Friday, February 6, 2009


Usually,once I open my journal, after sitting on our dark porch and watching the sun rise from behind the hills, words just pour forth. Occasionally, though, my mind does a jitterbug, and can't seem to land in one spot long enough to dredge up anything profound. When that happens, I usually end up thinking about very mundane things, like to-do lists. That's OK though, for now that I've started making them more interesting, posting them to the blog, and saving them in a notebook, to-do lists are one of my very favorite things!

I have a sneaking suspicion that some day, I'm going to enjoy looking back through that notebook full of lists way more than I will enjoy digging through old journals. It will be such a fun, graphic summary of what was going on here at any given time - sort of a comic book version of my life. Eeeww - just had a scary thought! Instead of publishing a blog-based memoir of our Hill Country adventures one day, it would be just my luck for someone to say "Nah, not interested, but we might be willing to publish your to-do lists." Wouldn't that be ironic, considering how much grief everyone has always given me over my list-making obsession?

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Well, it had to happen sooner or later. No matter how hard we tried to keep up with all the latest in child-rearing literature, something was bound to come back and bite us on the butt eventually. Just look at how much the "expert advice" changed from our grandparent's generation to our parent's, and from our parent's to ours. I guess it was inevitable that at some point, they were going to release a study that proved we had done terrible things to our kids, despite our best efforts.

The first thing that came back to haunt me was the apple juice my kids used to guzzle, with full approval from my pediatrician. Turns out it could contribute to obesity later on. Good thing I was diluting it to half strength, just to make it go further. I've completely lost track of how many times the circumcision pendulum has swung back and forth, and of what position babies are now to be placed in when sleeping.

For the most part, these shifts don't usually shock me, but there was one recently that almost pulled the rug out from under me. Much to my amazement, new studies are turning up evidence that many criminals, murderers and sociopaths show extremely high levels of self-esteem! Now it is believed that too much of it can be just as bad as not enough, and perhaps we shouldn't have been laying on the praise quite so thick, gushing "Good Job!" every time little Harold so much as farted. Oops.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


In case you haven't noticed, life isn't always fair. Those who don't want babies frequently wind up pregnant, while couples who long for children, and would be excellent parents, are barren. The lives of people with so much to give are often cut short, while those who do nothing but take, take, take, seem to linger on forever. Or, perhaps a wife is the caboose to her husband's engine for years and years, following wherever he leads, doing whatever it takes to keep his career on track so that his star will shine, then at long last it is her turn. The kids are grown, his career has arced, and it is time for her to spread her wings and soar. Then, just as she is ready to take off, he has a major stroke or turns up with cancer, and she clips her wings to become his caretaker, or, even worse, she looses her will to soar, for there is no one left to share it with.

Sometimes, shit just happens, and there is nothing one could have done to prevent it. I think I could probably deal with that. Then, on the other hand, there are guys like my father-in-law. There was so much he could have done to prevent the train-wreck that their lives became. He could have allowed a fruit or vegetable to pass his lips once in a while. He could have got up out of his lounge chair and got a little exercise now and then (sorry guys, riding in a golf cart doesn't count!). He could have tried to quit smoking along with his wife, when she had her heart attack and gave it up cold turkey. He could have taken his blood pressure medicine, even if it did interfere with his sex life. He could have admitted that he was having strange "episodes", instead of doing everything he could to hide them from us. After he finally had a stroke that was too huge to hide, he could have cooperated with his physical therapists, instead of raising so much hell that they kicked him out of rehab, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

Yep, that George was a bitter pill to swallow. After two or three years of fighting to convince him that something was seriously wrong and he had to go see a doctor, and a couple more years trying to keep him from wandering off or getting behind the wheel of a car, then another five or six years of watching Theda have every bit of life sucked out of her, as she stifled her dreams in order to stay home and care for the hateful, helpless invalid he had become, it was all but impossible to remember the wonderfully kind, talented and generous man he had once been.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009


BECCA! Becca, if you would please shoot me an email (becky(dot)lane(at)vownet(dot)net) to let me know where to send it, I will get your prize in the mail as quickly as possible - taking into consideration that I leave for Dallas bright and early tomorrow, to go take care of my sister post-op, so not sure when I will have a chance to go out looking for a post office. But you will get it eventually, I promise! And what is "it"? The wonderful book A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle, and some lovely lavender soap, courtesy of one of our Bountiful Sprout vendors, Bell Springs Products. Hope you enjoy your little vacation in a place that defines what it means to live with "Seasonality!"

P.S. Many thanks to for the above image.


Just a few hours left before I pick a name for this month's give-away. Leave a comment while you can!


One reason our marriage has remained exciting for almost 34 years now, is our ability to continually surprise one another. We will putter along like two peas in a pod for a period of time, finishing each other's sentences, and predicting what the other will say or do. Then, just when I am thinking "Wow, we've been married way too long. We're beginning to read one another's minds!", he goes and does something so out of character that it knocks my socks off.

Take last night for instance. As you may recall from previous postings, my husband has never had any interest whatsoever in cooking. So, I have always attended my various culinary adventures with one of my kids or a sibling. This time, however, my sister thought it would be fun to attend something as couples, so we signed up for a Mexican dinner class being taught by Sibby Barrett of Onion Creek Kitchens at Juniper Hills Farm. My first surprise was when John said "Sure, why not?" Perhaps he was curious about the house and grounds I had raved so much about, and he knew, if nothing else, he was bound to get a good meal out of the deal.

Now, the classes are fairly expensive, but each couple economized by signing one member up as a cook, and the other as an observer. It was assumed at first that the wives would cook, and the hubbies would spectate. Then I started to worry. Did you ever watch The Muppet Show? Remember the two old geezers who always sat up in the balcony and heckled everyone? Well, that's kind of what John is like when he's held captive somewhere and doesn't have enough to occupy his mind - like in church, maybe. When the kids were home and we still attended regularly, his greatest delight was to whisper something in my ear, so softly that no one else was aware of it, but which caused me to involuntarily burst out with a snort of laughter, making everyone in the sanctuary turn to stare at me, while he sat there with a self-satisfied smirk on his face! I could only imagine what tricks he might come up with, were he forced to sit directly behind me as I cooked, for several hours, on an uncomfortable bar stool.

So, Kathy and I decided to turn the tables. We would observe, and the hubbies would cook. That way, John would remain engaged in the event, and my hands would be free to take photos for my blog - a win-win situation! Now here's the part where I lose my socks: First, John agrees quite readily to the whole cockamamie idea. Second, he pays attention and puts forth real effort. Third, he interacts with his fellow students and is fairly gregarious. Fourth, the dish they prepare turns out quite well. And, last but not least? He enjoys himself enough to come over and give me a big hug, and volunteers to do it again with me, any time I want! What a guy.

P.S. That's the beautiful Sibby, wearing a bowl for some unknown reason! Don't you just love her assortment of KitchenAid mixers?