By Sarah Schrock
The Loup welcomed hundreds of skiers for a joyful post-Christmas opening on Monday, and eager skiers finally got a taste of the sweet sugary powder that finally filled in the doughnut hole. The doughnut hole refers to the nucleus of the winter weather patterns that tend to swirl around us, dumping snow on the surrounding ranges, leaving the Loup high and dry.
It happens quite a lot, in fact. The Kettles, the Kootenays, and west into the Cascades get heaps of snow, and we are tortured to watch it fall from a painfully close distance while a taunting voice whispers to us, “you can look, but can’t touch.” When my city friends and relatives from both sides of the state have been up skiing in the Idaho Panhandle or the Cascades multiple times before us mountain folk, it feels like things in the universe are not quite right. Well, hopefully this new storm system will set things straight.
Still, we continue to loyally check the forecasts on our smart phones and computers, with hopes that the big dump is coming. It feeds our need for information and our collective anxiety over the weather. Since weather is one of those things we can’t control, perhaps following the predictions gives us a little hope and power in an otherwise futile effort.
Power to a futile effort. That would come in handy for New Year resolutions. The New Year resolution tradition is a practice that falls into my futile task category. There are all types of tips and suggestions in the cyber-psychology blogosphere on how to succeed with a resolution. Maybe I could benefit from reading them. Similarly, perhaps I need one those 10 Steps to being a successful person books that litter the self-help section of a bookstore.
Instead I prefer to see it this way: Our culture’s obsession of with self-betterment is a self-serving marketing stroke of brilliance that make us all feel that much more unsuccessful when we realize we haven’t written a self-help book ourselves, and should instead buy a book about how to be a success.
This is not to say there’s no merit in self-improvement and learning from successful people. In fact, I am a fan of self-improvement and goal-setting, but I also think that most New Year resolutions set us up for unnecessary failure that feeds a cultural anxiety that we should be better than we are, fitter than we are, prettier than we are, wealthier than we are and so on. Reinforced through comparing one’s self on social media, TV, and day-to-day “keeping up with the Joneses,” why add another opportunity to feel inadequate? So, when I ask my wise and cautious husband if he’ll make a resolution this year, he always says, “My only resolution is to not make a resolution.” Now, that’s a recipe for success.
And speaking of recipes, as the season of recipe traditions comes to a close, the opportunity for snow-garitas is upon us once again. I thought I’d share a holiday cocktail concoction I made at a Christmas gathering you might care to indulge in for the New Year.
Cranberry Snow-garita cocktail (if you are a non-alcohol drinker, substitute ginger ale for booze):
Cranberry/Orange Simple Syrup – Combine ½-cup fresh cranberries, ½-cup water, ½-cup sugar, and ½-teaspoon fresh orange zest. Boil down until cranberries are soft, add additional water as needed if too thick for syrup. Mash cranberries and simmer for 3 more minutes. Strain out pulp and set syrup aside.
Pack clean snow (or ice) in a tumbler or margarita glass (rim with salt if desired). Pour ¼-cup syrup over snow. Add 2 oz. vodka and splash of bourbon. Garnish with whole cranberries and orange rind. Sip slowly and watch the snowfall as you resolve to not get upset at yourself if don’t follow through on your resolution. Happy New Year!