Monday, January 21, 2019

WHEN WOMEN COME TOGETHER

The VRBO House In Austin Where Niece and Friends Stayed This Weekend
Our niece Jessica was here in Austin this weekend. She has a group of friends from grad school that formed a really tight bond, and helped one another survive the stress and pressure of it all. They were so determined to keep that bond going, as they all graduated and headed off in different directions, that they made a pact to meet up at least once or twice a year, and have held to that pact for many years now. They take turns choosing the location, and have met up is spots all around the country. Last year they were in D.C. for the epic women's march on the capitol. This time it was Jessica's turn to choose, and she opted for Austin, where they participated in another women's march. They shared the darling little VRBO rental you see above, in the Clarksville area of Austin, which has so many great little cafes and shops within walking distance that they didn't even need a car! We felt honored that she made the effort to connect with us for brunch yesterday, but that's just the kind of gal she is.


When her hubby -- John's nephew Geoff -- first met all of these women as a group, he dubbed them "Voltron". He said they were manageable one-on-one, but when you put all five together, watch out! Personally, I consider that a good thing. When women come together, we are far greater than the sum of our parts, and we can make shit happen!


Which is why, each time Jess and her compadres head out to reunite, they each replace their facebook photo with an image of Voltron.

 

Monday, January 14, 2019

THE NEW YEAR CONUNDRUM


Hello again! "What's up?", you ask? Well, not a whole heckuva lot since the holidays ended. Par for the course, I'm having a hard time getting back into the groove of things. I did finally get my art table cleared off enough that I can actually see the last project I was working on before I headed off to Lucky Star Art Camp at the beginning of November. However, as of yet, no further work has been done there. And, although all the Christmas decorations have been returned to their off-season homes, most of my Christmas gifts have yet to find a home.


Some serious purging must be undertaken before that can occur and, as of yet, the only step I have taken is to finally force myself to gather up a big ol' bag of  Prismacolor markers to donate. They're about 15 years old and starting to dry up, but they were from such a pivotal time in my life -- when I had gone back to school to study horticulture and discovered by chance that I actually had a knack for landscape design -- that it was rather difficult to let them go. Now, however, I'm more into art journaling, and this will make space for all the new markers Santa filled my stocking with -- ones that aren't quite so bad about bleeding through one journal page and onto the next!

Riding Around In The Back Of My Car For Who Knows How Long
Oh yeah, I also decided to let go of a few more holiday gee-gaws, and gathered up all the long-handled paint brushes I made the mistake of ordering when I first decided to try my hand at painting -- before I had a clue that those were meant for easel painting, not tabletop painting!


However, that was about 20 minutes worth of work, and Christmas is now 20 days gone by. So what on earth have I been doing with my time? Well, I did spend a good bit of quality time with the Muses and with little Goober Bear.

A Muses + MuseMen Gathering at Adventure Woman's House

Calvin Turns His New "Building" Into A Car-Fixing-Place
There were some outings with Adventure Boy, including a very cool art exhibit called The Bold Beauty Project. It was held at a gorgeous place called Messina Inn, about 5 minutes from the Wimberley square, which I never even knew existed here. Right on the river, and if they're not hosting a wedding or some other major event, they rent out the casitas to individuals. Might be a fun place for a family gathering!


There was an awesome day spent with my daughter, seeing "On The Basis of Sex" -- a wonderful movie made even better by sharing it with her. Then yesterday it was back over to Austin to gather with the whole gang, in celebration of her 36th birthday! How is that  even possible? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was turning that age?

Black Velvet Cupcakes with Mexican Chocolate Frosting by Cake Monster

 
I guess it's really true. Time does fly when you're having fun. Which could be why I can't seem to accomplish anything here at home!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

HERE COMES THE FUN PART!

This was the first time he ever put on a costume of his own volition, and insisted that his Wonder Crew buddy Will be dressed to match.
 

And thus, we enter The World of Make Believe.

(Happy Dance! Happy Dance!)


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

HELLO OLD FRIEND, AND A GIVEAWAY!


It seems like I've spent most of my life as a Weight Watchers follower. It started in my teens when Mom decided to join and, as we all know, if mama is on WW, everyone is on WW. I got interested again when Hubby and I moved back from our honeymoon years in Indonesia and Bahrain. We may have gone just a tad crazy with the plethora of food choices we suddenly had available to us, after three years of nothing but the basics. WW was also responsible for helping me to lose all of my "baby fat" after each pregnancy, and for helping me get everything under control when I hit menopause and things went a bit haywire. I transferred my membership here to Wimberley when I moved here ahead of my hubby, but within a month or two our franchise got shut down, and I've been winging it on my own ever since.

Turns out, I didn't really miss it when I was here alone. What with all the exploring and walking I was doing, fixing up the house, planting the garden, getting to know all our local growers and producers while helping to launch The Bountiful Sprout, and learning to cook simple meals with what was in season and locally grown, I lost about 15 pounds without even trying!

Then Hubby finally retired and joined me here, and going out to restaurants was a lot more fun with him along. Plus, I went back to cooking more elaborate, meat-centered meals. Then the kids were all in Austin, and there were weddings and a grandkid, and I turned 65, and for the first time ever, I never got around to lose my "Christmas 5" last year, and then there was another 5 this Christmas, and, well...

But, then a miraculous bit of synchronicity occurred. First, I heard that WW had finally reopened here in Wimberley. Then, I discovered that my beloved Blue Apron meal delivery service had teamed up with WW, and we now had the option of receiving meals that fit in with all the WW Freestyle program guidelines, with all the points and nutritional information included. Woohoo!

Well, if there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that when synchronicity comes a-knockin', you really oughtta let her in!

P.S. If any of you are doing WW, and would like to give the Blue Apron Freestyle meals a try for free, I have 5 free box deliveries that I'm allowed to award to anyone who has never received one or been a member of Blue Apron before. Each box contains everything you need for three complete meals, and is worth up to $72! So, first 5 of you who send your name and email to me at btlane53@gmail.com will get signed up to receive one. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

AUSTIN AWESOMENESS

The weekend before Christmas, when I'd already completed all my shopping, the kids introduced us to the most amazing store -- one where, had I known sooner, I probably could have completed all my gift-buying in one fell swoop! Welcome to Kinokuniya.


Officially, it's a Japanese bookstore, but that doesn't begin to describe what all you will find here.


Yes, there are books -- everything from Manga to current bestsellers and children's books.


But, there are also all sorts of anime related videos, toys and collectibles (my hubby's, son's, daughter's, and now, grandson's addictions)...


an entire aisle of every kind of pen imaginable (my daughter-in-love's obsession)...


and row after row of all the things I love best, from specialty papers and journals to art supplies and washi tape!





Oh yeah, and then there are the magazines -- the ones you will never find on your grocery store's endcaps.


Yes, it's a bit of a trek from here, but believe me, this store alone was worth the drive. But wait, there's more! Just to the left of it is the delightful 99 Ranch Market grocery store, which, much to my surprise, has absolutely nothing to do with Texas beef.




And, as if that still wasn't enough? There's even one of those restaurants with a revolving sushi bar on the other side of the bookstore. Squeeeee!

We're saving that for next time.
 

Friday, December 28, 2018

CHRISTMAS DAY

Guess who I found peeking out of my stocking?
On Christmas day I was shocked to find son Austin and grand-dog Izzy awake just as early as me. It was nice to have company for a change, while I waited for the sun to come up and rouse everyone else.

Calvin's First Peek
Christmas Jammies?
Ooh! Wow! A Guitar! And a House! And Blocks!









Have you ever heard of the game called Watch Ya Mouth?


It involves a little plastic device that prevents you from using your lips when you speak. You have to read whatever is on the card you pick (usually something with lots of p's and b's and m's in it) and your partners have to try and guess what you are saying. It can be pretty dang hilarious!

Every few years Santa runs across a new "weapon" that catches his eye -- usually some version of a Nerf gun -- and he can't resist buying one for each of the kids. He usually tucks them out of sight, then tells them all at once so they can make a mad dash for them and run outside to battle it out. The first one to get outside and get their weapon loaded has the advantage of being able to bombard the others as they come out the door. This year it was "silly string" guns!




Calvin wants in on the fun!
After a big brunch feast prepared by Papa John, the others got dressed and headed off to the movie theater, while Calvin and I stayed here to play with our new toys. He seemed happy enough, even though I noticed dark purple shadows under his eyes, and that he was constantly rubbing them and his nose. However, when he woke up from his nap, he was decidedly UN-happy, and wouldn't stop sobbing until Mama and Dada came back, quickly loaded up their car, took him home, and made a doctor's appointment for the next day. Come to think of it, that's pretty much how last year's celebration ended too!

Sure enough, the doctor says he seems to be suffering from allergies, just like his daddy.


Why, oh why, does Cedar Fever season have to coincide with the holidays?

Luckily, son Austin had a new friend to play with, after everyone else deserted him.

Meet Vector, his tiny robot!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

CHRISTMAS EVE

On Christmas Eve Hubby and I made a quick run into town to take care of a few last minute errands.  First we grabbed a bite of lunch at Wimberley Cafe, where the festive window decor made me feel like I'd been transported back to one of my childhood hangouts in Hillside Village -- the little neighborhood shopping center in Dallas where I grew up.


Then I headed off to Rancho Queso for some cheese and crackers...


and hubby headed off to the little liquor store that just went in across the street. Hard to believe this town was completely dry when we first moved up here, and the only way you could get anything to drink in town was to join a "club" that one or two of the restaurants had. Anyhoo, I finished my errand before Hubby did, so I went over to join him. Good thing I did, 'cause guess what  I spotted, soon as I walked in that door?  This!

Merry Christmas to me!
Not long after we got back home, the critters began to arrive.


Then it was time to finish up our Christmas feast of standing rib roast, Yorkshire puddings (popovers), mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts.



Calvin provided the entertainment.




Little Goob Man barely made it through dinner before running out of steam. Once he was in bed, Austin and Areej went to work on dessert -- two different versions of Sudanese Basbousa, a semolina cake, served with amazing hot chocolate made from their own special mix. Oh yeah, almost forgot. They brought Guinness cupcakes too!


Then it was time to kick back with our traditional "bad Christmas movie" while Lexi put together any toys that needed assembling, one of which came from IKEA. Good thing she's an IKEA wizard! In case you're interested, this year's not-as-awful-as-some-we've-seen-feature-film was Santa's Slay.


Last but certainly not least, we all laid out our stockings and left Santa John to do his magic!