Photo by Aneese on iStock


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Thanks for sending me Natasha's Austin-inspired business plan. But while I know that's her future, I can't help but think about the first time I took her to Austin.


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All I remember is that it was love at first sight.


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It was on our way home from taking Sawyer to camp, and I told her we were making a slight "detour". She was so excited when I pulled up to the hotel as she's always loved hotels. But that night, as we walked onto Congress Avenue Bridge and saw the thousands and thousands of bats fly out into the sunset, she was mesmerized and "in love".


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Although I knew about the bats (the largest urban colony of bats in the world), if it were not for Natasha, I never would have planned a trip to Austin just to see them. But having watched her watching the bats, I was not surprised, years later, when her first tattoo was a bat.


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That may not have been surprising, but I was shocked when a few weeks later you decided to get a tattoo, and it was identical to hers. I didn't know that you were such a fan of bats.


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It was not the bats; it was the fact it was identical to her tat. Although, I think Natasha and I should add a few more bats. And this time, do it in Austin.


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It's amazing how so many of my memories of the girls growing up are connected to Austin.


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Funny thing is whenever I would be there with you and the girls, and they would "drag" me to that old-time candy store at the top of Congress, I would see things I had not seen since we were little, so would be reminded of us as children.


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That's always one of the first places they'd want to go to in Austin. That and Green Mesquite BBQ. They both loved Austin, and it wasn't like going to a large city, where there are so many places to go and sites to see. They were always happy to go back to the same familiar places and enjoy simple things, like that snow cone truck or even just walking around downtown.


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For as long as I can remember, Austin has always been a foodie town. And, it had food trucks before they became popular around the country. Austin has a unique culture, which may be why the girls, but especially Natasha, love it. And, its "Keep Austin Weird" vibe not only makes it the perfect place for her, but has provided some great ideas for her business concept.


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I'll leave the business analysis to you. I know that she's doing that as part of her studies in the U.K., but I prefer to think about the great times we've had in Austin. And the mom in me thinks she'd be very happy to one day make Austin her home.


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Especially as that's where millions of her beloved Austin bats live.
Photos by Red


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I know you’ll roll your eyes, but it made me smile when I found not one, but two, of Daddy’s typewriters at Mom’s house. It just brought back so many memories.


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I remember the old black one, which is probably long gone, before Daddy “modernized” and got an electric one. I remember taking typing class. And, I remember pulling an all-nighter to write, or technically “type”, my M.B.A. thesis the night before it was due.


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I still can’t believe you did that. Too bad you couldn’t turn in the handwritten version.
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Photo by Iam Anupong on iStock

I’ll never forget the day I was hoping for a compliment from Black – if only I knew then what I know now. Not only about my sister but about skin cancer. Growing up as a fair-skinned (Black would probably say thin-skinned) redhead who spent hours on the golf course before we knew the dangers of sun exposure, I’m now paying the price and having to make frequent visits to the dermatologist to keep the situation under control. And with redheaded daughters, I feel like I’m constantly telling them to make sure to wear their sunscreen, especially on their faces, so they don’t end up like me. But I also have to smile a little since it’s Skin Cancer Awareness Month (there’s even a National Sunscreen Day), which means I’m not the only one nagging them. Although it still would’ve been nice if Black had been a little less sarcastic and a lot more helpful …

I'll never forget the day. It was an "almost" ordinary day out on the golf course with my mom and dad during the heat of a Long Island summer. Now, if "Long Island" conjures up images of stately manors on the North Shore (think "Great Gatsby") or beachfront mansions in the Hamptons (think Robin Leach and his popular show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"), you can put those out of your head. I'm not talking about some fancy country club golf course, just a regular public course.

I loved the game ever since I learned to play as a teenager, and although I never got to play while at college (Wake Forest, which was renowned for its golf program, with its most famous alumni being Arnold Palmer), I'd try to get out as often as possible when I was home. I wasn't a phenomenal player but had a decent game and natural talent. And most of the time, I hit it pretty straight, so one of the things I enjoyed was walking down the middle of the fairway, pulling my clubs along (no fancy golf carts on this course), appreciating the day and the sport.

On one (very rare) occasion, my sister came back to New York to visit, as she moved out of state as soon as she graduated from business school. She also played golf, but unlike me, who relied on natural ability and played for fun, she worked extremely hard at her game, was overly competitive, and played "business golf". The result was that she was a far better player than me, although I was holding my own on that day.

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Red's two Labradoodles

Photo taken by Red

If you asked Black about National Pet Month, she’d probably quote you statistics about the number of people who have pets and the health benefits, conveniently “forgetting” what she told Red about unconditional love. But Red would tell you that she celebrates Moo (read the original post to learn about the other “unusual names” of her four-legged family members) every day, letting her know with a hug and a cuddle how much she’s loved.



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Well, this month marks 18 years since you changed my life, so I wanted to thank you. Again. For bringing such happiness into the lives of the girls and me, although some heartbreaking sadness, too. But there's nothing like unconditional love.


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OK, but can you tell me what you are talking about?


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Do you remember when I moved to Houston after living overseas, and we started going to the Hyatt Hill Country in San Antonio for Memorial Day weekend? You were married to Larry, and his girls were young, and Natasha and Sawyer were even younger. Well, in 2003 you asked me if it was OK if you got us a puppy.


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You had always talked about getting a dog but wanted to have children first. The timing seemed right, but given your allergies, the options were limited. Until I learned about a new breed, well technically a mixed breed, originally developed in Australia to be hypoallergenic guide dogs.


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I'll never forget you showing me photos of the most incredibly adorable dogs I'd ever seen. The fact Labradoodles were half standard poodle, which was what I had initially thought we'd get, and half Labrador Retriever was amazing. But only you could find the perfect dog from an article in a business magazine.
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