Safe Vs. Sorry

If you’re expecting some kind of breath taking story involving a decision about skiing in an off-limits avalanche zone….sorry, this isn’t it.

Family ski trips for us were an awesome thing as long as nobody tried to kill themselves. I was all about traversing a hill, taking my time, enjoying the scenery, and getting back to the parking lot at the end of the day with no broken limbs. I don’t know what my kids did all day, once they got to the point where it was too embarrassing for them to be seen skiing with their parents. I suspect they checked out a lot of the black diamond runs, but also took an extraordinary number of hot chocolate breaks with their friends.

W. was a whole other story. He wanted to get his money’s worth I guess and to him that meant ripping down the hills and up the lifts at rocket speed over and over again from the minute the lifts opened up in the morning. If there’d been a contest to be the absolute last person off the hill, he’d have won it many times over. And that’s no doubt why he was a brilliant skier who could go anywhere always looking all skilled and fantastic. And that’s also why we rarely skied together, because I was so much less of a fanatic, and our ideas of “fun” were polar opposites in that sport.

We did try occasionally to do a run or two together. I remember in particular the day W. decided I needed to challenge myself beyond the ho-hum intermediate runs. I don’t know why he suddenly wanted to put my life in danger, or why I agreed to do it, but there we were at the top of a horrible mogul run. And there he went zipping down four or five turns before stopping to look back for me. I was still standing there contemplating the steepness of the incline, and looking for a route, thinking I might just side-slip the whole stupid hill. Safe and boring. It’s how I ski.

W. started to give me what I’m sure was probably excellent advice that I had no intention of listening to when one of his skis pointed east as the other began to head west. He flailed. For a few seconds he struggled. And then he did the most spectacular face plant I’ve ever seen.

So this is where the safe rather than sorry part comes in. In the time it took him to get himself straightened around and brushed off and finished with the expletives, I was able to compose myself and rearrange my features into an expression which I hoped looked sympathetic. No laughing going on here, not even a smirk. Just loving spousal concern for your safety, that’s all I’m feeling. Uh huh. I took the scowling glare like a pro. Because it was of course all my fault that he’d turned around to help me. Would NOT have happened otherwise. I assured him that yes, I’d be fine, he could go on ahead.

He turned around and took off down the rest of the moguls like he had something to prove to them. Only then was it safe to let myself laugh hysterically, which I did pretty much all the way to the bottom of the hill, stopping every so often to wipe the tears off my face. Some of those were no doubt for having forgotten my camera that day. No worries though, that image (how it looks when the mighty have fallen) is firmly planted in my brain forever.

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Ode to Ovaltine

cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and co...

cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and cocoa powder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Look at me!  Blogging twice in the same month!

Yesterday at Save On Foods I walked down the coffee aisle – not because I needed coffee but simply because I like how it smells there.  They have those big plastic bin dispensers with flavoured coffee in them.  Vanilla, hazelnut,  irish cream, raspberry chocolate.  Heaven.  And I’m just so happy to be able to smell things again!  A couple of weeks ago I was grinding my Starbucks coffee beans and I could not smell anything at all.  I practically stuck my face in the bag, and still nothing.  It was a sad moment.   But yesterday I had one of those blissful moments when I looked up across the top shelf  scanning the hot chocolate powders and there was Ovaltine.   OVALTINE!  I can’t remember when I last saw that sold anywhere.  Plain and chocolate.  Be still my heart.  I bought a huge jar of the chocolate one.

Mom and Dad used to drink ovaltine all the time, mostly because they were never coffee or tea drinkers,  and because sometimes it’s just nice to have a mug of something hot that’s not too sweet and actually has some stuff in it that’s good for you.  And it looks better than sipping plain hot milk like an extremely old person might do.  Ha.  As if Ovaltine isn’t the official drink of seniors.  They also used to drink Postum – a powdered roasted grain beverage coffee substitute containing no caffeine – and yes, it tasted pretty disgusting – but they don’t make it anymore.  Some old guy in Wal-Mart asked me one day if I knew where he could find it, and when I broke the news to him he looked quite stricken.  I should have told him about my dad’s hot chocolate.  He would put the kettle on to boil, drop maybe a quarter teaspoon of powdered chocolate drink mix (the kind you are supposed to mix whole heaping spoonfuls of the powder with cold milk) into a big mug and fill it up with water that had not yet come to a boil.  Because there’s no point in making it too hot to drink right away.  The last few times I stayed with them in the house in Pt Elgin he always  invited me in the evenings to join him for his ‘hot chocolate’  with cookies good for dunking.  I always did.  The dunked cookies gave the vaguely chocolate flavoured tepid water a bit of flavour.  Not as good as Postum, but damned close.

A jar of Ovaltine from the UK (2006), a mug of...

A jar of Ovaltine from the UK (2006), a mug of ovaltine made with hot milk and a tablespoon of the powder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ovaltine has the taste of malt and grain (yech); but it’s also the taste of cozy warmth and contentment.  It’s a creature comfort.  It conjures up a lovely memory.   Besides, I drink way too much coffee and the extra milk will be good for these old bones.