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.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Segway to Paris

I can't believe I got this silly blog working again--too late to work in Paris, but at least the pictures are here! Our first full day in Paris saw us on a Segway tour with Fat Tire Tours. We became a part of the landscape as tourists took pictures of us! Yes, there's the Eiffel Tower behind us--heck of a hood ornament, n'est-ce pas?

That evening, we went to dinner at Cafe Constant, just a few blocks from our apartment. Bill had some wonderful fish and Desi had something delicious that she didn't want to share, but somehow now can't remember what it was!

Bill called Desi his "French girlfriend!"

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Adventure Begins, Well, Almost

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

"I'll be mellow when I'm dead."
Weird Al Yankovic

Our family travels. A lot. The next adventure takes us "across the pond" to Paris. I've wanted to return to Paris ever since my parents took me there when I was fifteen. Of course, our trip will be quite different. We'll have no need to walk through Pigalle daily, trying to distract our daughter and ourselves from sightseeing or unknowingly sampling the wares. Instead, we'll be living in the 7th arrondisement, between Napoleon's Tomb and the Eiffel Tower. We already have an apartment, tres moderne, on Rue St. Dominique. We'll be there in just over two weeks.
Currently, we are in preparation mode:
  • researching everything from tours to cheese shops
  • checking our luggage--I just picked up new froggie luggage tags to help us identify our bags (pictured above)
  • reading everything available from the public library on Paris
  • buying various books about Paris
  • Listening to tapes and cds, reading, discussing, doing puzzles...anything to improve our grasp of the French language. Last night I was reading a slang book--I don't think most tourist conversations will contain many of the words now in my vocabulary! However, if I can get backstage at the ballet...
  • reading The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  • checking our closets for appropriate clothing choices. Shorts are definitely not okay, tshirts only a vague maybe.
  • rehearsing walking tours. I bought a pack of 50 cards with a map on one side and a description on the other. I keep thinking they look like tarot cards!
  • watching movies in French. Today we went to see "Je t'aime Paris." I highly recommend seeing this one, even if you never intend to visit. I feel like I just took a whirlwind tour of the city and made new friends, even if I wouldn't want to meet some of them on a dark night.