Monday, October 24, 2011

Celebrating Fall, Light House Picnic and Work Ranch without the work!

light house picnic

The 14 or so of us call ourselves the "10th Street Gang" because we have had a tradition of gathering for an evening of total fun and lot and lots of food at a wonderful Basque style restaurant in San Miguel called none other than the 10th Street Cafe.  Over the years we have have added other adventures like hiking across the hills over looking Port San Luis to the historic light house with backpacks laden with amazing food and wine for a sunset picnic to celebrate the change of seasons and shorter days of fall.  We have arranged softball games teamed either with or against our own growing kids and again.... food!  In all, these are fun and easy times right in our own back yard that are creating memories and stimulate new ideas for what we can do next.  This last week we were able to do a trail ride at the immense 12,000 acre Work Ranch in San Miguel.  The drive itself was spectacular. Once off the 101 north, and then the 46 West, we headed into the hills between Cholame and San Miguel winding through vineyards and ranch lands until we came to the ranch where our horses were saddled and waiting.  Just the smell and the creaking sound of the leather, and the warmth and strength of the horses reminded our senses that we were out of our usual element.   The views were spectacular and the ride was comfortable and exhilarating. Some most entertaining moments during the 90 minutes came from the ranch dogs, several sizes of Heinz 57's, bustling alongside and ahead, jumping in the water troughs, curiously digging up good smelling discoveries and happily laying in the shade and dust when we returned to the stables.  Needless to say dinner followed in Templeton as we drove off into the sunset.  
Thank you to our guide, Serena for a great adventure!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


The last week has been full of new friends and great rest, followed by a  fun reception and signing at the Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas.  Texas had finally found relief from extreme heat and drought last weekend, as friend, Anita, and I headed to Laity Lodge in … TX.  I had just commented on how “flat” this area of the “Hill Country” was  when our Suburban started heading down, down, down into a long and vast river canyon which revealed a hidden and incredible beauty. 

After driving IN the river for a ways, the road ended at the grounds of the lodge and our home for the next three days.  During those days we had the opportunities to attend presentaions by Diana Schick, enjoy amazing meals, rest, and spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying the natural beauty of this canyon. 
It was impressed upon us that the name “Frio" River meant freezing river, however, the two of us did decide to brave the water.  Anita and I were delighted to find it to be very mild and comfortable, in fact glorious. It was so clear we could see the huge and happy catfish and water turtles swimming throughout.  We donned goggles or snorkel and mask to get an up close look!   Kayaking was amazing and so peaceful on this lazy, late summer river.  Feeling fearless, Anita and I went above and beyond and took the big plunge.  Up river the canyon narrows and creates an abyss where the water is extraordinarily deep and dark blue.  It is appropriately called the BLUE HOLE.  After our short hike there, we watched a few college students  jump from the rocks into the depths and come up screaming and laughing.   Finding this irresistible, we , too, jumped… not from quite the same height as the young folk, but high enough for us to be totally proud of ourselves. We really felt so blessed to be having so much fun! 

This was a great highlight after starting out day with getting lost and three miles out of our way on a hike.  the hike had been one funny episode after another as we were trying to find directions back.  At one turn we even ran into a group of hunters gutting a hanging hog.   They had no answers for us, and we wandered until we were finally picked up by ‘Camper John” who drove us back to our lodge.

photo courtesy of Laity Lodge website
The weekend ended and as we drove out of the canyon.  I imagined what a miraculous and awesome experience it must have been for early travelers or explorers who discovered and settled along such hidden treasures.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Signs of the Season

The signs of season change and harvest are here even on the California coast.  The shadows are longer, the air is warm, but fresh, and pumpkins are nestled into position on the front step.  The signals of quieter seasons and holidays are beginning to appear! Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Flipping through a 35 year old journal, memories of adventures and travels are easy to relive.  The old coasters, tickets, stickers, letters and postcards.... the daily writing and sketching are reminders of not only the actual events, but that season of life, mid college hopes and dreams and ambition.
It is heartwarming to read the quotes that were written or pasted on the pages so long ago, that were the inspiration for that time. They are indeed - Timeless - meaning as much  today as they did.

For today, enjoy these anonymous quotes from 1973

"When nothing holds you back except the horizon, that is called freedom."

"I have found a place to go and take things slow. A place where time can put peace in my mind."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Woman's Heart - Vicky

A woman's heart is where her passions grow. It is where her joys soar.  It is where her secrets rest. . . and wrestle.  It is where her emotions ache and her sufferings linger.  Her heart is where her hope is restored.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

So You Think You Can't Dance?

There is something about dancing that is so appealing and freeing.   Just watching other people dance is enough to inspire a smile and a joyous feeling in me.  I truly admire those who can learn a routine, or follow their partner's lead, or perform as an expression of story or feeling through music and movement.  It is entertaining, athletic, and artistic.  Sometimes I even get a bit envious, since I have a extreme lack of talent, experience and confidence in dancing.  How wonderful it must be to step out and swing, swirl and leap... tap, step and wiggle to the music?  I believe the brain must have a compartment where dance talent develops, and I must have missed out or have waited too long and now brain and limbs don't communicate fast enough to keep up, nor do the brain cells remember the steps beyond the span of minutes.  We recently participated in a flash mob which allowed us to be "anonymous" and blend into the mass, but also have dozens of dancers to follow, so that remembering the routine was not an issue.  The effort and experience were worth it, so silly and exhilarating.  We decided it did not matter how we danced but that we danced at all!  If laughter is good medicine, then dancing is its sister "energy boost" or mega vitamin!