The other day, we tried to review our New Year’s experiences—a resort in Pennsylvania, Disney World, a Caribbean cruise, Maui, our lake house. A couple of years ago, we split up, and while Emily was in Romania shooting off fireworks in garbage cans, the rest of us were having dinner in Napa. This time around, we flew to Austin, Texas where Katie is now a grad student (you can follow her at Knitosaurus).
|Nicholas in his airline carrier.|
We stayed at a hotel downtown, just a few blocks from 6th Street where all the bars and clubs are lined up, and Katie stayed at her apartment because we delivered her cat, Nicholas. He’s been living with us since June, and it was finally time to go home. For the first couple of days, our hotel played host to an anime convention, and the place was packed with people dressed in the most unusual costumes. The one photo I have does not do the event justice.
|A few anime characters in full costume.|
We did some fun things, even though Emily pointed out we really aren’t the kind of people who do fun things. You know, we don’t go to big parties and some of us don’t like crowds and noise and we don’t often agree on the meaning of the word “fun.” We went to a lovely park filled with peacocks, and we noticed how the males tended to show off for the females. When they were walking around by themselves, their tail feathers would be inconspicuous, but let one peahen walk into view, and the boy would fan out like fireworks and spin around to show her that he was attractive front and back.
We went out to lunch, did a little shopping, and saw “Lincoln.” And we toured the LBJ Library and Museum. You might not consider a presidential library fun, but we like them. LBJ, despite the black eye of the war in Vietnam, pushed his way through some pretty great legislation, and his library walks you through it all. He was such a big man physically that he was able to get his way just by standing in the personal space of his opponents, and even allies, and make things happen. One of his advisors said, “You knew that when he started breathing in your mouth, you were finished.”
|A reason to really like LBJ.|
|Katie and Emily with the big man himself.|
For New Year’s Eve, we got dolled up and went to dinner at Green Pastures, a restaurant in a 19th-century house with each room as a separate dining room. Honestly, the meal was disappointing, but the atmosphere and our own festive company made up for it.
Then around 11:40, we walked to 6th Street—most of the area was blocked to traffic, and the street was filled with party people spilling out from the bars and waiting for midnight. I noted that Husband and I were some of the oldest people in the crowd, but it was great to be in the thick of things. Again, Emily said, “We aren’t really doing anything fun, but at least we’re with people who are.” It started raining just before the main countdown, but it didn’t seem to matter, and we welcomed in 2013 with what seemed like all of Austin.
|Midnight on 6th Street.|
When Katie moved from Berkeley to Austin, everyone said the two cities were similar in their oddness or uniqueness or creativeness (pick your word for it), and they’re probably right. Austin is filled with live music, small shops, food trucks owned by independent foodies and unique expression. It’s also filled with history, a growing economy and the influence of UT Austin. Katie hit the jackpot here.
Well, beyond spending New Year’s Eve together, we also like food. Here’s a sampling:
|Great flautas at Manuela's.|
|Goat cheese cheesecake with grapes marinated in an herb glaze.|
|Red snapper with risotto for New Year's Eve.|
|What's left of three pizzas and a cheeseboard at Backspace. Go there!|