Saturday, February 12, 2011


I've spent the last couple of days filling out a questionnaire for Michelle, my new blog designer.  Now that it's complete, she hopes to have a first draft to me by tomorrow evening, and we could possibly go live with it by "Wednesday-ish."

One of the questions she asked concerned sense of style (ex: shabby chic, vintage, modern, scrap booky, Victorian, etc), and my reply to her was "Have you ever seen the movies Out of Africa, Passage to India, or Australia?  Well, those courageous British Colonial women who left behind everyone they loved and all that was familiar, to follow a man with a dream, have always been my heroines, my role models.  I think I'd like this blog to feel like it could have been a scrapbook or diary or series of letters  that was written by one of them."  I guess it got me to thinkin', subconsciously, cuz I went to bed with one thing in mind, but as I was coming awake the next morning, I distinctly heard someone say "Well, if you want it to feel like a diary or letters, shouldn't the stories be in young Miss Becky's voice, not yours?"

Whoever that was, whispering in my ear, has a valid point.  The thing is, I'm just not sure I can pull it off.  While it's easy to remember how you felt when something was going on, no one can remember a lifetime of dialogue and details.  Can I make her voice sound authentic?  And what about those memory gaps?  Old Becky is allowed to admit that she can't remember whether it was her entire engagement ring that showed up in the mail, or just the diamond.  All she remembers is chasing around the neighborhood with her mom, looking for the mailman, on the day it was to arrive.  Young Becky can't say "I don't remember", so you'd have to trust me to fill in those gaps to the best of my ability.

Anyhoo, I've taken the liberty of writing an alternative mini chapter, about our long-distance engagement.  This one is written from young Miss Becky's perspective, and has been posted here, on Miss Becky Goes Abroad.  Won't you please be so kind as to give it a gander, then leave a comment letting me know which voice you found to be more compelling?  I'd be ever so grateful!

Friday, February 11, 2011


When we first moved here, it seemed like we were driving over to Blanco every other week.  At the top of our incentive list was the Arnosky's big blue barn (which you can see pictures of over in the sidebar slide show), an excellent source for cut flowers, plant starts, fresh eggs and local cheeses, and even a few veggies.  I love that place! Then there was Brieger's Pottery on the square, which also carried Hill Country Lavender products (remember the Unlikely Lavender Queen?)  Next door to them was Real Foods -- the miniature, Hill Country version of a Whole Foods store.  Best of all, there were several tasty eateries to choose from while there: Jabberwocky's; Oso's Mexican Cafe; Riley's Barbecue, and their Rockin' R Steakhouse next door; and most unique of all (and the reason for our discovering Blanco in the first place), the Blanco Bowling Club Cafe!

But things change.  Economies take nosedives.  As I got more and more involved with The Bountiful Sprout, and built my Cantina Garden, I had less and less reason to go food foraging elsewhere.  Then Jabberwocky's closed, and the owner of Oso's had a tragic accident.  After that I heard rumors that Real Foods was on the market.  Before I knew it, it had been a year or two since I had driven over there!

Yesterday, I finally corrected that oversight.  Thanks to Buffalo Woman, who likes to explore these hills from the back of her hubby's Harley, we'd heard there was a new place in Blaco, called  The Redbud Cafe.  And, since Buffalo Woman just celebrated one of those "special" birthdays (the kind that ends in a big ol' zero), we decided an Outing of the Muses was in order.

There is some bad news, I'm afraid, but there is some good news too, and then there is some fabulous news!  Bad news first: both Riley's and The Rockin' R are kaput. (waahhh!)  Good news: the Bowling Club Cafe is still alive and kickin'. (yea!)  Also, they've almost finished renovating the entire side of the square where Jabberwockys and the old movie theatre used to be, creating a venue for special events and art showings, and opening a nice restaurant called Uptown Blanco.  In addition, a tiny but fun gallery/art classes/art supplies place has opened in a precious little old house right around the corner.  Then there's Dusin's, which used to be strictly antiques.  They found the need to diversify when the economy went downhill, and have ended up being all the more fascinating for it.

Now for the truly great news!  Real Foods was bought by the Brieger's, who created a nice wide doorway between the two shops, then turned the health food store into Redbud Cafe -- which is amazing!  Anyone from your beef-lovin' rancher to your vegan flower child could be happy eating here, and they even have a cooler full of locally brewed Real Ale choices.  Our Bagdad salad, quiches, and Lemony Snick cookies were so divine, we are thinking about returning on Monday for their special Valentine dinner (if we can still get reservations)!  So, if I were a beer-drinkin' woman, I'd be flipping the lid off one of those Real Ale bottles, and raising it in a toast to the Briegers, for all they have done to bring Blanco back from the brink!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Miss Becky is up and running! (well, sort of)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


What with all the moving, unpacking and rearranging that's been going on around here lately, the Miss Becky Goes Abroad project had to be moved to a back burner for a while. Nonetheless, she's been ever on my mind. Not long after I wrote this post, my sister sent me the name of the person who does all the design work for one of our favorite blogs, NieNie Dialogues. As it turns out, she is no longer accepting clients. The good news, though, is that she has set up this wonderful website as a source for all things blog related, and it just happens to have a list of professional blog designers!

Yesterday, I finally had the chance to sit down and explore my options. Each designer has an on-line portfolio one can peruse, and it was easy to get a feel for the kind of work they lean towards. Many were into the young hip look, sort of a Mad Men mid-century retro thing. Others preferred the modern cutsey "scrapbooking" feel of Nie Nie's blog. Nope, not what I had in mind for Miss Becky.

Finally, though, I came across one designer who seemed to have a knack for creating a sense of place and time. Each blog in her portfolio had a certain unique ambience or atmosphere-- as if a stage had been set for the story that was about to unfold. I'm thinkin', she just might be THE ONE. Now, if only she'd hurry and get back to me with answers to the 50 or so questions I shot off to her!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I'd be the first to tell you, there's no such thing as a perfect marriage -- at least, not of the human variety. There is, however, the occasional fortuitous coming together of place and circumstance.

Take this cabinet, for instance. It is what I would call a perfect piece of furniture. I often tell people that the best thing that ever happened to us was not having enough money to go out and buy whatever furniture we wanted when we first got married, for everything we might have chosen would have been a costly mistake. By the time we purchased this little Chinese

medicine chest in Singapore, we had learned so many important lessons -- number one being, never buy a piece of furniture to fit a specific place in a specific room in a specific house. I like my furniture just the way I like my recipes -- versatile...adaptable. This baby has been used in most every room, and has been a nightstand, an end table, and even a jewelry chest. Now it has a new purpose in life.

Perhaps you recall that huge assortment of teas and chocolate bars that my dear sister-in-law gave me for Christmas? I absolutely adore Harney & Sons teas, but there was just one problem - I had nowhere to put any of it. I have the world's smallest pantry - just a 2'x3' cabinet - and since it was already full to overflowing, I had no choice but to leave the two boxes of assorted teas sitting out on my counter. Since I also have little to no counter-space, that was a problem.

When the movers arrived with all of our stuff from the townhouse, the only place we could find for the medicine chest was in the living room, beneath the kitchen pass-through. One day, as I stood staring at that chest, wondering how best to use it this time, I happened to glance through that opening, and my eyes fell upon those boxes full of tea that were stacked upon my kitchen counter. Et, voila! I pulled my Selangor pewter tea set, also from Singapore, out of the cabinet where it has been hidden for years, and the medicine chest has been reborn as a tea cabinet! How convenient that it just happens to be in spittin' distance of the coffee table where the Muses and I like to gather for little tea parties. A perfect marriage, non?

Monday, February 7, 2011


There's been a new place in town, Kate's Place, for several months now. Lex and I tried it once when it was brand new. The decor was nice, the service decent, the location convenient, and the dish we ordered -- a sandwich with tomatoes and mozzarella I think -- was ok. But it wasn't great. It wasn't enough to call to me from afar, and beckon me back. And so, Kate's never seems to be at the top of my list when we are deciding where to eat.

John felt a little left out, however, since he wasn't with us when we tried the place. He wanted the opportunity to form his own opinion, and said it wasn't fair to make up our minds based on one dish, especially when the restaurant was so new that they were still working the kinks out. He's absolutely right. Cuz this dish, this Crab & Salmon Cake Eggs Benedict that I had for brunch yesterday? Well, it spoke to me. And, I have a feeling it's gonna keep on callin' until I come back and try a few of the other menu items! It's only fair, right?