Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Escapee




Gypsy! Gypseeee! Come back. Y'aren't sposed
to be on the other side of the fence.


But there are all kinds of wonderful
things to smell over here. Look, this
is where the coyotes were howling
last night. Come on, Tucker. Come
smell with me. Come run with me. 

I can't come with you. I can't fit under the gate. I'm
a big hot shot. Come back before Mrs. Owner 
sees you. Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

Will you stop yapping? I found something 
really nifty. Oh look, there are two pieces.
I'll bring them both and we can share. 
Even though you can't get under the
gate you can still have a special treat!

What did you find? Hurry back. I wanna see the
treat. What is it? What is it? What is it?

Ta da! Isn't this the best thing you have
seen? I found some hairy bones. They 
smell wonderful! Mmm-mm-GOOD!

Holy cow.... er, Holy Deer! You found deer legs. 
You are right. These are the best, even if the fuzz
tickles my tongue. But, I do kinda feel sorry 
about the deer. I like chasing them, maybe
even more than chewing on their bones.


PS from Mrs. Owner: The next day the skull came back with Gypsy. The gate has now been blocked!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Countdown - Week 5


I mentioned that my son and DIL purchased a house and moved. What I didn't share was the amazing timeline for this major life change!
  • May 15: bid put in on the house
  • May 16: bid accepted
  • May 19: closing
  • June 5: packers arrive at their condo
  • June 6: movers load up and deliver furniture and boxes, the family spends the night at their new home.
  • June 8: unpackers attack the mountain of boxes AND.... mom and dad arrive.
  • June 9: unpackers complete their work.
  • June 10: son and DIL host a 2nd Birthday party for Alexis, inviting 12 family and friends.
  • June 15: their condo goes "live" on the market, with fresh paint, new carpet and staged furniture. 
Wow! What a crazy schedule they endured! Oh, and they still kept working - some days from home, but others at their offices. Amazing! Things move a bit faster in San Francisco!

And, on the home front this week:
  • I caulked around the basement windows where the old caulking had cracked.
  • I finished sorting through everything but the basement, garage and our closet. - oh, and the barns. But, a lot of that is Mr. Dreamy's stuff and he has to make decisions on that.  I have "Sell" and "Not for Sale" Post-its everywhere! Soon we will have price tags on our belongings!

  • The baseboards in the basement were painted. 
  • I rearranged the storage area in the basement, consolidating the "keep" items in one corner and dragging out items for the Estate Sale folks who spent hours laying things out and pricing. Of course I found boxes that we had packed years ago that were never opened. What surprises and treasures were discovered therein! Here is one of those treasures!
  • Once I had shelves cleared I rearranged them to make more room in the storage room for the sale. 
  • Mr. Dreamy flew to Florida to check on our property, progress on the pavers, and to celebrate his mother's 95th Birthday with family.




It takes a lot of help to blow out a lot of candles!
  • Volunteers for "The Son & Reins Ranch", the equine therapy program run by our housesitter (and whose extra horses we keep on our property) spent about 4 hours doing chores. They stretched some of the fencing wires, and restapled where needed. They took down some mesh fencing that one of their horses had bent beyond description trying to get to the greener grass on the other side of the fence. They power washed stall mats and reinstalled them. The mowed the round pen and trimmed a bit under fencing and around the barn. And they power washed the front and side of the barn. Wow! They accomplished a lot!
  • I took 5 bags of clothing to the Salvation Army, and I have bagged more garbage than I am allowed to put out for collection. We will be getting a dumpster closer to the sale date, so I guess it will have to wait until then.
  • I printed out any information I had about my dad's art and some of our own, and taped it on the pictures.
  • I packed 17 boxes and moved those, and others, out to the big barn. The pile is growing bigger!

  • I made three trips to my dad's to bring paintings and stuff back to the house .... or was it only two? Or maybe it was four?!
The theme song for this week is....



But let's change the words a bit....

When I wake up, well I know I'm gonna be

Sorting, packing, and hauling a box or two.
When I go out, yeah I know I'm gonna be
Moving things around like a moving crew.
In the evening , well I know I'm gonna be
Hunting in this mess for the corkscrew.
And if I find it, yeah I know I'm gonna be
Enjoying a glass of wine, or maybe two!



For I have walked 10,000 steps
And I might have walked 10,000 more
And I've climbed the steps at least 20 times
No wonder I'm so gosh darned sore!


Doing the packing, doing the packing
I'm packing, packing, packing all day long. 
Doing the packing, doing the packing
With all of this work at least I will be strong!



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Au Revoir

After 17 days in France it was time to head home, leave the dream, and get to work. The sun was coming up in Bordeaux as our plane taxied out for take off.


From the plane I could see the Garonne River. The River Royale is docked on the river almost in the center of picture. I am thinking that some people on board were still sound asleep!


This is the confluence of the Garonne and the Dordogne Rivers. 
We were on both of them. 


Soon the jet climbed above the clouds and I put my seat back to try to get some sleep on our way to Amsterdam where we would catch the flight overseas. It was a long, long day, leaving the ship at 4:00 AM in Bordeaux (8 PM the previous day in Colorado) and arriving home at 2:00 PM in Denver (10 PM in Paris). The dream vacation was definitely over!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

La Cité du Vin

As our ship returned to Bordeaux we saw this strange looking building on the southern end of the city. This is a museum dedicated to wine. The City of Wine.... Bordeaux! We hopped on the tram and went down to experience the museum.


And "experience" is the operative word. The museum designers created numerous ways to engage the visitors in hands-on experiences. 

This area was all about detecting odors. Each dome housed something that had a unique odor. Each had a brass bell to sniff the air as you pumped a perfume-like ball. In this manner you could hone your nose for detecting specific odors in a wine, such as floral or citrus. An important aspect of enjoying wine is detecting the "notes" from smelling the wine. 


Another display challenged visitors to select the color of a wine based on a description of the wine. The cylinders of different wine colors reacted to one's touch as questions asked you to select the appropriate wine color. Red wines get lighter in color as they age and white wines become more golden.


I was fascinated by this area of the museum. The tables had projected images on them which showed information about different topics. The projection was also touch sensitive. You could select to learn more about a vineyard, a wine, or history of wine making simply by passing your hand through the light beam. Each station had several different options you could select and videos of wine experts would appear. They tell you about an aspect of wine making. Visitors have head phones and they are cued into your language. So... I'd hear the description in English, but the fellow next to me might hear it in Spanish. 


This "grape vine" was another interactive area that had iPad-like devices with information about grapes, vines, vineyards, etc. Most of the leaves also had information to share. Visitors point the box of their listening device at the leaf and would then hear a story, a question, or some sort of information. 


Each "wine bottle" had additional interactive displays that addressed different sorts of wine in the region.


There were also several cute videos throughout the museum that addressed the history of wine in general, information about the Bordeaux wines and other background information.

And, like all great venues, the exit was through a gift shop. However, this gift shop was like none you've ever seen before. It was wine... all wine! A large circular room with wines from all over the world.


Oh.... and did I neglect to mention your admission includes a taste of wine?! The top floor of the building is a wine tasting room with glass windows and a balcony offering a beautiful view of the Garonne River, the city of Bordeaux and the surrounding countryside. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Countdown - Week 6

My blood pressure has been really high. I know it is stress, and I'm not dealing with everything that goes along with the move very well. I think the hardest part is that I was raised to "finish what you start". I can hear my dad telling me that, over and over, and over.... with the move, there isn't a way to finish each task at this time. I can't pack everything in any one room because we need things to live with or for showing the house. Yet, we are having an estate sale before the house goes on the market and we have to make sure that things we want to keep are removed. Evidently, it is driving me crazy!! Everything is incomplete. There is mess everywhere I look. Even Mr. Dreamy has mentioned increased stress levels - and that just isn't his style.

And, speaking of incomplete, this "Week 6" has been interrupted by a wonderful trip to San Francisco. Our sweet little Alexis turned 2 and long ago we had made arrangements to visit. We had our reservations for the B & B near our son's condo in the Mission District long ago. Then, our son and DIL bought a house! Closed on the house! And moved into the house! So, we cancelled our reservations at the B & B and we stayed chez son & DIL! (I think they may have their own high levels of stress!)





So, here's what we accomplished half one week, and half the next:
  • I met with the estate sale folks at my dad's place. They took pictures of the things we will be bringing over here to sell. We created a calendar for the next few weeks showing when they will be here for pricing, etc. They stopped by our house again and we planned where they will set up their tables and the basic traffic patterns through the house and yard.
  • I was supposed to meet with a mover, but his estimator did not show up. Harrumph! I called another and got a price. The estate sale folks are going to get me another name.
  • We had another estimate for painting. It was very reasonable. So, Mr. Dreamy bought the paint and the painter began painting. What a relief not to have to do all of that. When we arrived home we drove into a home with a freshly painted garage door, newly painted porches and a gleaming picket fence. Wow!
  • We Dreamers began researching and writing up information about some of the fine art in my Dad's collection that will be going up for sale so we can share that information with potential buyers. We still need to get an appraiser here. 
  • I packed a few more boxes. I am up to a total of 32. In addition,  I packed 8 boxes at my dad's place, and carefully bundled 8 paintings, and brought them over to our place and unpacked them for the sale. In addition, I carried out two large garbage bags of bedding. We finally cleared a place in the big barn to stack boxes, and I moved most of the packed boxes to that storage area. 
  • We hired the painter to patch the ceiling in the basement where the plumber needed access to fix our leak. He also painted the ceiling and put in the baseboards.
  • Our pool table found a new home. I advertised it on a "Free in Parker" FaceBook page and within minutes had a taker. I am so thrilled that Trey got in their first. He deserves the table. His dad came over with him and we took the table apart, carried it upstairs piece by piece and loaded it into Dad's truck. Trey (23 yo) shared with me that he played a lot of pool when he was younger as he spent a lot of time in the hospital. He was so excited to get the table. Dad shared that Trey was born with Short Gut Syndrome and his parents were counseled to "pull the plug" and let him die. Trey was a fighter. He's seen so much hardship, but for now, is doing well. I'm glad!
  • Sod was finally put in place in the front yard. It looks great! I took leftover pieces and patched them into the back yard. I seeded bare spots where I didn't have sod. 
From this:


To this:

  • The landscape folks also put mulch around all of the trees and in some of the gardens. I planted a few more bedding plants here and there. 
  • The painter had a friend who was able to replace the missing stones on our fireplace. I hate to admit that one of my friends and I both scavenged construction areas for left over pieces of fake stone to replace the missing pieces. 
  • I took the doors off the shelving units in the living room to make it easier to display items for the sale. After the sale we will need to take them down and move them out. This is all getting scary. It is really happening!
Things are slowly coming together. I am feeling a bit more confident that it will all happen, and I'm able to sleep without waking at 3 or 4 AM running through lists of things that need to be completed. So, here it is, Father's Day, and I'm fretting over "finish what you start"!!!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Best of Bordeaux

I loved the Bordeaux region of France. It was delightful to drive past miles and miles of vineyards and to see walls from medieval buildings. The gnarled grape vines were fascinating. Often we could see someone out tending to the vines.




This is a pigeon house, or a dovecote. The wealthy medieval Europeans would build structures with nesting cubbies for pigeons. 


In the distance is Chateau Yquem. They are known for their wines and a bottle could set you back 500€. My father loved this wine and named his first sailboat the Yquem. No one could pronounce it so boats that followed had more conventional names! The Chateau sits on land that provides the perfect temperatures for grape growing, and thus the fruit grown here is of the highest quality.


We traveled on the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, both of which appear very muddy due to the tides that sweep in and out, stirring up the silt at the mouth of the river and carrying it upriver. Along the banks of the river one sees many fishing huts. These are built on stilts and often have nets suspended above the water.

Image from the Internet. I know I took pictures of several of the fishing huts...
but I just couldn't find them.
There are also many sunken ships, reminders of WW II. Ships were intentionally sunk in the rivers to stop boats from coming upstream. Those that were in the channel have been removed, others lay where they were scuttled so many years ago. 


This riverfront building in Cadillac shows the height of the river at different times through the ages. (And yes, the automobile named the Cadillac owes its name to this village in France. The founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, took his name from this town in France and the car was named in his honor.)


And... there are old buildings! This is part of the fortress in Blaye. The original fortress was built in medieval times and the "new" structures were designed by Vauban and built for Louis XIV in the 17th century.





Back in the day, women would bring their laundry to this facility in Blaye. 


Blaye had lots of steep walkways and lots of steps. 




Then it was on to Bourg, and then to St. Émilion, where a Briton monk of that name fled religious persecution. It is also the site of a monolithic church, partially carved into the rock, dating from the 12th century. We had a tour of the church, but photos are not allowed. The structure is truly amazing!

Thugs os the gate that enters into the cave that St. Emilion lived in, and the entrance to the church.


This opening leads into part of the church.







And then there was wine! We tasted wine on several occasions. Here we had just completed a meal at the Château de Cazeneuve featuring three different sweet sauternes.


The Château was one of the homes of King Henry IV and Queen Margot.


And, another wine tasting! And there was another... 


and another... 


and another....
This was the cask room at Chateau Ambe Tour Pourret where we not only enjoyed their wine, but prepared (and consumed) a fantastic lunch with a French chef.


Some of the wines were good. Others were.... interesting! This is the mill race of a Château in L'isle, Abzec. Their rosé was not to my liking, but the tour and presentation by the wife of the owner was fascinating.



This is the entire mill buildings. The Château is in the background up on the hill. 



And finally, there were the markets. I mentioned that there was a market near where we were docked in Bordeaux. We also ran into markets in Blaye and later in the center of Bordeaux. Many of the vendors have unique trailers to transport and display their goods. Some of the trailers seemed to be in excess of 40 feet in length. (Mr. Dreamy who doesn't hesitate to drive our 40' motorhome commented that he wouldn't want to pull that trailer.)

This is one of the trailers. The seafood is in containers, all on ice. When the market is over, the "canopy" drops down and the trailer is taken home.


I loved the variety of things one could buy at the market. There were clothes, shoes, flowers, spinners (there were several tables of those new toys at each fair), hats, socks, bread, and all kinds of food. Take a walk through the market with me....