Friday, February 26, 2010

Shoes, Skiing & Spam

Seattle has been unseasonably warm and sunny of late (although we’re back under a more usual gray at the moment) – so it figures that this was the year that instead of saving my pennies for something deeply expensive and frivolous that rhymes with "Emilio Pucci on sale," I blew the budget on ski passes for the kids and myself. If you’ve been following the Olympics, you’re well aware that there have been problems with having enough snow at Whistler and Cypress Mountain. Both of which are north of Seattle. Snow has been a distinct issue. So, I intentionally passed over gazillion inch, glitter-encrusted, insanely priced shoes (I wasn’t drunk or feverish at the time, either), and for the first time in years, entirely skipped that perfect confluence of consumerism and contact sports (aka: the Mario’s Superbowl Sale).

The Mario's Superbowl Sale is like that, except with Prada. And shoe hyenas.

And I did this for... ski boots. And snow the consistency of wet sand. And, oddly (given my long-standing affection for impractical, over-priced fashion), I couldn’t be happier about it. I'll repeat: not drunk or feverish. Really.

The kids don’t really care about conditions (as long as it’s not raining). I don’t really care about conditions (as long as it’s not raining). So on school breaks, we’ve loaded up the equipment I cobbled together from used purchases, sales and hand-me-downs, driven up to the pass, and cruised contentedly around together.

They had last week off from school, and the whole week was suffused with brilliant sunshine. The snow in the sun was so brilliant as to be nearly blinding; in shadow, a deep, luminous blue.

I have to admit (while hoping that Stumpy doesn't read this post), no pair of shoes can give the deeply physical happiness that being with Curly and my boy did over the last week– cruising behind them like a bundled-up sheep dog, riding the lifts with them, eating lunch outside in the sunshine with them and listening to their chatter.

The T. Rex, however, feels that shoes are the true key to life happiness.

The sunshine was a wonderful bonus, but the happiness itself – amplified and intensified by seeing their delight in everything – made the entire week itself feel sunlit. Hmm. That’s very earnest sounding. Earnestness and the intentional forgoing of fancy shoes? Maybe I do have some kind of fever, after all.

Anyway. I mentioned that I blew the budget on the passes. I blew the rest cobbling together equipment. Skiing is incredibly fun, but also? Crazy expensive. Manolos can look pretty cheap compared to a ski habit. We had no budget for lodge lunches, which in some ways is a good thing, because lodge lunches are maybe, maybe one step up from school cafeteria lunches, just much more expensive.

So before we head up to ski, I make and pack lunch. The kids are pretty fond of quinoa with seaweed and avocado (courtesy of Tea and Cookies), chicken salad with crostini, and prosciutto butter sandwiches. But their very favorite ski lunch, which makes them literally cheer? That Hawaiian convenience store staple: Spam musubi. If you’re not acquainted with it, it's pretty simple to prepare. Take a can of Spam. Open it. Shake the Spam... loaf? Loaf seems like a good word. Shake the Spam loaf out of the can. Slice it (you should be able to get a minimum of 10 slices). Fry the Spam, brushing it with a soy sauce with just a little sugar mixed into it. Then take your hot fried spam, sandwich it between some rice, mash it down a little, and wrap the whole thing in nori, mushing it down again so it’s nice and compact. I usually use a piece or two of rice to hold the nori closed. Ta-da. Spam musubi.

I do get that it doesn’t sound appealing (and I don't want to go all Obi Wan on you and tell you to trust in The Force that created Spam musubi, although... you should consider it), but it is some kick-ass picnic food, if not particularly kosher. Those suckers are surprisingly good.

I admit, I purposely made Spam musubi on our last day of skiing together, so that the kids would cheer me happily as they munched their lunches in the sunshine. And they did. And it was pretty damn awesome.

I cannot promise that the people you make Spam musubi for will cheer, and insist that you are The Best Person EVER. At least not the first time you do it.

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