Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Wow.  this week has been really busy, with just very little time for blogging.
So...  here's an abbreviated version.

Last Tuesday we went to see Neutral Milk Hotel at the ACL Live Moody Theater.  It was a great show.  The band went on indefinite hiatus in about 1998, and only started touring again on a regular basis in 2013.  I really like Neutral Milk Hotel.  they're one of Amy's top bands, so I've listened to them with her, and they used to be one of Jeff's favorite bands, so I have some good memories of listening to them over at his house with he and Mandy.
I wasn't sure how the show would go.  After their long hiatus, I wasn't sure whether the band was going to be really invested in the music, or whether they would just sort of be cranking out songs on a reunion tour to collect some cash.  As it turned out, the concert was great.  The band was really tight and well rehearsed, and the crowd was energetic and enthusiastic.  They did a good job of sort of creating a sort of musical journey as part of the concert experience, with songs leading into one another, ebbing and flowing in terms of tempo, emotion, and energy.  The instrumentation was really interesting, utilizing everything from an array of horns to a saw to keyboards to an electric bagpipe.  All of this, of course, combined with Mangum's acoustic guitar and uniquely forlorn voice.
Great show.

The week went by.  On Friday Amy had a meeting in a different part of town.  I took the bus home.  She ended up going  to a happy hour with work friends at The Dog and Duck.  I went over to Mandy's house to hang out in the back yard with Mandy, Kate, and Candace after I got done working out.  Amy joined us later when she got home.
On Saturday I went for a bike ride.  We did some errands and a little shopping.
Saturday night we went over to an inaugural supper club evening at Ruben and Miguel's house.  We had dreamt up supper club a while back with Ruben and Miguel and Afton and John while at a retirement party for Kate, a co-worker.  That was a couple of months back, and we just had out first dinner club last weekend.
Really fun!  Ruben had mushroom appetizers and made chicken and dumplings (or a variation on them) for dinner along with a salad.  Afton brought a chocolate turtle cake for dessert, and we brought wine and beer.  The food was excellent!
After dinner we played Cards Against Humanity and a card game called Phase 10.
We had a really fun evening hanging out with everyone.  Cards Against Humanity is funny and fun, but it's not much of a game in terms of strategy.  Phase 10 has a little more strategy.  Accordingly, I won 2 games of Cards Against Humanity and got my butt kicked when we played Phase 10.
Sunday we did some shopping and ran some errands.  In the afternoon we did a few chores.  I attended a neighborhood watch/safety meeting over at Mandy's house.  We had a lot of neighbors over there who are interested in keeping our little community safe.  It was nice to see.
Sunday evening I had Mono Ensemble practice.  We had a good practice.  I thought we had some songs that sounded really good.  Everyone was in attendance.  I realized toward the end of practice that we manage to get really loud when everyone is there.

And that was the weekend!  We've been back to watching Game of Thrones.  We're on Season 3.  It's pretty good, but, man, there are a lot of characters and storylines to keep track of.  I don't remember if I ever remember having watched a show with so many plot threads to keep straight.

That's about it.

Hope everyone is doing okay!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Weekend

Howdy! Not much time for bloggin', but I thought I'd do a bit of a weekend recap.  We didn't do a heck of a lot for Valentine's Day on Friday night.  This might have been a fail on our (my) part, but we'd been out for a nice dinner the weekend before for amy's birthday, and I was afraid of the Valentine's Day crowds.  We ordered Homeslice and stayed in.  Good pizza, though!
Saturday we went to Map Jam.  It was a lot of fun.  Sponsored by KUTX, it involved free concerts by local artists, scattered around the East Side at various local businesses and parks that served as venues.  It was cool.  We met up with our friends Mary and Chad.  We saw some shows with them and had a few beers at Gourmands.  We ran into a number of other people, too, from Amy's past job and from the criminal courthouse community.  Beautiful weather, good music, friendly people, and a fun event.
(The Carper Family at Hops an Grain Brewery)
(happy Amy with music and sunshine)

(Latasha Lee & The Black Ties playing in a nursery
near Tillery Park)

(Hard Proof at Pan Am Park)
What else?  The rest of the weekend was just sort of a random hodge podge.  We played games with some friends, Kit and Shelly, over at their house.  We had a really good time, and it was nice of them to have us over. We laid low on Sunday a bit.  A bit of cold/allergy issues.  Maybe just too much Map Jam excitement.


(Cassidy on Saturday evening)
Amy and I both had Monday off for President's Day.  Amy did some shopping with my mom, while Dad and I took on the task of installing a storm door.  We managed to get it done, and Amy and I are both happy with the results.  It lets a lot of light into the house, and it has a retractable screen, so we can let the air flow through on nice days.

(new storm door!)
So that was about it.  Monday evening we just relaxed.  We hung out with Mandy and Candace for a little while over at their house, which was nice.

Hope everyone is doing well!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Amy Birthday and Weekend Update

It was Amy's birthday last Friday!  Amy had some comp time built up from having worked on a prior "skeleton crew" day, so she was planning on taking Friday afternoon off in honor of her birthday.  As it turned out, we had some freezing temperatures and a chance of freezing rain on Friday morning, so both the county and the state closed down our offices for the morning in order to keep things safe.  As a result, Amy got the whole day off, and I worked half a day.  It was nice.  The weather turned out not to be bad, so we got up in the morning and went and had some breakfast at Kerbey Lane.  We had a funny waiter with a low voice who told jokes, including one that required him to recreate a whale song.  The whale song alone was worth the cost of admission, people.

(the birthday girl!)

Friday night we went out to a birthday dinner at Uchiko.  We had a nice meal and a nice birthday date!  I like that place.  I used to be afraid of sushi, but they have lots of cooked items at Uchiko, and they've managed to turn me around on the uncooked fish.  Turns out that when it's done well and when the pieces of fish are small enough to be manageable, sushi can be really good.  That being said, I'm still not sure that I would eat sushi at just any ol' place.  I would imagine that when it isn't done well, sushi can probably be unpleasant.  But ours was good.  We had loup crudo, dewbee chicken, tempura nasu, brussel sprouts, hamachi, and a couple of desserts- fried milk an tobacco cream.  I'm not sure if we had anything else.  Seems like I might have forgotten something.   (I'm mostly writing all of these down so I can look this up for when we go back there again).

On Saturday we ran some errands and did some chores.  Saturday evening we went over to my parents' house for a really nice dinner with Mom, Dad, Jamie, and Ryan.  We had some tasty appetizers before dinner (Mama made some good little stuffed peppers), and then Dad grilled some really good steak and salmon for dinner.  Mom made rice, asparagus, rolls, and another veggie that I can't remember, and Jamie brought salad (as well as some really nice flowers for Amy).  Amy and I brought over some cupcakes from Sugar Mama's over on South 1st, and they turned out to be pretty popular with the fam. 
It was nice to get together and hang out, and the food was good.  We had intended to play some games, but we were all feeling a little pooped, so we ended up just hanging out, instead (although eventually- and unexpectedly- Ryan began to yell out trivial pursuit  questions at people from his Silver Screen Edition.  It was less akin to a game and more in keeping with an aggressive law enforcement interrogation).
We had a really nice time on Saturday.  Thanks, guys!

Sunday we ran a couple of errands and then took Cassidy to the park.  The weather was great, which is sort of weird, given the fact that we had freezing weather and road closures on Friday, and we're predicted to have more freezing rain this week.
Nonetheless, the park was nice.  We talked to a few people while Cassidy played with their dogs, and we did a little reading.  Very nice way to spend an hour or two.

Sunday evening we had a practice with Mono Ensemble.  We sounded good.  I think that at some point we might try to start booking some gigs again.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  We'll see.  At any rate, it was good to hang out with the guys, and nice to play some music.  It felt really good.


After band practice (and during it), Amy made a really interesting, tasty dinner.  Amy's grandfather, Jerry, is a hunter and a fisherman.  Last time Amy came back from Arizona, she stepped off the plane with a cooler full of fish and dove breasts.  We've been eating the fish for a while (Amy has gotten really good at cooking fish in a variety of ways), and last night Amy cooked up the dove breasts.  She cooked them in a marsala sauce with bacon and served them over pasta.  They were good!  We both really enjoyed the meal.  Thanks to Jerry for catching the dove, and to Amy for cooking it (with some advice from her grandmother, Carol, on how to prepare it).  It felt fancy!

Well, that was about it!  Happy birthday, Amy!  Love you!!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


Well, things have been pretty busy at work and at home, which has sort of thrown me off my blogging schedule a little bit. 
Life's been pretty good, though!
Last Thursday we had our friends Adam and Katie over for game night.  We had a good time!  Amy made some chicken tinga for dinner and we played Ticket to Ride.  Neither Amy nor I had ever played the game before, but we did okay for first timers, I think.  Ticket to Ride really made me realize that my knowledge/recollection of American geography is sorely lacking.  Adam and I got to drink a couple of fancy beers, and we jad a really good time just hanging out and catching up.

I don't remember what we did on Friday.  Maybe we took it easy?  I really don't remember.  I'm pretty sure we didn't go out anywhere or do anything too exciting.

Saturday I went for a bike ride during the day.  It was cloudy, but very warm for the beginning of February.  I was a little out of shape on the bike (which feels quite a bit different than the elliptical).  I haven't been riding all that much during the winter, mostly because of issues with cedar allergies.  It felt good to get out and pedal around South Austin.

Saturday night we went out to see a puppet show adaptation of Hamlet called Der Bestrafte Brudermorde.  We went with some of Amy's co-workers, and some initial skepticism on my part, it turned out to be pretty cool.  The show was an 18th century adaptation of a German version of Hamlet, and it was put on by Hidden Room Theatre -- in collaboration with Tiffany Stern of Oxford University and the American Shakespeare Center.  The whole thing was held at a Freemason's temple downtown Austin, and you had to use a password ("Horatio"- don't tell anyone) to get in.  The puppet show ended up being entertaining, funny, and weird.  There were two narrators, decked out in period attire, who stood in the front near the stage, lending voices to the puppets and entertaining the audience during scene changes on the puppet stage.

(a Shakespearean puppet show in a Freemason temple.
A David Lynch-esque Saturday night)
After the show we wandered over to The Gingerman with Amy's work friend gang and had a few beers.  That was really fun as well.  They seem like a really nice, cool group, and it's been fun getting to know them.

(here's the puppet gang.  If Mary got us all to go to a puppet
show, does that make her the Puppet Master?)

Sunday we went out to breakfast and did some chores.  I went over to Ryan and Jamie's house to watch the Superbowl in the eveing.  Holy smokes, that was a blowout.  I don't think anyone saw that coming.  Seattle stomped all over Denver.  It was ugly.
We had a good time, nonetheless.  Ryan grilled some chicken, Matt brought sauge, Juan brought veggie mushroom kabobs.  Nicole made pasta salad and queso, and brought homemade hummus.  All the food was very tasty!  Thanks to Ryan and Jamie for hosting.

And that was the weekend!  Pretty good!
Hope everyone is doing well, this week.