Friday, January 22, 2010

Willy Porter: Best of Austin Live Music!

Derick won on this one. It was about 8:00 pm on Friday night,, and we had debated going to see Willy Porter live at the Saxon Pub in Austin. We try to take advantage of the Austin live music scene, but by virtue of our (my?) lifestyle, we sometimes fall short (combined with the fact that it is not cheap to see good live music). Tonight we went to see decided to venture out. Saxon Pub is a small little bar, with a bit of a cozy, cabin kind of feel. I knew a few Willy Porter songs that I had heard from the CD Derick bought last summer. We had caught the song "How to Rob a Bank" when we were back in the mountains of North Carolina on a local public radio station.

Needless to say, he completely blew us away. While we do not see live music often in Austin, we have picked some damn good ones... Brandi Carlile a few times, Robert Earl Keen, Indigo Girls, James McMurtry, & Mason Jennings, to name a few. I was resistant to going out, seeing that it was 8:00, and I was crouched down on the couch with dinner, comfy clothes and a tasty beer. I have this weird thing that if I am not out by dinnertime, I usually don't want to go anywhere...anytime past about 7:00 and am then in for the night. But I rallied, figuring I had no real 'good' excuse to get to bed early tonight, knowing that it was better to spend a few hours expanding our minds than falling asleep on the couch to a mediocre movie. We headed to Saxon Pub around 8:30 and were in for a treat.

Succinctly, he was incredible. Absolutely raw talent. A hell of a good sense of humor. He plays a guitar like a mad man. It was just Willy, his guitar, his voice and occasionally, a harmonica. Willy was scheduled to play at 9, and, god forbid, he was out at 9:00! No 'opening band'. Don't get me wrong, an opening band is not a bad thing, but to me, 'no opening band' says that the artist does not think so highly of himself that he has to have someone 'open for him', thus making his fans wait even longer to hear him. Come on people, who does not like sleep? Big point #1 for Willy. He can improvise (he devised a song on a whim by topics presented from the crowd that included yoga, neopolitan, hula hoop, crack, & jack rabbit). My face hurt from laughing so much. When it came time for Willy to wrap it up (which he prompted after 75 minutes of straight entertainment), the eager crowd which had grown since the start cheered him onto more. Willy did not walk off stage, making us cheer him back, which again to me implies being highly fond of oneself and letting the crowd know it. After 30 seconds or so of loud cheering, he motioned 'one more?' to us and continued to stay on stage. He then did an amazing song about the midwest (he had me at 'Wisconsin') and how he was driving through Kentucky one night and encountered Jesus via a large truck; and he proceeded to have a deep conversation with Jesus, and his father. You had to be there...

I had to smile and appreciate my husband after this show; as Derick was correct in thinking that this was going to be a good one. From what Willy told us, he is originally from Wisconsin (hence his nice humble roots!) but seems to tour quite a bit ( If you enjoy a good singer-songwriter, and truly entertaining music, and a good time, check him out. You'll leave simply 'feeling good' about the world and you'll think twice about what 'fame' and talent really have to do with eachother. Because from my view, he is one of the most unrecognized talents out there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

View of the World from a 15-min Mile

I have been forced to really slow down this past week. It has been very refreshing, though when I see friends out riding and running, I do get a bit envious, especially with the amazing weather we are having. BUT, it is only January and it is a long season. The past four days I have enjoyed 1 hour long walks each day. It is incredible how pleasant and invigorating simply 'walking' really can be. I frequently just walk from our house, in a 4-mile loop that involves no lights or intersections, and watch the cars, the people and life go by me. It is much easier to 'think' when you are walking vs. running or cycling. When (if) I take my Ipod with me, I find myself advancing my song choice from The Killers to Tom Waits; or from Lady Gaga to Simon and Garfunkle, from Ben Harper to The Avett Brothers. A bit of a more mellow tone, yet one to keep me moving along. Today, I took the walk down to Town Lake Trail, which anyone in Austin knows is a hugely popular running trail. I started at 6:15 and finished about 7:30, so I saw it turn from dark to light; to go from the anonymity of solitude to the light of day when people 'notice' eachother (I must say, darkness is nicer in the morning, when the added fear of tripping is taken out of the equation with a decreased speed).

I have had a few setbacks in the past 8 years of triathlon, the most notably being in 2005 with a double compound fracture of my arm, which included 3 surgeries spanning 9 months. This past gall bladder surgery is seemingly minor (or so I hope in another weeks time!) but each and every time, I find that the first few days are extremely frustrating, and then after about a week I fall into a great routine. I actually start to 'enjoy' the setback, or maybe I just find a way to accept it because that is the only option. Try to take any setbacks you encounter this year (we'll all have some at some point, won't we?!) and make them into a positive. When it comes to injury, the best question to ask is, "What CAN I do?" Use the down time, and the change of pace and make yourself better in some facet, even if it is not in just a physical way (ie: swim better, cycle better, etc). I have devoted some more time to a class which I signed up for at Texas State this past week as well; finally cracked the books from having signed up in December (not a good idea before the holidays!). It is actually pretty easy to find some good out of what may seem 'bad' initially!

Thanks for stopping by... time to indulge in a taste of a new beer, "Hercules Double IPA" from Great Divide Brewing Company. We'll see how the lack of gall bladder stomach likes THAT!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cat Attacks, Surgery and Flip Cup...

My belly is sore, it feels full and I look about 2 months pregnant (or so I would guess). I had gall bladder surgery yesterday and had the little green sucker removed (did you know they take it out through your belly button?). It was a tough decision to make, as it was not 'essential' that I have it done, but I feel that based on the past 5 months, it was the smartest thing to do. So, to catch up on the past 1 month of my life since I have been a lazy-holiday-blogger, this is how it goes.

Derick and I flew to Indiana on December 21st, to spend a solid 2 weeks with my family. My parents built an amazing cabin in the woods outside of Bloomington, Indiana and it is the perfect place to kick back and relax for the holidays. Our flight there was quite eventful, as we took our 20# cat, Corgi with us. Who travels with a 20# cat, you ask? Well, seeing that it was cheaper to take him than board him for 2 weeks, we opted to take him with us. He had a full on freak out when going through security in Austin, got extremely spooked and tried to escape Derick's arms (they MAKE you take the cat out of the bag). Derick tried to control (not lose) him, and he was hissing, biting, etc so I jumped in. Derick finally got his bag and we got him inside of it, at which point he hunched into the corner, paralyzed. He got Derick's arms and hands pretty bad, and my right hand and right foot. This was on Monday; I did not 'walk' normally until about Thursday. Lucikly I had taken my bike with us, since I knew I would have surgery post-vacation, so I was able to ride on the trainer for a few days when I could not swim or run (barely walk!). We even went on antibiotics to be safe; I guess that cat bites are not something to be messed with. SO... despite the rough start to the trip, everything else was great. We did some amazing runs in Brown County State Park, I got to visit my incredible 96-year old grandmother in Columbus, Ohio and also caught up with my sisters and of course my parents for a few weeks.

We arrived back to Austin on Monday, January 4th and I went into surgery yesterday, January 6th. Derick, myself and my doctor had come to the conclusion that the 'incident' back in Canada with the stomach pain was likely related to this; as I had similar pain one month later, only to have an ultrasound to show that I had gallstones. I did not want to kick off my 2010 season knowing that there was a chance that this could yet again interfere with racing, or worse, I'd have to get this done mid-season. I hear the recovery is to be taken seriously, so I am here at home relaxing in some good weather to do so (low 30's, wind and expected to be in the 20's the next few days here). We did however get some crazy fun in on New Years Eve, as we (along with some friends) introduced my parents to the game 'flip cup'. Nothing like watching your 60-year old parents battling it out for flip cup!

The next week or so will entail a lot of relaxing, finalizing my season plans for 2010, and trying to crack the books as I registered for an Abnormal Psychology course (correspondence) from Texas State. I am also finalizing sponsors for 2010, thanks to a ton of help from Chris McCrary at Katalyst Multisport, and I look forward to what this year has in store!

Best to you and yours for a wonderful new year. Anything's possible!
Thanks for reading,