Day 4 at Stowe

The sun finally came out this morning. The conditions were fantastic. They opened up the black-diamond trails. I put my carving practice on the blue trails aside and enjoyed skiing on the black terrains. They were steep and narrow, even more challenging than the double-black-diamond slopes at Liberty and Roundtop. I wished my boys were here. They would have loved them.

I skied on the black trails for most of the day. By 3:00 pm, I was exhausted. I could barely rolled my feet. The rain began to fall. I called it the day. I went back to the ski racks to pick up my poles and they were gone. I didn’t use my poles because I wanted to focus on carving. I left it on the rack in the morning just in case I decided to use them.

The last time I was at Stowe, December 2023, I lost both my skis and my poles. I left them over night. This time, I lost my poles on the same day. Stowe and Vail, this is an issue at the Mansfield Lodge. You need better security.

Other than that, I had a great time.

Lệ Quyên: Khúc tình xưa (Lam Phương)

Album này phát hành đã khá lâu (1996) nhưng tôi chỉ mới nghe gần đây thôi. Phải công nhận rằng Lệ Quyên thổi một làn gió mới vào các ca khúc của cố nhạc sĩ Lam Phương. Cô hát “Phút cuối” rất muồi nhưng rất Lệ Quyên. Đêm khuya một mình nằm nghe album từ đầu đến cuối khỏi ngủ.

Jessica Q. Stark: Buffalo Girl

I picked up this book because the author is half Vietnamese half American. She writes about her whiteness as well as her Asian part. Though I didn’t understand much of her poems the first read. I might need to revisit them.

Day 3 at Stowe

The sun came out in the morning. The sky was gorgeous. The conditions were awesome. I headed to Stowe around 9:00 am.

Last night, I watched Lars Horstmann explained the positive-positive stance on snowboard for carving. This morning, I applied his method. Of course, it was harder than the way he made it seem to be. I even increased my front foot from 15 degrees to 20 degrees, but my toe turns weren’t gripping into the snow as I wanted to. I am on the right track though. I just need to figure out the right posture.

At noon, I went into the lodge for lunch as the band named Blues for Breakfast was setting up. At 1:00 pm, they started to play. The rain was pouring outside so I decided to sit, drink, and enjoy the music. At 2 pm, the rain lightened up. I went back to the trails to practice more carving. The rained picked back up.

I left Stowe around 3:30 pm and came back to my room to take a shower. I headed to Ben & Jerry’s for an experience and some samplings. Unlike the Turkey Hill experience, in which I could sampled as many ice cream flavors as I could, they only gave out one sample. The mango flavor was pretty good though.

After the 30-minute experience, I looked for a laundromat to wash my clothes. With the rain and my sweat, my clothes smelled bad. It was my first time using the laundromat in over 30 years.

When we first came to America, my weekend tasks were doing the laundry for my mother, sister, and myself. My mother came with me once in a while when she was not busy cooking. All the memories rushed back. I missed her dearly.

Nguyên Hà: Hồi ức thanh xuân

Hồi ức thanh xuân là một album dễ thương của tiếng hát dễ mến. “Yêu như ngày hôm qua” (Nguyễn Anh Vũ) mở đầu album với nhịp điệu swing tung tăng qua phần phối khí tươi tắn của nhạc sĩ Phạm Hải Âu. Phần intro cho “Nhắm mắt thấy mùa hè” (Hồ Tiến Đạt) với tiếng kèn trumpet và dàng dây thật tuyệt dịu như là một bài music score cho một bộ phim. Nhưng ca khúc giết người là “Những cơn mưa mùa đông” (Đức Trí). Chỉ cần câu đầu thôi là đủ chết rồi, “Những cơn mưa mùa đông rớt từng giọt bùi ngùi / Vỡ đôi, làm tan mất nỗi buồn đánh rơi”. Trên đoạn đường 10 tiếng đồng hồ lái xe trong đêm khuya, tôi nghe đi nghe lại album này ba lần. Mỗi lần nghe mỗi lần thấm.

Write Then Destroy

Betsy Reed writes for The Guardian

A study in Japan has found that writing down your reaction to a negative incident on a piece of paper and then shredding it, or scrunching it into a ball and throwing it in the bin, gets rid of anger.

I had written quite a bit of angry shit on this blog. I had to unpublish some of my angry posts once in a while, but I had not getting rid of anything completely.

Day 2 at Stowe

I was too tired last night; therefore, I went to bed around 9:00 pm. At 8:00 am, I went down stairs, the Round Hearth Café and Marketplace, for breakfast. I met the owner and his wife. They are a young couple who run the café as well as the B&B upstairs. Nice folks!

I went to the Stowe Resort around 9:00 am. It was raining lightly. I put on my skis and went to the trails. The conditions were OK. I picked up carving on my skis again, but it still doesn’t quite feel natural to roll my knees and ankles. I ditched my poles so I could focus on my posture. Without the poles, I tried to grab my outside boot when I made the turn. I also turned my hips and pushed my knees to the side as I initiated my turns. I did those exercise all day.

I met a couple with two little boys (a two- and four-year-old). Because the four-year-old wanted to ski, they flew in from Florida and ski for a couple of days. Unfortunately, the learning side had closed for the season. The dad took his four-year-old to the bottom of the green slope and let him skied down. They did that all day long. Man, some parents are super patience.

Skiing in the rain was quite an experience. I was a bit hesitated at first, but after a few runs I just went with the flow. As I was sitting on the lift halfway up, the rain started to pour. I skied down quickly so I could get into the lodge to wait for the rain to die down. As I got closer to the lift, the rain stopped. I think Mother Nature was trolling me all day. I had a great time though.

Day 1 at Okemo

Last night, I was too excited to sleep. At 2 am, I decided to hit the road. I drove 3 hours straight to New Jersey. I stopped at the service area and napped for about half an hour. I bought a coffee and continued to drive.

I arrived at Okemo around 11 am and the rain was pouring. I saw people soaking wet coming into the lodge. I asked them about the conditions and they all said “good.” I had lunch and waited for the rain to light up.

I hit the slopes around noon. I continued to carve on my snowboard. I lost count of how many runs I got in. At 4 pm, I drove 2 more hours to Stowe, where I will be skiing and snowboarding for the next 5 days.

Đi Trượt

Hai tuần trước trong lúc lái xe về sau bảy ngày đi trượt tuyết ở Mount Snow, tôi đùa với vợ, “Bảy ngày đi chưa đã. Anh mơ ước đi thêm một chuyến”. Tưởng đâu bị trách “đồ nghiện nặng” nhưng vợ lại hỏi, “Anh muốn đi thật không”? Tôi cũng suông miệng, “Thật chứ sau không”.

Không ngờ bà xã bấm bấm điện thoại tìm chỗ ở và xe điện cho tôi. Còn tưởng vợ đang trêu mình nhưng không ngờ vợ chơi thiệt. Vợ đặc nhà trọ (dành cho những người mê trượt tuyết) và xe điện xong thì tôi lại đắn đo. Tụi nhỏ thì phải đi học. Vợ thì phải đi cày. Chẳng lẽ một mình mình đi hưởng thụ? Lương tâm cắn rứt lắm nhưng cũng đam mê trượt tuyết.

Lúc ông chủ cho thuê nhà cho biết xe shuttle từ nhà ông đến Stowe Resort sẽ ngừng hoạt động, tôi nói thôi vợ hủy bỏ hết đi. Chứ mỗi ngày đi Uber tốn kém lại không thuận lợi việc ăn uống. Vợ vẫn không chịu hủy bỏ. Lại tìm đường khác cho tôi bay đến Boston rồi thuê xe chạy qua Vermont 3 tiếng. Tôi nói thôi rườm rà quá vì phải vác theo skis, snowboards, boots, và đồ đạc nữa.

Tôi lại kêu vợ hủy bỏ vì có mua bảo hiểm nên không bị mất nhiều. Cuối cùng vợ bảo, “Thôi anh đi đi. Quà sinh nhật sớm của anh đó”. Chỉ một câu đó của vợ khiến tôi không còn do dự gì nữa. Tôi sẽ lái xe 10 tiếng để đi trượt tuyết. Coi như được trải nghiệm những ngày cô lập như thế nào.

Bởi vậy mới thấy được chỉ có vợ mới biến ước mơ thành sự thật. Love you, boo!

Josh Clark: Designing for Touch

This book released in 2015 when digital devices, such as iPads, started to take off. Reading it almost a decade later, it is has become out of touch. I am done catching up with the A Book Apart series.

Bonjour Vietnam