Wednesday, July 17, 2019

AN EYE FOR BALANCE

We decided recently that we needed to have Little Goober here for sleepovers more often. We want it to seem routine, and not some kind of banishment, if he needs to come stay here for a few days when his little sister arrives. Usually he's running around like a mad man, hopping from one toy or project to the next, but Sunday morning I realized he had been very quiet for a while. Too quiet. So I got up to check on him, and this is what I found.




The kid had taken all the many Paw Patrol vehicles my friend Paula had passed on to him, and stacked them up one by one, in perfect balance, upon his pirate ship.



When he let Papa add a piece to the tower, it didn't work out so well. He didn't mind. He just started over again.


This time we got to watch the process, as he let each new piece hover in the air over several different spots until something told him "This is it. This is where it belongs."


All I can say is, the kid definitely has an eye for balance!


Monday, July 15, 2019

MY OWN ARISTOTLE


Pretty much every important life lesson I have learned came, not from my parents or teachers, but rather from books. Not from the books I had to read at school, but from the ones I chose to read on my own. And, if I had to choose the one author who taught me the most, if would surely be Barbara Kingsolver, my very own Aristotle. From politics and parenting to religion, natural science, history, and the production and consumption of food, she's pretty much covered it all. Most importantly, she taught me these lessons, not by saying "you must do this" or "you can't do that", but simply by drawing me into a really good story, sharing many different points of view, then letting me decide what made sense, and what didn't.

With her latest blockbuster, Unsheltered, she knocks it out of the park yet again, and in a most timely manner. She forces one to ask some very hard questions of oneself, such as, what do you do when the world you were born into -- the one they promised would only get better and better, and which you felt entitled to -- turns into something you no longer even recognize? What if you did everything right, just as you were supposed to, but life still turned out wrong? How will you handle it? Will you hide in your little bubble, pretending nothing has changed, or will you figure out how to adapt, and get to it? Is life really about the survival of the fittest?


Thank you, Ms. Kingsolver, for always forcing me to think the hard thoughts, and to become a better person for it.
 

Friday, July 5, 2019

A SMALL TOWN 4TH OF JULY


This year was the year -- the one where we finally decided that our Little Goobs was old enough to take to Wimberley's annual 4th of July parade. Probably the most popular event of the year here in Wimberley, it draws quite the crowd -- and not just the locals, but lots of visiting friends and relatives as well. They close the streets off an hour before the parade begins, and you have to get there extra early if you want to nab a choice spot in the shade. But then, how do you entertain a three year old for more than an hour, while you wait for the parade to start? I surveyed all my friends on everything from where to park and what to bring, to the best viewing spots and exit strategies. I made a detailed plan of attack, and before we'd even left the house, my plan was blown to smithereens. Thank Goodness!

Our first stroke of good luck was that, for the first time in my memory, it wasn't hotter 'n Hades here in Texas on the 4th. In fact, it was almost COOL!


Because we were late leaving the house, the streets had already been blocked off before we got there -- even further out from the town center than we were expecting -- so it was a good hike from our parking spot to where we'd hoped to meet up with friends. About halfway there our little Calvin was done with walking! So we ended up stopping right in front of Blanco Brew, the coffee shop where the Muses and I usually meet up. Which wasn't a bad location, as it turns out. For one thing, it was much closer to the beginning point of the parade, so we wouldn't have to wait as long to see anything. I went inside to nab some iced tea, and when I came back out, I discovered this.


Now THIS is how you entertain a kid while waiting for the parade to start!


I don't know who the couple was who thought of putting this in the back of their truck, or whether they had grandkids nearby that they were doing it for, but we were ever so grateful that they invited Calvin to join in on the fun.

Plus, the Blanco Brew had restrooms, and tables set up outside selling lemonade, and cookies!


Then it was finally time for the parade to start...



Y'all Vote!

By the time he had seen the fire truck and his favorite instruments, trumpets and tubas, he was done, and ready to go back to Mimi-Papa's house to play with Uncle Austinootie and Aunt Areej, A.K.A. The Noonies. Which was fine with us, since it meant we were able to avoid the huge traffic snarl when everyone leaves the parking areas at once.



All in all, I don't think his day could have gone any better, regardless of blown plans and schedules. Which, come to think of it, is usually the case with us.


Monday, July 1, 2019

LUCKY GYPSY MASH-UP: THE TOWN OF ROUND TOP

 
As I mentioned before, when Alexis first brought up the possibility of a getaway in Round Top, I poo-pooed the idea, telling her that, other than the ginormous flea market twice a year, there wasn't much to see or do. And, if it hadn't been for Lucky Star's choosing that as the location for their next pop-up, I might never have discovered just how wrong I was. A lot can change in fifteen years! 


The Lucky Star event didn't actually start until 1:00 on Saturday, but since Lex had been promised a full weekend getaway, we showed up late Friday afternoon, and got to go to dinner with all the Lucky Star instructors at Royer's Cafe -- still the best, but no longer the only place in town for a good meal and pie.

I highly recommend their Texas Trash pie!
We were told that hot biscuits would be delivered to our rooms at Wander Inn the next morning around 9 or 9:30. Although that sounded wonderful, there were a few hitches. One is, I'm used to eating breakfast by 6. Another is that Alexis has gestational diabetes and has to be careful about carbs. Last but not least, we both need a bit of protein with our breakfast, or it just doesn't stick! So we headed into town the next morning, in search of bacon and eggs. I knew better than to expect anything to be open at 6, so we headed into town around 8 or 8:30 and soon came to a spot surrounded by cars. It turned out to be Espressions Coffee and Art. Their little breakfast buffet seems to be quite popular with all the local movers and shakers, for they were all gathered at one of the big communal tables and you could tell they were there just about every day, catching up on the local gossip before heading off to open their shops. Reminded me of our little cafe here in Wimberley! Every time the front door opened, one of the locals would holler "Good morning! Come on in and have a seat!" So we did.


Then we headed off to explore all the shops, galleries, and gorgeous gardens that were scattered about the downtown area.






By the time we'd finished our explorations it was time for lunch, so we headed back to a place we'd spotted earlier, right next to our coffee shop, called Feed & Firewater, where we had two of the best salads ever!




Then it was time to head back to Wander Inn, meet up with our roomie LaNell, and head off to our afternoon's adventures!



Thursday, June 27, 2019

THE KATZ BROTHERS DO IT AGAIN

There is a young duo in the town of San Marcos, the Katz brothers, that seems to be taking the town by storm. First they opened a little kolache shop called Dos Gatos. Then they opened a second one. Next they turned a vintage filling station into Zelicks Ice House. After that came Pie Society, a pizza place with a speakeasy hidden in back! And now, there is North Street -- a beer bar/curry house/coffee shop. So, of course, The Tiny Dinner Club had to give it a try, right?






Pretty much everything we tried was moan-worthy.

Chicken Tikka Masala Tacos
Chicken Curry Plates
Curry Queso
The only complaints came from our Irish/British friends, who said their chicken curry wasn't spicy enough. Of course, they grew up in the U.K., where curry is their national dish. But this is Texas, and I expect they're keeping it on the mild side since San Marcos is primarily a college town, and half it's population has probably never even tasted a curry dish. So, on the whole, we gave it 16 thumbs up.


Try it. You'll like it!


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

LUCKY/GYPSY MASH-UP: THE VENUE

When we heard that the Junk Gypsies had built a couple of lodges out in the field behind their store, we were expecting something fairly rustic, and that impression continued as we drove up to them and parked our car in the grass nearby.





 But, once we stepped inside our room, that notion was blown to bits.




Turns out, every luxury had been provided for, from the best mattress and pillows to the deep, oversized soaking tub in the bathroom and the fluffy white towells.



And, if that wasn't enough, there was a big gathering room in each lodge, complete with coffee stations, record players and albums, books, etc. Perfect place to hang out if you're an early riser or a night owl, and don't want to disturb your roomies.

Is this an awesome coffee table, or what?
 Needless to say, we enjoyed every minute of our stay there, from dusk...


until dawn!