Friday, August 8, 2014


You'll never guess who stopped by our house this morning! This guy...

Grayson Harcourt -- executive VP at artDriven. If you are a female living anywhere in the Wimberley area, you've probably spent time with, or at least heard of, his mom Sue Ellen Stavrand. For many years she owned the Old Oaks Ranch fiber arts center, home to all those adorable alpacas. Like many people who have spent time in Houston, Sue Ellen always wanted an Art Car. Now that she and her son have partnered up to open artDRIVEN, her wish has finally come true!

When I forwarded my hubby the note talking about their new enterprise, I might have made a casual comment along the order of "this would be fun to do to the Mini." Next thing I know he's already set up an appointment with the guy, and says to me "Oh yeah, they can even use some of your own art as inspiration for the design, so you might want to sketch something up."

Grayson's Dashboard
Talk about pressure! Anywho, I was doing my morning walk yesterday, watching the sun come up, when I thought about this truck we're always seeing around town, painted the colors of a Hill Country sunset. That got me to thinkin' about something like this.

What if I wrapped the Mini in ombred watercolors, one bleeding into the next?

On the "warm" side of the car, you could have something like a pen and ink sketch of our favorite balcony corner, where you can watch the sun come up.

The rear end could become my Seasonality business card.

On the "cool" side you could have a sketch of someone toobin' down the river under some huge bald cypress trees. Then you're back where you started.

Alas, the cost was a good bit more that we had anticipated, and it's hard to justify investing that kind of money in a car that's already eight years old, and coming up on 100,000 miles - especially when we've got two kids getting married in the coming year.

But, wouldn't it be a bloody blast to drive a car like that in the Wimberley Parade each summer?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Here are just a few of the reasons that walking laps around my driveway, just as the sun is coming up, beats a treadmill all to pieces.

First of all there are these zany squirrels that are always running amok around here. Yeah, they steal all the bird seed, and can burn your house down if they get in the attic and chew on your wiring. But I must admit, they do keep me entertained!

Then there's this gang of young bucks that's been hanging out in the hood lately. I went years with only the rarest glimpse of a buck, but this summer I've seen them on a regular basis. I have no idea why.

I love taking note of what is starting to bloom or fade, and just who is paying it a visit.

There are all kinds of birds out at that time of day, but they must have much better hearing than the other critters, because they always manage to flit away before I can get close enough to nab a good shot. Haven't managed to get pics of our fox family either, but I am ever hopeful.

And, of course, there's always the view, and getting to see the sun come up from behind those hills.

Did I mention those crazy-ass squirrels?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Sunday we woke up to much cooler temps than you would normally find in Texas during August. It seemed like the perfect day for an adventure.

The morning simply insisted upon outdoor dining, so hubby took me to a little place called Russell's Bakery and Coffee Bar, which he had discovered in Austin. The banana-pecan pancakes were pret-ty yummy!

From there we headed over to the old Mueller Airport area, which has been transformed into an idyllic version of an old fashioned, walkable neighborhood -- complete with green housing options, a lovely lake...

a fabulous children's museum called the Thinkery...

and an old airplane hangar/community pavilion, where a nice little farmers' market is held each weekend.

Can you imagine being the mother of small children, and having all that within walking distance to your home? You wouldn't believe all that was available at that little farmers market.

Alas, the only thing I didn't find much of was, well, vegetables! Unless you were looking for okra. That, they had!

Which is why I ended up having to stop by HEB on the way home to get what I needed for our dinner -- a meal I had seen demonstrated in Junelle Jacobsen's Farmers' Market art class, and which I was dying to reproduce, even though their seasons in Idaho or Minnesota don't exactly gibe with ours down here in Texas.

Roasted fresh asparagus and grilled romaine, both drizzled with a homemade vinaigrette,  fresh corn that was microwaved in its husk (which then easily slipped away, taking all those pesky silks with it) then finished off on the grill, and grilled trout topped with fresh cherry salsa.

Mmm, mmm, mmm, talk about delicious!

Monday, August 4, 2014


I once read a book that was all about the taste of place, or gout de terroir -- being able to tell where something was grown or produced simply by its taste, such as the grapes used in a particular wine. In this book I learned that, to the French, having taste buds that are refined enough to discern these flavors is so very important, they start training their children from a very early age.  How? By serving them real food, for one thing -- three course, made from scratch lunches in school cafeterias, with time enough to relax and enjoy them. Also, by doing little blind taste tests with them, helping them to recognize sensations such as salty, sweet, and sour, and where those flavors are triggered in their mouths. Thus it came as no big surprise to me that, when we visited some of the wonderful covered markets in Provence, we found many, many families shopping en masse, with all the kids in tow.

School children head to the fish market in Marseilles
What did surprise me was how much these kids actually seemed to enjoy it.

Well, some more than others.
It was almost as if they actually preferred going on these Saturday morning excursions to vegging out on the sofa with some sugary cereal while watching cartoons or playing video games! Even more amazing? I didn't witness one single child having a total meltdown in any of the farmers' markets -- over not being allowed to buy whatever packaged, processed, chemical-laden crap the TV ads had convinced him he really, really needed, and which someone had placed right where he was sure to see it.

Hmmmm...why do you suppose that is?