Sunday, July 24, 2011
Whenever we go to the beach I always greet them quietly and say a few things. It's just my way, I've done it for 20 years. The tide could be way out and no matter what, when I greet them the tide always seems to come up to me. It always gives me a small comfort, like they are coming up to hug me.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Recently we attended, and happily ate, at our friend's Glen & Sara's rib event "Ribocalypse II: The Ribture". We survived the Rapture and what better way to celebrate than with ribs, grilled corn on the cob, grilled veggies, picnic caviar and a triple berry crisp. Another friend brought the triple berry crisp which was SO delish! It went really well with the homemade peach ice cream Glen & Sara made, I must say!
I made the triple berry crisp last night to share with dear friends. Thanks to Cara providing me the link for the recipe which you can find here!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Based on Little Wonder's Days we color coded ours as such:
Green: All Day
Blue: Half Day
Orange: 3 hours or less
Here is the list we came up with to make our Summer extra fun!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Maggie has ridden her friend Morgie's horse, Coal, a few times now. She looooves to visit and ride Coal. I don't necessarily have the same excitement level she does because I'm slightly intimidated by such a large critter and honestly, my allergies prevent me from getting ga-ga over anything that causes me so much sinus strife.
We were celebrating the summer kick off with a camping trip during opening weekend at Camp Shelly in South Lake Tahoe. We've camped there a few summers now and passed Camp Richardson Corral many times. This year, however, I thought to myself "why not take a trail ride?". We've always talked about checking it out and for some reason I felt that this time was the right time. A lot of changes happening in our lives (Mags to middle school/new school, me being laid off) so it felt like I should embrace something adventurous and new. If you must know, I'm often risk-averse with these sorts of things so deciding to ride a horse for an hour is not exactly momentous for most, but for me it's a step into a larger world.
When we arrived we were able to pet some of the horses. After the ride before us returned we were asked about our level of riding experience. Maggie got a horse named Foxy who was a former barrel runner. Foxy loved to break into a trot for no other reason than she could. One of the ranch hands there asked me my level of experience and I simply told him it had been a while and might as well consider me a greenhorn. He jokingly said my horse would be "Bonecrusher".. hee hee! Chris and I both thought about the scene in Auntie Mame where she has never ridden before but wants to impress her beau - Beuregard Jackson Pickett Burnside ☺ and her nemesis Sally Cato offers Auntie Mame a horse. When the horse is brought up it kicks in the trailer and is going bugnuts. Mame asks Sally what the horses name is and Sally, in her sickly sweet southern drawl, says Meditation.
Turns out my horse was named Two Bit. He was on the smaller side (I'm barely 5'3") and seemed sweet as could be. He was a little late to turn up because he had to take one more "smile break". I immediately identified with Two Bit. I have the smallest bladder in the world and always go (whether I think I have to or not) before embarking on adventure. Yes, in fact, I went TWICE in the span of time we arrived for our ride and saddling up. What of it?!?! I could barely get my foot up into the stirrup (that is QUITE a stretch, isn't it?) and probably made Two Bit uncomfortable trying to hoist my other leg over. Immediately I felt it was a big mistake. I became nervous being so high up and in such an UNCONTROLLED environment. I sought to calm myself immediately remembering that animals sense fear and tried to find peace in the saddle. Chris was taking photos and before I knew it we were off! He had to run up and hand me the camera, but I thought "how the hell am I supposed to hold the reins, grip this knob thingy for dear life and take photos?" Oh dear... I was in over my head.
I did attempt to take a photo of Maggie who was right behind me on Foxy, but only once. I was chanting in my head "where the head goes the body follows" and kept forward-facing most of the time. I was immediately behind the two guides, but one peeled off to bring up the rear.
Cody, our main guide, was a real cowboy, no joke. He was really cool, collected and had a slow-drawl. Cody rode a horse named Fat Boy. Immediately I think of the ice cream treat and love his name. Not to be indelicate, Fat Boy had a big arse. He was aptly named. The Sir Mixx Alot song "Baby Got Back" sprung to mind. You can take the girl out of Stockton.... Anyhoo, Back to Cody - he was wearing a plaid shirt like all the other ranch hands, but his cowboy hat just seemed to fit perfectly, not like a costume prop. He had leather gloves sticking out of his back pocket which seemed real cowboy-y to me for some reason. I had seen him earlier fixing a floor board on the porch and smoking a cigarette later around the horses. On the trail he had chew tucked in his lip and every now and then he'd spit off to the side. Normally smoking and chew gross me out, but something about it gave to the full experience and if I was in a brawl, I'd want Cody in my corner as he seemed like one BAMF.
All was well as we rode along and I tried to gain my confidence. The whole time I kept giving Two Bit pats near the mane telling him "good boy". Cody told me that Two Bit is good on the trail and will just plod along but if I wanted to try second gear to give him two hard kicks in the side. OMG... KICK a beautiful animal? I was so reticent to do this. I know that in the grand scheme of things Two Bit wouldn't really feel much, but the mere thought of kicking an animal kind of made me weak in the knees. I attempted it, but gingerly and Cody urged me on so I gave Two Bit two hard kicks and held on for dear life. I felt like I might bounce right off and if ever there was a time to feel some fear, surely now was appropriate. Two Bit caught up to Cody and Fat Boy and stopped. Did I mention yet how when I heard Two Bit's name I went all Stockton again and thought "Fiddy Cent"? Yeah, I don't know why, but it was rattling in my head making me giggle. At one point Two Bit stopped dead. I wasn't sure what was happening and in a couple of heartbeats I considered kicking him. So I gently kicked and nothing happened. Then Maggie told me that he was going #1. HAA!!! Glad I didn't kick harder. Nothing would upset me more than someone walking in on me going tinkle and kicking me. Finally Two Bit resumed his walk.
Behind me Maggie and Foxy were getting on fine and every now and then I'd hear Maggie giggle as I heard Foxy's pace quicken to a trot. There were two others in our group a mum and her 6yr old from Wales. The 6yr old, Lily, rides every weekend. I was feeling outclassed by a 6yr old for sure. In my head I just kept repeating toes up, heels down to keep my balance. I felt totally off kilter the whole time. Then... it happened... Fat Boy stopped short to presumably use the loo, but was taking FOREVERRRRRR. Now I'm thinking about Morty Ballstein in Zoolander trying to go to the loo. Apparently Two Bit was bored and nudged Fat Boy in the bum with his head, he may have even nipped him, but I couldn't see too well. When that didn't work, Two Bit turned around and trotted off of the trail right into the forest because he saw something tasty to snack! Holy crap!!!! What am I supposed to do now?!?! Though, full respect to Two Bit cos I'm a girl who loves to eat (check two - another thing in common).
Cody, ever the cool bad ass, just tells me to direct him with the reins, pull up and kick. He also says keep a firm grip on the reins as Two Bit is known for doing this.. he likes to test and will shake the reins out of his riders hands freeing himself from control to graze as he pleases. He says all of this so casually like this was not a crisis situation. Meanwhile I'm mildly freaking out in the saddle. I take a breath to calm myself, pull left on the reins, up and kick hard. Two Bit and I are back on the trail - huzzah! Meanwhile, that fat ass Fat Boy didn't even squeeze out a drop in that whole 4 minutes of mild terror!!! Cody explains that Two Bit is actually pretty wily for his size and people often underestimate him. They refer to him as "Small, but mighty". Hmm.... okay check 3, Two Bit. You and I are really starting to feel like a perfect match. Even though I'm not exactly confident now, once I do get footing in something I tend to be mildly cheeky as well. Often, people don't know the might inside of me unless I'm pushed.
So onward we go... up, up and up the trail where we get a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe. Cody is kind enough to offer to take a picture of Maggie and I on Foxy and Two Bit with our camera. He has to keep a wary eye on Fat Boy who has a proclivity for running off. Cody tells me he's had to walk back to the ranch at least once. Cody positions us so we're blocking Fat Boy in behind us a bit. Hopefully this keeps him in check. ☺
The rest of the ride is enjoyable and I'm finally feeling more comfortable with this new situation and lack of perceived control. Two Bit grazes me up against a pine tree and my left knee gets smashed between him and the bark - OUCH. Hey Two Bit, I thought we were friends! We begin our descent back to the ranch and instead of staying on the trail he trots right into the forest again, deeper this time and as I look back toward the trail it's nothing but pine tree and a wall of a manzanita. He begins munching again and Cody, once more, urges me to direct and kick. I yank up hard on the reins, but Two Bit doesn't stop his incessant snacking. As he leans farther down I start to feel like I'm going to go ass over teakettle over the front. Cody tells me to REALLY yank up hard and show him who's boss! I take a deep breath, yank up hard and kick him. Uh oh.. now we're heading right into that wall of pines and manzanita and I quickly adjust the reins when I spot a decent hole out. Back on the trail. ☺
We make it back and I hop off, Two Bit now bellied up to the bar (trough). I give him a pat, take his photo and he gives me a sidelong glance as I depart. Mags and I waited for Chris a few minutes. He took Darwin down to the beach to play while we were on the trail. Did I tell you that Darwin HATES horses?
Chris comes back and just before we leave I notice Two Bit is back at his spot on the posts to rest. I tell Chris about Two Bit who was busy scratching his eye on the fence post and when he heard my voice he stopped and turned toward me and then came around to where I was. I reached out to stroke his muzzle. He leaned in and closed his eyes. We stayed like that for a while. Eventually, I asked Chris to get a photo with Two Bit and me before we go.
Two Bit reminded me a lot about myself on our ride. Not just the constant-bathroom breaks or love of eating, but with my recent layoff I was feeling adrift and helpless, out of control. Also, by the way when you get right down to it.. it's PERCEIVED control, because nothing is really ever in our control. Two Bit taught me it's okay to meander and be out of control. He taught me that when I feel small, I can dig deep and be mighty. Two Bit reminded me to trust my instincts and believe in myself. He reminded me to just pull up on the reins (not just a clever saying, now I know what it means literally and figuratively) and KICK!!!!!!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
It is time for reflection and soul-searching. This year I will turn 40 so I have some existential musings going in my head. So far I only know what I do NOT want to do with the bulk of my weekday breathing hours. Hopefully the proverbial windows will open now that this door is shut and a path will shine before me so that I may travel upon it.
I guess I still have to figure out what I want to be when I grow up ☺
The recipe - MOM'S BISQUICK COBBLER originated from Cooks.com. I used fresh cut up white peaches (4) and also added ground cinnamon and ground cardamom to my cut up peaches, incorporated and let them sit for about 20 minutes before adding to the cobbler and baking.
Below is my augmentation of the original recipe.
Andie's Bisquick Cobbler
- 2T butter
- 1C Bisquick
- 1/2C sugar
- 1/2C milk
- 3C (4 medium) white peaches
- Ground cinnamon to taste
- Ground cardamom to taste
Turn oven to 375°F.
Cut up peaches. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to peaches, mix and let rest for 20 minutes.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 8 x 8 inch baking dish.
Mix Bisquick, sugar, and milk. Pour over melted butter. Spoon fruit over.
If using canned peaches, pour on some of the juice also.
Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.
Couldn't have said it better....
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it. (Edith Wharton)
Toy impresario, wonder aficionado, avid shoe-wearer)