The new site is at awesomejoolie.com.
All of a sudden I really missed blogging, and I thought a fresh start would be good.
I'll leave this here for now since it's not hurting anything. It's been around for over a decade, after all.
Thanks to everyone for reading, commenting, and being cool!
Stinky jumped off my lap last Monday evening and disappeared into the gap between our fence and the neighbors'. I had picked him up in the front yard so I could brush him--he was unusually dirty that day, and as I groomed him I noticed he seemed even thinner than he had been lately. I tried to grab him as he ran away, but he slipped out of my grasp.
We haven't seen him since, despite our searching, and we have accepted he's not coming back. He was 16-ish, and in hindsight he'd been undergoing a decline over the past month or so. No pain that we knew of, no drama, just a gradual dimming of his Stinky light.
Eric and I are both so sad. But man, we were so lucky to have him. He was just a great, great cat. And he seemed pretty happy right up until he disappeared.
I took the last picture of him about 15 minutes before I saw him last. I'm not posting it. It's a terrible shot of his backside; he was moving past me in the late-afternoon sunshine, steadily making his way through the grass, and I couldn't get my phone out in time to capture how pleasant he looked in profile at that moment.
Bye, Stinky, and thanks. We miss you so much.
In my last post I said we were all doing pretty good, but then I forgot to post a picture of Stinky! So I will now give him his own post to say that he is doing good too, even though he's 15. I think he's 15, but he could be older. Let's say 15.5.
(Whenever I mention the cat's age to my sister she gives me a stern look because I always underestimate it by a year or so. Then I get tears in my eyes because whatever his real age is, that seems really old, and one of the really sad things about life is that our pets can only be with us for a fraction of it.)
BUT ANYWAY. For now he is fine, a little stiff and a little addled--I don't remember him yowling so much, at nothing, for hours, before--but overall still sweet and furry and handsome and fine.
He's still a pest. When he stops being a pest I will worry.
Fun fact: He doesn't seem to hate the new dog much at all. This surprises me, but I'm not complaining.
We adopted a dog a month ago through Austin Dog Rescue. He's a big, sweet, slightly clumsy guy who is calm, slow, and reserved--Willa's polar opposite--until you get him loosened up a little, and then he's this great, silly mutt who rolls around on his back and tries to lick the flesh of your face off and uses his rather alarming strength to to propel himself across the yard in pursuit of his red squeaky ball.
We named him Üter,* after this guy. We are in love already.
Nobody really knows where he came from, but we were told he was next in line, if you know what I mean, at the Bastrop shelter last summer. Austin Dog Rescue got hold of him, got him into a foster home, and paid for him to be treated for heartworms as well as a few situations he got into while in foster care, like the surgical removal of a sock from his stomach and stitches for a gash on his foot sustained while playing too vigorously around some metal landscape edging. (He has gotten into his share of scrapes** here as well--he's like the Anne of Green Gables of dogs.)
I am not so hot at fundraising myself, but Tyler, the lovely woman who fostered Üter before we adopted him, is raising money for Austin Dog Rescue to defray Üter's medical expenses through Amplify Austin, the 24-hour fundraiser for local nonprofits. Gifts made during March 5-6 are matched by corporate sponsors, and you can schedule your donation ahead of time so you don't forget.
You can read Tyler's story and donate on her sponsor page here.***
Please consider kicking something down to Austin Dog Rescue through her page; they do good work, and they got us this fantastic dog.
And of course there are tons of other worthy causes that could use support if you want to bop around the Amplify site and find something else you want to help out.
Now here is a picture of Willa, as awesome as ever.
Really, we're all doing pretty good over here.
*I am sort of regretting naming a dog something that requires an umlaut, especially since "Uter" looks kind of terrible. But I have the keyboard shortcut--Alt 154--memorized, so everything is going to be all right on the diacritical front.
**Just today he managed to get the top off a huge bottle of fish oil capsules; we figure he ate at least 150. On the plus side, his fur is gonna be so damn silky.
***Do not be alarmed! Üter was Rodger before he came to us and didn't have his new name by the deadline for the web page. And Rodger is a fine name. Dude is just such an...Üter, is all.
For the fourth time, my friends--Friendly Friends--and I are exhibiting art together at End of an Ear, Austin's finest independent record shop, and we're having a closing party Tuesday evening from 6-8. We are showing paintings by Krotpong, photos by Dan Machold, hand-drawn masks by Katherine, and relief prints by me.
I also have a few colorful mosaic necklace hangers for sale there. Hand-tiled! $50 each! And somewhat useful!
In keeping with the Before and After theme, check out this stunning transformation:
Ugh, what a terrible mess. I wish I were dead!
Wow, so neatly and attractively organized. I'm gonna outlive the sun!
Of course you don't have to buy anything at all, just come on down and say hi, drink a beer, maybe see what's new in the world of music. It'll be fun.
You like before-and-after pictures?* Woohoo! I have a few more since we did a minor kitchen facelift in September.
Here is our kitchen as it'd been for the past seven years. It's okay, right? I like the gray-green and zzzzzz.
Yeah, it is kind of drab, and we're extremely clumsy cooks. It would be pretty sweet to be able to wipe up all the grease, dough, blood, and whatnot that gets flung around in there.
Two weekends of taping, painting, tiling, grouting, and so much cussing later:
More interesting, and also so much brighter. Between the black counters and the green walls, all the light just got sucked out of the room. Now we are ready for a winter's worth of baking, brining, and sausage making!
*I was so excited to see there were comments on my blog after such a long time away. Thanks, y'all!
How did Joolie's yard turn out? you have almost certainly asked yourself on those nights when you wake up at 3 am for no reason that you can discern, laying flat on your slightly damp mattress, staring up at nothing, hoping that sleep will overtake you before your ceiling fan resumes the intermittent clacking sound that you never noticed until just a minute ago. What does her yard look like now, a year after she did all that crap to it?
It looks pretty good, I think! We planted new grass in April, moved some things around, and replaced the palms with some nice Texas sotol. Other than that it's just been doing its thing with a minimum of weeding and watering.
The yard last October, right after I planted everything.
The yard this morning.
And, just for fun, the yard the summer before I started working on it. Puke-o-rama, right? (Actually, it was fine. But it's better now.)
Yesterday Eric and I checked out the newly opened segment of the Southern Walnut Creek Hike and Bike Trail in East Austin. When completed, the trail will span from Govalle Park to Johnny Morris Road and will eventually connect to a planned path all the way out to Manor.
The trail is well east of our house and doesn't really go anywhere I need to be. Still, it's an awesome recreational amenity that winds through a somewhat neglected part of town.
I'm especially excited about it because I know lots of people who enjoy riding bikes but (understandably) aren't comfortable riding in Austin traffic or on the completely-packed-with-humanity trail along Lady Bird Lake.
This trail is perfect for casual riders. It's wide, smooth, safe, and well graded. Major roads and the railroad tracks are avoided by underpasses. There are a few hills, but they're manageable and add some interest to the ride.
We felt kind of lame putting our bikes in the truck and driving over to the trailhead instead of riding there, but crossing 183 on a bike is no damn fun at best. We parked at the back of the lot at the YMCA on East 51st. The trail is right there, along the soccer fields. (You can pick it up at Loyola Lane too, but the Y seemed easier.)
Most of the trail runs parallel to Walnut Creek...
...which is admittedly not very lovely. The creek isn't visible for most of the way, though, and the trail is lined with trees that will provide beauty and shade in spring.
Riding under 183 was kind of cool. I have crossed that bridge on my car many times and always liked looking down at Boggy Creek. It was fun to finally get down there.
It only took us a half an hour to zip from 183/51st to the current terminus at Jain Lane, so on the way back we decided to take a detour on a wooded path that split off the trail just west of Jain.
I don't know who maintains the decomposed granite path there, or why, but it was fun as hell riding through the dim, slightly creepy woods.
We saw a ton of birds on the ride, too. Hawks (BEEEEE-Yaw!), black vultures, cardinals, jays, doves, crows, and an egret. We also heard a critter crashing around in the brush so clumsily that it had to be an armadillo.
If you want an easy, somewhat secluded place to ride in Austin, I can't recommend this trail enough. I'm looking forward to riding it again already.