The one true thing about all conferences is that just about every writer I know is happy when it’s time to go home.
This is true even at a writer-friendly, writer-oriented con like ArmadilloCon.
The programming was interesting and unique. The presenter’s diverse. I had my pal Mario there with me. Still, I can’t wait to go home.
Now—here’s the good stuff. We arrived on Thursday, a day before the official start of the Con to spend the day with Mario’s sister, Sylvia. She was a great hostess. She opened her home to me, a stranger, and even when I told her Mario lied and we WEREN’T lovers, hastily made the appropriate arrangements and I had my own room. She didn’t even mind when I said I wanted her to dish the dirt on her brother.
Well, she didn’t have any dirt (evidently Mario was a PERFECT child—I wonder what that fairytale cost him) but she did have something even better—something Mario obviously forgot—She had Mario kid pictures!!!!
So, here for your titillation is Mario before he became the world famous writer.
So just what is our guy doing?
Ah-- there's a sprinkler under that cute little butt!
Playtime! Sylvia and her talented bro.
I couldn't do much with this one-- but if you look closely, we see some washboard abs on young stud Mario.
We actually had time to do some of the touristy stuff Austin is famous for—we saw the bats!!!!
For those of you who don’t know (and I was one of them) Austin’s Congress Bridge is home to 1.5 million bats. Yes, I said bats. The real pointy-eared, winged kind. Every evening when they’re in summer residence, they fly out around sunset to go hunting. From under this huge bridge in the middle of town. They come out in a swirl that climbs into the sky and forms a cloud that goes on for miles. We watched those little critters for an hour. The pictures don’t do the experience justice because I was using a digital camera with very limited zoom function. But this gives you an idea. I found a video on YouTube that gives an even better look at how 1.5 million bats look when they fly out on food run. Sometimes they swirl right over your head and in those instances, keeping your mouth shut seems a particularly good idea.
Barbcue. Now, no Texas visit is complete without a trip to the local barbecue hotspot. Iron Works barbecue. A historic restaurant in a historic part of town. So, you ask, where are the pictures of Mario with barbecue sauce dripping off his chin? There were two reasons I didn’t take pictures. The first was it was so damned hot and humid, we didn’t stay outside long enough to take pictures. The second reason was greasy, drippy barbecue sauce and cameras don’t mix. But it WAS damned good food washed down with—wait for it—Lone Star Beer, of course.
The Texas State Cemetary. Howard, Sylvia’s neighbor arranged a VIP tour for us. Now I could use a hackneyed old saw, like people are dying to get in, but the truth is, you need to make a reservation and be approved before you can make this particular bone yard your final resting place. This one is reserved for celebrities, politicians, big bucks people. Or you can be the founder of Austin. It is beautiful.
So—this was the pre-conference fun—in the next day or so, I’ll continue with the conference. Thank you, Sylvia, for your hospitality. And for letting me sneak those pictures of Mario. I'm sure he'll thank you too.
Nice pics, Jeanne. Welcome back! Alas it is with a heavey heart that I inform you that the tot and I cannot attend your signing. (boo hoo, the tot even had a great dress picked out. It's red.) The hubby surprised us with tickets to Hawaii so we'll be there. (it's actually not as glamourous as it sounds as the trip involves us staying with his brother, me dancing in the pan pacific championships, and lots of visits to his family--he's related to like half the island.) But the tot will get to see her cousins, and well, it *is* Hawaii, lol. Maybe I'll even win a big trophy at the dance competition, lol. I hope the singings go well!!