Austin is for friends.

Texas state capitol dome

Texas state capitol dome

We recently went to Austin, Texas to visit friends we hadn't seen in awhile. It was our first visit to Texas. We consciously decided to do no research and make no to-do lists....well other than eat BBQ. It was refreshing to have no other agenda but spending time with good people. And I think that's exactly what Austin is good for. It's got the quirkiness of Portland mixed with Southern hospitality, so everyone can feel at home...everyone is nice. There are a lot of outdoor spaces at restaurants, a river to play in and walk along right thru downtown. I get the feeling that early summer would be a great time to outside, swim, see a million bats, eat outside, hear good music, and hang out with friends. 

Some highlights from our trip that you may enjoy: 

  • Dahlias Cafe for crazy good breakfast (this is actually 35 miles away in Liberty Hill...I would say it was worth the drive. They also have a playground for the kiddos).
  • Texas State Capitol for history and architecture and a reminder that Texas was a Confederate state
  • South Congress neighborhood to wander around for quirkiness, shopping, and food
  • BBQ, preferably at Matt's house (invitation only)

It does feel like you need a specific reason to go to Austin...a festival, friends, college, a job, or that sort of thing. Will we go again? Probably...we really like the people we know who live there (they all petitioned us to move there, Next time? There were vague mentions of caverns and "mountains" and lakes that would be fun to explore. I would love to see the bats fly out of the bridge. Maybe take a side trip to NASA in Houston.

opie's bbq, spicewood, tx

opie's bbq, spicewood, tx


Inside 'Three Gems, 2005' by James Turrell @ the DeYoung Museum

Inside 'Three Gems, 2005' by James Turrell @ the DeYoung Museum

Two Dots -- I am completely addicted to this puzzle game on my iPhone. I honestly don't know whether to tell you to clear your schedule and start playing, or run screaming for the hills. The game is free, but there are in-app purchases that can help you through frustrating levels...thus, I have spent more money on this game than I care to admit to anyone. The sound and graphics are great, too.

Humans of New York -- A collection of real stories from real people seen on the streets of New York. If you've never looked at HONY, as it's known, you'll end up binging on it for a couple of hours. The stories can be funny, heartbreaking, and unbelievable. I very highly recommend scrolling through the archives to August/September when the photographer went on a trip with the United Nations.

Making Wax Food (via Colossal) -- I appreciate restaurant's fake window food a lot more now. What a strange and specialized craft. Fast forward the video to 3:31 for the magic cabbage. 



On NOT going on an adventure...

Little one taking a little break on Angel Island/Photo Credit: Scott Mansfield

Little one taking a little break on Angel Island/Photo Credit: Scott Mansfield

I think that adventure is the right choice 98% of the time. Even small adventures like a walk in the rain win out over (some) responsibilities or laziness. Adventure refreshes the soul and makes you feel like you can tackle the rest of life.

Sometimes your guts cry out to stay home and you have to have a chat with yourself about the benefits of going out. You KNOW the adventure will be fun and good for you, you just have to get out of bed or away from the computer. But sometimes you DO have to listen to your guts. Sometimes your guts know that you are avoiding hard tasks. Sometimes your guts know you are fragile.

I've been dealing with some anxiety issues lately. I won't bore you with details...I just have some work+healing to do. But my brain+body issues mean that I'm hovering closer to my limits and do need to pay attention when my gut says "don't go!" If I push past my mental and physical limits I get cranky and tired and other words, no fun to be around. Staying home and staying quiet can really help bring me back to a little closer to normal. Sure, I might miss out on a special moment, but I know I'll hear stories about it and see pictures, and I know I'll be ready for the next adventure.


Cycling cyclist?


In September I got a fancy new bike. Well, it's fancy to me, anyway. It's a silvery grey Jamis 2014 Coda Comp bicycle. I test rode several bikes and this is the one that felt best, so I went for it. It feels fast and agile and completely comfortable. I use it to ride a couple miles to work one day a week and I try to go on a longer "fitness" ride one other day. Note the gentle quotation marks. At the moment I want to gain more riding experience and confidence. I do have my secret mind's eye on doing a triathlon one day/someday. 

Do you ride? Any advice? I feel like I have so much to lingo, new muscle uses, new routes around town... 

A few thoughts on cycling so far:

  • My neck gets crunchy, so I need to remember to use my eyes more than my neck to look forward
  • Still learning bike posture and needing to strengthen my core
  • At what point do you purchase padded pants? 
  • When do I switch from being a bike rider to being a cyclist? 
  • Still perfecting my hand signal technique
  • I've seen cops pull over cyclists for running stop signs. 
  • Now that my bike is kind of broken-in I need to take it to the shop for some adjustments. 
  • I need a bell and some lights...Daylight Savings is over!
  • I want one of those shirts with the pocket in the back. 
  • If you're riding in the street, how the hell are you supposed to get over to turn left?
  • Bike riding (cycling?) is fun!  

Two little birds...

Two little birds arrived on our doorstep.

My crafty mother-in-law has started working on mixed media works of art, and she sent these lovely pieces to grace the walls of her granddaughter's room. Our little one admires them everyday and reminds us that GramSam made them just for her. I am grateful that every single person in our family pursues their interests and sets a good example for our girl. I try to do the same.