Saturday, December 4, 2010


Yesterday was Outdoor Woman's birthday, so The Muses celebrated the occasion by heading over to Austin for a very yummy breakfast at the very funky Magnolia Cafe. We shared one of their gingerbread pancakes as our appetizer. Mmmmm! Then we spent the morning gallery-hopping down in the 6th Street area. Uber fun!

Today will be another good one. My friend Paula instigated a Christmas tradition some years back that ended up being one of our favorites. She works with Project Head Start, and her DIL is a social worker. Between the two of them, they always know lots of kids who are going to have a very bleak holiday if someone doesn't step up to the bat, so every year she passes on a couple of names to us. Not only does it give us an excuse to run amok in the toy department (which we have sorely missed since our kids outgrew it), it also forces us to carve some time out of the craziness each holiday season, to be spent with our very favorite people. Sooo, today we are driving over to Bastrop to meet up with P&T, hand over our Santa sacks, try out a new cafe, and do a little splorin'. I'm sure a good time will be had by all!

Friday, December 3, 2010


I think I've mentioned here a few times how much I love my new Zumba class. I've been going to Curves for years now, doing their 30 minute circuit of hydraulic resistance machines. I don't hate it, but I wouldn't exactly describe it as fun, either. A few months ago, however, corporate suggested that all franchisees bring in certified Zumba instructors to offer members twice a week aerobic sessions in addition to their circuit training.

Zumba is a form of aerobic dance that started down in South America, so it's done to music with a latin beat, with a few middle-eastern belly dance moves thrown in for good measure, making it very sultry. We wear those jingly hip scarves to remind us that the more hip shimmying you put into it, the better your workout will be. Our instructor Julie (in the white shirt) is good at choreography, so she occasionally chooses songs of her own to work up -- such as a Lady Gaga song done with flamenco steps and the swishing of imaginary skirts, or for Halloween, the Time Warp Drag. When we do those, we don't feel like we are "working out." We're dancing!

Of course, now that they've got us all hooked, Curves has decided to change things up again. Instead of offering it as a separate class, they want to incorporate Zumba into their regular program, and just have us do a bit of it on the recovery pads in between each machine as we're moving around the circuit. We are soooo bummed out about it. I'm just not seeing how that could be anywhere near as fun as what we are doing in the photos above (to this hawt Duffy song) which involves a lot of hip thrusting, arm stirring, and the putting on of our long gloves as we squat up and down. But, who knows? That Julie is awfully creative. She just might surprise us!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I happened across a little Norfolk Pine at the feed store yesterday. It was a perfect fit for a pretty green cachepot that I have, so I brought it home with me. After dinner I hung a few of my favorite acorn and pinecone ornaments on it, put a few more in an old wooden bread bowl, lit a few candles here

and there, and then I felt it. It felt like Christmas.

Soooo, I guess I'm done decorating. It seems the big artificial tree and a couple of crates of ornaments will not be making an appearance at our house this year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Things aren't lookin' so good in the Cantina Garden these days. She survived those first dips down to freezing just fine, but didn't handle recent forays into the 20's near so well--especially since I wasn't here to give everyone a good drink the night before, or toss frost cloth over her most tender residents. The

beautifully tall castor bean with huge star-shaped leaves is now a naked stick, and the cow's tongue is just, well, downright icky looking! I will, however, gladly give up a few succulents to mushiness, as long as the cold snap also took a slew of grasshoppers and caterpillars out with them. I am sooooo fed up with those suckers making my veggies look like Swiss cheese! Maybe now they'll have a fightin' chance. Too bad it had to zap all my variegated nasturtiums though, before they ever got a chance to bloom. They were looking so lush and full when I left for Houston last week.

Oh yeah, and to whomever those hoofprints belong to? Hope you enjoyed all my dang strawberries! I'll forgive you for eating something when you're hungry. But to pop my bok choy out of the ground, and then not eat it? Well, that's just RUDE!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Sheesh! This yo-yo weather we've been having is killing me! Second day in a row to be awakened by a raging sinus headache. Unfortunately, today it was at 3:13 a.m., and there was no getting back to sleep after that. The upside is that, since I was up much earlier today, I was able to medicate sooner this time, which means getting a handle on the pain sooner.

Yesterday I was still fighting the nausea when I got back from working out and lunch, so I distracted myself with a sappy Christmas movie based on a Debbie Macomber book called Mrs. Miracle (and yes, for you Serenity/Firefly fans, that's our favorite female mechanic playing the lead). To compensate for my decadence, instead of fast-forwarding through each commercial break, I forced myself to get up and wrap a couple of presents each time. It's amazing how many can get done that way, during just one movie! By the time it was over, the meds had finally kicked in, and I was able to get on with my day.

Hmmm, what with getting up at three this morning, I'd imagine I'm going to be pretty wiped out by the time I get home from Zumba this afternoon. I have a feeling I may well need a bit more "movie therapy" by then, dontcha think? (If I can keep my eyes open, that is.) Well, one good thing about these headaches is, if you ever want to know when the weather is due for a dramatic shift, just give me a call. I have a fail-proof barometer!

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

Monday, November 29, 2010


I saw a string of comments on facebook yesterday, all from young wives and mothers, about everything they were having to do to get ready for the holidays while their hubbies, for the most part, observed from their thrones. Brought back painful memories of some of my

more dramatic pouting sessions in years gone by. If only I'd known then what I know now.

It got me to thinkin', about a book I picked up a couple of years ago called On Strike for Christmas, by Sheila Roberts. It was about a group of women in a small town who got fed up with killing themselves to create the perfect holiday for their families each year, and getting little to no help or appreciation for their efforts. So, they all banded together to declare a strike, leaving it completely up to the men to make Christmas happen that year. Think you know how this story will end? Think again!

Like most every other woman who picked this book up off the shelf, I was ready to settle in for a good dose of male-bashing, and there was just enough of that to make it humorous. But there was also a good dose of introspection--enough to leave me with a guilty conscience. As it turns out, our women's penchant for perfectionism is at least partially to blame for this yearly stand-off. Thankfully, I've finally realized that trying to pull off a perfect Martha Stewart holiday each year will only leave you feeling bitter, exhausted, and lonely. Too bad it took me so long to figure that out.

My family still hasn't come to grips with the new me. Just the other day I heard Dear Daughter exclaim "Mom could never stand not putting up a tree for Christmas. She'd go nuts if she didn't get to decorate her tree!" They just don't get it. It was never about the tree. It was about the experience--about trying to recreate that perfect Hallmark moment where everyone is gathered together, stringing popcorn, decorating the tree, sipping hot cocoa, laughing and singing carols. Unfortunately, dragging my family away from computer, TV and video games, and forcing them to participate in tree-trimming, never made for a laughing, singing group. It made for a very grumpy group. But, there were other ways to get the experience I was after. If, for instance, I were to announce to my clan that we were off to the annual outdoor performance of TUBACHRISTMAS, or to stroll a street market, followed by Hot Chocolate and Churros at a favorite cafe, they'd be elbowing each other out of the way to be first in the car.

And so, at last, I can live without a perfectly decorated tree. For, you see, it was never about the tree!

Sunday, November 28, 2010



It's amazing the things you discover, when you start clearing out a home...such as a box marked "game manuals" that instead contained someone's very favorite "bwankie."