Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Better late than never!

In my previous post I was only able to get that one Pig in a Dress photo up for some reason, which prevented me from sharing with you all one of the things that I love best about Austin. The Trail of Lights!

This one mile loop in Zilker Park is what makes it Christmas for me in this town. I didn't get a good shot of the famous tree, but it will come up on a Google search. Here are a few of my favorite pics. This one is actually on the way out, leading you up the hill to the tree. Don't you think this image would make a great album cover?

Now this here is the entrance to the trail. You can just make out the bobbing heads in shadow against the canopy of lights leading you into the park. Zilker Park is, by the way, the same place that the Austin Kite Festival is held every year, along with the Austin City Limits Festival. And from this spot, if you turn around and head the opposite direction, you will end up at Barton Springs Pool. Barton Springs Pool is a favorite summer spot of mine when the Greenbelts are dry.

Most dear in my heart though is this tree. The first Christmas I was in Austin, two magical things happened when That Guy and I visited the Trails of Lights. As we crossed the pedestrian bridge over the river into the park, I spotted a group of hot air balloons participating in a night glow. I ran, yes, you got me right, RAN across the field to them. I was so overwhelmed to see them, even though I grew up crewing for my dad at numerous events. I think it was because there they were, at Christmastime, glowing in the field in downtown Austin, welcoming me. That year I couldn't afford to fly home for the holidays. So seeing the balloons made me feel like in some small way, I was home. And then there was this tree. This photo does not do it justice. It is a huge, majestic, Live Oak tree. Its branches reach far, stretching and twisting high and low. It is massive. It is wrapped, every bit of it, with multi-colored pastel lights, which only emphasizes the beauty and size of it. I remember seeing it across the field, then looking for it as we entered the trail, seeking it out. I seek it out every year, this tree, and every year I am struck by it in the same way. I could look at it for hours.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Pig in a Dress

Alright, I managed to upload this one photo and now blogger won't let me add anymore. I will have to try again later. Due to a recent move, I have been without the free wifi I previously enjoyed, and thanks to break I am not on campus. Thus, an ABSENT blogger I have been. As for my holidays, they didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked. Regardless, it was, as always, good to see my family and friends in Indiana. The chillins continue to get bigger, taller, and more comprehensible. My nephew and niece continued their Campaign of Cute and Crying. That Guy's nieces and nephew continued to blow me away with how wicked smart and funny they are, and Lauryn amazed me with her ability to make the precious jumper you see pictured here.

Believe it or not, the bodice of the pig's dress is fully lined. Facings that small are just ridiculous. For this project we used a commercial pattern so that I could show her where to find information on it and how to use it. I also wanted a project that had gathers. Of course, when choosing fabric I steered her towards the cottons. Cotton is easier to manipulate than synthetics, especially on this small of a scale (Pig is only about 8" tall). Lauryn, however, has more elaborate taste in fabrics. It is hard to tell here, but the fabric is a polyester with a nap that is smoother and flatter than velvet. It also has little bubble-like pattern to the surface for added texture. If it's soft or sparkly or satiny she is going to like it, as long as it is PINK! As much as I look forward to seeing everyone on these visits, I know that my memories of the projects I do with Lauryn are something that I will cherish forever, and I hope they are for her as well. It is possible that there will come a time when she isn't as psyched about our projects, and when that day comes I won't press the issue. But until then I will continue to supply the girl with a fabric stash!

Can I tell you about my airport purgatory? I have endured delays and canceled flights for any number of reasons in the past. I have been rerouted to different airlines and had to recheck in and go through security again. However, nothing, absolutely nothing has reached the level of airport purg as what I experienced on my return trip to Austin. Poor Chicago. So much snow, so many missed connections and delayed and canceled flights. And then the dominoes fall.

7am Awake to drive to Indy for 12pm flight

8:30am Begin drive to Indy

10:30am Arrive at Indianapolis International Airport

11am Orbitz automatic updates on my cell phone becomes the bearer of bad news. My flight to St. Louis is delayed. Once, then twice. Now I won't make my connecting flight to Austin. I look at the line at the gate counter. My follow passengers are in the same boat.

12pm St. Louis flight delayed until 2pm. Call AA 800 # to update my travel plans. Horror of horrors, they have to reroute me through Chicago to get a flight to Austin. Laugh to myself at the impossibility of this as I know that Chicago is getting blanketed with the white stuff at the moment, but I allow them to reconfirm me on new flights.

2pm Board the one hour flight to St. Louis

2pm (change from eastern to central time zones) Arrive at Gate C5. Look to Gate C2. The flight to Austin is indeed gone. Debark plane to discover my Chicago flight is already delayed to 5pm. Laugh. I don't think I'll be making the Austin connection at 5:30pm. Call AA 800 # again.

[I would like to note that the folks on the American Airlines 800 # were on the ball. They answered quickly and the rebooking was fast and the personel friendly.]

The new travel plan? Get to Dallas-Fort Worth. Confirmed for an 8am Austin flight the next day. The next day people! Now, I love to camp and feel that when it comes to dealing with discomfort I do fairly well. I can tough out a lot of things. But a night in DFW? Every muscle in my body has tensed up at this point. Airport Purgatory! How do a get out of this one?

7pm Arrive at DFW. Exit security and wait for my bag. Ha! No bag. Go to the AA counter to check back in and try to get standby on one of the four evening flights to Austin.

7:05pm Discover that with a non-refundable ticket I have to pay $100 to fly standby. Seeing as I don't gamble on a regular basis I decide screw it, I've GOT to try.

7:30pm Laugh and try not to cry.
There are 25 people flying standby. ON EVERY FLIGHT TO AUSTIN. To make things worse, they would finish boarding, start to put the standbys on, and then pull them off when confirmed passengers, late due to delayed connecting flights, ran up to the counter shortly thereafter. I actually boarded a plane at one point, only to find that there were no seats and I had to get off.

11pm The LAST flight for the night. No luck. I ended up in a minivan with 6 strangers thanks to the quick thinking of an older couple who had their son book the vehicle online.

3:45am Arrive home in Austin

Two days later the airport delivered my luggage.

All I can do is laugh this off and be thankful that there was a good group of people to jump into a car with. A night at DFW? No thanks.

Happy New Year!