The Land of Enchantment

I loved driving to New Mexico last week just as much as I loved actually being there.

An open road is good for the soul.


Prequel to the Trip Report

I've been letting the intimidation of writing a big post about my trip prevent me from posting at all, and that's just silly.
I would like to write a thoughtful post about the trip, but for the time being I'll just post a few photos from the thousands I've been editing and organizing.
(Rhodes airport)


(Dance Festival in Parma, Italy)


merry christmas!

August 22=me+you+The Pretenders+Cat Power+The Botanic Gardens.

i want to be this kind of teacher


artist of the month (or so): james surls

A couple weekends ago (after recuperating from a bout of the stomach flu) I drove around to check out some of the local artists participating in the Roaring Fork Valley Studio Tour. My favorite of the day happened to be right up the road from here. I'm always a little envious when I come across an artist who seems to have a way with wood, and James Surls certainly has that. The sculptures are large and beautiful with a certain whimsy which always catches my fancy. His blog is good reading to boot.

Find some internet soon ey?


kids say the darndest things

I keep meaning to write down funny things that Scarlet says, and while I haven't actually done that I do remember some dingers off hand that I'd like to share.

1. Yesterday, we walk out of the house to find her umbrella laying in the plant holder and I hear:
"SHIT! My umbrella!" from her little 3 three year old mouth. I respond: "What did you say?"
She responds: "Shhhhhhiiiiiitttttt, my umbrella!"

2. Scarlet commonly slips right into her birthday suit the moment she enters the house and one afternoon she was attempting to sit on my lap. Needless to say, I asked her to please put on some underwear if she would like to sit on my lap. She proceeded to stick her finger between her butt cheeks and reassure me that everything would be just fine because there was no poop.

3. Her version of the alphabet: A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O BUB-BLE-GUM.

4. In a conversation about birds: "That bird is a pigeon because it flies like an eagle."


So Far Away

For the vast majority of this trip I have been a happy camper, despite (or because of?) the fact that I am alone. Every time I moved on to a new destination I'd think, "hell yeah, I can do this; not only can I do this alone, but I like it."

Until this morning when I made the trip from Athens to Rhodes.

Let me preface this by explaining that yesterday I spent fourteen hours getting from Parma, Italy to Athens. I left Parma in the morning, took a train to Milan, took a bus to the Milan airport (an hour's drive), waited in crazy massess of people forever, took a plane to Athens, and got a cab to my hotel. I arrived at 11pm; I had to be up at 3am the next morning to catch my flight to Rhodes. So I was running on about three hours of sleep, which really never ends well.

I arrived in Rhodes and figured I'd just get a cab to my hotel, which is in Old Town Rhodes. The cabbie seemed to understand where I was going and gave me no inclination that it wouldn't be a cinch. When he got to the massive gates of Old Town (Rhodes is a mideival Turkish fortress and village), he stopped the cab and gestured just head, leading me to believe my hotel would be a hop, skip and a jump away. I heaved my ginormous backpack on and headed in the direction he'd motioned.

It was 6:30am and the streets were totally deserted, which would prove to be troublesome when I spent the next two hours completely and utterly lost. Apparently my hotel was not just around the bend, not at all. And the Turks really did not give a damn about laying their fortresses out in a logical way, because the streets are insane. They're about four feet wide in many places, full of potholes, and the entire village is built out of the same kind of rock so there is no way to distinguish one street from the next. It's a maze. And the street names are usually just in Greek. Which, in case you need to be reminded, is not even an alphabet I can remotely begin to understand.

It was already getting hot, and I was hungry and tired to boot. There was no one around to help me, and I got to the point where I seriously considered just sitting down in the middle of one of the winding roads to have a good cry. But I perservered and at long last, by a stroke of pure luck, I found the hotel.

I rang the bell, and nothing happened. I rang again. I was barely holding on to my last shred of dignity, and began pressing the bell like a madwoman, over and over again, holding it down for thirty seconds at a time. Still nothing. It was about that time that I looked down and realized I was standing in a puddle of vomit from the night before.

That was the last straw. By the time the hotel manager finally came the door I had lost every ounce of my ability to be even halfway decent to him. He told me my room wasn't ready yet and that I could wait on the terrace, and without a reply, I rushed past him and onto the terrace. I figured it was better not to reply at all; I think if I'd tried to talk it would've turned into ugly sobbing or crazy yelling.

Slowly I began to regain my composure and realized the terrace was actually really beautiful. And before long my room was ready. I slept for three hours, and spend the rest of the day today giving Rhodes another chance, which it totally deserved.

So I guess the moral of that story is that traveling alone is not a walk in the park. At least if I had been with someone else we could have laughed about it. But being alone, with that many factors working against me, was 100% miserable. The good news is, I think I've fully recovered and am working on an itinerary for the Greek Islands, which should be a boatful of fun.

No dogs here yet, but there is this cat, resident of the Hotel Via Via, who acts like a dog.


Algerian Dance Festival

Ok, I am in a rush to get myself to the train station on my way out of Parma, but I wanted to quickly post this video. The first night in Parma I arrived just in time for this magical dance festival in the town square. I intend to write more about it when I do my monster end-of-the-trip post.

Algerian Dance Festival in Parma, Italy from Claire B on Vimeo.


showering the bride

I headed down from the mountains this weekend for the beginning of wedding madness. My brother gets hitched in just a couple weeks (which will be photographed by the one and only Claire Bow, and I am super jazzed about that.) Things got kicked off Saturday with the bridal shower in my parents' back yard, and then a bachelorette party in Vail that evening. A good time was had by all, but I'll admit that I am sort of envious of the bachelor party that was also held this weekend in San Fransisco. My brother and 10 of his comrades decided it would be extra special to grow mustaches for the occasion, and I'm sure that provided for some pretty comical situations.
A glimpse at the festivities:

Favorite shot of the day:


Firenze a Parma

Hi, friend. This comes to you from a little B&B on the top floor of a building on the main street of Parma, Italy. I just got here, and am starving so I'm going to venture out soon for some food + wine, but I'm more than a little scared I won't be able to get back in. There's a nondescript door on the main via, then you have to push some specific button which triggers a tiny cutout in the door to spring open, and then follow some convoluted series of doors, locks and staircases before you find the pensione.

I originally planned to spend two nights in Florence, but cut it short and am instead in Parma for two nights instead of one. I was at a hostel in Florence, and to be honest, I am happy to have my own room again in Parma. Also, I'm just not a big city girl. Two days were enough for me. I have to say, though, that the art was truly amazing. Almost as good as the gelato.

I have wireless internet and my outlet converter works here so I will try to do a bigger post tomorrow.

Where have you been? What have you been doing?


Cinque Terre Quickie

I have wireless internet again, so provided I can shove my French outlet converters into these Italian outlets, I may be able to do another post soon. But for now, just a quickie.

I just arrived in Florence after having spent four days in Cinque Terre (specifically, Riomaggiore). I can't really attach words, at least not quickly, to the experience, but suffice it to say that so far it has by far been my favorite part of the trip. It was full of good people, good food and unbelievable surroundings.



chicken s&*%t

I must say, I think everyone should have mandatory ranch life after completing graduate school. Everyday, I feel myself unwinding a little more. But, I still catch myself attempting to get stressed out or hurry through things as if I have I have to meet a deadline. Reality is, I wake up and I let the chickens out.

Interacting with those rascally chickens has become one of my favorite parts of the day. Usually around 7 am, after I have taken Waldo for a walk, I meander up to let the Navajo (the ewe) and his two goat pals into the hay pasture. As you can see, they are usually staring at me asking why on earth I am taking so long.

Next, I make my way to this door where hens are clucking like crazy and roosters are cacka-doodle-doing waiting to bust loose.

I stand clear as they hall ass to who knows where, acting like they have an important meeting to get to and have been stuck in traffic for the last 40 minutes.

But, then they realize "oh shit! I totally forgot my breakfast!" And they make a u-turn back towards the door where I have just served up some piping hot Layena.
While the chickens are obviously a hoot to be around, you can never totally let you gard down because old Devil Brains (that's just what I call him) is likely to peck your eyes out if you aren't careful.
Since I had the camera out I figured I would try to get a shot of Gus and Scarlett for you. Gus complied and even went with the chicken theme.
But, Scarlett would not have any part in the picture taking.

I hope you are alive and well! Find internet soon!!!


Frommage Is Not Dessert

Blogger apparently is aware that I am in France now, because when I went to the main page to log in, this is what it wanted to know:

Qu'est-ce qu'un blog?


Having just returned from an all day adventure on the boat, I am completely and utterly exhausted. I didn't bring my camera with me today (I was worried it would get wet on the little Zodiac), but I took quite a few photos yesterday.

We spent the morning yesterday strolling through Le Suquet, which according to my understanding is basically just the name for the old village-y part of Cannes. It looks like this:

At the farmer's market I fell completely in love with these flowers. Any clue what they are? (Maybe you can conquer botany when you're finished with birds? That would come in handy for me).

We spent the afternoon at a beach very near to La Napoule (the village where I'm staying). Lee lives literally across the street from this castle:
It reminds me of that Eddie Izzard bit about how there are castles everywhere in Europe, so many that you are constantly bumping into them. So far I think he was dead on.

The beach was phenomally beautiful (and actually not very crowded--although I am quickly learning that Europeans have a totally different concept of body exposure and it's quite common to see people totally nude or women topless).

I cannot get over how crystal clear the water here is. You would think the centuries of human use would have muddied it all up, but au contraire, it's unbelievable. I can't even describe the shades of blues and greens you see out on the water here.,

I probably haven't quite fulfilled your expectations for how much I'd have read by now (two books down and only 20 pages into Atlas Shrugged) but I am definitely loving having time to read whatever I want. So far Atlas is as enthralling as Fountainhead. I'll keep you posted on how it progresses.

Probably the most exciting part of the day yesterday was when we drove out to this rocky point (part of a national park)
. . . and look at what it's called:

Roux!!! Roux in France! When I told Alex that he said, "Roux rocks." That's funny. Something else that's funny? The fact that French people think cheese (frommage) is dessert. It's always on the dessert menu. You absolutely cannot convince me that cheese should be part of a dessert menu.

So tomorrow I head off to Italy, truly alone for the first time this trip. I think I have internet in the HOSTEL where I am staying, but I'm not betting on it. I will try to check in again soon. . .


slow as molasses

I realize that it is pretty pathetic that you have already done one Europe post and I still hadn't done my second Carbondale post. It's just hard to be motivated when it takes nearly fifteen minutes for my photos to upload.
Living here so far has proved to be pretty darn good. I really love living in and getting to know a new part of Colorado. Last weekend I put Waldo in the car in hopes to get in a good a hike at near by Hanging Lake. We made it all of 50 feet before I saw the sign saying "no dogs allowed." I was bummed to say the least, but at least the view from the parking lot (below) was decent.

I was not to be deterred from finding a good hike. After a little driving around I happened upon a great little trail called Grizzly Creek. Aptly named because it followed this creek for a good while, although I'm not sure where they got the Grizzly part seeing as though Grizzlies don't even live in Colorado. Nonetheless, an afternoon well spent.
As I mentioned before, I was able to take part in a clinic here at the ranch with Wendy Murdoch. I didn't have high expectations because the only other clinic I have ever done was a complete disaster. Forte was refusing to go through the in and out and the only advice the dude had was to use more spur and more crop. Nothing was accomplished. BUT, this clinic was very eye opening for a lot of reasons. Each of the two days started out with lecture/discussion. Wendy is all about bio mechanics and how we can use our bodies properly to be more efficient in not only riding but everything we do. She taught us all to walk, which sounds silly but is actually something not very many people do properly. I explained to her my knee issues both on and off horses and she provided me with ways I could change the way I was using my body to alleviate the pain. Too much to explain in one post but check out her site, and next time we see one another I can teach you how to walk.
And, now a glimpse into my living quarters. I've been living in the barn, but as you can see it's not too shabby. This barn was previously used for therapeutic riding and this area was where they conducted physical therapy off the horse. Since then the people I work for totally re-designed it into this comfortable living area complete with a giant bar.

I spent all of yesterday on the coach watching episodes of the Dog Whisperer (I love when Ceasar Millan wiggles like a dog) because I was laid up with the stomach flu. Pretty terrrible day. Today, though, I am on the mend and plan to check out the Roaring Fork Studio Tour which is where local artists open up their studios to the public for one weekend. Should be great.

I hope France is treating you well! Oui oui!


Côte d’Azur

Ok, first of all, Lauren just because I'm not in town doesn't mean you can totally quit posting. In fact, I sort of think it means you should post more. I still want to see photos of your actual living quarters, and hear about how you've been liking life in Carbondale.

I don't have a lot of time at the moment, but thought I'd check in quickly with a photo or two. London was lovely; it is always lovely to see Karen + Nick. They completely spoiled me, refusing to let me pay for so much as a cappuccino, allowing me to avoid all public transport and instead driving me where I needed to go in a Porsche Boxter, and taking me shopping. My first hostel is going to be a serious wake up call.

Today I arrived in Nice (although the town I'm staying in is actually La Napoule). I haven't taken any photos from the ground--not yet anyway--but took this as the plane was landing. The water is a truly amazing shade of turquoise. I expected sort of brownish blue water, like in California, but it's far more breathtaking than that. We spent the afternoon walking through Nice, which is a little large for my taste, but there is a section that is nothing but tiny pedestrian side streets, full of flower markets, cafes and little shops that is really nice.

So, here's the Côte d’Azur from the air; hopefully tomorrow I can post more photos.


Leaving One Beautiful Place for Another

This is my last post from the good ol' U.S. of A. Next time I write I will be in: a) London, b) Nice, or c) Riomaggiore, depending on where I have internet.

Hip-hip-hooray for adventure.


I'm pretty sure we could have invented these

I just saw these wrap up boots online and they reminded me of how we used to wrap our own legs with polo wraps.

Look at the description:

Inspired by the beauty and tradition of Argentine polo and the elegant, brightly colored leg wraps of its champion horses.

Blue Wolf + Other Dreams

Alright, here's two excerpts of the final Blue Wolf + Other Dreams project (which debuted on the big screen last night).

Part I:

Blue Wolf + Other Dreams, Part I from Claire B on Vimeo.

Part II:

Blue Wolf + Other Dreams, Part II from Claire B on Vimeo.


for your pocket

Finally got my act together and snapped a few photos for you so that when you are out perusing around Mediterranean Europe you can have a small mental image of my location. I also wanted to make sure you could catch a glimpse of my favorite cow because I know how thrilled you were that cows were also in the job description (I'll get you a shot of the 4-wheeler asap). I'm so looking forward to your Europe posts, and I can hardly believe you are jetting off in just two days! I really think this is going to be an incredible experience for you.