Thursday, March 26, 2009

what the blog?!

It's been a long time since I last blogged. Long enough to wonder how to do it.

Here is a post that I started, but didn't finish till I decided to let Noah crawl all over the computer room to let me get it done today!

We are in TX, and I have learned that Irving is a very boring city, esp. when compared to where we were - in Austin, TX. Our cell-phone plan updates brought us here- giving us Free***** tickets. Like when the ticket is free after however many inconveniences and fees. No matter, we have had a great time. We got to stay with my blogging friend, Kelly and her husband, Austin. DH and Kelly are close to the same age, and were childhood comrades playing Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys together.

I hadn't realized how nice it is to travel and stay with friends. It was so much better than us staying in a hotel somewhere surrounded by strangers. It was so nice to hang out with them at the end of the day, eat with them, watch tv with them, etc. Noah had a great time playing with their toys (they are a kid-less home) like a silicon basting brush, a salon gift card for a place in Duluth, and a Rudy's BBQ cup.
Tonight I was thinking about how I missed them- and being there, which I suppose will make me readier for home than I would be otherwise.

While we were traveling the great city of Austin we found so many things:
-Zilker Park and Barton Springs- a spring that can be swam in across the st. from the wonderful Botanic Gardens
-The Gardens included a large herb garden, Japanese garden, children's garden, cactus and succulents, rose, woodland areas, and the best of all The Hartman Prehistoric that is akin to the Jurassic Park scenes.
-Kelly's Spanish meal- Our great host with ehr DH Austin, like the city:) sauteed potatos and onions, with egg that didn't turn out how she wanted due to changes in the recipe to upsize it for 4 people
-Flip happy Crepes- Carmelized banana, and vanilla and chantilly cream with berries
-Cornucopia-gourmet popcorn, smores, caramel, and green apple
-Teo's Espresso and Gelato with the Texican Vanilla that DH LOVED and the affogato that I loved 2x's- espresso and gelato combined
-Whole Food Market's flagship store- parmesan artichoke crab and shrimp soup, lobster bisque
-Amy's ice cream- PB Crunch
-Big Top Candy store where I had a shave ice of Tiger's blood, and wedding cake flavors
-Salt Lick BBQ where the brisket was soft enough for babies to eat it- we know, we tried! He loved it
-Smoked gouda and bacon quiche with a french-style salad with dijon vinaigrette, and tomato bread- a Spanish dish of hot bread
-Sushi from the outlet mall that wasn't too bad
-Sonic snacks and drinks- Limeades 2x's so far
-Brick Oven gourmet pizza with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and a gorgonzola, cranberry mixed green salad

We found it a more arduous task to find fun in Irving and Dallas. We found that Grapevine, TX might have some fun shopping in the day- but it was nice to just find somewhere to walk before sundown. We wandered around there for a bit, and the highlight that I found was a bunch of ultra-geeks playing some type of geeky board games involving rulers and small figurines. It felt like I had stumbled upon a secret man lair- indeed we had. I was a girl spying in the other's territory. I was with DH and baby- both males- so I felt that gave me a free pass to this show.

We also saw Longhorn cattle- that was the first I'd seen of them thus far. They were outside an exclusive-looking resort and convention center called Gaylord Texan. They may have been just novelty to make the resort look more "Texan."

Today we visited the Farmer's Market in Dallas, and I had roated corn served in a cup. It was covered in squeeze-butter and Kraft parmesan cheese from the green shake-out can, but it was surprisingly good still. After finding our way out of the ghetto-y areas we made our way to Fort Worth to the Gallery ArtCafe. I had a Macadamia nut mocha that was definitely more mocha than mac nut, but still fairly good. It wasn't the Teo affogato that I had back in Austin, but it was decent.

While we were there we learned about the "Art Goggle" in the southside area. I would compare it to the Art Crawl of St. Paul. We had some time to pass, since it didn't start till 5, and we went to the Botanic Gardens and Conservatory in the meantime. That was a great place despite the cold wintery feeling blowing wind. The conservatory had a few flowering tropical plants, some fish and some birds. I took some pretty floral pictures. Outside we had a lengthy walk, aiming to make the most of the gardens while the weather though cold was still warmer than the MN weather.

After the gardens we visited the Goggle. It was a revitalization effort, and as a result multiple businesses in the area were each hosting a local artist while having a business open-house style event with free wine and cheese. It was quite a popular event and a creative idea. The yarn store Jennings Street Yarns was open late as a result and I bought some pretty nordic colorway yarn that was orange, pink, magenta, and various other pretty bright colors.

Later that night we hunted for some tasty fare, and were met with either closed restaurants or super busy ones with long lines at 8pm. We tried for RJ's, a Mexican place recommended by SIL, but there was a long line of people standing outside on the steps. Instead we settled for Chickfil-A in a suburb by a mall. Turned out that we all liked it, even Noah.

The next day was leaving day- which we delayed by a lengthy scenic drive around and around like a merry-go-round checking out all the angles and cardinal directions of the DFW Airport. I decided DSW is much more exciting than that. It took DH a few tries to get to the rental car return, and we all all quite relieved to make it there.

It could have been that we were burned out on traveling, or else DFW just wasn't exciting. The latter is what we decided to go with. So, Austin rocks, DFW is not our kind of place especially with cold windy weather without a handknit sweater.

Before travel I'd envisioned TX as a hot desert, ala the Gila Monster story on Reading Rainbow, and after TX I realized it was more like MN than unalike, at least with that weather!

We came home and it felt warmer here, than how we'd left TX! And the sun was shining. So, needless to say, we were glad to be home!