Friday, January 25, 2019


Coming across the seeds of this post, in one of my old journals, got me to thinkin' -- about all the changes, modernization and growth that has occurred in our little town since we moved here more than ten years ago, all the small businesses that have folded, and our obsession with online shopping and cheap goods in general. Sometimes we feel like the town we loved is disappearing right before our eyes, but that could just be a sign of old age creeping up on us. Don't all old people say that? Still, one has to wonder...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


One of the three couples in our Tiny Dinner Club has this thing they do. Every year our town's civic club hosts a Spring Fling, where lots of different people volunteer to host a party or a game day or teach a class, at their own expense. Hoards of people sign up online and pay to take part in these activities, then all that money goes to different charitable causes right here in our community. Four years ago our friends Ken and Sherri decided to host a dinner -- an epic, tapas style dinner with five or six courses and wine pairings -- and it was such a huge hit that they've continued doing it, with different menus, each year since. We don't always manage to get a place at the table for that event, since word has spread and the limited seats sell out fast. But, as I said, it pays to know the right people!

Ken, Sherri and daughter Bella do all the cooking, while Sherri's mama hosts the official event at her home, where there is more table space, china and crystal!
Fortunately for us, they like to do a test run and get some feedback before the big event, and the members of our little dinner club get to be the guinea pigs. The theme? A Taste of Texas! Below you see the full lineup, minus the "amuse bouche" starter that I jumped in and wolfed down before I remembered to take a photo. It was a plate with chips, homemade guacamole and a cup of the most amazing queso with shredded beef.

(please forgive me, Ken and Sherri, for not remembering the proper names and ingredients of each course, being too busy wolfing, as mentioned above)

Next came these little risotto-like patties made from grits, topped with grilled and glazed shrimp wrapped in bacon...

followed by all of this!

Daughter Bella's Tomato Basil Soup
A Pheasant Taco that I can't even begin to describe, and the best slaw I ever ate!
A Grilled Pork Thingy And Caramelized Scalloped Potatoes With A Hint Of Fruit Somewhere

Last but certainly not least was a bread pudding that my bread-pudding-hater-husband actually devoured! Why? Because it started with a scratch-made biscuit, so you had a mix of creamy and crunchy, instead of the usual gelatinous gooiness.

We feel certain the "official" meal will be a roaring success, as we could not find a single thing to suggest or change this time. Well, other than maybe just giving them a dab of that queso on the very first course, instead of a cupful, which no one could seem to stop eating, even though we knew we still had five courses to go! Maybe that way they won't have to roll them all out to their cars, as they did us.

Monday, January 21, 2019


The VRBO House In Austin Where Niece and Friends Stayed This Weekend
Our niece Jessica was here in Austin this weekend. She has a group of friends from grad school that formed a really tight bond, and helped one another survive the stress and pressure of it all. They were so determined to keep that bond going, as they all graduated and headed off in different directions, that they made a pact to meet up at least once or twice a year, and have held to that pact for many years now. They take turns choosing the location, and have met up is spots all around the country. Last year they were in D.C. for the epic women's march on the capitol. This time it was Jessica's turn to choose, and she opted for Austin, where they participated in another women's march. They shared the darling little VRBO rental you see above, in the Clarksville area of Austin, which has so many great little cafes and shops within walking distance that they didn't even need a car! We felt honored that she made the effort to connect with us for brunch yesterday, but that's just the kind of gal she is.

When her hubby -- John's nephew Geoff -- first met all of these women as a group, he dubbed them "Voltron". He said they were manageable one-on-one, but when you put all five together, watch out! Personally, I consider that a good thing. When women come together, we are far greater than the sum of our parts, and we can make shit happen!

Which is why, each time Jess and her compadres head out to reunite, they each replace their facebook photo with an image of Voltron.