Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Thrill is Gone!

If there is anything which passes for excitement here in Naruna, it has slipped away. The end of summer is upon us, and the LB is making preparations to return to feeding three or four hundred 2nd and 3rd graders breakfast and lunch every day of the week. Somehow, after being in a hot kitchen all day, she usually isn’t interested much in cooking at home. To make up for the coming nine months of eating leftovers, going out to eat, or just fending for myself, she is baking me a cake today. It goes by a variety of names: Texas Sheet Cake, Church Lady Cake, Cowboy Cake, etc. No matter what name gets hung on it, it is a really rich, moist, chocolate cake which gets iced while still warm, resulting in a wonderfully gooey mess which is magnificent. She is trying a recipe today she found over at . (If you don’t like chocolate, try Pioneer Woman’s creamed spinach! Even confirmed carnivores crave it.)

Summer time in Texas is always a balancing act. We wouldn’t live anywhere else, but our lives are always at the mercy of the weather. Last summer Central Texas almost washed away in the floods. This summer has been one of record days over 100 degrees. A couple of times each year, we pack up and visit relatives in Houston so we can walk on a real lawn again. In the very best of times we have grass, but nothing that would be mistaken for turf. Times like now, that grass is withered, brown and brittle, and quickly crumbles to a fine powder which blows away with the hot south wind.

In the span of just two weeks, Texas has had a hurricane and a tropical storm come ashore. Areas all around us got massive amounts of rain, while Naruna received a total of 0.4”. A few brave sprigs of green are trying to push up, but are being met with a withering blast of heat and quickly shrivel.

Even the LB’s beagle, Sam, who has boundless energy most of the time, is being affected by the heat. This morning, after making his usual rounds to ensure all was well in Naruna, he trotted across the road to visit with a group of BMW riders taking a water break in the church parking lot. After that, he was pretty much done for the day, only taking a moment to check out the occasional bug crawling around. Tizzy the cat even gave me a glare as though to warn me to stay clear or risk bodily harm.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Venice Re-visited

I was surprised this last week. It seems my Lovely Bride posted a few of my photos from our trip to Italy on the local newspaper's travel site, and I was notified I had won their European Travel Photo contest. This was unexpected, since I didn't know there was a contest! If you are in Central Texas, and would like to see what they have to say, the photo and a short article are supposed to be in the Travel section of the August 17th Austin-American Statesman. I'm not sure if it will show up online , but here is the link.