California and back again…

This is definitely not a picture of me. It’s Sarah VandenBerg of Briarwood Riding School riding her horse Pacific in the Prelim division at Galway Downs.  My trip luckily coincided with Galway’s April Horse Trials, so I got to hang out, help out, and try out taking pictures.  This one is one of my favourites, mostly because Pacific looks so chilled out; duck? no problem. water? no problem. jump about a foot over the log? no problem. What a great horse.

The rest of the holiday was equally fun.  The first week, we stayed up north in San Francisco and hung out with friends up there.  It included a memorable trip to Bodega Bay and Valley Ford, where it turns out there is a tiny bed and breakfast with an amazing bar/restaurant attached. The first night jet-lag sent us to bed around 8pm, but not until we had eaten some amazing food (most of which is lost to memory in a blur of exhaustion, but I think some of it involved oysters, fried chicken, and possibly amazing fish tacos). We spent the next two days eating and wandering about the area, mostly eating. We had originally planned to go to Yosemite that weekend, but a late snowstorm (that knocked out power and the roads in and out!), made this trip “plan b”.  It worked out extremely well, all things considered, *and* the keen-eyes of our driver spotted a great mexican restaurant on our way back into the City, which just made the weekend perfect, really. We finished up our time in San Francisco with dinner at a friend’s house and then headed down to LA for a filming of “The Big Bang Theory”. Which was awesome. Continue reading

no this is not the face moss makes when I ride him, well not often, thank goodness

Although I’m sure there have been many, many times where he’s wished I’ve figured things out just a liiiiiiiiiittle bit faster. This is, in fact, the face of one of the horses in the Elgin marble exhibit at the British Museum. Aside from the oddness factor that is a horse head just…sitting there on a pedestal…this one also has one of the more stressed facial expressions I’ve ever seen.

Luckily, when you’re riding, it’s difficult to really see the horse’s face, although Moss likes to make up for this when he gets testy by sticking his tongue out and making it. very. clear. that he disagrees with whatever I might be asking/how I might be asking it/whether or not there really is a monster over in the corner disguised as a pony.

I’ve been taking a series of jumping lessons recently, both because I’m going back to visit everyone in California and want to be at least familiar with what jumping feels like again and because I think it’s important to both mix up the horses I ride and what I focus on.  It’s also become more and more apparent that Moss is a very, very, very nice horse.  The amount of huffing, puffing, and sweating I do in the jumping lessons is just, well, pathetic.  I’m quite out of shape. Continue reading

london, again, with more books

IMG_2236I’ve taken this same picture three or four times over the past fifteen years or so. In fact, I probably have some sort of before renovation-during renovation-after renovation series I could do with them. The first time I took this picture was way before digital cameras, and the print is lost somewhere in an album I’m sure is gathering dust in an attic, but the second time I took it, I blew it up and framed it, loving the geometric patterns in the glass and the way it seemed to branch out across the (blue and sunny!) sky–oddly enough, it was sunny the day I went to London this month, so I was able to take another daylight enhanced version of my “I visited the British Museum” picture. Many of the rooms in the British Museum are built to let in as much sunlight as possible, so, on days like this one, walking through it feels like some sort of sun-dappled journey through history.  Plus, because so many of the pieces are photography-friendly, you can spend the day taking pictures of giant statues glaring at you, or lions that look poised to eat you, or that Elgin marble horse head that just looks…angry. I was planning on popping into the Tate Modern as well, but I ended up spending well, hours, wandering around the British Museum, so had to skip that and head straight for the Simon and Schuster Bloggers’ Event instead.

Although I normally just take the Tube everywhere, it was such a nice day (and I had enough time) that I thought it would be better to walk. I’m now at the point where the little triangle of London between Euston/St Pancras Stations, the main touristy bit, and the Simon and Schuster offices feels nearly familiar. That doesn’t mean I didn’t constantly reference my A to Z (love that thing) as I was walking, familiarity doesn’t trump my ability to get lost while travelling in a straight line, after all. I feel that I should admit that I went the wrong way once (coming up out of a tube station), but my keen sense of where a Starbucks might be (t’other way) quickly, if randomly, put me back on the correct path.

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