Saturday, November 14, 2009


On the far western edge of the archipelago known as Indonesia, is an island called Sumatra, and on the far western edge of this island, is the province of Aceh (ah-chay). In this province, near the town of Lhok Seumawe, there is a company compound for the employees of the national oil company and its contractors. And, in the sector of this compound that was once devoted to Mobil Oil employees, but which has now been abandoned and is being returned to the jungle, there once was a tiny little commissary.

This tiny little commissary carried a tiny selection of basic food stuffs - and when I say basic, I mean basic! Most of our food came from the farmers' market in Lhok Seumawe, and was locally grown or produced, but at the commissary you could usually find a small assortment of canned goods, jellies and fruit drinks, some frozen meat, shelf-stable milk-in-a-box, toilet paper, and a few other things that had been flown in on the company plane. On rare occasions, however, something out of the ordinary might show up, in limited quantities - like a dozen or two tubs of sour cream or cream cheese, or maybe even a case of M&M's or Dr. Pepper! That, my friends, was true cause for celebration. It was also the time when you found out what people were really made of.

What would you do, if you were the first person to stumble upon a cache of cream cheese, and no one else was in the store at the time? Would you take one (maybe two) for yourself, but leave the rest so that others might share the joy, or would you grab the lot and stash them all in your freezer? Most of us opted for sharing, but not everyone. One of my friends walked into the commissary just in time to see another with a counter full of sour cream being rung up. Believe you me, the whole compound knew about it within minutes, and no one ever looked at that woman in quite the same way again.

You see, just because something is there, doesn't mean you have the right to take it all, or even more than your share. You're supposed to leave some for everyone who comes later. Take the earth's finite resources, for example. Are we using more than our share? What exactly then, is that saying to our kids and grandkids?

Friday, November 13, 2009


(click images to enlarge)

The second photo is of one of my little "grottoes." The front edge of our property got chopped off when the road was built, and all along its face, we have these tiny cave-like indentations formed by water seeping out of the rock. Can you see the little drips coming down?

Is it strange that I feel lust for that red hay rack? Not sure what I would do with it, even if I had it, but the patina drives me wild. A perfect match for my new-old cake cover, dontcha think?


Thursday, November 12, 2009

PUT THIS IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT... or is it "put this in your mouth and chew on it"?

I have a favor to ask, and since I don't do it often, I hope you will oblige me. Please step over to the Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op and see what Kate has to say today. It's something we all should be giving some thought to. Seriously.


but none of it's for me!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Have I ever told you how much I love, love, love fall in Texas? Is there some rule that says the more you love a season, the faster it must pass, and vice versa?

(click image to enlarge)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Do you ever get fed up with blogs that are just too happy and perky all of the time? Do you find yourself thinking "Well, crud, I'd be cheerful too, if I had her life. Let her come trade places with me for a while, and we'll see how perky she is!" Well, I have two little tips for you:

1. Things are not always as they appear. Most bloggers have just as much woe in their lives, at one time or another, as everyone else in the world. Blogging just might be their escape from all that, and so they choose to keep it as their happy place. Or maybe they choose not to share their troubles with virtual strangers. Or maybe they think no one would read their blog if all they ever did was gripe. Who knows?

2. Go spend some time with Nienie. She'll cure what ails ya. She's a young woman who truly knows what it means to have the rug pulled right out from under you in life. She had a chance to take the easy way out, and just chuck it all. Instead, she keeps showing up, day after cruddy day, and somehow manages to find joy amongst all the misery. Try trading places with her for a while!

Hill Country Hippie's #1 Common Sense Rule for Living the Good Life:

If you ever get tired of feeling sorry for yourself all of the time, stop comparing yourself to those who have more than you. Just turn around and look in the other direction!

Monday, November 9, 2009


JANA! Congratulations Jana! If you will just send your mailing address to me at becky.lane(at)vownet(dot)net, I will send your book to you right away! (only, of course, use @ and a real dot - I'm just trying to keep spammers from picking up my address automatically)

Also, I'm sending a great big warm hug and a heartfelt thank you, to all of you who have traveled with me on this Year of Reading Dangerously. I hope you have enjoyed it even half as much as I have! Puh-lease - feel free to leave a comment any time you come across a great book you think the other readers and I might enjoy. I'm always on the lookout. Who knows? If I get enough good recommendations, we just might have to do another give-away!


Around this time last year, when my nephew and his wife were here visiting, they made a remark that got me to thinking. They said, "Ever since we started reading your blog, we've felt like we're actually beginning to know you, for the very first time." The more I thought about it, the more I realized, that has a lot to do with why I started writing in the first place. Because, before I picked up pen and paper, no one ever really had known me - not even John.

When Susan Albert spoke at the library on Saturday, one of the things she talked about was Story Circle Network, and why she had felt compelled to create this organization. Susan truly believes - and so do I - that every woman has a story to tell, no matter how ordinary she believes her life to be.

Think, for a moment, about your mother, your grandmothers, and your great-grandmothers. How well do you really know them? Wouldn't you give just about anything, to stumble across a journal written by one of them? Not one that told of an illustrious career that brought them fame and fortune, but one that talked about their very ordinary days as a teen or young mother; their hopes and dreams when they were ten or eleven; their struggles and their successes; their sorrows and their joys... Why, just think of what generations of young girls might have been deprived of, had not Laura Ingalls Wilder kept a record of such ordinary things!

Need help getting started? Join Story Circle Network, and take advantage of their reading and writing circles (both on-line and physical), on-line class offerings, workshops, book reviews, mentoring, etc., and give serious thought to the possibility of attending their bi-annual conference being held in Austin, Feb. 5-7. Your daughters and your granddaughters will thank you for it!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Time is running out! Leave a comment, between now and whenever I wake up Monday morning, for one last chance to be entered in our final Year of Reading Dangerously give-away. Good luck!


A couple of the siblings, a spouse, a niece and a nephew all came to town Friday evening, and we had quite the weekend. The guys were here for an air show, over at Randolph Air Force base in San Antonio, featuring several planes my brother helped design. My sister Kathy tagged along just for the pleasure of my company. Niece Merrit had the option of going to the air show with the guys or hanging with us, and that turncoat chose the boys! Can you imagine?

Well, her loss. As it happens, author Susan Wittig Albert happened to be in town for a get-together at the Village Library yesterday. If I have an idol, or role model, it is probably her. Not only is she a talented author who juggles three popular mystery series at once, as well as the occasional non-fiction tome. She is also a gifted speaker, whom I always enjoy listening too. Most importantly, she is a tireless mentor to other women, and has helped me along in countless ways - not the least of which was introducing me to the Story Circle Network, which she launched 10 years ago, and inviting me to attend their national conference in 2008.

A close second to the meet-up with Susan, was this plate of panko-encrusted gulf oysters with arugula and remoulade sauce, which we dined on at The Leaning Pear today. Definitely a moaner!