Friday, May 26, 2017

OH WHERE, OH WHERE HAS IT GONE?

I woke up one morning recently, and realized that I seem to have mislaid my art vibe somewhere. Well, maybe not my art vibe per se, but the ability to follow through on it and get things done. The realization hit me hard. Really hard. And, knowing that drastic times call for drastic measures, my first step was to declutter the bedroodio. I figured it might help if I actually had a space to work in. When I began clearing off my art table and trying to put things back on the shelves, I noticed how crowded they were, thanks to all those clear plastic shoe crates filled with my no-longer-new assortment of hand-painted collage papers, still waiting to be used. Something had to go, and it really got me to thinkin', ya know? About the things we hold onto.

My Original Plans For Our Mexican Hacienda Kitchen Courtyard Cantina Garden
Apparently, I am a binder hoarder. I make binders for everything -- for recipes, for project ideas, for bookkeeping, for visual merchandising and garden design work notes, for to-do-lists, for my own garden notes, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera! I love, love, love taking a pile of papers that is ready to topple, and converting it into a well-organized system in a binder, complete with dividers, page protectors, and special pockets. Over time, however, the binders can get a bit out of hand. Like when I ended up with at least three huge binders full of recipes, along with about 50 cookbooks, in an age where one can google any recipe one could possibly want, according to what ever ingredients one has on hand. Seeing these shelves and all they held was kinda like that. It made me realize it was time for yet another major purge. And, if there's anything I actually love more than 3-ring binders, it's a major purge!

Proof That I Was Actually Once A Business Owner! (probably should have filed as a non-profit)
Notes From My Little Garden Design Business, Seasonality
Folder For Our Visitors, Showing All The Fun Things To Do In The Area

Outdated City Guides and Travel Brochures For Places We Won't Be Going Back To
I've tried to get rid of these things before, but could never quite do it. I guess they were visual reminders of a time in my life that felt almost too good to be true -- when I finally embraced my creativity and became the person I was truly meant to be. After we moved to the Hill Country, my life just got better and better. I started this blog, met The Muses, learned to draw and paint, became a much better cook and connected with local growers and producers, and planted a garden that I actually got to stick around and see reach it's peak and become fairly self-sufficient. Best of all, I became a grandmother which, surprisingly, has opened up even more avenues of creativity.

Anywho, the fact that I couldn't even remember what was in most of those binders, and that they were all covered in a thick layer of dust, told me that it was finally time to let them go. They represented the perfect jobs and interests for that time and that place and that season in my life. But seasons change, and now it's time to let go of one and fully embrace the next.


 Aaahhh! Already feeling the urge to rip up those color-mad papers and start gluing them on to something!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

KNOWING THE RIGHT PEOPLE

Outdoor Woman And Their Newest Fuzzball, Gus
When you live in a small town, you tend to have friends or groups of friends that overlap with one another in several different ways. My friend Outdoor Woman knows pretty much everyone in town since she is not only a Muse and one of my Wino buddies, but also a member of just about every group in Wimberley. Which is why, when you consider everyone she is friends with and could have invited over, Hubby and I feel kinda like we won the lottery this week!

Their patio overlooks Lone Man Creek, where we might have gone for a float had it not been unusually chilly and drizzly.
It all started when she posted a picture of her kitchen counter absolutely covered in the fresh produce that her hubby had harvested from their backyard garden that very morning, and which it was now up to her to use or loose. I was thinking to myself "I'd be happy to help you with that!" but didn't actually say anything. Another of our Wino buddies, however, was not so timid, and immediately left a comment saying "Looks to me like you need some dinner guests!" Which is how we ended up falling into this!


A bit of color-mad coordination I just couldn't resist snapping a photo of.
The beans on the small plate are the purple kind which, sadly, turn green once they are cooked.

Deviled Eggs, Straight From The Hen House
Zucchini Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting and Fresh Mango
YUMMMMM!
And, believe it or not, she still had this left on her counter...


and more in the garden, just waiting to be harvested.

Like I always say, it pays to know the right people -- people with chickens and veggie gardens!


Monday, May 22, 2017

WHERE'D OUR BABY GO?

Mom, what do you think you are doing?
SHEESH!
Why are my best buddies here at Mima's house? They've never been here before.
I don't know what these weird paper things hanging everywhere are, but I kinda like them. Let me pull them all down!
YIKES! What did you do to those cupcakes?
Can I touch it?
What am I supposed to do with this?
A little help, please?
Hmmmmmm...
WHOA! That made my toes curl!
Got any more of that?


Who you callin' a baby? I'm a BIG boy now!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

WHILE THE GALS ARE AWAY...

 the boys will play!


It's shaping up to be an epic weekend. Thanks to son-in-law Nate, whose brilliant idea it was,  it started with the Lane gals (Lexi, Areej and I) heading off for a 24-hour stay at Travaasa Spa in NW Austin. Not only was it to be our first time to do a get-away together, it was also Lex's first time to be away from Little Calvin overnight, so super-epic! We met up there around 10 AM on Thursday and, since our room wouldn't be ready until later, just dropped our bags at the desk and headed off to explore. 


Lex was the only one who had been there before, having gone on their honeymoon and again on their first anniversary, so she led the way. They had me at "Hello"!


There are many different ways to enjoy Travaasa, from obstacle courses, hiking, and mechanical bull--riding (all of which she and Nate did the first times) to farm tours, cooking demos and all-out pampering. We went for the all-inclusive package which covered our room, all our meals and snacks, and gave us a credit towards spa services and special classes. First up on the agenda? A facial for Areej...


and pedicures for me and Lex...


followed by a late lunch out on a beautiful patio with a magnificent view. Everything sounded so good, we had trouble deciding what to order! Then our waitress said "You're on the all-inclusive plan, right? Why don't I just bring you smaller amounts of all those things, so you can try everything and see what you like best?" Oh my! Which is why we felt compelled to go on a hike afterwards.
 

Unfortunately, it turned out to be the world's shortest hike. We were walking single-file and about ten steps in, just to be funny, I said "Good thing Lex is leading the way. If we run across any snakes, they'll go for her first." About ten steps further, a big yellowish snake slid out from under one of those rocks, reared up, and started hissing. You have never seen three women turn tail and run back to concrete as fast as these three did. We ran like the wind! It's a good thing, too. How bad would I have felt if Lexi actually did get bit? Areej later ran into the "trail boss" fellow, and when she described the snake to him, he said it sounded like a copperhead. ACK!

So, since we had some time to kill, we joined the chocolate making class last minute.

Rolling Truffles in Toasted Sesame Seeds
A Sampling of Everything We Made
After that we had a way-too-brief float in that gorgeous infinity pool, then we were off to a craft class, where we painted cork trivets to use at home. Lexi said it looked like the perfect project for The Muses' next crafty get-together!

For dinner that evening, in their elegant dining room, we opted to sit up at the bar overlooking the kitchen, so we could see everything being prepared.


Then we went back to the pool area, carrying mugs of hot tea and the box of macarons we found in our room, to talk our little hearts out as the sun went down and the stars came out.


The next morning I was up bright and early, as usual, but didn't mind at all since I was able to grab a little pot of tea and a muffin to enjoy out on the lovely dining patio, while I finished reading a really good book called The Girl With All the Gifts - a zombie book for people who don't like zombie stuff.  By the time I'd finished the girls had joined me, and we were able to take our time over a wonderful brunch, where we again had to try more than one thing each.


Then it was time to go pack up. Areej decided to stick around a while longer, so she could go on the farm tour, but it was time for Lexi to get back to her baby -- not only because she missed him, but also because she forgot to pack her pump!


You'd think we'd be all sad because the fun was over so soon, but no. Believe it or not, the weekend is about to get even more epic. How is that possible, you ask? Well, a certain little Goober turns one year old today, and there's about to be a party goin' on!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

EATING ONE'S WAY THROUGH SAN MIGUEL

There are so many good places to eat in San Miguel de Allende that it's hard to know where to start. For those who fear getting traveler's tummy, perhaps I should start with the rule of thumb that our hotel owner shared with us on the first day: Avoid all street food, and fresh produce from any market unless you soak it in the special solution that you can get from any pharmacy. However, if a restaurant is upscale enough to accept credit cards, it probably has a good filtration system too, so it's safe to have the water and drinks with ice. And we did. Quite a lot of them, in fact. She also recommended keeping a few Pepto Bismal tablets in your purse, and take one a day if you feel any rumblings. We did that too.

So, what were some of our favorites? Well, there was Cafe Martin, and La Mezcaleria, which I told you about in previous posts. Then there was this beautiful courtyard restaurant called Caza de Diezmo, on Calle de Jesus.



We especially enjoyed the owners' two little dogs, who had matching dresses.
There was the place we stumbled upon at 9:30 one night, when we didn't want much to eat - just a taco really, but not one from the street stalls (see rule above).  It was Don Manolito on Umaran. El Toro marks the spot.


Then there was Restaurante Pueblo Viejo, also on Calle Umaran, where I introduced the girls to the joys of Molcajete meals.


But, if you were to take a vote, I suspect everyone's favorite would probably be La Posadita, the rooftop restaurant with the killer view of La Parroquia.


Frozen Tamarind Margaritas!
Watching a wedding parade down below.

Fiber Woman and I loved the chicken and goat cheese with poblano sauce!


Just make sure you are there at sunset!