Of late, Jamie's been waking me up at the crack of 9:30, and before I can have a cup of coffee or settle in to my hour of morning news, she's got me putting the leashes on the dogs, and headed out the door.
An oddity of our neighborhood that we did not know about when we purchased the house is that the neighborhood is ringed with trees. In some spots, the treeline is just enough to keep the cars on Manchaca from seeing into houses, but in other areas the density touches upon an unknown expanse of trees and a creek. I suspect that the area was not previously developed as no builder had the foresight to keep this little piece of what-came-before, but, also portions of the woods act as run-off from the neighborhood itself. Between the trees, the developer planted a very nice trail which we can enter about four houses down and then follow the entire circumference of the neighborhood. The dogs, of course, love it.
On Thursday Jamie woke me up to a chilly Austin morning, the heat had broken again and the temperatures a wet 50+ degrees.
On this morning, we were only 50 or so yards into the trees when Jamie whispered, "It's a deer."
It was not just a deer. I counted two more. Than three, then four more. All hidden just behind some trees, possibly thirty five or forty feet away. The deer did not move, just watched us and the dogs (who were more baffled by the deer than excited), and continued to rest in their spot. We walked on a little further, me whispering "You musn't ever go out onto the meadow...", when I saw another deer. And then another, at least a two-point buck.
We walked a loop of the neighborhood, taking a short-cut through a portion of the neighborhood, cutting ourselves short and not walking the entire trail. Back by the house, we cut up to the park so Mel could investigate and wag his tail at squirrels. Down below, the deer passed by, heading westward.
It was still chilly when we left for Las Manitas, and, of course it was plenty warm inside. We had migas and didn't really talk much. Just sipped on cinnamon coffee and looked around one of our old favorite places.
The owner of the building where Las Manitas is located has sold out to Marriot hotels. Las Manitas won't be here anymore in a year. The owners of the restuarant have put up a bit of a Quixotic battle to... I'm not really sure... But Marriot didn't do itself any favors when one of their executives recently complained publicly why a little restaurant would want to get in the way of a nice hotel.
In the end, the most Las Manitas can hope for is a moral victory, but it's not one that the folks who will stay in the Marriot will ever have heard of. They might walk out onto Congress and say "Hey, my friend used to come to Austin and said there was a great place to grab breakfast somewhere down here..." and then wonder what the fuss was about. Not just about the place, but, one wonders, about Congress itself.
Still, progress is progress. I hadn't been on Congress since we returned, and I had never been to the Frost Bank building. The Frost Tower is the new defining element of the Austin skyline, its architecture seems lifted from the exterior shots in Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and jutting far above the more mundane towers along the way, surely the first of what will be a handful more.
"Is there an observation deck?" I asked the gentleman at the Information desk. "No," he nodded, "But if you want to see Austin from that high, you can just fly up there," he moved his hand in a swooping motion and winked at the red S across the chest of my sweat shirt. Guys over 50 always love the sweatshirt. Yes, yes... we all love George Reeves.
We are enjoying our retirement, but we are aware that it can't go on forever. The job hunt is on. Jamie's looking, too, which makes me happy. Not so much because we could use the extra income, but because she's feeling well enough to work, and because she's antsy and ready to take on new challenges. The move has done us both well.
Today was lunch with Denby (who is doing fantastically well, thanks for asking), reading another forty pages or so of "In Cold Blood". I've picked up two books recommended by Harms (one of which is Time Travellers Wife, which I believe JMD4 also recommended to me six months ago). I'm digging out from under a busy Wednesday at the local comic shop and a stack of back issues I picked up last weekend.
The dogs are loving the cool weather. I am, too.
We're going to maybe make some hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill around 1 on Sunday. Feel free to stop by anytime after 12.
We're living in halcyon days, we are.