Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

Some seven years ago I was introduced to the author Diana Gabaldon and her "Outlander" series by a barn manager who was, quite simply, in love with these books and more pointedly, one of the central characters, (and I do mean in love...much to her husbands dismay! Though I do wonder if her husband would have instead been greateful of Gabaldon's creation, had he known how often he'd reaped the benifits....or oats (so to speak) of his wife's abject fantasies!

What is Outlander about? I'm not going to tell you. *sticks out tongue* So there! Okay, I'll provide a link, here, and you can check it out yourself.

As much as I may love this series (And I do! They are undoubtedly my favorite novels of all time) I doubt that many of you would enjoy them as much as I did (beyond the first, "Outlander"). And so instead of recommending these novels to the reader, I'll recommend the reader for the novel.

These books are not for just anyone.

Oh no!

These are for the reader who:

Relish in long running and detailed accounts of the history and humanities of Scotland and America in the mid to late 18th century: The customs, folklore, medicine, dress, social structure, oddities and daily struggles of everyone from Scottish Lairds to French Kings.

Do not shy from reading, (in horrific detail) the practises of torture, sodomy, surgery, war, guts, blood, killing, sex, and everything and anything in between, (including the use of maggots and magic in the practise of medicine, the amputating of a leg (without the benefit of sedation), brutal public executions, childbirth, rape etc. etc. etc.) These books are not for the faint of heart.

Do not shy from reading, (in glorious detail)- the beauty of a Scottish moor; the drum of rain on a cottage rooftop; the scent and sounds of a forest blooming in Spring; or, (in equally rich detail) the words of adoration a man whispers while making love to his wife.... her many sounds, scents and blooming wonders.

Those interested in examining the many constructs of human nature- good, evil, morality, loyalty, jealousy, seduction, forgiveness, innocence, faith, fate, hate and above all, love. These books are for the philosopher.

Any those who wish to explore the depth and breadth of love, loyalty, respect and friendship that can exist between a husband and wife...of that which binds them together and that which can so easily tear them apart- Domination, submission, passion, pain and blame and ultimately, forgiveness. These books are for the romantic.

To explore: Honor, Morality, Religion, Woman's Rights, Family Ties, Blood Lust, Vengeance, Mortality, War; and all the varies forms and challenges each present.

The story line(s) are complex, multi-layered, intricate and sometimes difficult to follow (if you are like me and have trouble remembering the names and identities of (what seems to be) a hundred or more characters... at once!) These books are for the inquisitive mind.

Like action? Fighting, Fugitives, Pirates, Mohawks, and Muuurrrrder *said in a sinister Scottish accent* These novels are for the adventure seeker.

These books are heavily researched. Gabaldon weaves real life historical figures (the likes of Charles Stewart and General Howe) into the fabric of her story and into the lives of her fictional characters and then neatly tucks them all together in to the pages of written history- the American Revolution, The '45 and World War II. These books are both entertaining and educational, filled with satirical humor, plenty of sharp tongued wit and page-turning plot twists.

Does this series not sound just wonderful? Oh, but they are! If you like that sort of thing (which I do). And, if you've made it thus far in this post, you just might think so too! Try the first novel, "Outlander". I double dog dare you! While I'd in no way refer to these books as "light" in subject or in size (the hardcovers weigh a bloody ton!) I would refer to them as, quite simply, brilliant! *said in a Scotts accent, of course*

Sunday, September 27, 2009

*Whoop!* (in the middle of Costco)

Today I went *whoop!* in the middle of Costco! And then I did a little happy dance and went running up to my Mom and pulled on her sleeve, bouncing from foot to foot, giggling like a four-year-old that just found one of those bouncy balls they used to sell in big bins and the supermarket.... speaking of which... why don't you see balls like that anymore? You know the ones that are all different colors, about the size of a soccer ball? Maybe they are still there, I just don't notice them anymore (or relentlessly haggle my Mom until she buys me one.)

Either way my proverbial bouncy ball was the seventh book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon called "An Echo In The Bone". I cant say what it is exactly about these books that I love so much but needless to say I was ecstatic to unexpectedly find it for sale in Costco.

I will do a post on my obsession with the Outlander series sometime this week... I would now.... but I have.... umm... lots and lots of "work" to do.... *wink*

Have any of you read this series? If so, are you going to read this seventh book?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Life's Mementos

DB and I have spent the past week cleaning, junking, organizing and packing our house up. Are we moving? Not necessarily. Maybe. We're not quite sure yet. We'll see... *insert frustrated groan* But we decided it was best to get ready, just in case. We've lived here for eight and half years but never really settled in or made the place our own. Why is it that it is not until you are getting ready to leave that you finally get everything just the way you want it? Murphies Law, I guess.

Sorting through life's "stuff" can be so cathartic...but it can also be emotionally taxing....

How can I let go of that hand written recipe of my Poppie's...even if it is for a minced liver dumpling...and I gag at the very thought of liver. I sit there and hold it in my hand and think of how how he must have sat at the kitchen table at our old family home.... and picked up one of his pencils (complete with teeth marks circa 1967) and written out this recipe in in that distinct big block lettering that somehow says everything about who he was? How can I throw that a way? On the other hand, how can I justify packing around those thousand of little momentous, the little bits and pieces of paper, rocks, ticket stubs and books that make up a life's history?...

The answer is that sometimes you have to make tough decisions and cut the proverbial fat...With that being said there are a few things I am having a bit of trouble with...
Like this.....
That is my bedside table. And yes, as a matter of fact, that is a beer bottle next to my alarm clock. No, I am not an alcoholic nor am I obsessed with Kokanee ("Its the beer out here"). It is just, that bottle is the last one from my Poppie's fridge. That deep brown bottle with the bright blue label has been sitting in that spot for two years now. I had planned on driving down to my Pop's favorite spot by the river and drinking it one day. But I never did because I didnt realize (being a non-drinker) that beer doesn't last forever...or even for like, a year.
And now I've waisted my Poppie's last bottle of beer (which I know he'd be royally pissed about) and yet I still just cant quite bring myself to throw it away.

Are you a sentimental fool like me? Or are you like DB and view those little mementos as nothing but a bunch of annoying "junk"?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Are You Fat In The Head?

After a VERY long day's work (DB and I junked a 1000 square foot garage plus a major part of our house) we headed out for supper at one of our favorite restaurants where we were happy to find that our regular waitress was back from a months long vacation (we were thrilled to see both her friendly face and her amazing carrot cake!! :). Both DB and I were surprised to see how much weight she had lost while she was away (I'm guessing 30 pounds) and of course I had to ask, "What is your secret?" I was expecting to hear that she had joined Jenny Craig or maybe started some fad diet and so was surprised when she sarcastically replied, "The Pepsi Diet!"....

I laughed and said, "What?" And so she explained how she used to be a total Pepsi junky, drinking well over six cans a day (which added up to over 900 calories), and how a few months ago she had switched to Diet Pepsi. This sudden exclusion of such a huge chunk of calories quickly showed in a weight loss of ten pounds! Inspired, she started cutting out some other major offenders in her diet like her favorite muffins (450 calories a piece) and the multiple chocolate bars she used to eat in one sitting.

What I found really interesting was that when I commented on how tiny she now looks she said, "You know, I dont feel "skinny”....I just feel like me. I've been overweight for nearly 11 years but I've never been fat in my head. I was a skinny kid and young woman and never really battled my now I just feel normal."

That one sentence, "I've never been fat in my head" really struck a cord in me. In that moment I realized that I have been fat in my head for well over 15 years....even when I was technically my ideal weight (or below).

A few years ago, I had the most peculiar epiphany... one that forever changed the way I viewed myself. Wanna hear what it was? Too bad, your gonna!

You see I had just finished a successful yoga session. I LOVE yoga! (But only after a month of doing it. The first month is brutal. Horrible. Painful. Totally not fun at all! But after a month it (sometimes less) it becomes amazing and deeply satisfying. The reason it takes a month to get to the point where I really enjoy it is because (for me) in order to get the full benefit of yoga I must approach it as both a physical and spiritual exercise. When I say "spiritual" I mean my soul, essence, spirit, etc. not the worship of some divinity outside of myself.... anyways, what I love about Yoga is that moment where you become keenly away of your breath and body...your mind is quiet, but at work, acutely aware of every muscle but also in a semi state of meditation, your deep core burns with heat and you can feel your blood pump through every nerve of your body. It is amazing! But when you are out of shape, inflexible and unbalanced, it is really hard to focus on anything but the "Oh-dear-god-I'm-going-to-die-if-I-hold-this-pose-for-another-second", the burning sensation in my quads, my pathetically flat "downward dog" and the distinct possibility that attempting "proud warrior" might land me flat on my ass....All of which is rather distracting from the whole mediation, inner peace, quiet mind, etc. etc. etc..

Anyways, this one day I had just finished a good, productive yoga session and was laying in "relaxation pose", still blissfully content, utterly at peace and totally attuned to my "inner self" when suddenly I realized that the body I had been so attentively listening to- that slow and steady pulse in my neck, that warmth emanating from my belly... that flushed pink hand laying so quietly across my breast, rhythmically rising and falling with the long and deep flow of my breathe- was something entirely and wholly separate from the spirit, essence, soul, whatever-you-may-call-it.... and that being was, somehow, me! I was not my body. I lifted my hand and watched the sun play across the skin of my wrist, marveling at it’s sparkly luster, at the branching forks of blue blood in my veins....I watched as my hand moved through the air as if conducting an orchestra to the beat of my heart and at that moment I realized that my body was beautiful, but also, that it was not me.

And no, I did not eat any funny mushrooms… smoke a funky smelling cigarette…. or take any little blue pills before starting my Yoga exercises....or writing this post.

Given that, I expect you are wondering what all of this hippy-dippy mumbo jumbo has to do with my being fat in the head?

Well, what I learned in that moment was that there is, in a sense, two parts to "myself"- the physical and the spiritual- my body and my soul. What I had never stopped to consider was that these two parts might not be mutually exclusive in feeling or function. I could be fit, but fat in the head; fat in the body, but fit in the head; or fat in both.... regardless of what the scale may read. I realized that changing the way I look will not change the way I feel. I also realized why I am so incredibly embarrassed about my weight around certain people. I knew it wasn't about the way I looked and yet I couldn't quite define the way I felt, except to say that it feels like someone had stamped my deepest darkest secret right there on my forehead for all to see and judge. I realize now that my obsession with becoming slim or fit was my desire to recreate a facade to keep people from seeing the fat person inside.

With that being said, I'd like to define "fat". Fat is not number. It is not your body mass index, flat abs or a lack of cellulite. Fat is the feeling of being tired, of heaviness, of discomfort. Fat is not being able to hike, run, play or ride the way I'd like to. Fat is clothes not fitting right, of back aches and chub rub! And fat doesn’t feel good to that inner self either. Fat does not feel strong, healthy, able, alive and well. Fat is not wholesome. Fat is failure, weakness, insecurity, dysfunction. Fat is not a number.

Ironically enough one of my favorite jokes is, "Inside of my is a skinny woman just dying to get out.... but I can usually shut the bitch up with cookies."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poll Questions

So often I've gone to post a poll but chickened out at the last minute...I think to myself, "Don't do it, Chelsi...they are going to think you are *gasp* weird! So I dont. But it doesn't stop my brain from thinking up countless questions.

Do you ever find that while you are going about your daily chores (like making the bed) out of no where this little voice pops in to your head and says, "I should post a poll and ask all of those folks out in blogger land if they make their bed first thing in the morning! I wonder how many of them dont....and if they dont, do they wait till the evening or just not do it at all?"

Weird, right?

Oh but it doesn't stop there! "Do you tuck your sheets in or leave it hanging out? How often do you wash your sheets? Do you keep the dish soap out on the counter or tuck it away out of sight? Do you get self serve or full serve at the gas station? Do you watch TV before bed?"

Sometimes my questions are more philosophical... like "Are all men incapable of multitasking?" "When did you decide you wanted children?" "Which did you enjoy more, your 20s or 30s? "

But mostly it is the mundane aspects of life that I wonder about... "Do you have a girl friend who you talk on the phone with once (or more) a day? Do you get manicures bi-monthly? Toothpaste cap or off? Do you get dressed out of your "house clothes" to go to the grocery store? Do you even have "house clothes" or do you get dressed for the day and that's it? Am I the only one in the world you feels like I'm getting gouged by the toilet paper companies?

Isn't it funny how the "blogger" side of your brain views the world around you from the sideline, piping up every so often to say, "This, this I have to put on my blog!"

Am I weird?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Are you a TwiHard?

Urban dictionary defines a "Twihard" as:

An serious/obsessive reader of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, one leap above Twilighters.

(I think it is safe to say that this person is a TwiHard)

(While this person is clearly NOT a TwiHard .... sorry)


(I pared down my favorites from a list of 41. Click here for complete list)

1 You dream of going to Forks, or living in Forks.
2 It's sick, but you wish Vampires totally existed so you can marry one.
3 When you grow up, one of your kids is going to be named Edward.
4 Your expectations on boys has suddenly shot through the roof.
5 You dream of driving a red 1953 Chevy Pickup
6 You hate how Edward has a fattish, hairy chest while Jacob has a six pack.
7 If you could have one wish, it would be that you were Bella. .
8 You have considered sprinkling glitter on your future/husband so you can pretend your with Edward.
9 You have seen a silver Volvo parked outside a store, and have either taken a picture with it and/or gone inside the store and look for Edward.
10 At Italian restaurants, you have ordered mushroom ravioli and a coke.
11 You are willing to read Wuthering Heights, since both Edward and Bella have read it.
12 You've tacked Cullen on to the end of your first name... just to see how it sounded.
13 You've Photoshopped yourself & made yourself really pale, given yourself golden eyes, and bruises underneath your eyes.
14 You enjoy criticizing every aspect of the Twilight movie, since you know they are only taking out your favorite quote/scene just to annoy you.
15 You felt betrayed when you found out Edward would drive a hatchback instead of the s60 r.

Which # are you guilty of ???

(or you can answer #16- I hate Twilight)

I am guilty of #12! ...ok... maybe a few more too *hangs head in shame* Come on! I fessed up!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ride The River In Your Horse

I'd like to recommend an article written by a clinician named Chris Irwin called "Feel the River in Your Horse" that was featured in Saddle Up magazine a few months back.

It is about a clinic Irwin did in Germany wherein he demonstrated his ideas of how to channel the energy within a horse much as the banks of a river channel the flow of water- threw the path of least resistance. He actually uses a line of four people to simulate the "sections" of a horse and long lines them around an arena in an attempt to show how even we are subject to the same natural instincts that govern the flow of energy within our horses. He suggests that riders, "dont tell a horse where to go by pulling on the reins in the direction you want to go-you tell a horse where to go by using your legs and reins to block off the directions that you dont want to go."

A good read! Check it out.

What was that you said?

What does the 1991 movie 'The Man In The Moon' (starring a 15-year-old Reece Witherspoon) have to do with the Chris Irwin article?

Why I'm glad you asked.

Because that was, *insert bratty 13-year old voice* like my favorite movie ever!

And it just happened to be on TV last night.

And I just wanted to point that out... even though it has nothing at all to do with horses. In fact it doesn't even have a horse in it, despite being set on a farm in 1957.

Ahh... the good ol' 1950s...

Of course, I wasn't born in the '50s so really aught not to be nostalgic about that era.... but I am.

Because I love that the daughters in this movie call their father "Sir" ....and that the Dad still cared enough to put the fear of God into the cocky young man who came to take his daughter out on a date...

but then I also love that the Dad was played by the guy with the bushy eyebrows on Law & Order...

I'm just weird that way, I guess.

Anyone seen it?

Monday, September 14, 2009

How my Sister Tried to Kill Me...

My sister tried to kill me today. Okay...not really...but at times I thought I was going to die and it was her who forced me to keep going... Okay, I was willing...just not necessarily able. You see she took me on a hike today...

A hard hike!

A steep hike!

A long hike!

I used to hike a lot. Way back when... long before my computer chair and my ass became best friends....

Did I mention I almost died? Or that despite the pain, sweat, and shaky knees I loved every minute of it..... Not just for the quality of company (I adore my sister) but because of the view, the forest, the cool misty air of the mountains and the sweet earthy smell of the soil beneath our feet....

(Above: My sister took this picture. I love it. I also love the way she said, "Look at the 'widdle mushrooms! Awww! They's sooo cute!" (note: My sister can speak English correctly....she just likes to baby talk odd mushrooms, slugs and caterpillars...)

(Above: We parked next to the river you see at the bottom of this valley...just for a little perspective on the elevation of this hike...and this was actually pretty early in...)

(Above: You also get an idea of the grade (14.5% average grade) and some of the great old growth Firs!)

(Above: But check out this tree!! It is hanging upside down! And it was huge! That is the root system you see at the top and a great big boulder wedged at the top that appeared to be keeping it from sliding down the mountain! The trail was so steep I couldn't get back far enough for a good shot but this tree was massive!)

It was hard to get a shot of some of the steepest sections. At this particular moment I stopped to take a keep from crying. Or dying...
But the reward was worth the effort. This gorgeous waterfall at the top was just spectacular! Far more impressive than what shows in these pics. It was hard to get a good shot because the look-out was so close to the actual falls that if I got any closer my lens would become totally covered in droplets from the mist in just a few seconds.

The below picture of Hunter and Buddy remind me of the classic kid movie Homeward Bound...

I set my camera up on a stump and managed to get one good shot of my sister and I and the dogs. Poor Hawkydog couldn't come because the hike down would have been too hard on his back but Hunter and Buddy both had a ball.

This is a shot from across the river in the valley looking up at the mountain side and the falls we had just hiked. The trail head is just out of the shot to the right...

I have to thank my Sis for kicking my butt and getting me out the door and up the mountain. I forgot how much I loved being deep in the woods and the sense of accomplishment that you feel both at the top and at the bottom of a mountain. It was a great day! The drive home wasn't to shabby either....

I do love you Eesha! But I'm not going to like you until I can walk again.
Your Sista!
Hope you all had a great weekend.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hawky Fatty No More!

Back in November I did a post about my dog, Hawk's weight problem. You see, Hawky has a spinal disease that limits his exercise...that, combined with a very hardy natural disposition (he really is big boned!) led to a weight problem that simply got out of hand.

At peak form (and as a younger dog) Hawk weighed in between 62-65 pounds- the perfect weight for a dog of his size and stature...

But in October of last year we discovered that Hawk's weight had ballooned to 83 pounds!! That is fat, fat fat! And not in a good "phat" kind of way either. So late last year we got started on The Great Hawkydog "Lifestyle Change".... Okay, we didnt call it that. But you get my point... the dog was put on a strict diet!

At first Hawky was convinced that we were trying to starve him to death....actually, I believe he is still of that opinion...


After a very long and very hungry summer our efforts were finally rewarded...

Last week Hawky went in to the vets be weighed and walked out a happy dog...

Guess how much weight we dropped off the big blue bugger?

13 POUNDS!!!!

Hawky now weighs 69 pounds! Sweet!

I wish I weighed 69 pounds!

Okay, not really...

But still.

I need to turn my strict dog feeding program into a strict Chelsi feeding program.


I'm hungry.

Cupcake anyone?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Equine Information Overload

This evening I was flipping through one of those local free equine industry know the type- an assortment of articles on training and health, as well as a smattering of local club updates, events calenders, horses for sale and other equine related product advertising. Here in the Northwest we have Equine Connections, Saddle Up, The Northwest Horse Connection and a few others. Whenever I pick up these magazines I always intend to read the articles but inevitably I end up flipping through, looking at the pictures and products, the horses for sale and such but never really giving the informative articles more than a cursory glace before guiltily turning the page. I have a LOT to learn about all aspects of horse care and riding... loads, heaps, oodles... but sometimes I just get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information we, as horsemen, are expected to know, learn, or care about...

Do you ever get tired of it? Do you ever just step back and say..."Yes, I realize that it is important for me to be able to recognize the signs of blindness, but heaven help me I just dont give a shit!" Is it really necessary for me to read the university study on "Feeding the Senior Horse" when my mare is only six? Why do I feel like I'm a horrible horsemen when I flip past the "Seven Signs of Laminitis" to check out that hot pink Pro Choice saddle pad on page six?

I know I'm not always the sharpest tool in the shed but really, why is it that I've been reading and learning about horses since I was a little girl but I still feel like a complete imbecile every time I flip open a horse magazine?

Is there any end to what we must learn? From founder to farriers, feed to foals... geldings to groundwork, gut sounds to gymkhanas...artificial aids to a.i.... shall I go on?

How about balking....
base narrow
base wide
bell boots

And that's just the "b"s!!

I want to learn more about horses...really! I do! I just sometimes resent the feeling that if I dont know (or *gasp* dont care) that makes me a bad horseman...

Am I alone?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Was' up?

I am sorry I've not been posting much know when your brain feels like sludge? Everything is out of focus and gray around the edges.... Where just writing a simple sentence feels like doing a complicated math problem? Well, thats me this week. I have at least a half dozen "draft" posts tucked away here but have been unable to apply myself to finishing any of them. Some are on my obsession with horses for sale on the Internet...a habit that is growing worse by the day...while some are on my family, dog and home.... I should finish one... no doubt it'd be better than this dribble...

But instead I'll simply write this...

How are you?

LOL... I'm not being facetious. For most people this week is significant as we all make the transition between summer to fall, vacation to work, holidays to school, etc. It can be hectic, crazy, consuming, or for some of us (like me) just a week like any other...

Are you excited about the coming season? Or dreading it? Do you wish we could turn the clock back to June or are you ready for some change?

Me, I'm at a very odd place in my life where I really don't know in the heck to do with myself. I should write (which I haven't in months), do some portraits, research schools and programs, pick a career, move, start an exercise program... etc. etc. etc. But instead, I want to go take a hot bath and snuggle up with a good book and just tune the world out. *sigh*

So, what's up 'wich you?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Resale Horses

I think I must be sick. Or deranged. Or at the very least totally out of tune with reality. There is simply no other explanation for why, after seven years of repeating the same cycle over and over again I cant get it through my thick skull not that there is....

No money to be made in horses....


....there I go.

I cant let go of this idea that I want to buy and sell horses for profit. The problem with this idea is that every time I have sit down and equate the costs involved in such a venture I end up with...well... no profit... especially if I take in to account such things as vet, farrier, taxes, gas, hauling, board, advertising, and such. Never to be deterred by logic, I've devised all sorts of strategies to avoid the reality that there is much, much easier and more reliable ways to make money in the world than to buy the ever fragile, undependable and unpredictable horse and sell it to the ever undependable, unpredictable and fickle horseman.

I've come up with all sorts of schemes and strategies, the most feasible of which has been to focus on the baby boomer reriders... these honest, unassuming and funlovin' folks are some of the only in the equine industry that dont seem to mind spending a good dollar to get what they want...which is generally very pretty, midsized, colored, mildly aged and dead broke quarter horse geldings. I know of a few brokers who specialize in such horses and they seem too, as best as I can tell, make some money at it.... however... there, with the work broker, I stumble in to a stereotype that most wish to avoid....

Of course my intention would be to gain a reputation of integrity, honest dealing and of standing behind the horses I sell..which would of course be nothing but good minded, sound, and reliable horses. Did I mention that I am totally out of tune with reality right? Good. Because we all know that no one, and I mean no one can escape the wrath of The Crazy Folk.... Yes, these godforsaken people exist in every industry but it seems that the horse world is particularly good at turning out the craziest of the crazies- especially when it comes to buying and selling horses...And of course, Murphy's Law, the Crazies are a gossiping breed, easily aggravated, highly sensitive to any slight- imagined or not- and bent on sparing the world from ever doing business with anyone who falls in their disfavor. In other words... I think it is improbable, if not impossible to maintain a flawless reputation in the horse industry not matter how determinedly one may try.... but I digress.

I just wish that there were some way to make a living out of horses.

Surely some must do it? You know, actually make money... out of... breeding, training, and reselling horses! ... is it possible when you are not independently wealthy to begin with? Are these people making a living or merely supplementing their income? Paying their habit? or are they too dropping dollars in to the vast and seemingly bottomless abyss which is the cost of keeping horses.

So why, if I have such a pessimistic view of the industry, do I have a half dozen horses in my favorites right now that I'd buy simply because I think they are worth more than their asking price, if marketed correctly? Because, I have not let logic, reason or reality temper my dream that one day, some how, some way, it will be possible to make a living with horses.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rachel Alexandra Beats the Boys...AGAIN!!

Well, she's done it again. Rachel Alexandra, the filly who won the second leg of the Triple Crown, (the Preakness) has cemented herself as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, racing Thoroughbred filly of all time by becoming the only filly to win the Woodward Stakes...and she did it as a three-year-old against a field of more mature four-year-old (and older) boys! The call is pretty darn exciting...

Silent Saturday

Thursday, September 3, 2009

DB's "B" Day Road Trip

On Tuesday evening DB and I took off for a little road trip to celebrate his forty-*ehem* birthday! While DB and I have done more than a few road trips around California, Nevada, and Arizona we've never ventured further than an hour North in our own fair province! I've spent quite a bit of time in the Interior of British Columbia but DB hasnt been since he still wore aviator glasses and a mullet...needless to say, this trip was overdue.

We started out by heading East towards a wine growing desert town named Osoyoos which is on the border between BC and the Eastern region of Washington State....however, we never made it to Osoyoos. When DB and I arrived in Princeton, population 2687 and we discovered that they dont have a McDonalds (*gasp*)! DB was suprisingly freaked out...(either that or by a group of rather frightening looking locals gathered at the A&W) and asked that I please deliver him, as quickly as possible, to the nearest city with a Starbucks. Poor DB is no country boy... And so it was decided that Osoyoos (in all it's 4963 resident glory) could safely be skipped in favor of reassuringly populated Penticton (pop. 43,300) where DB would presumably be safe from any small-town-okies Tuesday night lynching party.

We travelled along a dark and lonesome highway for some time when ahead we spotted the distant lights of a fruit stand and a little orchard town named Keremeos. As we stepped out of the car I was surprised by the warmth and strength of the was like when you step off a plane and finally feel the air of some place tropical...there is something magical about that feeling that at once makes you feel a million miles from home. Anyways, I grabbed my camera and headed into the fruit stand to find a little snack of local peaches, apples, plums, and so much more....

I actually took a lot more pictures but these stood out.... The cukes that freaked me out a little...I cant quite say why....

DB fell in love when he saw there selection of chili peppers....

And I loved the bright color of these yellow tomatoes....

We left Keremeos behind with the feeling that, for the first time since leaving home...and actually, the first time in a number of years, that we were out on some great adventure, footloose and fancy free! I LOVE a road trip!

We spent the night in Kelowna, the largest city in the Interior, and thankfully equipt with not one, but many Starbucks:) In the morning we toured around town and found a lookout over the west side of the city looking out of Okanagan Lake....

We then headed over to the West side of the lake to the field where my old gelding Rocky was boarded (at least for at least for a number of years after I sold him). The last time I went to see Rocky I believe he was about 23 (we were born the same year).... so I didnt know if he would still be alive, even if he were still boarded at the same place....

This was as close as I could get to the section of field where the horses where. For a long time I thought that the gelding towards the back fence was my Rocky but after about ten minutes I realized that the front left sock was far to short. I tried not to be disappointed when I left without seeing him....after all Rocky would be 27 today so I knew when I went up there that the chances were slim... but I had to try... I also had to choke back tears as we drove away.

Thankfully, the next stop was sure to put a smile on my face. We visited this restored cabin at Quails Gate Winery. I swear this house is straight out of my dreams....

More on Sarah's House next post!

Next we went over to Mission Hill's Winery which is world renowned for both it's wine and the architecture of it's estate....

There is a restaurant on site (the long awning on the left of the above picture) but we decided to head back to Quail Gate as it's restaurant's menu was more to our taste and they had an equally stunning view of the lake and vineyards....

They actually had even prettier gardens... (the baskets do not show well in these pictures but I swear they were the largest I'd ever seen, probably eight feet round.)

Another look at the view over the vineyards...

The meal was so simple and yet just as delicious as can be. We started with:

A beet salad: Sweet and tender baby beets, fromage frais (creme fresh), on a bed of macro greens with a raspberry vinaigrette that was very light....the greens gave crunch to the tender beets and added acidity while the cheese gave a creamy touch without competing with the other flavors.

Did I mentioned the bread? Oh heavens! Even the bread was to die for!

I had the Halibut and it was devine! Cooked to perfection and crusted with leek, dill and pumpkin seed..... Topped on a bed of fennel, summer squash and greens sate with a lovage vinaigrette that was supple but still full of flavor.

DB had the Trout, which is actually what I ordered but didnt enjoy at all, however DB did like it and so he gallantly gave up his Halibut and switched plates. The trout was baked in a Hazelnut butter and was very light but too fishy for my liking.

However, the dessert was to both of our taste. Apricot Pana Cotta and a Citrus Creme Brulee- paired with an award winning Roisling Ice Wine.

*excuse me while I take a minute to savor the memory*

*sigh* The memory just wont do! I must go back!

Needless to say, I highly recommend the Old Vines Restaurant at Quails Gate Winery, West Kelowna, BC. (link to menu here)

From there we headed up to Vernon, BC to check out a golf course and residential development called "The Rise" that is still under construction and appears to have run out of money. The site was not impressive but the view certainly was....

We also checked out Predator Ridge, another golf and living community and it was stunning! The day was not done but as I was driving I have no pictures to show! We had a fabulous trip but were not at all ready to come home. We hope to head up country again this month to check out some real estate! A move might be in our future!

I'll leave you with one last picture from the The Rise looking out over the city of Vernon. I hope you all are enjoying the last little bit of summer!