Waves & Whimsy

One of my favorite things in the whole, wide world is surfing. My skills are nowhere near that of my dad (who’s literally been surfing for decades) or my brother Hunter. But very few things make my heart as thoroughly, joyfully content as getting out in the waves. It’s therapeutic for my soul, in a way not even writing can touch.

And the fact that surfing’s a family affair is the very sweet cherry atop my wave-catching sundae.

During this trip home to Texas, the weather on the Gulf Coast was consistently misty, adding a cool, eerie cast to my dad and my cold-water surf sessions.

The low visibility certainly didn’t keep us from saddling up and riding out to catch some waves with the last slivers of “daylight.”

Now that’s what I call a good family portrait: me, my dad, our boards, and even my dad’s indestructible-beach-and-hunting-lease-tacklin’-carry-it-all van. The only thing missing was Hunter, who’s busy kickin’ butt at college.

Continue reading “Waves & Whimsy”
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For My Husband on Valentine’s Day

Unfortunately, the husband and I had to spend Valentine’s Day apart this year. Nevertheless, he still managed to spoil me from afar with chocolates and TWO bouquets. And knowing his Texas girl is a fanatic for her home state, he even managed to track down a Lone-Star Living bouquet:

True to disorganized form, I wasn’t as good at getting a timely gift into his hands. But for my husband, I offer this Sara Groves song (one of my favorites):

Baby can you help me get undone
The party is over and their hearts were won
There’s a zipper in the back
But I can’t reach it on my own
And I am dying to get out of this so

Baby will you help me get undone

I don’t even remember how I got this on
I started out pretending
Now I don’t recognize myself
And I could use a little help

You have no pretenses
All your walls are fences I can see right through
You have no two faces
You know where our place is and that’s why I need you
Oh baby

Baby will you help me get undone
I don’t even remember how I got this on
I started out pretending
Now I don’t recognize myself
And I could use a little help

Cause I started out pretending
Now I don’t recognize myself
And I could use a little help
Oh baby, oh baby, oh baby
Will you help me get undone

Continue reading “For My Husband on Valentine’s Day”

2019: New Year, New Skills

This holiday season brought a lot of firsts for me, art-wise.

Back in 2015, my brother Jared helped me stumble onto wildlife painting–a passion I didn’t know I had–when he requested a painting of an Alaskan black bear:

Sushi for Dinner, 2015

I should’ve realized I would love wildlife as a subject matter, since my father fostered within me his love of the wild. But self-awareness is totally over-rated, right?

Fast-forward to 2018, and I’m turning my attention to a Christmas present for my other brother, Hunter. This project marked three firsts, two of which I’d heartily recommend. One not so much…. Continue reading “2019: New Year, New Skills”

A recent conversation between the husband and me:

Me: I really need to get enough sleep tonight. When we go to bed, can you remind me not to stay up late reading?

Husband: *Makes skeptical, non-committal noise*

Me: What?

Husband: I learned long ago not to come between a girl and her book.

Me: Really? Do I get snarly?

Husband: You definitely don’t get more friendly.

They say good communication skills are the cornerstone of a healthy marriage. Guess I’m doing something right.

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Texas: Home, Home on the Range

I’ve already admitted that I’m a spoiled creature. But my husband took it to a whole ‘nother level when he flew me home to spend my birthday weekend with my family at our ranch in the Texas Hill Country. It was a last minute decision and I was up until 1 AM packing… but it was perhaps my favorite birthday present of all time! (And particularly generous, since the husband was sadly unable to join due to work.)

It’s hard–nay, impossible!–to capture the Texas Hill Country’s rugged beauty in late October. It’s untamed and sunshine-y and serene, unspoiled by internet access or cell service. Some moments were almost ridiculously Arcadian–my stroll through wildflower fields rife with butterflies (the monarchs are migrating right now), or when my brother Hunter and I accidentally spooked two fawns, sending them leaping lightly from a thicket. But they say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so in defiance of my writer’s heart, I’ll let my snapshots speak for themselves. Continue reading “Texas: Home, Home on the Range”

Birthday Presents & Painting Tools

So I know it’s totally cheating to open presents a week+ before your birthday. I also know that at almost let’s-not-talk-about-it years old, I should have some self-control.

But when that promising box from Jackson’s Art Supplies showed up, I couldn’t resist.

As a watercolorist who has a hard time perceiving myself as anything but an amateur, I’ve been content to pick up my brushes here and there from Michaels and Hobby Lobby. But a few years ago, I treated myself to some tubes of Winsor & Newton’s gorgeously saturated paint…. Then my husband gave me some “grown up” watercolor paper for my last birthday…. And now my sweet parents have dropped some Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes in my lap.

Suffice it to say, I’m a wee bit spoiled. Continue reading “Birthday Presents & Painting Tools”

Wine Tastings & Touring New Towns

My first experience doing a wine tasting was at a dear friend’s bachelorette party, when we did a marathon session at five different vineyards in the Midwest, starting at the early hour of 11 a.m. (Don’t worry. We were safely D.D.ed by our handy-dandy limo driver.)

Needless to say, by the time the tasting portion of the day was starting to wine-d (get it?!) down, I was very ready to stop sipping and get something more than cheese and crackers in my stomach. But I was also pretty sold on this “tasting” thing. It was like a little adventure in a glass–you never knew what flavors awaited you in the next sample.

But I’m not into doing tastings solo, so my opportunities have been pretty few and far between–living overseas for long stretches and often being far from family and friends has that effect. But I’ve rustled up the occasional partner in crime. My bro invited me to join him and his friends at a lovely Texas winery. And on her recent odyssey to visit us in our new homestead in the D.C. area, my sis-in-law Brooke was good enough to accompany me to Great Shoals. (We abandoned the husbands at home. #SorryNotSorry.) Continue reading “Wine Tastings & Touring New Towns”