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...