Saturday, November 20, 2010


Two of the Muses and I went on Wimberley's annual home tour yesterday and, as usual, I was blown away. Not by the perfection of each house, but more by the variety, and by the fact that there are so many hidden away in every nook and cranny of these hills, but you would never know they were there unless you were given directions and wen't lookin' for 'em!

Our first stop was a Six. Thousand. Square. Foot. Weekend Place! Great views (the girls are standing where a Polaris dropped us off, after ferrying us up their driveway), but very sterile and minimalist. All bare concrete and glass. I'm pretty sure it's a requirement that all big-city-Texas-attorneys possess a "Hill Country Showplace."

Next stop was probably that first couple's worst nightmare, but I bet their grandkids just love 'em to death! This couple are collectors, and they start decorating for Christmas in October every year. Each room of their small retirement home gets a tree and a theme, including the laundry room, and is then populated with thousands upon thousands of Santa dolls and figurines which they have gathered from all over the world. Can't breathe! Must get air!

There were a couple of houses that had the ubiquitous "suburban model home" look, but eventually we came to one overlooking a spillway on Cypress Creek, where I found myself thinking "Ahhh, this is more like it! I could easily live here." Our little brochure said "In the 1930s this summer retreat was built as two 'double-rock wall' cabins with a breezeway between. Major reconstruction in the mid-1980's resulted in the current single structure." Even so, it was still very low-ceilinged and dark. But then the current owners came along and worked their magic, transforming it into a cozy bungalow filled with light and color! If only they had allowed us to take photos inside of the houses. The few I managed to sneak of the outside just do not do it justice! Know what the best thing about this place is? It's in spittin' distance of the town square! So, if I lived here, not only could I enjoy great views and the sound of rushing water, and meditate beneath a thousand year old cypress tree, I could even live that walking-lifestyle that I've always coveted!

Our last stop was a "Man-oh-man, if only I could live here!" kinda place, but I'm gonna save that one for tomorrow. Plus, there's one more I've yet to see. TTFN!

Friday, November 19, 2010


I was sitting in my nest on the porch this morning, trying to figure out the perfect way to celebrate John's birthday on 1/1/11. However, after 40 years of being together, I'm still not sure what he would consider an "ideal day", other than time spent napping to the sound of a football game. So, I decided to plan my birthday instead, which is almost a year away. I believe that if something is important to you, you shouldn't just leave it to chance or expect people to read your mind, then get all bent out of shape and pouty when they don't. Not that I've ever had any cause for complaint. John is the world's best gift shopper. It's just that people change, and at this point in my life there is nothing left in the material world that I need or want. The things I most yearn for now are experiences, and to make as many wonderful memories as I can with friends and family.

We had quite a few exotic adventures in our younger days, but have done almost no travel at all here in the states, and neither have our kids. Sooo, on my next birthday, we are going giftless. Instead, we are going to hop into the car or onto a plane, and we are going to travel to a town or city that is just brimming over with a "sense of place", if only for a couple of days. Here is what I plan to do, once we arrive:

  • Check into an inn or hotel that was built in the town's early days, and which has a sense of history.
  • Ditch the car, and walk the streets instead.
  • Take frequent breaks at sidewalk cafes, and do some people-watching and -listening.
  • Find a great outdoor market, and see how the locals shop.
  • Find an activity that local people would attend -- a play or a concert, or a place they might go dancing.
  • Eat food that is so good, it will make me moan.
  • Soak up the feel of this place.
First stop? Well, I'm not certain, but I'm thinking that autumn in New Orleans could be tres, tres bien, non?

P.S. Many thanks to for the street market scene above, for the sidewalk cafe image, and to for the image of Rosie Ledet.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Could there be a better way to spend an autumn afternoon?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Lex and I rearranged the living room furniture at the beginning of the year, and I really love the way it turned out. We angled the sofa, to make things more interesting, which widened the passageway to the dining room, and aligned the sofa with the coffee table, thus providing foot-propping space to every seat. There's just one tiny problem, which I only discovered recently. We no longer have space for a Christmas tree!

Monday, November 15, 2010


For most of my life I've had creatures on each shoulder, whispering conflicting advice in my ears. I can't see them, I can only hear them, so I just assumed that the one who keeps saying things like "If you can't do something right, don't do it at all!" was the good one -- the one with wings. Now, though, I'm beginning to suspect that this advisor is actually the one with horns!

According to the little house fairy that's been hanging about ever since I first visited, most of us didn't end up with C.H.A.O.S. (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) because we were lazy. It's actually because we let our perfectionism get in the way. Huh? Well, many of us grew up dealing with someone who was very difficult, if not impossible, to please -- someone who made us do things over and over until we "got it right", or came behind us and redid everything we put our hands to, and to this day, we are terrified of doing something "half-assed" or imperfect, of hearing that voice that says "If you can't do it right..." Know what that voice does? It causes us to procrastinate, sometimes to the point of paralysis. We think that if we cannot do something perfectly, there's no point in trying. Au contraire!

This new little fairy on my shoulder asks things like "Don't know the 'proper' way to mop a floor? Who cares?" She believes even an imperfectly performed task still blesses your home and your family. Sooo, when that little devil with the red dress on tried to convince me that, if I wanted to host a "proper" tea party tomorrow, I needed to serve little sugar cubes, and not just set out my sugar bowl, I told her to "Get real! Next you'll be tellin' me to run out and buy little silver tongs to serve those cubes with. Hey wait, here's an idea! Why don't you just loan me that little pitchfork of yours, and we can use that instead of tongs?" Then I told her that my friends would be much happier being invited to simple, casual, imperfect but frequent gatherings, than they would be if I succumbed to perfectionism, and the tea party became such an ordeal that I put off ever doing it again. "So, why don't you just take a hike?" I continued. "You weren't even invited to this party!" And she did.

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


"I'm just a red neck woman,
I ain't no high-class broad.
I'm jest a product of my raisin'.
I say 'Hail Yeah' and 'Yee-Haw!'
And I keep my Christmas lights up
On my front porch all year long..."

Gretchen Wilson, Red Neck Woman

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This week I reviewed an interesting book for Story Circle Network, called Prairie Feast: a writer's journey home for dinner, by Amy Jo Ehman. In it, I came across a surprising bit of information. I have always equated spring with abundance, but for those who were living off the land, spring was actually the lean time--the in-between time, when winter stores were running low, but the land was not yet producing anything for them to eat. Now I understand why people become giddy when that first sprig of asparagus pops up, especially in colder climates where winter seems to last forever!

Apparently spring is also a difficult time for animals, which would explain why the deer were raiding my Cantina Garden constantly then, but have only jumped the fence once this fall. An article in The Wimberley View this week explained that they have more abundant food choices this time of year, including acorns, which they adore. They must be in hog heaven right now, for we are having one of those bumper crops you see only once every ten years or so.

Oh. There's one more reason why they aren't messing with my plants right now. It's rutting season, and they have more important things on their minds at the moment. A friend said her eleven-year-old daughter was looking out the window the other day, and saw something interesting going on. "Mom! Look at that buck chasing that doe! He must be really mad at her." "Well dear, he's dealing with a lot of strong emotions right now, that's for sure!"

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