Saturday, January 29, 2011


John did make it here in a timely manner yesterday, apparently no worse for wear. Wish I could say the same for my poor bottle tree. The day the movers came, I noticed after they left that the bottle tree and my metal topiary were now lying flat in the flower bed. I thought the movers did that on purpose, to keep them out of harms way. It wasn't until a few moments ago, when Lex said "Wow, that must have been some windstorm the other day. Your bottle tree is bent over at a 90 degree angle!", that I realized what really happened. The movers didn't lay that stuff down, they backed right over it! Know what's really amazing? The bottles all seem to be intact! Ah well, you lose stuff in every move.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Well, today's the day -- the day when hubby hands over the keys to our Houston townhouse, and walks away for good. I think we will both miss it a bit -- especially the wonderful next-door neighbor that came with it, and a few great restaurants that were nearby -- but it's time to be movin' on. I just pray that my hubby's partner won't make it any more difficult than it has to be.

I'm a little bit nervous, you see. Dear Hubby had originally told me he'd be here by 1:00, but last night I got a message saying "Never mind." It seems his partner T. has called for an 11:00 meeting today, to discuss my hubby's "retirement, or semi-retirement, or whatever", so it will probably be closer to 4 or 5 when he gets here.

Every team needs an idea person, and that would be T. He's a genius at coming up with ideas. But every team also needs someone who's good at working with people -- who's a workhorse when it comes to implementation and follow-through. That would be my hubby. From the day they formed this partnership, T. has known that John planned to retire and move to Wimberley within a few years. We're just not sure he ever really believed it. This past week John has been so caught up in all the cleaning and patching and painting at the townhouse, he's hardly gone into the office at all. I think perhaps T. has finally come to realize that John's actually going through with it, and what it's going to be like to run the company without him. He could, and probably should, be very afraid.

Which is why, until I see the whites of John's eyes, you'll find me here, chewing my nails.

P.S. Yeah, I know, the picture doesn't really have anything to do with the topic, but I just had to share it with you. One thing I've been trying to do this week is consolidate all our albums and boxes of loose photos down to the point where they will all fit onto one shelf of my bookcase. I figured, while I was at it, I should at least sort them by where we were living at the time, so that when I need a photo for a particular blog post, I don't have to spend so much time rummaging for it. By chance I happened to see these b&w photos of my hubby around age 4, near the color photos of my son at the same age, and I was just blown away by how much they resembled each other. What cute little imps they were!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


As part of her job in HR, my middle sister receives the Herman Trend Alerts, and whenever she sees something that might interest me, she passes it along. I found this one to be more than a little disturbing:

"Adults in the United States are now less likely to demonstrate "green" attitudes and engage in various environmentally friendly activities, than they were in the summer of 2009. According to a new Harris Poll, these folks are now less likely to engage in green behaviors in their daily life...
Specifically, compared to 2009, adults in America are now less likely to ... use less water, purchase locally grown produce and locally manufactured products, and compost organic waste.

Moreover, US adults are also less likely think or act green to have adopted certain environmental activities in the past year. In fact, six percent fewer purchased Energy Star appliances, nine percent fewer donated or recycled electronics; six percent fewer switched from bottled to tap water, five percent fewer installed a low-flow showerhead or toilet and, five percent fewer purchased a hybrid or more fuel-efficient car.

A more shocking finding is that now only 36 percent of adults say they are concerned about the planet they are leaving behind for future generations, compared to 43 percent who said so in 2009. Plus, fewer adults said environmental issues were 'very or extremely important' to them when deciding how to vote for political candidates as well. "

They theorized that this change was due to the worldwide Great Recession. The more people are struggling just to get by, the less likely they are to worry about the longterm effects of their actions. Makes sense, I suppose. Hopefully, that will change when the economy picks up again. One thing probably won't change though. Big Business.

For me personally, one problem is trust. Now that "green" has become a commercial catch phrase, there isn't a builder in Austin who doesn't claim to be a "green builder", and there's nary a product on the shelves that doesn't have the words green, natural, or eco-friendly somewhere on the package. There's some serious obfuscation going on here, people. (Don't you just love the word obfuscation?) Don't believe me? Try researching all the seed companies out there, and see how many are actually owned by the king of genetic modification, Monsanto. No wonder people are developing green-fatigue! This is why I believe in going straight to the source whenever I can. It's why I volunteer at the Bountiful Sprout, and pay visits to the farmers and producers we recruit. It's also why I've gone back to using old cleaning basics like borax, vinegar and soda. Cuz, honestly, who's a gal to believe these days, with all this green hype swirling around us?

P.S. Many thanks to and for the above images.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011



(click to enlarge)


When I first sat down in my nest this morning, it occurred to me that it had been waaay too long since I posted one of my fun To-Do lists. So, instead of journal-writing, I started a list right then and there, and kept at it for a couple of hours, until it was completely finished, so that I could post it for you today (usually I spread the work out over a couple of weeks!). Then I came in here to scan it, and right in the middle of the scan, it just stopped. It didn't die - the scanner's still on - it just stopped scanning. I tried restarting my computer, but that didn't help. Now I can't get the scanner to cancel, shut off, or continue. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I think I must be a bit of a voyeur. One of my neighbors, who happens to be a multi-talented artist, offered to do a workshop for the Muses yesterday. Martha makes wonderful jewelry from fused glass, but the lesson yesterday was on Image Transfer -- taking images that have been copied using a toner based copier, brushing both the face of the image and the surface of your art board with gel medium, putting the image face down on the board and smoothing it out, then leaving it to set for a week. By that time the gel medium will have drawn all the ink out of the paper and it will have soaked into the

board. Then you just wet the paper and scrub it off. Of course, it's the images you create and how you layer them, that makes it art.

It was really quite fascinating, but know what interested me most? Her space. I have a serious obsession with seeing the private spaces where people create. Does that make me a voyeur? Martha was fortunate enough to have had an aunt who was also an artist -- an illustrator for American Weekly magazine, a painter, a weaver, and a collector of unique furnishings. Both the passion and the furnishings were passed on to Martha, and this studio is now imbued with her aunt's spirit. We are so very fortunate that she was willing to share it with us.

Monday, January 24, 2011


It hasn't been intentional, but somehow there have been a lot of books and movies popping up in my life lately, all covering the same era and topics, 'though each has come at it from a slightly different angle. It's an era I can't help but be fascinated by, for it's all about people trying to shed their shackles -- about the yearning to have some say over their own destinies.

The first was one of those audio books in the Elm Creek Quilt series that I told you about. It was called The Runaway Quilt, but it wasn't strictly about the American abolitionists and the underground railway. It was also about all the immigrants who fled to America in order to escape rigid caste/class systems, and about women struggling to have a bit of say over their own lives, via the suffragette movement. So much going on all at once, all for the sake of "free will!"

Next I got caught up in the latest PBS series on Masterpiece Classic - something called Downton Abbey. Do you recall how I once told you that when I visit a castle or palace, I'm not really interested in seeing the formal public spaces? What I wan't to do is explore the bowels of the place -- to run amok in the kitchens, pantries and wash rooms, so that I can discover how people really lived. This series allows me to do just that. It's also a fairly clear picture of the struggles the privileged class were up against at this time, trying to salvage the trusts that had been handed to them via "entailment", and that, despite all appearances, they too had very little say over their destinies -- especially if they happened to be female.

Finally, just as I became totally engrossed with this ongoing series, I stumbled across a discussion that several of my blogging friends were having, about the Kate Morton novels. Now, if there is one thing I have learned in my quest for the Good Life, it is this: when the river of synchronicity comes flowing past your door, you don't stand on the banks, wringing your hands -- you jump right in, and swim like crazy!

I could have put those books on reserve at the library, but something told me they were books I would need to share with friends, and to revisit upon occasion. I am now immersed in The House at Riverton, and am every bit as giddy as when I first discovered Jane Eyre as a young tween. You must pardon me now, for my books are calling me. They are nice and fat, and there are three of them!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Could I possibly have picked a worse time to write, post and present a new book-blog? I've almost completed the rough draft of chapter two in Miss Becky Goes Abroad. Now, if only I had a place to put it!

The problem is, as I was writing this chapter, an image began to form in my head -- of what the blog should look like. John was seriously into photography back in those days, even doing his own printing and developing. Since we didn't have the equipment for color prints, most of our photos from that era are black & white, and the passage of time has given them an aged, antique look. So, in my head, this image of a scrapbook began to form -- but not one of these modern day cutesy scrapbooks. It was an old one, like you might discover in a trunk or attic. Instead of the vivid garden colors called for here at Seasonality, the new one kept telling me it longed for soft parchment and sepia tones, and its banner font should look as if it had been scrawled with an old fountain pen. I yearn to be able to place the photos just where I want them, next to corresponding text, instead of having them placed wherever my Blogger template says they must be, and if they could appear in scrapbook-like frames, or better yet, looking as if they had been stuck to the page with those old-timey corner tabs? Well, I'd just be over the moon. Indeed I would.

Too bad I don't know how to achieve any of this, or if it is even possible on Blogger. Dear Hubby and Son could probably fumble their way around and figure it out eventually, but neither really has the time (you remember what our garage is filled with, don't you?), and I want it now! My son recommended a different hosting service, called Square Space, that seems to be quickly gaining in popularity, but again, it could take me weeks, if not months, to stumble my way to what I want -- months that would be much better spent writing (or perhaps unpacking a box or two?).

So. Anybody got a good banner designer to recommend?