Saturday, April 25, 2009


Know what makes me crazy? Trying to figure out which of my blog posts will strike a chord with readers, and which won't. I mean, there's just no way to predict it. Sometimes I put my heart and soul into a post, and as I'm writing it, I can just feel the words falling magically into place. My fingers are on fire, and I'm thinking "This is good, really good. This is important. This is going to resonate! Then what happens? Zip. Nada. Not one word of response. Other times, I'll dash off a quick filler piece, just off the top of my head, without putting any real thought into it, and the second I push "publish" I start getting feedback! Go figure?

To tell you the truth, it kind of makes me nuts, trying to second guess you guys. I am hopeful though. Many veteran bloggers claim that you eventually get over this need to have positive feedback, in order to feel that a piece has value. My brain keeps telling me that just because no one comments , that doesn't mean the essay didn't strike a chord somewhere, or send out any ripples. But alas, my heart has a hard time believing it. I'm going to work hard to convince it, though, for that's exactly where I want my writing to come from - the heart - and not from some need to please an audience. Because, when all is said and done, that's the only way it can have any real value, don'cha think?

Thursday, April 23, 2009


The subject of co-housing has once again popped up on my radar. It has happened so often, and so regularly, over the past ten or fifteen years, I figure it has to be the universe or spirit tapping me on the shoulder, saying "Ah-hem! Don't forget about this - it's going to play an important role in your life one of these days!"

Right now it's my sister Carolyn whom spirit is speaking to, which is somewhat appropriate, since she inadvertently started this ball rolling, years and years ago. This particular sister loves to daydream, and during one vivid episode she actually drew up a scheme for a family compound, where each of us had our own small house, facing in towards a communal garden, but then there would be another building that we would all share, and it would have a craft room and workshop in it. It sounded kind of interesting at first, until she started talking about how we could all eat together every night. I decided that was just too much family togetherness, especially for my poor husband. I mean, what would we have to talk about after a while, other than each other? (and oh yeah, come to think of it, who in this group, besides me, actually likes to cook and garden?)

We lived on a company compound, in Indonesia, that had a similar set up. It was perfect except for one thing - it was a closed community. Everyone living there worked for the same company, and since we were out in the middle of the jungle, we didn't really have access to anyone else. So, you socialized with the same people you worked with, went to school with, went to church with, and hung out with, day in and day out, and saw the exact same people at every single party you went to, where the men always ended up talking about work, and the women mostly talked about - you guessed it - each other. But at least we weren't all related to each other. At least we got to hear a variety of family stories repeated over and over again, instead of the same three or four, all with me as the villain!

Some years later, after I had developed more of an eco-conscience, and was setting out on my quest for the good life, I came across the book A Reasonable Life, by Ferenc Mate'. In it he described the Danish concept of co-housing, and I had an "Aha!" moment. It was much like my sister's plan, only better, since each family would have their separate lives, jobs, interests, skills, and stories to tell. Some might be talented cooks, others avid gardeners. Some might enjoy working with children, while others might have a knack for making repairs. When you were feeling social you could go to the common house, when you weren't, you had the privacy of your own small home. Most importantly, not only was it a much better use of valuable resources, since so much was being shared, it also made you part of a community that watched out for one another. Brilliant!

Lately the subject has come up again amongst some of my midlife-blogging friends. Allison, over at Women Bloom, mentioned her dream of having a group of women living "in community," and I left a comment about co-housing on her blog, as a possible role model for them. Apparently, the subject of a female community struck a chord with many of the single women out there. I forwarded the link to my sister, who is single and reaching a point where she needs to decide how she is going to spend her golden years. That reminded her of our old conversations about co-housing, so she went on-line to see if there were any new developments in the co-housing world, since last we checked. Low and Behold! There is a new group forming in Dallas, near White Rock Lake, practically in her own backyard! Of course, it's not a females only community, and odds are it may be out of her price range, but if she could swing it, it might be the perfect solution to her dilemma: a way for a single woman to remain independent for as long as possible, having the support of a community, but also some control over her own life and decision-making. Keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


People sometimes ask why, out of all the cute little Hill Country towns, we settled on Wimberley. It certainly wasn't an easy choice to make. Perhaps that is why it took us 30 years to finally make a move.

We both went to school in Austin, and absolutely adored it, but that was in the early 70's, and it was a very different place back then. After the computer industry exploded, and half of California migrated there, we decided we needed to switch our focus, and look for a smaller town somewhere between Austin and San Antonio, in the area known as the Hill Country.

I had been on a retreat to Wimberley back in college, along with the other advisors in my dorm, so it was one of the first places I thought of, but then we discovered rafting in New Braunfels, and Schlitterbahn, the amazing water park that is there. Unfortunateley, so did a million other people, and property values went through the roof.

Next, we fell in love with Fredericksburg, which was settled by German immigrants. They had biergartens with oompah bands, and celebrated Wurstfest. They also had hundreds of B&B's, and a main street filled with quaint shops in historic buildings, and attracted thousands of tourists, who also fell in love with it, and - you guessed it - property values went through the roof. So we kept on looking.

Then came Boerne, just outside of San Antonio, on I-10. It too had that quaint German feel, but not as many shops and restaurants, and therefore, not as many tourists. We actually spent some time with a realtor there, when we thought John might lose his job with Mobil and have to take a rotational job overseas, which meant we could live anywhere, as long as it was near an airport. But then Mobil offered him a transfer to Dallas, and we took that instead. By the time we started thinking about the Hill Country again, Boerne had pretty much transformed into a bedroom community for yuppies working in San Antonio, so we kept on looking.

The years flew by, and suddenly we had a daughter attending Texas State, in San Marcos - only 30 minutes from Wimberley. Because Wimberley is a bit off the beaten path, and not a convenient commute to any large cities, it had not changed all that much from the sleepy little town I remembered from college days....which is probably why it had attracted so many artists, musicians and hippies who wanted to flee the hubub of Austin....which made it absolutely perfect, for us!

Monday, April 20, 2009


As much as I love sleeping with my windows open, feeling the soft breezes and hearing the night sounds, I have to admit, there are a couple of downsides. One is that it seems to make me rather snorty at night. I suppose those soft breezes carry allergens into the bedroom - allergens that stop me up and cause me to sleep with my mouth open, upon occasion. So unladylike!

The breezes also carry sound, such as when that big semi up on the highway decided to blast its horn at 5:30 AM recently, and jerked me awake, believing it was actually in the driveway just behind our house. Oh yes, and then there are the aromas than come wafting into our bedroom. I was reminded that very day that it was the time of year when certain little critters were coming out of their winter snoozes, and were easily startled in their groggy state. After being awakened by the horn blast, I sat up on the side of the bed, stretched my arms above my head, and then sucked in a huge lungful of eau de skunk, whereupon I leaped to my feet and scurried about the house, slamming windows shut as quickly as possible.

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