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Sunday, November 2, 2014


It turned from summer to winter overnight.  Flip flops were replaced with boots, and a scarf was needed.  However, we do live in Austin, so it will no doubt change back at the drop of a hat, hopefully not my new model that was bought last year! 

Our (not so) new office space has its advantages, as well as the 'cons'.  One of the major disadvantages is that the thermostat for the air conditioning is on the side of the wall to which we do not rent the space.  I am not sure, exactly, who inhabits the space, but have been looking out for a polar bear dressed as a computer technician, and his mate, the penguin.  If I was not positive that the bearded, plump gentleman, the one who wears a bright red suit, and who generally appears towards the end of the year, was not merely a fantasy figure, I would consider that perhaps his workshop was on the other side of our wall.  Yes, it is that cold!

However, by Friday, almost everyone had put aside their open-toed footwear, and more of the surrounding torso's were covered, than were not.  Friday was also that day when many dressed in costumes to celebrate 'All Hallows Eve', and frown upon those who did not.  I was wearing a navy suit, with a pair of matching coloured boots, and a white blouse.  My daughter wore a pink 'onesie', with a hood that had a pig's snout and ears.  The unfortunate puppy had a matching outfit.  When we exited the car and were greeted with calls from those around us, 'love the costume', I thanked them and said I had come as organised office personnel!  I was delighted that they saw the subtle aspect of my outfit! 

As the last day of October fell on a Friday, the celebrations would no doubt be carried on for the weekend.  This rather defeats the object of the original celebrations, as the first day of November is All Saints Day, and therefore, the ghosts and ghouls should be put to rest.  However, when were celebrations held to any kind of rule! 

Saturday morning was colder than Friday.  We had planned a day out downtown, to join in another aspect of a fun-filled weekend, in Austin.  Formula 1 had come to town, and for those not wishing to go to the race track, alternative entertainment was provided.  Everyone was invited to have fun at 'Fun-fest'.  Wearing my stetson and boots, I left the house ready to have some fun.  Having given up our rights to park in the space that had been allotted for ten years, when we moved our office, we knew that although it was possible to pay for a space in the lot, the spaces available may be limited.  We chose to park in a 'pay and display' area, instead, and found a length of vacant space, enough for several cars, that was in closer proximity to the activities than our old haunt. (No pun intended!) 

We left the car, and walked down the rather steep hill, and rounded the corner onto Congress Avenue.  A young family were seated at a small pavement cafe, and the children were collecting acorns from the trees that adorned the side of the road.  The parents' were engrossed in conversation as the children played.  An older gentleman watched, without obvious facial expression, from his seat in the doorway.  After strolling four blocks, and espying the entrance to the 'Fun Fest', Samantha realised that she had left her camera in the car.  The app on her phone, although advanced, would not be good enough, should we need some spectacular shots of something still yet unknown.  We about turned, and sped up our steps back along Congress Avenue.  A young family were seated at a small pavement cafe, and the children were throwing acorns at each other, which they had collected from the trees that adorned the side of the road.  The parents' were engrossed in conversation as the children played. An older gentleman watched from his seat in the doorway, with a slight knowing grin upon his face.  We climbed the rather steep hill to the car, and Samantha redeemed her prize possession, made sure all the components were present and correct, and locked the car, much to the annoyance of the driver of another vehicle who was ready to steal the space, as parking was now at a premium!

Marching back down the rather steep hill, we turned onto Congress Avenue.    A young family were seated at a small pavement cafe.  One child was crying and pointing at the other, as the claim was she had been hit by an acorn, which the other had thrown, from those that they had collected from the trees that adorned the side of the road..  The other child was denying responsibility, claiming a similar injury.  The parents were engrossed in conversation as the children screamed!  An older gentleman watched from his seat in the doorway, shook his head and laughed at the spectacle.  We continued our journey along the four blocks and crossed the threshold into the 'Fun Fest' arena. 

The vendors who were not under the cover of a larger marquees, stood rubbing their hands together, no doubt to generate heat rather than a gesture of 'here comes another gullible being'!  The crowd had not yet started to grow, as it was not quite midday, and a few of the stalls were still being set up.  No crowds meant no lines, and the queues that we had been used to in the past weeks had not yet formed.  'Spin the wheel' was again the order of the day.  I stepped forward and announced that I was going to 'win' the tote bag.  The young lady behind the table laughed, suitably, and said that my 'prize' would be dependent upon where the arrow pointed when the wheel had been spun, (or words to that effect,) and was bemused at my insistence that my gift would be the tote bag.  I pulled down on the spherical object and it spun fiercely.  The spindle clicked over the small notches and the wheel finally halted with the arrow pointing down at the words 'tote bag'.  Absolutely astounded at my prediction, the young woman handed me the bag, and reluctantly asked Samantha whether she would like to 'try her luck'.  "The first aid kit", was my reply to my daughter, when she asked for my opinion as for what 'prize' she should spin.  The laughter of the stall holder was slightly less genuine.  The arrow pointed down on the words, 'Band Aids', and the young woman looked at me for an explanation.  "She didn't want it badly enough", I teased.  "She only got part of the kit", I continued.  I was not sure whether to let her know that my comments were in jest, but decided to keep within the parameters of the spirit of the weekend, as most had been wishing all a 'Happy Halloween'. 

We continued along to the next stand, and loaded up on more tote bags, back packs and keyrings.  There were a few useful objects to match the useless, and before long, the packs on our backs were full to the drawstring.  The seasonally appropriately named 'energy drink' company had its stand next to a race car which adorned the matching logo.  The 'monster' car was embellished by scantily clad females, who no doubt wished the weather had been kinder, but who braved the elements for the sake of advertising.  Accepting their kind offer of a can, I chose the 'tea' like variety, but then my ears heard the magic word, 'chocolate', and I was drawn towards the new concoction, to wit, the chocolate shake.  "I want that one, please".  I added the polite suffix after I realised the pathetic wanting tone in my voice. A young man behind the counter paused, before handing me the can, and with a concerned tone, warned me, "This is an energy drink, you know".  I resisted, as is my way, the sarcastic remark that sat upon my lips, and smiled.  As we stepped down from the stand, however, I restrained myself no longer and said to the open air, "You are an energy drink company, are you not!"  My outburst was responded to by several nods, confirming my suspicions but not knowing why I needed the affirmation!

"Yes", I did want to ride on the go-cart looking trikes, that looked so easy to operate, yet spun off the concrete track at each sharp bend, and caused the operator to catapult into a nearby haystack!  After nearly falling off the first time, (and I mean nearly,) I calculated the risks and took a wide sweep before entering into the skid, and managed to keep the vehicle upright, to the roars of the crowd.  When I say 'roars', I actually mean the 'surprise' of the commentator, who was rather bemused at not only my willingness to take part, but at my expertise.  He was not the only one surprised, as everyone else who attempted the activity, all younger, and more obviously fitter than I, made full use of the head, knees and elbows protection pack!  Samantha was delighted that we had returned to the car for her camera, as she took several joining shots of my performance, which even if I do say so myself, was pretty spectacular.  The only person who appeared to be disappointed was the young man taking pictures for the local newspaper.  I think he was expecting a clip of me inverted in the haystack, with the bike atop.  He was going to have to find someone else to make the headlines!

I 'liked' on facebook, and 'tweeted', in order to be the proud owner of a drinking vessel.  In fact, it was the sympathy vote that allowed this particular 'prize' to be 'won', as I handed my phone to Samantha and asked if she would do the honours.  I then announced, before spinning the wheel, that I did not want the t-shirt, but one of the plastic cup that were stacked on the table.  The young lady thought it was 'sweet' that 'momma' rely upon her daughter to access social media in order to enter into the spirit of the day. (Again, no pun intended.)

After having photos taken on racing motorbikes, signing up to win cars and holidays, we decided to leave the area.  However, before we headed back to the car, there was one last 'contest' in which to take part.  For the first time in recent memory, I only got two beanbags in the hole, instead of three, and did not win the star prize, which was the t-shirt.  Samantha, although disappointed, (as she did not achieve the goal either,) told me that Edward would be forever grateful, as when cleaning their apartment last weekend, they realised that they had enough t-shirts from various 'downtown fun-fests' to clothe a small country!  Sun glasses are also always useful!  I received my 'prize' with thanks, and will add them to my collection which competes with that of Samantha's t-shirts!

We walked the four blocks back along Congress Avenue.  The pavement cafe was occupied by adults of all ages, and the young family and older gentleman were no where to be seen.  We climbed the rather steep hill back to the car and went on our way.  It had been an enjoyable couple of hours.  We reminisced as we left the area, passing our old office space, and sighed.  Working downtown had its advantages!  However, the collection of useless objects can be just as prolific on a day visit, rather than a whole week! 

I rose Sunday morning rather pleased that we decided not to get tickets for the 'main event', and remembered that the heat count for last years Formula 1 race day in Austin, had been at ninety degrees.  Although not cold, it would not have been as pleasant sitting for approximately four hours with a chilling breeze blowing, and the temperature not getting about 70!  It is quite incredible how accustomed to the heat I have become!

The weather next week is going to be variable.  Above 80 on Monday, and barely 60 on Wednesday.  Our office will probably remain a solid 'brrr' all week!  Polar bears, penguins, Arctic beasts and gentlemen in red coats may appear, but being Austin, they will not be out of place, and may not be in the vicinity of our office.   With the last day of October having come and gone, and Thanksgiving around the corner, we cannot go anywhere without being surrounded by pumpkins.  (Cinderella's beware!)   The Formular 1 race will be run, and although our television provider, apparently, does not cover the actual race today, I am sure the winner will be worthy, whether I am watching or not! 

As the clocks 'fell' back early this morning, and the days start to get shorter, (although being nearer the equator, it is not as drastic,) my leisure time activities are subject to change, and I am now looking for new 'winter' projects.  Knitting is always an obvious choice, and considering I now have a little one for whom to make things, it is high on the list.  Cooking is fun, but eating the results is not always a good idea when less exercise is a possibility.  I have a few household projects that I want to achieve, but they tend to be of a 'last resort' variety.  Of course, my Sundays are usually occupied with writing my memoirs, and providing .......... another story.

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