Today I saw my kids flying downhill and I was very proud!

Their big Hannukah / Christmas gift are 3 days of skiing lessons at the Hyland Ski & Snowboard Area (a few hours a day – it’s actually more reasonable than I thought it would be…)

I was surprised to see how much they accomplished today – they both seem very comfortable on their skis; they can stop and go, hop on a ski lift and ride to the top of a hill and come down – all while looking pretty cool.

The Hyland skiing center is part of the Three Rivers Park District, which is amazingly close (just outside of Bloomington, MN). Everyone there was very helpful, the whole thing was so easy – and, as I’ve already been bragging – the kids were up and flying on their skis in short time!

I found myself feeling a little envy along with the pride. I never learned to ski, but I always sort of wanted to.

In Toledo there were precious few hills, and even if there had been, skiing wasn’t something my parents would have been keen on funding. At Denison so many of the other students already skiied and I felt self conscious about advertising my lack of snowy skill. In my 20’s I lived in NYC and didn’t really pursue the whole skiing thing for 2 reasons:

#1 Fear of Falling – I think the idea of falling (enhanced by my church group field trip to see “The Other Side Of The Mountain” when I was 11) was definitely a deterrent.

#2 Fear of Looking Stupid – Even more than fear of falling was my certainty that I’d look like an idiot if I tried to ski. I didn’t know how to lace up the boots, put on the skis, use the poles. I didn’t even know how to go about getting a lift ticket or any of the other stuff one must do to get to the top of the hill so that finally one can come down.

But, as my mother would say, if it was something that I really wanted to do, I probably would have a found a way to do it. So the fact I never investigated the whole ski thing probably says less about my fears and more about my inertia.

But here in Minnesota, many folks ski. It’s not like Vermont or Colorado, it is rather flat in most of the state, but I’ve run into so many casual skiers here that it just seems more accessible. If I wasn’t still kind of a weenie I might have signed up for some lessons, too.

It was such a beautiful day – tomorrow I will definitely take my camera! And we lucked out – the temps were in the low 0’s, not the -20’s wind chill that had been predicted. Who knew that 2 years ago we would have considered that lucky…?

As it was I was very happy to sit and knit in the warm lodge, watching the kids practicing on the bunny hill. I think I’m finally making something for Hannah that she’ll love, a soft and smooshy scarf.

Oh – the Cookie Swap! It was wonderful! I got to meet some great new friends, and reconnected with others that I hadn’t seen since the winter hiberation. As much time as I’ve spent here in St. Paul this Fall, I haven’t been as social as I should have been so I appreciated the chance to reconnect.

I was so eager for the swap, though, that I misread the invitation and we showed up [predictably] an hour early. Lovely.

On any other day I would have just driven home and waited an hour, but there was a snowstorm and the streets were already pretty terrible. So we imposed on our friend’s good graces and tried to be as pre-party helpful as we could, she was kind enough to make us feel warm and wanted, if a little early.

Later in the evening, the whole family attended a wonderful concert at St. Mary’s Basillica in Minneapolis by the Rose Ensemble. The music was exquisite, but may hve been a little dry for the kids. They were pretty good about it, and listened attentively, though.

The concert was amazing; wonderful acoustics and a very moving setting. It was quite cold and the snowstorm in the morning continued all day. We were surprised the concert hadn’t been cancelled, but the audience was packed with hearty Minnesotans who were not going to be deterred by a small thing like blizzard conditions.

I noticed that no one dawdled, though, between the church and the parking lot after the concert …

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