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February 24, 2014

Piano recital Feb 2014

Students of Owen Summers congregated at the Violin shop for another recital. 

The daughter performed a Cure cover, and the camera focus was way off, but it's more about the soundtrack than the image.  Fuzzy soft focus sort of works with how it came out on piano anyhow!

Owen had some of his bandmate musician friends along.  #1 son played with them and even had a piano solo.  They sounded good, REAL GOOD!

owen summers piano austin texas

owen summers piano instructor austin texas

to celebrate this musical victory, we all went to Pe'che' for happy hour. 

pe'che peche' austin happy hour

all those eats and drinks are half price for HH (all night on sunday)

french onion soup at pe'che' austin

that must be the BEST French Onion Soup in town ($12 regular, $6 for HH).  We also loved their Mushroom Fritters and Beet Salad.

The sun had gone down and 4th street was starting to get lively.  We sat by the front window and one of the kids noticed a guy dancing in the window across the street.  "oh, those are all gay bars, you know, men that love men".  I turned around to look, I saw that Castro's Warehouse did have a dancer, in an open window towards the street filled with people. 

Then, #2 son announced, I want to go over there, and have you take my picture with that guy dancing behind me".  I laughed at first, but then I couldn't think of why not... his request was made so innocently. 

4th street austin

#1 son didn't want to get close to the guy dancing in the window.  The club next door (Oilcan Harry's) has a big poster out front, with showgirl looking images.  I warned #1 son, "those are NOT women...".  That was enough for him.  He was ready to go!  #2 son didn't understand the fuss, #1 was about to explain when the daughter stopped him "it's called INNOCENCE, let him keep it"

4th street austin


as we got into the car to go home, #2 son said "HEY! Did anyone else notice? that dancing guy was IN HIS UNDERWEAR!"

Wimberley! which way do we go?... DOWN!

The wife and I had concluded to get out of our Wimberley property.  A realtor suggested building as cheaply as possible and we'd surely make a nice profit.  The next step was to try and design a house using the existing pier/beam platform, and as many walls/floor that can be reused (sticking to the same measurments and specs the county has on record). 

I spent a couple days with sketchup and a 3D floorplan program to see if I could make something work that did not require complete demolition and starting from scratch.  The other hitch was, we have no well. So I needed to arrange the roof so that it catches enough rain to supply a two bedroom one bath home.  Another complication with the existing home, there are no interior stairs going up to the second floor. 

I shared my results with the wife, and received a less than enthusiastic reaction.  When pressed, I got the old "if I can't say anything nice, I won't sy anything at all". She then set out to spend her time making her own plan. She did come up with a plan that had smaller rooms, and both bedrooms on the main floor. (she didn't share what her plan was for the 2nd floor)

I've learned that it's easier not to fight or go against the current in situations like this.  The end result is usually a long drawn out conflict with a great deal of wasted time and emotion.  So I agreed she can do whatever she wants with the house. I just want to be done with it.

since I'd already spent a couple days on these plans, I'll share them here since they are destined for nothingness anyhow. 

I had the 2nd bedroom (to be used as a media room) on the second floor (spiral staircase in the bottom right of the floor plan above).

wimberley sketchup

wimberley modern

wimberley rain water catchment

blanco river rapids

rain water catchment roof design

view from the entry towards the back.

view from the kichen to the living room.

View of kitchen and dining

THEN! I took all my Wimberley frustration and worked it out, literally.  I worked a job monday through friday, construction. I earned an hourly wage painting, scraping and installing baseboards....

When the week had finished, I woke up Saturday morning and announced I wanted get to work on moving on with our lives. We ran down to wimberley and I set to tearing down the A-frame section of the house. We both agreed those four walls would need to be rebuilt (lots of interior space was wasted due to the walls that slope in).

I strapped a 9k lb tow strap through some windows and started to pull it down with the truck. 

I may have said it before, a 7.3 liter powerstroke (turbo diesel) can pull a house clean off it's foundation.  Proving that is not hyperbole, that is what we accomplished. 

the end result is, none of the recent plans apply as the whole house was just sitting on rotted out pieces of wood.  It's all junk.  Check the video below to see the moment when the truck pulled the whole house OFF the pier-beam foundation. 

wimberley demolition

end of Cotillion 2014, Duct taping it up.

#1 son and I made a vest from duct and electrical tape so he can wear it to his last cotillion of 2014

duct tape formal wear

duct tape cotillion ducktape

jump dance cotillion 2014 austin

#1 son moves to the Junior Assembly next year.  This was the daughters last year to participate in the cotillion. 

austin junior assembly cotillion 2014

austin country club cotillion junior assembly 2014

Parents are mostly kept out of the final Junior Assembly dance.  The kids spend the evening dining and dancing.  I snuck a peek of dinner through an open door I found.

austin junior assembly 2014 cotillion teen dance

Then the let the parents in for the last thirty minutes, and they even invited the parents to dance. 

father daughter dance 2014 junior assembly cotillion austin tx

I enjoyed a Father/Daughter dance with my beautiful and kind daughter. 

February 16, 2014

MInor Mishap Marching Band, New Orleans Suspects and the Rebirth Brass Band

W Hotel Secret bar has a decent Happy Hour, even on Saturday.  A great place to visit before catching a show at ACL Live at the Moody Theater.

w hotel secret bar

mardi gras at the acl live moody theater

the show was Mardi Gras themed, complete with crawfish etoufee and beads.  I REALLY like Goose Island Brewing Co.


minor mishap marching band austin acl live moody

We see the Minor Mishap often, but this show was amazing!  They had a lot of energy and sounded tight.  I asked if they'd had extra practice this week "sometimes it works better than others, tonight we're ON" was the answer I got. 

minor mishap austin marching band french horn

minor mishap marching band dave drummer

minor mishap marching band

minor mishap marching band austin acl

minor mishap marching band

minor mishap scrub board marching band

(still learning new camera, olympus om-d e-m10)

minor mishap tuba

minor mishap marching band austin acl

new orleans suspects at acl austin moody

New Orleans Suspects played the indoor stage, they Opened for the Rebirth Brass Band. 

rebirth brass band from new orleans at acl live moody theater austin

GROWL at the Austin Map-Jam 2014 Delta Millworks

growl austin mapjam delta mill works

I took the two older kids to catch Growl at the Austin Map Jam 2014 at Delta Mill Works

growl guitar austin indie rock band

Growl sounded great.  indie-pop songs with plenty of energy. 

growl indie band austin texas tx live music map jam 2014

shaddow play

#1 son has gotten pretty good at guitar and drums.  he likes the more challenging music.  but he still doesn't have much interest in watching other musicians play, he occupied his time by making shadow animals.  The daughter did enjoy the live music afternoon. 

daughter cloaking device

The daughter likes to sew.  She and my Mom made a cloak/cape.  it has a big hood that she can drape over her head to cloack herself in darkness.... in a Sith Lord or Grim Reaper fashion. 

 cloaked at the austin cotillion 2014

austin cape cotillion 2014

She made quite an entrance at the Valentine's Cotillion. 

February 10, 2014

A week of birthday fun ended with the plague.

#1 son added a year to his experience on earth.  what's in the box?

plucker's birthday vermont smokehouse pepperoni

A red fez, bunch of duct tape, a giant cowbell and a stick of Vermont Smokehouse Pepperoni!

olympus om-d em10 alien bees beauty dish

#2 has been down for about almost a week, but he still manages to smile through it all. Even when the Dr sticks his finger to take blood, he giggles, smiles and laughs. 

austin cotillion western duct tape night

He did find something useful to do with the duct tape. 

Western night at the Austin Cotillion.

duct tape silencer

gourdough's biergarten

To close out birthday week, took #1 son and some friends out for lunch.  He chose Gourdough's and it was a wise decision. 

gourdough's bean bag toss cornhole

He requested we sit in the biergarten. I sat at the table by myself, while the boys spent most of their time enjoying the warm winter weather with games. 

gourdough's public house austin

happy birthday at gourdough's

table tennis gourdough's pub austin

Date Night:

peche' austin absinthe bar

We attempted to attend an event at TRACE, but after an odd encounter with the hostess, we left.  We always enjoy HH at Peche'. Kat had a milkshake that had absinthe in it. 

absinthe bar sugar green fairy austin

I've tried absinthe... I can't recommend it.  The guys sitting next to us had this absinthe setup. Their claim, "it makes you feel like you're in a Bollywood movie!".

sullivans steakhouse happy hour cocktails

We had our dinner at Sullivan's (we had one more certificate to use).  The specialty house cocktails were way too sweet. 

sullivan's $39 prix fixe

We each had the $39 prix fixe.  While the calamari app was generous, there was this thick sticky syrup all over it.  once again, too much sweet. 

sullivan's steakhouse $39 prix fixe

Cesar salad was OK, and French Onion soup was pretty good. 

sullivan's steakhouse austin prix fixe $39 steak

Steak was cooked to perfection.  My main complaint about Sullivan's, the excessive prices on regular grocery store wine.  Their price per glass is equal to the price of a whole bottle off the shelf at your local Safeway. 

and the rest of the weekend was spent at Doctor's offices, and in bed with fever and stomach flu.  #1 son managed to escape any illness, we sent him to Nana's house to avoid catching whatever plague we have been sharing. 

February 03, 2014

48 hours in Dallas...

dallas skyline from the adolphus hotel 

I get up early, not really into sleeping in.  This was the morning view from our room at the Adolphus.

emily from Dream Cafe

Emily is our favorite waitress at the Dream Cafe.  She treats us well and had a never ending stream of energy and jokes. 

Dream Cafew Dallas emily

best migas in dallas texas dream cafe

and those Migas are the best ever. 

thanksgiving square dallas chapel 

We stopped to step in the chapel at Thanksgiving Square designed by Philip Johnson.

thanksgiving square dallas chapel

crow asian art collection chinese new years celebration dallas

The weather turned cold, but we did make it to the Chinese New Year Festival hosted by the Crow Collection of Asian Art

crow asian art collection dallas

ai weiwei dallas crow asian art collection

Ai Weiwei

crow asian art collection dallas ai weiwei zodiac

ai weiwei crow asian art collection dallas texas usa

emily the waitress at dream cafe dallas

We'd had so much fun the first day, we decided to repeat it the next.  We revisted each place in the same order, and Emily (dream cafe) was happy to oblige. 

state & allen uptown lounge

State & Allen also serves a fantastic brunch in the Uptown area of Dallas

alcove wine and coffee bar uptown dallas "I used to model for waffle house"

The Alcove....

alcove wine and coffee shop uptown dallas

crab legs from aw-shucks dallas

Aw Shucks!

tesla charging station dallas hotel za za

there is a car charging station at the Hotel Za Za, you can get a quick one hour charge for free!

hotel za za dragon and free electric car charger

Kat drove home

kolaches from west texas czech stop

and we stopped in West Texas, at the Czech Stop.  Those were the best kolaches I've ever had.  Brought a bunch home so my mom and the kids could have a nice dinner of Czech food. 

klobasnik kolaches from czech stop west texas

prices were good too! 

The French Room, Dallas TX Adolphus Hotel

I have wanted to dine in The French Room for around 30 years...  Sort of an item on my bucket list...  and we have achieved that goal.   

dallas french room adolphus lobby bar piano 

We assembled around the piano, before our 8PM reservation at the French Room

Adolphus The French Room Dallas

lobby bar adolphus hotel dallas

lobby bar adolphus before french room dallas

Dress code requires a jacket and no denim. 

the french room dallas candle light

The French Room is beautiful. 

beautiful french room dallas

creepy dude in the french room dallas adolphus

that dude above creeps me out...

the french room adolphus hotel dallas restaurant

Ok, enough with the people, let's get down with some food pics:

seared tuna french room dallas


Seared Ahi Tuna, Asian Pear, Trout Roe, Candied Onion, Ginger Carrot Pudding

French Room Dallas foodie +

french room dallas scallops


Nantucket Bay Scallops, Sweet Potato Purée, Chanterelles, Walnut Oil

french room dallas crab cake


Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Lemon Grass Lobster Sauce, Tomato Jam, Mango, Curry

foie gras french room dallas adolphus


Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Avocado Cream, Oven-Roasted Tomato, Crostini, Quince Jam

duck breast the french room dallas


Maple Leaf Farm’s Duck Breast, Foie Gras, Confit, White Chocolate Rice Pudding, Glazed Pear, Currant Sauce

dessert from french room dallas

one of the best meals of our lives. 


French Room Dallas

a big thank you to all that made this special evening a reality, especially my beautiful wife.

Cyclops overload, Babbler and Dabbler (SKINNY PUPPY)

if you'd have told us that we would find ourselves at a Skinny Puppy show, 25 years ago...  I don't think we'd believe it.  But it did happen, in Dallas.

granada theater dallas greenville ave 

skinny puppy dallas granada

the acoustics in the Granada Theater are pretty good. 

skinny puppy tour 2014 dallas

skinny puppy live dallas 2014 granada

deep down trauma hounds, cyclops overload skinny puppy

Lots of spooky gory fun from Skinny Puppy, but we didn't get any on us and Kat did not appear to be offended.

skinny puppy show live dallas 2014

nivek ogre cevin key skinny puppy dallas concert 2014

nivek ogre skinny puppy live dallas 2014

skinny puppy dallas 2014 granada

just some chemistry to be mixed up and consumed.

skinny puppy live tour dallas texas 2014 granada

nivek ogre skinny puppy dallas

skinny puppy tour 2014 texas

aw shucks dallas beer and oysters

We enjoyed some Oysters (raw and fried) at Aw Shucks on lower Greenville.

OEP one eyed penguin dallas tx downtown

and, there really is a place called the One Eyed Penguin (OEP)...  it was not easy to get out.  Strangers New friends kept buying all sorts of beverages.  I finally had to walk away, leaving them to figure out how to unload that pitcher with out my help.  The OEP is in the same building as the Adolphus Hotel.