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May 25, 2020

A deck to build in Nebraska

My Mom requested some help setting up her new home. I made the trip from Texas, my Brother made the trip from NC. We spent the week hanging pictures, adjusting the water heater, mounting the TV, assembling and moving furniture. We also built a deck in her back yard, I mostly assisted. It was a busy week.

sunset on yankee hill road water tank lincoln nebraska 

deck crew 

big deck in the rain 



He still has online class for school. From 10-2 he was in Zoom meetings while we worked on house projects. At 2PM we usually tried to get out.  

beaver crossing nebraska 

We visited a few of the family farms. 

old cadillac in the field 


mole' enchiladas 

I'd hauled some of that Mole' sauce I made for enchilada night. My brother in law LOVED the enchiladas. It's become a tradition that I make them while I'm in town.  


The neighborhood is brand new. A mountain of dirt was a fun obstacle to conquer.  

nebraska capitol building  

Nebraska Capitol building. We ran into the Governor while we were there.

My brother noticed a Martini bar, and observed people coming from the door. We were all skeptical that it was really open. So we went to investigate Cliff's Martini Bar. 

cliffs martini bar lincoln nebraska  

We bought a couple of premade food items (we ate them quickly) and that enabled us to order cocktails. It was a strange experience after everything being closed for so long. The drinks were good and my brother was enthused at the reasonable prices. The staff did wear masks and gloves. We had a whole area to ourselves.

cliffs martini bar lincoln nebraska 2020 may 


nebraska cousins 

A few cousins also stopped by to say hello and see Mom's new house. We probably could've done better at "Social Distancing". But humans are social animals, especially when it comes to family.  


frozen runzas 

I bought Runzas to haul home. I stopped to drop some at my Dad's new house on our return to Austin. 

wood fired pizza  

They had a cheese board waiting for us that would've served a wedding reception. We enjoyed wood fired pizzas at my Dad's house.  It was a most welcome after eleven hours of driving.

the attic explorer 

#2 son said "I've never been in an attic before". So we pulled the ladder and set him up with proper attic exploration gear.  

first time to go in an attic 

He can knock that off the bucket list.


May 18, 2020

More food at home and my final project for Metal Arts

mother's day apple grill

Mother's Day 2020, Kat requested a grill-out picnic. The weather was perfect and it was good for the kids to get some sunshine on their skin.  

back yard grill

We grilled sausages, onion, zucchini and apple. It was all delicious.  

mother's day grill 

persian limes are better than key for margaritas 

bge smoker 

Kat had requested a "bunghole chicken" last week. It's a smoked chicken that has a beer can (with beer, garlic, onion and herbs) inserted in the cavity before going in the smoker.

bge beer butt bunghole smoked chicken 

I smoked them for almost seven hours at 250F. Five probably would've been enough. The meat was still tender, smoky and slippery 

bge smoked chicken 

homemade mole' 

I'd been wanting to make a big batch of Mole'. I had a lot to do that day, but I managed to get it done. We enjoyed Chicken Mole' Enchiladas. 

chicken mole' enchiladas  

My final project for Metal Arts class (at home learning).  

observer sculpture by paul schuster metal arts 

I had some water pipe sections that were left from the utility crew when they upgraded for more pressure (fire hydrants) around here. The pipes are thick metal, with a rubber coating outside and concrete lining inside. Not easy to work with, but I was glad to have them.  

paul schuster artist sculptor  

A One Week Escape: 

buccee's hand sanitizer 

The Daughter, #2 Son and myself got up early one morning and made a mad dash to visit my Mom who now lives in Nebraska. The drive was 11 hours. We had one stop for fuel in Oklahoma. While people in Austin mostly wear masks to go everywhere, it was not so in OK. We got out of the car and applied our masks for a restroom break, it was like we came from planet Mars. NOBODY at that station was masked, not the many customers, not the employees, not the Policeman. And it was busy there. I even caught somebody taking my picture.... We were happy to get out of there and apply sanitizer. (although I have Buc-ee's sanitizer, that is not where we stopped. I've never been to a Buc-ee's, a friend gave me that sanitizer bottle and it came in handy)

the road to nebraska  

The roads are wide open. 

It was an easy trip. People in Lincoln Nebraska mostly DO seem to be honoring CDC guidelines. But it's still much more relaxed here than it was in Austin. Although I had noticed people were easing up there last week as well. It's cold here. The forecast changed from the time I packed clothes, and the time I arrived. I had to go to Target to buy long sleeved shirts. Mostly we do the same, sit around and wait for/prep the next meal.  


May 10, 2020

PHP Friday is BACK! sort of...

A few restaurants in Texas are slowly opening again. Patrons have their temp taken before they can gain entry, and capacity is set to 25%. Most remain closed. My favorite craft beer source is now offering curbside pickup. I made my order online and met up with a regular Friday Happy Hour friend. We picked up our beer orders. I was happy to get the #1 spot!

Pinthouse Pizza S Lamar craft beer austin PHP Electric Jellyfish 

pinthouse craft beer curbside service 

pinthouse craft beer crowler 

Their patio is closed. It's strictly to go. She lives on the East Side, I'm West.... so we found an empty parking lot at a nearby office building (not hard as most parking lots are empty).

pinthouse pizza electric jellyfish cans 

It was just like being back in High School. The weather was great and that Electric Jellyfish was so fresh, canned the same day! 

social distancing with electric jellyfish 

It wasn't the same as the patio at PHP for Friday HH, but it was close enough. Spring is quickly closing as summer clamps us all down. Our choices will soon be limited by heat AND virus situations.  



chavrub citrus squisher 

Twenty years ago, we purchased this Chavrub in Mexico, when the world was a safer place. It was no small task hauling it back along with stroller, travel crib, baby backpack... and a one year old daughter and all of her other things. But we manage to use this often. We are testing Key VS Mexican (Persian) limes for margaritas. So far I'm not a fan of the Key limes. Also, it takes 5 Key limes to equal the juice of 1 Mexican/Persian lime.   

Metal Arts Sculpture project and the spider

metal arts acc riverside austin


I found the perfect spot in the yard for it. Tucked away so you have to go find it. Did you see Tales From the Loop? This one seemed like it could have a sci-fi mystery backstory that would fit in that series. I don't recommend the show if you need happy endings, need everything explained, or fast action. I loved the show. 

metal art sculpture paul schuster austin  


The spider photo seems to fit in with this post, also found in the back yard. I took this photo with my cheap vintage sakar 135mm on my sony A7ii



A closer look at the flowers, for you Moms out there.

May flowers are popping up all over the yard. I bought a cheap sakar 135mm Minolta mount lens and an adapter to fit to my Sony mirrorless full frame camera. I also found some cheap extension tubes for macro focus. Lens, tubes and adapter all came in around $60. So here I offer a few close up pics of the flowers from the past week.

day lilly 


sakar 135mm macro extension tubes 




central texas wildflower 









May 04, 2020

Not much going on... How 'Bout You?

Not a lot was caught on the game cam this past week. We did have a BIG rain recently. I suspect that as ground water dries up, more wildlife will come get their drink on here from the koi pond.

coyote watches humans 78746 austin

I did get video of the coyote. Once again, his attention is directed towards the house. He's watching us, while I'm trying to watch him (or her). 

Coyote video link https://youtu.be/cmwAURsdFJc

risky lifestyle feline 78746 coyote food 

This cat leads a risky lifestyle. It's not one of ours.

WAIT! I just found video on the game cam of what I thought was a regular housecat, but it's obviously more wildlife ...


deer portraiture say cheese 78746 westlake 

This doe cooperated and gave us her best side.  

resident instrument tech  

#2 son still has orchestra class, via ipad. His A string was broken and Amazon said it would be weeks until they could get us a replacement. I emailed his teacher at HCMS and she scavenged an A from a school instrument and sent it USPS. The daughter has become the house instrument tech.  


His birthday gift FINALLY arrived, more than a month after his birthday. He's ready to start bass guitar lessons later this week, via ipad facetime. His sister help set up and tune the new guitar.

virtual reality pladate during pandemic 

He spends most of his time in his virtual rec room, with friends.  

virtual happy hour facetime pandemic 

I enjoyed a few virtual happy hour with friends on both facetime and Zoom.  

zoom virtual happy hour during pandemic


Food... Yes, we are still eating well. Standout dinners from this week included Paella and Duck Confit with Orange Sauce (below).

duck confit with orange sauce 

metal art class remote learning 

I'm still working on my Metal Arts Class from home. I used an old anvil that had belonged to my grandfather. 

metal yard art 78746 westlake  

This Machine Eats Viruses (a sculpture by Paul Schuster) 

outdoor sculpture westlake austin 78746 

This Machine Eats Virus a sculpture by Paul Schuster austin west lake hills 78746 

Then I set it free.

Paul Schuster Austin Texas West Lake Hills 

Many people are complaining about no access to barber or hair salon. I cut my own hair, as I have done for decades. I can live with it and the price is good.  

porsche 944 is good to look at 

The sun is setting later and temps will be near 100 today.