Saturday, February 25, 2012


Shortly before Valentines Day, thanks to something of hers I spotted on Pinterest, I stumbled across a lovely new (to me) blog called Evolutions. The blog is written by Jenn Olson, who does the most amazing art journals, and knitting, and, well, all kinds of stuff! (Go there, now, before you forget. Today she's actually showing off some of her gorgeous journal pages, and talking about how she makes them.) Anyhoo, the day I discovered her blog, she just happened to be hosting a give-away. I tend to ignore those, especially if thousands have already entered, but this one had slightly more manageable odds, and I thought, why not? So I left my comment, and you know what? I just had a feelin' about this one. Sure enough, a few days later I got an email from Jenn saying I won! I WON! What did I win? Well, you're not gonna believe it all, my friends!
I knew to expect the gorgeous hand-knitted Henslowe scarf and the precious heart poster, both created by Jenn, as those were pictured on her blog. But, she also mentioned that there were to be some surprises thrown in, which made it even more fun! In her notification email, Jenn asked me a few questions about my habits and interests. Was I a coffee drinker? Was there a Starbucks nearby? Did I like chocolate? What were my hobbies? Based on my answers, and the fact that there was a Valentines theme to the give-away, I wasn't too surprised to find the candy hearts and cocoa mixes thrown in as well. But wait. There's more!
As if the goodies in the first photo weren't more than enough (think of the work that went into that scarf!), she also included all of this as well -- dark chocolate, chai, truffles, an actual visual journal with proper watercolor paper in it, and just the right pens for writing in it! And the yarn - just look at this yarn.
How could Jenn possibly have known that this "lettuce" green happens to be my signature color? (Just look at the walls behind my dining room table, and even the background on this blog for that matter.) And, see the tag explaining that the yarn is called "Rio" because its four plies twist together like the four winding rivers in Uruguay? Was there any way she could have known that the primary reason I live in the Texas Hill Country is for its rivers, or that rivers have been calling to me since my very first vacation in Colorado as a young child? No, of course not. But there is just something about blogs, and even the pins certain people post on Pinterest every now and then, that is summed up perfectly by one pin I saw there just recently. It said something like: "Do you ever look at someone's pin boards and just know that the two of you could be great friends?" Well, I guess I took one look at Jenn's blog, and just knew.

P.S. Have you hopped over there to visit yet? Well why on earth not? She even hinted today that there might be more goodies yet to be given away this month!

Friday, February 24, 2012


Image from
T.V. sucks. Seriously! Occasionally I get my hopes up about a new show, but they rarely hold my interest for long. Take the new show Smash.  Having recently been to NY, seeing many great shows and getting a fabulous behind the scenes tour at one, well, I was positively giddy at the prospect of a new series that was all about what goes into the production of a smash broadway musical. I got even more excited, if that's possible, when I heard the cast included the likes of Angelica Houston and Debra Messing. Truth be told, I thought the first episode was fabulous. Number two was o.k., but by the end of number three it was painfully obvious that this was going to turn into yet another nighttime soap opera, where everyone is screwing everyone else (both literally and figuratively), and there is no such thing as integrity. Cancel Save. As for "Reality T.V."? You don't even want to get me started on what would be more accurately referred to as Crap T.V., and the example that it sets for our young people.
Now, I'm sure to come off sounding old and grumpy when I say this but, whatever happened to great programming like, say, The Cosby Show -- a show that could make us roar with laughter, but at the same time taught us something about love, loyalty, friendship, good parenting, common sense, and family values? If only "Reality T.V." meant real tickle-your-ribs humor, real values, and real role models!

Image from
I swear, if it weren't for Big Bang Theory and Masterpiece Theatre, my T.V. would be sitting out on the curb by now!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Boy, was I ever nervous when my hubby went out and bought an entire truck-load of plants at one nursery, had a dump-truck-load of soil delivered (we've never brought in more than my little half-pint-pickup could carry before, and that was bad enough!), then, before he got a single hole dug, or any soil spread, went off to another nursery to buy a whole 'nother car-load of plants! I knew there was no way he could dig all those holes and spread all that dirt alone, so guess who was gonna have to help him? Imagine my glee then, when he headed off to town in the truck the other day and came back, not with more plants, but with these guys instead.
Between the three of them, they managed to complete in half a day what would have taken John and I a week or more, at least.
My heroes!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


...just stepping out your door makes you absolutely ravenous! First your lungs fill with the tangy-sweet sent of honey, then you spot all the tiny bees hovering around the little yellow blossoms of the formerly pitiful looking shrub known as Agarita.
When you notice that dangling clusters of unopened blooms have appeared on all the Texas Mountain Laurel shrubs, you immediately picture tall icy glasses of deep purple Kool-aid, with a happy face drawn on the side, or giant wads of grape bubblegum tucked into your cheek, for you know the air will be filled with that pseudo-grape aroma, just as soon as those blossoms unfurl!
And the swollen nodes on these little twigs? Well, they actually have you licking your lips, imagining the feel of peach juice dripping off your chin!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


We ran into these folks while dining at Inoz' Saturday night. I'm guessing they were on their way to the gumbo cook-off/Mardi Gras celebration over at 7A's Pioneer Camp. Not sure they ever made it though. They were already "feeling no pain" when we ran into them, and the Mardi Gras party wasn't due to start for another couple of hours!
Speaking of gumbo, it's Fat Tuesday over at Linda Allen's Fine Foods today (she celebrates it once a month year round), and she actually had the nerve to run out of her yummy gumbo before we even got there last month. Guess I'd better call in ahead this time!

Monday, February 20, 2012


The best use of a garden gnome I've ever seen!
I used to think people were born with certain talents, and if that talent was art or music or whatever, it would be manifested early on, in the form of a child prodigy. That's why I was so shocked when I took that battery of aptitude tests as a young adult, and was told I would be good at something artistic. "Are you nuts?", I asked the counselor. "I can't even draw stick figures!" "Ah, but those are acquired skills, aren't they?"
I began to understand what she meant when my mother-in-law Theda, a talented painter all her life, suddenly decided to take up woodcarving in her 60s. Around that same time I had a next door neighbor who had started out as an architect, then switched to interior design and landscaping, and oh, by the way, did fabulous paintings in her spare time, though, in her own words, "painting was never anything I aspired to, it was just something I happened to be good at."
What I came to realize is that most people are born with a certain amount of creativity in them. A very few are prodigies, while the rest of us will be shaped by our environments, education, and familial influence. I also believe that we ourselves have the ability to tap into that dormant creativity, nurture it, increase it, and take it in many different directions -- acquiring any necessary skills along the way, through hard work and diligence.
That's why it doesn't surprise me at all to see my husband taking an interest in landscaping, now that he's retired. After all, didn't he tell me long ago that one of the most important attributes of a good engineer is imagination? His imagination has come to my rescue more than once. When I first enrolled in the horticulture program at Richland College, and started doing garden designs, I had all kinds of plant knowledge and an eye for color and design that helped me pull together great plant combinations. I sometimes, however, had difficulty seeing "the big picture." I'd sit at my drawing board with a fresh sheet of vellum before me, get the house, existing hardscaping and boundaries sketched in to scale, and then I'd get stuck trying to figure out how to divide up all that empty space that was left. John, on the other hand, could walk up behind me and just, well, see it. "Have you thought about doing this?", he'd say, and it would be the perfect solution!
Gardening and design were my all-consuming passions for many years, but writing gradually edged its way in then eventually took over, and I've felt awfully guilty for abandoning them this way. What a relief it is now, to have someone I can pass the torch to -- someone with a "budding" passion! (tee-hee)

Sunday, February 19, 2012


One thing I love is a day so dismal and dreary, that the only logical course of action is to spend it curled up on the sofa with a good book or movie, and a cup of hot tea or cocoa.
The movie I chose yesterday, Sarah's Key, was a bit of a disappointment -- a mere shadow of the novel itself. The book, however, has been quite delicious so far.
Unfortunately, I have now reached the part where Mr. Hemingway's narcissism is turning him into an unadulterated asshole. I've learned something though. I've learned that there is a male equivalent to the female personality that scares me most -- the perpetual cheerleader. If you read my other blog, Miss Becky Goes Abroad, you might remember my post about the aerobics instructor I worked with at a catering company once, who, when she realized her hubby no longer "worshipped" her as he once had, decided to have an affair with our French chef, who did. The affair ended in the chef committing suicide. I realize now that Ernest Hemingway has the same personality quirk that she had -- loving him with all one's heart just wasn't enough. He needed to be worshipped and adored. Once one began to see his human failings, though, he had no more use for you. It was time to move on to someone who would raise him back up onto that pedestal. Know anybody who's been married four or five times? What do you bet they shared this trait?

Still, even though I knew the train-wreck was a-comin', staying curled up on the sofa with The Paris Wife, while listening to the rain on our metal roof, was a pret-ty darn good way to spend a dismal day!