and so, of course, we woke up on the day after our disneyland extravaganza to beautiful, clear skies with the sun shining down on us. sometimes i want to junkpunch mother nature, but i suppose that in this case, it was to our benefit. and why? because we were packing to head to g-wan's cabin up in big bear. and that rain that we were cursing the day before made up for it by dropping an assload of fresh, soft powder in the mountains. yay!
after packing up half the house (and even mollydog got to go on vacay, whoo-hoo), we piled into the hub's tahoe and hopped on the freeway. BFF was supposed to come with us, but due to the plethora of trouble she and the teen had gotten themselves into, she was dropped off at home before we left. wah waaaaah.
despite my concerns about hitting traffic, we made it to the redlands/mentone area in no time. since we'd not yet eaten all morning, we met up with the ILs for some grub here:
with our bellies full and happy, we set out for the rest of our journey. as we wound our way through and around the mountains, we were excited to be greeted by their beauty:
and then we were there. g-wan's house is super amusing to me - there's a zillion knickknacks and piles of clutter and shit everywhere. and this is after they already had a museum come by and scoop up a bunch of crap. see, dearly departed grampa wan used to work for a landscaping company that had the account for a ranch owned by disney. he was given free access to their "boneyard," where a bunch of movie props were stored, and told to help himself to anything he wanted. and boy, did he.
i glanced wistfully at this swing and thought of the fantastic family photos we could've shot there, with all that lovely snow in the background. too bad it doesn't snow in october, when we usually do our annual shoot.
the teen had fun taking pictures and tromping around in the snowy yard.
inside, we were welcomed by g-wan herself and her newly acquired doggy, pebbles. now, pebbles certainly looks sweet and adorable, yes? but this pup was part of uncle wan's household up until thanksgiving, when she apparently got into a tussle with another canine in the family. she attacked it, grabbed it by its neck, swung the shit out of it, and murdered the poor little creature. and rather than have pitiless pebbles put down, g-wan decided to adopt her and took her up to big bear.
molly, after sniffing her way through the entire house and warily tiptoeing around pebbles the killer terrier, made herself comfortable and found a nice spot near the fireplace.
we had a quiet, low-key first night (a little too much so - the teen was dying without her phone, and there wasn't much on tv that night) and turned in early.
the next morning, after a lovely breakfast cooked by FIL and brother wan, we got dressed and went outside to play in the snow. the bean was enchanted by the white fluffy stuff, and had a great time with both dogs on leashes.
later that afternoon, we headed in to downtown big bear, where we decided to grab something to eat at the local pizza parlor. with a 25-minute wait for a table, we settled in the waiting area, which was lined with shelves holding 2348975203897423590 random ass books. they had everything from danielle steel to harlequin novels to stephen king to algebra textbooks. kinda bizarre.
after snarfing down on the surprisingly super delicious pizza, we headed out to find some snow gear and rent some snowboards and boots for me and the teen.
while the hub took the bean home, brother wan, his girlfriend, and the two of us headed to snow summit to get our shred on. poor brother wan was stuck with two newbies and one very slightly experienced snowboarder (me!), and despite the fact that he's got a lot of patience, i hoped it wouldn't be tested to the limits.
thinking it'd be less crowded, we opted for the night session. i've never been to the slopes in the dark before, so i was excited. not to mention, it's been at least four years since my last snowboarding experience, during which i'd finally gotten the hang of it and managed to glide down the beginner run several times without falling once. i was really hoping it'd be like riding a bicycle and i'd pick it back up easily.
the hardest part is always getting all that crap on. the teen and i ripped the tags off of our new $36 snow pants and $15 gloves, pulled everything on, struggled to lace up the rental boots, and strapped on our borrowed goggles.
we hobbled our way through the parking lot and up to the ticket counter, where brother wan picked up our passes.
look, so official! i felt like one of the cool kids for once.
...and then i ruined it with this stupid face that i can't seem to control whenever i'm in front of a camera. wah waaaah.
we made our way up to the beginner slope, where brother wan proceeded to help the two newbies strap into their boards and explained some of the basics. i can't stop laughing at the expression on the teen's face here:
i was all, "eh, i got it, i'm good," as i took care o'bidness with fumbling gloved fingers.
i sat and watched the teen try to figure out how the hell she was gonna get herself up off the ground without falling. and then i attempted to maneuver my own clumsy ass this way and that, trying to accomplish the same thing, and i could. not. get. up. i knew i'd done it successfully before lots and lots of times (like, after 47,000 falls on my ass), but i just couldn't freaking get up!
brother wan finally took pity on me and came over to help me up and test out my rusty skills. holding both hands, i was able to stay up on my board and remembered what to do to slide down slowly and even how to turn. yay!
once he let go, though, i fell again. but this time i was bound and determined to get myself up without any help. it took a few tries, because doing so meant using muscles i'd forgotten i had, but i finally did it. i was so proud of myself.
i was equally (if not more) proud of the teen, who was still in that beginner-who-falls-every-two-seconds stage, but was also determined to figure it out and make her way down the mountain. i watched her get up, stay up, slide down a few feet, fall, and repeat the process. and then finally she picked up some speed and went a considerable distance - and she realized how much fun it was. i was doing the same thing right behind her, and we trudged up the slope on foot several times, practicing and practicing.
brother wan's girlfriend had given up completely and sat off to the side, one foot strapped to her board and phone flipped open as she texted furiously back and forth with someone. we felt bad that she wasn't as into it as we were, but as we continued to glide past her time and time again, we let ourselves really enjoy the moment and the rush of adrenaline.
after a while, when we felt comfortable with our shredding skillz, we decided it was time to give the lift a try. i knew it would be interesting - i've never been able to get off that damn chair without falling not-so-gracefully. hell, even getting on was slightly challenging as we tried to figure out how to make our way to it with one foot on, one foot off of our boards. and then we were seated, riding slowly up the mountain, with one hand clutching the chair for dear life.
just as i'd predicted, we ate shit trying to get off at the other end. it was so embarrassing, and they even had to stop the stupid lift as we picked ourselves up without getting whacked in the back of the head by our own chair. ugh.
but it was SO much fun having the entire expanse of the slope to play on. man, we loved it. and i was so happy that the teen had picked it up at last and was really enjoying herself. i'd begged her to try it for the last few seasons, but she'd not had any interest before now. and we grinned and cheered each other on as we let the troubles of the last few days just float away (albeit temporarily) and gave ourselves fully to the experience.
after a couple more rounds of trudging halfway up the slope on foot and sliding down blissfully, we headed to the restaurant to grab some grub.
sadly, they were all out of macaroni & cheese (which sounded really good), so i settled for a bread bowl with the soup of the day (chicken noodle, kind of weird to eat out of a bread bowl but whatever) and the teen went with the nacho cheese fries.
"oh my god mom, this is the nastiest thing i've ever had," she moaned as she took her first bite. i had to agree - that shit looked heinous. but she was hungry and there wasn't much else on the menu to suit her vegetarian diet, so there you go.
we headed home the next day, after bidding a fond farewell to g-wan and pebbles. the teen and i were both sore as all hell from head to toe, but it'd been worth it. it was a fantastic way to end our holiday vacation.
unpacking and getting back to everyday real life, however, sucks balls.