Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Knittin' Rock

I missed the breakfast ride, so I went up the mountain on my own, horseless, carrying my purse and a glass (made of real glass!) of water. You kinda might get the idea that it was unplanned. Yep. I headed for the old homestead where the breakfast was being served out in the open air. So I walked up the trail. Soon I noticed that horses, and people were headed down. I clearly needed to get out of the way and settle myself, so as not to spook the horses. (That's generally frowned upon.) So I found myself this nice flat rock and got out my knitting. I was happy as a clam. I could greet people: "Hey, Marilee, how were the pancakes?"
"So you're ridin' Domino; how's he treatin' you?"
And I could just knit. For more on that, go to my studio. Anyhow, when the horses had gone, I packed away the yarn and continued up. When I got there, this was all there was of breakfast: just an abandoned grill, still warm. Sigh. Just kidding--I had breakfast down at the ranch an hour earlier. And there was a waitress. And napkins. And chairs.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bugs and the Dark

There are some interesting surprises out here in Saguaro National Park. Note this little darling taking a breather by my window.
And now a close-up: smile!
Apropos of nothing, I just thought I'd show you how pretty my little courtyard looks at night. I was out, laying on a lounge chair, and looking at the stars. There's not a lot of light pollution so the constellations just jump right out at you. (But not so much at the camera. You'll just have to imagine it.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

Yes, we are back. Back at Tanque Verde. The land of trail dust, cactus, and horses. I took a picture of the place we are staying. This is the view of the front door. It's the same as last November. And the November before that and the November before that... Here is the view out the back:

And the front:

I took horsemanship lessons today and yesterday: "Heels down! Toes up!" I swear, it's all that ballet coming back to bite me. Yesterday, the wrangler wanted me to use my left hand when I've been using my right all this time. He finally told me to switch back and I did much better.

When I stepped outside the room today, there was some local wildlife. Yes, it's a roadrunner! But a minute later, it was chased off by the approach of another example of the local wildlife.

Tiny took a private lesson and concentrated on loping. They won't let you go on a lope ride (that's a slow gallop to you greenhorns) unless you pass the lope test. So, during dinner the recurring theme was, "I hope I pass the lope test." At bedtime we heard, "I hope I pass the lope test." At breakfast, she was watching that clock harder than any student in sixth period history class. You guessed it. The lope test was at 8:30. I found myself a perch with a very obstructed view of the arena. This is a picture of her riding out. I could see her, barely, and she seemed to be loping like a pro.
And yes, she passed! And immediately went on a lope ride. What a happy kid!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

River Walk, San Antonio

Our first night in San Antonio, we went to a dinner theatre... on the Army base! I didn't even realize we were going to be on the base--I thought Fort Sam Houston was another part of the city, like Hollywood Park or King William (that's where we're staying). Well, the play was "Visit to a Small Planet," by Gore Vidal and the acting was about as ambitious as the dinner. No, it wasn't bad. In fact, my thirteen-year-old really enjoyed it, but Bill fell asleep! In the cast, there were two really good actors: the alien and the cat. I'm not kidding, that cat was the most mellow feline I've ever seen.
Yesterday we visited the Alamo. You can't go sight-seeing in San Antonio and skip the Alamo! Really, the big attraction is the chapel. Attached is a small museum where you can see some of Crockett's belongings as well as other weapons used to defend the Alamo. Much of the original compound is under the street now.
Then we went on the Riverwalk. It's lower than street level and bounded by business after business: some were offices, but it seemed that most of the area was restaurants, shops, and hotels. Little surprise there: it's absolutely lovely. You can see the trees and bridges in these pics. Also, there are little stages right on the banks: pictures below is a Mexican dancing troupe celebrating--of all things! St. Patrick's day!
That night we went to dinner at Azuca right on the banks. We made a dinner right out of appetizers: queso flamiado (baked cheese with amazing freshly made tortillas), ensalada (salad with baby greens and avocado and goat cheese), shrimp nachos, ceviche (marinated fish served cold), oysters, weird enchiladas with cheese and corn fungus, and delicious beef skewers. We even had leftover beef to take home. Also, I had a glass of Pinot Grigio that was light and fruity and went perfectly with the dinner.

Next time: Six Flags Fiesta!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Smart Cows

This is the courtyard by our room--pretty, huh? So nice to walk in to see that fountain playing.

Our first day was Sunday. We arrived in time for the intermediate lesson. Desiree had a great lesson and thought she might pass the loping test the following day. Erica had a good lesson, and Bill rode Sandy, who only wanted to RUN!

THE MOST TALKED-ABOUT RANCH RULE: you cannot lope (that's a slow-ish run for the greenhorns out there) until you have passed the dreaded Lope Test. People actually group themselves into Lopers and Walkers! No Wacky Snider made it into the Loper category this trip, but Bill probably would have if he had tested.

On our last day, a group penning event was planned. Teams of five guests on horseback were grouped: Bill and Erica on one team, Desiree on another--much better for picture taking! Then each team was sent into the arena to corral one of the seven wild cows brought in for the event. Apparently the cows had studied the techniques better than we did, because not one of seven cows was ever penned!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Welcome to Tanque Verde!

We just visited Tanque Verde Ranch, located near Tuscon, Arizona. It's a dude ranch, but a very classy one. No mucking out the stables for us and prime rib offered every night! We were put in a lovely little room with two queen-sized beds, shown below. After we came back from our first ride (actually a lesson), our bathroom looked like this:
Ew! So, classy joint that it is, they moved us to a better room--yee-hah! This is the bedroom: notice the KING-sized bed. This is the living room. Not pictured: a whole 'nother couch, fireplace, table, and four chairs. Tell ya more later--Horses: the good, the bad, and the just plain slowwwwww....

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Our tour of Montmarte (the artsy area!) started in Pigalle (the red light district). That should have been a warning. Frank, our guide, tended to take on the flavor of whatever area he was in: when we were in the literary district he was scholarly, when we were in the Van Gogh's neighborhood he was weird and dark, and we started with a cemetery ... a cool cemetery, populated by cats, but still a cemetery.

Frank moved fast and told us little that we did not already know. So, after we saw the Great Feathered Mouse, we let ourselves get separated from the group. (Oopsie!)

We found a street creperie. (yum!) Bill and Erica shared a crepe with hazelnut and chocolate... okay, Bill snagged a bite when Erica wasn't looking.

Fortified, we climbed up to Sacre Couer. The mount was beautiful, bright, and cold. And totally worth it! I'll bet we had loads more fun than the people Frank didn't lose.