Wednesday, June 12, 2019

HELP PLEASE!


 "I read, not because I have no life, but because I wish to live many!" 
Author Unknown

I am bored to tears with all the blogs I've tried reading lately. Back when Hubby first set me up with a blog of my own, I didn't even know what a blog was! So, I went out and read as many as I could find, trying to figure out what made a blog interesting. 

You'd think one would be drawn to blogs, as you are to people, with which you have much in common. However, at least in my case, the opposite seemed to be true. As I think back over all the many, many blogs I have visited over the years, well, I can count on one hand the ones which I became obsessed with -- the ones that grabbed my interest and pulled me into their story, making me so curious that I just had to go back to the very beginning, to see how that story had unfolded.

For that is exactly what they were -- stories! And, just like the books I have enjoyed most over the years, they allowed me to step into someone else's shoes, to experience a life that is nothing like my own at first glance, but in which I always seem to find some commonalities -- things I can relate to.

The first one to grab me was a blog called Orangette, written by food writer/blogger Molly Wizenberg. What grabbed me were her food recipes and her amazing photographs, the stories of her life in Seattle with her wonderful tribe of foodie friends, and the fact that this Seattle girl was about to marry a guy in New Jersey, whom she met through her blog! So, of course, I had to go back and see how that all came down.

Next I discovered a blog called Eyes of Wonder, written by Jewels -- a mother of ten who was living the simple life in New England à la Tasha Tudor . Sadly, she passed away not long ago, and her blog was made private, but you can get a glimpse of what drew me in by checking out these photos of hers on Pinterest.

From there I went on to discover several other blogs about people who chose a life outside of what we "average" people would consider normal in the U.S.A. And, I expect they all had some form of influence on how I ended up living my life. There was one called Down To Earth about an Australian woman who left a well paying but stressful job and learned how to live a simple life on a lot less money, and enjoy it much, much more. Another was called SouleMama, written by a mother of five who moved them from Portland, Maine to a nearby farm, home-schooled them all, wrote a couple of books on The Creative Family, and started Taproot Magazine. Last but not least is a blog called NieNie Dialogues. At the time I discovered it Stephanie had just got out of months in the hospital recovering from a horrific small plane crash involving her, her husband, and another friend who died. She had four small children who no longer recognized their mama (the youngest barely remembered her) and she had been moved from their home in Arizona back to Utah, so their large, close knit Mormon family could help them out during their recovery. They since have had a fifth child, the oldest ones are now teenagers, and her recovery has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Alas, most of these bloggers are no longer writing, though the blogs are still open to the public. But I am bored, and in desperate need of new inspiration! Won't you please, please suggest some other story-blogs that I could wander around and lose myself in?

Monday, June 10, 2019

DYING FOR INDIGO


My daughter never ceases to amaze me. I am forever the student, but not her. She takes one class in something, reads a few articles when she gets home, and next thing you know, she's the guru who's teaching everyone else how to do it! Which is how a couple of the Muses and I, and one of Lexi's good buddies, all ended up having a fun Indigo Shibori Tie-Dye adventure at her house last week.


Using things like rubberbands, popsicle sticks and twine, we twisted and folded our fabrics.



You must stir the dye very slowly and gently, so as not to create any oxygen bubbles.


When we first take them out of the dye and unfold them, there is a lot of green mixed in with the blue, but as soon as it is exposed to the air it starts to oxidize, and the green disappears. Which always makes me sad. I really like that green! Then it's onto the drying rack out in the sun.


Like I said, although Lex and I both took just the one Shibori class at Lucky Star Art Camp, she is miles ahead of me in this. In her research afterwards, she discovered something called stitch resist tie-dying, where you do rows of stitching in your fabric to make patterns, and pull the thread to create shirring, before dipping it into the dye. It sounded tedious to me, but was right up her alley as she loves doing needlework while watching TV. I have never been able to multitask like that.


The results were simply amazing!


A Fabulous Transformation of a Solid Beige Dress Got At A Clothing Swap


For Calvin and Little Sister
Hopefully, we will someday be able to get her to teach another class down here in Wimberley, when the rest of the Muses can attend!


Thursday, June 6, 2019

#1 TOURIST ATTRACTION

Waiting In Line To Get In
Know what the #1 tourist attraction in Porto is? No, it's not any of the castles or cathedrals or monuments. It's the tiny little Lello Bookstore -- the most beautiful bookstore in the world.


Why does one wait in a long line and pay five euros each to get into a tiny little bookstore? Well, not for it's beauty, 'tho that is something to behold.




No, people flock here because a certain author of a certain children's book series used to hang out here, back when it was a nice, quiet little place in which to write, and that amazing staircase inspired her to create the moving staircase at a certain school for young wizards.


There's even a secret room in the basement!


Know what else inspired J.K. Rowling while she lived in Porto?


The black cloaks that all the high school kids wear during their version of "rush", when they are choosing, or being chosen by, a certain house at their school.


Although I loved getting to see this place, I couldn't help but feel sorry for all the local people who used to hang out here, back when it was still the nice quiet little place that J.K. Rowling loved, and they didn't charge you five euros to get in! On the other hand, at least they applied that entry fee to the purchase I made for little Goober Bear.
 

Monday, June 3, 2019

FORTY FOUR YEARS!


Can you believe it? Friday was our 44th wedding anniversary! What made it even better was the fact that this couple right here, who's anniversary is just a couple of weeks from ours, was here to celebrate it with us. They have been here with us, right from the start, sharing in all our adventures. Some good, some not so good, but all better for having them here with us.

From our first meet-up in Bahrain as newlyweds...


through all the parties we threw together in Houston...

Toga! Toga! Toga!
My 30th Birthday Wake
through the celebration of our first Christmas with our two miracle babies and all the family adventures that followed...


 
to sending them off to college, seeing them all married, having to relearn how to have fun without them, and now discovering the joys of grandparenthood...



Paula and Tim have been right there with us, every step of the way.

Actually, we're getting pretty good at this "having fun without the kids" business. Here's hoping we have many more years in which to perfect this talent!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

CASTLES IN THE AIR

On our last day in Lisbon, before moving on to Porto, we took a little side trip to the town of Sintra -- "a fairytale romantic city of castles, monuments, and palatial estates." Our first stop was the ruins of a mountaintop fortress built by the Moors in the 9th century.


The gardens were every bit as amazing as the ruins.

Mounds of Bleeding Heart

It was starting to rain by the time we got to this level, and the stone paths had become quite slippery, so I stopped and got a cup of hot tea instead of climbing to the tippy top. But not my crazy hubby! I think he regretted it later, but at least there were no injuries.



From there a bus took us to Pena Palace, a Romanticist summer retreat for the royal family, which King Ferdinand had built on the site of a monastery that was destroyed in the great earthquake. Well, the bus took us as close as it could get to the palace. Which wasn't actually all that close. Then there was quite a long hike, uphill all the way, in the pouring rain.





Although I was loathe to admit it at the time, it was probably worth having to spend the rest of the day in soggy clothes. Especially when we stumbled upon a delightful place near the train station, where we could have lunch before departing. Half of our group went into the more formal restaurant side, and the rest of us went next door to their wine bar.



All ended up pleased as punch with their choices!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

NEW BITES TO TRY

The first thing on our to-do list last week was a trip to the hearing aid place in San Marcos, since poor Hubby handed one of his hearing aids over to a certain someone for safe keeping whilst in Portugal, and that certain someone managed to lose it! We normally go to Blacks Barbecue whenever we are over there, but since we had gorged on barbecue the day before at Calvin's birthday party, and still had leftovers, I tasked John with finding something new for us to try. He came up with this quaint little Mediterranean cafe called Nostimo.



Pretty tasty, I must say.

The following Friday, when we went back to pick up his two new hearing aids (of course they had discontinued his original models, so we couldn't just replace the one) we were planning to try the latest creation from the dynamic duo who brought San Marcos two kolache shops, Pie Society, and Zeligs.


Unfortunately, they were still in the middle of training their new staff, and wouldn't be open until the following week. We were so sad, since we had been salivating over that curry ever since reading about it in a magazine at the doctors office!

Then, just yesterday, we finally got around to trying Verde's Tacos -- the latest inhabitant of the little creekside joint that sits behind Cypress Falls Event Center here in Wimberley, where our daughter Lex got married.




When it comes to tacos, I guess I'm kind of old school traditional, and feel like I get a lot more for my money at my old stand-by, Mima's. However, if you're looking for atmosphere and a great summer hang out? Well, this place would be hard to beat!