Friday, April 22, 2016


I got my second "Love Note" in the mail this week -- the one based on the "Today is the Day" prompt -- from pen pal Sarah.

Then it was time to send her my third and final Love Note. The theme for this last one? The Key to Happiness! I didn't even need to take a contemplative walk to figure that one out. The answer popped right into my head! I did, however, need a helping hand when it came to the artwork. If you recall, we had a wedding to deal with this week, and not only was I too pooped to pop afterwards, the creative juices just weren't aflowin'! I did, however, have a nice little packet of coloring book post cards, based on Balinese art, that I'd never got around to using. No time like the present, right?

I thank my lucky stars every day that my tribe, whom you know as The Muses, found and adopted me almost immediately upon my arrival here. They truly have been the key to my happiness here in Wimberely!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


OK, maybe a few things went wrong on the day of the wedding. For instance, Lex and I showed up a little early to decorate the tables. All we needed to do was throw on a few tablecloths, and set out some votives and a bud vase on each table. Easy Peasy, right? Wrong! I know they told us we would get a certain number of tables and chairs, and that we'd have to move those chairs from the overlook area to the covered pavilion once the ceremony was over. But no one seems to recall being told that we'd have to set up and break down all those tables ourselves. Thank goodness Areej sent her brother and cousin over early to lend a hand wherever needed!

Amjad hangs pouffy pom poms standing on a rickety rocking chair, as our host claimed they had no step ladders for our use. Thank goodness he didn't break a leg, or worse!
Even so, we were still running a bit behind schedule.  Then we discovered that we had the beautiful purple cut-glass votive holders for each table, but no candles to go in them, and nothing to light them with! We sent Hubby in search of those. Next the bartender arrived with plenty of beverages, but no cups or flutes to serve them in! One of the groomsmen went off in search of those. Last but not least, there was the weather situation. So far the predicted rainstorms had held off, but as soon as we started filling all the bud vases with water and tulips, the sky darkened and the wind kicked up, knocking vases over and spilling water all over our beautiful plum colored tablecloths and burlap runners with matching lace.

Friend and Muse Julie (aka Pouring Paint Woman) arrives, sporting a hat fit for a Royal Wedding!
Plus, when the first guests began to trickle in, the bride was still getting dressed and her father had not yet arrived. Believe it or not, that ended up saving the day!

For, had we started the ceremony right on time, the bride, groom and all the guests would have got drenched! Instead, the guests, who had been milling around near the pavilion, simply headed there for cover, and the bride never knew what happened! By the time she was ready, the rain had stopped, her father and all our errand runners had arrived, and our good friends had grabbed towels and dried off all the chairs.

Miss Gabby
Check out that gorgeous bouquet!

Poor Lexi, who is expecting (in case you didn't notice), had very swollen feet before it was over with, but at least she didn't go into labor in the middle of it all! She did, however, burst into tears as soon as she saw her little brother's lip quiver, and the floodgates stayed open throughout the rest of the ceremony. She blames it on pregnancy hormones, but we all know how much she adores her little bro!

The rain held off until the very last moment, creating an epic photo-op when the Maid-of-Honor and Best Man, by mere chance, simultaneously swooshed open two clear umbrellas, to protect the bride and groom, as captured in this wonderful wedding-gift-sketch made by their friend Holly.

So, yeah, there were a few mishaps. However, there's no denying that it all came together beautifully in the end!

P.S. I'm sad/happy to say that I stopped taking pictures once the guests began arriving, and wouldn't even have these few had I not stolen them from Areej's cousin, who posted them on Facebook. Hopefully the photographer's photos will come in before too long, and I can post some from the reception.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Like I said, no wedding ever goes off without a hitch, right? Our weekend started off with a bang when, just as we were pulling into Austin Friday afternoon, Hubby realized he'd left all of his meds at home. Definitely not a good thing. He thought he could do without them until Saturday afternoon, when he was planning to run back to Wimberley to pick up all the wine and change into his wedding attire. I didn't agree, so we went back early Saturday morning, planning to be back in plenty of time to meet all my relatives for Thai food at lunchtime. We decided to just grab his wedding clothes and bring them back with us. We were halfway back to Austin when Hubby suddenly said "Uh-Oh!" I really, really hate it when he says that. "My shirt! I don't have my shirt!" So back to Wimberley we went. Fortunately, my siblings were just finishing up their appetizers by the time we made it to the restaurant.

When we were heading back to our room at the hotel, I passed Areej in the hallway, talking on the phone and looking a little bit stressed. I set my stuff down in our room, and went back to check on her. "Anything I can do to help?" "Hmmm, maybe you could consult on the bouquets? We have a few questions." When I stepped into the room that she and her three bridesmaids were sharing, she led me to the the bathroom, where I found these:

Apparently, they had picked up all of these gorgeous fresh flowers at the wholesale market just that morning, and they now needed to be made into bouquets for Areej and all of her attendants, but they weren't quite sure how to get started! And, yes, I did do some seasonal work for a florist back in the day, but I never, ever, arranged flowers. All I did was take Valentines orders over the phone, and decorate houses for Christmas! Thankfully, I have planted lots of container gardens over the years, and the golden rule for those is to have "Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers".  Sooo, I held my hands out and suggested they put something tall and bold in the middle. Then we added a mix of medium-sized flowers around that and, finally, encircled it all with baby's breath and things that spilled out over the edges. What we ended up with was not bad. Not bad at all! Best of all, the bride finally had a happy smile on her face, and felt confident that they could do something similar for each of the bridesmaids. I then headed off to get dressed, since I was supposed to meet Lex at the venue early, to decorate all the tables. Areej promised to send her brother and cousin over early as well, in case we needed any help.

Thank heavens she did for, once we arrived, well, that's when things really got interesting!

Monday, April 18, 2016


Well, we're home from Austin's and Areej's final wedding -- the Hill Country wedding -- and we're thanking our lucky stars for such a wonderful and meaningful culmination to their union. I don't think you could say everything came off without a hitch (can you ever?) but there's no denying that it all came together beautifully in the end.

The sun was still shining when we showed up at the venue on Friday for our rehearsal, so at least those in the wedding party got to see it in all it's glory.

And yes, son-in-law Nate did wear his Halloween costume to the rehearsal dinner, where he would be meeting most of Areej's relatives for the first time.

We would expect nothing less from him, right?

Austin and two best friends from high school. Actually, he met Kevin, the one with the beard, in kindergarten - in Indonesia!
The rehearsal was followed by dinner at Trudy's, just a few minutes down the highway from the wedding venue.

The Best Man and his family, whom Austin roomed with all four years at Texas A&M
Can you tell the two on the left are closely related to Lex and me?
Areej's father meets the parents of Austin's kindergarten-in-Indonesia best buddy.
Areej's cousin Linda and youngest brother Amjad with Grumpy Nate
Above you see the pose Nate always strikes when he sees me coming with my camera. However, below is what you get when you are a wiley mama, who pretends to walk away, then whips around to snap a second  photo. Check out those dimples!

Most of us ended up at the same hotel afterwards, and though Hubby and I fell into bed pretty early, rumor has it that more than a few partied on through the night! (to be continued...)