Friday, December 17, 2010


Know what I love? Salty & Sweet. I get that from my big sister, originator of the infamous Junior Mint/Movie Popcorn combo. So, when my niece Megan posted the link to this Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treat recipe on facebook, well, I just had to make some for Miss Poo! Know what else I love? Colored plastic wrap at Christmastime!


It's a Texas thang. In fact, I noticed on that funky yard art tour in Austin, some people leave them up all year, to protect themselves from vicious stabs.

Well, this is it guys and gals. I'm calling it quits on decorating and shopping. What hasn't been done, ain't gonna get done! Unless, of course, that one remaining mail-ordered gift doesn't show up in time. In which case, you'll find me down at the Armadillo Bazaar on Christmas Eve, doing some serious scrambling along with all the other nut jobs.

And now, it's off to Dallas for another crazy-wonderful Thomas Family Confab!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I witnessed the strangest phenomenon this morning. I was expecting it to be rather chilly out, so I went to my indoor nest on the dining porch, and opened the window just enough to hear the sounds of the world waking up. It was surprisingly balmy out, however, so I threw it wide open. The cloud cover was so solid, I couldn't see a single star.

Around 6:45 John's wind chimes suddenly began clanging up a storm. A few moments later, it was as if a couple of stage hands had grabbed hold of a massively heavy curtain from its left end, and were slowly trudging it across the stage, revealing a perfectly clear, sunny backdrop as they went. At one point they grew weary, and had to pause for breath. That's when I noticed that, if I looked out the windows to my left, it was broad daylight with scarcely a cloud in the sky, though the temps were suddenly much cooler. When I looked out the windows directly in front of me, however, it was still dark as night, with a solid blanket of clouds. So, in essence, a cool front blew in, and literally chased the night away.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I used to wonder why some of our friends take trips every year, while all we ever do is talk about it. Then one day Outdoor Woman mentioned that she and her hubby sometimes have trouble traveling together, because they both like to be in charge, the one calling all the shots and making the arrangements. That's when I realized that John and I are the exact opposite of that. We're more of a "Where do you want to eat? I dunno, where do you want to eat?" kinda couple, and never get around to taking trips because neither of us wants to take charge of doing the dirty work. I mean, you wouldn't believe the lengths my hubby will go to, to get out of planning a trip!

For instance, two years ago, when we talked about going to Tuscany or Provence to celebrate our 35th anniversary? He decided to spend it having by-pass surgery instead. Then last year, when the subject came up again? He managed to get himself embroiled in the BP fiasco, setting up their call center for them and working around the clock for weeks on end. We did squeeze in one little weekend get-away during that period though -- back to the hospital!

Of course, I'm only kidding about him doing that to avoid taking charge. I think. The truth is, we never even got as far as deciding which place we'd rather go! Which is why I'm so flabbergasted over what he did this weekend. We were at a party on Saturday, and just happened to strike up a conversation with a young woman whose family had recently taken a Viking riverboat cruise down the Seine, from Paris through Normandy. The more she talked about it, the more I thought, "Wow. That sounds like my kind of travel. Slow Travel."

By Monday John had us scheduled for a cruise in May, but not through Normandy. Through Provence. With a 3-day extension in Paris! Oui Oui! (which is what I did when he told me)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


It's getting down to the wire people! I'm in that final flurry of activity, where I'm busting my you-know-what to get all the knitting/shopping/wrapping/mailing/etc. done, or things won't arrive in time for Christmas. Once that's done, however, I will suddenly have too much time on my hands, and I'll be wondering what to do with myself until the others arrive.

The temptation will be to get in the kitchen and start whipping up some goodies, but the last thing I need in this house is counters piled with sweet stuff, especially when there's no one here but me! I've already made two batches of pralines, but managed to give them all away before I could do too much damage. I should quit while I'm ahead, right? Still, there is that one recipe I spotted on Pioneer Woman's blog, but which actually came from a lovely site called A Cozy Kitchen...the one for these fabulous sounding Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies...

Monday, December 13, 2010



After nine or ten years of hearing about it, and selling the t-shirts and advertising for it at the garden shop where I worked, we finally made it to Houston's Lights in the Heights street festival! The Heights is my favorite neighborhood in all of Houston, one of the earliest "master-planned" communities, located off I-10 near downtown. It's full of charming old houses like my grandma's both had, and every year the Woodland Heights section blocks off a few streets, encourages everyone to string up lights, gets people to volunteer their porches and driveways for everything from classic rock bands and jazz trios to a capella carolers, then invites the entire city to come enjoy the sights and sounds - for free!

So what were we waiting for, you ask? An invitation, I suppose, and this year we finally got one. Thanks to Austin's good buddy Carl, Carl's girlfriend, and his housemates, who were hosting one of the bands on their porch, instead of being on the outside looking in, we got to be on the inside this year -- one of the cool people that are seen in houses and yards all along the route, enjoying catered affairs under tents, or just roasting marshmallows around a firepit, and dancing in the street.