Screw You, Ladies at the Holiday Parade…

For years, we have a Family tradition of attending the Chuy’s Children Giving to Children holiday parade when we are in town.  We wake up early and everything.  Not something we like to make a habit out of, but find it in our hearts for this day.  Couple cups of coffee and a little bit of holiday ass grabbing, we eventually make our way into the city for the festivities.  Parking at the local Hooter’s (which happens to be a popular bnf hangout, what?!?  I go for the buffalo wings, honest), we park and walk, finding an opening in the already gathered crowds of thousands that line the street.  Making our way to the front, we settle in while the kids cruise the street waiting for the parade to begin.  But after the recent Dateline special, they’ll never do that again.  Sorry kids.

Greg offers to buy me the hot dog I was really craving at 10:30 am as I hold down our spots for all of us.  Till this lady with a giant stroller and two kids pushes her way in, without even asking, between me and the neighbor I shared this valuable real estate with.  She says she needs to get her little boy in the sun as it’s a little chilly outside.  Being literally pushed over, she parks right in front of our spots, I try to be calm as I watch her two kids take a seat on the pavement.  At first, I think ‘well the kids are little and are seated and not in our way, so that’s cool.’  Then she continues to suffocate the rest of us with herself as well.  But wait, her friend comes in and joins in, almost like she was waiting in the wings for the eagle to land.  You know the kind of parade crasher I’m talking about, the kind with the hideous red Christmas sweatshirt, mom jeans, big purse, baby voice talking, it’s all for the kids type.  She joins in acting like she’s trying to be careful to not be in the way, but is a fucking total solar eclipse of everything.   We have officially been shoved back by the local Mary Kay lady and her accomplice.  I’m looking around for the kids and Greg as I’m holding the two dogs, trying to find the words to say something civil knowing that’s not going to happen. I failed.  I was overcome with that shame that I know is gonna follow me around for being a tad too nice.

The rest of our Family comes together as the parade begins and we are in awe of the lack of control these people have.  They buy all the parade shit that makes its way down the line, they talk loudly about the parade floats passing by, and take a thousand pictures they’ll never look at again.  They cheer for the military, they applaud the cheerleaders, and when the giant blow up characters come by they suddenly burst out in this high pitched baby voice eagerly trying to convince their kids that Shrek is really here, he’s really here!  Guess what ladies, Shrek thinks you’re ugly.  The kids are buying it up yelling in excitement and making me think we should forget about the war in Iraq, these ladies are raising killing machines right here on our turf.  The teenage punk rises up in me making me want to reach down and whisper to the kids how Shrek plans on beating the crap out of them in the alley after the parade and turning their moms into drug addicts.  There I said it.  I know it’s not the kids fault, so save your cheesy family first comments because I don’t care.  Oops, I did it again…

The parade ends and after an hour and a half with these ladies it really made me realize that it’s good to be nice, but not to a fault.  I understand that now and am feeling a little less ridiculous about it now.  Especially since I left a little something in the bottom of their stroller…something really gross…Happy Holidays!

The lady in the blue hat is the devil.
The lady in the blue hat is the devil.

Rock n Roll with a Chicken Fried Steak…

Literally having to write this in between gigs, I feel that I need to share the glamorous world of rock n roll that we were a part of this morning.  Being hired as publicity people for a local venue here in town full of live music history both local and internationally, we knew this was going to be rich with characters as flavorful as the music.

This morning we are working with Travel Channel who has come into the venue to film for a series they are doing about Tex Mex meets Bluegrass, a series that visits a lot of the old Texas dance halls and recounts the stories and musicians that made them legendary. We arrive at the location of filming, a place that constantly smells like the grassy aroma of  ‘Willy’s Bus’ and join the film crew on a tour of the location which is full of music memorabilia from old Austin and musicians including Janis Joplin.

Every closet is full of collectible posters, videotapes, and priceless photographs of the people and the music that set this venue on track to be a leading part of Austin’s live music history.  The owner, a boisterous, grandfatherly type with a southern draw, tells story after story about what it was like to work and be friends with such people.  The TV in the lonely living room is playing a DVD about the history of the venue and reminds you that this is Austin’s version of what it was like at Woodstock turned Hard Rock Cafe style.

Being in this location, you are surrounded by the many people who come and go in a place like this.  Johnny Cash’s piano player for twenty years, Earl Poole Ball, is among some of the people that come and hang here till all hours of the night playing on the giant piano sitting in the middle of the living room.  I’m sure this living room has seen many famous and legendary faces in it’s time.

Today we were greeted by a young woman straight out of the San Francisco scene, really, and landed in Austin working at the venue.  She looks like she’s led a hard life already and you can tell she likes to play just as hard.  It ‘s an awkward meeting of trying to play nice, but keeping your distance right away because of her intensity and lack of boundaries.  She is really loud, dirty from last nights partying, and full of thoughts she outwardly shares whether you want to hear them or not.

The kids and I pile into one of the rooms while the film crew and Greg , who is also  capturing film, move into another one.  It’s all quiet in the house so that the film crew can capture the stories the owner is giving while we sit and listen.  Ms San Francisco sits on the couch in the den and stares at us for awhile – the kind of stare where you just smile and act like it’s not bothering you at all.  You find ways to make fake conversation with the kids, because she is just sitting there watching you quietly observing your every move.

She starts a mixture of laughter while smacking her shoveled food into her mouth.  The film crew is in the next room, condensor microphones picking up the most subtle of sounds.

Out of nowhere, myself and all three kids randomly look over at her and make the eye contact.  The stare party gets awkward and like a true lady she busts out at the top of her lungs
YOU GUYS ARE SO FUCKING COOL FOR HOME-SCHOOLED KIDS!
HA! SNORT! HA HA! SMACK.

YOU KNOW, MOST HOME-SCHOOLED KIDS ARE FUCKING WEIRDOS!

F’in right we are…

Livin Small…

Welcome to Casa del Austin a la Cabo in the ‘Live Music Capitol of the World!  We are a Family of five who prefers living small and accomplish this in a two bedroom, one bath, 545 sq.ft duplex down the street from all the action of the city.  Living in an RV and traveling across North America with our kids for six years, we found the peace in simple living  affording us to be cozy and tight with our kids, something that changed our living habits forever after having three homes that were typical of the American Dream.

After moving out of our RV of six years and into our home base, we still prefer to keep things simple and small, allowing us plenty of free time to be together. Our house is our office, art studio, music room, and guesthouse.  Though it’s small, it’s hosted many events, birthdays, art shows, dinner parties, friend appreciation celebrations (complete with podium rental and mic), backyard concerts (occasionally shut down by the fuzz), band tour sleepovers, and holiday soirees.  Having a small space allows us to work less and still travel a few months out of the year, taking off with a tent and our car.  It’s how Family looks for us.

When we first moved in (out of a 37′ RV), we didn’t know what to do with all the room we now had and closed off one of the two bedrooms and we all camped in the living room for a month with sleeping bags and pillows.  Lying in our new place at night, we were giddy with excitement and laughing at all the people that thought we were crazy for choosing to live this small.  Moving out of the RV, we had no furniture and started out with nothing but backpacks and a few odds and ends from storage.  It was completely furnished within a month with stuff from friends who were more than glad to get rid of their crap.   We bought very little to make it our own in the beginning and felt more at home than ever.

The wall in our living room has become a place where fellow travelers, friends, and Family who come and visit leave some wisdom, thoughts, lyrics, and random ideas.  It all started late one night after listening to hours of Peter Gabriel and Sammy Hagar with our friends, the Unpluggeds who were in town.  When our Families are together, it’s an untouchable feeling of being lifted from anything human and truly in the space of something bigger.  Most people would call this a best friend relationship, but there are really no words to describe this connection.  Drinking our special tequila together and listening to music, we picked up a Sharpie and simply started writing on the wall…It went on all night long and eventually became the wall with a thousand words.

Our kitchen is full of yummy goodness and usually a bottle of fine tequila.  Jenn started a fire in the oven the first week we got here and since we were just moving had no idea where the fire extinguisher was.  Flames were shooting out of the oven and smoke was everywhere in the chaos and noise of it all.  The kids were screaming fire and Greg, who was taking a shower, came running out butt naked and dripping wet sliding around on the floor as he came around the kitchen corner to see the inferno.  He quickly grabbed the fire extinguisher from under the counter and put it out a few minutes later.  We stood there speechless looking at all the white powder that now covered our entire living space.  That’s when we realized that the front door was wide open as Greg stood there barenaked and wet as the neighbors and people walking down the street were right outside. That’s when we introduced the no shirt, no pants, no problem rule…

The kids all share a room, which is something they have always done since they were young in all of our houses.  When they had the option of having their own room in our houses, we’d often find them curled up with each other in one of the kids rooms.  Even as teenagers they share a liking of having each others company and use this space up.   They entertain their friends, play music, and make art in here often.  It’s a privilege to have kids that are able to share a space and get along the way they do.  They respect one another and are good about allowing personal time alone when one asks.  Our kids are grateful for their space and are good at making it their own with their individuality and tastes. You can often hear them chatting and staying up way too late, forcing us to throw a shoe at them from our room next door.

We have one bathroom that seems to be enough for the five of us.  It’s the Costco pallet of  toilet paper that we store that seems to be the problem.

Greg and Jenn’s room is the smallest in the house, giving the kids the bigger room.  But we have the best view of our huge backyard that backs up to a bamboo filled creek.  Freckles, our freaky doll, also shares our room with us. We painted it lime green after becoming obsessed with Trevor Hall‘s song ‘The Lime Tree’.

BareNaked and Simple.