Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's Like A Whole Other Country

Actually, San Antonio and Austin were both a lot less cowboy/redneck and less Spanish/Mexican than I expected. What we did expect was heat and humidity and we got both. Fortunately it rained Sunday afternoon so that took the edge off of the evening and the next day.

We ate at several very good restaurants, including the Zuni Grill, Acenar and Landry’s, all right on the Riverwalk and within easy walking distance from our hotel. Acenar ("to dine") was gorgeous, all hot pink and orange, ultra-modern and retro at the same time. I had the entomatadas (chicken and sweet potato filled flute-like tacos topped with roasted tomato sauce and queso fresco) and D had crepas de pato (corn serrano crepes filled with duck covered in tamarindo cherry grilled onion sauce). Yummy!

We could see the Alamo from the front steps of the hotel so we strolled over at about 11:30 pm to take a few pictures of it all lit up and looking all pretty. We didn’t have time to come back to do the tour, which would have been interesting, I’m sure.

We drove out to Austin one day to visit a girlfriend that moved from the Bay Area several years ago and to meet her 4 month-old baby girl. She was precious, with a tiny brown curl on the top of her head and two teeth already! My girlfriend went from being an extremely put together, multi-tasking professional to your typical frazzled first-time Mom with a breast-feeding infant, someone who doesn’t have time to put on make-up any more and is willing to pay as much as it takes for whatever gadget/toy/convenience that will get her 10 minutes of time to make dinner or take a shower. Oh…that sounded like a slight, it wasn’t meant to be, I’m sure I would be at least as frazzled and makeup-free! She’s a very good baby, never cried the entire time we were there, just got a bit fussy at times. D and I traded holding her while dinner was prepared and she happily squirmed and cooed (and spit up) on anyone who was willing to take a turn. Of course, telling my friend that her child was a very good baby wasn’t going to help her any, so I didn’t say that. I really try not to dole out assvice; and even if I had personal experience, every baby is different.

I’ve been doing so much better around and about babies and children in general lately, I don’t feel sad or angry or even smug in my childlessness (as in, gee, look at all the stuff I get to do because I don’t have kids). My life is what my life is and that’s pretty damn good. Spending five days 24/7 with D was also a huge emotional boost for me, he just makes me happy – I feel safe, loved and beautiful in his presence, who wouldn’t want that?

We also hooked up with some other friends and toured Natural Bridge Caverns. It was about 10 degrees cooler down in the caves, but at 100% humidity, we were drenched by the time we got out of there. Well worth the half hour drive from San Antonio if you're in the area.

We also saw the new Superman movie. The movie wasn’t that good, Kate Bosworth was way too young and soft to be Lois Lane, although she does take a licking and keeps on ticking. It was a good movie to see on vacation, a nice (if longish) break in a cool dark place, a good looking hero and some nifty special effects. In the end, any movie in which a single kiss on the cheek from a small boy is more healing than all the modern medicine in the world gets an extra star in my book. Brandon Routh is hot, even if it was a tad disconcerting how much he looked like Christopher Reeve, he was almost channeling him when he was in the blue tights.

By the time we got home we were having serious dog withdrawal, and from our welcome it seems they both missed us too. Our regular dog-sitter was too ill to take care of them so we hired a professional pet sitter for the first time. On the report card she wrote, “Bailey and Tucker are the best trained and behaved dogs I’ve taken care of in a long time.” Awww – Mama’s so proud of her boys.

I also missed a riding lesson while we were gone but maybe that was a blessing in disguise. It’s been so hot this past few days I doubt it would have been very productive. Honestly it was cooler in Texas! Although we have slightly less humidity, it doesn’t make much of a difference when you’re without A/C all day.

If you're still reading, I appreciate it, cuz holy crap this is getting to be quite the boring post!

Right before we left I finished reading Isabel Allende’s Zorro. Hmmm, it seems I am in need of a hero lately! It was translated from the original Spanish and the language wasn’t as lush as I would have liked, but still a good read.

I bought Umberto Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana in the airport in Dallas on our layover. The title grabbed my attention immediately, as did the cover art. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never heard of Mr. Eco, even though he has a long and illustrious literary career. The story also appealed to me – a middle-aged Italian man has a stroke and awakes from a coma without any memory of his life, but he remembers every word he’s ever read; every poem, every newspaper, comic book or menu. Since he’s an antique book dealer, there is a wealth of information to pull from and there are many wonderful quotes and color pictures in the novel, markers along the path of remembering the rest of his life. It’s translated from the original Italian but so far that fact has not diminished the exquisite language. I’ll do a more full review once I finish the book. Has anyone read any of his books?

Finally, my twin Elizabeth Hurley has landed a new gig as spokesmodel for Jordache jeans. Not only is she hot, she’s standing with a horse. See, I told you: twins!


  1. Umberto Eco is a fav of mine. He did "Name of the Rose" and "Foucault's Pendulum". They made a movie of the former...I do think Sean Connery is in it, and I forget the name of his "assistant" in the movie...gosh...can't remember but I can see his face and he went on to be famous.

    Totally worth seeing!!!

  2. Sounds like y'all had a great time and definitely made the most of your trip. And Acenar was the name I couldn't remember. (Azucar was close.) So glad you enjoyed it.

    Next time, come this way in the fall or spring and spend more time in Austin. Drinks on me. And you could a puppy fix with my darling.

  3. I read the whole thing Donna - not boring at all. That is a really random ad for Jorache. I love that they use Liz Hurley as she is "long in the tooth" for modeling age. But a horse?

    Eco - I only read Foucault's Pendulum and it was...hmm..very very mentally exhausting. I couldn't finish it. He is a literary luminary, though. But the one you are reading sounds interesting. Let me know how it is.

    I lived in Austin in 94 (ack! ages ago now) and I've heard it has changed so much with the dotcom boom.

    Glad you had fun.

  4. Elle, the Jordache symbol is a horse, which explains the presence of one in the ads. Apparently Brittany Murphy did ads for them a few years ago, draped bareback across a horse.

    I had heard of The Name of the Rose but I haven't seen the movie, and I certainly couldn't have named the author if you paid me. (I'll take Italian authors for $200, Alex.)

  5. You guys are twins, right? I don't think you're joking but it's hard to tell... Glad your vacation was relaxing! -Kym

  6. Wasn't it Christian Slater as the very young apprentice monk who ends up in a sex scene in The Name of the Rose? Either way, the book of the film and Foucault's Pendulum are both worth a read. About the same time, I am pretty sure I read Patrick Suskind's "Perfume" and it is an amazing book if you have not read it.

    Books aside, your trip sounds amazing, despite the heat and humidity. You sound so much better than a few months ago and I am glad that you and D had such a lovely time.

    I always feel a bit like a wilting flower without Mr P and he is the watering can that perks me right up. The feminist in me cringes at that but it is true. I am a totally independent person but I just have a whole better outlook on life when he is at my side.

  7. Glad you had a good time, girlie...and welcome back (a little late)
    I liked San Antionio when we went there, too. I can't believe we lived there and never made it to Austin. Oh well.
    Umm..Jordache is still around?

  8. I've always wanted to read an Umberto Eco book, given his rep. I'd love to read your review!

  9. I once bought an Umberto Eco book called "The Island of the Day Before" mainly because I liked the front cover. I have to be honest, I never got beyond the cover!
    I'm glad to hear that you have been doing better around babies and little kids...I know how hard it can be at times. I'm also getting better used to it, and am now finding that I'm actually truly happy for one of my closest friends (who's 42 and pregnant for the first time!)
    Lucky her...but lucky me. I like my life too (most of the time ;))

  10. Umberto Eco is one of my all time favourites, too. The latest of his novels I read was called Baudolino, definitely worth checking up, if you're into historical novels.

    But most of all, if medieval times are of any interest to you, The Name of the Rose is a must. It's a combination of excellent storytelling, murder mystery and philosophy (and some theology). And it indeed was Christian Slater in the movie version. :)

    Foucault's Pendulum on the other hand is the definitive novel on the secret societies (freemasonry, surviving Templars etc.) and the Holy Grail and whatnot. If you read / know of the idea of The Da Vinci Code and want something way more serious and intellectually challenging on the topic, then you should find it, too. It's definitely not an easy read with all its philosophical ponderings, but I'd say it's worth it. And I think I was about 18 when I read it. Perhaps I should read it again and see what I think of it now... :)

  11. Your twin - half the woman, half the heart of your's for sure.