Saturday, November 25, 2006


The eagle eyed reader will have noticed me mention doing a stained glass course. I've been going on Thursday nights for the last 6 weeks. We are making one lead panel and one copper foil panel. Today I finished my lead panel. It's about 20 inches wide.

I made this!:

Friday, November 24, 2006


It's Thanksgiving weekend here in the US of A, the biggest holiday of the year. So, a few words about it.

But first, this - by request, here is a pic of the POS that Alan is currently driving, a Vlad, properly known as a Chevrolet Impala:

Word from the garage is that Alan's car is almost fixed but they are waiting on one more part. We should have it back soon....

Alan bought me my Christmas present a month early on Wednesday. He figured I might as well have the use of it. A shiny new wide-angle lens :-) Here's a pic from the first outing, from my favourite vantage point overlooking the bridge on Loop 360:

And now to Thanksgiving. I think this holiday is originally to thank the Founding Fathers for discovering America and creating the country. However it's basically a big family get-together during which Americans eat copious amounts of turkey. A big turkey dinner is the tradition; it's also known as Turkey Day.

We had been invited to join Alan's colleagues Steve and Sarah for Thanksgiving dinner, to which they had invited others as well. There were eleven people at dinner, some from the company and their respective wives/husbands. Sarah had made a great dinner, with sweet potato, roast veg, sweetcorn, broccoli, cornbread, British and American stuffing. Not to mention all the tasty nibbles beforehand.

Another of Alan's mob, Stef, turned up with a second turkey and his own means of cooking it. Deep-fried turkey! Here we introduce Thanksgiving dinner, Stef-style:

Take an enormous box of cooking oil:

And a turkey:

Pour the oil into the burner:

Wait for it to heat up to 350 degrees, and drink some beer:

One person should carefully and slowly lower the turkey in. The rest of the audience should retreat to a safe distance at this point. There will be much bubbling and hissing.

Cook it for 3 minutes per pound.

Here's the finished result. It was more moist than the oven-cooked one but they were both equally nice. The deep-frying didn't make it as oily as you'd imagine, at all.

So there you are, that's our first introduction to Thanksgiving. And very good it was too.

Today - the day after Thanksgiving - is known as Black Friday. This is when the sales start, the Christmas shopping commences, the stores all open at 5am (really) and the retailers go into the black financially for the first time in the year. From here on in, Christmas will be in earnest. Shopping will need to be done, lights will appear on the houses and I expect things to get generally mental. We will keep you posted.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

San Antonio and other things

We had our first visitor this week. Our friend Terry has finished his training in San Antonio and was travelling up country via parents and friends to rejoin Ericka in their new house in North Carolina. So his first stop was at our house in Austin. It was really good to see him. We went out to the Iron Works for some barbeque, then came back, watched TV and chilled out. Doesn't sound mega exciting I know but it was cool.

I had to go down to San Antonio myself last Friday. I've applied for my work permit, so the US Government decided they wanted another fingerprint and photograph, to check I was me, I assume. I had to be down there for 8am, which meant leaving Austin at 06:15. My trusty Jeep got me there in good time and I was out by 08:30. What to do, now I'd driven all the way down there? Go to the zoo, of course!

Off I went to San Antonio Zoo and spent a very pleasant few hours wandering around the various animals. They have a lot of birds, a Komodo dragon and lots of curious cats, amongst many other things. Here's a few pictures:

African animals

A pair of Fossa; very rare cat-like creatures from Madagascar

Two lizards in the reptile house.

We went to the Draughthouse on Friday night as seems to have developed into the usual. This fine establishment serves many excellent beers and is within walking distance of the house. Damn!

This morning we went out on our bicycles. We rode down Shoal Creek, to Town Lake, onto the hike and bike trail. It was a gloriously sunny morning, not too warm, just perfect for cycling. We were out for a couple of hours. Alan got his second puncture in as many times out on his new bike. Luckily it was on the way back, only a few hundred yards from the house.

In the afternoon we went to the cinema, to see 'Stranger than Fiction'. This is about a tax auditor who starts hearing a voice in his head narrating his life. When he discovers the voice belongs to an author who likes to kill off her main characters, he has to find her. It's a great film, go and see it!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mayfield Nature Preserve

I found a new place today, just off the end of 35th St down by the river. There are many trails here and it is very peaceful. The summerhouse has lovely gardens, filled with peafowl. They come right up to you if you stay still. There's a few photos here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Quick update

Just a small update to let any readers out there know we're still alive.

We went down to San Antonio last Saturday for Lackland AFB air show, which was very good. Pictures here. We met up with our friend Terry at the show, who is doing some training in San Antonio before he moves back up to North Carolina. He's coming to stay tomorrow night which will be good.

Sunday morning we went out onto the lake with Dave, who did some wake skating while Alan drove the boat and I lounged around ;-) Alan had a quick go at wakeboarding but stopped as his wrist was too sore. My shoulder is still dodgy so I gave it a miss this time. It was lovely to be out on the lake though, it was a very still, calm morning although it was very dull and grey. We were the only ones on the water aside from a fisherman.

Alan flew off to California on Sunday evening; he's back late tonight. He is annoyed though as he just phoned the garage and they told him that one of the load-bearing parts in the back of the car has been damaged, and they don't carry that part in the USA, so they will have to go back to VW Europe to find out what they can do. Quite why they don't have parts is beyond me. Looks like we will have a POS rental for a while yet.