Where I Visited A Place in Texas, But Not Really.

And that place would be the state capital, Austin!

Last weekend Meg and her husband bolted the burbs and headed south to Austin. It was their first rodeo (ha! look at Meg using Texas slang!) in the city, where they met up with some old classmates from high school!

First of all, picture driving into a cool neighborhood that reminds you of home, with all funky houses and interesting yards. That made Meg breathe a lot easier; there was no manufactured perfection of lawns and flower beds. She likes things to be quirky and interesting. She knew right away she’d feel at home! *

The couples tooled all over Austin, starting with a trip to the flagship Harley Davidson store:

And yes, I did get that newsboy cap. It looks awesome while I am walking Jack!

We drove out to Texas hill country and explored some wineries (some were interesting, nothing to compare to California!)
After some wine, we hit the Salt Lick for some awesome barbecue!

We stuffed ourselves at Sunday brunch at a place called Moonshine. Note – get the bread pudding and dump fresh whipped cream on top. You won’t be sorry!

Pose by one of the many guitars around town. I just needed a giant pick to start strumming!

Hang out at the Congress Street bridge and watch the millions of bats fly out at dusk!

Go boot shopping at the famous Allen boot shop:

And then caress these $1000 boots and sigh:

Meg loves how they say Yippee Ki Yay. She has located a pair that looks like these for a much better price. She hopes she and her friend the Zadge can sport them together at some point!

And at night, hit Sixth Street for music drinks and all things crazy:

And when you end up at Maggie Mae’s, you know you’ll be in the best place for music. And oh, we got a personal tour of the behind the scenes theme rooms, the Gibson Room and the Les Paul Room. Vintage guitars and artwork galore! Available for a hefty fee if you are Carrie Underwood or Rachael Ray, or just some cool out of town folks that just had a lucky night!

What a way to end the trip!

We all awoke on Monday morning thinking how fast the weekend went by… sigh. They will most definitely be returning to Austin for more adventures, shopping, music and good food!

* (disclaimer: The B&B itself was in a great location and nicely appointed. The hosts were the most uptight ladies Meg ever met. They left a note on a dirty, coffee stained post-it in ANGRY Flair pen that stated we owed them $2 bucks for the bottled water we drank the previous night. We wrote one back saying sorry, we didn’t have any change at the time. (Meg wanted to add P.S., you just put a nail in your Trip Advisor coffin, but she didn’t feel like ruining her good karma.) Meg will gladly tell you the name of the B&B if you email her).

All in all, it was good to be on a long weekend, where Texas was NOT REALLY TEXAS.

How To Create Your Own Season.

Right now it’s mid October; the temperature is warm, Meg can still sit out by the pool and read in the sun. It’s pretty nice to be able to throw on a pair of shorts and walk the dog around the lake. Planting season is still in full swing, and Meg is still attempting Texas gardening, no easy task.

The thing is, although it’s fall, it really isn’t.

There isn’t any brilliant foliage, or any crunchy leaf piles. You actually have to pay for bittersweet, instead of just cutting some out of the trees in your backyard.

There is no local town full of apple orchards and pumpkin fields, ripe for pie making and carving Jack-o-Lanterns.

Meg finds herself longing for those late afternoon shadows that back light the trees at the end of the day. She wants to get all of her crockpots and dutch ovens out and fill them with beef stew and Italian wedding soup. She longs to sit around a fire pit on a cool night and feed logs into it, sipping cold beer and patting Jack’s soft fur.

Meg always faced fall with trepidation, it was the most beautiful of seasons, yet brought frustratingly short days and evenings that stretched into endless nights. The neighborhood turned into a beehive of activity, humming with preparation for winter hibernation. Closets turned over from summer to winter, and for 6 months, you knew exactly what outfits you’d be reaching for.

It’s interesting and also an opportunity to live in a place where the weather is pleasant, and affords all kinds of outdoor activities most times of the year. She expects she will not miss the cold rains of November, nor the blizzards that arrive in January and February. But she still feels a longing for autumn in New England, and she is going to work hard on creating some seasons for herself, even if she has to do it with candles and a crockpot.


Do you remember the first Halloween costume you ever wore?

Well, this week, Mama Kat has asked us to share a favorite Halloween outfit and the story behind it.

When Meg went to grade school in the olden days, the powers that be let you have Halloween parties. We all dressed up and marched in a little parade around the school, and exchanged candy. And Good Lord, if that wasn’t enough sugar to send you into orbit, I don’t what was. Between Halloween night, the school events, and my insistence upon have a candy corn decorated cake (chocolate cake and chocolate frosting!) for my birthday, I had to be in a diabetic coma for the better part of a month.

Of course, besides the candy, there was the excitement of picking out the Halloween costume. There were a few that stood out in my childhood, but none more than being Mary Poppins. You see, the movie starring Julie Andrews had just come out, and of course we had the album spinning on the record player at all times. Meg loved the soundtrack, but she did not dig Mary’s ensemble. I mean, who wanted a dark overcoat, hat and an umbrella?

Seriously, this does not say glamour.

Meg fought with her Mom and her Mom won, and she remembers her umbrella turning inside out because it was so F**KING WINDY during the damn parade. She was pissed beyond belief to have to put this get up on, and to this day she forgives Julie Andrews because she went on to make Meg’s favorite movie of all time, the “Sound of Music“. Julie turned warm woolen mittens and bright copper kettles into so something so incredibly attractive that it canceled the pain of the Mary Poppins outfit.

The next year, Meg demanded a Cleopatra costume from Woolworth’s, which contained a shitload of glitter and an awesome mask. She remembers her mother arguing that she could NOT POSSIBLY want to be Cleopatra, which she assumes was due to the raging affair of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who were in the midst of making a movie debacle. Plus, who wanted their 6 year old kid running around like the neighborhood slut, a la Liz?

Needless to say, Meg was Cleopatra and didn’t give a rat’s ass that she had to wear a winter coat over the outfit. She may have had Snickers poisoning the next day, but for one magical night she was was Queen of the Nile.

She Wore A Cross Your Heart…

bullet bra.

Meg got an email in the not too distant past about an old colleague that had passed away. And where, pray tell, does the “cross your heart bra come in?”. Well, she had a penchant for very tight polyester clothing, and very dark black hair. One could help not notice there were certain similarities to Jane Russell, and it seemed like pretty safe nickname to use.

Except this woman was the bad and ugly Jane Russell.

That person was in fact, Meg’s boss for a brief but memorable time. Memorable for the fact that each and every woman working under her barely escaped her wrath, and inevitably transferred to another part of the company as quickly as possible.

At first, the lively group of Human Resource assistant’s got a kick out of their boss. Although not the most attractive of people, “Jane” did seem to have a sense of humor. How quickly that changed when she was charged to manage six young and attractive girls. Let’s just say a lot of drama ensued.

“Jane” frequently dragged her minions into her office for slight offenses, or just to gab. Sometimes she regaled Meg with stories of menopause and how she was due for a “lube job“. Other times there were tales from the past; like the time she got a poison pen letter left on her desk. Ever the clever one, she told Meg she stayed after work one day and test drove each and every IBM selectric typewriter, just to see which one had the slightly shifted “s”. Because Jessica Fletcher from the dark side saw the fan letter contained a peculiar “s” and this was how she solved the mystery of the person that didn’t like her. She also advised Meg that her outfits were fabulous, but could be construed as snobby. Conversely, she said “don’t ever change.” Then she pulled a photo out of her wallet from sometime in the 40’s or 50’s, and said “just look at me here. Look at that dress. Look how gorgeous I was.” Sigh. “The problem was for me back then, I was just TOO beautiful.”

Ah, yeah. OK.

Jane’s obit was something to behold, because every other word was pious, holy, religious, faithful, catechism and ultimately the arms of God. There were things in there I’m quite sure were lies, and well, I guess if you write you own exit from this earth, you can say what you want about yourself.

When I see something like that, it kind of makes me sad. It seems at the end of one’s life, you would want meaningful words and sentences like “good sense of humor”, “kind to people and dogs”, “lived and experienced life to it’s fullest“. Will be missed.

Not “I am so fucking scared I won’t get into heaven that I’ll fudge my obituary so my resume looks good for the afterlife.” And well, that’s how it came across.

As Meg and her colleagues transferred out of Jane’s department, they threw themselves a big old party, and made funny speeches. Meg and her friend also made an eerie voodoo doll, all dressed in polyester, with a hand crafted bullet bra. The doll came with a set of sayings, one of which said “Jane leaves her colleagues a “cross your heart but never tell the truth bra“.

And so it turns out to be true in the afterlife, too.