Friday, April 16, 2010


Had a kick-ass time at Cafe Susanna last night-- the monthly coffeehouse-style music event put on by the Methodist church. This month's performer was Progressive Country legend Ray Wylie Hubbard, who just happens to be a Wimberleyite. He was accompanied by his very young, but very gifted, son Lucas. What a cutie!

John managed to take off work early and get to Wimberley in plenty of time to accompany me, and even Lex decided to tag along. I wasn't sure whether she would get anything out of it, since she'd never even heard of this guy, but I needn't have worried. Ray Wylie's just a hoot 'n a half! Plus, she finally discovered what people who have only been to stadium-sized concerts are missing out on - the thrill of being up close and personal with a performer. An added bonus for me, after spending my life in huge, anonymous places, was having loved ones on one side of me, a muse and her husband on the other, another friend next to them (Fiber Woman's hubby Rick, who's in that photo, chattin' with Ray Wylie), friends from The Bountiful Sprout right in front of me, and singer/songwriter Susan Gibson (Dixie Chick's mega-hit Wide Open Spaces), also a Wimberleyite, just a few rows back. Kinda cozy, no?

Whenever I'd seen Mr. Hubbard perform in the past, he was always part of a band, or with another headliner. He told us last night that it was only after reading something by Rainer Maria Rilke in his early 40's, about the fears that hold us back, that he was inspired to step out of his comfort zone, learn to finger-pick on the guitar, and start performing as an acoustic soloist.

Not only did this make him a better musician, I'd say it allowed his inner storyteller to blossom as well. For instance, see that snazzy silver guitar in the photo? Well, that belonged to his Grandaddy. Ray Wylie was always trying to get his hands on that guitar when he was a kid, but his Grandaddy told him "Son, you don't ever touch a man's guitar without permission. Maybe someday, when the time is right, I'll let you play it." Well years go by, and RWH is out in LA, living the fast life, when he gets the call from his grandmother. "Grandaddy's dying Ray, but he's determined to see you one last time. Better get here fast." Ray jumps in his car, drives all night and all day to get to east Texas. Soon as he pulls up to the house, his Granny steps out onto the porch and says "C'mon in Ray. He hasn't stopped asking for you. It's something about that ol' guitar." So Ray walks back to the bedroom and kneels down by the bed. His grandfather reaches for the guitar, which is on the bed beside him, and hands it to Ray, saying "Here Ray. I want to...sell this to you." The whole audience gasped with shock when he said this, but Ray continued. "All my life I've been torn up about that...haunted by having to pay him...with a hot check!" Like I said, quite the story teller.

Can't wait for next month's show - Alejandro Escavedo! Not only is he also a Wimberleyite, I just found out that, all this time? He's been living two or three doors down from me! Small world, huh?

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Every year, right around July 4th, Wimberley has a big parade - not like Macy's-parade-big, but big for Wimberley - and anyone who wants to can enter. Me and the Muses, we want to. Only problem is, we're having some trouble coming up with just the right theme or idea. That's where you come in!

Outdoor Woman has the cutest little vintage VW bug (baby blue convertible) that she has volunteered as our "float." She drove it in the parade a couple of years ago, when some Aussie friends were here visiting, so their theme was "On Walkabout." Actually, I did come up with one idea (which I, personally, felt was quite brilliant, in light of recent events here in Wimberley). It was "Debbie Doo-Wop and The Morels!" I was, however, shot down, when it was brought to my attention that, due to the Morel's unfortunate shape and coloring, it would appear to most that Deb was driving a car full of male body parts.

So, now we are back to square one, and ready to bring in outside help. C'mon, I know you can do it - help us think of something great! Something fun! Something that will put a smile on everyone's face, and show visitors just what it means - to be "Livin' the Good Life" here in Wimberley!

P.S. We don't all have to be "in" the car. We can walk alongside it, and toss stuff to the crowds, if that would work better.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


You're probably not going to believe this, but guess what I just tried this week, for the very first time? Pure Maple Syrup! I know, I know. Weird, huh? Oh, it's not the first time I've bought it. We had one bottle in the pantry for years, which I had purchased because some recipe or another had called for a tablespoon or so, but no one ever used it after that, so I finally tossed it. Good thing I did. I had no idea it should have been refrigerated once the bottle was opened!

I haven't a clue why I stuck with the fake stuff for so long. It was just such an ingrained habit, having been trained from a very early age that diet anything was the virtuous choice to make! As I've said before, sometimes I am notoriously slow on the uptake. Anyhoo, not long ago I was enjoying my once-a-week treat of organic, whole wheat waffles with flax , with a wee bit of organic peanut- or almond-butter tucked between them. I was just about to top them off with a squirt of Mrs. Butterworth Butter Flavored Lite when a spasm went through my arm, and I found myself thinking, "What the hell are you doing? You're so good about reading labels, why haven't you ever bothered to take a gander at that one!"

Soooo, I went to the store and got a bottle of the real thing. I have to admit, it's gonna take some getting used to. You know that old saying, "Less is More"? Well, that definitely applies to pure maple syrup. So, soon as I adjust to the fact that it packs a much bigger wallop than the fake stuff, but is actually thinner and comes out of the bottle much faster, perhaps I can learn not to drown my waffles in an overabundance of flavor. Then, that seemingly expensive bottle will last more than twice as long as the other, and ya know what? I might just grow to love it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


What is that out behind the rainwater tank, just a-flappin' in the breeze? Is it one of those little orange marker flags that landscapers use? Better go downstairs and take a closer look... OMG! OMG! OMG!


I have always been what most would call a "lazy gardener." I love shopping for plants, playing with color and texture to form little vignettes, etc., but when it comes to the nitty gritty stuff, I do just enough to get by. Over time I've figured out

just which perennials require the least amount of fussing, pruning, and deadheading. I've also learned not to leave any exposed soil in my beds, cuz really people, that's just like invitin' weeds to a party! Me and gardening? We get along just fine thisaway.

Growing food though, that's a whole different ball o' wax. I've never been too good at handling pests and disease - horticultural or otherwise. So, I've managed to grow a few salad's-worth of lettuces, some herbs, and even a sprig or two of asparagus, but usually run into a brick wall whenever I try my hand at the nightshade and brassica families. Like I said. I don't do pests and disease.

I'd like to change all that, but I'm gonna need some help. With most things I've accomplished in the past, the more I learned, the easier it got. In fact, the further I got into gardening, the more I realized that there's really no such thing as a brown or black thumb. It all boils down to lack of information. Sooooo, I'm hoping you guys can supply me with enough information to get me over my first hurdle in the Fiesta Garden.

You see, when I left for Houston this weekend, the broccoli, chard and cabbage were all looking mighty fine. Two days later, I came back to find a bed full of Swiss cheese! Upon inspection, I found three tee-niny little bright green wormy things, which I promptly removed and squished. Now, here are the things that've got me stymied:

GREENS & BRASSICAS: What's Worth Getting in a Bundle Over, and What Isn't?

  • Could those three little boogers have done all that damage, or did I miss a whole bunch more?
  • How big a problem is holey leaves? I mean, is it gonna kill me if I eat a chard leaf with a couple of holes in it? Will it keep the broccoli or cabbage from forming heads?
  • Can I just keep picking off whatever critters I find, or do I need to rush out and buy some Bt or Insecticidal Soap?
Sure hope you can help me, so I don't give up this time. I really loves me some oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower, with a bit of olive oil and sea salt, maybe a grating of Parmigiano. Oh, I know, I could always take to keeping everything under row cover the whole dang season long, but where's the fun in that? Cuz, face it - if there's one thing I love more than roasted broccoli? It's gazing down from my porch up above, and seeing the gorgeous patchwork quilt that is forming in my beds below!

Monday, April 12, 2010


Spotting bluebonnets...on our property...for the very first time... in all the years we've had it.


Is there anyone out there who wishes there was less music, art, or literature in the world, or who thinks the world would be a much better place if we'd just shut down all the museums, libraries and concert halls, and toss their contents onto another massive "bonfire of the vanities"? No, I didn't think so. But, if not, then why is it that we place so little value on the people who produce all that is wondrous?

Perhaps you think that starvation and suffering are necessary to the creative process - that you cannot have one without the other. If so, let me set you straight. Hunger and pain are extremely distracting, and have a tendency to consume all of one's attention. Have you ever had a migraine or a bad toothache? Could you think of anything else but your pain at the time? So, no, I don't believe an artist, writer, or musician needs to suffer in order to create. What they do need is time. Time free from worry about where the next meal is coming from, how to keep a roof over their heads, or how to pay their hospital bills. Which is why, in all of the most creatively productive places and eras throughout time, there have always been plenty of wealthy people who were more than happy to use a portion of their excess to sponsor a promising talent.

I don't think that happens much anymore, do you? And since, up to this point anyway, in this country, only those who work for big corporations with nice benefit packages have been able to afford decent healthcare, you have to wonder - how does anyone manage to produce anything that is wondrous anymore? Well, I don't know how it works elsewhere, but I have to say, these Hill Country Hippies are pretty darn good about takin' care of their own!

Austin is touted as being "The Live Music Capitol of the World", and Wimberley has long been known as a haven for artists and writers, so moving to this area has been quite an eye-opener for me. I'm beginning to see and hear first-hand exactly what happens when a musician has a stroke, or a sculptor catches fire in a studio accident. It's not just the hospital bills that are devastating. The killer is not being able to work for a while, thus not bringing in any income. That's why I'm so proud each time I see this town banding together to put on a benefit in their support, or when I read about the city of Austin coming together to form an organization called H.A.A.M. - Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.

It's really got me to thinkin' - about where my excess money goes, and it has inspired me to make some changes. I'm still going to support great organizations like Kiva, who do such amazing things to help people in struggling nations help themselves. But, from now on? At least half of my contributions are going to stay right here in the area, takin' care of our own!

Oh, and one more thing! If you know anyone who's toying with the idea of building another McMansion, or who's been shopping around for a hundred thousand dollar sports car? You might want to drop a bug in their ear, about a longer lasting, more satisfying way to spend that money...