Saturday, December 19, 2009


Here are three things that made me smile this week:

  • The little baby marigold who poked her head through the concrete a while back, and unlike her larger, more pampered sisters, is still going strong despite a couple of hard freezes.
  • Finding the perfect spot for these two bracelets of my mom's. Don't the colors blend beautifully? I have a thing for color, ya know.
  • This precious little heart that magically appeared, after I dropped a pat of butter in my oatmeal, then sprinkled it with cinnamon. In fact, I'm still smiling about that one!


For a special girl - one who finally found out, after weeks and weeks of waiting, that she is officially a Licensed Interior Designer...who can now sign letters after her name! In case you're wondering, there was not a single question on the grueling two-day test about how to pick out wallpaper. It was one full day of questions about building codes, problem solving scenarios, business contracts, insurance and construction responsibilities, followed by a full day spent at the drafting table. Not exactly a piece of cake.

So, what better place to celebrate than her favorite cafe, The Leaning Pear? She had one of their yummy soups with a tomato caprese pannini, and I had the special of the day - prosciutto wrapped chicken stuffed with locally grown mushrooms and brie. Unfortunately, the lighting in the cafe is very mellow - not the best for food photography. Trust me when I tell you, it was delicioso! I especially loved their holiday decor - small wreaths on the windows, and gilded pears hanging on ribbons from the rafters. Simple, yet elegant, is it not? We are soooooo, so lucky, to have them here in Wimberley.

Friday, December 18, 2009


We're heading into the final countdown now - only seven brief days to go. I've reached that magic point - as I do every year, tho at varying times - where I finally wake up to the fact that, this is it. I've done all the damage I can, or want, to do. The house may not be decorated to the hilt, but it's nice. It has a warm, cozy glow to it. The family may not be getting everything they want, but they are certainly getting all that they need.

The handmade gifts are done, and out of town gifts are winging their way to their destinations. The gift fund I have been squirreling away all year long has been depleted, so there's no point in looking at all those Christmas ads that come with the paper. I've bought all I can buy, wrapped all I can wrap, and am delighted to say that there will not be one penny of credit card debt hanging over me like a cloud, when all is said and done.

And so, it's time to let go. Slow down. Savor. Connect. Remember. Soak it all in. Time to the moment...right this very second. Don't let it all rush past you in a blur!


Know what I love about those twinkle lights he's stringin' in that tree? There gonna stay up. All. Year. Long! (now you know why my ring tone is Redneck Woman)

P.S. My daughter just walked up behind me, peeked at the computer screen, and let out at gasp. "That's Santa? He looks just like my Daddy!" Oops. Cat's outta de bag now!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Nests, that is. Just nests. You know what those are, don't you? We talked about them here. A nest is that spot in your home where you feel most cozy and protected. Or, perhaps it's your favorite spot for curling up with a good book. Or maybe it's the spot where you feel most creative. Whatever it is, I want you to send me a picture of it, along with a few words describing what it is that you love about it. My house is very small, and there's only so many things I can photograph for you, so I thought it was time to branch out, do a little sharing, maybe even have it a regular feature. Yes, that's the ticket! We could have a "Sharing Sunday", and I could post something from one of you each week. But first, you must take photos! You can send them to me at becky.lane at vownet dot net.

I'll get the ball rolling, OK? Here you see my winter knitting and reading nest. I love it because it has great lighting, a place to prop my feet, a small table to stack must-read books on, a snuggly shawl knitted by my daughter, a coaster for my tea, and a place to lean my head when my eyelids get heavy. Perfect. Now it's your turn!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Man-oh-man! I was just sitting in my nest here, with a couple of different things floatin' round in my head, when all of a sudden they collided and came together - like peanut butter and chocolate! I've just come up with the most brilliant Christmas/Valentine/Mother's Day/Birthday/Anniversary present ever - and I know just the two guys who could pull it off, too!

First of all, I was thinking about the email message I just got from my son. He's been playing around with some circuit board/electronics toy her ordered for himself, trying to make a Christmas present for me. He wants to see if he can figure out how to make a device that could monitor moisture and light levels in potted plants. He gave me the heads up in advance, just to make sure I was on board with the idea, before he went to all that trouble. I thought it might come in pretty handy once I got into starting veggie seedlings down in the utility room. Anyhoo, I got this message today that said "Hey, Mom, I think I've just figured out a way that your plants can talk to you via Twitter, to let you know when they need water and stuff!" Oh...yippee... Does that mean I have to learn how to tweet now?

The other thing I was ruminating on was that smoke alarm that started shrieking the other night, to remind us that it could use a new battery now and then. It got me to thinkin'... about all the other things in this house, and on this property, that could use some maintenance or attention. There's just so much to remember! Like, when does that UV filter in the water catchment system need to be changed out, or when does the septic system need to be dredged, or the driveway re-sealed, or the deck refinished, et-ceter-rah, et-ceter-rah. That's one thing I really admired about John's folks. Their home may have been modest, but it was always well-maintained. We didn't have to do a thing to it when it came time to sell, and no one had a clue that a little old lady in her 80's had been living there alone for years! So different from my folks, who's home was always well-furnished and beautifully decorated, but pretty much falling down around their ears.

Then wham! It came to me. My hubby and son are both techno-whizzies, and John spent most his career being the maintenance/reliability guru for Mobil Oil's gas plants full of huge turbines and compressors. Why couldn't they come up with a program that kept me on schedule for everything from tire rotations to garden mulching? Here's the clincher though: the program would need to be backed up by a small, self-perpetuating bank account which, with periodic contributions on each of the major gift-giving occasions, whould guarantee that funds for said maintenance would always be at hand. Forget jewels and furs! All I really want is a well-maintained home. A sustainable home. Is that too much to ask?

HA! That's when I snapped out of my reverie with a snort and a guffaw. Imagine my Johnny, trading in all of his excuses to go shopping and buy prezzies for his loved ones - the one thing he pretty much lives for - just to have a ship-shape home. Snort, snort, sniggle, sniggle. Like that would ever happen!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I had no real understanding of what a blog was until about three years ago. That's when the first articles about bloggers, such as Julie Powell of Julie/Julia fame, who had managed to nab book deals, began appearing. So, admittedly, when John first suggested that I start a blog of my own, the thought did cross my mind that, someday...maybe...

Recently though, I've had a change of heart. I am beginning to realize that I no longer feel envy for those blogs, such as Orangette and Eyes of Wonder, that went viral and started getting thousands of hits per day. If anything, I think it's probably the other way around. I suspect that, as with so many other things in life, most of them finally came to realize that it was the journey that was important...thrilling...satisfying - not the destination.

How do I know this? Well, because I've just realized that most of the original blogs that inspired me, and which I hated to miss a single day of reading, are no longer even bookmarked on my home page. One by one, they have been falling by the wayside. I have learned several new vocabulary terms from them though, such as blog-guilt and blog-burnout. They were all very apologetic about their ennui, explaining that life had just overwhelmed them, and they had lost their spark. At least one, I think, let celebrity go to her head, causing her to lose her focus or path - she forgot why she was even doing this in the first place...forgot all about the things that made blogging so wonderful - finding your tribe, building a community, making a difference.

Fortunately, I have a few wonderful role models remaining, such as Soule Mama, Beauty That Moves, and Down To Earth. They are living proof that it's not necessary for a blogger to arc and fizzle. Nor must they succumb to self-absorbed narcissism. In fact, one can stay true to one's path and somehow retain the spark, if one just remembers that it's the journey, not the destination. Funny, but when I went to each of these three blogs just now, to form the links, what do you suppose they each were posting about? Defining your values. Sticking to your path. Living deliberately. I trust I can rely on you to remind me of that, if ever I begin to stray?

P.S. In case you are wondering what Julie Powell is up to now, go here. I can't even bring myself to read it.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Doing my best to keep Lex entertained.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Deck the halls with boughs of holly, put on some soup, and let's be jolly! 'Tis most definitely the season for soups and stews. A few weeks ago it was Lex's Steak 'n Guinness stew. Then we tried something new - a French recipe called Beef Daube, which was a delicious stew of slowly braised beef flavored with slivers of orange peel. Mmm, mmm, mmm, tasty! Last week we made a pot of chicken gumbo, and now, I'm thinking Ribbolita! If the holidays have you feeling a wee bit frenzied, there's nothing like a pot of softly simmering soup or stew to help slow the pace down just a tad.

Now, there was a time when I probably would have been a huge fan of Sandra Lee and her "Semi-Homemade" philosophy, but all that has changed over the last few years. Now, I'm into s...l...o...w. Remember when we were discussing the book "Joie de Vivre", and I told you how the French feel that even the aroma of toasting baguette and freshly brewed coffee is a vital ingredient towards getting one's day off to a good start? Well, if I were to make a soup or stew now, the way I used to make them, by just grabbing some pre-chopped onions from the freezer, and dumping in a can of this and a jar of that, I would feel downright cheated!

Face it. There is nothing in the world more wonderful than the aroma of freshly chopped onion and garlic being sauteed in a bit of olive oil or butter. It's the culinary version of foreplay - the thing that gets your juices flowing and builds anticipation for what is to come. Now that I've finally learned how to smash garlic and chop onions so quickly and easily that I rarely ever tear up anymore, I actually find it to be a pleasurable experience - rather meditative in fact - and one without which, there just ain't gonna be "no satisfaction."

So why not give it a try? Pull out your largest pan. Chop an onion. Sizzle some garlic. Take some slow, deep breaths. Feel your blood pressure going down? Now toss in some good broth or stock, whatever leftover veggies or bits of meat you have, and a handful of rice or pasta. Leave it to simmer for an hour or two while you curl up with a good book or some knitting. Allow its aroma therapy to waft throughout your home, and seep out to anyone passing along your sidewalk. I ask you. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?