Friday, February 16, 2018


I got a call from our daughter this week, saying "I think it's time to pull out the box of Brio stuff." Apparently they let little Goober watch a few episodes of Thomas the Train and, just like that, he's caught the infamous train bug, and runs around the house yelling "Choo-Choo!"

The next day she called to say they were headed our way for a visit, so I scurried up to the attic to grab the train box. Only then did I discover that, although we have plenty of track, we have almost no "train" at all -- just two tiny flat cars, with no engine or caboose. Tragic! So, I suggested we all have lunch at The Leaning Pear, then head to our wonderful new toy store that recently went in next to them. We hit the jackpot, for they had one of those great little Melissa & Doug play rugs with a train theme, which actually came with a set of train cars which were Brio-track-compatible. Woo-hoo!

I also dug through my book stash and found, not only The Polar Express, but also a great little book called Steam Train, Dream Train, that I didn't even remember having!

Usually, when here, our Goobs hops from one activity to the next, never spending too long on any one thing. But not this time. This time he was focused. In fact, he loved it so, so much that Hubby insisted that he take the new trains and rug home to his house.

So now we're back to having tracks, no train. But, no worry. In the time it took me to text my BFF, saying "He probably sent them home with Calvin so he'd have an excuse to do some online shopping.", that man of mine had already been to the computer and placed orders for "a few little things"!  Well, we all know what that means, right?

Oh, by the way. One funny thing we discovered, while pulling out the track pieces, was that some of them had writing on them. When pieced together, it said this:

Do you think my son was trying to hint that he needed more train stuff? 

Obviously, I never got the message!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Valentine's Day always makes me think of Miss Bobby now -- the little old lady we used to see holding court in her special booth, every time we had breakfast at Cypress Creek Cafe -- and our best Valentine's escapade ever. You can read all about it here.

I feel kinda bad now, that she went to her grave without ever solving that mystery. On the other hand, I'm awfully glad she didn't live to see what happened to her beloved cafe after a recent kitchen fire. I'm pretty sure it would have broken her heart.

It's under new ownership now, coming back into a family that owned it many years ago. The fire debris has been cleared away, and all that remains is the original stone facade. Not sure what the new owners' plans are, but I'm really, really hoping for a good breakfast menu and a cozy booth where I can hold court each morning -- maybe even a windowsill in my booth that I can decorate according to the seasons, just like Miss Bobby always did.

Monday, February 12, 2018


A month or more ago, Adventure Boy told me to block out February 10th on my calendar. "We've got big plans!" he said. After a bit of pestering on my part, he burst out with "We're goin' on a train ride!" Alas, that was all I could get out of him until just a few days ago, when he finally admitted that we'd be driving up to Cedar Park, northwest of Austin, to Austin Steam Train. The only downside was that we needed to be there by 9:30 AM, and it was a pretty long drive at a time when the deer on the road are most active. And, if that weren't bad enough, we woke up to pea soup fog that morning!

Fortunately, we made it there safe and sound, and with time to spare, so we were able to wander around their little gift shop/museum, where most of the employees are volunteers who are just mad about trains -- like Sheldon on Big Bang Theory.


There are several different price ranges, and you are placed in certain cars accordingly. Our first class lounge ticket in the Maurice Beckham section got us tea, water, and mini muffins, but hard-backed chairs to sit in. Next time we will probably opt for traditional, well-cushioned seats, and bring our own beverages.

Is he adorable, or what?
Our destination? Burnet, the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas, via Leander and Bagdad, Short Creek Canyon, Liberty Hill, Bertram and Oatmeal, and the Summit quarry.

We knew a strong cold front was due in later that night, but the weather report that morning said high-60s throughout the day, so we dressed accordingly. Big mistake! By the time we reached Burnet (pronounced Burn It, Durn It!) an icy cold wind was blowing through town, and they had cancelled our staged gunfight due to poor weather conditions. What a bunch of sissy cowboys, right? They had given us a map of downtown, showing all the shops and restaurants, and there were even a couple of shuttles waiting to whisk people to restaurants not on the square, plus a food truck right next to the depot. We usually enjoy wandering around aimlessly, scoping out all the options, but it was just way too cold for that. So, I told John to text his old high school buddy Mark, who lives in that area, to ask what his favorite place is. Next thing we knew, he had pulled up to the curb in front of us, ready to whisk us away to his favorite joint out on the highway, the Bar-B-Q Shak.

Pretty Tasty!
The Courthouse
There aren't just a whole lot of things to see and do around the square, but we did find one shop on Main, called The Napping Mouse -- sort of a gift shop/scrapbooking store -- that got me pretty excited. The whole time we were in Cuba, I kept looking for interesting papers, receipts, ticket stubs -- anything I could use in my art journals and collages -- and never found a thing. Well, I walk into this store, and there is an entire wall of gorgeous papers, draped over dowels -- the kind you could use as gift wrap, to frame, or in art projects. I'm kind of kicking myself for stopping at just these three.

Would love to know the story behind this unusual house near the station.
Although we probably won't be doing this same exact trip again, I'm fairly certain we will be taking a certain little boy on one of the other options, such as the Day with Thomas the Train, the Super Hero Train, or the Polar Express-style Christmas Train, seeing as how "CHOO-CHOO!" is his favorite new thing to say!

P.S. Despite the hard-backed chairs, Hubby managed to snooze pretty much the whole way home!