October 2019: Mortified in Texas

Looking out the window from a room at the boutique hotel The Line. View is of the Colorado River in Austin, and there is a steel lamp with glass baubles hanging in the right corner. A small round table and wooden chair are in front of the window.

October was a big month! We met our new niece from afar and I spent lots of time in Texas, specifically Austin. I was there twice during the month, first for a work event, then for a family one.

Hello baby Aspen

Jared’s brother and his wife welcomed baby Aspen this month! It’s always hard to be far away from family during these big moments, but thanks to FaceTime we’ve been able to get a glimpse of how cute she is. We’re looking forward to flying out to Brisbane in February to meet her in person.


I first heard about Mortified while flicking through Netflix last year. The Mortified Guide is a six-episode documentary series where people go onstage and read old diary entries—the more embarrassing the better. If you kept journals as a kid or angst-ridden teenager, you can imagine how hilarious some of these entries are.

These events take place around the country, and one of them coincided with my time in Austin. I went to The Parish, a small theatre space, with my sisters Kate & Megan and Kate’s boyfriend Bobby, all of us eager to share in the shame of complete strangers.

A woman in her 20s or 30s dressed in a black long-sleeved shirt and jeans reads her diary from the stage. A female ASL interpreter stands to her right. Behind them is a large screen with a picture of the diarist as a teen.
Social awkwardness is better when it’s shared.

The show was particularly entertaining because it was ASL-interpreted, and the interpreters nearly stole the show. All four of us are CODAs, or Children of Deaf Adults, so we were rolling with laughter at both the diary-readers and the interpreters’ skillful storytelling abilities.

Painting with a Twist

A group of 11 adults pose at an art studio with painted portraits of their pets. There are five cat paintings and six dogs, all in varying colors.
Pets for the win!

My whole family flew into Austin the following week for Kate’s birthday. She teaches at Painting With a Twist, where you can have painting parties and bring your own drinks/snacks. Kate booked the studio and we all came together for three hours to paint our pets, an undertaking that proved more challenging than many of us expected!

For paint-your-pet classes, painters provide photos ahead of time, and the teacher sketches a light outline on the canvas to get you started. Three hours absolutely flew by; I was surprised at how tense I was, and how nerve-wracking it felt to put paint on the canvas.

The instructor and instructor’s assistant gave practical advice (and some hands-on assistance), and I have them to thank for the finished portrait of Lulu.

Expanding Lulu’s horizons

Speaking of Lulu, she’s quickly outgrowing our one-bedroom apartment. I did not realize how mobile an 18-year-old blind cat with arthritis would be, and thought she would benefit from some added stimulation.

Lulu doesn’t jump, which means she never goes on the bed or the couch. She also *hates* to be picked up. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that she might like it up there, under supervision of course. So one day I decided to put her on the couch, ready to catch her if she stepped too close to the edge.

A small black and white cat leans to the left of the frame. She is sitting in the middle of a grey couch and appears stunned.
The face of a kitty who is still making up her mind.

After the initial two seconds of hissing, she was stunned to be on a new surface. I’m still not sure if she liked it or not.


It’s puzzle season in my house (who am I kidding, it’s always puzzle season), which is tough with our lack of available surfaces. That’s where puzzle accessories come in! If you’re a puzzler, I highly recommend the Ravensburger Stow & Go and Sort & Go. Those aren’t affiliate links…I just really like the products. It’s not as good as having a table dedicated to your puzzle-in-progress, but it’s the next best thing.

A black felt mat on top of a wooden desk with a partially completed 2000 piece puzzle of Las Vegas on it.
When I need the desk, I roll the puzzle around an inflatable tube and secure it.

Up in November

Mexico and Moab!! Jared and I actually returned from the Yucatan peninsula just yesterday, and I can’t wait to write about my favorite cenote and the best empanadas of all time. Weather permitting, we’ll then drive to Moab over Thanksgiving weekend to explore Canyonlands and Arches. After Yellowstone, I’m really excited about seeing more national parks.

What are you most excited about in November?

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