Friday, February 29, 2008

AND THE RAINS CAME (conclusion)

Apparently, it had begun raining again while we dined. I doubted that the road crews would have accomplished much on a Saturday, so we assumed that we would still need to take the round-about detour in order to get home. I really had to strain, in order to read the street signs in the rain, but finally spotted our turnoff. Much to my surprise, the detour sign was no longer there, and without the arrows marking the various turns, we soon became hopelessly lost. Eventually, we wound up back where we had started, and decided at that point to drive back to Wimberley and go home by our usual route. By then it was raining harder than ever, and the ditches beside the road were filling up. As we passed the Wimberley Inn, I laughingly asked "Anyone want to just stop here and check in for the night?" I think they were all half tempted.

As we finally approached our neighborhood, I told Bill "If the water's not gushing too hard over the first crossing, we can probably make it up to the house OK, but if it's up over the road at the second one as well, we are in deep doo-doo." We crept slowly up to the first crossing, and strained our eyes to peer through the dark. The water was rushing pretty fast, but didn't look too deep, so we decided to go ahead. Safely over the first one, we had to round a sharp corner before the second one came into view. To our horror, we saw that water was gushing over that one as well. "I don't know Bill. I'm afraid to risk it. I guess we'd better go back to town." Bill turned to stare at me, then asked "Any suggestions on how to get this van turned around now?" Uh.....sheeeyutt. "Any chance you could back up, very carefully, in the pitch dark, around that sharp corner and through the water again, without ending up in a ditch?" He glared at me for a moment longer, then shifted the car into reverse.

We hadn't rolled more than a couple of feet when Kathy suddenly yelled out "Stop! I see lights coming from the other direction! Let's wait and see what happens when they cross." We sat and watched as a big-ass truck came into view, and with only a slight reduction in speed, swooshed across the creek, shooting up huge fans of water on either side. Although I still wouldn't be willing to risk it in my car, I figured that the weight of the van, with all of us in it - considering the huge meal we had just eaten - had to be roughly equivalent to that of the truck. Taking a deep breath, I girded my loins and said "Go for it!" With four sets of cheeks clenched so tightly, they were practically suspended in air, we churned through the water and made it safely to the other side. By the time we had reached the house, I had managed to start breathing again. First I thanked God, then I thanked Bill, for bringing us safely home. Then Dani said "Yeah Bill. In the words of your daughter, thanks for not killing us!" And speaking of Merrit, guess who managed to sleep through the entire adventure, completely oblivious to all the fun she was missing out on?

MY SEASONAL SALAD (2 servings): Combine 2 T. good olive oil with 3/4 T. good vinegar of your choice, 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard, a sprinkle of kosher or sea salt and a grinding of black pepper, 1/2 tsp. minced shallot(opt.) and a dab of honey (opt.). Whisk until emulsified and set aside. In your salad bowl combine about 1 quart rinsed and crisped salad greens (baby arugula is to die for, but anything other than boring iceberg is good), 1/2 c. of fruit in bite-sized pieces(seedless grapes, sliced pear or strawberries, dried cranberries, sweet red pepper, etc.), 1/4 c. toasted nuts or crisp bacon (walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, spiced pecans, etc.) and 1/4 c. crumbled or shaved cheese (feta, goat, bleu, Parmigiano, etc.). Just before serving, give the salad dressing another good whisk , toss it with the salad and season to taste with more S&P.

SPICED PECANS (from Susan Branch's "Autumn" cookbook): Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray olive oil on a cookie sheet. In a large bowl combine 2c. pecan halves, 1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar, 1/4 c. melted butter, 4 tsp. Cholula Mexican hot pepper sauce, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Spread on pan in single layer, and bake 10 minutes, until lightly toasted, stirring once. Cool. I always double the recipe when pecans are in season, and keep some in the freezer, to add to salads, tuck into quesadillas, serve as appetizers, give as gifts, or just to snack on!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

AND THE RAINS CAME (continued)

Surprisingly enough, everyone was up bright and early the next morning. We headed into town around 7:30 to grab some breakfast, again having to take the circuitous detour to get there, then drove over to Juniper Hills Farm to meet up with Sibby. There we were introduced to our fellow foragers for the day, most of whom were staying as overnight guests in the little casitas that Sibby has added to her spread. The sky was cloudy enough to protect us from the scorching sun, but luckily, it still wasn't raining. After a brief orientation covering what we might encounter that day, we loaded into two huge vans and headed out.

Our first stop was at Texas Specialty Cut Flowers (the blue barn). Due to the over-abundance of rain this season, their flower crops were flourishing, but their vegetable crops had drowned. The only ingredients we managed to obtain there were several tubs of locally made, flavored goat cheese, and some mouth-watering pears. From there we drove over to the new Mandola winery, where we were able to do tastings and take a tour. Sibby scored two cases of wine to go with our dinner, then served us a lovely picnic lunch at long tables out under the huge oak trees. After a brief rest we piled back into the vans and headed towards Wimberley.

Next stop was Bella Vista Ranch, home of First Texas Olive Oil Company. The owner is quite a loquacious fellow, and he told us everything we ever wanted to know about olives - and then some. We actually did tastings there as well, tossing back tiny plastic cups of pail green oil, then waiting for that distinctive peppery glow as it hit the back of our throats. Our most exciting discovery there was the new, blood orange-infused oil that they had recently started bottling. Sibby bought some for us to use on our dinner that evening, and I quickly grabbed some to take home for my own use. While we were learning about the finer points of making a good oil, Dani whispered "Do you think those pears we bought might be good sliced over some lettuce, with a little of that blood-orange stuff drizzled over them?" and I thought "Aha! That's it! " That's what market-based cuisine is all about. You go to the market to see what looks and tastes fabulous, then you wait for inspiration to come, pulling from your arsenal of a few basic recipes that adapt to a variety of ingredients. Now, thanks to Dani, I had an idea about what I could contribute to this evening's feast - my special seasonal salad.

After a brief stop at my favorite little kitchen shop, Kiss the Cook, we were headed back towards Blanco. I think we were all getting a trifle worried about how we would ever pull together any sort of dinner from the few measly ingredients we had obtained so far. Sensing our concern, Sibby said "Never fear, we still have one more stop to make." She was referring to McCall Creek Farm, purveyors of that fine homemade peach ice cream I have mentioned before. There we filled our logo-emblazoned tote bags (a gift from Sibby) with gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, okra, purple-hull peas, blueberries, and more. Inside the shop I filled a huge bag with mixed greens for my salad, and also nabbed some candied pecans and a jar of marinated feta cubes, then most everyone bought a cup of ice cream to enjoy on the ride back. When asked why, unlike the Arnoskys, McCalls had so much produce to choose from, Sibby explained that McCalls was a truck farm. The Arnoskys sell only what they can grow themselves. At McCalls, though they do grow much of what they sell, they also supplement with produce that has been "trucked" in from other farms. Fortunately, unlike others I have stopped at recently, they do try to keep it as local as possible. We still had no idea how we would turn most of this stuff into our dinner, but if nothing else, at least I knew we would have a mighty fine salad!

By the time we returned to Juniper Hills, our group of strangers had once again turned into friends. Sibby informed us that we had over an hour until we needed to report for duty, so part of the group went back to their casitas to rest, some donned swimsuits, and the rest of us went to stretch out on the chaises surrounding her beautiful, infinity-edged pool. Ever the consummate hostess, Sibby plied us with wine and cold beverages, made sure we had towels and cushions, then headed off to prep our booty.

When we arrived back at the kitchen, Sibby gathered us round for a brainstorming session. Surprisingly, my quiet brother was the first to speak up, suggesting that we stuff our olives with bits of cheese and prosciutto (Sibby keeps a very well-stocked larder!). Another gal, who had some catering experience, said that we could even coat them in Panko bread crumbs and fry them. That sounded a bit strange to me, but turned out to be a brilliant idea. I only managed to grab one before they all disappeared, but it was definitely a moaner! Since they had broken the ice, I felt brave enough to offer my salad suggestion, then ideas started flying fast and furious. We ended up with about fifteen different dishes using all that we had foraged, including appetizers, dessert, and everything in between. There was also a surprise ingredient waiting for us - beautiful racks of lamb, which we cut apart into individual "lollipops", seasoned with olive oil and Sibby's own special Provence-style blend of herbs and locally grown lavender, then grilled to a crunchy crispness. I always thought I disliked lamb, but I am a convert now!

When we had finally finished the last morsel of our luscious pear tart, we bid good night to our fellow chefs, feeling quite pleased with how our foraging adventure had unfolded. My only regret was that we had not booked one of Sibby's casitas for ourselves, so that we too could take one of the tiny lanterns she was passing out, to guide everyone on the few steps back to their beds. There they would quickly fall asleep, wondering what breakfast delights would be awaiting them on the porch the next morning, housed in precious vintage lunch boxes. Instead, we climbed back into Bill and Dani's mini-van. As we headed home to Wimberley, I reminded Bill to please keep an eye out for deer on the road. Little did I know that, for once, deer would be the least of our worries.....(to be continued once more)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


It was touch and go for a while, but I finally made it here on Friday. This is the big weekend that we've been planning for months - the one where my sister Kathy and brother Bill and his family were to meet me here in Wimberley, in order to participate in on of Sibby Barret's Hill Country Excursion/Random Acts of Cooking adventures over at Juniper Hills Farm. We had to book the combination food foraging tour and cooking class almost a year in advance, because they are so very popular.

I started getting somewhat anxious a couple of weeks back. As you may recall, in the earlier part of the summer, we were pretty ecstatic about all the rain and cool weather we were having here, but when I heard about the flooding around Marble Falls, I started thinking "OK, enough already!" About a week ago, just before we were to leave for a convention in Orlando, we got an email message from the head of our neighborhood association here, informing us that the gate blocking the back entrance to the neighborhood (previously referred to as The Road From Hell) had been temporarily unlocked. That could mean only one thing - the water was up so high in our creek that the low-water crossings leading into our neighborhood were impassable. Fortunately, I still had just over a week to go before I was to meet up with my siblings, and I thought surely the crisis would be past by then. Unfortunately, the rain just kept on a comin'!

As soon as we got back to Houston on Thursday, I called a neighbor in Wimberley and asked if the main entrance was open again. "For now" he said. "What do you mean?" I asked. "Well, it comes and goes. The sun comes out for a bit, the water goes down, then it rains again, and it goes back up. Of course, they've got the back gate open for the time being, so you can always come up thataway." "In my Mini?" I asked. "Oh. Well now, I wouldn't recommend trying that." Great. I explained to him that I was to meet my family there the following day for an excursion that had been booked months in advance, and it was too late to get a refund, but if it rained a whole bunch more between now and then, would he please call and warn me? He said "Sure thing. Oh, by the way, which direction will they be coming from?" I answered "From Kyle, why?" He replied "Oh, they should be fine then. If they were coming from San Marcos, that would be another thing." "But I come in through San Marcos!" I said. "Why is that a problem?" "Well, there is a big chunk of road missing around Meyer's Construction, so you might want to come another way." "By Meyer's? But you have to go by Meyer's just to get into Wimberley from our place! Are you saying we can't even get into town now?" "Oh no, you can get there all right. It just might take you a bit longer than usual. They've got a detour set up that circles you way around in the opposite direction." Oh, perfect.

The next morning dawned cloudy and drizzly, but there had been no warning call from our neighbor, so I loaded up the car and headed out. I stopped at Hay's City Cafe as I pulled into town, to grab a burger for lunch and to check on the news. My waitress informed me that the road over to Driftwood was finally clear, and that they were working fast and furious to take care of the problem by Meyer's. Hopefully it would be open in the next day or so. At last, some good news! I went on to the house and, luckily, had no trouble getting into the neighborhood, although the water was certainly higher than I had ever seen it. In non-drought conditions, there is always some water spilling across the first crossing, but now it wasn't spilling, it was rushing. The second crossing is always dry, because it has a huge culvert that diverts the water under the road, rather than over it, but that means there is a pretty steep drop, the distance of the big culvert pipe, on the other side. From the way all the vegetation was matted down on the high side of the crossing, it was obvious that at some point recently, the water had risen above the culvert and gone gushing over the road. I suddenly had a vision of my little car being swept over the edge, like a tiny beer barrel going over Niagara Falls.

I had just enough time to do a little house-cleaning before Kathy arrived. After catching up on all the latest news, we decided to head into town to grab some supper at Juan Henry's. The detour we had to take to get there was a real pain in the butt, and added about twenty minutes to the trip, but at least it was clearly marked with big arrows at every twist and turn, so you wouldn't get lost in the maze. Bill, his wife Dani, and their daughter Merrit didn't arrive until after 10:00. Since everyone was pretty exhausted at that point, and since we had to get an early start the following day, we turned in for the night not long after they arrived, and I offered up a little prayer of thanks for everyone's safe arrival, for being able to actually get to the house, and for the fact that it hadn't rained anymore.....(To be continued)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Just to give you a clear idea of how much Wimberley has me in its thrall now, consider this. John completely blew me away this past October by surprising me with seasons tickets to the musicals in Houston. That is probably the most outstanding gift I ever got - especially because it was his own idea, with no hints from me. I enjoy all types of theatre, but musicals most of all. In fact, I think life should be more like musicals, with people bursting into song at the drop of a hat. So why did we only make it to about half of the performances? Because it meant staying in Houston instead of coming to Wimberley. We were supposed to go see "Sweet Charity" this weekend. It was the final show of the season, and one that I had never seen, but John was getting anxious about the repair work that needs to be done on the inside of the house when, or if, they get the new roof on, and there were some things he needed to take care of first. I saw that as the perfect excuse to give away our theatre tickets and come to Wimberley instead. And what could I do here that could possibly be more fun that getting all dressed up and going out for a fine meal and a musical? Forage for food!

By foraging, I mean going out in search of great, locally grown or produced items, and it's my new favorite pastime. It's not as easy as you might think though, and it requires that one be persistent and demanding - traits that don't come easily to me. Here we are, surrounded by goat farms and peach orchards, at the peak of peach season, and what did I find at our local grocery store last week? Goat cheese from Wisconsin and peaches from California! On my way out of town I passed a farmstand out on the highway, and decided to pull in. I assumed everything would be local, but immediately noticed several fruits that weren't even close to being in season. I gathered my nerve and asked "Where were your peaches grown?" She replied somewhat sheepishly "Uh, those came from California. We're all out of Fredericksburg peaches." I just smiled politely and said "Oh, that's too bad. I guess I'll have to keep looking then."

Since John had plenty of things around the house to keep him busy this weekend, none of which required my assistance, I decided to go foraging over in Blanco. Don't make the same mistake I did and try to give that a Spanish pronunciation. They will be quick to inform you that you are in Blank-oh, not Blonco! I loaded my cooler and my canvas shopping bag into the car, and headed out on my quest. First stop was at a shop called Real Foods, right on the town square. It's surprisingly large for such a small town, and carries all sorts of organic foods, both fresh and frozen, natural cleaning products, and a huge assortment of vitamins and supplements. They also have a tiny cafe in one corner where you can have a healthy lunch or a snack, and there are some prepared foods that you can take home with you. Or at least, they did have all that the last time I was there. When I walked through the door this time, what I found was bedlam. One whole side of the place was blocked off, the produce bin was empty, and much of the other stuff was in boxes in the aisles. I panicked and asked "What's going on? You're not closing the cafe are you?" They just laughed and said "No, no, don't worry! Actually, we're expanding our raw foods section and doing some remodeling. We've been closed all week, and were supposed to have things back together by now, but the carpenter didn't get our new counters completed on time." Ah well, that's a relief.

Next stop was McCall Creek Farms, where I had much better luck. I nabbed some beautiful San Marzano tomatoes, fresh green beans, and finally, some locally grown peaches. I was tempted by the fresh baked goods and the peach ice cream that they sell in the little shop that's attached to their produce stand, but decided that I might as well head straight to Riley's Barbecue and have some lunch. Last stop before heading home was the Arnosky's big blue barn. There I not only snagged a bouquet of my favorite fragrant flowers, tuberoses, I also found beautiful sweet peppers mottled in shades of peach, green and gold, all kinds of summer squash, perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes, cage-free fresh eggs, and a plethora of locally made goat cheeses.

When I got home with my haul, I rinsed off a peach and handed it to John. It was time for the acid test. He walked out onto the porch, leaned out over the rail, and bit into it. Not only did juice come rushing down his chin and wrists, but I'd swear I even heard a little moan escape from his lips!

Here's an interesting discovery for those of you who are paying out the wazoo for those little imported jars of sun-dried tomatoes. Drying your own is the easiest thing in the world. I read about it in Barbara Kingsolver's book, and decided to give it a try. I just quartered my roma tomatoes, and gave them a little squeeze to get rid of most of the juice and seeds. Then I sprinkled them with a bit of salt, and let them drain in a strainer for a few minutes. Finally, you just spread them out on a lightly greased roasting pan, and bake them at 200 F. for eight to ten hours, turning them occasionally. That's all there is to it! Of course, when I pulled them out of the oven, John just stood there staring at the little shriveled bits in the pan. Then he said "Personally, I thought they looked more appetizing before."


I can't believe we have made it into July with the creeks still full of water, and the daytime highs down in the 80's. That's practically unheard of around here! Of course, not everyone in the Hill Country is happy with the weather this summer. Just a few miles north of here, around Marble Falls and Lake Buchanan, they had a storm front stall out over them this past week, and it dumped about 20 inches of rain on them in just a couple of days. A lot of homes were lost, but fortunately, no lives this time. That seems to be the pattern in these parts - swinging back and forth from drought to deluge, with nary a pause in between. Good thing that storm didn't stall out over Wimberley, as we are still without a roof.

Once we had finished up with our chores and errands yesterday, we headed over to the River Pub in San Marcos to meet up with Paula and Tim, who were coming to visit just for the day. We could have spent hours on that nice shaded deck, what with the cool breezes being stirred up by overhead fans, good food and great conversation, and non-stop entertainment being provided on the river down below us, but there were a bunch of people anxiously eyeing our table, so we decided it was time to move on. The men climbed into the Sanford's car, while Paula and I headed over to John's new Toyota hybrid (can you believe he traded in his Miata for a hybrid? I'm so proud of him!) At the last minute, Paula said "Oh wait, I have a CD I want you to hear!", and she ran back to their car to get it.

Once she was back, and we were buckled in, I reached up to insert the CD. I sat there for several minutes, staring at the dashboard which, with its fancy GPS system, looked more like an airplane's cockpit than a car's. Finally I turned to Paula and said "I don't see a hole. Do you see a hole?" "Nope, I don't see a hole." We were about to give up on the CD, figuring the guys were already halfway to the cigar shop by now, when some movement in the corner of my eye caught my attention. I turned my head, and there right next to us was the Sanford's car, with two gleeful faces staring back at us, enjoying our frustration immensely. John got out and sauntered over, with an extremely irritating grin on his face, then reached in and pushed a few buttons, whereupon the GPS screen slid forward and dropped down, revealing the elusive CD slot. Turning without a word, he sauntered back to the other car, and they drove away, laughing their fool heads off. We tried to stay irritated with them, but it was completely useless. How can you be anything but happy, when you are driving along a Hill Country road with your best buddy, singing your little heart out along with Rotel and the Hot Tomatoes, as they play every single dance song that you ever loved?

That evening we tried a new Cajun restaurant called Orbergon's, over in Dripping Springs. Sometimes, when John asks me what I want for dinner, I tell him that I want something that will make me moan. Now my John, he's not really a moaner, but Paula and Tim? Well, suffice it to say, there were probably more than a few people in the restaurant who were wondering just what exactly was going on at that table over in the corner. Unlike many of the huge Cajun-themed restaurants we have been to, with their equally huge but mediocre menus, this one had a fairly simple menu, but everything we ordered was the best I had ever tasted. From our filler-less crab cakes and crawfish pie with flaky phyllo crust, to the lighter than air batter on our fried oysters and the spicy red and white remoulade sauces offered with John's grilled shrimp, and ending with the creme brulee cheesecake, miles of chocolate dessert, and Community Club coffee finale, there wasn't a disappointing morsel in the lot.

Eventually we managed to pull ourselves away from the table and say our goodbyes to the Sanfords. As we headed back home, John started chuckling to himself, then he said "You and Paula crack me up." I asked "What do you mean?" He replied "I don't know exactly. You are just so hilarious whenever you are together." Funny, I was just sitting there thinking the exact same thing about him and Tim!

Monday, February 25, 2008


I have the bad habit of sometimes becoming so immersed in a good book that I can't seem to think or talk about anything else for a while. When the book happens to be about someone who is actually "living the good life", then we are in real trouble. I came down with an extra serious case of this when I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which is about the year when she and her family moved from Arizona to Appalachia, in order to lead a rural life, during which they vowed to buy only food raised in their own vicinity, grow it themselves, or do without. Consequently, when I went to write in my journal about it, I filled up half a notebook with everything I had learned from it. I then went on to fill up the other half, tracing my path from being someone who got all her food from the center aisles of the supermarket, where everything comes in packages, through Austin, Indonesia and Denmark, back through Austin, to now being someone who mostly shops just the perimeter of the supermarket, or not in a supermarket at all. This morning, when I sat down to transfer that entry to the blog, I realized that by the time you guys finished reading it, you could have driven to the bookstore or the library, and obtained a copy for yourself. So, I've decided to summarize:

Read this book!

There. That's it. That's my summary. Too brief, you say? Well, perhaps I could give you a teaser:

Did you know that American turkey producers have bred the sex gene out of our turkeys? In order to give them that breast-heavy body and ultra-rapid growth, they left them "with a combination of deformity and idiocy that renders them unable to have turkey sex", which may leave you to wonder where baby turkeys come from. Well, since you asked, I will tell you. Some lucky people out there get to spend their days wrangling turkey sperm, then it is introduced to the females artificially. Kingsolver says "If you are the sort of parent who threatens your teenagers with a future of unsavory jobs when they ditch school, here's one more career you might want to add to the list."

From this teaser you might assume that this is another of those scare tactic books that leaves you feeling that there is nothing left out there that is safe for us to eat. Rest assured, that is not the case at all. Instead it leads you on a journey through the seasons, telling you about all the great foods that are available during each, where to find them, and how to cook and serve them. I now keep it on the shelf with my other favorite cookbooks.

* * * * *

By the time I got to Wimberley, I had almost finished the book, and I was desperate for a farmer's market fix. John was more than happy to accommodate me, as he already had a trip to Austin in mind. It seems there is a restaurant there that was featured in the recent Quentin Tarrantino/Robert Rodriquez collaboration Grindhouse, and he was itching to find it and have lunch there. It's called Texas Chili Parlor, and turned out to be just his kind of dive (although probably not the least bit concerned with using what's in season). He opted for the spicy beef chili, but I thought the white pork version with Hatch chilies was outstanding. John can't wait to bring the kids and his buddy Tim back to try it.

While at the farmers' market, we picked up an awesome publication called Edible Austin. In it I discovered that that the Whole Foods Culinary Center has arranged a foodie bus trip out to the Arnosky's barn in Blanco. I also found out that our local Thunder Heart Bison won first place honors at the Gallo Gold Medal Awards, that Damian Mandola's new winery is about to open up near us, that my favorite baker in Fredericksburg is branching out into farm-fresh cuisine, and that even our own little Clifford's wine bar has announced the unveiling of their new "seasonal, mostly local, and oft-changing menu". Thus it seems that, through sheer, dumb luck, we have planted ourselves right smack dab in the middle of Foodie Heaven!

We hauled all of our treasures from the farmers' market back to Wimberley with us, fixed a lovely little dinner feast from it, and dined looking out over our domain. The odd thing is that, although there were giant sheets of metal roofing strewn all about us, flags of tarpaper waving from most of the trees, and deep scratches and broken lights on my car, we really didn't give a flip! We were just so happy to be here.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


What with Dad's illness and passing, and my seriously boogering up my neck, it seems like forever since we've spent any quality time in Wimberley, or since I've done any writing. In my case, one seems to be dependent on the other. We couldn't go this weekend, because we had tickets to Spamalot. The play was a riot, plus we discovered a great restaurant in the theatre district, so for once, we didn't mind staying in Houston. Unfortunately, we can't go next weekend either, because of John's company picnic. That, we mind! Our son Austin is off in Bonn, Germany doing his semester abroad program, and apparently having one hell of a time, as far as we can tell from his very infrequent messages. For a while, we weren't sure if he would get to go. The passport office had a huge backlog, due to some change in the laws, but Austin's finally showed up at the last second. The round of steroids I took, plus the physical therapy I a still undergoing, have done wonders for my neck, so things are finally beginning to settle down around here.

* * * * *

Did I say things were starting to settle down? Silly me. We just got a call from one of our neighbors up in Wimberley. It seems our roof blew off. Those were his exact words, just "Your roof blew off." John has lots going on at work tomorrow, so he just called and left a message for our insurance agent, and was planning to wait and head up himself on Wednesday, to check on the damage. However, the more he thought about it, the more nervous he got. The way our house is built, the main floor is actually upstairs, and all of our nicest furniture is up there, not to mention the newly refinished hardwood floors. If we have a hard rain while the roof is missing, we could be in big trouble. He has now decided to rearrange all of his meetings and head up there first thing tomorrow morning to meet with the claims adjustor, so we can get underway with repairs as soon as possible.

* * * * *

Meeting with an adjustor is easier said than done. It is now Friday, John has missed an entire week of work, and the guy still hasn't shown up. Apparently we weren't the only ones with wind damage last weekend, and we weren't the first to get our call in to the agent, either. On Wednesday, when I talked to John, I said "Well, if it's true that trouble always comes in threes, we've met our quota now, and can rest easy for a while." Of course, you know what always happens as soon as you say something stupid like that. The next morning, as I was sitting in my favorite cafe before work, having a cup of tea and working on my crossword puzzle, some bozo was backing right into my precious Mini! The damage isn't too horrendous, but she is still new enough that it just hurts my soul to see her in such sad shape, and now I too am spinning my wheels, trying to hook up with insurance people. The news isn't all bad though. It seems that John's agent won't be able to make it by the house before Saturday morning, so we are blowing off the company picnic, and I am heading up to Wimberley to join John just as soon as I get out of physical therapy. Woo Hoo!