Saturday, October 3, 2009


From the way I'm always waxing rhapsodic about Wimberley and the Texas Hill Country, I'm sure you probably think I am extremely biased, and that I think everything is bigger and better in Texas. Not true. I am fully aware that Texas, and some Texans, have their faults.

We won't go into all of those just now, but I will say that, in addition to our less than stellar fall color, there is one thing that always jumped out at me whenever we have visited my BIL's family, first in Virginia and now in Ohio. Most of Texas' small towns suck when it comes to charm. Oh, we have a few quaint ones, like Fredericksburg. Most were established by German immigrants who went to the trouble to construct nice stone buildings that were meant to last. But for each of those towns, we have a dozen or two more that were thrown up in a hurry around some gas or oil field, and that's exactly how they look - as if someone had thrown up. The smell in an oil patch town isn't very appealling either, and there were a couple of occasions when I actually started crying upon first viewing the latest spot we had been transferred to.

Know what? Those ended up being some of the best spots we've ever lived - the spots where we've made life-long friends. Why? Because it's the people who form a community, not the structures. Sometimes, the less a town has to offer, the harder it's residents have to work at making their own fun, entertaining and enriching their children, and supporting one another in times of need. The buildings in Wimberley may not be as charming as these I am seeing in Ohio, but the scenery beats the hell out of most places I've lived, and the sense of community? Well, I'd say we got dealt a full house this time around!

Friday, October 2, 2009


Hola Amigos! This special broadcast is brought to you live from Cincinnati! Well, actually from Middletown, which is just outside the Nati, or Cinci, or any of the other numerous nicknames that my niece seems to have for her hometown. All I know is, we just thought we were having fall weather down in Texas. Up here, it's the real deal! It would appear that they are also more into decorating for fall than we are, as the yards are full of pumpkins, mums and scarecrows. The only thing missing is fall color on the trees - the main reason for us finally planning a fall visit up here (usually the in-laws come to us this time of year). Alas, color change is a hard thing to pin down, and we ended up being a couple of weeks too early. Pooey.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


An exciting new movie, about a young girl who rebels against deb balls and beauty pagents in order to join a roller derby team, will be making its wide-release debut on October 9th. Whip It stars Juno's Ellen Page, is directed by Drew Barrymore, and at least part of it was filmed right here in Austin, Texas, home of Lonestar Rollergirls. If you have never attended a live roller derby meet, you just don't know what you're missing. We went to several in Houston, and let me tell you, that is some kick-ass fun!

There are several tag lines, such as "Be Your Own Hero", attached to this film, but the one that really strikes a chord with me is "Find Your Tribe", because that is exactly what happened to me when I came to Wimberley. According to an article on The Daily Om, we all strive for an individual identity, yet we also crave acceptance. It is only by "finding our tribe" that both desires are satisfied. Our tribe members are those people "who accept us as we are without reservation and gladly accompany us on our journeys of evolution. Among them, we feel free to be our imperfect selves." In my opinion, a tribe is the thing that saves us from feeling alienated from society.

In order to find one's tribe, you must look for the people who will lift you up, celebrate with you, and help you to grow and be the best you can be. We often have more than one tribe. Your family can be a tribe. Another could form around a shared passion. Perhaps you have a professional tribe that supports and mentors one another. I now have several tribes: the Muses, my blogosphere network, the Story Circle Network and the friends I have made through volunteering at The Bountiful Sprout. Sometimes we must leave one tribe behind, and search for a new one. My daughter was part of a tribe before we moved to Indonesia, but that experience changed her, and she was never able to fit back in to her old slot. So, she had to go in search of a new tribe. She found a wonderful one in the form of a youth theatre group called Pickwick Players, and later on in high school, fellow students in her AP art program became a lifelong tribe that has somehow managed to survive separation.

An important part of living the good life is making connections, forming relationships, and building community, but for some, meeting new people is a rather scary, uncomfortable thing. According to D'Arcy from Winnipeg the key is finding your tribe - a group of people that shares common interests and experiences, while showing genuine interest and care for the members of the tribe. You don't have to create your tribe, you just have to find it. "It exists. It's out there. There is a community of people that are waiting for you to join them. You just have to take the appropriate steps to make the tribe visible and obvious."

So what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Mercy me! Having just one day to get reorganized and ready to head out again just isn't enough - especially when there's so much reorganizing to do! It certainly has been a fun-filled week though, what with gnocchi-fests, weddings, kids and puppies arriving and departing, architects stopping by with garden plans to be approved, plans being made for a prodigal daughter's return, reconnecting with old friends, making new ones, etc. I haven't even given a thought to what I should pack for a fall trip to Ohio. In fact, I'm not sure I even own clothes appropriate for a fall trip to Ohio. All I know is, whatever I decide to take is gonna have to find its way to the laundromat sometime today - in between a mini meeting of the muses (or a meeting with the mini muse?) and lunch at Mima's - and then into my suitcase. So, I'd best get a move on! But first, how about a little peak at what's in store for the Mexican Courtyard Kitchen Cantina Garden?

Monday, September 28, 2009

GNOCCHI FEST: The Aftermath

It was worth it, believe you me!

GNOCCHI FEST: In Progress ii

Oops! Forgot to take any good pictures of the finished products! We were so hungry by then, we just chowed right down. We topped the gnocchi with a browned butter sauce, to which we added pine nuts, sage straight from the garden, freshly grated nutmeg, and lots of Parmigiano Regiano. Our side dish was Zucchini Carpaccio, drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil, scattered with mint and thick curls of Parmigiano. And those four empty bowls? They held almond panna cotta topped by peaches from a tree in Outdoor Woman Muse's own garden. We didn't like it at all...

P.S. By the way, that's Outdoor Woman (our hiking, kayaking, caving, animal-loving and chicken-raising muse) who did the mixing, tasting and snake-forming. On the left at the shaping table is Fiber Woman (also known as Mini Muse) who is our bonafide, full-time artist and maker of all things fabulous from fiber. On the right is Wisdom Woman, our vision-questing, Wisdom U.-attending, and Harley-riding Muse. And of course, that's me at the sink - Wordy Woman.