Saturday, November 2, 2013


UGH! Why do I let myself get so over-scheduled? Even now, in retirement! No matter how many times I vow not to let this happen, instead of slowing down to savor my favorite time of year, I somehow let it fill to the brim with so much activity that it just, well, overwhelms me. I guess that's the hardest part of being an introvert, huh? Trying to balance all the fun stuff with the need for down time?

I already postponed my birthday beach trip until spring, to free up a little breathing space, but then other things just seem to seep in and fill up any voids! This week I just finished up with the last of my annual doctor appointments, and now I have a dental appointment to look forward to (gag!), then Hubby and I head over to Hotel Ella in Austin for a couple of nights (he had some kind of points to use up). You may recognize it as the former inn called Mansion at Judges Hill, but, believe it or not, when I was in college, it was a private dormitory called Goodall Wooten! Plush digs for a college kid, no? Anyhoo, it's always fun to go spend a night or two in downtown Austin, to do some of those cool night-time activities without having to worry about a long, deer-dodging drive back to Wimberley afterwards.

We get back from there Saturday afternoon then, overnight, I need to get clothes washed and repacked so that I can head up to Dallas to help my sister Poodie, who is having another hip replaced. As soon as I get back from there, my brother- and sister-in-love from Ohio will be showing up for a visit, and my 12 Artsy Ornaments of Christmas class will begin (guess what we will be doing while you are here Priscilla?), and then it will be Thanksgiving, which I have made no plans for whatsoever! Aacckk! Here I go again!

Meanwhile, squeezed in between all that other stuff, I want to continue playing around with this idea:

I've been toying with the idea of making little travel journals for each of our trips -- one for the San Antonio vacation I won, one for my art camp at Camp Waldemar, one for our beach trip, etc. -- and it got me to thinkin' about vintage postcards that said "Wish you were here!" Yesterday I played around with one idea for a journal cover, and before I was even half done, I'd come up with a much better idea! Now all I have to do is find the time to work on it.

Friday, November 1, 2013


When you live in the Hill Country, things sometimes get, well, interesting. Unpredictable. Down right scary. We went to bed doing a happy dance night before last. Woohoo! We'd got two inches of rain, and our water collection tank was full to the brim yet again! But then it kept raining. And raining. And raining. And the lightening and thunder were just non-frickin'-stop. And we were babysitting our grand-dog, who HATES lightening and thunder. By the time it was all over, we'd received 12 or 13 inches of rain at our house. Even more in some places. That kind of rain does things. Changes landscapes, and lives, permanently. We were lucky.

Our little dry creek had turned into a raging torrent, and we could hear that waterfall up at our house on the hill, even with the windows closed.

But the rain stopped in the early morning, then the sun came out and stayed out all day, so the water had a chance to recede. If it were to start raining again any time soon, we could be in a world of hurt. As it is, we just have to get used to a few additions to our landscape. Remember that Fleetwood Mac song, Landslide? Well, we have more than a few of these to look at now -- little rivers of mud that flattened the waving grasses and uprooted most of the plants in their path.

The cliff faces along the front edge of our property, and behind the garage and parking areas, have all turned into weeping grottoes, which is actually kind of nice...

and all of the drainage ditches were still running with little streams at the end of the day.

Our small water crossing, which was bone dry before, now looks like this...

while the one with the scary drop-off, which never has water on it except during floods, still looks like this:

The only reason I was willing to drive across it yesterday was that I knew it hadn't been raining anywhere in the area for hours. If it were still raining, not just here, but anywhere upstream from us, and you did drive through water here? Well, there's a good chance you could be caught up in a flash flood, and end up in a pile like the one that found it's way here during the middle of the night.

Like I said though, we were lucky. Others, not so much. I just heard from Outdoor Woman that their friends down on Onion Creek -- the ones who board her daughter Lauren's horse -- lost everything. They spent hours on top of a building, their dog was swept out of their arms as they climbed up, and they thought all the horses were lost as well. Fortunately, Lauren's horse had managed to brace himself against a shed, and survived! They later got word that a few horses were found further downstream, but they've got no place to come back to now.

I'm praying that this is the only sad story I hear today.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


When you've been blogging for five years, it's sometimes difficult to remember what you have and have not written about. I have shared many recipes over the years, but cannot remember for sure whether I have ever shared this one. Ah well, even if I did, it bears repeating, for it's absolutely FAB-u-lous! We are still picking tomatoes and basil here, so the timing is perfect for us. However, if that's not the case where you live, by all means, save it! It's everything I love in a recipe -- simple, fresh, healthy, and delicious!

from Serving Up The Harvest, by Andrea Chesman

4 cups cherry (or any small) tomatoes, halved
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves or 1 shallot
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh basil
1 slice whole wheat or white sandwich bread
4 ounces goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer in a 1-quart gratin or baking dish. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the tomatoes for 15 minutes, until they begin to be juicy.

Meanwhile, mince the garlic and basil in a food processor. Tear the bread into pieces and add to the food processor. Process until you have fine crumbs. Alternatively, the garlic and basil can be minced by hand and the bread grated to form crumbs. Mix together.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven. Crumble the goat cheese over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the seasoned crumbs over the goat cheese. Return to the oven and bake for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and crumbs are golden. Serve hot.

You can serve it as a side dish, but we usually make it our main course, scooping it up onto hunks of good French or sourdough bread. Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Remember that art journal background that I showed you a few days ago,  and all the options for finishing it that I was torn between? Well, guess what? I didn't choose any of them!

Every time I opened the journal and started to do something with it, my mind would drift back to that amazing class on the banks of the gorgeous Guadalupe river, where I spent the entire day painting with Juliette Crane. I remembered her story about the beautiful horses who had jumped into the river in the middle of her class the day before, just to cool off. Then I thought about all of us ladies who did the very same thing, the following afternoon.

 Next thing I knew, I had painted this!

Monday, October 28, 2013


As if our San Antonio trip and my 5-day Art Camp weren't enough of a birthday hoo-hah, our BFF couple, for nigh on 40 years now, came to Wimberley this weekend to help finalize my big 6-0 celebration. Mostly we did some really good eating, and a whole lot of this: 

Somebody's tellin' a whopper!

Toad and John Boy drove into town at one point, for more provisions, and when they got back they told us that they could hear us girls laughing from way across the creek! It was that kind of weekend.

After they left on Sunday, we headed out to Driftwood Vineyard to meet up with the Wino Gang and some Aussie pals. Being the best weather month of the year here in central Texas, this is the prime  season for outdoor weddings. We arrived at the winery just in time to see one wedding ending, and another cranking up.

I thought the groomsmen looked adorable in their jeans with suspenders, chambray shirts, and slender grey neckties. Never got to see all the bridesmaids in a group, but from the occasional one flitting hither and yon, it looked like they were all wearing cute short dresses with sort of a home-made-from-heirloom-scraps-look, in shades of ivory, peach and coral. Plus there was one gal -- not sure if she was a guest, maid of honor, wedding planner, or what -- wearing a cute blue denim dress with a really full skirt puffed out with lots of petticoats. Looked to be a fun, fun wedding!

And now, since it's Color-Mad Monday, I give you this:

One of the business owners in town always has this fabulous old truck parked out front.

Is that a gorgeous patina, or what?

Last but not least, the pink Muhly is in bloom!

Happy Birthday To Me!