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.

Follow-up to Holy Thursday. Good Friday, for Instance


Well, it's been over a month since I last wrote. There's a reason for that. I've been spent, emotionally and physically.

My last post was about Holy Thursday. After that – after Easter – I wrote a post about Good Friday and the Easter Vigil; I just didn't publish it. Actually, I told myself that I would write it for myself, and then rewrite it for posting. Turns out, I didn't even make it through the first writing. I was reading it just now and it stops mid-sentence. I was crying while writing it and I think I decided to sleep on it and then finish it later. Then, I didn't finish it later. Father Larry had said that the readings for Palm Sunday and the rest of the week were bi-polar (his words) and he wasn't lying. I won't go into too much detail – because I told myself I wouldn't dwell on things like that here – but I’ll summarize.

Friday was a mix of being too long and being wonderful with dramatic songs. Saturday I rested and then went to church by 7:30 PM, ready to sing. After having practiced so much and after singing beautiful songs with a beautiful choir and a small orchestra, after a finale of the Halleluiah Chorus from Handel's Messiah and the adrenaline rush that went along with it I had a complete meltdown. At one point, I was crying in a grocery store shopping for a piece of cake to take home and eat alone. I was very lonely. My friend, Nameless, usually would come with me to events like this, but he must have been with his family that night. I don't even remember why he didn't go. Maybe I didn't ask him to. Then, nobody asked me how it went and I felt even worse about it.

Then we had a retreat to put on the next weekend. I'm sworn to secrecy, so I can't describe what is involved in a Christ Renews His Parish retreat (CRHP), but I will say that it was one of the  most moving, rewarding, exhausting experiences I've had in a while. And, I made friends that I would not have had otherwise.

However, coming as it did on the heels of Easter weekend I was very, very tired and there were follow-up meetings to attend and there were other things going on to the point that last week I had to play hookie from choir practice because I had something going on every night of the week and I couldn't take it any more.

But, I'm better now. I have gone through most of the things in The Room and though it's still not presentable, I feel better about it. I found a nice little shelf and wooden magazine holders for my piano music. I've gone through the box of artwork and I've decided where I want to put most of it.

One thing I decided to do this year was remember birthdays and I did pretty good until May. I blew it on the first few weeks. But, I think I'll be able to get back in the saddle and keep going with it. I do love writing letters (actually handwriting them) and sending cards through the mail and people really seem to appreciate getting them, so it's something I am going to keep up.

So, that's what's been going on this last month. That and visiting four relatives in four different hospitals on four different occasions for four different ailments. But, that's a different story for a different time.

More later,

e A r n i e