Saturday, December 29, 2007

Super signing.

Since we wanted to visit Austin around Christmas, Brett contacted the owner of an Austin video game store to set up a book-signing for this weekend. Game Over Videogames hosted the event, and it turned out to be the perfect venue to promote his book. (Have we mentioned his book? How it's a must-have for classic video game fans? How it's available on Amazon?)

Brett sold a good number of books and made some new friends.
(This friend's not a new one, though! Amy, one of my college roomies, just agreed to pose for my picture!)

The store has tons of video game stuff for old and new systems.

Ryan played (and beat) the Jaws game on the Nintendo they had set up for game testing.

Brett was so impressed with the owner and the store. He kept saying how much he wished we could have a similar store closer to home.

This cool little corner is set up like an old living room.

We had fun checking out the store and watching Brett in his element. It was a great signing—and a wonderful way to end our weekend in Austin!

Suite start to a sweet Saturday.

Our Saturday morning began in our hotel suite where we watched—you guessed it!—The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Then we headed to Chuy's for an early lunch with some great friends. It was so good to enjoy my all-time favorite meal (bean and cheese stuffed sopapillas with tomatillo sauce) while visiting with some of my favorite people!

After lunch we headed to Terra Toys, a super cool toy store with retro and modern toys for boys and girls of all ages. Ryan and Katie were tickled that Anne bought them some goodies like gummy body parts and bubble tape! Then we still had a little time to kill before Brett's book signing, so we girls and Ryan headed to Starbucks for coffee and conversation.

It was just a short trip down the road to Game Over Video Games for Brett's signing, but that story and those pictures get their own post. While Brett was selling all those books, though, we girls headed to campus to visit the Co-op. While on the Drag, we stopped by the Renaissance Market, one thing about Guadalupe that hasn't changed so much!
We took advantage of the Austin mural there to snap a couple of photos:

And then Katie and I shopped the Co-op, much of the delight of our burnt-orange hearts. Because of our Christmas money (thanks, Nana, Papa and Memaw!), it felt like a real shopping spree!
Merry Texmas!

And speaking of Christmas, check out these presents:
Thanks to Amy, we now can make Kerbey Lane pancakes at HOME! Yea!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Home sweet Austin.

It's no secret that I LOVE Austin! This restaurant is one of the reasons.

Kerbey Lane Cafe features some of the best food ever...

...especially these amazing pancakes! One bite of this bad boy and I was instantly HOME. One taste and I could just see my college friends around the table. Just one fork-full and I was back...

I can see for miles and miles...

Mt. Bonnell is the highest point in Austin, and each time we visit it, it's a highlight of our trip.

The long hike up the stairs

The view of the Capital of Texas Highway bridge

Town Lake, recently renamed Lady Bird Lake
(but it's really the Colorado River)

These fences weren't here when I first started coming to Mt. Bonnell,
but considering how high up we are, I'm SO glad they're there now!

The view to the east is pretty amazing: the Austin skyline!

This part of the park doesn't have the fence, so we kept far from the edge

Such a cool place to take my cool family! YO!

O Zilker tree.

I experienced two true "Austin moments" on Friday. The first was when I tasted the Kerbey Lane pancake at lunch, and the second was when I stepped under the lights of the Zilker Park Christmas tree. Both were sensory experiences that overwhelmed me with memories, inundating me with nostalgia for when I lived in this amazing city.

Of course, on Austin trips lately, it's been a blast to show off "my town" to my family, and already Ryan and Katie know how cool the Zilker tree is!

It's a nifty view inside the tree, but all Austinites know you have to spin around under there...
so you can see THIS:

It's such a cool view from outside or inside, and we spun underneath it until we fell down! We don't always make it to Austin during the holidays, but when we do, we just HAVE to spend some time with the tree!

(Last year the kids and I did the Zilker spin in the rain on our way to the Alamo Bowl. Pictures from that visit are here.)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Taps in One.

I just love it when the Longhorn Band plays the slowed-down version of Texas Fight because it signals another Texas victory. And wow, was it good to finally hear it tonight! This Holiday Bowl was a crazy one, what with the Steve Bartman moment and all, but how nice to end this disappointing season with a win.

And so the l-o-n-g off-season begins, and I attempt to fill the sports void with Longhorn and Mavericks basketball, the Cowboys, and for at least one more week, VY and the Titans. But there's just nothing like Longhorn football, now 252 days away...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A cold day in the park.

I've been going to Six Flags for more than 30 years, but I'd never been to Holiday in the Park until today. So today was an exciting one for me and the kids, big SFOT fans who'd never experienced the caroling, the decorations and the COLD of the park at Christmas!
We rode the Titan three times in our first 20 minutes there! The lines were REALLY short, but the temp in the low-40s made the ride REALLY cold! Talk about wind chill! Combine the 41-degree weather with a ride that goes up to 85 mph and you've got some frozen riders!

Fortunately, not all the rides were as fast as the Titan.

Hot chocolate helped warm us up.

The kids indulged my nostalgia as we checked out the old pictures.

Super cool! The kids got to sled down Frosty's Snow Hill.

You'd never know they're native Texans from the way they handled the snow!

We ran into some old friends along the train tracks.

And it was neat to see the Oil Derrick all gussied up for the holidays.

Before leaving for the day, the kids had to hit the snowy hill one more time.

The park was pretty, all lit up. And it was SO empty in most areas! We were delighted to get to ride so much and wait so little.

The only drawback: It was COLD! Usually we're miserably hot at Six Flags, but this was a switch. The chill gave even "easy" rides like the swings an added element (wind chill!), and the fast rides were extra-thrilling! How cold was it? We left Six Flags almost four hours ago, and I STILL haven't warmed up enough to take off my coat!