Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sold to the Highest Bidder!

It's been another fun summer weekend!  The weekend kicked off with the painting of the kitchen.  It's not put back together yet as there are some places that will be touched up tomorrow, but there will be pictures soon!  

Friday night, we enjoyed an evening of some seriously good mojitos, pizza, and dessert.  As good as the mojitos were, the company was even better.

Last week, David delivered a dumpster to an auction site.  He thought I needed to see this place for myself, so on Saturday we went to the auction.  He had done a great job of describing the place, but it really was something one needs to see to believe!  The man who had lived at the house was a collector of...everything.  Some might say a hoarder, but it wasn't like the hoarding shows we've watched on TV.  This was all very organized. 
 There's an Amish community nearby, and when we pulled up, this horse was waiting patiently in the woods.
 This is just the teeniest sample of this place.  There were several outbuildings like this one, and the outside and inside of each had small shelves covering every surface.  Each shelf was filled to overflowing with plates, mugs, jars, bells, and figurines.  Inside the larger shop building was an incomprehensible amount of stuff...all organized.  The two house trailers on the property were also filled, as was another barn.  One large section of the 15 acres looked a little like a lumber yard - all sorts of building supplies all sorted by size and type.  There were too many outbuildings to count...all full.  I've never seen anything like it.  To sell each item individually would have taken weeks, so they auctioned off groups of things - such as the entire contents of the outside walls of each building.
 I'd spotted an ironstone platter near the bottom of one of the outside walls of a building, but I sure didn't want to buy EVERYTHING on the outside.  Once that building sold, they announced that the man who bought it would sell individual pieces if anyone was interested.  David found him for me and he accepted my great offer of $3 for the platter.  He marked in sold in the layers of dirt. :)
 I was excited to bring it home and clean it up.  Under that dirt was a pretty old platter with just one small chip.
Now rather than get dirtier and dirtier every time it rains, it sits shiny and clean at the back of the top shelf of my ironstone collection.  I've bought all those pieces at flea markets, but that piece definitely has the best story!

There were some other things we were interested in there, but there was SO much stuff and they didn't seem to be getting any closer to the flatbed trailers where our treasures sat, so we came on home.  The ticks and mosquitoes weren't the only things biting out in the woods though - I think we've both been bitten by the auction bug!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Color Me Happy

A couple of weeks ago, I was having dinner with my friend Christina.  We were talking about the recent weekend she spend helping a friend paint a few rooms in her house.  It reminded me David's bathroom really needs to be painted as I didn't prep it well enough when I painted it 9 years ago, and some of the paint has come off where there was still wallpaper glue.  And the kitchen hasn't been painted at all since we've lived there, even though I really intended to have someone do that when we put in new counters and sink 2 years ago. 
Our conversation inspired me to want some things painted, however it did not inspire me to paint those rooms myself.  I remembered getting an e-mail from one of the art teachers at my school that he was painting (houses, not pictures) this summer.  Perfect!  Before I could change my mind, I called him and responded to his e-mail.
 He'll come over this week to check out the project and give me an estimate, then we'll schedule the day (days?) for him to come and paint.  I'm pretty excited about the prospect of having a freshly painted kitchen and bath!
The bathroom color wasn't hard to decide.  It's already a dark blue, so we're going with just a little lighter blue.  The kitchen though was another story.  I started with all of the paint colors in the top picture.  After consulting with my interior decorator (okay, so it was Mom and David), I narrowed it to four.  Finally, there were two.  Being able to have sample sizes mixed is new since the last time I painted, and what a treat!  I think that would have prevented some of my color mistakes in the past!

We've decided on the top color, which is called Honey Beige.  It happens to be the exact same color as Edwardian Gold that was my kitchen and dining room at my first house as well as our current master bedroom.  I think it will be a nice warm color in our kitchen, and I can't wait to have it done!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Jimmy At the Drive-In

We got to see our second Jimmy Buffett concert last night!  That's two within a month!  This one was a little different though...and wonderfully laid back.  Jimmy was performing at the Coyote Drive-In in Ft. Worth - we heard that tickets for that sold out in 10 seconds.  Not 10 minutes, not 10 hours.  Ten.  Seconds.  Crazy!  The good news was that the concert was also broadcast to 87 drive-in movie theaters around the country.
 The closest one to us was in Marshall, AR.  It's about a 2 hour drive from us.  Thankfully, David is more adventurous than I am and he seemed to think that we could go AND be bright-eyed and bushy tailed at work on Friday morning.
 We called to see if four-legged movie goers were allowed and were happy to learn that leashed pets were welcome.  So Riley got to attend his first (maybe only?) Jimmy Buffett concert!
 It was a nice, relaxed event.  Not too crowded and the attendees were strangely subdued - not at all like the parking lot party before the concerts we've been too.
 While we waited for it to get dark, we enjoyed our picnic, a little live music, and a lot of people watching.
 Once it was dark, the show started.  It was a really easy way to watch a concert!  On the way out, I thought I'd snap a quick picture of this sign.  But oh no!  My phone!
I quickly remembered that I'd used my phone to take a few pictures, then put it in the drink holder of my chair.  After the show, we were gathering up trash, loading up our picnic basket, and wrangling the dog.  I forgot all about my phone, and David didn't know I'd left it in the chair when he folded them up.  As soon as we realized what had happened, we pulled into a parking lot and checked the chair and bag.  No phone. :(  We headed back, found our parking spot and started looking around.  It was very quickly located, laying forlornly in the grass.  It was a little damp, but otherwise no worse for the wear.  Whew!  All's well that ends well.  We headed home after a great evening.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sweet Summertime

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 
― Henry James

In the summer, I work an extra hour each day Monday-Thursday, and only a half day on Friday.  I don't love that schedule Monday-Thursday, but I really enjoy it on Friday!  My weekend started with a lunch date with David, followed by a good long nap, and pizza for dinner.
 On Saturday, we took Riley to an event called Bark in the Park, which is a fundraiser for our local off-leash park.  We enjoyed seeing all the different breeds of dogs that were there.  Then we took a walk around the lake at the park and I took a stroll through the hosta garden.  It looks exceptionally lush this year with all the rain and cool weather we've had.
 After Bark in the Park, we went to the annual June Bug Jamboree - a car show dedicated to Volkswagons - to stroll among the cool old cars and buses.  This one might be in my price range - a VW tent! :)
 I put out little flags to celebrate Flag Day,
 and spent some quality time gazing up at the leaves from my hammock.
 I finally took down the Easter wreath from the front door, and put together this summer look.
 On Sunday, we woke up to rain, but had sun by afternoon.  For Father's Day, we celebrated with my Dad and Mom with a delicious smoked brisket dinner that David made. Riley was happy to try to get in my Dad's lap for an extra "Happy Father's Day" snuggle.
All weekends are pretty good, but summer weekends are especially great!

Thank you to my faithful readers, Mom and Leila.  I'm pretty sure you're the only ones still checking the blog and I appreciate all your kind comments on the vacation posts! :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Sun's Dropping Out of the Picture, Soon Be Time to Move

We didn't get enough of the beach the day before, so we opted to spend our last day of vacation guessed it! The Beach!  First we checked out this fishing pier and watched some surfers.

 Then we found a great spot on the beach without too much seaweed and set up our chairs.  I put Riley's life jacket on and tried to coax him further out in the water, but after a wave crashed over his head, he decided he liked standing in it up to his knees a little better.
 We spent the day much like the one before, lazing around on the beach, lunch, driving, then some more lazing around on the beach.  Some of our vacations are filled with everything we can pack in, so it was a nice change of pace to just be still.  After a nice day on the beach, we again left the puppy to nap and headed to dinner.
 This is David's soft shell crab po-boy.  I opted for a cheeseburger this time, but we also had mini crabcakes as an appetizer.  It was all very tasty, but I think everything tastes better after a day near the water.
 The sunset isn't a big celebration in Port Aransas like it is in Key West, but we found a great place to watch it.  As the sun finally disappeared, David spotted a dolphin fin out in the water.  For the next few minutes, we watched as several dolphins danced in the bay waters.  Neither of us had seen a dolphin in the wild, and it was a pretty cool experience!

The next day we headed home bright and early as we had about 14 hours of travel ahead of us.  Riley spent about 13 hours and 45 minutes sacked out on the dog bed in the back seat.  I think he liked vacationing with his people!

**Post title from "Oldest Surfer on the Beach", by Mark Knopfler, performed by Jimmy Buffett

Monday, June 9, 2014

Back to the Island, Honey, Back to the Sea

On our first full day at the beach, we loaded up and headed to Padre Island National Seashore, about 30 minutes away.  

I'm not sure how it is on weekends, as we were there on a Monday, but it was a nice, secluded beach.  Now I have an idea what a deserted island might feel like! :)  I've so far left out a very important fact about the beaches can drive on them!  In fact, to get anywhere on the beach, you've got to drive.  Parts are drive-able in two-wheel drive, while other parts require four-wheel drive due to soft sand.  As you can imagine, this was right up David's alley.

We relaxed on the beach for a while in the morning, then drove down to see the sights while the sun was too high in the sky for us to be out.  We headed back toward Port Aransas, stopping by Mustang Island State Park on the way back.  Riley was good and worn out, so after cleaning up, he got to take a nap in his kennel while while we went to dinner.  There isn't much in the seafood category that I care to eat, but I do like crab cakes.  Since we were eating right by the water, I opted for this "crabby burger".  It was delicious!

This was the beautiful view from our table during the golden hour before sunset.  A person could get used to this life!

**Post title from "The Wino and I Know," by Jimmy Buffett

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Taking Our Pony to the Shore

I don't remember the details, but in one of Jimmy Buffett's books, one of his characters loads up his pony to take him to the ocean.  There is also a song about that story (or maybe the story was about the song?)  As we discussed the pros and cons of taking Riley on vacation, that became our joke, that we were taking our pony to the shore.
 The day after the concert, we got up and headed toward the gulf.  I was eager to get Riley out and see what he thought.
 He was a little apprehensive at first, but he warmed up to the idea.
 He was happy to get his feet wet and sniff all the many things there are to sniff at the ocean.  That's seaweed in the picture above on the left, and it was abundant.  Apparently it's pretty common there in the spring and fall.
We crave a beach visit once in a while just like we crave a trip to the desert, so it was great to get our toes in the sand.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

At Grammy's House - By Gracie

I don't know why that dog likes going on rides in the car so much.  I rode in the car for almost an hour to get to Grammy's and I didn't enjoy it.  I expressed my displeasure all the way.  Maybe if I could stick my head out the window like that dog does, I might like it more.
 I don't really like having to leave my territory, so I was grumpy when I got to Grammy's.  But there are lots of good things about staying there.  Toys for one.  I used to have toys and I really like playing with them.  I can't have toys any more though, because that dog eats them like they are dog treats.  I can tell the difference between toys and treats, but I don't think he's as smart as I am.
 I also like getting special attention at Grammy's.  Even though I am cranky and hiss, Grammy lets me sit on her lap and we watch TV.
 And she plays with me!  With toys!
 I also like Grammy's house because there are new places to nap.  
There are also new sunny spots for me to enjoy!  I would have been lonely at home, so I'm really glad I got to go to Grammy's where I get extra attention.  I was also glad to come home and wait for the people to come back.  I really hoped they would have left that dog in Texas, but they brought him home.  Maybe next time.

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere

The beginnings of this trip were in February, when David gave me tickets to see Jimmy Buffett for Valentine's Day.  We had lawn seats for my first JB concert, and over the years we have progressed to some pretty good seats.
 But this time, well, these seats are going to be hard to beat.  We were on the third row - THIRD row!  Just before the concert began, we turned around to see all the crowd behind us.
 We were so close that you could see the facial expressions of Jimmy and the band onstage.  The picture below is taken without any zoom.
 This one was taken just with the zoom on my phone.  It was a fantastic and very memorable concert!
I hope we can make it to more concerts, but I'm not sure how we'll possible top these seats!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Foodies in Austin

If you've read our other vacation posts, or traveled with us, you'll already know that food is a big part of any of our trips.  It was a little more complicated this time since we had our four-legged companion, but Austin turned out to be quite pet-friendly.

 Our first stop Saturday morning was at the Lone Star Bakery for the famous Round Rock Donuts.  We've been here before and couldn't resist a trip back.  Riley and I waited in the truck in a nice shady spot while David got in line for donuts.  It's always a busy place, but they've got a good system for getting people through.  Soon he returned with a dozen still warm delicious yellow donuts.  Mmmmm!
 One of the things David had found to do with a dog in Austin was Red Bud park, an off leash park where dogs can play and swim.  Riley is always happy to jump in the water, and he made a few new dog friends.  It was a beautiful park with lots of shade.  That was a good thing, because Austin is HOT!
After much research into Austin's many famous BBQ options, we stopped at John Mueller's Meat Company, which consists of a trailer, a smoker, another trailer for storage, two port-a-pots, and some picnic tables under tents all on a dirt lot.  They're open until they run out.  Riley and I waited in a shady spot (do you see a pattern here?) while David got in line.  About 15 minutes after we arrived, they closed the gate.  As they began to run out of things, David and I texted back and forth.  After my first choices were crossed off the menu, I opted to have whatever was still available.  I've never been quite so glad not to get what I thought I wanted.  I don't ever order brisket, but that was the meat that was left and it was amazing.  Ah-maze-ing.  This was one of the finest meals of our trip - a spicy dill pickle, three slices of white bread, and a pound and a half of the best brisket we've ever tasted.  The sauce isn't even necessary, as the brisket was so moist and tender, but it was also really good.
As if we needed another reason to love this place, they had no problem with Riley joining us at the picnic table while we ate.  If we're back to Austin, we'll definitely eat here again!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Riley the Wonder Springer Takes a Vacation

Once upon a time, there was a spoiled dog who preferred to sleep on chairs and couches in the air conditioning.  He was accustomed to a certain standard of living, and when his usual vacation accommodations were unavailable, Riley's people were in a bind.  Riley's Grandpa generously offered to spend the weekend with him, but that seemed like such an imposition.  Riley, David, and Erin visited a recommended boarding facility, but it just wasn't home.  It didn't seem like Riley would be very happy there, and if the puppy wasn't happy, Riley's people just couldn't enjoy their vacation.

That's how it came to pass that one early Friday morning, the truck was packed with people and pet luggage, and the back seat was turned into luxurious dog quarters.

Riley watched the packing with increasing anxiety.  In an effort to convince his people that he should be allowed to go, he sat very still and made pleading eyes at them.

It was a vacation different than any we've taken, but Riley turned out to be a very good traveler.  The first day of our trip was mostly spent in the car, so we took some time to play when we stopped at a park in Oklahoma for lunch.  Riley thought frisbee within the fenced tennis courts was great fun!  Sorry the video is sideways!

More of Riley's Texas Adventure to come.