Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Great Big Sur Marathon

Pumping their legs over rolling hills and the Bixby Bridge, overlooking the ocean, passing the redwoods and wildflowers -- the marathon runners are off and running! From Big Sur to Carmel, they go. It's a breath-takingly beautiful route, not for the faint of heart.

To capture a glimpse of what they see, enjoy these photos:

Lys's boyfriend's dad and brother are running the race today. Maybe next year we'll do the 5K or 9 miler.
Note: Photo above taken from newspaper clipping.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I Dreamed of Horses....

Her flaxen mane ripples from her strong chestnut neck as she gallops past. I feel the thunder of the pounding hooves before I actually turn my head to see her coming, then turn away again as the cloud of dust rises up to powder my face. She stops and I brush her sweaty coat, wrap my arms around her neck and hug her, then look at her big eyes before fading away.

Lys had horses for years. It was a part of our lives from the time she was 8 until her senior year of high school. Then she sold the horses. It was for the best -- she felt guilty when she didn't have the time to devote to them. We didn't have a place for horses where we live, so boarded them at a beautiful ranch, tucked in the hills, surrounded by Redwoods and Eucalyptus trees. They thrived in the pasture there. So when the people who owned one of our horses' pasturemates said they had fallen in love with Poppy and if we ever wanted to sell, they would like to buy, we decided it was in the horse's best interest. Then we found someone for Bambi.

So concerned was I about the impact this huge lifestyle change would have on Lys, that I never really mourned this loss myself. So now, here I am, dreaming of horses....

So many days sitting on the fence, watching Lys working in the arena with the mares, or stepping over pebbles as we climbed into the hills, listening to the birds chirp, feeling the sun on our backs. There were hot days when we would bathe the horses, feeling the spray of the water, wiping the horses down to a sleek shine. And there were foggy, cold nights when we would make a special trip over, just to put the blankets on the horses, because that's what you do when you love something. I remember that earthy smell as I mucked out stalls, leaning on the rake from time to time to savor those days shared with my daughter, animals, nature.

A couple days ago we took one of her saddles over to a tack shop to try to sell it on consignment. It had been sitting in the garage, along with boxes full of remnants of her riding days. I suppose watching her rub the leather cleaner in, then loading it into the trunk, brought back the memories of a time we shared, an era gone.

So I dreamed of horses last night... and I cried.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Fever - Literally

Spring break has arrived and I have the week off work. Had a wonderful weekend this past weekend until Sunday night when a cold hit me full force. I sneezed a lot on Sat. afternoon, but had chocked it up to allergies as we were among wildflowers much of the day. Monday I ran a temperature and spent most of the day on the couch, dozing off and on. I'm afraid I wasn't much company for my dad on his last day here (he went home yesterday).

Saturday, after visiting the San Juan Bautista Mission, we drove on to Gilroy where we stopped at Barnes and Noble (so Ashley could get some books she needed for her dissertations) and then had lunch. From there we went to San Jose to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium. Especially interesting is their replica of an underground tomb to meander through, the reproduction of King Tut's coffin, and actual artifacts from senet games (the precursor to backgammon) and papyrus for writing.

Entrance to the museum and King Tut's coffin replica:

Easter morning came and everyone was treated to an Easter basket -- no matter how old you are at my house, the Easter bunny always remembers you! Even my dad had a basket with a box of See's chocolates in it!

The girls helped me cook and we fixed a roast beef dinner (Lys made her banana bread). After dinner, we took flowers to Wayne's grave at the cemetary in downtown Monterey.
We came back home to a sight! On the family room floor were yellow scraps of paper, chocolates and brown candy holders. Dad had nibbled on his Easter candy and left the See's candy box on the end table next to a chair. This was just too much temptation for Chaucer and Frosty, who had apparently jumped on the chair, knocked the box off, nosed around until they got the tightly-fitted lid off the box (they are more industrious than I thought), and had indulged in half a box of candy.

We all converged on the scene, scolding the dogs, opening the door to put them out in the backyard, while trying to clean up the mess, worried that they had ingested chocolate to begin with (which is poisonous to dogs), sorry that Dad was missing out on a fine box of chocolates. I looked out the back door at the dogs standing on the deck and realized their tails were happily wagging and they both looked like they were smiling -- because they each had a big piece of chocolate in their mouths! More scolding ensued as the girls went out and did a tug-a-war with them to get them to forfeit those last two chocolates they possessed. So ended our Easter Sunday.

P.S. The dogs are fine.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

San Juan Bautista Mission

A little jewel tucked in the green hills between Monterey and San Jose is the tiny town of San Juan Bautista. It's known for its California mission, the largest of the missions. It's also known for its antique shops and the Alfred Hitchcock movie Vertigo. Saturday, we decided to drive up and walk around the mission. It was a perfect spring day, and we thoroughly enjoyed the gardens, buildings, and history.
The rolling green hills around San Juan Bautista -- the area is rich in agriculture, cattle, and a few wineries:

Our welcoming committee as we drove into town:

Old stone bowls, near a watering trough for animals:
The front of the mission:
The gardens -- that was one big cactus:

The church and alter:

A side door in the chapel leads out to the old cemetary which sets on a knoll overlooking freshly plowed fields. The last full-blooded Mutsun Indian is buried here -- she died in 1930. The Mutsun Indians lived in this area prior to Spanish occupation, in beehive shaped huts made of course grass and willows.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

The Lilac Tree
Breathe deeply -- the sweet fragrance of lilacs,
Bury your face in their delicate lavendar-colored petals,
Clusters of blossoms, like grapes to inhale instead of taste....
Savor the beauty, the smell, the spring-in-your-soul emotion.
The lilacs are in bloom.
--written by Brenda April 12, 2009
The photo of the lilac tree above was snapped yesterday at the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Houseful of Company :)

Ash has been home for the last couple of weeks and it's been wonderful! In preparation of her move back to California from England, she lugged a suitcase full of books home -- her most prized possessions (what do you expect from an English and History major). We've had some great talks. The older my daughters get, the more we seem to talk about -- from jokes to relationships to philosophies of life to religion to the latest headlines to plain ol' girl talk (fashion, guys, etc.). I'm also amazed at how grounded my daughters seem to be, with a good balance of practical common sense and never-let-your-dreams-die ideology. I'll post pictures later of last weekend's day in Monterey and Pacific Grove.

Dad came in Weds. night and is staying through the weekend. Always good to see him! Last night we watched the movie "Run, Fatboy, Run" which we got a kick out of. Since he used to run marathons, he seemed to enjoy it.

Lys and her boyfriend are on a 14 mile hike in Santa Cruz with a group today -- heading from the hills to the beach. I think Ash, Dad, and I are going to head to a mission for a tour, maybe up to San Jose to a museum -- playing it by ear.

Need to make a trip to the grocery store soon because I heard the Easter bunny is coming to town tomorrow. Never too old for Easter baskets!