Sometimes We Go Snowshoeing

And sometimes we fall down.

That’s okay, though, because we’re on the snow, and it’s pretty soft.

Snowshoeing is a tremendously awesome sport. It’s fun, it’s cheap (if you buy stuff off of eBay), and anyone can do it.

Last winter we made numerous trips to Mt. Pinos. Most recently, we spent a week at Lake Tahoe. I’d never been before, and it more than lived up to the hype. The whole area is spectacularly beautiful. Actually, I think snowshoeing (and, by extension, cross-country skiiing, although we have yet to try that) is probably one of the best ways to see that area. Why? Because unlike hiking, snowshoeing does not require you to stay on the trail. In fact, there is no trail. Just snow. The result is that you get to see areas that you would never see during warmer times of the year, and you don’t have to feel bad about spoiling the backcountry.

Additionally, it is not necessary to limit yourself to resorts like Kirkwood (which, like some other downhill resorts in the area, does offer groomed trails for snowshoeing and XC skiing). For example, a SnoPark permit lets you park in a number of maintained parking lots, which even have toilets.

It’s cold. You’re going to want the toilet.

At any rate, the SnoPark permit is $5 per day, or $25 for the season, which lasts from November to April or so. And then there are the free places to park, like the turn-out at Grass Lake.

So go snowshoeing. Just remember to take lots of water, and wear layers. Oh, and don’t forget your compass. It’s no good if you die out there.

Chateau Fleur

The winery where grapes die. And go to Hell.

In a dumpster-diving expedition (which began with the sighting of a set of industrial shelves), my husband came across many, many unopened bottles of various wines and liquors. We suspect that the dumpster contents were the result of cleaning out someone’s garage, as the receptacle was owned by a company for hire.

At any rate, we cracked open a bottle of “Chateau Fleur” New York pink champagne (and when was the last time anyone heard of that? It sounds so Auntie Mame, and by that I mean something that would have been served at Upson Downs). This may be the nastiest stuff I’ve ever tasted, even accounting for the fact that it had lost its fizz. Here are some other labels from this choice collection:

Martinique Sparkling Sangria
Bertran Pinot Chardonnay (José López Bertrán y Cía, Tarragona, Product of Spain)
Bertran Pink Chablis (ditto)

There’s also a Haut Sauternes, a couple of vermouths that have gone gritty due to the dissolution of part of the bottle cap, and a few bottles of claret. The claret makes me think I might have stumbled into an English novel about the early 1800s, and I have a sneaking suspicion that tasting it will make me hate English novels about the early 1800s.

Coffee

I know Starbucks isn’t good coffee. I know. But here’s the thing: I like their lattes. And I’m not making you drink them. So get off my back.

Peet’s: I tried, really I did. The people and the pastries are great. But the espresso is just too strong, now that I drink coffee once or twice a week. Obviously my tolerance is shot. I have to say, though, that I don’t enjoy it as much when I have the jitters afterward. On the other hand, their tea is good.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: Vanilla powder. Nasty.

Tanner’s: I’ve tried it a couple of times, and I’m not taken with it. Something’s off, and I’m not sure what. Besides, there isn’t one close enough to bother. Also, do they not have a web site?

Ideally, I’d find some local coffeehouse that wasn’t a chain. But I’m all about the convenience, and I don’t live in a neighborhood with non-chain coffee. Well, not non-chain lattes. The regular coffee at the corner donut shop is pretty good, actually.

If you’ve got anywhere to suggest in the general vicinity of, let’s say, the Westside Pavilion, leave a comment.

Housekeeping

I’ve found a site that’s very useful:

FlyLady

The graphics and rah-rah attitude can be a little much, but I do like the emphasis on gradual cleaning and the development of new habits. I find the Fly Zones section particularly useful.

Reading: Still working on Raymond Chandler’s letters. They’d go faster if they weren’t so interesting, and so well-written.