Thursday, November 27, 2008

From a thankful, though inconstant, blogger

This Thanksgiving comes with so much to be thankful for!   Obama won, the Longhorns are having a fabulous football season and the next Harry Potter movie is set to release on my birthday!  As if it couldn't get any better, I am living with Blair and her beautiful family, I see my sister nearly every day (we've started speaking in unison), and I finally have a job that I wanted (not one that just fell in my lap).  I've been thinking what a difference a year makes. Last November, I came to Austin and on the flight back to San Diego I cried - practically bawled. It wasn't just leaving my hometown that did it - the combination of an unsettled life was crashing down on me, and visiting a place I find cathartic only to leave was wrenching.  A year later, as Thanksgiving steamed, bubbled and crisped in the kitchen of my Austin home, I thought how fortunate I am to have my wonderful friends, both near and far, old and new; to have a family who's company I love; to have a job; to have a healthy life I shape on my own; to have a car; to have yoga; to have Fall and oncoming Winter; to have laughter.  The list is practically endless and it fills me with hope and happiness as the new year fast approaches.   Happy Thanksgiving, with all my love!

With our resident Hobbit as Thanksgiving pulls together.  And, Mom gets to take a shower!

A little blurry, but can you feel our excitement and sense of accomplishment?  Susan's marshmallow sweet potatoes puffed up perfectly and my ginger/coconut sweet potato concoction turned out to be a crowd pleaser.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

High art - Texas style

The parents came to Austin for a Fall visit, before our beautiful weather begins to get serious. For the first time in years I'll have a real winter! At least temperature-wise, since snow rarely happens in our corner of the US. Dinner with Susan's sorority began the fun, resulting in bellies full of tasty Tex-Mex and our first family photo in ages:

The following couple of days brought football fun (another win for UT!), a wonderful breakfast Sunday morning with Austin friends and family at Mother's (all Natural) Cafe and Garden, then a walk around the surrounding neighborhood of Hyde Park.

Our jaunt led us to a group of bag pipers practicing in a park next to the Elizabet Ney Museum. Bag pipes have such an ancient, poignant sound and I can never hear them without pausing to listen. I suppose I get it from my parents who bee-lined it to the impromptu performance. Once we'd had our fill, we took refuge from the increasingly warm day by ducking into the studio of Ms. Ney. Although I had never been to her museum, I realized immediately I knew her work. She is probably one of our state's most prominent sculptors, having immortalized numerous Texas historical figures, including Stephen F. Austin (with us, below). What's more, she was a world renowned artist in her own day, having received lengthy, intimate commissions with royalty around the world, most notably in Bavaria where she spent time at the Neuschwanstein Castle. Now, there are museums devoted to her all around the world! But, she called Austin home, and her works and studio here were gifted to the University of Texas. All of this was accomplished by a female artist in the mid-1800s! What an exotic life to have led nearly 150 years ago.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Birthdays and Football

On a gorgeous October day, friends and family gathered around for the first birthday of Julien, my youngest roomie. He knew all eyes were on him as he indulged in cake (his first time tasting sugar!) and riding on the Zilker Zephyr, a little train in Zilker Park that I used to ride as a kid. The train starts at Barton Springs, goes through a play ground, then follows Barton Creek down to Lady Bird Lake, where you can see views of nearby downtown Austin, and finally loops back around to the station. Julien powered through all the attention and managed to hold naptime at bay until we reached the car, where he cried a bit then promptly passed out. Such a cute little pumpkin! I made him a beanie as a gift, but so far, he just rips my labor of love off his head whenever we put it on so that he won't be distracted from playing with the box it came in. Figures.

The next day was a big game day for us Longhorns, as we faced off with Missouri. We played at home and ESPN Game Day showed up to cover the insanity. Susan, Yvonne and I got up super early (8:00!) and headed over to campus where we were treated to lots of yelling, homemade signs, the Longhorn band and some fun stories about our home team. Naturally we stopped by my neighborhood bakery (Quack's) where we somehow managed to avoid their cupcakes with towering piles of fluffy, homemade icing, despite the tantalizing artwork on the walls. Maybe next time.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rain and Local Treasure

Finally the rain has begun! Summer in Austin has been brutal, although I only caught the tail end, so the relief has been a long time coming. Rain here means four things this time of year: a replenished aquifer (ensuring we have clean, fresh water), cooler weather (83 degrees!), the promise of beautiful wildflowers this Spring (bluebonnets need good, deep October showers in order to dazzle in May) and hair that goes from shiny and straight to a frizzy, wavy mess!

I suppose I shouldn't complain and, while posting this picture, I think my hair might just look like that on a regular basis. Hmmmm. Regardless, I know this swampy weather can only mean good things for our green slice of Texas.

Unwittingly, Susan and I had planned the perfect celebration of rainy weather with a prearranged trip to Boggy Creek Farm this past Wednesday morning. It is one
of the Nation's few urban farms, just a couple miles east of downtown Austin. Boggy Creek offers beautiful, organic produce and eggs harvested there, as well as local meats and dairy products. Each Wednesday and Saturday they set up market in a little covered area with their latest triumphs proudly displayed.

Susan stocked up on gorgeous yellow squash and green beans that were so sweet you hardly needed to cook them. I grabbed a wonderfully gnarled sweet potato and some petite yellow onions that were deliciously fragrant and smelled like they'd already been sauteed in butter. We then explored the
grounds, checking out the clucking hens and admiring the rain-swept beauty of our newly discovered Austin gem. While walking around the rain started up again and, as we ducked into the car, the sky opened up and poured and poured and poured. . .

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hooray for music!

In my never ending quest to find bands that don't even exist yet, I somehow managed to find one that does.  Or at least a girl that does.  Her name's Duffy and she comes complete with her own rockin' back-up band.  Duffy hails from a new movement in British music that tends towards the bluesy, mo-town-y end of things (think, Amy Winehouse or Adele).  As luck would have it, my new house mate, Del (aka: Ebeth's new favorite person), arranged for me to attend her Austin City Limits taping with a friend this past Wednesday.  "What's so special about that?" you may be asking yourself.  Well, not only is ACL a musical institution, having attracted and recorded some of the biggest and best in the biz over the past 30-odd years, but you can't buy tickets to the intimate performances.  Attendance is on a first come and who do you know basis.  Oh!  And did I mention you get free BEER at the show?!  Well, ya do.  Yvonne and I had a fabulous, slightly buzzed time and we got out early enough to grab a pint with her friend, Chris, and my sis while basking in the sunset at Opal Divine's, one of my favorite pubs in Austin. 

This may not be the "best" picture from our late afternoon drinks, but its definitely my favorite.  This shot captures the mood - all happy and sun kissed - you can almost feel how perfect the evening was just by looking at their glowing faces.  Ahhh, Austin.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Texas-y Things

Being since I don't have a job yet (I think I'm in denial that I've come back to Austin as an adult, not a college student) I have been filling my time with all things Texas, Austin and yoga. For starters, Stephanie (who I nannied during college and who now ATTENDS college) went with me to see the wonderful documentary The Unforseen. The film is about conservation of water here in Austin - particularly of the Edwards Aquifer, where our city gets all its water, and Barton Springs, a natural wonder where I grew up swimming and that is my zen place. Austin is so gorgeous that people keep trying to build here, but developing sensitive areas will pollute the water and ultimately destroy something we humans have no right to obliterate: Barton Springs. Time and again the community here has spoken out against these developers, and The Unforeseen exposes that struggle against big corporations and deep wallets. It has been critically acclaimed and hopefully its message will not only inspire more Austinites to protect their community and public space rights, but it will also help the conservation movement nation wide. It is a wonderful, touching movie made all the more meaningful by being shown at the springs! So, Steph and I brought oversized towels and sat out under the stars with fellow movie/Austin nerds watching a film in the very place it focused on. Ahhh. . . so satisfying.

Alright - enough about my pet causes. Now, it's time for ice cream! Texas has an ice cream company called Blue Bell Creameries and they make the yummiest, creamiest treats! If you grew up in Texas, this stuff is like mother's, uh, frozen milk. Susan and I made a little day trip to their headquarters and learned the following: although Blue Bell is only offered in about 13% of the US, it is the number 3 ice cream nation wide! Also, it takes the milk of 50,000 cows to produce one day's worth of ice cream - and all of that milk comes from independent, Texas dairies. Oh, and my favorite piece of trivia about Blue Bell is that Bush, Sr. used to have it shipped to the White House while he was president. Hooray for ice cream!

Susan with the sculpture of the little girl and cow that are always on Blue Bell products.

That cow looks pretty content, right? Surely this ice cream comes from "happy cows."

Me with Blue Bell's first refrigerated truck, purchased in the 30s. Its a Ford, naturally!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And so it begins...

Well, as per usual I'm behind schedule.  I planned my first post months ago, wrote a post days after leaving San Diego and still only managed to get something up a full month after embarking on my journey home.  Well, after all that planning, here goes:

Under the title of my blog, I've included a quote from Lorenzo deMedici: "Non fate guerra al maggio" which literally translates to "War not with May" or, as I prefer to say: "Don't go fighting Spring" (finger swirl, for added emphasis.)  This quote has meant many things to me over the years, especially now because, although I'm certainly not entering the Spring of my life, I am hopefully entering a new phase, and resistance would be foolhardy.  

During this next year while I try to reinvent myself from aimless wanderer to focused yoga teacher, I have decided to keep a blog in order to stay in touch with my family and friends spread all over the place (aka, you.)  But, don't worry!  You don't need to check in daily - I will post once a week on Sundays, figuring weekly installments should be easy for you and me both.

There is already a backlog of photographs and stories from my wonderful journey back to Texas with my mom, to football, nights out in Austin and a music festival.  For now, I've included an album (above right) with pics from my six years in California.  See you here again soon!