Saturday, September 13, 2008


It's hard to believe, but tomorrow is my one-year blogging anniversary. With nearly 200 postings under my belt, I thought it would be interesting to look back at my very first entry. Turns out it was an introduction to my "seasonality" philosophy, and a statement of intent for this blog. I'm going to put it out here again, as a reminder of why I am doing this, and so that all of you can hold me accountable. Like so many other bloggers, I sometimes get obsessed with checking my reader numbers, and find myself writing to please my audience and garner more hits. I was told recently that there is a word for this (actually, two words, to be precise). It's called being a "click whore." Well, I certainly don't want to be one of those! So, feel free to call me onto the carpet, if you find I am straying too far from the intent of this, my very first posting:

Welcome to Seasonality

This is Seasonality - a blog in two parts. Part one is Seasonality - A Beginners Guide to Living the Good Life. Part two will be Seasonality in the Texas Hill Country. This is how it all began:

Now, no one has ever accused me of being a deep thinker, but I am a voracious reader. I especially love books about people who are “living the good life” - people like Frances Mayes in Tuscany, and Peter Mayle in Provence. I don’t recall exactly when the lightning bolt hit me, but one day I finally realized that all of my favorites had a common thread running through them, something I dubbed Seasonality. As I see it, people need the thrill of anticipation in their lives - they need something to look forward to. Seasonality is the best cure there is for the boring repetitiveness of housekeeping, for mindless eating and weight gain, for the obsessive accumulation of more and more stuff, and for over-worked and over-stressed families. Want to cook simple but delicious meals for your family? Seasonality is the answer. Are you tired of where you live, but can’t move? Seasonality is the key. Want to host simple parties that are as much fun for you as they are for your guests? Then you’d best keep reading! Whether you are just starting out on your own, or are well along the route but ready to try a different path, my Beginner’s Guide blog has everything you need to get you headed in the right direction. In addition to tips on cooking, gardening and decorating, it also addresses issues such as sustainability, where we get our food, and raising a happy child. The one thing it will not do is rant and rave and make you feel helpless. Rather, it will show you the simple, common sense, often humorous, path to the good life.

Now that the kids are grown, we have embarked upon our own quest for the good life in the Texas Hill Country, and this will be chronicled in the second part of my blog. It will take you back three years, to the time when we found our dream house, and you will accompany us on our journey from being big city suburbanites, through remodeling, multiple trips to the ER, tow trucks, wind storms and floods, to meeting many, and finally becoming Hill Country characters who are actually livin’ the good life. Hope you enjoy the trip!

P.S. Thanks to for the candle image.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Isn't it odd? We lived in Houston twice, for about five years each time, and down near Corpus for a couple of years too, yet I don't ever remember having hurricane season rule our lives, the way it has recently. All I can say is, sure glad I don't work at the garden center in Houston anymore! If I were still there, I'd be ready to commit Hari Kari about now. For the third time this season, they are once again having to pretty much disassemble the entire place, and in the process, wrecking every display the poor merchandiser (which would have been me) has been killing him/herself to assemble, since all the new merchandise from their summer buying trip began arriving. Once the threat passes, if it passes, it will take everyone at least a week or two to get things whipped back into shape, with the owner nipping at their butts the entire time, whining "Why isn't this place ready for fall yet? We're losing money here, guys!" On the other hand, if it's a direct hit, the nursery could be lost, and they'd all be out of jobs. Nope, don't miss that a'tall! Do I miss those buying trips? Hell yeah, I do!

You'd think, being this far inland now, that hurricanes wouldn't phase us much one way or another. However, according to last night's weather reports, we could be in for some pretty severe fallout here. Schools and businesses are shutting down, and UT has even cancelled a big football game (UN-believable!). I know John will be better off coming here, rather than staying in Houston, especially since he's leaving right away (Thurs. AM), but I'm not sure if I want Austin and Guinness driving here tomorrow evening, if we're expecting high winds, heavy rains and possible tornadoes and flooding. He might be better off just staying put in College Station, even if we are supposed to be celebrating his birthday this weekend!

P.S. Thanks to for the hurricane image.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


For her entire life, my poor daughter has had to put up with people saying "Did you know, you look exactly like your mom?" One time we were walking down the street together, and some old geezer came up and said "Well lookie there. It's Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum." I kept expecting her to haul off and smack someone, but she always handled it most graciously. One summer, however, she was working at her dad's office, and some lady made a comment about her looking just like John. Lex just stared at her for a moment, mouth gaping, then finally came back with "Obviously, you have never met my mother."

Well, she may look just like me, but there's no doubt who she gets her sense of style from!


I'm hosting my very first guest blogger today - my daughter Alexis! I was just reading her MySpace posting of our recent visit there, and decided to share it with you. I like her version better (especially the part where she's bragging on her parents!). She also has some news to share:

My Charmed Life

I must say, I have the most unusual lucky streak ever. I will never win the lottery or come out ahead at a casino; if I'm playing a sport where things are flying through the air, I'm guaranteed to be hit in the head by it; I can't loose when it comes to jobs and careers though.

About a month ago I realized that I wasn't actually making enough money to pay all of my basic bills, and make payments towards the debt that ben and i created. So I started applying at restaurants for a second job since I knew there was no chance that I would get any money out of Ben (he hasn't contributed a penny in months). After two weeks, I was offered a job at a new upscale restaurant that was opening up down town to work nights as a server. The only catch was I would have to take off a week from my current job for training before the restaurant opened.

Today, I sat down with my boss to work out how I was going to make up the 20 hours I would be taking off. Instead she started talking about how she doesn't want me to take the job because it would inconvenience the firm at a really bad time (we are swamped with three multi-million dollar projects, one of which is in China). I was starting to think that I was up shit creek without a paddle. That is when she continued on and started explaining that in order to keep me from taking a second job, she was giving me a raise, adding me to the company health insurance, and would now start paying me time and a half for any overtime I work (I am now allowed to come in and work on extra stuff on saturdays and during the evenings as I see fit)! All I had to do to get all of this was call the restaurant and say I changed my mind.

This kind of stuff happens to me all the time. I never have to look for a job for very long. On the rare occasion that I don't get a job that I want, something even better typically falls straight into my lap soon after.

I'm very glad I don't have to actually work a second job. I would have been so exhausted for a reason that wasn't even fun.

I'm also flying pretty high because my parents came out to visit me over Labor Day weekend. I always have such a blast with them. The short version of what we did is as follows: walk walk eat laugh shop eat eat walk walk walk laugh repeat. We did a lot of exploring around various areas of San Diego (like la jolla and little italy). We ate at a lot of really great restaurants and hit up a farmers market that was to die for. I always feel so free and easy around my family, I'm never afraid that they are going to stop liking my company because of an opinion or value I might have. I can also talk to them about whatever is on my mind.Not many people inspire that feeling in me.

While here my dad went on a shopping spree (like usual). The man can't go on vacation without spending wads of money on stuff. He never buys stuff for himself though, He isn't having fun unless he is spending money on me or my brother. So after three days I owned a set of new speakers for my stereo, a radio antenna, a new printer/scanner (because my old one was the one he bought me in high school and that is not acceptable!), clothes, art, and a bag of goodies from bath and body works. I am spoiled. The really funny thing is, that I actually refused to let him buy me most of the things that he wanted to buy me. I sad no to about 5 things out of 6 that he wanted to buy me. I turned down a new flat screen tv, and he is still pouting over it.

I'm seriously spoiled.
* * *

Hello, me again. I have to add one more thing about Lex and her amazing "luck", which she failed to mention. She seems to have a gift for animal magnetism - but not in a good way. When she was tiny and we took her to visit a pumpkin patch at a farm, who was the only kid there to get attacked by turkeys and covered in fire ants? In Indonesia, when we went with lots of other families on "hashes" through the jungle, who was the only kid to get chased by a water buffalo? When we bought peanuts to feed the monkeys in the jungle park, who was attacked by a crazed monkey who ripped the whole bag out of her hands, before she could even get it open? In fact, it was probably her fault that the ostrich tried to hump our van, and wouldn't let us past, the time we drove through the safari park. So, it's good she has better luck when it comes to jobs, just for balance. Poor thing - other than her bedroom set, those two old bucket chairs in the photo (used to be my "nursing chairs") are pretty much the only furniture she has right now.

And by the way, Lex. You SO deserve any spoiling you may get!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


A new family bought the former B&B near the entrance to our neighborhood. When they bought it, they probably thought they were getting waterfront property, as it sits just above the dam that used to supply that wonderful cascading water that I could hear all the way up here, on the side of our hill. Haven't heard it in over a year now.

Down by the low water crossing they have a huge old oak tree, whose branches dip all the way down to the ground, forming a shady bower over the creek. Every time I passed it on a hot, sunny day, I wished I were a kid again, so I could build a secret hide-away beneath those cool branches. I think my neighbors must have had similar thoughts. It started with a simple concrete bench on the limestone ledge next to the creek. Then there was a hammock chair hanging from the tree limb. Next I noticed what looked like a yoga mat, and thought "Yes! What a perfect place to meditate." Gradually, as the water disappeared, more and more things were added, until the entire creek bed was taken over. What they ended up with was a shady outdoor living area, complete with chandelier and papasan chairs. This weekend I realized they must have had a big party down there, for there were even barbecue pits set up. Now that's what I call "making lemonade!"

I can't help but wonder though, if they have lived in the Hill Country long enough to realize just how fast a gully washer can come through there, despite this incessant drought. They'd have to do some major skee-dadling to rescue everything. Oh well, none of it is extremely valuable. The barbecue pits were put away after the party, and they probably figure the rest would be a fair trade-off, if it meant getting their creek back. After all, these are people who know how to make a mighty fine lemonade, when handed some lemons.