Monday, October 24, 2011

Oh what a beautiful weekend!

Yes, the play on the song from Oklahoma! is deliberate. I have just had the most wonderful weekend. I went with Melinda, TCU Press production manager and my good friend, to Austin for the Texas Book Festival. My weekend was divided between family and the festival, so tonight's post is about family. Tomorrow I'll talk about the festival.
The last few years Melinda and I have developed a routine for our annual trip to Austin. We leave about ten, stop for lunch--for a couple of years we stopped at West and went into the authentic Czech restaurants in town, but now our destination is Heritage Homestead, a 500-acre community on the Brazos, outside the town of Elm Mott, where people have chosen to return to the earlier days of craftsmanship. They create pottery, wooden objects from furniture to cutting boards and canes, homemade soaps, weavings, all sorts of things. You can visit their gift shop or tour the actual workshops. For us, the destination is the cafe--homemade food, including wonderful bread. The members of the community all dress simply, no make-up for the women, plain hairstyles pulled away from their faces and caught in a chignon or braid. But they are most gracious and welcoming. After lunch, we browse the shop and then head for Austin, where we pick up Melinda's good friend KK (by now my friend too) and head for Z Tejas for happy hour. This year author Marcia Daudistel and her sisters met us, plus Dan, TCU Press director, and my kids, Megan and Brandon. The group split up--Melinda, KK, and Dan went to set up the display, and I went home with Megan and Brandon to greet my grandsons Sawyer (7) and Ford (turned 5 today).
They took me to Vespaio, an upscale Italian restaurant that is my absolute favorite in Austin. The last time I was there they took me to tell me they were expecting Sawyer, so it's been a long time, and I have longed to go back. I feasted on white anchovies and veal-filled ravioli. Brandon ordered the mixed grill and gave me one of his marrow bones--generous beyond belief, but I was grateful. Haven't had marrow in a long time and love it. The boys really behaved well--it was a noisy restaurant--and the evening will remain a remarkable memory.
Halloween birthday party: Sawyer is the one in the tri-cornered hat and red coat--he was a Revolutionary general though in spite of the red coat he insisted he was on the American side. Ford was a ninja turtle but he's barely visible--and don't miss the spider pinata.
I spent some of the next day at the book festival, but Ford's b'day party was in the afternoon--twelve or so kids in costume whacking away at a spider pinata and sitting spellbound for a magician, then eating pizza and the richest chocolate cake I've had in eons.
Sunday was a lazy day--I slept until 8:30! Unheard of! Megan fixed a late breakfast, and then I was off to the festival for a couple of hours. Came back about two, napped, we went to Central Market and then I fixed oven-fried potatoes topped by cod fillets--thanks to Krista Davis for the recipe. I haven't watched a baseball game in forever, but I was being sociable and reading while the grownups watched the game. I got hooked, mostly by the intense concentration of the players and the pressure they were under. Like the rest of the nation I watched Hollander pitch with awe and was sorry they pulled him for the last inning--I can see why, but I also saw him beg the manager to let him stay in. Even so, what a coup for a 25-year-old, so yes now I'm watching again tonight.
Melinda and I usually have breakfast with an old friend on Monday before heading home but Melinda was running late, we got lost, and by the time we got there, she had left. I'm hoping for a Christmas visit. Meantime we had a good breakfast--I ate maybe 2/3 of a baked potato omelet, sinful! And then we were on our way. Home by one o'clock and glad to be here.
But I have a weekend of memories.

Sophie spent the weekend with Jacob and Jordan, and I'm afraid she's spoiled rotten, but they all had a good time. Jordan said to me today, "Sweet baby is a lot of work!" Amen! I have titled the first photo "Spoiled rotten"--Sophie is soon going to be way too big to be a lap dog!

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