it, or quit or change roles. I’ve never been particularly patient in this area. If I can’t manage up effectively, or see a path to resolution in a reasonable amount of time, I normally just go do something different.

Personal relationships are often a difficult choice between one compromise or another. And very often these are binary false choices foisted on one person by another. ‘I am unhappy and therefore you must take this action so I am no longer unhappy‘. A perfectly reasonable assertion if your partner is running a meth lab out of the garage. Not an acceptable request when someone basis their happiness or contentment by unreasonably constraining someone else’s right to happiness. Especially if you profess to love this person you are now trying to force behavior change on due to your own insecurity.

But sometimes I suppose there is the short term gratification of forcing someone’s hand to make them choose between two bad choices, with the illusion of solving the underlying issue. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys that sort of thing I suppose.

I’ve been on the wrong side of this and it is unpleasant and sort of heart-breaking. I spent a few years sharing space with someone who felt the need to try to dictate my behaviors and assert control. It just frustrated me and clearly did not make her happy–deep down, she knew she was indulging insecurity rather than trying to become healthy.

I need to get my ticket to LA booked for rugby at the end of the month. I also need to decide if I am going to Africa in July. I feel a job change coming soon and I need to get the Namibia trip on the books.

I attend a youth development conference about ever 3rd year or so. The last one I went to was in Zambia in 2017. This year it is being held in Port Elizabeth South Africa in July. So I need to decide if I am going to go. It never raises money or even much awareness. I just enjoy being around people deeply embedded in youth development. These are mostly academics; lots of PhD candidates delivering a work in progress on their final thesis. All theoretical. Most have little field experience. Part of the charm of being there is that I am the only real practitioner and I always get a great reception.

But it adds several days to an already complicated itinerary, so not sure if it is in the cards this year or not. I also need to swing by Cape Town, if Beverly is still there that is. So, lots of stops for a two-week trip.

Poker with the fellas each Wednesday now. Last week, the beautiful and always fun Ashley joined us from Columbus. Brian and Lars work for Fusion so she came to visit the crew.

I stopped in the cigar shop on Sunday and chatted with the old-timers and had a nice smoke. So a few photos from those moments.

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