Monday, December 31, 2007

All hands on deck

Looks like they must have every cop in the city preparing for the crazy in Times Square.

These guys are getting a pep talk delivered by megaphone.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

One last day in Austin

We rocked into the wee hours of the morning with Jim, Sommer, and Nikki.

Looks like John may have missed his true (i.e. less lucrative) calling.

After a chilly walk/jog/gasp for breath on Town Lake with the much-fitter Sommer, the four of us cleaned up and headed to Güero's for lunch. I had the delicious fish tacos.

No, not those fish, though we taunted them as we waited for a table. I mean, our mere presence seemed to taunt them -- we didn't poke them or anything. They seemed to be expecting to be fed; maybe they get tortilla chips from other diners?

A so-so latte at Jo's down the street, and then we were headed to the airport. Home by a little after 10:30pm, the kitties were in good shape, and we were glad to sleep in our own beds...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Houston and back

Why does so much of Houston look like this?

It's not a bad city. It has great food, though maybe not as great as Austin.

We had a great time with my parents, and played old-fashioned board games, like Super Yahtzee, which is like Original Yahtzee, but with an extra die and more cursing. We also played Carcassonne, which is like Risk, but with your Mom making you feel guilty for not playing that one piece she needed to complete her city.

We stopped in Lockhart at Kreuz Market for barbecue, and it turns out that Chez Panique, the sauce is not optional.

They didn't have any good dessert at Kreuz, either, so after I dropped John off at Waterloo (ultimate damage: $158, zero calories), I headed down to La Mexicana for pink cake (ultimate damage: $0.85, one million calories).

I think the focus in that photo is actually on the concrete. Rest assured, if I had dropped the pink cake in the gravel parking lot, I would have picked it up, done my best to avoid cracking a tooth, and eaten it. In fact, if you spread the icing on the concrete, I would probably eat the parking lot. I am a bitch to pink cake.

We had some time to kill, so after the obligatory trip to the Book People restroom, we headed to Austin Java Company. The Caramel Knowledge is my fave, but après pink cake, I think I should have gone with something less... sweet.

And hello? Who left this sweetie out in the cold?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My niece

Oh, what a long day.

I sure wish I was this cute. Also, that it was socially acceptable for me to scream and cry at the drop of a hat, then be all smiles just moments later.

Sitting around in a dirty diaper: not so much.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Star me, kitten

That's what was left of a plate of migas and a short stack of gingerbread pancakes, after John and I ate our fill at Star Seeds this morning.

If we'd known what the day had in store, we would have cleaned our plates.

Nine adults and a remarkably chill one-year-old in a small space for eight hours. And we're doing it again tomorrow, with four more adults.

The Jeebus miracle is that my missing package of gifts for the immediate family showed up this afternoon, only an hour after we opened all the other gifts (scheduled right after lunch, so as to occur before the extended family members not being "gifted" showed up).

Happy Christmas Eve!

Trail of Tears, I mean, Lights

It looks a bit like a refugee camp, right? Or an evacuation point for a city fleeing an rapidly spreading epidemic? Don't worry; it's just the line for the shuttle down to Zilker Park.

We walked it from beginning

through the crowds

past some old favorites

through more crowds

to the lovely, lovely end.

We started full of Taco Cabana and we ended full of Hey Cupcake!

Hope your evening was just as nice.

Friday, December 21, 2007

We're so HK...

Blah day. And try as we might, a blah dinner. At least it was mercifully brief, and we had an episode of The Wire waiting for us at home. Not so bad, after all.

The photo above is home, or at least the brick building in the center, toward the back. For new construction, it's not a horrible eyesore.

"You're so HK..." was the really stupid slogan on a postcard we got yesterday, advertising a new condo project a few blocks south of us. Looks pretty swanky, but (cough, cough) a little out of our price range. And if you look closely, the floorplans are balls.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Seasonal Ditty

East side...

West side...

I walked all over the town.
Looking for gumdrops.
And I didn't find any.

From the top: the Baccarat/UNICEF snowflake at 57th and Fifth, a window at Bergdorf Goodman, the tree at Lincoln Center, color-changing stars at Columbus Circle.

Yesterday, 11:30pm

A dirty word at 0:29.
Things get interesting at 0:37.
All hell breaks loose at 1:05.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Isn't she lovely?

(Please imagine Stevie Wonder singing that line.)

We've got a tree up this year, for the first time in... four years? This is our fifth Christmas in NYC. We had a tree the first year, which I carried home because John was still using his cane. Sap everywhere! We stayed in the city that year, and I made crawfish etouffee for Christmas lunch. The next three years we traveled for Christmas, and this year we're hitting the road again.

So this little tree is not long for this world, since we will take it down before we leave for Austin. I've been enjoying its glow day and night, especially day, since they've been super-gloomy lately. Except today, which was brilliantly sunny and bitterly, bitterly cold.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Free dissociation

These are for the Winter Holiday Dangly Swap I participate in through ArtErratica, a Yahoo! Group I've belonged to, like, forever. Wow, no kidding. I just checked, and it looks like I joined October 2, 2000. Ah, the good old days, when I accessed the internet through dial-up, sitting in that fantastic orange office chair I stole from my parents, at my lovely Ikea desk. And look how far I've come! In my pajamas, on the comfy sofa, with the wireless and the overly-powerful laptop.

I finally got started messing around with Photoshop Elements last week. It took a while to find a book that seemed like it would be my speed, but it is hard to follow a book when you just want to clean up a scan and resize an image so you can have it printed for your seasonal cards. Hmmmph.

This laptop tote is on its way to me, or will be soon, so that I can take it out with me and show it the world. It needs a name, this overly powerful, precious piece of machinery. It needs a name so that when John uses it to search for birthday presents for me, and doesn't want me to know, and clears the history on my browser, I can tell him to keep his damn hands off [insert laptop name here]. Any suggestions?

String theory

One night last week, our dinner looked like this:

Everything stringy!

Spaghetti squash with nutmeg, some crunchy slaw, and Otsu from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking. This cookbook sort of took over my head while I was visiting Karen in Durham.

Oh, that's right! Yes, this is, sadly, the much-delayed first post since my trip. I can't even describe how great it was to see Karen, to get to know David a little better, to be so well fed, and to get out of New York City. It was exactly the break I needed before the holiday insanity began.

It's in full swing, now, that insanity, though to be honest, it's not that different from the base level of insanity. And to be more honest, at least the holiday insanity has distracting fairy lights and sparkly tinsel.