Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Austin City Limits then a swim....

I toured this the last time we were here. It's a pretty good deal in that they give free tours every Friday morning. I thought I might have to go again to get Richard another t-shirt for him and one for Claudia but they opened the store for me. This was the only successful t-shirt I ever bought for Richard!

Then off for a swim at this great free outdoor pool. It's in a big park so will be nice to have a cool walk there. It was cooler again last night and just perfect temp today and no humidity.

Uncommon objects

We have a few rather cool objects like the lamp below and the jukebox in our house that probably came from some of the stores I took photos of. We wandered through them Sunday. The weekend is very busy on south Congress Street where these shops are. We're really enjoying this neighbourhood.

The humidity is gone now and we're having wonderful days of around 80 F. And it's cooler at night which is great. I have even had to put the furnace on in the morning to take the chill off. Two for one burgers at Doc's last night and a pitcher of another Texas beer called Fireman's #4. It was just perfect sitting out in the sun. Then tea out on our deck and then "Fanny" on DVD...another in the Pagnol series. We'll watch Cesar tonight.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Boots, boots, boots...

Jim did buy a pair of cowboy boots! I asked Claire and Tom about what they would recommend for music in Austin since they are big music fans. It seems one of their favourites played last night. Lyall Lovett is coming May 7 but the cheapest ticket I could find was $236 a piece for balcony...ouch. I didn't realize live music was such an expensive habit.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Houses in our neighbourhood

Well...we've really gone native. We got a bunch of country and western CD's from the library and had a lot of fun listening to Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Lyle Lovett (who is amazingly good BTW) and a selection of Texas Super Hits with Gene Autry's "Deep in the Heart of Texas" among other fun things.

I love these two little adobe houses...I think I'll have to paint this and these wonderful trees.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Our house in Austin

Don and Elaine asked to see some photos of our house here so here goes...I hope. I'm having problems with my computer and also the connection here seems off and on.
(photos may come later as I'm using Jim's computer and can't upload them now)

We're in a wonderful leafy neighbourhood of a lot of Arts and Crafts style homes. Most were originally quite small but almost all have been extended backward (like ours has with an addition of a big master bedroom, bathroom, kitchen family room).

We went exploring our local neighbourhood today and went to a few thrift stores for Jim as he always wants to look for books...found a few. Then downtown to the main branch of the public library and Jim got all the heavy Huxley books he needs for reference (including his recent letters book) that we didn't bring due to the weight of them all. Since we are "living" here for a month we each got free library privileges. He was expecting to be able to borrow those material from the U. of Texas but they put him in some incredible loop and seemed to be asking $100 for the privilege. We also got DVD's (the complete Pagnol series which we haven't seen) and CD's. Loads of great stuff.

Last night we went to a local Mexican restaurant that the owners here rave about and it was a great meal,very cheap, and a fun atmosphere. A small selection of wines but good choices and all $20. I had a fish taco plate and Jim had enchiladas (one pulled pork and the other beef)...both came with rice and beans and the final bill was $36 before tip. I think we'll go here once a week.

Thunderstorm last night and lots of rain...mainly rolling thunder so not too loud and it cleared the air of humidity so we enjoyed our lunch outside on our sundeck. Certainly have to take advantage of the low humidity to enjoy outside!

Jim was trying on cowboy boots (when I could get him away from books!) so who knows...

Front of house

Jim reading the newspaper in the family room.

Dining room...almost the same red as our living room at home!

We've set up a little workroom in the living room which we weren't using.

Kitchen...great island and stainless steel so no worries about hot pots.

I love this little kitchen window.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Greetings from Austin!

Well...it seems to be the beginning of summer here which is hot and humid. We did have a wonderful first week for weather in Houston and Galveston. Apparently for the weekend it is going to be cooler (80 F) and less humid. We ended up renting a car for the whole time since it's really too uncomfortable walking very far. I drop Jim off and pick him up so he doesn't have to deal with buses and walking in the heat.

Our house here is fabulous and we're very comfortable but the AC is on constantly. It's an old character house and has wonderful trees shading it but it must have been hellish in the summer before AC. We're very close to South Congress which has a whole load of very interesting restaurants and small shops. Our first night Jim spotted a place with 2 for 1 burgers on Monday nights and it was amazingly refreshing sitting outside because they had large fans on. The burgers were great...gourmet like and not overcooked...we chose peppercorn sauce and blue cheese. With fries (fresh cut and delicious) and a pitcher of Lone Star ($7 bucks since it was "happy hour") our bill was under $20.

Prices for everything seem to be pretty good here. I found a French Boulangerie and Patisserie and bought a baguette which isn't bad and a pain au chocolat..yum! Also found a shop that will butcher and dress deer for you and they had wild boar Italian saucage so couldn't pass that up. It's going to be fun exploring around.

There is an outdoor municipal pool close by that's free so I checked it out and it looks good but is closed this week for cleaning. I'll give it a try next week.

Jim's finding even more than he thought he would so he could use even more than the month!

This one is from Galveston. Almost all the houses are on stilts because of the flooding and storm problems.

The next ones are of some of the shops in our neighbourhood in Austin:

A great little shop with interesting specialty items although it's hard to beat the big supermarket called HEB (Here Everything Better). I impressed with their selection and customer service. They have people watching the lines with walkie talkies and get more cashiers going if there's any wait at all.

Pretty close to a real baguette.

I loved the sign on this great toy store...found some stocking stuffers for Richard.

This looks like one hot dog.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rice University

I enjoyed accompanying Jim to the university one day. It's a wonderful campus...only around 4,000 students and 500 faculty. I had a great Cobb salad there.

Jim in front of the research library.

This treehouse is a fun idea...limited to four students at a time and they emphasize nothing is attached to the tree so no harm done.

A couple of students came by to play the grand piano while I was reading in the Student Union Building.

There was a big thunderstorm in the early morning so I guess they have these bags available when that happens.

Loads of wonderful trees at Rice.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Leafy Houston

Houston does seem to have a tremendous number of big shade trees. These are photos of a neighbourhood right next to our hotel. Great houses, trees, gardens...but what is with all the broken sidewalks? Sidewalks are in poor repair all over the city (except in the Rice University grounds).

One of many broken sidewalks.

Fabulous trees.

Just like home with all the squirrels...no squawking crows.

We saw the Obama/Clinton debate this week...I like them both.

You don't see a lot of Palm trees but I'm sure it's a great location for them. They don't really offer any shade, though.