Friday, September 30, 2011

Wimberley, Texas

Louis Dean and I spent a relaxing morning before heading out to Wimberley, Texas. Neither one of us have any sense of direction - we quote the saying about "not finding our way out of a brown paper bag.....with one end OPEN!" So it was not surprising that we have driven a lot of miles and spent a lot of time LOST!

The scenery we passed was so pretty, though!

We were trying to find the Ghost Town his sister in law had taken them to see years and years ago. She lived on a ranch in Wimberley at that time. We drove one way and another and miles and miles further. We FINALLY found it and - of course - it was closed! Open only on Saturday.

However, it had a lovely spot for a picnic and we were the ONLY ones there! Lucy loved being able to run around FREE and WITHOUT her leash!!

The Wimberley area abounds with scenic country roads.

It is amazing how tired you can get even in beautiful country settings!

We are back in the motel room resting up for this evening. Amber and Mike will be arriving soon. Today is their 5th wedding anniversary. We are going to hit up the book store and load up on all things 'Texas State.' Drinks and burgers at The Tap Room where we will gather with others........including a young friend I have know since he was a VERY young child!

But for now - before I do anything else - I am off to walk Lucy! AGAIN! We have walked a lot this trip but we have enjoyed having Lucy with us and I think she has had a good time, too!  Besides, WALKING is a GOOD thing!!

"In every walk with nature one receives
 far more than he seeks."

John Muir

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fun in Gruene, Texas!

Louis Dean and I were on the road heading SOUTH by 4:30 this morning! I LOVE traveling with this man! I sit in the passenger seat beside him until we are safely out of town and heading in the right direction. THEN I crawl (and I do mean CRAWL!) in to the back seat and snuggle down into the covers and go back to sleep! I woke up when he stopped at a rest area - went BACK to sleep - and before I knew it we were HERE!!

Breakfast at IHOP before checking into our motel room. Good news! Even though it was early - our room was available. We checked in and Louis Dean was able to take a little nap before we drove the few miles more to Gruene, Texas!

I LOVE this little town!! SO cute and quaint and PRETTY!!
We last visited here when Amber graduated from Texas State five years ago.
I have been here several times over the past 25 years but each time is as special as the last!

Everything is so quaint and picturesque!

The day was beautiful! We had a picnic in the park for lunch.
Lucy is with us so we have walked a LOT!!!
She has had a wonderful experience so far.......prancing around in new areas......smelling all these different smells.....she is loving it!

All the flowers look gorgeous!

Flowers and cactus! Pretty!

He has enjoyed bringing his beloved Dodge 3500 Diesel WHITE truck!
We brought chairs, ice chest, a guitar, baskets, tools, Lucy - complete with kennel -
you name it - we packed it and brought it with us!!

Wonder if I can talk Louis Dean into letting me take home a table and chairs like this one at The Grapevine? I'm sure we have ROOM in that big old truck!!

We did a bit of shopping in the many and varied shops in Gruene.
I HAD to buy this box of......

.....made in Texas! Who ELSE would make this??

I would NOT let LD buy a Hillbilly "BRIEF" case!!

There were ALL kinds of interesting things there. I only bought  the candy!

After we finished browsing the shops we strolled over to Gruene Hall......the oldest dance hall in Texas.
Awesome history in this place. Over the years people have carved their initials into the table tops.....and legs and SIDES of the tables!

As we sat at the table sipping our drinks we noticed the weather was changing!

The sky grew dark and the wind whipped up.
The old screen doors were literally 'swinging in the wind.'

I had one last shop I wanted to visit and it was just a few steps down from Gruene Hall.....the wind had let up so we went for it!

Then all of a sudden - the wind was BACK!!

Then came the lightning and thunder and we were back in the truck when the rain started!

We made it back to San Marcos where we AGAIN took Lucy on a good walk after the rain was over! She has been such a GOOD dog!

We ended our day by eating dinner at Herbert's Taco Hut.
This is a local 'hole in the wall' recommended to me by a young man whom I have known since he was four years old. Mac goes to college in San Marcos now and he knows good Mexican food! After dinner we walked some more down by the river.

I love this college town and I love the vibe and energy from the young people here!
I would not want to be young again myself......but I sure do enjoy being around those who are!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm a Goodwill Junkie!!

I admit it! Today I was minding my own business.....driving down Beltline Rd....totally intent on getting my errands done.....when..... I heard Goodwill calling my name!
I simply HAD to go in there to see what was waiting for me! So I turned in, parked and marched through the doors.....not in browse mode but in 'show me what you've GOT!' mode.

First stop was the book isle. A reader's type of cookbook - complete with little stories - from Aspen. I doubt I have eaten at the restaurants recipes this book features but I HAVE been to Aspen several times. Good enough reason to buy this $0.99 book!
A novel and devotional at $0.49 each could NOT be left behind!

I hit the jack pot on Americana things! I bought the skirt for the fabric - I can see a table cover come out of this. The Uncle Sam and the wastebasket were just $1.99 each.
I propped these items up in front of a painting I did some years ago and keep up year round in the living room to take the pic.

I grabbed up this shade for $2.99 since it matches one I already have in the dining room....... my lamps don't match but now the shades WILL!

I sash shay-ed by and plucked the Crazy Cat Lady sleep shirt off a rack in passing!
And of course I couldn't pass up a pretty poinsettia when I know good and well I will need it to round out my grouping at Christmas. And just look at that nut!

I will polish this up and fill it with the pecans from our tree!
The dainty wine glasses were my last finds and I was done!
$0.99! I spent less than $30 for EVERYTHING!

So....I admit it! I am a sucker for a good Goodwill!!

Now I am home and have put away all my new little treasures!
We have our bags packed and the truck loaded. Even Lucy's kennel is in the back of the truck. She is at loose ends hanging around...not sure where she should sleep now!
We are off EARLY in the morning heading down Interstate 35 for San Marcos. Amber went to Texas State and we are meeting up with her and some friends for a weekend of rest and relaxation........ and a football game. 

GO, Bob Cats!!!! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I had 'Company' today!

I remember using the phrase 'Company's coming' in the a child and later a busy mom with my children. Long ago we would host Sunday dinners for after church. Those were the 'Summer and Jesse' years. Summer would go around and light all the candles and Jesse, Jr. would help me take food hot and ready from the oven to the table. Those two 'kids' grew up......

and then there were the 'Amber and Ben' years. 19 years from Jesse, Jr to Amber. Three years apart between each sister/brother set! By that time we had begun to host Sunday night get together's.....after church! We would bake an oven full of potatoes and have a full blown 'Potato Bar.'.....or a big pot of soup.....sandwiches....whatever! Then we would clear the table and play round after round of the card game 'Nuts!' It is like Solitaire on steroids!! We would whoosh in straight from church and Amber would help me with the food things and Benjamin would get the ice in the glasses.

All of this was preceded by the words......"Company's coming!"

Well, today I had company!! And it was SO much FUN!!! There seems to be a lot of September birthdays among my close friends so what started as a lunch for my daughter in law's MOTHER (another LINDA!) and me blossomed into including HER delightful daughter in law, Jennifer, and my good friend, Brenda. Stephanie, my very best neighbor in all the world (she knows ALL my secrets!!) popped over. We had a blast!! I had forgotten how much fun a group of ladies can have together!

SINCE 'Company' was coming - I was motivated to clean my whole house (more or less!). Louis Dean made a special batch of his famous chicken salad and he had already baked some pecan bread (the YEAST bread variety!) and when I added some olives (from the HEB olive bar in Houston - bought and brought safely home with me!), sliced cheese and some Italian Dry Salame - well let's just say it made for an easy but delicious meal!

I got up early this morning to bake this poppy seed cake!
It smelled as heavenly as it tasted!

I used the recipe from this tried and true little cookbook I bought back in 1995 at the Ardmore Craft Fair in Ardmore, OK. They have one every November and I am hoping to go this year! GREAT to have this resource at hand to doll up a basic boxed cake mix!

I am not a sherry drinker but I did have a bottle of Irish Creme in the fridge.
Does Irish Creme go BAD, I wonder? It's been in there for AGES!! Smelled OK so I poured it in! Never got around to making the glaze - so we ate it plain.

For extra measure I served an assortment of candies.......notice the divinity bar from Cracker Barrel? This idea came from BJ's blog post over at Sweet Nothings!
I love making divinity at Christmas but you can have it year round at the Cracker Barrel!
I also picked up a bag of 'Teeth and Gums!' These would be great Halloween Treats!
I sent the guests home with a set of their own!

Allow me to demonstrate!!!

It was, indeed, a fun afternoon and I am so grateful for my friends and loved ones.
I am just sorry YOU couldn't make it!
Think of all the fun we would have together!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Makings of a Quilt....

I am knee deep in denim around here! I enjoy 'redeeming' old jeans and whacking them up for quilt squares.

There is something so satisfying in tackling them with my Cutco scissors!
I use an old ceramic tile as my template and a black marker to trace around it.
Makes for a good therapy session!

I sew them into strips and then sew the strips together.
I am so NOT a perfectionist! If it is CLOSE - it COUNTS!

I am making this full size quilt for my son in law's brother. He is a graduate of A & M University....
TWO years ago!! It takes me awhile to get around to some things!
I have just joined the Quilting Ministry at Fellowship Church so I figured I need to wind up some projects in order to start more! I have another recent college graduate as well as a step son to make a quilt for.
Today I finished the top to this one! Now to sandwich it together with the batting and maroon sheet I am using as a backing. This is a 'MAN' quilt as I used sturdy pieces from men's work jeans for the most part.

I have been busy today keeping everything from the sewing machine to the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer HUMMING! I had a bit of 'Damage Control' to do today after being gone all weekend and Louis Dean being 'HOME ALONE.' He milked it for all it was being gone. He baked bread and cooked and totally enjoyed himself! However, he was ready for me to come home. Makes me feel good. Even Lucy and Maggie missed me!
It is always a good thing to be wanted!

"Finished is way better than perfect!"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Heading HOME!

After spending a wonderful weekend with Amber - I am about to head home! I have to admit, I am missing Louis Dean! It is always nice to go away but then just as nice to come home!

This has been my 'home away from home'......Amber's super comfy guest room!

She decorated it in a relaxing beach theme...and relaxing it IS!

I love the shelves along the top of the room. She has beach motif things all around!

Her guest bath is even decorated with a nautical theme......and I love her 'B' shower curtain!

Well, I am packed up and dressed and ready to hit the Interstate - this time driving North! I have had a wonderful birthday and am looking forward to another year of living the Good Life! And a GOOD life I do have! I praise God for his bounteous blessings on me. I am going HOME!

"A good home must be made, not bought."

Joyce Maynard, "Domestic Affairs"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Perfect Day......

I have had the.perfect.birthday.
Slept late, ate well, had our nails done, and shopped til we dropped!

I held on to something as I tried on these 5 inch stilettos! I have not worn heels in years!!! NEVER like this! I managed to stagger down the isle before taking them off.
It wasn't pretty!

Amber wears this type all the time!!

I have spoken to all four of my children today.

I reminded them that I am - as of today - the very same age as Mrs. Morrison when I first met her. I was 15 years old - and I thought she was so OLD.
She had an everlasting influence on me and all four of my children. Summer was a newborn when we moved into Mrs. Morrison's apartment house. Back then rent was $15 a week. It was 1963.
Mrs. Morrison was an important person in our lives. She was there for me when Jesse, Jr. was born and lived on to impact the lives of Amber and Benjamin some 19 and 21 years later. She was the most amazing person I have ever known. She traveled to Dallas in a covered wagon. The trip from West Texas took two weeks. I loved hearing her tell about her history. I only wish I would have listened more carefully. And I hope she knows how much we all loved her and how much she meant to us. Her own family did not realize how awesome she was and took her for granted. She was always a part od our lives from the moment we met her and I count it as one of God's best blessings that I knew Mrs. Morrison.
Her name was Hallie and for years she worked at Frito Lay. She retired and ran something akin to a boarding house. I went to church with her when I was young. In later years the kids and I - first Summer and Jesse - then, in turn - Amber and Benjamin- would attend WMU with her on Tuesdays. I think that stands for Womens's Missionary Union. I hope I 'grow up' to be half the woman Mrs. Morrison was!!

We are now finishing up our good day in the comforts of Amber's home.
I have poured my wine and lit my new 'birthday candle'....
lots of good food to nibble on and a movie is now playing - 'Nights in Rodanthe.'
Life is good and I am grateful!

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
 ~Robert Byrne

Friday, September 23, 2011


This is my birthday weekend and I am all about RELAXING!!

I loaded up and headed south on Interstate 45......

First stop was all about PUMPKIN!!
As in scone AND latte!

I jammed out  to Creedence Clearwater Revival as I drove down the highway!
Then I tuned in to FM 97.1  'Country Legends'......
Before I knew it I was HERE!!!

Amber had a delicious lunch all ready! Homemade Tuscan soup with big hunks of croutons! Topped with shredded Mozzarella cheese - it was totally YUM!!!
She also served a wild berry iced tea that was out of this world!

The perfect beginning to my birthday weekend doing all GIRLY things!
Shopping, manicures, SHOPPING, sipping wine, reading, decorating,
watching movies, playing with my grand dogs!

Speaking of my grand Reese!
Amber found her (part Chow and who knows what all!) in her neighborhood last week. Someone had dumped her out and left her.
She is adorable!!! SO sweet and she completely won Amber's heart!
She is now officially one of the family!  She even has a nickname - Reese's Pieces!
I took her for a walk this evening and she has pranced and danced all over the neighborhood! I think she is so happy to have a real HOME where she belongs!
She gets along great with Shiner Whiner and Jersey Girl ......and SHE is Reese's PIECES!! Just the color of chocolate and peanut butter!

While walking I spied some dried crepe myrtle branches someone had trimmed back.....
I can see these spray painted and high lighted with some metallic paint.
So I gathered a bouquet's worth!
Will go nicely with the sticks and twigs I have been gathering for a fall centerpiece!

Amber is into her fall decorating mode.
The thing I noticed when posting this photo is her right foot.
She was a synchronized swimmer for 11 years and I swear her foot stays in 'ballet pose!' I guess it feels natural after all those hours upon hours of practice!

Speaking of Amber....

.....while I am sitting here with a nice glass of wine and playing on my blog....

....SHE is cooking us up a scrumptious dinner!
Seldom does she use an actual RECIPE! Amber picks up an idea and then runs with it - coming up with unique and delicious meals!
Ingredients: Spanish Rice, Gouda cheese, onions, turkey sausage, garlic....
all cooked up and then stuffed into roasted Poblano peppers!

 Her Eggplant/Zucchini Bake......

will top slices of grilled polenta!
(I have never had polenta before...)

Amber is a big believer in using FRESH ingredients and leans toward filling but HEALTHY menus! 

The food is smelling SO good and my wine glass has slowly emptied.
I am thinking it is just about time for dinner!!!