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a month

A month ago today, on the evening of March 29th, my baby cousin was in a horrifying accident here in Austin, Texas.

Horrifying, not only because she was hit at the light on her bicycle by an intoxicated illegal with a criminal record –horrifying because he dragged her beneath his SUV for nearly half a mile while people could hear her screaming inside of their homes.  Witnesses honked, desperately yelled out of their car windows and tried to intercept him.  Afterwards, witnesses needed psychiatric counseling.  Emergency responders expected her to be dead on arrival.

It’s all over the news online and you can read the eyewitness accounts.

I have not.  Because I cannot.

I have just gone to the hospital.

Because that's all you can do.

Every day for many, many days.  As days turn into weeks.

And then, whenever you are asked to. 

Her right hip, her left hip and her entire back were ground down by the asphalt.  Her right hip took the brunt of the dragging.  For the first nine days of her life after the accident, she went to the operating room almost daily to have the road removed from her body.  On the tenth day, they reconstructed her hips and her back using much of her right leg because it couldn’t be saved.

My cousin is an exceptionally brilliant, beautiful and statuesque twenty-eight-year-old woman.  She quit her job last year to go to the University of Texas full-time in order to take the classes she needs to apply to medical school.   She has a 4.0.

And she was simply riding home from an evening lab that night.

I have hesitated to say anything here at rocketwife because this is her story to tell.  And her life to live.

And she is beyond extraordinary.

I’m simply explaining where I’ve been taken to.

And in this place, you are overcome.

You think of nothing else, you care about little else.

And you are silenced. 

We. Love. You. Beth.  .
 

hop



All hatch and hop artwork courtesy of Pierce...

hatch

spring forwarder

1.  The bumblebees are devouring my extraordinary Texas Mountain Laurel bushes.


People describe the flowers as smelling like grape soda.


Wikipedia reports that they like to grow here:



--which means it's possible that you've never seen them before.


In fact, I lived in Waco, Texas for five years and never noticed them.

And when they first bloomed here, not knowing what they were, I said to myself,  "Wow. These flowers smell like grape soda..."  :)


2.  Last night, at dusk, the boys found their first lady bug of the season and named 'him' Captain Lady Dude.  He kept them entertained for half an hour.


The world is out there, waiting to be discovered.

(Lots of love from Texas)


xoxoxoxox

spring forward

Spring Break.   Day Two.

And counting. Too worn out to go anywhere.  Too burned out to care.


Day One was a bust.

The younger two weren't up until eleven, and by noon they were at each other's throats over the t.v. remote.

Pierce poured a glass of Arizona Iced Tea over Ian's head.  And the chair, and the new carpet...

I banned them from the tv and the computers.  The worst thing a mother can do to herself.

"Go read a book."

"Seriously?  Go read a book???!!!!!!"

"Yeah.  Remember books?  We have a house full of them.

Or go outside.  Just stay away from each other."

 "Go outside???!!!!!"  (blue sky, eighty-two degrees)

"Yeah.  Kids have done it since the dawn of time."

"Yeah, and kids also died of the plague and starved to death and slept in caves!!!!!!!!!"

"Get. Out. Of. My. Face."


 ....An hour later, I came downstairs and they were playing nicely together in the living room.

They'd taken the couch apart and built what I soon learned was a barrack.

"We're playing ISIS Simulations.  We take turns being the captive."    Pierce was clearly in control and attempting to speak Arabic.

"You aren't serious."

Cowboys and Indians.  2016.

"Come on, Mom.  We have to be prepared."

God help me.

We've clearly been watching too many presidential debates.

sxsw

After enjoying six weeks of house guests, which culminated in a visit from my mother-in-law, along with a particularly punishing schedule in Rocketland, we slid directly into South by Southwest, the coolest of Austin's cool. South by Southwest, drawing the world's best and brightest to our fair city, for a mutual love fest of music, film and tech...

But many complain that the cost of attending effectively excludes the local population from participating.  You decide:

2016 REGISTRATION RATES & DEADLINES


Badge Type

thru
Sep 11

thru
Oct 23

thru
Nov 20

thru
Jan 15

thru
Feb 12


Walk-up

MUSIC BADGE

$650 $695 $725 $750 $795 $895
Buy Here

FILM BADGE

$525 $550 $575 $625 $650 $695
Buy Here

INTERACTIVE BADGE

$825 $925 $1025 $1095 $1195 $1295
Buy Here

GOLD BADGE


(FILM + INTERACTIVE)

$1025 $1125 $1225 $1295 $1395 $1495
Buy Here

PLATINUM BADGE


(MUSIC + FILM + INTERACTIVE)

$1345 $1425 $1495 $1575 $1645 $1745
Buy Here

I am not the proud owner of a badge, but I pulled this one out of the backseat of the car this morning.



If you think you stand a chance of impersonating Tom, you're welcome to it.  His perk for giving a sxsw talk Friday on Austin's new space economy.

After Tom's talk, we enjoyed a few hours in Austin's Vine Vault, an exceptionally private location downtown where pricey wine owners both store and enjoy their collection in what was once, literally, an underground bank vault.

Then we were back last night for an event at Malverde, possibly my new favorite spot.  The guest list had promised an appearance by Mr. Sharktank himself, but he never materialized (unless in disguise).  However, that famous billionaire who owns that famous computer company in Austin (rhymes with tell and sell and hell ) --he was there mixing and mingling for quite awhile.


Imagine it warm, open air, candle-lit, across the street from Austin City Limits, in the shadow of The W, and brimming with entrepreneurs.  :)





That's all I've got.

Happy to be back  xoxoxoxo

burn it

 
1.  Our rocket test site is located straight up US Highway183, in Burnet County, Texas --formed in 1852 and named after the first President of The Republic of Texas.

For those of you who don't recall the story, Texas was an independent, sovereign country for nearly ten years --from 1836-1846, following their war with Mexico and prior to joining the United States.

Unfortunately, during his time in office, Mr. Burnet negotiated the Treaties of Velasco, which allowed Santa Anna to escape execution following his capture at the Battle of San Jacinto.   Many Texans found the terms infuriating.  So, in the end, Mr. Burnet stepped aside and a Mr. Sam Houston was elected the next president.


David Burnet.

Born in New Jersey, educated in Ohio.  Came to Texas as an entrepreneur (naturally).


2.  Today, you know you've crossed over into Burnet County when you pass the little graveyard surrounded by a chain link fence, pressed between the four-lane highway and a tin-roofed A-frame...



I kid you not.  Please don't put me here.


You will then wave to many (many) fine friends...



And soon enough, directly across the road from the adorable and authentic End of the Trail restaurant (bikers welcome)



and an expansive junk yard (we'll save that for later)

....you will find The Rocket Ranch



Where, you may be lucky enough to catch a rare glimpe of my oldest son working on a ladder.

In flip flops...

 


Or...  history in the making.  :)


lightning bug



Growing up in Ohio, we had thousands upon thousands of lightning bugs.*

We didn't call them fireflies.  They aren't, in fact, flies at all.  They're beetles.

Living in the mountains above the high desert in California, we definitely had no fireflies.  Not one.

Nevertheless, Firefly Space System's Wikipedia entry explains that  "The company name came to Markusic while sitting on his back porch watching fireflies and realizing that in the future the sky above Earth might look like that as spacecraft ferried people to Mars.[3]

Nice.  I read an article once that said the same thing...:)

What we DID have in California was about a hundred flameless tea light lanterns hanging in an oak tree beside our back deck --which reminded Markusic of lightning bugs --and future space traffic, looking flickery and gentle, far off in the night sky.

The pairing of FIRE + FLY had as much as anything to do with the choice.

And we knew nothing about the t.v. show, nothing about Amazon's new phone and NOTHING about a car rental company.............

Just that it sounded right.   And looked pretty awesome, too.






*The summer light show in rural Ohio in the 1970s was other-worldly, before pesticides starting taking their toll.  Lightning bugs were so common and abundant that, as awful as it is to think about now, kids would catch them, smash them and smear them on their faces and arms.  I can still smell it.  Can you?

on this day

While digging around earlier for pics of Capital of Texas Highway, I discovered that, five years ago to this day --February 4th, 2011-- Austin had snow.



In some places, as much as two inches.

If you're not from here, you wouldn't realize how unusual this is.

It had been seven years since they'd seen a snowfall.

Last February (our first winter here), it was no big deal to see eighty degrees on a February day.

 High sixties, low seventies was normal, with brisk nights and early mornings...


My children have hope.

hillbilly


1.  Over the river....


and through the stunning hills and sheer limestone cliffs of Austin, Texas...

You will find the land of the beautiful people...

And down Bunny Run (I kid you not) you will turn right onto Hillbilly Lane (I kid you I kid you not), then stop in the bend of the road and shamelessy snap a picture of Matthew McConaughey's gate...



You will then proceed down to the end of Hillbilly, turn right along the water and enjoy the other road names in the Rivercrest neighborhood: Troll Haven, Leprechaun Drive, and Pixie Cove.

It will make you happy.

Yes, I have officially stalked my first Austin-dwelling celebrity.  :)  More to come...


2.  Yesterday, I spent the afternoon helping a friend look for his own high-end real estate.  He may be moving to Austin soon from the West Coast and giving up his piece of heaven --his Pacific perch at the edge of the Western World...

But new land-locked adventures await!!!


3.  Austin is home to plenty of household names.  Too many to list here.

But, aside from that bicycle guy who had all of his yellow t-shirts taken away from him or that old guy with the long, braided hair....

How about Frodo, from Lord of the Rings?  Word has it that he lives in a hobbit hole off of South Congress...

Or how about that child-bride of cradle-robbing Captain Jack?  She is from Austin...

That Patron Vodka, Paul Mitchell guy lives here, too...

And the Dell Computer guy...

And the world headquarters for Whole Foods Market is here, which is pretty cool...

....and, oh yeah, that rocket company named after the t.v. show...;) *







*NOT.  More to come...

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