Last Minute Preparations

Decisions are exhausting. That might be one reason some people choose not to travel: there are endless decisions. We have made most of ours, including when to go, where to stay and what to do. But with 1 day and 18 hours left before we leave, there are still several important decisions to be made.

Perhaps the most important decision to be made is in a category I will call Trip Electronics. This category has become more complex over the years, but it is especially complex on this trip since we will be hiking for 4 days and will be separated from the majority of our luggage (not to mention electricity) and will have with us only what we decide to carry.

All day today I had to resist the urge to purchase a third camera to take on the Trek. And while I am usually dependent on a laptop for photos, GPS, blogging, email, etc., this time we are trying out the minimalist approach and determining if we can use the iPad for all of the above.

This blog post is coming to you from the iPad. Today I bought a camera conversion kit and loaded photos straight from my camera to the iPad so I can test that combination to see if it is adequate for the trip.

Here are three pictures from a recent training hike on South Mountain with my friends Cindy and Lesley, and one picture featuring some last minute bonding between John and Penny.

What do you think? Adequate?

Cindy and Lesley
Trish and Cindy at the Top.
Blue Sky Cactus.
Who Spoiled the Vizsla?

Day 5 Castlenaud et Marqueyssac

This morning John and I had a little jog along the Dordogne.  We were just a little tired from our longer, hillier run the day before. So we strolled out into the fog, and ran towards the canoe put-in area. Then we went to the Patisserie and bought an apple tart. We had breakfast on the terrace again—forest strawberries, white peaches, goat cheese, and farm fresh eggs.

Le Petit DejeunerThen we walked down to the little market in Beynac—there were lots of nice artisanal cheeses and yummy fruits and vegetables. I bought a head of lettuce and some duck sausage for dinner tonight.

Then we drove only a few km to Castelnaud, where we saw a small medieval village and a large medieval castle. Justin especially liked the catapult display. And guess what we saw inside the castle? Wire-haired Vizslas! I have never seen one up close! The owners were Dutch, so I asked them lots of questions and they let me pet the sweeties. They were 5 years old, brother and sister. They looked just like Penny (skinny, with a white spot on the chest) and Rooster (a little heavier with yellow eyes) but with mustaches! So funny. And they were very friendly and playful just like our little ones.

Wirelhaired Viszlas

For lunch, John and I stopped near the river and had a smoked salmon and white asparagus salad and roasted chicken with pommes frites. When we got home the Hinckleys had just arrived, and were eating goat cheese, wild boar sausage, fresh apricots, forest strawberries. and bread. John and I got into our swimsuits and we walked down to the river for a swim. The water was refreshing, quite brisk! And the current was strong. Later today we’re going to our second castle at Marqueyssac, and then we’ll make some dinner chez nous. I’m kind of tired out today! The weather was really beautiful and the sun was warm.

1 day to go (and why I don’t have children)

Rooster and Penny in Jeff and Autumn's Yard

As many of you know, my decision not to have children stems from several ideologies: political, environmental, philosophical. But I’ve just bumped up into another one: emotional! I had to drop off my “children” today to Autumn and Jeff’s. And while I know they will be so well taken care of, and I’m so lucky to have friends who are willing to help facilitate me having a completely selfish and decadent get-away, I just feel like I’m falling apart. Can you imagine if my children were human and not canine? Can you say breakdown?

Autumn and Pups

My mother used to say to me that she wished I would have children just so I would know how deeply she loved me. Well, Mom, Rooster and Penny are all it took. It’s hard to believe we will be leaving tomorrow morning. I can hardly picture being in a new place and out of this heat, and away from my pups!

Dinner Tonight

I’m so happy to make dinner tonight that I wanted to share it with you. This dinner makes me so happy in all kinds of ways–happy to have fresh, nutritious food, happy to be with a man I love, happy to have a comfortable kitchen, happy to have puppies to shoo away from that comfortable kitchen. I’m also happy that we have this wonderful summer routine and partnership. Here’s how we do it.

John grills. We buy whatever protein is fresh–fish, chicken, beef. Tonight  it is our favorite locally raised chicken from RedBird. John wraps it in saran wrap and pounds it out so it is plenty tender and thin enough to cook evenly on the grill. He seasons it with salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder, then he disappears outside.

While he braves the heat, I make the sides. My salad always has a fruit, a cheese, and a nut. Tonight it is blueberries, Roquefort, and pecans. I mix it with a little White Balsamic vinegar and it’s ready to go. The cheese and nuts are rich enough that any other oil or fat would be overkill.

Then I chop some tomatoes (from the garden if we have them) and add some basil (from the garden–we always have some), some Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss and enjoy.

Then we always add an additional veg. Tonight I sauteed some baby portobellas in a pat of butter. Real butter–not the fake stuff. When used sparingly it won’t kill the diet, and it adds a flavor that cannot be replicated.

I hope you all had a good meal tonight too. I wish we could have shared it together.