Lots of assignments and some lazy gardening

Blogging falls down the priority list when there are paying gigs to attend to, and there have been some interesting ones this month. I had a travel story on Fairhope, Alabama and the nearby Grand Resort run in the newspaper on Sunday. This is an area very dear to my heart, so it was a pleasure to get to write about it, and especially a pleasure to have a first-person assignment where I could wear my vegetarianism on my sleeve. I’ve also been helping out Indulge magazine (published by the Star-Telegram) with its restaurant and food news column, Good Tastes. In doing research for the May issue, I found out that the new menu at Lili’s Bistro on Magnolia will have a couple more things for vegetarians, because people have been asking (the new lunch menu has already debuted, the new dinner menu is coming soon). I have long thought that if we could just make our preferences gently known, restaurateurs would step up. It’s inevitable, and it’s happening, which is awesome.

Indulge also sent me on assignment to cover the redo of a downtown condo for next month’s issue, and with my penchant for all things home dec, I couldn’t say no, even knowing that I would have to dash from the shoot to pick up my daughter from preschool in a scarily slim window of time. I was amazed at how quickly I went from that gorgeous great room overlooking downtown back onto the west side of Fort Worth. No wonder people love downtown living. It’s all about access.

But my garden is one thing keeping me in a conventional house in an outlying neighborhood. While I’ve documented some pretty big gardening fails since trying to adjust to life in Texas, I haven’t given up. Over the weekend we got a second rain barrel (because if it ever rains again, we know how quickly that first one will fill). And because I just could not wait for this slow-growing basil-from-seed to fully emerge (can you see that little sprout on the right?), I bought a bunch of the “living” basil from Sprouts last night, and planted it after I’d snipped off what I needed for dinner. I’ve done this before with shamefully good results. This particular bunch was so incredibly, intoxicatingly, wildly fragrant (really) that the lady in the checkout lane next to me kept asking her cashier what on earth smelled so good. Who was it? What was it? “Sandalwood?” she wondered aloud. No, it was my $2.50 bunch of basil, soon to be basil bush. This one is going to make some amazing pesto.