Friday, November 28, 2014


I'm always so sad to see autumn end. I just love everything about it, from those unexpected jolts of color madness...

to my walks along the Blue Hole's nature trails...

and preparing a cozy meal, passed down from my father-in-law, for those I love.

This afternoon we head out for one last fall ritual - one that the kids have kept up, but which the hubby and I haven't taken part in for quite some time -- a trip to the Texas Renaissance Festival, where they will be hosting their annual Celtic Christmas Celebration. Now that I think about it, I guess that's what gets me over this hump of sadness each year -- knowing that as soon as I get back from Ren Fest, I will finally have permission to dive head first into Christmas! Which isn't to say that I haven't already set out an ornament or two, burned my favorite candle, and tuned into the Hallmark channel more than a few times -- I'm just saying I don't have to sneak around anymore!

Guess it's time to get some "wintery" photos up on that blog banner, huh?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


A girlfriend and I once traveled to North Carolina in autumn. We were blown away by the brilliant color on one kind of tree which seemed to be in pretty much every single yard. When I asked someone what on earth it was, they looked at me kinda funny, saying "Crape Myrtle. Don't you have that in Texas?" Well, yeah. But ours don't do that! 

It seems I was wrong. Once in a blue moon, if conditions are just right, our crape myrtles will, in fact, erupt in a blaze of glory before dropping their leaves. This year is that year.

Not only for crepe myrtles, but for fall color in general.

Love this cedar elm, which has turned a beautiful celery color, and whose remaining rose-colored seed pods lend it a coral hue.

Down In The Valley

Truly, a fall to remember.

Monday, November 24, 2014


The Gift Shop at Cornelius Nursery on Dairy Ashford
We had so, so much to be grateful for this past weekend -- number one being that we came across this very special couple on a desert island in the Middle East almost 40 years ago, and discovered that the two guys liked each other every bit as much as the two gals did.

Number two is that this couple put so much effort into keeping in touch with us through the years, despite our nomadic lifestyle.

Number three is that a company John did some consulting work for this summer put us up at the Hotel Sorella in Houston's City Centre, and I realized it would be the absolute perfect place to meet up with these particular friends, who both share our love of food, shoppin' and splorin'!

Number four is that the hotel was offering a holiday special, and each couple ended up with a free night there to use at a later date.

Above all else, however, I am grateful that, despite numerous close calls over the past few years, we were all feeling mighty fine this weekend. Which was a very good thing, because this adventure required some stamina!

It began on Friday when both couples hit Houston just in time for lunch at Beck's Prime (mmmm, those char-grilled hickory cheeseburgers), then went next door to Cornelius Nursery, to get in the holiday mood.

After checking into our spacious accommodations overlooking the gaily lit shops and restaurants of City Centre, we set out to explore. Mid-afternoon we stopped for a drink at Yard House which, I suppose, you might call a sports bar, but whose food and ambiance take it up to a whole new level.

Spicy Edamame at Yard House
After getting unpacked and cleaned up, we headed out to a lovely dinner at Brio Tuscan Grille, followed by some nighttime splorin', complete with fabulous window displays which harkened back to my childhood.

Window Scene at Anthropologie

Saturday morning I was up with the birds, so I left the others sleeping and headed out for a walk around the adjoining Town & Country shopping center, which just happened to be home to an Einstein's Bagels cafe. Woohoo! (we don't get good bagels in Wimberley) I also discovered a couple of new shops to come back to later.

A Fun Bakery Called Ooh-La-La!
By the time I got back to the hotel the others were up, so I sipped a nice cup of tea while they enjoyed the complimentary continental breakfast at the hotel. After that the boys and girls went their separate ways -- the guys to a nearby golf shop and Cavenders (where hubby got some snazzy new duds), and the gals set out for some serious shopping. It was ever so fun to look in designer stores like Kendra Scott, but even more fun to discover places like Charming Charlies and Anything Bling, which carried similar stuff that we could actually afford!

We met back up with the boys for an amazing lunch at Straits, where we shared lots of little plates of all my favorite foods from our Indonesian/Singaporean days. If you go, be sure to try those fabulous chicken "lollipops" -- to die for! That afternoon it was getting a bit drizzly, so we decided to head to nearby Memorial City Mall. Being retired, we had sort of forgotten what a mall could be like on a busy Saturday - especially one where lots of stores were hosting "Pre-Black-Friday" sales. Holey Moley! Still, at least Paula and I had fun checking out my department at Dillards -- Reba!

The boys, who were both sporting western duds at that point (Tim talked John into buying a vest and shirt at Cavenders), got a kick out of how many people wanted to know if they actually lived on a ranch. Which is weird. When we first lived in Houston together, back in the late 70's, there were "cowboys" everywhere! Now they cause a commotion? When did that happen?

That evening we enjoyed our free drinks at the hotel's Monalisa Bar (part of our package)...

followed by dinner at Cyclone Anaya's, for old times sake. Back when we were all living in Houston the first time, Paula and Tim once called us up on the spur of the moment and talked us into meeting them at a great little Mexican dive they had just discovered, which was run by a wrestler Tim was familiar with. Hard to believe that "dive" has now morphed into this upscale string of high-end restaurants!

We ended our weekend with Sunday brunch at La Madeleine's, and enough great memories to last a lifetime!

Favorite memories? The look on Paula's face when she tried her first French macaron -- the creme brulee macaron from Sweet! Oh, and this last photo.

This is what I get for asking him to pose!
Gotta love 'im!