A perfect downtown Austin day
February marked the first anniversary of my residence in Austin. And what a year it’s been.
I’m still around.
How’s life treating you anyway?
I make no excuses.
I’ve been busy. I work. A lot.
I play a lot less these days. Therefore I am somewhat absentee here. But I’m still around.
I have recently come to realize I get approximately one hour of fresh air every day – if I’m lucky. Not all at once. On break and between jobs I am usually sitting outside, reading. But practically an hour.
Sort of like a prisoner.
Not that I would dare complain about being gainfully/ over-employed or compare my jobs to prison. Not in the least.
[Already, I digress]
One of my favorite things about sitting outside downtown is how sound bounces off the buildings. How, in the off hours, it is so normal and unrushed without seeming desolate.
In my blogging interim, some things I’ve seen during those precious hours:
* Boy scouts invading in parade form. Which was a little creepy. I was unsure whether or not to wrap my head in foil and hide in a dumpster. Then they were gone.
* A man on what would have been a normal bicycle, except for its absurd height. I’ve seen my share of compensatory trucks, but bicycles are new territory.
* A woman running in a tshirt advertising vodka. (Motivation, perhaps? I don’t judge.)
* A pack of tiny canines, wearing clothes to match their owner, inhibiting segwayers.
I now lead a lifestyle that requires of me an appreciation for every moment of peace and solitude. That demands I make the most of 5-10 minute intervals of normality. Or sleep… That could so easily suck my will to truly live, but instead awakens in me lately more joy in the details of every day than I have known in a long while.
For perspective, I site the recently concluded South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival. Two weeks of mass culinary hysteria tested the minds, hearts and bodies of everyone within miles of a restaurant in this city. The grueling, never ending onslaught felt at times like outright warfare with the public. Business was booming. Working two kitchen jobs for the duration taught me more about myself and why I’m doing this than anything to date. And yes, I LOVE it. Even more now.
Some other things you’ve missed:
New local art, by Brett Scarola
* I finished Level One sommelier coursework. [Cooler than it sounds. Trust me.]
* I am a diploma-wielding culinary school graduate. I worked instead of going to the graduation ceremony.
* I’ve had a weirdly fortuitous run of encounters lately, including a food photographer and blogger, a micro brewer, a couple who are starting their own winery, a chef starting a farm to table restaurant, the general manager of a very reputable bistro, and a woman whose husband is executive chef of a test kitchen.
I spent a day in that test kitchen. Everything you think you know about commercial food is questionable at best. The precision with which every change is researched and decided on a chain menu is painstaking. And SO cool. I really dig the science of food, the business of food.
Some of these encounters were born of my tendency to sit at counters or bars and chat with people. Some of them have led to me visiting new places.
Three of them (and, hopefully, counting) have even allowed me unplanned kitchen tours. Just for kicks. Just because I asked.
Less foodish activities:
* Visiting the laptop pound to replace my broken down hunk of plastic. They were all lined up in locked cages, waiting for homes. It was pitiful. I couldn’t take them all.
* I am slightly bionic, having had a dental implant. I now feel I know basically everything there is to know about the dental implant business. That tiny piece of titanium was acquired through some seriously demanding processes. But it is apparently “looking awesome,” my periodontist loves me, and while it was expensive, it was an overall shockingly decent experience. Just in case any of you ever find yourselves wondering.
*It’s that time of year again. I may have gone overboard –
*I’ve been on WordPress (intermittently, I know) for a year. Also a surprisingly great experience. Thank you to all of you lovely, interesting, funny, thoughtful people who make it so.
Tell me, what have I missed?