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i went to california and i got a new horse, but not at the same time

April 29, 2016

hello, sweet california sunshine!!

as i write this snow is falling outside my window,

so revisiting these photos is particularly welcome today…


in early april i made a trip home to see the folks,

spending a day in san francisco with my friend laurie

before taking the shuttle down to monterey.

laurie and i are alike in our love of art and nature,

equally comfortable is fine museums, treasure-seeking on beaches,

or wandering along coastal trails.

this particular day held all three.


to my great delight, the legion of honor museum was hosting an art exhibition

of pierre bonnard’s works, the first such exhibition on the west coast

in fifty years!  brandt and i are great fans of bonnard’s work, and i was

under strict instructions to bring home a copy of the exhibition catalog!


i’ve been missing art museums an awful lot lately, but i didn’t realize how much

until we entered the building.  oh, my!  there is such an atmosphere in a good art

museum–  hushed reverence, awe, and an inspirational electricity that sets

me vibrating.  these are, as virginia woolf might have called them, my “moments

of being”–  an incredible sense of synchronicity and the belief that all things

are possible.  i feel like i could walk right into a painting and inhabit it, make a

new life right beside the brush strokes.  having seen a number of these pieces hanging

in other museums around Paris as well as the fabulous exhibition we were lucky

enough to have at the denver art museum a number of years ago,

it also had an element of deja vu, time travel,

and a heartwarming familiarity.  it was absolutely lovely.


after we finished looking at the bonnard paintings we wandered a bit through

the legion’s permanent collection.

it’s impressive.


looking up at that gorgeous ceiling i felt like i could have been anywhere

in old europe.


this raphael is one of their prized pieces.

i thought it was very fitting that the sitter was holding rose

when she was a baby.


i could look at monet’s work every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it.

i’m studying impressionist work right now and must say that of all the art

movements in history the impressionists’ work elicits the strongest response

for me.  the interplay of light and color along with the capture of the moment

in all its sensuousness makes me giddy with delight.


also, a lovely van gogh painting of a shelter on montmartre.

i wish i could have walked through montmartre in those days.

it’s still incredibly charming but the vistas are not open any longer…


and look what we found when we exited the museum into the brilliant sunlight!!!

some things are meant to be!

we had to stop for a little petting session and discussion, don’tcha know?

now i need a wirehaired dachshund.  i don’t have one.


so.  a little gear-switching and there we were on a coastal trail looking for

the land’s end labyrinth.  i simply love the california coastline.

it does have patches of white sandy beaches, but its rocky continental edge

is so breathtakingly beautiful.


we walked and walked and walked some more,

climbing a bazillion steps with some incredible vistas, only to find that we

had passed the labyrinth and had to backtrack.

this place is not only hidden from the trail, but unmarked as well.

it’s like a well-kept secret intended only for the strong of heart.


so worth it!


we climbed up the hill behind it so that we could take photos looking down

and “land’s end” is an apt descriptor.  the view from this point was astonishing.


that bridge was a constant presence throughout our day.

the water sparkled, the sun bronzed us, and we had a chance to stroll and chat

and just enjoy time at a leisurely pace.

we finished with a trip to cheese plus and got duck sandwiches on dutch crunch bread

because tradition is very important!


once i got to monterey i walked the neighborhood and was seasonally stunned once again,

as in oh my gosh look at how green and growing and blooming everything is!!

(remember that it’s snowing here right NOW.)


i had promised to take my sister whale watching for her april birthday,

so i made reservations ahead of time for a day forecast to be 81 degrees.

which it wasn’t.  at all.

it was gray, overcast, and the sea was, um, choppy…

but we were going whale watching!!


see?  shiny, happy people well equipped with snacks and blankets!


still shiny and happy!


it was cool to keep track of the water depth and view the stats as we moved along.


the monterey bay whale watching company kept us well-informed and

pointed out whale sightings, stopping the boat for everyone to get a good look

and take photos which required a fairly strong zoom lens.


we saw spouts coming up like little fountains, and flukes break the surface

after the whales had refilled their lungs and submerged themselves back into the sea.


that’s when things started going south…

my sister took a video of the boat bucking up and down while swaying from

side to side, but i’ll spare you that.

take my word for it.

i have sailed the pacific from japan to washington,

i have sailed the atlantic to germany and back,

and i got miserably seasick every time.

i thought i had outgrown it.

i used to get carsick and airsick, too, and don’t any more.

 i hadn’t been on the open sea since 1964 though,

so hadn’t tested that travel mode.

so, nope.  still get seasick.

so the ‘flukes and pukes whale watch of 2016’ ends all my seafaring dreams.

i’m just glad it was me and not them!


i must tell you that THIS is the reason that i come home to california several times a year!

this is my 94 year old WWII veteran dad who gave me a life of adventure,

the unique opportunity to say i was born in japan, the chance to live in germany

for three years when i was old enough to remember it, who taught me the value

of education and encouraged me to pursue it, who has the strongest moral fiber

of anyone i know, and who bought me my first horse.

it is an honor to call him my dad, and an honor to pay back in some small way

the lifetime of love that he has given me.

he means the world to me!



on the subject of horses, mine seemed to be glad to see me back at home.

colorado had really put on its green in my absence, and things were looking lush.

we anticipated the arrival of a new herd member…

charlie and jan have decided to retire from the horse business and

to sell the irish rose farm.

their remaining horses will be sold but dear sweet muireann,

one of the original five mares that were imported from ireland

to begin their breeding operation,

needed to be retired herself, and what better placement for her than to live

out the rest of her days with her former herdmates at the fuzzy slippers farm?!


after a weather delay the big day finally arrived!


pinch me!  this is my real life!

i live in a postcard.

(albeit currently a very muddy postcard…)


muireann found security in her old friend rose, and the two are

never far from one another.


it’s going to take a couple of sassy sisters (si gaoithe and meadbh, not sara and me)

some time to get used to the idea of a new alpha mare…


but jeepers, does the land look lovely with EIGHT spotted horses grazing

in the grass!


these girls!  the whole thing just makes me very happy, indeed.


so, for a few dry and sunny days, we were clean and fluffy.


we’re taking our time introducing them all to the “one big, happy family” mindset.


we’ve elected to put muireann in with rose and her boys.

they make a congenial group.


muireann has a special menu plan, so i’m ‘cooking’ again,

if only in the feed room!

this girl loves her bucket of warm mash morning and night,

along with a side of grass hay.

i need to get her a spittoon, though,

as she’s more inclined to chew the flavor out and discard the rest.

at present she’s only got a tire cuspidor, and i think we can do better than that.


she’s really pretty, this girl.


her black is the darkest of the herd, and i love

her two-toned mane.  i’m going to have to do a roll braid on her.


a few more sunshiny photos to contrast with the present weather front…







we are taking steps to introduce the sassy sisters to muireann by taking walks

through the green surroundings so that spending time together is fun.




as long as muireann has a bestie, she’s happy with the new arrangements.


although there are a couple of boys who want a part of this friendship.


she’s flattered by that.


and one more thing:


any time jill wants to come over and give her a body massage

muireann has promised to clear her calendar!

i hope that spring has all of you feeling positively springy!

thanks for being here!

xx j

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Harte permalink
    April 30, 2016 12:42 am

    Wow! Great pictures Jan! Just spent an afternoon at the national art gallery in Washington. It was great! I am also very drawn to the impressionists. I did quite a bit of playing around with oils this past winter. 😊

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      May 3, 2016 12:37 am

      hi Mary! are you back home now? oh, the day at the museum was so good! i miss spending time just looking at (and feeling!) art. it is an enormous perspective shift.
      and good news– the sun is shining here once again! that is also a perspective shift.
      i’m still thinking about your days here and the good times we shared. Auggie misses you! me, too.

  2. Jennifer permalink
    April 30, 2016 3:00 pm

    I always love your musings! What a way to spend time…with loved ones and art! I’m so glad you’re having a wonderful time. Enjoy all of those beasties, they’re gorgeous.
    Love ya!

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      May 3, 2016 12:43 am

      ah, Jen! yes to loved ones and art! you need to come out here and see these beasties face-to-face! pick a day that is dry and stop in. i’m pretty sure i’m still on your way home from work, right? love ya, too!

  3. April 30, 2016 4:23 pm

    Hey California girl!
    Sunny post! Spring smiles!
    I never knew about the labyrinth. Who made it? Has it been there for a long time?
    The Laurie get together’s seem so special. Traditions! I still think about her and her rehabilitating birds. What a heart.
    I think I will stare and stare at the picture of the greens, the wild flowers, and tangarine Cali poppies all day. It’s been snowing for two days here consistently and tomorrow better be the last of it. Or I may just move in with my folks or your Dad! I miss the coast when I’m stuck in snow.
    But, I really DO like living with the seasons. I do… (I know no one believes me…)
    The pukey whale watch! There ain’t nuthin’ you can do about, either.
    You promised your sis and I’m sure she loves you for it. And you did see whale spouts!
    That Rafael painting with baby Rose…haha! That was funny.
    Muireann fell right in, didn’t she! Little blackie! Yes, roll the braid….gotta see that. 🙂
    As I look at the contrast between the places you hop back and forth to, I can’t help but see, in my opinion, that your postcard life with all those horses, in that private wild refuge, your very own yard, is more suitable to you. I imagine you are more alive & still blooming all the time with so much around you to discover and rediscover, explore and love with new eyes.
    Absolutely, you will always be a salty sister, loving the ocean, the air, the sand and sun. That is in you, too.
    And isn’t it marvelous to be smiling next to your darling dad…I see you have his eyes.
    I’d REALLY like that happy sea-life painted door as my front door on my Adobe on the prairie!
    Sorry for rambling… 😉

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      May 3, 2016 12:58 am

      hey Lynn! the California trip was super! the funny thing was that the weather here was beautiful that week, while in California we had four dismal and rainy days. at least the day in San Francisco was amazingly beautiful! it always amazes me how lush and overgrown the greenery and flowers are out there. i’m afraid i’ve become used to dormant winters and sluggish springs. i feel like such a tourist oohing and aahing over the landscape! and it’s true that my little refuge here is very suitable to me, and yet when i’m back in Monterey it just feels so familiar! so, yes, a salty sister i shall remain, thanks to my darling dad!
      isn’t that door wonderful?! they had a big whale painted on the floor inside the office, too. apparently the artist who did them was on the whale watch with us, but as things turned out i didn’t get a chance to seek her out and talk to her. go figure!
      always, always feel free to ramble away here! xoxo
      p.s. i purchased your brother’s Wild Horses song and now I need to download it onto my big computer!!!!

  4. naturegrl64 permalink
    May 2, 2016 11:38 pm

    So many lovely things in your life! I love seeing your trip photos of California and your family. And your shaggy family with the new addition back home. I’m so pleased she’s with you – there is no better place in the world for Muireann, especially with her buddy Rose. I’m in love with that Van Gough painting and that frame on it, too. And the California wildflowers and that oh-so-cool labyrinth. Someday hubby and I have to take a vacation to that part of CA – we loved the northern coast. Hopefully spring is there to stay in Colorado now with no more snow. Thanks for another lovely blog post and beautiful photos, Janet.

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      May 3, 2016 1:07 am

      i am really excited that Muireann is here too, Diana! looking at our little spotted herd out my kitchen window just fills my heart right up!
      and i, too, loved the Van Gogh! that was a new one for me, and that elaborate frame was spectacular! it was such a lovely day, enjoying both the sea and such a delightful assortment of fine art! yes, you must do the central coast some day, certainly between San Francisco and Big Sur!
      today has been sunny and i, too, am hoping that the next snow we see will be in late fall. i am so ready to spend vast amounts of time outdoors! as in, without mud boots!!
      thanks so much for being here!

  5. mary kelly permalink
    May 13, 2016 6:23 pm


    whenever I see/read your blogs, I imagine myself right there with you and it always makes my day. The pictures drive it all home and it’s all so YOU I could scream. Thanks for taking me there with you. Love you!


    • sassysistersink permalink*
      May 19, 2016 3:33 pm

      love you, too, and I’m so glad that we have this very visual way of staying connected! I write these blog posts for a very small audience, and I think of each of you who read it as I write each post. it was horses that brought us together in the 60’s, and I love that horses can keep us connected nearly 50 (gasp!) years later! xx

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