Tuesday, June 28, 2016

THE BIG D JITTERS

Going home to Dallas always leaves me feeling, well, discombobulated. First of all, I have no sense of direction, and no GPS in my car, so I plot out my path ahead of time. After a few trips, when I'm finally getting it memorized, they go and change everything up, switching a left hand exit to the right, or some such thing! On top of that, the drivers there seem so mean. Narcissistic even -- as if they really don't care if their whipping in and out causes someone to crash -- compared to the country courtesy I've grown used to over the last ten years. Was I really like them when I lived there, and had to drive all over Dallas, Ft. Worth and Arlington on a daily basis for my job?   

Then there's the fact that, whenever I go there, it's usually because someone is ailing, and involves doctors, hospitals, needles, knives and pain -- the only things I hate even more than driving in big cities, and the things I'd do just about anything to avoid.

Last but not least, there is family dynamics. I'm sure you know what that is like -- especially if there are three bossy women involved!

So, like I said, as much as I adore my family, I can't help but come home feeling just a tad out of sorts.

Thankfully, all it takes is a bit of time staring at this...

Cypress Creek, from the back deck at Inoz', and some crazy photo-bomber!
to have me feeling right as rain once more.

Now that I've had a couple of days to recover, it's time to get busy again. The Ohio relatives are on their way to Wimberley, as we speak! First on my to-do list? Whipping up a batch of my Mexican Chocolate Streusel  Brownies. You'll find a link to the recipe over in my sidebar under Seasonal Recipes. You can thank me later.



Sunday, June 26, 2016

THINGS COULD BE BETTER

It has been a rough week, but it's good to be home. If only I could feel confident that my big sister was finally on the mend.  About two months ago she had her fourth joint replacement surgery -- a knee this time. (Between the two of them, my sisters have had two hips and five knees done. Yes, five.) Miss Poo never did recover from her last hip surgery as well as hoped and, several years later, still has to sleep sitting up in a recliner. So, this time, she decided to bite the bullet and check into a rehab facility for a week after leaving the hospital.

At first it was amazing, and she was progressing beyond expectations. But, then, she woke up in agonizing pain, with her entire leg bright red, hot to the touch, and swollen up ready to burst. It took two different rounds of antibiotics to finally get the cellulitis infection under control, and she ended up staying in the rehab facility for a month instead of a week, but without making any progress whatsoever on her mobility. In fact, she went in reverse, forming lots of scar tissue while her leg was immobilized. After a couple of weeks of useless therapy, they decided the only course of action was to take her back to the hospital, put her to sleep, and bend and squish her knee so hard that it forced all the scar tissue to just rip apart. Fun, right?

That's where I came in, as she needed transportation to daily therapy. She won't be able to drive herself anywhere until she's off the pain meds, and she's still in a lot of pain.  It would all be worth it if we were finally seeing some signs of progress but, so far, that just isn't happening.

On the bright side, by my last night there she finally felt well enough for us to venture out to my favorite burger joint, Beck's Prime, for their infamous Hickory Cheeseburger.


Although, truth be told, she probably didn't feel up to it. She just really, really loves me!

Monday, June 20, 2016

ONE OF THE BEST

My hubby had an awesome weekend. To start with, two of the kiddos came down and spent the entire weekend with us, which always means lots of good eating and usually a bit of splorin'. This time we decided to go check out the newest microbrewery in town, Middleton Brewing.




Hubby and the kids enjoyed picking and choosing from an extensive list of options to make up their own tasting flight...



while I enjoyed live music and an ice cold Mexican Coke out of an old fashioned bottle!


They say the sliders and kettle chips from the on-site food truck are down right delicious...


but we already had plans to meet my little bro and his family -- who called out of the blue saying "Hey, we're in Austin!" -- across the street at Brewster's Brew Pub/Pizzeria, run by a retired pro-football player and his musical family of 13 kids.


After dinner we went home and made Hubby a batch of his favorite pralines.


The next day we ended up over at daughter Lexi's house, where everyone got to spend some quality Goober-Time.



All-in-all, I'd say it was one of Hubby's best Father's Days ever, which is only fair, since he just happens to be one of the best!

P.S. Looks like I'll be MIA for most of the week. Big sis had some complications after her latest joint replacement surgery, so I'm heading up to Dallas to lend her a hand. Catcha later!

Friday, June 17, 2016

PASSING THE TORCH

This election. I swear. It's taking something out of me. So much hate spewing forth from every direction! When I think about my contemporaries at UT and at colleges around the country in the late sixties/early seventies, rising up against the status quo, actually managing to make real changes for the better by joining together to make ourselves heard, well, I just have to wonder. What happened to all of those idealistic people? How did we come to this? 

But, then, two of my kiddos showed up here yesterday evening, stayed up talking politics with us until the wee hours, and were both dressed and on the road by 6:30 AM, headed off to the State Convention in San Antonio, full of the passion and determination that my generation seems to have lost. Maybe things are not so hopeless after all. Maybe it was simply time for us to pass the torch to the next generation of caretakers and shaker-uppers -- the ones who still have a chance to make this world a better place. For this little dude...



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

RAIDERS OF THE LOST SEED


Hubby decided yesterday was the day to try and clean up our open-air garage -- a thankless task, the results of which never last for long, due to that bit about it being "open-air".  On the plus side, if you have people in the family with hoarding tendencies, you can't just toss a bunch of junk in there then slam the doors shut and forget about it. 

When he moved the cars out of the way, he found our usual little "gift" - piles of birdseed detritus beneath each one.


The first time we noticed it, we couldn't figure out how it got there. Could the wind have blown it in? Then why wasn't it elsewhere in the garage? Why just these two little piles? Finally we caught on. The birds and the tree squirrels are messy eaters, and leave piles of seed beneath each of our feeders. Then the rock squirrels - those funky little fellows who are more gray than brown, with very dark heads and faces -- come along to gather it all up, and ferry it to their dining rooms under our cars. Apparently they prefer a bit of privacy when they dine. We like to watch them in action through our front door while we eat our own dinner.


A couple of nights ago we were watching something on TV when I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. It was the same color as our squirrels, with the same fluffy tail, but waaaay too big. "John, quick! Come look!" Turns out our little foxes like birdseed too! We figured that one was probably the mother of the litter our neighbors above us found at their house. I would have given anything to snap a photo of her, but knew that the minute she heard our door creak open, she'd be off like greased lightening.

Instead, we just stood there watching as she finished up all the seed in the garage, then moved outside to clean up everything under the feeder next to it. Way better than watching TV, dontcha think?

Monday, June 13, 2016

GOOD EATS

It's Tomato-Time in Texas y'all, and the Lanes have been eatin' good!


Last order cycle I got a couple of pounds of my favorite big beefy slicing tomatoes, Cherokee Purples, from The Bountiful Sprout. The first two nights we made hubby's favorite Caprese Salads, alternating thick slices of tomato with a few slices from a ball of fresh mozzarella, then drizzling them with a bit of really good olive oil and a splash of aged balsamic, and finishing with a grind or two of coarse salt and pepper, and a shredding of freshly picked basil. Mmmmmm. 

The following night we had old fashioned tomato sandwiches. Hubby opted for one on toasted bread, with bacon! Me, I'm a tomato sandwich purist. Nothing but home-grown tomatoes, mayo (which I almost never eat on anything else), salt and pepper. Plus, it has to be on soft, mushy bread!

I'm hoping the selection will still be plentiful when I return from helping out a sister who's had a really rough time with a knee replacement surgery, for there are still soooo many things to be crossed off of my tomato checklist, such as...
  • pasta with Jewell's or Jamie's raw tomato sauce
  • tomato pesto tarts
  • baked cherry tomatoes with goat cheese, scooped up with chunks of warm, crusty bread
  • Greek salads, with cucumber, red onion, kalamata olives, and feta cheese
  • Salade Proven├žal 
  • Lago's roasted tomatoes, served over warm pasta, or on toast crusts with chevre, or in sandwiches
To name just a few!

Know what else is back is season? Shrimp. In particular, the Sunday night Cajun Shrimp Boils at Hays City Store.

One order is enough for two!
Now them's some good eats, I gar-on-tee!

Friday, June 10, 2016

TREASURE HUNT

We have several different thrift stores here in my little town, but one in particular is about to become my new favorite haunt. The others are mostly filled with all the stuff we retirees want to rid ourselves of when we downsize, and the very last thing I need is to bring any of that back into my house! This store, however, is rather small, and so has narrowed its focus to a very specific target audience -- young moms. On one side is a room filled with children's toys, furniture and equipment. On the other is one containing children's clothing and shoes. The central area is full of things mom might want for herself -- stylish shoes, clothes and accessories, and a few items to perk up her home with. Best of all? This shop is right next door to my favorite taco joint!

So, not long after I told you about my magical whatever-you-want-it-to-be shelf, I just happened to be in said taco joint. When I glanced out the window and spotted the thrift store, it occurred to me that it would be the perfect place to find a few accessories for that little shelf. Maybe a child's tool box or something?  Well, this is what I found on my very first visit.


Could it be a more perfect fit?


And I got it all for only $6.99!!!


Of course, it may be awhile before Little Goober is tall enough to reach that shelf...


but, maybe not as long as you'd think. Apparently he grew two inches in his first three weeks. Looks like he's gonna have his daddy's long legs.

Let me hear ya say "Hallelujah!".