The Oasis

♪ I put on some make-up
Turn on the eight-track
I'm pulling the wig down from the shelf... ♪ ♫

Oh, hi there. Sorry, I was just singing to myself.

So, choir practice is out for the summer. Who knew that choirs did this? The Southern Baptist church I sang in didn't. Not that I remember, anyway. It was over 20 years ago, though.

The reason for mentioning this is that our last big hoorah was Pentecost Sunday. We worked for a few weeks on the songs and it was a special Pentecost choir, not just the every-week one. So, I told Nameless that he needed to come see me sing this time. I actually asked if he would like to come, but there was a definite undercurrent of "you'd better say yes" to the way I asked. Being that he's the only one I told (in person) about my post-Easter meltdown – mid-meltdown – I think he understood that it was more than just a casual invitation in case he happened to already be planning on driving 40 miles from his home on a Sunday morning to attend Mass in a parish not his own.

And, I think we did a darn good job. Somehow he and Patricia (she also showed up) got it into their heads that I was going to be singing a solo. I suppose a normal person wouldn't have asked friends to come see them unless they were singing a solo, but I'm still a little delicate and I didn't want to be alone after we finished. Just in case.

After mass we went to lunch. Patricia (who will have her own little entry here soon) has been trying to get Nameless to go see the art gallery at The Oasis restaurant on Lake Travis. I had never been to The Oasis, so it seemed like a pretty good idea to take advantage of the fact that Nameless was already so close. They're always looking for galleries to sell their art in, even though they almost never want to sell their art in galleries.

The main draw of The Oasis is the view. Situated on a cliff overlooking Lake Travis, it is the self-proclaimed Sunset Capital of Texas. So, we didn't have a problem being seated for lunch, which is definitely not the sunset hour at this latitude. We ate outside under one of the 19,192 umbrellas. (Even still, my scalp got sunburned. I have GOT to remember to wear a hat!) Nameless ordered fried avocado tacos and I ordered a hamburger and we split them both between us. Patricia had a vegetarian dish, because she's a vegetarian when eating out. (This is part of a long, yet morbidly fascinating story.) I think it would be cliché to say that I'd had better food in my life and that you're paying for the location. The food was good and the view was nice. We saw islands in the lake that aren't supposed to be there (caused by the drought.) We saw disgustingly large houses. I don't think I saw any boats, but I'm not sure they are able to get on the water, again due to the drought.

I was expecting a restaurant with many patios. I got that, plus a small shopping center that apparently sprung up around it. A flag was flying announcing Oasis, TX, and that was kind of the feel. The shops were up and downstairs, and it was all very rustic.

There is a gallery on the ground floor, Texas Treasures. They had some very lovely antiques and contemporary art. An artist I know from Elgin named Greg Silkenson (Talking Wood) has work there. He has some nicely designed wooden boxes there. He might have some of his furniture there as well, but I didn't see it if he does. (I own one of his boxes. I keep hand-fabricated jewelry in it.)

The Blue Genie is on the second floor and they do have nice work. They are more contemporary. They actually have a show close to Christmastime in town. I'm not certain about their entire history; I don't think they've been in Oasis, TX very long, because I don't think it's been there very long. I don't know if they existed as a gallery before the Christmas Bazaar or if it was the other way around. One way or another, I recognized a couple of artists there. For instance, a potter named Jason Hooper.

After checking out the galleries we retired for a cup of coffee. Then Patricia decided that we were going to go sit on her friend's dock and watch the lake, even though neither Nameless or I really wanted to. She disappeared for about 20 minutes to look for her friend's phone number, because the fact that somebody says no has never bothered her for one minute.

We ended up sitting in the courtyard until around 7. In case you're keeping track, we were there from around noon until around 7. Yes, that's a very long time. We saw the line grow longer and longer as people began showing up to watch the sunset from the famous patios. Nameless was apparently enjoying relaxing and not feeling the urgent need to be doing something, a feeling that overwhelms him any time he's around his home. I'm certain that I would not have chosen to be out there that long, though it was fun and we did enjoy the courtyard and its sculptures, which we would have otherwise missed.

eArnie on the patio at The Oasis

Statue in the courtyard

Gymnast statue in the courtyard

Gymnast statue in the courtyard

Statue of Wishing Well in the courtyard

When we finally left we discovered that the line waiting for a table extended from the people waiting in line to cars waiting to get in to be able to park so that they could get in line. The line of cars went out of the parking area and up the road, and people were parking along the side of the road and walking very long distances for the privilege of enjoying the Sunset Capital of Texas at sunset. Perhaps it was busier than usual because it was a holiday weekend, but people seemed to think this was all perfectly normal. I can't imagine a sunset over a half-empty man-made lake could possibly be that impressive, but clearly there are plenty of people who disagree.

After that we went to Torchy's Taco's because upon leaving the restaurant Nameless and I decided that we were hungry. Again, Nameless and I split our orders and again Patricia had a vegetarian option. I mentioned the story behind the name of one of the items on the menu. I don't think I'm going to say which one here, but you could look up their menu and see if you can figure out which one I'm talking about. After I told them they both momentarily wondered if they were still hungry enough to eat. (They were.)

Then we went to HEB for ONE THING and ended up leaving an hour later with a miniature shopping cart overflowing because they weren't going to get a normal-sized shopping cart because they only came in for one thing, never mind that the minicart was so full that we were carrying the overflow in our hands. I did get a nice basil plant, which I've been looking for for weeks, and I ended up getting an Esperanza so that Nameless could get the 4th potted plant for free.

In the end I got home at almost 11pm. I'll have to think twice before I invite Nameless to see me sing at church again. Fortunately Monday was Labor Day and I was off from work. I might not have been in a very good mood about the whole thing otherwise.

So, that's my Oasis experience. I've only lived in Austin since 1998; that's what, 14 years it took me to eat there? That's about par for the course in my life.

I'm ready for bed now. I'll write more later.


e A r n i e

P.S. If you happen to visit the web sites that are linked from this blog, please let them know that eArnie sent you. Thanks.

Rainy Morning

March 10, 2012

With it raining outside this morning I sat on my porch and drank my first cup of coffee. I thought of many things, not the least of which is how much I love rain. I should have been born in a rainforest. My family has ended up in Central and South-Central Texas and it's not exactly a desert, but we've been in a drought the last few years. Xeriscape is the prevalent landscaping scheme. The music of rain falling is something that is unfamiliar to us during the summer lately. But, it's almost spring and the rain makes the grass very green, what little grass there is here. It was cool and quiet and my cats were out there with me, but staying under the cover with me rather than exploring. The air had a crisp quality, very refreshing.

It makes me think of a Psalm that I love, Psalm 63.
O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.

I'm a little sad at how much I can relate to those words. My poor earth is so dry. When we first moved from Amarillo I remember thinking that this must be Eden, or something along those lines. Compared with the stark, flat landscape of the Panhandle of Texas I suppose it does still seem like a paradise. But, I wait for this drought to pass and for us not to suffer the reality of the lack of water.

It's still a little chilly for me (it's 46 degrees outside right now) so I came back inside and had my second cup in front of the computer. I have a desk lamp and one of my cats is sleeping under it. The cats must love me, because even if they're upset with me they generally want to be in whatever room I'm in. They're so much in the habit of sleeping on my desk that I put a placemat on it under the lamp. They have totally ruined those placemats with their hair anyway, so I'm using them for their benefit now. (It's not nice to find hair on your fork when sitting at the table, and that's pretty much how it goes with these placemats now. I've decided that it's not worth the time to try to get the hair out.)

I perused facebook and gmail and other social-related sites. It was still raining outside so I decided that I should have some appropriate music. This led me to create a playlist for rain. I call it Songs for Rain. Here's what I came up with. I played with the order a little bit and I think this works best with what I have so far.

Title Artist
Me Van a Matar Julieta Venegas
Rainy Days and Mondays The Carpenters
Set Fire To The Rain Adele
Lluvia De Primavera Raúl Di Blasio
Ravel: Jeux d'eau Lympany
Bachata Rosa Juan Luis Guerra
Blackbird Sarah McLachlan
Maldita Primavera Yuri
Burbujas De Amor Juan Luis Guerra
Send Me On Me Way Rusted Root -
Cavatina Raúl Di Blasio

This is music that I already have, and have imported into iTunes. I have many more cd's that I need to load. I'm not going to work on that project at this time. I'll just take notes if I decide that another song deserves to be in this playlist and then rip that cd onto my computer. I always have a small notebook for notes with me, so it won't matter where I come across the idea. (I just love Moleskine notebooks. I got mine at Barnes & Noble. I have one side opening and one that flips from the top so you can move the page up as you're writing on the bottom of the page.)

Let me know what you think. Give me ideas that I could add.