A Date With the Girls

Today I took out [Emily->] and [Abigail->] for a wonderful romp through Austin. We started at the Texas Book Festival, where my friend Paul Hightower had alerted me he’d be manning a booth for the weekend. It took us quite a while to get past the storytelling and crafts tents, where the girls spent a delighted 90 minutes, but we finally were able to track down Paul and get in some visiting. He and some of his family members are starting Upstream Press, a publishing company that will be doing both traditional paper-based publishing and electronic educational materials. After the book festival, we took a quick tour of the awe-inspiring Texas Capitol Building, an enormous edifice constructed of Texas pink granite. From there, we started off for lunch. Midway through the drive, I realized that we were only four blocks away from Things Celtic, a store in Austin I’ve heard advertised on NPR I’ve been wanting to stop by and check out for ages. The girls and I spend a half-hour rooting through all of their wonderful stuff, which included pennywhistles & bodhrans, jewelry, kilts, books on Celtic history and art, various celtic crosses and artwork, and much more. I eventually bought them each a little book of temporary Celtic tatoos, Kathy a lovely matted illuminated rendering of a traditional Irish blessing, and myself a pennywhistle with the Guinness logo emblazoned upon it. (It doesn’t play quite as well as my Susatos, but it’s not bad.) Finally, we made it to The Hula Hut, an unusual eatery I’ve been wanting to check out since we moved to Austin, which combines Mexican and Polynesian cuisines with some great results. We sat at our booth, munching down goodies and applying temporary tatoos to each other, making our plans to surprise Kathy when we came home by telling her that I’d taken the kids to the tatoo parlor as part of our romp. Knowing me as well as she does, she didn’t believe it for an instant.