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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Before

I have an idea, now, of what I'll miss about Austin (and really, Texas and the States in general) when I'm gone, but I also recognize that I will be surprised by what I didn't expect to miss.

Noting, for the record, anticipated mourning (not in order of importance):

  • Taco Deli & Dona sauce
  • The Alamo Drafthouse
  • Whole Foods
  • Central Market
  • Wheatsville Co-Op
  • P. Terry's
  • Town Lake
  • The YMCA
  • Houndstooth.  Oh, Houndstooth.
  • The Soup Peddler & Juice Box
  • Juiceland
  • Book People
  • The Veloway
  • The hill on Barton Creek
  • KUT/KUTX*
  • NPR*
  • The cover of the Austin Chronicle (I rarely pick it up any more)
  • The NYT*
  • Austin Montessori School
  • AT&T!
  • Crossfit SoLa
  • Angela at Yoga Yoga
  • The Austin food + cocktail scene
  • ACL
  • F*^#ing Hipsters everywhere
  • ACL Live (and Kelly M., he rocks)
  • Bike lanes
  • Running into friends, randomly
  • Affordable organic products and produce
  • Affordable anything!
  • Omnipresent Tex-Mex, Interior Mexican, margaritas, chips, salsa, guacamole
  • Hummingbirds
  • Hazel's swim coach & Hannah's track coach

* Yes I know I can access them digitally - but it's not the same


We'll have to wait awhile to see what I am surprised to miss, and what I actually don't miss at all.

I should call out that this list isn't meant to and couldn't begin to encompass the many loved ones I will miss fiercely.  You know who you are.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Views

I've been getting in a couple of bike rides a week this past month, thank to Hazel's swim team moving to their long course pool.  The new location is on a great road for cycling, and as it's too far away to easily leave and return to, I take my bike and ride while she is at practice.

Some days I focus on cadence, some days I try to speed up.  Some days I choose hill repeats, some days a long loop.  Yesterday I did the loop but I was leisurely about it - no worries about my spinning, whether I was in or out of the saddle, how fast I'd done a particular hill before.  Instead, I enjoyed the glorious Texas sky, watched the birds dart down from trees and into the scrub, admired the wildflowers, the yucca, the prickly pear cacti...it was beautiful, and it's so familiar to me, that hill country brush, with the low-lying mesquite and juniper trees along the highway, the hills, the promise of the river or the creek down the ravine out of sight.  I know that soon I won't even be able to recall it accurately, as new sights and flora and fauna fill my vision, but just as surely I know that it will always be home, and when next I see it, that view will be as familiar to me as my own children.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Virginia said it best

Oh, Time.  What with all the fugiting and the passing and the not waiting - you're not very accommodating, are you?

I've mentally drafted several posts but most of them just boil down to, "Fuck! I'm running out of time!" so what's the point of that, really?

Let's just consider it read, then, and move on. 

Austin is doing its best to make us stay, or at least make us regret leaving.  The weather has been glorious, unseasonably spring-like for this late in the year, the wildflower showing the best that I can remember, the restaurant patios more delightful than ever, and my friends and loved ones have been exceedingly kind, thoughtful, and just heart-breakingly beautiful.  There are plenty of really good reasons to make this move and I don't regret it for a second, but wow has it been/is it/ it will be rough to contemplate saying goodbye to life as we know it here.

I did tell someone recently that when presented with a list of 9 negatives and 1 positive, my tendency is to focus most of my energy on that 1 positive.  I'm not espousing this way of life*, but I do recognize I that I ignore the bad stuff.  That said - these are the really good things floating around in my head these days and for which I am grateful:

  • The Kitty has found a new home - and even better, one in our neighborhood, with an animal-lover-extraordinaire.  It is the best possible place for her and while I am going to miss her fiercely I feel such a relief knowing she will be in good hands.


  • The House is sold and now I'm a renter and I feel pretty good about that.  It's nice realizing that any catastrophic events or stupid roofing issues or deciding which critical improvement project gets our "extra" money first aren't our problem any more.  Hurray!
  • The Girls are doing great and are looking forward to seeing Jesse (one month!) and living our totally temporary jet-set lifestyle what with trips to DC, NYC, AZ and San Diego before we head off to AU.  AU?  AUS?  OZ?  QLD?  I haven't settled on one yet...
  • The Work wraps up in T minus 8 days and OMG I will be unemployed for the first time since I was 15 and worked at Art of Eve in West Oaks Mall.  That was a weird experience but I did get free rodeo tickets out of it...
 I think what I am appreciating most right now are the amazing people in my life.  I'm spending a lot of time thinking about how I can be a better wife/mother/friend etc., and it turns out, the more you do for others, and deepen your connections with them, the happier you are.  This is revelatory along the lines of my eat less / move more newsflash, but cliches become cliches for very good reason.

I guess that's my message for today - choose happy, choose to connect.

* turns out I am -- go figure.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Forty Six

I've created a count-down calendar for our remaining days in this house.  I've noted school events, swim practices and meets, track practices, choir rehearsals and performances, camping trips, anniversaries, birthdays, trips to the dentist, and one spa day (Saturday, squee!).

I've always been restored by time spent at home, and I'm spending as much time as possible here now in an effort to store up enough energy to face the coming months of transition.  The house is at its most lovely, as is the outdoors, and I could sit for hours at the dining room table looking out at the back yard and watching all of the creatures who congregate there - goldfinches, cardinals, bluejays, red-winged blackbirds, woodpeckers, tufted titmice, black-capped chickadees, squirrels, rabbits, road runners, and this guy (gal?).

The cat, who catches and dispatches a critter a day, blithely ignored it and instead played with a hair band a few feet away all afternoon while the tarantula sunbathed on the patio.

That cat was slated for a new home but I may not be able to part from her. I'm on the kitty fence.

Hazel's class has been hiking once a week in the greenbelt - a new routine I love, as it gets them outdoors for most of the day and they get to move in nature, my favorite combo - but last week she ran afoul of something bad.  At first, we thought her rash was caused by an off-path bio-break, and she was prescribed a steroid cream for it.  However, it got angrier and spread quickly over the weekend, and when we returned to the doctor on Monday, a food allergy was postulated.  Poor Hazel is now on a heavy round of prednisone, and has a trip to the allergist on the books tomorrow.  Here's hoping it's an anomaly and that she can resume eating berries ASAP.  Poor swollen, itchy sweet girl.


Jesse is finally getting over the time change, although he did bemoan the fact that when he left Austin, the days were finally beginning to lengthen, and now that he's moved to autumn they are getting noticeably shorter each day.  I think the girls and I will have the best of it - spring in Austin, summer in San Diego, and then spring in the Sunshine Coast.  In the meantime, he has been working hard, even through the 4-day break for Easter, and then tackled THIS challenge (so far, so good).


Hannah is away this week at the coast camping, boating, and trying to avoid mosquitoes.  Before she left, she had a quick overnight at a friend's ranch house, and she and her friends found some great props for their ubiquitous selfies.  I have everyone's' i-devices connected to one photo stream, so we can all see the pictures any of us take.  There were MANY pictures of the girls on this old truck, but my favorite was this capture of their hands (showcasing their bracelets, and possibly flashing gang signs?) in front of the Hill Country landscape.



Peace out, ya'll.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beginnings



So, yeah, we are moving to Australia.

That's pretty much what motivated me to dust off the keyboard and jot down some thoughts over here, although I'm still on the fence as to what extent I'll use it.  Do I want to go to Tumblr? Is the blog format still relevant and appealing?  Do I really care?

Jesse was offered a terrific position in the Sunshine Coast (in the state of Queensland, just north of Brisbane, on the northeast coast) in a lovely Montessori school, which came with enough inducements that we didn't really feel we could pass the opportunity up in all good conscience.  At 11 & 13, the girls are at the high end of good ages to do something like this, we think, and the experience of living in a new country can surely only be a good one.  Without a language barrier (well, much of one), and with a beautiful climate and a friendly population, Australia seems like the perfect expat spot for our crew.

If you Google image search the Sunshine Coast, you get gorgeous beach views and incredible sunrises over the ocean.  Look for Buderim, the ostensible location of the school, and you'll see the sub-tropical, lush hinterlands and famous Buderim Falls. Gorgeous, no?

At this stage, our house is under contract, one of our cars is sold, our belongings are pared down to fit in a 20' shipping container, our dogs have new homes, our kitty is in limbo, our kids are dreading leaving their friends, their home of 9 years, and the only school they've ever known, yet are also pretty excited, and Jesse has bid many sweet and tearful farewells to the students, parents and staff at school.  He starts his new job in mid-April, so he leaves in a few days to get there early, do some exploring, enjoy some much needed downtime, and get settled in before his first day.  The girls and I will stay here until school is out, visit family near and far, and meet him in San Diego to spend the summer before we all head to Oz together in August.  So, maybe we are in limbo as well.

It's strange to have this long, protracted goodbye - we've known since November - but also sort of comforting.  We've had plenty of time to plan and prepare, and to appreciate our favorite parts and people of Austin, but also to anticipate our new life and family adventure.

In the meantime, I'm full of gratitude and appreciation for the goodness and good people in my life, and looking forward to creating a good life in Australia with my beloved family.




Monday, March 03, 2014

C'est la vie (froid)

I just have a few minutes before my work day starts in earnest.  And by "starts," I mean when my non-stop series of conference calls begins.  I moved into a new position in September and I don't think I've ever been as busy and had as full a workload in my 19 year (!) career with this company.  I love it, and even the stressful days are worthwhile, but I do relish the few peaceful moments I get very much


It was spring here in Austin this weekend - we had a garage sale, we made bank, we took the rest of the stuff to Goodwill, we (ahem, Jesse and Smith) installed new Flor in the laundry room, we rearranged the remaining and new furniture, we cleaned, we enjoyed the beautiful weather by grilling and entertaining Smith and the boys (I like that sentence construction, so I won't change it), and we had all of our doors and windows open to enjoy the 80 degree weather. 

We also said goodbye to our sweet dogs, who went on to live with some incredibly kind new humans.

Then of course, as so often happens, one more (last?) cold front blew in, so we lit another fire, did laundry all day (once Jesse re-wired the dryer that somehow went defunct during either the move or when I put a feather comforter in it...), planned cold-weather meals, did some shopping, and then watched way too much TV.  This morning it dropped to 22 at our house with an even colder wind chill, the heater can't keep up without going into Aux/toaster mode, and we all are wearing our coziest clothes that we'd hoped to put behind us soon.  So it goes - we make the best of what we have, right?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Gratitude

Today I'm grateful for more than a couple of things.

  • My Traditional Medicinals Peppermint tea.  I love and crave all things peppermint (no spearmint for me, thank you, unless it's an actual leaf), and this tea captures the essence of mint exactly.  
  • Having floors in my house.  It's something you take for granted, but WOW is it important to me.  Living in a construction zone for an extended period of time would really jack with my mental health.  Our floors have been in again since before Thanksgiving and I am grateful for them every day.  Thank you, Joel and Smith (and Chase Bank, sadly).
  • The view into my back yard.  It's always calming, and the fact that I can watch the flurry of Tufted Titmouses, Black-Capped Chickadees, Cardinals, Bluejays and Goldfinches while I work helps get me through many a stressful day.
  • The sweet little yellow table our Mac sits on, that Kris helped me pick out, and which Jesse stopped from wobbling yesterday.  It pleases me.
  • These cute and tasty grass-fed & whole milk yogurts.  SO GOOD.
  • Waking up to a cortado espresso every morning.
  • Listening to my children chat to each other helpfully as they get ready for school.  Some days there is more yelling, but on days like today when they are so friendly and peaceful, it's much easier to love life.
  • My sweet, amazing, wonderful, supportive and patient husband.  He's one of the best human beings I know and I'm grateful for him every minute of every day.