Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sneak Peek

Gearing up for a fun holiday weekend staycation.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Weekends

We spent Saturday lounging and reading from our Kindles. I put these peonies in a vase in the kitchen and soon their wonderful fragrance was unfolding. It was a perfect summer day. Because we were so restful/lazy on Saturday, Sunday we got some things taken care of. Austin worked on a server and I worked on some conferencing projects. It was a very quiet weekend in but just how a summer weekend should be.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Plan for Spontaneity

Austin and I are not the most impulsive of people. I had heard of a local happy hour through a social networking group that involves dining and it seemed like it would be something we'd enjoy. Most of our friends live closer to campus and we thought it would be nice to get to know some folks closer to home. At the end of the day Friday, we weren't feeling totally inspired to get out the door and finding this group at the bar was sort of awkward like finding a blind date. Well, it ended up being a late night for us since we completely hit it off with the people we met. Among others, Austin met two young women who are electrical engineers that work with semiconductors. I chatted with a guy who had a sweet motorcycle, a handlebar mustache, and wore a hat adorned with large pheasant feathers. Our quick stop for a beer and waffle fries ended up being a fantastic night.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Just before we were plagued by appliance issues, Austin ordered a Kindle with which to surprise me. We had talked about getting one for a long time and, particularly given the several-times-a-year-flying-not-paying-to-check-bags-dammit, we were ready to join the Kindlephiles (there has to be a term for this, right?). Much like the iPhone, we wondered how long it would take before the second one was acquired. It took about one day with the iPhone, one week with the Kindle. We're both beyond thrilled and, like many Kindle readers (right, Liz?), this is not a paper-book alternative but just another way to enjoy reading.

We won't fly with it until probably October but already, we're thrilled to travel free of heavy books and with the ability to download a new one with mere keystrokes and in mere seconds. It also fits perfectly in my purse and perfectly on the very small book holder on the elliptical machine at the gym. I experience childish delight every time I finish reading, eager to see what the screensaver will be. Austin is already planning to jailbreak them so a certain black and white feline can also be a screensaver on this black and white reading device. I'm ogling pretty skins and cool covers (suggestions welcomed!). I'm sure the Buddha is weeping at our materialistic lust for this object but hopefully he's not too upset since reading is far from the evilest of pursuits...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I love this dad of mine.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nap, Interrupted

We're now on a double digit stretch of triple digit temperatures here and Stinky finds the cool (overly long) grass more appealing than our (overly costly) central air. The three of us are all lounging this weekend. Austin and I grabbed our favorite curry last night, stocked up on groceries, and have no plans to leave the house all weekend due to "reverse winter." We've got plenty of books to read and a new Kindle to fight over, what more could we need?

I guess we could use a private jet. We're missing a graduation, Father's Day, and Austin's grandparents' 60th anniversary all this weekend and thinking lots about the fam. At least I got to see my dad and dad-in-law a few weeks ago. We're sending lots of well wishes and happy thoughts toward the north; enjoy, everyone!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Work and Play

Our dinner Friday was great but lest you, dear reader, think all we do is indulge in fine dining at wineries, rest assured we're still busy with Grown Up Things like...
  • We finished painting the master bedroom and are still organizing/reshelving stacks of books and other flotsam and jetsam.
  • We're dealing with some costly repairs to our central air AND our hot water heater (incorrectly installed almost exactly a year ago).
  • We're still trying to figure out how to best maintain a lawn down here, already on day 10 of triple digit heat.
  • Workin' and playin' with kitteh. When pondering the stress of the day, we can always count on Stinky to find a new way of displaying his neurotic personality to make us laugh.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Anniversary Dinner Part II

Each weekend in June, we'll be dining out to celebrate the five year anniversary. We splurged the first weekend but the subsequent three are supplemented by Groupon, a social networking coupon service.

Last night we headed out into Hill Country to a winery that we've visited several times and kicked things off with a tasting.

Then we headed next door to the trattoria where we started with artichoke Parmesan fritters; they were delicious and gooey.

The restaurant had subtle ways of blending Texas and Italy like this place mat which is the translation of the song lyrics "the stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas."

Austin went for the classic lasagna.

I had risotto with fresh spring peas and prosciutto but it was way too salty so they very graciously brought me a vegetarian version instead.

We were far too full to consider dessert so we stopped at the nearby Salt Lick BBQ joint to pick up what is known as the best dessert in Texas, the blackberry cobbler. It is in our fridge waiting to be enjoyed tonight.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Anniversary Dinner

Last night we went to Trio at the Four Seasons Hotel downtown and it was a fantastic evening. First we noticed our menus said "Happy 5th Anniversary, Mr. & Mrs. [My last name]" since I had made the reservation. Austin enjoyed being called "Mr. C" by the server all night. Then we looked at the table and found a note from my closest friend from grad school and she had ordered a bottle of Champagne for us which was waiting on ice, wow! What a thoughtful gesture. When we finally took it all in, we ordered our appetizer.

Starter: Crab cake on English peas with pea shoots and sweet chili garnish

Salads: Republic Square Salad with goat cheese and puffed rice, dressed with "Bobbi Nelson" dressing; Iceberg wedge with blue cheese, smoked onion, bacon, and herb dressing

View from our booth

Entrees: Shrimp-wrapped scallops with brown butter and lemon preserves; potato-crusted halibut with clam jus

Sides: Truffle mac & cheese; roasted broccolini with chili and garlic

We didn't order dessert but this is what they brought us with the bill; a trio of dessert lollies.

In addition to the bubbly, we talked with the very approachable sommelier and got a bottle of white to accompany the seafood. He had lots of suggestions and eventually we were stuck between an Italian white and a Spanish albariƱo. When I told him we had honeymooned in Spain, he said that was definitely what we should order and headed off to get the bottle. He was also really accommodating and told us we could go to a certain wine shop and tell them he sent us so we could order bottles of any of the wines we saw on the list and wanted to try.

Overall, the food wasn't the best we've ever had but the entire evening was just right. I can't think of a better way to have celebrated our fifth anniversary.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Anniversary Art

Austin found this piece a few weeks ago and was still thinking about it this weekend so we went to look at it. It fits a bare spot in our bedroom perfectly and we couldn't be happier with it.

Friday, June 3, 2011


So here we were, five years ago, just married. Like many milestones in life, it feels like it's been ages and the blink of an eye, all at the same time. Every now and then we look at each other and can't believe that we live in Texas. With a cat. And a house. Funny how life works out and we couldn't be happier.

We're looking forward to seeing where the next five years (and beyond) take us. To celebrate, we're grabbing our favorite Thai for dinner at a local joint and then having a quiet night in. Tomorrow we're heading to the restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel downtown for what we hope is a fantastic dinner. We don't tend to buy gifts for each other and instead prefer experiences so we decided to try some of the upscale restaurants that have piqued our interest since living here but that we never had occasion to visit. Our anniversary and remaining year or so in Austin made it seem like a good time to check things out.

It's a beautiful day/Don't let it get away.
-From our wedding ceremony recessional; "Beautiful Day" by U2