Monday, February 20, 2017

KEEPING THE SPARK ALIVE

One of my favorite things about moving to a new town or country has always been the exploring -- going on little adventures in the area to scout out all that is unique about the area, and to discover our soon-to-be-favorite haunts. This "epic" trip to Fredericksburg (now funny, 'though not at the time) was one of our very first adventures upon moving here, and made me ever so grateful that Hubby's next car came with with GPS.

I thought that early-splorin'-bliss might go on and on here in the Hill Country -- and it did go on much longer than usual. But, alas, we eventually reverted to creatures of habit and routine. Our recent trip to Hye reminded me of what we have been missing, so I was pretty darn tickled when I saw Hubby lay this on the check-out counter at the bookstore the other day.


Not only will he and I be sharing more adventures, we'll also be on the lookout for fun places we can share with Little Goober some day. And, to top it all off, he is sending out word to local camera buffs that he'd like to organize some photography day trips. So, if you know anyone who might be interested, be sure and let us know!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

BETTER THAN FLOWERS


My hubby, he knows me well.


I'll always choose food over flowers!
 

Monday, February 13, 2017

FIELD TRIP: HYE, TEXAS

Just west of Johnson City, where LBJ was born and raised, lies the sleepy little town of Hye, Texas.   Population: 105. 


I probably would never have noticed it, were it not for the fact that vineyards and wineries are suddenly popping up left and right along that road between Johnson City and Fredericksburg. Our friend Sherri did some marketing for Hye Meadow Winery, which is how we got invited to a fun pig roast and a lovely Nawlins- style brunch they hosted. However, we had never done any exploring outside of that. This weekend Hubby decided it was time to rectify that, maybe do a little picture-takin' while we were at it.

First off, I should probably warn you, the downtown area is not extensive. In fact, it consists of one building, and one building only -- but that one is a doozie!


Inside you've got your post office/event center on one side...




and then you've got your Hye Market Restaurant and tasting room -- featuring hand crafted beers, Texas wines, and locally sourced produce and meats -- on the other.



Now, Hubby told me there was a place to eat lunch there, but I hadn't done any research since it was a spur of the moment adventure. I figured we'd be lucky to get a half-decent barbecue sandwich, but we got so much more. Hubby went for the Reuben...


 while I tried one of their daily specials, El Ryan's Torta.
 


Probably one of the best things I've ever had for lunch, and I don't even like sandwiches all that much!


Okay, maybe there are three buildings downtown, if you count the farm-supply place in the field next to the market, and whatever this was across the street.


Still, it was a yummy little adventure, and I can't wait to see how Hubby's photos turned out. One thing's for sure. They won't be anything at all like the one's I've posted here!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

BREAK FREE OF YOUR BUBBLE

I picked up an interesting book from the YA section of the library this week -- Kissing In America by Margo Rabb.


When I glanced at the title my first thought was, "Umm, no thanks!" But, then I noticed the blurb from Elizabeth Gilbert up at the top, which stopped me in my tracks and made me pick it up for further inspection.  Turns out the book has very little to do with kissing, and a whole lot to do with grief (both the kind you go through after losing a loved one, and the kind that gets handed down to you from parents or grandparents who suffered through something horrific, such as The Holocaust) as well as self discovery, coming of age, and the people who help get you through it all. 

The main character ends up on a cross-country bus trip with her best friend (chasing a boy, of course) and this advice from their bus driver really spoke to me and my personal beliefs.

"Ohio is the best. You gotta eat at City Chili...chili on top of spaghetti...First time I ate there, I come home and I says to my wife, I says, 'Let's put the chili on top of spaghetti for a change.' She says, 'No way. Chili? Spaghetti? No can do.'...Most people you know, they want to stay in their little house and not change nothing. But when you hit the road...everything you ever thought about the world is wrong. That's why you gotta travel."

I'm guessing that same paragraph may have resonated with Elizabeth Gilbert too, since her best seller Eat, Pray, Love was all about breaking out of her bubble, conquering her fear of change, and learning what she could from other cultures.



We'd been living in west Texas for five or six years when Hubby was offered the chance to move back to Indonesia. This time we'd be living on Sumatra rather than Java, and since we'd be working for a different company, and have two youngsters in tow, it was sure to be a totally different experience from our first.  My friends kept asking me"Why are you doing this? Don't you have a choice? Is someone forcing you to go?" I'm not sure they believed me when I said I actually encouraged John to accept the offer.  For sure they never would have fathomed that adjusting to our new life in Indonesia was the easiest part for our kiddos. It was coming back and adjusting to that same west Texas town afterwards -- where they no longer fit the mold, and old friends now thought them weird -- that was the difficult part.



Did they ever regret having gone? Well, perhaps you should ask them, 'though I have a pretty good idea as to what they might say. One thing I know for certain is that, without that experience, they would not be the amazing individuals they are today, nor would they be with the wonderful people they are now married to.

"That's why you gotta travel."

Along these same lines, I came across this article online recently. It was an eye opener, for sure! Now I finally understand why the friends who were most horrified that we were moving to Indonesia all voted one way in the recent election, while our lifelong adventure buddies voted the other.

Break out of your bubble. The world is a wonderful place, and not nearly as scary as you've been led to believe. 

Truthfully? The scariest things are right here at home.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

THEY REALLY DO EXIST!

We now have a big basket of children's books right next to the sofa. As soon as great-nephew Calvin arrived, he zeroed in on the one about animal sounds and made his parents read it to him over and over and over. He had the part about dogs and cats and cows down pat, even knew that singing pigs say "la la la", but always seemed to hesitate when in came to the horse.


So, on Saturday evening we took our little visiting family to eat at Hays City Cafe. Since the weather was so perfect we decided to eat out under the trees, and when nephew Geoffrey spotted a real live horse on the other side of the fence, he decided to take his Calvin over for a closer look. The poor kid got so excited, he almost lost it! Geoff said he was actually vibrating in his arms. As soon as they got back to the table, Calvin made his mom take him back to the fence again, where two more horsies had appeared.


He was a tad calmer this time.


He also enjoyed the bean bag toss game (known as "Corn Hole" where he comes from) though it was set up way too close to the driveway for my liking, and one kid came dangerously close to getting run over when he darted out in front of a big SUV.


Add in the twinkle lights and live musical entertainment, and I'd say it was a pretty magical evening all around!


We finished off their visit Sunday morning with breakfast at Wimberley Cafe, a stroll around the square,  and a walk along Cypress Creek.





Hope the visit was as memorable for them as it was for us.

Monday, February 6, 2017

CAPTURING THE MOMENTS

I started a new art journal this week -- the first painting I've done in months. Took me awhile to get back in the groove, but I think it'll do. This first spread was inspired by this...



and this...



and a panda-hooded bath towel, and a wall full of pandas next to Little Calvin's crib.




I'm going to call this journal my Grandkid Adventure Journal.

Friday, February 3, 2017

THE TWO CALS DISCOVER LADY BIRD'S WILDFLOWER CENTER

One of the best things ever to happen to Austin is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where they have done extensive research on our native plants in each part of Texas, have lots of wonderful demonstration gardens, host art shows and plant sales, teach classes, and have one of the best/worst (if you are trying to be frugal) gift shops in the world. Then there's the cafe, a beautiful aqueduct system, and a stone tower with the best views around. It's also a great place for kids and, since it's only about five minutes from my daughter's house, we arranged a play date there for the two Cals. Here is a brief sampling of their adventures:





Do you see the giant bird nests behind the far mosaic wall?
Tweet-Tweet! One little birdie, sharing with the other.


Apparently none of the public parks they take Big Cal to in Cincinnati have sand boxes, so they weren't sure what he would think about this giant sand pit. He LOVED it. Could've stayed there all day! Little Cal was happy to just sit and observe, which was fine with us since, the first time we put his mama in a sandbox with bare feet, she totally freaked out.

The most surprising event of the day?


Running into old friend Nurse Nellie (from back in our Bahrain days) and her grandson Wyatt, who just happened upon us in the sandpit. Nellie told me that later, when they got home, Wyatt said, "Wow! There were a lot of Calvins at the park today!"




All this, and perfect weather too! In January.