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February 25, 2008

The Blogger Who Came In From the Cold*

*a shout out to any old-school espionage fans out there

First, a confession: last week when I reported I was going the slacker route, I had an ulterior reason besides my standard one of just being lazy; I also knew that I’d be dropping off of the cyber-grid for several days.

(In a related story - I'm way behind on returning e-mails and visiting other blogs, and apparently I've been tagged not once, but twice. The lesson, of course: I can never leave my computer again.)

It seems hard to believe, but there are still some places in this world that don’t have e-mail or Internet access – even some places in California. One of them looks something like this:

The Sierra Nevada Mountains of Calaveras County – a favorite destination of our family for several years.

Despite my recent springtime serenades, the fact is that my kids periodically get the itch for some wintertime fun - snowball fights, snowmen, sledding, and all those other things they see in televised Christmas specials. So this trip is a nice compromise: we travel for a half-day to enter a snowy wonderland, have our cold-weather fun, then return to the warm climate of home a few days later. If winter were a restaurant, this trip is like ordering from the drive-through window. Which is just the way I like it.

We timed the trip perfectly, as it ended up snowing almost six inches during the days we were there. This was the view from our cabin:

Although, truth be told, this is the view I enjoyed the most:

This picture was taken from the big easy chair where I spent most of my days sitting under a blanket, curled up with a book, drifting in and out of sleep. There are certainly worse ways to spend your time.

Of course, we did a lot of outdoor activities, and most of my hours were spent with snow shovel in hand, as lead engineer for the sledding slope. We eventually got around to building a snowman:

And decided to give him a funky hairdo – you know, seeing as how we’re still in California and all.

I also made this igloo:

For a kid who was born and raised in Los Angeles, I’ve got some crazy igloo skills. The inside of this was big enough for all three kids to play in, and tall enough for my daughter to stand up:

See? There’s another kid picture for you. I think she’s got her father’s feet.

All things considered, it was a great little vacation. The only downside was that I didn’t get any training done while I was there. (Unless you count building the igloo, which made me sweat like crazy during its construction. I must have burned a lot of calories building that thing – although probably not as many as I consumed in lemon bars over three days.) I packed my running gear with me, but there’s something about 30 degree weather with ice and snow on the ground that made me a little reluctant to lace up the old running shoes. I’ll have to get some tips on this from Stronger someday.

But that’s a problem for next winter. In the meantime, I’m hoping a high mileage week with a few midday swims will whip me back into shape relatively quickly – because pretty soon, I’ll be counting down the weeks until my first races in April and May.

Slacking time is over, and winter’s almost officially in my rearview mirror – which means it’s time for me to get serious again.


Darrell 2/24/08, 11:28 PM  

Although I remember winter with snow men and snow forts fondly from the days of my youth in Ohio, I think your little winter trip is a perfectly nice way to experience winter.

But I really don't believe you missed a chance to run in some conditions out of the ordinary, even for a few miles. Those were some powerful lemon bars. ;-)

Matt 2/25/08, 6:29 AM  

That's definitely some mad igloo skillz working there. How awesome is that?

stronger 2/25/08, 8:03 AM  

I think you already took some tips- you built a snowman and an igloo with your kids!

(although...30degrees in the snow is perfect- you just run a little more flatfooted to avoid slipping on the pushoff)

olga 2/25/08, 9:51 AM  

Aww, I want to sit in that chair with such view...was it nice and warm inside? Fireplace? What was the book about?

Who is SLB+? 2/25/08, 9:55 AM  

wow that's some winter wonderland! Looks real pretty and crazy fun with the kidz!

triguyjt 2/25/08, 2:15 PM  

always gotta satisfy the snow jones when you can...

sounds like a great time with the family...

jen 2/25/08, 4:10 PM  

Mmmmmm lemon bars. Great pictures.

Rainmaker 2/25/08, 4:50 PM  

Damn - you need to enter an igloo contest or something. With some training and in depth technique analysis - we can get you up to multistory houses in no time.

And sweet cabin too!

mindy 2/25/08, 5:12 PM  

That cabin looks incredible. Lemon bars, reading... a nice well-deserved relaxation. Impressive igloo-building as well! Now you know what we've been looking at and running in all winter in the east! Spring is aaaaalmost here...

Laurie 2/25/08, 5:46 PM  

It boggles my mind that people actually take vacations to 'enjoy' winter. Looks like you had a great time though.

Backofpack 2/25/08, 6:52 PM  

That looks like a ton of fun! You really should have tried the snow running though, that's fun in it's own right.

Wingman 2/26/08, 10:26 AM  

Man I'm jealous - the Sierras are gorgeous, been a few years since I've been out to them. Good thing you live on the West coast - in the North East I'm conditioned for long trudges in 30 degrees and ice!

Addy 2/26/08, 12:00 PM  

What a lovely escape into winter :) I've only been to snow a handful of times in my life (I think the full count is maybe 7) and still find it amazing and beautiful :)

Sounds like you had a great and well deserved break!

Rainmaker 2/26/08, 7:17 PM  

Since I already commented - you must know that my second comment brings nothing but bad news. I officially declare you tagged:

Sorry. Details at:

Fe-lady 2/27/08, 6:34 AM  

Makes me miss snow...(kinda)
I love the igloo! Brings back wonderful memories!

Curling up under a blanket with a good book(or a good friend), drifting in and out of sleep...priceless!

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