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Sunday, April 21, 2013


The week started gloriously, weather wise. I left the house on Monday morning in a sleeveless dress, and a pair of sandals.  I wore my white hat, (it's far too hot in the summer for a felt Stetson, but as I have been dubbed by many Austinites as 'The lady with the hat', I feel I need to keep up appearances,) which was as much for protection as for appearance!  I am not sure if I have commented on my 'hat' experiences, but suffice it to say, there have been many.

To digress, but only for a paragraph, when I moved to Texas, we frequented a wonderful Mexican restaurant, Abuello's.  One of the managers greeted us one day, and saw Dana's t-shirt was bearing the emblem of Manchester United.  Asking if he was a supporter, Dana replied, in his deep southern accent, in the affirmative.  Asking me, I replied, 'Oh no, I am a Tottenham Hotspur fan, through and through'.  The reply was, 'You are English!  We didn't know that!'  Slightly confused as to why I should be a source of conversation, the manager replied, 'Oh we just refer to you as 'The Lady with the hat!'  (I put a capital L in Lady; it helps me!)  The second such incident (this is a slightly longer digression paragraph than anticipated, but digress is what I do best!) was in the supermarket, when I shopped in the heat of July, without my trusted felt Stetson.  On being asked 'where is your hat', I replied it was far too hot to wear under the Texas sun. Throughout the summer, I shopped, and one day went to a new cashier.  As I approached his counter, the store telephone rang, under his till, and he excused himself as he answered. He replaced the receiver, looked at me, and said, 'Ma'am, I am to ask you, Where is your hat?'  From the other end of the store, was my usual cashier, laughing heartily. 

However, as the sun gets stronger, the need for alternative head wear is apparent and, as mentioned before the interruption, I was quite appropriately dressed, in my aforementioned team's colours, of white and blue. As our postal carrier's home office does not always carry the stamps we require, (we usually fax and order and he brings them the following day,) I called ahead of time to my friends at the postal center on Congress Avenue, and they confirmed that they had enough stamps to complete my order.  Although my white sandals would have made quite a stunning contrast to the dark blue dress, I thought it would be slightly easier on the feet to change into a pair of 'tone up' flip-flops.  (I am not convinced they actually 'tone up' anything, but they have a lot more support than the regular style.)  My walk down 6th Street, and along Congress Avenue, was very pleasant.  The sun was out but the temperature was still below 80 degrees, (25ish for those who insist on using the centigrade scale,) and I reached the post office at around 8:20am.  I did not think to ask what time they opened, and had to 'hang around', for ten minutes, before the screens were pulled back, and I was able to put forth my order.  With the stamps purchased, and my first order of business completed, I continued my march, with my arms through the cords of my drawstring bag, down towards 1st Street.  We had some papers that needed to be delivered to various places 'down-town', and the exercise would do me good! 

The Austin business world seems to start work at staggered hours.  Disposable coffee cups were attached to about 90% of the hands that were heading up and down Congress Avenue.  I stopped at No. 600, and headed for the 22nd floor.  (What's good for vertigo?  Try the 22nd floor!)  It was a very straight-forward, in, up, down and out.  Then came the challenge.  I had to go into the building that must have been the inspiration for the movie, The Matrix.  Nothing stays the same.  However, I was prepared. I had been given a small, complimentary, bag of granola, (I was sure we used to call it Muesli, but there are blogs that explain the difference!) and my small bottle of water was full.  Perhaps it was the sharpness of the mind on Monday, or perhaps it was just my good sense of direction (I would be happy with either) but I was successful in negotiating my way around without bumping into a cat, or Keanu Reeves, (the latter would be preferable,) and found myself back on Congress Avenue in record time! The coffee cups were still making their way up and down the street, but moving slightly faster, as the time approached 9am.  

One hundred Congress is on the Corner of the Avenue and 1st Street.  I am familiar with the elevator layout in this building, and made my way to the section that included a stop at the 11th floor.  As I waited for the lift, a nice young lady complimented me on my hat.  'Pretty' was her comment.  After thanking her, profusely, Austin style, I continued to explain that I had been advised, (so beautifully) that the Texas sun and English roses do not mix.  Perhaps assuming I was a newcomer, she warned me that today was going to be considered lukewarm in comparison to the Austin summer.  I concurred.  As she exited, she commented again; 'Practical and Pretty.  Great combination!'  Well, she was almost there. Mary Poppins was Practically perfect, so it was good enough for me! 

The walk back to the office was uneventful.  The briefcases that replaced the coffee cups either meant early meetings, or senior staff taking advantage of their position; and why not!  I have tried it myself, but to no avail!  It actually turned out to be a day when assertion for power would not be particularly well received.  On the way home, the traffic continued to cross the lights, despite there being no clear exit, and we were stuck, unable to go forward when our lights were green.  I threatened to make a Citizen's Arrest.  Dana informed me that I could not!  I threatened to make a Permanent Resident's arrest, but somehow that did not have the same effect!

Samantha and Edward took off to Vegas, for Edward's birthday, on Wednesday and took the nice weather with them.  By Thursday, the cold front had moved in, and on Friday, I was wearing long sleeves and thick tights!  The felt Stetson came out of temporary hibernation, and jackets and scarves laughed at sandals and cardigans, as they once again saw the light of day.  I chose not to take another walk, as my suit would not match the tennis shoes that sit under the desk, and the red umbrella certainly would have clashed.  I wasn't confined to barracks, however, and drove to one of our clients, to collect some papers.  Getting to my destination was not a problem, although I was faced with something that, although should not have been a problem, caused me quite a lot of concern.  I was faced with a 'touch screen' office directory.  It was an enormous I-pad!  I looked for 'Candy Crush', but the four options were rather benign, so I chose the 'companies' option.  A keyboard appeared, and I typed in the first few letters of our client, hoping that the name would shine forth.  I should have known better.  The 'drag' bar was also on the blink.  I dragged it down to the 'J's, but it would not stay and as soon as I took my finger off, it whizzed back to 'A'.  Eventually, I reverted to the old fashioned method, shouted at the screen, and called the office! 

The weekend weather was far more clement!  I had complete control of my day on Saturday.  However, I was not at all motivated, and my housework took me far too long.  I left the house shortly after 12, and headed for the craft store.  The liquor store were having a promotion, in their 'fine food' section, and I was able to sample about half a pound of cheese, before going to Sprouts, and enjoyed my complimentary cup of coffee, while choosing the 'finest', and most 'organic' vegetation and fruit.  The rainbow chard, and golden beetroots were selected between sips of 'sumptious sumatra'.  Then on to Walmart!  As I have said, I have no problem with Walmart, but it is a bit like window shopping at Harvey Nichols, and then having to come back down to earth. 

Dana and I have enjoyed our weekend, despite having to dog sit. It does give us an excuse to walk around the complex, and allow Dana to take the modicum of exercise recommended by his GP.  Our lives will be back to normal, e.g. canine free, next week, and I shall have my Saturday's mapped out for me once again.  Next week is the Wiener Dog Races, and if we decide to go, it will be
............. another story,

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