Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hog Wild

Peggy and I traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas for a wedding this week. Our dear friends, John and Marcy, have a daughter who attended the University of Arkansas and she got married up there Saturday night.

If you have never been to Fayetteville, it is beautiful, and the drive up from Austin was quite pretty. Fortunately, we arrived in daylight since some of the roads getting in there are a little hilly for a flatlander like me.

The wedding was held outdoors and the weather cooperated. Gorgeous scenery and a nice cool day for an outdoor wedding. The reception was held in a barn. I mean, it is Arkansas.

After the wedding we got to hang out with folks we love. We sent the happy couple off with Chinese lanterns that only burned down a few trees — just kidding, but it was close.

We made the leisurely drive home today and went to one of our favorite places for dinner. Outdoor seating, great food, wine flights. What’s not to love.

Sitting outside in perfect October weather in Austin, Texas.

I hope the new couple is happy. I know I am.

That’s the fancy reception barn behind us
Entertaining between the wedding and the barn burning
One of our favorite spots in Austin. Like eating in a treehouse…

Exploring Day

Today was our first unpacked Sunday in our new home. We got up and went to a church very close to the apartment, came back and changed, and then spent this beautiful day exploring the area around our new home.

We went and had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, the Iguana Grill. We love the place but have never lived close enough to just run over there for lunch. It was a particular favorite when we had the boat club membership because it was on the way back to the condo from the marina. Now we can go anytime and be there in about twenty minutes.

That is the view of Lake Travis from Iguana Grill

After lunch we drove a bit and then walked along the Colorado River near our home. It is technically called Lake Austin but it is just the river with a dam that helps control the water level. We saw some beautiful scenery that is all within walking distance of our apartment.

Part of that scenery is the Pennybacker Bridge that crosses Lake Austin right by our home. The Pennybacker Bridge is a steel arched bridge that spans 1,150 feet across Lake Austin and connects the north and south sections of the Capital of Texas Highway, considered one of the most beautiful highways in the US thanks to this unique bridge and the surrounding miles of Texas hill country. It was built in 1982 and made to look old to fit into the surroundings better, and the arched steel allows the bridge to have no columns that interfere with the water traffic on the lake below.

Peggy, Allie and Pennybacker

We took this picture on our walk today. We can walk Allie down here from our apartment and see this amazing view. She loves to get in the water. And it is right here.

So far the new casa is a big hit. Of course, October in Texas is generally a big hit, but the early returns are promising.

It was a pretty great Sunday.

Sic ’em Bears!

My grandfather first bought season tickets for LSU football in 1948. When my parents graduated from LSU in 1955 they became season ticket holders, and in 1966 they added four more season tickets in the south end zone for the kids. I have sat in those south end zone seats for 47 years now.

This year, with the move to Austin, I sold our LSU tickets (just for the year) to a friend who would be able to use them and bought season tickets to Baylor football games. Now, it should tell you something about Baylor season tickets sales that I could wait until October of the current season to buy them and get decent seats. However, Baylor is moving into a new stadium next year and having season tickets this year will give us priority for seat selection in the new stadium. And it does not hurt that I paid less for both season tickets to Baylor than the “donation” I have to make to LSU just for the right to buy season tickets!

With recent events, this weekend was the first game we got to attend. Baylor hosted Kansas State and Peggy and I drove up on Saturday afternoon for the game. It was a nice crisp afternoon, we saw many friends we have not seen in a while, we saw a beautiful harvest moon, and we saw Baylor beat K-State 71-7. Wow. That is not being a very gracious host.

Baylor is very good, but Kansas State did nothing to slow down Baylor’s offense. After a lifetime of watching SEC defenses it was a real shock to the system. 71 points in a conference game is pretty much unheard of in the SEC, unless the game goes to five overtimes…

It was a great first night as a Baylor season ticket holder, and the game was over early enough for us to drive the 100 miles back to Austin and still go out to dinner. Now that is a win-win!

I’ll watch the recording of the LSU-Ole Miss game when I get home to remind myself what defense looks like…

I absolutely love this picture due to grumpy-photo-bomber in the background
A late dinner back in Austin

A First in Austin

Peggy made it home for my birthday. Her sister, Susan, came to Dallas from Tucson to relieve her at the hospital, so Peggy was able to come home on Friday. Her Mom is really sick, so Peggy will be going back soon. She just really wanted to be here for my first birthday in Austin.

My birthday has been an interesting day. When Peggy got home last night we unpacked a few more boxes — we’re in the strategic stage now, so the last boxes will be unloaded a little at a time. When Peggy woke up this morning, she said her lip felt weird. When she went into the bathroom it was quite swollen.

So, our first stop of the morning was at an urgent care clinic. The doctor determined Peggy must have gotten into something while unpacking that caused some kind of allergic reaction, so she gave her some steroids and a topical treatment and sent us home. We went and got breakfast and headed back to the apartment.

We continued unpacking until the LSU-Florida game came on television at 2:30. It was kind of an old-fashioned SEC slugfest — in other words, not particularly exciting — but the good guys won, 17-6. When it was over we started getting ready to go out.

We went to a really cool place in Austin called Chez Zee Bistro. They are famous in Austin for their desserts and other bakery items, but the rest of the food was really good, too. It’s got kind of a funky, Austin vibe. We took some pictures that Peggy doesn’t want me to post since her face is still swollen. So, I’ll wait to post this when she’s not looking…

All this birthday stuff had me thinking tonight. I lived in Katy for birthdays 36 through 50. I have never lived in one place for that long in my life. A lot of life happened in those nearly sixteen years. When we moved there Mike was in the third grade — he has now been out of college for two years. We are really excited to be moving on to this chapter in our lives, but we will certainly miss the friends we have left behind in the Houston area.

The half-centurian is now older than a half century. If it is all the same to you, I’ll keep going.

Not the greatest photo — it was dark in there — but she even looks good a little blurry…

The best-laid plans…

Yesterday I told you that I would be traveling to close on our old house while Peggy stayed in Austin and continued the unpacking process.

Not so fast, my friend…

The closing went off without a hitch. If you have never sold a home, it is important to note that closings are much easier when you are selling a house — way less stuff to sign. I was in, done and out in about twenty-five minutes. Six hours of driving for twenty-five minutes, but it was well worth it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Peggy received a phone call from the director of the place where her Mom lives. She told Peggy that Mary was sick. More importantly, she told her, “If this was my mother I would be on my way to Dallas.” Needless to say, Peggy left immediately to head to Dallas.

When Peggy arrived, Mary was having difficulty breathing. Peggy took her to the doctor who almost immediately admitted her to the hospital. They’re not completely sure yet what is happening but it is serious. She will likely be in the hospital for a few days. Peggy is worried about missing my birthday on Saturday. I asked her how many times we have ever celebrated on the actual day? Mary is much more important than my birthday.

So, I am spending the third night in our new home by myself. Not exactly, with two cats and a dog, but you know what I mean. I am not feeling sorry for myself, especially with Peggy sleeping on a hospital cot in Dallas.

On a side note, Allie is enjoying being an apartment dog so far. She absolutely loves the fact that we have to take her on a walk for her to go to the bathroom. They have a dog park here on the premises, but I have not been brave enough to let her off the leash if other dogs are in the park. I’m pretty sure she thinks she is the star of the show in our new location. 

Like a well-oiled machine

We are officially Austin residents. The moving truck got here yesterday afternoon and unloaded everything we own. And we got to work.

This is our first move in about ten years, but we have worked out a system that keeps things moving with amazing alacrity. We didn’t even try to get everything unpacked yesterday — we mostly just made sure all the major stuff got here — and then we went to dinner and got some rest.

Today the unpacking began in earnest. Here is our system that we have figured out that keeps us out of each others’ way and making rapid progress: Peggy unpacks everything and I break down the boxes. She needs to be in control of where everything goes and I need to be out of her way. She hates to mess with the boxes and I seem to be particularly gifted at removing the tape and breaking them down. It is a perfect separation of labor. And it goes fast!

We did take a little break to go to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants that overlooks the lake. She’s not a slave driver, as long as there’s a view…

It is now 9:00 and every box that we planned to unpack is empty. Not everything is yet in its final place, but it is all out of boxes. And all of the boxes are broken down, stacked and ready for the moving company to come back and pick them up.

Tomorrow I will drive to Katy to close on the sale of the house while Peggy remains here to meet with the inevitable workmen that have to come to any new home. And all of the boxes will be unpacked.

Have I mentioned that all of the boxes are unpacked?

Dinner for our first night in Austin
Doing my job