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February 27, 2017

Well lived in: Towel rack-tastrophy

We are approaching the ten year mark, of living in this house. That's by far the longest I've ever lived any place/home.

The amount of clutter that builds up without regular moves to prompt purging of extras is notable. Just too much stuff, everywhere. I am part of the problem.

I recently noticed the towel rack had been partly pulled from the wall in the kids' bathroom. The drywall anchor had been pulled out, leaving a hole. Nobody had any knowledge of how it came to be in that state. A hole that needed to be dealt with.  

The rack had come from Ikea. Their products are known to be disrespectful of the "16 inch on center" stud placement we have in America. I solved this problem by mounting a six foot long piece of poplar, anchored to each stud. I then firmly attach the racks to the wood. This had a big "while you're in there" cascade of tasks. I scrubbed and resealed the grout, replaced the shower rod, installed baseboard and painted the whole room. We had been in such a rush to get Certificate of Occupancy ten years ago, most of the walls in this room were only covered in primer. Let's hope this freshen up lasts another ten years.

austin modhouse childrens bathroom 


Cotillion 2017

The children demonstrated the dances they learned.

austin cotillion 2017

austin cotillion 2017 

austin cotillion 2017 

The parents were invited to join in. 

austin cotillion 2017 

austin cotillion 2017 

austin cotillion 2017 

austin cotillion 20174 turn your partner out 

"turn your partner out (and stand on your tip-toes)" 

austin cotillion 2017 

austin cotillion 2017 hostess 

Thanking the hostess at the end of the dance.  

February 21, 2017

February Blanco River Report: Sunny and 82 (winter in central Texas)

We enjoyed a quick trip down to our camp on the Blanco River. 82 degrees and sunny made for perfect river fun and relaxation.

blanco river rapids 2-18-2017


Other Half Imperial IPA Double Dry Hopped SUPARILLO 

I enjoyed the last of my stash of Other Half . Waiting for TX brewers to catch up on this trend.

February 13, 2017

Tax Week and BeerWhales.

Honoring the TurboTax master.

We hired a CPA to do our taxes a few years back. There were numerous sessions of question/answer, many requests for receipts, and trips to his office to deliver them. His bill came with a note that we could pay whatever we felt was fair, but his total came to over $800. We paid the full amount, but did not become repeat customers. Ever since, we spend one weekend a year answering the same questions to a computer. We dig through stacks of receipts and emails. Taxes have become more complicated for us with multiple properties and multiple incomes. I made more this past year, but from contractual situations where no taxes were withheld. This had a notable negative affect on our refund. It was not a joyous weekend at all.

But let me talk about beer now that we're done with Taxes and the FLU!

A new phenomena in Craft Beer, people often wait in line for hours for the newest and best beers.  I've seen lines that take hours (as much as eleven hours) in harsh weather. We only have one brewery in Texas that produces beers that have such demand and exclusivity, Jester King.

I'm not a big fan of their sour beers. BUT I have trading partners in New England that are. So while they go stand in line for NE IPA, I go to Jester King and get their sour beers, then we exchange.  

Jester King Brewery Lenoir sour grape beer

2016 Jester King Bière de Lenoir  

orangutang holdping up a jester king beer  

This sour bier is made from grapes. The first sip is really sour, but then it sort of opens up, like wine! 

jester kinng lenior sour grape bier beer 

They have a two bottle per person limit. My Mom came along, giving us the opportunity to buy four. Three will be traded and one is for Kat.

Back when we lived in Santa Cruz, I befriended Jerry Starr. He was the tasting room manager for a David Bruce (they specialized in Pinot Noir). Jerry later moved to Testa Rossa Winery. Over dinner one night, Jerry confessed his new problem... he had a whole closet full of other wines he drank before he started at Testa Rossa but "my palate has changed! I just can't drink that wine any more, my palate has changed". We sort of laughed at his problem... to burdened with so much wine, but developing a taste for a more expensive wine. First world problems for sure.

NOW, I've consumed whales (high end rare craft beers) almost exclusively for the past two months (Trillium, Other Hand, Bissell Brothers, Tree House and Alchemist have been abundant in our ice box). Grocery store shelf beer just isn't as good... "My palate has changed".  

Trillium Brewing Congress IPA 

Trillium and Other Hands have become our favorite.  

Kat and I visited a local brewery after we finished the taxes. Neither of us could get enthused about what we used to consider great beer. I'm sorry we laughed at you Mr. Starr, we understand.  

Rolling along with perserverance.

#2 son REALLY wanted roller skates for Christmas. We insisted that he didn't know how to skate, and they'd be a better fit after he demonstrated an ability. He was confident he already knew how to skate. We went to the rink and the event was the source of so many bruises and tears. But he didn't give up. Despite the falls, he kept at it. My mom did give him skates for Christmas. He spent every spare moment he could, rolling around the house... and eventually... He became stable. So now I've pledged to take him to the rink monthly.

austin playland skate center rink 



Seal Lullaby at the TMEA and the Daughter goes to TAEA

#1 son plays Viola in the Hill Country Middle School Sinfonia and Full Honors Orchestra. They were chosen as the top Middle School Orchestra and asked to play at the TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association)  Convention. He enjoyed the opportunity take a bus with his orchestra friends to the convention and spend the night in San Antonio. We drove down for the performance.


The centerpiece of the performance was Seal Lullaby by Eric Whitacre arranged by Peter Stopchinski  

Seal Lullaby by Hill Country Middle School 

They really did sound great. 


The Daughter also represented the family in the Arts dept this past week. She was asked to participate in the regional TAEA (Texas Arts Education Association). She received high scores for her animation/digital art. She will be going to San Antonio later this year for the State competition.  



February 08, 2017

down for repair...

I did not abandoned you blog. I’ve been down with the flu and dealing with hassles related to house repairs.

The daughter did win a couple awards at the regional level for her digital art/animation. State level is next.

I did pull an all nighter working on a James Cameron/Robert Rodriguez movie, Alita: Battle Angel.

#2 son and I did binge watch Stranger Things...

Hopefully, I’ll have some better, happier content for next week.