First Adventure

IMG_2422So…last Wednesday I set off on my first adventure in quite awhile and the first adventure since my diagnosis and all that. I wasn’t even sure it was going to happen. There was so much preparation to do at the farm. I knew that I traveled often, when I got my puppy, Tallulah, I just figured that I would “man up” and board her at a local kennel while I was away. Well at least until she became a little more manageable! Right now she is still kind of a maniac and can’t be left unsupervised. And precisely two weeks after I brought her home I hear about all this terrible dog flu thing spreading across the nation. What? I never heard of such a thing?! Dogs are dying. Keep your dogs at home. Dog parks are closing. Dog shows are on hold. You’ve got to be kidding me? I had planned all these great socializing doggie outings for her. I was going to take my dogs everywhere with me. What about puppy kindergarten? Showing her off at PetSmart. Hiking in the forest. Great!

So…there is no way I want to expose her or any of my other dogs to that, so I try to find a baby sitter, or someone to stay at my house while I’m away. Not much luck. Maybe I will just have to stay home until she has some manners. Dang it! I have the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico. I don’t know if I will ever have this opportunity again. Right now my life is all about living life to the fullest, taking risks, and not passing up opportunities. But my critters are my family and they come first. I don’t want to endanger them in any way.

So…about 10 days before I would be trying to leave for Puerto Rico we come up with this great idea. How about we build an outdoor kennel for the dogs? Make it comfortable for them to stay in while we are out of town. Like a little doggie playhouse. Wow what a great idea. It will pay for itself, boarding is very costly, and our dogs will be safe, and close to home!

So…I get right to work designing this doggie playhouse! And off to gather supplies we go! So now we add dog house shopping and building to the already crazy task of getting ready to go away. Line up the pet sitter, get all the horse feed and dog food, and small animal supplies. Line up back up help just in case. Organizing and cleaning bowls and cages and coops and the barn. Make sure the grass is mowed and the place is at least halfway in order so it looks like someone actually lives here! This is way more than I feel like I can handle…maybe I should just stay home?

California here we come!

Beverly Hills Hotel

Beverly Hills Hotel

Last week we headed out to California! It was the first time for all of us. Well Jerry has been there since April, Scott and I where flying out to meet him. We flew SouthWest it was a long flight. We had a 3 hour layover in San Antonio and by the time we got there all the little airport shops were closing. Seems like they should stay opened when people are coming and going, what to do for three hours??? We made it! When we got off the plane we almost didn’t recognize Jerry, he had lost quite a bit of weight and had grown out his beard! I saw him first and even though I pointed him out Scott didn’t see him! We had made a pact to try and lose some weight and get in shape, it was working! So happy to see him!

The weather in LA was amazing! We had just come from hot humid Florida. Florida in August is almost unbearable, I like the heat but…I don’t like opening my door at 6:30 in the morning and getting a wet slap of humidity first thing! At this time of the year everything is struggling, even the plants, horses are sweaty, bugs are bad, there is a never ending load of laundry to do because you have to change out of your damp clothes so often! So it was quite a nice surprise to step out into 70 degrees with a light breeze and NO humidity! Ahh heaven.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

We were going to be in LA for ten days and what a ten days it turned out to be! We were staying at a cute little inn in Brentwood. The first day we ventured out to a place for breakfast called Bru’s Wiffle a Waffle House and we had chicken and waffles, delish! Jerry was our tour guide and showed us all around. We walked on Santa Monica beach, went to the pier, took a quick dip in the Pacific, went to the Pallisades. Tried to get our bearings. Growing up on the east coast it’s funny when you are in California because you feel like your always going in the wrong direction, the ocean is now to the west! I am a fan of interesting architecture and LA will not disappoint. You can tell it must be an architects dream to work in California. I don’t think there are two houses the same in any neighborhood. I loved the uniqueness of each place. Lots and lots of plants and interesting trees I am not familiar with. We got to tour a celebrities house and imagine how the rich and famous live. It was beautiful. So much fun, so much to see!

One of the most striking things to us was all the people. Now we are not from a big city, but there were people everywhere! And the traffic, omg the traffic! And parking…forget about it! To be continued…

Waffle!

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Ok let me just say I am a very health conscious eater. I always try to eat fresh produce and cook with the healthiest, freshest ingredients I can find. Actually my preferred style of cooking is produce based and healthy. I shop local and love the farm to table and slow food movements. I even grow a lot of my own! I am a cook and I hate going out and paying high prices for something that I can make better myself. I fancy myself as a bit of a foodie, I really enjoy healthy deliciuosly prepared food. Even as a child I almost never ate any fast food. Sure I am human and every so often I crave a little junk food, but for the most part, it is not my thing.

So, and I don’t blame them, my friends think I am crazy when I tell them I love a good breakfast at The Waffle House. Now I know it’s not health food and I know it’s loaded with carbs and high in fat but I really do enjoy eating there sometimes. They do offer some lighter options on the menu. I enjoy a good breakfast but I am not always in the mood to get up and start cooking, and breakfast meals seem to require lots of pans and mess. Unless I have a lot of time on my hands I usually just make something quick. So breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out. My friends say ” oh I can’t believe YOU eat there “and they call it the awful house. But honestly the one near my house is always very clean and you know the food is being cooked right in front of you. You can watch them prepare your meal just for you, nothing heated up in the microwave or left over from last night! Since I have worked in the restaurant industry I enjoy watching how efficiently the staff operates, it is like a little assembly line!  I love a good omlete and hash browns. The atmosphere is always upbeat and friendly, always a warm greeting when you walk in the door, also an interesting place to people watch, and the prices aren’t bad either.

Apparently, I’m not alone there are 2100 locations in 25 states in the United States. Most of the locations are in the southeast where the chain remains a cultural icon. The first one opened on Labor Day weekend in 1955 in Georgia. The “Yellow Sign” soon became a familiar landmark. The juke box plays a variety of Waffle House songs, how many restaurants do you know that have songs written about them? They are open 24 hours a day 365 days a year which inspired urban myths such as “Waffle House doors have no locks.” A unique American phenomenon started as just an idea between two guys to serve “GOOD FOOD FAST.” And just a fun fact, since 1955 they have served over 2,501,866,574 eggs so I certainly can’t be the only one that likes a good Waffle House breakfast!

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Enchanted

Santa Fe

Santa Fe

Last summer we got to spend some time in Santa Fe. I was enchanted! I knew as soon as I got off the plane. Flying in from the Dallas airport into Santa Fe was a culture shock! Dallas is HUGE, one of the largest airports and Santa Fe is tiny probably one of the smallest! Very different from anyplace else I had ever been! The colors of the landscape are breathtaking! From the terra cotta color of the earth to the mountains that seem to change color all day, orange to pink to purple. There are large bushes of lavender growing everywhere their cool sage green leaves and lovely purple flowers look so perfect in this landscape. There is an amazing smell of, I think, mesquite in the air. The days are hot and the nights are cool. The heat in Santa Fe is different from Florida, there is no humidity. So no matter how hot it gets, if you stepped into the shade it felt comfortable!

We got to stay in this amazing Adobe house updated and modern, absolutely wonderful! The house was beautifully and thoughtfully decorated, so comfortable and inviting, cool granite counter tops warm radiant heated wood floors! The kitchen was gorgeous, I would have been happy even if all I got to do was stay in this house and cook in this kitchen! A large Adobe wall surrounded the tiny yard but it felt so cozy and private even though the houses were very close together. There were echinacea flowers and roses, beautiful vines growing along the covered porch. Large swags of beautiful dried red chili peppers hung in every doorway.

During our stay we went white water rafting down the Rio Grande. Driving up towards Taos the mountains got larger and more magnificent! Mountains always make me feel humble and these were no different they took my breath away! Richie, our guide, was great! I think he could have navigated down the Rio with his eyes shut! What a wonderful way to take in the scenery and atmosphere of this amazing place! We even got to take a dip in the Rio in a calm area of the river. Everything about this place seems so healing and nourishing I can understand why one of my favorite artists, Georgia OKeefe, called it home.

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Hummingbird tree
Richie told us we should check out this little restaurant named El Paragua in Espanola. When we pulled into the parking lot we parked under this beautiful flowering tree and to our surprise it was covered with hummingbirds, I have never seen so many in one place! It was beautiful! El Paragua started as a roadside stand created by two entrepreneurial boys and was supported by thier parents. It is still family owned and operated and has been in operation since 1966. The food was amazing, I wish I had some homemade plum jam and sop papilla right now! If you ever find yourself 24 miles north of Santa Fe you must check it out! You won’t be disappointed! Www.elparagua.com

There is something I love about Santa Fe, a different kind of vibe!

Artichoke melt

Let the adventures begin!

Sometimes you don’t have to travel very far at all to have wonderful food and fun. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder. There is a tiny coffee shop tucked away behind KFC in Belleview, Florida that is wonderful! BD Beans Coffee Company, 5148 SE Abshier Blvd., the place is like a little oasis. The atmospher is relaxing. Becky the owner is very welcoming and sweet. The waitresses are friendly and helpful. The decor is eclectic with lots of wonderful whimsical decorations. On a beautiful day you can even eat outside in a little garden surrounded by plants and fountains, you almost forget you are sitting 50 feet away from highway 441! They are opened for breakfast and lunch. Of course they have coffee and tea. Definitely try a hot spiced chai, one of my favs, the exotic spices and frothy top are just delish!

And the food…the food is amazing! The food is fresh and homemade. They have delicious quiche and French toast, huge muffins, fresh fruit and bagels.  I enjoy it because I can get things here that you can’t get just anywhere. For lunch I recommend the artichoke melt with the cucumber dipping sauce, yum. And the sundried tomato sandwich on focaccia. Not to mention more traditional things like egg salad on Black Forest or a pressed Cuban. You can get an Italian soda to wash it all down, very good not too sweet just right. They have great soups all homemade, Italian wedding soup, tomato soup, potato soup, a different soup is featured each day. I just had the chicken and vegetable soup very good. And if your looking for something a bit lighter they have salads and smoothies too. If you are feeling indulgent they have desserts biscotti and cookies. They have crazy good cakes! I am not a huge cake eater BUT every year on my birthday I love to go there and have a slice of one of the wonderful cakes that Elaine bakes with a big ol cup of chai!

So, if your ever down in these parts check out BD Beans I think you will enjoy it. And by the way, check out the artwork, a lot of it is mine! 😊