• 13Sep

    Today, we went to a family birthday party. It was great to see “everyone”. We used to see everyone pretty often. In fact, there were kinda regular Sunday dinners at Emil’s mom’s house when he and I first started dating. Literally every family member came to those. They were great. Then, we had about half the family at Thanksgiving but almost everyone at Christmas. And no one missed Easter.

    Then, the grandkids had their own kids. Holidays went from rare to never for some family members. Those random Sunday dinners went the way of the dodo bird. Emil & I eventually bailed, too. We were some of the last holdouts for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the first to abandon Easter after being left alone a couple of times.

    With Mom in memory care, the family doesn’t do Thanksgiving or Christmas anymore. One sister suggested we do a holiday gathering of some sort, but without all the presents and food. I quickly suggested Twelfth Night. It’s the 12th day of Christmas and we can always plan for the weekend after New Years. I think it’s perfect. Then the conversation went back to the “holidays”. [I didn’t ::sigh:: but come on. There are 12 days of Christmas; they start on Christmas Day.] “Between Thanksgiving and Christmas” was the consensus in that small group. I explained that that cuts us out. “no no no, between them”. “yeah, we’re busy.” “every weekend?” “yep, every year.”

    So, that got me to thinking. What weekends do we have and here’s the list of our #childfree lives and the busy that is us.

    • Sept 5 – Dec 5: nearly every Saturday, some Thursdays, even a Friday one time. College football for our two teams. For me, that also includes doing my part with my little alumni club.
    • August – February: nearly every Sunday: NFL. I couldn’t care less, but Emil is glued to the TV for that whole time. He plans it in advance and won’t miss it for hardly anything. Today’s party was a) an exception, b) also had football, and c) didn’t overlap his favorite team/game, the Cowboys.
    • Sept 19th: Texas Craft Brewers Festival. Expensive tickets were purchased well in advance. And, Emil is the designated driver for me and two friends, so they are counting on us, too.
    • Sept 26-27th: Pecan Street Festival. We went last year and loved it. While it’s a 2x per year event, the spring date never works for us.
    • October: big football like Miami at FSU. It’s also the nicest month of the year. We’re not yet fully booked, but always end up with plans every weekend.
    • October 24/31: Halloween parties; It’s my favorite holiday of the year. I’m not missing that for anything/one.
    • November 26: Thanksgiving
    • November 27: Birthday Bacchanal begins. Emil and several of our friends have birthdays in the last week of November and first week of December. It’s usually a week-to-10-days long celebration with each birthday honoree picking the activity for their day. Emil requests that week off in like July or something.
    • Dec 5th: This year, it’s a family wedding.
    • Dec 12th (annually on the Saturday): a bar-crawl benefit for ACC schools. A couple of hundred alumni drink for a cause.
    • Somewhere in there, we need to make the big road trip to see my family (or what’s left of it).

    So, um, yeah, we’re booked ~every weekend for the entire fall, especially during the “holidays”. The exceptions are a Saturday in September (ooops, that passed) and maybe one or two Saturdays in November.

    I didn’t tell them that I don’t do holiday parties anymore, but it won’t likely matter.

  • 31Dec

    How many women were arrested? Sex? okay. Were they effected by the rain?

    I guess today’s journalism schools aren’t teaching grammar.

    "Sex Women...were effected." on KXAN.com

    Sex Women…were effected.

    Source: http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/austin/72-weekend-dwi-arrests-in-austin
  • 05Dec
    Birthday Bacchanal 2012

    Emil and several of our #childfree friends have late-November through early-December birthdays: Kelly, Jeff, Emil, Judy, and Ryan. So, we made a huge weekend out of it for all of them.

    Friday, Jeff, Judy, Emil, and I went for Thai lunch in Cedar Park on our way to Flat Creek Estate winery. We had the most amazing wine tour ever and nice grounds for gentle “hike”. I definitely recommend the place as well as taking the day off from work to go on a weekday. (Look for it soon on AsYouWishAustin.com, too since they have wonderful wedding pakckages.) On the way back into town, we stopped off for Italian and then played What Were You Thinking? Saturday, a whole mess of people (Pam & Ryan, Kelly, Tim & Sallie, Marvin & Keisha) joined us at Independence Brewing‘s monthly beer party. After a siesta, Pam and I threw a Dr. Who themed party for the birthday kids. Sunday morning, Jeff/Judy/us went to brunch at the new Jack Allen’s kitchen in Round Rock.

    Anyway, here are a few of my favorite shots from the weekend.

    this one will become a water color quite soon!

    I don’t think I’d ever been to a vineyard in the fall. It’s a totally different look!

    It was so nice to enjoy the fall colors in Hill Country!


    This glass (with a category five HURRICANE) is from Independence Brewing’s fifth anniversary party.

    The elusive Maya made a grand appearance at the party.

    And Kitten Pickles did her best to steal the show!


    I’m already looking forward to next year’s Birthday Bacchanal™

    ™ trademarked by the lovely Judy

  • 03Sep

    Today, we took a little field trip to the new packageless (mostly) grocer: in.gredients. The offer fresh fruit and veggies from their own and other Austin garden, meat from area ranches, bulk dry good in any amount desired, and lots of sweet surprises.

    We bought soap nuts (reusable laundry soap!), black quinoa, hydroponic romaine lettuce, and purple bell peppers.

    They also have tea/coffee, spices, essential oils. And, if your forget your containers, the sell lovely environmentally-friendly packaging you’re sure to remember on your next visit!




  • 12Jun
    Harry: So, what are we going to order?
    Sally: Well, I’m going to start with the grilled ridichio.
    Harry: Jess, Sally is a great orderer….even the chef didn’t know how good it could be.
    Jess: I think restaurants have become to important.
    Marie: Oh, I agree. Restaurants are to people in the 80s what theater was to people in the 60s…. I read that in a magazine. 
    Jess: I wrote that….
    Marie: I’ve never quoted anything from a magazine in my life….I don’t know that much about writing, but…
    Jess: It spoke to you and that pleases me…..No one has ever quoted me back to me before.
    When Harry Met Sally (like any of you expected anything else!)

    Tonight, I did this for someone. We were at a going away party [1] for Christine & James as they prepare for their move to Savannah, GA. Through other friends we have in common, we were introduced to Cedric, who “knew something about me that I didn’t know he knew” right as Emil was joining us. What a great conversation starter! And, since he’s (Cedric, not Emil) a hypnotist, I figured anything was fair game.

    Cedric started off with, “If I said to you…” and then quoted something faintly familiar and then something I recognized. I said, “Oh, we’re both Browncoats!” and we bonded. I told him how we didn’t see the show as it aired, but we saw the first syndication, that we owned the short-lived series, and the movie which we’d seen a bunch…and then said that we even owned a CD of music that fans made. I paused as I tried to think…..and then it came to me slowly, “trinity, trinity…..no, that’s not it…Trilogy, Trilogy, I want my Trilogy …” to which he picked up and carried the whole tune with correct lyrics and…get this: the same voice we’ve heard sing it. He wrote and sings the biggest fan-created song in the entire story line; it’s arguably one of the biggest reasons that Serenity came to be a movie. (Fans seriously revolted when Firefly was not picked up for a second season after the network had screwed it out of having any chance at being seen in an early-DVR time of television when timeslots still mattered.) Hat Tip to the Bedlam Bards…and if the song is not your thing, at least listen at 1:40. LOL!

    We chatted a bit about their experiences with various renaissance fairs, specifically the Sherwood Forrest Faire about 45 minutes outside of Austin. He joked that we had to have seen them, but I didn’t remember. 😉 I was certain we’d passed by, but I didn’t remember any particularly “dirty” songs at the faire.

    On the way to the car, I told Emil, if he’d quoted the episode, “Out of Gas”, I could have finished it right away:

    Wash: When your miracle gets here, you just pound this button once, it’ll call back both shuttles.
    [Movie trivia: When the series was cancelled, Alan Tudyk gave the prop button to Joss Whedon and repeated ~that line to him….and then we got Serenity.]

    On the way home, Emil had an Ah Ha! moment and realized we had seen them at this year’s Sherwood Forrest Faire. They were “dirty bards” at the front and center of the faire. We even heard them sining one of their Firefly-fan songs and remarked how that didn’t exactly fit with the faire, but seemed just perfect, anyway. As soon as Emil said a little about them, it all came flooding back to me, and I remembered standing close to “back” stage and dancing along to the dirty. :)

    Turns out, there are some Firefly/Serenity themed shows this weekend that he’s in and we’re going to try to go. wow! He also turned us onto the show Portlandia, which could just as easily be about Austin as it is Portland; they even have a “Keep Portland Weird” sign. wow! Thank you, Christine and Judy for making sure we met Cedric! #OnlyInAustin #WhyAustin

    I realize this shows off what giant nerds/geeks we can be, but I was pleased and proud to be the one who made his day.


    [1] It sure is easier to attend these once every ~3 years instead of 3x per year. Again, #WhyAustin!

  • 21Feb

    It’s been one party after another for us.

    • Miami played FSU in basket ball (and had a darn good showing!)
    • Our No Kidding! chapter had our annual Chocolate party on Valentine’s weekend.
    • This past weekend was a beer tour at Circle Brewery (owned by a Miami alumnus!)
    • The same day, we attended a Mardi Gras party hosted by two Creole Cajuns!
  • 19Jan

    Ack! 2012 has started off with a bang. This must be what runners and racers feel all the time….except we are sprinting through January instead of December. So, here’s a collective update.

    The Move

    Last year, our rent went up almost 10% and added some fees, too. We knew it would happen again (we heard rumors of $100-$150 increases in 1/1 units!), so we started shopping around. It had to be a Perfect Storm in a lot of ways. It’s not worth moving unless we can stay close to the same total expenses, get more space, get nicer fixtures and stuff, etc. Well, when we started looking around, there were a lot of ways we could make this happen. So, on 25-Feb, we’ll have a new place to live. We have until 22-Mar to get out of Riata, but we’re hiring movers so we can leave early in the hope that they can flip our unit quickly like they did for our neighbor. We have been quite happy at Riata. Unless they screw us over on move-out, I’ll give them a 5-star rating on Yelp. But, when we got this “shoebox” shaped apartment, it was an amazing deal we just couldn’t pass up while we still had a mortgage. We were so happy here that when the lease came around, twice, we just stayed. Now, we’re ready to face moving again to go for bigger/better.

    We looked at ~20 places and had a very strong Top 5 list. I fell “in like” with two leasing specialists, one where an acquaintance of ours lives. We found: a lovely town home, an über quiet place up the road, hardwood floors, door-to-door valet trash service, amazing views, and a couple of places with a lot of rugrats. All of the options gave us more space (so I can use Daddy’s desk again!), better amenities for our lifestyle, garage options (so we can stop paying for a storage unit primarily for Daddy’s desk and “junk”), better fixtures, and a better layout.

    Just like we did when house hunting, we made a matrix of all the “stuff”. And just like most brides do with a wedding gown, we ended up at the first place we wanted to see: Villas at Stone Oak Ranch. We have good/affordable access to a game room and a 30-seat movie theater. There is a “gift wrap” area full of paper and tape and scissors. All the standards are there too: gym, pool, business center, etc. We have a detached garage, a square balcony, “Romeo & Juliet” doors off the dining room (which I’ve re-named Rapunzel doors), garden tubs, a kitchen that is open on two ends, an excellent pantry, and data ports in all the rooms. The only things we didn’t get: gas cooking (REALLY hard to find) and a fireplace (again? dammit!). But the deal was just too good to pass up compared to the other places in consideration.

    Aside: During the process we met an amazing woman named Wendie. She gave us the low-down on why so many communities are doing away with their hot tubs. Turns out, some really scary (as in: there is no known cure) stuff can survive even in 104?-temperature chemical-treated water. The report is new and we could not find it online, but it’s scary. Do not, I repeat: DO NOT get in a public hot tub. Feet only. No “sensitive” areas allowed. eeeeeewwww!

    Don’t worry friends and family: we’re hiring movers. We are also cleaning out the storage unit and holding a big moving sale in their parking lot. What doesn’t get sold is getting donated. Goodwill is going to LOVE us! LMK if you are close and care about the few big-ticket items we’re selling.

    Oh! And we were able to surprise a friend with the referral fee paid to REALTORs. She’s a single mom and a cancer survivor, so she was elated with the news.

    (The) Grandaddy

    Grandaddy is quite frustrated and bored. His hip is so messed up from the botched “Paris-effin’-Texas” surgery that he can’t sit up. He’s been laying down since Hallowe’en. The Longview/Tyler doctors have deemed all surgical options too risky. Health care is a joke from the beginning; but in a small town that is 20 years behind the times, 1 hour from an interstate highway, and 2 hours from anything you’ve ever heard of, it’s nothing short of tragic. Mama Bee is still fighting the residuals from the beotch who called APS on her (the witch has since apologized), but no one wants to take Grandaddy on as a client. They claim he’ll have a stroke if he stays in bed too much longer, but they won’t come help her get him the physical therapy he needs to get out of the hospital bed. It’s heartbreaking….worse so to be physically and financially powerless to help. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d care-flight him to one of those fancy-schmancy places in Dallas where he’d get all the help he needs. Again, I need to win the lottery for that. I don’t know what those places cost, but even the crappy Paris nursing homes are $6K per month…and for terrible care compared with what my Grandmother can do (even at her small stature).

    The Fraud

    In the midst of The Move, we got a call that we’d have to pay rent with “certified funds” like a cashier’s check or money order. We’ve been on auto-draft, so this would be a real pain in the butt. Today, I called the “ladder” of people to find out the cause. Some jackass spoofed my Texas driver’s license number when writing a bad check at Walmart in a town I’ve never been to in Oklahoma. Telecheck reported it to credit on my DL number without checking any facts like the name. So, now, I’m in the middle of yet another fraud mess. I’ve lost count of how many times this has happened. So, to all the people who gave me shit (my sorority included) for wanting to protect my SSN, DL, DOB, mailing address, and other “credit” information, Fuck You! THIS is why. Less than $300 of stupid means we have to get a money order for rent every month? Are you kidding? Since Emil was just frauded over Xmas, this is just another reason to try to get off the financial grid. I haven’t even owned checks in years and I’m still dealing with this kind of bullshit.

    Dear Walmart: stop taking checks. They are not money. They are only theft.

    “Dear” Telecheck, this a’int our first rodeo for something completely out of my control. I already don’t shop at any store that posts they use you. You have needed better processes since ~1993 when I bought <$10 worth of socks from one of your client stores. Your sign in the window means I don’t shop there. fuckers. Oh, and if you think I’m alone in my opinion, search “telecheck” on Twitter. You need to learn/use social media, too, BTW.

    The Fun

    Austin is about to ride the big wave of fun that is Spring. Right after we move in, we’ll have RISE (free workshops for entrepreneurs) and the four South by Southwest conferences. I’ve been invited to return tot he photo crew for SXSW. And, I’ve been selected to wrangle for another all-time favorite photographer at Texas School in May. It’s a fun ride, but it’s a sprint, so jump on board fast if you want to hang with us!

    Oh, and for those of you close by, look for a party in April or May. The party room at the new place is stellar (pool, poker, shuffleboard, music, swimming, etc.)



  • 07Nov

    If you find @TheBloggess to be anywhere near as funny as I do, add her book to your 2012 wish list!

    Lets Pretend This Never Happened, a book by Jenny Lawson

    I mean, anyone who will willingly take a dressed mouse on a plane has some funny stories to share, right?

    I hope I end up next to her on a plane one day!

  • 13Sep

    While researching some blog material back in the spring, I found that Tacori was giving away an engagement ring from their new line. So, I signed up to win the beauty. I didn’t win the gorgeous ring, but I did win one of the other 99 prizes: a pair of “Jelly bean” diamond earrings in a “pincushion” style mount.

    I didn’t know what I’d do with them. When do I ever have an occasion to wear something like that.

    They arrived today and I may never take them off. They are stunning.

    Tacori earrings

  • 14Aug

    Courtesy of a friend via his facebook profile….

    Does this ass make my truck look big?

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