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August 27, 2012

end of summer 2012 (best ever) and chris isaak at acl moody theater

and this brings summer break of 2012 to a close.  it was probably our most active and drama/tragedy free summer ever, no complaints. 

for our final act:  we took the kids to schlitterbahn a few days before school started.  the trick to schlitterbahn is to go early or mid week (monday-thursday) and bring a kick-ass picnic.  make sure to get there BEFORE they open so you can get a great picnic table and be first in line for the rides. 

schlitterbahn new braunfels original

and the eve of the first day of school, the wife and I saw chris isaak at the acl moody theater.

chris isaak moody theater acl austin 2012

the band plays well together and they know how to entertain.  not just music, but also a bit of comedy and synchronized goofy moves etc.  it was good fun.   

kat edmonson chris isaak austin moody theater acl 2012

the lovely kat edmonson opened the show and came back out for a duet (crappy pics due to balcony seats)

chris isaak moddy theater acl austin 2012

great balls of fire piano on fire chris isaak austin

great balls of fire!  the old flaming piano trick!

chris isaak austin pretty woman mirrored suit acl

and of course he closed the show with his mirrored suit. 

back to school week of 2012:

eanes isd new playground 2012

the schools in the eanes district received many upgrades this summer.  the kids couldn't wait to try out the new playgrounds.  but they got ran off real quick, not officially open yet.  stay off the fake grass!

eanes elementary new playground 2012

picked up school supplies, met some teachers and that's it.  today was the first full day.  summer is done, the house is quiet and empty. 

eanes back to school 2012 meet the teacher

Trace (W hotel):  we enjoyed a nice meal before the chris isaak show.  the new moody theater is in the same building as the W hotel.  trace was the obvious easy dinner choice. 

trace restaurant w hotel austin

trace restaurant w hotel austin beat salad

loved the roasted beat salad

sunset from moody theater acl studio w hotel

sunset from the balcony of the ACL moody theater. 

 

August 19, 2012

san antonio restaurant week 2012

kat worked extra hard this week, five late nights (early mornings) in a row.  so, we took a weekend of 100% relaxation, no projects.  packed up the truck and drove down to san antonio,

san antonio chinese japanese sunken garden

the sunken gardens of san antonio.  back in 1917, this was an old quarry (hole in the ground).  they converted it to an asian style garden, and it was good. 

san antonio sunken gardens waterfall

from the japanese tea house area, you can see the waterfall to the left and one of the koi ponds below.

koi at the sunken gardens san antonio

the last time I was here (sunken gardens) the sex pistols were playing san antonio around the same time.... really.  so that must have been 1978.  I remember hearing my mother and aunt talk about it, "I hear people spit on each other at those shows, just awful". 

waterfall sunken garden san antonio texas

brackenridge park waterfall

koi pools at sunken gardens brackenridge park

koi garden japanese tea house brackenridge park san antonio sunken gardens

then we went to Boudro's on the riverwalk for their restaurant week offering. 

phone home from boudro's prickly pear margarita

kat was enjoying a prickly pear margarita while having her weekly phone conversation with her mother.  the food at boudro's was good, everything is made in house and very fresh.  but I don't think their restaurant week menu was a strong offering.  we found that restaurant week in san antonio is not nearly as well organized as the event held in austin. 

midgets on the riverwalk san antonio

the weather cooperated.  as summer comes to a close, we don't have much to complain from the weather.  we got some rain, and not too much heat. 

hotel football fun crowne plaza san antonio riverwalk hotel

we spent the afternoon at the hotel pool.  kat used a lounge chair to catch up on her sleep while the boys played with new friends.  I overheard #1 son tell his new minions "normally, I don't play sports that involve balls".  he made an exception as they threw that football and raced across the pool over and over again, as he made up the rules of the games.  (see the yellow/orange ball in mid air above left) 

Monterey, easily our favorite place for eats and drinks in san antonio. 

monterey san antonio house pickles

the pickled menu item was GOOD!  I loved the radish as well as the watermelon rind and kimchi ... all of it was good.

monterey restaurant san antonio charred squid salad

the charred squid and jicama salad was another success, along with the fried goat balls (not shown)

monterey san antonio pop-tart

the kids loved the house made pop-tart

monterey san antonio patio dining and drinks

good food and beverage, even better when shared with friends old and new.  one friend I've known since high school and others I met for the first time in person.

san antonio monterey restaurant, the best!

outdoor fire at san antonio monterey mid century modern fireplace

the boys made a new friend and huddled around the fireplace.  OK, it's august in texas... the fireplace was illuminated via light bulb, it was a nice effect.

BREAKFAST AT GUENTHER HOUSE:

historic king william guenther house san antonio

the family that owned the Pioneer Flour Mill built a mansion next to their mill around 1860.  the limestone blocks for the house were quarried from what is now the sunken gardens...  it's all related.  the mansion is now a restaurant that features products from their mill.  the waffles and biscuits are the star of this show. 

guenther house museum breakfast san antonio

some of the mansion has been set aside as a museum, featuring the original furnishings of the family.  there is a beautiful art noveau dining area downstairs.  it was too nice to not eat outside. 

guenther house breakfast sweet cream waffles san antonio

probably the best waffle we ever had. 

historic king william district of san antonio texas

guenther house is located in the historic king william district.  towering oak trees line the streets and shade beautiful historic mansions. 

travel guitar hotel practice crowne plaza san antonio

guitar practice back in the hotel room.  the crowne plaza was nice enough, it was clean and the staff friendly....  BUT, the lobby bar really sucked.  the family let me know that they prefer the westin.  point noted, I'll try harder to meet their high standards next time. 

san antonio riverwalk boat tour

mom took the boys on a river boatride around the riverwalk. 

OSTRA:  san antonio restaurant week 2012

ostra agua fresca san antonio riverwalk restaurant week 2012

the restaurant week offering at Ostra was fantastic!  kat said "this meal made the whole trip worth it", and that made me happy.  #2 son enjoyed the pineapple agua fresca that accompanied four other items for only $15.

lobster roll, salad, tortilla soup at Ostra san antonio riverwalk restaurant week 2012

tortilla soup, a delicious salad, lobster roll and a coolhaus ice cream sandwich.  ironic that the coolhaus is from austin...  but nobody complained. 

cool hause icecream sandwich from austin tx at ostra san antonio restaurant week

puppydog eyes at ostra san antonio

really, he was happy about it all.  I don't recall why he gave me the pouty lip. 

and closing up on summer projects.... the daughter finished painting her new cabinet boxes and we put them up.  they're mostly empty for now, except for her favorite female jedi, shaak-ti

star wars jedi shaak ti

 

August 13, 2012

world famous texas bbq, the salt lick in driftwood tx, and happy hour at blue dahlia bistro westlake

live music outdoors at the salt lick driftwood tx

I'd heard about the salt lick long before we moved to texas.  I'm not a huge fan of barbecue so we hadn't made the effort to seek it out.  then we realized it's not that far out of the way when driving between wimberley and austin.  so we scheduled the stop in driftwood. 

salt lick driftwood smoker texas style bbq the best

I love the setting!  they don't take credit cards so bring cash (they do have an ATM) and it's also BYOB so most people bring big coolers filled with beer/wine.  it appears you can buy beer wine from the winery in the adjoining building...

the meat chopper guy at driftwood salt lick texas best barbecue

I liked it.  I'd say it is up there with the best I've ever had.  there was some debate if it was good as, or better than rudy's bbq, maybe not better.  but we all agreed the sides were way better, and possibly the best of any bbq joint I've been to. 

salt lick to go 

(I need to remember to take some razors down to the river property)

salt lick picnic

we got our food from the salt lick take-out booth.  sat outside at one of their picnic tables, listened to the country boys playing guitar (top pic)

BLUE DAHLIA BISTRO WESTLAKE HAPPY HOUR:

live music happy hour blue dahlia westlake west lake hills accordian

I'd read about the blue dahlia happy hour, but the prices seemed too good to be true.  had to go check it out in person.  with several food options at just $4, and $10 bottles of wine...  AND they had entertainment too!

happy hour cheese plate at blue dahlia bistro westlake austin tx west lake hills

the cheese plate was only $9 and was more than a group of us could finish.  the cheese was good, but nothing fancy.

WIMBERLEY PROJECT RIVER HOUSE:

vct

kat has been so busy with her IP Law work.  it's good to be so busy, but she also put in a weekend of hard labor so we could lay a new VCT floor in our river cabin.  she's a perfectionist, and I knew the final product would look great (and it does).  I worked the adhesive and moving heavy things while she arranged and cut the VCT.

we need a weekend with a less time consuming chore; less work and more relaxation.  she needed a rest, but she doesn't like to stop once she's started.    

blanco river fischer wimberley tx

we did find time to cool off in the blanco river. 

beat the texas summer heat in the blanco river

specs cheese kaltback der scharfe maxx

speaking of fancy cheese.... I found my beloved der scharfe maxx at spec's!  and some other alpine style cheese, kaltbach.  the new one was good, but for me, the scharfe maxx is SOOO much better.  it was enjoyed with a 2009 alsatian pinot gris from the baron de hoen

roasting hatch chillies

it's hatch chilli week at HEB.  we roasted a few on the grill to use later this week.

some friends had given us a bag of dried red chillies from new mexico.  I made a paste from some, added garlic, sea salt.  I used it to marinate wild caught gulf shrimp for grilling. 

heb wild caught gulf shrimp with santa fe chilli on the grill

that grill was so hot, OUCHIE!  I probably said a few other words you may not want me to say in front of your children.  I tell my kids "those words are reserved for emergency situations, such as dropping a brick on your foot (or putting your hand near hot coals).  then it's ok to use them and we know it's a REAL emergency." 

so far, none of my kids have dropped a brick on their foot or had to use any emergency words

grilled shrimp on skewer

those chilli marinated shrimp were GOOD!

solar powered LED light stars wimberley fischer off grid

now that the cabin is starting to look nicer and has a good level of comfort, I'm trying to get back to the original goal, less grid reliance or net-zero energy.  ideally, we'd like to be somewhat self suffiecient for our power needs.  I have rewired some mexican folk art tin stars so they have LED lights that are powered from a solar/PV array and deep cycle battery.    we hope that we will eventually have enough solar/wind power that we could run a small a/c without relying on the grid for power. 

imperial black vinyl composition tile floor

the finished floor, and kids enjoying the clean new surface. 

baby koi

we've found baby koi in the lower pool (overflow from the larger koi pool) at our home in westlake (austin).  I tried to get a pic via iphone.  so far we've counted at least seven!

baby koi

sidenote:

you might be from austin if: your kids argue for their favorite bob schneider song over breakfast.    yes, this really happened.  while eating eggs on hatch chilli cheese bread, my 9 yo son announces he might like 40 dogs better than yeah, I'll do that, Shhh.  my 4 yo son did not agree.  #1 son then asked me to play Lovely Creatures while they ate breafkast.  #2 son started CRYING when 40 dogs played instead of yeah, I'll do that, Shhh

August 06, 2012

one year later.... red barn becomes blue cabin

wimberley fischer barn cabin project 

it was one year ago I found the property on the blanco river (pic below was taken one year ago).  it had been abandoned and gone through a tax sale.  we bought it some time in the fall and started to clean it up.  the pic above is current, one year between pics. 

before and after blanco river barn 2011 july

there was no front door and the inside was filled with trash, including stinky sofas and mattress. 

but before I could get up there to paint... I hired a professional wasp warrior.  he may be good with a bee suit and a can of wasp spray, but his ladder placement skills were not the best I've seen.  needless to say, he quickly realized my advice to use the tree to anchor the base of the ladder was solid. 

wasp removal service

lazy saturday/dog days of summer:

we went to wimberley market days (first saturday of the month) and blah blah blah, kettle corn, pork rinds (when pigs fry) blah blah ice house bratwurst etc.  our usual market days stuff.  then we went to middleton brewing company....

middleton brewing co pug is confused

they have two pug dogs there.  one was surprised when #2 son got down and started to "ARF" like a dog. 

antonelli's cheese plate at middleton brewing co wimberley

generously portioned cheese plate from antonelli's ($9.50), sunner kolsch on tap, house made wit and saison beers... 

middleton brewing co wimberley saison farmhouse style ale

spent our lazy afternoon down at our river park.

hobo in the water

most of the blanco river is shallow, 6-12 inches.  there are deeper holes, some deep enough for swimming or rope swings.  #1 son is standing in a hole just about his size. 

happy family in the blanco river

red snapper for dinner

kat cleaning a snapper for dinner. 

republica de yucatan

the displaced wasps had moved to the back section of the barn/cabin roof.  I was ready to get up early sunday morning (6AM) to get up there and battle them myself.  wasps sleep in, I don't.  I'm posing with my arsenal of weapons (above), wasp spray and expanding foam.

grilled red snapper fischer wimberley texas

dinner was good, as usual. 

camp guitar

we now have a camping guitar.  it worked out great!  everybody took turns playing.  the daughter is taking a few guitar lessons this summer while their piano teacher is away visiting family in italy. 

fischer texas windmill

#2 son has been obsessed with windmills since we travelled to nebraska.  he studies the landscape from his car seat and yells "WIND-MAIL!" when he spots one.  then he started to suggest "we need to get a wind-mail for our river house".  harbor freight had one for just over $30.  kat got up sunday morning and tackled the assembly.  the blades turned with only the slightest breeze. 

boy and his windmill wimberley

blanton museum of art kids programs austin texas

blanton museum of art has some great summer kids programs each thursday and friday.  arts and crafts, story time...  they had a good time. 

ford falcon econoline vintage van windshield replacement

had the windshield on the falcon van (econoline window van) replaced.  but the installers broke it and I'm now waiting for them to order another one.

freaky man baby face swap