Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

B decorated the front yard and we got all 1940s undead up in here! This is the first year he's gone as something scary -- WWII zombie solider, in case it's not clear -- and, I have to admit, I had a little mom freakout over him growing up so fast. There were emotions. But then I got over it and made his face look AWESOME (if I do say so myself). The bottom picture was taken at the end of the night when the makeup was starting to wear off (he made me pretend to be a scary doctor from an old B movie dezombifying him) and the candy coma set in, but he still looks pretty creepy, right? 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

he never danced with another since he saw me standing there

My love story is long, complicated.

2007 - Dallas
August Rush
after party
red dress
chocolates
conversation

I remember feeling a warmth rush over my body. Without turning around I knew that the boy had walked up behind me and, though I had no idea why he was standing so close to me, I felt at once a strange familiarity and an energy that I had never felt before.

There we sat, in that little spot outside the Angelika Theater, eating our stolen treats and talking for the first time like the oldest friends. When it was time for me to leave he shakily asked me for my phone number and I, most uncharacteristically, gave it to him.

I don't know what made him talk to me that night, what made me agree to go see The Darjeeling Limited with him the next day or what made me rethink everything I believed about men, relationships and life to allow myself to fall in love with him. There was something there that chained us to each other, that made us want (sometimes it felt like HAVE) to figure it out.

I became a better person thanks to his understanding and trust, and I deeply admired his courage to take on my complicated life like it was his own. He was 20 years old, a college student with good grades, well behaved, nice, never in trouble, friends with his parents. His life was pretty straightforward - skateboarding, school, family and loyal friends.

I was me and B and my family and my experiences... I was a lot to take on and, frankly, I didn't believe anyone capable of it.

We broke up unceremoniously, but stayed together. We were best friends and we loved each other. "The love of my life," he said, and I knew it was true for both of us. Rarely a day went by that we didn't talk, a week that we didn't spend together. I laugh now as I type, "It was hard." It was the hardest thing I'd ever done.

I went through a nasty post-college bout with depression. (Side note: does this happen to everyone? Now all my friends tell me they went through something similar but at the time I felt so terribly alone.)  It's tough to say whether it was caused by the relationship ending or the other way around, or if the two just happened to coincide. I would guess the latter.

We tried to figure it out so many times. Okay, we'll just convince our friends and family that we know what we're doing, then... we'll figure out what we're doing? What if we take it reallllllllly slow? Too late for that, it seems. What if we just stay friends? ...who are in love and want to spend their lives together... Hmm. What if we just run away? Then we would push each other away. I tried to date other people with disastrous outcomes. I was so sad and, I know now, he was too. It felt like we were always waiting for the time to be right.

But, in the meantime, we had lives to lead. He finished college. I moved to L.A. I hated L.A. and moved back. I moved to New York. I fell in love with New York and thought, perhaps this is the love of my life. Perhaps I am the love of my own life and I can just stay in this city and let myself be wrapped up in it and that be enough. And eventually, that became true. It was.

I lived in Hawaii for a summer and when he came to visit me, I knew that things were different. Oh, the love was still there. The friendship that had grown from being each others' confidants over the last three years was deep. We knew each other so well that we were beyond reading tone of voice or facial expression, we could sense each other. I knew now that we were grown ups, it was time to do this or move on. I let go at last. I took my heart back and put it somewhere else. I felt new things.

But, while I was doing that, he was working to figure this out, to be everything that I -- and we -- need. He sat me down one day (when we were both now living in New York) and laid this at my feet. He said that all he had was mine and asked me to take it, to trust him... after all of this. I asked him to take a step back and wait, and he said, "As long as it takes." My heart knew what I was going to do long before my brain had decided.

On the 4-year anniversary of that first night that I wore a red dress and he asked me to go see a movie with him, he took me to a movie and asked me to marry him. In that moment I knew that every choice I've made has lead me to this and, more importantly, that they were the right choices.

Our story is not very conventional. We're not very conventional, but we've worked hard to get here and -- after all of that hard work, all the tears and anger and long nights on the phone and moves across country -- we still enjoy the pleasure of each other's company more than anyone else's. If I have learned anything it's that love is not one easily-defined thing, and it is also not enough to hold two people together. When I realized that I didn't want to live out my life without this person in it, well, the choice was made for me.

This one... he is my best friend, my most trusted confidant and the person I most hope B grows up to be like. I love him and I am so very stoked to be his wife.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Radio and Juliet and saying goodbye

I've wanted to see Radio and Juliet for so long. It's Ballet Maribor's retelling of Romeo & Juliet set to the music of Radiohead and I just happened to be in town during its NYC premiere. Fate! The show was spellbinding and beautiful. Quiet, haunting and sad. I felt for the first time especially sad for Juliet's side of the tragedy. In this interpretation she was very alone and trapped in a male-driven world of violence and miscommunication... which is guess is how it is written, but was really effectively done through sparse staging and intricate, complicated movement. The dancers were exquisite, their bodies like finely tuned machines. I was choked up for a solid hour.

The rest of my trip was quiet. I stupidly relied on automatic bill pay through my bank (which I never do) and my biggest monthly payment ended up going through twice in the same week, so I was out of money and snapped back into reality a little earlier than I'd hoped. Taso and I played our board game, saw a Godard film at Film Forum and he treated me to a fancy dinner, but other than that we just hung out and enjoyed being penniless and in love in the city. I am back in Texas fighting being really sad. I won't let it happen. I am blessed, lucky, fulfilled and happy. Yes it's hard being poor and not having a job, and it's hard waiting another month until I see my best friend again. I'm overwhelmed with all the work I have to do that I'm not getting paid for. It's hard not having friends around or the excitement and challenge of the city, but if these are the things that I have to complain about... well, I really shouldn't be complaining at all. I have so much.

One night Taso and I went to Soho to visit Greg, a MoMA projectionist and dear friend, and his family. It was life-affirming visit. We are all troubled by the state of the world, and feel solidarity with those occupying Wall Street (they join them regularly and I would too if I still lived there). We all struggle but also recognize how much good is around us and feel gratitude for it. I want to be in love for the rest of my life and be good to the people around me. I want to stand up for the things I believe in and fight for the things I care about, even if they're just the format a film is projected on and supporting the work of unemployed artists.

I don't know, these are just some thoughts I left New York with. And now, two parting shots -- one taken by me and one taken by former #apt2b-mate Sam.
This is how I want to remember New York.

Friends

I didn't get to see enough of my friends during my whirlwind week in New York. Some I missed altogether, others I just got a couple hours with here and there. It made me long to be back there permanently. 
 One of my favorite nights of the whole trip was Thursday, when my MIAP friends that are still in New York went out for pizza at Roberta's in Williamsburg. It was a perfect, chilly night filled with cider and delicious food (seriously, everything was so delicious and fresh, a lot of the ingredients grown in their own garden). The wait was insanely long, but I was kind of glad because it meant more time huddled outside on the patio with Swinny, jumping from conversation to conversation, trying desperately to catch up with everyone.
My grad program, probably more than most, threw together a small, mismatched group of people with something so specific in common that, just as there was bound to be some fireworks, there was bound to be some matches made in heaven. Of course I'm happy to be in Texas where I have B and Splinter and the option of not sleeping under a bridge, but I feel the absence of a circle of friends every day. My best friends are not too far from me, but life here is such that I rarely get to see them. I wish I had had a little more time before I moved to appreciate all the relationships I had in New York without the stress of my thesis looming.

 It was hard to leave the city after only a couple hours with Danielle, and not getting to see Moya. I was sad to think that I'd spent such little time with Meg and not seen her at all on this trip. It hit me this time that I have left behind so many wonderful friendships that could enrich my life and make me a better person. And, yeah, it was hard to not go home with my old #apt2b roommates at the end of the night. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

HANSON IN NYC

This is the only picture I took Tuesday night because I was too busy having the time of my life. No big deal.

I was bummed when I found out I would miss Hanson in Texas last weekend. First there were plans for Charlotte, of Toronto fame, and also one half of my Canadian Hanson family and also I am kind of obsessed with her, to come to Texas for the show and fun times. THEN Wendy, my fellow Hanson fan since '97 and lifemate since '85, who I haven't been to a show with in years now wanted to go... The fact that all of this was happening at the State Fair of Texas AKA fried food capital of the world was just the icing on the deep fried Twinkie. Basically, the ingredients for an amazing time were all there. But my trip was extended by a weekend and the dudes got sick and had to cancel anyway (I am selfishly quite happy about this because now I get to take Wendy and B to the makeup show), so I had to change plans and go to the NYC show instead! 

I went alone because Taso worked all night and no one else that I know in this city is willing to spend money and stand in line for hours to listen to "Mmmbop" (that's not to say that Taso is but, you know, love and sacrifices and stuff). But I guess at a Hanson concert you're never really alone. I made friends with a handful of characters, including one Brooklyn gal that I'm pretty sure is Judy Garland Show-era Barbara Streisand reincarnated as a Hanson fan. It was fascinating. 

I think most of you who know me well will be happy to know (as was I) that, 14 years later, I am still the girl who loses her chiz during "A Minute Without You" and basically cries every time Taylor Hanson speaks. Some things never change. I will never be cool. It was kind of funny to see lots of very hip looking dudes at the show, singing along to "Mmmbop" and dancing to "Been There Before." I guess liking Hanson is an ironic thing now? Or people have figured out they're legit? These were definitely not uncomfortable boyfriends. These guys were in lady-less groups that had beards and knew words to songs and clapped and at no point made jokes about Taylor being a pretty girl. I don't know... but I'm not complaining. 

I will spare you any further details (also I'm saving them for a very detailed, long email to my Canadian Hanson friends that involves lots of capital letters and exclamation marks and uses of the phrase "I die"), but the Musical Ride Tour was a success. Possibly a shorter show than most, and a kind of generic set list, but they always bring the goods and I always dance a lot and feel like I'm on drugs or something for the next 12 hours. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 5 in NYC

Have you guys ever played Carcassonne? 

What about Settlers of Catan? Risk? You've definitely played Risk, right?

Monday, after a long day apart (petsitting/school) we feasted on Greek food and then colonized the South of France whilst eating "French cookies," as Taso calls them. Carcassonne is like the two-person mini version of Settlers of Catan (or so the box told me) and is really fun once you get the hang of it. 
Your little guys claim roads, cities, farms and cloisters as you try to build up the area around Carcassonne. We've both got the conquering part down, the building a functional city, not so much. It's super fun though! We want Risk -- I've never played it, can you believe? -- but can't agree on which version. Also it's expensive. If there are any other nerds out there that read my blog, please weigh in -- which version of Risk is the most awesome? It's the Star Wars one, isn't it? I knew it.

Oh yeah, I'm engaged. Remember when that happened? Details to come. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday in NYC: The One Where I Get Engaged

Day 2 and 3 in NYC

Dog walking (you're doing it wrong) in Prospect Park and kitty tending (Taso and Beam bonded so much that he even braved the smell of cat food to help feed him) for our friends in Brooklyn.
Trying new restaurants around NYU. B-boys dancing to bagpipe music in Washington Square Park. Good (?) to know not much has changed since I graduated. 

Eating a delicious, fancy dinner followed by dessert overload.

I hope my Austin people got out to Home Movie Day! I was really sad to miss the event this year, but an extra weekend in New York with the Greek is nothing to complain about. We tried to make it out to the one in Queens, but the MTA had other plans for us. Oh well, I'm already making plans to host my own Home Movie Day 2012!

This weekend has been incredible. I've only been here a few days but it feels like I never left. The first day I kept thinking how glad I am that this isn't my life anymore, but within hours in I was already forgetting that it isn't. This city left a dent on my heart, but I guess it does for everyone who leaves it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 1 in NYC

Hi from New York!

Yesterday my early morning straight flight to New York turned into 4 hours of delays and plane changes before I even got out of Dallas and then more delays in the air (flying around in circles over the city you're supposed to land in is the WORST when you have an anxiety disorder). I arrived several hours late and my buddy Sneve picked me up so we could get Foodswings (vegetarian junk food), see my Swinny (hooray!) and go take care of my friend Danielle's cute pets (she's in Dallas - we traded cities for the weekend).

I took this upside down picture of me and Sneve in the car.

Moving on...

Finally, I got to head back to Manhattan where I found Taso at an Apple store (of course) for a discussion with one of our favorite filmmakers, Wes Anderson. I spied on him from upstairs till it was over and then we went to the 10th anniversary screening of THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS with Wes Anderson, Eric Anderson, Bill Murray, Angelica Houston and Gwenyth Paltrow in attendance. When I saw Bill Murray stand up in the audience and wave at the end, I totally lost my mind. I don't know why, but it was such a surreal moment seeing Bill Murray in person. Maybe because I love him so much, maybe because he just doesn't really seem like a real person. I was surprised -- although I don't know why -- to find the film resonated with me on a very different level than it did 10 years ago. Watching it as a grownup made it less frustrating and, in fact, a much more cathartic experience. Also, the colors are even more incredible on a film print on the big screen. I definitely didn't appreciate that 10 years ago. I guess you don't know what you have till it's practically gone. 

Can you find Taso in this picture?

The Q&A was amazing. Everyone spent a good amount of time talking about how much they hate Gene Hackman (who plays Royal Tenenbaum, in case you haven't seen it) and Bill Murray cracked everyone up the whole time. There was a fun bit of bickering between the moderaters, Antonio Monda and Noah Baumbach, and Wes Anderson, and Angelica Houston was as glamorous as you might imagine. Gwenyth Paltrow, despite her jegging situation and overabundance of "bling," was pretty charming and delightfully self-deprecating when it came to things like her role in IRON MAN and not-worthiness next to Mz. Houston.

I spent a little too long hanging around after oogling Bill Murray as he tried to make his way through a crowd of bumrushers (I was not one of them though), and then we drug our (really just my) weary bones back to Brooklyn to feed and walk the pets one more time. The next thing I remember is waking up this morning in bed in Manhattan.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Come, Fall, and welcome!

It's my favorite time of year! The farmer's market is alive with dense, hearty breads, pumpkins and gourds (which I didn't photograph but definitely did buy), and soccer season is in full swing. 

I finally talked my mom into going to the farmer's market with me and she's hooked. I swear, it's reason alone to stay in this town. One of these days I'll have to do a full rundown of all my favorite things there. There is one family that always has the BEST APPLES EVER and beautiful heirloom cucumbers, and another lady who sells dairy free sorbets that she claims are "like catnip for humans" -- true words were never printed. The chamomile orange is my favorite. I spend $40 there every Saturday and we eat for the week. I'm really enjoying watching the offerings change with the seasons and getting to know so many local farmers.

B's soccer team is so driven this season. They're a spirited group of boys, lead by a very dedicated coach, and they try so hard. B has no desire to be an athlete (he doesn't have a competitive bone in his body), so I'm glad he's on a team with a lot of heart, minus all the crazy ambition. (Well... there is one mom...) Soccer parents drive me crazy but I try to tune them out. I think B has decided that he wants to play soccer for as long as he can without the pressure of getting on the select teams, or the headache of getting screamed at by parents who are pushing their kids to realize dreams they never fulfilled. It sounds like such a cliche but it's true. I'm cool with that. Fun Saturdays at the fields, but no pressure.

Fall feels like a time of rebirth to me. A crisp wind ushers out the hot, dusty summer and that undefinable feeling that there is something to look forward to creeps back in. I get excited every October for some things that I can name and some things that come back year after year, but I've yet to put my finger on. Right now I'm excited to be with Taso again. I leave for New York on Thursday, and I've been busying myself with scraping together a fall wardrobe and planning fun things to do with Taso and all my New York friends. I am so excited to see them and the city that I can't think about it too much or I might explode. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Boot Camper of the Day

This week I was boot camper of the day. Yep.

I had hit a wall with my workouts. I was doing better but still struggling with cardio and I didn't see physical evidence of improvement in my figure. After a month of really early morning workouts, my calves are tighter and I have more energy, but that's about it. I've been trying to master the perfect balance of protein and produce without eating animal products and learn how to breathe through the Spartacus workout that beat me every time. This week I did it -- without puking, yay! -- and I moved up to heavier weights. I realize that a little praise at workout class doesn't really mean anything, but the recognition was nice. "Brittan, I noticed the new attitude today," my coach said. And it's true, I realized that every time I feel good it's because I've been decisive and made a choice. To wake up, to think about what I eat, to drink extra water, to use bigger weights, whatever it may be. That day I decided that I was going to focus and move up to the third level on all of my workouts. I set a goal of being boot camper of the day and I did it.

I've had really bad anxiety for the last year or so. When it got bad before I was lucky enough to get to live in Hawaii for a few months, and that pretty much cured me. I learned so much from that and now I need to call on what I learned there to heal from within.

1. Hawaii taught me that nothing is more important than family. The work day there is short and every non-tourist activity on Oahu is centered around family. This is an ideal most of us have, but it's much harder than it seems to put it in action. When you're a parent it means making really hard decisions and putting things aside, physically or mentally, when your child needs your full attention.

2. In Hawaii I learned to never let my health fail (again). Always be in tune with my body, what I'm putting into it and what I'm doing with it. Maybe getting a massage or taking a nap seems like a luxury I can't afford, but it could be the thing that keeps me from getting sick or exhausting myself. I also learned to be acutely aware of my limits and allow myself enough freedom to reach out and touch them without crossing over.

3. Finally, I learned to stop and think. Simple. Stop, think, act. Thinking doesn't mean avoiding or putting something off. It means coming to a decision, acting on that decision and not backing down from it. It also means facing it head on, taking responsibility and being mature about it. That's the hard part.

I went to see an acupuncturist the other day, hoping to curb some of the physical effects of the anxiety. I couldn't afford an acupuncture session yet, but his advice resonated with me. I'm in a place where I feel very little control over many of the most important parts of my life, and that's hard for me. I get rejected for every job I apply for and I feel trapped most of the time, and isolated from opportunity. This makes me anxious and the only way I can calm myself is by making deliberate choices in my daily life.

If waking up early, using heavier weights, shopping at the farmer's market, cooking whole dinners and managing my finances is all I can do right now, then I'll do it. I'll do the extra work, make business cards, go to the conference and shake a bunch of hands. I'll keep pushing and working for the career that I want, and I won't feel sorry for myself anymore. I don't know how I'm connecting getting in shape with every other aspect of my life... I guess I just hope that if I apply the same principles I'll achieve more little victories.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs

I'm saddened by Steve Jobs' death. Apple products are a huge part of my personal and professional life. Maybe it seems silly because it's technology, a luxury, but when I think about all of the parts of my life - and the lives of millions of others - that are regularly influenced or affected by Apple products, I am amazed by Steve Jobs' positive impact on the world.

I have a (PRODUCT) RED iPod Nano, the proceeds of which went to The Global Fund. It served me well for years before I passed it on to B, who uses it daily. It helps him learn how to play songs on the piano and comforts him when he's "in a mood" (usually storming off angrily to his room when he gets in trouble). Sometimes when he can't sleep at night he listens to it for hours and I pretend to not know.

I have an iPod shuffle that I use exclusively for working out. It is seriously what stood between me actually going for that run and making excuses as to why I couldn't. The only music it gets to play is Gaga, Britney, Daft Punk and Yelle, but it is a very important part of my world.

I found out about his passing like many of you probably did, on my iPhone. Is there is a more game-changing invention of the last decade? That fact that we all know how to type on a screen with our thumbs, swipe to navigate and don't think talking into our camera is weird after only four years is proof of its impeccable design. In addition to being my phone and texting device, it's my radio, GPS, news, yellow pages, dictionary, map, photo album, gaming device and alarm clock. I check my bank accounts, look up movie times, check the weather, take notes, shop, make videos... the list goes on and on, but I don't need to tell you because most of you do it too. Maybe it's made us more dependent on technology, but (in my case, at least) it's also freed up a lot of time for us to do more important things. On my drive to Austin last weekend I used it to listen to Greek lessons and learned three new phrases, then I used it to find a short cut to my friend's house when I got in town.

My MacBook is ooooold. It's not a Pro, just a regular old white MacBook that is now a little dirty and relatively outdated. Yet I still use it every single day (I'm typing on it right now. It says hi.) for all of my work. It helped me write my thesis and countless other papers, I wrote for the Dallas Observer on it, I screened movies and wrote press releases for AFI Dallas other film festivals on it, and before that I had a little 12" PowerBook that got me through my undergrad. I love this thing and when it gives out on me I will buy another Mac because they are fun, easy to use, dependable machines. It's clear in their function and design that they were created by someone with great passion for his product.

Taso loves Apple and follows their every move more closely than anyone I know. If you have a question, he's your guy. Not just in an Apple Store employee kind of way (which he's not, but could probably out-Apple anyone at the Genius Bar), but as a true, devoted academic (which he is, down to his core, but that's another topic all together). He reads the blogs and books, follows trends, knows all the ins and outs there are to know about the company and, needless to say, is a big admirer Steve Jobs. In some ways (probably more than I know), that has influenced who he is and his beliefs. He doesn't see anyone's dream as being too big, and I love that about him.

I didn't expect to write very much about this, but reflecting on the ways in which this one company is integrated into my daily life really got me thinking. It's inspiring to know that one person with a single vision can make an impact like this. It encourages me to not just accept defeat and give up on the things I believe in in my own life and career. Like Mr. Jobs said:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Let's get real for a second. I know my blog is boring lately. But, you see, that's just because my life is not very exciting. This is any given day in the last month of my life:

- wake up at 4:55am, eat something small/protein-ish and a couple apple slices, head to boot camp
- cardio, weights, cardio, ouch, can't breathe, tears, cardio, foam roller, OUCH, wimper, head home
- drag B out of bed (literally) and sleepwalk him to the kitchen table for breakfast
- pack his lunch, say "did you brush your teeth?"/"don't forget to fill out your reading log!" five times each, sign folders/papers/progress reports/reading logs, take him to school, embarrass him by saying "i love you"
- set up my portable office at a coffee shop
- email, write cover letters, send resumes, fill out online job applications (the black hole of the Internet), get lost in Google Reader (the land of things I will never be able to afford/have the time to do/see/wear/buy for my non-existent house), email, work on various projects that I am not getting paid for but have convinced myself will help my career, wait for phone to ring telling me I have an interview (this has not happened yet)
- go to The Shop, continue above + some receptionist stuff
- listen to WRR Classical 101.1 on my drive home - this is what we call "me time"
- get home, ground B for whatever he's done that day
- give B serious "talking to"
- take B to soccer/piano
- go through cooking dinner, checking homework, getting him bathed/in bed with a book in a daze
- collapse, fall asleep before he does

Taso is still in New York till December and I still feel like life is waiting to get started, but I did have an awesome weekend in Austin that helped break up the monotony.

My friend Sneve from New Jersey and I both visited Austin in hopes of moving there (except he actually had an interview because he's smart and works in computers and I just went to ask people to pretty please consider hiring me), so I took the opportunity to show him around and feed him all the foods I've been telling about since we first bonded over being vegetarian fat kids. I've been such a good vegan lately, but this was Sneve Weekend.

I picked him up Friday and promptly took him to get breakfast tacos, because... priorities.
Then I showed him my favorite places - Antone's Records (I seriously love this shop, even though it's not the most exciting that Austin has to offer. It's full of rockabilly, jazz, swing, doo-wop and other such genres that I love.), Toy Joy (for vegan soft serve!) and a little mini tour around some pretty Austin neighborhoods.
(I bought this for my long, lost Swinny.)
We then met my friends and went out for burritos, Sneve's favorite food and an Austin specialty. 
(Check out my bracelet bought at the Greek fest! Maybe one day I will buy one in real Greece.)

That night we went out and I'm pretty sure Sneve fell in like like with Austin while I got my giggle on with my best friends. Aren't they attractive? I wish I had pictures of all of them. These people have been my nearest and dearest for the better part of a decade and I love them. If only Justin had been there and I had put even a little bit of effort into my appearance. Sigh.
The next morning(ish) we had the best brunch I've had in a loooong time at Halcyon. Whoever had the brilliant idea to bread french toast with coconut is getting a big kiss from me, if ever we meet. Also, grapefruit juice has replaced orange juice as my juice of choice. Seven year old me is having an identity crisis. 
Saturday was also the day I got to introduce Sneve to the fabled popcorn tofu from Wheatsville Co-op. I think I've been telling him about it as long as I've known him. I won't tell you how much we ate but I will tell you that neither of us has any regrets. 
And I got to hang out with Gregg. Yay!
It was a pretty spectacular weekend, and I'm glad Sneve enjoyed Austin as much as I do. It was fun to be a tour guide. We ended it the best way possible, with a relaxing picnic in Zilker park.
Yep, quite the great time. I love this city and these people. I like to fantasize about all of us living here, but I know that now is the time for patience. 
Thanks, Sneve, for sharing your pictures!