Apr 20, 2010

Mystery plant

Earlier this year we spent time preparing the planting bed along the fence in the backyard.   We’ve planted zinnias, basil, morning glory, and transplanted a few other plants to the bed.   This little specimen, however, was not planted by us, but I’ve let it grow from a little seedling into this big leafy bush.   We’re not quite sure what it is yet.  I’ve tried googling images on the web and think it’s a green pepper.  It has some tiny white blooms on it, and I’ll wait to see what they turn into.  Several years ago I did have green peppers planted in this bed, so it very well could be a volunteer.

When and if I get confirmation of what this mystery plant is, I’ll post an update.

Apr 19, 2010

Indian paintbrush

This was one of the best years for wildflowers that I can remember, but they have peaked and are starting to fade.   I’m going to miss going out back every day to look for new arrivals.   This is a closer look at the indian paintbrush that showed up.   I think these flowers have one of the best names — the leaves/petals really do look like they’ve been dipped in paint.  I can’t wait until next year to see how they’ve multiplied.

Apr 16, 2010


A Toyota being pushed through the lobby of the Houston Omni Hotel.    Today is the Friday before the MS-150 bike ride weekend, which is a 2 day bike ride from Houston to Austin, raising money for fighting Multiple Sclerosis.   For the last 8 years or so I’ve been driving my cycling friends to the event in Houston, helping them with their gear and driving their truck back to Austin the next day.   I call it being a “sherpa.”   It’s alot of fun with my girlfriends, and a great deal – as they treat me to a wonderful dinner.

This year Lori and Laura are riding, and Irene has joined again for co-sherpa duties.   We were walking back to the hotel room late at night and saw them pushing this Toyota official MS-150 support vans through the lobby.   I guess they didn’t want to start the engine.  It was amusing though because the guy in the drivers seat kept putting on the brakes.

Anyway.   I could have taken lots of pictures of bikes, but this moment caught my fancy.

Apr 15, 2010


I made a batch of almond biscotti tonight for a road trip tomorrow.

Almond Biscotti (makes about 2 dozen)

2 c flour
1 c sugar
1 c slivered almonds
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 eggs + 1 egg white
vegetable cooking spray

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Combine wet ingredients in separate bowl, and then add to dry mixture, stirring until well blended.  The dough will be very dry.

Turn dough out onto  lightly floured surface and knead lightly 7-8 times.  Shape dough into 16″ long flat loaf.  Place loaf on baking sheet coated with cooking spray.   Flatten loaf to 1″ thickness.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins.   Remove loaf to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Cut loaf into approx 24 half-inch thick slices and place, cut sides down, on baking sheet.

Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees and cook 10 minutes each side (cook slightly less on each side if you like softer biscotti).   Remove from sheet to wire rack and let cool completely.


Apr 14, 2010

Feeding a monster

It’s that time of year.  If you paid any Federal Income Tax at all for 2009 you are one of the 53% of American households that carry 100% of the tax burden (ref).

I waited until just about the last day to put mine in the mail.

The following is worth reflecting on this Tax Day Eve…

The 10 Cannots (William Boetcker, 1916)

  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  • You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
  • And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

Apr 13, 2010


I had a flat from a nail in one of my tires last week.   I took it in and had it fixed.   Then this weekend I was running some errands and about half-way through discovered the same tire was flat again (grrr).   So today I took it back and they talked me into new tires all around, as they were pretty worn and someone used the word “dry rot.”     Hard to believe it had been about 6 or 7 years since I bought new ones.   How long are they supposed to last?

I love my Audi… it’s 13 years old and going strong.

Apr 11, 2010

Camelot crew

Wrapping up the psycho-killer reunion weekend, we headed to the lake today.   We took Cupholder out.    On our way out of Hurst Cove we saw Joe and Ken & Chris and their grandkids.

Lori and Dave took Camelot out with Wendy, Denyse, Lisa and Laura on board.   We sailed a bit and rafted up in Arky south cove for several hours.   On the way home we tied up to Joe on the mooring ball for a bit and fed the fish.

It was a good end to a fun weekend.

Apr 10, 2010


We went to a reunion of sorts at Lori’s tonight, of some of the folks that worked and played hard in Boca in the early days.    Simply could NOT keep these people from dancing (or whatever you’d call it).   Saw Lori, Dave, Rudy, Jake, Eric, Laurie, Doray, Tom, David H, Wendy, Denyse and Lisa.  Had a blast.

Apr 8, 2010

Lone paintbrush

In the wayback, the bluebonnets are doing great.   I think they’ve hit their peak, though, and will start to fade over the next few weeks.

When we sowed the bluebonnet seeds last year, which we harvested from behind the IBM 900 buildings, we also collected indian paintbrush seeds, along with some red poppy and a bunch of other wildflower seed.    The bluebonnets have really taken hold, but the other wildflowers just haven’t shown up — with the happy exception of this one (1) indian paintbrush which I was very excited to find.   It’s one of my favorites.

This is a shot of my lone indian paintbrush against a backdrop of bluebonnets.   Maybe next year I’ll have a dozen.