February 12, 2018

Pool Hole and Spinach Gnocchi

river pool deconstruction

The old swim spa removal is still happening. I have most of the large sections free. Three of the remaining corner pieces seem to have cement holding them in place. The pool was assembled before the concrete decking was poured. From here, I will be spending even more time with my grinder, cutting it out, bit by bit. I've burned up two gridners and one circular saw so far. The metal WILL yield to my demands, eventually.

home made spinach gnocchi 

We made spinach gnocchi at home this weekend. It was pan seared with Life Improvement Sauce ™. It was good, although there was a point where we thought it was going to be a fail. There was well over a pound of spinach (24 oz) in that dinner. It was a real health boost.  

CSA Year of the Dog, Chinese New Year

We are now members of the Chinese Society of Austin. We attended their New Year party at New Fortune Restaurant.

summit lion dancers austin csa chinese new year 

Lions and Dragon did their dance.

chinese socity of austin summit lion dance 

The lions enjoyed a meal of red envelopes ($).

chinese new year austin csa summit lion dancers 


The children also enjoyed distribution of red envelopes ($). It's now obvious that we are down to only one "child".

new forune chinese seafood restaurant austin  

There was an abundance of Chinese food for each table, mostly seafood. The fish looked good, it was gone before the lazy Susan circled back to me. New Fortune has opened a second restaurant near us in Westlake, Jade.

I think it's funny that their Westlake restaurant features a bottle and glass of wine on their website. While their location in Chinatown shopping center, likely doesn't serve much wine. The Chinese New Year event was pretty much dry. I saw one guy have a glass of wine, he was a non-Chinese. I've also come to understand that Chinese weddings are also often dry events.


Prizes, many door prizes. Our numbers came up twice.  

westlake high school austin jazz 

A wonderful musical performance from members of the Westlake Jazz Band. 


February 05, 2018

Real live Blues-man Paul Oscher

Local musician Paul Oscher is still living the blues. Paul spent many years playing in Muddy Waters Band. He plays a couple weekly residences around town. A gray dreary day in February seemed a good opportunity to catch the blues.

paul oscher blues musician austin tx 

still austin whiskey co 

He played Saturday afternoon at Still Austin. Colorful cocktails helped to defeat the grey skies outside.

Member's Party Jones Contemporary Art:

jones center rooftop contemporary 

We also enjoyed a member's rooftop party at the Contemporary. Fresa's Chicken al Carbon provided another diversion from our pescetarian diet (we're note religious about it, that was some good chicken!).

bathroom mirror self portraiture  

Caroline at Aloft (across the street) had a great offer for museum members. We could not resist.

caroline tuna tartare tacos on jicama 

Back on track to pescetarianism! They even packed us up some pastries to take home for the kids.





#1 son reaches 15th year level on Earth

We let #1 son sleep in till 10 AM (common occurrence on the weekend). I made him a hot breakfast of chilaquiles when he came down. It was a wonderful February day in Austin, sunny and 72F degrees. We loaded up the bikes and hit the hike and bike boardwalk on the east side.

specialized project bike carbon fiber 

My project bike is down to 23 lbs, from 30 lbs. Uphill is SO much easier and it has such a low rolling resistance.

#2 son was not in the biking (cooperating) mood. We went all of 1.2 miles before turning back. I think I burned a total of 8 calories, counting the  5 calories burned from loading/unloading five bikes and bike rack.

His birthday coincided with the Super Bowl this year. Once again, we took the opportunity to head to Eddie V,'s as it was mostly empty.


That steak tartare with shaved black truffle is so delicious. We took a break from our pescetarian diet for today.

shaved black truffle steak tartare eddie v's austin 

happy hour oysters at eddie v's austin 

We also enjoyed east coast (cold water) oysters on the half shell.



January 29, 2018

Do you remember your first real vacuum cleaner?

boy gets his own vacuum cleaner eureka

The boys had asked for allowance. Living in this area, many of their friends at school get good bits of money each week, just for breathing oxygen. This is a give something, get something (or work hard, play hard) sort of household. So we created chores that can be done weekly in exchange for money. #2 son vacuums the stairs every Friday. Of the three kids, he is the one that has stuck to his chore, and is receiving regular bank deposits ($5 weekly).

I love these Eureka handheld vacuum cleaners. They aren't very durable. This is the third one we've bought in five years. You can't do the job without the right tools. I told him this one was his vacuum cleaner, and I used a sharpie to put his name on it.

It should also be noted that he also lost his new jacket again. I emailed teachers, visited the transportation department where I dug through a cabinet of smelly lost clothing, and had the driver search his bus. I went to school and explored the Lost and Found cabinets, and boxes.  

On Friday, he came home with TWO jackets he'd lost, and a lunch bag that was missing. I asked "where were they?". He said "It was early in the day when I found the black one, so I don't remember".  That was classic.

John Kleckman Quartet at Hops and Grains 

The people over at Hops & Grains Brewing are working on this hazy lupulin powder ipa beer craze. We stopped in to see how they were doing. We liked their Pellets & Powder IPA best. I'm not sure we tried them all. A further exploration of their offerings may be in order. They also had a jazz band on the patio. It was a perfect January evening in Austin, 68 degrees, fresh IPA, and good music.


Construction blog? or Deconstruction...

This used to be a construction blog, started over a decade ago. The house is still a lot of work, most of it falls under the repair and maintain category. That doesn't make for an interesting blog. Unless you like frustrating appliance repair stories... I've got so much material in that area. I'm currently waiting on a $140 transformer for the vent hood. The last five weeks focused on range repair. The appliance repair guy charged me $439 for an hour of work (not including the part) "due to the complicated nature of this equipment". I asked him to come back twice to correct things that weren't right. I guess it is complicated...

Then there is that swim spa.... we quit using it a few years back. The kids rarely swam and we started spending more time in Vermont. But that hole... something needs to be done. The image below shows how it looked in 2007. The masons had just completed the stone wall, and Marvin was still alive.  


I've removed the stone wall, and the exposed section of swim-spa wall. 

swim spa deconstruction 

The garden/planter boxes have been removed, and plants relocated or eaten.  

deconstruction blog 

It's not going to be easy removing those last three sections of steel wall that are closed in by concrete decking on the back side. That's the fun I will be enjoying this week.

The koi pond will also need some maintenance this year. That won't be too difficult as most of the older/larger koi all died in the koitastrophy of 2017. 

koitastrophy of 2017 survivors 

Most of the remaining fish are variety of goldfish, with a few smaller koi that survived. The upside to this is that the water filtration is much more efficient now that it doesn't have to process all the giant koi craps.  



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