Saturday, September 12, 2009


OK, now I'm getting nervous. Why does everything always have to be so extreme here in Texas? Must we always swing from drought to deluge, with nary a pause in between? Truly, I do appreciate the rain we've had since Wednesday (7 1/2 inches!), but the forecasters said it would be letting up by now, just in time for my sisters' arrival. In fact, it was supposed to be clear and warm by the time we hit La Cantera Resort over in San Antone tomorrow, a thank you to my sister for taking care of the folks in their not-so-golden years. It's built at the top of an abandoned limestone quarry, and I hear it has a fabulous hot tub that wraps around the side of the cliff, with gorgeous views out over the Hill Country. We were planning to do some serious lazing by the pool. So why did I wake up to find it raining cats and dogs again? If this keeps up, our creek is gonna flood the low-water crossing, and they won't even be able to get to me, or me to them. Now wouldn't that just be sucky?

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

Friday, September 11, 2009


Do yourself a huge favor. Shut off the TV for a few minutes tonight, gather your family round, and watch this instead.


I can't believe it - my baby girl is actually coming back to Texas! Oh, she's been talking about it for ages, but it's awfully hard to break away from a good job, to head into the unknown. To tell you the truth, I'm amazed that she managed to keep her job in San Diego this long. The only thing that saved her company, when the building trade tanked with the economy, and other interior design firms were dropping like flies, was landing a huge project in China. But that was also the main reason Alexis couldn't resign. She felt she owed it to her boss to see it through to the end, since they were going to need all the help they could get when it came time to go to China for the install.

The owner of her company recently married an Australian architect. His company keeps an office in San Diego, and he goes back and forth. He allows Lex's company to work out of the space rent free. Lex understood why her boss has been somewhat distracted, what with planning an Australian wedding and honeymoon, but she was a bit surprised when her boss came back to work afterwards seeming more distracted than ever. Plus, she didn't seem to be working very hard at rounding up projects for after the China job's completion. Lex started updating her resume' and portfolio, just to be on the safe side. Sure enough, her boss announced yesterday that the Chinese client had made cuts, and was unwilling to pay for the entire crew to travel to China for the install. Not only that, they only had enough work left to keep everyone working full-time through October, then hours would be cut. And, oh yeah, her husband was closing his California offices, and she'd probably be working from her home after that. She just couldn't understand why Alexis had a big huge smile on her face at the news!

The smile faded a bit once reality set in. Her finances are still a tad shaky from the last time her boss cut everyone's hours for several months, just to keep the business afloat, and moving is never cheap. She was really hoping to already have a job waiting for her, before she cut her ties and made the leap. She was also hoping to be able to add "licensed designer" to her resume' before she sent it out, but she's not taking the exam until next month, then you must wait 14 weeks before they tell you whether you passed or not! And, though Austin's economy has fared better than California's, who knows if anyone feels secure enough to be hiring right now?

S'kind of funny when you think about it. John's partner is really pleased with the contract work our son has been doing for him, and wants to bring him on full-time, but first, he needs to land a couple of firm contracts for the program that Austin is helping him to develop. Until then, it looks like sonny boy will be residing at the townhouse with John. Meanwhile, unless Lex manages to land a job in Austin in less than six weeks, she may end up downstairs in the guest room here for a while. I guess it's true what they say, though I did my damnedest to avoid it. This new generation is like boomerangs. You toss them out into the universe, and they come right back! Looking on the bright side, the holidays are going to be stupendous this year.

Come to think of it, maybe I should toss this out into the universe: Lex's real dream is to find work in the green-building industry, so if you have any leads or contacts, feel free to send them our way!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


There are two questions that have nagged at me for years, and now, thanks to the blogosphere, I finally have my answers. My questions were:
  • Where have all the hippies gone?
  • Why would anyone want to home-school their kids?
As it turns out, the two questions are somewhat interrelated. I began seriously puzzling over the first dilemma around the time of the Enron debacle, and my disgust continued to grow as one company after another got toppled by greed and dishonesty. Many of the CEO's and CFO's of these companies were of my own generation - the Flower Power generation. So what on earth happened to all that wonderful 60's idealism? When we said we would change the world, this certainly wasn't what I was picturing!

The second question, about home-schooling, came up when we were living overseas. We had a friend - an extremely nice, intelligent lady - who had two young daughters, and a third on the way. We also had an excellent school on the compound, with really wonderful teachers. So why on earth would she want to be stuck at home playing teacher, when she could be playing bridge, tennis, golf, quilting, or hanging out at the pool? I finally realized that their beliefs leaned towards fundamental. Since they didn't do Santa Claus or Halloween and such, I figured they kept their kids out of school to avoid them being bombarded with all that year round, and pressured to join in, thus making their lives much simpler.

When I moved here to Wimberley, and started trying to live a simpler, greener, more satisfying life, I began to meet others in the area who were trying to do the same. Then I started discovering blogs written by even more, all on the same path. Many of these writers were parents of school-aged kids. Interesting tidbit: Know what one thing a majority of them had in common? Home-schooled children!

So, here's my theory about what happened to all the hippies: They sent their kids to public school. Then, said kids started coming home almost every day with a note saying "send money" for this or that. Even if they were tough enough to resist the pressure to buy the latest fashions for their kids, or to give them a shiny new car when they turned sixteen, it was much, much harder to resist the insidious fear that if you didn't pay for music lessons, or gymnastics, or special tutoring, or SAT prep classes, and on and on, they would never be able to hold their own against all the other kids, who had private lessons every day after school, sports every weekend, and special camps all summer long. Eventually, these formerly idealistic parents got so caught up in paying for all of this, that they completely lost track of their lofty goals, and making money became their obsession.

I suppose the moral of this story is, if you aspire to live the simple life, don't move to the burbs and send your kids to public school, as we did. Surround yourself with people who hold similar beliefs and ideals. Otherwise, you'll be just like the salmon, struggling to swim upstream.

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


One good thing that came out of John's time at the endodondist, was the "50 Best Burgers" issue of Texas Monthly, which was lying on the table in their waiting room. They let him take it home for free. (well, if you don't count the $300 it cost him not to get a root canal there) Thanks to that magazine, we ended up here at Counter Cafe in Austin last Saturday, having a mighty fine lunch. The menu was quite a surprise, including not just hamburgers, but also quail, crab cakes, and polenta breaded oysters, which is what I had. Extremely yummy! I'm only sorry we didn't nab a seat at the counter, better for watching the ballet being performed by the two bandana bedecked chefs. Be prepared for a bit of a wait on those benches outside, though. The cafe is exactly what you'd expect from its name - a long counter and a few small tables around the edge of the room, and we are not the only ones to have read that article ranking theirs the 2nd best burger in all of Texas!


John: Not sure where I left off on the tooth saga, but the cardiologist did finally give permission for the root canal. Then John had to wait until the endodontist in Austin could fit him in again. When she finally got to work on the tooth, she said "Oops, this isn't good. There's a crack that goes all the way down the root. No point wasting money on a root canal when you're going to end up loosing the tooth anyway." So she cleaned it out, packed it up again, and sent him on his way. By this time he was very tired of coming to the Hill Country for all these different appointments, so he scheduled one with our old dentist back in the Houston burbs, who then had him schedule one with an oral surgeon. The surgeon pulled the tooth, and packed the space that it left in his jaw with bone chips taken from a cadaver. (I know - EEEWWW! I try not to think about it when I'm kissing him.) Hopefully they will help the jaw to grow new bone, so that in three months they can install a rod in the socket, and then three months after that, attach a tooth to it. John has had such a fun year!

Guinness: Our son's puppy dog had several days of normal poop action after chewing up and swallowing her "gentle leader" so we were finally starting to breathe easy. Last night I got a call from John. He and Austin went to a movie, and when they got back they discovered another little pile of hardware. This time, it seems, she somehow managed to take her regular collar off (a much larger, thicker piece of strapping than the other item) and proceeded to eat it as well. I suppose she had a taste of freedom, and liked it! What's next? (besides a trip to the vet with a bowel obstruction, in all likelihood)

SHE'S HERE! (Oops - make that He's Here!)

Someone just left a comment on my previous post, saying that it was misting over in Austin, and one of the news stations claimed Wimberley got an inch of rain. Alas, faulty information once again. I just put on my hooded raincoat and went to check the gauge myself. We did not get an inch of rain, we got FOUR INCHES. El Nino has arrived! The rain gods must have heard my siblings were heading this way, and decided maybe it was time to send us another little flood, just to break up the monotony.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


My husband claims he didn't do a thing to my computer this weekend. However, I suddenly have a new screensaver, a bunch of new boxes and things in new places on my google home page, and lots of weird shit going on. I keep telling him that it really isn't necessary for him to sneak in and upgrade my computer when I'm not looking. I'm perfectly happy with things as they are. But he just can't, or won't, believe that is possible.

I always have a very bad day when he decides I need to be upgraded. Usually it's just because everything is in a different place, familiar icons have disappeared, and others have taken their place. Today it's a bit more serious. First thing this morning I tried to scan my newest To-Do list, so I could post it on the blog. The computer told me it couldn't find my scanner. I said "It's right here where it always is, you idiot!" I guess I pissed it off. I've spent most of the day on the phone with my husband, trying one thing after another, but nothing worked. I was so disgruntled I had to resort to chocolate.

I decided to play around with that Choco Taco recipe, see if I couldn't make it even better, and ended up creating a Mexitally version. First I lightly toasted some chopped hazelnuts that I had in the freezer. Then I melted 1/2 T. butter in a small skillet, and laid a really good handmade spelt flour tortilla in the pan. I broke apart one of those little lunchbox-sized Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bars and spaced the pieces over one half of the tortilla, sprinkled the toasted hazelnuts over the chocolate, and folded the tortilla in half. When the bottom side started getting crispy and golden, I flipped the taco over and browned the other side, then I took it out of the pan and sprinkled the top with cinnamon sugar. Most excellent, I must say! I'd have posted a picture of it for you, but each time I tried to open my Kodak easyshare program, it immediately shut down again, and told me there was an unexplained error. "Well, if you can't explain it, who can?" I asked it. It is refusing to answer. DH swears he had nothing to do with it.


ANONYMOUS SHERRI! Congratulations Sherri! If you'll just send me your mailing address (becky.lane(at)vownet(dot)net), I'll get these goodies in the mail to you.

P.S. I sincerely hope that neither of us is reduced to showering with our dishes.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Today's the day folks. Leave one more comment, before the close of day, to get an extra chance at winning this month's Year of Reading Dangerously prize give-away. I will draw a name out of the hat as soon as I wake up in the morning. Good luck t'ya maties!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


You will never convince me that dogs aren't intelligent, and capable of communication. Some of them, at least. We had a dog once, named Munchkin. She was our first child. A friend found her, as a tiny puppy, on the streets in a rough part of Houston, and we agreed to take her in. Much to our surprise, she more or less housebroke herself the first weekend we had her, and never had another accident after that. Except for one time, and that, my friend, was no accident.

As I said, Munchkin was our firstborn, and our great solace through all the years of miscarriages, surgeries, and procedures. Then, one day, I finally found myself in the end stages of a pregnancy, and we felt confident enough to begin work on a nursery. We threw ourselves into renovating the room that was to welcome our first "human" child. In fact, it turned into a bit of an obsession. It became our nightly ritual, before going to bed, to stop off at the nursery, flip on the new Winnie The Pooh balloon lamp, and stand there for a few moments, admiring our handiwork. One night, when preparations were all but complete, we saw it - a huge pile of doggie poop placed squarely in the middle of the nursery floor. She never had another "accident" after that, but then, she didn't need to. She'd made her statement, and we got the message loud and clear.

That brings us to our granddog Guinness, who is here visiting this weekend. Our son recently began attending doggie school with her, to help her become more social. The instructor had him buy what is called a "gentle leader", a thin loop of leash-like strapping that fits around her nose, and tightens up when she strains at the leash and tries to drag you down the sidewalk. It's a vast improvement over those horrid choke-chains they used to employ, and works like a charm, but boy howdy, does she ever hate it. You have never seen a dog manage to look more pitiful, than when she sees you walking towards her with that putrid pink thing in your hand!

Not long ago we heard horror stories from a friend who's new puppy has a habit of eating supposedly inedible things, which lead them to ask their vet if he couldn't just install a zipper in Elliott's stomach, to save them a bit of trauma and expense next time he gets an obstruction. We all said "Aren't we lucky that Guinness never does that!" The only things she has ever chewed up are any toys we give her with a squeaker in them, such as that monkey on her head. She goes after them with an unbelievable amount of determination, and will not give up until she manages to remove that squeaker, but she never actually swallows any of the parts.

Last night after dinner Austin took Guinness out for a potty walk, then went down to the guest room, took off her leash, and went to the restroom himself. A few minutes later he came running up the stairs, looking rather pale, and held out his open hand to us. In it were all the pieces of hardware that used to be attached to her gentle leader, with only tiny shreds of pink strap still attached to them. The rest of the strapping was nowhere to be found. We consulted with Nicki, the voice of experience, for signs of distress to watch for, and are now on poop watch. I will let you know if everything comes out OK, in the end. Hopefully, this is a one-time thing. She has made her statement, and we got the message, loud and clear!

P.S. Time is running out! Don't forget to leave a comment between now and tomorrow night, if you wish to be included in this weeks prize give-away.