Monday, June 26, 2017

BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS!

I've just got waaaay too much to read right now, which means there's not much else getting done around here!


I just finished reading Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan -- the third book in his Crazy Rich Asians series -- which I just loved since it takes place in all the wonderful places we used to visit when we live in Indonesia. On the other hand, it made me kind of sad too, as it talks a lot about Singapore and how all the wonderful old shops and neighborhoods that I loved most have been torn down and replaced by skyscrapers. Just like they've been doing here in Austin, come to think of it. It's probably just as well that we never made it back to Singapore in recent years, as I would've just ended up in a major funk if everything I adored about it had disappeared. Still, the books are great.


I'm also reading The Year of Living Danishly, by Helen Russell, which I knew I had to read as soon as I saw a blurb about it in the new e-magazine Simplify. I made sure I bought my own copy, instead of getting it from the library, since I had a feeling I'd be going to town with my hi-liter on this one -- and I was right! If you've ever wondered why Denmark keeps getting voted "The Happiest Nation In The World", this is the book for you!

Then there is the audio book I'm listening to in the car -- an intriguing mystery called Celine, by Peter Heller.

On top of all that, I believe I mentioned that I had pulled out my trusty old copy of The Artist's Way, wanting to give my creative drive a kick in the arse. Unfortunately, that sort of fell by the wayside when a bozo friend (Susan Foster Khoury, I blame you!) saw my post about about all those old journals and agendas -- starting in 1970 when I was just 16 -- that I'd finally made up my mind to get rid of. She insisted that I just had to read my way through them one more time before tossing them out. Talk about falling through a wormhole!


Three have made it to the recycle bin...


only forty-odd more to go!

Obviously, there simply aren't enough hours in the day to support my reading habits, yet alone my art, food, friends and family habits! Good thing I've never required much sleep.

So tell me, what delicious books should I add to my never-ending TBR list?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

THE FINAL TOUCH

At last, the ottomans we needed to complete our living area re-do are back in stock! Luckily I had signed up to be alerted the minute they were available, and they were on my porch within a week.


Think I'm gonna love having the storage space inside them for toys and lap throws and such.



Well, there may be one more little area that needs some TLC.  I think we are about to rework that entire wall with the big mirror and all the pictures on it. Saw something when sis and I were touring those model homes last week, and it got me to thinkin'. I'll be sure and share the results, if we ever get around to implementing it!

Monday, June 19, 2017

'TIS THE SEASON


Finally managed to harvest a handful of good tomatoes from the two plants we have growing in a single container on our balcony. The question is, since there aren't likely to be many more, how best to use them? Caprese salad? Greek salad? Old fashioned tomato sandwiches? Or, what about that luscious tomato pesto tart?

As if that wasn't enough to mull over, we went and stopped at one of those stands selling Fredericksburg peaches that pop up everywhere this time of year. A few had to be eaten straight out of hand, leaning over the porch rail.


If you could smell my house right now, you'd be drooling too!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

VISITORS


My eldest grandchild, Miss Guinness, is here visiting for a couple of weeks, whilst her parents gallivant around Italy and Sudan. Then, shortly after she arrived, these two showed up.

Sister Kathy (aka Gus) And Her Hubby Bud
They didn't know it, but they arrived just in time for son-in-law Nate's birthday, and since Kathy's birthday is later this month, we made it a double celebration at The Leaning Pear...





which was followed by the official Birthday Nap back at the house.


It just isn't a celebration without one.

A while back Lex gave us a refrigerator magnet with their little family's portrait on it. Unfortunately, our refrigerator door is not magnetic, and the only spot I could find for it was on our dishwasher. Turns out that was the absolutely perfect spot for it. Calvin spends most of his time running circles around our house now, and the only thing that makes him pause every time he passes it is this magnet, which he likes to talk to.


Brother-in-law Bud had to leave first thing Monday morning, as he has become a bit of a bridge fanatic since his retirement, and there were classes to take and games to be played! The big surprise, however, was that sister Kathy had decided to stay all week, and isn't flying home until Saturday. First time I've had any one-on-one time with one of my siblings since...well...I can't even remember!

Visiting Model Homes at Kissing Tree in San Marcos
Lunch at Black's Barbecue in San Marcos
Lexi's Daily Workout

Which is why you haven't heard much from me this week. We're just way too busy having fun!


Monday, June 12, 2017

THE TIME IS NOW

Memories are funny things. Although I can tell you exactly what I was wearing on my first football game/dancing date with my hubby (two different tunic top/bell bottom outfits I had made myself - lavender cotton knit for the game, slinky sparkly dark purple for dancing) , and what music he played the first time I went to his place for a study date (Jethro Tull's Aqualung), my brain doesn't work nearly so well when it comes to remembering where I need to be and when on a daily basis. It never has. Which is why, as soon as I started having babysitting jobs, homework assignments and dates to keep track of, I started keeping an agenda or datebook. And, once Hubby and I got really serious about each other, and it looked like I might be marrying him and going off to live in Southeast Asia, I started hanging on to most of them.


They came in pretty handy when I created my Miss Becky Goes Abroad blog as a place to record the stories of all our overseas adventures. And, of course, I often refer to my current one when writing these posts for my Seasonality blog.

Lately, however, they've been weighing on my mind. Every time I opened my cedar chest at the foot of my bed, and had to dig my way through the ever increasing mass of them to find what I needed, they seemed to feel more and more like a burden, less and less like a treasure. Was it really fair for me to leave these for my kids to deal with, along with all the other crap we've accumulated over the years?

Yesterday the kids were here visiting and Alexis, who is growing more and more interested in small house design, asked if we still had our house plans. Yes we do, but where? In the cedar chest, of course, beneath all of those agendas! So, I dug them all out and piled them in the chair in order to reach the plans. Then, something very strange happened. When I started to put them all back, a very strong voice inside of me yelled "NO! Don't do it! The time is now. Just. Let. Go."

And, instead of feeling distressed, as I always thought I would, I'm feeling a huge sense of relief.

Now, if only I knew the best way to dispose of them! Reckon I can put them in my mixed use recycling bin?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

BLAME IT ON EDDIE

 
For some reason, I have never been overly fond of those kids people refer to as "perfect little angels". For one thing, I just don't trust 'em. You can probably blame that on all those hours spent watching Leave It To Beaver as a kid. Oh, how I despised that two-faced worm Eddie Haskell!


Nope, I've always preferred my kiddles with a wee bit of spunk and mischief, lots of personality, and a great sense of humor.




I'd say all signs are favorable for this little monkey!



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

THE HILL COUNTRY'S GERMAN SIDE: PART II

The next morning, as usual, I was up waaaaaay before everyone else. And, thanks to our hotel's breakfast room that serves complimentary breakfasts starting at 6 AM, but where you can help yourself to assorted beverages and warm cookies whenever you like, I was able to grab my book, brew a cup of hot tea, and head out to the courtyard to watch the town come to life -- my favorite way to start the day! About an hour later Mr. Tim came by, on his way out for his morning walk, and not too much later, everyone was up and ready for breakfast. We toyed, very briefly, with the idea of eating the hotel's free breakfast, then laughed and thought "Who are we kidding?" After seeing such yummy offerings as frosted peach muffins, blueberry coffeecake, and ham and cheese croissants next door yesterday, along with all sorts of lattes and mochas, we really had no choice but to head straight back to the Twisted Sisters Bake Shop, right?

By the time we had finished our breakfast, the shops were beginning to open, so we headed down to the west end of Main St. to complete our explorations. When we first moved to the Hill Country there was a new phenomena in Fredericksburg -- a vunderkind named Carol Hicks Bolton who, along with her hubby, had started with one really unique shop featuring antique furnishings made modern and all sorts of unique home accessories, and ended up with five or six different shops, specializing in everything from garden decor to bedding. So, imagine my surprise and disappointment when I couldn't find any of them!

Next we went off to complete a mission assigned to us by Outdoor Woman, when she shared all her helpful tips from their recent trip to Fredericksburg. She said she kept meaning to search this place out, but had never got around to it, so now she was passing the mission on to us.


Mission Accomplished! Have you ever heard of German Chocolate Pie? Neither had I!

After that, it was time to pack up, check out of the hotel, and grab some lunch before heading home. A friend who lives in the area recommended Woerner Warehouse Cafe a while back, but we never seemed to hit it on the right day or time. That day, we finally did it!






And, not only did we get an awesome lunch, but also the answer to my "Whatever happened to Carol Hicks Bolton?" question! For everything is now here, in the area surrounding this wonderful little cafe, and in the huge building next to it.


We had one last mission after that, to get Miss Paula some fresh Fredericksburg peaches, then we were on our way home for a bit more tea-sipping, cigar smoking, and conversation. So much fun packed into just over 24 hours. But, like I said before, you don't have to go far, spend much, or stay long to have a great adventure. All you really need is the right people to share it with!

Monday, June 5, 2017

THE HILL COUNTRY'S GERMAN SIDE

Well, we had yet another funtastic mini-adventure with our BFFs this week. They drove here early Thursday morning, and by 10 or 10:30 we had loaded our stuff into their Highlander and were headed towards Fredericksburg. We stopped in Hye to have lunch at the Hye Market cafe that I told you about not long ago, and they were blown away by the explosion of vineyards and wineries in that area, since last they were there.


As soon as we hit Fredericksburg we checked into the Fredericksburg Inn and Suites and took a gander around. We usually just go for the day since it's so close to Wimberley, and, before we moved here, we always stayed in B&B's or with friends who live in the area. However, Outdoor Woman had stayed at this inn just recently and really liked it, so we decided to give it a try. So glad we did!


For one thing, it was only one block off of Main Street, where all the shops and restaurants are, so we never needed our car at all. Second, though the rooms were spacious, clean and modern, with the special discount they were offering at the time, it was one of the least expensive places we've stayed at in ages. Third, there was the gorgeous property it sat upon, complete with lovely pools, hot tub, patios, and fire pits for us to enjoy -- and believe me, we did!

Our Men, Heading Off To Find Some Mischief
Best of all, though, was the fact that it was right across that bridge from the Twisted Sisters Bakery...


which was right next door to the lovely Jack's 1742  tea parlor, serving my favorite Harney and Sons teas, and delicious French macarons...


which was right next door to a great little cigar shop...


which made our hubbies so very, very happy!

We really lucked out with the weather, too -- no rain, but a nice cloud cover and highs in the 80's, which is unusually moderate for central Texas this time of year. Still, we hadn't covered but half of Main Street before the gorgeous swimming pool back at our hotel started calling our names. Is there a better way to while away a hot afternoon than floatin' and chattin' with your bestest buddies?


Once we were cleaned up again, we headed out to dinner at Otto's German Bistro (also in walking distance), a newish place that's been generating a good bit of buzz. You'll never guess who we ran into while there? The chef and another fellow from Hye Market, where we had lunch! We took that as a very good sign. If you go, be sure to order the Flammkuchen appetizer -- a crispy thin flatbread topped with crème fraiche, gorgonzola, kale, caramelized onions, seasonal greens, bacon lardons, and sherry gastrique.


Not very German, I know, but oh my my, was it ever tasty. Our fellas thought the Wurst Plate was the best, especially when topped with their house-made mustard!


Next we wandered back to a neat bar in a historic building on Main, which the guys had spotted earlier in the day.


Unfortunately, I didn't catch the name, but if you glance through the windows, it should be easy enough to spot.


The little hidden courtyard out back, with the awesome mosaic furniture, was the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine (or soda).


Then, what better way to end the day than gathered around one of the fire pits back at our hotel, sipping hot tea or smoking a cigar, while enjoying the fireflies and the company of lifelong friends?


(to be continued)