Category Archives: Austin

Surviving Tornadoes


Just finished assessing my trees after the tornadoes in the Austin, TX area last night. The supercenter all over the news is the one near our house. We were at that Home Depot just a couple hours before the tornadoes came. My daughter needed paint sealant and I needed to mail a package.

My trees are old-growth, 2-3+ stories tall. One of the live oak clusters is suspected to be 2-300 years old, and our house was designed around it. There are 20+ trees on our city lot. One of the features that drew John and me to this place. This neighborhood was built around the trees in the 70s–they didn’t clear-cut them.

One of my cedar elms near the street has had a broken branch caught in its top since the polar vortex storms last year. I haven’t tried to get it down yet. Well, it’s gone now. And the top was snapped off another tree.

In the meantime, absolutely NO debris on our streets within a couple of blocks of our house. No twigs, no gravel–nothing. The roads look vacuumed and washed.

I saw the wind change in the rain yesterday–when it took on a pulse in its blustering. The rain and wind were so hard that they created a sheet that looked like a wall. I’m used to that. Spring storms here are like that. And when the wind is really blowing, the rain turns sideways. We see that sort of thing when the hurricanes come inland through our area–sideways rain. Not really a surprising thing.

But then it turned different. The rain started pulsing as it rained sideways. It looked like morse code pulsing in the sideways blowing rain. Like smoke signals in a drumbeat that you could see in the sideways rain–as if you could see the sound.

But it stopped about as quickly as it started.

I also found bits of insulation in the backyard. I thought it was feathers floating out of the trees, but it wasn’t. Looking up into my trees, there may be some debris caught in them.

After my experiences surviving tornadoes in OK and TX, I have sober respect for them. I’m also familiar with many other stories through the Red Cross, back when mom provided disaster relief training in OK and as her classroom assistant, I’d watched every training film available.

Our house was damaged but passed over by a tornado when I was 7 years old. An event called “Terrible Tuesday.” Our house stood while our neighbors’ on every side weren’t as lucky.

I’ve never forgotten what that was like, the damage, or how long it took our family to recover.

I think a tornado passed over our house yesterday. And I’m so grateful.

Storm

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Filed under Austin, Community, Friends and Family, It's An Aberrant Life, Random Thoughts

Austin Community College Is Coming Up In The World…


Austin Community College Headquarters - Wiki Commons Public Domain

Austin Community College Headquarters – Wiki Commons Public Domain

This past weekend our local community college (ACC) held a career and college exploration event for prospective and returning students.

And it was a pretty great event, I thought!

I attended with my son, who has aspirations of pursuing both robotics and music degrees in his future. And while he might be accepted into one program at UT Austin or another Texas university of his choice, the likelihood of being accepted to both programs he wants… is not so likely. Hence, taking a look at the possibility of music opportunities at the community college level. Recently I’d heard that ACC was now offering a 2 year music degree.

Back Story

A music degree was not something they offered back in my day. I took 12 hours of classes 20 years ago back when I moved from East Texas to Austin with the intention of finishing out my music BA (that I’d started 7 years prior), but switched away from when I moved to my second university that had no music program, and then pursuing my masters and later my doctorate in Music Theory.

At the time, though I’d met with department heads, I couldn’t afford to enter the UT Austin music program. So I looked to the local community college (often dubbed “Anyone Can Come” back then) for possible classes. They didn’t have a regular music degree there, but they did have a Music Business degree. Which I thought was pretty smart for any musician to consider taking. After all, if you are supposedly pursuing a career in music, why not learn a little about the business side of things. You know, just so you don’t get screwed?

It was great! classes were taught by people actually in the industry. I took piano lessons, music management courses and midi classes. Cutting edge for the time. I even started attending events with the Piano Technicians Guild.

And then, a couple months into the semester my life forever changed. I became pregnant with my oldest! AND I had all day morning sickness from hell. I spent the rest of the semester being that pregnant girl who was trying very hard not to toss her cookies in class. Who sometimes had to run out the room and find a bathroom that was not always very convenient. Somehow I still managed to pull off a 4.0.

Back To Present

Anyway, so for this “exploration event” I went with my son. After all, I was curious to see what might be offered today, since I will likely have to go back to school in the nearer, rather than farther, future.

It was truly impressive how far ACC has come.

I’ve known for some time that we are very blessed in Austin to have the resources we do through our local community college. Seriously better than many colleges around the nation. Many of the teachers are directly in the industry, or they are teaching at local universities as well as ACC. Pretty seriously sweet. And their credits transfer pretty well around the state.

What surprised me was how many more degrees and resources they have now. Truly knowledgeable programs for so many industries.

And to top it off, I couldn’t believe I was still in their system! They had all my records from 20 years ago, this semester. And they told me, if I ever want to come back and take more classes, it’s simply a matter of reconfirming my residency and I’m considered a returning student. Crazy!

For my son, they had almost anything he could want, that a 2-year degree could handle. He’s looking to add dual credit classes to his next semester, so it definitely helped give him an idea what he might pick. As it is, he only needs an elective, so anything music related, even if music technology related, should work well for him.

All in all, a valuable amount of time spent.

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A Little Step Back In Time…


wp-image-1764553720jpg.jpgI finally stopped into a sweet little vintage store on Guadalupe, in downtown Austin called simply
– I Vintage –
right across the street from The Buffalo Exchange.

2016-11-03_13-34-11_0.0ev-1-1.jpg.jpgAnd as soon as I walked in, I found this sweet little handkerchief!

It’s a very nice example of “rick rack crochet.” In this case, the “rick rack” used was only about 1/8″ wide. This is a horseshoe style of trim.

wp-image-579822390jpg.jpgThe embroidery on the front is in Spanish and reads, “Ay amor me duele tonto.” Which http://www.spanishdict.com tells me means “Oh love it hurts me so.”

You can see two halves of a broken heart also in the embroidery.

An odd little sentiment to stitch into a lovely kerchief, it seems to me. But then, if the kerchief is for crying, then I suppose it makes sense!

You can see other examples of rick rack style crochet from the late 1800’s, early 1900’s and late 1900’s in my Pinterest collection here.

Learn more about the history of “rick rack crochet” here and here!

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Filed under Austin, crochet

If You’re Coming To Austin, Try The Pizza…


Austin’s definitely a food loving town.  The more thoughtful and creative, the better.  And there’s lots of it.

Everything from Korean to Japanese, to Tex-Mex to Italian, to Southern and Mediterranean… whatever your tastes – it’s all represented in some way here.  After all, we’re one of the most incredibly diverse communities anywhere.

Of course, anyone can argue about how “authentic” each “cultural” food is.  I’m not sure if “Americanized” is the word for it, but definitely a lot of foods are “Austinized” here, where we celebrate creative new ways to put foods together that aren’t typically thought of.

A little restaurant in Round Rock, just on the north edge of Austin, called La Cocina is a great example.  Their entire menu is inspired by the owner’s ties to both Mexico and his classical chef training in Italy.  Hence, a menu full of both Tex-Mex (is it really though?) and Italian dishes – plus a flavorful salsa with fresh basil as an ingredient.  Unusual presentations and unexpected ideas, but great food!  Completely an Austin kind of approach to “let’s get creative with food and see what else we can do!”

Or the little family owned sushi place on 620 that my husband loves. Where they make sushi rolls with jalapenos.  Not necessarily what you’d expect, but the taste is spectacular.

Everyone can pretty much agree that Austin dining is overall done very well in terms of quality and taste. If you visit Austin and don’t find something good to eat, then you really didn’t get out.

Put this on your list…

There are definitely some iconic, artistic places to consider visiting though. And when it comes to pizza, a little place on South Congress fits the bill for both iconic personality and art AND for crafting one of the best pizzas around.

And that place is Home Slice Pizza. My daughter and I love the Margherita pizza, which you can get both as a white and as a red pizza.  My son prefers straight up cheese or pepperoni.  The atmosphere is fun and eclectic Austin.  And it’s fairly economical as well.  You can get a large slice for $3.50 – $4.00 and a whole pizza is ready for takeout or dine-in usually in just 20 minutes.  They’ve got a system going over there and it works.

Mr Rogers mural at Home Slice - Austin Texas - by AberrantCrochet 2015

The Mr. Rogers mural at Home Slice Pizza.

Home Slice is also home to some of the most recognizable iconic mural art that Austin has become known for.  It’s conveniently located on popular South Congress where you’ll find other great food and interesting art and shopping as well.

My favorite mural on their building is probably Mr. Rogers, sported outside on the parking drive side.

Add it to your bucket list and let me know when you’re in town! We’ll go crochet in public together!

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Filed under Austin, NaBloPoMo