Monday, August 19, 2019

CALVIN'S BIG ADVENTURE

We only have five weeks left until Goobster's little sister Rowan is due to make her arrival, so we decided it was time to have big brother over for another sleepover with Mimi and Papa. As soon as his mama goes into labor we will pick him up and bring him here to stay for a couple of days, and we want him to see it as just another big adventure, rather than feeling as if he's being ousted from his home to make room for someone new. We'd been making plans for weeks, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans...

One Step Closer To Looking More Like A Preschool Than A Living Room
First we set up the easel Papa surprised me with some months ago. Calvin's really getting into art at home now, so we thought he might be ready for this. He was very excited to see it, spent about five minutes drawing on it, then it was back to the trucks and trains.


One thing that was a huge success was letting him help me "cook" for the first time. We tried making the strawberry and blueberry Ladybug Pops recipe I found in my Giada's Feel Good Food cookbook, and he was one happy little guy!


They DO look like ladybugs!
Of course, he loves building everything from train tracks and trucks to ferris wheels with Papa and his little pal Will.





Things that didn't go quite according to plan? Getting him to sleep alone on the sofa bed in the living room, and his very first "Back to School" shopping adventure with Mimi and Papa. He was not the least bit interested in looking at clothes. He grabbed the first t-shirt he saw with a truck on it, Papa grabbed a Pink Floyd tee for him (just out of principle, he said) and I grabbed a pair of soft black skinny jeans, and then we were off to the book department. Now this kid loves his books, but did he want to shop for one? No way! He did spot a Dora the Explorer video that he was interested in, having just been introduced to the TV show, so we grabbed that. The entire adventure lasted about fifteen minutes. Perhaps it was my fault for choosing a store that also has a toy department. I will know better next time.

On the plus side, for his Mama and Dada at least, what he missed in the way of sleep at our house, he's more than made up for since he's been home. Mimi and Papa are still trying to make up for it as well!

 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

COUSINS, THEY'RE TWO OF A KIND


It seems that daughter Alexis and niece Megan are more alike than we knew. Which is odd, since they haven't even lived in the same state since Lex was about a year old, which means they haven't spent all that much time together. They are both sassy, spunky, a bit quirky, and super creative. And, they both love  mid-century modern design. Lex and I were both drooling with envy when we saw exterior photos of an adorable mid-century house that Megan and her partner Dave were trying to buy. Their offer wasn't the highest, but Meg happens to be a very good writer, and when she sent a heartfelt letter to the previous owner, that sealed the deal.


So here you go Lex, pictures of the interior! As you can see, it was as if Megan had been accumulating furnishings for this particular house her entire life!




The curio cabinet is a new addition. Megan took up taxidermy as a hobby a while back, and needed a place to display her work, and keep it safe from their two new kitties!





As with most of the houses I've seen in Ohio, this one sits on the side of a hill, and has a lower level that opens up to a huge backyard and the nature reserve just beyond it. When heading downstairs to the rumpus room, as we used to call them back in the 50s, you will first be greeted by about 50 more kitties.


You'd be amazed at the variations you will see, when 50 different people paint the very same paint-by-number project!



Know what's really amazing? Unbeknownst to each other, Lex and Meg even drive the same car, in the very same color! One thing I know for certain. Their grandmother Theda, who was quite the spunky creative gal herself, would be mighty proud of them both!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

ACCIDENTAL FRENCH TOURISTS IN OHIO

Just got back from Middletown, Ohio -- setting for the Hillbilly Elegy book and where Ron Howard is now shooting the film version. We were there to visit Hubby's big bro and his family, and on our first day there, the guys did what they always do. They got up early and headed out in search of the manliest, greasiest breakfast they could find, and we wives didn't dare interfere. It's a tradition! Sister-in-law Priscilla is not a morning person, so by the time she was up and moving, the guys were back and ready to head out for a day in Cincinnati. First stop? Findlay Market, reminiscent of the wonderful covered markets you might find in Paris and Provence.


Mike and Prisi were leaning towards grabbing some yummy sausages or salads and going outside to eat, but Hubby and I wheedled a bit and convinced them to try the cute cafe we'd spotted across the street, so we could sit in air conditioned comfort. Turned out to be our best decision of the day!




Apparently Jean Robert has other larger, fancier restaurants around town, but this little cafe specializes in delicious French omelettes, salads and sandwiches made on wonderful French bread -- just what you might crave after a morning shopping at the market!

Then we were off to the Taft Museum of Art, where they just happened to be hosting an exhibit called L'Affichomania -- The Passion for French Posters!


Our last stop before heading off to meet the kids for dinner was at my favorite little gift shop/bakery from our last visit there, French Rendez-Vous. Priscilla had called ahead to reserve some fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate and almond croissants for our breakfast the next day, and we bought a couple of yummy macarons to munch on while we wandered the rooms filled with French antiques and tablecloths from Provence.

The most amazing thing about the day? We did not even plan this French-themed day. It just happened!

Monday, August 5, 2019

LONG TIME NO SEE!

Gee! Guess it's been a while since I posted, huh? Perhaps I should have warned you that we were headed up north to visit Hubby's family in Ohio. However, before we left, he had a little surprise for me. First we drove over to San Antonio and checked into Hotel Valencia -- the same one we stayed in when I won that amazing mega-prize-trip to San Antonio a few years back. They've remodeled since then, and it's even better now! Once we were checked in and spiffed up, we walked a few doors down to a little cafe, midway between our hotel and the infamous Majestic Theater, where John had made dinner reservations. I thought the name sounded familiar, but it wasn't until I headed to the ladies room and saw a framed sketch that I realized this was the same Bella Cafe with the cute little awning that used to be down on the Riverwalk. We tried to go there several times with our best buddies Paula and Tim, but they were always either closed or full. Now they are catering to the theater crowd, and offer a wonderful prix fixe menu on show nights.




From there it was just another block or so down to our ultimate destination, where one of my very favorite bands from our college days happened to be playing. But, even if that band hadn't been playing, it would have been worth the trip just to see the inside of this amazing theater -- a relic of bygone days. One thing we love most about San Antonio is that they seem to lean more towards preserving and protecting their lovely architecture, while Austin has a tendency to raze and replace!





When is the last time you rode in an elevator with an elevator operator in it?






To tell you the truth, when John told me who we were going to see, I was a bit shocked. I didn't even know they were still alive, much less touring!


So, imagine my surprise when the performance was actually so good that it got an audience full of people my age and older (and quite a few young ones too) up out of their seats, singing along and waving their iphone lighters in the air!


Best of all, once the concert was over, we only had a five minute walk back to our hotel, where we got a good night's sleep, a delicious breakfast, then had a very short drive to the airport and our flight out to Ohio!

Does it get any better?

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

LUCKY GYPSY MASH-UP: THE EVENT

It suddenly occurred to me, just this morning, that although I told you about the town and the venue where Lex and I went for our little weekend getaway, I never told you anything about the event itself. DOH!

 
Registration opened up at 1:00 on Saturday, then we all headed over to the big tent for our classes. We started off with a talk about our circles of women, or tribes, and what they mean to us. When it was my turn to talk, I shared the very happy story of how stepping out of my comfort zone and introducing myself to a table of strangers at the first Story Circle Network conference I went to, led me to my circle of Muses who have been my support and inspiration for the last ten years. Before I could stop it, my voice got all quivery, tears were running down my cheeks, and my daughter was beside me, laughing her buns off! However, when it was her turn to share about how much the women of Lucky Star have meant to her, she did the very same thing! From that point on, pretty much everyone who spoke followed suit. Apparently ugly cries are contagious. After that, we were given paper and pencils, and told to doodle whatever words popped into our heads when we thought about our circles and tribes. Then we were asked to use the paints and markers laid out before us to express those words and thoughts in whatever way we chose to. I somehow ended up with this spiraling mandala that has my tribe of one -- my BFF for the last 40 years -- at its center, and works its way out through my familial tribe of sisters, my creative Muses, and on to my universal tribe who are out there fighting to insure that women finally secure their rightful place at the table. I loved the final product so much, it's now hanging on my inspiration board!


Next up was some leather fun, making earrings first, then trying our hands at leather stamping.

Lexi whipped these beauties out in nothing flat! Mine are still unfinished.

After that we had to choose either "glee club" with our favorite Austin singer-songwriter Mandy Rowden, or throwing tomahawks with Kate O'brien.  I, of course, chose singing, but my very pregnant daughter chose this!



So much fun packed into a single afternoon, and just a small sampling of what's in store for you if you ever decide to attend the real, full blown Lucky Star Art Camp in Hunt, Texas, at the magnificent Camp Waldemar! And, just like the real
full blown camp, it wouldn't be Lucky Star if it didn't have fabulous food...








 
followed by some singing 'round the campfire with Mandy. Ya shoulda been there!