Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Home to me...

Current home: 80's movie scene
I grew up moving a lot. I can't remember living in a place longer than 5 years. This may be unsettling for some, but for me, it was fabulous. I have an inner nomad that yearns for travel, movement and adventure. As a little girl, I was always by my parent's sides, never wanted to go too far from home. Moving wasn't a big deal, because I always had friends in my sisters and brother. After I left for college, the moving never stopped. There was too much to see and experience. (thank God, for jobs that have allowed some travel!)

I would love to be closer to my family, I know I can always visit. However, I am beginning to feel the yearning to be closer to my loved ones a bit stronger than usual. When I was in Oklahoma to visit Liz and her sweet family, I was hit with the harsh realization that kids change at a rapid pace. Christopher was walking, had 4 teeth and turned 1...already! Blake turned 7, speaks articulately and his personality is maturing. When I returned home, I called Jenny and planned a trip to see her and her family. I can only imagine how much her 4 have changed since I last saw them in November.

With that said, I realize that the cheesy saying "Home is where the heart is" is true! Am I getting old to realize such things? Not even 5 years ago, I would balk at such things, never wanting life to slow down. But, the truth is, I miss being near my sisters. I miss my brothers, nieces, nephews and parents. I even miss family dogs! This is by no means saying I would like to be next door ;)...but I do want more hug time with them.

So, I am challenging this large group of people (my family) to get in gear and plan a reunion. Let's pick a place somewhat near Northern California, Spokane, Oklahoma and the Central Coast and get together. I don't think we have all been together since Lizzie's wedding and that was over 3 years ago!!

What do you say??

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Texas BBQ and Winery Time

 I was able to visit one winery when I was in Texas, Driftwood Winery. The wine maker invited trade show participants out to his property for wine tasting and Texas BBQ. I'd have to say, after having Texas BBQ, I don't think anything compares. They really go all out. For instance, the spread included ribs, beef brisket, pork loin and sausages...then all the side dishes. The Salt Lick catered the event. Yummy! There is no way you could be a vegetarian at this event.

Now on to the winery...
scariest sign I've ever seen at a winery!!!
The winery is set in the 'hills' near Austin. They are the 'only winery with a view'. There were 3 tour buses that picked us up at the convention center and drove us out to the winery. While on our trip, they served Texas wine. Texas is fairly new in the wine industry so, the wine was lacking a bit. I am excited to see how their industry grows and perfects their wine making practices.

We did have delightful wine upon arrival. They served their Chardonnay and Syrah. I thought the Syrah went perfect with the meal. Then one of their State Representatives spoke about winery funding in the state. Lots of applause and whistling.
They say everything is bigger in Texas. I'd say the sunset proved that. This picture does not even described the light and span of color. It was absolutely breathtaking.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Austin City Limits and Outskirts

Austin, TX is live music heaven and I was lucky enough to have to go there for work. Now some of you may think does plus so much more. For instance, upon arrival, there was a folk singer playing his music for all to hear. I immediately became excited and could not wait to explore the city! 

I soon realized that our convention was 35 miles south of Austin and was saddened to have to stay so far away from the vibe of the city. I looked into where to go in San Marcos, TX (where we were staying) that would entertain as well as leave an impression that the airport had already done. I found little to nothing to do there and secretly moped as we set up our booth for the trade show.

Luckily, I ran into someone I knew from previous trade shows and their company was heading into Austin that night and invited us to join! I immediately accepted. I couldn't wait to see some live music...

The first place we went to was the 'Chuggin Monkey'  the band was playing 80's rock and having a blast performing. There is nothing like watching a bald sax player turn beet red while busting out a mad tune...AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! There was also some amazing people watching, namely the Billy Idol look-a-like with a red bat tattooed on his chest for all to see.
Since we were in Texas, I asked if we could find a cowboy singing. Easier said than done. In this town, you can walk into any place and there is a stage with a band, but all genres are welcome. We finally found the singing cowboy. He was dressed up and everything. Yee Haw! No one was dancing, so I took it upon myself to start 'country dancing'. After his song, the cowboy asked me to go to the bar and ask them for an empty bottle for his drummer. I retrieved the bottle and the next song was played with the drum stick on the bottle...that's pretty country folks!

Then we found a sweet spot that was playing 90's grunge. We ended our evening singing along to Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Green Day (when they were good), etc...!

I wish we had more time in Austin, but duty called and we needed to get back for work. I hope to go back some day on my own time to really soak up all the city has to offer.