Saturday, April 13, 2013


Well, Hubby must be feeling a whole lot better for, not only did he take me on another of his infamous outings yesterday, he packed so much adventure into it, it will take two blog posts to tell you about it all! The main purpose for our trip to Austin was getting his blood drawn -- so they can run his final (we hope) cultures, to be sure the staph infection isn't coming back. Unfortunately, getting the results will take about five days.  When I said something like "Maybe we'll be lucky and they will call us sooner", I was informed that that would, in fact, be extremely UN-lucky, for it would mean bad news for sure. So, here's hoping we don't hear from them any time soon!

Once we had the icky stuff out of the way, we were able to start on the fun stuff. First stop was lunch at one of the many, many places Hubby has managed to just "stumble upon." I used to think he did it by sheer luck, but now I realize it's a gift that he works very hard at. I've been with him a few times when he spent hours searching for a little hole in the wall that he'd "heard something about" somewhere, only to have it end up being really sucky. I told him that, from now on, I'd rather skip that part of the adventure. Fortunately, this place had already been scouted and tested, and had proven worthy.

Located on S. Lamar, near 290, you'd hardly know it was there, tucked back behind some other little businesses, and you'd certainly never suspect that it had views like these, looking out over the hills and cliffs of southwest Austin.

Views on the inside were almost as good.

Love these napkins, which look very French for some reason.
Just be sure to go with a hearty appetite. Lunch specials are geared to the male business crowd -- lots of food for a little price.

The only thing I couldn't figure out was this:

A trailer you can rent by the hour? Hmmmmm.

Next stop after lunch was to see the movie 42, which I thoroughly enjoyed, even though I'm not a sports fan, and it made me cry several times. Fortunately, the good people in it overshadowed the bad, and what a story!

Well, that's it for Part I. Part II tomorrow!

Friday, April 12, 2013


Before you ask, no, those strawberries did not come from my own garden. Nor did they come from the grocery store. They actually came from one of our very own growers, Engel Farm, at The Bountiful Sprout, and we've been gorging on them for SIX WEEKS now! Fresh local fruit producers have been hard to come by at TBS, so when strawberries popped up in our offerings last year, we were delirious! I think they only showed up on one or two ordering cycles, though, then that was it for another year. This year they showed up the first week in March, I think, and I ordered a double batch, just in case they didn't come back again. They were sooooo juicy and delicious -- nothing at all like the sour grocery store berries I've heard women complaining about this year. Every order cycle since, I've ordered two more pints, each time thinking "This is bound to be the last of them until next year", but they just keep on a-comin'!

Meanwhile, here at home, things are looking pretty good in our experimental veggie beds, plopped right in the middle of a major deer thoroughfare. I unzip their covers periodically -- to get a little air circulation and pollination going -- but mostly they stay covered, and there have been no signs of invasion. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, as it's early days yet, but four varieties of beans are coming up nicely, with no signs of rust yet; several potato plants are hale and hearty; onions should be getting close to harvesting in a couple of weeks; and a couple of small cucumber "bushes" are beginning to take off. Oh yeah, and look what I just spotted on one of my three tomato plants!

So, yeah, there's still a lot that could go wrong, but you know how it is with gardeners. "Hope springs eternal!"

Thursday, April 11, 2013


One of my favorite states of bliss is to be in what some refer to as a "creative trance" -- being so caught up in what you are doing that you totally lose track of time and your surroundings -- and one of the easiest ways to get there, it turns out, is by doodling.

Last night I watched one of the final videos for my Watercolor Playground class, in which we were instructed to divide a page of watercolor paper into sections of various sizes, and then just doodle away to our hearts content. The last video will be about how to come back and add color to this page, using all the different techniques we have learned so far.

It was already bedtime when I finished watching the video, but when I walked past my drawing table, I just couldn't resist pulling out a fresh piece of watercolor paper. "I'm just going to get it divided into sections tonight, and that's it -- ten or fifteen minutes tops!", I told myself. The one caveat that our instructor gave us was that we should use permanent pen, not pencil, and that we weren't to use any rulers or do any "planning." The object, you see, is to make your left brain let go of the reins, and allow the creative right brain to take over, which ain't gonna happen if you're busy planning and measuring!

Which is why, I suppose, the next time I glanced up, more than an hour had passed by, and half my spaces were already filled with doodles. But it was an hour of pure, unadulterated bliss, I tell you!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


My hubby happened to be with me when I stopped by the library the other day, to pick up a book I had placed on reserve. When he saw the book in question, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, his jaw dropped. "You're reading THAT?", he blurted in surprise. "Yeeeess. You got a problem with that?" "That's the book I just finished reading on my tablet!"

Now, that is a surprise, for, if hubby and I are miles apart in our movie preferences, we are planets apart when it comes to books. Meaning, we absolutely never read the same ones. He sticks mostly to Sci-fi, while I'll read just about anything but. He only reads via electronic devices, and, though I do own a Kindle (one of son's castoffs when they came out with the next big thing), I never, ever, use it. I love the feel and the smell of a real book in my hands. So why on earth would my hubby be interested in a book about a mysterious old bookstore, where no one ever seems to buy anything, but where a few odd customers come in regularly to "borrow" strange old tomes that seem to be written in some sort of code? Why, there's even a chapter entitled "The Smell of Books"!

I'm only a quarter of the way through, but I'm beginning to understand what the attraction might have been. You see, the main character, a young web-design drone in San Francisco, loses his job when the economy tanks, and ends up working the night shift at this strange bookstore just to pay his rent. There he meets a beautiful programming whiz who works for Google, and, along with his geeky pals and a artsy roommate who happens to build props for sci-fi movies, they decide to solve the mystery behind this strange bookstore. It's sort of like Big Bang Theory meets Scooby-Do. Could be interesting, no? Wonder if any of other favorite geeks (my kids, nephews and nieces) have read it?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I think I mentioned last week that I started another of my infamous on-line art classes. This one, called 21 Secrets Art Journaling Workshop, is a doozie. It has 21 different instructors, each teaching their own little class, some of which involve multiple projects. The first class I chose was sort of a warm-up lesson -- some fun exercises to get you past that fear of the blank page or canvas. From there I went on to one called "Watercolor Playground", with instructor Tammy Garcia.

It started with that rainbow-looking project where we practiced overlapping colors and letting them blend. Then we practiced mixing colors, and making color charts to record our results.

Yesterday I finished up the project called "Stripes"...

and today it was "Bubbles."

Believe it or not, there's still one more to go, where we use all the things we've learned to create a "Watercolor Playground" page. All this, from just one of the twenty one instructors! At this rate, it may take me a couple of months or more to complete all the lessons, but that's okay. Am I getting my money's worth? Yes indeedy!

Monday, April 8, 2013


I first spotted her about thirty seven years ago, having breakfast with her hubby at the table next to us, at our hotel in Bahrain when we first arrived. It wasn't until a few weeks later that I discovered we were both newlyweds from Texas, and that our husbands worked for the same company.

Miss Nellie entertains the crowd.
Before long, Paula, Nellie and I were best buds.

We lost touch for a while when we all left Bahrain and our hubbies each went to work for a different company, but a couple of years later, we all ended up in Houston together. We picked up right where we left off, and even hosted baby showers for one another.

Caught red handed! (sneaking tastes of the homemade ice cream)
Unfortunately, we lost track of Nellie and Dave completely after we had our first child and got transferred, first to west Texas, then to Indonesia, and from there, to Dallas. It wasn't until we moved to Katy, Texas that the universe decided to pull us back together. I had gone with my son to register at his new high school, and was waiting in the hallway while he stood in line to get his shot records checked by the school nurse. Suddenly I heard some women laughing, and one stood out from the rest. I thought to myself, "I'd recognize that laugh anywhere!" I got up to poke my head around the corner, and sure enough, there stood Nurse Nellie!

Alas, we lost touch again when our son graduated, we sold our house in Katy, and I started spending all my time in Wimberley. We managed to find each other on facebook a few years later, and she mentioned them having some property elsewhere in the Hill Country -- over in Boerne, I think. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered who is in the process of building a house, right down the road from us, in Driftwood!

Now we have another great excuse for meeting up at The Salt Lick (as if we needed one), which is right between our house and theirs!

It truly is a small, small world, is it not?