Saturday, February 27, 2010


We started the week in the upper 70's. Mid-week it was down to the upper 20's with sleet and snow. Today it's a gorgeous, sunny 61. Texas Weather - gotta love it!

Friday, February 26, 2010


Over the next two years there was much unhappiness and dissension on The Hill. Signs were put up. Signs were torn down. Barriers were constructed. Barriers were crashed through. Even huge boulders were dragged into place, but they were removed as well. Bunches and bunches of wampum were wasted.

Now, in the hierarchy of persuasive-tongued people, those with the most talented tongues are known as Silver Tongues. Those who make their living using their silver tongues are called Attorneys. There seemed to be many of these living on the front of The Hill. The president of the Front-of-the-Hill Clan was one, and as it turned out, so was the person who happened to own the property where all the barriers were being built. In fact, he was the person doing much of the barrier removal. He was most unhappy that no one bothered to consult him before constructing stuff on his property. The Clan had not felt it was necessary, as he was but a Seasonal Traveler, who never attended Powwows, therefore he did not know The Truth. The silver-tongued property owner decided to teach them a lesson. He challenged his own clan and their president to a duel of tongues - also known as a lawsuit.

The worried president and his assistant, Woman-with-Persuasive-Tongue, called an emergency meeting of The Clan, on very short notice. Hippie and Honey could not attend, as their family clan were due to arrive on The Hill that very day. However, they knew they could stay silent no longer. They sent a smoke signal to all members of the clan, saying they felt it was time to abandon this barrier idea completely. The whole idea was wrong from the start, and too much wampum had already been wasted. If galloping horses were truly their only concern, then perhaps a better solution - the weird friendly solution - would have been to simply install some slowing bumps in the road. Woman-with-Tongue sent a reply signal, saying "You know not of which you speak. I guess you are not one of us after all, for you still know not The Truth."

There was a time when that message would have been very upsetting to Hippie and Honey, but much had changed for them. They were no longer members of The Clan of the Drifting Disconnected. In those two years they had built many connections in the Community of Weird Friendly People. The were connected to The Clan of Creative People Who Do and Make. They were connected to Those Who Garden in the Land of Deer and Strange Weather. They were connected to Those Who Are Creating a Local Food System. They were connected to the world at large through The Clan Who Reads and Writes Smoke Signal Stories, and there was one thing they had learned for certain, through all of this reading and writing and connecting. They now knew that it was The Front-of-the-Hill Clan, not them, who did not, and would probably never, know The Truth.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


In the beginning, Hippie and Honey were Seasonal Travelers to The Hill & Valley, going back and forth between their old teepee and new. After three years, Hippie could stand it no longer. She was tired of feeling like she didn't really belong in The Valley of Friendly Weird People. She had heard many a tale about these people, and was certain that they would be most accepting and neighborly. She told Honey that she was going to plant her stake permanently on the side of The Hill, and hoped that he would follow soon after.

A short time later a messenger came, bearing news of a Powwow. He told her that once a year all of the people on the front of The Hill gathered around the campfire, and she and Honey were welcome to attend. They were so very excited, and anticipated much fun. At last they would meet their neighbors. At last, they would belong!

Upon arriving, they were surprised to see not happy faces, but serious faces. This was not a fun powwow, it was a business powwow, and there was much to be discussed. Her neighbors were very distressed because one teepee had unsightly items in their yard, and another had built a fence that was at least three inches over the line. Most of all, they were distressed because people from Back-of-the-Hill were using our road!

The road down the back of The Hill had been abandoned by developer, county and state, and with no one to repair it, it had gradually turned into The Road From The Underworld. Woman-With-Most-Persuasive-Tongue did most of the talking at The Powwow. When Hippie and Honey said they had experienced The Road From The Underworld, and didn't blame the back-siders for wanting to use our road and were happy to share, Woman-With-Tongue said "You know not of what you speak, for you are but Seasonal Travelers." In her most persuasive voice, she told us that if we had been here as long as she had, and lived on the main road as she did, then we too might know The Truth. She told many scary tales of horsemen riding through our neighborhood with wild abandon, almost forcing she and her dog to fall into The Rushing Creek. She demanded that we all must protect our property by erecting a barrier between the two clans, then called for a vote.

Hippie and Honey did not agree with this plan. They thought, "There must be a better way! A Weird-Friendly way!" They wanted to be good neighbors to ALL, not just to those on the front of the hill. But, they were so very tired of being Seasonal-People-Who-Do-Not-Belong. When they saw every hand around the campfire but theirs go up, in favor of building the barrier, they hung their heads in shame, and raised theirs too. (to be continued)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


About that stuff I wrote yesterday: I know some of you have questions, and are dying to hear more details, but we aren't even gonna go there. If we did, I would surely wind up even deeper in doodah than I already am. So, we're gonna forget all about that stuff, 'kay? Instead, I'm gonna make up a funny little story for you - a story that has absolutely nothing to do with all that P.O.A. poop. Really. I swear!

Soooo, once upon a time there was a hill, and around this hill lived three clans. There was the Valley Clan, who had so much wampum that they'd never had to care or worry much about what other people thought of them. There was the Front-of-the-Hill Clan, who had a medium amount of wampum. Most of them cared very, very much, what other people thought about them and their stuff. In fact, that's what they spent most of their time worrying about - their stuff, and how to protect it. Then there was the Back-of-the-Hill Clan. They didn't have much wampum or much stuff, but that didn't worry them none, 'cause they didn't really give a rat's ass about what other people thought about them. They just did their own thing, and were pretty durn thankful not to have anybody trying to tell them how to do it.

One day, this Hippie Girl and her Honey moved to The Hill. They didn't know anything about The Clans. They just fell in love with a little teepee that was perched on the front of The Hill, their wonderful view out over The Valley, The Rushing Creek, and The Amazing Stars. They thought they could be happy here forever and ever... (to be continued)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


To say I am not a big fan of property owner's associations would be a bit of an understatement. Oh, in theory they sound pretty good, don't they? Who wouldn't want to protect the value of their biggest investment? The thing is, in order to be really good at running one of these things, it is pretty much a given that you have to be someone who places the value of your property above what used to be the most valuable ingredient in any neighborhood - people being neighborly.

Having lived in the suburbs most of our marriage, we have had plenty of experience with these groups. I thought the one outside of Houston took the cake. Right after we closed on our house, we received a package in the mail. It was about the size and weight of a telephone book. As soon as I tore the wrapper off, I knew we were in trouble, for it contained about 500 pages worth of deed restrictions! Apparently, we weren't supposed to hang a birdhouse in our front yard, without first getting it approved by the association. Not only that, they wanted each and every house - of which there were hundreds, each looking so much like the next that we had trouble finding ours at first - to plant two oak trees out front. Guess they never heard about oak wilt, and the way it can travel from root to root, killing every tree for miles if there are too many, too close together.

Anyhoo, by the end of that first year, if you were to ask anyone on our block which house had the prettiest yard, I'm pretty sure they would have picked ours (at least, that's what they kept telling us!). I had finally completed the horticulture/landscape design program at Richland College just before we left Dallas, and had since landed a job at a very cool nursery with a generous employee discount, so I knocked myself out on this one. Why then, were we forever being written up by the P.O.A? Good question! It was right after John gave me that beautiful glass gazing ball and stand that we got our first warning notice. Turns out, we were only allowed to have a maximum of three "ornaments" in our yard, and since I had those two beautiful flower-filled pots on my porch, and a tiny angel-on-a-swing ornament hanging from a tree limb, this gazing ball put us over the limit. Soooo, we took it inside...for a few days. Then, upon our neighbors' advisement, we put it right back out again, until the next time the ornament nazi made her rounds. (What kind of person would choose to spend her days that way?)

You can imagine how relieved we were to leave all that behind, when we moved here to these four acres outside of Wimberley. Ok, now that you are picturing our glee, imagine how we felt when we attended our first annual neighborhood meeting here, expecting a friendly get-together and a chance to visit with all of our new neighbors, only to find ourselves in the middle of another P.O.A. - one that was gearing up to launch WWIII!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I hate to admit it. I mean I really, really hate to admit it, but maybe those dang i-phones do come in handy once in a while. Maybe.

Ya see, I was in Houston with my hubby this weekend, having one of our Adventure Saturdays. We'd been down in The Heights, checking out the big remodel that just got completed at Buchanan's Native Plants - the nursery where I was the merchandiser for 6 years. By the time I finished catching up with all my old buddies, we were pretty hungry, so

John whips out his phone. I didn't realize they all had GPS features built into them these days. John was able to tell it he was in the mood for a burger, and since it knew exactly where we were, it coughed up a list of nearby burger joints. One was over on Washington Ave., a street well known for all the cool eateries that have been popping up there, and was named The Broken Spoke Cafe. Since The Broken Spoke in Austin is an old favorite dance hall from our college days, we took that as a sign and headed on over.

So, answer me this: how often do you walk into a Texas burger joint - especially one called The Broken Spoke - and find not only burgers, but also Croques Monsieur, stacks of freshly baked baguettes, an extensive list of fine beers, moules (mussels) served about six different ways, and desserts like Fraises Melba (vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and a rich Belgian chocolate sauce? Not often my friends. Not frickin' often. I came this close to picking up that little silver pitcher, and using my tongue to scrape the last of the chocolate sauce out from it. It was that good. Only, as I was reachin' for the pitcher, John was reachin' for the camera, and I really didn't want a photo of my chocolate-dipped nose appearing on this blog. It mighta been worth it, though.