Days 2 and 3.

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Although that isn’t quite what Benjamin Franklin actually said, it’s true nonetheless.  (See here for a historical account of his actual quote which was in reference to wine – another proof that God loves to see us happy.)

Friday evening began with a borderline cheat but ended with just the kind of results I was hoping for.  The plan was to leave Denver soon after work, drive up to the mountains, and meet my friend Cathy for dinner and a drink at the Dam Brewery in Dillon around 7 PM.  True to form, by 6 PM I was running late and starving… and the thought of waiting a couple more hours for dinner seemed like a good way to ensure a bout of Ms. Cranky Pants.  So… a light snack before hitting the road.  We’ll call it that.  Yes, it was dinnertime and I ate alone in the kitchen – but I ate more for dinner with Cathy later, so let’s consider it a success anyway.  Besides, I’m making the rules here.

A busy Friday night at one of my favorite local breweries.

When I finally arrived at the Dam at 7:30, the place was packed and Cathy was nowhere to be found.  I called her phone several times and sent a text but figured (correctly as it turned out) that she was straightening out some family issues and would be late too.  I looked around at the standing room only crowds of skiers, the long waits for a table, the bar jammed with groups of people… and was very tempted to conveniently ‘run some errands’ until my friend was available.  Instead, I found the one open seat at the bar beside an older man with a friendly face and shaggy long hair, took off my coat, and ordered a stout.  Jim, I learned, is a landscape architect and devout snowboarder visiting from Atlanta with a wife, 17 year old son, and 11 year old daughter back home.  For the next hour, while he appreciated a prime rib and I thanked God for the Irish, we discussed our jobs, families, the national parks, ski adventures, and our hopes for the future.  When Cathy finally arrived, our talk even progressed to advice for a successful marriage.  [Jim’s was to 1) both commit at the beginning and 2) become best friends.]  I was very glad that I decided to stick around.  A stranger became a friend, Cathy and I were able to kick back and catch up with each other away from our usual distractions and responsibilities, and our cheesy mustard pretzels and seared ahi tuna appetizers filled the hungry hole.

Long lines and high winds at the Basin.

After skiing Saturday at A-Basin with my friend Stephanie, I headed back to the condo near Frisco that a bunch of friends and I rented for the winter season this year.  One of the gang, Ben, showed up sometime in the afternoon.  We proceeded to spend the rest of the evening sitting on our lazy bums without shame watching an SVU marathon and then a movie – a great antidote for a cold windy day on the mountain.  When we finally were hungry again at 8 PM, I made a coconut curry red lentil soup over brown rice from the fantastic blog 101 Cookbooks.  Tonight was not fancy or glamorous (thanks also to the fact that the winds blew out our pilot light which took a while to restart, so it was my second day not showering.)  It was just right.