Archive for February, 2005


Here’s a confession: I deliberately watched Wife Swap last night, for the first time. I gave up Mujer de madera to watch the swap, because of the Austin connection and because others have been talking about the episode for at least a week or so. Somebody’s found an e-mail address for the Austin female subject. The TCAD database shows the residence location. And the Austinite subjects are out there selling at least one book. The self-published “When Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy: 52 Rules Women Want Men to Know” has attracted at least one caustic review after the airing of last night’s show. Scroll on down and read it now, before it disappears. From the show it seems that the family’s church is prosperity-focused. It would be interesting to know which house of worship this is.

Sherbet mints in apotheosis

Lamme’s Candy has a long and illustrious history here in Austin. There are branches around town, but it’s fun to head for the source. In the factory store, at the sign of the lamb and candy cane out on Airport near Quality Seafood, you can select what you want, piece by piece. It’s not delicate; it’s beautifully fresh; and you haven’t tasted almond or pecan bark, with dark or with milk chocolate, until you’ve tasted Lamme’s. The February issue of Tribeza includes a photograph that absolutely glorifies Lamme’s sherbet mints. No matter what the color, they’re all peppermint, with no traditional lemon, lime, and wintergreen. They’re packed in the historically appropriate white pasteboard box with a clear window. The name of the photographer who stacked them up and brought out their inner beauty is Frank Curry, of Studio Penumbra. On the page following the mints, chocolate gets the treatment. Tribeza is to be found fairly reliably at Book People.

Missions, accomplished and un-

On Wednesday, the local daily published a charming feature on our closest H-E-B, the one at Congress and Oltorf. We used to share out our business among that H-E-B, the Town Lake MiniMax, and the Kash-Karry over where the giant south Schlotzky’s now is, just south of the river. Now, we still do some business with Kash-Karry (FreshPlus) at one of its last stands. H-E-B holds its own against newcomers. Safer Way became Whole Foods, and Wheatsville moved to one of the old Kash-Karry stores.

Our H-E-B once shared its then smaller location with many other stores, including a variety store, an optician, a drugstore, a vitamin joint, and the like, in a building that was much tinier then. The registers were tall and mechanical and groceries came out of the store on a conveyor belt, to be picked up in the parking lot.

Wednesday’s feature focused on a few people who’ve been there for decades. I wanted to be sure that Ms. Riojas, of the cosmetics department, got our copy of the newspaper to have to share out with her relatives.

Today was the first day it was possible to get in. She’s usually not there on Sundays, although her second-in-command, Lupe, is. But Lupe wasn’t there.

When I went by the service area to pick up the new Cap Metro bus schedule, I saw somebody in the back room, and she put in a call for Lupe to come to Cosmetics. But not before reading the article first. She’d heard about it but not seen it.

Lupe said that Ms. Riojas would, as we’d thought, be happy to have any and all copies of the article, to share with members of her extended family. So, if you still have a copy and are nearby, don’t put it out for recycling; take it to the H-E-B cosmetics department.

Having dropped off the paper and picked up a new bus schedule, I had plenty of time to get on up to South Waco, also known as the Arbor at Great Hills, the only place at which Almodóvar’s movie, now here at long last, is playing. Everybody at the first show seemed to be up from South Austin.

On the way back, we stopped at the courthouse to pick up free publications and we also dropped in at the library. Every time I’ve been to any library branch for the last year, I’ve been asked to “renew” my card. Can I show identification? Do I still live where I did when the card was issued. Yes, yes, yes. But the next time, I’m asked again. The “renewal” never goes into the system.

Maybe today it did. Is it because we’re still using the first library cards issued for the barcode-scanning system? Some records in the library system may flag the card because, before we lived in this house on this side of this street, we lived in another house on the same block, just a few doors away.

And then we went upstairs looking for IRS tax forms. Most of the boxes of forms were still taped shut, and the person at the desk wouldn’t lend me scissors to open them, but felt compelled to leave the desk and wield them herself.

Newspaper, bus schedule, Bad Education, library card, and tax forms. Checked off on the to-do list. I had wanted to take a picture of the Tomato Peace Garden and “PEACE ON EARTH” was even lit up, perhaps because the skies were overcast at the time, but I’d forgotten to slip my 20-dollar camera into my pocket. A mission for another time. So far as I know, the Tomato Peace Garden has never been vandalized in all its several years at the same location, but I want to be sure to capture it. So many people are moving out because of higher rents and even higher property appraisals that one can never be sure what local landmarks will go and what will stay.

Keep Austin Normal?

Gomi on South Congress has been asked by the city to remove their large styrofoam cat head or faces fines.

You can read more about this here:
KXAN Coverage

Since when is it all about keeping Austin normal?

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