Archive for the 'Restaurants' Category

Greetings, Y’all!


What a roller-coaster ride 2008 was! First off, I turned 50 in January and started writing about it right here at my blog. Continue reading ‘Greetings, Y’all!’

The Long Road Home

Before starting the long road back to Austin, I met up with Steve and Arlene Griffis at Bread & Breakfast to talk about the upcoming Way Out West Texas Book Festival, which I regretfully had to pass on, because it’s the same weekend as Lydia’s wedding (Aug. 9). But we talked and talked and are cooking up a partnership for 2009 — I’m going to try to schedule the Summer Writing Academy to lead in to the WOW Festival, and that way we can share a bigger-name author or two! After breakfast, we went to Front Street Books, where I finally got to meet owner Jean Hardy, whom I immediately took a liking to! She had not known about the Writing Academy (yikes!) and said she would have been happy to host a reading by the instructor/authors! One more thing to work on for next year…

Then it was time to bid adios to Alpine and head back home. I went through Marathon this time, but didn’t stop. Steve and Arlene live there and have offered their guest house for me any time! Yay! I’ll definitely be ready to go back!

Fortunately, the looooong drive home coincided with the book I was listening to, The Last Girls, by Lee Smith — I started it shortly outside of Austin on the way up and it ended right around Dripping Springs on the return trip!

#14: My First Summer Writing Academy

The Writers’ League Summer Academy surpassed my expectations! I sat in on all four classes and was quite jazzed by them. Now I want to stick around longer, rather than head back on Tuesday!

After the orientation last night, I had dinner with instructors Karleen Koen, Clay Reynolds, Suzy Spencer, and Scott Wiggerman at my surprise find, Trattoria Cafe, next to the McDonald’s by the university. Food and conversation were all quite enjoyable.

The dorm, however … Note to self: For next year, make sure all instructors and visiting E.D.s are housed off-campus at a hotel! Oh, well, it’s so darn cheap, I can tough it out for two nights!

The students all seem to be into the classes, even on Day One. A good sign! The campus is just perfect for our Continue reading ‘#14: My First Summer Writing Academy’

#13: My First Trip to West Texas

Here I sit, on the porch of the Austin Street Café in Marfa, a soft easy breeze blowing napkins off tables, birds chirping, and the threesome at the next table expounding on the merits of Italian sportscars! The Presidio County Courthouse is spectacular, but I cannot find the fabled Marfa galleries and shops. Maybe it’s the Sunday sleepiness.

I fully expected to be more charmed by Marfa, but so far, Alpine scores higher on the charm scale. Nonetheless, I love being in West Texas; it’s so similar to New Mexico and even Sun Valley. The Austin Street Café’s veggie wrap with black-eyed peas and a superb tomato-basil soup –– well, those hit the mark and made the short drive worthwhile.

My whole excuse for being in West Texas is the Writers’ League’s Summer Writing Academy at Sul Ross State Continue reading ‘#13: My First Trip to West Texas’

My Vacation in Burlington, Days 1-3

When my sister Cathy announced that she wanted to celebrate my birthday with me and asked, it took me no time at all to come up with the perfect idea: Opening Day with the Cubs! Cathy, Carol, Caity, and Chris had gone to last year’s opening game; I was supposed to have gone, but couldn’t go. So this was a no-brainer. Plus, I decided to make a week of it and just hang with the family in Burlington and mangia mangia at La Tavola! To top that all off, Bradley University had a home stand in Peoria that weekend, which meant I could go see my nephew Chris play ball (See #6!). BONUS! Cathy took care of EVERYTHING, even finding a flight that took me directly to Burlington “International” (ha ha ha!) Airport on March 27.

We had a plethora of birthdays to party on: Caity turned 16 on March 11, Cheryl’s birthday was March 22, and Carol and her best friend James “Celebrity Slut” Woods share a natal day on April 10! So the Wichita contingent of Carol and James drove up on Saturday and joined in on the baseball festivities.

I worked the phones at the restaurant during the lunch hours on Friday and Wednesday. Several people commented, “You HAVE to be another sister!” That was a kick! What was really great was seeing how fond the regulars are of Cheryl and Carlo. Several of Cheryl’s birthday bouquets were still decorating the joint.

Not only was it great fun to hang with my family, but I also enjoyed exploring more of Burlington, which is actually quite charming. Cathy and Cait live over the restaurant in the historic downtown, just two blocks Continue reading ‘My Vacation in Burlington, Days 1-3’

Cent’ Anni!

Well, here I am, officially fifty! That’s definitely a first for me. So far, so good. I like to think I don’t look two days over forty-nine (if you count it from the 364th day of my forty-ninth year). And it’s also my mother’s seventieth birthday — I was the birthday present she was most relieved to see on January 20, 1958, in Lincoln, Nebraska (more on that Big Red blood flowing in my veins in a future post!).

I commemorated the day with nineteen members of my extended Austin family crammed around the Pope’s Table at Bucca di Beppo. I was Continue reading ‘Cent’ Anni!’

It’s a Most Unusual Day

cyndle-birthday-no-1-001.jpgI’m a believer in signs, and what could more auspicious than this: I’m about to celebrate my fiftieth birthday tomorrow, and not only have I been perpetually perched on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius (I like to say I’m a Capriquarian or Aquaricorn, depending on which sign seems more dominant at the moment ― translation: I go both ways!), but I’m on a cusp of another sort this weekend. Today, Saturday, is either the last day of my first half-century (in this lifetime, anyway!) or the day before my second half-century. My intention for today is to have a gentle, introspective day of contemplation and release so that I can open up to a new, broader more me ME starting tomorrow!

All signs point to a blossoming and powerful year for me, and I am more than ready. It all ties in with my intention for the year: I am allowing and available to Spirit so that I can be fully who I came here to be.

After seeing my therapist for a rejuvenating clearing session, I treated myself to lunch at Mandola’s (frequently referred to as my “other office”), and as I started writing, I had to laugh at my accidental soundtrack: “It’s a Most Unusual Day” — apropos, no?

In between bites of the hearty minestra di farro and parmesan-crusted melanzane dipped in a basil aioli, I jotted down my releases (well, I wasn’t talkin’ records, but it did end up reading like a not-so-greatest hits compilation!). Then I listed what I want to bring into my life this year while downing an entire Napoleon all by myself (hey, it’s my birthday weekend!). And as I was finishing that, a later installment of my soundtrack started up: “Love Came Just in Time”! Yeehaw! Bring it ON!

tdog-patsy-on-sofa-001.jpgList complete, I went home and cuddled with ThunderDog (left), Patsy Clementine (right), and Dini (not pictured; she was probably behind the sofa!) as I watched back-to-back Jane Austen movies, Pride and Prejudice with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier followed by the new Masterpiece Theatre version of Persuasion. A sweet ending to the first fifty, I must say!

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