Saturday, January 17, 2015


Hubby and I do not drink coffee. For some reason, we just never acquired a taste for it. Kind of odd, when you think about it, since we each grew up in households where both parents loved it. Nope, we're tea people. Which is why our drawers and cabinets are filled with stuff like this...

and this...

and this.

Our daughter Lex is a tea person as well, and that is why she and I are celebrating her birthday with the High Tea at Full English today, and were so excited to hear that this was coming to Austin. We also enjoyed attending several episodes of this at the Lakeline Alamo Drafthouse. My boss in Bahrain once told me that I could not really be American, if I did not like coffee. Which makes it even odder still that our Lexi managed to marry into a whole family of American tea people!

Strangest of all, however, is the fact that, despite being surrounded by all this tea accoutrement his entire life, our son Austin turned out to be a coffee person. And not just a latte-lovin' pseudo coffee person either. He's the kind who loves everything from shots of espresso, to cups of freshly ground French-pressed café, and even Turkish coffee -- the kind that is so strong and thick it can stand on its own!

Which is turning out to be a good thing, since his fiancé Areej comes from a very long line of coffee people. Young Austin was most appreciative when her aunt went to the trouble to roast and grind her own coffee beans, then blend them with a variety of aromatic spices, in order to brew the perfect cup of Sudanese coffee just for him.

Here's to finding not only your soulmate, but also your true beveragemate!

Friday, January 16, 2015


Hallelujah! We finally got the proofs from Lexi's wedding photographer, and though I think I'm getting a little photo album of some sort as part of their package, I couldn't resist ordering a few from the reception right away, to share with you guys. The candid shots I shared with you earlier just didn't do this place justice.

Many of the venues they visited in the Austin area had great outdoor spaces, but their only option for inclement weather was to set up a tent. This place had so many different spaces, both indoors and out, that we were covered for whatever nature threw at us -- a good thing to know, if you're planning an event in Texas in early November.

At the top of my list of things I loved about this venue was that it was right here in Wimberley, it was reasonably priced, and that it had lodging on site for the entire wedding party, plus a fabulous little stone casita for the bride and groom. Basically, it was like a 3-day slumber party for everyone involved!

We began with a sunset ceremony down on the shores of Cypress Creek, then moved up to the outside terrace, complete with fire pit, bar, and twinkle lights galore.

Groomsmen Will Be Groomsmen
From there we moved indoors to the main "ballroom" I suppose you'd call it, though it seemed much too cozy and welcoming for that title.

Outside, Looking In
Cutting the Bride's Cake

Nate's little niece was so fascinated and curious about everything that went on, especially when it came to the application of those temporary tattoos!

This was one of Lexi's best ideas -- a kids' table filled with fun things to keep them entertained!

After cake and hor d'oeuvres we moved on to the ultimate destination -- the room that inspired the whole "Speakeasy" theme...

and from there, onto the dance floor.

The Bride and Groom demonstrate how to "cut a rug."
Nate's Parents Take to the Floor
In fact, this venue fit the theme so perfectly, it was almost as if we had been transported into one of those old black & white films from the roaring twenties!

Momma weeps in the background as Daddy dances with his baby girl one last time.
But, it wasn't just the facility that made this wedding so, so special. It was the family who owns it. The ones who bent over backwards and went way beyond the call of duty to make this whole process as pleasant as possible for us all.

That, and the fact that we encouraged Alexis and Nate to have the kind of wedding they really wanted, instead of the one which everyone has come to expect, but which evolved primarily to make more $$$ for those in the wedding industry.

I think they both got the wedding of their dreams. Me? Well, I just had to laugh when people kept asking me if I was getting stressed out or ready to have a melt-down yet. To tell you the truth, all I had to do was sit back, and enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


If I had to pick one thing in my house that I love the most, it would probably be the drafting table that sits in the corner of our bedroom. When I went back to school in my late forties to study horticulture, my primary goal was just to make our own garden the best that it could be -- maybe even learn a bit about propagation and find work at a greenhouse or botanical garden somewhere. Perfect job for an introvert, right? But, somewhere along the way, I discovered that I had a knack for design. Not only that, I was pretty darn good at helping the garden owners to visualize my plans and get excited about them, and so my path veered off in a different direction. It wasn't until my hubby surprised me with this drafting table, however, that I realized just how proud and supportive he was of this new-found talent. When I segued from that into visual merchandising at a garden center, it became the perfect place to plan my displays and seasonal change-outs.

I seriously thought about getting rid of it when we moved to the Hill Country and downsized to this little house, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. So, it went up into the attic for a few years. I offered it to my daughter when she took up interior design, but she just laughed, saying "Mom, ever heard of autocad? No one designs by hand anymore!" All I can say is, thank heavens for autocad, for if she had taken me up on my offer, I might never have set up this little art studio in the (normally) sun-filled corner of my tree-top aerie bedroom. Not so sunny today, thanks to yet another foggy morning. Hence the yellow tinge of artificial lighting in my photos.

Anywho, I got a bit distracted by all of my holiday projects, but now the drawing board has been cleared off, and I'm ready to get back to working my way through the projects in this wonderful book.

The neatest thing is that, while I was being distracted by the holidays, my sister ordered this very same book for herself. Now we will be working through the projects in tandem, and can exchange info and ideas! Well, at least until The Muses have their encaustic play-day in a couple of weeks, since there's a pretty good chance that might lead me off down yet another rabbit hole.

P.S. If you live in the Wimberley area, and are curious about encaustic painting, you need to get yourself over to Linda Allen's Fine Foods to see their latest art installation. It includes quite a few encaustic paintings by local artist Rae Dollard, and they are simply amazing!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I must apologize for the sparsity of new posts coming from Seasonality of late. I blame it on the weather, which seems to be stuck in an endless loop of gray, dreary days, including several with pea soup fog. Not that I'm complaining, really. It was the perfect opportunity for getting Christmas put away, reorganizing several closets and cabinets, and getting my art table cleared off and ready for new projects. Plus I gave myself a snow day, even though it never actually snowed, and stayed in my jammies one entire day, plus half the next! Which is how I've managed to finish almost all four books in the great little young adult series I found under the tree this Christmas. If you liked Hunger Games and Divergent, you'll love Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series.

No, my only real complaint is that this weather makes for the world's suckiest photos, both indoors and out. And without good photos, well, it's kinda hard to have a good blog post, ya know what I mean?

Sunday, January 11, 2015


As you know, we just finished up with one child's wedding, and now we're on to the next one!  Well, make that next two. Austin and Areej have already set a date in early October, booked a country venue between Dripping Springs and Austin, and started interviewing caterers (they are leaning towards Middle Eastern food), so I was feeling pretty laid back about it all. But then Areej got word through a third party that her maternal relatives, who all still live in Sudan, were a bit distraught over there not being a traditional Sudanese wedding first. Soooo, it was decided that there would be two weddings -- one in Khartoum this summer, followed by one here in Texas in October. With that bit of news, my anxiety level zoomed from negligible to off the chart. And, it's not just my hubby's health issues, the difficulty of air travel in general, much less traveling to a place that even Lonely Planet is warning people away from, and obtaining all the necessary visas and immunizations. No, it's mostly the fact that I love my daughter-in-law to be, and want to be the best guest possible, not doing anything to embarrass or horrify her and her family.

You see, I'm a firm believer in that old adage "when in Rome, do as the Romans do." But, one must always remember that it's a two-way street. It doesn't just apply to visitors and immigrants coming here to the U.S. You can't demand that everyone here try to speak English, and adapt to our customs, if you're not willing to put forth that same effort when you travel abroad. Believe it or not, the American way of doing things isn't the only way, or even always the best way. It never ceases to amaze me how many Americans claim that "French people are so rude!", when they've never been anything but friendly and helpful to us. On our last trip there, however, it finally clicked.  On more than one occasion I saw a belligerent American in a French restaurant getting disgruntled because the food wasn't done the way he was used to back home -- the salad had some "weird" lettuce in it other than iceberg, or they brought him sparkling water instead of flat. To make things worse, "that stupid waiter couldn't even understand plain English!" This person's solution? Just get louder and more obnoxious until the "moron" finally figures out what you want. But it's the waiter who was "rude and haughty", right? In my humble opinion, if you want everything to be just like it is back home, then Just. Stay. Home!

Me, well, I try really, really hard not to be "The Ugly American", which is why I've already started doing research for our trip to Sudan. When I was having lunch with the muses the other day, I was stressing out over what kind of clothes would be appropriate for the trip in general, but most especially for a Sudanese wedding, which can go on for several days.  That's when Fiber Woman asked "why don't you just google 'what to wear to a Sudanese wedding?'" Hmmmm, why didn't I think of that? Well, I did that just this morning, and not only did I find a plethora of photos, I also found myself checking the source of each photo, which led me to at least a dozen blogs which might hold helpful information. I already found this one link which had a marvelous description of a traditional Sudanese wedding celebration.

In the meantime, I was killing time just walking around the mall in Austin the other day, waiting for a movie to start, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted these.

It was the luscious colors that grabbed my attention, but when I went over for a closer look, it got me to thinkin'.

What better to cover my bare arms and hair with, in the heat of an African summer, than a whisper-thin scarf/shawl like this? Especially when you consider that I already own a long black sheath dress, almost identical to the one upon which these were displayed!

And, just like that, I'm suddenly breathing just a wee bit easier, feeling a tad less anxious about this whole "adventure." Baby steps, right?

But wait, there's more! On the way home it occurred to me that maybe I should have a special journal for this very special adventure -- not just for a record of what happens once we get there, but also for all my thoughts, worries, and research leading up to the big event. Well, guess what I spotted as soon as I walked into the house, sitting atop a small pile of Christmas gifts that I hadn't yet found a place for?


Ah Synchronicity, how I do love thee!