Finding A Tribe

A little less than a year ago, I made a spontaneous Groupon purchase that would change my life physically…and pretty much in every other way imaginable.  I bought a 10 class pass to a pole dancing studio and dragged my early-30s, already greying, haven’t worked out more than walking the dog in more years than I could count self into Brass Ovaries.

Best. Decision.  Ever.

Pole dancing and aerial arts are fun, an absolutely fantastic workout, and the best confidence builder.  There is nothing that quite builds bonds and breaks down boundaries like literally having someone you’ve just met grab your derriere and hoist it in the air so you don’t land on said derriere.  I started level 1 with a group of fantastic ladies (and gents!) and, by the time I left Austin, I had found my tribe.

Trading tips on grip aids.  Wardrobe malfunctions.  Going for a pedicure and having the nail tech sand off your well-earned (and much needed!) callouses.  Comparing pole bruises.  Spontaneous grunts, squeals, and shouts of “yes!”  Staying up all night watching footage of international competitions and pole idols.  Finding your own groove and letting the music lead you. 

A few days after this video was taken, I dislocated one of my ribs and made the decision to take a break from pole and focus exclusively on aerial hoop and dance.  And my tribe grew.  Learning from a classically trained ballerina and a former circus performer.  Bundling up and driving across town to an unheated gym (yep, SmartWool socks AND leg warmers) to hang upside-down by knees, ankles, hips, and blistered hands for two hours.  Gratefully downing a ginger ale from a fellow student to calm the “ugh spin hoop, I’m gonna vomit” stomach.

After 6 weeks in KC, I finally started taking classes at a new studio.  I still find myself wanting to call or text my old instructors and fellow pole monkeys when I hit a good move, or bend myself into a new contortion trick.  But the other night, hanging from a trapeze, struggling to get myself back up onto the bar, a fellow student reached instinctively over, grabbed my derriere, hoisted me back up onto the trapeze, and then cheered “yes!” as if I had nailed the move entirely on my own.  So yeah, my tribe is now growing again.



To Pack or Not to Pack?


When I was little, I would pack for a trip to see my grandmother at least a week before we were actually going.  I had this pink bag that said “Goin’ to Grandma’s” on the side, and I’d fill it up with my favorite doll and maybe one other thing…because that’s pretty much all that would fit.  And then I would drag the smallest sized suitcase in my parents’ powder blue, hard case Samsonite set (remember those?) and fill it with everything else a small child thinks they need to spend a week with Grandma.

I’m like that with packing to move too.  Once the decision has been made to move, I want to pack immediately, as if not packing creates this state of limbo that I’m stuck in for days, weeks, or sometimes months on end.  I always feel the need to move quickly on to the next chapter of my life once it’s clear what that next chapter will be.  Why wait?

This time, JP has decided we’re waiting.  First we waited to make the decision to move to Kansas City until the last possible minute – only a day before we had to give notice to our landlord.  Now we’re waiting to pack anything (other than books…he gave in on the books)…and there are less than two weeks to go.

As much as it pushes my personal envelope to wait this long to pack, I will admit that there are some benefits to holding off:

First, our home still feels like a home.  We can still cook our meals at home.  Our personal photographs are still on the walls.  Our clothes are still available for the days (like today) when Austin weather is up to 78, or those days (like the ones we’re expecting at the end of the week) when it dips down to the Austin version of freezing – 39 degrees 😉

Second, packing doesn’t interfere with our time to say goodbye.  We’ve made a lot of friends here, and taking the time to say goodbye to them all is…well…taking a lot of time.  And I’m still working.  Waiting to pack in one big day right before we move means that we’re not spending every evening packing and we can spend that extra time with our friends. 

And we don’t end up feeling like there’s one foot out the door.  We’re here now, which (oh the irony) is part of my theme for this year.  We’re not emotionally and psychologically already in Kansas City.  Instead, we’re here in Austin soaking up every last second we have in this beautiful, weird city before we move on to the next adventure.

All things considered, I still would pack a bit earlier than we’re doing this time.  But I will admit that waiting hasn’t been bad…and maybe has actually been beneficial 🙂

What’s your packing approach?  Early or late?

Trailer Food Tuesdays…Saturday Edition

I am a bad Austinite – in the entire year I’ve lived here, I have only ever been to one, yes one, Austin food trailer. Living in the city that is known for it’s amazing food trailers and never having really tried them – blasphemy!

Do not fear – this weekend, I restored my status as a true Austinite and spent the evening at Trailer Food Tuesdays’ Saturday edition.

One of fabulous ladies I met through the Junior League of Austin invited me to go with her and some of her friends for dinner. We braved the over 100 degree Texas heat, headed over to The Long Center patio, found a spot in the shade, and made tasting trailer food our mission.


Trailer Food Tuesdays at The Long Center

I went the seafood route with fish tacos from The Peached Tortilla and a lobster slider from Garbo’s…and it was the best. decision. ever.


Lobster claw-meat slider

But the dessert made the event – the “Fargo” cone from Wright Bros. Dairy. Cone injected with chocolate and raspberry sauces – need I say more? I have never eaten an ice cream cone so quickly, and it wasn’t just because of the heat.


The one and only “Fargo” cone

I will definitely be trailer fooding it more often now! 🙂




Quality Seafood

When I was in middle school in rural Iowa, my hairdresser made her first trip out of the state to go to Hawaii on her honeymoon for a week.  She told me all about how they went out for this fancy seafood dinner, but somehow the seafood didn’t really taste all that great to them.  But they took the leftovers home anyway and decided to try them a day later and, much to their surprise, they loved the leftovers!  Only after they got back to Iowa did they realize that the reason they didn’t like the meal was because they had never actually had fresh seafood before. When a friend suggested having dinner at a place called “Quality Seafood,” my hairdresser’s story jumped right into my mind.



The place was packed and the line to order food went all the way into the fish market side of the space.  After standing in line, I finally reached the menu and the reason for the line became apparent – there wasn’t any kind of seafood that wasn’t on the menu!


Fried clams, fried okra, and mac & cheese

Between the 3 of us, we ended up ordering fish, lobster, clams, and two kinds of oysters.


Nightly special – black drum

Even the sides were amazing.  The mac & cheese was anything but the cliche orange cheese and shells.  It was a tasty mix of spaghetti noodles and several kinds of cheese.  And the fried okra really hit the spot.



We had a nice chuckle at the presentation of the lobster – it looked like it was hoarding the melted butter 🙂


Grilled oysters

But the absolute best dish of the night was the grilled oysters with fresh grated parmesan cheese.  Scoop it out and eat it on top of a slice of french bread and voila!  Seafood heaven.



“Wait, is this place all the way out in Dripping Springs?” I asked my friend. “Yep, right off of 290,” she texted back. Yikes!  Then I read the description – owned by a former attorney and CPA who hung up his suit and pursued his passion for pizza.  That guy was instantly my hero, and I just had to make the drive for a Pieous pizza pie.

20130623-194858.jpgI didn’t know what I expected.  But the one thing I didn’t expect was the former-attorney-gone-pizza-slinger to actually be slinging pizzas on a Sunday morning.  And yet there he was, serving food, coming up to each table to make sure everything tasted OK, working back in the kitchen…  I suppose if you’re living your passion, why would you want to let someone else actually do the living?  Or in this case, the cooking.

20130623-194944.jpgAnd it looked like a fun place to work.  All of the walls were painted with chalkboard paint and covered with happy quotes and pizza art.  There was even an entire corner dedicated to Pieous’s youngest patrons – a children’s art corner where the kiddies could occupy themselves by drawing literally on the walls.

20130623-194935.jpgThe pizzas were perfectly sized for one person.  I ordered the Shroom pizza and instantly fell in love.  Whatever mushrooms this guy chose were an excellent choice – full of flavor but not over-powering the fresh mozz or the crushed tomatoes.  And the brick oven crust…phenomenal.

20130623-194927.jpgLucky for me, my friends are the sharing kind and I swapped one of my Shrooms for one of my friend’s Brussels sprout and jam slices.  Yes, you read that right – Brussels sprouts and jam.  Such a surprisingly perfect combination of sweet and bitter!


20130623-194919.jpgWe all agreed that we are coming back and, because the owner was there, we told him so as well 🙂