Last weekend I headed up to the Bernier Ranch & Spa for a few days' worth of relaxation. I had also offered to help Mom clear out some of their built-in bookshelves upstairs in the loft...it seems they're re-modeling up there so Mom can have a proper office – albeit a small one – instead of the crammed nook she now uses.
Thing is, a lot of the books in that space are mine (which is why I offered to help her offload them, sort through them, and move them into new "homes" throughout the house), including darn near all of my college text books and notes. Why did I keep that, you might ask...well, 'cause my parents TOLD me to.
Even after I changed my major halfway through my junior year from biology to Spanish, I still had to keep all the biology, chemistry and math books. Just in case :)
See, Dad kept all HIS text books from college and med school...they've graced the book cases in our home from time immemorial. Mom's not crazy about having them on the shelves, but I think they need to keep them – I mean, at this point they're VINTAGE bordering on antique! (Sorry, Dad)
Naturally, when moving a copious amount of books from one location to another, one is forced to make room in the new area so that meant I finally had to go through the closet in my old bedroom and sift through the myriad boxes I had stowed away with all my...memorabilia.
(While all this is going on, we had "help" from the dogs who just HAD to chill on the cozy, sun-streaked carpet RIGHT where we were trying to work...such a ruff life :)
I was quite the collector when I was young (insert derisive snort and eye roll from my husband here) – I collected horse, dog and turtle statues; candles & their holders; knick-knacks & what's-its and of course, lots and lots of what Dad calls "crippy-crap."
It took me longer to go through all those boxes – unwrapping each little memento and re-living whatever memory was attached to it – and sorting them into piles of "keep" and "get rid of" than it did to help Mom empty all the bookshelves in the other room!
I ended up keeping SOME of the stuff...I mean, let's forget I hadn't seen it in YEARS. It was all very organized and labeled and of course so fun to sift through it all. Found some cute Christmas ornaments and gifts from relatives who'd traveled abroad so that was neat.
Anyway, between that chore and eating – Mom feeds me VERY well when I'm home – I got to pretend I was a country girl once again. That meant, of course, hiking with the dogs in the woods and horseback riding.
We have a horse show in Lindstrom next weekend, so I needed to get a horse between my legs and make my muscles "remember" what it's all about...doesn't hurt to practice a bit to get used to the horse, either. Of course, Will is pretty compliant but it's always nice to get on him before the show at least once.
So I headed out to Lonesome Dove Training Center two days in a row and worked myself into extreme muscle soreness. Felt good, though, plus we had beautiful weather on Sunday so it was pure joy to be outside in the sunshine working a horse and lathering up a sweat (PS: I'm just now not sore from riding last weekend...hopefully this show doesn't put me out of commission like it did last year :).
And then, of course, we mustn't forget the hiking. Through the woods, across the fields, down to the river, away we went – Zada, Tesa and me. Although I used to be an avid runner when I was younger and shunned merely "walking" anywhere at any cost, it is now my mode of refreshing my mind and getting rid of stress.
It's not merely the physical exercise I get, or even the beautiful nature I see...it's also the pure joy on those dogs' faces and in their bouncy gait – they absolutely LOVE being out and about and traveling with their humans. They're my constant companions on my walks when I'm back home and they're always ready to head out with me for a couple hours' hike.
When we get back to the house, they'll keep their energy level up, but like any over-tired kid, once they're brought into the house they conk out for a nice, long, well-deserved nap :)
Also while I was home I chatted quite a bit with Madge...and I asked if I could take some pictures of Callie, her rambunctious black lab. At first I had quite the time trying to get her to sit still, but then with the aid of a simple, soggy tennis ball I captivated her enough to get some quick snapshots.
She's so beautiful with her silky black coat and her bright eyes...but of course photographing black dogs is a bit tricky – you want to be able to see definition in their bodies and make sure their eyes stand out, but you also don't want them to end up looking blue, as is the wont of many black dogs in photographs.
For an impromptu half-hour photo shoot, I think Callie did very well and showed us what a pretty girl she is :) Get a sneak peek at more from her photo session here.
I'll probably need to head up again at some point this spring to help Mom with the rest of the books – we didn't get done but we made a big dent in that nook – and by the time I can get there again the dock will most likely be out, and it'll be warmer yet. Regardless, it's always a great time up at the Bernier Ranch & Spa!