Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Back From Texas, Y'all...

Doesn't it seem like Thanksgiving was 6 months ago?  So old news.  I spent the past weekend in Austin, Texas visiting Scott and Ashley.  Can I just say I love Texas?  Granted, I've never been anywhere other than the Austin area, but I loved it.  The weather was beautiful, the locals were nice, and I had the best company all weekend.
Scott picked me up at the airport and we wound our way back to their apartment, waving a little hello to downtown Austin as we drove past.  It looked like a city I would like to go to.  Scott's apartment was great!  The apartment they had here in California was tiny (one bedroom) and had no storage space for anything.  It was next to a baseball field and not that far from a bad part of town, so their cars either got broken into (and totaled in the process) or balls from the field would smash their windshields.  No bueno.  Their new apartment is on the 2nd floor, and there are 2 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms, as well as a living room, dining area, a nice little kitchen, and a laundry room.  Yes folks, they are now the proud owners of their own washer and dryer!  Can you remember that milestone in your lives?  I certainly do.  It was a wonderful day when that happened.  Angels sang. No more laundromats, and random clothing articles mixed in with yours!
I also got to meet the new member of the family - this little guy:

His name is Kingsley, and he's one of the sweetest dogs I've ever had the pleasure to meet.  Apparently Texas is very dog friendly, and many restaurants have outside patio dining areas where you can take your dog with you.  And that's exactly what we did.  We went for barbecue and it was So.Good.  I chose a combo plate with brisket and turkey.  I have to admit that turkey wouldn't have been my first choice but I went with the waitress's recommendation and it was amazing.  Melted in your mouth.  It was all served with cole slaw, beans, potato salad and really good bread.  Yes, I know - many many carbs, but I was on vacation and I hadn't eaten all day.  So I enjoyed it.  We fed Kingsley little bits and he was a happy dog.
When we got back to the house, Ashley came home from work soon after.  So good to see her!  She just started a new job managing a beautiful flagship Sperry Topsider store in the Dominion shopping mall.  It's all outdoors - like walking down the streets of a beautiful little town, it is.  If you're in the area, you must stop into that store - I managed to bring a new pair of topsiders home with me - gray wool with brown leather trim.  Very, very cute.  And don't get me started on the baby and kid size shoes...
They gave me my own room to sleep in and I had one bathroom all to myself - heaven!  I slept well that night, and the next morning Scott and I went to breakfast at a little Mexican place in Austin.  Kind of hole in the wall, but everyone says you must eat breakfast there, and so we did.  And we were not sorry, either.  Apparently, deliciousness abounds in Texas.  After breakfast, some exercise was in order, so we picked up the Muff (I don't even think he knows his name is Kingsley - we just called him the Muff) and went to the dog park.  Now, the thing about poor Kingsley is that he was abandoned by the side of the road - that's how Scott and Ashley came to get him from the shelter.  He is determined not to be left again and he is so busy following right at Scott's heels that he doesn't play much.  Once in awhile he would forget and run off, but then he remembers and comes running back to Scott.  I tried to get more pictures of him, but when he'd hear the beep of the camera focusing he'd look the other way.  I managed to get one decent one:

Later in the day, after Ashley got home, we went to one of those theaters where they serve you dinner while you watch the movie.  I'd never done that before (new-fangled theaters...) and I'm here to say that I'm sold.  We saw Skyfall, and it was awesome.  Even better that you could enjoy a really good sandwich and fries while you took it all in.  L and I will have to do that.  We got back home entertained, bellies full, and tired from the busy day.
On Sunday we got up, leashed up the pooch and went to a place called North x Northwest for brunch.  It was a gorgeous day, and perfect for sitting outside enjoying our food.  All I'm going to say is that I had poached eggs on shrimp and crab cakes with Hollandaise sauce.  Need I say more?
Best. Breakfast. Ever.  There were other dogs on the patio enjoying their outings with their families and it was a perfect morning.
After breakfast we headed to a town about a half hour away from Round Rock.  I think it was called Solana or Soldana.  Any of you Texas people know where I'm talking about?  As you drive into this little town you cross over a river and there was a beautiful church at the top of the river bank.  Down closer to the river, there were 3 large angel sculptures fashioned in metal with green wreaths tied with red bows fastened onto them.  It was such a beautiful sight!  Of course, I wasn't prepared to take a picture... The town itself had a long street that was lined with large old oak trees and had lots of cute little shops, cafes, businesses and a little bed and breakfast inn.

We strolled up and down, and I enjoyed how welcome Kingsley was in each little shop. We bought fudge in a one shop, and I found a treasure trove of Christmas decorations in another.

It was a fun afternoon, and it was great to be out and about on such a beautiful day.  It wasn't until we got home that I realized how much trouble I was going to be in trying to get my new purchases home.  I repacked, rearranged, and finally wrapped the large reindeer and angel in bubble wrap and put them in a canvas tote that became my "purse" for the flight home.  My real purse got emptied and tucked into a compartment of my carry on piece.  And I was careful.  So, so careful.  And still, the reindeer broke.  Oh, the CARNAGE!  I was a sad girl when I saw what had happened.

But a few minutes with Super Glue, and L had the whole thing looking brand new.  Me?  I would have glued my fingers together.  The elf I bought will "ride" on the reindeer as part of my dining table centerpiece.

And the angel came home in perfect shape.  She will be part of the fireplace mantle decorations.

And so the trip came to an end.  I came home tired but happy.  It was good to see where the kids live and work.  Now, when I try to picture what they're doing, I have a good visual in my head.  It's comforting and helps me not to miss them so much.  You may wonder if I took any pictures of Scott and Ashley.  Yes.  Yes I did.  But they were for their Christmas card, and if I scooped them on that, they would never forgive me.  So I'll have to post it later.
And now, it's on to thoughts of Christmas, and decorating the house and tree.  We had an onslaught of ants - probably from the rain we had - and they've kept me so busy trying to exterminate them I haven't gotten anything out yet.  I don't know about you, but ants make me uneasy.  There's just so many of them at a time, and they're sneaky.  First here, and then they're pouring out of a different microscopic opening.  GAH!  But this weekend is the target for decking the halls.  How are all of you coming?  Shopping done?  Feeling ready?  It'll be here before we can wink.  Ho ho ho...


  1. I KNEW you would love Austin! It's a great place. Is it Salado you were talking about- an hour and a half or so from Round Rock?

    North by Northwest is a great place to eat. There are so many there, and a person could seriously gain some weight if they aren't careful. So glad you were able to fix the reindeer and that everything else made it back intact.

    Loved reading about your visit!

  2. Welcome home, karen! I've heard only great things about Austin and it seems like your experiences there support those claims. (Did you see Shelly waving to you from across the state? LOL) It's good to know that the kids have a nicer, larger place with their own washer and dryer and are living in a friendly, culture rich community. I love the pics of Kingsley and can tell he's a gentle dog. I can also understand his separation anxiety if he was abandoned and/or abused earlier in life. The kids did a wonderful thing by rescuing him and giving him a good life. Tampa Bay also boasts its share of doggie restaurants, crazy popular hole-in-the-wall eateries and "dinner & movie" theaters. I'm so happy to know you had fine weather and lots of yummy food during your stay in Austin. Now it's back to hiking and biking to shed those extra pounds, correct? :) Have a wonderful weekend, dear friend karen!

  3. Shelley, yes: Salado! Beautiful little town! And why does everyone keep talking about shedding the extra pounds?!? *sniff* I'll have you know that I didn't gain ANY weight, believe it or not! Consider that I spend most of every day working. In a chair. Sedentary. Last weekend we did not spend much time sitting. That's why I love vacations - I can enjoy the eating out, and I'm so busy moving I can maintain weight and many times LOSE it!

  4. It does sound like a great place. I think the dog-friendly restaurants are a great idea. Except Millie would drive everyone insane with the begging! Oh and that breakfast....it does sound like the best breakfast ever! Yumm

  5. Karen, your visit sounds wonderful! And now I'm really going to have to try eating a breakfast that includes shrimp. I love your elf! We've been enjoying being back home after our thanksgiving trip to MO, and as soon as possible started decorating the house. I love the creative part of the holidays! You have a great eye for finding really neat pieces. Talk to you soon:)

  6. Sounds like a great trip! How sweet that they got a shelter dog...I wish more people would do that. We had a "pound puppy" for 15yrs and he was the best dog. (don't tell Eddy the boxer!) I'm glad they have a nicer apartment and are settled in. All those great places to eat..yum! I'm going to finish the decorating this weekend and hopefully get some shopping finished too. Have a good weekend back at home with L!

  7. Our yacht mates were from Austin and I have a bestie moving there the end of the year, it is going to be a place I HAVE to visit so I loved all the pictures. And dog friendly is my kinda town!

  8. Akkkk, you're making me feel sorry that my daughter and family left Austin. I know many of the places you visited and it made me happy to hear about your visit.

  9. How did that reindeer still break if you didn't check it?Weird! So glad LaMar was able to fix it. This post makes me want to go visit them! Or have you come visit me :)

  10. Yes, yes indeed do I remember the washer and dryer issues - they were our number #2 item and way before kitchen table and sofa! - wink.
    Almost moved to Austin - but instead here we are in AZ.. still an option.. so some day I am sure we will visit or move there - that's life adventures you just never know where work or play will take ya - glad your home safe and love your Christmas items you brought back..

  11. Glad you got to see the kids in their own environment - it really helps to know where & how they live when you don't live near them...As often as I have been to Texas, and I still have yet to make it to Austin. I have never heard anything but glowing remarks about it and I plan to get there one of these days. Welcome home and Merry Christmas!!

  12. Nice post. Jilda and i went to Telluride, Colorado a few years ago and it too was a pet friendly place.
    Those are my kind of places.
    BTW, that's a great looking dog.

  13. Looks like they are making a nice home for themselves there.

    I love the haul you made.
    AND super glue.

    Hope you are settling in for Christmas now!


  14. sounds like a wonderful experience for all of you. I am just in the beginning stages of seeing my children in their own environment..interesting for sure. none has their own washer and dryer yet...
    lovely photos!

  15. I just saw this post....yes, I'm a bit behind in my blog reading! :)
    I love both of the dogs! (I hope I AM reading/seeing that correctly...two different dogs?) Reminds me of our sweet Tiger Gal we had for approx 14 years. She looked just like that...and a very sweet dog. Now we have another sweety and his name is Vern! He came from a shelter, an older guy and already had the name. He's a yellow lab/mix. Sorry to ramble on so much....Happy New Year!


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