Happy Friday

Image from Bored Panda

I hope you have a fabulous day.  Here’s a great word to try out.

Today, I’m grateful for time to haunt the forest and enjoy some beauty and solitude.  I shall indulge my nemophilist tendencies. 

I’m also very grateful for my family, peaceful moments, and my dogs who keep me active.

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge Day Three

Thanks Elizabeth from Teandpaper.com who invited me to participate in this 5 day challenge!

The “challenge”. Post a photo each day for 5 consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction. Elizabeth’s photos are outstanding. If you haven’t visited her blog….you should! Teandpaper.com


Dewberry Patch


I laugh at myself.  This picture of the dewberry patch inspires a story that won’t be told, a poem that is absolutely horrible, and yet I still want to post this picture.  I took it while I was walking the dogs, and I’m hoping that my neighbors who walk the same route won’t know what these lovelies are, until I’ve picked a few quarts.

When the weather is warm, and the rain falls softly, we get this beautiful gift of fat, juicy, sweet, tart berries that turn your fingers purple with the picking.

The locals always call it Purple Passion, and will warn you to watch out for snakes amidst the brambles and vines.  The snakes wait for the birds, that are more passionate about this treat than us humans.  Once the birds have had their fill, you can find their purple droppings everywhere.  Be thankful if you don’t have a white car when the dewberries are ripe, because you will have purple spots on your vehicle if you park it outside for any time when those purple berries are plentiful.

Dewberries are like a blackberry, but a bit bigger.

We can expect our harvest in a few weeks.  They are generally gone by Mother’s day.

So if you are out traveling the Texas roads, and you see people out with their buckets, high boots, and snake sticks….they are probably capturing some Purple Passion while they can.

So today, I’m grateful to find an abundance of dewberry flowers, and a big patch to watch ripen.

I would like to invite Beth from ididnthavemyglasseson.com to join in the fun of the Five Day Photo Challenge.  Her blog is a wonderful display of observations, humor, quotes, and inspiration.  I think you would enjoy visiting her, even if she chooses not to participate in the challenge.  So go check out her blog; ididnthavemyglasseson.com

Napa and me.

Banner year, milestone year, breakthrough year, 1st trip to Napa, 1st wine tasting, 1st vineyard tour.

I’m quite satisfied that I waited till 50 to do this trip. If I had gone in my 20’s….I may not have come home, gotten married, or had children.

The trip started with the ‘get acquainted Thursday”. We landed in Oakland, made our way up 80 to 29 to Napa. We found our very cute house on 1st street, and had lunch on the river. We were able to walk to dinner, and had California BBQ at the Bounty Hunter. The ambience is way better than the BBQ. Ribs were tender, but not a lot of flavor.

Friday was our ambitious wine tasting day. I scheduled times at 3 vineyards….I was way too ambitious.

Our first stop was historic Stags’ Leap. Not to be confused with Stag’s leap. It is all about the plural possessive, and the historic Manor House built by Horace Chase in 1890. I didn’t want to leave. My first wine tasting and we had a blast. The tour was fantastic, from the glorious living room, to the porch, to the caves, to the Bacci Ball court. They had a wine for each stop.


When the tour guide started talking about the Legend of the Stag Leaping, a doe and fawn appeared on the palisade above the caves jumping to their next location.

The wine was outstanding, but the grounds were glorious. Their Malbec was the silkiest I have ever had. The Viognier was smooth and fruity. The Cabernet was outstanding. Their Merlot puts most American Cabernets to shame. I took 2 bottles of the merlot immediately to enjoy for the rest of our trip. I have never tasted the equal of Stags’ Leap Merlot, as weird as that sounds…who likes Merlot?

Our next stop was Del Dotto. This was a barrel tasting tour….bad idea without eating first. Still lots of great info. Del Dotto uses a gravity flow/whole grape fermentation. They let you taste from the barrel so you understand how good their product is before it ages. I also learned some of the nuances between American Oak and French Oak. I was not impressed with the Savignon Blanc we started with. I did like the Cab Franc. Their Cabernet in American Oak was so smokey, you could taste bacon. Bacon wine will cost you $165.00 a bottle so beware bacon lovers.

After Del Dotto was food, and a nap. We tasted from 12 barrels and I learned why Napa folks gargle and spit. We loved the cave, but no grounds to wander, and no humming birds. Great accents to the cave. We got a kick out of the light fixtures. Check out the arm!



The last winery we visited was Darioush. Persian inspired, water gardens, pillars, and statues of Darius the 2nd. Old and new, classic and modern in the most pristine atmosphere possible. The amphitheater was acoustically perfect. The wine was fabulous, especially the Cabernet. The Viognier was very nice. The Chardonnay was balanced, and not too oaky.

We got to see the Vines up close, the private tasting rooms, the caves, and we got to enjoy the ambience. Darioush is a lovely place to visit.



We Ballooned, which was fabulous.


We hiked in the Muir woods north of San Francisco, which was more than we bargained for. The trail we chose was almost 2 hours up, and 1.5 hours back. We loved it all!



The house we stayed in was lovely. Built in the 1880’s our hosts had updated the kitchen and bath, but they left lovely glimpses of the original home, like the door bell, the Front porch lights, the dumb waiter, hardwood floors, windows, and gardens. Some of the roses were ancient.





Cheers my friends. Explore, enjoy, embrace, and sip some good wine!

For the love of a good dog, the frisbee went over the fence.

I have this high energy pooch. He’s a Mini Aussie Shepherd named Rascal. He embodies the very essence of his name, that’s for sure.


Cute, isn’t he? He loves to run. We walk just about every day. A three mile jaunt past cow pastures, and a golf course. But his favorite past-time is catching the frisbee, folding it like a taco and shaking it wildly as he prances across the yard. I believe he would run for that Red Disk until he dropped from exhaustion.


So we had our walk this morning, no cows out for him to chase, but a good walk as it didn’t rain on us, and it was warm enough to enjoy. A lovely humid 65 today.

After running errands, I sat down to have lunch, and I got the “eye”. The stare quickly progressed to his chin on my thigh looking up at me with the big puppy eyes wiggling his little button tail as fast as he could manage. His next move would be the “paw”. He takes one front paw, and touches my arm or leg, as if to ask “ready?”. He had me at the frantic tail wiggle. There is something about a docked tail wagging that is too cute.

So we headed outside to play some frisbee.


It was a little windy, and the frisbee was pretty worn out from all the folding and shaking, and horror of horrors, the wind caught it and took it over the fence. It will take a ladder, to get back there to get it. It’s in the cow pasture behind our house, and the fence is an 8 footer. The dejected look I got from my pooch was epic. It might take him a few days to forgive me.

In celebration of “Selfie being the word of the year”! Here’s my post work out Selfie!

Exercise is SOOO good for you. If you can’t hear the whine implied, I’m whining! In August I started a new routine. It’s intense circuit training for 20-40 seconds with a 40 second rest in between. Each 30 minute routine has a kicker at the end that lasts from 3-5 minutes of all out busting your butt with no rest in between.

I’m really happy with the improved tone in my legs and arms. I dig the quick intense routines over going to the gym for Zumba, or power pump. I’m throwing in some yoga on my rest days, and we can’t leave out the 3 mile walks with the puppies when I’m home. Looking at how I’ve increased my activities, I’m really happy that I’ve kept with it.

The next step in this evolution is to complete the Circuit 30-35 minutes then do an additional 30 minutes on the elliptical.

Tell me what’s working for you! Tell me how you keep motivated. What’s your favorite post work out refreshment? I’m stuck on milk. It’s what really works for me.

Tell me how you avoid the post work out whining.


Mosquitos in November

The thing about living in the near tropical south, is that fall is fleeting, winter comes and goes without notice, and without a really good freeze, you get bugs.

We didn’t get the freeze we needed last year to kill the bugs. Walking the dogs this morning around 7:30, I got bit, and bit good by vicious Mosquitos. I’m not talking about the little sneaky black ones. Those teeny, tiny, sneaky, less than 1 centimeter, pests were not in sight. It was the totally creepy 2 centimeter khaki brown ones. These little monsters make your skin crawl, because you can hear them coming. They will buzz you like Tom Cruise buzzed the flight tower in Top Gun. The buzz is creepy, and will cause fear. I got those dogs moving when I heard them. I wouldn’t be the only target.

So I’m looking for the wind to change. Instead of blowing the humidity and heat up from the gulf, please blow is some chilly winds from the north. I’d like to walk without having to donate blood to the Mosquitos, and I think it would be awesome to wear a sweater this Thanksgiving. Plus my puppies, they need some respite from those blood sucking monsters too. After all, the dogs have to walk.

I’d also like to turn the air conditioner off for a little bit too.

A short but sweet wish list for the holidays.