~~ "She has so many aliases, you'd think she was a spy!" ~~

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spelunked

Yesterday Ken did an advanced rider course and I failed to get anything noteworthy accomplished. I did tweak and mail a short story, and work out (in our room, with exercise bands), but no significant writing. It didn’t help that Ernie and Pauline had shown up late the night before and on Tuesday joined me in the suite and then dragged me off to lunch. Ken’s course finished early, and we eventually all toddled off to a group CCR dinner, after which Ken and Ernie wandered off for a bit while Pauline and I came back to the suite and continued drinking…

Today Ken and I had a leisurely morning (shall we say), then finally forced ourselves out to explore. We went to Ha Ha Tonka State Park, where we explored castle ruins, hiked under a natural bridge and to a cave entrance, and watched a hawk (or possibly a turkey vulture) soar lazily overhead. Then we collected Ernie and Pauline and went to Bridal Cave, one of the area’s biggest caverns. While we were waiting in the gift shop (where I bought an adorable little faerie tree made out of amethyst chips) to start our tour, the sky glowered and darkened, lightning flashed, thunder boomed, and suddenly there was a deluge so strong we couldn’t see the other side of the cove. The little hummingbird outside the window vanished somewhere safe as giant drops of rain and even a bit of hail swept by. Glorious!

Then we spelunked our way into the cave, where we saw the most adorable little bat and of course wandered through all sorts of gorgeous cave rooms. I love caverns. Our tour guide was pretty funny, too. I think our favorite part was when he turned out all the lights so we could experience real, full dark…and when the lights came back on, Ken and were caught kissing. :-)

Our tour guide had said the storm would be past by the time we finished our tour, and sure enough, the sun was back out—and ‘though it was still pretty humid, it was noticeably cooler (thank goodness!). We stumbled upon a German restaurant near the cavern and had a lovely meal (I went for weinerschitzel and sp├Ątzel and a glass of Chardonnay), picked up some more groceries, and now we’re hanging out in the suite drinking (is this becoming a theme?) and geeking out on various computers. Although I just made Pauline laugh so hard her face got as red as the sunburn on her chest. Go me!

Four stars!


Squee! I just got word from a friend that Romantic Times has given A Little Night Music four stars!

It's up on their website, but I don't have access to subscriber areas (never signed up, even though I get the magazine), so I don't know what the review says, but four stars!

[cue mad dancing and flailing about the room]

(And in another major incident of the stars converging, Amazon.com's "buy this book with this other one and get a discount" is pairing our book with...Chuck Panozzo's biography. Holy crap.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

So I had this weird dream, see....

Friday was a lazy day. Ken didn’t have bike work to do ‘til the afternoon, so we slept in and squeaked in for a late breakfast at one of the hotel’s restaurants. I had the most amazing “skillet” dish. For “veggies,” I expected onions and peppers. Nope, there were perfectly steamed carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, and the hash browns were light and nongreasy, and the eggs were lovely. Best. Skillet. Ever.

In the early afternoon we went down to the fitness center and health spa, and Ken got a massage while I worked out. The exercise area was huge and very well-equipped. I listened to a Rockline with Styx from 2005 on my iPod and nearly fell off the elliptical a couple of times.

When Ken went off to be pit crew, I sat down to write. Hah. I kept turning into the Tasmanian Devil; I’d type a few words and then my head would spin around and weird noises would gurgle out of me, and I’d get up and do something else. Like wander down to the little shop and get Cheez-Its and gummi bears. It’s been years since I’ve eaten gummi bears. Gotta love those little chewy ursine bits of sugar. In sum, I didn’t get a lot of writing done, much to my chagrin. But by the gods, I cleaned out my e-mail In Box!

We had a late dinner with another bike guy, and then we spent the rest of the night repacking all our stuff, because there’s only so much room on the bike… Well, Ken packed. I lounged on the bed and read a book.

The Wild Canid Survival and Research Center (despite the web address, it’s not a sanctuary) was awesome. They have five types of canids there—Mexican grey wolves, maned wolves, African wild dogs, swift foxes, and red wolves—and we saw all five, which they said wasn’t usual. Such beautiful creatures. Smaller than I realized—I guess I think they’re big and bulky like huskies, when in fact they’re smaller, leaner. Simply gorgeous. The African wild dogs were particularly striking with their multicolored coats, and the maned wolf has this lush, thick red fur…

We grabbed lunch after that, then got on the road to Hope and Bob’s. On the way, I saw a red hawk in a tree right next to the on ramp we were on, and then, when we got there, I heard a red hawk call and saw one waaaaay up in the sky. I was quite chuffed to have recognized its call before I even spotted it.

We were immediately set upon by Hope and Bob’s kids, Sam (9) and Jessie (3). Sam remembered us from CA, but Jessie didn’t, given that when she left, she was still essentially a baby, and now she’s this little person. I don’t know about you, but I really didn’t expect a 3-year-old to walk up to me 10 minutes after I arrived and say (and this is pretty close to a direct quote), “Hey. I had a really weird dream the other night. You wanna hear it?” (Of course I said yes. I had to know what constitutes a weird dream for a 3-year-old. All told, it didn’t sound any weirder than any of my weird dreams…)

We all went out to a brew pub for dinner, and then they took us to a hot air balloon festival. Pictures will ensue.

Sunday was quiet; Bob had to leave in the afternoon to travel to a work site, so we took Hope and the kids out to dinner (excellent barbeque), and then we curled up and watched Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, because after a “Cheese, Gromit!” moment in the car, it came to light that Ken and I hadn’t seen the movie yet. Much amusement was had by all.

Today we made our way leisurely to Tan-Tar-A and checked in to our condo at the resort. It’s so pretty here, the hills covered with trees and the lake glimmering through the leaves, which we can see from our deck. We said hi to a lot of friends, had dinner (I had shrimp and pasta to do for), and popped out to get groceries before coming back to spend a quiet night in. Pictures of the area will be forthcoming when we get home!

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Currently Reading: The Wizard’s Daughter, Barbara Michaels
Lately Listened To: The Serpent Is Rising, Styx
Recently Watched: Missouri scenery