Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ist summer.

I am deep in Delhi. It's noon on May 27 here, and I'm in an internet cafe at Connaught Place. You can keep up with me and my trip at the blog my husband and I are keeping. It's IST Summer.

I'll be back to blogging here in July!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

austin wildlife.

Today, for my triathlon class, I drove way out into the hills to the home of one of my instructors. I caught some spectacular views winding up and down hills. On my way home, I slowed down as a deer crossed the road. When I looked to my left, I saw a tiny, tiny little fawn full of white spots. She was no bigger than my dog Ruby. I exhaled audibly. I wanted to stop the car and hold up traffic. I felt nervous that the baby dear would try to cross to catch up to her mother and that one of the cars behind me would not notice her and hit her.

One of my class mates said she woke up at 4 a.m. to the sound of a screaming deer. When she went out this morning, she found a dead deer that had been attacked by some other creature. The buzzards were pecking away. What a disturbing way to be woken. We speculated briefly on what could have attacked the deer. A bob cat? A mountain lion? A cayote?

Another class mate said that as she was swimming today, she panicked once imagining that a huge fish might swim up into her face. That did not happen to her, but I think it's the kind of thing that would have given me delight for the entire week. We did see a turtle swimming in the water.

I conquered a fear today. I swam in murky lake water. A 1/2 mile loop, no walls to hold onto. I remained calm the entire way. Free style and back stroke, occasionally, I paused to tread and get my bearings. But I didn't freak out over not being able to see in all of the murk. I just swam like it was a leisurely swim. I chatted with my mother. I looked at the blue sky when I took my breaths. Let's hope that Sunday goes as. Swimmingly?

*I couldn't stop to take a photo, but I found this little guy on line. Have you all heard about this dog nursing this fawn? It's an old story.

Monday, May 4, 2009

macrobiotic dining, aka just keep livin' part 2

Okay, so this interview is not laugh out loud funny, but it has its moments, and it certainly is evidence of Matthew McConaughey being a caricature of himself.

Matthew McConaughey and Mishka on Jimmy Kimmel Live - Click here for funny video clips

And here is the airstream interview.

Why my obsession with McConaughey, you ask? I've been told that his airstream is in a trailer park that is a few blocks away from where I live. When I first moved here every time I passed it, I'd point and announce: There's where Matthew McConaughey lives. Okay, I still do that.

I think I had a mild crush on him years ago (I've moved past this phase in my life), but now he's just one of the Austin celebrity's I am nerdy enough to admit to wanting to accidentally run into one day. When I see McConaughey in person, I am convinced he will not disappoint. I'm anticipating cut off jeans, bare feet and no shirt. I'm hoping to find him at Daily Juice where I often stop in after my tri class. It's across from the trailer park. I also hope he'll be talking to staff and saying, Alright, alright.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

macrobiotic dining, aka just keep livin'.

Tonight’s after-dinner conversation:

I feel like I need some gluten. Or dairy. Or meat.

C: (mimicking imaginary requests at the restaurant earlier) Can I have a glass of whole milk instead of iced tea?

(I mimic my imaginary requests.) Do you have bacon? This salad would be great with bacon.

C: It doesn’t have to be real bacon. It can be the bits.


Before dinner:

We’re parking the car and talking about a television interview C. watched. The interview was on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and it was Matthew McConaughey talking about all of the airstreams he owns and how he gives his employees 3-week “road trips” for vacations. C. says: It’s like he was a caricature of himself.

We walk up to Casa de Luz. It has a lush entryway. Flowering vines growing on an arbor, pea gravel under foot. It’s dusk. We hear music. I think it sounds folk-y and get worried. (Later C. corrects me - it was Flamenco, he says. Oh, I say. Because this makes perfect sense.) We enter the courtyard, pass the musicians, walk into the restaurant, read the menu.

I order a soup and salad, and I’m given a little wooden token to hand to the kitchen staff when I go to help myself. C. orders the “Sunday dinner,” and he’s given a different wooden token. We go to the kitchen area.

I search the dining room for white dreads as we walk (because surely we’re going to spot a dread family), but it’s filled with more of a yuppie hippie crowd tonight.


We sit at a picnic table on the side porch so we don’t have to feign interest in the musicians in the courtyard. I taste my organic, gluten free, vegan creamy carrot and sweet potato soup. C. tries his organic, gluten free, vegan lentils. I search for salt on the table, but all that I find is a glass shaker full of what appears to be sawdust. I walk from the porch back into the dining room and look for salt and pepper, but there’s none to be found. I return to our table and re-examine the shaker. Then I sprinkle some of the dust into my palm and taste it while C. watches.

C: What is it?

I think they’re toasted sesame seeds with salt.

C: Does it taste salty?

Sort of. Maybe not. Maybe salt’s not macrobiotic. Maybe you can’t get free trade salt.

Are we doing a cleanse? he asks.

I sprinkle a little bit of the sesame seed mix onto every spoonful of my soup and tell C., “This salt placebo works really well.”

We take advantage of the family style, walk-up-to-the-kitchen-and-ask-for-seconds policy. I get more soup and he gets more bland lentils and Quinoa (pronounced Kwe – noa and not Keh-noa which I incorrectly instruct C. to say before he goes up for his seconds and has his pronunciation corrected by one of the kitchen staff members).

Do you get a reward after you finish a vegan meal? I ask.

Casa de Luz is attached to a Montessori school, a Tai Chi studio, a yoga studio and a “natural epicurean culinary school.” So depending on who you are, the place is like a utopian paradise, or, well, like Matthew McConaughey.

As we're leaving I remark: The gluten free lemon and almond pie looked like poo.

C: I think the musician heard you say poo.


On the drive home, I ask C. to stop and get some dessert with me (all that talk about dairy and gluten did me in). We go to the Trailer Park Eatery down the street where I order a dairy-laden peanut butter chocolate shake. While I wait for it, I read over Shuggie’s menu. It includes a burger dressed with “chicken fried bacon” and another sandwich made with fried chicken battered in Lays potato chips. This all sounds sickening and delicious to me.

Next time we eat at Casa de Luz (yeah, I’ll probably want to eat there again, un-PC and un-vegan as I may be), we’ll bring our friend Matthew some Tobasco sauce. Alright, alright.


Alma was the crack head who worked at the Blue Bird Café. She wasn’t always a crack head. Before that, she sucked down a steady stream of Mad Dog and cheap gin. At the diner, it was Alma who made the fluffy biscuits every Saturday and Sunday morning for ten years. It was Alma who, like a modern day Mammy, simmered and stirred the best yellow grits with a wooden spoon while, story-telling, she smiled and exposed her gold plated front teeth to customers who were sitting around the counter with hushed mouths and big ears.

It was Alma who walked out screaming one afternoon, high on the crack cocaine she’d taken to smoking before she went into work at 5:30 a.m. She never returned to Blue Bird with a gun like she promised she would do when she yanked off her greasy apron, threw it on the ground and walked out of the front door.


This is not related to what's above, but I've been wondering: How do novels begin? How do novels begin? How do I begin?

Friday, May 1, 2009


There are only 21 days until we are off for a month in India and a week in Puerto Rico. Here is a list of things to do.

1. Purchase India tickets. [DONE]

2. Find dog/house sitter [DONE]

3. Pay May bills (this weekend).

4. Obtain visas (pending – materials have been sent off, waiting to receive them in the mail by end of next week.)

5. Call relatives in India (early next week).

6. Book dogs at border for the week our friend can’t dog/house sit (early next week)

7. Vaccination shots [SCHEDULED for May 3]

8. Purchase Puerto Rico tickets (I’ve been stalking ticket prices waiting to pounce on the right ones.)

9. Finalize route/cities we’ll travel too. Here are our rough ideas:
NEW DELHI AREA – New Delhi, Ajanta Allova (day trip), Mussori, Nainital
PUNJAB – Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jallianwalla Bagh (day trip), Waggha/the border (day trip), Bathinda
RAJASTHAN – Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mt. Abu (day trip), Chittaurgarh, Ajmer, Jaipur
NEW DELHI AREA (part 2) – Agra, Fatepur Sikri (day trip), New Delhi.

10. Shop for clothes to wear during trip (Week of May 11).

11. Figure out what phones and cameras we will take. Will we take a laptop?

12. Figure out hotels for travels in India.

13. Book ourselves for the beach in Puerto Rico.

14. Purchase things like anti bacterial tablets, aloe vera, etc.

15. Get our house CLEAN.

16. PACK.

None of this is overwhelming, right? It should not be, right? I'm trying not to feel overwhelmed.