Saturday, August 18, 2012


Lesson Two in my Ode to Nature class was all about the art of collection -- about taking long treasure-finding walks in the woods, on the beach, or even in your own yard, then bringing those goodies home and playing with them. We haven't started any sketching yet, but we have all been hunting and gathering, photographing, arranging on textured backdrops, and collecting in clear glass jars. Of course, it is different for each one of us, depending on where we live, and what kinds of things happen to catch our eye. Being the color freak that I am, I couldn't help but notice that there seems to be an abundance of chartreuse and violet colored items in my gardens right now, so I made a collection of those.
Purple Hyacinth Bean Vine
American Beauty Berry
Perilla 'Magilla'
Gomphrena and Gingko Biloba
Remember the poor little hummingbird that did a kamikaze dive into one of our picture windows this week? It made me so very, very sad. But then, as John gathered it in his hands to carry from our upstairs balcony out to the yard, I couldn't help but notice the beautiful chartreuse iridescence of its back feathers. So I ran to grab my camera, and snapped a photo for my collection.
What? You're shocked? You didn't believe me when I told you I was a color freak?

Friday, August 17, 2012


Why yes, those Italian sodas DO match my decor. So good of you to notice!
Well, today's the day. I'm finally going to teach a few of my Wimberley girlfriends how to play Shanghai and, hopefully, they will love it so much they will want to get together to play at least once a month thereafter.
In Indonesia the women played once a week, but then, living there in the middle of the jungle, we didn't have much else to do or anywhere else to go, now did we? Here, though we are mostly retired with empty nests, we are all so busy with travel, volunteering and with following our passions, it's surprisingly difficult to find dates when even the majority of our group can get together. Having everyone there would be a miracle!
I'm confident, however, that the four or five who are coming today will have such a great time, the word will get out. Then the others will be much more likely to clear their schedules, once I announce the next get-together. Of course, we can't let word spread too far. You can only park so many cars on this crazy driveway of mine!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


We went on the gallery walk down in the square this weekend and discovered this pen full of puppies, set up by W.A.G. Rescue, outside one of the galleries. We probably spent more time looking at them than we did at the art.
We just cracked up over the way they loved to plop their feet and butts in those water bowls. Cuh-yoot! Perhaps we should follow their example on how to keep one's cool in this summer heat.
Yesterday, however, we heard a loud thump on one of our windows, then found this poor fellow on our porch. It made us so very, very sad. We hear the thumps all the time, but this is the first time we've ever found a body. Sob!
We haven't had our windows professionally cleaned since we bought the house about eight years ago. You'd think all that grime would make them fairly visible.  Sure hope this doesn't happen again any time soon, else I will be forced to cover all my windows with big Flower Power decals!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Well, we did it! We got the name of a hypertension specialist! And not just any specialist -- we got the name of the guy who heads up the whole hypertension program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The trick now is getting him to see us.

I had to google his name when we got home from the cardiologist's office, just to track him down. On my second stab at calling the multiple offices that were listed for him, I got a receptionist who told me that, yes, he does actually accept patients, but that she personally was unable to schedule appointments for "potential" new patients. Instead, she would be giving John's name to the woman who manages the clinic for this doctor, and that she would be calling to chat with John later.

A couple of hours later he got the call. After quizzing  him about his medical history for a few minutes, she told him that she would discuss everything with the doctor and get back to us. She wasn't sure whether John fit their profile, as this doctor usually works with patients who have "consistent" hypertension, while John's is all over the map. However, she said that if her doctor doesn't accept him as a patient, he will probably refer him to the specialist over at the UT medical school. Woohoo! Looks like we'll be makin' some trips to Houston!

So why are we going to all this trouble, when John has a wonderful cardiologist right here, who was handpicked for him by one of the best in the Houston Medical Center? Well, one day when John finally opened up to me about how he'd been feeling and what he'd been thinking since his stroke in December, I realized we both needed a little more hope in our lives. We needed something positive to  focus on, instead of just sitting here, waiting for the next shoe to drop. You see, we are well aware of just how lucky we were this last time. Why, the casual observer would never even know that there was anything wrong with John. But we know. We know that several little pieces of John went missing on Christmas Eve. His taste buds aren't completely gone, but they are out of whack. This guy, who has never been able to get his food hot enough for his own liking, actually refused to eat something the other day because it was "too spicy." He told me I might as well quit asking him if he likes something I cooked for him, because he just can't tell anymore. Same thing with his sense of smell. The guy who's always adored shopping for perfumes and scented soaps and candles more than any male I've ever met, can hardly smell them now. He doesn't actually have a limp or anything, but there's a certain unsteadiness when he gets up from bed or out of a chair, which makes him appear much older than he is, and the guy who had the most beautiful handwriting ever, now has to write slowly, and focus very hard, to make it legible -- like a kid who is just learning cursive. Little pieces have gone missing from this puzzle, and one can't help but wonder, which ones will go next? It's a lot like playing that game Jenga. One can only remove so many pieces from the tower. Sooner or later, someone is going to pull something critical -- one that will cause the whole tower to cave in on itself.

Anyhoo, as I've said before, I prefer being proactive to reactive, which is why i put on my big girl panties yesterday, and stepped waaaay outside of my comfort zone. I did what I almost never do. I actually questioned a doctor, implying, in the nicest way possible, that what he was doing just wasn't enough. We needed something more -- we needed more hope. And, like Momma always said, God helps those who help themselves!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Well goodness gracious me. I can't believe I forgot to show you this! Remember, way back in May, when we went to that little anniversary hoop-dee-doo at Wimberley Glass Works? Remember how I caught my hubby placing an order for a little sumpn'-sumpn' to celebrate our own anniversary? Well guess what showed up at our house a few weeks later? This!
Is that gorgeous, or what? Makes me go a wee bit color-mad every time I walk through my front door!

Monday, August 13, 2012


My hubby and I are not ones to question authority much, but ever so often, you just gotta.  I'm gonna do it tomorrow, when I accompany my hubby to his cardiologist appointment, which I don't normally do. I just have to. For George and Theda. And for my kids.
I'm so dang nervous about it, I've been practicing what I'm going to say -- actually wrote it down in my journal this morning, in the form of a letter. Thought maybe I'd run it by you, see what you thought. 'Kay? Alrighty then, here goes:

Dear Doctor X,

I don't know if John has shared this with you, but we watched his dad have stroke after stroke, and it just about destroyed his family. We were the only relatives close by, so we got a front row seat. My kids went from having the sweetest Pawpaw in the world to having a mean, hateful one, and then to having, well, a zombie. Grandma Theda went from being a spunky, fun-loving artist to being someone who did nothing but cry. As you can well imagine, we'd do just about anything to keep them from having to go down that path again. We know you've done everything you can think of to get John's blood pressure under control, and that you are just as frustrated as we are that nothing seems to work. It got me to thinking.

When we were first trying to have kids, I had three miscarriages in a row, all right at three months. Several different OB/GYNs did that test where they run dyes through your uterus and watch it on a screen. All said the same thing. "It's just bad luck. There's nothing wrong. Keep trying." Finally someone led us to the head of a teaching hospital in Houston, who specialized in fertility problems. He performed the very same test, took one look at it, and said "Well there's your problem! You have a septate uterus. There's a very thin wall in there that has turned it into a duplex, if you will, and your babies just flat ran out of room. All I have to do is get rid of that wall, and you'll be squirtin' out kiddos in no time!" (yes, a bit of paraphrasing on my part) Less than four years later I had my two precious children.

So, here's what I'm wondering. Are there doctors out there who specialize in hypertension? Who deal with nothing but that, day in, and day out? If so, can you help us find one of the best? So we can just go have a talk with them, to see if they have any other tricks up their sleeves? 'Cause here's the thing. If John does end up heading down this path, I really need to know that at least we tried every single trick in the book. For my kids. If I sat here and left even one stone unturned, well, I just wouldn't be able to live with myself. Capiche?

With all due respect,
Becky Lane

P.S. -- to you, not him -- I have recently been told, by the very same friend who solved the miscarriage dilemma, that there are, in fact, hypertension specialists, but Hubby doesn't want to piss this fellow off and risk losing a good cardiologist. I thought maybe this would put the ball in his court, make it his idea, so he doesn't have to lose face. What do you think?

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Know what I love? Living in a place where there is nothing blocking my view of the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and no artificial light to detract from night skies filled with stars.
That's what I love.