Exchange of DIY ditties.

Monte asked me to make him a mask, since the ones he’s been using are either too small or uncomfortable.  So I finally knocked out my first homemade COVID mask, custom made to his specifications.  🙂

IMG_0863

I then asked him to make me a frame for a piece of art that our niece, Laura, drew and sent to me.  He knocked it out, custom made to my specifications. 🙂  I just LOVE this drawing.  Laura requested people to send her photos of their quarantine workspaces, which she then drew in watercolors.  I sent her a picture of my craft space in my office, which is where I sat to make Monte’s mask.

IMG_0867

Keeping busy in the time of COVID….

 

 

Sweetness in the mailbox.

Monte and I have enjoyed joining his sister’s family zoom sessions.  Her adult kids and young grandkids live in 3 different cities.  They all join.  We join when we can.  It’s special.

Last week my great-niece, Adelle, showed everyone one her latest project, making bracelets out of colorful rubber bands.  We all asked for one of our own, and little Adelle delivered!  They arrived in the mail today.  I picked Seahawks colors, and I absolutely love it!

Thank You Adelle!

 

 

3-way, baby!

I was introduced to Cincinnati Chili late in life, at a Skyline Chili restaurant while visiting southeastern Indiana and Ohio. Better late than ever, though! I was hooked.

I’ve been trying to make the quarantine-induced endless stream of home-cooked meals interesting, so I dusted off a recipe from our Joy of Cooking and made it for dinner yesterday. It was delicious! I might make it every week. 🙂

If you’ve never been treated to the savory goodness of the blended spices in its sauce, you are missing out. Check your spice cabinet inventory and get cooking!

Here’s how to make you some!

Cincinnati Chili (adapted from Joy of Cooking)

Makes 3 servings

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a large pot

Add:
1 lb ground beef sirloin

Stir until separated, and reduce heat to a simmer.

Add:

1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce

Stir in:

5 whole black peppercorns, ground
4 whole allspice berries, ground
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 large bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1⁄4 ounce unsweetened chocolate, grated

Bring again to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook covered for 2 1⁄2 hours. Refrigerate overnight and reheat, or eat it right away! Don’t forget to discard that bay leaf.

For a 2-Way, serve over cooked thin spaghetti (2 oz of dry pasta per serving).
For a 3-Way, which is my favorite, add a pile of finely shredded cheddar cheese.
For a 4-Way, add chopped onions on top of the cheese.
For a 5-Way, add cooked red kidney beans.

Distantialism.

Distantialism; a word I made up to capture the way of life we have all been suddently asked to embrace due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Keeping in touch via technology:  We have been keeping to the house for the last week or so, even before the City of Austin declared a shelter-in-place order last night for the next 2-3 weeks.

I’ve been using video chat apps like zoom and skype to keep in touch with multiple groups of friends and family at a time.  Alternatives didn’t meet my needs; Facetime doesn’t run on non-Apple platforms, and WhatsApp only supports chats amongst 4 people at a time.

IMG_0418

My niece introduced me to the marco polo app, which I can only describe as a group texting app, except instead of just asynchronously texting eachother, you can send video clips to eachother which can be viewed by the recipient(s) at their leisure, and then subsequently responded to.  You can also use it for real-time communication, though, in which case, as my niece describes it, it works kind of like a video “walkie-talkie” where each person takes turns “talking” by sending small video clips.

Grocery shopping without going to the grocery store:  I have tried using our local grocery chain (HEB’s) delivery and curbside services.  I can’t say how that has gone, though, since the first delivery slot available when I placed my order 8 days ago, was for tomorrow.  So I get to wait another day and see what actually gets delivered.   Their curbside pickup/delivery timeslots are booked 10 days to two weeks ahead of time now, so I’m not sure how much more experience I’ll get with them.

I signed up for Shipt.com, in the hopes that I could schedule a much sooner grocery delivery.  The membership fee is about $99 for a year, or $15/month.  They had an opening for the next day, so I decided to try it out.   It actually worked well.  My shopper texted me when an item that I wanted wasn’t available, so I could pick a substitute from the available items.  There was a bit of a snag on the delivery end, but it all worked out in the end.  🙂

IMG_0414

Entertaining myself:  I’ve been taking walks in the neighborhood and nearby parks, streaming TV shows and movies, watching the many now live-streamed instead of in-person events, gardening, and whatever else my heart desires (that I can do in the confines of my house and/or yard).

I hope you are all faring well.  Take care.

Keeping it real.

The world out there seems to be going nuts.  Kids are home for weeks.  States and entire countries are on lockdown.  Countries are closing their borders.  The market is in the tank.  We are on the front end of an exponential infection curve.  People are hoarding things that other people need.  There will be many more people who will die from this pandemic, sadly.   But, it’s not the end of the world.  Life must go on.  What matters is how we feel inside, how we treat others, and trying to think about the good things we share.

Today is Monte’s birthday.  So, today, we’re celebrating that.  🙂  Be well, and stay home if you can manage it.

IMG_0379

 

Powers of 10.

Some stats from yesterday:

The Subaru turned 100,000 miles.

IMG_6317

And we loaded another 1,000 lbs of rock into the trailer.  It’s much nicer to do in the winter than in the dead of summer.  We’re getting closer to our goal of removing the river rock from the beds around the house.

IMG_0155

Susanne is visiting us this week and she has been a big help as we knock off some of our yard projects.

On the move.

This weekend brought Julie back to Texas! 🙂 But, it was only to pack up the contents of a couple of storage units into a U-Haul and head right back to Washington. 😦 She has a great new job up there.

Though I’m sad to see her go, I think Texas has a way of calling one back, after a while, so I’ll keep hoping. Bon voyage! I pray that Mother Nature takes it easy on them over the next few days as they make their way through the mountains.

2019 moments.

This year sped by, but it was jam-packed with short adventures, wonderful visits with friends and family, lots of good food & wine, and a few projects squeezed in.

A quick breakdown:

  • States traveled to/within:  Texas, Florida, Washington, Colorado, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia
  • Countries traveled to/within:  US, Bahamas
  • Siblings visited:  Noreen & David, Brian, Colleen, Fran & Art, Susanne, Gene & Jo
  • Nieces & nephews visited:  Rachel, Julie, Neil & Miranda, Jared, Rebecca, Aaron, Jacob, Pat & Nga, Dan & Erin, Patricia & Florian, Michelle, Amy Lee & Chris
  • Great nieces & nephews visited:  Diego, Tionna & Alex, Will, Nick, Grace, Aly, Mae, Austin, Copeland, Anna Sutton
  • Great-great nephew visited:  X’ander
  • Births celebrated:  great-great-niece Aubrielle
  • Iron-men cheered on:  Jamie
  • Weddings celebrated:  Neil & Miranda, Dan & Erin
  • Friend & family visits to Austin:  Noreen & David, Susanne, Rob & Owen, Asha, Fran & Aaron, Rachel & Becky, Irene & Liz & Keith, and Noreen (one more time) 🙂

I’ve picked one photo from so many enjoyable moments of each month below:

January:  Sailing from Venice, FL through the Florida Keys, to Biscayne Bay; on a mooring ball at Garrison Bight Mooring Field off of Key West.  This was a magnificent trip.  The Keys are amazing.  We had enough time to really enjoy Key West and see the sights and maybe have one too many cocktails.  We hopped up the outside of the Keys, anchoring a few nights.  If I did this again I’d spend many more days in the Keys. We ended anchored outside of No Name Harbor near Miami for two weeks, which sounds like a long time but I thought it was a really nice place to be stuck, waiting for a weather window to go east to the Bahamas.

img_6645

February:  Sailing from Florida to Great Bahama Island and through the Abacos; dolphins in the Great Bahama Banks.  We enjoyed a really tame crossing to the West End from Miami, then spent several days making way through the bank and through the Abacos to get to Marsh Harbour.   It was a real treat to be back there for a while. Sadly, Hurricane Dorian devastated the Abacos this hurricane season, and they will rebuilding for the foreseeable future.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

March:  Springtime in the Hill Country means wildflowers.  I simply LOVE spring in the Hill Country.  Monte has cultivated an amazing bluebonnet patch at the chez.  I can’t wait to enjoy next year’s bloom, only 3 short months away.

853df415-8cec-46a2-bdcf-96a24fe47be8-3863-000003e36b8691ec

April: Spring migration means birding trips; a visit to the bird blind at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.  I spent much less time birding this year than I would have liked.  But I did make several trips to the coast at the peak of migration, and will definitely do it again this coming year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

May:  A visit to the Pacific Northwest; a view from Mount Rainier National Park.  I have always loved Mount Rainier.  We picked a nice, though not an absolutely perfect day, to go up to the mountain.  The views on the way up and down are almost as stunning as the views from Paradise Visitor’s Center. I also made it back to the Bahamas for a week in May, but this trip to Washington was the highlight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

June:  Roadtrip to Colorado and back; one stop was Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo.  We had fun on our trip to Estes Park.  And on the way home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

July:  A two week trip up the ICW from Charleston, SC to Portsmouth, NC; the full moon rising just as we anchored near the Neuse River in North Carolina.  It was an amazing experience to take this trip up the Intracoastal Waterway.  I learned much, saw many birds, enjoyed the changing scenery along the trip, and never tired of the company.   If you ever have a chance to do something similar, just say Yes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

August:  Summer heats up in Austin, lots of fun times on the lake, including enjoying Cupholder back in the water.  We enjoyed having both Nirvana and Cupholder on the lake this summer.  We love having boat guests for the day and / or night.  We enjoy our boat friends immensely.  And we really need to spend more time out on the lake next year.

img_8854

September:  One of several visits with out-of-towners to Barton Springs Pool to cool off.  I have my own custom tour of Austin for friends that are visiting.  Sometimes we walk around doing it.  Sometimes we do an express version by car.  But I love sharing my town with my friends and family when they come for a visit.  If the temps are anywhere near 100 degrees F, then we must visit Barton Springs Pool.

img_9181

October:  Let the boat canvas and sail projects commence!  I finally organized my various and sundry craft/project supplies in my new, amazing closet workspace.  Looking forward to knocking another couple dozen projects of my to-do list next year.

img_9363

November:  Enjoying the Christmas decorations going up at Donn’s Depot.  You can walk in the door a Grinch, but as soon as you enter Donn’s Depot after Thanksgiving, you can’t help but feel the Christmas Spirit warm your heart.

IMG_9725

December:  A trip south along the coast from Charleston, SC (Rainbow Row, below) to Brunswick, GA, via Beaufort, SC and Savannah, SC.  Our last trip of the year took me to a place I used to live MANY moons ago, and a few places I’ve never been.  I would like to make a followup visit to these parts again.

IMG_9837

So many great moments!  I’m looking forward to the ones 2020 brings.

About town.

Noreen and I did some shopping yesterday, then headed to the University of Texas campus.  We went up in the UT Tower on a tour.  Monte and I have done this once before but it was a dark and rainy day, so I was looking forward to getting a better view.

As a part of the tour, you can go outside and walk around all 4 sides of the top of the tower.

My town, looking south from the UT Tower:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The UT Tower, viewed from the Turtle Pond just north of the Tower:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The UT Tower with the UT Tower Memorial in the foreground, a remembrance of the victims of the shooting that happened over 50 years ago:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After the tour, we grabbed lunch on the drag, and then mosied over to Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon to experience chicken shit bingo.   We didn’t win 🙂  But it was fun to cross that off my bucket list.

IMG_9790

Back home, we mournfully watched the Seahawks lose to the Rams.   Keeto is very broken up about it.

Table for Two.

Sometimes we have a house full of people.  Sometimes we have a couple of people over.   Sometimes we take the feast to the boat.  This year it’s just Monte and me, at the house.  And two birds.  Well, three if you count the turkey.   Monte said this may be the only Thanksgiving dinner photo on the internet without people in it.  🙂  Use your imagination!

Cheers!  Hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving.  🙂

IMG_9751

Pie day.

Today was a baking day. I signed up to bring two pies to Bill & Yvonne’s house tomorrow. They are in the seventh year of organizing and executing a massive community effort to cook turkeys and all the fixings for Annie’s Way Thanksgiving, providing a couple thousand meals to families in the community.  This year their goal is to cook over 150 turkeys tomorrow, to be packaged up and delivered for Thanksgiving Day. They call it Kyle’s Challenge, which the Austin American Statesman featured a story on here. It’s quite a commitment.

All set!

All done. That third pie in the back is for Monte. 🙂

Getting into the spirit.

Last night Monte and I met Joel downtown.  He’s been a friend of ours for about as long as we have lived in Austin, and he has enjoyed (?) some of our most exciting moments sailing on Lake Travis.  And,  he STILL wants to hang out with us!

We bumped into a couple of our friends, and Joel bumped into a couple of his friends, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy yourselves, and enjoy the friends and family that you are blessed to share it with.

IMG_9725

IMG_9724