I’m Back!

Howdy! Yes, I’m back at last. I’m sorry this blog was dark for a week and that I’ve missed reading many of my favorite blogs. Wondering where I’ve been? Well, remember this photo from my previous post?

002For the past week, I traded that setting for the warmth of two cities in Texas: Austin and Houston. Yee ha!

In Austin, I met up with four VCFA classmates for a writing retreat at the Writing Barn, a 7.5 acre retreat and book launch center in Austin (operated by author Bethany Hegedus; click on the Writing Barn above to find out more about this place).

Ever feel your soul expand? That’s how I felt the whole time I was away. Back home, life felt too narrow and grumbling too familiar. I needed to be in a place filled with interesting trees and green grass if only for a short while. Here are some photos of the grounds where tame deer roam freely, and beauty can be found in abundance.

005Note the lack of snow in this photo.


My friends and I stayed here—at the Book House (below). Very appropriate, since we were all writing books. 🙂



This is the Writing Barn—the place where conferences, book launches, and book magic happen.

Whenever we weren’t discussing the craft of writing, a pleasant walk was the order of the day. My hat is off to Bethany for the ambience. Everywhere you look there is something beautiful or inspiring to see—a good reminder of the calming power of nature. Ah! I could feel my stress melt away.

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After staying at the Writing Barn a few days, I headed to Houston. Since my parents, brother, and sister-in-law live there, Houston is a second home.


Houston, but not one of my photos

Since I travel to Houston quite a lot, I don’t usually do touristy picture taking. I hung out with my family, soaking in the 72 degree weather (Fahrenheit; 22 degrees Celsius, if you prefer) and eating delicious Thai food at the Thai Cottage in Sugar Land. If you happen to go there, I recommend the shrimp mermaid appetizer and the chili paste with shrimp. My stomach was grateful for the experience.


Shrimp mermaid (stuffed with crab meat)

Now I’m back home in the cold, unpacking and getting back into my normal routine. At least I have wonderful memories.

For another post on a visit to the Writing Barn, check out Laura Sibson’s blog.

Photos by L. Marie, except for the shrimp mermaid appetizer, which came from the Thai Cottage website, and the Houston photo, which came from houstontransit.blogs.rice.edu.