Getting Tattooed with Food Poisoning and Other Tales from Austin

Greetings from my home sweet home here in New York City, after a week that can only be described as “eventful.” I’m referring to my grand Austin adventure, originally planned as a way to start sowing seeds for a new life and instead becoming a grand ol’ vacation in Texas with my lovely G; and I’m referring to what it’s like to say goodbye to people that irrevocably changed your life just by being in it. I talk a lot about how crazy it is to realize how things change over the course of a year, or two years, or five, but this week I learned it’s crazy how things can change in just an hour – or five. But in the spirit of keeping this under 12 pages, let’s start with Austin Adventures:

We start our weekend last Friday at 4am, as I leave A’s place for a 5:45 flight from LaGuardia, stopping in Houston to switch planes before ATX, baby. The plan was to take the earliest flight out so I’d have the whole afternoon to bask in the Texas sun, go to a yoga studio, and generally enjoy my time in my second-favorite US city. Things felt *slightly* weird after boarding the plane and then not moving or hearing anything from the flight attendants for over an hour, but you know, flights can be weird. By the second hour that passed on the plane, I was getting pretty cranky. I should mention I avoid coffee before long flights and was not super thrilled with anything at that point, especially as I’d already missed my connecting flight. By 8:15 we finally had an update: everyone off the plane and maybe we’ll leave this morning. After a HUGE coffee and some airport yoga, I had a smile on my face – I wasn’t going to let a delay ruin my Austin weekend – but starting the weekend with a 5-hour delay should have been a clue that I may love Texas, but it was not about to love me back.

Friday and Saturday went off without a hitch, a perfect two days singing in the car and hanging out with G, those rare moments where we can pretend we do this all the time instead of barely once a year. I sang her Happy Birthday and we ate some of the best desserts (“manna cotta… panne cotti? Just put more in my mouth.”). G’s roommates joined us for Saturday night and we danced on Dirty Sixth among cowboys and bachelorette parties, and in the midst of getting our hair done earlier that afternoon, we hatched a plan to continue a now-tradition the next day during our Austin adventures: somewhat-spontaneous tattoos.

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling a little foggy but overall fine – I’d stuck to beer the night before and made a point to drink water so I’d be comfortable while needles pierced my skin that day. I’m an early riser and the girls were still sleeping, so I ventured down to the hotel lobby for a small breakfast of yogurt (<– that’s important) and cereal while watching an old episode of Ink Master on my computer (*how am I so cool). Eventually G and I went out for breakfast tacos, and I noticed my stomach felt…. not right. I should mention I’m not a hungover puker. Like, ever. I mean okay there have been occasions, but for the most part after heavy drinking, I get headaches and migraines, I don’t vomit. So when I started to feel my stomach churning in the middle of a delicious breakfast taco salad, I thought it was odd, but brushed it off – it had to be a hangover, right?

We went back to the hotel to lay down for a quick nap to stave off G’s hangover before heading out for spontaneous tattoo adventures. I didn’t sleep so much as toss and turn, telling myself I wasn’t about to vomit because that’s not what I do. Turns out that was what I ended up doing for the next hour – stupid hangover! Luckily, after a particularly spirited outburst of the final remnants of my breakfast in the streets of Austin while walking around to kill time before the shop opened, I miraculously felt wonderful. We spent the next few hours in the tattoo shop where we’d been two years before, chatting with the artist, reviewing the design, the familiar buzz of the machine and then just a hint of pain as I reminded myself why, in fact, I’d sworn off any more rib tattoos after the first one. As mine is larger, I was the first victim of the machine, and I watch G get two perfect arrows on her forearm with a mix of awe and excitement. And then my stomach did the familiar churn of the morning, and while her arm was saran-wrapped and instructions for healing were offered, I projectile-lost-everything-in-my-body in the shop bathroom and a nightmare night began.

I have to say, having never had food poisoning before (*and not realizing that’s what it was for a while since I was only vomiting), there really is no introduction quite like a night by yourself in a strange AirBNB in a semi-strange city, alternately wincing as you brush a fresh wound on your ribs and throwing up so violently you can’t breathe. Sadly said violent-vomiting meant my very last day in Austin, the only bright and sunny day, the one where I had two yoga studios picked out to attend and the whole city at my beck and call, was instead spent huddled on a strange bed under the air conditioning, sipping Walgreens-brand Pedialyte and watching Netflix.

I was more than grateful to get home early on Tuesday afternoon, except I knew that meant a terrible goodbye was on its way. It wasn’t the vacation I’d had planned at all – not even a little bit. But that’s exactly how my last Austin adventure went too. And really, nothing that I ever plan for Austin turns out the way I think it will. Maybe that’s the beauty of my relationship with that city: the constant reminders that life is full of little surprises, and forever is composed of nows.

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Quick Thoughts: I’m trying!

“Okay, you have your laptop open and a few minutes to spare. Just write one post for Monday and then figure out the rest at the end of the week.”
“Ugh! Why didn’t I write that down when it was on my mind? I know it would have been a great post and now I can’t find the words!”
“GOD DAMMIT LB you have an iPad, two phones and a laptop. Write. Something. Down.”

These are a sample of conversations I’ve had with myself in the past two weeks. I hate that things have been so quiet here, but it’s just been a hell of a month for me, between work, travel and more. I’m trying to hard to keep up with writing, I PROMISE, but we’re entering two weeks of hell at work before two projects come to a close at the same time, so please bear with me this month while I work as hard as I can to get back on track. I have a lot of fun updates that I’m putting together piecemeal in the next few days, but it’s likely this will be another quiet week on the blog. I swear to everyone and grilled cheesus that I’m doing everything I can to get back on track, because I miss the Chronicle as much as I’m sure you all do too.

So to reiterate, stay tuned in March while I continue working through my schedule to find time and inspiration for blogging, and just know I’ll be back as soon as I can! A good way to keep up is to follow me on Twitter (@LBthe20whatev) and Instagram (@lbdoesyoga), since 140 characters is a lot more manageable when you only have three minutes to spare.

xoxo!
LB

PLD Montage: Vol. 4 (Austin edition)

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to chronicle this past weekend, the annual college reunion, because it could go in so many directions. I could talk about how much it means to have that time with my People, the ones who know all of my flaws and love me anyway, after we’ve all had a tough few weeks. I could put up something cute and cryptic about unique bonding experiences, or how much things can change in a year and yet how things can feel exactly the same, as though no time has passed. But the more I cycled through photos and memories on the long trip home, there is really only one way to give the past few days, officially dubbed “Best Weekend Ever (Seriously)” the justice they deserve.

Readers, I give you the latest Montage: Austin Edition.

  • While packing for the trip, I left out a few things that I would need to bring, but couldn’t lock in a suitcase until right before we left for the airport. Namely: glasses case, deodorant and phone charger. Despite a hot date with jalapeno margaritas the night before, E and I had no well, only minor problems waking up at 4 a.m., and I laid out the things I needed to pack as we scrambled around my apartment waiting for the car (Uber count: 1) to arrive. Everything travel-wise went incredibly smoothly – until I went to put away my glasses, apply deodorant and charge my phone.
    Lesson learned: Just because you’re not at a bar doesn’t mean 4 a.m. LB can be trusted.
  • In the week leading up to Austin, I was having a bit of a disagreement with my landlords about who was responsible for paying for my missing doorknob (ref.). It eventually worked out in my favor but it did leave me a bit shorter in budget for the weekend. I figured I’d just use my credit card for trip expenses, so I carefully planned the rest of my weekly spend to leave that card untouched, using cash in lieu of credit so I’d had as many funds to play with in Austin as possible. Following a very joyous reunion, set to the dulcet tones of Iggy (natch), we explored part of Austin for the afternoon, went back to the hotel for some pre-dinner drinks and a fashion show, and rolled out (Uber count: 2) to the supremely classy East Sixth Street for dinner, drinks and dancing. With Texas prices, my budget plan was beyond perfect, and I was so excited to be with my college loves again, so excited for all the crazy things we had planned for the rest of the trip. And then I lost my credit card somewhere between dancing on the bar at Coyote Ugly and getting the patio bartender at Toulouse to follow us on Instagram.
    Lesson learned: STOP. DRINKING. VODKA.
  • After getting back on Saturday night (Uber count: 3, 4. E went home first), I had a bit of a white girl meltdown about the card and how I was going to have fun throughout the weekend. I continued to cry and complain about where my card was like a spoiled brat with zero regard for the other two people forced to share a room with me. After keeping them up for a little while, I finally calmed down and passed out in the surprisingly comfortable hotel bed. Then woke up early, felt great and went by the pool to tan and do yoga for a couple hours, and kicked the other two out of bed when I got bored so we could brunch and find a bar for the World Cup Final.
    Lesson learned: Do not wake sleeping friends to humblebrag about your productive morning when you kept them up the night before.
  • Once the Argentina game ended (Aside: UGHHHHH. End aside), we decided to skip our afternoon plans of actually exploring Austin and stay at the bar with our new best friends, the daytime bartenders, who we’ll call Birthday Boy and Ham. The rooftop bar was perfect for a Sunday Funday, complete with water misting over everyone (#TexasIsHot), an adult-sized see-saw, two rocking horses, random dogs, free barbeque tacos and cornhole. BB and Ham joined us once their shifts were over, and we lost track of the time, laughing hysterically at everything, making friends with everyone and G, E and I just being together, like old times. When the sun went down at about 9, G and E decided to head to down the street for dinner (Uber count: 5), but I was having probably too much fun for a 20-something on the see-saw while BB and Ham bought drinks in honor of my sideboob. I decided to stay at the bar for a little while and meet them back at the hotel instead, and planned to stop for a quick dinner on the way back. Three hours and perhaps a shot (or two) later, I made it back (Uber count: 6) and even got up early enough the next morning for round two of yoga and tanning. It wasn’t until we sat down to breakfast at the hotel that I realized I hadn’t eaten more than a bite of free barbecue pork taco in 24 hours. G’s reaction: “At least you’re not hangry!”
    Lesson learned: If that’s all you’re going to eat in 24 hours, at least have the entire taco.
  • At the end of the trip, after a long day of travel with 2 dead phones, I finally made it back home (Uber count: 7), only mostly hungover and very glad to see little miss. Once my phones were revived, I started scrolling through photos from Best Weekend Ever, and found that I had been somewhat snap-happy at the bar the day before. I sent some of the choice images to G and E, and despite pure exhaustion, we stayed up for another hour on the group text, laughing and reminiscing and trying to pretend we were texting from different rooms, instead of different states. I can’t believe the trip is over. I can’t wait for next year.
    Lesson learned: Despite distance, time and a lot of changes, your best friends will always love you.

I have a million more stories, featuring fantastic quotes that include “Wait is that a metaphor or do you actually have a warrant out for your arrest?,” “WATCH ME DO MY CHEETAH DANCE!,” “I think it’s true love if he massages your stomach when you’re constipated,” and “He gets serious bonus points for not giving me beard burn.” But there are a few stories that stay between friends – especially when you only get together once a year.

Here’s to Peace, Love, 403 in 2015: Perhaps we’ll learn how to behave by then. But honestly? For another weekend like this one, I hope we never do.