Thursday, November 29, 2007

Howling Good Times

The first thing I can say about that is this... Billy is a MUCH better harmonica player than what you hear there... but if he plays it right we get no results from the d-o-g. This singing is a new development which we are working hard to encourage. If Rudy really has the music in him... we could join the circus and make our million. Because circus people have money... lots of it. Don't be fooled. Especially circus people with funny dogs.

So today I explored Kerrville, the new town we are camped near. I won't go so far as to say it's cute, but it does have enough stuff to make it interesting and comfortable for our stay. It has a big grocery store, a great antiques mall, a really nice used book store and there is even a real live vegetarian restaurant in town. And to fuel my very bad habit... there is even a brand spanking new Starbucks a few miles down the road. Bad. Bad. Bad. I know.

When I got home late this afternoon we took the pooper/chewer for a run out on the river bank. He freaking loves it out there... a little too much actually. It's the 4.9 million squirrels (who are none to happy about his arrival) and the 12 dozen deer who are standing around like they're at terminal 92 X at O'Hare and their plane has been delayed for three hours. They all look mildly stunned and bored. The deer that is, not the squirrels. The squirrels are running crazy at all times. And then it's as if an announcer comes on and says "Attention all deer waiting at terminal 92 X! Your plane will now be departing from terminal 142 Z!!!" And then all the deer run to the other side of the field and resume looking bored and stunned. Do you follow me people? Or have I lost you all like 5 sentences back? Because if I have lost you it's OK. There is no reason why you should have any idea what the Hell I am talking about. So anyway... this all makes Rudy crazy. It makes the squirrels angry and it makes the deer wish they had just booked a rental car to drive home for the holidays instead of flying.

So here are some shots from our walk/run with Rudy and some general scenery shots of the river and the SPECTACULAR trees that line the banks. They are huge.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On the Road Again

Sorry for the lag in posting since last week. We have been tidying up the joint, readying ourselves to pull up stakes and move to a new spot tomorrow (Wednesday.) Things tend to get really disorganized and spread out in a way unbecoming to a nomadic lifestyle when you actually stay put in one locale for a whole month. It takes a minute to get your shit together again in a way that is suitable for highway travel.

We have ended on a nice note here at Cottonwood Creek having met a new friend (she has been our neighbor for the past two weeks or so) Andrea, who is here visiting from London (yes, England.) Andrea has gifted us with genuine, interesting conversation and an intuitive opinion on art sales in the UK (and abroad) as well as having birthed us a brand new internet baby.... !!! We had our tired old website which was hobbled, lame and kind of depressing for us to even claim as our own... but now, TA DAHHHH! We have a brand new fabulous website to care for and love! It has five fingers and five toes and is not in least bit cross eyed or ugly... it even smells fresh as baby powder on a lily white bottom if you sniff your screen... Ok, no it doesn't, but it really is nice and THANK YOU ANDREA!! We are thrilled. We still have a bit of work to do uploading photos and whatnot but it is more done than not... so go ahead and have a look!

So we will be moving a few hours west tomorrow, remaining in Texas hill country to a spot near Kerrville. I have to say I am excited to be on the move again. Texas is waaayyyy big and we want to see new places and get a new perspective on the landscape for Billy's paintings.

Thanks to Sherry and Les here at Cottonwood... we have had a nice time getting to know you and appreciate your diligence in keeping us on the internet and your support and advice with Rudy!!! He will miss playing with Emma... she has been his favorite chic to make out with of all time.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Cold Dogs and Hot Turkeys

It's mighty nippy here in Texas today. It's the coldest temps we have felt in a long while. Nobody wanted to crawl out of the bed this morning. And by nobody you can see who I mean.

We had a quiet day. Billy worked on a painting while I cooked. We just finished up eating an hour or so ago. Our menu was a Quorn brand turkey, chipotle cheddar mashed potatoes, corn bread stuffing with fire roasted poblanos and apples, Mandarin orange and clove cranberry sauce and broccolini with arugula and garlic. The mashed potatoes were perhaps the best I have ever made in my whole life. I grabbed the recipe off

As you can see it calls for "perfect mashed potatoes" (easy enough, right?) and then you just add the chipotle in adobo and some super sharp cheddar. I got both my cheese and my peppers in adobo at Whole Foods. The peppers come canned in the sauce... I added about three tablespoons of the pepper ingredient into my mashed where they tell you to just put two teaspoons. And I did not use a full cup of the cheese... only about a half cup. Priorities people... chipotle outweighs the cheese in this household. This was our very first Thanksgiving meal with a Southwestern flavor and it gets a definite seal of approval.

Here's a sloppy shot of our spread. The fake turkey is always good for a visual funny... go ahead, laugh at it. You won't hurt our feelings.

I'd like to send a shout out to our family and friends (spread out across the whole country) saying we love you all and miss you! You are what we have to be most thankful for in this world.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Trailer Park Zsa Zsa

Just in case any of you were wondering what it would be like if I were to suddenly morph in to a glamorous movie star. It could happen....


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Live Long, Prosper and Always Eat the Best Enchiladas

Who knew you had to travel to San Antonio, TX to get your picture taken in front of an air brushed painting of Spock? I had no idea going in that the opportunity would present itself.

So we have just returned home from our over nighter. It was totally worth the trip.... in weird and unexpected ways. San Antonio is one of those places you just have to go see if you are at all curious about it. There is enough to do and see to fill up three or four days if you have a car to get around in. We stayed right on the River Walk in the Omni La Mansion Hotel.

The hotel was in a good spot and we walked around downtown all day yesterday. The River Walk is pretty far out. It's kind of like a Texan version of Venice.

It was only disappointing in that there is nothing much besides restaurants along the walk. I expected more boutiques and/or specialty shops. We did eat lunch on the walk and had fresh guacamole prepared table side by our waiter. It was really good. After lunch we made our way the short distance through town to The Alamo. Yes... remember The Alamo? Well, it is a busy, busy place to visit. And it is really hard to get a sense of what it must have been like during the war when there are a couple of hundred cheesy (us included) tourists crawling over the place snapping pictures and buying souvenirs. Also... it is surrounded very closely by huge hotels, a mall and parking lots etc. So... while it is interesting to see the main mission building it is kind of a benign experience. It was for me anyway. Maybe I am just not a big enough history buff. We did do the requisite retarded tourist thing though and took pictures of one another standing in front of the mission. SMILE! Thousands of people died here!

Because standing around next to the place for two minutes and having your photo taken means you have a significant history with the place. I was at The Alamo. Actually... Billy got up way earlier than I this morning and he went out for coffee and a walk around town from the hotel. When he returned I asked him where he had been and he said... " I went to The Alamo and no one was there." Ahhhh... a profound experience to be sure.

Last night we had a fabulous dinner at the restaurant in our hotel. The place is called Las Canarias and they do a great job. I do believe it is one of the most favored restaurants in San Antonio. We ate ourselves silly. We started off with something literally called "The Cheese Experience" which was a platter of 5 select fancy cheeses (some locally made) with dried fruits, grapes, strawberries, walnuts and fancy crackers. Giant margaritas were ordered to accompany the cheese experience. For dinner Billy had blue crab and swordfish tempura with an Asian tatsoi salad and Asian inspired mashed potatoes. I know it is nearly impossible to imagine Asian mashed potatoes but you will have to trust me when I say they tasted like sweet and sour mashed. I had a polenta dish that was beautiful to look at... I had no idea for the most part what I was eating but it tasted divine. There were some mushrooms, asparagus and broccolini in there along with lots of other stuff. We shared a dessert. Carrot cake. Carrot cake with pineapple, ginger and blueberry compote. It kicked ass. And I am a real picky snob about carrot cake too. Since I was half drunk and was getting along really well with our waiter I was crying to him a bit about missing out on some kind of chocolate fix with dessert so he brought us out comp house made chocolate truffles to have with our coffee. Perfecto.

Today we had lunch in south town at Rosarios. If you are ever in San Antonio make certain you eat here. It was terrific. Acoustically the place is horrible... you can't hear yourself think. But the food makes it worth the visit. We both had Enchiladas Mexicanas made with a gaujillos and pasillas chile sauce and stuffed with queso fresco. It was serious comfort food.

After lunch we headed to The San Antonio Museum of Art where we had our brains blown out by a traveling exhibit of works by Walton Ford. (Please click through on that link to get an idea of his work.) I cannot say enough how seeing these works in person is a mind blowing experience. First off most of them are huge... some up to ten feet wide and five high. People.... these are watercolors. That is one Hell of a huge water color. They are amazing. I was actually in tears at one point over one particular piece that I wish I could find an image of on the net so you could see it. If any one of you has ever been moved to tears over a painting or other work of art you can appreciate what an intense moment that is. If you have not ever cried like an idiot in front of a painting in a museum then I highly suggest it as a viable pass time. Go directly to to a large museum that houses masterful works of art and wander through until the right thing reaches out and smacks you upside the head. If nothing smacks you upside the head then you might actually be the living dead. A zombie perhaps.

After doing our tofu turkey day shopping at Whole Foods we headed back up to Austin to retrieve Rudy from the boarding place. You want to talk about a stinky dog. Well, that is what we got back. A super stinko dirt ball. I brought him straight home and stuck his weenie ass in the shower. Being that he was pretty much maxed out tired from his two days of doggie day camp he was less than thrilled.

But after some drying time and some sweet talkin' he finally perked up and was glad to be home... and so are we.

I am looking for a cheese experience recovery time. So much eating out has got me feeling like THIS.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Collard Greens and Wookie Hybrids

Last night we had a really great dinner which I thought I would go ahead and share with you all. It's not for everyone... it's healthy and it's pretty weird. But if you have a bit of imagination when it comes to food it's quite yummy and you can think up a ton of variations for the recipe.

Anyway... we made burritos out of collard greens. You just steam the whole leaves (for those of you who don't normally partake of the collard green... the leaves are huge.) Then you can fill them much the same way as a tortilla with whatever the heck you want. We filled ours with a mix of mozzarella and Colby cheeses, brown rice, roasted poblano pepper, kidney beans and tempeh baked in red chile enchilada sauce. You roll these babies up and you are in business. We thought of another variation to try next time... you could do a Thai version with peanut sauce and veggies and some sort of chicken meat substitute (or actual chicken of course, if you are not a veggie) or whatever strikes your fancy. The greens hold together really well for the wrap and they are so freakin' good for you it isn't funny. Here's a few pics of ours. Not the best pics I have ever taken of a dinner we have prepared but they will give you the general idea of the thing. The first pic is pre-roll... there are two lined up on the plate for rollin'.

And here is a half devoured you can see the burrito-ness of it all...

BTW, I just steamed those greens in a microwave steamer for 6 minutes with a bit of water and they cam out perfect. I had quite a pile of greens... if you only have a few leaves to steam 3 minutes would probably be sufficient.

While we are on the subject of collard green burritos we may as well also discuss this...

Everyday it seems to be more apparent that Rudy is morphing into some sort of Wookie (Chewbacca) type creature... possibly cross bred with a frog? A toad? A Shih Tzu which has been bred with a cat fish? Anyway... things get curiouser and curiouser in the visual department of our canine catastrophe. Wookies are normally quite tall and long legged. But I do believe we have a newly modified midget version on our hands here...

If we can teach him to walk upright and fit him with an ammo belt we could really have something here. Too bad the Star Wars series has been filmed to completion.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hill Country Views

Yesterday Billy decided to take a day off from painting and just sorta lay around. I felt like getting out so I left the two lazy boys home and took off for a good long drive.

I can say with absolute honesty that if it were not for our GPS I would probably still be out there, lost. There are back ranch roads that go on for miles and miles and lead nowhere but to another long skinny road to nowhere. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to drive around and get googley eyed looking at the scenery. Here's a little of what I saw...

The grasses here are really pretty, sometimes tinged with a bright sepia. In contrast with the blue sky it comes together for a nice scene. I tried for some sunset shots but I did not really grab anything too great... the clouds were lit up in pinks and purples and were striping the sky in long streaks of dots. You will just have to try to imagine that one for yourself.

When I finally programmed home into the GPS I was about 45 minutes drive south west of camp. I came back to find the boys still lolling on the bed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Lady Prefers Old Gringo

Yeah, that's just a fancy way of sayin'... Hey people! I got a really, really kick ass pair of Old Gringo Cowboy Boots! Shhhhhheeeeooooot! Good Lawsy! I have been aching for a pair of these boots ever since I first pressed my eyeball up to a pair of 'em in Santa Fe a few years ago. Today my dream was finally realized.

Do you feel it? I was so excited after I got 'em I came straight home and Billy and I celebrated by drinking big ass glasses of Sangria at 2:30 in the afternoon. We don't drink big ass glasses of sangria at any hour of any day usually... so you can see that this was truly a special moment in my life. Even Rudy was feelin' the boot love... they made him smile.

I'll let you know if I sleep with them on tonight. It's entirely possible that I will. A major MUCHAS GRACIAS goes out to my Mother... As these are an early Christmas gift from her. Santa can forget about it baby... Rose O. kicks the snot out of him in the gifting arena.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Big Day On The Town

Well... we finally headed in to the capital city today! We dropped Rudy off at The Happy Mailman for the day (his very first time at a doggie day care!) and made our way down to the 6th St. area (just to see it) and then on to South Congress. There are a lot of cool shops on the SoCo strip. I bought a Kristen Farrell tee shirt at Blackmail, some avocado green sunglasses at some groovy little boutique and we perused the bizarre assortment of offerings at Uncommon Objects. Such as...

There is a kick ass Western store on South Congress called Allen's. They have a massive selection of really high quality cowboy boots. They carry Old Gringo which are one of my faves. We spent a good long while poking around in there being wowed over things like hand tooled smoking skull boots and wishing we had access to a million dollar boot fund. Or even a thousand dollar boot fun would be nice. We should all be born with a boot fund. To Hell with college funds... boots are more important in your development as a human being.

On S. Congress we saw an Airstream which has been modified to be a venue for CUPCAKES. Nothing else... just cupcakes. What a fabulous thing this is. Tragically, they were not open or I would have been cramming my face with said cupcakes. It was a fine, fine piece of aluminum, polished up to a mirror like shine and I am sure the people responsible for this little piece of magic in the world make a mean baked good.

We had lunch at the Kerby Lane Cafe down by the University of Texas, green enchiladas. They were pretty good but again... we are pining for the real deal once we get back to Santa Fe. It seems that nobody knows how to rock chile sauces quite like the peeps in NM. The next time we head downtown I want to get ice cream at this place on South Congress.... where they serve up angry, dangerous cones...

On our way out of town we stopped off at Whole Foods. Good gravy people. They keep on making these stores better and better. I come out of there reeling from the dazzling array of food and goodies every single time. The newer stores now have a gelato counter conveniently located right near the exit. We indulged. Of course. Dudes... two gelatos cut me down by $10.50. WTF? I mean.... hey! It's mighty tasty and I do appreciate the skill and care that goes into making proper gelato but ease off on the pricing throttle there kids. It's akin to buying grapes in London in the year 1880.

One of my major weaknesses at Whole Foods is always apples. I buy a lot of them and they are usually way to expensive. But they are basically guaranteed to be delicious. They had honey crisp the size of Rudy's head (weird comparison I know, but it's all I could think of.) Ahhhh... nothin' beats a four dollar apple.

Oh... Rudy did great at day care. The people at Happy Mailman are super cool and they said he was welcome back any time. He is (don't tell him) going to be spending the night there next Monday when we take a trip down to San Antonio. As much as I would love to visit the Alamo with the Tootis at my side... he has to stay behind for this one time while we luxuriate at a fancy hotel and experience fine dining ecstasy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Layin' Low

We are having a couple of quiet days just lazing about and reading. It's kinda cool outside and really overcast so we are making that an excuse to be bums. Good excuse right?

We did head out for a good long walk around noon time today on the back acreage of this property which is pretty heavily wooded and is surrounded by ranch land on all sides. It's really quiet back there and I got some neat pictures while out walking. I decided to shoot mostly with the sepia filter on because it lends itself to the look of the landscape here (I think.) The few black and whites I took really popped out the haggard feeling of the dead trees which pepper the woods pretty heavily. They are very abstract and severe... I dig it. Anyway... here's a good selection of my favorite shots.

That second to last shot is a super old rusted out radiator in an old junk heap way out back. I liked the pattern and texture of it mixed with the grasses.

We should be back to warmer temps and sunny days as of tomorrow. I am sure we will head out to hike another state park (there are a bunch of them around to choose from) or check out another neighboring town. Until then I think I will creep back under the covers and finish my book!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Wimberly Town

So...Rudy made it. I will announce that right out of the gate. Sherry (the park owner) said he barked a few times here and there but other than that he was ok noise wise. He did nothing naughty inside either. He did not chew anything or do anything weird. What I have realized through the course of the day was this... before today he did not even know what separation anxiety was. Now he does. The next time we try to leave I don't think it will be quite as pretty. I think he will freak out. Time will tell.

Anyway... we had a good time in Wimberly. The market was pretty quiet, only about 40% of the vendors were there and open but it was fun to walk through. We did not buy anything but I saw a few things that I will remember for potential Christmas gifts.

We ate at the Wimberly Diner... both had the migas which were pretty good although I was missing some sort of chile sauce on it. After we ate we headed out to check out a shop called The Wild West Store. They specialize in vintage boots. We spent about an hour in there rooting through the 400 some pairs of boots looking to see if we found any we could not live without. We almost left empty handed but I spotted a totally nuts pair of boots out front as we were leaving and told Billy he had to try them on. They fit him dead on. When I say totally nuts... I mean... Totally Nuts. They are a roper toe (which means the toe is rounded, not pointy) and are super beat up and broken in. The thing about them is this...

Yeah... they're green. They are grreeeeennnnnnnn. I think they are stupid cool. Not for everyone obviously, but if Billy is going to wear boots (anyone who really knows him can attest to the fact that he is weird about shoes) he may as well wear these. He looks ridiculous somehow in boots with a pointy toe and he also wants a pair that it does not matter if he slaughters them with paint or hot sauce or whatever may land on them through th course of the day. These fit the bill. They fit the Billy to be more accurate. I am sure they will result in plenty of sidelong glances... but it is about time Billy shakes up his fashion scene.

Be a Big Boy

If everyone could rally together in their deepest hearts and souls today.... We are leaving Rudy at home alone for a few hours for the first time ever. Say a prayer for the upholstery, for the pillows for the neighbors (in case he decides that barking the whole time may be the way to handle it. ) We have done a few test runs leaving him in here while we creep out and hide in the bushes nearby for 0 or 15 minutes to listen and see what he does. And from these test runs I think he will be ok. I mean... I know he will survive it... it's just a matter of whether or not everything in here with him survives it too.

We are heading to market day in Wimberly and "No Dogs Allowed" is the rule. Since it is gonna be 85 again here today he gets to stay home in the AC.

I will report back later with pics from the market and the results of Rudy's big first day of being a grown up.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Snakes, Llamas and Dogs. Don't Mix.

Today we headed up to the Pedernales River to shoot some pics, hike around and be frightened by the possibility of rattle snakes. As they keep telling us down here... "Snakes are on the move." And indeed... they are. We saw one snake (not a rattle snake) cross about two feet in front of us on one trail and I heard my very first rattle snake while walking down another trail edged by tall grasses. Because of the grass I could not see him but I sure as heck did hear him loud and clear. I was just scouting the trail for future hikes while Billy waited in the car with Rudy so that was the end of that scouting trip. I turned back so as not to tempt fate. We did decide that the next time we head up to Pedernales we will leave Rudy at home. It is way too snakey around in there for little dogs who like to stick their snouts in to every hole to be creeping around.

Anyway... the river was freakin' beautiful! I guess they have crazy bad flash floods in there (I am sure this happens in the spring) and you can see where the water level could potentially go up by like 12 feet in a matter of a few minutes.

Right now it's all rocky and the water is really low (no rain for like 6 weeks here) but there are still falls and rapids and the color of the water is amazing.

Rudy enjoyed himself on the banks of the river. Getting dirty and digging holes of course. He actually got all the way in the water dunking his head under a few times to retrieve a stick which is kind of a big deal for him to do. He usually hates getting his crabby old head wet.

On the way back to camp Billy pulled off the road to shoot some pics of a field full of goats for possible painting purposes. There was also one enormous alpaca hanging out in the field and it decided it did not like Billy getting so close to it's hood so it charged him. It ran straight up at full speed to the fence and snarled at him. It was super funny.

If that fence had not been there I think I would have witnessed Billy McLane get his ass kicked by a llama. And if you take a close look at those teeth I think we can all agree that it would not have been pretty.