It’s been an intense week in Central Texas…if you’ve watched the news you know. I’ll spare the recap because it’s available elsewhere. HOW TO HELP.

Tonight we are doing a benefit to help out, because musicians gonna music and we give back when we can.

Wimberley

It’s amazing to see all the people who live here rally together in a time like this…puts a little plus mark in the “hope” column for the human race.

San Marcos
Fundraiser Shirt Design by Tour San Marcos, Texas

These days we don’t play many places in Texas where I have never been. I know the roads to Houston and Dallas and Amarillo pretty well by now. This weekend, though, I landed in a foreign place right here in our own state. It’s West Texas mixed with some New Mexico…lots of adobe and red chile ristras at the glorious Gage Hotel in Marathon where Susan played. They put us up, too…I almost declared I was never leaving except The Gage is all about restoration and calm and peacefulness so there was no cable TV in the rooms. That would be a longterm deal breaker for me. (I am just kidding, it was lovely and restful!)


Outside the hotel room


Outside the Catholic Church

And then the next morning while we were driving away the temperature dropped 40 degrees. I guess winter isn’t over yet, even in South Texas.

Happy New Year from San Marcos, Texas! I drove to Albuquerque for Christmas, drove back and immediately moved out of my South Austin apartment and down to San Marcos. Moved with the help of an army of awesome friends, that is. As I told them, if they hadn’t helped, I would be crying in the parking lot of my old place re-signing a lease just so I wouldn’t have to move anything. I am not a fan of the moving process (who is?)

Unpacking is way more fun, and the neighborhood here in San Marcos is lovely. I haven’t explored a whole lot but having spent quite a bit of time here over the years, I am excited to live in a river town with a lot going on, and only a short drive back up to Austin (and a not-bad drive south to San Antonio!)

I’m slowly making progress and I just got internet hooked up yesterday (THANKGOODNESSIWASSOCUTOFFFROMSOCIETY) so I’m almost fully up and running. The kitchen and the office area are the big things and then…watch out, y’all.

Books

I always do books first because they make a room look less empty. I do not organize my color, as this blog suggested. That’s weird.

Couch 1

Elizabeth donated her old couch the the cause called “Jana Needs Something to Sit On” and Amy and Cheryl have a truck and took it from Fort Worth to San Marcos for me. THIS TOOK A VILLAGE, people. But not the Village People. Everyone wore clothes and no one danced while moving.

Couch 2

Here it is in the new habitat. It’s the most comfy thing ever.

Gerald in a Terrarium

Gerald and his terrarium survived the move thanks to gentle handling. He’s enjoying his window.

Here’s to new starts for everyone…2013 is already good.

Moving

It’s been a busy month. Things being as they are here in the bustling metropolis of Austin, Texas (Tech Capital of the State), rents get raised every chance an apartment company gets. They gave us the notice that our increase was almost 20%, and my roomie Katie and I decided it was time to split up and conquer living expenses elsewhere.

I am moving to our neighbor to the South, San Marcos, at the end of the month. It will be a slight change of pace for sure…I think there’s only 50,000 people in the town. It’s only 30 minutes to Austin, though, which is a drive that I can do with my eyes closed (Note: DO NOT DRIVE WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED).

This week, however, is one of packing and planning to move. My shelves are getting empty and that awesome van we tour around in is on call to move my stuff (thank you, Susan…real friends help friends move).

Messy Desk

I’ve kept my desk in its normal state as long as possible, because the rest of my space looks like a tornado. Come to think of it my desk looks like a tornado anyway, but it’s a planned one. Empty shelves freak me out so I try and put that off. An ascetic I am not.

Wish me superhuman strength and light furniture…

The blog is slow because for the first week home I only attended to the things that directly fed or clothed or bathed me, like…the shower, and the grocery store, and my usual office worky stuff.

Then last week I spent a lot of time defining some goals because good grief I turn one of those decade birthdays in November and if you’re not looking it can really freak you out. Three oh.

Owen Temple
Hey, Owen!

In the meantime I’ve gotten to see and play with some great folks, like Owen Temple and Havilah Rand.

Terri and Jana

I also got to be a spectator and see Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines and Glenn Fukunaga play a house concert (Rawhide Trail, it’s a great series by some good friends). Glorious. Isn’t Terri’s hair cute? Yes it is.

Shoes
Pre-show Tacos

Every year for 3 weeks certain troopers go to Kerrville to Quiet Valley Ranch and camp out and watch music and play music and try to stay cool in the Texas heat. Many more go for a week or a weekend. Wimps like me go for a day and then come back and sleep in my own bed. Regardless of the length, a trip to Kerrville is always magical, even if it is sweaty.

This year Susan and Elizabeth shared a round with Rebecca Loebe and Paula Nelson at the Threadgill Theater. It was a great show.

Susan Gibson and Elizabeth Wills
Sharron’s camera takes way better photos so I stole this shot from her!

We left and beat a hail storm back…that is my kind of camping.

Susan Gibson at Gruene Hall

Sunday was a lovely day. I drove back from Houston with Elizabeth Wills, who had played a house concert there the night before. I took a nap and hopped in the car to go down to Gruene Hall, one of my most favorite venues on the planet for The Susan Gibson Band Extravaganza. It was rockin’. Michael O’Connor, David Carroll, and Ron Erwin gave the groove and the funk, and SusanG brang it as usual.

On the way home I made my roommate divert to the brand new Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels. I am a big Buc-ee’s fan – we stop there whenever we can on the road. They are like a convenience store on steroids. They are not a truck stop because they don’t allow semis. It’s a weird conglomeration of gas station, souvenir stop, and snack food heaven. There are several out near Houston, but this new one was supposed to be even bigger.

Buc-ee's

Oh my land it was. A beacon in the night, larger than my neighborhood Target and Walmart stores. I walked in and was confronted with rows of snack items and…more snack items.

Buc-ee's wall of snacks

A testament to obscene consumerism or an oasis for a weary traveler? Probably both. I got yogurt pretzels and an iced tea, being the obscene, weary traveler I am.

My last round of photos…it was a good month. Remembering to take a photo every day was harder than it sounded (heeeeeey, post office!) but it showed me that there’s an interesting picture just about everywhere you look.

Tofu Breakfast Taco from Bouldin Creek Coffee
1/22 – Bouldin Creek Coffee has these tofu breakfast tacos made of AN ADDICTIVE SUBSTANCE I cannot stop going there.

Post Office
1/23 – Post office. Zzzzz.

Emily Shirley and Katie Lessley
1/24 – On Tuesday after the aforementioned cooking class, we went to see Emily Shirley play at the Whip In, and Katie Lessley joined in on a few. Heavenly.

Citrus
1/25 – Citrus. Grocery store.

Sidewalk
1/26 – Spent a lot of time at Rubicon this week.

Susan Gibson at Rusty's in Austin
1/27 – Susan played a great show at Rusty’s in Austin with Christa Hillhouse on Friday night.

Houston!
1/28 – Saturday we found ourselves in Houston for a great show at the Firehouse Saloon. More on that later.

This is a lake out by Groesbeck, Texas. You can’t see the lake because it’s all been sucked up into the burning ball of fire that Texas has become this year. I am pretty sure the water was supposed to be above our heads (judging by the height of the pier that lead to nowhere). Instead I wandered into the thickets and picked up mussel shells. I found a pair of flip flops that were buried in sand next to each other…too scared to dig and find a foot. Weird. This heat is tiring me out…weather affects me. A good week of rain would do my brain good, but it would also do this whole parched earth thing really good.

Dry Lake Bed
Stacey took this artistic shot of me
trying to stand up in the weeds

Dry Lake Bed
E-Dub and I examining the aqua evidence

Thanks for the photos, Stacey!

I have been inspired by a cool post by Chuck Anderson over at MusicianWages.com…he describes his day in the life as a working musician. He’s got a very different day than anything I typically do, so I figured doing my own would not result in me being accused of plagiarism. Today was a 12 hour day from when we hit the road to when we got back home. I woke up at about 8 AM. The gig was a private party, and it was 3 hours away, so we got some coffee and picked up a fellow musician and took the scenic route because most roads that are not I-35 are scenic around these parts. We spent most of the time talking and I did buy a Giddings newspaper whereupon the police blotter provided 15 minutes of entertainment because it consisted of things like, “A cow was reported wandering loose on CR 391. Deputy Durburger arrived on the scene and herded the cow into the pasture. It was all ok.” I’m not lying.

Flat

About 30 minutes from our destination we heard a weird rumble. Susan pulled over and we had a smoking and shredded trailer tire. Luckily, Susan is not only a kickass musician, but pretty handy with a jack. We were on the road in 15 minutes.

Apple


We got to the gig, set up the PA, changed clothes, sound checked, and I handled some email stuff while I waited for the show to start because there was wifi!

Suz and Kevin

Yes that’s Susan and Kevin Welch. Yes it was awesome.

It was fun and easy and I watched a good show and afterwards we packed it all back up and headed back. No flat tires on the drive home, just caffeine consumption. I had an hour drive back to Austin and now I’m blogging. It’s almost midnight. Zzzz. That’s usually what a day is like when we leave home and return home in the same day. These days are rare, but appreciated. During the week a typical day for me involves waking up as early as I can stand depending on how late I was up the night before…the first half of my week is spent trying to normalize my body clock and the second half of the week is usually spent destroying it again. That’s ok. I still try and get 7 hours a night regardless. Anyways, once I wake up an inject coffee into my veins, I’ll handle email and do booking. I do best with booking if I have an expansive amount of time because while it is very analytic to map things and route things and put things on calendars, it is also a creative process and I like time to sit and think. I’ll handle web site updates, blog, or do my own writing during the mornings, too. Sometimes it’s erranding like mailing gig posters and the like…the post office is not my favorite place, but I like the do-it-yourself kiosk so I get out of there with as little human interaction as possible. Then depending on the day I’ll either go work at the music school (Red Leaf School of Music) from afternoon into the evening or go work for Dan at Rubicon Recording. (A thorough Rubicon post is forthcoming. It’s really cool). This past weekend we had a non-gig day, so Susan and I spent it registering for the Folk Alliance 2011 conference, arranging some travel plans for her, and making spreadsheets and plans for her new album release in February. Then we watched a Mae West movie because what else do you do after making spreadsheets? It’s a varied week every week and I like it that way. Sometimes it drives me nuts, but I’ve done the monotonous job thing before and I wouldn’t trade this for anything. And now…about that bed time thing…tomorrow is here.