Friday, September 6, 2013


This morning I spent my sunrise meditation time mulling over the lives of the women in our family, and how things have changed from one generation to the next, which led me to thinking about how different the weddings have been for each generation. 

My husband's parents had only known each other for about six weeks when they decided to get married.

My parents met in high school and were married by the time they were nineteen. Mom was a War Bride. I think they were married in the small chapel at our church in Dallas, not the big sanctuary --  she wearing a smart navy suit, and Dad in his uniform, each with one best friend in attendance. They probably went back to my grandparents' house for cake afterwards. Dad managed to find space in a boarding house for her, near where he was stationed, and he would sometimes sneak off base at night to see her. A couple of months later he was shipped overseas, not to come home for three or four years.

My situation was sort of the reverse of theirs. I met john as soon as I got to college, but I was a very naive seventeen year old, while he was a twenty one year old "man of the world." We dated steadily from that point on, without ever actually "going steady." He graduated and moved to Houston in the middle of my sophomore year, then got sent to work in the Far East (Asia, not New England) the summer before my senior year. He proposed over the phone that fall, and about two weeks after graduating, I married a guy I hadn't laid eyes on in thirteen months!

We had a traditional wedding there at the same church my family had been going to for generations. My two sisters were my attendants, my niece and nephew the flower girl and ring bearer. Mom made all the attendants' dresses, though we splurged and bought mine. The reception was cake and punch served there at the church. The very next morning I packed up my one huge suitcase and headed off to live in Indonesia with my new hubby. Our honeymoon was the trip over. The crystal and silver we had received as wedding gifts got left at my parents' house, though a small crate containing a toaster oven, an electric frying pan, a few corning ware plates and casseroles, and some plastic glasses, had been shipped on ahead. We spent our first six months or so of marriage in a one room bungalow on the beach, and the things in that crate, once it finally arrived, made up my entire kitchen!

Now that both my kids are engaged, well, it's a whole new world, isn't it? By the time they get married, they will both have been living with their partners for several years already, with well-furnished kitchens and well-established careers. So what do you give a couple who already has everything from a pasta maker to an espresso machine? And what have honeymoons evolved into, now that they are no longer the first chance for the young newlyweds to spend any real time alone together? I'm not making judgements, mind you. I certainly don't believe that any one generation had it all figured out, or was any more "right" than the others. I just think these things are interesting to ponder, don't you?

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Well, it certainly doesn't feel like fall yet here in Central Texas, but a girl can dream, can't she?


Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Hubby and I stopped in at a new Half-Price Books in S. Austin the other day. I thought I was there just to sell a butt-load of books I had weeded out from my collection, to make room for more art stuff, but I was wrong. I ended up getting virtually nothing for all those books, but whilst wandering around, waiting for their estimate, I stumbled upon this.

Much like my old favorite Simple Abundance, this is a "book of days", meaning it has separate essays for each day of the year. These just happen to all relate to food --  one of my very favorite topics, n'est pas? Of course, I had no idea if the essays would be any good, but I figured "Hey, I've got a chit for a whopping nine bucks in my hand. Why not chance it?" So I brought it home with me, and as the old saying goes, they "had me at hello!"

One of the first essays I read was the one for August 30, and it described an impromptu, intimate dinner party they were invited to by painter Donald Sultan, celebrating the end of summer, which involved no more than ten minutes of cooking.

The evening began with the four guests being served drinks and two cheeses plus some hard Italian salami on a board with a sharp knife and crackers.

The main course, served with good wine at a dining table with a beautiful cloth and lots of candles, included:
  • soft boiled eggs decapitated in their shells, topped with a dollop of caviar
  • a large platter of sliced red and green tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and basil
  • a platter of store-roasted and quartered capons
  • a platter of steaming corn on the cob, and a stick of butter that was passed around, for everyone to roll their ears of corn around on
Dessert was thin, handmade cookies from the best local source.

This menu so inspired me that John and I had a mini version of it just last night, minus the appetizers and caviar, and substituting a grocery store roasted chicken for the capons. I thought it would be the perfect time to try out this fellow's ingenious method for cooking and shucking corn in the microwave, without all the mess. Believe it or not, it really works! The only thing I did differently was that, since my microwave is super high-powered, I cooked my two ears for only four minutes total. It was delicious, but I had to squeeze a bit to get the cobs out of the husks. They did, however, come out virtually silk-free!

One of the next essays I read was all about the proper way to brew tea. Why, I do believe I've found another set of soul mates!

Monday, September 2, 2013


I'm not normally much of an impulse shopper, but I just couldn't resist grabbing this necklace when I spotted it in a great little shop in downtown Bryan a few weeks ago.

I didn't have a particular outfit in mind to wear it with, but the price seemed ridiculously low for the number of beads involved. Plus, the strands aren't attached to each other, so you can wear all of them at once, just a few, or even wrap one around your wrist several times. Aw heck, who am I kidding? We all know why I bought it.

 It simply made me Color-Mad!

Sunday, September 1, 2013


My hubby sure knows how to show a girl a good time. Last night he took me on one of our best dates ever! It started out here, in Austin, at Elizabeth Street Cafe.

Elizabeth St. is a French-Vietnamese cafe and boulangerie, with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. For starters we shared an order of their pork belly buns.

  Next, John had a Vietnamese soup that he just loved...

while I chowed down on an amazing Ban Mi sandwich filled with pate!

Dessert include two chocolatey French delights -- a bouchon, and an eclaire. I chose the classic French eclaire, with cream filling and dark chocolate ganache, but there was also a Nutella version available.

I just loved the little sarong-like wrap dresses and soft-soled shoes that all of the waitresses wore, each one in a different floral fabric.

From there we headed over to the Student Union building on the UT campus, where I happened to work my last two years of college.

First, I worked at their little General Store, which has been replaced by a food court filled with Starbucks and Wendys and such.

Then, when that area of the building underwent a renovation, they moved me to the information desk. One result of that renovation, thanks to that whole "we're old enough to go to Viet Nam and fight for our country, but not to vote or drink?" debate, and the temporary lowering of the legal drinking age to eighteen, was the Cactus Cafe -- a bar and music venue, right there in the Student Union building!

So, how do I know that time travel is actually possible? Because, when we first entered that room, we were all a bunch of greying 50- and 60-somethings. But once those lights went down, and Shawn Phillips started singing, well, something magical happened. Suddenly it was 1973 again, and we were all 19 or 20 year old college students, seeing Shawn for the very first time!

If anything, I think Shawn and I have both improved with age.  Here's one of my favorite songs from back in the day.