Horsing Around

30 04 2007

Ian is going horespacking for 10 days this summer with his Boy Scout troop at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. This looks to be one of the coolest adventure trips, and I am sooooo jealous. We thought both of us would go 2 years ago, when the trip was coed because the troop was partnering with a Venture Scout troop, the only coed youth program in the Boy Scouts of America. But Ian didn’t meet the age qualification, so we were shut out. This year, his troop is partnering with another boy scout troop, and they don’t need female chaperones. So Ian – lucky dog – is going, and I’m staying home.

In any event, they’ve begun training with horses to prepare for the trek. Sunday was the first training session. I’m chaperoning in order to learn as much as I can….because next time I’m going along!! And if not, I’m taking myself to a dude ranch or something.

Here are some photos from the Sunday session. We groomed and saddled Jersey, Cody, Diesel, and Chico. They were sooooo cool. I can understand why my friend Barbara rides regularly. I’m already looking forward to our next session.

Diesel is the painted quarter horse with blue eyes. Chico is the dark brown horse Diesel Chico

This is Molly, the crazy barn dog. She was a lot of fun, too. And posed beautifully for this photo…hot dog!



April 28 Superstars

30 04 2007

So ok, I’ll admit it…Saturday, April 28 was my birthday. Those of you who have had the misfortune of asking me how old I am, you know what I always say, “I’m old enough to know better and too young to give it up just yet!” So you do the math…

I decided to see what sort of company I keep on such a momentous day. Here’s what I found. It’s an interesting list…from royalty, great leaders and politicians to an evil self-appointed dictator…a great engineer, a great author, great entertainers…and, I’m proud to say, some really gorgeous, smart, accomplished women!

It Takes Guts and Nyaminyami

27 04 2007

Here is a slideshow of Ian bungi jumping at Victoria Falls last August.  Six months have gone by since that jump. Ian still says his palms sweat whenever he thinks about it. But I’m very proud that he did it. I know it was scary. Just take a look at the shot of the bridge from a distance. But, getting up there and setting aside your fear to reach out for something you want is exactly what No Guts is all about.

  Here is an excerpt from my original No Guts site about this experience…The Victoria Falls Bridge connects Zambia and Zimbabwe and stands 111 meters or 120+ yards above the Zambezi River just below Victoria Falls. It is home to the second highest bungi jump in the world behind the one at Bloukrans River in South Africa. We were on our way to Knysna from Oudtshoorn the week before when our guide abruptly pulled into the park at the Bloukrans river gorge and asked the boys if they wanted to jump.

We all felt a little road weary. The detour on narrow mountain passes around mudslides and flooded roads was seemingly interminable. But at the guide’s words, the boys were immediately sitting at attention. So we stopped the van, got out, and checked out the view. See the photo of the Bloukrans bridge in the album…pretty impressive, eh?

Our guide goaded the boys with the fact that Bloukrans is the highest commercial jump in the world. This bridge is 216 meters or 240 yards above the river and features a 7 second free fall.  First, they were eager. But as we studied the bridge the bravado began to fade and hesitation set in. So they decided to wait until we got to Victoria Falls, where the jump is about half the height, and it’s still the second highest jump in the world.

So the day arrived. We landed in Zambia, and this time there was no hesitation. We immediately proceeded to the hotel’s activity center to book bungi jump appointments. Armed with our passports and an exit visa, we passed through Zambian border check and boldly set foot on the bridge. 

After being weighed and measured the boys were suited up with harnesses. And each in their turn took that leap of faith…Five…Four…Three…Two…One…Bungi!!!!

I tip my hat to each of them. It took a lot of guts. The were scared out of their wits, but they didn’t let that stop them…truly living the mantra…no guts, no glory. Of course, it didn’t hurt to have Nyaminyami, the river spirit believed by the Tonga people to be watching over the Zambezi River, keeping a watchful eye. 

Africa 2006

27 04 2007

Finally, some photos from my trip to Africa last August.

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

27 04 2007

D&T Doing Their Best Paris Hilton Impression

This is one of my favorite photos from Christmas 2006. My 7-year old, identical twin nieces, embellished with several well-chosen apparel accessories, are doing their best Paris Hilton impressions. I have it playing on my screen saver on my home PC, and it makes me chuckle everytime I see it. So I thought I’d share the fun. Happy Friday!

Celebrating the Journey

26 04 2007

The Endless Feast passed through Bernardsville, NJ last evening when a former co-worker and friend called me unexpectedly and suggested we meet for a drink. I like those kind of surprise calls especially since we’ve tried and failed to get together many, many times in the 3.5 years since we worked together. Either work or parenting or weather always got in the way.

But the stars and planets just aligned yesterday, and we had a great time catching up at the Bernards Inn. I haven’t been there in years. It’s still as upscale, old guard, and classic as ever although Mike says the restaurant interior has been completely re-done in the last 6 months. And, the service was exceptional.

 As you know, I have a “thing” for baking bread, and I must tell you that Mike and his wife Stephanie are the ones who inspired this hobby-now-turned-lifestyle. Five years ago they invited me to Thanksgiving dinner. I baked a loaf of bread for that occasion and have been baking bread almost every week ever since.

That first loaf, however, is nothing compared to what I bake today. My bread journey has taken me from that first dense loaf with an uninspiring crust to fabulous country-style sourdough breads with a thick flavorful crust and a moist yet airy crumb.

Thanks Mike for the inspiration and for such a delightful evening. I’ll be baking up some bread for you and Stephanie soon to celebrate the move to your new house!

Poetry Update

25 04 2007

I just finished updating The Poets’ Notebook if any of you want to follow the meanderings of a poetry club.  We read a number of really cool poems including I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud which is William Wordsworth’s famous poem about daffodils. And the best part about that is that several folks have written parodies of it which were presented as well. And the best parody by far is the Wordsworth Rap done to rap music by the Cumbria Tourism association in England to promote the Lake District which is the landscape that inspired Wordsworth’s poem.

Check it out. Not only is it a catchy rap with a great video, but the rappers have an unmistakeable British accent!