Hangin' with the Hipsters

March 17th 2012

It has been awhile since I blogged.  Please forgive my absence.  I have had a bit of writer’s block lately.  It happens.  But spring is in the air and I am feeling renewed and ready to open up my heart and share my thoughts with you once more.  It’s good to be back!

 

As you may have observed, I am fond of new experiences.  I like to keep things fresh and exciting.  Today was one of those days.  Every spring Austin hosts SXSW (pronounced South By Southwest).  If you’re cool like me you just call it “South By”.  That’s what all of the locals call it.  SXSW is a HUGE event that lasts for about 11 days.  The festival consists of three portions:  Interactive, Film and Music.  It is a very big deal and seems to become even more so each year.  Throughout the festival celebrities of all sorts arrive in Austin to perform, participate and share their wisdom.  This year’s keynote speaker was a guy named Bruce Springsteen.  Maybe you’ve heard of him.  He’s sort of a big deal.

 

There are many ways one can experience SXSW.  Some attendees purchase badges for one portion of the festival.  Others purchase a badge for the entire event.  Some folks buy tickets for a single show, while others take advantage of the free performances.  There is something for everyone.  I wanted to fit in, but since there are no badges for dogs (the nerve!) my mom made one for me at home.  It wasn’t exactly legit, but I felt really special walking around downtown with it.  And I actually fooled a few people.  But as I have noticed, humans are not that difficult to dupe!

 

Pretty official looking, right?

SXSW Paisley Badge

 

Besides film screenings and musicians performing, there are many bands in town trying to make their mark and get more exposure to the music industry.  I met one such person.  His name is Jason and he is a member of a band called “The Nadas”.  He gave me one of their CD’s.  For free!  I was honored. I really liked the concept of the album.  It’s called “Almanac”.  The band wrote and recorded a different song every month in 2009.  The result was an album that told a bit of their story for a year.  Very cool idea!  We listened to some of it on our way home.  I have to say, they were pretty great!  Meeting Jason and hearing about his band was cool.  It’s what SXSW is all about.

 

Jason and I bonding in front of the convention center. 

SXSW Paisley with Jason the Musician

 

After we left Jason we headed toward 6th Street.  Now just about everyone has heard of Austin’s Entertainment District.  It can get a little rowdy down there, but we went early so it was still pretty tame which is just the way I like it.  The street was blocked off to vehicles so there was plenty of room for everyone to walk.  I loved it.  Naturally people had to stop to tell me how pretty I am.  I get that a lot!  The beauty of my eyes especially impresses people.  I am told they are very expressive and have a human quality.  What can I say?  I am both flattered and yet not particularly surprised.  It seems I am quite exceptional.

 

As we continued on 6th Street I saw a group of very special guys that do so much for our great city.  I went over to give them some love and was pleasantly surprised to find that one of them was our very own Police Chief Art Acevedo!  Mom asked the nice officers if they would take a photo with me and they readily agreed.  I was a bit star struck though.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of Chief Acevedo.  He is a very handsome man!  I kept staring at him instead of the camera, but he finally got my attention and I turned around just long enough to capture the moment.  There may have been famous actors, musicians and other celebrities in town this week, but meeting the Chief was enough for me.  Police officers are the best!  They have a tough job and we all need to stop and say a big “thanks” when we see them.  They make events such as SXSW possible.  They keep things safe and orderly under what can sometimes be difficult circumstances.  So the next time you see a cop, give him a big old hug! 

 

No one is going to mess with me as long as I have THESE guys backing me up!

SXSW Paisley with Acevado

 

At this point in the afternoon my tongue was beginning to drag.  Most of the folks were dressed appropriately for the warm weather, but I wear a fur coat year round.  So as you can imagine I was ready to call it a day.  From 6th Street we headed north on Congress and left the SXSW crowd behind.  As we walked back to our car I thought about how fortunate I am to live in this very special place.  Austin is known as being a bit weird.  We aren’t ashamed of it.  We embrace it!  But I would not have it any other way.  I love living in a unique city with eccentric people.  And I think they like having me live here with them!

Two Years of Livin' and Lovin'

November 15th 2011

Where has the time gone?  It seems that only yesterday I was a scared little pup, trying to find my way in this world.  At the age of 8 months I came to live in Austin to be with my “forever family”.  They accepted me just as I am, because that is what families do.  As far as I am concerned, that was the best day of my life.  And theirs!

 

When I awoke this morning it felt like any other day.  I stretched out my legs and went outside to enjoy the lovely fall morning.  Mom always goes out with me.  Usually she says “good morning”, but today she scratched my head and said “Happy Birthday Paisley.”  Oh good gravy, how did I manage to forget that today was my birthday?  I simply HAVE to get a personal assistant!

 

So today is my second birthday, which means that in doggie years I am 14.  Since my mom and dad raised two human girls, I would really like to fit in with my older sisters.  So I did a little research into the habits and behavior of the average American 14 year old female.  It seems I need to get braces on my teeth, spend more time at the mall, and learn to roll my eyes when the grown ups begin to annoy me.  I also need to figure out who this Justin Bieber kid is.  Or maybe I will just skip that part!

 

I was excited to know that today was my birthday, but not quite sure what to expect.  I have been around for several birthday celebrations in my family, but I was not certain that any special efforts would be made on my behalf just because I was another year older.  Even though it might be hard to tell sometimes, I actually DO realize that I am a dog and that I might not always enjoy all of the benefits that the rest of the family does.

 

The morning went well but nothing out of the ordinary happened.  After lunch we went outside.  My Mimi and mom were here so I was happy to spend time with them.  And then they began to get busy setting out all sorts of intriguing items.

 

The first thing I spotted was a little table out in the yard.  There were two gifts on the table, along with a cupcake with two candles on it.  It seems there would be a party after all! 

 

Wow!  Was this all just for me?

Cupcake and Presents!

 

The first thing we did was to play a party game.  There were purple (my favorite color) balloons all over the grass.  At first I wasn’t sure what to do with them.  But I soon discovered that if I bit them they would make a great big noise.  It was oodles of fun and I loved every minute.

 

LOVE this game!

Birthday Baloons

 

Next it was time for presents!  Each of my gifts was a wonderful new toy.  Thank goodness they didn’t get me socks and underwear!  Those are just the worst gifts ever.  Can I get an “amen”?

 

A gift for me?  Oh, you shouldn’t have!

Opening my presents!

 

It turns out that they saved the best for last.  I was beginning to wonder when we would get to the good stuff.  I had been spying that gorgeous cupcake throughout the party and had worked up a mighty big appetite.  So after all of the games and presents I was finally able to enjoy my delicious dessert.  It was quite strange being given a treat such as this.  Normally I have to steal them.  (Refer to my previous blog entry please.)  As you can see, I wasted no time in attacking this delectable goodie.  It was a bit messy, but who cares? 

 

Get in my belly!

Attack that Cupcake!

 

Could I get a napkin over here please?

Frosting on my nose!

 

Full tummy = Happy Paisley!

Job well done!

 

After the party I came back inside to play with my toys.  Before long I decided that a birthday nap was in order.  So I found one of my favorite spots and settled in for a snooze. 

 

But before I drifted off I took a moment to reflect on my first two years on this earth.  I got off to a shaky start when my first two families decided I was not a good fit for their homes.  But if they had kept me I would never have come to be a part of this family that I have grown to love so much.  To quote one of my favorite songs, “God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.” Even though there was a time in my life when I was not certain of my future, I never gave up hope that someday I would be exactly where I was meant to be.  And that is where I find myself now.  I am home. 

 

So my lesson that I am taking away from today is that this birthday wasn’t really all about me being showered with gifts, games and goodies.  Those were nice of course.  But today was really about taking a moment to appreciate the life I have been given.  I am loved.  What better reason to celebrate? 

Donuts and Drama!

September 27th 2011

I must begin by saying that when I awoke one morning last week I had nothing but the best of intentions for a wonderful day with my sweet family.  I love these people and cherish my time with them.  I can tell they feel the same way about me.  It’s a pretty sweet life for this pup!

 

The day began on a high note when I saw dad walk in the door with donuts!  I am a fan of pastries even though I often only experience them through my sense of smell.  For some reason mom and dad don’t think I should eat many baked goods.  I’m not sure why.   How crazy is that, am I right?  Occasionally someone will share a little nibble, but not often.  So when I saw that beautiful box of donuts come in the house my hopes for the day began to soar.

 

However, as expected, no one seemed to notice how angelically I sat by their sides as they enjoyed those delicious sugar glazed bites of heaven!  It was all I could do not to leap in the air and steal one from their grasp.  But I am a good dog (no matter what you’ve heard) and I know my place.  So I sweetly waited and watched as they enjoyed their breakfast.  Besides, I had a plan!

 

You see, I knew my sister was about to leave the house.  She was headed out to the Austin City Limits Music Festival.    I am told it’s a big whoop-tee-doo downtown.  Apparently folks from all over the world come to Austin every year for this shindig.  It’s probably fabulous, but since dogs are not invited, I really don’t care.  Anyway……she was going to be out of the picture for the rest of the day.

 

I also had it under good authority that dad was leaving town on business which meant he would not be a problem.  Two down, one to go.  When I overheard mom saying that she had errands to run all afternoon I knew the opportunity I had hoped for was becoming a reality.  All I had to do was to be patient and await my opportunity.

 

I pretended to be napping, while keeping one eye on the donuts at all times.  Dad closed the box and cleverly (or so he thought!) place it at the back of the stove.  I have no idea why he thought this would make for a great spot to hide them.  About six weeks ago they left blueberry muffins in that exact same place.  While they were out of the room I managed to gulp down five muffins and four muffin liners!  Don’t these guys pay attention?  Why in the world would they put donuts in the exact same location?  I am beginning to wonder about the intelligence of these people!

 

I ask you!  How could I possibly resist these babies?

Donuts

 

As I very quietly pretended to be asleep, I waited for the last family member to walk out the door.  Once I heard the car pull away from the house I made a beeline for the kitchen.  I stood up on my back legs and saw that glorious box of deliciousness sitting there, just waiting to be devoured.  Unfortunately, the box was tucked back a bit further than I was hoping.  I made several attempts to reach it.  At one point my paw landed on one of those knobs at the front of the stove.  The knob turned to one side, but I didn’t let that bother me.  I had tunnel vision and all I could see was a lemon filled donut with my name on it.  I’m not kidding.  I’m pretty sure it said “Paisley” right on the side. 

 

After a few more swipes of my paw I finally resigned myself to the fact that the tremendous joy brought on by a sugar rush would once again escape my grasp.  There was nothing left to do but go back to my blanket and take a nap.  However, I began to notice a funny smell.  I had never smelled anything like it before.  It certainly didn’t smell like anything I would want to eat, so I did not investigate further.  For the rest of the afternoon I just hung out by myself.  But I couldn’t help noticing that the smell became stronger as the day wore on.  Oh well, not my problem.

 

After several hours I heard the garage door open.  That could mean only one thing.  Mom was back from running errands!  I ran to greet her at the kitchen door, as is my custom.  She LOVES for my face to be the first thing she sees when she comes home.  But as she walked in I noticed an odd expression on her face.  I had never seen her look that way before.  She seemed a little frightened.  Then I realized that she could smell that same funny odor that I had been enduring all afternoon.  It really was quite unpleasant! 

 

She immediately ran over to the stove and turned that very same knob that I had bumped earlier.  I wasn’t quite sure why she did that.  Then she rushed through the house and opened some windows and the back door.  She tried to get me to follow her out into the yard but I wouldn’t do it.  I was having a difficult time understanding what all the commotion was about.  So she grabbed my leash (Yay!  We’re going for a walk!) and we began walking down the street. 

 

I assumed we were walking to our mailbox.  But we passed right by it and walked up to a building I had never noticed before.  It had two great big doors at the front and inside one of the doors was the biggest red truck I have ever seen in my life!  It had a ladder on its’ side.  I am not sure what the truck is used for, but it seemed pretty important. 

 

There was a nice man out front and my mom went over to talk to him.  She told him that when she came home there was a strong smell of gas in our house.  That must be what I had smelled all afternoon!  She told him that either my sister or dad must have accidentally left the stove on.  That sounded like a reasonable theory to me, so I stood quietly by while she shared her thoughts about how it must have happened.  She then asked the man how long we should stay outside of our house.  Well the next thing I knew that man and some of his friends got in that big red truck and took off!  Then mom and I began walking back towards our house.  But this time I noticed mom was walking a bit faster.  As we headed down the sidewalk the big red truck filled with men drove right past us and turned onto our street.

 

Mom and I walked up our driveway and the men were all in our front yard.  One of the men told my mom that the smell was very strong and that they couldn’t go inside until the Hazardous Materials Unit arrived with a special gauge to measure the gas.  Well now, that sounded serious to me, even though I had no idea what he was talking about.  Then the man asked my mom if she was certain that she turned the stove completely off.  And that is when I had an Ah-Hah moment!  Could it be that I had caused this to happen when I bumped the knob on the stove?  And that because of me all of these men were at my house?  Wow!  Who knew I could cause so much excitement? 

 

Then the man said something that really worried me.  He said, “Ma’m, you did the right thing by getting out of the house.  The smell is very strong.  We smelled it outside your home when we arrived.” 

Uh-oh!  Suddenly the excitement of the unexpected walk through the neighborhood and the arrival of all the kind men on the big red truck seemed to fade.  It appeared there could be a chance that I might be in serious trouble here.  But wait a minute!  Didn’t mom tell the man at the fire station that she thought dad or my sister left the stove on?  Hmmm……maybe there was a way out of this.  After all, no one actually SAW me bump the knob.  That is when I decided to just lay low and let the grown-ups handle the situation.  No reason for me to get involved. 

 

Soon another truck pulled up and two more men got out.  They went into our house.  After a few minutes they came back out and one of them said, “It’s non-explosive.”  That seemed to make mom feel better, so I felt better too.  Then all of the men went into the house and opened up every single window.  They checked the house over really well and assured mom that we would be okay.  Mom thanked them and they went back to their pretty fire station.

 

Mom and I went and sat on the deck while the nasty smell left our house.  I heard her call dad and ask him if he or my sister had used the stove that morning.  He said, “No, but remember that we left those donuts at the back of the stove.  Maybe Paisley tried to get them after we left and managed to bump the knob.”  At this point I casually looked away as if I were watching a squirrel scamper across my yard.  I am quite gifted at looking completely clueless in these types of situations.  It’s a gift and it has gotten me out of trouble more times than I can remember!  I am not sure mom fell for it, but since no one was hurt and our house didn’t go Ka-boom, I think I have escaped being questioned on the matter.

 

So what began as a quiet little day spent longing for donuts turned into yet another adventure for me to add to my memoirs.  And as always, I tried to learn something from the experience.  First, donuts are wonderful and should never be withheld from anyone!  Second, if you smell a strange odor in your house, open a window and get outside.  Third, the Austin Fire Department is ready, willing and able to help out when there is ANY sign of danger.  And the fourth thing really is not something that I learned.  It is something I hope my family learned.  That is, never underestimate the amount of trouble a sweet, lovable Labradoodle can cause.  We can’t help it.  It’s just what we do!

 

Until the next adventure………….Paisley

 

P.S.  I thought you might enjoy this photo of me and one of our heroes.  I would have looked directly towards the camera, but the guilt and shame of my actions was washing over me like a tsunami!

 Paisley with Firemen

We are family...

July 28th 2011

It has been exactly one year since I came to live with my new family here in Austin.  I love living in this wonderful place and enjoy sharing my Austin adventures with my readers.  Life is good here in the capital of Texas.  The people are friendly, the food is fantastic and there is always a new experience waiting around the corner. 

 

Recently I found myself participating in a celebration the likes of which I could never have imagined.  You see, in my world, family means my mom and dad.  Of course there are also a handful of extended family members that visit on occasion, such as a very sweet lady called Mimi.  She feeds me potato chips when no one is looking.  I LOVE her!  I also have two sisters and a brother-in-law that like to spend time with me.  Up until this point I assumed that this small circle was the only family I had.  Boy was I wrong!

 

Several months ago I noticed that there was often talk around the house about “the family reunion”.  Now I have never heard of such a thing, but since it was mentioned so often I knew that it must be a pretty big deal.  As it turns out this reunion is held once a year, right here in my very own home.  My mom’s family gathers every summer to spend time with each other, reconnect, and remember days gone by when they were younger, thinner and better looking.    

 

Mom tries to make the family reunions as much fun as possible.  Every year she chooses a different theme.  She then forces (I mean strongly urges) family members to participate to the fullest.  Well this year was to be an extra special event.  Our Aunt Violet would be celebrating her 100th birthday!   Do you have any idea how old that is in dog years?  It boggles the mind. 

 

Aunt Violet is a very special lady.  She lives independently in a retirement center, plays bridge several times a week, does her crossword puzzle every morning and is up to date on all current events.  She is truly amazing and a family treasure!  So it was only fitting that a grand celebration be planned in her honor.

 

Check out the birthday girl.  Is she a beauty or what?

Violet with Birthday Sign

 

Now, to come up with a theme for the party………did I mention that her name is VIOLET?  There’s our theme!  Mom ordered (I mean requested) everyone attending the party to wear purple, lavender, VIOLET, etc.  You get the picture.  However, they were encouraged to take it a step further and come up with a costume of some sort, all in shades of lilac of course.  As you will see, costumes were crazy, funny and in some cases a bit disturbing!  I cannot believe I am related to some of these folks.

 

This is the birthday girl’s sister.  She came as the “Exercise Queen”.  She will soon be 96 years young.  Talk about some incredible family genes.  These people live forever! 

Vernelle 2011 Reunion

 

 The crazy one on the left is dressed as the “Texas Representative to the Royal Wedding”.  And the lovely “Sixties Girl” on the right is one of my sisters.  (She LOVES me!)

Dixie with Cassidie 2011 reunion

 

 My other sister and her husband were “Purple Space Aliens” for the day.  Aren’t they out of this world?  (Sometimes I just crack myself up.)

Carly and David 2011 Reunion

 

Remember when I said some costumes were just downright bizarre?  Well here you go………’nuff said.

Sam 2011 Reunion

 

 After visiting with each other, admiring the creative costumes, and catching up on family news, the food arrived.  This was the opportunity of a lifetime for me.  More than fifty people were at my house and they were all eating barbecue!  I put on my best “sad puppy dog” face and proceeded to make the rounds.  I do love the brisket!

 

If you read my blog regularly (and I hope you do!) then you know my affinity for a nice body of water.  So when some of the boys in the family jumped into the pool, I just had to join them.  It would be rude not to!  After all, I was their host for the day.  So I jumped in and we had a good old time.  There is nothing better on a hot summer afternoon than a bunch of boys, an adorable labradoodle and a nice cool swimming pool. 

 

Joy beyond belief!

Paisley swimming with boys 2011 Reunion

 

Naturally no birthday bash is complete without a cake and candles.  Fortunately we have two firefighters in our family so they were standing by just in case their services were needed.  We joined in singing “Happy Birthday” and Aunt Violet blew out 100 candles all by herself. 

 

WOW!

Violet with 100th Birthday Cake 2011 Reunion

 

What an incredibly wonderful day it was.  I was introduced to family that I did not even know existed.  I tried to be on my best behavior so that I would make a good first impression.  I think they like me.  I hope so, because I cannot wait until next summer when I get to see them all again. 

 

I try to learn something from each new experience.  This day was no exception.

 

 I learned that letting down ones hair usually leads to having a fabulous time.  So throw caution to the wind, put on a pair of purple tights and feather boa.  Live a little!

 I discovered that absolutely NOTHING tastes better than good Texas barbecue, especially when shared with people you love.

 

But the most important lesson that I took away from my first family reunion was that family is everything!  If you are blessed with one, whether large or small, then please love them, care for them and be there for them.  And by all means, if one of them makes it to the century mark, CELEBRATE THEM!

Dog Days of Summer

June 29th 2011

Whoa Nelly!  Have you been outside lately?  The sidewalks are sizzlin’ and my tongue is draggin’. 

Since I do not have the luxury of removing my fur coat when springtime arrives, I naturally am not a big fan of hot weather.  However, while I might not enjoy the spike in outdoor temps, I am absolutely crazy for the H2O.  I cannot get enough of it.  A quick dip in the pool or a dash through the sprinkler helps this Labradoodle chillax on a hot Texas afternoon.

I have recently discovered a new place to soak my sweet self.  Once again, my latest adventure began with a trip in the car.  This time it was just me and dad.  Even though I’m officially “mom’s dog”, I find that dad seems to be spending more and more time with me.  I think I’m growing on him.  Or perhaps enough time has passed since that unfortunate “chewing of the remote” incident.  Either way, I can tell he really likes me quite a bit.  But how hard could that be?  I’m just about as adorable as a creature can be!

So back to my day with dad.  I had no idea where he was taking me.  During our time in the car I tried giving him inquisitive looks.  But he gave me no indication whatsoever about where we were headed.  It didn’t really matter though.  If dad was taking me, I knew I would have fun. 

 

Paisley in car front seat

 

Soon we arrived at a place called Lady Bird Lake.  Such a pretty name for a very lovely place.  This beautiful area runs along the south edge of downtown Austin.  It’s a country feeling in a city setting.  I highly recommend it to locals and visitors alike.  Very cool!

 

We walked along a trail for a really long time.  It was a beautiful cool morning, so I was enjoying myself.  The best part of it was that we were not the only ones on the trail.  There were many other people (and dogs of course) walking and jogging beside the water.  I smiled at everyone we passed as I wagged my tail in rhythm to dad’s pace as we strolled through this beautiful Austin setting.  What a magnificent morning.

 

And then it got better!  Dad took me to a special spot just for dogs.  There were dogs of every shape, size and color.  And best of all, there was a walkway headed straight into the water!  I made a new friend while I was there.  I was headed into the water as he was coming out with his mom.

 

Paisley going into Lady Bird Lake

 

He is a goldendoodle, which means we are practically cousins.  He was a little shy about swimming, but his mom got into the lake and he followed right behind.  Soon he was paddling around and having a wonderful time.  I didn’t catch his name, but I hope we will run into each other again sometime.  I just love making new friends, don’t you?

 

 

 

As my new buddy left to continue on with his day, I lowered myself into the gloriously refreshing water of my new favorite swimming hole.

 

Paisley in Lady Bird Lake

 

As I cooled off my tummy and gazed at the Austin skyline I said a silent “Thank You” for the pleasure of a day with dad.   I know that sometimes I might seem like a bit of a diva, but honestly, I’m a girl with very simple tastes.  A ride in the car, a nice long walk and some quality time in the lake and I am one happy lady.  It was a good day to be me!

An Awesome Austin Evening

April 9th 2011

As much as I love hanging out at home with my peeps, I also enjoy a night out on the town.  Especially when the town is AUSTIN!  This is one happenin’ place and a dog as fabulous as me fits right in with the laid back vibe that this city is famous for.

 

The other night I could tell the humans were about to head out for awhile, which usually makes me sad.  But when I saw dad reaching for my leash I knew that could only mean one thing.  Paisley was invited to come along for the ride.  Life is good!

 

I have to say, there is nothing that compares to riding in the car, looking out the window and feeling the wind in my ears.  It just doesn’t get much better.  Life’s simple pleasures truly are the best.

 

Paisley goes for a ride

 

I had no idea where we were going, but as long as I am with the people that love me most then I am a happy doggie.  We drove down the highway and I smiled at folks in the other cars, and they smiled back of course.  I have that effect on people.  It’s a gift!  It was a Friday evening and everyone seemed happy to be going home.  As we passed through downtown Austin I took in all of the sights.  The tall buildings, busy people and sounds of music filling the air were a feast for the senses. 

 

After awhile we headed south of downtown and stopped at a place called the South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery.  This is where the evening went from fun to FABULOUS!  I had no idea we would be dining out.  This place was really cool.  Mom and I sat at a picnic table while dad went to grab our food.  The humans enjoyed some delectable deliciousness from a food trailer called Torchy’s Tacos.  Those tacos put a great big smile on their faces.  Now normally when the folks are eating I just sit angelically next to the table and stare at them with my great big puppy dog eyes.  That usually results in a nice bite or two of whatever they are enjoying.  But dad surprised me with my own entrée from a trailer called Man Eats Dog.  While I find the name of the establishment to be rather disturbing, I must say, they know a thing or two about weenies.  As you can see, I focused all of my attention on the arrival of each bite of these wonderful morsels of hot dog heaven. 

 

Paisley Eats a Hot Dog

 

After dinner we took a long walk through downtown Austin.  This really is a “dog town”.  Everyone was so nice.  Several people stopped to pat my head and comment on how cute I am.  But really, who can blame them?  Am I right?

 

As we walked up Congress Avenue I saw a beautiful old building in front of us.  Mom called it the Texas State Capitol.  It was just lovely! 

 

Paisley Arrives at Texas Capitol 

 

The interior was as gorgeous as the exterior.

Texas Capitol Interior

 

The staircases are incredibly grand. 

 

Texas Capitol Staircase

 

The architecture is breathtaking.

 

Texas Capitol Architecture

 

Even the hinges on the doors are a thing of beauty.

 

Texas Capitol Door Hinge

 

If you’ve never been you really should make time to take a tour.  Or better yet, call Around Austin!  We arrange all sorts of tours and excursions for groups of different sizes.  Around Austin will create a day of sight-seeing for your guests that will showcase the history and eclectic style of this amazing city.  (Sorry to get side-tracked with an advertisement, but that is my job after all.) 

 

I have to say that I very much enjoyed our simple evening out.  I hope you will take every opportunity to spend time with the special people (and dogs) in your life.  Get out and experience the world around you.  Go for a walk.  Eat something delicious.  Visit a historical site.  Soak up some life! 

 

That Stinks!

March 2nd 2011

So far my life in Austin has been just about as wonderful as I could have ever wished for.  The people here at my house seem to adore me, even though at times I prove to be a bit of a challenge.  When riding in the car I notice the nice folks in the other cars waving and smiling in my direction.  I seem to make new friends everywhere I go.  Austin is just a happy place to be!

 

Recently however, I came to discover that not everyone wants to be my buddy.  The other night I went outside just before bedtime.  I noticed a new little creature in my back yard.  He was quite cute actually.  His fur was black and fluffy like a kitty and he had a big poufy tail.  There were two white stripes down his back and one on his tail.  Naturally, being the social butterfly that I am, I went over to get a closer look and to introduce myself.  It would have been rude not to.  Suddenly this visitor turned his back towards me and lifted his tail.  What happened next can only be described as the most horrendous and shocking experience I have ever had the misfortune of being a part of. 

 

The lovely night air suddenly became a noxious cloud of the most offensive odor I have ever encountered.  I ran to the back door to look inside.  The lady of the house saw me and began walking towards the door to let me in.  She was almost to the door when she stopped dead in her tracks.  She screamed to her husband, “A SKUNK!”  I didn’t know what that word meant, but I sensed that it wasn’t a good thing.  Long story short, if you ever encounter one of these vile creatures you have my deepest sympathy. 

 

Things were not much better for me the next day.  Being that I was spreading this foulness everywhere I went, I had been forced to remain outside of my own house like some sort of outcast.  But my nice lady came outside that afternoon with a big bottle of something magical.  She poured it all over my fur and then went back inside my house.  I began to notice that the aroma that had been with me for several hours began to disappear.  At last I was beginning to smell like a wonderful canine again.  When I was dry she came back outside and gave me a good sniff.  Then she smiled at me and said, “That’s much better.  You can come back in the house now.”  I was so grateful to be back inside where I belonged.  I ran right over to the bottle of this wonderful potion that had taken away the stench which had caused my banishment to the outdoors.  I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in a similar circumstance.

 

Skunk smell remover

 

Needless to say, I was overjoyed at being back in the house with my favorite people.  As I skipped through the kitchen I noticed a bag of dark green objects on the counter.  Being the inquisitive critter that I am, I grabbed one in my mouth and headed for the living room with it.  I must not have been very clever about it because the lady of the house came running after me trying to get it back.  I don’t know what the big deal was.  There were three of them and I only took one! 

 

Well, apparently this new delectable delight is called an avocado.  And it seems that they were intended to be eaten (by the humans) for dinner.  She didn’t seem to want it back once she saw my teeth marks in it.  So I was sent back outside again, but at least this time I had a nice treat and no trace of an odor.  As the sun began to set I settled down to relax and enjoyed my snack. 

 

Stolen Avocado

 

All in all it was an exhausting 24 hours.  But at least I learned something new.  Two things actually.  First of all, beware of black kitties with white stripes!  And second, stealing avocados results in being sent outside.  But they are so worth it!

The Blizzard of 2011...(well sort of)

February 4th 2011

Oh my!  When I woke up this morning I quickly noticed that something very strange happened last night.  I have never seen anything like it.  I was nervous at first.  I even growled for a bit.  Then I saw the smiles on the faces of my people as they looked outside.  This crazy white stuff must be a good thing. 

 

As I stepped outside and into this new world I felt a soft crunch under my paws.  It was definitely cold, but also very pretty.  I began to look around my yard.  It was as if I were seeing everything in a brand new way. The green grass was gone, but in its place was a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. (I borrowed that phrase from Simon & Garfunkel.  It’s lovely don’t you think?)  But I digress….

 

As I explored this winter wonderland I began to realize that this was something quite special.  It must not happen very often because the people that live around here seemed to be absolutely delighted by it.  Two neighborhood girls were gathering up the snow and creating some sort of sculpture.  I’m not sure what it was, but it was wearing a hat and scarf.  It seemed to bring them great joy.  I find it all very intriguing.

 

Since this new thing called “snow” had arrived I decided to learn as much about it as possible.  I already knew how it looked and felt.  But how did it taste?  Not bad.  Add a little sugar and vanilla and we might be onto something here. (Note to self:  Never get a drastic hair cut the week before a major arctic blast.)

 Paisley Snow Beard

 

As I became more comfortable in these sparkling new surroundings I began to run as fast as my legs would carry me.  I jumped for joy as I took in the splendor around me.  Just yesterday the world was very cold and grey.  Today everything was new, fresh and amazingly beautiful.  My people laughed as they watched me celebrate this glorious day.  They took photos of me as they are fond of doing.  Look closely at this one.  They managed to capture the almost “out of body experience” I was having.

Paisley in Motion

 

This was an awe inspiring day and I wanted it to last forever.  But then, as the sun began to shine more brightly in the sky, the magic began to fade.  First it was the rooftops.  The lovely crystals of snow began to melt and sadly cascade to the ground.  The sidewalks were next as they turned from a beautiful blanket of diamonds to their original cold, stark dreariness.  Then all of the beauty began to slowly grow faint.  This delightful day was coming to an end. 

 

As much as I hated to see it depart, I knew deep down that something this amazing could not last forever.  I learned something today.  Just when life seems to become cold, dark and routine, we are suddenly blessed with something so thrilling that it takes our breath away.  I do not know when I will see anything as miraculous as what I did today.  Perhaps it will never happen again in my lifetime.  But that’s okay.  It was a gift given to me for a moment and I will carry it with me forever. 

Baby it's COLD outside....

February 3rd 2011

It may be blustery outside but here in the office it’s toasty and busy!  Things are hoppin’ at Around Austin today.  We have a very big job beginning next week so final preparations are being made.  I had no idea how much planning goes into making sure people get where they need to go!  I am trying to lay low and stay out of the way.  But when you love your people as much as I do, that can be a challenge.

 

I find that sitting patiently by the keyboard often results in a scratch under the chin.  Sheer heaven!

Paisley on Keyboard

 

 

But if things are really crazy around the office and everyone is so busy that they don’t notice my precious little self, I know that this adorable pose will stop them in their tracks every time. This is my “go to” expression when I really need to get some quality time with my co-workers.  Who could resist this face? 

Paisley Underbite

 

Thanks for checking in with me this week.   Stay warm and remember that no matter how hectic your week is, it is always good to stop and give someone a scratch under the chin or a pat on the head.  It will make you both happy!

Paisley gets started!

January 26th 2011

Where to begin...

Austin has not always been my home.  Although I was born in the nearby town of Georgetown, I went to live in north Texas at the age of 2 months.  Things didn’t work out there.  They seemed nice enough, just not “dog people.”  I then went to live in the big city of Houston, but those folks didn’t really understand puppies and what we’re all about.  They decided I wasn’t a good fit for their home.  And that is how I landed in Austin.

 

I finally have a family that “gets me.”  They understand the joy I find in foraging for a really nice stick.  No one is upset when I bring a large rock into the house and drop it at their feet.  And when I occasionally forget my manners and delicately burp, they simply smile and tell me how adorable I am.  I am home!

 

So to show my appreciation, I decided to contribute something to my new family.  The nice lady here at my house owns a company called Around Austin.  I decided to do my part here at the office to help her out.  Besides, I can tell she likes having me around.  I am apparently quite wonderful.

 

 I tried filing, but found those contracts to be mighty tasty.

Paisley filing paperwork

 

Perhaps I could redecorate the office.  But that didn’t really work out either.

Paisley Arranging the Rug

 

So then it occurred to me.  “Paisley,” I said, “Go with your strengths.  Don’t try to be something you aren’t.  Focus on what you do best, spreading joy and laughter wherever you go.”  And that is how I became Around Austin’s new Ambassador of Happiness.

 

As I mentioned, I am new to Austin.  So far, I’m diggin’ it.  There is so much to see and do here in the Capital of Texas.  So join me in my journey as we discover Austin together.  Visit my blog often to learn about my latest adventure.  And remember, if you are planning a conference, wedding or any other major event, be sure to call Penny at Around Austin.  She will take great care of you just as she does me.  You have my word on that!