Thursday, April 20, 2017

IT'S MY THING

The youngest member of the group I refer to as my Muses -- Pouring Paint Woman -- has finally reached the big 6-0, and she invited us all to take a little trip with her to help celebrate. Where are we going? San Miguel de Allende!


We'll even be staying in the same marvelous hotel that John and I stayed at August before last, when we tagged along with a local yoga group. I think my Hubby is pretty sad that it's going to be a girls only trip this time.

Since I am the only one in the group who has been there before, I dug out my folder from the last trip and let them take turns browsing through it. Perhaps I should have curated what was in it first, and removed this little jewel -- my list of clothes and accessories to pack.



Apparently they all shared it with their hubbies and got a good laugh out of it! What can I say? It's my "thing".

I can remember, at 9 or 10, pouring over a J.C. Penney's catalog with my cousin, as we cut out all the clothes we wanted to have when we were teenagers. What did I do with my clippings? I immediately began to pare them down, to see how I could get the most combinations from the fewest number of pieces.

When I was at UT studying fashion merchandising, I had to take a fashion design class. Not easy for someone who couldn't draw stick figures at the time! What did I do for my final project? I designed a travel wardrobe, of course, where I could get numerous outfits from just a few pieces.

Which is why my bedroom always looks like this just before I leave on a trip:


It starts with me hanging everything I might possibly want to take from our bed rails. Then over the next week or two I mix, match, add, then pare the pieces down to a reasonable number. I was inspired last time by a friend who wore nothing but black, and fit it all into the smallest of carry-ons, but managed to look Paris-Smart the entire trip. I tried. I failed.


I just had to have some color-madness mixed in with it.

What can I say? It's my thing!

Monday, April 17, 2017

AN EASTER BIRTHDAY

Love Lexi's new summer 'do, and this lovely park in Cedar Park.
Hope everyone had a marvelous weekend filled with good food, fun, friends and family. We combined our Easter celebration with the special 10th birthday celebration of our first grandchild, Miss Guinness.


She has been our son's best buddy since he was in college, and is such an alpha-dog and so possessive of him that we were all somewhat shocked when she allowed him to bring home a wife!

Guinness had her own special cupcake from a doggie bakery.
Of course, the other kids and grandkids were there to celebrate with us -- all except for Miss Izzy, due to that alpha-dog thing.


Beards On A Windy Day

Little Calvin says "I don't do hats!"


He is, however, quite tickled with his first pair of real shoes.


The celebration was held at Brushy Creek Lake Park, in far north Austin. We feasted on gourmet sandwiches (mine was the Knuckle Sandwich) and the most amazing slaw and roasted Brussels sprouts from Noble Pig and, of course, cupcakes from The Sugar Shack, right here in Wimberley.



Does it get any better?


 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

WHEN MUSES LOSE THEIR VOICES

Outdoor Woman has chickens. Ergo, lots of eggs. We all have lots of colorful markers. And, Easter is next Sunday. Therefore, it was no big surprise when someone suggested doing this at our weekly coffee klatsch.




No, the big surprise is that we got so absorbed in what we were doing, there was no "klatsching" going on -- not even a peep!



It's a miracle!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

GOOD FOOD, GOOD FRIENDS, GOOD TIMES

Checking Out The Action on the Patio Behind Cypress Creek Cafe
It happens every spring and fall, here in the Texas Hill Country. You only get two or three weekends each when the weather is just perfect for being outdoors, so they cram as much as they possibly can into the tiniest of windows, and there's just no way to do it all!  Between caring for their grandson every weekday, and attending their high-school-coach-son's baseball games and grandson's t-ball games on weekends, our adventure buddies have a hard time getting away these days. However, they had managed to eke out a 24-hour window this weekend, and we were determined to make the most of it. Only solution? Divide and Conquer!

The men met up with another compadre from our early days in Bahrain at Hays City Store, then went on to check out the crawfish boil and music fest going on out at Middleton Brewing. While they were doing that, Miss Paula and I opted for a lah-di-dah luncheon on the beautiful deck at Jobell's, then we headed into town for a piece of pie at Wimberley's annual Pie Social, and to browse the shops while enjoying the aromas from the many stations set up around town for the annual BBQ Cook-Off.


We met back up with the guys for a brief rest at the house (a.k.a. gab-fest on the porch for us gals, and on the patio for the guys) then headed over to AquaBrew in San Marcos -- where we had this fabulous brunch recently -- to try making a dinner from their Pub Snacks menu.


Success! We all shared the Crispy Tuna (YUM), Street Corn, Green Chile Beer Fondue, and the Pork & Date Flatbread, and it was all pret-ty darn good!

When we got back home Paula and I returned to our rockers on the balcony, but the boys decided to light up the fire pit one last time while it was still cool enough, and we weren't under a burn ban. If you've ever wondered how my introverted hubby and the extra-extraverted Toad Man became such tight buddies, well, this photo says it all.

The Story Teller and His Ever-Receptive Audience
As you can see in the background, even the deer came to listen! Before we knew it, we were there too.





The next morning we headed over to the little town of Buda, between here and Austin. No, not Booda. BEW-duh! Not long ago Hubby and I had gone to try out a Cajun restaurant there on the main street that someone had mentioned. Couldn't understand why this huge, newly remodeled place was totally empty right at noon, when the parking lot out front was packed with cars, and there was a steady stream of people passing the windows. After giving up on their less than stellar Muffaletta, we understood better why everyone was headed next door to a little place called Helen's Casa Alde. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, so that's where we decided to have brunch on Sunday -- along with a million other people. The good news is that, if you have to wait for a table, there are tables and chairs outside on the covered sidewalk, and a fun little shop to browse through down on the corner! I knew we were gonna love it as soon as they sat us right in front of this mirror, with what could be our personal motto hanging above it.



And then, of course, there was that sandwich board out front which said "We Roll Big Fatties!" 

Try one. You'll like it!

Friday, April 7, 2017

AN UNORTHODOX EASTER GIFT

Since our little Calvin is still too young to eat any of the junk that normally goes into an Easter basket, or play with any of the small toys and gizmos one usually puts in them, I invited him and my daughter to browse around Target with me to find something a bit more lasting and memorable for him. For less than $20, we found this:


I had been considering one of those collapsible crawl tunnels that can be flattened and stored under a bed when not in use, since Lexi is doing her best to avoid clutter accumulation. When we went looking for those, we found this instead, which also collapses. Best of all, you can later add tunnels that actually connect to it. What fun!


Me, well, I'm just tickled to death over the color-mad coordination of the floor tiles, cube, and Calvin's onesie. Don't you just love it when that happens? No? Perhaps that's my own special quirk.


Anywho, it's obvious that someone is already having a blast with it. We're just grateful that he is willing to share it with little Calvin.
 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

MUSE MAGIC

Yesterday the Muses gathered at Outdoor Woman's house for lunch and a fun art project -- something we have been talking about for nigh on a year now, but just couldn't seem to pull off. It all started when two of the Muses took a wonderful workshop with local mixed-media artist Nina Mihm, and had so much fun they couldn't wait to do something similar again with the rest of us.


Lunch included these beauties, made with fresh eggs plucked straight from Outdoor Woman's own chicken coop!


We were told the only thing we needed to bring was a stash of papers or some magazines we could tear up to use in collage. It was so interesting to me to realize that each "stash" was a reflection of our individual personalities. Mine, of course, was a color-mad collection of my favorite hand-painted papers.

Next we were given a piece of poster board and told to get gluing! O.W. kept telling us not to spend too much time stressing over placement or composition, since that wouldn't matter when we moved on to the next step. Of course, we didn't really believe her.

Can you guess which one is mine?
But of course!
We discovered why that was a total waste of time when she made us flip them over and cut them up. Well, not a total waste, when you consider how soothing it is to just cut and paste -- kinda like being in kindergarten again -- and all the great conversation we shared in the process!


Then we flipped all the newly-by-accident-formed pieces of art back over, and each tried to decide which was our most "artful" composition.


From Spirit Woman, who is all about connecting to nature.
From Outdoor Woman, who is all about travel, history and exploration.
From Fiber Woman, whose art projects come to her in dreams.
Not sure what exactly I will end up doing with these eight little color-mad jewels, but I'm certain they will find their way into one of my art journal projects eventually!


It was the best of days!

Monday, April 3, 2017

TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN


Thursday did not start out well. We were driving over to San Antonio for a meet-up with our C.P.A., knowing we owed the IRS more than we've ever owed in our lives. Believe me, it was YUGE! That's what happens when you don't plan ahead and tell them to start taking out more each month, when you know you are going to start receiving Social Security payments and withdraw large sums from your investments for weddings, travel and a car -- money which becomes taxable as soon as you withdraw it, and bumps you up into a different bracket. So yeah, we were not happy campers, to say the least. On the plus side, we finally got our refund from two years ago, when our tax return got hacked. So, that helped our moods a little bit. Plus, it turned out to be a really gorgeous day, ideal for patio dining, so we headed over to one of our favorite lunch spots, La Fonda On Main.


Then, because it was such a gorgeous day, and Fiesta on Main was just a couple of blocks away, we decided to walk down there to look around. Which is how we ended up with a few more of these beauties to replace some of the faded-to-bland bottles on our bottle trees.

 
Fortunately, the color in these is mixed into the glass, instead of painted on, so it doesn't fade. And, as you surely know by now, all it takes is some good Mexican food and a bit of color-madness to turn my frown upside down!