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Monday, January 26, 2004

ski-doux 

Saturday and Sunday I skied Bear Valley in the Sierras and had a blast. I had not skied since 2002 but took barely any time regaining my bearings. Its like riding a bike, I suppose. Except that you're riding two long sticks down an icy mountain, but still you don't forget.

I like the steeps. Where you plant your pole, pivot & catch a little air between turns. The hop turn. Where a carpet of rolling snow escorts you on your way down. A mini avalanche. Where the adrenaline is pumped out with each turn. Those serene steeps.

Not that I'm necessarily good--I certainly had a few tumbles and severely tweaked my knee at one point. Happening at the bottom of my last run on Saturday, this injury threatened my ability to ski Sunday. I bandaged and braced the knee and went out anyway--this time a bit more circumspect and more reserved. By the end of the day, however, I was back in the steeps risking it all for a little of that white stuff...

Thanks to Farran for putting us up at mom & dad's cabin, and to Will for driving us up!

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Italian firenze 

Back from Italy. I've had a great winter break which culminated in my contracting conjunctivitis upon returning home. I was out of the lab for a week while I got better. But my visit to Italy was phenomenal, really a great time. What made it so nice was the week in Florence. We had rented a flat right on the river, across from the Uffizi Museum, and were able to unpack and unwind while there. There was limited travel hustleBustle, but we did take the train from and back to Bologna. Florence was very pleasant, particularly since it was Christmas time. The crowds were limited at the museums & it was interesting to see the Italians in the winter--off tourist season. What's more, because there were so few foreigners, we spent more time around actual Italians.

Dana and I were last in Florence in the summer of 2002, and spent several days there. What is remarkable is the detail with which I remember the town. Spatial navigation was kid's play--I remembered all the major thoroughfares, and I even remembered where certain shops were. I could walk by a shop, and without looking in, recall what the shop purveyed. (this was easy enough with the numerous leather shops, what with the dank, viscous odor of leather pouring out the doors.) It was also very nice to spend Christmas with family members. Sadly, Dana was not able to come. I missed her, but recognize that we've had some amazing trips and have more in the making. I had a great time, and you are welcome to view selected photos at http://bartbart.com

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