Friday, March 5, 2010


There are rich people, then there are rich people. One has money, the other has wealth. People with money build edifices. People with wealth build lives, futures, and communities. For some people, no amount of money or possessions will ever be enough. They may build a

15,000 sq. ft. house on the highest peak in town, only to find that did not satisfy their hunger, and so they buy several more. They drive expensive sports cars and Humvees, wear designer clothes and expensive jewelry, as a way of reminding others just how important they are, pay others to do their work and raise their offspring then treat these people as if they were dimwitted children, and despite the ever-growing pile of money in their vaults, they will niggle you to death over a dime. I call them The Weenie Waggers.

Other people have money, but you would never know it. I call them The Truly Rich. They wear normal clothes, drive normal cars, live in normal houses and raise normal kids... and then they go out and help other kids who are less fortunate, by doing stuff like volunteering as a court-appointed advocate, finding a kid in crisis a place to live, and maybe even helping them to go to college. Instead of buying a couple of more houses and cars, they sink their money into creating a haven for the people of their community, and spend their time teaching and sharing there. They even donate wonderful raffle prizes to worthy organizations, which is how I ended up being able to spend one entire, exquisite day out at Old Oaks Ranch fiber arts center yesterday, along with Outdoor Woman and two of her Herb Society buddies.

Now, the owners of this awesome community asset probably aren't earning much in the way of fiscal profits from it. Instead, they are earning that which those other rich still hunger for, and cannot seem to satisfy. They are earning true respect, true friendship, and a place in peoples' hearts. They do not need to buy more stuff to make themselves feel valuable. They can see it in our eyes.

I feel sorry for The Weenie Waggers. They will never know what it means... to be living The Good Life.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Ya think maybe they're gettin' tired of having their faces plastered here on the blog?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I think my oldest sister missed her calling, career-wise. After seeing what Lex has been up to the last several weeks - the part of her new job that is way harder than she ever would have imagined - I've realized that this is something my big sis could practically do in her sleep. In fact, she would Eat. It. Up! You see, Lexie's company does model home design and merchandising, and residential staging. What I hadn't realized is that only half of her time will be spent in designing, presenting, making construction drawings for the builders, ordering fabric and furniture, having draperies and bedding made, and doing installations. The other half will be spent shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. A frickin' un-be-liev-able amount of shopping.

For her current project, Lex has spent at least two weeks straight, weekends included, leaving the house before sunup, getting home after sundown, and all the time in-between has been spent shopping. She has hit just about every store in Austin, from IKEA down to Goodwill, craft and hardware stores included, in her quest for just the right dishes to go on the table and in the cabinets, clothes for the closets, books and picture frames for the shelves - anything that will make someone walk into the home and think, "Man-oh-man, I can just see myself in a kitchen/bedroom/bath/home like this!" Who would have thunk that spending a day shopping, with someone else's money, could have her looking and feeling just about like I did whenever a huge container of giant pottery had arrived at the nursery, and I'd spent the whole day schlepping it into artful arrangements?

P.S. Many thanks to for the above image.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Lex and I were chatting recently, about how little college actually does to prepare one for a career. Oh, it helps most kids to grow up, weans them away from Mommy and Daddy, makes them more independent and resourceful. Their most valuable graduation present is that tool kit - the one that enables them to go out and find what they need, in order to teach themselves as they go along. But, as far as ending up with a complete set of job skills goes, one that would allow you to step right into a job and feel confident that you knew what you were doing? Pffffftt! Yer just gonna have to attend the school of hard knocks fer that, kiddo!

Like everyone else, Lex thought she knew a lot when she graduated, but she was only a few weeks into her first job when reality hit. Unfortunately, her employers didn't have the time nor the inclination to further her education (so why did they hire someone straight out of school?), and they agreed to go their separate ways. Her second job was much better, in that her new boss ran a one-woman show, and was more than happy to teach and train Lex to take over most of her duties. Consequently, she acquired a very diverse set of job skills that enabled her to do just about everything involved with running a small design firm--everything, that is, except for one critical thing: how to have confidence in her own decision-making and creative talents. That was the one area where her boss was not willing to let go of the reins, even a tiny bit.

But, that's OK. She's certainly making up for lost time now! I wouldn't exactly say she's been thrown to the sharks, because everyone is being extremely helpful--more than happy to answer her questions and point her in the right direction. Let's just say she is diving into the deep end, head first. You've come a long way Baby!

P.S. Many thanks to for the above image.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I find it very odd, the things that are causing the severed cords of connection in my life to suddenly reassemble themselves. Take my cousin Jerry, for instance. I've barely seen or talked to him since he moved to NYC about 30 years ago, and though we recently befriended one another on facebook, we had not yet sent any messages back and forth. After all this time, what would we have to talk about? What would we have in common? One day, though, he posted a photo of his cabin in the Catskills. Something about that cabin spoke to me, so I sent a note telling him "That's just my style. You must have good taste!" Then he sent me pictures of the interior, and I realized we really did have a few things in common. That led to messages about everything from color preferences to gardening and vintage pottery collections. Now, suddenly, I'm starting to know my cuz again. How cool is that?

A similar thing is happening with regard to high school acquaintances. I went to the first two reunions, and it was kind of fun seeing how people had changed and what they were up to, but after we moved to Indonesia, I lost touch with all but a couple of people. By the time our 30th rolled around, I was afraid I wouldn't recognize anyone, and even if I did, what on earth would we talk about? They don't really know me anymore (if they ever did) nor I them. What could we possibly have in common? But then a strange thing happened, and again, I owe it all to facebook.

One lovely lady recognized my profile picture when scrolling through the list of fellow H.S. graduates, even though I hadn't thought to include my maiden name (a mistake since corrected). She was shocked to see I lived in Wimberley. Her BFF (who also went to our HS, but whom I only knew by sight, and would never in a million years have thought I had anything in common with) lived in Wimberley too! Lovely Lady sent BFF the link to my blog. One day, BFF walked up to me in Mima's and introduced herself, saying "I just want you to know, I love your blog. In fact, I've read every one of those books listed on your sidebar, and if you want to talk about getting back to the earth and living the simple life, let's get together some time. I'll tell you all about the years my husband and I spent as homesteaders." And there I'd been, picturing her as the California Blonde type! Just shows to go ya.

Since then, a few others from H.S. have seen my name and contacted me, other connections have been made, and a most surprising thought is working its way into my consciousness - that maybe, just maybe, a 40th reunion might not be a total snooze after all. At least, not if I drop my preconceptions, and walk in with an open mind.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


"Homesickness may not be a diagnosable illness, but it is more than mere sentiment. The word itself, writes Carolyn Servid in Of Landscape and Longing, allows the truth that when we are away from the places that nurture heart and spirit we feel 'unhealthy, ill at ease.' Americans are a restless culture, moving constantly in search of new opportunities, which we define in terms of money, possessions, and power, not the richness of connection. If we valued roots--attachment to place and the community of species that live there over material success, we might well be happier, less driven to accumulate things and more able to be nourished by what we have and who we love. The malaise that captures us when we live in a place or culture that nurtures neither heart nor spirit may be telling us that we, like ET, need to honor the call to go home." Susan J. Tweit, Walking Nature Home: A Life's Journey

Isn't it wonderful, when a writer puts into words for you, that which you have felt, but were unable to express?


I'm so happy to announce that I do not love biscuits with chocolate gravy. I read about it on Homesick Texan's blog not long ago, and the pictures made it look awfully good. So, when I found out that I was going to have two batches of house guests this weekend, back to back, I decided to do a biscuit buffet for breakfast, and I whipped up a batch of her chocolate gravy to go with it. I was sort of picturing something on the order of that rich Belgian chocolate sauce that I had on my strawberries back in Houston, but what we got was pretty much identical to my mom's chocolate pudding and pie filling. Not bad, but not really what I want for breakfast, and not nearly good enough to ever be calling to me. And that's a good thing!