Saturday, December 5, 2009


We never got the promised snow yesterday - just a half hour or so of light flurries - but this morning it's only 20 degrees out, and my usually-waving field of grasses is frozen still and grey. The deer that just wandered across barely paused along the way. Apparently a cold, crunchy breakfast was not to their liking.

The sun is coming up though, warm and clear, and before long they should be able to satisfy their empty tummies. What was so drear and depressing just a few moments ago, is being transformed. If you are a Twilight fan, picture the way Edward's skin began to glisten, the moment he stepped out into the sun of that Italian piazza. Perhaps the author was inspired by a scene such as this.

Our bags are packed - we could leave any time - but I think I will sit here in the sun a while longer... gather its warmth around me like a shawl, before heading off to face what the weekend has in store for us.

Friday, December 4, 2009


We were planning to go to Dallas next Friday, to celebrate an early Christmas with my family, but yesterday afternoon I got a call from my sister, saying that Mom had taken a turn for the worse - had been unresponsive the entire day. So, when the phone rang again at 3 AM, I knew exactly what I would hear.

I haven't really come to grips yet, with the fact that she is gone. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I don't begrudge her passing - she had a good long time here on earth, outliving her husband and most of her friends and siblings. She was never one to deal well with pain, either, yet that was all she had to look forward to upon awakening each day. Her vision, hearing and sense of taste were all but gone. Truthfully, I am happy that she has been released from her misery, and have great faith that she has gone to a better place.

And's just so hard to wrap my head around how quickly she went downhill, once we moved her out of my sister's house - especially since I didn't see the daily progression, as my sisters did. Most of all, though, I can't seem to digest the fact that my siblings and I are no longer "the kids." We are now "the old folks." John and I have just been promoted to patriarch and matriarch of our own little clan, and there is no longer any buffer generation separating us and the great beyond. Kind of scary, don't you think?

I will do my best to tie up loose ends today, then Lex and I will be heading up to Dallas. Not sure when I will get back to the computer, but I will be back, that is certain. Please keep checking in.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Well, the Muses have been at it again. Now that we've mastered gnocchi-making, we decided it was time to tackle tamale-making. Outdoor Woman invited us over to her house today (on her birthday, no less) for an afternoon of chopping, mixing, patting, rolling, steaming, eating, sipping of mulled cider, and a whole lot of laughing. Oh yeah, and a yummy white birthday cake topped with a thick layer of my dreamy praline frosting:

Combine 1 c. brown sugar, 5 T. butter, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/3 c. milk in a saucepan. Boil slowly for 3 minutes. Cool. Add 3 cups sifted powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla and beat until thick enough to spread. Add nuts or coconut if desired.

In case you're wondering about the third picture, well, Fiber Woman is what you might call height-challenged, and when she asked for assistance in reaching a glass, she got way more than she bargained for!


One of those pinecones in the pics from yesterday is an oldie from my childhood, and was one of the few ornaments to survive "the incident" - the time when Mom told me to crawl behind the tree and plug it in, and the son-of-a-gun shocked the living daylights out of me...which of course, made me jump...which of course, knocked the tree off balance. I'm surprised Mom was even willing to pass one of those pinecones on to me, 'cause I'm fairly certain she still holds a grudge about all the ornaments that were lost that year. Like it was my fault that Dad probably did his usual thing of splicing and duct-taping a humongous wad of plugs together, in order to fit a thousand plugs into a single outlet? I mean, really now!

Anyhoo, I always loved those pinecones, and the way they had a bit of snow on the tip of each shingle-like doohicky, but I never really thought about collecting them until one year when I went on the Christmas home tour in the Historic Heights area of Houston. What a blast! They hold it at night, so you can enjoy the magic of all the twinkle lights, and old-timey trollies do a continual round of all the houses on the tour, so you can just hop on and off at your leisure. In the end, everyone winds up back at the old firehouse, for refreshments and the annual charity wreath auction. Each of the local merchants would contribute one, and that chicken wreath above is one of the many that Buchanan's contributed over the years, made by yours truly.

This particular year, there was one precious little bungalow that had been entirely decorated in nothing but pinecones. It was amazing - the owner must have bought dozens every year for 30 or 40 years! A bit over the top for my taste, but maybe one new one per year would be nice, don't you think? But none of the expensive ones for me, thank you very much. I don't plan to hold any grudges, if somebody accidentally knocks my tree over one of these days!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009



I was raised to be a people-pleaser, as are most females, I suspect. I have spent most of my life feeling like a juggler, struggling to keep all my balls in the air yet failing miserably, 'cause ya just can't keep everybody happy. No way. No how. You know you're a big girl when you finally figure out that you have a right to set your own priorities, learn to establish some boundaries, and at long last are able to say, "This is all I can do. I'm sorry if it makes you unhappy. Deal with it."

Of course, there is a flip-side to this coin. I have also noticed an alarming trend in some of the older women I know. It seems the more they repressed their own desires in the past, for the sake of their parents, siblings, husbands, children, bosses, community, etc., the more they seem to revel in their newfound independence when they become women of a certain age. In fact, they are so enamored with finally being able to make their own decisions and put their own needs first occasionally, that the pendulum begins to swing in the opposite direction. Eventually, if they are not careful, they reach a point of total self-absorption, where they are no longer even capable of viewing a situation from any point-of-view other than their own, or imagining how their words or actions might affect another.

I think that has a lot to do with how my mom got to be the way she is, and I really don't want to start down that path. However, I could never go back to being that people-pleasing juggler either. Instead, I am learning a new acrobatic skill - tightrope walking. I am trying to keep my balance on that fine line between selflessness and self-absorption. Believe me, it ain't easy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Good news! It took an entire week of back breaking labor - working even on Thanksgiving day - but our stone masons finally managed to get the tiers built on one side of the garden. They had to dig out more stone than they put in, but I love it that, other than the one small pallet of smooth stones that they used to surface the bridge and pathway, the rest is coming from right here on the property. There were a couple of chunks that were so huge they just couldn't remove them, but they will make perfect spots for the placing of a pot or birdbath, or even a bathtub madonna grotto perhaps? This isn't just manual labor, though. The main guy is truly an artist. You should see the way he can eye a slab of stone, and then tap it in just the right spot for the perfectly shaped piece to break away and fill in the puzzle he is working on.

Bad news. That was the small side of the garden, and the weather was perfectly gorgeous last week. The side they are working on now is twice the size, and the weather has turned frigid and wet. Every time I glance out the window my stomach twists with guilt for making them do this. We are in no rush. I'd be happy for them to knock off work until the weather improves, but I expect they are in a hurry to finish up before they head home to Mexico for a month long holiday. Like I said, whatever we are paying them? It isn't enough!

Monday, November 30, 2009


I need help! No, not of the professional sort (though some might disagree). I need your help. Two years ago, I was a middle-aged woman who barely knew a computer from a hole in the ground, but whose husband kept pestering her to stop wasting so much time, paper, and postage in the sharing of her little stories with friends and family, and "just put them in a blog for pity's sake!"

So, when I attended that last Story Circle Network conference for women who write memoir, and saw that they were hosting a panel on blogging, I decided to drop in - see if I could pick up a pointer or two regarding my husband's crazy notion. If only I had known what I was getting into - that a mere two years later they would be expecting me, the total techno-phobe, to sit on the Finding Our Voices On-Line panel, and answer questions! Like I actually know what I'm doing now? Well, yeah, I guess I still would have taken that leap. In fact, I probably would have gone over the edge much sooner!

In the interest of not making a fool of myself, I'm trying to do some advance prep - trying to get my ducks all in a row, if you will, and remember what kinds of questions were on my mind when I was in the audience. One thing I am fairly certain I will be asked is, "Who is your target audience?", and 'though I know precisely who I had in mind when I took those first tentative steps - young people who were just striking out on their own and needed a motherly guide on the path to the "good life" - I think this audience (that means you) is a good bit broader than that.

So, who are you? I really wanna know! Of course, I need to know your sex, age bracket, ethnicity, education level, profession, marital status and all that other crap that demographers always ask (but not your real name). Most importantly, though, please tell me this: What was it that made you come back to Seasonality a 2nd, or 3rd, or even 100th time?

Hmmm, too much trouble you say? Maybe so - especially since I will probably be asking your assistance several more times between now and February 1st, and since you are all quite busy with your own holiday prep. Perhaps I need to sweeten the pot...dangle a carrot... make it worth your while to answer all my silly questions over the next two months...... OK! What about this? Why don't I make an extra one of these super-dooper handmade Christmas gifts that I've been working so diligently on? Everyone who leaves a comment answering one of my blog-panel-related questions over the next two months will have their name tossed into the hat, and we will have a drawing for this amazing, Hill Country Hippie-crafted prize (which will be reavealed to you right after Christmas). Sound reasonable? Alrighty then, leave a comment here and tell me - who are you, and why the heck do you keep coming back?

P.S. As always, Click Image To Enlarge

Sunday, November 29, 2009


1) Sleep as late as you want.

2) Mosey into town for breakfast at the cafe. Say "Hi!" to Ms. Bobbi while you're there - she'll be the one at the corner table.

3) Snuggle on the sofa with kiddos and a warm puppy, and watch an old movie or a ballgame.

4) Eat yummy leftovers from Thanksgiving.

5) Take a walk.

6) Head back to the sofa for some reading or knitting.

7) Mosey back into town for a casual dinner at the Brew 'n Chew, then step outside and watch a parade.

8) Nurse a cup of hot chocolate "mitt schlag" (sp?) as you listen to the community band.

9) Enjoy a play which was produced and performed by people from your own community.

10) Thank your lucky stars that you were nowhere near a mall all day!

(click photos to enlarge)