Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Year

Luke planned a secret getaway for our first anniversary, a trip to the hill country about an hour northeast of SATX.  We stayed at a B&B on Canyon Lake...

View from the B&B

Beckoning seductively

Our room (the Medici suite) had a balcony with a nest of little birds:

Lot of emotion, no?
Into nearby Startzville for a snack:

Many of all of our trips include eating fried chicken.

Hot chicken shots
Feeding the little deer:

Friday night we had pizza (black olives & banana peppers- my half; jalapenos & sausage- his half) and watched Wall Street in bed (aside: our Tempurpedic has ruined every other bed for us.  Fodder for another post).  Saturday in New Braunfels:

New Braunfels Coffee

Phoenix Saloon

Thanks, 2 tarts!
Revelation Decor:  LOVE this shop.  Serious lust for this ombre lacquered dresser.

Ally, owner

Looking forward to buying furniture/accessories from here.

Sunset, back at the B&B:

Saturday night: More pizza from Fox's Pizza Den (there really wasn't a lot around).  Watched Jarhead.  Talked wistfully about the Tempurpedic.

Sunday morning we bid adieu to the Lakehouse B&B as our alter egos, those frisky octagenarians BJ Beardsley and Muffy Dixon-Beardsley:

A place that never fails to elicit a comment, but this time a visit: the less-than-mellifluously named Snake Farm Zoo.

It's full of snakes:

Little crocodiles:


And rather gruesome children's toys.

Home, we crawled in the Tempurpedic, said 'we missed you, T!' and fell asleep at 12:30 in the afternoon.  A fabulous weekend.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Farther Away

Statement: I loved this collection of Jonathan Franzen's essays.

Confession: I skipped the ones about birds, because I'd already tried to read them in the New Yorker and given up.  The man is really into birds.

Holla: He loves Alice Munro, as do I, and you can read that essay here.  Thank you for saying better than I ever could, Mr. Franzen:

Reading Munro puts me in that state of quiet reflection in which I think about my own life: about the decisions I've made, the things I've done and haven't done, the kind of person I am, the prospect of death. She is one of the handful of writers, some living, most dead, whom I have in mind when I say that fiction is my religion. For as long as I'm immersed in a Munro story, I am according to an entirely make-believe character the kind of solemn respect and quiet rooting interest that I accord myself in my better moments as a human being.

But suspense and purity, which are a gift to the reader, present problems for the reviewer. Basically, ''Runaway'' is so good that I don't want to talk about it here. Quotation can't do the book justice, and neither can synopsis. The way to do it justice is to read it.

Another Confession: Maybe I like his essays more than his fiction?  Which is so long.  (p.s.  The Corrections, narrated by Dylan Baker, is a great, stay-in-your-car-in-the-driveway audiobook)

Funny: Spying it out of the corner of his eye, Luke read the title as Fart Her Away.  Entirely different book.

Time to Tackle:  My signed copy of Freedom.  (Getting my book signed after the reading, I told him: St Louis is very proud of you!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reading: The Table Comes First

       The Table Comes First by New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik is a dense, high-fiber, high-protein book - beautifully written, full of esoteric references (unless you are a literary critic, art historian, Francophile), a history lesson, a paean to family meals.
      Unintentionally (I didn't think I was getting into something so weighty), this book served a capstone for all the food-related reading I've been doing over the past year (Ruth Reichl, Mark Bittman, Michael Ruhlman, Michael Pollan, Anthony Bourdain, Cook's Illustrated...)  All are mentioned or praised or dissected.
      Read...digest...enjoy.  Feel blessed to have such a first world problem you have the luxury to ponder the meaning of food or choose food based on your carbon footprint or muse that at one time, the height of wealth was to eat foods from faraway lands (cinnamon, sugar, spices, fruit) and now to eat locally-grown (or self-grown) food is the mark of sophistication and (fascinatingly), a moral stance.

Reviews: The Washington Times, The Guardian, The Economist



Right Here in St Louis

 It's been six months since my last visit to St Louis-- too long!  The occasion was the wedding of my cousin Ben to Ashleigh, a glamorous affair at a speakeasy downtown.  I have a few good pics, but it was dark, and I eagerly await the photos from yet another talented cousin, Jack - art student, videographer, photographer.
 On Friday the groom's side of the family went to the Chinese Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden - beautiful.  In the morning I went to see Mallory at Studio Visage (St Louis - go see Mallory at Studio Visage!) where she scraped and poufed and arranged my hair into a ballerina bun.  Off to Jenny's for Brunch with Friends!

Everett, I accidentally introduced your parents.  You're welcome.

Ron brings his specialty, Oreo truffles!

Mama Ingram made FDSB (freaking delicious sausage bread)

le fruit

le French toast

Q and I
 To laugh with my friends... my heart-cup runneth over.

Jenny and Gracie

Everett and Amanda.  Amanda, why are you wearing a t-shirt?

Amy wants E has a photo accessory

Then Amy and I got her hair done for her graduation dinner, ran downtown, changed, snapped pic and said, Hugs!  See you in September!

The Sister Cat and I


Ashleigh and her mother

The Moores

Jack and my dad

Ashleigh and Ben & M's

Art Deco interior


Elise and Mason

Haley in the photo prop corner
Elise and I

Mmm.  Cupcake.
And then they jetted off to Paris.  So romantic!

Back in WashMO, I was reminded of that French saying:  Without suffering, there is no beauty.

Sunday morning Elise and I joined Amanda/Tom/Everett and Jay/Jackie/Jupiter for Father's Day brunch at Murdoch Perk (never been, can't wait to go during next StL visit).  And then Francis Park, one of my favorite places in the city - I dearly love my old neighborhood of St Louis Hills:

I close with one of the unexpected and delightful readings from the wedding, a poignant passage from the Velveteen Rabbit, so fitting with weekend's theme: the deep goodness of the people who have known you, and loved you, for a long time.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."