Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hill Country

We knew the Aus-town area was the gateway to the Hill Country but didn't know that it was literally down the street from us. Here are two pictures from our drive into the canyon today; they don't really do it justice since there are no scenic overlook stopping areas anywhere so it was hard to snap good shots. Hopefully you get the idea, though.



Friday, January 30, 2009

Bullet the Blue Sky

Austin's mom is here and between hanging out, I've had class so it's been busy. Here's what's been going on.
  • Had Austin's birthday dinner of garlic shrimp with coconut milk, lime, cilantro, and jalapeno over coconut rice. It didn't turn out as well as it had last time we made it but it was still good.
  • Went to Chuy's, mandatory for TexMex, and Austin and I tried Texas Martinis which are like margaritas but better and garnished with jalapeno for a kick.
  • Austin and Paula went to the State History Museum.
  • We checked out the funky shops on South Congress.
  • We did lunch at Whole Foods. Paula got hers at the raw foods deli, I had tofu satay, and Austin had a reuben sandwich.
  • Tonight we're making dinner with our groceries- halibut, green salad, bread and awesome Robusto cheese (parmesan and gouda together, amazing!). Some wine and truffles fell into the cart too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Ice "Storm"

After much media hype, the precip last night did freeze but it was hardly enough to be deemed an ice storm. I had to make an effort to get a photo that would show some of the ice on our tree. This is good news since Paula comes today and we were worried the weather wouldn't be great though, at any rate, above zero is better than the temps up north!

Ice Storm...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hotel Lunderoy's Aus-town Branch Opens Its Doors

Our first guest, Austin's mom, arrives tomorrow. We have spent the evening cleaning and getting ready although the hotel remains under renovation. The pastry chef just completed mini raspberry cheesecakes in honor of Mr. Lunderoy's 30th birthday. I'm hoping to be able to post a few photos of our visit if I have time between classes and my shifts at the hotel :-)

We are excited for our first guest here in Texas and excited that we have future reservations too!

Oh, and a side note, the local media is going CRAZY about an ice storm. So far it's been in the 30s and rainy so who knows but the local community college down the street already canceled classes for tomorrow. We keep seeing news clips about how trucks dump sand to help with traction. Psh, amateurs!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Staying Cozy

It gets chilly, even in Texas. Here is our new giant bed:

New Bed and Comforter

And our gas fireplace is finally set up! I took this picture while I was sitting in front of it watching the Inaugural Ball.


Back to the Grind

I'm probably headed back to the once a week posting schedule since I'm back to work/school. I'm happy to be back and my classes look good but very demanding, more so than last semester. Now that I've got a semester of teaching under my belt, the classes I am teaching this semester should in theory be a little easier since I know the ropes and have more materials created.

Yesterday we got our new bed delivered and I'll try to post some pictures this weekend. It's a king size pillow top and is HUGE, comes up to my waist. The queen has gone to the guest room and is also quite comfy. Anyway, we got a new comforter set too that is gray with a contemporary white circle pattern on it. We never thought we'd go for gray but loved the look and will be able to use our red accents in the room (and can always change accent colors with it). The one thing that is lacking is a nice headboard but that's just not in the budget for now. It does the job without a cool frame.

Today will be a balance between domestic and academic tasks, low key, maybe dinner out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Beautiful Day

It's a day of change, the first day of my spring semester but more importantly, Inauguration Day! If you know me, you can probably guess I'm thrilled by the sound of "President Obama." Whatever the case, it's unarguably a historic day for America and it's wonderful to see it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Busy Weekend = Bullet Point Post

  • After work Friday, we zipped over to Ikea to pick up another bookshelf. It looks great next to the other one and helped clear out several boxes.
  • Austin installed the fireplace log set which turned out to be a huge hassle- the directions were terrible and some pieces weren't properly cut and shaped- so it was a lot of work and I wasn't much help to him.
  • Saturday we went to lunch at a pub, lots of fun.
  • Saturday we also went mattress shopping; we're upgrading to a king and putting the queen in our guest room. We went to one place that was freaky high pressure sales; I'm still scarred from the experience. Today we purchased a set at a nice furniture store and it will be delivered on Friday. Another big ticket item off the list...
  • Saturday night we made fish tacos with orange roughy, shredded cabbage, red onion, cilantro, lime... Really, really delicious.
  • This morning I made crepes with Nutella. Lovely.
  • Today we attempted to buy a hedge trimmer since the holly bush in front of our house is threatening to take over. The one we wanted isn't available at any of the Sears stores in the area and won't be back until mid-February. It's still weird that we're going to own a hedge trimmer but then again, we've had a belt sander for a few years and I just learned that.
  • We also made a Target grocery run for our week's meals. Back to school means more planning for that kind of thing, especially with two night classes.
  • This afternoon will involve football watching and cleaning up the house. We are soaking in the sun and opening the windows to let the mild air in.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Domestic Diva

Today our new washer and dryer arrived and as soon as they were ready to go, I was throwing our accumulated mounds of laundry in. Laundry is actually one of my favorite household chores and I have complicated fabric softener liquid and sheet rituals that Austin can't replicate. We are really pleased with the maiden voyage of these spaceship-esque Samsung beauts. We were delighted to find that they play a little tune when a load is done, sort of like a happy cell phone ring tone. Our Roomba does that too and Austin is already planning ways for the appliances to make friends with each other. Here are the appliances in question:

Samsung Washer and Dryer

One little critter who will not be so thrilled about the new appliances is Mr. Stinky since they are now occupying what was previously his little room. Austin has been working on determining what his preferred accommodations are since he likes perches and cave-like dwellings. Here is a picture from today of Stinky sitting on one of Austin's test projects that we're pretending is modern art in our backyard and not a stack of lumber and cinder blocks. Stinky does not like the cave feature but does enjoy sitting on top. (The picture quality isn't great due to the copious amounts of sunshine that we're getting, something we're really appreciating with all the news of the arctic temps up north.)

Stinky on Modern Art

Last night I was also proud to assemble an Ikea shelf by myself, with limited questions to Austin. The shelf is called Billy and is the perfect home for all of my books. In fact, we need one or two more Billies to house the entire LundeRoy library. I was so happy to unpack and find books I haven't seen in awhile. Austin hinted at keeping the books in our storage shed for awhile but the look on my face told him all he needed to know, bookshelves were top priority in our new digs.

Billy Bookshelf

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gratuitous Cat Photo!

Just when you're frustrated with, say, tearing down a border, changing an article from APA format to Chicago, etc, your cat rolls in stuff and looks funny. Thanks Stinky!

Mulch Cat

Bordering on Insanity

One of my goals over break has been to take down the hideous border in the guest room and paint it. Taking down the border has been rough since the glue will not budge. All of the paper is down but we suspect, with the textured walls, the previous owners used another kind of glue other than the adhesive that comes pre-applied to the backs of borders. All around the wall is a wavy yellow line of glue that will not move. It's not the best photo, but you can see what I mean below. The enzyme spray from the store is just not cutting it nor is hot, soapy water. Any suggestions?


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Driving, Not Arriving

On the way home from an errand, Austin and I decided to go past our usual turn off and see what was around the bend. We were amazed to find, in our figurative backyard, a large, sprawling canyon dotted with trees and shrubs and homes. It was just stunning and the road twisted and turned and went up and down through it. Unfortunately, we did not have our camera. We are looking forward to going back when we have a little more time and exploring the little town nearby.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Days of Our Homeowner Lives

It's been another busy work week for Austin and then after that, house projects, so this post will be boring. Selecting and hanging window treatments have proven more difficult than anticipated and removing the ugly border from the textured guest room wall has proven more difficult than anticipated, a theme is developing...

A log is being shipped so we can finally try out the gas fireplace. The master bath toilet no longer runs thanks to the in-house toilet engineer. The washer and dryer arrive on the 15th so today involves a trip to the apt for one last visit to the dreaded "clothing care center."

Back in grad school, I lived in some funky old apartments in uptown Minneapolis and always thought I'd love to someday own an old home. No more! I have tremendous admiration for those who can do it but I'm learning just how much work even a newer home can be. My dad was so proud of me as a kid who could identify different types of nails but unfortunately, that is when my talent peaked and it's been downhill from there.

So, lest I whine too much, the bigger picture is that we love our home and personalizing it, while challenging, is definitely worth it. I'm lucky to have the time over winter break to dig in to the projects and to have a spouse who is very handy and talented. We are really looking forward to having guests.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fiesta Bowl!

We watched the Longhorns play in the Fiesta Bowl on Monday night and made a few appetizers in lieu of dinner. One of Austin's favorites is deviled eggs so I made them using the Hellman's recipe but the secret is to use pickle juice instead of white vinegar. So good!


I love the tray that they are on, a wedding gift. Austin thought it was crazy to put a nicer deviled egg tray on the registry but apparently someone else thought it was cool too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sofa King Awesome

It has been dark and gray the past few days so I couldn't get any good photos but here's a shot of our new sofa. There will be a sectional piece off of the right side whenever it arrives (March?). The coffee table will be repurposed elsewhere and the rug we're not sure on yet. The next step is getting window treatments and coordinating throw pillows.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Adventures in Homeownership

We had a weekend of errand running and house projects. Austin is hanging up a curved shower curtain rod in the master bath since the tension rod kept falling down. We ordered a gas fireplace log so we can finally use the fireplace, a good thing since it was in the 40's today :-) Our biggest obstacle has been finding suitable curtains to go on the windows on either side of our chocolate brown couch. Who knew it was so challenging? We see things we like and dislike all the time but putting it together on our own hasn't been easy.

Tonight we're laying low and Austin is getting ready for a full work week. My project will be to remove the remains of a border in the guest room and eventually paint it. I'm excited about a color called "Painted Skies," a warm mauve/terracotta color that looks like it will go nicely with the black and white bedspread we have for the guest bed. On a less exciting note, I'm also trying to finish all the unpacking and getting everything into its own little place.

As soon as it gets sunny again, I'll try to snap some photos of how the house is shaping up.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bailed Out from the Kitty Clink

First thing this morning, I picked up Mr. Stinkles from boarding at the vet. I could hear him mewing pitifully before I even saw him and he continued to cry every few seconds on the brief car ride home. He was suspicious about his new surroundings but has been warming up and exploring all day long. He's been out in the back yard three times today (on harness and leash until he gets used to it) and has been poking all around the house in a way he never did in our apartment. He has also been treated to wet cat food including a "Seafood Entree" which sounds nicer than what we've been eating lately. Stinky is snoozing at my feet as I type this.

Austin worked today and got caught up on emails and other pending business after his two weeks of vacation. I worked on logistical things like changing our address, new drivers licenses, ending our apartment lease, etc. I ran a few errands and did minor cleaning around the house. It felt good to get back to a fairly normal schedule.

Finally, I know weather postings are boring, but it was about 76 degrees today with bright blue, sunny skies. According to the local meteorologist, this has broken a 55 year record for the high. The temp will drop into the 40's this weekend when a cold front rolls in but we have enjoyed open windows and pleasant breezes all day long. We are so happy to be in our new home with our favorite cat, what luck.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

We are back in Texas again. We flew home yesterday night and it was probably our best travel experience ever. Mike dropped us off at the airport and it was really quiet, lines were short and it was easy to get around. We had dinner at the French Meadow and then headed to our gate to see if we could get seats together. The agent did some finagling on the computer and then told us it was our lucky day, handing us two new boarding passes. We took a look and realized we were seated in first class, aww yeah!

We kicked back in our spacious (i.e. less cramped) seats and as soon as we were in the air, we were offered drinks and snacks a few times. There was free wine which was tempting on New Year's Eve but I stuck to water. Austin and I watched a movie on our DVD player until we had to turn it off for landing. As we got closer to the city, we could see fireworks going off.

Austin has a small airport so we were off the plane and to the baggage claim in no time. Our luggage came out quickly; we walked just across the street and into a cab. I had left my car with a girlfriend so we went to her apartment to pick it up and, after a quick hello, were off to our house. We literally rolled in at the stroke of midnight.

The trip back to our Texas home was the perfect end to our Christmas visit and a nice kick off for 2009.