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July 30, 2012

summer 2012, still not so hot.

we stayed around austin this week.  made a list and got a lot of stuff done. 

wall boxes cabinets

the daughter has put several hours into finishing out some boxes I made to hang on her wall.  this project was stalled for nearly a year, we'll have it done soon.  she's been real good about taking the time to get them finished "perfect".  just like her mother would do, no rushing these girls. 

boys in training bike

the boys practiced indoor tandem cycling. 

stunt boys on bike austin

Red Room Lounge ROTDC

red room lounge personal wine bar austin tx

 I liked this place, you have to KNOW about it as there is no real hints at street level. an unmarked door conceals stairs that lead down to a dark basement. 

we went for a Yelp ROTDC.  yelp has all sorts of crazy acronyms.  ROTD is for "review of the day".  if you get selected for review of the day, you host a yelp event at the business that you reviewed, that gathering is the "review of the day celebration" or ROTDC. 

our friend amy had her rotdc at the red room lounge.  we were happy to help "celebrate". 

I once got ROTD for my review of Whip In, but I have not hosted a ROTDC, I'm so lame. 

personal sommelier austin texas red room lounge yelp rotdc

it's a lot like having a personal sommelier down there; in that unmarked basement room slathered in red paint and full of wine. 

anti pasta trattoria lisina austin driftwood texas italian food

we came home with some samples from the girls at Vinca.  who doesn't love a unicorn ring and a hammerhead hair accessory. 

Wimberley:  we went down to start painting, but my mom got stung by a wasp.  we had to run to the ER when she got itchy and puffy.  I did get the floor painted in the screen room, mom slept the next few days as she popped benadryl like they were tic-tacs

wimberley cabin on the blanco river

we went down saturday, the temp was only 92 at 2pm.  that is very cool for late july in central texas. 

drywall fishcer cabin

we hung some drywall.  now the inside of the cabin is much brighter, less of a depressing cave motif. 

after some labor, it was time to soak in the river...

happy hour on the blanco river with pork rinds, shiner bock and a ten gallon cowboy hat

pork rinds, shiner bock, floating coffee table and my "made in taiwan" ten gallon hat and we were pretty relaxed....

cooling off in the blanco river near wimberley and fischer texas

roasting ears of corn on the grill

kat prefers her corn roasted over hot coals.  it was good!  I thought it was just as good as the corn we had in nebraska.

corn on the cob

#1 son said it was "almost as good"

boy eats corn on the cob with his holder

#2 son insisted he had to have a "corn holder", he's too civilized to use his hands.  he was satisfied with the fork I stabbed his cob with. 

we stopped at trattoria lisina on the way back to austin.  it's located in driftwood, not far from the salt lick.

trattoria lisina italian food driftwood austin tx

it's a beautiful location, they have a vineyard there as well. 

trattoria lisina winery vineyard driftwood austin tx

antipasto trattoria lisina italian food austin driftwood texas

kat's love of real italian food is expanding.  we all loved that antipasto.  this restaurant has a reputation as being expensive, but we did not have that sort of experience.  sure, there are entrees in the $20-30 range, but the portions are HUGE.  if you can eat one of those plates you will soon find yourself at 400 lbs.  one plate of food is easily shared.  we had one antipasto (for two) one pizza and one pasta dish.  it was too much for us to eat, had to box some up to go.  the manager even complimented us as having the "perfect order of the day".  he is also a fan of that pizza tagliata ($16). 

pizza talgliata trattoria lisina italian food austin tx driftwood

then we came home and played in the sprinkler... sort of.  we don't own a sprinkler so kat made one from a 2 litre soda bottle.

monkey boy jumps over the redneck sprinkler austin tx west lake hills eanes

boy levitates over sprinkler in austin tx west lake hills westlake eanes

water hose summer fun austin tx

Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500, Antone's austin tx 2012

I've been going to see Dean Wareham in Luna going back 20 years.  I've probably seen him 15 times or more.  always a good show, love to watch him play that guitar and warble in his falsetto.  I caught on to his previous band, galaxie 500, too late.  they were defunct when I fell in love with their music.  I'd catch a g500 song here and there at the Luna concerts.  he's now touring on his galaxie 500 material with his wife britta phillips (luna, belltower, voice of Jem from the 80's cartoon Jem and the holograms)

dean wareham guitar galaxie 500 luna g500 antone's austin tx 2012 


britta phillips jem and the holograms bass galaxie 500 luna austin tx antone's 2012


dean and britta play galaxie 500 antone's

even bigger

britta philips luna galaxie 500 gem and the holograms


they closed with a joy division/new order song, ceremony.  it was another good show.

dean wareham galaxie 500 britta phillips antone's set list 2012

there were a few awkward audience moments from some loud jack asses behind me.  dean made some banter about visiting clyde barrow's grave while they were in dallas.  the guys behind me heard "dallas" and got his panties all bunched up, "DALLAS?  this is AUSTIN!" he yelled back.  a lot of folks in austin have a strong dislike for things dallas and houston. 

I remember when I first came to Austin, from Dallas back in '93 (I think) for the second sxsw.  my friend CMoore and I walked down an alley, in our black leather biker jackets.  we passed two guys with brown suede jackets.  one had fringe that dangled off the arms and a guitar.  as we passed them, I heard one say "tch, MUST be from DALLAS".  I'd never thought of it that way...  and we soon learned that when we met local girls, they quickly lost interest if we said we were from dallas.  nope, dallas/we were not as impressive as we thought.

opening band was Austin's Love inks and also Holy Wave.  (love inks below)

love inks austin tx antones

July 23, 2012

artisinal alpine cheese throwdown!

…cheese, milk’s leap toward immortality. — Clifton Fadiman 

back in november I asked a Dallas cheese monger to give me something new, and stinky.  my guy at scardello's introduced me to Der Scharfe Maxx and I loved it. 

On our second trip to dallas, a different cheese monger (molto formaggio) said that cheese was too stinky for his customers, he introduced us to two other alpine cheeses, Hoch Ybrig and Challerhocker. we loved them both.  #1 son soon declared the challerhocker as his favorite cheese of all time.  he was very enthusiastic about this challerhocker.  I overheard him trying to explain his love for this exotic cheese to a friend, I don't think his 9 yo audience understood.

so we went to our austin area cheese monger (antonelli's).  they did not have any of the three alpine cheeses we'd previously enjoyed.  they introduced us to le marechal.  and it was good too. 

each cheese was so popular, it soon became the highlight of our pre meal snack (we don't eat dinner till around 7:30).  we decided we need to do a blind taste test with all four cheeses side by side.  while I was driving through dallas on my way back from nebraska, I stopped at both dallas area cheese shops, and then completed my alpine cheese shopping list when we returned to austin.

molto formaggio cheese monger dallas highland park shopping village

we did more tasting at molto formaggio when she insisted we try additional apline style cheeses.

molto formaggio kid cutting the alpine style cheese dallas

we ended up adding a 5th cheese to our list, bergblume.  we also tasted and loved napf beeler but I had to draw the line somehwere. 

kids enjoying challerhocker alpine cheese at molto formaggio dallas

these cheeses are complexed, very stinky and a bit expensive.  maybe this cheese is lost on the palate of such a young consumer... let's see what happens.

challerhocker in hand, our alpine cheese collection was growing molto formaggio dallas highland park

then our cheese tasting guests arrived... total of six adults to help decide a victor in battle alpine cheese.

challerhocker vs scharfe maxx alpine cheese battle 2012

I had the daughter unwrap the cheese and label them A through E.  she kept the identity of each cheese secret.  I provided appropriate wines, dry riesling.  our favorite was the one from alsace: BARON DE HOEN RIESLING 2010

alpine style cheese eating schuster

these cheeses are addictive and best enjoyed thinly planed and naked, as in no cracker or mustard.  big chunks are not necessary to get a real taste.   

score cards handed in for alpine style cheese tasting hoch ybrig, challerhocker and scharfe maxx

we rated each cheese 1-5, 1 being favorite and 5 being least liked.

  alpine cheese competition results 2012 challerhocker scharfe maxx

alpine style cheese competition results

votes tallied, the challerhocker was the clear winner.  MY favorite (scharfe maxx) was nearly last but I did give it a #1 on my blind taste.  I'll admit the scharfe maxx is especially stinky...  the bergblume came in last by a good margin. 

challerhocker wins alpine style cheese tasting

he had successfully been able to discern which of the five cheeses was his beloved challerhocker and the adult blind tasting had confirmed it was the favored cheese of the lot.  he knows his cheese and his experienced palate has been noted.  I won't soon attend a cheese tasting without #1 by my side.

#1 Challerhocker purchased from Molto Formaggio- Dallas

#2 Le Marechal (we purchased in austin texas from antonelli's)

#3 Hoch Ybrig (purchased from Molto Formaggio)

#4 Scharfe Maxx (purchased from scardello's in dallas)

#5 Bergblume 

footnote: we only found scharfe maxx at scardello's, we found they do also stock the challerhocker and hoch ybrig.  the guys at scardello were excited about this tasting I was planning and shared that they have a wheel of scharfe maxx 365 on the way (aged for one year), get some if you can, 

alpine cheese comic art:

alpine cheese nutjob hillbilly

I often make some themed cartoon drawing on my chalkboard before an event at the house, usually while I wait for guests to arrive.  #2 son asked "who is that?"  I joked that it was me and he rebutted furiously, "it's NOT you, you don't have a hat!".  I went and found a hat and he continued to argue each detail until he admitted defeat, "it IS YOU!"  then he asked for his turn to pose with my alpine cheese accessories.

west lake hills hillbilly alpine cheese boy

hillbilly alpine cheese lover austin westlake

other local news:

rare texas summer growing season

summer in central texas is historically the time we try to keep plants from dying.  it's rare to have an actual bloom or growing season.  the plants are growing like crazy and the tomato that are usualy going dormant till fall have started to grow and make fruit again.  this has been a very mild summer for us so far. 

planter box flowers in westlake austin tx

kat's box of flowers is looking very healthy. 

blue dahlia bistro west lake hills:

blue dahlia bistro salad mesclun

I'm pleased to welcome the addition of blue dahlia bistro to the neighborhood.  just a few blocks from our home!  prices were reasonable and portions were huge!  the salad above was just $5.50 and had plenty of delicious pesto. 

boullabaisse blue dahlia bistro austin westlake west lake hills tx

kat's bouillabaisse was a big bowl filled with plenty of sea food for $13.95 and was NOT over salted like so many other places serving it. 

boy enjoying bread basket at blue dahlia bistro westlake

the bread basket came with marmalade, strawberry jam and nutella for $3.95 and breakfast is served all day. 

 boy drinking beer (maine rootbeer)

when I found they have a happy hour....  it was like my prayers had been answered.  reduced prices on the cheese board, $4 tartines (like an open faced sandwich) and $10 bottles of wine...  (HH m-f 4-6.30)

double fisting the sea salt caramel gelato at blue dahlia bistro

everybody loved the salted caramel gelato. 

happy customers at blue dahlia bistro austin westlake west lake hills tx

regularly $4.25 pints of blanche de bruxelles, live oak heffewizen and fireman's #4, only $3 for HH. 

pretty girl and dorkus at blue dahlia bistro westlake austin

I loved the patio and they had live music (dude on guitar played girl from ipanema 6 times, but it was her 50th birthday that day so we accepted it as a celebration song)


July 22, 2012

teppanyaki in dallas, the kids loved it!

it's about 13 hours between lincoln nebraska and austin texas.  we decided 9-10 hours was time for a break.  we spent the weekend in dallas at the westin park central (not as nice as other westins but still nice enough)  on sunday night, we decided the easy dinner event would be to walk across the street, to the benihanna. 

benihana dallas

if you've been to benihana once, you know the routine.  it's not exactly haute cuisine, but I was betting the kids would enjoy the show.  you come to benihana for the teppanyaki show, and you get some food at the end.  benihana dallas statue boy

#2 son still working "the statue" pose, pre show/seating goofing around.  he must have seen a zombie statue somehwere.... his statues are always a bit scary.  his mother has asked him to stop making "guns" in his statue pose.  sometimes he still makes the guns with his statue fingers, but he hides them behind his back so she can't see them.

benihana dallas teppanyaki family

our server warned, "don't touch the table, it's on and it's hot"  I was feeling good and quipped "the same applies to me!" 

my hunch was correct, as soon as eduardo came out and started clanging his spatula and knocking his salt shaker on the hot table top, the kids were mesmerized.  their faces lit up and eyes were wide open.  eduardo the teppanyaki chef was the star of the show, even when most of the shrimp tails did not land where he intended. 

teppanyaki scrambled egg chicken benihana dallas eduardo

impressive scrambled egg chicken!  I know you love the chicken portraits.  keep 'em coming? yes?

happy boy at benihana dallas with soup

they LOVED IT!  sure, it's the same tired jokes to me, but the kids laughed and laughed. 

benihana dallas onion volcano and train whistle woo-hoo

the old onion volcano trick and zucchini choo-choo train gag.  "whooo-hooo"

boy at benihana dallas enjoys the teppanyaki show

the stir fried rice was good, shrimp was ok and chicken was dry...  but the experience was a good one. 

I once spent a year working in the kitchen at hooters addison texas.  it was a good job, good pay, hooters paid for college 100% including the cost of my books.  I made decent money and they let me make my own schedule, and it was fun too.  so while we were staying close to my old place of employment.... 

hooters addison texas with kids


I told our waitress "I used to work here!  around 20 years ago, I don't recognize you, were you here then?" 

#1 son asked why it was called hooters.  I showed him the menu where it explains that the guys that started it really liked owls.  then I confessed "BUT, some people would say that the "OO" in "HOOTERS" resemble a woman's breasts.... then again I could say the same thing about your sponge bob shirt"  he about fell off his stool when he looked down at his shirt.

#2 son was shy next to the hooters girl.  he was very happy to get the balloon.  later, when I asked if he had fun at hooters he smiled/blushed and said "they have belly buttons there"

child with hooters balloon dallas westin

July 21, 2012

Nebraska, land of corn, beef, and .... the farm and I

when people ask 'where are you from?", I have no clear answer.  I've lived all over the country.  my family typically moved to a new state every year.  but, we always went back to nebraska for the summer or holidays.  both sets of grandparents lived there, it was the one constant location of my childhood.  I even had my first job in nebraska, I was 13.  I worked for the geneva seed company making $1.35 an hour.  I worked in the cornfield with some scary children of the corn... but that's another story, likely another blog.

this summer, I took my three kids back to the family farm in nebraska. 

nebraska farm corn barn and water well

I loved to drink fresh well water from that tap with my grandfather.  he kept a plastic coffee cup hanging from a nail near the tap.  he'd pull the lever and it would start to shake and water would sputter and spit till it became a constant flow of fresh cold water.  and, CORN!  corn for as far as you can see. 

nebraska old red barn

the old barn still stands (bigger)

antique door in nebraska

my mom found some old doors in the barn that were from the house that she grew up in. 

the child (my niece) instinctively knows to turn the knob of the old door. 

without the realization that she is probably the 4th or 5th generation of our family to grip that same knob. 

UPDATE: my mom brought over some old negatives of the farm house that the door came from, see bottom of post for my attempt to scan one.

handsome free range chicken on a nebraska farm

the people who rent the old house that remains on the farm had a handsome chicken.  I know you like looking at chicken portraits.

nebraska soy bean crop portrait

My mom standing in her soybean field.  or, my mommie's edamames. 


I recall my cousin and I helping my grandfather lay this pipe irrigation for this corn field.  I was younger than #1 son is now.  Kenny (cousin) and I were deposited at one end of the field and told to follow a row of corn till we came out on the other side where they started opening the gates on the pipe.   

friend nebraska grain elevator co-op

I recall riding in the combine, harvesting wheat with my grandfather.  then riding in his big red IH truck to that grain elevator (seen above, behind #1 son). 

nebraska drought irrigation pump

it was raining buckets back in texas while we were dry in nebraska.  now the drought is in nebraska.  the big well pump was working hard to provide water for corn. 

my grandfather called that stuff "loco weed".  it grows wild up there, but the cows won't eat it. 

fresh nebraska corn on the cob

#1 son quickly fell in love with the fresh corn on the cob we enjoyed daily.  #2 son was excited about the "corn holders! why don't we have these at OUR house?"

current owners of my grandparent's house have added a covered porch to the side, brilliant!

nebraska football shrine

and on the other side of town, my other grandmother's house, current owners have converted the front yard to a nebraska cornhukers football shrine.... not so brilliant (IMHO).  those huskers take their football seriously. 

friend nebraska daisy queen

one of the high points of my summer in nebraska was getting a chocolate malt from the daisy queen.  it's still there, and they still make malts. 

friend nebraska daisy queen

cemetery visits: meet the great grandparents, and the great-great grandparents etc. 

nebraska graveyard

tot hill cemetery davey nebraska

a family member from my mom's side met us at their family cemetery.  he lives near and helps care for the place.  it was great walking around with him as he knows/knew many of the names/people on the headstones.  mom showed us where she will lay some day.  there are a bunch of us in that dirt, going back generations.  out there in a corn field in nebraska, it all starts and ends for us. 

ancestor well water nebraska cemetery

who knew the cemetery could be so much fun?  we got this old water well working.  the kids didn't want to leave we were having so much fun.  that water coming up from underground... ancestor water!

tot hill cemetary well water pump nebraska

natty boh drinks ancestor water nebraska cemetery

we drank some, I can't say ancestor water tastes great. 

ancestor water

poured a little out.

dork operates fresh water well pump in a cemetery nebraska

look at that goofball!

dork drinks ancestor well water from nebraska cemetery

lazlo's brewpub in the haymarket lincoln nebraska

the fresh brewed beer from lazlo's tasted better than the ancestor water.  the kids were disappointed by their beer bread but that 4oz sirloin steak from the kid's menu ($6.29) was REALLY GOOD BEEF!  

nebraska state capitol building from pioneer's park

the nebraska state capitol can be seen from just about anywhere in the area (view above is from between the buffalo statue legs at pioneer's park).  the land is mostly flat with NO other tall buildings.  I used to get so excited to see it as a child, and the same captiol sighting fever caught on with my kids (and nieces).  so we went.

nebraska state capitol

it's an impressive capitol, but the real beauty is found inside.  you will find modern art in there, really.

nebraska state capitol building mural midcentury modern art kenneth evett 1956 labors of the heart

the rotunda at the top features some beautiful mid-century modern art, murals by artist kenneth evett (1956).  better pics of all three murals can be viewed from this link

nebraska stae capitol building modern art charles clement

the main hall downstairs features amazing works of modern art by charles clement (1967, above and below).  his beautiful mosaics can be viewed in detail from this link if you can't make it to nebraska to view them yourself.

charles clement mosaic artist 1967 nebraska capitol building

courtyard at the nebraska state capitol

we did go to the very top, and I did consider taking a pic from up there.  but with no other tall landmarks in lincoln and no distinguishing geographic features to be seen...  wasn't much to photograph. 

we enjoyed dinner at the farm of my aunt and uncle.  some cousins came, brought their spouses and children along:

farm grown apple fresh off the tree in nebraska

#1 son found an apple tree.  they were not ripe yet, a bit tart.  living on a farm, you want an apple?  plant an apple tree and feed yourself.  there is no store just down the street.   

sunset on the nebraska farm

nebraska farm manventure

went walking around with cousins and kids. 

nebraska sunset on old tractor

nebraska farm boy and old tractor in the sunset

nebraska farm windmill fresh water pump

we found an old windmill driven well pump.  we got it working after pumping a good while.

nebraska well water pump

nebraska fresh well water drop

farmall 666 tractor nebraska farm

my uncle's old farmall 666 tractor.

boys pretending from old nebraska farm tractor

#2 son was THRILLED! 

cousins at play

it was great to see all the kids playing together.  the next generation... summer trips to nebraska. 

boy enjoying cheese and crackers

the boys love the cheese and crackers.

sun sets on the nebraska farm

minnie, the tiny nebraska dog with broken back, old age, deaf and mostly blind

Minnie the dog is 18 years old, has had her back broken some years ago so her back legs don't follow the front.  she is completely blind in one eye and partially blind in the other and of course she's deaf.  keep on truckin' minnie.

childrens zoo lincoln nebraska train

another highlight of my summer trips to nebraska was the children's zoo.  while much of the world changes, nebraska has remained pretty much the same, including the children's zoo.  the boys loved the train ride around the zoo. 

lincoln children's museum train ride

lincoln children's museum nebraska train ride

elephant hall morrill hall mammoth bones skeleton

elephant hall (morrill hall) has largest mounted mammoth in the world.  it was free back when I was a kid, but well worth the current price of admission.  another great stop for kids. 

pioneer's park lincoln nebraska prarie buffalo

live buffalo in pioneer's park and buffalo statue and myself below. 

buffalo statue pioneer's park lincoln nebraska

my grandparents used to picnic in this park when they were dating.  we have an old photograph of this buffalo and my grandfather.  time marches on, the buffalo observes.

pioneer's park lincoln nebraska nature center snake

the daughter loves all creatures.  they have many at the nature center there in pioneer's park.

daisy queen seasonal summer ice cream stand

a seasonal/summer ice cream stand

seasonal ice cream stand lincoln nebraska daisy queen

#2 son spends most of his time with his older siblings, playing video games.  half-life is their game of choice this summer, and minecaft.  his vocabulary is a reflection of gamer and older kid culture.  phrases he likes to toss out include "this level is hard" or "I need to level up but this boss is hard to defeat".  his young preschool cousins have not been contaminated with such language, they have remained princess pure.  this contrast was obvious when he would issue gems like "why is it so freakin cold in here?"  or while at the cemetery, "why are they dead?  did a zombie get them?".  I'll admit that I share as much of the blame as the games/siblings.  a new favorite term I've heard is "die you bastard", we've had to explain that may not be appropriate, to which he replied "why?"  (that his is response to everything).  nevermind the constant fart/poop comments...  actually the girls seemed to appreciate the scat talk... 

then again, he's a boy, they are girls.  while riding back from the farm, they were completely absorbed with Snow White (1937 movie).  Snow White was singing with some birds, "la-la-la-LA".  he watched along and then I saw him make a face.  I could see his opinion form as he blurted out "that song is HORRIBLE! it freaks me out, why is she making those CRAZY sounds?  it's HORRIBLE.  I don't like this freakin' movie".  then I realized that "freakin" is considered a bad word up there...  I can't keep track of the bad word/good word list.   

beaver crossing nebraska farm house 1950's


July 17, 2012

like an old time reunion, with a bit of fancy food thrown in.

we've had the opportunity to get together with many friends this summer.

happy hour at the carillon austin

took the Browns to Carillon

tomato water gazpacho at carillon with chef josh watkins

looks pretty doesn't it, it tastes even better!  the "tomato water" is made by straining tomato bits through a fine seive (chinoise) and being patient about it.  the tomato eventually lets go of it's liquid and you get this amazing clear broth that tastes like a super tomato.  the green blobs are basil oil and the cucumber and frozen tomato chunks.  my advice is to not let july pass without some of this gazpacho, guranteed to cool you down on a hot summer day/eve.

my apology to chef josh watkins if I got any of this incorrect. 

we also loved the tuna tartare (below)


white tuna tartare including fredericksburg peaches with tomato confiture and marcona almonds

then to draught house and the seedling food truck (by royal fig)

 good friends at the draught house austin

antonelli's cheese plate from seedling food truck austin

kat finally had her opportunity to order "one of everything".  antonelli's cheese plate on the left and "headcheese" on the right.  I tried the headcheese... t'was good, tasted like meat jelly. 

a lot of meat from seedling food truck draught house austin

and more meat....  wow, that was meaty. 

troy returns with another pitcher of live oak hefeweizen at draught house

the misters add to the effect, a glorious pitcher of live oak hefeweizen.  and later that same night....

seal the deal (mardi gras) with a handshake

a deal was struck and sealed with a hand shake.  we have a float this year for mardi gras.

blanco river:

eku pilsner mini keg beer on the river fischer wimberley

eku mini keg on the blanco river. 

eku mini keg on the blanco river

later that night... 

cheers!  from wimberley fischer texas

everybody enjoyed the screen room

troy s brown shreveport

paul schuster, austin texas shreveport baltimore

then to dallas....topher

we had lunch with another old friend in dallas.  we go way back...  30 years or so.  we are what you call "survivors". 

chicken shit bingo at ginny's little longhorn saloon

chicken shit bingo with henny and penny austin

the boys helped fill the chickens with yummy treats of lettuce and such, preparing for their contribution to the show. 

party in the parking lot at chicken shit bingo austin

a small party in the parking lot.  Dale Watson played at 4PM.  we drank $2 lonestars outside in the heat. 

bucket of ice from ginny's little longhorn saloon

ginny sells soda and buckets of ice to keep everybody cool outside, they had a/c inside. 

kids cooling of in the mister at chicken shit bingo

(big it up and see the droplets of mist and bigger smiles)  they had a pop-up tent fitted with misters that was appreciated. 

ginny at the bar at her little longhorn saloon chicken shit bingo austin

ginny ready to go out into the texas heat and sun, and get a chicken.

ginny gets henny and penny the chickens for chicken shit bingo austin

chicken in arms and time for bingo. 

chicken shit bingo austin ginny's little longhorn saloon

each square on the board has a number.  now we just wait till the chicken drops one on the lucky square. 

chicken shit bingo austin ginny's little longhorn saloon

you really need to BIG this pic to see all the characters. 

it was PACKED in there.  I was inside when they made the call to buy a square for the bingo, but they sold out long before the line moved, and I was pretty far back in line.  16 was the lucky number for this round. 

vintage trucks at ginny's little longhorn saloon

townes van zandt bumper sticker on vintage truck austin

the obligatory Townes Van Zandt reference.  You won't find a singer/songwriter within a hundred miles that won't drop that name when talking about their influences.  TVZ even influenced chicken shit bingo

packed house at chicken shit bingo ginny's little longhorn saloon austin

#2 son was sad that it was so packed he couldn't even sneak a peak inside. 

sad boy at chicken shit bingo ginny's little longhorn saloon

afterword:  I know some people would have figured it polite to scramble up the "bad word".  I can't see any real reason for that. 

example, I often notice changing one letter in a "bad word" such as "chicken s#it bingo" or "chicken sh!t bingo" maybe they feel that is acceptable and it's not really shit.... or I love it when somebody spells out such a "bad word" as in, "that guy just said the S word, you know S, H, I, T."

c'mon...  those four letters arrive in the brain as individuals, but they get assembled and your brain hears "shit" all the same.  sure, the lips did not form the word and the ears did not actually hear shit, but it's shit all the same.  the idea that a mouth remained clean and ears were not dirtied up by the shit is just plain silly.  I'm not sure what that word did to become a "bad word" where "crap" is not so bad when they are interchangeable. 

it's chicken shit bingo, no way around it.  you can call it something else if you want, but it seems silly to me. 


Dale Watson at Ginny's Little Longhorn saloon (honky tonk)

the one and only Dale Watson, that hair is impressive and he had a grin that is just as large. 

dale watson and his coin covered guitar fender austin country music


dale watson country music austin

$2 lonestars with dale watson at ginny's little longhorn saloon austin


"Lonestar beer.  the only beer that will make you smarter, I woke up this morning and I was an IDIOT!  drank a lonestar, ... did some calculus"  Dale had many personal anecdotes, sales pitches about the $2 lonestar.  we gave in and drank a few...  it was a hard sell. 

double bass for dale watson country music austin

dale watson and chicken shit bingo austin


it was a tight fit in there but when people started dancing, we all found just a few more inches of room to give 'em.

honky tonk dancing at ginny's little longhorn saloon with dale watson

austin honky tonk country music dance dale watson

dale watson plays most sundays at 4pm at ginny's little longhorn saloon in austin texas for chicken shit bingo

$2 lonestar beers at ginny's little longhorn saloon austin tx dale watson



July 16, 2012

Lunch on the fly, Trace at the W hotel Austin

#2 son has been interested in hotels after our east coast trip.  he caught a view of downtown austin and got excited, "DADA!  LOOK AT THOSE TOWERS!  I THINK THOSE ARE HOTELS!  I want to GO there!"  and so we did...  I arranged for a lunch trip to the W.  he was so excited!

w hotel austin

w hotel downtown austin skyline

w hotel lounge austin

trace restaurant w hotel austin lunch on the fly

monkey in the W hotel austin restaurant trace lunch on the fly

the W hotel restaurant is called Trace.  it was GOOD.  their lunch on the fly is $15 and comes with soup, salad and choice of sandwich.  I had a groupon that reduced that price by half, what a bargain!

Floating river table, extreme picnicking on the blanco (wimberley/Fischer)

troy s brown of haughton bossier shreveport

mr powlcat (troy) and I had ourselves a little carpentry project...

floating coffee table austin

I'd noticed that our river float/soak sessions seperated us from river snacks (chips/nuts/crackers/jerky and such).  I came up with the idea of a coffee table that floats.  let it be written, so let it be done.  and it was.

table floating in the blanco river wimberley

it worked great!  we even routed out cup holders.

happy family in the blanco river and their floating coffee table extreme picnicing picnic austin

and then we were joined by this free range golden retriever we named "Fake Betty".  we already had the original Betty with us.  this Fake Betty was a true river rat.

river diving dog of blanco wimberley fischer golden retriever

I've never seen a dog dive, and hold its breath for so long.  it would come up from the bottom with a rock in its mouth and drag it to the grassy area.  some of those rocks were nearly football sized!

from the devil's backbone wimberley valley texas

photo opp from a drive on the devil's backbone.

July 09, 2012

SPI beach misadventure

airstream at SPI KOA south padre island pink flamingos

vintage airstream hole patch taiwain bottle beer opener

I patched a small hole on the airstream, did a little customizing as well.  bottle opener worked great and the taiwan beer was pretty good. 

boy with canned ham t-shirt airstream spi

he couldn't wait to get to the beach and dig a hole.  he wore his camping shirt too. 

outh padre island palapa bar pier 19 happy hour oysters johnny

gulf oysters, not as good as cold water oysters we had in maryland.  we enjoy happy hour with johnny at the palapa bar at the end of pier 19. 

sunset on pier 19 bayside south padre island

she was trying to avoid the camera.... HA!

pier 19 south padre island bay

our first morning, I was prepping a big breakfast in the airstream.  I knocked all 18 eggs off the counter, no survivors.  that was a real mess.  I cleaned them all up and I accidentally dumped a quart of home made chicken stock...  cleaned it up and decided we should go out for breakfast.  pier 19 breakfast was only about $20 and it was good. 

pier 19 breakfast pirate spi south padre island

went to the beach...

beach south padre island texas spi

it's hurricane/tropical storm season...

tropical storm weather spi south padre island texas tx

sandstorm beach south padre island spi

then 50 mph winds struck.  sand was stinging any exposed skin and everybody's stuff went flying over the dunes...  we made a quick escape.  went back to the airstream and watched the duke in True Grit (1969).  we'd watched the cohen bros version a few days prior.  both great movies. 

osprey fishing trip spi pier 19 south padre island deep sea

kat and #1 son went fishing.  we'd planned our dinners around the red snapper she would surely catch. 

pier 19 spi koa deep sea fishing trip padre island tx

skies were dark and seas rough, they returned with seasickness and no fish... 

ridley sea turtle hospital baby release south padre island texas spi beach

I stumbled upon a baby sea turtle release on the beach near the sea turtle hospital.

sea turtle release spi padre island texas

baby sea turtle release texas beaches spi south padre island tx

see the video at the bottom of the post to see those little guys head straight into the surf.

padre island brewing company wheat beer tx brewpub

pitchers of beer are only $11.50 regular and $8 for happy hour at the padre island brewing company.  good pizza too.

free beer bread south padre island brewing company brewpub

for her birthday, she only asked for beer bread from the padre island brewing company.  and that stuff is free!  how lucky and proud we are. 

pool table south padre island brewing company

the kids load up on quarters for the pool table on the second floor.  #1 son was so proud that he beat his mom. 

boy goes wild at spi south padre island pool shark tx

things got a little bit crazy... 

wedgie attack at south padre island spi brewing company pool hall

kat decided #1 son deserved a wedgie, she chased him around the pool table and tackled him with #2 son close behind, poking with the cue.

hi how are you daniel johnstin spi south padre island tx

then after a few beers....   we got suckered into the crap store (tourist trap) next door.  they had a sign that read "FREE HERMIT CRABS"

hermit crab spi south padre island tourist trap

meet Padre, our new hermit crab. 

texas beach south padre island tx

the weather improved a bit every day...

beach fun texas south padre island spi

big surf waves texas tx spi south padre island beach

spi beach gopher hole tx south padre island texas

tourist trap crap store south padre island shark spi tx texas

and #2 son noticed that we drive by this shark (tourist trap) every day.  each time he insisted we must stop, we eventually did.  of course he didn't want to buy anything, but we'd taken the bait.  the daughter did manage to find a dress she had to have.  it was her birthday trip and she deserved it. 

shade tent beach spi south padre island tx texas

and on our final day.... the weather and surf was just perfect.  then the koa called to ask why I hadn't moved our airstream out of our space, the people who had reserved it for that night were waiting....  the dates we had in our iphone were not exactly the same as our actual reservations.  the daughter and I raced back and moved the airstream to another spot and we extended our reservations.  it was a bit stressful... but we were back at the beach within an hour. the kids in the site next to us told me all about their deep sea fishing trip that yielded so many giant red snappers they had to give some away! now we know, fish don’t bite in rough seas 

clamato michelada spi beach south padre island texas tx

clamato michelada!

south padre island beach crab

sufr girl kat spi south padre island beach waves

father and son at beach texas tx spi

beach bum of spi padre island tx

he spent more than five hours in the sand and surf each day.  he always makes new friends and spends his time with some new family.  he comes back with their email address and asks me to make plans to visit...  really.  he's networking. 

laguna madre sunset from koa pier 19 spi south padre island texas

sunset from the SPI KOA (BIG)