Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What I do when I'm bored...

I look for cheap houses that aren't completely run down (think houses that were in the middle of a remodel when the owner had to foreclose so the house is in complete disrepair). The best part about me looking at these houses: I don't know why I do it--It's not like we're going to get a different house, and if we did, I doubt we'd go for houses smaller than ours (ours is 1250 sq ft).

Today's finds:

4806 Peach Grove Court, 1093 sq ft for $98,900


5424 Walnut Grove Dr, 1271 sq ft for $94,900

And, being me, I already checked to see if they were in the floodplain--they aren't. This is, Of course not to say that there aren't other nice houses, because there are. They just tend to be in the Onion Creek Neighborhood and Hornsby Bend (Austin's Colony) areas...which I want to say may be more affected by floodplains, but don't quote me on that...that's why the City has this nifty difty floodplain viewer.

Monday, December 29, 2008

1+ years of work


What I learned today: My boss (two levels above me) owned a house 4 houses down the street from mine. It was the first house she and her husband bought and lived in (he's now a Realtor/flipper, or some such business--point is, they currently own like 5 houses ranging in value from about $120k to $550K). She mentioned that her daughter had friends that lived down the street...so all that really tells me is that they had to have been one of the early owners of the house since our house was built in the early 80's and their daughter was born in the mid-80's.

Friday, December 26, 2008


I feel bad.

I keep feeling like we (Shawn and I) do all of my family traditions, but none of his.

My Family Traditions:
  • Open presents on Christmas Eve
  • Open present from Santa right after midnight mass (or if there is no church going, open it the next morning)
  • Stockings Christmas morning
  • Nice meal Christmas Eve
  • Spend time with extended family Christmas day, or, as Dani and I got older, and our extended family moved away, it became more of a "go be with your boyfriend's family" thing.
  • Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast on Christmas day

Shawn's Family Traditions:
  • Posole and Tamales for Christmas Eve meal
  • Church on Christmas Eve
  • All presents on Christmas day
  • Stockings on Christmas day
  • Sausage/egg casserole thingy for breakfast on Christmas day
  • Nice meal Christmas day
So, of course we knock off the items that both of our families do (such as Church on Christmas Eve, and Stockings Christmas morning) and so that basically leaves What you eat on Christmas Eve, What you eat for breakfast Christmas day, when you open presents, and what you eat for dinner on Christmas day.

Shawn was the one that said he wanted to open all the presents Christmas Eve. I opt to do cinnamon rolls because they're easy (Pillsbury now makes frozen cinnamon rolls that go straight from the freezer to the oven). We normally make something easy for Christmas Eve dinner, and then go all out for Christmas Day dinner (this year we made Shepherd's Pie--which we thought the sauce part needed to be more robust than what it was, but you can't fault a recipe when it only cooks in half an hour and the previous version of shepherd's pie you had probably simmered all day long).

But I still feel bad. So this year I was going to make Posole and Tamales for Boxing day. Mostly because Shawn wasn't going to be home (he still has to work) and so it would be a surprise when he came home. Ultimately I opted not to (even though I do have the tamales). You see, I'm not that mean. Shawn claims that he hates Posole and Tamales with a fiery passion usually reserved for the 7th ring of hell.

Yeah, I don't know either.

But I must admit that it's much, much, MUCH easier to get good Mexican food down here than it is in Colorado. The trick is that you have to know a good Mexican cook, or eat at the restaurants that the Mexicans go to.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lady Bird Johnson Luminations Display

Last weekend Shawn and I went to the Wildflower Center Luminaria display.

Of course it was one of those things that we wanted to go on Saturday, but started cooking the Borscht too late and didn't feel like leaving the house. So we agreed we'd go on Sunday (the last day of the Luminations--it only lasts a weekend).

I started the Corned Beef and Cabbage a little late so we ate at 715. And the festival is only from 6-9. We finished by 745, put away the leftovers and practically ran out the door. As we're driving down Mopac, Shawn's lamenting that we should have left earlier and it's stupid that we're trying to get to the wildflower center, not because we wouldn't get there before 9 pm but because we'd get there and we'd walk in the gates, have to book it around the trails to see the lights and then leave. You know, kinda like trying to see the whole zoo in less than an hour.

We got there at 815, and I would say that 45 minutes was a little too short, but not by a whole lot. We wandered around the lighted trails, got some cider, Shawn listened to the band while I went and looked around the little store. Had I not already finished all my Christmas shopping for extended family, I would have probably picked up a couple of things for them. Below are some photos we took with my point and shoot (next year we plan to go a little earlier and take the DSLR with tripod). Oh! and if you have kids, this is probably a pretty good thing for them--the wildflower center has craft tables for the kids (and adults), music in the main courtyard (with plenty of space to dance), and Frosty and Blue Santa (from the Blue Santa Operation) make appearances and pose for pictures.

View from the tower

Okay, so it's not a Luminaria, but pretty nonetheless. I really enjoy how the Texans decorate the trees like this. I don't remember seeing trees done like this in Colorado.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


So one of the things I read about at work during my lunch break is articles about money. Yes money. Especially articles about how parents are supposed to teach their kids about money. For the non-existent child we have. Maybe we'll teach the cats. I don't know. Point is: I'm crazy.


I read this article on MSN. And I realized that my parents pretty much broke ALL the rules.

But. I think I turned out okay. And if you think it's a fluke that I turned out okay, just look at my sister. She turned out okay too.

Monday, December 15, 2008


This phrase was uttered in our house last night (and no, it wasn't by me):

"Survivor made me forget about personal hygiene."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nostalgia Sunday: Pre-Christmas Edition

(I would have said "Christmas Edition", but I don't know if the mood will strike to actually get all nostalgic on Christmas day, or eve, so I have to do a qualifier. Thus Pre-Christmas)

There's this radio station that plays Christmas music all the time between December 1st and Christmas. It's got all your favorites--The dogs barking jingle bells, Do you hear what I hear, and Grandma got run over by a reindeer. For whatever reason, even though I rarely hear Frosty the Snowman on the radio, just hearing the other Christmas songs will make me THINK of Frosty the Snowman, and therefore I'll get all nostalgic (shut up, this is how women's minds work--that's why you can ask "How was your day?" and your response will be "Chicken")

Anyhoo, I digress...and to digress a little more, I need to state for the record for all family members: I spent the same amount of money on everyone this year (as I always do), well, to within $5. (Trust me, I have the receipts and spreadsheets to prove it) And so, the reason why it looks like I spent more on person A than on person B is because Old Navy has awesome deals for women's clothes. If you don't like it, take it up with Old Navy.

But, Back to Nostalgia!

When I was a wee lad (I mean lass), Dani and I would inevitably spend one weekend with the grandparents while our parents went and did Christmas shopping and wrapping and what have you. Grandma, being the awesome spitfire dame that she is, would go out and buy a Christmas themed craft (usually paint your own ornaments) for us girls to do, and a roll of cookie dough. On Saturday day, at the cabin, Dani and I would paint our ornaments, and Grandma would crank the Christmas music, bake cookies and sing along with the tunes.

Frosty comes into play because for whatever reason (probably because Frosty was the least known of the Christmas songs I knew) I remember Grandma totally rocking out to it. We'd be sitting there painting away at the breakfast counter, and she'd be baking her cookies and then Frosty would come on and she'd start dancing and tapping her foot and waving the spatula around singing Frosty the Snowman. Heck, I remember there were sometimes when the CD would end and she'd break into another chorus of Frosty just for the heck of it.

ah yes. preshus memrys! Though, this does explain why whenever I work on Christmas themed cookies or crafts I start humming Frosty the Snowman.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


You want to know who's sexy? My husband. In his boxers with the air filter mask and socks and sandals.

It's like he's some senile tourist in China who forgot to put on clothes.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Shopping

So, I left work at 7 pm today (I was completing a project which is due tomorrow afternoon. You might ask what I was doing finishing a project when I have all morning to work on it. And that is where you'd be wrong. See, tomorrow is the annual holiday party at work, and I, being on the committee, am lucky enough to have to be at some gymnasium at 7 in the morning to decorate. I guess they're trying to hide the fact that it's a gymnasium or something).

And then I decided, since Shawn was out with his coworkers, that I would do some Christmas shopping for family members.

I am now officially done with my mom, my sister, and my niece. I have yet to buy anything for my father-in-law, but Dad and the mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law are halfway done.

But, because of all this shopping, I didn't get home until 9pm. And that explains why I'm eating spaghetti with tomato sauce, a little tomato bisque, and pecorino for dinner at 9:47 pm. Yes. I put tomato soup on top of my spaghetti noodles. Wanna make something of it?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Farm to Work and Why I LOVE Alton Brown

we partook of the Farm to Work program again. I went halvsies with Bond (but somehow when I think back on it, I think I got more than half, so if you want some more greens, let me know!!)

This week we got an assortment of greens (chard, mustard, etc.), potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, carrots, radishes, beets, and cabbage.

Honestly I wanted in on it this week so I could make Borscht again (Yeah, I don't know why, it's not like that stuff it REALLY REALLY good or anything...it's more like I just get a random craving for it. And honestly I think it's the amount of sour cream I put on top of it more than anything.)

Anyhow, the borscht only uses the beets and cabbage (I think), and I know it doesn't use any of the greens...which means I have to figure out a way to prepare them. Last time when we got Kale, I made some type of quiche with them. it was a little bitter and I didn't really like it. so I don't want to do a quiche with the new greens.

For lack of anything better to do, I went to FoodNetwork.com and typed in "Mustard Greens". Lo and behold, there are recipes by one Mr. Alton Brown. And I love me some Alton Brown (that garlic chicken recipe is Mr. Brown's Recipe, and the flower pot smoker out back is of Mr. Brown's invention. AND we have his Gadgets for the Kitchen book.) So, I think I shall try his greens au gratin, lemon glazed greens, and possibly the pot of greens.

But, I really think I ought to make the borscht tomorrow since that will take forever. This time, purreed instead of chunky.

Monday, December 01, 2008