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July 25, 2011

like a german water world

spent the weekend in New Braunfels.  camped the airstream under I35 right on the river.  we were bridge trolls.

I35 trolls in new braunfels

nestled all cozy between I35 and I35 frontage road, we were.

river ranch rv resort new braunfels

ear foam

the kids came up with this one, it's an "ear-foam", "not eye-phone".  they took turns having imaginary conversations on it. 

grilled sockeye salmon in new braunfels

trying to eat more meals at the airstream, we mangaged to grill up a side of fresh sockeye salmon and it was good!

 duck trolls

made friends with the river/bridge ducks.  shared biscuit crumbs with them we did.

new section of schlitterbahn new braunfels

make to the new section of schlitterbahn by the 10 AM opening time, we did not.  crowded when we got there it was.  and, it got at least 2x as crowded a few hours later.  (pic above is the early less crowded version).  this was our first time at the new section.  it's more like most water parks, it would otherwise be a parking lot if not for the fiberglass tubes and chlorinated water.  we still managed to make the best of it and all had a good time.

friesenhaus biergarten new braunfels

we found delicious german food, good german fun, and fantastic german beer in new braunfels.  pretzels were not so good but the rest of it made up for their pretzel failure.

bavarian hat dance

the MC had selected me to participate in the bavarian hat dance, but then he found I was supporting a sleeping 3 y.o. baby so I escaped my chance to dance.... or swap hats w/ a bunch of other guys.

german doofus beer drinking robot

real german-esque dorks too.


"PROSIT!...  Friesenhaus is wonderbar!...  ziggy zakky, ziggy zakky, oi! oi! oi!"

alphorn competition in new braunfels german restaurant

LOOK!  it's #1 son on the alphorn!  he did a great job!

grocery store water shoes

water shoes are nearly disposable.  hoping to find replacements at HEB.  trying to find the PERFECT shoe at a grocery store can be frustrating for the perfectionist, and burdens the patience of those willing to settle and move on with the evening.  the daughter kept asking me, "how long have we been here now?"  I just rolled my eyes and knew enough not to say too much.

early bird gets worm at schlitterbahn

day two, we made it to the original schlitterbahn at 9.30!  we had our choice of picnic tables and #2 son got to floating in his tube right away.  we enjoyed many rides with virtually no lines.  later in the day the lines did get long, but we already got our tubing done.  where the original schlitterbahn differs from most water parks is the old oak tree shade and real river water, not recirculated treated water.  the place is situated on a hillside along the comal river.  you ride a tube down concrete tube chutes along many pools and falls.  good fun!

no waterproof digital camera on this trip, but pics from our visit last year show the park like setting around the tube chutes


kiddie pool at schlitterbahn

let the kids play in the smaller pools in the afternoon.

grill master of new braunfels

I love working that little grill.  notice the roasted corn underneath.  kat says she no longer wants to eat corn any other way than roasted over the fire. 

roasted corn ears



Eels at Stubb's BBQ (no bbq eel though)

it was a good night for some live music.  stubb's was not too crowded so I won't be able to complain about tobacco smoke or people pushing.  sure, it was hot but we're used to it.  it's summer and we expect tripple digit heat, no big deal.  pre show entertainment drove this point home by playing with fire.

playing with fire in the texas heat

tall people just LOVE walk right in front of us at the last minute.  so we made sure nobody got infront of us by being the front line. 

eels at stubb's austin

with nine albums so far, they did a good job of mixing up the music both old and new.

MR E. in austin

eels fact, Mark E. Everett (aka E., Eels frontman) is the son of Hugh Everett III, the guy who who first proposed the many-worlds interpretation (MWI) of quantum physics.  I think we have a NOVA episode on the DVR about him, the kids love to watch NOVA.  #2 son loves to read "NOVA" when he notices their logo. 

they did a good job entertaining us, not just playing music, but also making us laugh and become engaged with the show. 

we didn't get any video with audio that would pass any quality standards (even for this blog)  so I will insert a few from the youtube community of eels fans.


July 18, 2011

view from the fish's eye

 I found a new toy in the mail saturday morning, a russian made fisheye lens.  no auto focus or auto exposure features, all manual like it was in the old days.  took a quick test shot to see if it was working.

fish eye view of austin modhouse


completely different perspective.  it's closer to what it feels like to really be there.  sure, the stuff at the edges is all distorted, but it allows peripheral vision.  so you can put the subject in the middle and really get a feeling for the surroundings.

fisheye view at the table

they had no idea what I was up to.  the daughter thought she could just lean and escape another photo opp.  not even close! 

next stop, farmer's market.

barton creek mall farmer's market

we have three farmer's markets near our house.  but the one at barton creek mall is closest and we had an old navy groupon to unload.


raw sauerkraut girl at austin farmer's market 

we love the raw sauerkraut.

kombucha tea at austin farmer's market

kombucha on tap.

hibiscus tea nile valley austin

some hibiscus tea too.

had dinner at our friend's house.



dinner table

the flash is nowhere near as wide as the view.  makes an otherwise boring pic a bit more mysterious.

ps3 controller to go

yep, he takes his PS3 controllers along.  he is hooked on little big planet

40 days of rock tumbling

after 40 days of tumbling the rocks are done!  we learned a bit and were pleased with the results.  we had to add glass to the mix because we found we needed more/larger rocks.  so now we also have beach glass made from our old wine bottles.

marvin the boston terrier terror

we noticed marvin had lost about 5 lbs, about 20% of his weight.  vet did some blood work, gave us a bunch of pills and he's making a speedy recovery

July 11, 2011

a combat medic goes to hawaii

AIT graduation 

my brother graduated from his army medical training in san antonio.  he is now a "combat medic"

we attended two different ceremonies. 

army barracks san antonio

we even visited the barracks to see his bunk.

westin pool swim san antonio

then we went to the pool.  we stayed one night at La Contessa and the next night next door at the Westin.  pool pics here are from the westin.   those beds at the westin are real comfortable, but every room at la contessa is a suite!  with kids, having two seperate rooms with 2 or three beds is a big draw.  also the brunch at la contessa is probably the only true bargain any where near the riverwalk.

pool at the westin san anatonio


la gloria's san antonio

I ate here three times in two days.  this is the first time I have found tacos al pastor in the USA done just like they do them in mexico.  and we LOVE real tacos al pastor.  I used to go to the yucatan regularly, and I liked to get out of the tourist areas.  we'd try to sample every taco al pastor we could find.  sure, there are several places in austin serving tacos al pastor, but they pale in comparison to the ones found in Merida or La Gloria

pearl brewing co san antonio

it's near the old pearl brewing company.  one great feature is the huge fenced lawn with big rubber balls for kids to run and play.

tacos al pastor rotisserie

there!  you can see it!  the rotisserie of marinated pork with a pineapple on the top.

tacos al pastor from la glorias san antonio

where the restaurant failed was consistency.   I had them three times in two days and I found them served three different portions.  they have one menu for lunch and dinner, notice the difference in portion from above to below.  I don't know about you, but I'll take the plate on the top.

smaller dinner portion tacos al pastor la gloria's san antonio

san antonio riverwalk

one of our favorite eating out experiences was found at the Monterey, a gastropub.

the monterey san antonio gastropub

upon being seated, we were each served a free Sunner kolsch!  and pretty soon after the pic above was taken, my mom whisked my brother off to the airport where he flew back to marin county to be reunited with his lovley daughter and wife.  next stop for them, Hawaii!  yep, he is stationed in hawaii.  if you have to join the army, might as well do it on the island. 

heirloom tomatoes with watermelon, feta and dried olives

herloom tomato salad with watermelon, feta and dried olives.

pork belly from monterey san antonio

pork belly

pig ear salad at monterey

pig's ear salad

pearl beer michelada at the monterey


sunner kolsch

back side of the alamo

we took #2 son to the alamo.  not sure he got much out of it.  he doesn't even know who John Wayne is!

bowie fountain at the alamo

paul schuster and pretty girls

went out with some friends when we got back to austin.  Hugo's was just OK...  the fried brie with habanero sauce was probably the best thing we had, duck cigars were good too.

fried brie and habanero jelly from hugos

sunday eve we had fun making a soda bottle rocket.  directions said to use a bicycle pump.  but as the mythbusters say, "anything worth doing, is worth over doing"  so I used my air compressor at 80 psi.

beach access #4

6 hour drive 

it took us over six hours to get there.  we had loaded the ipad with movies hoping that would occupy their attention.  not so. it got used for angry birds a few times, #2 son screamed a good bit of the last half of the trip.  #2 son knows that everybody else has their own iphone/itouch, so he made it clear that the ipad 2 was HIS, "this is MY! BIG! IPHONE! OK?  NOT. YOURS. OK!?" he told us all. 

it's funny how greed, or posession of something valuable is such a natural instinct.  #2 son also noticed that the older two kids often argue over who gets the nintendo charger in the car.  he didn't own a nintendo but he claimed the charger as well, even though has no use for it "it's MY CHARGER! OK!?, NOT. YOUR. CHARGER! IT'S MINE!" 

hurricane season at south padre island

we'd had so much drought that we didn't even think of a possibility of it raining on our so padre island vacation.  but the sky went dark, and about 15 miles from the island it started to rain.  we were greeted by the hurricane warning.  quick check of the iphone and a prediction of 70% chance of rain every day.

hauling it over the dunes 

but the skies cleared and the sun did shine and we did enjoy a good time at the beach, no rain!

beach access #4 south padre island

we like to drive north of the hotel/condo zone and hit beach access number four.  we take everything we need for a full day at the beach.

south padre island blue waters 

bratwurst on the beach grill

we take a grill and make our own lunch.

south padre island grilled corn and sausage


bratwurst eating baby

#2 son ate a WHOLE bratwurst!  a seagull stole another right off the grill.  that left us a bit short. but we made do, and made sure to watch the grill better the next day.

beach friends 

the kids made new friends every day.

sand lump party south padre island

 sand slinging fight

top shelf margarita pier 19 south padre

watch out for those top shelf happy hour magraritas at pier #19.  johnny has a heavy pour!  good for us this place is a few steps from where we camp the airstream.  you don't want to operate heavy machinery after those things!

no diaper and I pee'd all over the pier

potty training has good days and bad days, luckily the pier is far out over the water for diaperless accidents. 

pier 19 happy hour south padre island

raw oysters at padre island brewing co

we also enjoyed HH at the padre island brewing co.  #1 had the raw oysters on the half shell.

birthday treat at padre island brewing company

she always celebrates her birhday there. she ate the entire desert.  the boys went upstairs and played pool.

wheat whit beer at padre island brewing company

we had some wheat beer.

frog's legs at daddy's south padre island

kat really liked the frog's legs from daddy's (across the street from padre island brewing co)

pizza at the overlander

but we made good use of the airstream and had most of our meals there.  we even took some frozen pizza and put our own fresh toppings on.  fresh baked biscuits for every breakfast too.

overlander front bed for three

with each person now having their own sleeping space, we were in no rush to get home. 

disappearing arms

paul schuster



my sister was in town for a short while before we left for SPI, it was good for the cousins to play together.

island style shark tale

osprey heading out to deep waters

our last day on the island sent kat and #1 son deep sea fishing.  they went about twenty miles out to sea. 

deep sea fishing from south padre island

she caught two atlantic sharpnose sharks

north atlantic sharpnose shark

these are not engangered and she made good use of them.  their fillets are flakey white meat that she breaded and fried, then portioned and froze for her lunches.  it was good!  she used the rest of the shark to make shark's fin soup.

osprey deep sea fishing padre island shark red snapper

the real prize was the BIG red snapper she caught.

red snapper fishing south padre island tx

she opted to not pay to have it professionally filleted.  we got a lot more from it that way. 

happy kat

she was so happy!

wm shakers and red snapper

I was there offering moral support, and squishing some fruits for WM shakers. 

airstream grilled red snapper

we had a feast at the airstream that night!  and had plenty left to take home.

ipad 2 angry birds rio

angry birds is a lot more fun on an ipad 2.  then we watched the 4th of july fireworks from the airstream.

fireworks south padre island


south padres island sea turtle rescue

While kat and #1 son were deep sea fishing, I took #2 and the daughter to the sea turtle center

padre island sea turtle rescue

rescued baby sea turtle padre island