Hello from Austin!  Before I go any further, I need to wish my daughter Hannah a happy birthday.  I really can’t believe I have a 24 year old daughter.  Seems like she just started high school and in the blink of an eye she’s nearing a quarter century old.  I love you to the moon and back Hannah and so happy you and Jacob are on this vacation with me.


Our flight out was seamless.  We live about 45 minutes from O’Hare airport and it makes sense to hire a car to drive us to the airport instead of parking our car there for a week.  I always check the box when making the rental that I don’t mind sharing a car, then it costs me less.  But here’s the thing – no one in my neighborhood ever flies when I do so in the five years I’ve been using this car service I’ve never had to share a car.  Jacob had asked earlier if I could rent a limo – and I thought if it was an extra $20 I would splurge, but turns out it would have cost an extra $100.  Sorry, but that wasn’t happening.

So when Jacob looked outside he said “hey Biz, there is a limo for us!”  Sweet!  Cost?  $75.  I don’t even think I could take a cab there for that price!  Jacob was a bit nervous because he hasn’t flown since he was like 10 years old.  But everything worked out great.

PicMonkey Collage - ohare

My brother and his family are in the middle of moving to a new house in a couple months, so while Hannah and Jacob left to spend the day in night in San Marcos with a high school friend who lives there, I started helping them pack up stuff during the day.  Then we ended up meeting my step-son Joe and his wife Lizz downtown at Gloria’s for dinner.  I hadn’t seen them since Tony’s memorial and it was great to see them again.

PicMonkey Collage - gloria

I spent Saturday night at Joe and Lizz’s house.  After we finished dinner, Joe, Lizz and I went to a few bars.  While I have been alcohol free since December 31, I decided to have a few beers since I was on vacation.  Well, I forgot how I felt after drinking a few drinks, and decided that night was going to be the only night that I imbibe for the week.  I did have a lot of fun with them.   It’s just weird that a couple of the bars we went to allowed dogs to just walk around.  We left Chicago with about an inch of snow on the ground, and it was still 68 degrees at 10:30 at night – so good! 

When Tony and I last visited Austin, our boat rental on Lake Travis was one of our favorite days of the whole trip.  I was a bit worried about the weather.  There was a chance of rain in the afternoon and it was still around 65 degrees.  But we decided to go ahead with it.  I had brought some of Tony’s ashes and thought he wouldn’t mind being sprinkled there.  Half way through our three hour tour, the clouds broke and it actually ended up being a beautiful afternoon.  Sadly, my phone charger wasn’t charged so I ran out of battery to take pics, but it was a lovely afternoon.  Joe would drive us around, then we’d cut the engine and just float and talk. 

PicMonkey Collage - boat

PicMonkey Collage - ashes

We then decided that we should get a bite to eat, and as soon as someone mentioned Rudy’s BBQ I was in!  Tony and I loved that place the last time we were here, and hands down thought it had the best moist brisket of any place I tried last time. 

PicMonkey Collage - rudys

But the best part of the dinner?  Hannah actually LOVED the chopped pork!  I added some to our order last minute, and it was Hannah’s favorite thing to eat.  And that last picture of the birds in the trees?  There are several THOUSAND birds hanging out in the trees around Rudy’s – it kind of reminded me of Hitchcock’s The Birds movie!  These were so loud – I have no idea what kind of birds they are, but they have made that place their home!

Today we are meeting at my niece’s work for lunch – she works at a pizza place and wanted to make Hannah a personal pizza for her birthday.  And even though we are in the heart of Texas, Hannah’s favorite cuisine is actually Asian food, and we are going out for Ramen bowls tonight. 

Hopefully the weather will cooperate for Shelley and I still to meet up for lunch tomorrow, otherwise we may have to push it to later in the week.  Neither of us love driving in thunderstorms, so we’ll see if it all works out.

Make it a great day!