Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend in Austin

When we heard that Storyville would be playing at Antones in Austin on our 13th anniversary, we decided that this was a show that we couldn't miss.  Storyville hasn't played together in three years and we were very excited to be able to see them live one more time.

We bought tickets online for the Friday night show.  No sooner had I bought the tickets than Steve and Deb decided that they would love to see the show too, except they could only make it on Saturday.  No problem - we just bought tickets for that show too.  We didn't mind at all seeing them two nights in a row.

We hadn't been to Austin in several years and were really looking forward to the long weekend away.  We booked a room at the La Quinta in downtown Austin, just blocks from 6th street and from Antones.  We were able to walk everywhere and we had an amazing time.  It was really a perfect weekend. Both shows were fantastic and South Austin is a great place to spend some time.  Live music everywhere and plenty of interesting things to see and do.

One evening we decided that it would be fun to wait for the bats to fly out of Congress Avenue Bridge.  This bridge contains the largest urban bat colony in America.  We had seen them once, years ago and it was a pretty cool experience.  This time we got there a little early and the bats were not in any hurry to come out.  We saw a few but lost patience and left before they really started coming out in any big numbers.  It's hard to say if there were more bats or more people!

Deb lives in Austin and one of her best friends, Mateo, is moving away.  He had a surprise for her and his instructions were to go to a place on one of the walking trails in Austin where they sometimes walked.  She was to go between the hours of 10:00 and 2:00 and find a man named Woode Wood who sings and plays guitar there.  Mateo told Deb that Woode would have a gift for her.  Deb invited us along for the adventure (and maybe for a little moral support).  We arrived at the designated spot and found Woode sitting atop some rocks and playing for the walkers / runners / bikers that happened by.  Woode is quite a character and Mateo's gift to Deb was a song sang especially for her.  It was a very special moment from a good friend.  Deb invited us to her house the next night and we met Mateo, he made us dinner and we had a wonderful time.  Deb is fortunate to have Mateo for a friend.

Steve and Deb listen to Woode Wood sing Mateo's song

Storyville was awesome, just like we knew they would be.  It was great to hear them play.  I took my camera on the second night and got a couple of decent pictures.  On Saturday, we were standing at our hotel valet stand, waiting for our car.  We look up and see Malford Milligan and his wife waiting for their car too.  They were staying at the same hotel as us!  We had a little chat with them and told him about our boat and our plans for cruising.  I think that they thought it was really interesting that we had a boat named Storyville and we are planning a cruising adventure, then again, maybe they just think we are crazy!

David Grissom

Malford Milligan

David Grissom and David Holt

We didn't want the weekend to end, even though it lasted for four days.  It was great to celebrate our anniversary.  It seems like we are happier today than ever before.  Maybe it's because Troy really is a cancer survivor and we are so close to living out our dream of sailing away on Storyville.  We definitely feel so fortunate to be at this place in our lives.  All I can say is:  Life is good!

The only disappointment of the weekend was the fact that we did not manage to have a meal at Juan in a Million.  We saw this restaurant featured on Man vs. Food and we decided we wanted to try one of their burritos.  Unfortunately, we never got too give them a try - you can see for yourself why we decided to skip out:

The line is wrapped around the building!

Check out a collage of my photos from Austin and 6th Street:
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A picture collage by Smilebox

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Life Changes

Wow, what a surprise for me.  I was laid off from my job as Vice President and Commercial Escrow Officer for American Title Company on June 14th.  I have worked for American Title for 17 years, in fact, I was there when the doors to the company opened for business.  I think I can safely blame this lay off on the economy and big business.  It took me about a week to get over the shock of losing a job that I had held for so long.  It just seemed like that company was part of my life.  More so the people that I have worked with on a daily basis for so long. I definitely went through a range of emotions.

There has been at least one positive effect of this job loss:  I can finally talk (and blog) about our future plans without feeling like I am jeopardizing my job. I always felt like it was better to keep our plans on the down low, or else, I might lose my job. (haha - now that just strikes me as funny).  Anyway, no need to worry about that now!

In case I haven't mentioned it before - Troy and I will be leaving on our sailboat to cruise to Mexico and South America and wherever the winds blow us.  Our plan is to leave at the end of this year.  I have come around to thinking that this lay off was a blessing in disguise.  I just wish they would have waited another few months.  Anyway, I hope to start updating the blog more (I know, I know, you've heard that one before) with our cruising preparation.  We are really getting excited as we realize that we are closer than ever to our goal.  December will be here before we know it and we need to be ready - and have Storyville ready.

I was looking forward to having some time to work on my photography and start getting our storage unit pared down to a manageable size, but that was not meant to be.  I was without work for just a few short weeks when I got an offer to work for an abstracting company doing title research, some of which can be done from my boat.  It is contract type of work, getting paid per tract sort of thing.  The owner knows about our crusing plans and this job is really just to help him get through a major project that he has due at the end of August.  It just seemed too perfect to pass up, so here I am, employed again!

One more piece of really great news.  Troy had another PET Scan in last June.  He remains NED (No Evidence of Disease) and his doctor was really positive about his situation.  In fact, in place of my usual quote, I will leave this blog post with a quote from Troy's oncologist:

"I see nothing that would preclude you from dying of old age." ~ Dr. Robert Amato