Thursday, September 21, 2017

THE SECRET TO A GREAT ADVENTURE

Hubby keeps asking me where I want to go on our next big adventure, and I keep waffling around. First it was Tuscany. Then it was Quebec. Now I'm thinking we might just have to go back to Paris, even though we've already been there several times.


"Why?", you may be asking. Well, our greatest travel adventures seem to have occurred after I stumbled upon a novel that takes place in that part of the world -- especially when it's a novel written by a foodie. And, hoo-doggie, have I ever stumbled upon a Parisian treasure trove! The book I am reading is The Library of Light and Shadow, by M.J. Rose. It's too early to know whether I will love the novel itself, but what I found inside is priceless, nonetheless. The story hops back and forth between the main character's past and present -- a past where her first love took her on a "secret tour of Paris -- every spot chosen for her enjoyment and delight." First stop? No. 34 Passage du D├ęsir, a chocolatier, where he purchased one small sack of chocolate-covered orange peel. Back outside, he opened it and pulled out a piece.

" 'Open your mouth, and close your eyes. Don't bite on it at first, just let it start to melt. There's an art to eating fine chocolate.' I did as I was told, and he fed me. My body reacted to the delectable citrus and cocoa flavor and also the intimacy of the act. Once the chocolate covering had melted, I chewed the candied peel. Before I could open my eyes, Matthieu leaned forward and kissed me..."

I told my hubby we really need to go back to Paris so we can follow the path of their secret tour, and do everything that they did. Everything. Only problem? This mythical tour took place in the 1920s, so I have no way of knowing if any of these places are still there. My hopes are high, however. When I see the amount of detail the author puts into her descriptions, I have to believe these are places that she has actually been to herself.

Speaking of epic adventures, remember this little travel journal?


Remember how, when I finished it, I felt compelled to send it out into the world, just to see what happens? Well, guess who got an email yesterday from Art Journaling Magazine, saying it has been selected for publication in an upcoming issue?  SQUEEEEE!!!
 

Monday, September 18, 2017

MINIMALIST MOTIVATION

King of the Castle
There's nothing I like better than to get a group text from one of the kids saying "So what's everybody up to this weekend?" Saturday we got one from Alexis. Apparently Nate had a work-group-bonding-thing to attend on Sunday (guns and barbecue in Lockhart?) so she and Goobs were going to head our way. That's my signal to scurry, and get everything we let slide since his last visit back to babyproof status. Then comes the fun part! Choosing from amongst all the great toys and books we have been gifted with, and setting up a few "play stations". This time we went with zoo animals, since he hadn't seen those in a while.

He absolutely adores this book!
Then I added just a few tiny fall decorations which I thought might catch his eye, even though it's still in the 90's here, and hard to get in the mood.






The only problem with the baby-proofing part is that each time I think I've got it all figured out, he goes and raises the bar on us. Literally. Now, not only can he climb into those big ol' chairs,  he can also grab the big dining room chairs by a leg, drag them around on the smooth wood floors, and stand up in them to reach all the breakable stuff that was previously unreachable. Now what do I do? Could this be the true motivation behind the younger generation's love of minimalism? The big ceramic pumpkin will be the first thing to go.

Midway through the visit we headed into town to grab a bite at The Leaning Pear. I can't remember the last time we had brunch there -- probably not since Hays City opened, since it is much closer to our house. I was shocked at all the new brunch items they've added to their menu. Especially this one -- Fried Chicken and Biscuit with Sambal Honey and Kimchi! It's got my son Austin's name written all over it!


We capped off the visit by checking out the new toy store that just opened up next door to The Pear.

 
Uh-Oh. We're in trouble now! (More likely from Hubby than from Calvin)

Friday, September 15, 2017

STUFF

Have you noticed all the articles showing up on Facebook lately, warning we Boomers that our grown kids really don't want all of that stuff we've spent so many years accumulating? I especially liked the cartoon where an older gentleman rolls up the door on his rented storage space, which is packed to the brim, and tells his son "Someday this will all be yours!" The father is beaming with pride, but the son looks absolutely horrified!


It got me to thinkin' about all that "stuff". The kind so many people spend their lives accumulating, working to pay for, arranging, sorting, and protecting. My mom was a great collector of stuff -- to the point that it was the most important thing in her life. It was her identity, her claim to fame, her biggest accomplishment. Without it, she was a nobody. Which might explain why she was so dead-set against getting rid of any of it when she got older.  Eighty-some-odd years old, and never dressed or left the house except for doctors appointments, but she wasn't about to part with even one of her almost 100 pairs of shoes -- and their matching purses! These pictures below are from the final purge. The one that came after the one where we moved them out of their house, and the one where we moved them out of my sister's big house and into her smaller house, and the one after Dad died and we moved Mom into assisted living, and the one after she moved from assisted living to the nursing home.






This was all so odd to me, since all I want in the world is to be free of all this clutter. I really don't want to be remembered for my stuff. I just want to be remembered for all the fun adventures I shared with the people I cared most about. I feel confident that my kiddos, my hubby, my Muses and my lifelong besties have a pretty good store of those memories built up, so my main goal now is to create as many as I can with my grandkids, in whatever time I have left.





'Cause you just never know, do you, when that time will be up?

Monday, September 11, 2017

ONE MORE DAY


Last Wednesday we met this little tu-tued cutie when coming out of Hays City Store. I believe her name was LuLu.


Her mama called her The Ambassador of Smiles, and she was just what my hubby needed that day!


Not long ago, I looked at my calendar and realized that, early next year, Hubby will have gone Five Years without having to be in the hospital. Now, that may not seem like much to you, but for us it's a bit of a miracle. If you've been reading this blog for long, you might remember the string of bypass surgery, stroke, being life-flighted for bleeding in his brain, blacking-out episodes that led to a pacemaker - a pacemaker that came with a terrible staph infection, etc., etc. At one point he confessed that he didn't think he would live to see either of our kids married, much less grandkids, and it nearly broke my heart. But look at us now!

So why did Hubby need the ambassador of smiles? Well, back before Christmas he started having problems with constant drainage and coughing. Cedar Fever, right? Everyone gets it here that time of year. But when everyone else got better, he didn't. It just went on, and on, and on. I made him go to the doctor and he was put on antibiotics a couple of times for sinus infections, but the hacking always came back. Finally they did an MRI and referred him to an ENT, who told him that one of his nasal passages was completely closed, and he had enlarged "turbinates", both of which prevented proper drainage, which leads to sinus infections (and sometimes to sleep apnea, which he also has). The cure was a simple day surgery that only takes about an hour and a half -- a day surgery where they break your nose and rearrange it, ream out your sinuses, and leave you with a toothache in every tooth, dripping blood from your nose and down your throat, and unable to breath through your nose at all from all the splints and what-have-you that they stuffed up there, barely able to eat or sleep. For Five. Whole. Days.

At least he finally got to ditch the gauze-filled sling under his nose!
Four down. One to go!

  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

OUR NEW FAMILY RULE


This weekend I had a brilliant brain fart. The kids were all gathering here on Sunday for a little holiday celebration. In fact, Lex, Nate, Izzy Dog and Little Goober were planning to spend the night -- Calvin's first sleepover! The only problem with that is, once I get caught up in the fun of having them all around, I never seem to think about picking up my camera. But, as I was bringing the food to the table, I had this sudden inspiration. I ran back to grab my camera, set it in the middle of the table, and made a pronouncement. "Henceforth, we have a new family rule! Each one of you, at some point during the festivities, must pick up my camera and snap at least two shots on it. Understood?" It didn't take the boys long to realize what I had left myself open to, for they all started smirking simultaneously. "Are you sure you really want us using your camera?" Yes. It was a risk I was willing to take. These are the results.




Calvin tried to eat the camera whenever it got in his face.







Best idea I ever had!

Friday, September 1, 2017

THE END OF THE RAINBOW

Hubby's Favorite Spot When it Rains
The Downstairs Porch In Front of the Man Cave

A few days ago, when the rain finally let up and the sun decided to show its face again, I was working in the kitchen when I happened to glance out the window and spot this.

The View From The Upstairs Porch
My photos don't do it justice, I'm afraid. It's hard to see that it was actually a double rainbow. Even more amazing? I could clearly see where its foot ended -- right in the middle of the road, just in front of the little church B&B. After all those years spent chasing the rainbow's end as a kid, to no avail, it had suddenly landed right there in my own front yard!


I considered hopping into my car to rush right down there and look for that pot of gold. But, then I would have missed soaking up this amazing view from our balcony, which only lasted for a moment or two. Besides, what exactly could I buy with that gold, that would please me any more than this once in a lifetime memory?

Here's hoping the winds carried that rainbow and its gold on down to southeast Texas, where it's really needed.
 

Monday, August 28, 2017

CHARMED BY CHARLAINE

You might be familiar with author Charlaine Harris thanks to her Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, which inspired the popular TV series True Blood. I had no idea, though, that she also wrote the mystery series behind the Aurora Teagarden movies I've been watching on the Hallmark Channel. Then, a week or two ago, Hubby came home with this...



the first book in a series that has spawned yet another TV show -- this time on NBC -- called Midnight, Texas.  Now, Hubby and I rarely read any of the same books. He was shocked to death when he found me reading Ready Player One, and really liking it. I'm the one that recommended Station Eleven to him. And we both fell in love with Fuzzy Nation, narrated by Will Wheaton, when brother-in-law Bud loaned us the audio-book to listen to on our way home from Dallas. But, as I said, that's pretty rare. So I was fairly shocked when, after finishing this one, he handed it to me saying "You'll probably want to read this." Unfortunately, I had a big ol' stack of library books that needed to be got through first!

Well, we had already missed the first couple of episodes in the TV series, but Hubby was able to order them On Demand and, not having anything better to do while we were housebound yesterday, we decided to pop up some popcorn, snuggle up on the sofa, and binge-watch some Midnight, Texas.

This morning, before the sun was even up, I had grabbed that paperback and started reading, library books be damned!