Category Archives: Becky T. Lane

November 29 – It Was Never About The Tree

by Becky T. Lane

I saw a string of comments on Facebook yesterday, all from young wives and mothers, about everything they were having to do to get ready for the holidays while their hubbies, for the most part, observed from their thrones. Brought back painful memories of some of my more dramatic pouting sessions in years gone by. If only I’d known then what I know now.

It got me to thinking, about a book I picked up a couple of years ago called On Strike for Christmas, by Sheila Roberts. It was about a group of women in a small town who got fed up with killing themselves to create the perfect holiday for their families each year, and getting little to no help or appreciation for their efforts. So, they all banded together to declare a strike, leaving it completely up to the men to make Christmas happen that year. Think you know how this story will end? Think again!

Like almost every other woman who picked this book up off the shelf, I was ready to settle in for a good dose of male-bashing, and there was just enough of that to make it funny. But there was also a good dose of introspection–enough to leave me with a guilty conscience. As it turns out, our women’s penchant for perfectionism is at least partially to blame for this yearly stand-off. Thankfully, I’ve finally realized that trying to pull off a perfect Martha Stewart holiday each year will only leave you feeling bitter, exhausted, and lonely. Too bad it took me so long to figure that out.

My family still hasn’t come to grips with the new me. Just the other day I heard Dear Daughter exclaim “Mom could never stand not putting up a tree for Christmas. She’d go nuts if she didn’t get to decorate her tree!” They just don’t get it. It was never about the tree. It was about the experience–about trying to recreate that perfect Hallmark moment where everyone is gathered together, stringing popcorn, decorating the tree, sipping hot cocoa, laughing and singing carols. Unfortunately, dragging my family away from computer, TV and video games, and forcing them to participate in tree-trimming, never made for a laughing, singing group. It made for a very grumpy group. But, there were other ways to get the experience I was after. If, for instance, I were to announce to my clan that we were off to the annual outdoor performance of TUBACHRISTMAS, or to stroll a street market, followed by hot chocolate and churros at a favorite cafe, they’d be elbowing each other out-of-the-way!
to be first in the car.

And so, at last, I can live without a perfectly decorated tree. For, you see, it was never about the tree!

Becky Lane has spent most of her life figuring out what it means to be “living the good life.” She and her husband now live on four acres in the Texas Hill Country, in a house called “Seasonality.” She chronicles their transition from big-city-suburbanites to slow-life-practitioners on her blog of the same name.

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November 5 – A Tid Bit Nipply

By Becky T. Lane

When my son was very young, he tried to tell us that it was “a tad nippy”, but came out with those words above instead, causing my husband and I to convulse with laughter. Of course, we’ve been using his special phrase ever since. Considering how it felt when I wandered out just now, to snap a picture of my frosty little truck, I’d say it’s most appropriate.

I strayed into Soda Land this summer, when it was so very hot and I had so much of the stuff left over from a family reunion, but now that the weather has turned “nipply”, I have fallen back in love with the perfect cup of tea. Even more so since being reminded recently, of how much difference time and intention can make.

My two favorite teas are Republic of Tea’s cranberry blood orange and apricot decaf. Only problem is, they’re dang expensive! Around $13 for a can of 50 teabags. Needless to say, I don’t buy them often, and I spend a lot of time trying to convince myself that the grocery store varieties are perfectly fine.

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from my daughter. “Mom, you’re not gonna believe this! Guess what I just found?” From the tremor in her voice, I was guessing a bag full of cash? The man of your dreams? But no, it was something even better. Turns out, Central Market sells our favorite R.o.T. flavors, in bulk, for half of what I pay for those cans! When she delivered my booty the other day, I put the kettle on to boil, which I haven’t done in a while. Ever since hubby came home wagging one of those Keurig coffee makers (though neither of us even drinks coffee) I’ve just been using it to heat my water. Then I added a teaspoon of the loose tea leaves to my little ingenuiTEA brewer, poured the boiling water over them, and let them steep for two or three minutes. The most amazing fragrance began wafting its way through our kitchen.

When we carried our cups into the living room, I noticed that we both just sat there for a moment, eyes closed, cups held close to our faces, taking slow, deep breaths. When we finally got around to taking our first sip, our eyes popped wide open, and almost in unison we cried “Oh. My. Word! This is the best cup of tea I’ve ever tasted!” How can using loose tea instead of bags make this much difference? Well, I have no idea. All I can tell you is, it does. I guess this is what Slow Food is all about, huh?

Becky Lane has spent most of her life figuring out what it means to be “living the good life.” She and her husband now live on four acres in the Texas Hill Country, in a house called “Seasonality.” She chronicles their transition from big-city-suburbanites to slow-life-practitioners on her blog of the same name.

October 10 – A Letter From Sumatra: October 10, 1991

by Becky T. Lane

Dear Folks,

Our puppy Munchkin has arrived, and seems to have survived her solo trip halfway around the world no worse for wear, other than a wee bit of jet-lag right at first. It was quite the happy reunion for all concerned! The kids are both settling in, and getting excited about being in The Elephant Child at school. Next Wednesday is the big day. I still can’t get over the wonderful costumes I was able to have made for less than $15.00 each, including fabric! Is our chubby-cheeked elephant precious, or what?

As we had anticipated, the social life here on the company compound is quite lively. When there are no malls or media to entertain you, you make your own entertainment! This past Monday we went to a big Cajun-style shrimp boil to celebrate a friend’s fortieth birthday, and on Saturday there will be a morning plant tour to go on, an afternoon tea, and a dinner that evening! The dinner is being hosted by the Hash House Harriers — the group who lay paper trails for us to follow through the surrounding countryside. I’m shocked by how much we have all enjoyed going on “The Hash” each Sunday — even Austin, who has never been a big fan of walking anywhere! Of course, his favorite part is when we all meet up at the grog truck at the end, where they pass out sodas to all the kids and splash them with cold water from the coolers. Last week’s walk was especially fun because it ended up at the elephant-training grounds. They performed tricks for us, then we were given rides on them. They also had a tiny bear cub there, and the kids were able to hold it!

In December all the Canadians here will be hosting a “Trappers Day” celebration, complete with dogsled and snowshoe races, and logrolling in the swimming pool. John quit shaving as of October 1, so he can participate in their beard-growing contest. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

One of the families here brought their college-aged god-daughter over to stay for a while, and she just happens to be an expert swimming instructor. I signed Austin up to take private lessons from her twice a week, and he is just loving it to pieces. Both kids will be regular little dolphins by the time we leave here!

Guess that’s all for now. Take care, and write soon!

P.S. If you ever feel like giving us a call, the best time to catch us is 8-10 a.m. (your time) on a Sunday morning. If you keep getting busy signals, try dialing very s-l-o-w-l-y. The phone system here can’t keep up with you if you dial too quickly.

Becky Lane lives with her husband in the Texas Hill Country, where she tells about their quest for the good life on her blog Seasonality. Her second blog, Miss Becky Goes Abroad, tells of their adventures in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, as young newlyweds in the 70’s, and with their children in the 90’s.

March 15–Let’s Not Get Carried Away

by Becky T. Lane

When the appraiser came out to assess the damage, after our metal roof got lifted right off the house, he stood looking out over our property and said “You have one of the best views around.” Then he turned back to look at our roofless house, and continued with “That means you get the best winds, too.” He wasn’t just awhistlin’ Dixie.

Fortunately for my hubby, the gods were watching over him last Tuesday. Here in Wimberley, we started the day off with a pretty good rain, which had all but stopped by mid-morning. I was sitting here at my computer, typing away, when all of a sudden a rogue gust of wind came slamming into the window in front of me, causing me to jump right out of my chair. A second later I heard a huge crash coming from the direction of our driveway. What did I find when I ran to look out? Well, it seems our patio umbrella, which someone forgot to lower, its heavy wrought iron base, and the entire teak picnic table, had been lifted up, carried about 20 feet, then dumped practically on top of John’s brand new car!

I ran from window to window, checking for funnel clouds, before I finally had the nerve to step outside and assess the damage. What did I find? The table was resting butt up against John’s car, with maybe one or two inches to spare, but as far as I could tell, there wasn’t a scratch on it.

So, here’s my question. If the winds up here are strong enough to pick up that table, or even an entire roof, and can come out of nowhere without any warning, what’s to prevent them from picking up, say, a slightly plump, frizzy-haired woman?

Becky T. Lane lives with her husband in the Texas Hill Country. She writes about their quest for the good life on her blog Seasonality (http://hillcountryliving.blogspot.com). Recently she began a second blog, Miss Becky Goes Abroad (http://missbeckygoesabroad.blogspot.com) which recounts their adventures in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, as newlyweds in the 70’s.