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.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's Alive!

Since I can't blog without a photo, here are some lovely flowers from the planter outside our front door. They are prettier than our new hot water heater but smell as sweet as the couple hundos we saved by getting multiple quotes and not going with the first! We are back in business for warm showers, laundry, and dishwasher usage. Homeowners are happy again.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

First Day of Summer Vacation

I finished my summer school class yesterday and had no plans for today. After showering this morning, I noticed I had to put the faucet all the way to hot to get just lukewarm water. Austin and I looked in the water heater closet and saw the tank drip tray was full of sludgy water. A visit from a plumber took about one minute to tell us the water heater was dead, not sick, and the quote was well into a grand, ugh. Lots of run around and being on hold and we finally found someone to do it for a more reasonable price; apparently a technician named "Chance" will be here on Saturday morning to replace the tank.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Research Garden

It is almost the end of my summer school session and today, our professor wheeled in a cart with bins full of construction paper, pom poms, wiggly eyes, pipe cleaners, glue, glitter, sequins, crayons... you get the idea. He challenged us to make an artifact representing what we've learned in this course about case studies research methodology and with that, we set to work. I was beyond delighted at the assignment though daunted by all the possibilities.

I eventually settled on making some flowers and I'll spare you the details but basically, the seeds represent the research questions, the green shoots are the long and changing research process, the flower beautifully representing the neat finished product while rooted in the messy dirt that it took to get there (Dr. MB and Corgimom, I'm kinda writing this out for you two!). I indulged my childlike whims and made sure there were many sequins and glitter on those babies!

Lest you question the rigors of my graduate education, let me assure you that we did not spend the entire class up to our elbows in glitter. This course ranks among one of the very best I've taken during my tenure here at Big University Place and I never thought I'd say that about a research methods course. Our instructor definitely pushed us to work hard and in just over two weeks, I feel progress in how I'll shape my dissertation and in my writing skills. Day-um! And the glitter now gracing my car and our kitchen table is just a shiny side bonus.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What's that? More cat pics?

Ok no one actually requested moar kitteh pics but too bad, I'm in a very intense and very useful summer school course so I haven't been able to blog much lately. Shout out to Austin and Stinky for keeping me going. And how cute are they?

So yeah, really cute. Today, Austin and I went to the Blanton Museum to see the "Matisse as Printmaker" exhibit. We really enjoyed the exhibit and the Blanton is just awesome, one building over from the building where I take most of my classes. I grabbed a few books from the library after and we ended our outing by dropping off an awesome photo to be framed (a cat in a sink- yeah not kidding, I'll have to post pictures of it to illustrate why we framed a damned pic of someone else's cat).

Anyway, we came home and found the sweetest, cutest little kitty all stretched out in our shamefully long grass. That little front white paw is fully extended forward for added cuteness. We often ask ourselves how we ended up in Texas with a cat but we are so glad that is how it all happened.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nice Little Saturday

I started an intense summer school class on Monday and it's been a long but good week. What better way to kick off the weekend than on a Subaru rally? We'll be driving the WRX through Hill Country and ending at a fantastic bbq that promises such delights as "$100 Brisket" and "Heart Attack Mac and Cheese."

Here's an old picture of our trusty steed, mostly because I hate posting without pictures for some reason (I'm a visual learner).

Painted Side Skirts

P.S. If you get the reference in my title for this post, you're awesome!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Anniversary Dinner

Austin and I have lived here for almost two years but had not been to a restaurant on Lake Travis. Turns out one such place is near our house and we decided to check it out. I read the reviews for Cafe Blue and heard it was down a steep slope from the parking and the food was so-so but we persevered.

The view from our table was stunning.

Cafe Blue

Our starter was awesome, pepper-crusted ahi tuna plated on white wine stone ground mustard with an "Asian" dipping sauce (soy, ginger, orange juice, and heat?). Very flavorful. Nonetheless, it was a good adventure and we happily came home to have more of the cheesecake I made.

Cafe Blue

We sipped some margaritas and leisurely ordered our entrees while watching the water and enjoying the breeze.

Austin got one of his favorite dishes, coconut shrimp. They were good and came with a kind of marmalade dipping sauce which he didn't care for and the better Asian dipping sauce.

Cafe Blue

I got the Mojo Mahi-Mahi which was supposed to come with a cumin citrus mojo (I only got citrus) and pico de gallo. The fish was unfortunately overdone.

Cafe Blue

The rice pilaf we both got was aptly named "plate filler" by Austin and his cole slaw was blah too. My asparagus was alright. After dinner, we took the major hike back up to the parking area.

Up the stairs (which were very cute and decorated along the way).

Cafe Blue

I was reminded of the stairs on other vacations, like hiking up and down Gooseberry Falls in MN or any number of touristy sites in Europe.

We enjoyed our dinner even though it wasn't perfect; Cafe Blue seems like a good place for a cool drink and some good appetizers while taking in the view.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Homemade Pasta

I had considered making fresh, homemade pasta for awhile. Last summer, I received my brother's mother-in-law's cousin's pasta machine. This year, my favorite blog featured a tutorial on making pasta. With the long weekend, I was set to give it a try.

Homemade Pasta

I didn't get any action shots of us using the machine since it required the attention of two people. Our first pass didn't go so well since the dough needed more kneading but eventually we got it.

I intended to toss the fresh pasta with the best pesto I've ever had ohmygod, but it was sold out at the Farmer's Market for the first time ever. This Texafrance stuff seemed intriguing enough and tasted pretty good.

Homemade Pasta

And then the pasta, mmm, quite good. Austin thought it was a little too doughy and I think we could tweak it but I was pleased with my first attempt at making fresh pasta.

Homemade Pasta