Join Sally in Wimberley, TX for Tarot practice

Colorful Tarot cards are a great way to sharpen your intuitive skillsWednesdays and Fridays in Wimberley, TX, just got a little more insightful.

Drop in September 10, 12, 17 and/or 19 and read some Tarot with me. All skill levels are welcome. Even if you’ve never touched a deck before, we’ll get you on the road to greater intuitive clarity and confidence.

These are not formal classes set in sequence, so join us as you can. All you’ll have missed is some great camaraderie and a couple of fascinating hours exploring on the edge of what is known.

The cost is $10 per meeting. (Cash only, please.)

Find us at:
Sanctuary in the Village
501 Old Kyle Rd & Blue Hole Ln
Wimberley, TX

Have a deck? Bring it. Need a deck? We’ll have a few you can borrow. See you soon!

The cocktail lounge I may very well have dreamed up

So, maybe you don’t have movie-star good looks. Maybe you don’t drive a luxury car or live in a fashionable part of town. You can still feel like a VIP. All it takes is reservations at Bar Smyth in Dallas, Texas.

Don’t look for a neon sign or sidewalk seating. The entry for Bar Smyth is completely unmarked—part of its mystique. Announce yourself using the small keypad next to a nondescript door and you’ll be buzzed inside.

Old Fashioned cocktailA dim hallway leads you to a narrow, warmly-furnished space that may have you checking the calendar to be sure you haven’t stepped back to a Prohibition-era speakeasy, or a Cold War-era covert rendezvous.

Menus? This place is too cool for menus

Your bartender visits your table with some questions, then disappears to concoct a beverage to appeal to your personal flavor profile. The results are surprising and exquisite.

My visit included two excellent cocktails. The first, shown here, was an Old Fashioned, crafted for me with grapefruit bitters, and tequila instead of bourbon. The second, a perfectly balanced Sazarac. (Hats off to Robert the bartender for choosing America’s oldest-known cocktail for me. I love a good Sazarac.)

Most of the others in our party preferred slightly sweeter drinks. Our bartender called on a variety of fruits, herbs and flowers to delight each of them in turn.

Bar Smyth sounds like fiction, right? For me, it sounded like my fiction—specifically Club Clandestine, in Going Native. Here’s how it breaks down:

Real vs. fictional VIP cocktail lounges

Club Clandestine (from my novel, Going Native)Bar Smyth (located on Travis Street in Dallas, TX)
Hard-to-spot entryUnmarked entry
Bouncer asks for passwordSecure, locked entrance
Dim stairs lead down to clubDim hallway leads to club
Speakeasy/Cold War spy vibeSpeakeasy/Cold War spy vibe
Unforgettable night of covert, erotic games in the arms of a sexy heroOutstanding cocktails in intimate setting, guaranteed to make you feel special

All told, a remarkable evening. And I confess I’m glad to have friends who can assure me it really happened. Otherwise, I might wonder if, like Club Clandestine, I’d created Bar Smyth out of my own secret imaginings.

Shall I meet you there?

What do you feel naked without?

Tiny notebooks like this one saved my trip to the Amazon
Tiny notebooks like this one saved my trip to the Amazon
Some women are never without lipstick. For me, it’s travel-sized notebooks.

When size matters

I had a teeny tiny notebook with me in the Amazon the day my camera died. Instead of photos, I scribbled about everything from the local uses of manioc tubers (bread starch and also a topical anti-aging treatment for women) to the expected lifespan of a dugout canoe (2-3 years). I listed the types of birds, recorded conversations I had with locals and recipes for Peruvian specialties.

(When my traveling companion read the trip diary I compiled after returning home, she was stunned by how much she’d already forgotten.)

A few of my trusty Moleskine notebooks.
A few of my trusty Moleskine notebooks.
True companions for when I’m really in the mood

Teeny notebooks that fit in back pockets get me by. But for big writerly love, it’s Moleskine notebooks every time—sturdy cover, ribbon to mark my place, elastic strap to keep it closed, accordion pocket in back to stash smaller scraps of things.

I won’t buy one unless I can get squared rule pages. Somehow, it frees me to write as big or small as I want. The Moleskine goes with me to coffeeshops, conferences, Meetups and writers meetings.

My bookshelf holds a row of these trusty companions, some more flagged and battle scarred than others. Flip through one and you’ll find pages of stories, ideas for Tarot spreads, notes from lectures and drafts of blog posts.

Why messy works for me

With handwriting like mine, you’d think I’d use a computer for everything, but I get deep satisfaction from my pile of Moleskines, They are snapshots in time—as fragmented and messy as life. Paging through them, I can trace back to the roots of an idea. I can mark progress on projects I’m working on. And unlike time I spend at the computer, I can see tangible proof of what I’m doing.

No wonder I feel incomplete without some kind of notebook to hand.

What about you? Are there must-have tools in your life? A thing (or practice or app) that brings you satisfaction and a sense of security? I’d love to hear about it.

Launching a new living adventure


I’ve just moved house for the first time in 14 years!

Because it’s not my first-ever move, I’m not counting the relocation as one of my birthday new things. But it’s the first time I’m moving into a house, rather than an apartment. And it’s the first time I’m going to be a roommate (other than college dorm living). Lots and lots of new things in store, I’m sure.

Thanks, campsite. I’m on my way

Today, I collected the last few things from the old place and turned in my keys. After having lived there so long, I thought I might feel pangs on leaving, but nope. It felt more like rolling out of a gorgeous campsite after a satisfying stay.

…but I offered a ritual farewell

Though I was tired and interested in moving on to all the unpacking awaiting me at the new place, I took a few minutes to sip a cold Blackberry Izze and really appreciate the empty shell that had been my shelter and sanctuary. I walked the perimeter of each room, expressing my thanks and wishing it well.

Heck, even my hibiscus plant expressed its gratitude. It was blooming today, blowing kisses all the way across town to our new home.

Life among stacks of boxes makes it easy to lose sight of how much I shed in preparation for this move. Even when I can’t see it, though, I feel it. I found new homes for about 60% of my furniture and half of my belongings.

I feel freed. Could this be what it means to become en-lightened? Hee!


Camper photo: Grand Canyon NPS
Hibiscus photo: mcdlttx

Moving ahead to a fresh start

The start of a new year symbolizes the opportunity of a fresh start. This year, part of my fresh start will be shifting to a new home.

Thirteen years = time to shed skin

I haven’t moved residence since December 1998, thirteen years ago. And though I’ve been consciously uncluttering for the last few years, moving plans have me questioning every thing. “Does this thing represent the energy I want to bring with me into my future life? Does it fit with who I am becoming?”

Somehow, I doubt I’ll wait another 13 years to ask myself such fundamental questions. Rather, I suspect that the massive shedding of old possessions/perceptions will free me in ways I can’t begin to imagine. It’s both scary, and very exciting.

My birthday wish for this year is to try 50 new things. No doubt this move will give me a head start on that list.

What are you doing for a fresh start this year?


Photo credit: SidPix

How a bounty of beads made me a donut


As my retired parents get serious about downsizing their living quarters, they test my own resolve to live an uncluttered life. Just last weekend, I went for a visit and came back loaded with treasure.

The haul features 13 lbs. of beads—practically half a bead store’s worth. Now the fun begins.

First, I’ll need a cabinet or something to provide easier access than the current pile of bulging sandwich baggies that brought the stash home with me. As they migrate to their new quarters, I’ll be integrating them with the beads I already had. And finally, I’ll celebrate with an explosion of creativity.

When are you coming over?

I’ll need playmates to create with and keep me inspired. Check your calendar and let the bead-tastic play dates begin!

(How did this make me a donut? Maybe you missed my glazed look as I stare, vaguely overwhelmed by the massive influx of gorgeous bead bounty.)


Photo credit: Rev Dan Catt