Friday, July 14, 2017


We had an awesome day with our daughter and Little Goober on Wednesday. Someone very sweet gave them a family membership to Thinkery for his first birthday, and Lexi invited us to go along with them. We've been wanting to check it out since we first heard about it, but they do not allow unaccompanied adults, which is probably a good thing. As it turns out, with that family pass, Mima and Papa John got in free too. Woohoo!

The place was jam-packed, it being the end of summer -- when it's 100 degrees out and frazzled moms have run out of ideas for entertaining their kids -- so we squeezed our way past all the mobs around the big kid stuff and headed straight for the room designed just for those 30 months and younger. Unfortunately, they do allow older siblings to come in with them, and we had to watch Calvin like a hawk, to keep him from being knocked over or trampled. It will probably be much more relaxing when school is back in session.  He didn't seem to mind the tumbles one bit though...

as long as no one tried to take that purple onion away, that is.

As you can see, the whole place has a veggie garden theme going.  There were even veggies he could pick...

and special portholes where he could glimpse what was going on underground or inside trees!

Afterwards we walked just a few doors down to have lunch at a new place called J.T. Youngblood's. Only it's not really new.

If any of you grew up in the Dallas area back in the 50s and 60s, you probably have many fond memories of going to Youngblood's for Sunday dinner.  Apparently the current owner grew up doing just that, later bought the rights to their secret fried chicken recipe, and has now opened this place in Austin. Of course, the interior is now very hip and cool, and many of the sides have been updated for modern tastes, but the delicious chicken is still served with yeasty handmade rolls, a plastic bearful of Youngblood's honey, and some old-fashioned bread and butter pickles.

They even have Dr. Pepper floats and root beer in a frozen glass!

Not to mention the handy takeout window with reserved parking spots for pickup.

Afterwards Hubby needed to make a quick stop at the best camera store ever. While he was in there, Lex, Goobs and I went next door to the best children's shoe store ever. Then we all met back up at the best toy store ever, which happened to be next to that.

It was a very good day!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


My hubby keeps pestering me to decide where we should go on our next travel adventure. We had talked about Tuscany -- about renting a villa and staying in one spot for at least a couple of weeks, and just taking side trips out from there. The only downside would be that it requires renting a car and having to drive in a foreign country. We've done it before but, at our age, it doesn't really excite me. One of the couples staying at our hotel in San Miguel had been doing just that, and ended up being in a bad wreck which left them totally traumatized. Not my idea of a great vacation.

Then, just a few days ago, we got a couple of catalogs from Viking River and Ocean cruises -- a weekly occurrence since our one river cruise six years ago. I found myself thinking "Hmmmm, maybe we should just consider doing one of these again. It was ever so easy, letting them handle all the grunt work for us, and all we had to do was show up!" So, instead of taking these catalogs straight to the recycle bin as I usually do, I sat down and started flipping through them. What about this river cruise from Budapest to Bucharest? Or maybe the one in Portugal? We've never been to any of those places. Ooh! Ooh! Or what about this ocean cruise along the Mediterranean coast?

When I really took a closer look at the details, however, it all came back to me. The one tragic flaw in all their itineraries. The fact that, no matter where they go, by ocean or by river, you really only get one day in each city.

One day to absorb an entire city -- to capture the feel of a place and it's people. One day to figure out how they live and what they love.

We've done it many times before, but I suddenly realized that I just can't do it again. Not after our most recent adventures, where we got to spend an entire week each in Khartoum, Barcelona, and San Miguel de Allende (twice!). I guess we're spoiled now for any other form of travel, for though we still left those places feeling like we'd barely scratched the surface, they left an indelible mark on us and blessed us with memories to last a lifetime.  All those other cities we speed-traveled through? Pretty much a blur to us now. Never again.

As if I needed it, Synchronicity dropped by this week to strengthen my resolve. As you know, I've been going back through all my old journals before tossing them out, and just this week I reached the one where Hubby quit his job working offshore in Bahrain, and we took a whole month to travel through Europe on our way home.

All Aboard!
Seven countries. Ten cities. All in less than 30 days, with about a third of that time taken up with getting transported from one place to another, then trying to find a place to stay based on advice from our tattered copy of Europe On Ten Dollars A Day.

Wouldn't have missed it for the world, but...

No. Never again!

Monday, July 10, 2017


When it comes to art, you'd think my favorite part would be the making of it, right? The painting or the drawing or the tearing or the gluing. But for me, it's none of the above. It's the admiring. I finally figured this out recently when I was starting a new project in my travel journal.

I work on one color at a time, tearing up bits of my hand-painted papers, then gluing them onto the rough painting I have done in the journal, as if they were bits of mosaic. To be perfectly honest, as much as I love the results, the gluing gets kinda tedious after awhile, so I can only do it in short spurts.

But, what I really, really love are those points in the process where I'm switching to a new color, and I pull out everything I have in that hue and fan them out around me.

Then I just sit there. Admiring them.

The same was true when I was a seamstress and then a quilter, and spent more time collecting fabrics and arranging them by color than I actually did sewing.

Or when I learned to knit and started collecting yarn.

Or when I took up gardening and spent most of my time wandering the aisles of garden centers, adding and subtracting plants from my cart until I had a color blend that made me smile.

It kicked in BIG time when I discovered on-ling art workshops, and began collecting art supplies. Is there anything more fun than buying new paints, inks, or crayons, then reworking your shelves to make room, and sitting back to admire the results? Or is it just me?

Alas, I fear I am no artist. I am actually a color-collector!

Not long ago I stumbled across this little video about the Forbes Pigment Collection, housed in the Harvard Art Museum. Then I realized it was some lucky someone's job to organize and display those 2500 pigment samples.

Talk about a missed calling!