Darren and I went to Austin Halloween weekend for our tenth anniversary. We reserved our hotel room on Orbitz, and it turned out to be really nice. We left Saturday morning, and arrived in Austin around 1:00. We checked in to the hotel, then went and climbed Mount Bonnell (not as impressive as it sounds). After that, we went shopping in a funky neighborhood, and tried to find the place where we went on the Haunted Hayride eight years ago. That dude ranch is now a gated neighborhood, and we saw them driving the hay wagon around. After that disappointment, we went and found this convenience store that stocks every brand of beer legal in Texas, then drove to Driftwood to eat at the Salt Lick. It is the coolest place to have barbecue, and just as good as I remembered. They don't have a liquor license, so everyone takes their own beer, and sits outside to wait for a table. There is a band that plays, and the food is definitely worth the wait! Later Saturday night, we went and took pictures of the state capitol building, and had coffee at this place called Mozart's on Lake Austin. It was just so nice to be somewhere where the whole town doesn't shut down at 9:00!
Sunday, we went on the Duck Boat Tour. It was corny, but fun. The vehicle was something that the British Navy had used in World War II, and it moved at about ten miles per hour. Also, it had transmission problems. Our tour guide was very entertaining, and made us wear duck whistles, to blow at pedestrians that we passed. After our slow drive around town, we drove into Lake Austin and made a big circle. We worked up an appetite with that tour, and went and had lunch at the Hula Hut. It was okay, and the service was bad. We drove around downtown, then went to the Whole Foods Market to wander around. We then went to the Arboretum, which is an outdoor mall, and it had most of the same stores that we have here in The Woodlands. We had fajitas at the Iguana Grill out on Lake Travis, but it was too dark to see. We went back to the hotel and went to bed after that.
Monday, we checked out and had breakfast at the Magnolia Cafe. That was the best Eggs Benedict I have ever had! We were sad to leave Austin behind and head back to Houston. Everyone there is so much more relaxed, and there is so much to do. I would still love to live there someday!
As we move rapidly toward the holidays, I am already feeling like life is moving too quickly for me. Between work, my Creative Memories business, the sorority, and being a mom, I feel like I am already stretched incredibly thin. Now, we are getting ready to add Thanksgiving meal planning and preparation, which I really enjoy, and Christmas shopping. I think I would enjoy Christmas shopping so much more if I had more money to spend. It's tough to buy gifts that you hope make people happy, plus don't cost a fortune, yet still look like they do. The area where we live is getting more and more expensive, and I can't afford to shop in all the new exclusive boutiques that we have here. Since we don't use credit cards, I need to space our presents out over several paychecks. That is tough, because once I start shopping, I just want to get it over with.
My Creative Memories business is not going nearly as well as I hoped that it would. I had high hopes that it would help to pay for Christmas this year, but those hopes will go unrealized. I had my Holiday Open House this past weekend. I planned that thing for weeks. I sent out invitations and e-mails, made phone calls, put up fliers at school, put signs on the mailboxes in my neighborhood, and put a sign in my front yard. I even put an ad on the local website. I had nine people tell me they were coming Friday night or Saturday, and never heard from the rest of them. Thursday, I worked from 4:30-1:00am typing out a welcome letter, planning the food, and artfully arranging my products. I was so excited about the weekend, and having so many people come. Friday, I rushed to the grocery store after work, went home and prepared food, and waited for my guests. I had four people Friday night, then two customers on Saturday. I never heard from the others. No, "sorry, I can't make it" for whatever reason. I did book one show for January, and had two more orders after that, but I still haven't made back the money that I spent on the food.
Why don't people RSVP anymore? I've heard that it is a Houston thing, but that is poor manners in my opinion. Growing up, I was taught that you respond to any invitation that you receive, whether or not you are able to attend the event. The host needs to know how many people to prepare food for, and how many chairs to have. It's just good manners. If an invitation comes with an RSVP, it's not an optional thing, and I don't know why people think that it is. The letters RSVP stand for "repondez, s'il vous plait", or "respond, please". I've had many events the past few years when I was left wondering if I should telephone everyone on my guest list to find out if I would be alone that night or not. If anyone is actually reading this blog, what does a person do to get responses to an invitation? It really makes me never want to have a party again! I could have saved myself a whole lot of time and money this weekend if I would have known the number of people who would actually show up.