Monday, September 24, 2012

Heaven and Hell

Friday, Brett and I drove up to Paso Robles.  Before leaving, we rode the horses.  Winston was perfect; light and responsive, bending and lifting, transitioning into canter with just a hair more than a thought.  I've started asking for the transitions by sitting and moving my seat into a canter motion and we've got it down now so that I think and he goes.  Unfortunately, Brett's ride didn't go so well.  Flash was off again so the vet is coming up to re-evaluate his hocks on Wednesday.

We left home around 9:30 after the morning rush hour traffic had subsided.  Initially Brett said he felt up to doing the driving but by the time we reached the bottom of the mountain he was ready to trade seats.  We stopped for lunch at Taco Lita, a small taco and burrito place in Arcadia.  Brett grew up going there and it is a favorite of ours for simple, but good, tacos.

When we got back on the freeway, close to noon, the traffic was very heavy.  Odd.  A few miles more, in Pasadena, it almost came to a standstill.  We were near NASA/JPL and cars were stopped on the overpass, the frontage road -- and on the freeway.  People were standing, staring at the sky waiting for the space shuttle Endeavor on its fly by before landing at LAX.  We didn't see the shuttle, and a few more miles down the road, traffic started flowing again.

We arrived at our B&B in Paso Robles in the late afternoon.  Orchard Hill Farm B & B was beautiful, sitting on the top of a hill, with views in every direction.  Brett was tired and sitting in the car had been hard on him.  We relaxed for a few hours, then drove to Morro Bay to meet my parents for dinner.

The restaurant was wonderful; great food and sitting right on the bay with windows everywhere.  We watched seals play, boats chug through, and the sun set.  Unfortunately, Brett's shingles decided to flip into high gear during dinner.  The pain comes in unrelenting waves of hours long, deep muscle pain.  We left before the bill arrived (at the urging of my parents).  Brett spent an agonizing night with a fever, chills, the shakes and cries to me to please just kill him; he finally got some relief standing in the shower at 3 am with the water running over him.  It was a horrible night for him and a frightening one for me.

The next morning, I suggested (demanded?) that Brett take his pain meds on a regular schedule and not wait until the pain was so severe that nothing could bring relief.  That seemed to work better.  We had an enjoyable day on Saturday and Brett started to eat again -- especially the breakfasts at our B & B -- fresh fruit (perfectly ripe, sweet melon and berries) and filled croissants, amazing coffee and good company. 

We spent some time exploring a private garden and stopped in at the grape stomping party -- but it was too hot, and we were too tired, to enjoy it much. 

The garden, though, was amazing.  A neighbor (a very wealthy neighbor) of the B & B, sunk over $10 million into creating gardens on her property.  We wandered from garden room to garden room, from a koi pond and waterfall to multiple infinity pools and a huge hamock hanging under an arbor of apples and figs.

Sculpture was incorporated into the gardens at every turn, but in such an integrated artistic way that it blended perfectly. 

There was even had a small herd of goats set in the grass. 

We rested on the balcony of our room Saturday afternoon.  Brett read a bit and dozed.  I gazed out over the vineyards and golden hillsides while I wrote poetry.  In the evening, my son Kyle came up from the university in San Luis Obispo and met us for dinner.  We went to my favorite restaurant - Thomas Hill Organics (farm to table).  Brett was feeling better: he picked at the appetizer and his dinner and then we had a three way fight over dessert -- tres leche cake with strawberries.  To. Die. For. 

Sunday morning, we had another delicious breakfast and long conversation, with the Orchard Hill Farm owners and another couple staying at the B & B, before heading home.  Brett kept his pain pills on schedule and dozed during the six hour drive.  We arrived home just in time to do the evening feeding.  Brett took care of the animals while Camille and I got ready to go to the theater.  Brett was not up to driving an hour more to the theater, sitting through a play, and then driving back.  Fortunately, Camille was more than willing to use his ticket.  I was back home at 11 pm -- a long day, and a long weekend.  But, over all, a good weekend.

Oh, my following list on blogger came back after I hit refresh eight or nine times.  Phew!


  1. tres leche is my idea of heaven and I don't even like sweet stuff, as a rule. Sorry to hear Bret is suffering so. That hammock looks very inviting.

  2. That's horrible. I think you were smart to recommend taking the pain killers and, after reading this, if I ever get shingles, I will be tanking up on them!!!

  3. It's a good thing Brett took your advice about the pain meds...poor guy. I'm sure he was happy to get back home. What's with the Flash? Nothing too serious I hope.

    Those gardens are especially gorgeous...loved the hammock etc.and your meals sounded divine.

  4. Making lemonade out of lemons. I'm so sorry Brett is fighting that terrible disease but yay you for being strong and getting him on his meds. Also thank you for sharing the wonderful gardens and information, sounds heavenly!

  5. I forgot to ask about the shingles vaccine, this certainly was a reminder of how horrible it is when you get it. I hope Brett will be better soon. And I so love the goat picture, looks like he's drowning in all that green grass.

  6. It's central to modern pain management methods that you don't let the pain build ie you take your pain meds on schedule, none of this "being brave" nonsense!

    Hope Brett is feeling better soon. My friend Naomi has just got shingles too. Loads of sympathy to them both :-(

  7. I'm so sorry to hear that Brett is suffering so much! Lately, it seems that I've heard of so many people getting shingles - is it on the rise for some reason? Sounds unbearable! I'm all about pain meds, good job pushing the scheduled pills! No reason to live with pain. What a perfectly lovely weekend otherwise...sounds peaceful and relaxing, all but the traffic part. Love the hammock under the arbor of trees!!

  8. Doug (my husband) had shingles a couple of years ago. It's AWFUL and it seems to last a long time. Glad Brett took your advice on the regular schedule of pain medication.
    I love your aid for canter. Rogo is just starting to figure this out, because I was over-aiding for too long - then he showed me :) Winston is a very nice horse. Hope Flash is okay.

  9. what a time you two are having. You are correct in telling Brett to stick to the schedule. I did a course on Palliative care and the instructors were quite clear that the best way to manage pain is to stick to the schedule. If people wait until it's 'bad' the medication is not nearly as effective.

    However, my husband is a lot like Brett!!


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