El Cosmico

There is something a bit magical that happens in the west Texas desert after you pass Alpine headed to Marfa. The rough rogue highway that leads you to the tiny town of Marfa is somewhat mystical. Marfa, the small Texas town that artist have been flocking to for decades is a must see if you are traveling in west Texas.

I had the pleasure of traveling there last summer when I took a Design Build Adventure class in welding led by Captain Jack Sanders, or as I knew him Jay, back when we became acquainted in the seventh grade at All Saints school in Fort Worth.

Jay, or rather Jack, and I were friends through high school and then, as people do when you go off to college and there is no such thing as Facebook, we drifted and went our separate ways. I stayed in Fort Worth with many of our high school friends and attended Texas Christian University. Jack went on to Auburn, I think…

When I saw Jack again at our ten-year reunion he was nothing like I remembered. He had transformed from Jay to Jack, had a beard, and looked way more hippieish than I ever remembered him. He had gone to architecture school and if I recall right, and I may not, it seems he was teaching at the University of Texas.

When Facebook came around we became ‘friends’ and I was able to catch up on his life. It appeared he was married, had kids, and was doing a lot of cool things, like teaching camps on how to weld.

That’s cool. I thought. I’d love to do that, something so… not me. So when I saw a post about his camp in Marfa I signed up and headed west to the rugged beauty of Marfa.

The camp was being held at El Cosmico, the most mystical magical place I have ever been. Liz Lambert, who is credited for revamping South Congress in Austin in the late 1990’s, brought her renegade spirit to Marfa and El Cosmico was born. A campground where you can, camp, obviously, in your own tent, OR you can sleep in a teepee, a yurt, or one of many adorable little trailers that each come with their own distinct personality.

I had chosen to stay in the smallest trailer available, Pinky, the color lived up to its name. I unpacked, put on a robe {one that I ended up purchasing in the gift shop and wear daily}, unpacked my bags, and went to go meet Captain Jack for our intro to camp happy hour.

Jack walked us along the property explaining that when he had first arrived there was nothing but some rusty plans and a dream. A dream that Liz Lambert had and he created.

I looked around awe-struck that the boy I had met in the seventh grade was responsible for creating such an amazing space in the desert. It’s just so… Marfa. It’s Austin meets desert in the hippest of ways.

There are wood burning hot tubs where you can relax and look up at the most beautiful of night skies. And it’s fun to walk around the property and take in the beauty of west Texas and the design of Captain Jack and Liz, their collaboration just mesmerizing.

I spent more in the gift shop then I did on my trailer and I treasure everything I came home with. I cannot wait to go back. I had planned to go in September for the anual Trans Pecos festival held at El Cosmico where my friends in Golden Dawn Arkestra play every year, but life happens and I was unable to attend. It’s definitely a goal for next year, and I should start planning now as the campground usually books up by this time of the year…

So if you get the itch to head west, don’t miss this spot. You’ll thank me later.

Parenting Fail

Do you ever have those days as a parent where you just want to throw your hands in the air and give up? Where you feel like you are, by far, the worst parent in the world? Well I have those days all the time. I’m sure I have them more than most. I just know I do. Last weekend I had one of those days.

I was going over to my mom’s to celebrate her birthday, and I needed to swing by the grocery store to get a card. The grocery store is in a shopping center with quite a bit of traffic, and quite a few other popular stores.

I had the kids and the dog with me. The kids were complaining, shocker, and did not want to go into the store. I assured them I just needed to grab one item, the birthday card, and would be in and out. They were instructed to stay in the car and watch the dog. I mean… how hard it that? Pretty simple, right?

I go into the store, look at maybe three cards, grab one, and go through self check out.

When I get back to the parking lot, not more than five minutes later, I find my children running through the crowded parking lot chasing the dog, who has his leash on.

My oldest sees me and screams, “If you hadn’t left us in the car for five hours this would NEVER have happened!”

And my youngest is screaming, “MOM! Our dog is about to be MURDERED!” And is bawling. Another customer sees my horror and joins in the chase. The dog heads toward a busy street and I am screaming at my children to not chase the dog into the busy street, which, sure, they should know, but… at this point I trust no one.

Two employees join in the chase and another customer jumps in too. It’s quite the scene. The dog, Donkey Kong, is freaking fast. No one can catch the dang dog.

My youngest throws himself down in the parking lot and starts screaming more about our dog, who he is sure is about to be murdered, and I’m not sure the dog isn’t. I have to run to my child to make sure he doesn’t get run over.

A few minutes later the dog decides he needs to poop and heads for grass and we are able to step on his leash and corral him.

I notice a women in the car next to us scowling at me on her cell phone and I’m 99% sure she’s calling CPS.

I thank everyone who has jumped in the crazy chase and herd the children and the dog in the car and try to escape before I’m apprehended.

So the dog and my children are still alive and I chalk it up to yet another parenting fail. We all have those days. Mine just seem to occur for all to see.