Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weekend In Austin: Part One-Lake Austin

Finally, as promised, photos of Memorial Day celebrations on Lake Austin. Ciara and Ryan's friends Zach and Carley hosted a pre-Memorial Day party at Zach's parents home located on the banks of Lake Austin. Their home is directly across the lake from Mt. Bonnell. Unfortunately, the day was gloomy and the rain came in, moved out, came in, moved back out again. There were hopes of a leisurely ride up to the dam and burgers on the way back at a restaurant (the name escapes me) where you can pull up to the dock and eat in your swimsuit. All of those plans were derailed by the weather. However, a valiant attempt was made. I have most of it documented in photos and one short film. However, after two drinks of grapefruit Izze's and vodka I gave up the camera and Ciara took hold of it (which she tends to do after two grapefruit Izze's and vodka...I get lazy, she gets productive!) Enjoy the photos.......

Ciara and I shortly after arriving............

Leslie and Beverly.......

Ciara sitting on the dock. This is a perfect picture of her. When I think of her I think of THIS EXPRESSION....joyful, loving, laughing, radiant.....

Ciara and I sitting on the dock as we are waiting to get on the boat. Behind us is Mt. Bonnell....unfortunately you can not see it in the photo. Notice the choppiness of the water. I am not a lake person.....I am more familiar with the beach. I was shocked at how choppy the water was. Of course a lot of it seemed like the wake created by ALL the boats...and there were MANY! (And a lot of them were painted Ed Hardy style. That troubled me.)

Ciara started playing around with my camera fairly early and was trying to help me understand the different settings. (This setting apparently softens up individuals in the photo. I don't know...judge for yourself.)

Matt and Leslie. Matt is a friend of Ciara and Ryan's from high school. Leslie is his girlfriend. I REALLY enjoyed talking with her. She and I found we were alike in many ways! Two days later she participated in a triathalon....and not a mini one...a full on Olympic style one. Congratulations Leslie! Ciara and I are fascinated....but decided on our way home we were not cut out for a "thon" of any kind! However we are very proud of you and hope the event went well.

Zach, Carley and John.....


Ryan stealin' a kiss from Ciara....

Another smiley photo of my sweet friend......

We finally took the pontoon and ski boats out. The sun was shining. We felt relatively safe. Carley and I posing for a photo with John sitting behind us. I had met Carley a few times before but had never had the opportunity to sit down and chat with her. I REALLY enjoyed my conversations with her as well. Carley was THE life of the party. She is so much fun to be around and she tells really great stories!
Carley and I were so busy talking we didn't realize it was starting to rain. Perhaps the beverages had also dulled our senses? Yummy....! Anyhow....we were weaving in and out of various coves and underneath tiny, ivy covered bridges. The guys decided we were in for a serious down pour so they pulled in underneath one of the bridges. Seconds later another boat (of strangers) pulled in and we all sat there for what seemed like an hour. Carley and I continued to talk and were of absolute no help at all!

In order to stay in place the boys had to keep hold onto the underside of the bridge. I think an anchor was eventually dropped...but I can't say for sure. Again....senses dulled!

Again....we were of no help. We just kept chattin' and taking photos. This one felt very "Girls Next Door." I call Bridget......

Beverly doing her part by holding onto the bridge.....

Ryan and Zach.......

The boys relaxin' as we wait out the rain.....

Eventually the rain passed and it was time to head back home. HOWEVER...the ski boat would not turn on. So the pontoon boat had to tug the ski boat back home. Which was fine until it was time to dock. Then the ski boat had to be "swum" into place. Ciara had the camera and captured it on film.

Again....important note....if you are hearing music....scroll down to the bottom, press pause, scroll back up and press play (the arrow, Dad) to watch and hear the film.......
video
Lake Austin was a blast despite the uncooperative weather. A big thank you to Zach and Carley for generously hosting us. I can NOT wait to go back when the sun is out, there is no threat of rain and we can head to the dam and jump into what is apparently some seriously cold water then get back in the boat and head for some of the best hamburgers (according to Ciara) in town.

I am lovin' Ella Bella and Toby! Ella is Ciara and Ryan's daughter. She is two and half years old. She is currently between schools but will be starting a new school this week. Her interests include Dora the Explorer, coloring, chalk, taking off all the blankets from freshly made beds, playing dress up, having books read to her, spending time in her new playhouse and playing with Toby. She enjoys goldfish crackers, graham crackers, yogurt covered pretzels and various juices. She has a penchant for shiny, girlee shoes even though her mom really wants her to wear closed toed shoes to school (for safety). She is currently mastering the fine art of potty training. It is a celebration when all goes as planned! She enjoys a nap around 1:3o every day and really enjoys wearing her hair down...unencumbered. She collects treasures such as berries, shells, buttons, rocks, coins, etc. and is allowed to carry treasures in her pockets or stored away in her special treasure bags.
Together Ella and Toby bring me so much joy. It is very hard to leave them. They make my heart feel better and after this last visit I found that I missed them both very much. Ciara told me that Ella said, "It smells like Patty in here," after I had left. Of course several days later Ella was watching Oprah and said, "That's Patty." Hmph.....? If only I had Oprah's fortune?
I love you Ella and Toby. Big hugs....Auntie Patty will see you soon!

I recently (in Austin) ate Chinese food. I received the following fortune and I liked the fortune so much I decided to host a new segment on the blog. So every time I eat a fortune cookie I will report the fortune. This is one of the best fortunes (from a cookie) I have ever received.
Your principles mean more to you than any money or success.

Lorelai and Christopher (Rory's father) are meeting for lunch to discuss something "big and important."
Christopher: I don't know how you do it. You always look amazing!
Lorelai: Yeah, well, I got the girls from the "Wash 'Em Brush Up Company"from the Wizard of Oz working for me now.

Goodnight, friends. Have a wonderful week and the next post will be Part Two of my weekend in Austin.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet Christine

I realize I promised photos from Lake Austin for the next post! But not today. Today is reserved for something a little more special. (And I MAY JUST BE procrastinating on throwing up some swimsuit photos on the World Wide Web!)

Today is Christine's Birthday. Happy Birthday dear friend. Our friendship has grown over the last 8 years....from colleagues, to acquaintances, to "party people," to trusted confidant and friend. I consider you one of my closest friends and I feel blessed to be a part of your life and by extension, your family's life. I know the last few weeks have been frenetic...this time of the year always finds the people in our positions flying in two different directions. But I have no doubt we will be having happy hour every afternoon (for hours and hours and hours) very soon....! And so, today, you are my daily celebration. You are an inspiration to me on so many levels. You are dedicated, determined, strong, focused and true to your word. You continue to teach me so much about how to be a better daughter, a better employee, a better friend and a better woman. Thank you.



Happy Birthday Champ!
May your year be filled with adventure!

Stay strong!

And may all your hopes.......

and dreams come true..............................!

In honor of Christine's birthday there will be two Gilmore-ims today.

Gil (played by Sebastian Bach): You are way deep in my bogus bag and it is Ziploc-ed shut.


Christopher (Rory's father) and Lorelai have just seen Rory on a journalism panel at Yale.
Christopher: My God, she's smart.
Lorelai: She is smart. She is Anthony Michael Hall in Breakfast Club smart!
Goodnight friends. And here's wishing Christine a wonderful birthday. Delta House! Delta House! Delta House!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

To "Sexy Wisdom" and the Ladies Who Flaunt It....

I have received several comments regarding Ciara's short film titled "How a 2 and 1/2 year Old Schooled Patty in the Backyard." One person called it "horrid." Another individual could not stop laughing at me. The rest of you are probably just too embarrassed (on my behalf) to comment. Let me reiterate....THIS is why I never played sports! I am a relatively athletic individual with good eye hand coordination. I enjoy swimming, golfing, working out etc. The bottom line is...and this sounds terribly crude...I do not like balls being thrown at me. (Christine, Danica and Jace' go ahead....I know you are thinking it....say it out loud. All together, "That's what she said.") So yes, I got schooled by a 2 and 1/2 year old. (And I couldn't have picked a cuter one...if I might add!)


I am a bit behind on my posts. I have a lot to include but I am trying to do it in shorter segments as a lengthy post can take me over an hour and a half! Blogspot is fantastic is some ways...but it makes a visually obsessive compulsive person (like myself) absolutely crazy with spacing and layout. So yes...a long post can take me quite some time. Again...a MAC might cut down on that by let's say, about 34 and 1/2%....I'm just sayin'!


So let's begin with last Friday evening.......


Shannon (campaign friend and beautiful goddess on far right) and I had made plans for mani-pedi Friday! When Jessica (campaign friend and glorious diva in the center) invited Shannon to a book reading. As it happens when Shannon emailed Jessica to say that we had mani-pedi plans but she would try to convince me to go to the book reading.....I happened to be walking into (what was once) campaign headquarters (....now just a very sad, empty shell of a building...sad, sigh). (That was a horrible sentence...but you, no doubt, are following the logic.) Anyhow Jessica explained what was "goin' down" and asked if I would like to attend the reading with Shannon. "Absolutely," I exclaimed! Not only was it a chance to get to know these two ladies a little better, but it was a great opportunity to attend a book reading.

Barbara Renaud Gonzalez is a local author. Her novel, Golondrina, why did you leave me? was published last month by the UT Press. In fact, it is the first Chicana novel to have been published by UT Press. (That both excites me and saddens me at the same time! Why just now? Why so long? Who is making these decisions? Where can I sign up? Can I be next? Compelling questions....) Barbara read pieces of the novel dedicated to "la danza" (dance) and asked several women to dance along as she read. Five women were asked to dance....and Jessica was one of them! She played "la princessa" who danced a very lovely version of a sensual French dance! Jessica sparkled radiance as she took to the floor to channel one of the characters in the novel. Now...I have to add this book is about a young woman coming into her own and learning about woman-hood through her wild and crazy aunts! (Her mother's sisters!) Is this resonating with any of you out there....Tia Alfie, Tia Irene and Tia Velma? Mom? As Barbara read I choked back tears (we all know how I am moved by performance) mostly because it reminded me so much of my mother's family. I became very nostalgic and could hear every piece of advice, every bit of wisdom and every ounce of lunacy that has ever come forth from my intensely passionate mother and aunts! Thank God for women like Barbara who are gifted enough to pass along such sentiment through the wave of her pen. And it must be said....Barbara exudes and exemplifies what I call "sexy wisdom!" I don't know her and was only briefly introduced to her...but I can tell she is like a very fine wine and has watched her flame burn brighter with each new day she has welcomed. I love knowing women like that. They teach me how to grow into myself with pride and strength. Keep writin' it...for those of us who follow benefit from your life's journey. I can not wait to delve into this novel! (Actually....I can't wait for pay day so I can purchase the novel!) I believe you can purchase it on her blog and I have linked to it. Just click on her name! Below is a photo of Barbara reading from her novel. (I really need to invest in a better camera that can take photos from far away. And I just need to learn how to set the flash for dark areas.)

Below are some photos of Jessica as "la princessa." The book reading was held at Salute! Bar International located at 2801 N. St. Mary's. The reading was held in an attempt to bring some business to the ailing establishment. It has been a fixture in the community and the owner, Azeneth (gorgeous name) is struggling to keep it open. So if you have an opportunity...check it out. There is something so magical about throwing back a filthy martini underneath a painting of "The Virgen!" I really liked the vibe of the bar and will certainly visit it again!


Overall it was a lovely evening and I am so glad I was able to spend more time with Shannon and Jessica. As I have continued to contend....God, the universe, whatever, brought me to this campaign for a reason. I intend to foster the relationships I made with the individuals I met. I feel very lucky to have met so many talented, sharp, civic-minded people!

Today I celebrate a long, good, cleansing cry! Oh yes....I am goin' the way of the woman and writing about this. (Boys...you can go ahead and scroll down to "Office Wisdom." Or you can read....if you dare.) I know, I know this blog is about daily celebrations. Well.....emotions are a part of life. I celebrate life and I celebrate the ups and downs....the downs are where I learn best! Yesterday was a challenge.....no two ways about it. About 9:30 I said, "To heck with this....I have been fighting this back for days." And I gave myself permission to cry. I heaved, I sobbed, the fat, hot tears rolled off my face and plunked onto my arms and hands. I had shadows of mascara down to my knees. I drew a hot bath....continued to cry (my favorite place to cry by the way....something about the double cleanse) and then it was done. I was done. And I was exhausted! I drifted into a beautiful sleep and today is a new day. And my eyes are puffy as a taco (tee-hee) but I feel infinitely better and far more at peace about the myriad issues that felt mildly (and albeit temporarily) suffocating! A special thank you to my friend who "texted me through" the crisis! Man alive (to borrow a term from Jace's vernacular) the universe is testin' us right now. Let's show 'em what we're made of. Focus.....hustle.....oh wait...this isn't a baseball game, is it? I am certain the same philosophies apply....but I wouldn't know because I can not catch a ball!
What I am lovin' right now is the prospect of the sangria I am going to be drinking tomorrow night at Carmen's de la Calle Cafe. My favorite jazz man, Logan Keese, will be playing there tomorrow night at 8:30 pm. I HIGHLY recommend Carmen's, tapas, sangria and Logan! Several friends and I will be down there. Please join....

In honor of that...."What I Am Lovin' Right Now" is this great sangria recipe. I made this last Fiesta (2008) for my Powhatan Pachanga. (If Alamo Heights can have an entire night devoted to them...my street certainly deserves an hour or two!)

White Sangria

8 strawberries

1 Orange

2 kiwi

3 peaches

3/4 cup Cointreau (or similar liquor)

1/2 cup simple syrup (boil 1 cup water with 1/2 sugar until reduced by half)

1 bottle LIGHT white wine....I used pinot grigio

Cut fruit into chunks and place in a pitcher or glass container. (I like to slice some of the fruit and float it at the top for decoration.) Pour Cointreau over fruit. Add simple syrup and let sit for 20 minutes. Add bottle of wine. I let the sangria chill over night. Serves 8-10.

Very refreshing for the time of year we are about to enter!

Micheal and Holly are considering something they should NOT have done.

Holly: Hindsight!

Micheal: We should have had hindsight.

Goodnight friends.....next post will include a ton of photos from the rainy day out on Lake Austin. What is it with me and boats? Always a troubling combination. But I love 'em!

PS....Don't forget...you can subscribe now. Simply go the frame that says "Subscribe" and enter your email address underneath it. Feedblitz will ask for some sort of verification through your email. But this way you will be alerted when I update. (I was only allowed to enter 10 addresses when I set up the blog.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

THIS Is Why I Should NOT Play Softball!!!!! (Some of you were wonderin')

Happy Memorial Day! I am still in Austin. I am dreading leaving because I have had so much fun and will miss Ella Bella! As always, Ryan and Ciara have graciously opened their home to me and I have had a wonderful visit. Thank you guys! I know I talk about them a lot...and have never posted a photo. I grabbed this photo from Ciara's photo library. This was last week at Ella's school performance. It was her last day at this school. Next week she starts a new school or "camp" as she is preferring to call it. Rupa...it is the Goddard School! They just opened in Austin.

I have so much to post but I will do all that throughout the week. However, Ciara captured some fun moments with Ella and I and I want to post them before I leave...mostly because between the two of us we aren't savvy enough to send these mini-films to me through e-mail. So here we go....let's see if this works......fingers crossed....

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE YOU PRESS PLAY.......


Scroll down to the bottom and press PAUSE on the music option so that you can hear. (Mom and Dad....that means click the button with the two vertical lines!)

video

video

(Marisa....It always amazes me how much I feel we sound alike and have very similar mannerisms. Since I was born first I am going to go ahead and take all the credit. Anyhow...you know what they say...imitation is the highest (or sincerest) form of flattery!)

I think I can upload a few of Ciara's photos from yesterday's backyard outing. She also has a Mac (hint-hint) and I am not too sure of how to move things around. And they all made their weekly grocery store trip so I am on my own here!

Ella and I in her new playhouse. It has a doorbell and a walkway and a pretty pinwheel in her front yard. She also has a telephone which she is holding in her hand.

As it started to rain on us Ella decided to water her plants.....

Oh! It MUST be said....this is INFINITELY easier to do on a Mac than a PC! Or my PC! Double, Triple, Quadruple HINT-HINT! Okay...I am headin' out! The sun is shinin' and I can listen to my favorite radio station of ALL TIME from here to about Loop 1604! 107.1 KGSR.....

Hope you are all well.....blog will be back to usual format tomorrow. Geeta...I will see you very, very, very soon. Maybe tonight or tomorrow night? So glad you are "home" for a few months!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Leavin' Town for the Weekend

Good morning! I woke up at 5:30 am. I felt so excited and so energized I hopped out of bed and got my day started. Now...it must be said this is HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY unusual for me. I love sleep more than anyone I know....especially on a lazy Saturday morning. However, I needed to be up early to pack for my weekend trip to Austin, complete some chores around the house and wait for my cousin Glen to arrive at 8am. He is my air conditioning saviour! As it turns out, last week my area had a power outage. That messed with my circuit board. (No clue what that means) and my a/c wasn't cooling....but the fan kept running, and running, and running. It finally occurred to me YESTERDAY my a/c had been on for about five days straight. I was frantic! But in his typical cool and collected fashion Glen assured me he would be over first thing in the morning and I wouldn't have to cancel my trip to Austin. Crisis averted! (And he doesn't even think my energy bill will suffer a terrible increase.)

So....I am packed and about to get into my car! I am so excited for my trip to Austin. I am visiting Ciara, Ryan and Ella. Today we are going boating on Lake Austin and tomorrow will be a swimming party at Ryan's mothers home. I will have plenty of pictures to post. (Yikes....bathing suit photos!)

In keeping with the last post, I have another poem I would like to share. The day Ciara graduated from college I framed this poem for her. It still hangs on a wall in her stairwell. I am always nostalgic when I pass by the poem and stop to read it every time...as if I don't have it memorized. I can't believe I first found it when I was 21 years old. 13 years later (much like the last post) it's meaning is much deeper and more relevant. I am sure I will read it when I am 70 and find a different interpretation shaped largely by more life experience. I will share it with you all...and again....boys READ THIS! Don't scroll down......

Finding Her Here
Jayne Relaford Brown

I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted, grey at the temples, soft body, delighted, cracked up by life with a laugh that’s known bitter, but, past it, got better, knows she’s a survivor-that whatever comes, she can outlast it. I am becoming a deep and weathered basket.

I am becoming the woman I’ve longed for, the motherly lover with arms strong and tender, the growing daughter who blushes surprises. I am becoming full moons and sunrises.

I find her becoming, this woman I’ve wanted, who knows she’ll encompass, who knows she’s sufficient, knows where she’s going and travels with passion. Who remembers she’s precious, but knows she’s not scarce-who knows she is plenty, plenty to share.


I am signing off. No photos, no graphics...just a quick entry. Enjoy the extra long weekend! Happy Memorial Day. Will be back on Monday with lots of fun photos and stories and maybe even a little film of Ella Bella!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stu-Co-Fro-Yo Social

Today was another oddly misplaced weather day. The last few days have been splendid and out of character for a typical Texas May. I have had the windows and doors open for the last few evenings. I absolutely love the days and nights when I can invite the outdoors in and not suffocate myself! In fact, yesterday was so beautiful, I went for a 2 hour hike with my friend Karen. She led me all through Eisenhower park. I, stupidly, thought we were going to stay on the paved trails. Then I remembered who I was with! She knew all the trails. I was so NOT prepared...but appreciated the work out. Next time I will wear my hikin' scoots because I almost fell several times. I have an amazing track record of falling EVERY time I hike....it's like a "thing" with me. It was a very enjoyable hike and I highly suggest it sometime around mid-October!
My first daily celebration is.....I got my hair done! YAY! All those silvers were starting to shine through. I simply can NOT have that. (Yes, it's vain...I know already!) Thank you Michael and thank you Mom!
I received this through an e-mail from Jace' recently. It had been forwarded to me years ago and I remember being moved by it back then. So when it came back to me I re-read it....was equally as inspired...but understood a few more of the suggestions on a new and deeper level. I don't have all these things, I have not accomplished all these things, but I am gettin' pretty damn close! Thank God! Both times I received the e-mail this was attributed to Maya Angelou. I don't know the title of the poem. If anyone does please let me know. I would say, "This one is for the girls....boys scroll down." However, I think men might be well served in reading this. Find THIS woman and never let her go!
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...something perfect to wear if the employer, or date, of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...a youth she's content to leave behind....
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and...a black lace bra...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...one friend who always makes her laugh..and one who lets her cry...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ...eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored...
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE...a feeling of control over her destiny...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...how to fall in love without losing herself...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend, without ruining the friendship...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...when to try harder...and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...what she would and wouldn't do...for love or more...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW....how to live alone...even if she doesn't like it...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. .whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...where to go...be it to her best friend's kitchen table..or a charming Inn in the woods....when her soul needs soothing...
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW...what she can and can't accomplish in a day...a month... and a year...
Last Tuesday Jace' and her friend, Heather, invited me to open-mike night at The Cove. I had never heard of this local restaurant but Jace' raved about it. She and Heather had gone the week before to hear a local jazz musician. Jace' said the food was healthy, organic and delicious and that the restaurant was sandwiched between a coin operated laundromat and a car wash....all owned and operated by the same individual. I was intrigued and agreed to meet them there the following week. We arrived early and I decided upon falafel with a side of spinach salad. The food was fantastic and I absolutely loved the vibe. They support local musicians and have a very unique approach and philosophy to food and meal preparation. The indoor area was fantastic but there is also a huge outdoor area to enjoy drinks around mid-October (tee-hee).
The Cove believes that healthy eating results in healthy living. We serve grass fed beef ,bison, lamb and chicken.
Below are a few reasons why.
Better for the animals...eating (in the pasture) what nature intended
Better for the environment...harmony between the land & the animals
Better for farmers/ranchers...living & working in a healthy sustainable atmosphere
Better food...grassfed foods are lower in saturated fats & higher in essential nutrients
Better for you...nutritious grassfed foods support better overall health
Below is a photo of Jace' and I. Milagro and Steven met up with us later on in the evening...but they left early because young people usually have so many options! Why they were out with old ladies like us is beyond me!
This is Jace's friend, Heather, and I.....
And this is Heather taking an IQ test on Jace's iPhone and realizing she might fall into the range where Mike Tyson scored. (How anyone knows this is not for me to question...but I would imagine the objective is to score higher than Mike!)
I highly recommend this restaurant/car wash/laundromat! I look forward to spending many a summer evening here listening to live music, eating healthy food and drinking a healthy beer!
About two weeks ago Christine asked me to help chaperon the Student Council Field Trip to Ripley's Believe It or Not and Ripley's Wax Museum. At the wax museum we had the opportunity to take photographs of ourselves and have our heads super-imposed onto images that resemble magazine covers. Christine and Irene convinced me to pose for a photograph and they chose to have our heads "shopped" onto these Miss America-style figures. We laughed for hours. From left to right, Patty, Christine and Irene. Please enjoy at our expense....... (What woman can actually stand like this?)
Luke is asking Lorelai to "listen." She responds...
Lorelai: I don't hear anything.
Luke: Exactly!
Lorelai: Okay, Simon, Garfunkel.
Goodnight friends.....