Saturday, December 31, 2011

the end of 2011... and it's been a while!

I know, it's been a while since I've posted on my super duper blog... Life has been super duper crazy with school and all... and I've been a bad blogger.  My apologies, millions of readers!  Here's a little trimmed down version of what's been going on in my life this fall!

I've made pots in my new studio!  Love it!  I was gonna do a full on blog on the studio this fall but things got in the way, more on that later.  Long story long, Mike bought me a new wheel, a shimpo whisper, and I LOVE IT!  Not enough time to make pots right now though... I've made a few though, and they're all gone as gifts.  

Liz and Gabey came during the fair and we took the train, went through a tunnel, on the ferris wheel, and did the whole State Fair of Texas thing.  It was great!

Here we are on the train!

Here's Gabe with 'his Uncle Mike'.  

I did A LOT of teaching.  Seriously, they're wearing me out!  This year has been a doozie, with me teaching welding in addition to my ceramics and AP 3D design!  Whew, that's all I got to say about that!

My students during the 'Chair' critique.

We also went to Austin to see Gabe for his 2 year birthday!

Here he is at his birthday party!  He's getting the present idea!

... And here is Gabe with 'His Uncle Mike!'

I worked some more!  Here is the kiln, Gail, getting started for a firing!  Nice work!  Nice kiln!

... And I graded LOTS of papers!  (that reminds me... I've got papers to grade, UGH!)

... And Mike and I went to the World Series with the Rangers!  This is the final game in Texas!  We had a blast!

Then, this happened!!!!!

We GOT ROBBED!!!!!  AGAIN!!!!!!
They busted a rock through my guest room window!!!!

Here's the rock!

Here's what they did to my window!!!

 And all the glass everywhere!  SUCKED!  They took my macbook air, the school's laptop, and my bucket of change in my closet!!!!!!! F'ers!!!  So, when we had the police out to file a report, we showed the officer around and she asked if they ransacked the house at all, and I replied that they tore up Mike's closet.  He gave me a blank stare.  We walked back to his closet to find this.

You, too would think it had been ransacked too!  NOPE!  This is normal.  (He has cleaned it out since)

So, ALL My pictures were on my computer!  I had to get a new one.  All of my blogging material!  Nooooo!!!!!

So... Anyway,  I've been running a lot this fall, especially with BTDubRunClub!  We ran the Jingle Bell Run on December 21st!  It was a 5K.  Fun!

Here we are after one of our latest runs.  

I also fired the Gail a few more times, getting ready for the holidays.

My dogs are doing well!  Going on many walks with Mikey and enjoying relaxing in the house!  Here's Luke!

... And Ruby!

Finally, I've been making some works of my own in the studio!  If this one survives, I plan to weld a 'Planter' for her.

So, I've missed you all... and I'm glad to be back!  Happy New Year everyone!


PS... I'll try to be a better blogger!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

BT Dub... Run Club

We started a running club at school... It's an unofficial club but we're running nonetheless.

We did our first run yesterday.

We are using a training app that works us up to running all the way.  So, basically, we are running / walking.  But it is a workout!  We went 4 miles yesterday on the Katy trail in just under an hour.  Here's a picture of us around mile 3.25 at the watering hole.  It was so much fun!


- btw... run club!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

flint and bones

Last weekend was a three day weekend.  I have missed seeing my sister in Austin, and I have a student that has been wanting a full bone skeleton for his AP artwork.  We'd been working with my best HS girlfriend, Heather, this summer, on getting bones to Dallas from Llano.  There had been some mis-haps in the bone shipping department that was getting frustration from both ends.  I figured that I could kill two birds with one road trip.  The solution was to go visit Sister, then go visit Heather and bring the bones (skulls and whatever else we could find) back to Dallas so we could just get on with the art making.  

After spending the night with Sister and her family (more on that next post), I went to Llano on the last hot as hades day of the season (so far).  Upon my arrival, she had her friend, Kreg, come fetch us and take us out to the ranch he's a foreman at to go look for arrowheads and bones.  It's on the outskirts of Llano in beautiful, but very hot and dry country.

Here are Heather and I as we begin our searching.

 Along the ranch road, we find this old, circa 1850 drilling mine.  I don't have any clue what they are mining for, but the remains are really cool... There is a spring behind this outcrop, which is pretty much dried up, save a little water behind it.  Apparently, this was a water driven apparatus with a wheel that did something, what, I don't know... but it's old and neat.

Moving right along... Here is the big granite outcrop that overlooks the road from Llano to Burnett.  It doesn't look very big but it is.  It's the same geological feature that creates 'Enchanted Rock' that is off the road between Llano and Fredricksburg... Just on a smaller scale.  We found lots of flint chips and a few arrowhead pieces in this area... plus a few bones.

It's pretty out here.

More good scenery.


Granite outcrop.

Funny, colorful rock.

Better funny colored rock!

So, after I was about to stroke out (not really, I cooled off with cold water from the cooler that made me scream so loud that Perry, the other ranch hand who was like a mile off, thought I had gotten bit by something), we headed back to Heather's house where we really got to fix some very, very local food!

Local, freshly killed dove!  Dove season had just opened and Heather's roommate, Ernie, had shot these the day before.  He cleaned and de-boned the breasts, skewered them with jalapeno and bacon, and grilled 'em!  OMG!

Heather and I raided her neighbor's garden (she's out of town for the month... so it's not like we took her dinner!) for these greens!  Also on the menu, local pears that Heather picked in San Saba and poached in red wine!  Heather has always been a great cook!  YUMMO!

Here's Heather and Caleb, Ernie's catahoula/lab mix... We were calling him a 'Catalab'!  He's such a sweet doggie!  

The skewering action going on!

...And the finished dinner!  

So, home I came Monday morning with the buckets of bones that magically appeared on Heather's door step that morning from her ranch friends for me!  


Of bones...  And a few deer heads!

Good times! 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

watch your step!

Today the funniest, strangest, klutzy thing happened to me! (ok... shut up... I know I'm a klutz... there is a reason one of my mother's nick names for me is 'Grace').

So...  I'm going to school... a little tired as it's been a crazy week with school starting and all.  I've been parking in the 'senior' parking lot because it is an underground parking lot right across the street and covered parking = cool car in the afternoon when you get in your car.  It's still hot as hades, Y'all!  My deodorant melted the other day when I had to park in the faculty parking lot (I go to the gym before work every day, that's why I have deo in my car).

ANYWAY... as I'm walking around the school to go inside by the loading dock, which is by my classroom that I need to unlock, and by the time clock that I have to 'thumb-in' before I walk to my office and proceed with checking school e-mails and get ready for class.  I'm walking behind a student I don't know who is walking pretty slowly.  I've got to clock in by 8:15am.  I cut through the grass around this student when my foot drops a foot in the ground!!!!! I face plant in the grass, dress goes up, all my shit goes everywhere, lunch, purse, computer case, me, all on the grass!!!!!  Cars are driving into the faculty parking lot, who knows who saw me!!!! I then stand up, pull my foot up to find my shoe is sucked into this hole, and I can't see a hole!  Shoe gone!  Grass and mud on my leg... no shoe and no hole!  WHAT????  The young man stops to help me (nice guy) gather my shit, and I start fishing around in the grass to find this huge hidden hole with my shoe in it.  I put my shoe on, gather what's left of my composure, and proceed to school... dignity lost in that hole.

I share my story with some laughs and some unnecessary sympathy (It's funny, y'all... I don't need your sympathy!).  Then it occurs to me to tell the head custodian, Alan, who is awesome, by the way, about said hole.  We laugh about the story and then I show him the hole.  His reaction is disbelief that this huge hole is hidden in the grass for anyone to plop their foot into!  After he placed a cone on it with intentions to take care of the situation, I decided to take pictures of the offending hole!

Here's the pylon over the hole so other people don't step in it...

Here my alien finger is pointing out the hole after I moved the grass out of the way... Danger Danger!

Here's my foot with the shoe that got sucked in.  I'm sure glad I found it... that'd be hard to explain, and harder to teach sculpture without a shoe!

I probably will have a bruise on my other knee that planted on the ground before the rest of my body.  Thank goodness it was on grass and I wasn't hurt further!

Oh well... Makes a good story though!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

my other new food obsession...

Vietnamese food!

Mike and I have probably eaten Vietnamese food at least 2 times per week this summer... and with a summer like this, you need some light, fresh, goodness like Vietnamese food to soothe the heat anguished soul.  **

We went to a new place about a month ago and re-visited it right before school started.  It's in Addison, which is not too close for me to just hop in for lunch, a lunch date with Mikey is a must if I'm going to enjoy this kind of goodness.

It's called Pho Que Huong.

This is the entry way.  It's in a strip mall on Inwood and Belt Line.

Inside the restaurant.

Here's me.

... and Mikey.

We ordered and our food came out quickly.  One thing to know about Vietnamese restaurants and their culture...  Order everything up front and don't be alarmed if you don't get much service after the meal is served.  The servers will deposit the check after your food is served, and you are supposed to pay at your leisure when you are done, usually at the counter.  They think it is rude to harass the customers while they are eating.

Our apps arrive... pork meat balls and spring rolls with dipping sauce.  The meat balls were OK, the spring rolls, heavenly!  The traditional way to eat the spring roll is to roll it in the lettuce with the carrots and cucumber and pour a touch of the dipping sauce (a mix of carrot, chili, and a sweet rice wine vinegar  with fish sauce) on it, roll it up like a taco and eat!  YUM!!!  (seriously)

We also ordered a Bhan Mhi sand which, which is a vietmnese sand which on a french roll with the cucumber carrot thing, cilantro, jalapenos, and grilled chicken.  Truly amazing!

My spring roll in all her goodness!

 Then we get the Pho!  It's a brothy soup with rice noodles and chicken.  You also get a side order of bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, jalapenos and lime.  We shared the soup.  Each bowl gets some broth, chicken, noodles and fixings.

Here is my bowl about to eat.  Let me tell you something!  I've never had such good Pho!  The broth was amazing and it seems that the noodles were cooked in that broth because they also were amazing!  So flavorful and toothsome!  DELISH!

So, if you can... go eat some Vietnamese food!  It will change your life! (maybe not... but who knows...)

** Unless you've been living in a box, or not anywhere near North Texas, or Texas for that matter, You know that it's been brutally hot this summer!  We are officially at #2 status of hot summers... with 60 days so far of +100 degree heat, and it's not letting up anytime soon.  Today's high was 107!  107, Y'all!  It's the end of August and 107 seems normal now!  Really????  I don't know if I can take it anymore!  UGH!

We normally get 16 days of +100 degree heat.  Just sayin!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

best. crabcakes. EVER!

It was our last day at 'Pier Relief' in Fairhope, Alabama... Liz and Gabe left after lunch.  We went to downtown Fairhope for lunch and found a little 'blue plate special' type of diner and I got the pork chops with greens and green beans... yummo!  Upon our return, Momma took a nap and I was out on our porch when I found this log in the water...

...Looks just like a dragon!  See it???

Anyway... Mom and I decided, instead of trying the fancy restaurant again, and spending much money on questionable food, we'd make crab cakes from the 14 crabs left over from the crab boil.

While Mom was napping, (I'm not a big napper), I decided it was the perfect time to pick the crabs for the meat of our dinner.  If you ever, EVER, questioned the price of good, premium crab meat, let me tell you what!  It took me 3 hours to pick the 14 crabs!  It's a lot. of. work!  But the rewards are unbelievable!  The resulting crab was so fresh, so unpasteurized, so unbelievably good!  Superb, in fact!

Here is the fruit of my efforts!

The claw meat is in the little red bowl, crab fingers.  In the yellow bowl is my lump crab meat, and to the right is some of my crab shells.  We netted about 3 cups of crab meat bliss!  You'll notice a touch of 'the recipe' is in the top of the picture.  I had to finish the crab pickin' after Momma got up and we were having a little toast for sunset.

Here are views of our last sunset in Fairhope, AL.  Beautiful, and on the water!

Beautiful!  I hope we can go back!

Back to my crab cake makin...  I finely chopped about 1/3 cup of each: sweet onion, red bell pepper, and celery, mixed that in a bowl with the crab, gently, and added some old bay seasoning.  To that I added two eggs, and a scant 1/2 cup of bread crumbs made from Melba crackers (I think that's what they were).  I very gently mixed these with my hands and made them into small balls (bigger than a ping pong ball, smaller than a tennis ball).  I arranged the balls on a cookie sheet with wax paper and put them in the freezer for a while to firm up, cause they were tender and loose... I didn't want them to fall apart and I also didn't want a lot of filler in them.  This is all for at least 3 cups of crab.

Here they are resting in the freezer.

Once they were very firm (almost frozen), I brushed an egg white wash on them and rolled em in panko breadcrumbs and pan fried them in veggie oil, just a smidge.

Here is the assembly line...

Here I am cooking...

So, meanwhile, Momma makes a MEAN salad.  We're dedicated mean salad girls.  We can make a mean salad, and keep your bottled salad dressing away from our salads!  And she makes a spicy mayo sauce for the crab cakes.

We plated our salad and crab cakes, Mom drizzled some sauce atop the crab cakes, and we had dinner with a nice Pino Gris!

Here is our dinner table!


It literally was the best dinner of the vacation, and as Momma declared, the best crab cakes she'd ever had!  (me too for that matter!!!!)

The crab was so fresh and clean, light on the breading, and perfect with the panko crust, tender inside, and tasty sauce!  Delish!

With our trip coming to a close... we slept like babies until the thunderstorms came in at 3am, Miss Lucky got kicked out of Mom's bed and came to have her anxiety attack in my room with me, all night long!  We packed up with the rain the next morning, and drove to New Orleans for me to fly home that afternoon.

What a wonderful trip I had!  Thanks MOMMA!

School starts with kiddos tomorrow... I'm excited to see what the new school year brings!

Thanks for reading... If you're reading this, YOU ROCK!