Thursday, December 23, 2010

Five, six, seven ... 25th!

Ok, I figure it need to write about something other than my cat ... God forbid I get labeled a crazy cat lady ... already too late for that. 
I have done other things since being in Austin other than obsess about the gato, although keeping him from being eaten by coyotes has been a main focus (thank you vet techs at South Shore Veterinary, who at my final appointment before leaving Maui FREAKED ME OUT about him getting eaten by coyotes). I have driven him, myself, and a few others crazy by this obsession, and perhaps deer will be his only encounter - in addition to Brodie, the lovable goofball Husky we live with - while we live in the motor home, yet I am all about obsession. It ain’t the first time and it won’t be the last.
So what else has been happening ... one thought I can share without reservation is that Christmas miracles abound.
First ... The ROCKETTES.
Past Tuesday night. Legs. Tap Dancing. Corny production numbers. Lots of Cheese. Dwarves. Live farm animals.
It was great.
Saw the touring company of the Radio City Music Hall Holiday Extravaganza with the Rockettes, 18 of them. Very cheesy show, perfect for the holidays. Great extravagant dance numbers, several big numbers with the Rockettes including a tap danced version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Opening the second act was a big number with 24 dancing and singing Santas. Three dwarves in the line-up, nice to see them working this season. They played miniature dancing teddy bears, mini dancing snowmen, and of course, elves. Show ended as is has for the last 90 something years ... a living nativity. Complete with two camels, four sheep, and a donkey. 
I think only the baby Jesus was an actual prop.
It was whack. Kind of a downer after all the tap dancing and the dancing and singing Santas yet I guess the producers felt the “true meaning of Christmas” is important. And it was probably best not to open a dance show with live, large animals. Enough said.
Have had many other adventures in the getting-out-in-the-new-world scene. Jacquie is very social and involved and it is ironic that I have landed with her. I was an amateur compared to her; she has kids, works out, helps run the family businesses, and has many friends and folks to keep fed, delivered, entertained, nurtured and happy, including herself. I only did a fraction of what she did the past 14 days. Oh, and yea, IT’S CHRISTMAS. She is naturally a very calm person so she kind of flows along with each day. It is not untypical to leave the house with her around 8:00 am to return around 6:00. Shopping, errands, picking up/dropping off, procuring food, going the gym ... it makes for a full day. She is going to the gym a lot more than I am - she is a stud - yet I have joined their uber-modern, fancy gym called Lifetime Fitness and have begun working out again. Four workouts down, a few thousand more to go. Its a start. When I go with Jacquie, we do some aerobic warmup and then play racquet ball. When her husband Roger goes with us, we do some aerobic warmup and then alternate between the pool, the sauna, the steam room and the hot tub for about three hours. Then Jacquie, who has left us behind to languish, comes and picks us up and then we go eat.
I like going the gym with Roger a lot.
The night I arrived Jacquie had a Slipada jewelry party so I was able to meet many of her friends in rapid succession. It was kind of, in my mind, a “buy-jewelry-meet-Laura” party. The next night was a wine tasting at a franchise called Water 2 Wine which electronically makes wine you can purchase, bottle and affix with your own custom label. It was weird. When Jacquie was at the gym the next day, she said she was on the treadmill looking around for the wino who was working out near her. She realized the smell was coming from her. 
And then, not in any particular order, we ushered at Austin Ballet’s The Nutcracker (after while we were cleaning up, what I imagined was the 1st oboe of the Austin Symphony was going over some parts of the score with what I imagined was the 3rd oboe. It was beautiful, to hear them play in the empty hall), saw their daughter Caroline play cello in her jr. high holiday concert, went to the holiday Bunco party, have had an acupuncture session at a Chinese medicine graduate school, went to Houston for a couple days, been to Wimberly in the hill country to visit Bud and Jan, 91 and 73, for lunch (it is beautiful out there and I imagine even more beautiful when it is green. Drove by the Salt Lick, will eat there next week), have been to the flagship Whole Foods among a variety of other retail outlets, and enjoyed a ladies Christmas brunch at one of her friends-workout buddy-bunco gang this morning. (The houses here are huge and beautiful and the women who live in them know how to decorate them for the holidays. I am an amateur when compared to these women in holiday decorating. If I had a lower ethical standard I would have some NICE stuff for next year ... will just have to make my own holiday world next year and know I can’t compare to the big girls right away.)
Oh, and you can drink and shop here. The big liquor store, Specs, has tasting throughout the store (!) and even the supermarkets sample wine in their wine departments. At Central Market you can go to the cafe, order a beer or glass of wine and enjoy it while you are shopping. I am in Texas, Baby. God Bless America.
Ted and Bev from Toronto arrived last night around 1:00 am and will be here through January 2nd and much live music (FINALLY) and BBQ will ensue next week.
Good thing I don’t have to worry about a job. All I need to worry about is running out of money. Say a prayer for me .... :^)
The motor home continues to be an interesting challenge and Rudy and I seem to be making it a home, motor or not, a little more each day.
Much love to you and yours this Christmas Holiday. I hope your season holds some miracles of its own. ox ox

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Runs With Deer ....

So I am sitting in bed in the motor home (MH), Rudydo lying next to me, and we are watching the dear do their morning frolic through the back pasture. The house where I am living for now is in a cul-de-sac in a semi-rural area of South Austin where the back yards of the neighborhood houses are basically one large connected field with a green belt behind it. Lot of creatures live in and access the green belt: hawks, possums, raccoons, coyotes, other various creatures, and LOTS of what Roger calls scrawny deer. He says this because he and Jacquie and the kids go to a house boat they own on a lake in Canada every summer and the deer there are evidently more stout.
Anyway, the scrawny deer come through the yard fairly often each day, usually in the mornings and evenings. I know this because I live in the back yard, and as the only one who seems to be living in the back yard in this neighborhood, I have a unique perspective. This is how I know there are coyotes, yet that’s another story. And this is why Rudydo has free run through the small window of the driver’s side of the MH from dawn until evening, yet spends his nights safe inside on lock-down.
In the mornings these deer love to run. They actually frolic, chase each other, gallop across the edge of the green belt, several of them, mostly girls.  The other morning there was a young buck with a short, soft rack with the group of about a dozen, chasing each other, being quite brave, running through the yards between the houses and back again. They do seem smaller and young, so perhaps they are the young deer, daring each other like most kids I guess do. 
Our first evening here, as Rudydo and I were getting acclimated, I went to the bedroom area in the back of the MH to find him transfixed on something out the window. I joined him on the raised bed platform and there were about five deer coming from the green belt and grazing in the yard. I have told many folks that I was excited to see Rudy experience his first squirrel; it never occurred to me that his first encounter with a non-Hawaiian animal would be such a larger creature. Yet, I realize I need to embrace the fact that I am in Texas, and most things are larger than they appear in the rear view mirror of my imagination.
So anyway again, back this one morning, last Saturday I think it was, when the big group was frolicking, we were hanging out on the bed together watching them and Rudy as usual was mesmerized. I was distracted by something - as I am so often these days - and turned my attention elsewhere for awhile, Rudy left, and the next time I looked out the window, I saw several of the deer running along the greenbelt, about 30 yards in from the edge, and a small black and white creature running along side them. He was several yards away, closer to the houses than the deer, yet there he was, running with the huge scrawny deer. 
Trying to get the Holiday shopping done ... even with all I have been through the last few weeks, still need to BUY and GIVE. And there is much more to buy here on the mainland. It is a curse. God Bless America.
Much love til next time.
Aloha Laura in Austin

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We are here ...

Add me to the list of self-indulgent folks who are now blogging.
I thought that this might be a good way to share my stories of my move, my adventure in my new home and what ever else I feel like talking about. And if you are a friend of mine, you know how I love to talk. :^)

I will start out with deep gratitude for all the wonderful love I have left on Maui, at least physically. I know that those I love will always be there as I will always be here for them, where ever we may be living. I am not sure how I will ever be able to repay the kindnesses I was fortunate enough to share on Maui. Thank you from all over my heart, not just the bottom.

Now some deep gratitude for the love I have here now in Austin. I don't know how will ever be able to repay the kindnesses I have been blessed enough to experience here ... and the many wonderful blessings yet to come. I must have done something right in a past life to be so lucky.

Ok, on to the adventure.
Getting here was hell.
Traveling  about 18 hours across half the Pacific, across the entire continental US, and then back a couple thousand miles back to central Texas ... with a cat in a canvas bag in the cabin ... was something only an idiot would do.  I will add that to my list of things I have done.
Rudy the Cat was not happy with the adventure. He had a couple of down moments and that was about it. He meowed in some way almost the entire trip, yowling on landings and take offs and several times during the 9 hours plane ride to Atlanta. I sat next to a nice man named Tim in the service who lived in Honolulu who was doing a 9 month stint in Atlanta. His flight was not quite as challenging as mine however he did have to sit next to us ... and he has recently seen combat twice so our little traumas were not such a big deal for him. Thank God. He never did tell what he did yet he referenced psychologists a few times so maybe he was a shrink which may have been another blessing ... ?
I went to the bathroom a few times when he got really anxious and let him cruise around, best as a cat can in an airplane bathroom. Bending over and letting him hang out on my back for awhile worked well. I gave him a couple of sedatives which just made him more anxious.
All I can say I am glad it is over and as God is my witness I hope I never talk my self into traveling with a cat in an airplane ever again.

I live in a motor home in my dear friends Jacquie and Roger's back yard in Shady Hollow, South Austin, "Bubba Land",  just  south of Austin city limits, just north of the Travis County-Hayes County border. We ate migas in Buda on the way home form the airport. For the gringos it is homemade corn tortillas cut up and fried then cooked with scrambled eggs, onion, tomatoes and cheese, served with homemade refried beans and homemade flour tortillas. I was starving, it was mana from heaven on a plate, I ate like a horse, I could not finish all the food that was on my plate, and it cost $5.50.
I may be in heaven.

More later ... Holiday Love to all and to all a good night.
ox ox
Aloha Laura in Austin