Friday, January 18, 2013


"... a good French breakfast is the key to beginning the day with a bit of joie de vivre... a simple and pleasant breakfast lifts you right into the day's activities with a gentle boost that's like a pat on the back as you go out the a rooster crows from across the fields, I prepare a fragrant, crunchy baguette with butter from the local dairyman. I slather the baguette in jam made from last month's crop of strawberries. Some days, I prefer to try some honey, fresh from the comb and purchased last Saturday from my local farmer's market, or le marche'. In fact, when eating this breakfast, each bite seems more delectable and more enjoyable to me because I know that everything was grown or made locally... Breakfast is about the fragrance of coffee and toast. When I was young, I could smell my maman making breakfast in the kitchen when I woke up. It was the best fragrance in the world because even just the smell of the toast always made me think of the satisfying crunch of the bread. I couldn't wait to get downstairs to eat!" ~ Joie De Vivre, by Robert Arbor

Did you know the French drink their cafe' au lait out of bowls, not cups? These are the coffee bowls from the Le Gamin cafes which Robert Arbor opened in New York City. 
I'm sure I've mentioned many times how much I love the book Joie de Vivre, by Robert Arbor. In fact, it was one of those twelve life-changing books that I discussed, then sent off to one lucky reader, as part of my "Year of Reading Dangerously Give-Away" a few years back. The very first chapter in it -- the one that reached out and grabbed me, and wouldn't let go -- was all about breakfast in France.  Twenty three whole pages just about the importance of one simple little meal, usually consisting of nothing more than coffee and bread.

Did you catch that bit about breakfast being all about the fragrance of coffee and toast? For years my hubby has been on a cold-cereal-every-day jag. Then suddenly, who knows why, he decided he didn't like it anymore. So he started making toast everyday. Every time he does, I think of what Robert Arbor had to say about it, because the smell drives me absolutely bonkers, and causes me to salivate every single time. Who knew? Now, don't get me wrong. I love my simple morning rituals. But, I have to admit, tea and steel cut oats are somewhat lacking when it comes to fragrance. If only I could get my hubby to take up coffee drinking as well...and convince him to start getting up before me, so that I might experience waking up to those aromas for myself. Yeah, um, not gonna happen.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


The very first house we owned, way down in south Texas, after our initial stint overseas.
We've owned our present home for around nine or ten years now, which makes it about fifteen years old, I suppose. The longest we ever stayed in any of our other houses was five or six years, and only one of those wasn't practically brand new when we moved in.

Our first house in Houston, where daughter Lexie was born.
The first time we moved to Houston, we bought a house that was about twenty years old. We fell in love with the neighborhood because of all the great big gorgeous trees that lined the sidewalks, turning our street into a shady bower. Little did we know, those trees would become the bane of our existence, forever invading our pipes, popping up our sidewalks, and causing our foundation to shift.

The first house we built out in the west Texas town of Midland, just 20 minutes from where hubby grew up, in Odessa. I was way pregnant with Austin when we moved in.
Since we loved decorating houses way more than we liked having to repair them, every house after that was in a newish neighborhood, and we always seemed to get transferred before the newness wore off. Until now, that is.

Another house we built in Midland, after coming back from our stint in Indonesia with the kids. Probably our favorite house ever, so, of course, we only got to stay in it about 18 months.
Our house in the Dallas suburb of Plano -- also newish, but because it had been a model home, the builders over planted everything to make it look lush right away. This is where Lexie graduated from high school.
Our last house, in the Houston suburb of Katy, where Austin graduated from H.S. I let hubby buy this one without my ever seeing it in person.
It looked a lot less bleak by the time I'd finished with the landscaping.
Now, well, I guess it's time to pay the piper -- for all those years of carefree living. Up until this past year, other than paving our main driveway and installing a water catchment system, most all of our money here in Wimberley has gone towards fun, decorative improvements, like adding the terrace and fire pit, adding the dining porch, adding the Cantina Garden, and redoing the bathroom and kitchen. Within the last few months, however, our heater went out, our septic system backed up and flooded the house (twice!), and our well quit pumping. Plus, all of our major appliances seem to be on their last legs, and the entire house needs repainting. Just when hubby has finally retired and there are no more bonuses for that kind of thing. The party's over, my friends.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


This is sad. Truly, truly sad. I have nothing to blog about this morning. Probably because I can't get my mind to focus on anything other than that art supply storage redo that I mentioned yesterday. It turned out to be one of those projects that has a domino effect -- like, if I move this here, then I have to move that stuff somewhere else -- and before you know it, your entire house is torn up! Right now I'm obsessing on getting to Target to get some more of these baskets, and praying that they still carry them.

Unfortunately, I have other things on my agenda today, and I'm not sure I can squeeze it in. It's making me crazy! Well, crazier.

Normally, when I have nothing in particular I want to blog about, I just go with photos, but I seem to be running short on those as well. Not that I haven't had opportunities. I had my sister here for a visit, and took her to play Shanghai with my peeps. Not one photo. I had friends from our days back in Indonesia come to Wimberley for lunch and shopping. Not one photo. We met up with the kids at Salt Lick to celebrate a special someone's special birthday (can I possibly have a child turning 30?!!!). Not one photo. In fact, I've come to realize that the more fun I am having, the less likely it is that I will remember to take any photos. Ah well, that's probably a good thing, no? It means that camera isn't getting in the way of me being "in the moment."

Dang. I really neeeeeed those baskets!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Most people I know talk about "spring cleaning", but for me it's the time right after the holidays when all the clutter starts to drive me insane, and I suddenly get an unstoppable urge to purge. In fact, if you went back through my blog, you'd probably find a similar post about this very topic most every January. My only problem this year is knowing just where to start, as there are so very many areas that are driving me bonkers just now. There are piles of wind-destroyed pots and yard art outside, that are a bit too bulky to just toss in the trash. There is a small closet in my bedroom that was meant to be a linen closet, and it is. But it also holds beach towels, a sewing machine and fabric, yarn and knitting supplies, luggage, extra throw pillows, quilts, tote bags, craft supplies, and, well, who knows what else? For, to tell you the truth, it's so jam-packed right now, it's almost impossible to tell! There's the hutch in my kitchen that, for a while, became my wee little studio, and then there are the bookshelves in my bedroom that eventually took it's place, when my supplies outgrew the space.

Remember when all my supplies fit nicely on these two little shelves? As you can see, the baskets are already full to overflowing.

Plus, I've started tucking bags of foam brushes, hand-wipes, thrifted books that I tear paper out of for collage, and binders filled with ephemera, down on the shelves below.

I've got a bunch of art-journals-in-process, sketch books, and a few finished projects that have spilled over onto these two shelves.

And then there are all the new books and supplies I got for Christmas!

I just can't bear to part with anything from these two shelves of favorites...

and I've already pared my gardening books down to the bare minimum. However, there are a couple of shelves down on the bottom left, which you have to crawl under my worktable to reach. If I purged those, and moved the "old favorites" down there (since I almost never take them off the shelves anyway), I just might make this work. At least until next January.

Monday, January 14, 2013


In addition to the gorgeous "coat of many colors" that I already told you about, Santa also brought me this luscious hunk of color-madness. He cracks me up every time I look at him, because he always reminds me of The Bloggess, and the funniest story I ever read on a blog -- about the six-foot metal chicken that showed up on her doorstep one day.

I'm ever so glad that my chicken in not six feet tall. If he were, he would not fit nearly so well in that cute little green chair that's in the crazy-color-corner of my kitchen -- where he quite enjoys the company of the cute little robot painting my daughter gave me (they have such interesting conversations!), ...

who hangs next to the crazy robot clock my hubby gave me for my birthday last year, ...

my little toothpick paintings that I used to pick up on Coronado Island each time we visited Lex in San Diego, ...

and this wonderful ink drawing done by my friend Fiber Woman.  I just love art that depicts ordinary women doing ordinary things, in a unique and interesting way.

I call this my Happy Corner.

Meanwhile, back at my sister's Seventies-Condo-Redo...

the cabinets are finally in!

Which means things should be zipping along at a much faster pace from here on out. Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


The strangest thing occurred to me this morning. As you know, I've written a lot of stories in the last eight or ten years. A LOT of stories.  There have been stories about my parents and about my childhood, about hubby's and my courtship in college, about our time in Indonesia and Bahrain as newlyweds, about going back to Indonesia with our young school-aged children, about searching for our dream home and about every little thing that's happened since we found it. But, what I realized this morning is that the only stage of our lives that I've never written much of anything about is my kiddo's toddler/preschool years -- the very years they probably remember the least about themselves, and would be most appreciative to hear stories about! Odd, don't you think?