Rylie

Rylie
Rylie

Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie
Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monarch Grove

Last month while I was staying in Pismo Beach, I had the opportunity to visit Monarch Grove. This is a grove of eucalyptus trees near the ocean where the Monarch butterflies like to winter. The Palm Springs of the butterfly world, I guess. If I didn't know what I was looking for, I probably would not have noticed the many butterflies that were inhabiting the tall trees above me. It was neat to see such a heavy concentration of these orange beauties. I even saw a couple of them doing a tango on a branch. Double click on the photos to make the images larger and so that you can see them better.


As I listen to all of the weather reports of frigid winter weather going on elsewhere, I am so grateful to be working in an area with such mild weather. We've had some chilly days here that required sweaters or jackets, but we have also had many days of sunshine and short sleeve weather. I even sat out at the pool for a bit last week. To make it even better, Amy has been renting a condo in Scottsdale, so we have been having some play dates. We have been investigating some of the restaurants in her neighborhood, and have had some very tasty chow.

Rylie's Notes:

Did someone say tasty chow? There have been some interesting events lately. There are plenty of rabbits to chase around here, a cat that likes to taunt me by sauntering through our campsite, and this morning we even saw a coyote during our walk. I wanted to get closer to investigate, but The Staff was her usual stick-in-the-mud self and wouldn't let me get closer.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Up, Up and Away

The holidays were fun, but I must say that I'm a bit relieved that they are over. All of that over-indulging, over-spending, and over-extending is a bit exhausting. My birthday follows 10 days after the New Year, so the celebrating gets stretched out even further. But what a great birthday celebration I had! My good friend Robbie treated me to a hot air balloon ride in Phoenix and the most scrumptious dinner I've ever had at Fleming's. Below are some photos of the balloon experience. Remember that you can double click on the photos to make them larger.

Balloon Being Inflated



Almost Upright


Ready for Take-Off



Inside the Balloon





Looking Down on Other Balloons

More Balloons


Lake Pleasant -- there is water in Phoenix!


View from Balloon


This was my first balloon ride, and I found it to be very peaceful and relaxing. I really enjoyed gliding along the air currents a mile above the ground, and our first landing couldn't have been softer. The chase vehicle couldn't get to us in our first landing position, however, so up we went for another landing elsewhere. The second landing had a bit of bounce to it, but was still pretty gentle. After landing, we were treated to a champagne breakfast, which included a breakfast birthday cake and happy birthday song for me.

Rylie's Notes:

I have no interest in balloon rides, but a tasty dinner, now THAT's a way to celebrate. The Staff even let me have a bit of leftover steak. Usually the contents of the doggy bag never make it to the dog, but she came through this time.