Austin: Best In State

August 2011

We are in Austin for a day trip to celebrate, my friend, Amber's birthday. She surprised "us" (Susan, Lynette and myself) with an escape out of town for "her" b-day. How thoughtful! Along with us is her older brother, Matthew. I haven't been to Austin since college when I went to an extreme sporting event at Zilker Park back in the day where my one regret was not getting the autograph of Bob Burnquist, who would later turn into my favorite skateboarder. I also saw Shawn White skate. He must have been 7-years-old. My how time flies. Austin is an unrequited city for me. I feel like I should have gone to school here, but I didn't. It's got fish taco trucks, cupcakes in airstreams, vinyl record stores, vintage shops, music venues where the goodest of the good bands play, hills, lakes and environmentalists. What it doesn't have is a NBA basketball team or the ocean. If it did, I'd load up my Prius, throw my Feed bag in the back and step on the pedal with my foot inside a Tom's shoe.

Our first stop is the Hula Hut, a restaurant on Lake Austin. Very reasonably priced with a causal atmosphere and all sorts of tacos on the menu. On the walls are "Keep Austin Weird" shirts for sale. The majority of Austin's residents have no problem with that statement except for government types like Rick Perry. It seems comical that this is the city that houses the man who wants to "Keep America Generic." And can someone tell me how requiring health insurance is unconstitutional when every state requires car insurance? Cars or people? What would you choose to save?


Back to neutrality.  Our next stop is the Longhorn Caverns. I have never been inside a cave before. I used to fancy myself as a girl willing to go on an adventure with Indiana Jones on some artifact recovering mission. However, I know now that if it's involving a dark cave with who knows what crawling/flying about, then I'll be waiting for you outside, Indy. Not that I didn't enjoy it. I did quite a lot. I just think I'll stick to things in the air as my adventures. In the air, there's an infinite amount of room for tall people.

Back in the car, to head to the food airstreams on Congress St., where we stop to have a sugary treat at Hey Cupcake before dinner. As Ryan Gosling says, "Being an adult is great because you can eat candy anytime you want." It's all about moderation. And I'll gladly partake in a cupcake now, and make room for good food later. We drive by Congress Bridge where people are already lining up to see the bats fly out from underneath in the evening. The thought of this makes me slightly nervous, yet interested at the same time.

Dinner is at Lambert's. Our meals are very enjoyable. A band called the Katie Holmes Trio is playing. I'm sure there is no relation or idolization going on there. The singer has a really great voice, and she plays the fiddle. You don't see that a lot. I would have bought a CD if one was available. Her songs are what rainy days or shopping montages in romantic comedies are made for. Katie Holmes, you should definitely work that fiddle/swing jazz angle. It's your calling. And don't forget to paint something on the wall that Pacey paid for with his hard-earned money. (Sorry I had to go there.)

I'm thinking I will be at home for at least a little while after last week's trip to New Orleans and this weekend's venture. Hopefully, I will run into Austin again on the road. Keep on keepin' on. I won't say goodbye, just see you later.

Thanks, Amber! Also, if you need a good, free photo editor. I use, which let me trick up my black and white photos.


New Orleans: A Show of Support

August 2011

According to the Dewey Color System test if you pick the color Blue as your favorite color among the choices Yellow, Blue and Red and the color Green among the choices of Green, Purple and Orange, you have a supportive personality, awesome listening skills and extreme trustworthiness. Blue-Green, that’s me.

My parents and I are in New Orleans to see my two cousins, six and seven years old, run track in the AAU Junior Olympics. On Friday, they ran the 4 x 100 relay race where they finished 25th in nation. My family has always been willing to travel for sports since the days of my youth. We traveled near and far for many of a AAU/BCI basketball tournament. I, of course, am enamored with sporting trips, which I am sure developed from the times spent during the summer in basketball gyms across the country.

I think it’s important to show support early on. It makes a difference when someone, besides your parents, believes in you. Parental support is very important, but it’s also nice when people outside your guardianship acknowledge your talents. Track parents, I applaud your ability to sit outside in the heat perspiring while cheering on your child(ren). Also, your kids will never fully understand the sacrifices that you made for them. To kids, time is abundant and money magically appears. It’s not until you’re older that you realize that Sunday quickly turns into work Monday and money magically disappears as soon as the bills arrive.

I’m making a story book for my little cousins using, a site that lets you turn pictures into cartoon-like illustrations, and, a very user-friendly book publisher.

Sometimes my eyes tear up when I see someone competing with all their heart. Sports accomplishment has an unique feeling unto itself.

New Orleans - I feel like I have built this city up in my head. I pictured wide streets made for strolling and people leisurely enjoying lemonade on balconies everywhere. The buildings look so weathered, and houses are still boarded up around neighborhoods. I don’t know if they were like this before or if they still haven’t recovered from Hurricane Katrina. When you drive by the Superdome, you can just picture the television reports in your mind. On the news, the Danzinger verdict takes precedence. The jury found several policemen guilty of shooting unarmed citizens during Katrina. Have you ever read stories about what is was like here? I read Dave Eggers’ book, and it’s amazing how having no one to hold you accountable can turn even the law into the darkest of people. 

The road infrastructure is quite maddening. You’ll have to make several U-turns here with almost all of them being on purpose. I feel like I’m missing something, which is possible. People love it here. They can’t all be seeing New Orleans through alcohol goggles. Maybe it’s not fair to judge a city on a few days, but that’s all we have. 

We took the Canal street trolley to the river front and walked around the French Quarter. My dad and I rummaged through vinyl records at the Louisiana Music Factory. They have all genres of music upstairs. I picked up two R&B records - “Touch” by Con Funk Shun (his pick) and “Super Charged” by Tavares (my pick do to it’s album cover). I’ll see how they sound at home. My dad picked up a John Lee Hooker t-shirt. The man who asked me “all are Ben Harper songs suppose to sound the same” is a fan of the blues - a category of music that consists of repeating the same thing over and over again. We saw a poster of Tina and Ike for sale. The Tina was, of course, Tina Turner; The Ike was, surprisingly, Dwight Eisenhower. I thought that was comical and almost purchased it until I read the lines “benefit concert for Nixon for President.” It lost me there.

My mom chatted with the store clerk while we were upstairs. He recommended  Deanie’s Restaurant as a place to eat. Then as we were walking in the door a patron suggested we try the Barbecue Shrimp which. Delicious.

I think we are ready to head back home. We saw family, the most important part and ventured out in the city all while going across the same toll bridge two times in a row, staying in a noisy hotel and being rear ended. I feel, New Orleans, we both didn’t get a good shake. Take care of yourself. 

Dallas, we are coming back begrudgingly to the 100 degree heat with open arms.

My Jazz Favorites
Is This Love - Corinne Bailey Rae
Something Beautiful - Trombone Shorty with Lenny Kravitz
To Love the Language - Harry Connick Jr.

The Lady is a Tramp - Ella Fitzgerald
Tu Vuo' Fa L'Americano - from The Talented Mr. Ripley
Comes Love - Billie Holiday

Mississippi Goddam - Nina Simone
100 Days, 100 Nights - Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
Back to Black - Amy Winehouse
Take Five - Dave Brubeck
Christmas is Coming - Vince Guaraldi Trio

Moanin' - Art Blakely