Saturday, February 27, 2010

Knock-Knock. Who's There?

Living on the corner of one of Austin's busiest streets has its challenges. There are the booming bass car stereos thump-thumping past at all hours of the day and night, the loud motorcycles and modified car engines speeding by (and sometimes shaking) the bedroom windows, the honking of car horns, idling traffic on weekdays between 3:15 and 5:30 PM, the rooster across the street who crows at odd hours -- and that's just the noises. We also get more than our fair share of door-to-door solicitors selling (nonexistent, outrageously expensive) magazine subscriptions, political supporters spreading the word about their candidate or cause, people seeking donations for some legitimate charities and some questionable charities, Boy Scouts selling mulch (which was a welcome sales pitch - bought eight bags), assorted Jehovah's Witnesses, one lady selling sad string-art (not making this up) and a few confused people who thought our house was for rent. After Chad's car got side-swiped back in December, one bold soul knocked on the door offering his car-fixing services.

Once an unscheduled handyman showed up at our house in his clearly marked company vehicle wearing his company uniform. When I politely told him I wasn't expecting a handyman, he claimed he had the wrong house. This was shortly after our house was robbed, so of course I got a bit paranoid wondering if he was casing our house to see which easily-pawned items we might have replaced.

Yesterday had to be the oddest door-knocker during our habitation of the 1952 house. At noon, a man in full military fatigues stood on the stoop. Janie-dog (fifty-five pounds of mixed-breed protective services) accompanied me to the door. The man (hopefully a legitimate member of the military?) said he was sorry to bother me, but that some road debris had lodged itself under the front of his SUV. He asked to borrow a serrated knife. (All the better to stab me with?! my inner Little Red Riding Hood wondered.) Our house sits near one of the main routes to the military reserves base. He was in full fatigues with his name on his chest, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I brought him an old, short blade serrated knife. He thanked me and said he'd leave the knife on the front stoop when he was done. I locked the door tight behind him, just in case. He left the knife as promised when he was done. I don't trust an unscheduled handyman in company car and uniform, but I do trust a young man in military fatigues who seems worried that he's running late.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Safety First

I am saddened and sickened by the man who flew his small plane into an office building here in Austin last Thursday. This column by Austin American-Statesman's John Kelso sums up my similar feelings on the situation.

I had nightmares Thursday night after viewing news coverage of the crash. Friday night I had trouble sleeping at all. Saturday night I dreamed that our house was robbed again. Monday night while running errands, I drove past the burnt-out shell of the IRS building. It looked like a hulking ghost.

We try to be safe: wearing seat-belts, locking doors, looking both ways before crossing the road, taking vitamins, washing hands... For all the precautions we take, we can't completely avoid danger. Or get adequate sleep.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spring Fever

Sunday we enjoyed a high temperature of 77 degrees. Chad and I (along with a LOT of other Austin residents & visitors) went kayaking on Ladybird Lake. A person can't ask for a nicer taste of spring than that. Even though Saturday was overcast and chilly, the garden stores were full of lovely spring plants. I wanted to go on a plant-buying spree, but I refrained.

Today the high will be 36 degrees with strong chance of snow and/or sleet. It's okay. I'm going to enjoy it, because summer will be here with its relentless heat and sun all too soon.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Celebrate Your Love with a Murder Mystery Dinner

I'm in another dinner theater show that's open to the public. You might think it's odd to celebrate Valentine's Eve with a whodunnit dinner show. Honestly, so do I. The upside to watching a mystery show on date night is that you're so busy trying to pay attention to clues and solve the crime while eating your yummy dinner, that there's no room for awkward date conversation or awkward periods of silence. That's gotta be good for new romances and long-standing romances alike. Just sayin'.

Saturday, February 13
Enjoy a three course meal & three act show.
$50 per person, not including tax & tip.
Show starts promptly at 7:30.
Dave & Buster's Austin
Call 512-346-8015 for reservations.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Temple Grandin

If you have HBO, set your video recorder for the premiere of the biopic Temple Grandin tonight at 7:00 Central / 8:00 Eastern. Filmed in the Austin area, starring Claire Danes, this movie recreates the fascinating history of Temple Grandin - a talented and intelligent, autistic woman who researched and designed advances in the humane treatment of cattle and who also serves as an advocate for autistic people. I watched the film Thursday night at HBO's Texas premiere party, and loved it. The story was touching, visually artful and humorous. While watching I completely forgot about Claire Danes as an actress, and was immersed in Temple Grandin's personae. Claire Danes did an amazing job. I don't want to give anything about the story away, so no spoilers here.

HBO kindly and thoughtfully hosted a lovely premiere event at the Austin Convention Center with Temple Grandin herself speaking after the movie. Ms. Grandin spoke with charm, wit and passion about her research and about living with autism. I'm so glad I was invited to attend. HBO also gave copies of Ms. Grandin's book Thinking in Pictures to guests. I'm looking forward to reading it!

Friends, you may remember me gushing over getting to work on this film as a 1965 airline stewardess. You can see my back in the first scene. I'm in a beige stewardess outfit with my hair in a bun and a pillbox hat. Honestly, I'm a tad disappointed that my face isn't visible in the film, but that's such a shallow complaint in light of this great story. I'm blessed that I was able to be a teeny-tiny part of such a wonderful project.