Tuesday I found out a fraternity brother was coming down to Austin, very briefly, for a job interview. He was supposed to get in around 9, which is already on the late side for getting together for a drink, but due to weather he didn't get in until closer to 10. By that point the weather in Austin had gone from rain to a rain/sleet mix, but it wasn't supposed to get below freezing at any point, so the roads weren't supposed to be problematic. I met him downtown at the Gingerman and we had a few beers to chat and catch up. While we were sitting there, the sleet turned to snow, and almost everyone in the bar ran outside. Since I had just been in NY and gotten real snow, and he lives in Pittsburgh and is unfazed by snow, we just sat there. The roads were wet but not slippery, even for my sporty car with summer-only tires. The next morning there was the slightest hint of snow on my lawn, but apparently areas further from the city got a little accumulation, judging by the snow on people's cars.
Friday I rode the Night Train to work, then after work went to Chuy's for dinner and then had a couple beers at the Gingerman. Although it warmed up throughout the day, it didn't get so warm that I really needed to take my chaps off. On Saturday, however, I was really glad to have had elastic netting with me so I could take them off and strap them on the back. I left the house at about 8 so I could pick up a toy at Wal-Mart for the chapter toy run to the children's hospital. It turned out to be a pretty nice day and there was a really good turnout of bikes, and an incredible number of toys. At about 11 I left and set out to do some ABCs, but decided to check out the new REI in Round Rock. It was a nice store, but the kid who was telling me stuff about backpacks later looked at me as though I had a third head when I asked about crampons. I had lunch in the same new retail complex before setting off and getting 5 more points. After getting back mid-afternoon, I puttered about some more and then got ready for the company Christmas party downtown. I got there about 7:15 and was about the 3rd person to show up, but I was at the front of a wave of people, and the place was packed by 8. The food was really good, great appetizers including shrimp and crab claws, although I didn't get any of the tuna. The main course had asparagus and beef or chicken. It was kind of nice to meet some people I've seen around but never actually met, catch up with some people I don't see much anymore, and talk with others in a relaxed social atmosphere.
Sunday I woke up at 6, read until 7, putzed until about 10, then set off on a bicycle trip. Since I've been wanting to get a feel for riding to work and also not having done any Christmas shopping, I decided to go to the mall. The ride went fine for the section I do all the time, but when it got to the section I knew was going to be hairy, my legs started feeling really tired. I made it to the top of one hill and then started descending fast down the other side. It was pretty frightening going really fast and the shoulder narrowed down to almost nothing approaching a bridge barrier wall. My heart was pounding out of my chest going back uphill with all the traffic whizzing past. I had to stop at a traffic light for several minutes to catch my breath before attempting the small remaining distance. I'm certain it would be much worse during rush hour traffic, so I'm rethinking trying to take that route to work. I didn't realize that most of the stores in the mall don't open until noon, which was surprising with so few shopping days left until Christmas. It didn't make a big difference since I was looking in the department stores, which were open. I stuck around until just past noon and left after having some terrible food court food. I struggled getting back home, and then collapsed. I cooled off and recovered enough that after a shower, I went to Alamo Ritz to see RoboCop, which was pretty fun.