Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Just Playing

The following three posts are photos I snapped on my iPhone and I applied filters to them thru the Instagram app.

Birch Trees and December Sky

Forest Pine Bough

River Behind My Parents' House

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wisconsin



This is the view from my parents' living room window. You may not be able to see the river for the trees but this is a riverfront property. After spending time in MN, Austin and I are now on the second half of our trip in Wisco. Today also happens to be my birthday so we'll be going out to dinner shortly at one of my parents' favorite local places

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Adios, Tejas



It's an unseasonably warm 78° and I'm sitting on the patio, watching Stinky (hidden in the shadows at the top of the photo). We're heading out in an hour to more Christmas-appropriate climes while kitty will stay here with the house sitter. Latitude is everything.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Lights



Austin and I took a stroll through the neighborhood to see the lights. We really like the above which features Bevo, the mascot of UT. Last year he had a rose in his mouth since the Longhorns were going to the Rose Bowl but this year... not so much.



We also loved this lit up palm tree. It has little snow flake ornaments hanging from its branches.

It was a gorgeous day in TX today, sunny skies and highs in the 70s. Tomorrow we might break an unseasonable 80-something, just in time to fly home to feet and feet of snow for a white Xmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Countdown to Snow



It was another busy week here. Austin racked up the hours and prepared to be off work very soon. I submitted final grades and turned in my last paper. Friday was the first day I was completely free and was able to run some errands and mail a few packages.

We're having a low key weekend before the holiday merry-making. We ran a few errands, finished some online gift shopping, and frosted our Xmas cookies. We have no evening plans, just a fire and some reading, maybe a movie and a nice dinner.

Tuesday we'll be heading north, leaving Stinky in the capable hands of his pet sitter- with catcam fired up of course (we still like to see his silly antics from afar).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

H-town

So, while it was snowing up north...



Austin and I had a quick trip to Houston this weekend. I had a friend from Alaska come to Houston and also a cousin there so it seemed a good time to explore. Austin and I are trying to see Texas while we're here so while Houston was not on our big must-do life list, it was also definitely within reason from where we live.

We got in Friday evening and took a quick trip to the zoo. There was almost no one there so we had a great time taking it in almost on our own. It's such a reminder of how crazy this planet is when you really look at how various animals have evolved and adapted to their environments. Austin and I just loved having a zoo to ourselves on the off-peak hours.

After that, my cousin picked us up from our hotel and Austin got to meet her and we both got to meet her boyfriend. They took us to an amazing Thai place and the four of us shared three dishes- a classic pad Thai, green curry, and triple-flavored tofu (we weren't able to distinguish exactly which three flavors they meant!). We had cocktails at the hotel after and had some really interesting conversations about the overlapping languages we all shared: English, French, Japanese, and Spanish.

Today we met up with one of my friends from WI who now lives in AK and went for a walk around the pond by the zoo so she could take in some nice weather. Houston hit a high of 78 today and Austin and I posed under a palm to contrast the pictures of snow piles we received throughout the day from our friends and fam in MN/WI. I really miss the excitement of the first big storm and the idea that everyone has to stay home regardless of previous plans. We don't so much miss these weather events when it's, say, March, but luckily for this first one, Facebook, Twitter, et al. have kept us as updated as possible.

We came home to a "cold" front in the 50s, promptly turned our fireplace, and are relaxing. Tomorrow is home/house work day as Austin writes code, I do grading, and we tackle the usual household tasks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Festivities and Finals

We got the tree up and have decorated the house, inside and out. Aus-town had its first hard freeze and we've enjoyed our fireplace a lot. It sort of feels like Xmas.



On the other hand, though, I'm under deadlines to finish final papers, give my students their exams (individual oral finals, very time-consuming), and grade their final projects. I've barely had time to work on Xmas cards (something I actually enjoy doing) or do any baking but the end. Is. In. Sight. I just have to get through this week and then I'll have plenty of time to make cookies and do some Xmas shopping and generally make merry.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving



It was another T-day for two here which is wonderful but also makes us wistful for family time (soon enough, Xmas tickets are ready and waiting!). Austin picked up his favorite brisket and turkey from our local bbq joint and we made all the sides including mashed potatoes (cream cheese, sour cream, butter, and more!), stuffing, green beans (lemon-hazelnut butter), and pumpkin pie. We're also going to try our homebrewed cider soon hoping that it became carbonated as planned.

It was in the 70s this morning which made me a little bummed but the cold front came and we watched the thermometer drop rapidly in just one hour. It's now 47° and we've got the fire roaring. Just what we wanted. It's been another amazing holiday for us.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Boston Common



I'm in Boston for a foreign language teaching conference and finally have a minute to update as I wait for a friend to meet me for dinner. It's been a whirlwind of attending sessions and networking; I'm lucky that I was able to stay with two good friend who are a little further along in their career paths so I've been introduced to some interesting people.

This morning we presented at 8:00 but arrived at 7:15 to prepare which was like an hour earlier given our CST body clocks. My friend and I did not sleep well thinking about the presentation so we slammed some coffee and let the adrenaline do the rest. We had well over 150 people in attendance and ran out of handouts. I think the most touching moment was at the end when a teacher waited to talk to us and said she had a question that was not directly related to our presentation but she wanted to know if she should try to speak French in her African classroom even if her skills weren't where she wanted them to be. She nearly burst into tears, worried that she was not giving her students what they needed but wanting to do better. I hope what we told her was helpful and comforting.

I've attended numerous sessions including one given in French and one given in Spanish, something I really enjoy doing. The best so far was in English about immersion schools in Utah. They are very progressive and seeing videos of 3rd graders speaking comfortably in Spanish and French (and Mandarin, we're told) was amazing. So much to think about though I won't be able to process it all until I'm home.

After some sessions, my friends and I walked around through parks and squares. It is so beautiful here with bright yellow leaves on every tree and temperatures in the 50s. We stumbled upon a great pub with clam chowder, fish and chips, and a lobster roll shared among the three of us. So delicious, one of those great finds that happen when you go a few blocks off the beaten path.

It's been a great time and I'm hoping to see the Harvard area before heading back.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My View

As I review presentation notes, this is what I see for the fair price of a glass of malbec.

In Boston

I'm at a foreign languages conference in Boston enjoying the sessions and seeing my colleagues.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Test Kitchen

Wow, another week has flown by. I meant to post this earlier but there is just so much going on (most of it not exciting bloggy material, however). Last weekend, we tested a recipe from a favorite blog of mine, Herbivoracious, which features some fantastically interesting vegetarian food. It's such a great website, in fact, that the author is writing a cookbook and invited his readers to test some of the recipes. Our assignment turned out to be Indian Fry Bread Tacos and they were indeed worthy of published cookbook greatness.

The author thought I might have had them living in the southwest but it turns out I actually had them several times in Spoontown, WI while growing up. They came out great- we'll almost certainly make them again- so if you're in the mood for something good, they have been approved by the LundeRoy Bistro. The fried bread might sound on the unhealthy side but the piles of delicious veggies that top it more than make up for the decadence of a fried base (and I think it would work great with whole wheat flour).

We had so much fun trying out the recipe that we offered to test another and tomorrow night will be making an Ethiopian dish. I'll try to post about it before next weekend this time!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Good Weekend



After having several long work weeks and quiet weekends to recover, the LundeRoys re-energized again. Saturday was a long day of Doing Cool Stuff. The above photo is of the Elisabet Ney museum which features sculpture made by a woman at a time when such a thing was unheard of. Her biography was really interesting and we were the only visitors for awhile, one of my very favorite things when it comes to museums. I climbed a narrow spiral staircase to the study on the top floor; it was too small for Austin to even attempt. Great views through ripply antique glass.

Next was an exhibit on the history of photography at the University. We saw the first photograph ever and I was proud to recall learning all about this in my undergraduate French civ course. I still remember the lecture in South Hall, learning about Daguerre and his Daguerrotypes that began the development of modern photography. Yay, liberal arts!

We grabbed a quick lunch then headed to a coffee shop I'd been wanting to check out. It was a stand converted from an old sea container, reputed to having amazing croissants and lattes, but it was out of most things when we arrived so we decided to move on. I was bummed but shall continue my quest for good pain au chocolat...

We ended the day seeing Social Network at our favorite movie theatre where we also enjoyed drinks and food. We both liked the movie and not just because the nice staff brought beer and wine right to our seats. Austin said their technical advisor did a great job and I appreciated the complexity of the main character, whether he deserved pity or should be written off.

This morning I made really good pumpkin pancakes and taste-tested two kinds of cinnamon spice tea (Austin is rubbing off on me). Then it was errands and the usual Sunday stuff to gear up for the week. We're really looking forward to the Packer game tonight, hopefully it will be a nice close to the weekend and the start of a good week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Update

It was an uneventful weekend here though we had a lot in mind going in to it. On Saturday afternoon, we went to a viewing party for the Longhorns game. It was hosted by one of the radio stations we listen to a lot and we got to chat with our favorite DJ a little. In addition to some good drink and appetizers specials, we were given a lot of promotional stuff (stuff being something we're currently trying to avoid so yeah).

I'd been feeling a little under the weather all week and our hopes to go to a photography exhibit, a Monet exhibit, and maybe an interesting park didn't seem so realistic as Sunday arrived. Even Austin was feeling less than 100%. I'm glad we don't have a full-blown bug but we still don't have our usual energy levels. Fortunately we had the presence of mind to make a delicious, gooey pan of lasagne that is perfect comfort food and the leftovers just get better.

We are also happy to have our Xmas flight booked and plans sketched out. As soon as I start looking forward to it, though, I panic with how much I have to do this semester. On that note, back to the books here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Midterms



That's a photo of the flotsam and jetsam of my midterm writing process (ok, part of it). I just submitted my last paper (of two and a lengthy presentation) and now it's back to my regularly scheduled classes-teaching-proposing. There has been a lot going on with my dissertation committee and getting it organized but that finally seems to be heading in a positive direction.

Austin has managed to refrain from adding to our 12 gallons of cider so far and instead installed a separate water filter spout on the kitchen sink. He actually drilled through the sink with a frightening cone-shaped drill bit but he doesn't seem nearly as nervous about creating holes in things as I would be.

We put up some orange lights and set a few pumpkins out but have been disappointed that Target's Halloween decorations were picked over quickly. We don't want the huge spread but thought a few more things might be fun. Austin's greatest homeowner dream is to install color changing LED bulbs so he can leave them up permanently and program the color of his choosing depending on the season. He is undoubtedly his father's son (and uncle's nephew).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why stop at 10 gallons?

Kelly and I wanted to try a few variations on the base apfelwein recipe but didn't want to risk a five gallon batch each time. Luckily, apple cider is available in one gallon glass jugs so all I had to do was pick up a couple more airlocks and some smaller stoppers. The first test batch is the same base recipe with two cinnamon sticks thrown in. The second batch is the same base recipe made with unfiltered cider. It should be interesting to see how these compare to the original.

This stuff better be good...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Good Things

A non-secret about me is that I love Real Mail. I love stationery and stamps and post marks and handwriting. I love email too but Real Mail is extra special and surprise packages, even better! I try to get the mail every day though Austin is more of a cynic, expecting junk mail and not much else. I always reply that there could be something cool, you just never know. Well, over the past 10 or so days, I've been very fortunate.

WI_Leaves

It's also no secret I love fall and my mom sent me several sheets of laminated leaves from WI. They are taped up in the windows and are a reasonable substitute for the real thing. I have noticed some foliage around here turning golden yellow, lots of acorns on the ground, and falling leaves. The color in my window is just the thing.

I also got an out-of-the-blue package from CorgiMom who found me an adorable pair of socks featuring "Gourmet Girl" and a card informing me she has the same pair. As an extra bonus, the card was made by her good friend and the package postmarked from my hometown.

Finally, I got a great package from my sister. Not only did I get a super cool shell bracelet from Hawaii and a "classy" bottle opener for our future ciders, but she also sent a copy of the photo book I had made for her 30th birthday.

Seriously, three packages in less than two weeks! How lucky am I?

P.S. Still writing my diss proposal for this coming week.
P.S.2. Austin is currently making two more gallons of cider.
P.S.3. I want to call our brand LundeRoy Libations and this line Armadillo Apple. Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Back to Normal (Almost)



Everything was normal back on campus, other than the "where were you when" conversations. The library was open (minus the floor in question) and students were sitting out on the lawn, enjoying the nice weather.

I went to class this afternoon in one of the buildings near the library (where I would have been Tuesday) and the only eerie sign that anything had happened was the SWAT team's scrawlings on all the doors. Some said "locked" others said "clear" and some I couldn't decipher.

So, in the spirit of the motto of my good ol' home state, "Forward."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lock Down

What a day at UT. I left for class this morning and got a text from the campus alert system that there was an armed gunman near the library. My morning and afternoon classes happen to be on either side of the library. I kept going, though, because I had classes all day and figured at some point things would be cleared up. I also wasn't too worried since lately, a man has been trying to grope women exiting the library so I thought it might be something related as there have been a couple of false alarms. I called Austin and asked him to turn on the news. Just as I was getting to campus, I learned the SWAT was on the scene and the area was closed off.

My office and parking garage are on the edge of campus and were not close to the impacted area nor were they closed off. I was considering going to a coffee shop but decided to head to my office for some reason. The building was on lock down and the guard let me in. I streamed the media coverage on my computer and texted various people to update them. Squad cars and SWAT vehicles kept flying by my office window, sirens were sounding and PA systems warned of lock down, and emails from the University kept coming in. I could hear helicopters overhead. The cacophony of sounds outside was intense plus I could hear the guard's phone ringing and his emergency radio chattering away.

I stayed in my office as I heard reports that the gunman had shot and killed himself but then word of a second suspect at large came in. I eventually made the choice to leave and made it home safely. The all clear just came in but the University remains closed; still no word on the possible second shooter.

The University did a fantastic job of warning everyone via text, email, and the PA system. When the dust clears, I'll be curious to hear what hindsight tells us. My only concern was that there had been false alarms before so I wasn't as concerned about still going to campus, thinking the alert would soon be lifted. I'm relieved that no one was hurt, at least not physically, and am keeping the University community close in my thoughts.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Just Fermenting

I love all the names people have suggested for our little moonshine operation, thank you all! I'm thinking we'll need one name for our "business" and a different name for the product (Austin keeps hinting that this is the gateway into brewing our own beer and making wine). Keep the ideas coming if anything else occurs to you.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Moar Plz

We picked up supplies today to make another five gallon jug of cider as well as a smaller glass gallon jug. Hopefully this stuff is really, really good.

We like the name suggestion of AK-47 though still haven't decided. I was thinking something like LundeRoy Libations. We're open to your continued ideas and once we have a name, the fun part of designing the label will be next.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tiny Bubbles

Welcome to Fermentation Watch 2010. Here's the air lock, bubbling away. That's vodka in it since water would easily get contaminated with bacteria.



Here's the juice.



So, dear reader, can you come up with a catchy name for our labels (assuming this stuff isn't disgusting and we actually bottle it)? We're taking suggestions.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

MYOB

MYOB- make your own booze, that is. Austin found a thread about making your own hard cider and we couldn't believe how easy it appeared. After further research, he found a local brewing store where we were able to pick up all the necessary gear with the guidance of very helpful staff. Add in the five gallons of apple juice, and the budget is still well under $100.

Homemade Hard Cider

We poured the juice with some sugar into the sterilized jug (aka "car boy") and added yeast at the end.

Homemade Hard Cider

Then you've got five gallons of cider mixture that will ferment into hard cider in the next month. Five gallons. I think it will be our Halloween potion; feel free to stop by for a trick and a treat (and I'm especially looking at Bad Z here).

Homemade Hard Cider

Cannot wait to taste it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

September Days


Many people complain that upcoming holiday goods come out earlier and earlier every year. My favorite season happens to be fall and I always have to restrain myself from buying lots and lots of pumpkins. Check these guys out, "fairytale pumpkins" with a few ghost pumpkins in the edge of the frame. Austin recommends October 1st as a reasonable time to procure and display autumn decorations. I get excited, thinking how close that is and then- the trick to my treat- I remember I told my advisor I'd get her the first draft of my dissertation proposal by then. October 1 now seems to be bearing down on me at light speed.

Yep, the proposal is the icing on the cake of taking and teaching a full load of courses. The proposal is the first three chapters. Until very recently, I haven't been able to take it seriously. What I'm writing is the start of my actual dissertation? I haven't even done the research yet! I've finally begun to accept that this is The Real Thing and I need to treat it accordingly so unfortunately this makes for boring blogging material. But yeah, that's what I'm up to at the moment.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Le Week-end


It's a lazy Sunday here. We're coming up on the usual errands and I've got lots of studying/teaching prep that I want to get through. Just the usual. It's been a low key weekend all around except for my outing downtown last night for a friend's birthday. Austin has unwound with some gaming and today will likely be watching football which he alleges Stinky enjoys. Austin is in a fantasy league (go, Provo Mormonators!) so it is even more fun for him to watch the game as he cheers on his assorted players. Catching some of the Packer game will be more than enough for me. Quite times with the LundeRoys but that's just fine with us.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Updated Bathroom

The bathroom is finally reassembled. The paint is the same as we have in the kitchen since the tiles and vanity are the same as the flooring and cabinets in the kitchen. Here are some before photos.





And some after pics. New shower curtain and light fixture (not the one we liked best but an improvement).




The photos show the paint a little lighter than it is but you get the idea. We are really happy with the outcome and I think we're done painting for awhile.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Weekend


This is Austin, the grillmaster, preparing all sorts of foods. My friend came over and each of us had a different meat- bratwurst for her (the coiled sausage you see), New York strip for Austin, and tuna steak for me. We also grilled up some veggies and had a fresh green salad. Today was warm and sunny, hitting the lower 90s which is now warm to me when the humidity remains low.

Yesterday, we painted the bathroom (pics when it's fully reassembled) and did some much needed yard work since the weather is finally making that task more enjoyable. Austin also fixed our mower and the $30 Craigslist wonder keeps on keepin' on.

Friday evening, Austin headed to his favorite electronics shopping destination (I can't call it a store because it's bigger than Best Buy and has a cafe in the middle) while I stayed home and worked on some materials for the conference I'll be attending in November (translation: I made puppets made from paper, crayons, and tongue depressors pilfered from my place of employ). It was finally cool enough to open all the windows for the first time this season so I enjoyed that feeling and lit several of the autumn-scented candles we made once upon a time to pretend the crispness of fall was coming sooner than it really is.

All in all, our weekend has been that satisfying balance of productive and relaxing. Tomorrow I'll do my usual prep for my long day of classes on Tuesday and I think Austin has plans to work on a hard drive and another techie project related to our entertainment center. All in all, a very good weekend at the LundeRoy Lodge.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Out of the Blue



Austin and I attended a friend's birthday outing on Saturday night and, while we were at dinner, I got a text and found out our sister-in-law would be in town the next day (she's a pilot so scheduling can be wacky). We hadn't seen Carrie since her wedding to Austin's brother in CA last November so it was very cool to find out she'd be laying over in the ATX.

We took Carrie and her co-pilot (First Officer? Captain? Major-General-Colonel? I have no idea of the term) downtown for tapas. The food was really good- the fried balls of goat cheese in honey sprinkled with lavender were an amazing new favorite. If you're a feature guest of the Hotel LundeRoy, be prepared for us to haul you out for tapas and ply you with fancy fried cheese! Anyway, it was a good time and we were so glad we got to see our SiL for a bit. The photo is from Austin's phone and in the night light of the city, I kinda look more bronzed than I really am.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ahh, Friday...


Some stuff from this week:
  • I started two of the three courses that I'll be taking this semester and they seemed good. My ed class is interesting and my Spanish Linguistics class has a comforting, old-school feel and the professor reminds me of my beloved old profs from my Master's program. I start my third class on Tuesday.
  • I taught my first of two classes and, for the first time in awhile, I've got a section where everyone has had Spanish at some point. They were great! Very motivated and eager to get beyond the basics. Tuesday I teach my second section which is a graduate course and they are usually wonderful too.
  • Austin worked a lot and intensely this week, maybe I should only post when he doesn't. Blah. Poor guy.
  • The office is halfway done and should be completed after this weekend. Now I'll be trying my office set-up in the guest room.
  • Happy hour last night was good but bittersweet and I'll miss my friend. She is taking her cat all the way back to Spain and the poor little fellow has been doped up and makes up her carry-on luggage.
  • We are completely uninspired for cooking; please post your (healthy) ideas in comments if you feel like it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

B2S


Today was the first day of fall semester and what is very likely my last semester of coursework. The prospect of actually be doing with classes is very exciting but bittersweet since I love being a student. I am, however, looking forward to working on my dissertation and eventually hitting the job market.

I went to my office early to get some administrative tasks wrapped up and take care of some brief meetings and some compliance training. Then it was off to my first class, Psychology of Teachers and Teaching, which seems like it's going to be really good. Our prof is giving us guidelines of what to read but allowing us to find any literature surrounding class topics so we can tailor the class to our interest areas.

Tomorrow I have my Spanish linguistics course and then teach in the evening. After, I'll be heading to happy hour to send off a fantastic friend who is going back home to Spain. She's the type of friend I know I'll be in touch with semi-regularly and could call and say "Oh hi I'm in Madrid, want company today?" (not that I would DO that). Her party will be a nice end to the compressed back to school week.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good Bye, Old Paint



Austin's trial period of having his office in the guest room is over and he failed to reject the null hypothesis (grad school humor, awww yeah). He very scientifically determined that the location of the room did not have any impact on the heat generation and it was, in fact, the equipment. I'm not kidding about the science thing either; if you know him you won't be surprised to hear that he took regular temperature measurements, checked the wattage on his computer gear, and compiled the data in a spreadsheet. I really need to get the "Talk Nerdy to Me" t-shirt!

Given that the office location wasn't the issue but his desk was moved out, we decided to tackle the painting of the office. It was badly needed since the flat white color had lots of bright white patches from the previous owners' wall hangings and lots of dirty areas near the light switch from wear and tear. The color is Waterscape by Behr and of course no photo I post will do it justice but think a relaxing, slatey gray. We did half the walls this weekend and will move my desk then finish it next weekend.

Other than that, it was a normal weekend: lounging, reading, admiring our handsome cat, relaxing, and a little bit of cooking. Wednesday, I start classes and I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Update

I just finished my last week of teaching and spent Thursday and Friday doing individual oral finals. I have a few more to go on Monday as well as a stack of language and culture portfolios to wade through. While classes were winding down, I also was moved to a new office and it is great. I have a Real Door and a Window. Yes me, a lowly grad student, it's amazing. I'm in a suite with my former officemates so I've still got company but we can work quietly when we need to and talk and cheer each other on at other times (I am lucky to have cool 'mates).

I'll have about a week and a half off before the fall semester begins but I'll be revising my course, reworking my syllabus, and working on that little project called a dissertation proposal (aka the first three chapters!). This may be my last semester of taking credits, we'll see how the requirements and credits work out when I apply to take dissertation credits. I cannot believe how fast this has gone; I even missed our two year Texiversary, August 1!

Before classes take off again I'll also be working on a few projects around the house. I'd like to refinish the toy box my dad made me when I was a little tyke and use it as a storage piece in the guest room. I'm also redecorating the bathroom (or really decorating it since we never did much with it other than replace a faucet and towel racks). Austin is doing a trial period with his office set up in what is currently the guest/Stinky's room. He has the front room as his office and it has a large window so it gets really warm during the day. If he finds the guestroom (which has a small window and gets no direct sun) is significantly cooler, we'll be swapping both rooms and repainting.

Other than that, we're laying low and dealing with our worst weather of the year. It's hot but we're still ok with sunshine and bright blue skies and heat indexes as the trade off for not having winter and snow and wind chill factors.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Home Again

We got home from CO last Sunday night and hit the ground running with the work week. It was a good but long week for us so we spent this weekend trying to balance productivity (work, yard work, errands) with leisure (cooking for fun, pleasure reading, Austin gaming). I got a new laptop on Friday evening, much in need of one that didn't freeze by having more than one application open at a time, and Austin has been helping me set it up.

Nothing too exciting to report, just getting back into our routine and enjoying sleeping in our own bed again. The photo is of our purple sage that occasionally bursts into purple blossoms; we heard it means it is going to rain but that doesn't seem to be true. Still, it's really pretty and our neighborhood is full of them. Having about 11 of the 12 months full of color and life has been great.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ft. Collins

Austin and I left Denver on Thursday and went through Boulder to visit my friend from grad school. She and her husband just had an adorable baby girl so we got to meet her and then the four grown ups went out for Dim Sum. It was incredibly good and Austin and I thought we might not be hungry again for days.

Our next stop was the Celestial Seasonings tea factory. The tour was interesting and an adventure in aromas; the Mint Room was awesome. All the mint is stored in a separate, sealed room for obvious reasons. The door went up and we walked in to the most intense mint experience that made our eyes water and our throats cool. Some people stepped out quickly but Austin and I enjoyed the sensation. I partook in the tasting after and we looked around at the crazy tea pots, art, and quotes that decorated the gift shop and lobby areas.

After our tour, we took the scenic route to Ft. Collins, winding through the mountains in our gutless rental car. The scenery was incredible, just stunning. It was raining and misty so we didn't take many pictures and really, they never do justice to the scale and effect of the real thing.

On Friday, we were off to tour some breweries. Austin was disappointed to find out that his favorite books out several weeks in advance but we checked out the immense, super-corporate Anheiser-Busch plant. My favorite part was actually the fantastic landscaping; there were flowers blooming everywhere. After a quick lunch, we headed to a great local brewery, Odells. The facility was gorgeous and built to be as green as possible. The framed pictures of the beer labels were arty and interesting. Austin enjoyed several flights and I found a few beers I liked among the samples. The tour was great, with Real People making the beer, music cranked (Billy Idol's "White Wedding" at one point), laughing while working hard. It was such a great experience, in fact, that the LundeBus (bus-o-relatives) is headed there today.

The wedding will be this evening so we're all enjoying some sight-seeing or down time and then looking forward to the best part of the trip!

PS I'll post some pics later.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Day in Denver

Yesterday (Wednesday?), we had a whole day in Denver. Austin grabbed some breakfast burritos from a stand near our hotel and then we were off to explore LoDo (Lower Downtown) which has a nice mix of shops housed in old brick buildings that are painted with sayings like "Butter" or "Seeds." It's been eight years since I've been in Denver but up on my list was the Tattered Cover Bookstore and it did not disappoint.

After some much window shopping and exploring, we had lunch at the Wynkoop Brewing Co though they only offer tours on Saturdays. Tant pis.

We had a few errands to run and then we were off to the Denver Art Museum which had changed a lot since I was last there. Like a whole other building a lot. There was a King Tut exhibit that sounded interesting but it was later in the afternoon and the tickets were kind of pricey so we decided there was enough to do with general admission. We had a great time with the Modern Art and Photography exhibits.

After a bit of downtime in the hotel, we were off to dinner. Originally we planned on a pub crawl since we found a number of interesting places near our hotel (e.g. the Irish Snug!) but we were both tired from a day of walking and sun so we decided to just go to the Cheeky Monk. Austin loves Belgian ales and with an entire venue dedicated to them, well, it had to be done. Turns out the menu and service were fantastic, we're talking very likely one of the top ten best meals ever in LundeRoy history!

Austin got a flight of Belgian ales and a pork tenderloin in cherry sauce with some sort of cheese strata and perfectly done green beans (forgive the iPhone photos).





I had an amazing- best ever- pot of mussels mariniere with frites and the most amazing dipping sauce; creme fraiche and lemon juice? We were swooning in delight. Since our Denver side trip on the way to Ft. Collins was our belated honeymoon trip, this was a fantastic way to have a night out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Not Another Cat Post



I made banana bread today. We had some fruit that needed to be used up and I decided this was the way (while dispatching a few other bananas to freezer land for a similar future eventually). This was one of the first recipes I requested when I got my first apartment- kitchen!- in college. I also made a batch to use up bananas right before we went to my brother's wedding in Cancun and it really hit the spot in the airport at 6am.

In addition, I had some potatoes and leeks that I made into soup for lunches. We will forage for food for the next few meals then we'll be off!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Cat Door



Sir Stinkles now has an RFID door that allows him and only him to come through. One night, I woke up to some commotion and found that Austin was barricading Stinky in the living room while an impostor cat was mewing pathetically in our kitchen. Now thanks to a special tag on Stinky's collar, only he can use the door. The training, however, was a bit traumatic. The door makes a click as it unlocks and he did not like that sound. The above video shows progress since the first attempts involved all four paws on the corners of the door in protest.

We are going to CO for a family wedding and this door will make it far easier for the housesitter (of whom Stinky is still leery after many visits) to work with our fickle feline.

Ok this is turning into a cat blog. How did this happen to me? I better cook something interesting and post that and also, rest assured, more interesting CO posts are bound to come up.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Back To Our (Semi)Reguarly Scheduled Blogging

DSC_0349

It was kind of same old, same old routine here for awhile so there wasn't much bloggy material going on. Last weekend kind of broke things up, though, when Austin's friends From The Internet came to stay with us. Four people he games with from Toronto were put up the Hotel LundeRoy and, as it turned out, they were lovely and interesting people. We did a number of touristy things from hitting up a bbq joint to having a cocktail at a rooftop bar downtown to watching 1.5 million bats fly out of the South Congress Ave bridge. Only one member of our household was less than thrilled about the visitors and took up housekeeping in our shrub planter.

We're looking forward to a low key weekend and then we head to Colorado next week for a family wedding. Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Quiet Days


Nothing exciting is going on lately so here's a picture of our cat, paw over face. How can you not love that?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rain or Wine

This is what our weather has looked like all week. Apparently it came in with a cold front and then kept on going with some of the hurricane fall-out. We are really enjoying the gray days since, believe it or not, days drenched in sunlight and blue skies and high temps do get old. It's currently raining steadily which I think is a perfect backdrop for the Brit-style pub we'll be going to shortly to celebrate a friend's birthday.

On Wednesday this week, we went to a wine tasting at our our favorite liquor store. Now, before I describe the tasting, I feel I must add the disclaimer that perhaps it's unusual for relatively healthy, stable people to have a favorite booze shop but trust me, it's more than that. In addition to the fantastic selection and knowledgeable staff, this place has a great deli, an outstanding selection of international foods (from Vegemite to HP Sauce to caviar), lots of tea and coffee, and cool local products. So when we heard that there was a wine tasting, we were in. We showed up and the parking lot was full with lots of folks heading in with empty wine glasses. We were given a list of the wines at each station and the pricing on them. There were ten total stations with a taste of a red and white at each. Along the way and to keep you busy in the long lines, there were samples of interesting cheeses, Texas salsas, and even fondue! Austin and I had a great time; the only drawback was the crowd of people but hey, that's minor. In the photo is one of the wines I selected that we didn't actually taste- txakoli wine that had been recommended to me by a Basque friend years before. The name was so unusual and the bottle was so pretty (reminding me of this famous Spanish/Catalan painting) that I took it as a sign to finally try the stuff. One bottle reminded but more wines were to be tasted! Dilemma, hmmm, so I hid the bottle behind other less interesting ones and rescued it when we were done with the tasting. We also acquired a few other interesting bottles from the tasting so if you're in the neighborhood, please stop by for a glass.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ivory Towers

The week is off to a good start. Today I had a meeting on campus in a building right behind The Tower but besides this landmark, I also found a turtle pond and a cute cactus garden. The things I miss by being on the boring 1970s buildings side of campus...

I also had a meeting with my dissertation writing group that went really well. It started raining once we met at the coffee shop and I always work better in that type of weather. I am so daunted by the upcoming project but trying to take it one step at a time.

Tomorrow we're going to a wine tasting.