Sunday, July 4, 2010

The reason we"re here

A thought to share.....

She wrote................. I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection--the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this "quality girlfriend time" helps us to create more serotonin--a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings?--rarely. Women do it all the time. We share from our souls with our sisters, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged--not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking! So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health!

We are indeed very very lucky.

So let's toast to our friendship with the women in our lives. Evidently it's very good for our health!!

July 3, 2010 Arrival

It was an almost uneventful arrival except for a couple of Carolisms that will be remembered. Seeing her come out of the men's rooms at the Austin airport was very special. Of course, she had already done what she needed to do in the bathroom but never noticed that there were men there.
Carol calling another passenger on the plane "Kevorkian" , I'm sure made his day!

It is soo good to be home again after a year long absence. Who knows whats in store for us this week, but whatever it is you will be reading about it right here!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Final Day

Everyone up early. Lucy made sure she got in her last swim. Packing, grazing on leftover strada and toast. Pictures around the table one last time and off they go. The 'Fresh Air Fund" packed to the hilt in the rental car. Carol, as usual, protesting that she doesn't want to go to the airport that early and everyone else moving her along. We saw them off, all a little teary. We wait for the visit all year long with anticipation and in a blink it's over. Oh well, look on the bright side, only 360 days until the Austinas Locas blow into Austin again. I better start thinking of that drink of the day!

Friday July 10, 2009

The last full day, boo hoo. At last the long promised hike happened. First Karen prepared the annual strada. It's kind of like the running of the bulls, the making of the strada. Once the strada was in the oven Susie, Dolores, Karen, and Lucy trekked off. Well, they drove off as Karen said getting to the entrance to the hiking place was a hike in itself. We really enjoyed the hike and were gone a little over an hour. It was peaceful and we came across a little slow moving creek. We took pictures of flowers and tree and each other (to prove we had really done it). Then ate strada and did what - you got it, hung out in the pool. Tom finished the birdhouse and found a place of honor for it outside.

Karen and Nancy went to Central Market to get the makings for that night's final dinner - paella and whatever struck Nancy's fancy for dessert. They 'grazed' through CM and Nancy got inspired by a dessert they were sampling: bananas foster.

When it was time for the drink of the day, Tom said we had to try all the liqour he had bought at Spec's. So Karen made herself a Madras and everyone else had pina coladas with blueberries. It was a great afternoon at the pool - we were in and out, drinking and carrying on. Nancy made true noodle art as she constructed a noodle prison for herself. Karen made paella for that night.

Joni came over to take head shots for Tom. Karen served as her assistant holding the light reflector. And she took pictures of the entire Austinas Locas. When she left we settled down to dinner and watching "Mama Mia". Everyone loved it, laughing and singing along. Nancy served the most amazing Bananas Foster and chocolate something. OMG! After the movie, we put on the soundtrack and erupted into dance -- it was the most amazing spontaneous moment, captured on film and video. One last drink in the gazebo as we wound down, sad that the long awaited annual gala was almost over.

Drink of the Day: Pina Coladas and Madras

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Party Night

The sun is shining as usual, and the morning is cool, so the Christian Science reading room has moved to the pool area. Have to get moving, meeting Karen for lunch at 11:30am.
We are out the door in plenty of time. We arrive at Nubian Queen Lola's Cajun Barbeque Cafe 15 minutes early. The place is small and the air is thick with cajun scents, and smoke.
We choose our meals and wait patiently for our food. We had pork chops, etouffe, po' boys, catfish, and a BLT. Not outstanding food, though the atmosphere with hanging beads and Obama bilia was fascinating, not to mention lots ' Jesus. It was an adventure to say the least.

Tom, Lucy and Nancy head off to Michaels, for come crafty things, while Jennie, Carol and Susie try to figure out how Carol broke the TV.
Tom and Nancy return to find smiling TV faces, and spend the afternoon crafting, while the others nap, or swim. Excellent day. Tom was making a bird house for Karen and Jennie and Nancy was doing 3-D framing for a card that K&J had bought in Florence. It turned out great.

Party that night as friends who had all met Austinas Locas at one time or the other were invited over. Guest list - Charlie Hill, Frank Benge, Renee Brown, Joni McClain, Leanne Pounds and her mother, Donna (who came in for a family party of their own), Vicki.

Vicki and Nancy hit it off as they exchanged arts and craft talk and looked at various websites. We see an exchange of talents in the future. As usual, everyone ended up in the gasebo. Show tunes were playing and Susie and Karen decided it was time to sing show tunes from the pool. They started something because within 15 minutes everyone was in the pool! It was Rodgers and Hammerstein nite and everyone voiced an opinion on the Broadway Mary Martin version of Sound of Music versus Julie Andrews and the movie.

Drink of the day - Free for all

Wednesday July 8, 2009

Wednesday was the ultimate hang out and do nothing day. Carol slept until 2:00 - we kept checking on her to make sure she was still breathing. Tom would get up and join us for conversation and then go off for a nap. The afternoon was spent hanging out in the pool, drifting on noodles and having great conversations about...everything! Tom even joined us at some point when there was enough shade in the pool. It was a chore to get us all out of the pool and get ready for dinner.

Dinner was at Fogo de Chao in downtown Austin. It was a Brazilian meat restaurant, where you are brought one meat course after another until you scream stop!! The food was incredible, the drinks were great, the company was greater. When we got home, Jennie introduced everyone to the Rachel Maddow show, but it was early to bed. Too much food and sun (can there be too much?)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Italian Night

This was a very special day, as we were expecting for the first time, the arrival of our honorary Austina--Tom! Not only that--tonight was also the night for our long anticipated Italian dinner. When I came down in the morning, the kitchen was already a flurry of activity. Nancy and Lucy were busy making the desserts. Karen had fled to poolside--too much activity for so early in the morning. I had the idea of making a welcome sign for Tom. I thought the best and most embarrassing way to greet him was for all of the Locas to be at the airport, waiting at the bottom of the escalator to baggage claim with a big Welcome Tom! sign. It was too late for that, but I figured we could make a sign for here which is what we did. His flight was due in relatively early, so we had to leap quickly into action to prepare. Jennie got involved and made Manhattans so we would have Tom's favorite drink ready when he walked through the door. And we all just laughed and laughed.

We sat around and warmed up leftovers for lunch then did what we always did -- talked a lot, laughted a lot and hung out by the pool. Nancy and Lucy were charged with shopping and Susie promised that she would cook the meal if she were allowed to hang out in the pool and circumvent the shopping trip. It was agreed and that's what happened. Tom went on the shopping trip and they took over Spec's. Apparently some nicelooking clerk noticed that Tom had glitter by his eye (from the 2009 glasses) and then began to help Tom find all kinds of liquor. Of course we kidded him about that the rest of the week.

Susie stayed in the pool until the last minute and then 'leaped into action' assisted by her sous (Sue) chefs who chopped and grinded to their hearts content. Results: Magnificent. It began with prosciutto and melon, prosciutto and breadsticks. bruschetta, artichoke dip and Prosecco in the gazebo. Then chicken cacciotorre, salad, bread for dinner (delicious) and the piece de resistance: tortoni and zuccato for dessert. Wow. This is not a week for the faint of heart... you have to be able to consume much food and alcohol to be an Austinas Locas.

Quote of the day. We always kid about needing a 'Carol interpretor' to explain what she just said. We're sitting at dinner and Carol says something. Nancy asks "What did you say" and Carol says, "Even I need an interpretor for that one". We howled.

Drink of the day - Manhattans