Hello from the library where I am sitting at an obscure table somewhere in what seems like acres of books and computers. I came over here fully charged with pencils, notebooks, and laptop cord, expecting to do a four hour homework marathon. But I got everything done in an hour and I’m definitely not in the working-ahead mood tonight. This week has been extremely busy for me; I’ve typed 24 pages worth of essays, cover letters for job applications, and assignments. I made and presented a PowerPoint about how to use the References tab in Word 2007 to my English class. I am about wrote-out, so to speak, but I’ll try to put up a few lines for my not so near but dear readers.

Protests are in full swing at NAU. I guess we’re protesting the bad economy—I don’t know. Budget cuts are imminent, some say as much as 50%. They’ve already shut down the High Altitude Training program that hosted teams from all over the world to train here at 7,000 feet. There’s a hiring freeze and teachers are being asked to work a portion of their hours without pay –or else leave—and good luck with getting another job. A thousand kids went to Phoenix on Wednesday and marched at the state capital. The sidewalk artists are writing political messages rather than the normal “You are really somethin’!” “You are the reason I love losing sleep!” “You look cute today!” “Exude love” chalk messages that appear at random on sidewalks and plazas around campus. Classes are going well for me; some are boring, some are interesting, and some are entertaining—like my Ethics class. There’s never a dull moment; Friday a girl got called down for tweezing her boyfriend’s eyebrows during class…

I think this is the only weekend where I’ve had to do homework ALL weekend. Maybe that’s because I took Tuesday off to go skiing. That was because Monday night we got a dusting of snow in town, but the mountains got 5-14″ of powder. Tuesday was another of those super perfect days—no wind, bright sun, temperature at 25 all day, and not a single cloud to be found. Almost every day is like that and I still haven’t adjusted completely. Some days I spend more time looking up than a person in New York City for the first time. I don’t know why this is because there is nothing to look at up there, only blue that goes on for God only knows how far. Anyway, so that’s my puny excuse for taking a snow day. The best color combination in the whole world is a deep-green pine tree, with snowy branches, against a royal blue sky. I saw lots of that on Tuesday.

I took ski lessons last winter on manmade snow on a tiny mountain packed with people. I easily mastered the blue runs on my first-ever day on skis. So, Tuesday I decided to do a warm-up run on a green before venturing into big boy territory. The slope I chose first was a straight shot 600 feet wide and almost a mile long. Nothing could possibly go wrong, or so I thought. Everything went great on the way up; I made it up without dropping anything and figured the rest would be a cinch. I had clomped around the dorm wearing the skis when I bought them in September, but hadn’t put them on since then. They were sixteen inches longer than the ones I learned on, and fresh waxed, but I was still confident of my abilities. So, I got off the gondola and poled over to the top of the run. It looked much steeper than I remembered doing in PA, but I didn’t do a brake check or anything at the top…

The one fact that was imprinted into my brain from the lesson I took was that pizza was good and french fries were bad, referring to the shape formed by the skis. I never got the chance to pizza. I took the plunge, went over the edge, and in two seconds I was going 30 miles an hour. I have never gone so fast on skis in my life and I couldn’t turn or pizza because I wasn’t familiar with the long skis I was wearing and I was afraid that any effort at control would result in a catastrophic pile-up. Luckily there were no people in my path. I flailed my poles around to keep my balance. The big orange SLOW signs went whizzing by. I was terrified. I whizzed past the bottom of the lift and finally slowed down enough to pizza to a stop and sheepishly climb back up the hill to the lift line. It seemed like it only took a minute of two to go the 4500 feet. At that point I seriously considered loading up and calling it a day.

After I had my breathe back and my heart rate had returned to normal I got back on the lift for another run. I picked up a map and decided that I should try to get back down in a somewhat controllable fashion this time. I picked an easier route and began at crawling speed and held it until I learned to turn and pizza with long skis. All went well, and after a few runs I was carving rooster tails down the steepest greens. I crashed a few times but never hard enough to pop a knee or drop the skis. It turned out to be fun day, but I’ve got a lot of homework to do before I venture up into the thin air of blues and blacks.