Monday, October 27, 2008

pumpkin carving

Random autumn fact: the jack-o-lantern was named after the phenomenon of strange lights flickering over peat bogs called ignis fatuus, or jack-o'-lantern.

In the spirit of autumn, my sister came up with the genius idea to have a pumpkin-carving-slash-wine-tasting with the family. The Husband and I made a rat pumpkin:

Here are some other photos of an afternoon well spent:

Friday, October 24, 2008

the deed is done

I hopped down to my neighborhood early voting location this afternoon and voted. I'm so relieved that I am done with it. Politics can get nasty.

But I love the poitical humor. This is one of the best skits from SNL I've ever witnessed. I laugh every time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

gourd bliss

I love this time of year. Yellow leaves, crisp weather, and glowing pumpkins make me giddy and goofy inside. I yearn to make pumpkin bread, snuggle in warm blankets, and drink toasty beverages. No other season lives up to fall's loveliness. This afternoon, the first gusts of the autumn cold front moved into Texas, and when this happens, I feel suddenly light and free.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

howdy folks...

Since toddlerdom, I've missed the State Fair of Texas only once--the year I lived in London, England (1999). And you better believe I thought about how I was missing it the entire month of October. Yesterday, The Husband and I made our yearly pilgrimmage to the land of corny dogs, livestsock shows, midway rides, and Big Tex. I had an interesting conversation in Austin last weekend with Liz about Big Tex and how Dallasites view him as a normal part of Texas life. If you're from the area, you think it's perfectly normal for a giant, Wrangler-wearing cowboy to be set up in the middle of Fair Park every year. He waves and talks, his motorized jaw awkwardly moving up and down. But take an out-of-towner to the fair to witness this site, and their jaws drop almost as awkwardly. Regardless, it's one of my favorite things about Texas, and D magazine recently took a poll that ended with Dallas voting the fair as the best thing about Dallas. It's true. We love our state fair.

Per usual, we ate several fried items yesterday. One of the best things about the fair is the fried food, and they add a new ridiculous one every year, like fried peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwiches, fried oreos, and fried nutter butters. This year they had chicken fried bacon, and my carnivore husband just had to try it. They gave us a rather large basket of them, so I forced myself to take a bite. I was not pleased. It felt like a bomb of animal fat and grease had exploded in my mouth. Never again. Justin ended up with a stomach ache. Each year, I never miss the Fletcher's corny dog and a cinnamon roll from the Food Pavilion. But I also nibbled on fried green tomatoes and a fried s'more, which was in-cred-ib-le. Fried marshmellow, chocolate, and graham cracker? Yes, please.

In addition to eating, we also visited the livestock area and the automobile building and watched The Spirit of the Horse, a show we never miss. All the walking (hopefully) burned some calories.

Photo above: One of the many art deco structures on Fair Park grounds. This one houses the food pavilion during fair time.

Monday, October 6, 2008

tales from austin

Austin is my little getaway. Ask any number of people who witness my thrice-yearly roadtrips to visit. Part of it (well, most of it) is that some of my oldest and dearest friends call the city home. But I also love Austin's vibe. The food isn't bad either, and I'm a sucker for an indie coffee shop that plays an entire Elliott Smith record while I sip my chai latte. The Husband and I booked via Hotwire (we normally stay with friends, but schedules didn't meld well this time) and ended up with a Holiday Inn resort overlooking Town Lake. I was petrified at first, as I'm a (guilty as charged) fanatic for high-thread-count linens, Aveda bathroom products, and mod remodeled bathrooms. But the hotel wasn't so bad. It wouldn't have mattered anyway because we ate and sipped our way through Austin the entire weekend. I can't really count how many eating or drinking establishments that we visited, but in addition to my old favorite The Hotel San Jose, here are some of my favorites from the weekend:

Parkside: an urban hip cafe where everything was incredible, from the cesar salad to the mac and cheese and (lest we forget) the homemade donut holes...

Blue Dahlia: organic and healthy bistro that reminded me of cafes I've visited in Santa Fe, Taos, and San Francisco...

Clementine: perhaps the cutest coffee shop to ever hit Austin's eastside. I was smitten, to say the least...