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February 27, 2012

green stuff going on (gardening and landscaping) and Hoch Ybrig

kat's barn on the blanco river

blanco river barn...I ended up replacing the broken glass.  we had talked about replacing the window with something better, but it got complicated.  one piece of the trim was badly broken, instead of running into town for a new piece, I removed a board from the house that will be torn down.  recycling!

austin equisetum planter preperation

it has been decided that we will replant the equisetum (instead of bamboo).  but we will improve the planter box's ability to retain moisture, equisetum likes it boggy.  I dug out all the dirt, laid down some plastic sheeting and then we mixed and poured 12 80 lb bags of concrete (still need more)

dog prints in wet concrete

we went out for a few errands and found dog prints in the wet concrete when we returned. 

austin planter box garden

we've had a few days in the 80's.  the warm weather got us in the gardening mood.  planted many tomato and leek/onion plants.  many greens are returning from last year and we've already had one salad from the garden.  our yard is also hosting many volunteer tomato and brussels sprout plants (because I dump my kitchen scraps around the yard)

stone path

kat's new pet project, a stone path and future landscape area.

1965 econoline show van

sold the orange van to a guy from S. Louisiana.  new owner used to have a "show van" back in the 70's.  he's hoping to turn the orange van into his next rolling art. 

Hoch Ybrig vs La Marechal

#1 son has been requesting that we get some more of his favorite cheese, challerhocker.  we visited our local specialty cheese shop, antonelli's.  while they do not have challerhocker or der scharfe maxx, they did enlighten us with even more alpine style cheese knowledge.  it was a real tough call, but I think we liked the le marechal a slight bit more than the hoch ybrig.  maybe too close to call a winner, we have quite a bit left.  we are hoping to host an ultimate cage  battle between our three favorites alpine cheeses. 

nobilo vs cadillac white bordeaux

we also tried to pick a winner between two white wines we enjoy.  the nobilo (sauvignon blanc from NZ) faced off against cadillac (a white bordeaux).  both bottles are under $10.  we often have the nobilo with really spicy indian food, its knock you in face grapefruit/passionfruit nose can stand up to a korma and still be there for the vindaloo.  but when paired with the alpine cheeses, and next to the bordeaux...  we found the nobilo to be a bit overpowering.  the nobilo was chosen to be the favorite at first, the cadillac bottle was emptied before the nobilo was half gone...  cadillac took the victory lap.

pank-pecan-pea crusted salmon

panko-pea-pecan crusted salmon went well with both white wines.  the oven roasted cauliflower ($1 a head at HEB this week) and oven roasted fingerling potatoes another success. 

scoot inn double date

we chaperoned a date, or maybe it was a double date...  had dinner at fabi-rosi.  chef wolfgang stopped by our table and I did compliment his duck confit (for kat) as I enjoyed the rockfish.  then we went to scoot inn to watch king air

king air at scoot inn

I didn't take my pro camera.  just a tiny point-shoot.

kingair at scoot inn

king air at scoot in bill baldwin guitar

scoot inn deer head

you know you love the BIG deer head on the wall


February 23, 2012

a bit more privacy for the ladies

we did install a locking knob set for the downstairs bathroom, the bathroom guests use.  but then the city had us clean up the woods between us and the neighbors.  we had a new issue, the window by the toilet had a clear view of the neighbor's house. 

view from the toilet west lake hills

even the daughter refused to visit the downstairs facilities.  the one day, when I was working my brain and trying to come up with a reasonable solution, it appeared via crestview doors facebook page.  I exchanged a few emails and placed my order.  about two weeks later, my custom cut redi-screen was ready for pick-up!

crestview doors redi-screen morocco

it really is beautiful, especially the maple frame.  it's heavier than I anticipated as well, really solid.

crestvew doors modern morocco redi-screen paint

what I didn't realize was, all those holes would be a big PITA to paint.  the middle screen section is cut plywood and all the plywood edge was thirsty as sailor on shore leave.  I had planned to spray primer/paint...  but that did nothing for all those holes (maybe something to consider when selecting a redi-screen pattern), I found that a small foam roller on a J-handle fit in each hole, even the small ones.  but it still required several applications.  some of the paint globbed up around the openings, I let it all dry and then sanded the face and reapplied paint (two more times)

bathroom window privacy  

I installed it on hinges so I can still open it for more light.  I may play with the installation so there is less of a gap on the right side (shims and trims).  it does provide complete privacy. 

 redi-screen translucent acrylic

Translucent Acrylic acrylic was only an extra $29.  I wish it sat flat against the screen but I'm not gonna mess with that at the moment.  it's not that obvious when it's closed,

February 21, 2012

final austin cotillion of 2012

#1 son:

austin country club

the whole family is encouraged to attend the final assembly for his group.

chaplin cotillion 2012 austin

final cotillion austin 2012

dance with momma at cotillion austin

#2 son has been waiting all season to get out there and dance.  he finally got in on the fun.

grandson and grandma cotillion dance

he even got nana out there for some dancing.

country and western dancing at the austin cotillion

the kids love the "cotton eyed joe" dance.  he got together with his friend for the dance. 

cotton eye'd joe dance

austin country club cotillion 2012


Daughter: Junior Assembly

parents are not allowed to attend the final Cotillion for the older kids.  we sat in the lobby and listened in.  they have a formal dinner complete with instruction on table manners and which fork to use for salad etc.  then they are left to enjoy their meal.  then they let us in to take pics for the last 30 minutes.  this final event is 2.5 hours!  we tried to sneak away for a quick drink at the country club bar, but we are not members, they sent us away thirst and all.

 junior assembly chaplin cotillions austin

chaplin cotillion austin country club

austin cotillion 2012

Highland parade, shreveport mardi gras 2012

Day two of our shreveport mardi gras trip of 2012: 

champagne grilled oysters from the oyster bar 

started the day with champagne grilled oysters, and a margarita from the Oyster bar.  then off to the highland parade.

blanc noir highland parade shreveport mardi gras

we lost most of our group and #2 son managed to march at the front of the parade for a while. 

krewe of spam

krewe of bbq highland parade 

krewe of bbq throws hot-dogs.  and kat catches one every year!

mardi gras hot dog caught from krewe of bbq highland parade shreveport 2012

southern rebel flag at the highland parade

highland parade ass poker

highland parade 2012

beads from highland parade shreveport mardi gras

people of walmart family dollar shreveport

I couldn't resist.  the lovely princess in pink was puffing on her cigarette as she huffed along pushing the baby...  one of the most annoying parts of going to shreveport, the tobacco smokers. 

scots cycles

walk off into the sunset

we went by a party after the parade, then we went to eat some mexican food and then to another party....  the party at marylin's place had crawfish and live music by dirtfoot.  my iphone battery died and things got a bit wild, as to be expected.  lots of smokers (tobacco) and a guy lost his lunch, but didn't stop.  

marilyn's place shreveport mardi gras

and monday morning we packed it up and stopped off at herby k's for one last meal.

herby k.'s fried oyster and shrimp po-boy

I couldn't decide between the fried oyster and shrimp po-boy or the crawfish etouffee, so I got both. 

made it home in 5 hours

mardi gras, shreveport space #83 gemini parade

we left austin saturday morning, before 6 AM.  we arrived in shreveport around 11:30 and there was no denying the rain about to come down.  but we went ahead with our plans.  easily discouraged, we are not. 

space #83 disco gnome and ron swanson

the space #83 disco gnome was mounted, a fire was started and tents pitched.  we had a lovely fuchsia tent among our space #83 village this year. 

mardi gras fire pit shreveport

rany gemini parade mardi gras

outfitted the kids with some rain gear and let them loose.  street was closed down and the festivities were happening all around us.  ours was just a bit louder than the rest, but that is to be expected. 

scooter in the street for mardi gras

street scootering. 

mardi gras street party


rain poncho for shreveport mardi gras gemini parade

silly string space 83

fun with silly string!

silly strin at mardi gras

silly string space 83 mardi gras

salmon grilled on the fire pit

we took some salmon that was marinated in spicy korean fermented chili paste and orange juice. 

disco gnome dancer girls

the gnome attracted some random dancing girls...  got to have a gnome at your party or it just might fail. 

drink mixing girls

just a few beverages were served and consumed. 

gnome laser is on

laser show was mounted as the sun set and BANG!  everybody was dancing. 

gnome dance party

nat and co dancing around the gnome

"nat-nat the jello shot girl" (although she didn't bring jello shots this year) had a quick recovery from her illness and busted out some naughty moves.  then promptly went back to feeling ill.  magic of the disco gnome I guess... 

space #83 disco gnome dance party mardi gras

more dancing.

wade and troy space #83 shreveport mardi gras


mardi gras space 83 2012



space #83 disco gnome of gemini mardi gras parade

space #83 laser light show is on!

laser light show of space #83 shreveport mardi gras gemini parade


boys in the mardi gras space #83 laser light show

and the bottom of the bucket dropped out and the rain came down. 

mardi gras dance party

we had a big group of teens dancing. 

gemini parades on the way

as the rain increased, people started to leave.  the parade is rain or shine and you know we were gonna be there till the end. 

rain at gemini parade mardi gras 2012 shreveport

mardi gras shreveport gemini parade

less people equals more valuable parade loot (golden beads and cups)

gemini parade in the rain 2012

we caught several whole bags of beads, the floats were going as fast as they could and just dumping their load. 

many beads at the gemini parade 2012 mardi gras shreveport

gemini parade in the rain mardi gras 2012

gemini parade shreveport mardi gras rain 2012

mardi gras beads in the rain

mardi gras marching band in the rain gemini parade 2012

the marching band was not very enthused, but they pushed forward and we all got wet together.


February 13, 2012

my own private haikyo

fischer wimberley texas barn project

  I'm ready to build a small porch for the front door on the blanco river barn.  a broken window needs to be fixed first.  so I ran down to remove it.  I always spend a few moments in the house.  even if I just bring back a load of trash, it's a small step towards a big problem.

one of the blogs I read; tokyo times often features photography from haikyo, or ruins/abandoned buildings.  I realize we now own such a property.

american haikyo texas wimberley fischer

we don't know where the previous owners are, we can piece together a few ideas of who they were from what they left behind.  the house is filled with personal effects, and various collections of materials.  I did find a working juice extractor on this week’s visit.  past visits had me coming home with old computers and 9-pin bowling ball complete with custom leather bag. 

2001 AVN awards ticket

there is a whole closet of suits.  I brought back a tuxedo and found this in one pocket.  it's an unused ticket to the 2001 AVN awards (adult video news awards are like the Oscar awards of porn). 

another pocket contained a used ticket stub for the 2001 AVN awards and a small candy heart with the words "would you be mine" on it. 

I recently uncovered a recipe box, I don't know if the person who collected these is still alive, but I/we can now recreate part of their past by following simple directions

found wassail recipe

found eggnog recipe

found eggnog recipe page two

found pretzel recipe page 1

found pretzel recipe page 2

I think I will surely try the pretzel recipe. 


 hotpot spread

inspired by our friend's new years eve shabu shabu meal, kat wanted to try the taiwanese version of hot pot.  I found some irony that the article/website she found to research her chosen culinary adventure was written by a white guy, married to a chinese/taiwanese girl... 

chinese hotpot shabu shabu

it's very similar to the japanese shabu shabu.  kat used a pot that is divided in half, one side has a spicy broth and the other is mushroom broth.  it was good fun as it is not a fast meal.  I'm not eating chicken/pork/beef, my hot pot items were limited.  I did enjoy the cod.  I'm not a big fan of the fish or shrimp balls.   

mushroom and asparagus pizza

I made an asparagus and mushroom pizza last night.  I'm enjoying the semolina pizza dough recipe I found online at http://www.fogazzo.com/html/pizza_dough.html

making the dough using a kitchenaid mixer requires very little time and I don't even have to get my hands dirty/doughy

cheese lover

he mostly wants the parmesan

nintendo zombie spell

maybe our palate is tuned to spicy food more than most people.  we often became frustrated when we lived in the coast (east and west) when we'd order some food at a restaurant.  making a real effort to select an offering that was described as spicy or had at least one pepper symbol next to it on the menu.  the server would often ask "how was it?" as the plates were cleared.  too often I would reply, "it was good, but not really spicy".  and far too often the server would toss my comment back at me "you should have told me you wanted it prepared spicy, they could have made it that way".  so what was the point of stamping all those pepper symbols next to the description? 

so that brings me to our local grocery store, an upscale HEB/central market hybrid.  they have a kiosk with an elevated platform.  a chef inspired human is always back there demonstrating how you can prepare meals at home using their factory made food stuffs.  a microphone headset amplifies her description and her urging passers by to sample what she has just prepared.  we usually avoid eye contact and just keep truckin' by. 

they had a green salsa and some blue corn chips out for sample.  #1 son was hungry and went over to have a sample.  I stayed with the shopping cart and #2 son, waiting.  the food demonstrator saw #1 son, chip in hand, about to spoon some of the green salsa onto it.  she was on the loud speaker and it went like this

HEB lady:  that's really spicy, I don't think you want to try it

#1 son: (completely oblivious, dips spoon in green salsa, hovers it over his chip and dumps)

HEB lady: (starting to panic)  THAT'S TOO SPICY FOR YOU, STOP

me: (laughing at the chaos she is creating over the her microphone) huh-huh-huh

HEB lady: (heard me laughing, looks at me with bit of anger and frustration) IS HE YOURS?  AND YOU WEREN'T GOING TO DO ANYTHING!

me: (continue to chuckle)

#1 son: (holds chip fully loaded with green sauce, moves it towards his mouth)

HEB lady: (to me) you aren't going to do ANYTHING!!!! (gives me very disapproving look, her face is turning red)

#1 son: (CRUNCH!- bites into chip and chews slowly, swallows then slowly looks up to the food demonstrator) it's not spicy.  (looks at her in a perplexed manner)

HEB lady: (stands there saying nothing, slack jawed, mouth open and eyes wide)

#1 son: (joins us over at the shopping cart) what was that all about?

me: she might just be mentally ill, they are out there among us you know...  you never know when one will pop up.  it's best to just ignore them.

#1 son: ooooh yeah!  you may be right. 

HEB "that green sauce" dona sauce


February 06, 2012

Blanton Museum puts on Music Circus by John Cage

the blanton museum of art presented john cage's music circus, where art/music/dance intersect.  it was great!  there were things happening all over the museum at the same time, we found at least 4 musical acts and dance by the good people at ballet austin

ballet austin dancers blanton musem john cage music circus

blanton ballet austin


blanton music circus

blanton museum of art austin

looks like they are closing in on her... 

music circus ballet austin blanton museum

no where to run...

no escape!  ballet austin blanton museum john cage music circus

no escape...

choreographer Michelle Thompson


choreographed by michelle thompson (red dress above)

trombone john cage music circus blanton

blanton museum musician-in-residence, steve parker, tromboned a soundscape in this dark nook.

john cage music circus blanton museum austin

large band with fun sounds and instruments, guy held up different symbols towards the musicians.

musicians at blanton museum of art austin tx john cage's music circus

we also watched a great jazz band.  they did their own version of Nuclear War by Sun Ra.   

"what you gonna do? without your ass?  it's a muther-f..."

(found that yo la tengo also cover nuclear war)

pennies bones and comunion wafers at blanton museum of art

Mission/Missions (How to build a Cathedral) by Cildo Meireles

this room was going wild, kids were playing with all those pennies.  we usually tell the kids not to touch...  but we got a bit out of hand. 

do not lay on the pennies!  blanton museum of art

the museum docent came over and made it clear "the kids are NOT allowed to lay on the pennies".  now we know, you can pick them up and drop them, but not lay on them.  now we know where our limit is. 

screwed at the blanton museum of art, tension in the room.

we enjoyed this event!  thanks to all who helped make it happen. 

blanton museum of art UT campus austin texas


birthday games of chance....

#1 son had another birthday.  he'd asked for the whole class party thing.  he has two classmates already hosting big parties the same weekend, we managed to get by with a small outing with a few of his best friends. 

there was talk about blazer-tag, but then we also heard about this game called "stacker" over at gatti-town, and the fantastic prizes to be won.  the chance to win a nintendo 3d or sony ps3 made his eyes bright with gamer enthusiasm.  then one morning he announced, "I think blazer-tag will be too scary, we should go to gatti-town".  he's been going to blazer-tag for years, this is the first we'd heard of any fear....

gatti town cartoon theater

we arrived at gatti-town before 11.  it was funny how all four became immobilized as we walked by the theater-dining room.  they just stood there silently till I reminded them about all the games yet to be played.

gatti town bumper cars

gatti town south austin bumper cars

I had given them each a card loaded with money to play games.  but they didn't want to use their credits to do the bumper cars, so I got a 5th card so I could pay separate.  they had other plans for their credits, BIG PLANS.

stacker game at gatti town

there it is!  STACKER!  just look at those prizes on display!  a ps3, a wii, apple tv!  WOW.  and only $2 per try....  HA!  I watched as boys lined up to quickly loose.  I'd remind them, "that was $2, you really want to play again?"  the stacker enthusiasm evaporated pretty quickly.  #1 son actually did pretty good, most kids didn't make it past three stacks.  but the end result was the same, a loss of $ for kids/parents.  the stacker machine retained its tight grip on the electronic bounty behind its plexiglass barrier.   

the claw machine at gatti town south austin

he had a few attempts at the claw game... at $1 per.  there was even a big giant wheel of chance, called the "BIG BASS WHEEL", another quick way to get rid of excess dollars-credits.  there was not much "game playing".  the arcade has become the kid version of a casino. 

I finally convinced them to play skee-ball.  at least that took up a bit more time and some hand-eye coordination. 

skee-ball gatti town south austin

cheating the skee-ball game gatti town

#1 son found the shortcut to high scores and token wealth. 

10,000 point skee-ball gatti town

yeah, he plugged the 10,000 point hole with balls till they had enough to redeem for a real prize.  take that games of chance!

pickle bandages!

haha, yes, we got him pickle bandages and pickle mints.  he showed us he had an ouchie just waiting for a pickle application. 

funny, one of the other boys has nearly the same birth date.  as #1 opened a gift, this other boy said to me...

boy: that present was to me, but I didn't open it yet so I gave it to him

me: awesome.  re-gift!  hey?  aren't we coming to your house tomorrow?  for your birthday party?

boy: nods with enthusiasm

me: so.... maybe we can also re-gift?  you just might see that again... right?

boy: (uncomfortable grin)

home made appricot crumb cake 

kat made him an apricot crumb cake, topped with fresh strawberries.  she used the leftover fresh apricots to make preserves.  she's been busy with winter weather weekend kitchen projects. 

 bent fork tines

kat had taken  note that several of our forks have bent tines.  I had also noticed that we seldom have matching silverware.  we host dinner, and serve mismatched silver on plastic plates...  we dug out the real adult plates and bought new matching silverware service for 8!  it's almost like we are real grown-ups now?

matching silverware!

overnight tomatos

I toss tomato, onion, garlic and rosemary with olive oil and a bit of salt and then into a warm oven for 3-4 hours.  the toms reduce, the garlic roasts and the onions turn brown and sugary.  I then put it into the blender and it's DELICIOUS.  I often use this mixture for a pasta or pizza sauce.  for the ravioli stuffing I mix it with ricotta and parmesan.

western party at cotillion:

cowboy cotillion austin country club

western swing dance austin cotillion

the kids love the western dance themed cotillion party.  it gets a bit rowdy when they line dance around the room.

western dance austin cotillion

austin country club 360 bridge

learning to pretzel at austin cotillion

the older kids learned to "pretzel".  they spin and arms fly so fast... 

junior assembly country western party austin cotillion

vegetarian pub grub:

vegetarian food at billy's on burnett

billy's on burnett has a great beer selection and all the usual pub-grub food.  except almost everything they have has a vegetarian version; avocado reuben, vegetarian frito-pie and vegetarian philly cheese steak.  it was all pretty good, as was the live oak hefeweizen.  all pitchers of beer are $12 on wednesday. 

jukebox at billy's on burnett