Airplanes and Chairlifts - A Birthday to Remember

When you fly three days straight and spend the weekend on the slopes, it doesn't take long for memorable interactions to stack up. I wasn't pleased about the work travel for many reasons, the most because it was our birthday week. Although I set "No Travel" calendar boundaries and had a vacation day scheduled, I was overruled and had to take one for the team. Actually, take two for the team as the trip involved a meeting in San Diego, immediately followed by one in Detroit. I tried to make the most of it with a couple new books and thoughts toward the weekend of skiing. Birthday messages throughout the week kept my spirits high.

It's hard to choose a favorite interaction of the week as they all had something special to offer. I've found that by focusing on specific encounters in situations I'd rather not be in, they transform the environment to a learning experience. The best interactions are those in environments and with people I love, like on a chairlift with my friends or at dinner planning a cycling vacation.

That's exactly how we wrapped up Sunday night after a day of skiing. We had a delicious and fun Thai dinner with friends while the next (and hopefully not last) snow storm blew in. We could see the snow coming down as we discussed logistics for three cycling trips together over the Spring and Summer. I'm always tentative to leave town too early in case we'll miss a good powder day, but our March trip is going to be a blast and I can't wait to explore a new area with this crew.

After Dinner - Snowstorm doing its thing!

The storm delivered all night and I had to work from home Monday morning in order to snowblow and handle early meetings. I did three snow removal workouts in total - morning, noon, and evening. My best interaction of the day, other than waving at the plow driver once he finally came by around noon, was with Ellie's. They've been so busy during the ski season, they had to stop their weekly meal service. I've missed them dearly, especially during our kitchen remodel. They started back up last week and I was thrilled to pick up my food and catch-up with Ellie and her team.

Monday's Backyard Refills

I booked the last nonstop to San Diego in order to make the most of my Tuesday. I successfully crammed in a cycling workout, meeting with tax accountant, final decision on kitchen cabinet pulls, work meetings, and Pilates. My flight was relatively uneventful other than the gentleman that moved from his middle seat to my empty row and then proceeded to cough the entire two hour flight. He is not on my favorite interaction list. My cab driver, on the other hand, is a coder and was excited I'm in software, so we had a good conversation as Tuesday transitioned to Wednesday.

My colleague woke me with a text around 6. I told him I'd meet him at 8 and went for a walk in the SoCal sun. I wasn't on the beach, but the palm trees and warm temperatures were a nice reminder to look for the good over the next couple days. I found that on my ride to the airport. Uday picked me up and I immediately had a good feeling about him, so jumped in the front seat so we could talk. He is exactly what makes America what it is and I hope that continues. Uday is half Egyptian, half Iraqi and just moved to San Diego from Cairo. He wants to open an Egyptian restaurant and is driving practically all day to build up funds. We talked about both countries and why he chose to leave Cairo. There are many reasons, but primarily he didn't feel safe since he's gay. He was articulate, creative, and professional. We swapped info and took a photo before he dropped me off, it was definitely my best interaction of the day and almost the week.

San Diego


The rest of Wednesday and into Thursday (Happy Birthday to Me) was a series of airports, flights, and taxi as I made my way from San Diego to Atlanta and finally Detroit. My travel was finalized so late, I had a middle seat on the four hour flight to Atlanta. My window was a small woman that slept the entire way, my aisle was a Rabbi, that also slept the majority of the flight. That ended up being a problem as he was wearing his large black hat and kept falling on my shoulder. I can't elbow a Rabbi, can I? Fortunately I received a 1st class upgrade for my flight to Detroit and finished my book (Gold by Chris Cleave) in peace. We literally touched down at midnight and my phone greeted me with several birthday wishes! My cab driver left me alone for the long drive to the hotel, he and I both knew it was no time for a new interaction.

My actual birthday was a bit of a bust, but that was my expectation. I met my colleagues in the hotel lobby for subpar breakfast oatmeal and several hours of meeting prep. A lunch meeting at a glorified Apple Bee's and then client meetings all afternoon. Everyone was nice and thanked me for my efforts on my birthday, but I was just counting the hours until I'd be home and celebrating on skis. I had no options for the four hour flight home than another middle seat. I ate my burrito between a small Indian college student and a small woman heading to Utah to ski. I just about finished my 2nd book (The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld) and nobody fell asleep on my shoulder.

I was hopeful that I could take at least a half-day on Friday and ski, but work deadlines won out and I was wiped out by the time we both got home to even go out for dinner. We settled with a movie and early night sleep. 

Thinking about Saturday's ski day with Corrie and Kelly was what got me through the travel and it didn't disappoint. We had a blast skiing, chatting on the chairlift, and enjoying a lovely lunch in the sun. With our busy schedules, we haven't spent time together like in the past and I'd missed it. Terry even took a birthday run and chairlift with us to celebrate. Best interaction of the day and week!

Birthday Ski Day

Good times

Speak No Evil - Hear No Evil - See No Evil

Terry and I ran down to the NAHBS (North American Handmade Bicycle Show) in SLC that evening. We timed it right to also see the award ceremony and hear the creators thoughts on their masterpieces. It was really cool to see the different companies, bikes, and people that were in attendance. The live FB videos are also great if you've never attended.

The Ultimate Snowbike

Davis Phinney's Olympic Serotta (1984)

Great turnout of Exhibitors and Attendees

We were back on the mountain this morning (Sunday), hoping for another sunny day. We had high winds, more ice, and clouds instead and made the most of it, cruising around looking for the softest, yet not too soft, conditions. Our best chairlift interaction was with a local Dad and his 2 1/2 yr old girl on her first "big chair" ride up Crescent. Terry and I both started skiing around this age and to be a part of their excitement and nervousness was really special.

We devoured brunch at Five5eeds and then Terry headed to the office and I went for a ride. It's not often you can pull off a Park City Double, but when you do, it's magical and was the perfect ending to my Birthday week of airplanes and chairlifts.

Birthday Ski Buddies

Prepared for the Park City Double 

From Riding the Lift to Riding by the Lift