Monday, September 21, 2015

Running and strolling

Sunday began remarkably early, especially by Sam's standards. He signed up for a marathon relay through his work because it supported a nonprofit that his office shares a business with and they got guilted into it. This led to us being downtown a little before sunrise. 

Sam wondering why he is up this early. 
 Sam's team decide to go renegade. Instead of each running their four miles and change separately and passing the baton, they all ran together. Or actually most of them walked, but Sam ran the whole way. I was impressed considering he just signed up a few weeks ago and hadn't really trained at all.

While waiting for the runners to finish, I drank coffee and took photos of the empty park. 
Sam nearing victory.
 Since we were up anyway, after the race we decided to take a little day trip to Wemberly. It's a cute little town. We'd driven through to get gas after going to Jacob's Well and wanted to check it out more thoroughly. Unfortunately, it's one of those places where you just stroll around and look at stores and galleries. We hadn't yet considered that walking around aimlessly would not be ideal day for someone who had just run several miles. We ended up bagging the gallery walking pretty soon and just getting some lunch. Still, I feel like we got the gist of it.

Sam in front of some cute store we didn't go in. 
There were a bunch of painted boots around Wemberly. I saw a brochure at one point saying "Wemberly is Bootiful" that probably would have explained their significance. 
A pretty view on the walk to lunch
As a final note, specifically for my readers who are also artists: I talked to a couple gallery owners during our Wemberly walk-a-about. The two I talked to both kept a very local selection, but there were a bunch more that we didn't go in, so there are still many potential places to exhibit.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

House and home

Apologies for the long delay in blog posting. I've been putting all my writing energy into doing paid freelance work over the last few weeks. I love all of my blog readers, but until you pay me by the word, that will sadly take precedence. I also realized I'm not really sure what this post will be about. I feel like our adventures lately have been less exciting/interesting/photo-worthy and more domestic/learning things about homeownership-y. 

For example, we recently learned that we were supposed to be watering our trees all summer. The tree guy who came by (which also: why is tree trimming to expensive?) explained that our six ash are not long for the world due to age and also that they're dying of thirst. This is one of many many seemingly obvious truths to homeownership, or in this case tree ownership, that I feel like I was already supposed to know. How could the trees survive the last 15 years without being drought resistant? At any rate, we've learned you pay a price for that shade.

In addition to spending money on our trees last month, we had another homeowner milestone: buying a grill. We had a bunch of people over for a Labor Day BBQ. It does seem nice that the weather is finally getting lovely out so that we can enjoy our backyard again. I'm looking forward to more gardening now that I'm not worried everything will instantly die. 

A photo of Sam grilling like a pro. I took this through the window with the rest of our guests. It was still really hot. 
 Another big purchase (I feel like all we really did last month is spend money) was to finally outfit our kitchen nook. For those unfamiliar with the floor plan of our house, it has a galley kitchen that ends in a little windowed room at the front of the house, presumably intended for a breakfast area. Frankly, I think the whole kitchen layout should be changed and that space better incorporated. Since we're not going to do that, we needed a new plan, as for the last 6 months that room has been used only for the cat food and litter box. Enter the Crate and Barrel kitchen island. It will provide more prep space outside of the small kitchen while also doubling as a place to have coffee in the morning.

This photo was totally staged. There's nothing in Sam's coffee mug. But this is theoretically where we would drink real coffee in the mornings. 
This photo has nothing to do with home projects, but I made slow cooker coq au vin for a dinner party the other day and this pic was on my phone. Might not look like much, but it was delicious! 
This next project was actually done a while ago, but is still something I'm proud of and (I don't think) ever actually posted about. I wanted a new coffee table but didn't want to pay for the one I liked at World Market, so I made one. Of course, by the time I got all the materials, the price of the one at World Market had dropped, and I only ended up saving about $50. BUT, mine also turned out looking nicer, so I'm happy. I keep waffling about also trying to make a dining room table, but I know that's a much bigger project, so I'm trying to keep my ambition in check, at least until I actually learn how to use a jig saw. Or figure out what a jig saw is. 
Coffee table. Here was the inspiration for it (which I'm happy to see is no longer on sale). 

I think that's about all of the random home projects we've done lately. Hopefully will have more interesting (and god willing, less expensive) adventures to post of soon. Until then, I'm just glad to be done with freelance projects for the year. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A pair of visitors

We're always excited to have takers on our offer of guest room and this weekend in particular we had a couple of excellent guests: my parents. They were in town just for a visit but they also took us out for some excellent meals, entertained me on my last summer Friday, and graciously put in several hours of assembly work for a rather large Bard's Cards order. Thanks for that!

While they were here, we visited the Blanton and the Ransom Center. Our year long membership is nearly up at the Blanton, and I can't say we've ever really taken advantage of it. It's not a huge museum, and they don't have anything well known in their collection, but it's still worth popping in from time to time. Also on Friday, after dinner, we stopped by to see the bats come out. The last time I'd tried, the bats came out too late and it was too dark to really see them. This time we were right in the high season. They really are quite a sight. 

People, and some bats, as taken from Sam's iphone. I would be interested to see more of the pics/videos my dad took on his fancy camera

Us waiting fairly patiently for the bats to make their appearance. Unfortunately, you can't set your clock by bats. 
On Saturday, we had two excellent meals. In between, to work up an appetite for the next eating occasion, we went to UT to see the tower. I'd never been up in it, and really is a pretty nice view of the city. The tour didn't go into some of the darker parts of the tower's history, but the amount of security you go through to get up there covers that well enough.
View from the top! Not that you can really see the view behind us. 
Thanks again for coming to visit, parents! We'll try to return the favor and make it out to Houston sometime soon.