This is What I Really Had to Say!


As the work week is ending and we head into the weekend, I always look forward to making my weekend plans with my family.  This weekend is the second scheduled Texas Senate debates between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke.  Last weekend they had the first debate, held in Dallas at Southern Methodist University, and anyone who watched it knows, it did not disappoint.  My husband and I were looking for a restaurant or venue showing the debate, and we were excited to see it was an event at the Alamo Drafthouse.

When we first arrived and made our way towards the theater, I was pulled aside by a news correspondent for KTBC, the local Fox News affiliate here in Austin.  They wanted to know if they could interview me and discuss my views on the upcoming debate.  Without hesitation, I said yes, but I was immediately anxious and nervous about being on television, even if it was just for the local news.

Initially, the field reporter wanted to know if I was specifically interested in Senate debates, but I told him I am typically far more attentive to presidential debates, but this particular Texas senate race is more important than many we have had in the past. Texas bleeds red for Republicans and has for the past several decades.  Long since the days have passed when Texas Democrats like Lyndon B. Johnson and Ann Richards have led the state.  I am excited to see the possibility of Texas turning blue once again!

architecture-bright-building-355959Right now, we are truly a country divided, our modern civil war, and it has become even more complicated with Trump now in a position to appoint a second supreme court justice.  Yesterday, the world watched the Senate Judiciary Committee question Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh regarding allegations of an attempt at sexual assault (I’m with Her).  Who knows how this will turn out, but in the end, if Trumps appoints another conservative Republican who is against the Affordable Healthcare Act, has a narrow view on Roe v. Wade, and is considered a “true second amendment radical” our civil rights may truly be in jeopardy.  A world where Donald Trump controls all three branches of the government just cannot happen. If we can put a Texas Democrat in the Senate and make our government slightly more balanced, then there is some hope.

But, I digress…the reporter went on to ask if there were particular issues I am interested in during this debate.  Anyone who knows me, okay, or anyone who has just met me, knows I am a bleeding-heart liberal.  I wear it with pride on my sleeve.  Social issues such as immigration, healthcare, and education are essential to me, and I understand that services, government, and our everyday needs of roads, police, and public schools have to be paid for by the people.  I firmly believe people will complain about taxes regardless of which party holds office, so for me, the social issues will always be far more important than fiscal.

administration-america-art-345092I walked away from the interview feeling pretty proud of myself, so I texted my mother and asked that she records the 10:00, news so I could check it out later.  For some silly reason, I felt like I had been a voice of the people and standing up for my convictions. Rather than feeling anxious, I was proud of myself and excited to see myself discussing politics on television.

After the interview, we went and found our seats in the theater. It started out like any film, and we were able to order drinks and food.  We also found out that the 5$ we paid for each ticket was going to be given to us towards credit for our meal.  I was glad to see the community taking the event so seriously and encouraging people to be active participants.

For the first time, the Alamo Drafthouse lifted their no talking or texting rule during the screening. As a frequent patron, I am used to their “talk or text, and we’ll throw your ass out” slogan, so this was a shock.  They encouraged the audience to comment, utilize social media, and even cheer (or boo).  I am proud to say that I was the first to lead the “booing” as Ted Cruz took the stage.  We recognized pretty quickly that the room was prominently Beto supporters, but it was still interesting to hear the sneers, snickers, and gasps in unison.

The view from our seats at Alamo Drafthouse

The debate was entertaining and interesting, and not just because we were watching at Alamo Drafthouse and could enjoy eating queso and drinking beer while we viewed.  Cruz was confident as the Republican incumbent for Texas.  Of course, he talked about taxes, illegal immigrants in Texas, and the second amendment. Beto O’Rourke held his own against Cruz and discussed smart gun laws, DACA, and school safety.  Both candidates did not miss the opportunity to make jabs towards one another. It was a great boxing match with both candidates giving and taking hard punches.

The entire audience walked out of the theater making comments to each other; no one was a stranger.  I know there were several instances where I turned to the woman sitting next to me and gave my own commentary.  She was there alone so she would turn to me to scoff at a comment made by Cruz, and we would laugh.  In watching the Texas Senate debates in this format at the Alamo Drafthouse, it did give us a sense of community and unity.  It brought this small area of south Austin together.

My husband and I decided to grab one more drink so that we could deliberate over the debate together.  We checked out Twitter and laughed at the hashtags and commentary.  We were on cloud nine, as though we had been there live and in person. We both believe Beto did tremendously well and found we disagreed with some of the negative feedback he received by some of the newspapers or that Beto spent most of the debate on the defense.  In fact, we thought we watched Cruz spending the majority of the debate on the defense or avoiding the actual questions.  My husband and I are usually on the same page, so it led to a great dialogue over our current political situation. It is such an important time for Democrats in Texas.  We are excited to check out the next debate which happens to be this Sunday.

When we got home, I was super excited to see if my interview had made it on the 10:00 news. The Texas Senate debate was the first story of the newscast.  There he was, the field reporter who had interviewed me, standing in front of the theater at the Alamo Drafthouse.  I felt butterflies in my stomach, as I heard him say my name, Kasey Wenz, so I knew my big moment was about to come up.  Then, there I was…the interview had made it to the news, but my heart sank, as it was about two seconds long and edited to only play the last few words, “I am excited to hear what they both have to say.”

That was it?  In all of my efforts and what I believed to be an insightful commentary on the upcoming election, they made me sound like I was undecided and had no clue. My husband could sense my disappointment, or it may have been me yelling at the reporter on the television. He reminded me that this was, after all for Fox News, even a local affiliate.  It was a great experience and a great night, and we ended up laughing it off.  We never watch Fox News, local or national, because their viewers do tend to be the most uninformed or I guess I should say due to the “Fox News Effect.” Either way, it should have been no surprise by the editing or how it made me sound, oh well, it’s Fox News…” true to form.”

Check out my 2-seconds of fame(at 00:14) here, courtesy of KTBC.



I am Back & Want to Be A Badass!


I’m not really even sure if anyone is reading anything about me or on my blog, but if you’re here, I appreciate it. I have not written anything in a while, because I was trying to use the rest of the summertime for my family. We are all busy and moving in different directions, so it was important to make the effort to take time for ourselves, our children, and to just have some fun together.  I love to write, but it can be difficult to always have one’s head in the computer.  I do plan to get back into my blog and writing about life in Austin, as a mom, and as an artist.  Keep checking back in, and I promise to do the same. 

Wanna Be A Badass!                                     

If you haven’t been to Texas Roller Derby…you are missing out!

A few weeks ago, my parents were begging for our two little ones to spend the night and have a slumber party with Popa and Latte.  We found ourselves on a Saturday night without hinnies to wipe, macaroni-n-cheese to make, and family-friendly films (don’t get me wrong…I love this!).  We actually had the opportunity to go out and have a fun adult night on the town.

20180818_191452Since our first couple of dates, my husband and I have had conversations about the Roller Derby and how we really want to check out the famous Rollergirls of Austin.  We also recently watched the film Whip It, with Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, and Kristin Wiig, which does take place in Austin, Texas and features several of the real female athletes from the TXRD teams.  With free time on our hands, we finally made it out to check out a match between the Cherry Bombs & the Holy Rollers.

When we first arrived at the Palmer Events Center, my husband and I knew we were among “our people.”  There were sleeves of tattoos, men with long hair, people wearing Pride t-shirts, and a live punk band.  We were also a little surprised to see several families there as well.  We both looked at each other and simultaneously said, “Jack would love this.”  Although this was our date night, we both know we will be coming back soon with our oldest.  We were super fans the moment we laid eyes on the track.

When the jams (I know the lingo now) first began, the roller derby girls were somewhat tame, but about fifteen minutes into the match, it really started to get good.  This is a full-contact sport with just a few knee pads and a helmet to protect you from becoming dogmeat. These girls were tough, and I mean tough.  They were knocking, blocking, and breaking into fights. There was even a drinking game to chug every time a fight broke out. Good thing the bar was close by because the fights were flowing, and so was the beer.

Girls with names like Mardi Brawl, Scarlet Harlot, and Macho Mandy Savage were out there, and they are kicking ass.  Before the match began, several of the Holy Rollers were out in the audience and handing out “prayer beads.”  Since we have never been, we didn’t have an allegiance to a certain team, so why not.  We were sporting the blue and there to have a good time.  We did quickly discover we were in Cherry Bomb territory and even sitting behind one of the Cherry Bomber’s family.  We realized the Cherry Bombs were awesome, and we were taken in by their loyal fans. When their jammers scored, they would turn around to give us high-fives and hugs.  We hid our blue beads and started screaming for the pink and green.

fun-happy-marathon-1280575Watching these strong and powerful women made me want to be out there myself.  I wanted to strap on some roller skates and join them.  There was even a sign-up table for tryouts in September.  My husband would laugh at me every time I would casually walk past the information table. The more they would fight, the more we drank, and the more times I would saunter past the information.  It made me think about my Roller Derby name; something like Hell-No Kitty or Bum-Fiddle Me This. My inner-roller girl is screaming to get out…or at least at this moment, it made me want to be a badass.

If you live in Austin and have not seen the Texas Roller Derby, you are missing out.  I cannot believe it took me so long to check out these empowered women, these renegade warriors…I will be there next season cheering on the Cherry Bombs (those are my girls) and drinking beer.  I can’t recommend this experience enough, and if you do make it out there next season, look for me…maybe even on the track!

The Calvello Cup finals take place on September 29th, and be sure to check out next seasons schedule here.


Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?

The other day I was thumbing through my newsfeed on Facebook, and a post from the Austin Justice Coalition stood out.  They were commenting on a recent brochure that had been put out by the property management group for the swanky shopping area known as The Domain.  The flyer has since been retracted and followed by numerous apologies from the property management group and many stores in The Domain.

pexels-photo-291762The purpose of this flyer, well I honestly can’t imagine the intent behind it, but they were describing the demographic of people they referred to as “the quintessential Domain Northside shopper.”

Be warned, as I can only imagine this is how many of the Irish felt after first reading Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”, and he suggests eating babies, as a solution to their economic hardship.  Surely this a satire? Surely, they are sending a more significant message here? Sorry folks, this is not the case.

It is confusing at first, as the flyer starts off by saying, “Domain Northside serves a diverse group of new class consumer…” First of all, I was wondering exactly what they meant by a “new class consumer,” and as I read on about this particular patron of the luxury shopping center…yes, it is merely a shopping center,  diversity is nowhere to be found.

pexels-photo-974911They go on to say their shopper only wears name brands and spends a lot of money on her appearance in order to look good (shallow), this person only wears or carries luxury brands and  has multiple vehicles ranging from BMW’s to Range Rover Sports (materialistic), and this quintessential shopper wants attention and to be noticed (insecure). 

So far, I would never want to be this person nor would I want to surround myself with their company.

Although I do not live near The Domain Northside and do not frequent their stores, I am so wholeheartedly offended, as someone who does value diversity and does not judge people on what label they wear or car they drive.  But what about the people who do shop there regularly? This brochure presents a ridiculous stereotype, and I do hope this is equally appalling and offensive to their loyal clientele. The only “class” they have described seems to be the elite upper-class of the wealthy and privileged. This is in no way, “new!”luxury girls

The flyer goes on to say that their regular shopper describes themselves as “Anglo, Jewish, or Asian.” Ah, this must be that diversity they were describing at the beginning. Are they for real?  I cannot fathom the person or persons who created this and thought to themselves that this is a good idea.


Is this the same Austin, Texas I love so well? What happened to the hipster-filled Austin, where everyone is a musician or liberal political activist?  What happened to the laidback counter-culture where this shit just wouldn’t stand?

The good news is we are still here.  It’s why it is splashed all over Facebook. It’s why it’s all over our local news stations, in order to bring to light the offensive message this flyer sends.  The people who live here and shop here, take pride in being a part of this city and are not happy with this stereotype set out by a Dallas retail group.

That’s right, as I was reading more from KXAN, I learned the Northwood Retail Group isn’t even from Austin.  They are from a city; one could easily describe as being the polar-opposite of Austin, Texas. They are selling a lifestyle that might work for Dallas or even Houston, but they have seriously missed the mark for the city who treats dogs like people, casual Friday is every day, and is full of high-tech hippies who celebrate and honor the weird.  

Either way, it is a disheartening message.

Some people are shouting “boycott” or “guillotine,” okay, not guillotined…just boycott. I know many of the stores have leases and are probably tied in by extensive contracts, but I do hope they are equally appalled and consider it when it’s time to renew their lease. I love Kendra Scott, and I know she has one of her stores located in The Domain.  I still think of her as a “local designer,” but one has to consider with whom they associate, and although it’s not always fair, are guilty by association. I feel like this is a lesson taught, as we journey off to our first day of kindergarten. It seems some need a refresher in this concept.

I know I have been opinionated and will let you judge for yourself.  How does it make you feel? KXAN News Report



The quintessential shopper? She’s a classy, trendy, well-heeled woman between 30 and 60 years old. The Domain woman:

-Cares about how she looks and feels, and spends generously on the upkeep of herself and her family;

-Is understated, but wants to be noticed, and wears brands that earn positive attention from others;

-Carries a Louis Vuitton, Celine, or Givenchy handbag;

-Wears rag and bones skinny jeans and Frye boots during the day, and changes into an LBD and Jimmy Choo heels at night;

-Drives a BMW 6 Series to go out with her girlfriends at night, and by day she drives a Range Rover Sport;

-Wears a David Yurman ring, an Alexis Bittar bracelet, and Kendra Scott earrings;

-Is most likely to describe her ethnicity as Anglo, Jewish, or Asian;

Is married, but also highly successful in her own career.

Long before I have seen this brochure all over Facebook and picked up by most local news affiliates, The Domain was not my domain anyway.  However, after this shocking display of propaganda, I will forever avoid it. Besides, according to their flyer, I don’t think my orange Dodge Journey would be welcome in the parking lot.

Barton Springs: In Good Times and In Bad

If you live in Austin, Texas or even just visited, you have probably been to the famous Barton Springs.  For those of you who don’t know about Barton Springs, it is a naturally fed spring and stays a cool 68 degrees all year round.  To escape the hot Texas summer, it can be an essential destination for local Austinites and tourists alike.  You can find Barton Springs in Zilker Park and admission is just a nominal couple of bucks.  It’s always a favorite spot for people of all diverse backgrounds.

The springs have always been a special place to my husband and me before we ever even met, so it was no surprise it was where we had our fourth date.  I would go far as to say; it has the most diverse and eclectic groups of people you will find in any one spot in Austin.  Not only does the water feel amazing and refreshing when you jump in and feel the cold rush across your body, but it’s also an awesome spot for people watching. My husband and I spent our entire day making up backstories about the interesting characters of people hanging out in the water.

Barton Springs Pool at Zilker Park
People watching from one of our many visits to Barton Springs.

Now that we have children, this swimming spot has become a favorite place to go as a family.  In the summers we try to hit the water at least once a week, and my six-year-old son is just waiting for the day he is finally old enough to jump off the diving board into the deep end.  For now, we have our regular spot where we leave our bags and ease our way into the chilly waters.

A few weeks ago, we decided it was time to take our baby girl, who is now eighteen-months-old, out for her first Barton Springs experience.  It was a Thursday, and we decided to go a little early, so we could ride the train with the children first and then have plenty of time for play on the playground.  We spread out a blanket on the lawn and had a fun picnic lunch, even though the temperature was well into the 90’s and only May.  We put on more sunscreen and ran to the gates of the springs, only to discover it was a ghost town.

In all our years of going to Barton Springs, my husband and I didn’t realize it closes every Thursday.  My husband then remembered there’s the “free” side of Barton Springs, and it never closes.  In my college days, I remember going to the “free” side, because dogs were allowed, beer was in abundance, and the entire outdoor permeated with the smell of weed. As we approached the other side of the springs, I was both happy and terrified things hadn’t changed a bit.

Just like the main side of Barton Springs, there’s no lack of interesting characters.  When our son asked “what’s that smell,” my husband and I just laughed and said funny cigarettes and quickly changed the subject.  Everyone was in good spirits, the dogs in the area were all well-behaved, and our eighteen-month daughter loved the water, and the cold never phased her.

As most days go on the “free” side, there are always dogs.  They were all swimming and fetching and keeping pretty much to themselves or owners.  One dog even swam close to my son, as he was swimming out to some of the deeper waters, and I felt a sense of comfort, as the dog stayed near his side. There was one dog, Whisky…yes, we all knew Whiskey’s name, as you could tell he was the one dog giving other dogs at the springs a bad rap.  His owner was giving a halfhearted attempt to reign him in, but in the long run, all she wanted to do was lay out and tan, so Whiskey went wild.

Poor thing wasn’t a bad dog, but you could tell he lacked guidance. It was forgivable because after all, he is just a sweet dog, but with a clueless owner.  Until the moment I was playing in the water with my daughter and look over, and there’s Whiskey dumping in our beautiful Barton Springs.  I looked around for his sun-bathing owner, and she did let out a weak and unmeaningful “Whiskey, don’t do that.”  But I wanted to stand up and shout, “Dude…get your dog out of the water!”  When you swim in lakes, rivers, springs or any other natural body of water, I think we have all come to terms with the fact that someone 5-feet away is probably peeing, but the dog was squatting and letting it go in the water was too much.  I scooped up (no pun intended) my kids and decided it was probably a good time to go at this point.

We were prepared to only stay in the water for fifteen minutes or even less, but both kids were loving it and had already been swimming for over an hour.  It had been a great day, so Whiskey in no way ruined it, but it was a good exit point.  My husband and I had to pry the kids out of the “free” waters, so we could all go home and take well-deserved naps (and showers).  I know we’ll be going back with the kids again before long, and we’ll pay our couple of dollars for admission to the main springs, or we’ll go back to the free side and see what adventure awaits there. Either way, no matter what side of the springs you’re swimming, it’s probably best to stay upstream!


Plan your visit: