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November 24, 2008

don't even think of sitting in front of buddha

we did a very small part of what has turned into a huge event/party, the east austin studio tour 


found a keg of kirin at the studio of our friend  chris levack (seen in the back talking about his metal work).  if you've had your food under the metal and wood trees out front of the whole foods flagship store, you can thank him for your shade.

chris is in a building with several other talented artists/craftsmen.  I fell in love with this table.  kat and I debated it's value and I said it is likely just as much as an asphault driveway, but 20 years later we can take the table with us. 

I finally got my chance with it's maker; we had almost decided we might want to seriously consider purchasing it, or one like it.  I asked "how much?"  he paused and issued a long slow grin before deflating us with "ooohhh, ...it's (uncomfortable pause) price-less".  and that was that.  I went and got more free beer.

hawkeye had a keg of shiner in his space.

he also had a craft area for the kids. 


we stopped at bleep labs.  the kids absolutely fell in love with these bit blobs.

pass the baby

sharon about to wrap COMPLICATED to come home with us.

kat had donated some old big floppy discs for sharon to use.  they got cut up and waxed to become DATA AGGREGATION.  a collector came through the gallery and purchased.  soon it will be crated and shipped to chicago where it will be part of a gallery exhibition there.

kat's sister (shirley) had once owned the discs and her handwriting is now part of art.

sharon kept our older two kids in her studio while we explored the happenings in the other spaces at the bolm st studios.  after two days of answering questions from adults, I think she welcomed the time with children

the kids had produced their own art while we were away.  thanks sharon!

mcmansion backlash sarcasm

stumbled on some mcmansion humor.

airstream water pump

he sort of helped me replace the fresh water tank and water pump in the airstream.


now that he gets around more, he finds all sort of new things.

I like the funny things found in the asian supermarket.  just back away from their buddha! OK!

he LOVES hot and sour soup.

likes the soup, he does

lapped it all up.


for those of you keeping track, YES she has a beverage in her hand again, this time it's just tea.


last week he complained "I NEVER get a 50".  this week he ate his words.  scored a 50 and a 20 in one claw motion.  then got a 20 on his next attempt.  kids love going to HEB (grocery store)


typical austinmodhouse breakfast with boxhead.

the other morning he declared, "I am going to do big number math".  he acquired some chalk and started adding three and four digit sums.  and then in the top left you can also see his cute drawing of a baby chik in it's nest... with a stick of TNT on it's head.  the more kat get's upset about his artwork the more explosive it becomes.


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November 17, 2008

we found fireants at the ranch

1968 airstream overlander illumination

spent the weekend at "the ranch" with friends.

kat scores a bud light

kids enjoyed the swing.  unfortunately, the girl in the background had just fallen while running and broken her arm.  she had to be rushed to the hospital.

pass the baby

hay ride


marvin and eichler enjoyed all the freedom, perhaps too much.

my daughter's favorite place was this lake.  "this is like a mini paradise" she said to me.

we were hiking back from the lake when I noticed the cows were running and making sounds I don't usually hear from cattle.  sort of sounded like a walrus saying "BLUUUUURGH-BRBRBRAAAHCH" through a tuba plugged up with a sick cat.  I later learned that was cow talk for "this ugly freakin' rat is biting my ankles!"

it was marvin.

eichler came back when called.  not so with marvin.

this doggie ranch hand had to carry him away.

I found the baby sleeping so soundly and warm in the airstream.  hooray for down comforters as it got down to the low 30's and we had lost a sky light on the way to the ranch, so we had a big hole where our heat escaped.  we slept pretty good.


fireants setting up.

I thought the porta potty was an odd place to find a portrait of the dude.

portrait of a dude in a porta-potty

I found a bottle of wine in the garage, don't mind if I do.

I took a hay ride.

math whiz

my son (back of his head, far right) is very interested in math.  he found a boy that share his interest so he set forth to issue a series of problems to be solved; "what is eight million plus ten million".  I love how he looks up into the air while his mental gears spin before issuing the sum.  the girls patiently observed while these two flexed their brain muscle.

marvin was back at the cattle herding.  they tried very hard to stomp him into the dirt and I saw several attempts to spear him with those long horns.  later that evening, I had to carry eichler back to the airstream.  she'd developed some sort of attraction to a male boston terrier named cooper.  unfortunately she exhibited her emotions in a very dominating sort of display.  me and my problem dogs.

another beautiful sunset

ant trail

follow the illuminated trail to the fireants

the fireants rocked!  they are a bunch of local high school students that have found their way into the austin live music scene.

I found her inside the ranch house all cozy and watching tv.

impromptu cake walk.  see the numbers applied to floor tiles.  every kid walked away a winner.

kids love glow sticks

say ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh


the queen of the mobile castle

after breakfast we went off roading.  half of twin lakes above.  we fed the catfish but the cool temps have them slowed down and dampened their appetites.

at the highest point in the county.

that is enchanted rock to the left of the dude and "the bump" to the right

the road home.

bonus pics

he stands, crawls and...


loves watermelon.

the end

sunset as seen from the austinmodhouse front door



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November 11, 2008

they got hitched and we got juiced; how to get a week worth of SF bay area fun into three days


we stayed at a lovely B&B in napa; the Inn on First 


kat enjoyed the complimentary sparkling wine we found in the room along with a giant jacuzi tub.

Phil and Coco (the newlyweds) found a full sized sparkling rose' in their room.  kat helped them with that as well.

we had an amazing dinner at bleaux magnolia (my brother's restaurant)

there is never a corkage fee there!  feel free to bring your own wine and enjoy the food.  they also have an impressive wine list and I'm sure Philip can help you find something to enhance your meal.  we had a variety of mondavi reserve wines.

the oysters were great and the women easy on the eyes.

pork belly

PORK BELLY!!!  delicious.

the family table keeps getting bigger.

bleaux cheez and port bon-bon

this tender portion of beef came with a bon-bon.  the bon-bon is "popped" and spurts molten blue cheese and port over the meat.  we fell in love with this dish.

co-owner Chef Matt Mermod working his magic in the kitchen. 

the next morning we recharged with an amazing french toast prepared by chef Jim Gunther

our hosts really made us feel at home.  it was more like staying with extended family.  not a hotel experience but a great bed and breakfast experience.

with breakfast fresh in our bellies, it was time to get back to work.  we are hosting a charity event here at austinmodhouse next month and we need to find some wine for our guests.  dedicated is the word that comes to mind.  we made tracks to mondavi.

big nose

our tour guide (channing) made sure we understood that no shortcuts were taken at mondavi.  100% new french oak barrels at a cost of $1500 each.  used once, then sold for use at other wineries.  the middle sections have been painted with wine not suitable for drinking.

hey!  that is my sister in-law, chef coco in the mondavi kitchens.

more tasty treats.

we got whisked away to the reserve tasting room.

they have a Weston photography exhibit in the reserve tasting room at turnbull (directly across the street from mondavi and close to screaming eagle)

we attended the wedding of richard and patrick, congratulations!

kat found a big bottle of champagne somebody flew in from france.  she quickly got into the flow of things.  likes her sparkley juice, she does.

the next morning found us craving a savory breakfast.  ok, I wanted migas.  this turned out to be a greater request than I had anticipated.  I searched all over yelp but it seems the only breakfast emporiums I could located were pancake places. 

my plan, get on the el camino real and drive till I find a likely candidate.  I found downtown burlingame to have the correct balance of sofistication and down home goodness.  we were very happy to arrive at the crepevine.  no migas, but juevos rancheros came close enough.  funny, they have no salsa (we're not in austin any more) and they offered tobasco with the eggs.  I think fresh jalapeno would have been out of the question; not a complaint, just an observation, we loved the breakfast and their patio.

kat found a persimon vendor at the burlingame farmer's market.  she was so happy with her purchase she gave us a single item juggling demonstration, she's good too.

kat was very excited to visit her younger brother's apt.  he appears to be less thrilled (sorry for the crappy iphone pic)

she was also very happy to see he has a car and can drive.  I finally asked her to quit taking pictures.  yes, he can drive.  he was very patient with her paparazzi impulse.

when I had been searching for migas I found a yelp review of chef woo; it promised a taiwanese style breakfast.  she could not resist.

what you see above is a doughnut like item wrapped in a tortilla type thing... yes, it's like a do-nut taco.  the food was good and cheap.  luckily I let kat order the things she wanted, those are things I'll taste but not fill up on.  we had tickets to day of doon in santa cruz and they promised gourmet eats along with great quantities of juice samplings.

keeping the blues out old school style and driving over hwy 17

the drive over 17 is amazing.  for kat, it was a reminder of how happy she is living in austin with a 5 mile commute and not driving hwy 17 to get to work.

the summit, all down hill from here.

our good friends matt and darcey were waiting for us at day of doon.

we had a private tasting in one of their new "pods". my brother offered some challenging questions.

matt approved. 


can you say nebbioloooooooh

we really liked the bonny doon nebbiolo and the cigare volant.  we had a barrel sampling of the 07 cigare volant (won't be released till 2011) along with the 02, 03 and 04.  sign me up for all the above.  there was also a great abundance of food this year.  nobody went hungry.  and lucky for me, I didn't eat much at chef woo so I was ready to consume the gourmet treats being ushered out on huge serving plates.


it was time for an impromptu blues jam.  a harmonica was used to provide a background as we traded turns providing blues lines expressing the inner pain of human existence, or something like that.

matthew and the girls

the theme of this years day of doon involved the four elements.  people were encouraged to dress up.  I found fire.

I found water and had a peek.

fire dancers.

fire hula-hoop.

downtown santa cruz.  more harmonica blues to be distributed.  I held the hat for the pedestrians to consider a contribution.

SOIF!  we really miss this unpretentious wine bar with constantly changing menu that never fails to offer something new and interesting.

there is a cheese plate and sweet breads and boquerones and...


then we stopped off at el palomar.  after philip gave them a serving of the restaurant owner blues, they served us up a pitcher of margaritas.

no trip to santa cruz would be complete without a stop by our old home.  we found our neighbor tom out front having his morning coffee in his robe, ozzy slippers and led zepelin pajamas.  it was like we never left.  this time, kat was very happy to see our old home was being well cared for (the previous visit was an expression of an absent owner who let the plants die).   we were so happy to see that much of what we had planted there was now flourishing!  that flax was maybe 10" inches when I dropped it into the hole I dug, look at it now!

a giant palm tree made a nice addition. 

it was nice to see that so much of what we did to the house was just as we left it, the pergola that I made with a gender bending assistant (paula the handywoman), the chandelier we got at a yard sale still hanging from it, the side gate I made, the front house numbers kat hand painted... it was all there like we had just left for a short time.

breakfast at linda's seabreeze cafe

they have the best scrambles there.  somehow, I was seduced by a daily special that was described as "insanity" and didn't get my scramble.  the special was too heavy on the artichoke hearts and too light on eggs, it was insane.  I'll just have to return to get my scramble on.  the cinnamon roll did not disappoint.


#4!!!!!  my daughter and I used to walk from our house to our beach and then we'd walk along the beach until we could touch #4.

gray skies cheated us out of the usual aquamarine colored waves, typical rainy season, morning marine fog bank, overcast weather.

the dude observing the sand beneath his boots.

and the usual mad dash to check out, drive to airport, return rental car (get gas first) shuttle and run to the gate where you find your flight has been delayed to the point where you can no longer make the connecting flight in denver.  HA!  we got home just a bit later than scheduled.  it was great to hug the kids before bedtime.  a HUGE thanks to my mom for watching them.  now it's her turn, she left for napa this morning.  hey mom! bring us back some juice!


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November 06, 2008

I'm a sell out, kat gets a bloom and mini meets lacie


kat has tried her thumb at orchids before.  the end result was a nice pot of orchid growing medium and some shrivelled up plant resting on top.  the flower lady at our local hardware store raved about how easy it is to care for orchids.  so, she gave it another go, this time following instructions and using the special orchid food.  HOO-RAY!  this orchid has provided us with two new blooms.


we have some photos I did for a show many years back.  they had been in storage for a good while.  some insects had wandered between the matt and the glass where they became stuck.  kat had asked if I would clean them out.  I opted to leave them as it was an act of nature, "it adds to the authenticty" I rebutted with an air of art snobbery. 

I sold out.  I cleaned the bugs out this week. 

lacie 1TB

mac mini gets married:  our house music server has a 40 gb hard drive.  it didn't take long before I filled it up.  we finally moved the itunes library to a lacie 1TB external hard drive.  now I have room to get back to burning my boxes of cds that have been taking space in the garage. 

many of those discs have not seen any play in a decade.  in the process, I have fallen in love with dinosaur jr all over again.  which led me to search youtube where I found an amusing video that includes trailer park trash muppets enjoying shots of milk in a honky tonk.

I'm glad this election is over.  the phone has quit ringing.  I don't appreciate that a robot has been calling at least once a day, playing some recording made by the wife of some local politician.  I should have made a note of who she was plugging so I could make a point of NOT voting for her husband. 

the kid's school had their own presidential election where obama also won.  that was no surprise as the enthusiasm in the neighborhood and around austin has been ... enthusiastic.  when we drove the back roads on the way from camping a few weeks ago I was surprised to see so many mccain signs posted along the side of the rd.  they were few and far between around here.  64% of travis county voters voted for obama, but tx as a whole went to mccain. 



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November 02, 2008

lucas holiday and some fantastic mediums



getting into costume before the sun is up.  notice the blue light coming in through the polygal wall in the background


I went to the school to visit the halloween parties.  star wars costumes seem to be the favorite by a large majority.  I think that they will eventually call this holiday george lucas day or star wars eve.

I had a parent teacher conference with teacher of #1 son this past week. she relayed how they have a moment each day for kids to share "the daily news". #1 son gives his classmates a daily account on his triumphs at ps3 lego star wars complete with hints and button sequences.

one of the mothers provided some sing along action.

at my daughter's class they had a witch.

but she was more interested in mr. van dyke's calvin and hobbes books.

tug of war

we stood at the end of the driveway and tried to offer treats to passing motorists.  we managed to give a box of junior mints to a lady that stopped to ask directions. 

a neighbor had arranged for the few kids on our street to get together for pizza and playing before trying to trick or treat.  they have an amazing yard with downtown views on one side and sunset on the other.  they have added a zip line and a trampoline to the yard toy collection. 


trick or treat 2008

we are not big candy eaters... well, we do like our chocolate.  anyhow, we still have candy left from last year.  we only visited about 20 homes for trick or treat.  the kids were tired and happy.

kat's classical guitar

for years kat has been taking classical guitars for test drives.  she always concluded that they were too expensive or poorly made.  we had to stop in to best buy to get a firewire (mac mini got a 1tb external hard drive for music storage).  they had just opened a musical instrument dept.  kat did her usual and found one for not much $ but said she would not buy it if it was from china.  the sales girl thought it came from portugal and we laughed, then we found it was made here in the usa!  nice quality too!  so we got it.

daughter likes it too.  but she misses the dots on the fret board.

art beer and music

our good friends at the bay6 studio gallery had a great show featuring works done with encaustic

we really liked the new works by sharon kyle kuhn

we took the kids with us.  #1 son got comfortable in sharon's studio space.

the mediums (band from austin, tx)

another fantastic performance from the mediums

caroline wright

our favorite cellist/artist/yoga instructor, the amazing caroline wright.

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