HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sorry I haven’t updated in a week or two. I’ve been navigating my way through HMO hell and getting back into the swing of things at work after 10 days off.

WEDNESDAY, January 5h

Went to Austin with Jene’ to see Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo take the oath of office for his elected six-year term. It’s one thing to elect an official, but it really takes on a whole new meeting to see the official actually swear he will uphold his duties and do the job to which he’s been elected.

Of course, Jene’ had parking angels once again and we had the fourth parking spot down from the capitol on Congress St. Don’t ask me how she does it.

We arrived about an hour early and went to the senate chamber to wait for the family. Victor came in with Laura, 16, and Christina, 13. While Jene’ tuned Laura’s guitar, Christina and I went to look for a bathroom.

One might think finding a bathroom would be simple, but the only obvious bathroom is on the first floor for the tourists. On the second floor, it’s a little bit trickier if you don’t know what you’re doing. Christina concluded that the only bathrooms must be on the first floor. I explained to her that I was positive the people on the third floor did not have to descend two flights of stairs with full bladders. Finally, we asked a nice man where the restrooms were and he directed us to where we had already looked, but the door was back in the corner and we had to make a couple of extra turns to get there. Bathroom problem solved.

Christina and I made our way back to the senate chamber. Still no other members of the family had arrived, but Jene’ was seated in the row behind Laura. I was priviledged to sit behind Victor’s parents, Bernardo and Alicia, and the ever in motion Christina.

A bagpiper opened the ceremony. Or, as Christina referred to him as, “the kilt dude.” Victor said he wanted to honor his wife’s Scottish roots, pointing out that Carrillo doesn’t sound all that Scottish. Jene’s dad prayed and then Laura sang the “Star Spangled Banner.” Christina led the Pledge of Allegiance, and then Texas Pledge: “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible.” No, I still don’t have it memorized.

Laura also sang, “Be Thou My Vision,” which led her father to tears and also earned her a thumbs up from the governor. Victor had a curious case of “cedar fever,” which I thought meant an allergy to cedar trees but really means your eyes water during emotional parts of your oath-swearing speech. He had a really, really bad case of cedar fever.

After the ceremony, we went to a reception room behind the senate chamber. Grace, Victor’s 4 year old daughter, was eating some cake with me. My icing was blue and hers was red (it was a Texas flag cake). I stuck my tongue out at her and asked her if my tongue was blue. She said yes and stuck her tongue out.

“Your tongue is red!” I told her. She smiled and said, “We are America!”

Of course then there was some discussion about the white iced pieces of cake, but she was then distracted by some raspberries and, surprisingly enough, raw broccoli.

Later, a woman approached me and chatted me up and was asking me about the cookies at the reception. I knew that either Victor’s wife Joy, or one of the girls had made cookies, because Christina had mentioned them during a barrage of words meant to be a sentence. The woman began to compliment me on the cookies and I realized…This woman thinks I am Joy. I simply nodded and told her that Christina had mentioned them when she and her dad had arrived earlier. As the look of puzzlement crept across her face, another woman approached her and took her to the other side of the room.

I wanted to laugh out loud. Yes, Joy and I are both blonde, blue-eyed, and very, very pale. That’s about the only similarities we have in appearance. Nevermind that Joy is five inches shorter than I am and weighs half as much!

The temperature dropped twenty degrees from the time we entered the capitol to the time we left two hours later. We stopped by Aunt Frances’ house to exchange Christmas gifts with Jene’s parents and then we HAD to go to the original Chuy’s before we drove through the rain back to Houston.

All in all, it was another memorable, fun day.

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