Leaving tomorrow for Pennsylvania...

Jon and I went to Austin's Trail of Lights last night. Lots of lighted displays along a trail, with all kinds of twinkly things in the trees--very dreamy and Christmassy. We chatted with the folks in front of us while waiting for the parking shuttle. They had moved here in '68, I believe. Austin sure has changed since then. He talked about putting in the upper deck of IH 35, and he used the words "before MoPac."

It's always a little awkward, talking to an old Austinite about moving here. We get to say how much we love it here, but there's always the tacit admission that we're part of the traffic congestion that is strangling Austin. They're actually justified in saying, "Damn fer-ners," but...they're Austinites, so they never do.

This lunchtime poll, on fluff and lint, had a pretty even response. "Teddy Bear stuffins" eked into first with three out of ten votes. "Personalized pocket lint" and "Dryer lint," understandably, have a similar audience and split the votes, getting two each. "Marshmallow Fluff," "Harry Potter," and "Carpet Fuzzies" all held their own, with a vote apiece. This one just didn't inspire great passion, one way or the other. ...Kinda feels like an election...

Memories from my youth: Freezing rain, closings and late starts, scraping the car... All made a reality for me again, coupled with *sand* (not salt) trucks, power failures, and phone outtages. I saw two people in my parking lot, looking forlorn and pathetic, pouring water (water!) on their windshields. I lent my scraper to one woman who was watching her windshield wipers skitter ineffectually over the ice, holding an empty pitcher. Too pathetic not to help. The big guy with the scraper and the spritzer bottle, I left to his own devices. I felt a bit smug.

But everything was *beautiful*. It's winter now. I feel better.

Weather or Not: Today, the high is 73. Tonight, freezing rain is expected. It is very weird here.

And in keeping with that theme... I tutor a second-grader on reading. We were going through a worksheet (with st words), and she opted to explain the word "frost" to me. I'm thinking windows on winter mornings, windshields scraped with a student id (which is why I hang onto it), hoary gray grass in the back yard, but she, little Texan that she is, says, "That's like when you put a steak in the freezer. When you take it out, it has frost on it."

Boy howdy.

Sparkly: The Dell holiday party was on Saturday. We rented a tuxedo for Jon, and I wore a silver ball-gown skirt with a burgundy, sparkly shirt. ...Do you know that Dell has a lot of employees? Holy cow. But the theme was Mardi Gras, and there was dancing and champagne and jugglers and magicians and a guy on stilts and crawfish and other fried, possibly seafood, things on a buffet in the dark (meet Jon, my tastetester).

But beforehand, Jon took me for a walk along Congress Street, over the bat bridge. The moon was full, Christmas lights hung along the bridge, the Colorado River glistened below. And then he made that most cinematic of movements: Reach into the tuxedo's inside jacket pocket, remove the little velvet box, and get down on one knee.

And then he stood up and told me about the warranty on the diamonds...

Do I want an ISSN for my blog? Hmm... (found via that charming, swell guy at ZedneWeb)

Apartment Update: The fabled sheetrock-replacement did not occur on Monday. No phone call, no notice, simply a failure to appear and do the work. Is this what having a teenager is like? I called the office just now and got—oh joy of joys—a new clueless, vapid assistant. I quickly gave up on getting my questions answered and just opted for leaving a message. Sigh...

BlogVoices: Carrying on a tradition that was championed by the good folks at Blogger, chrish has created, all by his lonesome, this really cool blog accessory that allows site visitors to add comments to any post. Freeware, developed because it's cool. I like this new trend.

I'll add in the discuss image when I get home and can upload it.