Friday, September 14, 2012


Who was it that said "the only constant in life is change"? Whoever it was, they hit the nail on the head.  You might say that is what this blog "seasonality" is all about, although it has undergone a few slight focus shifts from time to time.

When I first got bit by the writing bug, it was because of that spark that went off the day I stood staring at a shelf-full of my favorite books -- the ones that later became the basis for my Year of Reading Dangerously give-away -- and realized that they all shared a common underlying theme. The authors were all people I looked up to because they seemed to have figured out what it meant to be "living the good life." What I realized that day was that they all embraced the changing seasons, each in their own unique way, and their lives were better for it. This spurred me to go back and read the books again, highlighting examples of this "seasonality" concept of mine, and somewhere along the way things just clicked into place. I knew this was how I was meant to live, and I knew just where I was meant to do it.

I wrote a few goofy little articles about seasonality when I was still living in the 'burbs. They were about  adding seasonal touches to your cooking and decorating, and about using perennials in your garden, so that it changed with the seasons. I envisioned them as a sort of tutorial for young people who were just starting out on their own, and I thought I might turn them into a little pamphlet called Seasonality: A Beginner's Guide to Living the Good Life. When John eventually set me up with that newfangled thing called a "blog", that's the name I decided to give it, and I included these silly stories at the beginning as a sort of pre-qual, to show how I got started down this path. John was the only photographer in the family at the time, so I did my best to come up with a few illustrations using my landscape design tools and markers.

When we bought this house and started coming here on weekends, I fell into the habit of going out on the porch to watch the sun come up. I discovered that things which were bothering me had a way of sorting themselves out there in that rocker, as I sat watching our delightful view change with the seasons. Also, the various adventures that occurred here would cause little stories to take shape in my head whenever I was out there - stories which begged to be shared with friends and family. In a way, they were a lot like those letters home I used to write when we lived overseas. I began putting them on the blog as well, since it was a whole lot easier than sending letters to everyone. Our transition from big-city-suburbanites to Hill Country characters involved more than a few mishaps at first, and it taught us a whole lot about good old-fashioned common sense ,which is why I eventually changed the blog's name to Seasonality: A Common Sense Approach to Living the Good Life.

Hard to believe we will have owned this house nine years come December, and that today is my five year blogging anniversary. An awful lot has changed in that time. We went from living in a big house with our two kids, to having a town house plus a weekend house, and then to just having this one. We went from both working and living together full-time in Houston, to John working in Houston, me being a volunteer here in Wimberley, and each having one kid live with us at various points, to both being retired and living here together as empty-nesters. My passions grew from decorating and gardening to include writing, local foods, cooking, veggie growing, art journalling, knitting...and the list just keeps getting longer! We went from feeling like we were invincible and would live forever, to facing up to the truth -- that our time here is limited, and best be savored.

Yep, if there's one thing constant, it's change, and the key to happiness is learning to embrace it, rather than fight it. Which is why my blog's latest incarnation is Seasonality: Embracing Change. Now all I have to do is figure out what new photograph or artwork I want to replace the banner up at the top with -- something which will embody that spirit. Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Mission Nuestra Senora del Espiritu
Everybody remembers the Alamo, right? But how many of you remember Col. James Fannin and the Goliad Massacre? On our way to Port Aransas we followed the recommended but somewhat boring route down 37. On the way home, however, John decided to take the scenic route up 183, which took us through the little town of Goliad. The name had a hazy familiarity to it, but didn't really ring any bells until I spotted what looked like a fort.

La Bahia Presidio

A little further down the road we spotted signs for Mission Nuestra Senora del Espiritu. We were kinda hungry so we didn't stop to look around. However, after chatting with our uber friendly host at the cafe on the square, we decided to go back and do a little 'splorin. I'm so glad we did!

According to my friend Wikipedia, the mission and its companion presidio, or fort, were originally established by Spain in 1722, near LaSalle's Fort St. Louis, to convert local native Karankawa Indians to Christianity. After a couple of moves, they ended up amongst the Tamique and Aranama Indians, at their current locations, in 1749. Apparently the Karankawas were not very receptive to their efforts. The first structures were of logs and clay, but the stone and mortar complex was completed in 1758. The mission became the first large cattle ranch in Texas in about 1778, was secularized in 1830, and with most Indians having already left, the premium lands were acquired by local Mexican and American colonists, and the old misson's stones were removed and used for local construction. The remaining structure was used as a public school from 1848 to 1856, and gradually fell into ruin. The mission was restored by the CCC and WPA in 1930, and they even have a picture in the museum, of Eleanor Roosevelt there on the grounds to celebrate it becoming a state park. That's the short sweet version, but a whole lotta stuff happened in the interim. For one thing, it got tossed back and forth like a volley ball each time Texas came under a new flag (we've been under six, if you recall), with mucho blood being shed in the process. La Bahia later changed its name to Goliad, thought to be an anagram of Hidalgo (minus the silent H), the father of Mexico's independence from Spain.

The school building, back behind the main Mission structure.

In October of 1835, a group of Texans attacked the presidio in the Battle of Goliad, and gained control of the fort. The first declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas was signed here on Dec. 20 of that year. The Texans held it until March of '36, when their garrison, under Colonel James Fannin, was defeated in the Battle of Coleto by Santa Anna. On Palm Sunday some 340 survivors from the fort were then marched out and executed in what was later called The Goliad Massacre -- a contributing factor, I believe, to those at the Alamo being determined to hold out to the bitter end.

Goliad is also the birthplace of a famous Mexican General, Ignacio Zaragoza, commander against the French army (another of our flags) in the Battle of Puebla -- now celebrated as Cinco de Mayo. Anyhoo, though I personally don't believe these missions did the Native Americans any favors (have you read A Thousand White Women?), it was still quite fascinating to walk around this bit of living history, and as far as beauty goes, well, I'll take Our Lady of the Spirit over a fancy cathedral any ol' day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


We did it! We finally did it! We finally managed to be at Ranch 616 in Austin at a time, and on a day, when they were actually open, and let me tell you, it was love at first sight! I read an article about Ranch 616 -- patterned after the south Texas ice houses, and featuring cooking from the gulf coast to the border towns -- shortly after we bought this house. We drove over Austin to try it one day, but it was closed. It's kinda off the beaten path, tucked away in the warehouse district on Nueces, so I pretty much forgot about it after that. Then one day this summer John was scrolling around online, looking for something new to try for lunch, and it came up again. Guess what? It was closed again! But this time we finally got lucky.

I loved every little thing about it, from these funky little Catholic-candle-thingy glasses they served our water in...

to the snakeskin (faux, I'm sure) covering on these booth seats.

The only thing I wasn't too crazy about was the food. I'm hesitant to even show you what my hubby chose, for fear you will accuse me of trying to hasten his death, but hey, he is a grown man, and I am not his mommy.

I, who thought I was being virtuous, chose the smoked salmon...

which came out sitting on top of a beef-stuffed enchilada! I actually ended up eating the enchilada, which was pretty tasty, instead of the salmon. There was something about the salmon's smoky flavoring that reminded me of the way my grandmother's house used to smell. Weird, huh? It was probably just me. John's skinny little onion rings were to die for, but not something I need to be eating on a regular basis. Still, it was worth the trip just for the decor. I mean, how often do you get buffalo heads, crystal chandeliers, longhorn toilet paper holders and a disco ball, all in one spot?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Brought to you from my Wee Little Studio

Monday, September 10, 2012


My favorite shop in Port Aransas was called A Mano. They import everything from colonial Mexico, including lots of unique folk art, directly from the artists themselves. Every single thing in the shop was absolutely color-mad: the wild wavy lamps; the hand painted dish sets with zentangle-like patterns; technicolor textiles and embroidered apparel; the bubbly glassware with stripes and polkadots. I wanted it all! Unfortunately, I didn't need any of it.

I sometimes wonder of the stork didn't miss his mark when he dropped me off in Texas. Could explain a lot -- especially when it comes to my food preferences.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Is there anything more wonderful than walking along the edge of an ocean, letting the water lap over one's feet? If so, I cannot think of it. I indulged in that luxury twice a day while we were in Port Aransas. In the evenings, after we got back from dinner, John and I would go out together. I love examining the remains of the day -- the things that are left behind when everyone packs up and heads home.

We could not see the sun set from here, so it was difficult to gauge time. One minute it was broad daylight, the next we were scurrying home, struggling to spot our little beach lodge behind the dunes in the dark.

Though we couldn't watch the sun set, we were situated perfectly for watching it come up each morning. I left my hubby snuggled up in bed and headed out while the moon was still up, to do my morning meditation on the beach. I had to pass by the hotel's three guards on my way out each day.

I absolutely adored having the beach completely to myself, though it never lasted for long. Eventually I would be joined by the lady with the giant dog and a flashlight, the couple with the sleepless baby in a stroller, and some bleary-eyed people who looked like they probably slept in their van.

But, at least for a little while, it was mine. All mine.

Well, except for a few million of those little white-bellied birds that scurry around, going ninety per.

You would not believe how hard it is to catch one of these guys standing still!