I give all the credit in the world to the Victorian Aid
Society and Mrs. Camp's Town Ladies and Gents for their commitment to honoring the Victorian age in wardrobe and
But the group that gets my wholehearted admiration is
the Vallecito Nordic Club, which held its first Vallecito Wooden Ski Classic on Feb. 21 on the trails at the
reservoir. Competitors wore vintage garb and tried to make good time on wooden skis.
It was a fundraiser to support the trail-grooming
operations at Vallecito.
The fashions included knickers and skirts, with lots
of wool, leather, wood and bamboo. The ultimate contest wasn't about speed - it was about the outfits. The finest
costume award was won by Connie Wian.
After a bit of preening and modeling, the group took off
on a 5-kilometer race. It was similar to the sport of biathlon, where Durango's Tracy and Lanny Barnesexcel, without a .22-caliber rifle. But instead of shooting, racers had to answer
Nordic trivia questions. Missed one? Take a penalty lap.
The final challenge was eating a peanut-butter cracker
and whistling Yankee Doodle" before crossing the finish line to collapse in a slobbering" heap, just as we saw so
often at the Vancouver games.
Brer Balesmastered all the skills involved with style and grace, finishing
Nicholscame in second with an
inspiring comeback just months after suffering a broken collarbone.
The first woman to glide in was
Beth McMacken, who was perfect on the trivia. She just nipped past world-class
Legner, who skied strongly but
missed one measly question.
Other participants included
Jeff Hammond, Dominic Schiavoneand Rob Cowen.
The biggest challenge of the day was the foot of snow
that stuck to the bottoms of their skis. By the time the entire field had skied, there was a canyon-sized trough
running down the finely groomed trails.
The athletes are now in their official rest period until
next year, which will include more visits to thrift stores on the quest for more cutting edge" wooden skis and cool
Gardenswartz Outdoors and Bouré Sportsware sponsored the
The group plans to hold the event again in 2011, and
those who want to ski on high-tech gear are also welcome.
To learn more about the Vallecito Nordic Club, visit
(There's also information about how to order wooden skis
online on the Web site.)
Already feeling a touch of spring fever for their
birthdays are Michael
Tikalsky, MargaretCopeland, Steve
Tichi, Geo Freitag, David Bishop, Warren Bromanand Susie
Bach and Trinity River Bottom Rambling Breakdown
Fiddling Style were the order of the day at the Music in the Mountains fundraiser Friday. Traditionally held at
Toh-Atin Gallery thanks to the graciousness of Mary Jane Clarkand her children, Jackson Clarkand Antonia Clark, this year
was no exception.
But back to the music, which is the centerpiece of the
Demer, a violist with the
Dallas Symphony for the last 20 years, he also performed for many years with the Music in the Mountains orchestra for
quite some time. (He's taking a few years off from the orchestra.)
But that's just one of his talents. Since he was 16, when he won his first contest, he also has been a well-known fiddler. On Friday, he combined his love of the
aforementioned Bach and fiddling with polka, jazz and assorted other musical genres.
But before he ended on that high note, Demer had
delighted with a medley of traditional American songs with a modern touch, performed the classic Fiddlin' Around,"
played his first arrangement for symphony and fiddler with Cotton Eyed Johan," the blend of fiddling and Bach, and
brought more than one tear to guests' eyes with the theme from Ken Burns' series The Civil War." He calls it a
Scottish lament written by a Jew from the Bronx."
Of course, this event is about raising money to support
the classical music festival that is the highlight of a southwestern Colorado summer.
Calvinand Pat Storyonce again donated their time to auction off private performances by a number of star
performers from the festival. Among the big money names were pianists David Korevaarand Aviram Reichert. One addition to the performers available this year for the first time ever was young
musicians from the Conservatory of Music in the Mountains. That should be a fun party.
The Durango Independent Film Festival donated a couple
of punch passes, and Gary
Derck, the chief executive
officer of Durango Mountain Resort, donated not one, not two, not three, but four adult ski passes for the 2010-2011
Unfortunately, no one went for a weeklong stay in Sun
Valley, Calif., which would have helped support young J.R. Smith, an extremely talented teenager who is studying violin under the auspices of Music in
It takes almost as many volunteers as guests to make
this long-running fundraiser a success. Among Team Toh-Atin were Stuartand Barbara Shore, Nancy Peake, Cindy
It seems as though virtually every board member prepares
an appetizer, including Cissy
Anderson's famous spiced
walnuts. For many years, Doug
Middletonprepared his famous
beef for the event, but this year Fisher took it on. She served it with a superb whipped cream, crème fraîche and
horseradish sauce. Every foodie was talking about it.
There are still a number of pieces and performers
available to be sponsored for the 2010 festival. Call the festival office at 385-6820 or stop by at 1063 Main
For three weeks, I've had an earworm, also known as a
song you just can't get out of your head. It's the Beatles song All You Need is Love," and I'm guessing the only way
I'm going to stop it from running continuously is to write about where it started.
Linda Schott, the dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at
Fort Lewis College, gave a lecture about the Ages and Stages of Love" during the week after Valentine's Day. And of
course, All You Need is Love" was part of the soundtrack to her talk.
Schott presented three main area of love - the
historical perceptions of love; how love is presented in film, music and television; and our misconceptions about
what love really is.
Take a gander at Taylor Swift's A Love Story" music
video, which is available on YouTube. It starts with a look of instant connection, there's no conversation, and the
young couple spends a lot of time in Renaissance-era costumes à la Romeo and Juliet in a castle-like setting. Of
course, there's often a bitter ending to that rapturous beginning, and Schott showed both sides from clips of The
War of the Roses," about a divorce that becomes a no-holds-barred battle.
A social scientist named Helen Fisher has done research
on why we love, and found, in a limited study, that falling in love" is about chemistry - brain chemistry. Three
chemicals, dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, are released into a specific area of the brain and create symptoms
such as focused intention (I can't get him out of my mind."), increased difficulty sleeping, compulsion, excessive
thoughts and all the other symptoms we ascribe to falling in love. They affect the same area as the rush drug users
get from cocaine.
Apparently, the effect usually wears off after 18 months
or two years as the brain becomes accustomed to the chemicals, so Fisher was surprised to find that there are couples
who have been together for many years who say they are still as in love with their partner as they were at the
beginning of their relationship. And yes, the brain is still affected in the same area.
Schott finished by describing some misconceptions we
have created in our culture about love. Among them, we think we have to feel love immediately or we can't love that
person. Love is not the same as the relationship, because relationships are about the practicalities of everyday
life. We think love has to be perfect, and we have to be selfless. But love is actually concerned with self and
self-identity and our willingness to redefine ourselves in relationship to each other. We don't have to be beautiful
to love or be loved, we don't have to be young - in fact, older people may be more successful at love - and there is
no such thing as a soul mate.
Schott left the audience pondering the fact that Spencer
Tracy and Katherine Hepburn are much better role models for love than Romeo and Juliet - particularly if you consider
how the story continues after the credits roll.
She credited Dugald Owen, Colin Smithand Tom Fuhrmarkfor helping
her with her presentation, which she gave as part of the Lifelong Learning Series put on by the Professional
Associates of FLC.
And all this talk about love? Schott is getting married
later this year, having gained a deeper insight into what to expect and how to make love last.
Welcoming a respite from shoveling for their
anniversaries are Lon
Sidney Zinkand Billand Joyce Watt.