Nature and stuff
Before I had my bike, my favorite thing to do on a day off was to walk all the way down the Shoal Creek path from around 38th St. to Lady Bird Lake (and then take the bus home because I would be fucking exhausted.) The path has many phases, at times beautiful and solitary, at times crowded with dogs and runners, at times strange and sad—like when you read the historical markers describing pioneer girls abducted by Indians, and you feel sad for both the girl and the Indians.
But the main attraction in the Texas sunshine is definitely swimming. I am totally spoiled by Barton Springs and Hamilton Pool. I doubt if I will ever be satisfied with a regular old chlorinated pool again.
Austin has an amazing community of sustainable food advocates and farmers. The East Austin Urban Farm Tour was well worth the money. I was part of Farmhouse Delivery’s CSA for a while and loved it. I also got really into cooking, and the Farmhouse Delivery folks put out a beautiful recipe blog.
During the summer, there is free yoga outside Barton Springs on Saturday mornings. If you are affiliated with UT, you can go to the University Yoga Club, which is also free and takes place every Thursday on campus. It is very chill and includes meditation. But my absolute favorite is Yoga With Adriene at Salvage Vanguard Theater. Adriene is so gracious and compassionate and her classes are always fun. Case in point: she once did an entire class based on TLC’s album “crazysexycool.” Check out her web series!
Writing & Literature
Bookpeople gets just about any author who you would want to see in the store at one time or another, so it is definitely worth watching their calendar. I worked on the events staff for a while and I was always impressed by the quality of the authors. I also enjoyed the Texas Book Festival, where I saw people like Russell Banks and Colson Whitehead, and the Texas Observer Writers Festival, where I saw Jim Lehrer and my literary crush, Jake Silverstein, the editor of Texas Monthly.
As for writing, I took an adult writing workshop at Austin Bat Cave with ABC’s executive director, Manuel Gonzales, who was recently profiled in the Chronicle. Manuel was one of the best writing teachers I have ever had. He struck a perfect balance between challenging and encouraging us. If I get into an MFA program, it will be in part due to my workshop with Manuel. And if I don’t get in, I blame him too. Haha.
Sports & Leisure
Even though it is hot as balls, Austin is still a super sporty town. I joined a beginning running group with Rogue Running that almost made me forget how much I fucking hate running. And as a UT employee, I was able to take adult swimming lessons at Gregory Gym, where I kinda (sorta) learned how to swim laps. But the best was Absolute Beginning Ballet with Orlando Canova at Ballet Austin. Picture the sassiest person you’ve ever met. Then multiply that by 10 and remove any sort of political correctness filter. Then put him in charge of teaching 25 adult women how to do ballet. It was hilarious, and it finally satisfied my unfulfilled childhood desire to be a ballerina. Because now I understand that ballet is for masochists.
The rest of my time in Austin was pretty much spent working, drinking, or watching movies. I used to rent five movies at a time from the Faulk library, where they have a highly respectable collection. The other best place for movies is obviously I Luv Video. Free beer on Tuesdays and every weirdo, classic, avant garde movie you could ever want? And messages like this on the marquee?
Forget about it.