I’m not sure exactly how to describe our Austin adventure, so I’ll just do my best. It was both fun and miserable. How’s that for an anniversary trip? It was fun being with my favorite person, of course, and sleeping over at Hotel San José. The weather was gorgeous. We listened to a fascinating podcast in the car: The Treatment with director Darren Aronofsky and now we both really want to see The Wrestler. The mega-Whole Foods's salad bar did not disappoint; I ate a lot of sweet red pepper hummus. Clay Pit served some of the best Indian food we’ve ever had (I enjoyed a Chilean merlot). Back at the hotel, we stopped by the wine bar for a glass of some merlot I couldn’t pronounce, took it back to our room, and curled up on the soft bed. I drank the wine and nibbled a Scharffen Berger dark chocolate nibby bar (62%). Johnny took sips of whiskey from his black-leather flask.
The next day, we walked down S. Congress to pop into Yard Dog just to be near Jon Langford's art. One of these days we’re gonna have to throw down for a small portrait of Johnny Cash. On the way to Uncommon Objects, we were confronted by an eager collegiate Greenpeace advocate. I can’t tell you how reluctantly I shook her hand and introduced myself. I do believe in caring for the earth, but not quite in the manner that Greenpeace endorses, and don’t even get Johnny started. However, the college girl was really cute - so intense and all - and we were polite. We told her what we agreed upon which she liked, but also what we objected to and well, she didn’t like that at all. As we walked away, I told Johnny that we traumatized that young lady's worldview.
Why was I miserable? As I ate all of that delectable food, it became apparent that I’m not done fighting my yeast overgrowth yet. Actually, I had a few clues before our trip, but I looked at our anniversary feasts as my “last meals”, at least for awhile. So, along with yeast die-off, my eyes misbehaved the entire trip before we figured out it was pinkeye. I looked sort of haggard the whole time - I couldn't use concealer to cover dark circles or anything. On top of that, my doctor is still trying to figure out the balance of my thyroid and adrenal functions which is tricky because they’re a close-knit, glandular team. All in all, I was not feeling well. It was pretty disappointing, to say the least.
Our last fun stop was my beloved BookPeople, but mid-browsing, I had to take a vintage armchair and just sit. I’d already scored Nathan Coulter (for me) and a Theodore Roosevelt book on sale (for Johnny), so I was good to go. But I knew then and there that our plans to visit the Tea Embassy would have to wait until next time and man, I hated that. I so wanted to try the C.S. Lewis blend. It's OK, though - I had a cup of African Nectar tea at BookPeople that was to-die-for.
Look, I will not be defensive about my health treatment. Dr. Sheridan (at the Hotze clinic) is excellent. He’s helped many people and some of those folks are friends of ours; not random wackos. Some healed quickly, and some recovered more slowly - every person is a unique creation. I’ve received extra advice from knowledgeable, über-healthy friends and changed up my regimen. We’ve gathered wisdom from other good friends and family. Even before all this, I went to my old round of doctors who were kind, but clueless. At least now I’m talking with people who know what’s going on inside my body. There’s not an overnight cure for systemic diseases, but there’s no need to give up. I think, too, it’s important to understand that God is doing this His way. I don’t know why and it may be a mystery all my days. Yet who is able to heal if not God? And do I expect to follow Jesus without suffering? After all, He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” However, my predicament is not mere torture. Just the other day I re-read a quote by Thomas Merton while perusing goodreads:
“....it is of the very essence of Christianity to face suffering and death not because they are good, not because they have meaning, but because the resurrection of Jesus has robbed them of their meaning.”
I thought that was pretty good, but Johnny does it one better:
“Suffering does have meaning for the Christian because he/she partakes in the sufferings of Christ. The resurrection actually gives our suffering meaning - it gives us hope!”
Even after realizing that I'm not done yet, I do believe I'll be healed. Call me crazy, but I do. When I really think about it, my perception of time is hilarious in comparison to God's. You might recall that I was feeling better back in November. What happened, you ask? I probably overdid all the “normal food.” I should’ve gone with one treat per day vs. big meals, but I don’t regret it. When you go through a slow health treatment like this, you can almost cower in fear regarding every single thing you put in your mouth. I think it was good for me to step outside the lines in faith, enjoy some of my favorite eats, and celebrate a glimpse of things to come.
For now, I need to slow back down and recognize the bounty of a yeast-free diet. I’ll bake Christine’s nutty coconut cookies (with Sweet-n-Natural), cinnamon-roasted apples, Indian food recipes with coconut milk, and chicken tagine with chickpeas (scroll down - thanks, Alina). Besides, coconut cream hot chocolate tastes amazing lately as well as rooibos vanilla tea. When I stop and think of how many people are starving in this world, I simply cannot complain about a restricted menu. Maybe I can't make every single recipe from Orangette or 101 Cookbooks, but I have plenty of goodness to eat and drink.
I need to resume the art of waiting, too. I must admit that my attitude has been dark and gloomy since we arrived home. I’m bone-weary from suffering, and I still think my lot is ironic since I have the pain threshold of a gnat. But my husband is the stronger half - always encouraging, speaking truthfulness, and gently pushing me forward. We have a strange faith that my healing is for sure slow, but not at a dead end. He hopes for the both of us when I just can’t. I hug certain Bible stories close - saints who waited and waited, they were mocked, but then God blessed them beyond their wildest dreams.
Anyway, now it’s time for our 2009 photos of Hotel San José - a true sanctuary for us. The peace there is very healing. We love our honeymoon location - The Gruene Apple - but our taste has changed somewhat during the past six years. One of these anniversaries we might spend two nights at the San José and drive to The Gristmill for dinner (it’s not that far). We’re never ready to check out at noon:
[right outside our door]
[signs that room #12 was meant just for us: a big rice paper lantern, Shoyeido incense in the mini bar, an Elvis poster, and an Eames rocking chair....]
[....I really wanted to smuggle the rocking chair home. We made use of the iHome and Johnny’s iPod during breakfast and listened to Aradhna's “Amrit Vani” ("Immortal Word"), one of our current favorite songs.]
[we like these colorful "hippie blankets" (the San José's name, not ours) so much that we purchased a twin-size (only $22) to use as a throw in the living room]
[we also paid for a bar of the same heavenly soap that's in each bathroom. I wish you could smell it - scented with essential oils, strong on the peppermint. Oh, and I always snatch the San José notepad, but I’m pretty sure it’s legal to do so.]
[there's always a poem tacked next to the sink to read while brushing your teeth. This year we had "Tulsa" by David Berman.]
[breakfast via room service]
[my bento box: grapefruit juice, plain yogurt, granola, berries, and Jo's coffee]
[to see a few more of our photos from Austin, click here]
You know what? I love this place so much that I'll write about it for The Curator in a few weeks - the history and such. It should be a good read, I hope.