Waterlogged afternoon

Joey, Elias, and Satchel - uncertain
Sujata and Aaron invited us over to meet Elias Aaron Camp, the newest member of their family on Sunday.  We took BBQ and went over for the afternoon.  We played with Satchel and held Elias.  We took a dip in the totally awesome salt water swimming pool.  As we were getting out of the pool, the weather went from lovely to quite threatening, with loud thundering.  The party moved inside, where we ate dinner, talked, and watched Thomas the Train.  By the time we left, the sky had opened up and was pouring rain.  Joey got us home safely and pretty quickly given the weather.  I am really looking forward to our next opportunity to visit the Camps.

Trip to Austin and visit with friends

Por Vida

While I was in North Carolina I had a bit of a scratchy throat, and some allergy type symptoms.  Nothing too terrible.  Then I got on a plane and flew home.  While I am glad to be home, the airplane air, and the pressure that flying put on my ears pushed me over into really congested and uncomfortable!

I landed back in Austin later than expected due to a delayed flight out of Raleigh-Durham airport this morning.  The flight delay was due to “crew rest”.  Sujata commented on that, “crew rest = hangover”.  In any case, the flight took off late enough that I missed my connection in Dallas, and that put me in Austin too late for Sujata to pick me up at the airport.  We had a meeting at 14:00 that she was in charge of, and I didn’t hit the ground in Austin until 13:45.

No problemo.  I got my luggage, and hopped in a cab for the very short trip over to the office.  I should have walked into Sujata’s office at about 14:05.  No such luck.  As my cab turned into the office parking lot the truck that had made the turn just in front of us stopped suddenly and my cab smashed into the back of it!  So I sat there, just a few meters from the door of the office, waiting for the driver to sort out the insurance stuff with the driver of the truck.  Happily it was very low speed, and no one was hurt.  The cars were barely scratched.

I finally made it to Sujata’s office.  We finished up our meeting, and then we went over to the Tea Embassy to visit, drink tea, and relax.  Sujata was kind enough to shuttle me and my luggage a bit further north to meet Joey.

Later in the evening Joey and I went over to see Megan and Robert.  They were throwing a little party to thank the folks who have taken care of their dogs when they are out of town.  We had a great time.  As always, Megan had a tasty and elegantly laid out spread.  It was a very long day, but other than the congestion and the wreck, it was totally awesome.

Chuy’s and a Pub Quiz

Joey and I had a big social afternoon and evening.  We started off joining Rachel, Debra, Asher, and Chiara at Chuy’s for a dinner and a lovely visit.  Asher was wearing the shirt I brought him from Japan, and Chiara was wearing a hat that I made for her.  I felt very special!

Joey, however, was the favored guest because he burned Chiara a new copy of They Might Be Giants Here Come the ABCs.  Years ago we took a copy of the original DVD so that we had a copy for the kids to watch at our house.  The original had since gotten lost, and Joey made a copy of our copy – bad with VHS tapes, but apparently totally fine for DVDs.  If you have kids, and you do not know the They Might Be Giants kids’ music, please check it out.  It is really fantastic without having much of the annoyance of typical kid music.

Later in the evening, we joined Aaron and Sujata and Walt and Jane at B.D. Riley’s for a pub quiz.  Today is Aaron and Sujata’s third anniversary, so we were celebrating.

B.D. Riley’s has their quiz every Wednesady.  There is no cost for playing, but of course you buy some beer and food, so the pub comes out OK.  We had a great time visiting with everyone, and playing the game.  We came in fifth amongst all the teams in the bar, and were only two off the money winning scores.  We all agreed that we would like to do the quiz again in the future.

We finished up the evening with a drink at the Driskill Hotel bar with Aaron and Sujata.  Congratulations to Aaron and Sujata on three years of wedded bliss!

Looking after Boston and Lola

img_7811 Aaron and Sujata had to go to San Antonio for several days, and they asked us to look after their two dogs Boston and Lola (she was a show girl).

Boston is a basset/springer spaniel mix, about four years old.  Lola is a basset/rottweiler mix, about eight months old.  They are both very cute!  I love it when they sit or stand facing you, their paws look like they are in ballet first position.

img_7808 Lola, Elanor and Boston have been having a great time wrestling and playing in the backyard.  Four dogs all at once is a bit of chaos, and feeding time is quite a circus, but we happy to have them visit.  Katy is acting completely aloof, but I think she actually enjoys having more dogs to boss around!

Changes at the House on Hornsby Street

CIMG3485 Several people have given Joey and me grief over the years about our lack of furniture.  Joey is not fond of stop gap measures, even when the “gap” is five years (amount of time we have owned our house) or eleven years (amount of time we have been married), so we still have the same furniture today we inherited when my folks moved to Pennsylvania! We know what kind of furniture we would like to purchase, but somehow it is never the top priority.

Sujata and Aaron have decided that Joey is morally opposed to coffee tables.  I do not think he hates them, but he does not have a strong desire to have one either.  I, on the other hand, having inherited my father’s distaste for sitting on hard chairs, have often wished for a coffee table and a living room layout that allowed for people to congregate, and visit in the living room instead of around the kitchen table.

CIMG3488 A few weeks ago, my dream was realized when one of Joey’s long time computer clients needed some work done.  It turns out the client was moving, and was having an estate sale to reduce how much stuff he had to move.  He offered Joey the opportunity to select items from the estate sale as payment for the work.  Joey spotted a coffee table he liked and agreed to the arrangement.  When we went to pick up the table, it turned out there was a matching end table, and we brought that home as well. Lee and Billy helped us move the furniture around the living room several times as we found the best arrangement.

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Another recent change to the house involves a wall mounted coat rack in the entry hall.  Joey and I each only carry a car key and a house key.  I typically do not have the key to his car, and he doesn’t have the key to mine.  However, we often switch cars depending on what we are doing.  If one of us is carrying the dogs, or a bike, we take my car.  Just driving to the office, I take his car.  What does any of this have to do with a coat rack?  Well… Somehow I never have the keys I need to drive the car that is in the driveway.  Lee and Billy constantly make fun of me for not having keys.  Since we just pick up the first set of keys that operates the car we need, sometimes we wind up with both sets of keys, and then the other person is stranded.  What happened to the spares, you ask?  Well, those are around too, but they often wind up in the glove box of the opposite car!  After a frantic afternoon of searching for a key to drive the only car left at the house (Joey was at the park with the dogs), Joey and I decided we had to have a single location for the keys.  The problem was that we couldn’t agree about where that should be, until the idea of hooks near the door was put forward.

Joey did a beautiful job picking out the piece, and installing it.  It required quite a bit of work to hang it.  Since it has a mirror, it is heavy, add purses, coats, and, of course, keys, and you have quite a bit of weight… too much to mount it just in the drywall.  Problem was that the hooks on the coat rack were 25 inches apart, while the studs in the wall are 24 inches!  Joey solved the problem by mounting a thin piece of oak plywood to the studs, and then securing the coat rack to the plywood.  Dad says that it sounds like the coat rack won’t come off the wall, even if the wall itself falls down!

Check out all the pictures of the changes at our house below.

Aaron and Sujata’s New House

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Aaron and Sujata just bought a new house.  It is in Onion Creek, on the golf course.  Actually, the golf course wraps around their house.  Joey had gone over and looked at the house while Aaron and Sujata were still shopping, and he helped them move on Saturday, but I had not seen it yet. We were invited over for dinner, and to tour the house this past Sunday.

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The house had very high ceilings and so many windows!  All the houses on their street are quite close together, but the windows are arranged to ensure privacy.  The living room and kitchen/dining areas wrap around and open out onto a great patio with a really long pool.  There is actually a space for swimming laps!

The master suite is on the ground floor.  It has a fireplace, and more of the giant windows that are found throughout the house.  The bathtub overlooks the golf course!  The closet has tons of built in shelves and storage, which is good, because there are almost no walls in the bedroom that are not made of glass!

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Upstairs are three additional bedrooms and an office.  The upstairs is split into two sections, seperated by an open walkway.  You can see Joey sitting on the walkway pretending to be trapped.  The bedrooms on the far side of the walkway, furthest from the stairs share a bathroom, and have their own AirCon unit, so those rooms can be closed off when not in use.  An actual guest suite, very practical and posh!

Bethany, Rob, Carolyn and Alma were also on hand to celebrate the new house.  Sujata dug the wine glasses out of a box, and we ordered in some Italian food.  We ate on the patio.  It was glorious!  Congratulations to Aaron and Sujata on their new home!  I look forward to many more fun gatherings at your place!

Thanksgiving Day

Joey and I realized about a month ago that we were completely foot loose and fancy free this Thanksgiving.  For the first time since we have been married, we were not hosting Thanksgiving, and we were not traveling somewhere for Thanksgiving.  Although we were stunned at this turn of events, we were very pleased about the situation!

Aaron and Sujata invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner at their house.  We were more than happy to accept the invite.  Joey went over to help them set up on Wednesday.  He even assembled one of the many pies.  It turns out that Aaron and Sujata were not hosting an ordinary Thanksgiving dinner (why am I not surprised?).  They had invited both families, including cousins and family friends.  It was a wonderful reunion of many of the people we had the pleasure of spending time with at Aaron and Sujata’s wedding.  In the end, twenty-nine people sat down to dinner!

Sujata and Aaron had planned everything in advance, and done much of the preparation in the days leading up to the event.  When we arrived on Thursday the tables were all set up, and there were snacks laid out.  Sujata had even made a menu and framed it!  The decorations were beautiful; there were candles everywhere.  We visited with everyone for about an hour before we sat down to dinner.

Before we ate, each person shared something they were thankful for with the group.  My favorites were Aaron and Sujata’s mothers, who both said that they were thankful for the love that Aaron and Sujata shared, and that had brought the group together.  I am also grateful for my friends, and their happiness together.  I am also thankful that they included Joey and me in their family gathering.

Now the part I know you are all waiting for… the food was AMAZING!  Nothing was over cooked or dry.  Quite the opposite, everything was perfectly seasoned and prepared.  My two favorites were the smoked turkey breast, and the butternut squash stuffing.  My favorite dessert (a class unto itself) was the chocolate pecan pie (although the apple pie Joey made came in a close second).  I cannot begin to do justice to the meal with mere words.  You will just have to check out the menu (in the pictures below), and stare longingly at the pictures!

Thank you Aaron and Sujata!  We are so glad to have you in our lives.

Aaron and Sujata’s Wedding, Austin, Texas – February 2008

asw90 I am very pleased to announce that Sujata Prabhu and Aaron Camp were married on Saturday the sixteenth of February, 2008. LD served as Matron of Honor and I served as Best Man – the Bachelor-Bachelorette party was at Cafe Castronova Thursday night, we mingled with their new extended family at a pre-wedding open house in Lakeway on Friday, and we spent the day Saturday at their fabulous wedding celebration at Arbor Point in Round Rock. Here are some photos from the wedding weekend.

Our Anniversary – July 2007

CIMG0859 On July 4th LD and I had some friends over for a party to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. We played games, grilled burgers and hot dogs, made ice cream and mojitos, danced, and socialized well into the night.

We had a terrific time – it was a pleasure to spend time with everyone who came, and food hit the spot. I have finally finished eating the chocolate torte that Billy and Lee brought to the party – gotta remember to return that cake-taker.

Lata’s Sushi Party – April 2006

DSC04717 On the last evening of our week off, LD and I joined Aaron and Sujata to celebrate Lata’s birthday with a sushi party. Aaron cooked about 5 pounds of rice and we took turns rolling our favorite rolls and sharing them at the table. Aaron and Sujata had done a terrific job of shopping for ingredients – they selected a very nice sake, toro, ebi, and a fabulous squid salad which we enjoyed while we worked.