Friday, June 6, 2008


I watched Under the Tuscan Sun on TV again this week, and had to laugh at how little the story resembles the actual book. They make Frances out to be fresh off of a nasty divorce, jobless, childless, unable to speak Italian... None of that was true. In real life she had a fairly good support system going for her. She had already met and married the "Ed" character that shows up at the end of the movie, both were fluent in Italian, and both kept their day-jobs as college professors in California, only staying at Bramasole in summers and at Christmas. Still, it was quite an adventure.

I stumbled upon someone recently who is embarking on a similar adventure as we speak, only she is flying without a net. The exciting news is that she's taking me along for the ride! I'm sure you would be welcomed too, if you ran over to her blog Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien ( She has already left her lucrative corporate job, vacated home and held garage sale, shipped and stored belongings, and purchased a charming old house in France. She is going boldly forward, to live the life she dreamed. Right now, she is in the process of saying her good-byes, so if you hurry, you should be just in time to join us on this adventure!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Not long ago I picked up a wonderful book called The Art of Travel with a Sketchbook, by Mari le Glatin Keis. The thing that interested me most was when the author claimed that this habit would force you to travel differently, enabling you to be in the moment more completely and see things through different eyes. That's something that's important to me - being fully in the moment, rather than distracted by all the hustle and bustle around me.

A couple of days ago, while visiting, I came across a wonderful posting by Candalaria Silva of Good & Plenty, called Living Deliberately. It listed all the things she has done to transform her life and become more mindful, since the fortunate day when she was let go from her job.

Just yesterday Molly, of the famed foodie blog Orangette, and who is guest posting this week at Everyday Polaroid, said "I think thats the reason why I take pictures: to see my everyday life from another angle, as something more graceful and intentional than it often feels."

So my question is, what do you do to live more intentionally, more mindfully, more deliberately? How do you stay in the moment, instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about what's to come. And how has it affected your life?

Monday, June 2, 2008


After leaving Laguna Gloria, we headed to 6th street, near Lamar. We had lunch at Z-Tejas, then poked around in a couple of nearby galleries. Next stop was the Alamo Draughthouse, where we saw a charming movie called Son of Rambow. By then it was time to check into our hotel, take a little rest and clean up, before heading out for the evening's festivities.

First on the agenda was dining at Vespaio, on S. Congress. I had eaten at Enoteca Vespaio several times, which is the casual lunch spot that shares Vespaio's kitchen. However, this was our first time to try the more formal restaurant, which is open only for dinner. The entire meal was wonderful, but the one item that will stick in my memory forever is the Carpaccio. Picture a platter topped with a thin layer of spicy Dijon mustard (ooh!), tissue paper slices of the finest raw beef (moan), crisp mounds of fresh arugula topped with shavings of rich Parmigiano Reggiano (mmmm) and the crunchy, salty surprise of flash-fried capers, all melding together in your mouth as one perfect bite (aaahhh...).

From there we drove quickly back to our hotel to drop off the car, raced up to our room to shove our massive amount of leftovers into the mini-fridge, then strolled around the corner just in time to catch the early performance at Esther's Follies. What fun! The comedy show on stage was great, but what went on outside the huge picture windows behind the stage was the real treat. For one thing, the performers used the sidewalk there to get from one side of the stage to the other, so you would often catch glimpses of someone creeping along on all fours, trying to stay hidden below the windowsill. At other times, they used the sidewalk area as part of the show, as when they were making fun of different segments of the Austin population (when they mentioned the groups of Segway-riders that are a common sight downtown these days, a group of actors on pretend Segways happened to glide past the window). Best of all were the people just passing on the street who managed to get involved in the performance, some by accident, some by design (one old fart with sagging belly and grizzled beard had set up a kiddie pool on the sidewalk and was prancing around in a lady's bikini!). We spent about an hour after the show strolling up and down 6th street, just enjoying the sights, sounds and each other.

This morning we strolled those same streets, but saw a very different place. We decided to walk over to Las Manitas, on Congress, for breakfast. The streets were practically deserted, except for the homeless. Without the noisy revelers to distract us, we finally noticed the many beautiful old buildings that lined the streets, and mourned for all those that had been torn down in the name of progress. We wandered through the lobby of the historic Driscoll Hotel, decided that's where we are staying next time, then took the path alongside the mini riverwalk back to our hotel. It was reminiscent of San Antonio's Riverwalk, but was strewn with the detritus and unpleasant aromas left behind by street people seeking shelter there. It reminded me of something I read on a blog recently - we are all just a few paychecks away from being on the streets.

I am now back home, wondering what to fix for lunch before heading off to work at Bella Vista, and suddenly it hits me. All of our lovely leftovers from last night's feast? Still sitting in the mini-fridge back in Austin. Well sheeyut!

Sunday, June 1, 2008


We headed to Austin mid-morning yesterday, and since we couldn't check into the hotel until 3:00, we went first to Laguna Gloria. Just take 35th Street all the way west until you run into Lake Austin, and you will discover a lovely old home that was built by one of Austin's founding families. It now belongs to the Austin Museum of Art, and is home base for The Art School (

I was there primarily to pick up a class catalog, but the grounds were so enticing, we couldn't resist wandering around. We peeked through the doors of several classrooms as well, and indulged in daydreams about spending lots of time here together, once John is retired.

To be continued...