Saturday, October 1, 2011


My sister and niece are here visiting this weekend, and suggested dinner out at the Mandola vineyard's restaurant, Trattoria Lisina, last night.

They must've read my mind, because I was just thinkin' that it'd been waaaay too long since we were out there!

Veal Milanese
Brick Chicken

It never disappoints.  In preparation for a huge Bocce Ball tournament they are about to host, they've added an outdoor pizza oven, more bocce courts, a playground, and a bunch of picnic tables, all of which will be kept in place after the tournament.  I'm thinking it would be the perfect place to come some day when you aren't really in the mood for fine dining, but would rather just grab a good bottle of wine, a slice or two of pizza, and sit there, soaking in the view.

It's kinda funny, now that I think about it, that we went all the way to Europe to eat food like this, in restaurants like this, while enjoying views like this, when I've got "this" right in my own back yard!

Friday, September 30, 2011


Holy Guacamole!  That was some storm yesterday!  Throughout this entire drought we've been getting once a week weather reports telling us we had a 30% chance of isolated thunder showers.  We quit paying them any mind.  Sometimes we get the thunder, but almost never the showers.

So, yesterday we got a lot of thunder.  And lightning!  Then it even rained a little bit, but of course, it stopped after a minute or so.  But then it came back.  With a vengeance!  And hail!  Golf ball sized hail!  And it went on, and on, and on!  And then we lost our internet connection, so I couldn't even tell you about it.

Ice balls in the flower beds
Yeah, we may have a bit of shattered glass lying around, denuded trees and shrubs, broken branches and newly dimpled cars and roofs, but we don't care.  We got almost an inch and a half of rain!

A few of these ice-missiles flew right past us as we stood on the porch, and ended up in the house!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


...can be a very handy thing to have!  For instance, if you happen to have excess fabric lying around, from when your bedskirt and pillow shams got made, she might just whisk it away, and come back with these in tow!
We now have handy little bed pocket thingies, one for each side of our bed, just perfect for holding all that stuff that would otherwise clutter up one's nightstands...
such as crossword puzzle books!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


image from
Well, yesterday was certainly a fun, interesting, majorly sucky day.  I had a dental appointment at 9:40, which was supposed to last two hours.  They've decided that one of my older crowns wasn't fitting right anymore, which meant it could allow decay to get in.  Since I'd had a root canal done on that tooth, and it no longer had any nerves in it, I'd never know it was having problems until it just broke off, so they needed to re-do the crown.  Fine.

Now, I've had a lot of dental work done over the years, and I don't think anyone would call me a sissy.  I put up with an abscessed tooth for months during college, had impacted teeth removed without sedation, and have more crowns and root canals than I can count.  My only problems are that I have a fairly strong gag reflex, and one time, 30 years ago, when one dentist tried giving me nitrous oxide, I went straight from stone cold sober to pukey sick.  Just like I do when I drink.  Which is why I don't drink.  Or use nitrous oxide.

Anyhoo, for some reason, all the crap they had to put in my mouth yesterday before attempting to remove the old crown -- from the giant rubber block to hold my teeth apart, to the irrigator and other things that were pressing against my tongue, and the clamps holding the taut rubber sheet that was meant to keep flying tooth shards from going down my throat -- managed to set my gag reflex going something fierce, which in turn, sent the pinched nerve in my neck into spasms.  In mere seconds, this girl was reduced from notorious stoic to sniveling tiddy baby!

After a good bit of pleading, my dentist and her assistant managed to convince me that the dentist of 30 years ago just hadn't administered the happy gas correctly, and I really needed to give it another go.  She also gave me a valium tablet to dissolve under my tongue, and called my hubby to tell him I'd be needing a ride home in a couple more hours.  I never got "happy", but I was a little more drowsy and relaxed.  Also, I still gagged when they put the big rubber block in (my mouth just doesn't stretch that far!) so she made do without it.

The bad news?  I didn't get outta there until 1:30 or 2:00, and once she finally got the crown off, she was of the opinion that the tooth wasn't really worth saving, and that I should go straight for the $5,000 implant -- which my hubby had done last year, and just recently remarked "I don't think I'll ever do that again!"  On the up side, I've discovered that NO+Valium is my new best friend!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


When else do you get the chance to enjoy a three-course meal at some of Austin's hottest dining venues, for as little as $25 or $35?  Last night, thanks to this most wonderful event, we were able to treat our daughter to dinner at Green Pastures, a very cool place in a gorgeous old white Victorian house near Oltorf and S. First, which was once located on a huge piece of property out in the country, stretching all the way to Barton Springs, but somehow ended up in the heart of a big, bustling city.
Following the French "prix fixe" model, we were offered three different starters to choose from...

My Texas Trio of ribs, quail, and an alligator-andouille gumbo
Lexie's brie soup,  grilled brie and berry sandwich, and artichoke-ratatouille thingy
 three entrees...

Their beef filet and mashed sweet potatoes,
 which I sampled (several times) and moaned over
My redfish, crab cake, cheese grits combo
 and at least four desserts!

Lexie's cheesecake with two berry sauces
John's Helen Corbett Pee-can Ball (vanilla ice cream rolled in toasted pecans with hot fudge
Not shown are John's appetizer of Lobster Tempura served over wasabi mashed potatoes, my dessert of white chocolate bread pudding, and the extra dessert which we didn't order, Quack Cake -- a chocolate/duck fat concoction.  I seriously would have tried that one, if I didn't already have one of Sugar Shack Bakery's chocolate cakes in my fridge, for celebrating Lex's new job and an upcoming birthday.  The other two?  No way Jose'!

Yep, you just gotta love Austin Restaurant Week!

Monday, September 26, 2011


At least, on paper it is, and just because we're still hitting triple digits down here (105 yesterday) doesn't mean I can't go ahead and pull out a few of my favorite fall things to help me get into the spirit of the season.  That's what I love about seasonality -- it saves you from going insane with boredom and monotony!

Know what's really cool?  Until I pulled these pieces together for this photograph, I had never noticed how the markings on this modern pitcher made by a local potter...

echo those on my antique kitchen crockery!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Earlier this week I needed some photos from a month-long jaunt through Europe that we took back in the seventies, to illustrate a post on my other blog, Miss Becky Goes Abroad.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find a single one in any of our albums.  As it turns out, that was because we had them all made into slides -- slides which we probably looked at once or twice when we first got them back, then packed away for 34 years!

Well, one thing led to another, and my hubby ended up ordering a new scanner, which enabled him to download a lot of these slides onto our computer.  Which meant that now, instead of dragging out the screen, projector, and boxes full of slide trays, and having to stop and wait every five minutes while he tried to fix a jammed slide, we were able to sit ourselves down in those comfy recliners down in the man-cave, and watch an automatic slide show on his bigass TV!  Best of all?  It brought back to life an era that we had all but forgotten.

I remember the first time John took me to Odessa to meet his family.  His parents pulled out a bunch of old slides and movies, and it was like getting to watch him grow up, and having all the gaps filled in on what I had been missing about him!  So here's what I'm thinking.  Lex is coming over today to hang with us for a while, and I'm thinkin' we should give her a peek at a side of her parents she's never seen before.  Then, by the time both kids get here for the holidays (possibly with their special new friends in tow), John should have all the slides from their childhoods ready to go, and all that will be left to do is pop the corn and make the hot chocolate!

Pulling out old slides and movies to share with your loved ones?  It's simple, it forces us to slow down and remember, and it makes me so very happy.  When 's the last time you did it?  Well, that's too long my friend!