We are in Vail, Colorado for a few days. It snows a lot here, and people's vehicles are adorned with it.

Many of our party are snowboarding and skiing, things you would not find me doing. I don't have great balance as it is on flat ground in shoes. In prep school I was introduced to ice hockey, played on skates. It's hard to play a game that you can't even stand up for, let alone move around. I admire anyone who can stand up on something as ungainly looking as a pair of skis, especially the ones who go real fast down hills: I shall cheer them on, inside but nearby.

Today marked the first day in what I hope to be a long run of days getting serious exercise. I went to the hotel workout room (really, here more of a workout plaza) and got on the treadmill and recumbent bicycle for about an hour. It's a beginning, and I plan on going back down there tomorrow morning. Apparently the pool is available in the morning, because when we went exploring yesterday afternoon, it looked like half the guests here were wedged into it and the other half in the hot tub.

I'd gone grocery shopping with the intent to buy dinners I could cook for my friends. There are about seventeen people all told. If we ate at the restaurants here, we could easily kiss out per diems goodbye early on and leave Vail broke and hungry. So I got some of the dishes I make at home and came back and made Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice, sausage and Martha White cornbread. (I am a fan of Martha White's from my childhood days of watching Flatt and Scruggs performing the theme song.)

And, as Zat's always does, it turned out delicious. My friends ate, chatted, we listened to music (especially Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Raising Sand, which everyone liked.) There were no leftovers, which is good because there is no Tupperware here either. I did the dishes, then kicked back, satisfied.

Even if I'm not outside in the snow, of which there is plenty and which I am not so much of a fan of anymore, I'm enjoying having a kitchen and a small army of friends to cook for. And the fact that red beans and rice is the regular Monday night New Orleans dinner, what I'd be having no doubt if we still lived there. And the fact that it's what Smart Wife (who did her first interview today, very proud) and the little family in NC are eating as well. It's a dish that has always implied 'feed your friends' to me and I'm glad everyone dug it. (And I even forgot to get out the sour cream!)


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