Category Archives: rambling/rant

Arctic Monkeys & Black Keys

Last night we went to one of the best concerts I have been to in a while. The Arctic Monkeys opened for the Black Keys!! The venue was the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX. It was awesome because they had standing room on the floor in front of the stage, but there were also seat tickets. We got seat tickets which meant no sweaty bodies bumping into us!! It also meant during some of the more “chill” songs we could sit & rest our feet (which was pretty awesome after working all day).

Perhaps best of all, it was air-conditioned, at one point I was even a bit chilly, though it warmed up nicely when the Black Keys started playing. Both bands were awesome & there were even a bit of disco ball madness happening.

Another highlight was the woman who was doing sign language for the show was absolutely rocking out. She was dancing around WHILE signing. It was awesome. I am very jealous, that would be such a sweet job!!

We were quite the party animals & did not even get home until 11:30 PM!! Hope you enjoy the pictures:

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the final piece

We have now lived in Austin just one month shy of an entire year. In a few weeks we will celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the trip we took to Austin when we were looking for places to live. That visit was the first time that either of us had stepped foot on Texas soil. While it feels like we have lived in Austin for awhile (WAY much more so than when we lived in Knoxville), it is strange to thing it has only truly been a year.

the Austin skyline from one of our trips down town

To commemorate the fact that we have lived here almost an entire year (& because we both got TERRIBLY annoyed with eating dinner on our couch), this weekend we bought a table!! That is correct, it has been a bit over 11 months since we have eaten dinner in our condo at a table. Sure we had the coffee table & a desk, but let me tell you it is not the same. NOT AT ALL. We now have a place we can both sit & eat without having to bend over at uncomfortable angles or worry about making a mess on the couch we so dearly love.

As exciting as this purchase was in & of itself it also marks a pretty big milestone. That table was the last piece of furniture we had to replace since the Knoxville move. If you remember, we sold AS CLOSE TO EVERYTHING AS YOU CAN GET before we did the 2 day move from TN to TX. For the past year we have filled our new home with bits & pieces we jointly enjoyed. A good chunk of them came from Ikea & Amazon. & now to complete the circle we are the proud owners of a Target dining room table (yet another staple store in our lives).

We had some issues finding something that would be just right. The way the condo is designed, there really is not a defined “dining room area.”  There is a light that hangs from the ceiling where we imagine a table is supposed to go underneath, but that completely blocks the flow of traffic from the top of the stairs & sections off the room in a way we both hated. Our quick fix when we first moved in was getting bar stools to put up against the small overhang near our kitchen sink. It was sort of an island set up, only our knees hit up against the wall & thus we ended up eating most of our meals on the couch.

Since space was an issue, getting a full sized, “real” dining room table was out of the question. There was no way we could fit a table for 6 to 8 people in our condo. That being said, we wanted more than just a table for 2. For the most part it is just the 2 of us, but we decided it would be nice for when we had company to have enough room for more than just 2 people to eat a real meal (EX: we made Ben’s parents eat Thanksgiving on our couch — but not next year!!).

So without further ado here is our table!!

In this picture both of the sides are folded down. This works perfect for us because when it is not in use, or just for a quick meal (breakfast) because it does not take up a lot of space.

When we want to get a bit fancier (EX: how we ate dinner tonight), we can fold up one of the sides & it gives us a bit more room.

It is like having a real table, but takes up MUCH less room & does not cause a traffic jam. The second flap/leaf of the table will be raised for occasions like in May when my family comes to visit. When both are raised, the table easily sits 4 people. We could probably even squeeze in 5 if we had to/wanted to.

The table also has this handy little drawer as you can see in the picture. Right now, we just put extra hand towels for the kitchen in there – despite the fact that I wanted to fill it with chips or dessert items. The two chairs pictured are the ones that came with the table. As I said before we already have 2 more bar stools that we can use for those occasions when we need seating for more than 2 people.

So yup, that is a whole post about the coming of a new era (us living in TX for a whole year) & our new table.

We also made some other exciting purchases in the past few weeks I will have to fill you in about sometime soon.

One year in Texas (nearly) down. Maybe next year around this time I will be posting about how we have lived here 2 years & are moving into our first house!! Ahhh….. a girl can dream 🙂

CALIFORNIA & the food therein

Ben & I, along with a couple of our friends, officially survived our trip to San Jose & San Francisco, CA. As you probably already saw on facebook (from the 180 some pictures I uploaded) we had a grand ole time. We also ate. A LOT. This post will be all about the food we ate. I will post more about our living arrangements at a later date.

Thursday evening we (a friend [Dawn] & I) flew from Austin into SJC (San Jose airport). It was pretty crappy weather in Austin when we left (cool & rainy), but our flight ended up only leaving about 15 minutes late. For me, that was awesome  as I tend to be cursed when it comes to flights being delayed/cancelled. It turned out not to be a terrible flight, but I learned that 4 hours is perhaps my max. flight time. The first 2 hours are easy breeze. Hour 3 is when you start to get uncomfortable & start thinking about how long you have been in the sky. Hour 4 I was just feeling all, “OMG GET ME OUT OF THE SKY I WANT TO BE DONE.”

But we landed just fine & no one was injured in the process. When we got out of the plane at SJC, we were a bit out of it. 4 hour flight + leaving at 6 + eating only ice cream at the airport for dinner meant it was 10 pm our time & we were starving. It was only 8 pm local time though so we met the boys (Ben & Dave) & went to get sandwiches at Togo’s Sandwiches. They were decent. I would say a bit less thrilling than a Jimmy John’s, but since we were starved, I ate the entire thing.

Friday I spent the morning eating hotel foods that looked like this:

Not too shabby fruit salad, raspberries, a danish thinger, yogurt & orange juice. I was off to a wonderful/delicious start. Later that day, we decided to head to down town San Jose to see what we could see. We went to this awesome open air bar/plaza area that Ben & Dave had been to a few times earlier in the week. We got some awesome pizza at Pizza Bocca Lupo. Ben & I split a pizza & both walked away mighty full. All was happy snappy. Then we decided to get some dessert. We went to Froyo Delight because it was close & not on what Ben & Dave deemed to be a scary block. As it turns out, it was mighty less than delightful for me. I was the only one that got the Strawberry. I was also the only one to puke A LOT. Luckily, we were back at the plaza before that needed to happen so all was well & good once I got it out of my system (GROSS times 100000). At which point I decided I should rid my body of all germs with this:

It was yummy & I felt much better after.

Saturday we made the adventurous trip from San Jose to San Francisco via the CalTrain (which I deemed the cowtrain because that is what I thought everyone was saying). Once we got in & settled in San Fran, it was about lunchish dinner time & we ventured out to a place called Nopalito. The food was good & the atmosphere was welcoming. We did have a bit of a scare though when Dawn found a piece of glass (about the size of a dime) in her food. 😦  it really sucked because that really makes you judge a place as you think, “hmmm wonder what I just ingested.” Like I said, the food tasted grand, but I cannot say I would actually recommend this place. They did give us free popsicle as dessert that were AWESOME, but still, not sure it is worth risking your life over.
Later that night, we met up with some of Ben’s old work buddies that live in CA. We were supposed to eat at Brenda’s French Soul Food, but as it turns out, it was pretty close to the “tenderloin” & they did not take reservations. For a party of 9, that turned out to be a no go. We walked around the area (heading away from the tenderloin area) & ran into O3 Restaurant & Bistro. This turned out to be quite a happy mistake because I got AMAZING $9 ribs. SOOOOO good. They were also awesome & let us just rowdy folks just walk in & push a bunch of tables together. Two thumbs up for them.
Sunday we decided to stick a bit closer to “home” & checked out Bean Bag Cafe. I think we ended up eating there a total of 4 times during the trip. Maybe more. DELISH sandwiches, WONDERFUL fruity smoothies, & AWESOME breakfast foods (bagels, banana bread, hash browns, pancakes, omelets). The place itself is a bit tiny, so go early or on the “off” hours if you want a seat inside. But if you have to sit outside, it really is not that bad either 🙂 This is the view:
We also decided to check out a place called Chili Pies & Ice Cream. I had gotten over my fear of frozen yogurt things from earlier in the trip & we were all in the mood for something sweet. If you are going to be in the area. GO HERE. EVERYTHING = YUM. I recommend the chocolate peanut butter pie & bittersweet chocolate ice cream. I meant to take a picture of how pretty it was, but I got distracted by the deliciousness:
Monday was our touristy day when we ventured to Fisherman’s Wharf & Alcatraz. Before our boat ride, we decided to get some sea food & tried Scoma’s. When they say freshest sea food in San Fran, they mean it:
That is a man cutting up the largest hunk of fish I have ever seen. The views from inside the restaurant are amazing too:
It was probably the most expensive place we ate at the whole trip, but HOLY MOLY was it worth it. We did the lunch deal, which was $25 for an appetizer, main dish & chef’s choice dessert. I had clam chowder for my appetizer. It was amazing. For main course I had a salad with fresh crab & the tiniest most incredible shrimp I have ever eaten. It was amazing. & then for dessert, our chef chose chocolate mouse. It was amazing & looked like this:
It was incredible. I absolutely recommend this place. Since it is a bit more pricy than most of the places in Fisherman’s Wharf, it was much less crowdy & touristy than all the “Joe’s Crab Shacks” in the area. Skip those. GO TO SCOMA’S.
After a day at Fisherman’s Wharf & Alcatraz we needed a bit of unwinding. We decided to have a late dinner/drinks at Tsunami Sushi Bar. I shoved a ton of spicy sushi things into my mouth (all of which were yummy), but the highlight of the night was the Umeshu Plum Sake:
 Dawn got it heated, I had it cold. I thought hers tasted like tea & mine tasted like juice. I prefer it cold, but would not turn it down either way. SOOO GOOD.
Tuesday we had another breakfast at Bean Bag Cafe before Ben & I ventured off on a bus tour of San Fran complete with trip across the Golden Gate Bridge. As it turns out we got on the wrong bus tour & ended up seeing ALL of San Fran. (As in much more than we had originally planned to/wanted to). After the never ended bus tour (that actually turned out to be decent), I was cold, tired & starving. We decided to check out the restaurant associated with the Chili Pie place. It was called Green Chili Kitchen. While I loved their pies/ice cream. I was not a fan of their actual food – skip their dinner, get the dessert. Their nachos were ok, but the chicken in the taco tasted like chicken boiled in water. ZERO flavor. Very meh. After having a whole week of awesome food I should have expected at this one let down & I would say this was it. Maybe it was because I was grumpy, but I was much happier when we got ice cream after than I was at dinner.
Wednesday was our last day in CA. We had to head from San Fran back to San Jose on the CalTrain again. Before we left San Fran though, we checked out a place called Herbivore. I do not fully understand this place because they claim to be Vegan, yet had a ton of meat products. I got some spring rolls & a yummy peanut sauce. Ben got some chili that was very good. The food was good, but the atmosphere threw me off. There was bar/dance club music at a place that seemed way too chill for that. I said & I quote myself, “I feel like I should have on less clothing & be dancing.” It was not really appropriate for a late lunch…. or ever. But that is absolutely a personal preference.
Once back in San Jose we went straight to the airport & enjoyed a bit of Ruby Tuesday’s & enjoyed some “normal” food (ie- chicken sandwiches, chicken fingers, burgers & fries). Dawn & I also got some Lavender Plum adult beverages since the boys had beers. The drinks were good, but I grabbed the little lavender tea bag that was in my drink & threw it in my water – & THAT was awesome. Lavender water was the high light of my Wednesday for sure. I also think it helped to relax me a bit before the oh so long plane ride home.
All & all we had an awesome fooding adventure in California. I came home happy & very full.
I consider that a GREAT vacation.
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my dreams

Not as in “here is a list of my hopes & dreams,” this is literally a list of some of the dreams I have had in the first 2 months of the year.

I decided to start writing down my dreams because:

  • They are usually insane, a lot of them are scary, but there are also some insanely funny & odd ones. to be honest, it is a bit scary what my subconscious comes up with
  • In the past, I have had a ton of reoccurring dreams, but I can never remember what they are about until I have them again. Since they reoccur, I assume they are important & it would be wise to be able to actually remember what they are about.
  • I am telepathic, or “tele-pathetic,” depending on how you look at it ; ) No really, I think I am. There have been soooo many times that I dream about something & then the exact thing happens. It is not “deja vu” because I dream about it days, weeks, or months before it happens. The only way I will be able to prove this (mainly to Ben that darn disbeliever) is if I have it written down & then it happens. Booo yah Ben. Proof in the printing. **EDIT: so it was not until I was re-reading all of my February dreams that I noticed this actually happened this month!! The night of February 23rd I had a dream I had a premature baby who was choking on some fluid at a wedding/some social event. February 26th a friend informs me that her baby (who was a preemie) had pneumonia the previous week (Feb. 20-25)!! So my dreams are not 100% accurate, but how weird is that!!**
  • It just seemed fun to have a log of my dreams for a year.

What I do is every morning, I type up what I remember from my dreams from the night before. Sometimes I remember all of the dream, sometimes there are multiple dreams, & sometimes it is just bits & pieces or images that stood out to me. The crazy part is, as I start to write what I remember, I begin to remember more & more. At first it was really hard to remember them. For instance, if I had a dream that woke me up in the middle of the night I had to actively recall & think about what the dream was about as I went back to sleep in order to remember the details of it. Now, it seems as if I can recall multiple dreams from one night without having to “replay” them in my head in the middle of the night.

I am not going to post all of them because that would be a TON (I have/remember a dream at least every 3 nights), but usually when I do dream, it is more than 1 in a night.

Without further ado, a sampling of my January & February dreams:

  • January 5: driving my parents van, speeding, & run into the back of an ambulance
  • January 7: 1. raised baby bears 2. working at Y12FCU (real life past employment) & had to deal with member who was very angry about savings bonds she had brought in to cash
  • January 23: MJ wanted a new car, I got her marbles that clanked together to hang in her rearview mirror
  • January 26: 1. at Home Depot taking a home organization class, boys from high school were there & we talked about my house in Westfield getting hit by lightning 2. went to a big party on an island with same group of boys from high school & it was in a castle. we had to hunt for sea food on a big fountain/stairs area & then we drove around in their cars
  • January 28: Ben gets kidnapped by Transformer like robots that hold him captive & I am unable to rescue him
  • January 30: living in a “compound” house (multiple housed joined together, multiple families in one large house). thought there was a break in & people were shot. ran into dining room & see Tina Fey laying on the floor. begin giving her CPR & mouth to mouth, but it turns out she is just choking on pop corn
  • February 1: Dad & I are in a personal air plane (just him, me, & pilot). I am sitting up front in the plane (which seems to be about the size of a car). The plane gets hit by a tornado & we are thrown to the ground, but all survive.
  • February 8: boy scouts are hiking in a big creek/river. one gets his leg stuck under a big rock. i try to help but cannot get to where he is. i try to call 911 multiple times, but they never come. it is hours later before they show up
  • February 18: really wanted a rocking chair (that is all I remember, but it is the truth, I do really want one)
  • February 26: involved in/watching a police car chase, they are going down lots of streets, bag guys turned down one street & there was a giant cheetah (like bigger than 2 houses) that the bag guys car ran into & the police catch them

Told you they were pretty awesome/random. That is seriously like 1/6 of all the dreams I have written down.

So, yeah. Not sure I actually want to know what some of those dreams mean. I have pretty much just decided that I am crazy. But you already knew that.   : )

my commute

Remember when I said I was getting use to the drive to work? A few days after I wrote that post I witness 2 accidents. The first was fairly simple & a common occurrence around here. Two cars were trying to merge into the same lane in front of me (because I am nice & let people merge into the lanes) so I had to beep to make sure they knew what was happening.

The second accident was SCARY. As I was in my exit only lane about to get off on the exit I take to work some idiot in the lane to my left was 1. not paying attention 2. on his cell phone 3. not awake or 4. all of the above. The guy who was in front of him was breaking & dumb dude had to SLAM on his to stop from rear ending him. I am talking major slamming (squealing tires, smoke, skid marks on the pavement). He got SO close to hitting the guy in front of him he had to turn into my lane (the lane to his right). The only problem with that move was that I was driving in that lane in the same place he thought he could occupy. Luckily there was a VERY small median on my right I could swerve into so I avoided hitting him & causing the 8 people behind me from slamming into me causing a major car accident.

AWESOME drive to work. Just awesome. But that has been the worst of it.

There are good parts to my drive though:

  • time to think. it is nice to have 20-30 minute in the morning to just think & sing at the top of my lungs (the drive home is usually 15-20 minutes & a mad dash, not very relaxing)
  • the view is pretty awesome

the Austin skyline - at nearly the end of my drive to work

  • being downtown at work has some perks & awesome views

Capitol building in my mirror on way home

  • besides all the other drivers & insane cars/trucks people down here have, the wildlife can get a bit wacky too

see all those black dots? that is a swarm of birds

At first I thought they were bats, because that is what the bats look like when they come out from under the bridges around here. But no way, those turned out to be birds. Birds everywhere!! It was pretty nuts. At the 2 stop lights before I got home I rolled down the windows & all you could hear were birds chirping. Sounds like spring is in the air : )

BIRDS!!

 

Besides the near death experience ever once & awhile, I am not hating my commute.

 

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our busy life

I have been terrible at updating this…. already.

The truth is, this past weekend our plans fell pretty short of crazy. But there were some pretty awesome movies we finally got around to seeing.

Prior to the weekend, I finished my first week at work (woo!!). Needless to say, getting back into the routine of getting up at 6:15/30 & ready to leave by 7:45 sort of kicked my butt. It was also sort of a stressful week as I got use to the 30 minute commute (occasionally longer) in crazy going downtown traffic (then crazy coming back north traffic on the way home). Today was day 6 of the drive & I am already getting braver though. The commute is not terrible, it is only 11 miles so on the rare occasion there is not much traffic I can breeze home in 15-20 minutes, but 30 is about average. People drive like maniacs, but I am learning how to cope with that – it is not defensive driving down here, it is intensive driving. Besides the drive, I am loving the company. It feels SO GOOD to be working with adult, productive, professional, & caring human beings. I cannot wait to actually get started on my actual work. (Hopefully more this week!!)

So after a bit of a fun filled week of getting into the routine of not having tons of free time, I was ready for a pretty chill weekend. Friday night we went to REI so I could try on some Vibrams (& figure out what size I am), ate some Panera (I LOVE PANERA!! YUM!!) & watched Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The movie was really good. There were certainly some parts that I thought were overly (& unnecessarily) graphic, but for the most part it was very thrilling & suspense-filled. I am not sure I would watch it again, just because now that I know the ending it sort of takes the thrill away, but it does make me curious about the other movies/books in that series.

Saturday, we went to Alamo Drafthouse to see Chronicle with some friends. I knew very little about what the movie was about going into it. Yet another really good movie. In the beginning, there was a scene that made me nearly jump into Ben’s lap. I certainly jumped a foot out of my chair – at a part of the movie not at all intended to be scary. Yup, I am awesome.

Before the movie we grabbed some half price appetizers & drinks at Cover3. Holy moly was it good food. & good drink (the Strawberry Basil something was to die for) & even the company was not half bad. 😉 If anyone comes to visit us in the near future, we are going to take you there. Just FYI. You might want to start preparing your stomach for the awesomeness now.

Sunday we did nothing. Ok so I knocked a few things off my to-do list & Ben got in a couple hours of video games, but other than that nothing. Oh, except for that nap I took. That absolutely qualified as something. & it was absolutely wonderful.

Ben & I are trying to get around to watching a bunch of those award winning movies we have yet to see. For example, I think Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is on the list. The only problem is I keep wanting to call it Tinkie Winkie. & that gives me nightmare of the Teletubbies my sister use to be obsessed with watching. If you do not know what they are, your soul remains pure & I recommend you keep it that way. Tree of Life is also on our to watch list. Perhaps this weekend we will get around to watching one of those!!