Sunday, January 30, 2011

Birthday Weekend

It's been a gorgeous weekend here, perfect for the birthday boy. On Friday, after a busy work-week, Austin initially decided he wanted bbq but just as we approached, a last-minute decision to indulge in his favorite hamburger joint was made so we hit up Mighty Fine. This was the first birthday dinner that Austin ate outside.

After, we stopped to get Austin a fancy beer (Allagash Belgian Tripel if there are any connoisseurs out there) and the clerk also talked us into a sixer of some local brews. Every time we travel, we like to tour breweries but we realized that we haven't checked out any of the five or so located right here in Austown. We'll have to remedy that, maybe when we get another round of parent visitors.

Saturday was another good day with a matinee at our favorite movie theatre. We saw the King's Speech which was excellent, really well done. During the movie, we shared chips and salsa, Austin got Sam Adams beer-battered fish and chips, and I got a veggie pizza. After that we did some bookstore browsing and headed home to finally have some birthday cake. For dinner, we went to a fantastic local Thai place and enjoyed some eye-rollingly good curries. The owner even remembered talking to my dad when he called to get us a gift certificate. We came home and watched The American with George Clooney which was kinda weird but hey, looking at Clooney and the Italian countryside made it palatable.

Today is the usual Sunday routine. Austin fixed a panel on the shed in our yard and is washing his car. We've got all the windows open and I'll be doing some studying outside. We're soaking it in while we can since a cold front is coming and the predicted high for Wednesday is in the mid 30s.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Office Space

I do a lot of work from home but can't find my office-home yet. I started out in the Official Office with Austin but with his many conference calls, it wasn't ideal. I moved my desk to the guest room but that still didn't feel right. I keep finding myself at the kitchen table, as you see above. I think I enjoy the light and view through the patio door and the openness of the space. The dining room chairs are really uncomfortable, though, and the printer is in Austin's office (and I try not to use it when he's on the phone). I'm not sure how to resolve my dilemma or, I suppose, if I even need to. But here is my view most days and where I compose my blog posts.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Successful Parent Visit

Paula was off yesterday, fully drenched in sunshine, BBQ, local wine, and general Texas goodness. After the Hill Country wine tastings and BBQ I posted about earlier, we played mini-golf at a perfectly kitschy course and then hit up Whole Foods for some grilling items. The above photo was a little pre-dinner baguette with olive oil and garlic along with locally crafted LundeRoy cider and some fantastic Sangiovese. Later, we turned on the patio lights and Austin grilled bleu cheese burgers and a cheddar-jalapeño salmon burger for me. I made a green salad with feta, pears, and toasted walnuts with a shallot vinaigrette and a side of lemon-shallot orzo. It was all delicious and we had to wait on the brownies with vanilla bean ice cream until the next day.

Due to flight delays, Paula was then subjected to the end of the Packer game (WOO HOO!) and the Steelers/Jets game with dinner at a new Mexican joint sandwiched in. On Monday, she saw Austin in action at the home office and took advantage of more sun-soaking on the patio before I dropped her off on my way to campus.

Thus unfolds another week in the LundeRoy household. Austin's birthday is on Friday and we may go to a wine tasting tomorrow night to kick off the celebration a little early. He is still pondering what we'll do to make merry but no doubt we'll have plenty of options to entertain.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Moving Along

We had a quiet weekend as I mentioned earlier. Saturday was great, though, we ran a few errands and then watched the Packer game. Stinky disapproved of our interest in such a lowbrow game what with the loud cheering and clapping; he retired to the guest room not angry but just disappointed. After the game, we watched Dinner for Schmucks since it was based on the French movie Le dîner de cons. It turns out the American version was terrible but now I'll have to re-watch the Le dîner and Austin wants to see it too. Still, it was a great night and we had the fire roaring the whole time.

Yesterday was the usual Sunday slog; laundry, groceries, and the like. We had the other play off games on just to see what happened. Austin's mom is coming on Thursday so it's always nice to have a little more motivation to clean (not that she would care) and I wanted to get the house in ship-shape with the semester beginning this week.

Austin is now off and running for his short work week and I'm finalizing some administrative tasks for class (i.e. fighting with course management software). I've also got a little more writing work to do before giving my adviser the latest incarnation.

As for the photo in this post, I just like to include an image most of the time. I've always loved African violets and can remember my gramma getting me the ones that come in a tiny pot with a little thread that draws water from a container below. This one has just exploded into blossoms and its purple friend is about to do the same. It's also a little tribute to my cousin KT who just had a baby girl named Violet. Warmest new-baby wishes to the Stevens family!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Quiet Friday

We had plans for a low-key weekend but maybe not quite this low key. Austin is working late on some server issues (alien attack, my diagnosis). I'm not feeling 100%. It's gray and rainy out and we've had some very chilly nights and mornings (20s and 30s) though we're hoping it looks a bit warmer and sunnier for Paula's visit later next week.

I'm pleased that the Office of Graduate Studies has approved my application for "doctoral candidacy." It's sort of a wishy-washy term and status but it marks progress and I am now enrolled in dissertation credits for spring. So it's progress but also means lots of work ahead.

Time for some tea, a fire, and a good book.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blah-g Post

Stinky has taken to looking in the window at us, likely waiting for his feeder to drop his dinner. I like posting pics with my writing even if the two are not related. I know, it's yet another Pic Of My Cat but I do know at least a few readers enjoy seeing Stinky's antics from time to time (Mary, looking at you!).

So this is a blah post because Austin and I have both been kind of dragging with a little cold bug. This means there hasn't been the usual level of adventure and excitement around here. Some bullet points:
  • We've seen some spectacular sunsets lately, one of life's simple pleasures.
  • Another batch of hard cider is in the works and this time we'll measure the alcohol content for fun.
  • Austin bought a tire jack at Harbor Freight and changed all the tires on the WRX after getting a flat (that one's for my dad!).
  • The trees have leaf buds on them though we're looking at highs in the 30s for the coming week so spring might not be just around the corner.
  • I'm growing spray roses and forget-me-nots from seed to see if I actually end up with flowers.
  • Austin's mom is coming in about a week and a half so we're looking forward to that. We're so grateful that all of our parents have been able to visit several times and see what we love best about living here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Austin and I returned from Up North to sunny skies and mild temperatures but we each have a mild cold. Given our lack of groceries, we ventured out for lunch on New Year's Eve for our favorite hot and sour soup and tofu dishes. My fortune said "Look ahead for a new beginning" which I am taking to mean my spring semester as a Ph.D. Candidate taking on my dissertation proposal defense. Austin's said "You have an active mind and a keen imagination. Apply your ideas." That is an apt description for him given all his projects from creating the perfect cider to coding a wine list for our iPhones.

We had a quiet NYE in since we weren't feeling the greatest and had just returned home from our trip. We made homemade macaroni and cheese, made a fire, and I finished a book I couldn't put down (Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón) while Austin read and played some of his new games.

Today we're still taking it easy. I'm taking down Xmas decorations and doing some laundry from the trip. Austin is checking in on a few things from work while fielding Stinky's occasional admonishments about our absence. We're soon going to make a few appetizers to watch the Rose Bowl (our Longhorns didn't have a great season but we're happy to cheer for the Badgers). It will be another quiet night here but hopefully we'll be feeling well for Monday when Austin returns to work and I am also going to be working on my projects (diss proposal, conference proposals, and book review). We had a great visit with our families but we're happy to be home and kicking off 2011 in Texas with our own little family.