Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Faux Fall

Hemmingway said there is nothing more cruel than a "false spring" and I remember that feeling up north but in the land of reverse winter, the faux fall is not so pleasant either. The grapevines are all turning autumn colors and the sky is stunning blue but we continue to have triple digit heat, often 15 degrees above average, as this heat wave hangs on. We're hoping for double digits in a few days and even that will likely feel like relief. I've given up hope for the pumpkins to bear fruit and the sunflowers have been destroyed by (angry) birds. Ah well, this could be our last winter without snow so I can't complain too much. At least our livelihoods aren't at risk with this weather like so many others around the nation.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I'm attempting to improve my kitchen table office so I've added a few file organizers and things. The pumpkin candle is a requirement as is the ever-present tea mug. Today has involved calls to the human subjects research office, the library help center, and the research software center; I've had a 67% success rate. Judging from the tidbits I'm hearing from the other office here, I'm not the only one having a Murphy's Law Monday.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Farmers Market

I got these gorgeous peppers free with my purchase. I don't know what to do with them other to paint a still life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lazy Weekend

We needed a low key weekend big time. We were incredibly, wonderfully lazy. I didn't even do laundry- what's next? Skydiving? Bungee jumping? Anyway, Austin had a back ache and I had a headache so we lounged on the couch and enjoyed a West Wing marathon. We grazed on crackers and hummus and cheese and fruit and didn't cook. We've hit the ground running today, though, and are hoping for a good week.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Campus Turtle Pond

Lots going on here but a walk past the turtle pond was a simple pleasure in my day.

Monday, August 15, 2011


We've been in a holding pattern of busy work weeks and quiet weekends. This past weekend was the same although I saw two movies. If you know me well, you know I have a hard time sitting through movies that aren't really compelling to me. I feel like I should be doing something with my time besides sitting passively (Gramma Bev likes to knit during movies, maybe I should try that). I'm also terrible at recognizing actors, knowing their previous work, and that sort of thing. I've confused Mel Gibson and Mel Torme more than once. It turned out, however, that I was able to sit through two excellent movies this weekend.

On Friday night, Austin and I watched "Coraline." I had wanted to see it for awhile and he suggested we watch it. I loved it. I can't think of a coherent review to write out properly but my thoughts included references to other movies like "Pan's Labyrinth" and almost anything by Tim Burton. The combination of whimsical and creepy was so compelling and the little details were an added bonus. Now I'll have to read the book.

I also saw "The Help" on Saturday with a girlfriend. In that case, I had already read the book. The theater was packed and sold out quickly. I really enjoyed the movie though many layers of the book were not able to be included; I was glad I knew some of the bits and pieces that couldn't be covered. It wasn't too feel-good as I was concerned it might be and it attempted to stress the realities of the tensions at the time but I think that could have been done to a greater degree. Nonetheless, I'm glad I saw it and definitely recommend it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Quiet Days

Things have been rather low-key here lately. Last weekend we ran some errands, grilled, and spent lots of time reading in the pool. Austin had worked so many hours previously that he had a four day weekend.

This week is nearly to an end, mostly with steady work here at the home office suite. On Monday, I went to a grad student pizza event and got to meet a lot of people in the program who are new(er). I still can't believe I'm so far along in the program. August is our three year Texiversary month and it seems unbelievable. On Tuesday, I interviewed someone for an article that's in progress. Fortunately, she's a fascinating woman and we met over tapas (picture above is some Torrontes and artichoke dip). She had lots to say which is always wonderful for interview data. The rest of the week has been spent closer to home.

The heat wave continues and I'm sad to see my tomato and pumpkins flowers withering up rather than turning into little fruits. The morning glories are more like morning wearies these days and even the sunflowers look like they're ready for some relief. I ended up planting late in the season since I was too busy with the spring semester but the drought is just doing them in, as much as I try to help. I'll be so bummed if I don't grow a single pumpkin for fall.

On deck for the weekend is more downtime, grilling, and I'm looking forward to seeing "The Help" with a friend after reading the book for my group last summer.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday Morning

Stinky has decided he prefers to lick plant water off the patio rather than drink the clean, cool water we have for him in the house. Given the heat wave, I've been watering select plants twice a day and Stinky is delighted. This is what Thursday morning looked like today; I happened to have my phone in my pocket while I was watering and snapped this on the fly.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Asian Lettuce Wraps

I've had a streak of bad recipe juju lately; for some reason, a recipe sounds great but the results have been lackluster. I was a little worried about this recipe for Asian Lettuce Wraps so I put it into the mid-week menu. It turns out this recipe is really, really flavor and will definitely be on our make-again list. I halved this recipe and made one portion of beef (his) and one portion of veggie crumbles (hers); both turned out great. I followed the recipe for the most part but didn't put quite as many water chestnuts in, upped onion/green onion in my portion, and used fresh ginger instead of pickled. I also made the dipping sauce that was listed in some of the recipe comments though it wasn't required but I still enjoyed it. This recipe is highly recommended in either its vegetarian or meatatarian forms.

Grampa the Artist

My Grampa, besides being a hardworking dairy farmer, also loved to paint. He asked us what kind of painting we'd like when we were little and apparently I wanted a springtime river scene; here is what I received. I don't know the date on it. It's been waiting to be rehung after we painted our bedroom and I finally did so today. August is also his birth month so it's about time I got his painting back on the wall.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Only August?

I've mentioned before that summer is like reverse winter in Texas, the least pleasant weather of the year that makes you want to stay home at all times. This summer has been particularly harsh and the week's forecast is horrid.

Needless to say, we had a quiet weekend. On Friday, we went out for our favorite Thai. By now they know us there and don't have to ask if we're ok with fish sauce in the curry. Austin worked most of the weekend and I mostly did some pleasure reading via Kindle. I finally feel done with summer school teaching and now I need to gear up to really attack my dissertation. I'm awaiting approval to work with human subjects but have lots of ground-work writing to tackle leading up to that.