In Brugge? Yes, it’s a fairytale thing

The unbearable heatwave in Amsterdam ended almost as soon as the  Urban Sketchers Symposium’s closing ceremony, and I was thrilled to jump on a train and head to Belgium, with a stop in Antwerp, bound for Brugge. I’ll be honest I first learned about Brugge about ten years ago when the movie “In Brugge” came out, and knew immediately it was a town I wanted to see and explore, even though it was the butt of many jokes throughout the dark-ish yet hilarious-ish movie.

I was NOT disappointed! It was cloudy and cool when I arrived, and lucky me chose and Airbnb room equipped with a bike, which was the perfect method to travel about the area. I totally fell for medieval Brugge, enjoyed its history museum, the main plaza, the locally produced beer, and I will never, ever forget the incredible Belgium chocolate sold in about every third shoppe. Belgium has never really ranked on a “must-see” list, but now I’m scheming to find ways to return. It was lovely, delightful, gorgeous, so long as you stayed a step ahead of the throngs of tourists who arrive by the busload beginning about 10am, but by that time I was well on my way to see windmills and the beach-loving dachunds on the Netherland coast. Sunset in Brugge, which much like Amsterdam lasted about four hours, was a delightful time to watch the twinkling lights come alive in Brugge, as the horses clopped by, and the action turned local.

On my way to the airport, I stopped for an afternoon in Brussels, and as a good student of Rick Steves, I marched right into the Tourist Office to ask what should I see right here, right now. They told me the Royal Belgium Palace is only open to the public four weeks each each, and today was the first day, so they recommended I march right over — and oo-la-la I did march right over! I saw the Royal Belgium Palace in all its glory! After that, a quick handstand in the Grand Marketplace, followed by some mussels from Brussels and a gorgeous local beer, and then away I went.

Three days, that’s all I had, and I can’t wait to return. I see there’s an illustration workshop there early next year…. hey what a great idea, a sketch workshop IN BRUGGE … <3

Remember that time my dog was kidnapped in Mexico?

henry

Friday evening, 7:30pm, I slipped into a bit of a staring jag after I paid for the piece of cake at Café Rama. A middle-aged Mexican couple caught my attention, eating their dinner at a small, window-side table. They were leaning in towards each other as she chatted a mile a minute, both eating their dinner, which is what caught my eye.  The kicker was that the woman was engaged in an enlightening conversation on her phone, tucked under her chin, as she ate her dinner looking straight through her husband. “How odd,” I mumbled as I gazed at them both.  “Aqui tienes,” the joven behind the counter handed me a piece of carrot cake and out the door I went.

Swooooooosh, I stepped into slow motion as my head spun around. I looked to my right, I looked to my left, Henry was not near the door, where I had left him moments ago. Just as I’ve done a million times over the years. Henry isn’t a roamer, he doesn’t trot away, he never leaves my side, well, not since I had him neutered in 1987 –errr 2004. He’s a very well-behahaved dog and he’s also 13 years old, so he’s in no hurry, ever.  I stood there in a stupor; my fever was still high and I really was in no shape to be out in public; I had been battling the worst flu of my life all week, and in fact this trip out was to finally buy some drugs at the farmacia because I could take the pain no longer. My thinking was fuzzy. “Where did I leave him?” I spun around in a circle. I went back inside and asked if they saw my dog. “Yes, we allow dogs, he’s probably here.” I took a spin around the place, Henry was not inside, which I knew because Henry doesn’t go anywhere without asking me. I was speechless.

This is not a busy street, in fact it was about two blocks away from home. I went up one block and two mariachi fellas were practicing on a bench. “Have you seen a little white dog run by here, wearing a leash?” “No, no ma’am.” I went to the other side of the block where a family had pulled their truck over to sell their hand-carved wood headboards, “did you see a little white dog walk by here, wearing a leash?” No, no dog.

Henry had vanished.

I was in shock when I arrived back home a few minutes later and asked Reed if Henry had arrived before me, “What? No, Henry’s not here.” Holy crap. Henry was dognapped!

Dognapping is big, easy money in Mexico; our little pampered pooches are a big bullseye for easy money to desperate thieves. They know all they have to do is swipe a dog, keep it for a few days for panic to surge, call for ransom, then arrange a hand off.

The first thing I did on this rainy Friday night was make a sign to post in Facebook. Then I posted the sign in Adopciones Perrunas San Miguel de Allende and Rescue San Miguel: Saving Lives One Dog at a Time. It was a Friday night, so there was not much else I could do. Except worry. And toss around all night.

Were they being mean to him? Was he out in the rain? Will they feed him? Was a angry dog going to beat him up? Or rape him? All my fears became louder and louder as the weekend inched by. This is a nasty little crime, yet don’t expect any help from the police; there are actual people being kidnapped all over this country for Pete’s Sake. Ahhh, but the social networks are alive and kicking, and many of my friends and acquaintances shared the message of the missing Henry in no time. How grateful I am for lightning-fast stretches of the social networks. I met some new friends along the way too!

And now, the waiting game. A little time needs to pass; the panic needs to surge. This is Mexican time and do NOT try to rush it.

Saturday morning I put signs up all over town and placed an ad at the radio station. The entire town listens to the local radio station, so when you lose anything or need to make an announcement, the radio station is where you go. I spent the rest of the weekend pacing and trying to recover from the flu; it didn’t work out so well because I was a runny, sneezy, teary mess. Sunday arrived with no new news, except my panic was ramping up.

henry_sign2

Oye Hark! The call came in around 3pm Sunday afternoon; the woman had Henry, wanted to know how much was the ransom, and to let us know we had to pay for her taxi to return the dog. (grrrrrrrr)

All Told:

$35              Print a copy of the original sign
$20              Make copies for distribution in Centro
$480           XESQ Radio San Miguel ad ($120 per announcement; I ran 4 ads)
$1,500        Ransom, puta madres!
$60             Taxi for Coyote (this was when I wanted to slap her, the nerve)

$2,051       Mexican Pesos
$120          US Dollars

Although it only cost roughly $120 to get Henry home, it was a very stressful and long weekend of worrying about his safety and whereabouts. Mexico has a way of reminding you who is in charge and it is never you, no matter what measures, nor precautions you take. The very legs of this wild-west country are built on corruption, yet for the most part, I admire Mexico and am calling it my home, with Reed, for now. Henry’s dognapping was a reminder not get too comfortable, because Mexico will always pull the rug our from under you. Donnie Trump may want to watch his back because the country also has ways of exacting revenge that I wouldn’t even wish on that baffoon.

People move here because of a lack of rules (sure, there are other reasons), but there’s a price for that lack of structure, as in things that disappear in the middle of the afternoon. And then I find myself questioning whether or not I’m a fit dog parent, onto shaming myself for ignoring him all those times I went out carousing and left him on his own. Brutal. Henry didn’t reminisce about any of this nonsense; he, naturally, was THRILLED to see me when he arrived home

It’s no scene from Law & Order, but the moment Henry was returned by the Coyote:

[envira-gallery id=”1454″]

It was a huge lesson in the importance of being aware at all times, something I take great pride in, as I am a big proponent of strengthening my six senses. This particular day was especially off for me because all of my senses were compromised due to the flu; my throat was super-swollen, nose plugged, eyes watering, ears jammed, skin crawling; my 6th sense was practically DOA, and yet Mexico chose to kick me when I was down, as it does. Still, awareness.

While in the restaurant, I focused on the odd couple and how they were so intently ignoring each other, yet had I expanded my focus just outside the window behind them, perhaps I could have seen when Henry’s Captor made the dastardly move. Or not.

Aside from appearing a bit beat and dirty, Henry was the same Happy Little Neurotic Guy, although he did let me hold him a bit longer than usual. I’m getting back on my feet after this bout of flu (or whatever it is, Mexico) and will continue to ask of myself the following, “eyes-see, ears-hear, nose-smell, skin-feel, aura-interact.”

Gotta stay sharp! xx

home

 

New Energy in 15, One Eye One Foot Balance

I am following the suggestions of Dr. Christiane Northrup from her book, “Goddesses Never Age” although I have been practicing standing on one foot with eyes closed to find my balance for some time now — it never gets old;). But now it turns out it will help you stay young and mobile! Although you probably shouldn’t try doing it the first few times on a cliff overlooking a busy highway… :DD

New Energy in 15, Valentine’s Mambo of Love

I’ve started doing t’ai chi with fans, because it helps move the stagnant energy out and away from my body, and on this Valentine’s Day, my guy Reed joined me with his ice cream cone to dance a little t’ai mambo. There are classes on this in San Miguel de Allende btw. Hearts & Loves to you!

New Energy in 15, up, up in the AIR in Aspen!

What an INCREDIBLE way to start the day, up with the hot air balloons at Snow Mass just outside of Aspen! I am doing an energy medicine move called “Heaven & Earth”! This grounding technique will help move stress out of your body and calm your senses.

Reach up with a flat palm on your right hand, while your left hand is palm-facing the earth, and take a deep breath. Switch positions as you breathe deep. Heaven & Earth, thank them both!

Swimming through Fear

I wasn’t always afraid of the water, I grew up in Crystal Lake, Illinois, swimming in the crystal clear water and other area lakes at every opportunity and truly loved being a mermaid. But then came the dawn of JAWS and my swimming career was effectively halted. I remember trying to drown out my fears by singing to myself as I swam, in an attempt to not think about that shark and it’s reign of terror, but I sank in the fear of it all. One last swim in Crystal Lake at summer’s end, a snapping turtle poked it’s head up in front of mine and snapped at me — it was officially over. More sea-terror movies were rolled out, which effectively sealed the deal: Barracuda, Piranha, JAWS 2, JAWS 3, JAWS 4 (*cough*), Creatures, Tentacles, Titanic, ETC., I became content to stroll along the shores, even in the most docile of waters. The fear was big and silent and I gave into it.

Because if I swam, it would look like this:
jaws-universalcitystudios

I sometimes get a little embarrassed that so much of my life became unhinged (and is still unhinging) after my mom’s death. I hear a voice back there “yeah get over it already, it’s been two years now, do your thing whatever, stop talking about it!”

I understand grief knows no bounds, yet why am I quick to scrutinize and criticize myself when I find myself still grappling with it? Oy, the personal pangs that tug at me in the wee hours of the night when no one is looking, oy oy oy.

It’s true, I still struggle with grief and the confusion from everything that is now different in my life — I am mostly okay with my evolution, but some confusion remains. I’m certain many of these changes were inevitable because of my age ta boot; as I approach 50, I understand with more compassion than ever that many women simply must re-invent, re-discover or re-up, or literally lose themselves. I have found many of Dr. Christiane Northrup‘s books and workshops have helped me sort my way through this with better clarity and assurance I’m not losing my marbles. My mom’s death was perhaps the the dime I turned on, bringing with it new opportunities and exciting adventures, although — in hindsight — I can see it was going to happen no matter what. I was ready to shed my skin.

On Mother’s Day, 2013, I put my mom’s ashes in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on a brutally cold and windy May day. Her ashes flew up and around me like a tornado before they landed in the lake. It was surreal, for real. I was surprised to learn there’s a boat service available for people to put ashes in the lake, and I sometimes wonder how many people are in that lake?? Ashes-to-ashes, I don’t really care, but I do like that my mom is there. She wanted to be in Green Bay because of the Packers and I decided that was too far; I wanted to keep an eye on her in Lake Geneva. So began my frequent visits to the lake.

There is an amazing 22-mile walking path around the entire lake and as the cold spring turned to summer, I began to sink my toes into the water. And then I dangled my legs and stared deeply at the water. One day I jumped in and cried. This happened several times. I had lost so much… jobs, addresses, people, things… it was terribly scary because I had no idea how I would climb out of this hole, but I had faith and this lake helped me. I felt tingly energy all around me and something about my existence had been elevated — it was hard to explain, but everything was different. By mid-summer, I was helping myself to absent-summer-resident’s personal boat docks and full-on jumping into the cool waters of Lake Geneva and feeling the calmest I had ever felt in my life.

2013_sunset2

The summer of 2013 was an amazing, amazing summer and I am forever be grateful for all of it’s lessons.

I left Illinois mid-November of that year and life became very, very different. I had made a promise to myself that the rest of my life would be “magical”,  although I wasn’t even sure what that meant, except that it was fodder for jokes — and I love good jokes. Guess what? My life has become magical in many ways, and while there are still mundane and challenging things about it as there should be, I am totally enjoying what my life has become. Call it magical or intentional, I love they way I feel in my skin these days. I miss the Midwest and my days in Lake Geneva — Chicago too, but life has carried on, as it should, and my dreams keep me close to it all. Someday I will be back.

Until then…

bucerias_14
Buenas Dias de Bucerias!

I am having the good fortune of spending this winter in Mexico with Reed; first at the house in San Miguel de Allende, and then traveling through Central Mexico while he attends to business. Situated in a lovely situation here in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico, this past weekend we made plans to spend the day on a boat with Chica Locca Tours that promised whale watching, water activities, food and drink, snorkeling, cave diving; a day out at sea on a very comfortable boat. This group completely delivered and we had an amazing, amazing day. Well I did, for sure.

My fear of open water is still pretty HUGE and when we arrived off the Marieta Islands (“there’s only one way to get there, and that’s to swim for it!“), it was up to us to gear up and swim to the island, where the fun would continue. I did not read this bit in the brochure and my heart sank a mile or two when this was mentioned. I put the fins and snorkeling gear on and became a blubbering, quivering lip awash in a terrifying wave of fear. Everyone was jumping in the water and I stood at the edge of the boat, trembling — NO I could not do this. It was too far away and it was OPEN WATER for Christ’s Sake and surely I would be eaten alive by some monsterous sea creature before I hit the island. This was the OCEAN, did they not realize??! I whelped to the guys I could not do it, no way, my heart was going to explode out of my chest and I was not strong enough. I waddled to the back of the boat to take off my gear and pout it out.

I looked over to the ladder on the side of the boat and said, “fuck it, I will hate myself if I don’t do this.” With that, I jumped into the terrifying (not!) waters and swam to the island. Holy Moley it was gorgeous!

open_water

It was a gooooooooooooorgeous adventure and I am sooooooooooo glad I jumped in! We swam to the island and explored the caves and tunnels and dark holes that I thought for sure electric eels lived in and were waiting inside to kill me or eat me and guess what? They were no electric eels waiting in darkness to kill me nor eat me because they couldn’t care less about me! I was the happiest clam in the ocean this day!

dive_mb

After this awesome adventure on Gilligan’s Island, it was time to swim back to the boat. Oh shit….. who moved the boat soooooooooo far away?? It’s even farther away now because some dumb law says it can’t be too close to the island. I was never going to make it and oh my gawd I can’t breathe and so why not kick wildly and claw at the water as if there’s a magic rope to lead me home …

I totally panicked and gasped for air as I attempted to swim for several minutes; holy Mackerel I was scared! Wait. Stop it Meag!

I put my goggles on and looked down into the water and saw holy mackerels but no sharks. I knew I had to stop this panicking and rolled onto my back and looked up at the sky. I needed to breathe more normally and take myself out of the equation. A song came to me that I sang in the temescal a year ago; we sang this as a way to pass the time while sitting in pitch dark, soul-cracking, sweltering heat:

One little, two little, three little Indians
Four little, five little, six little Indians
Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians
Ten little Indian boys.
Ten little, nine little, eight little Indians
Seven little, six little, five little Indians
Four little, three little, two little Indians
One little Indian boy.

Whad’ya know, I made it to the boat safe and sound!

Again, I was the happiest clam in the ocean! I have been walking on my tippy-toes ever since this glorious day, even though every muscle in my body is sore, but it is a good sore, a sore I am grateful for; a soreness that reminds me I swam to the damn boat, RAWR!

I realize there are people in today’s world who are facing much bigger fears and maybe not by choice, but by fire and I by no means intend to compare to anyone’s challenges. This was a first world challenge, for sure. I believe I become a better person, first to myself and then to others, if I take an opportunity to break down any personal barriers that have held me back in life, or have kept me feeling fearful. There is a freedom that has grown within me in the past two years that has altered the course of my life and I, for one, choose to celebrate all of these personal achievements, great and small.

14
Sunburnt, sore & smiling :))

xx

 

The Dance of Impeccability

MB White Belt

This past week, I had the golden opportunity to attend a NIA White Belt training at a crystal farm located just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. I chose this instead of driving to East Austin every day for 7 days, as this option included a free stay at the farm.  I discovered NIA dance several years ago, well after I had trained years earlier in Gabrielle Roth’a dance, and felt its principles were speaking to me now as I prepared to deepen my practice. As of last Friday, I can now teach NIA and will be doing so at the end of September at two studios in Dripping Springs, Texas.

It’s an intense training; the days are long and obviously, very physical.  I loved every sore-muscle minute of it! The farm was absolutely beautiful and I am completely grateful to have had this opportunity to learn and get certified in Little Rock.  I especially enjoyed the early mornings with my roommates; I so rarely get the opportunity to have coffee and spirited conversations with such diverse characters, well before the sun’s day break. I feel a bit smarter and a dollop stronger for having completed this week on the farm. I’ve made some awesome new friends and hope to know hem for years to come.

It was a tremendous experience — including the few days I arrived early to explore Arkansas. Who knew this state was so gorgeous??! They call it the Natural State, I had no idea! Arkansas is an easy target for hillbilly jokes, and while of course I made many, I also learned an awful lot, and that’s a beautiful thing. Arkansas has quartz crystal mines, so there is quite an influx of people in search of said crystals; I even found myself in a mine and spent an afternoon digging. Amazing!! I explored the hot springs of Hot Springs, climbed a few mountains, greeted the rising sun from some breath-taking perches and spent an afternoon in the William J. Clinton Presidential Library; it moved me to tears more than once.

I’m thankfully out of hillbilly jokes because I have seen “the purdy” side of Arkansas. It was an amazing week and I’m excited to start teaching NIA!

A quick 9-hour drive home, a few loads of laundry and then Reed and I were off to Aspen, Colorado to stay with his Aunt Lucy and see the high country burst into the autumn season. Oh what a gorgeous country it is!

Hello Aspen!

I think back to where my life was one year ago — it’s completely different today and thank God for this. I was working a corporate job (or two!) in Chicago and really thought that would be my path, but obviously I kept falling flat on my face. Losing so many jobs — okay being FIRED from so many jobs, having to sell all my belongings and then eventually moving out of Chicago, was extremely painful and has deeply changed me forever. The cake-froster was my mom’s death. Only one year ago I was crawling out of the mire and uncertain about where my life would go next. It was, in a word, terrifying.

Reed came back into my life last Thanksgiving when he invited me to Mexico for Thanksgiving. I never thought I would see him again after our divorce in 2008, but alas, never say never. I never felt right about how things ended between us; so I am grateful to have this opportunity to get right with him — but mostly to get right with myself, because I cannot help others until I help myself.

When we were married, I was restless and had absolutely no direction. I was adrift in my pointless life and unmotivated to change it. I had lost that sparkle in my eye, that spark that had enabled me to endure almost anything in my life. Reed had offered to let me do anything — yet I could not decide and chose to do nothing instead. Can you imagine? We did a lot of traveling and moved into many houses, yet I became increasingly annoyed by it all. “Unattractive” is the word I would use to describe myself. I was once an artist! Not anymore; I would pick up a paint brush and cast it aside, feeling literally nothing except a dull pressure to be something I was not anymore. I blamed the world and especially blamed Reed for my injustices.

Injustices. How outrageously arrogant of me.

I have never been more focused in my direction, nor more excited to live an adventurous and colorful life, than I am today. I have pangs of guilt for not currently having a job, but I’ll get over it. I am working toward an entirely different career experience and how lucky I am to have the opportunity to explore these new heights. I start teaching NIA later this month, but that is only the beginning. I am aiming high!

~~~

I believe we cross paths with people who are meant to teach us something, even if it is delivered through a painful, one-two-punch lesson. Upon arriving in Aspen, Aunt Lucy completely nailed me to the wall, ridiculing me, wagging a finger in my face, wanting to know why I am so happy and what is my secret because she DOESN’T UNDERSTAND. It was scary and unsettling  — this is a very angry woman who is deep in her Stage 4 cancer battle and is duking it out with her demons. Lucy has everything and more than the “American Dream” would suggest, yet her heart is cold and empty. And scared. She does not like unicorn-chasing, skip-to-the-loo-tree-huggers like myself, yet she is surrounded by them and pursues them here in Aspen. She went above and beyond to hurt me and succeeded.

I was a wounded pup for a few hours but quickly recovered. The fruits of my emotional labor; I now pull myself out of the hole, rapidly, with very little drama.

I composed myself in all that is gorgeous and illuminous in Aspen, Colorado and it dawned on me that no matter who we are, we are all searching to get out of our pain and to know what love is all about. It can take a lifetime. Thank God we all have one.

im·pec·ca·ble
(of behavior, performance, or appearance) in accordance with the highest standards of propriety; faultless.

During my NIA training, we were asked to be impeccable. Impeccable in our words and actions. Interesting! It has caused me to think before I speak and I am now acutely aware of my impeccability — even if I am anything but impeccable at times. I am responsible for my happiness and my involvement in life. I am not expecting a doctor to hand me a happy pill, nor do I feel that anyone owes me anything. My life has become impeccably easier to navigate since I lost everything last year and re-discovered my true self and a deep desire to be helpful. I have that spark in my eye once again.

My research continues, as it is not over… xoxo

 

Friends from Sweden

swedes

Today my friends from Sweden arrived in the Texas Hill Country. They flew into Dallas and spent the first two days dining on America’s culinary delights from Taco Bell, Outback Steakhouse, In & Out Burger and McDonalds before heading on over to Driftwood for dinner at the Salt Lick. When I saw Marie-Therese, it was as if we had known each other for a very long time and hugged and squealed like long-separated friends who were finally being reunited. They are staying in our guest house, Marie-Therese, her husband Hakken, her 17-year old step son Viktor and her four year old son, Alfred. They could not be more thrilled to be here in the heart of Texas, eating barbeque, swimming in the swimming hole and riding in the back of the pickup truck.

They were in love with Texas before they arrived here; now they want to marry it and bring it home to Sweden to meet the parents!

Truth is, Marie-Therese and I met through Instagram and had never set eyes on each other before today, but there was a certain familiarity, how can you explain? Except to say that Instagram can be a window into someone’s soul and you can sometimes feel really comfortable meeting someone who you follow on Instagram. You could even fall in love through Instagram, but that is a story for another day.

My new friends from Sweden LOVE Texas and their plans for the next day involve cowboy boots, shooting off guns and liquor, but not necessarily in that order. It was so fun to meet a friend from Instagram; I just hugged and kissed each of them as I left them to collapse in their air conditioned house on the river for the night.

Such an adventure!

Fire Ants are from Hell

If there is one thing about living in Central Texas that raises the hair on the back of my neck, it’s the amount of creatures and critters I must learn how to do the two-step with, because they rule the land.  I am far less frightened of them at this age in my life, but that does not mean they are not showing up in my path, no Siree Bub, this land is their land, this land is their land. this land was made for them and them.

Field of Fire Ant Mounds = Deadly

Scorpions are hideous creatures and seem to appear in places you’d never expect; in the sink when doing dishes, on the inside of the bathrobe that I’m about to put on, inside the ovenmitt, discovered a moment too late after rushing to get the hot burning bread out of the oven. After I met my first scorpion while doing the dishes a few weeks ago, I literally launched off into The Scorpion Dance and bounced my ways backwards through the house in order to distance myself from it.  I had the creepy-crawlies all damn day.  But you can’t let them stop you. Keep on keeping on.

I am torn whether or not to post the pictures of all the creatures I come across.  That means I have to look at the photos again, and I always take photos.  I can’t seem to stop myself, it’s a gross fascination with that which I abhor. That said, here they are, a few of my buddies:

I attempt to make peace with them, in order for them not to rule my life and appear everywhere and this tactic seems to work — somewhat, but c’mon this is Texas.  Mostly you must be smart about it and proactive; I always shake my shoes out, spray my bed with peppermint and lavendar each night before going to bed, and now I carry homeopathic pellets with me, so that I don’t have to carry an epi-pen.  For the dreaded Red Imported Fire Ant.

In 2007, I was bit three times on my big toe by a fire ant or three fire ants, I am not sure because it happened so quickly and then they were gone.  My toe blew up and I had to get to the Emergency Room to have my toe lanced off.  Followed by two days of being a zombie while the pain meds did their magic — it was AWFUL.

I suffered five fire ant bites on both feet last week, and again my feet blew up and I was in searing, burning pain, just as their name suggests. I didn’t see a doctor until I came up for air and the pain subsided.  I was told my allergic reaction to these bites would get worse and now I need to carry an epi-pen. Ugh, an epi-pen! That’s what Uma Thurman got to the heart in Pulp Fiction!!

This did not set well with me so I made an appointment with a Naturopath doctor and have since been taking homeopathic pellets made for stings and bites, called APIS

I got bit by another fire ant on Saturday night.  It swelled up for an hour or so and then chilled the hell out.  I will continue to take the pellets as opposed to an epi-pen, because that’s just how I roll.

My new best friend, Apis

I also went to Allen’s Boots in South Austin to get some epic short cowboy boots, because my feet get hot but I need to cover them ankles!

Aways be prepared for what Texas is gonna throw at you, and never, ever jump without looking. xoxo

Keep on Drippin’ in Dripping Springs

So I find myself back in Dripping Springs, Texas; a town I honestly never thought I’d return to — nor wanted to because I never felt I was on the “same page” as this town or its people. It was full of bugs, critters, snakes, Republicans and I was bored to tears.  I never looked back when I left it years ago, so it was a complete surprise to me when I had no resistance to moving back to this Texas town earlier this year.

Downtown Dripping Springs:
pano_drip

It’s a hum-dinger of a tiny town and now there are things to do! Places to go, people to see! There was nothing here in 2005 except a tiny (gross) grocery store, and a newly minted liquor store because Hays County had been the “dry county” for…. well I think forever and it had recently been declared NOT DRY, so yes, there was a liquor store too.  The feed store was about the only business that had wifi and people would line up their trucks out front with their laptops to steal the internet.  It has only been very recently that we’ve been able to get internet service out on the ranch; and even so it’s satellite service, which means we have to pay for each and every little kilobyte of internets.

Where to start?! There is great, local coffee (no Starbucks hooray!!), a big ol’H-E-B, a Home Depot, Mercer Street Dance Hall, a weekly farmer’s market, a gorgeous YMCA, restaurants WITH full bars and not just wine and beer, and even some food that is NOT barbeque! There are festivals with more to come… big news is that the Songwriters’ festival is going to be here this October; I think this could bring some even more awesome talent to the neighborhood.

I do believe, however, that Dripping Springs is just an idea, as there is not much to it (yet), but it’s a place where people want to escape to. It’s motto is the “Gateway to the Hill Country” and many people trapped in Austin and other cities, dream of getting away to the Hill Country and enjoying the Texas countryside, but few have access to it because there are so few parks and wildlife areas.  I am totally grateful for the land that I am living on, with my ex-husband, because it is essentially our own National Park.  I’m know this will change in the coming years, as there’s a mad dash to conquer the Hill Country. For now, I love the small town feel to it, I hear the schools are the best in Texas and aside from the sweltering heat and fiery fireant bites, it sure is purdy.

There is a libation renaissance going on here as well; the laws have been changed recently and now you can find craft beer makers, wineries and spirit makers.  You can schedule a bus or limo to take you on a winery tour that includes sampling Texas olive oil or listen to live groovy music out on the ranch while eating wood-burning-oven-roasted pizza and drinking locally made beer, gin, this vodka or that vodka.

The booze-hounds have CRUSHED Hays County! And I concur it is all very interesting indeed.

This is my slice of Dripping, although I should probably mention that I live in Driftwood, an unincorporated community and even smaller than Dripping with nothing but a wonderful Italian restaurant, a legendary bbq joynt, a post office, a church and a few wineries.  I am totally thrilled and grateful to call this funky part of the world my home for now.

Y’all come back now, and be sure to keep Drippin’ Dripping! (conserve that water dagnabbit!)