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Long story short: I canceled an event in Houston on the Monday following Hurricane Ike’s tragic path through east Texas.  I could postpone my flight and arrive on Tuesday, but any other changes to my schedule would cost me at least $600.  So I went.  I landed and immediately drove to Austin, and then on to San Antonio.

I was lucky–I was home.  But things were different: six new skyscrapers had been added to the skyline since I was in for Austin City Limits last year, and I have grown into a professional.  I worried for myself, and for Austin, that hard-earned audacity could be lost.

I ate antelope at Wink, one of Austin’s best and a local leader in the slow food movement.  (Deliciously gamey, and clearly, the chef had tenderized the bejesus out of it.)  I went to Whole Foods and Central Market, twice, and my favorite employee was still working the sandwich station.  I drank a tinto de verano on the patio of the San Jose.  I was delivered to Flipnotics to enjoy yet more wine on the back of a motorcycle, with speed bumps, a meaningful afternoon in so many ways.

I decided I should see if I could stay in Austin one more night, and providence was grinning slyly at me.  Apparently, anything can still happen in Austin, and I’m still bold enough to let it.

I must look like such an amateur when I start taking a gazillion pictures out airplane windows!  It never gets old.

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Taken as I was landing in Houston.  Its multiple city skylines.

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Post Ike, south Houston was in really, really bad shape.  I pulled over to take this, but on the road, it was too hard to get shots of the many tall buildings and homes with boarded windows.

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Not normal.

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On I-10.

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The first gas station where I could fill up, I was reminded how Texans do things.

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I suspect I was driving through a butterly migration, because I stopped counting after 40.  It was awful.  I did like that Jetta, though.

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Central Market’s pumpkin display (one of many varieties.)  These are just larger than basketballs.

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Home.

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I thought it was “Air Sex” themed air guitar.  It was not.  It was air sex.

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My favorite meal in unemployment–warm flatbread from Whole Foods and gazpacho (and two rounds of free samples).

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Taken in the lobby of the new Grand Hyatt in San Antonio.

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A friend-of-my-best-friend, who has become a friend, both of whom work for Hyatt, made a special arrangement for me: a business suite all to myself.  (And my new purse, not yet unwrapped!)  I was not there but for a night, but it was a very special occasion to see Alpha Chi friends.

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The master bedroom.

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After I was home, I got some real air guitar into me in DC.  Tim “Six String General” is center stage.

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Fantastic photo, taken by Bettie from Brooklyn who lost a toe to air guitar.

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I can’t resist taking photos of bathroom graffiti!

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