Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Where Do I Even Start?

April 18, 2011

This weekend has been crazy good.  Full of friends and travel, little sleep, much coffee, walking, bicycling, swimming, thrift store looting, brisket eating, trampolining.  Good lord, how do I even begin to write it all up?

Yesterday I got up to a clear sunny Austin brimming over with bird song and possibility around 8:30 a.m.  I put on my new sundress that I had bought on South Congress the afternoon before at some store next to Jo’s Coffee.  I can’t remember the name, there’s a lot of little stores down there.  But I can tell you, it is super cute–red ruffled and white polka-dotted, topped off with a white belt I got at the Good Will.  I will be wearing it as often as I can, or as often as San Francisco weather permits–I might get lucky and get two wears out of it in the next year.  Chuckle.

And may I just inject that it was just a bit surreal to go from 95 F yesterday with bright sunny skies to 54 F overcast, grey, and foggy today.  But I adjusted pretty quick to the change.  Especially after Joanie and I hiked the Presidio this afternoon through Crissy Field out to the Warming House for late afternoon coffees, but I am getting ahead of myself.  Back to Austin, which was yesterday, although it sort of feels all of a piece as I did not, for as I predicted, I did not get a lot of sleep.  I have been basically up since 4:15 a.m. this morning, and that’s Austin time, which means, I have been up since 2:15 a.m. San Francisco time.

My how that time does fly.

So, back to Austin.  After putting on my sassy new sundress Ell dropped me and Liz pants off at Lizzy’s old place where her bike has been stored.  I met her old room-mate, her cat Dodge, and her chicken, yes I said chicken, Lady Bug.  We did some quick bike maintenance then headed into down town Austin.  We stopped at the Farmer’s Market to grab breakfast before heading over to meet some ladies at the Little Pink House to do the deal.

Breakfast was mighty, mighty, mighty delicious.  Two corn tortilla soft tacos, one with shredded bison, one with scrambled eggs and peppers, both topped with some sort of spicy avocado dreaminess.  Accompanied by a big tall iced organic coffee.  We sat in the park nibbling, ahem, I mean, inhaling, our tacos and enjoying the weather and the dogs and the little kids running around.  Then back on the bikes and over to the pink house.

Afterward we headed to Thom’s Market to pick up a bottle of water and a picnic lunch to take with us to Barton Springs.

Now, I have to say, in all honesty that there are very few places that I have had the moment of being completely and totally at home as soon as I was in the city.  Where I knew in my heart that I was home, in my bones, in my soul–Austin was not one of those places.  San Francisco, Paris, Black Rock City, yup.  Austin is really cool, but I knew pretty much from the plane touching down that I would enjoy my visit, but I would not be tempted into moving there.

Then Lizz took me to Barton Springs, and I had some serious reconsidering to do.  It is the most beautiful outdoor swimming hole I have ever seen.  It is a natural spring fed reservoir, surrounded by grassy hills, clover, oak trees, ranging anywhere from two feet deep to ten feet.  It is not man-made, although there are man made touches that enhance the pools–lifeguard stands, ladders and steps leading into the springs, a dammed area with a walkway over it to allow you to cross from one set of gently sloping banks to the other, sidewalks, picnic tables, a concession stand, locker rooms and shower areas.

I was blown away.

I love to swim and I had not been swimming in some time.  On top of which, I had not been swimming outdoors in over ten years. Actually, probably longer, I may have to ponder this.  There is nothing quite like getting into the water, even though it was really cold at first, really cold! And paddling around.  Swimming to me is like flying, there is this beautiful weightlessness that I imagine birds feel while they swoop through the air.  I pretend I am a mermaid and stay under as long as I can.

The springs also had a diving platform over the deeper end of it.  I actually did some diving.  And I know that I haven’t been on a diving board in, well, I think thirteen, fourteen years.  My goodness.  But the body is an amazing mechanism and mine remembered how to do it.  I don’t know what I looked like, but it felt so good to dive.  I never really learned any true diving tricks, but I had a great time trying to mimic the approach and bounce that divers do.  I think the kind of dive I do is called a swan dive.

And that’s what I felt like, a swan.

Then after I was good and tuckered out from the swim, Lizz and I just laid out on the banks and let the sun dry us off and I contemplated what it would be like to live in Austin just so that I could go for a swim every morning.  Then it got pretty hot, and the bees got a little enamoured with me.  I don’t know what it is, but I attract them.  We cut the sunbathing short and headed into town to do a little vintage shopping before Ell came to pick us up and haul us back to the house to get ready for the wedding.

Uh, yup, I also went to a wedding yesterday.  In Texas Hill Country, at the Barr Mansion.  It was a gorgeous ceremony, small, romantic, everything you see in a magazine layout for perfect weddings.  It was like being on a movie set.  I kept expecting Sandra Bullock or Reese Witherspoon to come waltzing out of the mansion.

And since I’m a curious monkey, I did a little investigating on my own after the wedding and went wandering around the mansion, which was not technically open to the wedding guests, but they were all busy with the free bar and the wedding party were busy getting their photos taken.  So Lizz and I and Ell, took the liberty of exploring the mansion.  The parlors and the library, and dining room, and the upstairs with the wrap around veranda, and the fancy pants bathroom with the most beautiful old clawfoot tub, and the library, with its zebra skin, a real zebra skin, rug and antler chandelier.  Oh my.

The reception was in a gorgeous new building built back behind the mansion and gardens.  Glossy cement floors with oak leaves embedded into it, fresh cedar everywhere, flowers cascading all over, candles, lanterns on the grounds leading you into the dining area and hanging from the rafters, the ceiling was over twenty feet.  It was astounding.

Actually, what was astounding was the food.  I was blown away.  I have never had such amazing wedding food.  All organic as well.  The mansion prides itself on providing a very eco-friendly event space.  There where mini bbq chicken sliders with dill pickles and roast beef, glorious fresh steamed vegetables, artisanal breads and whipped butter, gnocchi dripping in butter and cheese, a mashed potato bar.  It was astoundingly good.

But the best part was the hibiscus iced tea.  Mostly because it was not sweet tea.  I had to send back my tea a few times this weekend.  No sweet tea for me, please!

And the topper, the moon, full, rising golden and benevolent over the oak trees.  It was like a fairy garden.  Well, until the dj started spinning 90s pop tunes.  Lizz and Ell and I fled.

We headed back into Austin, stopping momentarily at the house to grab Velvet, Lizzy’s sweet baby blue pit bull, then on to Halcyon in the Warehouse District downtown.  It is a combined coffee bar, lounge, humidor, people watching palace of iniquity.  We scored an awesome table right on the main drag and watched Saturday night happen right in front of us.  And Velvet ate a lot of cookies and charmed all who passed by.

Even with a large latte at 11 pm at night, I could not manage the energy up to go on longer, so we mustered up after our coffee was finished and hit the sack.  I got a little shut-eye and then got up to catch my 6 a.m. flight back to SFO.

And since this entry is getting long and I’m tired, no way!  I’m going to summarize today in one paragraph, here goes–

Arrive in San Francisco at 7:45 am (time change), grab a coffee and a croissant at Petes, catch the BART back into the city, then a bus from downtown to Nob Hill.  Unpack, feed the cats, sort the mail, pay a bill, fix a to go lunch, smack a little make up on my face, down load pictures onto computer, tidy up, do the dishes, sweep the floor, head back out the door, catch a cable car down town, back onto BART, over to 16th and Mission to take care of a commitment, meet up at Four Barrel after that to do the deal for an hour, get picked up by Joan at 2:40 p.m. drive over to the Presidio, hike through Crissy Field, go to the Warming Hut for coffees, walk past the House of Air, get a crazy wild hair up my ass and make reservations to go back and bounce during their next session, head back to Joan’s car, grab a light dinner in the Marina, hit the Dry Dock to see some friends real quick, then back to the House of Air where we jumped around on trampolines for an hour.

Whew!  Did I really do all that in 24 hours?  I have one hell of a cruise director.  And I still have one day of my five-day weekend left.

Maybe I’ll take it easy tomorrow.  Sleep in, take a long bath, nap, relax….


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