Thursday, February 26, 2015

THROW BACK THURSDAY

I have never really participated in the Throw Back Thursday tradition on Facebook -- where people post pictures of themselves or loved ones, in days gone by, each Thursday. I do, however, occasionally stumble across a blog I like so much that I am curious about how it all started. With one or two I even went back to the beginning and read every post, from start to finish. For some reason I woke up in the wee hours this morning, thinking maybe I should do that with my own blogs, to remind myself of all that has happened and how our lives have evolved since purchasing this place we call "Seasonality." But, sheesh, that's a LOT of blog posts to read!

So, instead, I decided to do my own version of TBT. I thought perhaps that, once a week, I would pick out a series of posts that happened on or around that same date, and then I'd read through them chronologically. I think it will be a good way to see how things have changed, how much we have learned, and to remind myself of that which may have been forgotten. After all, this blog is all about "embracing change", is it not?

In case you are interested in joining me on this journey, and seeing just what was going on here around this date in years past, here are a few posts to get you started:

2008 -- The Rule of Three

2009 -- Back to Synchronicity

2010 -- Weaving Together A Good Life

2011 -- Just Doesn't Get Any Better 'N This: Wimberley Hike & Bike

2012 -- A Budding Passion

2013 -- I Got My Baby Back

2014 -- 'Tis The Season

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

WEEKEND FUN: PART II

Miss Bella
We had plans to meet up with friends -- some old, some new -- at Fall Creek Vineyard's new tasting room this Sunday, but when the weather went from balmy to frigid in the blink of an eye, I feared they would all back out. I should have known better! 


I figured we'd be the only ones there, but I was wrong! Fortunately, we got there early and were able to snag a couple of tables indoors before it got too crowded.


And, as it turns out, a cold, dreary day is the absolute best time to go to The Salt Lick for barbecue afterwards.


Instead of the usual hour-plus wait outside, our party of ten was shown directly to a table!

Monday, February 23, 2015

WEEKEND FUN: PART I

There's just something about Austin's S. Congress Avenue on a balmy Saturday afternoon.


Reminds me of Guadalupe St. (better known as The Drag) back in the early 70s, when I first arrived at UT.


A Bit of Sidewalk Art
We were there this weekend to meet up with our four favorite people at a place John and I had somehow overlooked, called Botticelli's Italian Beer Garden.



These two below had some surprising news.


First of all, Mr. Austin has a new job! Looks like he and Mr. Nate will soon be working at the same company again. Nate is the one who got him interested in computer security in the first place, and talked him into leaving Houston for a job at Spider Labs. A short time later Nate got whisked away to Rapid 7, and now it looks like Austin will be joining him there.

Second, it seems he and Areej have pushed their stateside wedding date back from this October to the following March. Turns out the original date they had reserved happens to coincide with Austin's annual ACL festival, and there wasn't a hotel room to be had anywhere! We are actually quite relieved, since that gives us more time to recover from big sister's wedding, more time for planning, and the Sudanese portion of the wedding can be moved from August to December, when it won't be so frickin' hot in Khartoum! Now all we have to do is make sure the new date in March doesn't overlap with SXSW -- another epic annual event the sucks up hotel rooms for miles around!

Speaking of big sister and Nate...


guess where they stopped in before dinner? Did you happen to notice the darling little hat shop next to Botticelli's in the photo up above? Awesome choices, don't you think? Also, see that t-shirt Lex is wearing? A souvenir from yet another Ray Wylie Hubbard concert, a few years back.

S. Congress, balmy weather, good food, favorite people...does it get any better?

Friday, February 20, 2015

THE EVER-ENTERTAINING RAY WYLIE HUBBARD

If there's one thing even more fun than getting to hear Ray Wylie Hubbard, up close and personal, at our local coffee house...


it's bringing along friends who've never seen him perform, nor heard any of his hilarious "stories." This time we took Mr. Dave and Nurse Nellie, who finally retired and moved up here full time.


We gals pulled out our boots in honor of the occasion, while our hubbies were inspired to buy matching caps there at the venue.



Speaking of the venue, check out this crowd!


Normally there are some tables around the perimeter of the room, but they took those out so they could squeeze in more chairs -- and still they had people spilling out into the lobby!


I guess no one ever tires of hearing him tell that story about his grandpa's "gold-top-guitar."


Well, except maybe for his son Lucas, there on the left, who plays with him on a regular basis. Perhaps that's why Ray Wylie ended up giving him that infamous guitar. He's earned it!
 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

IS THERE ANYTHING MORE FUN...

than a big ol' pile of dirt?


 
I think not!

Monday, February 16, 2015

THE BEST VALENTINE

This year's Valentines Day celebration included no flowers, jewels or candy, and yet it was one of our best ever. First we drove over to San Marcos for this...


couple's mani-pedis! Now that was a hoot.

Next stop was a browse through favorite funky shop Paper Bear, just off the square, followed by  lunch at the Root Cellar Cafe, which is just across the street.

The Root Cellar is actually in the cellar of one of the historic buildings in downtown San Marcos.

We both opted for the Cellar Burger, with pesto, provolone, and roasted tomato, on the most delicious ciabatta bun. Hoowee! That pesto was mighty tasty -- in fact, we were still tasting the garlic hours later.

After a nice little afternoon nap back at home, we cleaned up and headed over to Austin. Our destination was a cozy little French bistro called Chez Nous, down near the Convention Center, which we'd talked about trying for years, but never got around to. Hubby said they wouldn't take reservations, but we were clever and got there at least 20 minutes before they even opened, so we'd be first in line.


Then again, maybe not!

The restaurant is quite small, only holding about 50 people, so we didn't make it into the first seating. Fortunately, they've been doing this for years, and had worked out a system. They put our name and cell phone number on their waiting list, then told us to go have fun on 6th St., right around the corner, and they would call us when our name was about to come up.


We ended up stopping in at Maggie Mae's, and enjoyed a drink and some people-watching, whilst listening to an amazing John-Mayer-Sound-Alike.

Looking Out Onto 6th Street
Before we knew it, it was time to head back to Chez Nous.


We both started with escargots, but instead of being served in the usual garlic butter, they were served in a creamy sauce atop a pillowy brioche.


For the main course I opted for the scallops...


while hubby, of course, went for the filet de boeuf.


It was so delicious, it actually made him moan, and my hubby is not a moaner! (that would be me)

The only downside was that we ended up being too full to even share a dessert. Which turned out to be an upside, since our parking meter was completely out of minutes by the time we made it back there, and skipping dessert probably saved us from a costly parking ticket.

We made up for it the next by treating ourselves to a mini Blizzard at DQ, to celebrate the last of a string of warm, sunny days, before the next cold front blows in.

It was indeed a Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

TEA & SAENGERRUNDE


When daughter Lex told me that the 1st Annual Texas Tea Festival was to take place at the historic Saengerrunde Hall in central Austin, I had no idea where or what that was.  Turns out it's connected to the old Scholz Beer Garden. Now that is a place I'm familiar with -- as is pretty much anyone who graduated from UT.


What I didn't know was that, back in the late 1800s, a German singing society was established here in Austin, called Saengerrunde, and one of their favorite places to hang out was Scholz -- a beer garden/restaurant/dance hall/bowling alley owned by a St. Louis brewery. At some point they started leasing the property from the brewery, and then eventually purchased the entire place! Under the stewardship of today's Austin Saengerrunde, these facilities continue to encourage members and guests to enjoy German heritage. Kinda cool, don't ya think?

So, back to the Tea Festival. Hubby and I couldn't make it this year, as we had other plans, but these guys went in our place -- with instructions to take lots of pictures and give me a full accounting!


Here is a brief glimpse of all they saw and did...




and this is what Lexi had to say about it...

"So the whole thing was in an old men's lodge right next to shultz beer garten. While waiting in line there was a tea bus having a tea party sampling a whole bunch of teas bought directly from the farmers.  I tried a cup of Indonesain tea and it was great. Nate tried one made mostly from the stems of the tea plant, which tasted really green and interesting.

Inside, once you check in, you are given a cup, and they had a whole bunch of vendors (including Ruckus Tea House from downtown) all brewing up sample cups for you to try, and selling yummy stuff. Nate had a Macha Tea Cupcake.  There were lots of Chinese teas, Turkish tea, and the classics like Earl Gray.

There were also talks going on, which were super crowded. We got to watch a tea ceremony where they put a lump of rock sugar in the bottom of your cup, then pour strong black tea over the top, then add a tiny bit of heavy cream. But you don't stir. As you drink it the cream on top represents clouds, the middle tea is earth, and I think the sugar at the bottom is water.

One lady was giving out tea eggs, which are hard boiled eggs cooked in Oolong tea, which gives them a very strong smoky flavor and marbles the egg inside the shell. Very cool looking, but very strange tasting."

Can't believe she got Nate to try this, as he never eats eggs of any kind!
Well, guess I'd better put this on my "must do" list for next year, huh? Not only do I love me some tea and some singing, I'm even a little bit German!