Friday, November 22, 2013

A Sad Day in the Name of JFK

Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal." 
- John F. Kennedy

One of the most memorable days of my life was in October of 1960. I was a mere 5 years of age. My mother sent my father off to work and sent my siblings off to school. With me in tow, she went to the Amarillo airport, where John F. Kennedy was to speak while campaigning to be President.

I remember it as if it were yesterday. It was a cold and windy day. JFK got off of a plane to speak to a small crowd of Democrats on the runway of the Amarillo airport. As he walked up to the podium, my mother was holding me in the front row of the crowd. He looked at his notes and then glanced over the crowd that was behind a temporary chain link fence. He motioned to one of his aids to take me from my mother and lift me over the fence. The man gently sat me on the front row of about 3 rows of chairs in front of the fence that were designated for the press. I sat front and center. It was the first time I remember being star struck. I didn't know who he was or what he did before that day, but I knew he was special. After his speech, he came down from the podium and as he was shaking hands with those in the media, he bent down and kissed me on the head. I felt I had been blessed.

Needless to say, when the news came of his assassination, 50 years ago today on November 22, 1963, I was sad. We were released from school and when I arrived home, I found my mother crying. A stunned nation mourned.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Children Make Me Laugh.... And They Grow Up Too Fast

Last night my son called to share one of those funny stories that parents and grandparents live for. He said "Mom, Andrew just pulled a Christian on me." I thought oh God! What has he done? Instead it was one of those educational moments that only happens once in a lifetime that is simply heart warming.

Andrew to his dad, in his all knowing six year old stance:
"Dad, it is NOT War War Two, it is World War Two."

Christian said he was trying his best not to laugh at Andrew's new realization because he remembered the time when he was about four or five, just learning to read. We were driving home in Oak Hill and he saw the sign that we had passed many, many times that read "Oak Hill."

Christian said to me in his five year old surprised voice: "Mom, it's not "Oh Kill, it's Oak Hill."

It took all I had not to laugh. It only stood to reason that Christian would think it was called "Oh Kill." It was in the mid 80's and he and Adriane spent a year driving around with me in the "Oak Hill" area looking for a place to build our dream home. Convict Hill was my first choice since it was on the edge of town, high on the hill. Bt there were scary rumors of long ago, when prisoners, with their ankles hobbled by heavy chains and iron balls. The prisoners cut stone for the Capitol Building that was being built in Austin. Some men died on the site. There were stories of prisoners being buried in shallow graves on that hill. Hence the name "Convict Hill." I don't know why I would scare my 5 year old with that story but needless to say, we decided to buy land further out off of Circle Drive.

When Dylan was about five years old, he realized that we were all saying "remember" and not "renember" and was upset that nobody had bothered to correct him. It is just one of those things that you hold on to for as long as you can, because learning how to say words correctly is just another step in them growing up and moving on with their life.

Dylan is turning 17 in 9 days and talking about going away to school. They grow up and learn how to talk way too fast!

Time flies when you're having fun.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering Artz Ribhouse

Z and Art

Today, 9/11 is a sad day for our nation, yesterday was a sad day for south Austin. Artz Rib House, my home away from home most every Monday night for many years, was demolished. It had been a long time coming but it still knocked me for a loop when I saw the demolition taking place while driving down South Lamar yesterday. I cried all the way to my destination.

Artz Rib house back in the day
The Studebakers
Artz Rib house, yesterday

Artz Rib house, yesterday

In the 1990's on any given evening, I could walk from my house in Barton Hills to the corner of Lamar and Bluebonnet to hear music at Artz. Monday was my favorite because I knew that I would see from 10 - 50 of my best friends there to hear Sarah Elizabeth and the Banned. Sarah's mother Sudie, otherwise know as "The Queen Mother" was there every Monday dressed like a million dollars. I have always said I want to grow up to be Sudie. She taught us so much. I remember hearing her say, as she counted the money from the tip jar at the end of the night that one should tip AT LEAST one dollar for each member of the band. I thought that isn't much but on second thought, it is more than most are willing to tip.

Sarah Elizabeth Campbell

Add caption
Sudie, Sayra and Vicki

Bill, Marcia, Sudie and Sayra
Chris, Sudie, Karen and Slaid

I was talking about how sad I was to my daughter today and she reminded me that it was a Monday when she went into labor with my grandson Dylan. Needless to say, it was one of the few Monday evenings that I missed Sayra Elizabeth and the Banned play at Artz. Shortly thereafter, Dylan started going with me on Monday. He grew up holding court at the bar, drinking sodas, eating ribs and telling jokes to the big guys. When he got bored he would make his way to the back patio where he played in the dirt with his trucks and tractors. One of the few times I didn't take him, I got home and he came up and hugged me and immediately smelled the BBQ smoke on my clothing and said "You went to Artz without me!"

Rene and Dylan

After about 15 years, SXSW became sort of a joke for local Austinites so Paul Barker put together a great week of FREE showcases called "South By South Lamar" with Albert and Gage usually playing on the closing Saturday bill. I saw some really great music every year, some local and some from far off lands who where just in town for SXSW.
Albert and Gage

Chris, Dave, Sarah
Christine and Christina
The Flyin'A's

Beth and George

Thursday nights during "South By South Lamar" we had Hawaiian shirt contests. 
Marvin and Danny playing Thursday evening
Hawaiian Shirt contest night

Here are some of the best shirts.
Z, Madgie, David, Art and Danny
Danny, Art and Z
Madgie Art and Christina
Madgie and David
Paul Barker, Danny Britt and Winker with me, Christina announcing the winners!

When Artz fell on hard times we had a benefit to raise money. 

Christina, Z and Beth

Rene and Pam
Christine and Pam

Auction items at benefit

This is one of my favorite posters I have ever designed
and look at the line up of musicians who came out to support Artz!
Art signing posters to be auctioned off
Z and Art

May Birthdays

There was another traditional that began at Artz on Monday nights as well. There were so many of us that were born in May that we started a May birthday celebration, which later led into having a birthday almost weekly for whomever was having a birthday.
Front Row: Sarah, Sherry, Christina Cash
Back row: Debbie, Madgie

Paul, Sherry, Sarah, Cash, Christina

...then there were times Jon Emry and his band played at Artz,
Art being the bass player in the band.
David, Beth, Art and Jon

These times at Artz will be missed but fortunately as I told Sarah Elizabeth yesterday:

 "The good news is that you (Sarah Elizabeth) have a loyal family that follows your sweet soul and beautiful voice around from venue to venue. Thank God for El Mercado South!"

.... and in the words of  my dear friend Sarah Elizabeth:

"Artz Rib House was so generous in having local musicians play weekly. He and Zenobia made it a great place to hang, eat baby backs and kick-ass potato salad and a kind of clubhouse of some real characters. A great place to see your friends. Those years mean a lot to me. It's a big hit, losing that place." ~Sarah Elizabeth Campbell

As the song goes...

Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

... In closing... a gentle reminder.... we'll see you Monday night at El Mercado and Donn's Depot!

Some of these photos by Winker. Thank you Winker!
No names have been changed to protect the innocent :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Letter to My Daughter, Adriane On Her 36th Birthday

Happy birthday to my angel baby, Adriane Rose. I never could have imagined what our lives would become 36 years ago. When I hear myself tell the story now, it sounds like a fairy tale of a far away place, long, long ago. Reality.... I live right down the road from where you were born.

September 3, 1977. It had been a hot day on Summer Tree Farm, off of Twin Creeks Road in Manchaca, Texas. Manchaca was way out in the country at the time. The midwives pull up to the wrong farm house in the middle of the night and had a shot gun pulled on them. To top it off, I was the last person in Travis County to have the EMS come to my house AFTER the delivery and NOT take me to the hospital. I don't know why your grandma was so upset that I didn't want to go to the hospital. Ha! Okay, looking back, your dad and I were die hard hippies who thought we were perfectly capable of having our baby at home the way it had been done for millions of years.... Ha! Thank God Grandma was there!

We lived in a little 2 bedroom house at the bottom of the hill on Summer Tree Farm. Your Uncle Phillip and Aunt Deborah lived in the big house at the top of the hill. Looking back, it was a great place to live. We had a cow named Betsy, a horse named Carmen, chickens, a garden and lots of parties and music.

You were the perfect adorable, happy child. Then the hormones kicked the nick of time at about the age of 13.... we all know what happened then. You became a teen-ager and the rest is history.

Fast forward to about a month ago. I got the email I had been patiently waiting for. Seriously! The email finally came! I love this email more than you can possibly know. I always wish mothers a happy birthday on the date of their children's birth because they are actually the ones who gave birth ... and truth be known, children don't experience that magnitude of love felt by a mother until they have a child of their own. So see.... you had no idea that this email is one of the BEST birthday presents I will ever receive.

Here it is, short and sweet:

I need to start meditating. I never thought that I would, but I need to try it. I go back to the ocean sound you used to play when we lived in California. As I get older, I realize I should listen to my mom. It will help. Not that I didn't listen before but I guess I rebelled. So I have come to a point in my life where I think I need to stop... and think. You have taught me great things and I need to act on them. I love you for who you are and what you have become. 

Love Adriane

I sincerely believe every mom would love to receive this message from their daughter. Thank you so very much for the acknowledgement. Happy Birthday to both of us! Remember what your Uncle Mike said on your facebook page today:
"You were the cutest and the sweetest little girl." 
That sweet little girl is still in there Adriane. She really is. Let her out and let her shine! I named you Rose because you looked like a beautiful little rose bud the minute you were born. I love you and I love the beautiful rose that you are becoming. Give it your all and be the best you can be. Don't let anyone or anything hold you back. That is the best gift you could give to me. Live your BEST life.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Once in a Blue Moon

The moon turns full at 8:45 p.m. this evening. It's a blue moon, which just means that it is the second of two full moons this month. 

Just for fun you could listen to Christine Albert and Chris Gage sing "Full Moon NIght" while you read my blog! Click Here!

I subscribe to the belief that the full moon marks a time for cleansing and a time to let go of things of the past that are no longer working for us. So there ya go. The full moon happens at least once a month and therefore cleansing and letting go is a constant in our lives. I can handle that. Then there are the BIG changes and issues to clear up. I woke up this morning with a sort of a bitter sweet, heavy heart realizing that today is a day to push through my personal boundaries and breathe through one more opportunity for self improvement. Oh but wait.... It is August 20. 

Twelve years ago my father passed away August 20, 2001. I just looked at the clock and it is exactly this moment that he passed.  Five years ago my dear friend, Danny Roy Young passed away August 20, 2008. Both of them kind, friendly men. Neither of them knew a stranger. My dad's birthday was May 26 and Danny Roy's was May 29. I met people at my dad's funeral that said they never would have made it without his encouragement and help. He took care of every stray cat and fatherless child that he encountered. Everyone at Danny Roy's funeral raised their hand when asked by the preacher "Who thinks you were Danny Roy's best friend?" 

My dad was a good one, that doesn't mean I don't have issues but I won't bore you with our family dynamics. As Oprah says "Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could've been any different." It is what it is. My point being is that tonight is a full moon and sometimes the power of a full moon night and some candles helps me to push through some old stuff that I have been holding onto. My father issues are at the top of my personal list. And man wouldn't Danny Roy be upset by what has happened on South Lamar. I keep reminding myself that change is good but really, why did they have to build condos on top of the Broken Spoke? That was the last place I danced with my dad to the music of Don Walser.

I have spent my day in my studio creating, mediating, painting and breathing through all the thoughts going through my head. Lots of letting go, forgiving. It's all good.....and speaking of BIG CHANGES,  today is my grandson's first day of first grade. Change is a wonderful thing. One day this little man will be going off to college and he will look back on this day as one big step forward in his life. I love my life and I am grateful for this full moon night.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dylan's Summer Vacation in Dallas

My dear friend Danny Roy Young used to say that if he'd known being a grandfather was going to be so much fun, he would have done that first. I have to agree. My adorable 16 yr old grandson Dylan went to Dallas this week to hang out. The biggest draw was a ticket to go to the Ranger's game with Richard. It has been a blast. He took 30 photos at the game. I think he loved it!

It was a first time experiment with the MegaBus and there was definitely a learning curve observed by all. You have to purchase your tickets online because there is no bus station. In most cities there are tents set up on a street corner. In Dallas, the Dart Transfer Center on Olive Street downtown is used. If you purchase your ticket early, you can get it for as little as a dollar, full price is $25. The buses are nice, double decker with WiFi. Again, no bus stations so bring food and drinks with you and tag you luggage before you leave home. 

So the night after the Ranger's game, Kathy came by and we went to Torchy's Tacos and then for a late night ride around Dallas. She showed us all the buildings and places that meant something to her in her childhood as well as the new stuff in Dallas. What fun! 

Yesterday we spent the day at the Arboretum, walking around in the 102 degree heat.... it was lovely. Absolutely the most amazing gardens I have ever seen, however I think that maybe a stroll around the gardens in October might be a little more pleasant. We cooled down with a smoothie that was more like a slushy.... nice! 

It has been a fun summer vacation. We made lots of memories. We had Hypnotic Donuts, went to White Rock Lake, Dylan and Richard saw a Ranger's game, Dylan ate sushi twice, we made our obligatory trip to several athletic stores to find the perfect Ranger's jersey, we ate Torchy's Tacos, we drove around Dallas at night, we spent 3 hours walking around the Arboretum in the 104 degree weather looking at flowers, took a trip to the Army Store and a LONG Saturday afternoon drive by the location where "Gas Monkey" is filmed.... and fun was had by all making memories.