Friday, January 17, 2014


Last night we had to make a choice. We could go hear Ray Wylie Hubbard play at Susanna's Kitchen and eat pie, OR, we could could go to the town meeting that was being held over whether HEB should be allowed to move into Wimberley.

These town meetings are always pretty fractious, but this one was going to be a doozie! I've never seen the population so polarized. On the one hand, we all hate it when big corporate-owned stuff tries to come to town and put locally owned places out of business. After all, didn't we come here to get away from that kind of homogeneity? Plus, the spot where they want to put it is right in the center of town, where the traffic is already becoming a bit of a nightmare, with left turns out of parking lots nigh on impossible -- something else we came here to get away from.

On the other hand, the store they are likely to put out of business is not locally owned, and their prices are pretty ridiculous. For instance, a cereal my hubby used to go through a couple of boxes of per week cost me right at five bucks, for a small box, here at Brookshire Bros. If I drove 20 minutes to the HEB in Dripping, I could get it for three. But, that's the other thing. We already have three HEBs less than 30 minutes away. How many do we actually need? Anyway, the whole community is in an uproar over this, and I wouldn't have been surprised if the town meeting turned into a mad melee!

So which activity do you think we chose?

Well, we couldn't let the poor guy play to an empty house, now could we? Turns out we needn't have worried. He ended up playing to the largest crowd we have ever seen at one of these things, with many people standing up for the entire performance. The boy knows how to entertain!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Like most women who grew up prior to the bra-burning years, I was raised to be a people-pleaser. I had an "awakening" in college during the early 70s, but relapsed when I married my engineer husband and followed him to a company compound in Indonesia, where wives weren't allowed to work. I was the youngest and most naive wife on the compound, surrounded by older women who were only too eager to school me in the ways of a proper expatriate spouse.

Come to think of it, that was probably one of the very best things about my "gap year" all alone here in Wimberley. I had distanced myself not only from job and family duties, but also from the many organizations, such as Band Boosters and PTA, in which I was entangled. My first resolution upon moving here was to strengthen my spine and learn to say "NO!" I was determined not to join any organization that I wasn't truly passionate about, and I did my best to retrain my little people-pleasing self, not to be self-absorbed or inconsiderate of the needs of others, but to at least take her own needs into consideration, before rushing off to please everyone else.

It worked pretty well, for a while. I resisted joining several time-sucking clubs, and only ended up on one board -- that of The Bountiful Sprout, an organization which I truly was passionate about. And of course, there was my weekly meet-up with my Muses.

Photo taken by Spirit Muse (Deborah Bowers) atop Enchanted Rock
A little over a year ago my fellow Muses started pushing for a group hike up Enchanted Rock. Now I love walking, but despise hiking and climbing. My short, stubby legs just aren't cut out for it. However, those girls are just too dang hard to say no to! So I agreed to go. But then one of them had to reschedule, then the next time the weather turned crappy, and somehow we never got around to it. I was dee-lighted! Several weeks ago, one of them brought it up again...even going so far as to make it her birthday wish. Crap. How do you turn down a birthday wish?

Normally, when I go walking in my neighborhood, I try to keep to the more level parts. I figure just getting up and down my driveway is hike enough! (Did you know that going downhill is actually much more stressful on knees than going up?) But once I realized the hike was back on, I began adding more climbing into my routine, trying to make it a bit further up the big hill behind us each time I went out. I was doing pretty well until a couple of days ago. I was coming back down the hill when I suddenly heard/felt a big POP in my right knee. It really caught me by surprise, for I realized that I had not had a lick of knee trouble since I quit doing Zumba on carpeted floors several months ago.

Fortunately, I was able to walk it off and make my way back home, and by the next day it was pretty much back to normal. For a moment there, however, I had visions of having to call my hubby to come get me. Then I thought of something even worse -- what if my knee went out on the Enchanted Rock hike, and the Muses had to carry me down?!!!

Anyhoo, it got me to thinkin' about people-pleasing again, and wondering just how far I am willing to go, in order to keep from disappointing others. All the way to knee surgery, perhaps?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Wow, I haven't been writing near as many blog posts lately as usual, have I? The primary reason is lack of photos to go with them. For one thing, it's not a great time to be taking photos out of doors. Those early arctic snaps turned everything to mush, and there's no beautiful snow-cover to hide it. For another, there's all that cedar pollen floating around in smokey clouds. You really don't want to be out mucking about in it.

My other posting problem has been frequent trips to the dentist of late. Despite being a religious zealot when it comes to brushing and flossing, I have ever been unlucky in teeth.  I had fillings in almost every jaw tooth as a kid, and got my first "overlay" in college. That kept falling off when we  were newlyweds in Indonesia, which meant special trips to Jakarta to have it put back on, so they finally replaced it with a full crown when we came back to the states -- the first of many!

You see, what they don't tell you up front is that when you have more filling than tooth, then eventually the teeth start to fracture, and decay gets in. Then you need more crowns , and occasionally, even a root canal. I HATE root canals! I can't tell you what a relief it was when my dentist back in Plano finally told me that I was pretty much done with crowns, as all my big fillings had been covered. He lied.

You see, what they don't tell you is that crowns only last so long, and if you have had a root canal, you may never know that one is failing, because you feel no pain. Which is why I ended up needing that one implant last year. My new dentist here in Wimberley is a very proactive sort, and warned me that four of my oldest crowns aren't fitting as snugly as they should, and that if we wait too long I could end up with a broken tooth or another implant.

So I let her start on a new crown for the tooth at the top of her hit list last week, and came home with a temporary crown until the new one is ready. Since I don't want that temp to pop off, I've been careful to eat on the other side of my mouth, right? So imagine my distress when I bit into something soft Saturday at dinner, and ended up with a mouth full of metal! Only, guess what? It wasn't the temporary crown that popped off -- it was a permanent crown, from the opposite side of my mouth! And of course, it being Saturday, I had to go around with a super-sensitive stub (just sucking in cool air could set it off) for two days before they could get me in.

Turns out that tooth was number two on her hit list. She re-cemented the original crown temporarily, but told me that as soon as they finished up with crown #1, they would be scheduling me to have an all new crown made for tooth #2.

Guess what popped off again last night?

Monday, January 13, 2014


Have you ever heard of someone taking a "gap year"? I don't think it's commonly done here in the U.S., but I've read about it in British and Australian books. It's when young people take a year off, usually right after graduating from high school, to travel, undertake volunteer work overseas, or undertake a working holiday abroad, as a way of expanding their knowledge, independence, leadership skills, and self-sufficiency, thus improving their resumes before going off to college. Personally, I think it's a brilliant idea. How many kids do you know who wasted several years of college (and a butt-load of money) because they didn't yet know who they were, separate from their families, or what they really wanted out of life?

Anyhoo, yesterday I was scanning through a recent newsletter from the Sixty & Me website, when I spotted this article about a new trend where baby boomers are taking gap years! It said "After long years of stress and personal sacrifice, raising families and navigating careers, many older men and women are taking a break in their 50s and 60s. We are rethinking retirement. Rather than retire, in the traditional sense, many women over sixty are taking time away from their usual obligations to reflect on what could be next in their lives." This got me to thinkin', and it suddenly occurred to me that I had, in fact, taken a gap year of my own!

You see, before quitting my job in Houston, and moving up here to Wimberley ahead of my hubby, I'd never even had a room to myself, much less a whole house! I went directly from sharing rooms with my siblings, to sharing dorm rooms on campus, and from there to sharing half of a tiny beach bungalow on a company compound in Indonesia, where I had no say whatsoever over my life, with my hubby. As soon as we returned to the states I began raising children, and they were still in pre-school when my father-in-law started having strokes, then my mother-in-law got cancer, then my dad got leukemia, etc., etc. So, can you even imagine, then, what it felt like to be here on this hill, completely on my own? Kinda scary at first, to tell you the truth. Especially when that wind was ahowlin'. It didn't take long, however, before I learned to savor the thrill of waking up each and every morning, knowing it was completely up to me, how I wanted to spend the precious hours ahead!

A year or so later our daughter moved back from California and stayed with me until she got her feet on the ground. Not long after she left, Dear Hubby had the first of several health crises. But you know what? It didn't really matter then that I was back to planning my life around others. Why? Well, because in that one short year I had managed to find my "voice" through writing and blogging; find my "tribes" via Story Circle Network, the Muses, and The Bountiful Sprout; find my inner chef thanks to all the "real" food I was getting from TBS; establish my sunrise meditation and journaling habit; and best of all, I was getting back in touch with my inner artist, thanks to my funny little to-do lists, and a book called The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. I finally had all the tools I needed, to cope with whatever life sent my way.

Know what's really scary? Thinking about how close I cam to missing out on all of this! If I hadn't got fed up with things at work one day, and griped about it to my sweet hubby, then he wouldn't have told me it was fine with him if I quit my job and moved up to our Wimberley house ahead of him. And if I hadn't already been well established in the house and community when we found out he needed by-pass surgery, and if he hadn't pushed to come up here for his recovery period, instead of giving in to me staying there with him, close to his doctors, I don't think we ever would have had the nerve to walk away from his cardiac team there in Houston and move up here at all. Moving and downsizing and putting in rain tanks and gardens and driveways and remodeling all at once would have just been waaaaay too overwhelming! In which case I might well have ended up just as bitter as my mom, for never having discovered my "authentic self." Scary indeed!