Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just a Reminder

Hi Guys,

Just a reminder that I moved my blog domain to

Friday, January 28, 2011


Hi Everyone! I moved my Never a Dull Moment Nikki Blog to ::drumroll please::

Same old awkwardness, brand new name.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Breakfast!

The U.S. 

The UK 

Italy. What? 

Just kidding 

France. For Real. 



Palestine (if you're me...) 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

France: Awkward Bike Moment #6,702

Today while walking through downtown Montpellier, British guy and I watched a woman roll past us on her bike. As she made her way effortlessly across the tram tracks, British guy turned to me with a smirk on his face.

"Look, she didn't fall over." 

Glaring at him, I tried to suppress a smile. 

He was referencing an experience I'd had last summer. I'd just purchased my new-to-me road bike, and I was still getting the hang of, well, riding it. 

I'd hopped on the train with my road bike in Geneva to meet British guy for a weekend of cycling in the mountains around Grenoble. He met me at the station and then we jumped on our bikes to ride back to his apartment. 

Wearing a light summer dress and flimsy sandals, getting on my bike was anything but an elegant affair. With one hand on my dress and my knees clamped together to try and keep the fabric from sliding up, I did my best to keep up with British guy who was whizzing through traffic like some sort of crazed video game character. Crash Bandicoot comes to mind.

Darting around cars and slipping neatly into the small pockets in the mid-day traffic, I was just barely managing to keep up with British guy. And then we started crossing the tram lines. With narrow grooves just wide enough to snag the tire of a road bike, they're a potential hazard for the novice cyclist. 

We cross our first set of tram tracks. No problem.

Second set of tram tracks. No problem. 

British guy turns to me at a traffic light. "You're doing well going over the tram tracks. Sometimes beginners have a difficult time and get their tires stuck in the tracks." 

This hadn't even occurred to me. 

Tram Tracks aka The culprit. 

Third set of tram tracks going through Victor Hugo square. I turn my bike to ride over the tracks and the next thing I know I'm heading straight for the pavement, headfirst and with no time to stick out my arm to brace myself. I can already hear the collective gasp of everyone around me. 

Hitting the ground with a resounding thwack I don't even have time to register what has happened before I'm bounding to my feet and trying to assure everyone in broken French that I'm perfectly alright...I think. Adrenaline is surging through my veins and as British guy wheels his bike around to see what all the commotion is about, all I feel is sheer humiliation. 

I pull my dress down, checking the girls to see that they're still restrained behind the flimsy fabric, and wipe dirt smudges off my face. My hands are covered in grease and all I succeed in doing is smearing grease across my face and dress. My attempts at being sexy are completely and utterly thwarted. I look a mess, am burning red from the shame, and I have a mild concussion to boot. 


British guy helps me drag my bike to the sidewalk. He looks concerned and then amused when he realizes that I'm fine. He helps me to pop the chain back in place and suggests that we walk to a café.

I sit down and British guy follows with a glass of water for me and a coffee for him. I look at him sheepishly.

"I can't believe I fell off my bike in front of the whole town."

British guy grins. "I can." 

Monday, January 24, 2011


Hi Everyone! I moved my Never a Dull Moment Nikki Blog to ::drumroll please::

Same old awkwardness, brand new name.

Friday, January 21, 2011

No really, I do love skiing

I know I gripe a lot about learning how to ski and how awkward, degrading, and embarrassing it is when you spend the better part of the day on your ass with about 80 little kids zigzagging around you as you lie in an awkward position halfway down the slope.

And to tell you the truth, if my skiing experiences consisted solely of resort experiences, I might actually be serious about my griping.

But I'm not. Because my love of backcountry skiing makes it worthwhile.

Yes, I sometimes cry and/or hyperventilate halfway up an icy slope because I'm so afraid I'm going to tumble to my death or--at the very least--an uncomfortable landing.

Yes, I fall often. (I did a front flip the other day. It was impressive.)

Yes, I snowplow down just about everything.

And yes, I had to put my ski crampons on the other day when there was literally no ice around for miles.

But it doesn't matter.

When I slap my skins on my skis in the morning as the sun begins to make its way above the peaks looming above our little chateau, I'm filled with a mixture of excitement and apprehension, knowing that the day will probably be full of all sorts of useful lessons.

 Like this one:

How to do a front flip on skis: 

1. Gain a little bit of speed.
2. Go over a small bump that you were not anticipating.

3. Lean forward suddenly as small bump knocks you off balance.
4. Dig the front of your skis straight into the snow
5. Lurch headfirst into the snow

6. Do a somersault
7. Lie in the snow and wonder why you do this to yourself.
8. Imagine what your more sensible friends are doing. Probably drinking hot chocolate, eating popcorn, and watching Iron Chef on the Food Network.

9. Notice birds singing in the forest nearby.
10. Stare up at the sky and the mountains surrounding you.
11. Take a deep breath and feel grateful you're out there.

Sorry for the poor photo quality.
Forgot my camera cable so can't download any photos till I get home.
 Had to use my iPhone....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Skiing Tips: How to use a Tire-Fesse or a "Pull The Butt"

Tire-Fesse. "Pull The Butt." This is what the French unabashedly call the unruly contraption they use to drag themselves up their pristine mountain slopes. Comprised of a pole attached to a cable with a circular disk at the other end, it is often a source of painfully embarrassing wipe-outs for the uninitiated.

I'm not sure if the Tire-Fesse or Téléski is in universal practice or if the Europeans have invented it for the sole purpose of creating yet one more way for novice skiers to make a spectacle of themselves, but the principle behind it is relatively simple.

I think the reasoning went something like this: Given that novice skiers have so much fun sliding down the slope on their backsides, it is assumed that they will have an equivalent amount of fun being dragged up the slope on their frontside. In front of the entire resort. Et voilà! The Tire-Fesse.

However with some practice and a few useful tips, the art of getting on and off a Tire-Fesse can go from elusive to manageable within a few short degrading and utterly embarrassing wipe-outs.

Take heart, take notes, and hit the slopes with these handy tips!

How to use a Tire-Fesse

1. First, be sure to miss the entrance gate by about 2 feet so that you are forced to awkwardly sidestep with your skis while everyone behind you waits. Alternatively you can shuffle forward while wobbling unsteadily as your skis slip out from underneath you with every step.

2. Next, leave your poles dangling from your wrists until right before you're about to reach out and grab the Tire-Fesse. Then scramble to get the straps over your wrists and both poles in one hand while some five-year old with spiderman goggles and a runny nose keeps scraping forward on top of your skis.

3. Now, with your ski poles in one hand, grab the pole of the Tire-Fesse with the other hand. Attempt to remove it from its slot, wedge the disk between your legs, and bring your skis together in the 15 seconds it takes for the whole contraption to jolt forward, dragging you with it.

4. As you jolt forward unexpectedly, catch your skis on the snow, lose balance and let go of the Tire-Fesse pole with one hand in an attempt to grab your ski poles that you've just dropped. The disk will then pop out from between your knees. Hang onto it while it drags you up the slope. Let go after about 20 feet and then attempt to reclaim your skis, poles, and dignity while the French ski station employees laugh uncontrollably.

5. Ski back down to the entrance of the Tire-Fesse. Repeat steps 1-4.