Wednesday, January 18, 2017


In any relationship that has lasted as long as ours has, you have your ups and down. You have periods when you are really good at communicating with one another, and you have others where you get complacent, make assumptions, maybe even sweep a few things under the rug -- especially when you have two introverts who avoid confrontation like the plague. So last week, when I took time off from blogging, we sat down and talked. Really talked. I think it's safe to say, there were startling revelations on both sides, as both of us had been making way too many assumptions.

I assumed that, because I was the happiest I'd ever been here in Wimberley, Hubby was too. I assumed that he had finally found his passion in photography, and that he loved spending his evenings down in the man cave, working on his digital photos, framing things, or watching sports or horrible sci-fi movies on his big-ass TV, even though I myself found that part of the house to be kinda creepy at night.

The truth was that, while he loved spending time here on weekends and holidays when we first bought this place, he also loved going back to Houston during the week, where he spent his days sharing his skills with others, hung out with other guys all day every day, and had an unlimited supply of places to explore and restaurants to try. Here in Wimberley he feels isolated, and though he used to love going to classes and programs over at UT, the drive over is getting worse and worse, so he's going less and less often. And, though there were several consulting jobs to keep him busy when he first retired, those have pretty much dried up. Also, he thinks the man cave is kinda creepy at night, and feels even more isolated down there.

He assumed my priorities were still the same as when I first moved up here, and that I could never be this happy anywhere else. He also assumed I actually preferred it when he went and spent his days in Austin, and his evenings down in the man cave, so I could concentrate on my books and art and projects. Wrong! Well, okay, maybe an eensy bit right, but only because of the incessant noise. I explained that if he would just put on his headphones when he wants to watch a loud movie or listen to loud music while I'm trying to write or read, I would be thrilled to have him stay upstairs with me. He was like "Oh. Never thought of that."

As for my priorities, well, a lot has happened in the last ten years. I'm not the same person I was when we first bought this place, and time no longer appears as an endless stretch ahead of us. I sat down to make a new Bucket List, and this is what I realized was most important to me now:

1) Creating memories with my hubby, kids and grandkids

2) Making my life less about stuff -- simplifying

3) Making art and creativity more of a priority

4) Having more adventures with my hubby and with our BFFs

5) Encouraging my hubby to find his tribe, his voice and his passion

So, I'm thinking maybe it's time for the engine and the caboose to trade places once again, right? We're not rushing into anything though, in case you're wondering, and didn't run right out to put a For Sale sign in the front yard. Instead we are taking our time to toy with all the possibilities. Here are a few we've come up with so far:

1) Rent a place in Austin while fixing this place up to sell. Find out if that actually makes Hubby any happier than he is here. If not, move back into our house here, which will finally have every repair done to it that we've been putting off for years.

2) Turn the man cave into a second bedroom, and turn our sunny upstairs master bedroom/studio into one large studio for us both to share.

3) Find some way for Hubby to share his skills here in Wimberley.

What about you? Any others with hubbies who lost their way when they retired? Would love to hear how you dealt with it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Back when our oldest child was just starting high school, we came to a pivotal point in our marriage. Hubby was spending most of his time working overseas, and I was spending way too much time reading books about finding one's authentic self. We ended up with a wonderful marriage counselor who, along with Julia Cameron and her book The Artist's Way, got me into the "morning pages" journaling habit, which turned into a writing habit, which turned into this blog -- a critical tool in figuring out what I really wanted out of life, and in solving #2 below.

If I had a bucket list at the time (I'm sure I did. I always have lists.) it probably went something like this...

1) Find My Tribe

Exploring San Antonio With The Muses
2) Find My Voice

3) Find New Ways to Express my Creativity (thanks to reading The Artist's Way)

4) Learn to Cook and Eat Real Food

Daughter Lexie Helps With Distribution at The Bountiful Sprout
5) Become a Locavore (thanks to reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle)

6) Try Growing Some of My Own Food

The Mexican Hacienda Kitchen Courtyard Cantina Garden Comes To Life
7) Live a More Reasonable Life (thanks to reading A Reasonable Life, by Ferenc Maté and The Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing)

Our Water Catchment System is Installed
8) Become the Woman I Was Always Meant To Be (thanks to reading Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach)

9) Simplify -- Make My Life Less About Stuff and More About Experiences

10) Visit Tuscany (thanks to reading The Hills of Tuscany, also by Ferenc Maté, and Under the Tuscan Sun)

One day our counselor asked me where I imagined myself being ten years on, and I told him about my dreams. I told him I pictured myself living in the Texas Hill Country, doing all of these wonderful things, and that the only thing I had a hard time picturing was my hubby, doing them along with me, since those most definitely were not his dreams!

He then turned to Hubby and said "For more than 25 years Becky has been the caboose to your engine, following wherever you led, doing whatever needed to be done in order to further your dreams, has she not?" "Yes, she has." "So, would you ever be willing to trade places, and become the caboose to her engine?" "Absolutely!"my hubby replied. And he meant it.

Which is how we ended up spending the last ten years here in Wimberley, living out my dreams, and fulfilling all my fantasies. Well, all but that last one.

We kept meaning to do that one, but things kept happening to distract us -- like several trips to the ER; the discovery of river cruises which, unfortunately, do not go to Italy, but do go to Provence, which is just as good; weddings; Sudan; grandbabies; etc. You know how it goes. You also know how much my hubby loves shopping. Especially Christmas shopping. So imagine my surprise when, just the other day, he announces out of the blue that Christmas shopping for each other is no fun anymore since we both have everything we could possibly want or need. "Next year, why don't we just skip buying presents for each other, and plan a trip instead? Like maybe to Tuscany?"

Yes. Yes. YES!