Monday, December 04, 2006


Weekends are meaningless when you're unemployed. We fill our days with little things to do, an endless list of tasks that, were we employed, I suspect we'd wrap up in a few hours on the weekend, then sit, looking at one another at 5:00 on Sunday, wondering where had the weekend gone?

I have three boxes of toys that will find their way to a worth charity. The illusion of re-selling your "collectibles" has been burst. I had planned to have a mixed "cartoon-themed" office, throwing in my Marvel, DC, Disney, etc... stuff all in one place. It didn't work out. I'm clearing out the Spider-Man Rogues Gallery of little 6" plastic men and women. I'm ditching a handful of Spideys. The Fantastic Four won't be blankly staring at me from my shelf any longer.

This is the first in what will, most likely, be several attempts to clear my closets, so to speak.

I found a shop in the farthest reaches of N. Austin which would buy back toys, or so their advertisement said. On Friday, I tried to go trade-in four boxes of toys, but the owner wouldn't be around until 5:00. That equated to, roughly, a 4 hour round trip with Austin traffic, so I called back on Saturday.

"What do you have in boxes?"
"Not much," I confessed. "Most of it's loose."
"Well, only bring what you have in boxes."
I hung up. And cursed loudly.

I took some items I had purchased a long time ago (but which never left the closet) all the way to Lake Creek, and traded them in. The guy was actually honest about what he was doing and gave me far more than I actually dreamt of getting. Unfortunately, it had to be in store credit. So I am now three die-cast Batmobiles richer, but far wiser.

These items, they are not an investment. And, I think, in the clear light of Austin (where it's not just crazy me living in my crazy head), I know that. And that's also what's convincing me it's a good idea to get rid of some of this stuff. But I'm also no longer trying to push out the desert and the boredom.

Saturday night we headed down to the lighting of the Christmas tree on the Capitol grounds. Thousands had turned out for the event, mostly families with small kids, but also some curiously well-dressed graying couples, and some very sweet, silver-haired folks as well.

We dropped off our canned goods, sang some tunes along with KUT's own John Ailey, then counted down the lighting of the tree. Sang some more while perched on the Capitol's wall (John Ailey seemed baffled by "Feliz Navidad"), then walked Congress.

At some point in college, the decorations on Congress became one of the things I feel obliged to tick off my list of to-do's during Christmas. There's nothing spectacular about garland and lights stretched across the street, but it's an image I have frozen in my mind of a few quiet nights, just as finals ended and the city so quiet it seemed frozen in time.

Congress was not quiet on Saturday. Ballet Folklorico from St. Ed's performed on one corner, a group of young ballerinas (dressed in odd outfits intended to make them look like ornaments) handed out flyers about the Ballet Austin performance of the Nutcracker while a jazz-band played tunes from the ballet. A perfomance artist/mime dressed as an angel and came to life to have her picture taken with children. Kids were everywhere (an oddity downtown at night). And, of course, Santa rode in the back of a convertible Yellow Cab, circling the block and waving.

I missed all of this in Arizona. There were the lights, but somehow Arizona Avenue and its "tumbleweed tree" just wasn't the same as Congress at night with all the folks out walking.

The tree lighting and caroling was fun. We will be recruiting others for this task next year.

Jamie has been at her piano almost relentlessly, preparing for the party. She is very concerned her piano-skills will not be up to snuff. She is more than ready. And she's even learned the Peanuts' "Christmas Time is Here".

Tonight we headed out to Opal Divine's to celebrate the birthday of Andy S. We're starting to merge with Jason's group of pals. Fun folks, these kids. Hope they show for our Holiday Party.

The weekend was quiet. This week we will be preparing for the party on Saturday. We hope you will come.

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