Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Pete!! Mandy surprised Pete with a lunch with friends downtown at Maria Maria. Yum and fun! It was great to see everyone and have a delicious lunch! More next year please!!
And for those paying attention, still no butterflies, but here is a view of the top of the critter container with all the caterpillars!
April 28, 2010
More of dem caterpillars! This is the first one - you can see he is working on his butterfly wings - the stripes are just barely visible. It's getting crowded in the critter container - there are several caterpillars hanging as well as a few chrysalises. Hopefully we'll have a butterfly soon!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 27, 2010
More change is a comin'! There are now several fat caterpillars hanging from the top of the critter container. We watched one shed his skin and begin his chrysalises formation yesterday - ew! There should be monarchs soon!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 26, 2010
The first chrysalises! I like the little golden dots on the top rim and along the side. How do they make those?! The rest of the caterpillars are eating Jane out of house and home. What little piggies! She's putting in four or five branches of milkweed a day and they are going right through them! I'll spare you the picture of the poo collecting at the bottom of the critter container....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 25, 2010
Another Sunday drive. I headed out to Llano and Willow City again but this time with Jim, Heather, the kids and Linda. We did the loop in reverse and managed to get to Llano at about 11:30 - perfect timing as the line at Cooper's was much shorter!! Then back through Johnson City and home on 290. We had a great lighter dinner at my house before packing up the Cedar Park Howards and sending them home!
April 24, 2010

Linda and I took advantage of the free historic walking tours offered by the Austin Visitors Center early on Saturday morning. We did both the Congress Avenue/6th Street and the Bremond Block tours. Of the two, I liked the Bremond block best (that's Bre-Mon-d not Brem-und, they were French decedents, don't you know.) I think I just like looking at old houses more than hearing about the history of the Capitol.

I think it was better too because our tour guide, Elizabeth, was really good at painting the picture of the time of the construction of the homes and the charters of the people of lived there. On the Bremond tour, we learned all about Austin's serial killer, The Servant Girl Annihilator, and how that lead to the installation of the moonlighting system. Fun stuff and the best part was - it's free!
April 23, 2010
Mmmm Hey Cupcake! Linda arrived in town today and we promptly hit SoCo for some shopping and dinner at Enoteca - a fav. Afterwards, is there really any other way than to top off a SoCo visit than with a Hey Cupcake?! Delicious. It was a 24 Carat, but now it's just more of my spare tire to work off at bootcamp on Monday!
April 22, 2010
Thursday and it's more wildflower photos. This time I was pulled off on the side of the road to help pick milkweed to feed the caterpillars. I suppose you can guess how much help I was!! But I found some lovely flowers to take pictures of :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 21, 2010
First, a moment about the previous post. It's annoying the crap out of me that I can't get the font to resize properly. But don't let that hold you back from the soup.

Now on to today!

It's Spring time!! That means butterflies in Texas, Monarch butterflies to be specific. Jane collects caterpillars and the Milkweed they feed on and brings them into the office to transform into butterflies. Once they transform, she lets them out.

This particular guy is the biggest, fattest one of the group so Jane thinks it won't be long before he's up on top of the critter container forming his chrysalises - I'll keep you posted!
April 20, 2010

Well I probably needed this recipe yesterday when it was actually cold in Austin but here it is today! Spicy Black Bean soup. It's so easy and totally stick to your ribs!

Spicy Black Bean Soup


1 tsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

4 medium garlic cloves, diced

45 oz canned black beans, undrained, divided (three 15 oz cans)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 tsp ground cumin

14 1/2 oz fat-free chicken broth, or vegetable broth

10 oz canned tomatoes with green chilies, such as Rotel Tomatoes

11 oz canned yellow corn, drained

Coat bottom of a large stockpot with olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.

Place one can of beans in blender; add sautéed onion mixture, red pepper flakes and cumin. Cover and blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour mixture back into stockpot.

Place second can of beans and broth in blender and puree until smooth; add to stockpot.

Stir third can of beans (do not puree first), tomatoes and green chilies, and corn into stockpot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Yields about 1 1/2 cups of soup per serving.

I happened to have totally forgotten the chicken stock, but I think it still turned out OK. Watch the simmering because this stuff can really stick to the bottom of the pan! Stir frequently!

I had with a nice side salad of baby greens and a toasted sea salt and rosemary ciabatta roll. Delicious!

April 19, 2010
New neighbors! After quite the lull in neighborhood construction they are finally moving on building on the street behind me. The house behind my next door neighbor's house is getting constructed. Of course the house behind me is waaaay too much house on the lot and it looks like this person is following suit. They both have three car garages which really cuts into the already small side yard space. I think there can only be four feet between the two sides of the house and there's a fence in between! I'll have to take a picture of the close-ness when this house is further along in construction so you can see just how close they are together!

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 18, 2010

Holy wildflowers Batman! We finally got a break in the weather and took advantage to roll out to the Hill Country to take in the wildflowers. WOW. Just check out these displays! From Johnson City we took FM 1327 to Willow City and on to TX 16 toward Llano and finally back to Austin on 71.

April 17, 2010
What a great view of the city! Saturday morning Laura and I got up early to walk Town Lake and this is the sight that greeted us! Ugh, on the upside it wasn't too cold. We saw the whole collection of Austin weird: crazy hairy dude running, fun run fundraiser, Bark in the Park people running with their dogs, etc, etc.

We had rain throughout the day but managed to squeeze in brunch at the Driskill, shopping on SoCo, Lunch at Chuy's, a stop at Petticoat Fair, and Cory's birthday dinner. Whew! A good day in Austin!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April 16, 2010
Laura comes to visit! She demanded to be placed into a meat coma and I obliged with a trip to the Salt Lick for dinner. Here she is post "plate" consumption. Don't worry, she saved room for the cobbler!

Friday, April 16, 2010

April 15, 2010
Do you know what this is? That's right: Dinner. After two days of standing in the convention center in Houston and then driving back to Austin in the rain I was REALLY looking forward to the Hill Country Wine and Food Festival at the Whole Foods rooftop downtown. They even sent me a friendly email to let me know the event was rain or shine. Except they meant "unless it really rains hard because then we'll cancel at the last minute and not tell you until you get there."

Ugh! So after fighting traffic to get downtown and then fighting traffic to get back home this is all I had in the house for dinner. Well this and an apple with peanut butter, but who wants to see that healthy crap!?

Thank goodness I didn't have to go getting all irate all over them, I got an email the next day telling me they would refund my money. But next time, I want the wine and food instead!!
April 14, 2010
Gosh you just can't beat a whole day of standing in the booth at a show to talk about the company's product. Here are Billy and Eric juggling to pass the time before the vendor hall opened. Pretty good traffic on the morning of the first day and then it dropped off. But about the same number of leads as last year even though it seemed that the conference was smaller. Thank goodness for padded carpeting - helps keep the back fresh!
April 13, 2010
Woo hoo! Dinner with Denise!! Finally!! Even though we are only three hours apart, it seems like an eternity because we can never seem to get our schedules to align. But I was in Houston for a conference this week and Denise was in the country for a change and we made it happen! A yummy mean at the Red Onion Cafe including delicious drinks! We must make time to do this more often!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 12, 2010
Today I literally stopped to smell the roses. Climbing vine roses are blooming all over town. This huge rose bush is right outside the Panera where I had lunch today. Yum-o and beautiful!
April 11, 2010
It's really hard to go wrong with chicken, lemon, rosemary, and garlic. Sunday night dinner was Tuscan Lemon Chicken which I finally managed to cook all the way through on the grill - It stayed on for about 10 minutes extra. We had sides of Nutty Quinoa of which I had to substitute the garlic for garlic powder because *gasp* I ran out of garlic! Still delicious a nice balance of nutty and sweet with the raisins. Then a crisp Zucchini Salad which was surprisingly good. So few ingredients to make a big flavor difference! We all ate twice as much zucchini as usual. Then finished up with a favorite Baby Spinach Salad. The verdict was deliciousness. Although Jack did ask what we were having for dessert. I had *thought* about strawberry shortcake, but it just didn't happen with 3 sides!
April 10, 2010
Saturday was all about the computer recovery. I've almost got the thing back into fighting shape. I sat down at about noon to work on it for just a bit and then looked up and saw that it was 4:00pm. Much of the day and evening was thrown away in searching for my Photoshop Elements CD so I could reload the program. I finally broke down and just ordered the new version - I can't stand the searching any more - where could it be!??

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 9, 2010

The hard drive has arrived and it's time to operate on the system. While Jim thought this was loads of fun the stress of it drove me to my favorite peanut butter fro-yo sundae! Vanilla frozen yogurt with heated peanut butter and Reeces pieces: yum. Thankfully the hard drive slipped right into place and the computer is alive again!!! Now to get it all set back up. ugh.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April 8, 2010
I can't tell if the white balance is off or if it's just so blue from the field of flowers!! I couldn't get the girls to pose to save my life so this is the best I could get! ugh!
April 7, 2010
More roadside wonders this time it's the blue bonnets.
April 6, 2010
We're having one of the best years for wildflowers in the past decade. The week the blue bonnets peaked and the brighter colors started to come out. The Mexican Paint brushes are out in force and because I have had long commutes home lately, I've had ample opportunity to snap roadside pics from the comfort of my automobile! At least the flowers make the long drives pretty.
April 5, 2010
Let's all have a moment of silence for the death in our family: my iMac hard drive died on Sunday. Monday I took it in to the Genius bar at my Apple store and there really wasn't much they could do. They did however manage to grab the contents of the hard drive (whew!) so it wasn't a complete loss. Next step order a new hard drive!
April 4, 2010

You're just going to have to wait for this photo....I want to edit it, but I can't find my ding dang Photoshop Elements cd so I can't! Grrr.
April 3, 2010
Chicks man! Happy Easter cupcakes. Adorable little yellow chickies with happy faces. For some reason when I made these I had all the beaks going in the other direction. I think it looks more beak-like, but they all looked like unhappy chicks. Even if they are going to get eaten, they shouldn't be depressed. So I scrapped off all the unhappy beaks and put in happy beaks!

Friday, April 2, 2010

April 2, 2010
Can't have one without the other! Generally Ginger is a better picture poser than Zoe, but there are so many leaves and butterflies zipping through the air that she is easily distracted. So here is Ging's best picture with our blue bonnets.
April 1, 2010
Back just in time on Thursday morning to take my number one girl into her late afternoon vet appointment. Lumpy, as I will now call her, had to get poked in her new lump to make sure she's still just growing fatty tumors. The good news is she is still only growing fatty tumors. We're up to three so far for this year - girlfriend needs to slow down!!
Here she is with out bluebonnets outside of our house. They are all in bloom now. Still not quite a field of rolling blue flowers as far as the eye can see, but it's a pretty nice display.
March 31, 2010
Room with a view. Wednesday night was spent on the 12th floor of the Hilton in Long Beach so we could be close to the airport for our Thursday morning flight. A fun day at work today, after a long Tuesday. We got to visit our customer E! and got a tour of the offices and studios. We met Gulianna Rancic, Ashlan Grose, and Jason Kennedy. All very nice folks, they each chatted with us for a bit. I promise I'll take a picture of the signed headshot when I get them!!
March 30, 2010
Special Treat! Well I might as well get to see a few people I like when I'm in town right?! Tuesday night Bridget was kind enough to let me crash at her casa. We hit 3rd street for a bit of cold shopping and picked up a great and much needed jacket (on sale!). Dinner at The Border Grill was delicious!
PS - yes I did have the white balance set correctly (see the candle?) but the walls and room were so orange it gave Bridget a bit of a tan....
March 29, 2010
More travel. This time off to sunny California. We flew into Long Beach on Jet Blue direct which is a nice flight. A bit windy when we landed as you can see from the palms, but overall nice weather. Here for two customer visits and then back home Thursday!