Monday, September 29, 2008

Xmas for Kiki

I got home this evening to find a stack of packages on the dining room table. I got some cool clothes I had ordered from Boden, the Almodovar DVD set that we ordered thanks to the tip on an amazing sale from our friend Hoy, and a special "just because" package from my mother-in-law. It included a serving plate and knife that were artfully embellished with spirals and beads- very "Kelly." Hopefully Austin will get the little gadget he is awaiting tomorrow; I think he was a little bit envious of my haul :-)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quiet Weekend

It ended up being quiet here in the LundeRoy household. First of all, we wish our friends Ryan and Meghan all the best after their beautiful wedding on Saturday, wish we could have been there!

Other than that, it was the usual weekend stuff- reading, studying, a movie, lunch out, football, some cleaning, some errands... All very boring and very relaxing. We're coming up on another routine week and we're learning that September in Texas means 80's and low 90's. Not bad, though, considering it's not a descent into the below zero temps! All is well and we can't complain.

Friday, September 26, 2008


A friend of mine was in town today for a conference so I was able to see her presentation and have lunch and dinner with her. It was really nice to catch up and to be a semi-native guide to Austin and UT.

Austin (the husband, not the city) had a stressful day of work and is unwinding with some good, old fashioned, online gaming. It's a low-key Friday night, just how we like it.

Tomorrow, we're going to see Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a Woody Allen movie. Scarlett Johansson is in it, an actor I like, but the main star to me is the setting, Barcelona! It seems like a large number of movies are set in Paris, London, or NYC but to see something set in Bcn...... I'm so excited. Since the movie isn't Austin's #1 pick, we're going to see it at the Alamo Drafthouse which, as far as we've heard from the many people who have recommended it, is a nice theatre where you are can also have beer. Sounds like it might be a good compromise venue.

Other than that, I think they'll be more gaming, studying, and footballing going during a beautiful weekend in Austin.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Organizational/School Items, By Request

My friend, S, is a lot like me in that she also enjoys back to school and organizational items. Here are a few of my new favorite things.


Yay, Jansport, it's also the brand of my tromping-across-Europe pack.


It has an interior, back pocket for my laptop.


I also got a new tea mug since Austin's made my Earl Grey taste like coffee :-)
It was clear so we went to Archiver's and found some cool, die-cut swirly paper to spruce it up a little. I put it on the fireplace mantel with my favorite sculptures (from Pier 1) to shoot it.

Tea Mug

And finally, our new mail sorter from The Container Store. It was sold as a magazine organizer but it works for what we want (though can swallow small things) and is really nice, bright fabric that matches our living room. It is hanging on the side of our big Ikea shelf right in the entry way.

Mail Sorter

Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat...

Here are some pics of our neighbor's outdoor cat, Stinky. I am a dog person and Austin even more so, but somehow we've fallen for Stinky's many charms. I can't even believe I'm putting cat photos on my blog nor can I believe I'm about to ask this, but isn't he cute?


Austin and Kitteh

My favorite cat poem, I think it suits Stinky:

The Cat and the Moon

The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

-- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


If you know me, you probably know that I love getting and sending real mail. There is just something about handwriting and postmarks and paper that I consider small pleasures. Some years I have to force myself to wait until December 1 to send out holiday cards because I'm just that excited to make a big stack of cheery mail and send it out all over the world.

Today I taught until late and came home to find a manila envelope wedged in our little apartment mailbox. I saw the return address was from my aunt in WI and the label was typed so I thought maybe she had published another book and was sending me a copy (yes, such an accomplished woman that I can casually say she published "another" book). Anyway, I opened the package and found two amazing gifts. One, a childhood book that I love and had recently mentioned to her called _The Fledgling_ and two, far more precious, Auntie M's prose recounting the two of us meeting for coffee/tea right before I moved. She wrote about me! And us! This is the woman who, way back when, told this little small town WI girl that she'd end up a writer in Paris or some such thing and planted the seed. I was touched to my very core by the special delivery, especially in the midst of getting some bad news about my extended family and friends recently, to find such a wonderfully deliberate act of kindness in my very own mailbox. Ma vie est belle.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shot Down in a Blaze of Glory

Lest I get carried away after yesterday's "Ode to Dissertations," reality smacked me back down to earth with my statistics test today. Yikes, that was hard! I tired to do the question I felt comfortable with first and only knew about 5 of the 20 total. My grade will be posted this afternoon and I can retake it next week so I'm not panicking but it wasn't pretty. I definitely need to make a better strategy for studying for this class...

ETA: I got a 12/20 = F!

Monday, September 22, 2008


This afternoon, after meeting for a group project, I took my first trip through the library stacks. I was after a doctoral dissertation that is similar in nature to my own interests and ideas; I'm trying to get a topic as finalized as possible. I found the book I was looking for and was like a kid at Christmas. I love the heavy cotton pages! I love that the signatures of the evaluating committee were on the first page and they were real, with different colors of ink and everything. I read the dedication and acknowledgments, trying to figure out who the author was as a person and imagining what my own might say. I skimmed the lit review and mentally checked it against my own reading background. I looked at the recommendations for further research to see if my own work would jump off the page at me (it didn't, but it was still good stuff). I wished I could check out the book but I couldn't however I did take away with me the knowledge that I actually think I myself can do this.

I know I'm in the program so of course I should be able to do it but writing a doctoral dissertation is a whole other animal. There are many stories of those who got so close but didn't quite finish the diss, for a variety of reasons. I know it's my goal and I know I want it but it brought me a teeny tiny mental step closer to look at the rare physical object that comes out of the process, to imagine having one of my very own someday. Yeah, I'm a nerd like that, what can I say?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Longhorns Football Game

We had another very Texas experience, UT football. I was lucky to get tickets from a friend so we decided we had to check it out.

Texas Flag

Austin and I drove to campus around 1pm to pick up the tickets from my office mailbox since they were dropped off Friday night. First of all, traffic on 35 was insane. The game started at 6pm but apparently everyone wanted to get there to tailgate because we saw people everywhere, just everywhere, setting up to tailgate. They had full-sized grills and lots of people brought TVs and dishes. One person brought a giant tire swing that they hung from a tree. Anyway, it was nuts so we parked illegally for me to run into my office and grab the tickets.

Well. The office building was locked and my key wasn't working. We desperately called anyone we thought would be home to look up the campus police number for us and finally got a hold of someone to help. Of course the campus police were very occupied and for some reason my name wasn't even showing up as an employee. Finally I got to talk to the dispatch supervisor who said I could get an officer escort in but only with my ID and only if my name was on something inside the building to confirm I was an employee. I sat in front of the building for 20 minutes while Austin stayed with the illegally parked car. Eventually another employee showed up and let me in! I had the tickets in two minutes, called the university police to cancel my call, and then we sat in traffic forever just trying to get home.

Once home, we hand washed our new t-shirts (no time for a full machine wash), threw them in the dryer, and went out for some food. We returned home, grabbed the shirts, our camera, tickets, and headed out to get on the shuttle.

We arrived at the enormous stadium and found our seats aka bleacher benches (like Lambeau) and watched the pre-game buzz. Right before the game, there were cheerleaders, pom pom teams, flag people, an alumni band, a student band, a mascot, a real longhorn cow "Bevo," just lots and lots of stuff. It was crazy. There were many songs and chants that we didn't know though I think it's sort of funny that the school song is to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad." The team came out in a huge cloud of smoke to deafening cheers and the other team got booed (which I thought was in poor taste).

The below picture is not Austin booing but making the Longhorns sign with his hand. It is used all the time and when a player is injured, everyone holds up the sign silently.

Hook 'em!

We had really good seats and could see the action but you could also check it out on a huge Jumbotron. For a touchdown, Smokey the Cannon would go off and the crowd would go insane. All the fans stand on the bleachers and you only sit between quarters. The bleachers aren't entirely sturdy so it was sort of like surfing the whole time and several "festive" fans fell over a couple of times. Alcohol is prohibited in the stadium but a lot of people came in with full pockets. One guy had a wine skin under his shirt.

The game and spectacle was just amazing though as a cynic, I couldn't help but wonder about the cost and athletics versus academics. On the other hand, it was cool to see so much spirit. Austin and I came home and looked up the fight songs of our alma maters, something we had never known, and man were they lame!

Marching Band

All in all, it was a lot of fun and a Texas must-do, but I think we'll be content to watch it on TV next time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Are You Ready for Some (Longhorns) Football?!

It's been a long and unremarkable week, at least for us, and I haven't had time or a lot of interesting things to update on. We are excited for tonight, though, since we were given some tickets to the UT football game. Football here = huge deal. Longhorn football = crazy fans. I bought Austin and me new t-shirts to wear to the game and we're going to take some pictures so hopefully I can put those up tomorrow.

Hook 'em, Horns!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Catfish Parlour

Last night, Austin and I finally got around to checking out a nearby dive, the Catfish Parlour. The ambiance was reminiscent of Famous Dave's, lots of antiquey stuff on the walls and no frills place settings. Our server was great, very professional and helpful. He brought us hush puppies to start with, kind of like the bread basket of other establishments. Austin and were slightly confused by them, they were shaped like little sausage links and were empty. By that I mean they were like batter with nothing in them but apparently that is what a hush puppy is and they did taste good.

Catfish Parlour

Austin ordered a catfish plate with two regular pieces and two spicy pieces; I opted for seafood gumbo knowing I could share the fish. Austin loved the catfish and found the spicy breading to be best, I tasted it and agreed but I was busy with the delicious gumbo. Austin also got beans and coleslaw and again, I really liked the vinaigrette dressing on the slaw. I never eat coleslaw in the Midwest, that gooey sweet white dressing is unappetizing, but every place here makes it pretty damn tasty.

Catfish Plate

Seafood Gumbo


After dinner, I was quick to order the peach cobbler to share though only after did I remember Austin doesn't like peaches so much. Oops. But he did like the ice cream and cobblery part of the dish.

Peach Cobbler

Besides the very delicious and southern meal, the server also gave us lots of information about fun things to do in the area. He saw me taking pictures of everything so I had explained that we just moved to the area. It was a great evening and we took our time savoring the experience. I am sure we'll be back again and consider it a must for any LundeRoy visitors.


Just a quick update- not much is going on in Austin at all. It is gray and breezy but so far no rain or intense winds. We are lucky.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Wow, even the inland city of Austin is taking the hurricane seriously. The Longhorns football game scheduled for this Saturday has been postponed, the guest speaker I was going to see tomorrow has rescheduled, and I just got an email from the University about some emergency parking in the garages to help prevent vehicular damage. On that note, Austin went and moved the WRX to the clearest spot in the parking lot. Poor thing has lived in a garage up until now. It still doesn't sound like we'll get much more than rain and wind but at least it's being played safe.

Edited to add: Dept. potluck now canceled too. Austin area schools closing early tomorrow to prepare for hurricane refugees from the coast.

Another Busy Week

It seems like I'll mostly be blogging Thurs-Sun since my Mon-Wed schedule is rather hectic. I have classes on Monday and Tuesday along with office hours and teach all day Wednesday so the beginning of the week is intense. Thursday is my "off" day in that I have no classes but I always have plenty of work to do. Friday I have class in the morning. Austin and I like sharing our home office so Thursdays are nice because we are in the same space doing our very different jobs. Today he's got the techno music going :-)

We have another wide open weekend coming up although the weather will be iffy due to the hurricane. Austin (the city) is inland but Ike is supposed to hit the gulf coast and make its way toward us bringing tropical storm weather: rain and wind. That's ok by us since we don't mind rain and hopefully Ike won't bring much damage to those directly affected.

Farther out, Austin City Limits is coming up and I think we'll also be taking another wine class on one of my favorite subjects, bubbly!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cool and Not Cool

Cool: my new T-shirt. It has bats on it because there is a bridge in Austin that is home to the largest urban population of bats. In fact, there are so many that you can see on a weather radar map when they come out at night to eat bugs. They will be migrating back to Mexico for the winter, I guess they think it's too cold here.

sept7 005

Not Cool: the air conditioning is on the fritz again. We thought last time this happened, it was due to a dirty filter but now we have a new one and the machine is encased in ice once again. The photo below is kind of hard to see but it's all iced. As I just wrote this, maintenance stopped by and said it is probably low on freon. We have to wait for it to defrost and then he's going to come back and refill it.

sept7 006

Saturday, September 6, 2008


My current lunch storage solution:

B2S Shopping

It's been a busy, consumer-y Saturday with the LundeRoys. I have been back to school for about a week and a half and wanted to get the feel for logistics before doing the all-out school shopping. I learned quickly that my cute black shoulder bag is not sufficient for commuting to campus, especially since it looks like I'll be bringing my laptop a few days a week. I also have decided what notebooks, pens, etc. I want for class, still a simple pleasure to me to buy school supplies.

Today Austin and I went out in search of backpacks but he first had to do lots of methodical, web-based research while I just wanted to go out and see the things in person and get a feel for them :-) It worked out, though, and I now have a perfect backpack that combines comfort, laptop storage, holders for water bottles and tea mugs, and small pockets for keys, ID card, etc. It will also be a great carry on bag for our trips home. Score!

After the backpack success, I also found the perfect lunch bag. Not quite my awesome Smurfs lunchbox and thermos from the 80's but actually a nice, insulated, saffron-colored, purse-shaped deal from Crate and Barrel. I also got a nice planner from Barnes and Noble and we went to The Container Store, aka Austin's toy store, and found a mail organizer, something we've been in dire need of.

This is all probably quite boring to our dear readers but these are all items that we really needed and Austin in particular gets great satisfaction in finding the exact right item to fit the need :-) And I, in particular, find great satisfaction in getting some good back to school gear which will undoubtedly ensure great success in all my courses, even stats.

Now we're back home, kinda tired from a day out in the sun, and we're enjoying some 100% Texas grown and made white wine that we got on a winery visit a few weeks ago. We're going to watch a movie and catch some of the Longhorns football game before hitting the hay. Then tomorrow is the Packer/Vikings game, woo hoo! What a great weekend.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Getting in the Groove

I'm getting settled into my new routine and it's working out all right. I had a new class on Tuesday that I'm excited about and my teaching went better this week; I'm learning the ropes of the admin stuff little by little. I have class late on Mondays and Wednesdays and Austin is doing the cooking; last night he made lemon pepper mahi mahi and a green salad, it was so good and nice after a late class.

Today is my class-free day so we're going to try to procure TX drivers licenses again. Last week we went and were missing one key document so it was a no-go. The line was insanely long so we'll see what happens today. Besides that, I have some teaching stuff to take care of and I need to study for stats tomorrow.

Austin is working away in the home office and really enjoying it; unscientific studies show he is less stressed and more productive.

No weekend plans yet except for dinner at the Catfish Parlour some night.

Monday, September 1, 2008

New Dining Room Set

New Dining Room Set

Labor Day Weekend cont'd

Yesterday morning, Austin and I were enjoying another day of laziness, both of us sitting in the office at our computers. We slowly realized it was getting warmer and the a/c was running constantly. Austin removed the panel to the central air unit and we found that it was completely encased in ice due to a dirty filter (we're thinking maybe the people who were here before let it go too long from the look of it). We stood with the hair dryer on it until it was ice-free, put in a new filter, and that took care of it. The next filter change date is clearly noted on our calendar now :-)

We tried a new place for lunch, similar Noodles & Co. but entirely Asian-inspired. We picked our protein, veggies, rice/noodles, and sauce and both had really good stir fry though they offer other dishes too. Austin was happy that it's so close to home so he can grab lunch quickly. After lunch, we went to a nearby cafe and had gelato- cinnamon for Austin and peanut butter for me. It was really good.

Then we ran a few errands and returned to a cool apartment. I made an Italian dish for dinner, the recipe from Rachael Ray, and actually the food wasn't great but we learned that she's not kidding when she calls for San Marzano tomatoes. We will definitely be using those again and in fact, a can of crushed tomatoes is so flavorful that you can use it as a sauce straight up. So that was a find and when you look at how much sugar and salt are added to jarred sauces, it's nice to find just tomatoes that work as well if not better.

No big plans for today other than lesson planning for me. Tomorrow I am taking another new class and I'm looking forward to it. Austin will be back for his four day work week.