Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lunch Report: Hondo's in Fredericksburg...

It has actually been a while since we have been to Fredericksburg and the drive is beautiful.  I have never once questioned why property prices north of San Antonio exceed those of the communities south (and in our case, west) of SAT.  It isn't just that the rolling hills and landscapes are nicer, but frankly, the highway scenery is a much cleaner view.  Is it the tax base?  Perhaps.  Having said all that, a Sunday drive is one thing but having to fight that traffic every day to and from work?  No thanks.

 If I were a motorcycle guy, I might be tempted to strap Eva on the back of a bike and make the trip more often  'Course, I'd have to wear that t-shirt that says, "If you can read this shirt..."
Anyway,  we were in Fredericksburg by 11:00 and timing was perfect to meet Mya's dad in the park right in front of Kendall County Courthouse.  It was so cute to see her face light up when she saw Michael.
Before they had to head out for San Angelo, we took a break and hit the first restaurant on my extensive list that was near where we stopped, and that was Hondo's on Main
 Inside, the place looked smallish, but welcoming.  I am a sucker for places that look and feel like this, with pictures about the history and in this case, pictures of the late John "Hondo" Crouch.  I should have taken more pictures, especially of the hallway leading to the restroom, but the place was getting crowded as we were giving our order.   Hondo's is sort of a self-service place.  You take a menu when you go inside, order from a gal at the bar, then, when you find a seat and your buzzer goes off, you head to the kitchen area to grab your vittles and drinks.  They don't make you wash the dishes, though.
Michael had a half-pound burger topped with bacon on a sourdough bun.  We liked the way the bread had a great taste to it.  Eva had a kids version of the same thing (they basically cut the burger in half and add curly fries) but added cheese.  That cup of condiment is a mixture of mayo and mustard.
I ordered the Blue Ribbon BBQ Bacon Burger which came topped with onion rings and some barbecue sauce.  It really was good, and again, the grilled sourdough bun was an added bonus.  Dude, that was lip-smackin' good.

I went ahead and ordered a half-order of rings for the table, and frankly, we didn't eat much of them.  I'm not a huge fan of the really thin onion rings like this, but aside from that, our burgers were really more than enough.  Oh, the dipping sauces were good.   I do understand why the burgers don't come with fries or rings as an included side, because they would probably go to waste for most people.  If you do like the skinny rings, get an order.
The order didn't take long and we all enjoyed stuffing ourselves.  Outside the air conditioned dining room is a nice biergarten complete with some folks playing music.  I imagine this would be a nice place to stay for a while if you didn't have to drive back home.
I must say that it is just to hot to really enjoy walking around in the heat.  As nice as Fredericksburg is, I bet it would be nicer in October when you could stand to be outside for more than 12 minutes.  And that is a plan.  We are going to have to find a hotel nearby and make a full day of it once we get to a point in the year where it is safe to walk up and down the streets and see all the wonderful shops and sample the local fare.  But if you happen to make the trip and want to get out of the heat, give Hondo's on Main a shot and have yourself a Tasty Treat!

The Lost Weekend Report: Sick!

We had the good fortune of spending several days with Mya the Bee this week, giving her parents a little vacation (if you consider going to work a vacation) and giving Eva someone to dance around with during Zumba video time.  Everything was going quite magnificently up until about Friday afternoon when I came home from work early feeling a little queasy.  There has been something going around at work with various people calling in sick.  I never get sick, so I just assumed they were slackers.  But early Friday, I was beginning to feel it and made my way home by 3pm. 
Lifeguards Maggie and Gracie stand by as Mya eats a Popsicle
Amazingly, by early evening, I felt well enough to jump on the mower and work on the lawn a bit while Eva and Mya splashed in a little blow-up pool on the patio.  Eva didn't actually get in the pool, but she did splash Mya who did swim around for a while.

Unfortunately, by about 9PM on Friday night, Eva was feeling whatever I had felt before, and she made a quick retreat to bed.  And then, how to put this delicately, got up several times during the night. 

Saturday morning, I didn't feel all that hot, but I was able to load up Mya and take her to spend the day with her grandmother and great-grandmother.  We spent the majority of the day dozing on and off, her in the bedroom watching some Bio channel thing about ghosts and me in the living room watching various murder cases on a channel called ID which I was not familiar with.

By 4pm, we were up and ready to go pick up the bee, and though Eva could not bare the thought of food, I was capable of consuming the Number 5 with grilled jalapenos, sub onion rings and some cool swamp water at Whataburger. 
 Somebody is stuck!
Thankfully, whatever we got, didn't get the bee.  She is a little pistol, for sure!  By the way, that is the platform rocker Eva found at a flea market for $40.  The new fabric she covered it with cost more than the chair, which is usually how these great deals end up.

By Sunday morning, we were up and well enough to make the drive to Fredericksburg, the meeting point between here and San Angelo where the bee actually lives.  Eva still hasn't decided on whether or not she can handle anything besides Saltines, but I have a few suggestions from readers on "must eat" places, including Alamo Springs Cafe and Hondo's.  We'll see what looks doable once we get there.

Guard Dog...

Whenever we have a little visitor staying the night, Gracie insists on keeping guard from beneath the crib.  As soon as there is a little someone in the crib, she takes her position and will not leave until the nap or the night is over.
Good dog.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Burger Report: PAWS of Summer in Lytle...

Saturday afternoon we had planned to check out the PAWS of Summer event at the Lytle Community Center with our real goal being, eat a good burger for dinner, perhaps buy a few baked goods and donate a few dollars to a good cause. The entire event provides support for the Spay/Neuter Fund; Animal Medical Care Fund, and the General Animal Shelter Supply Fund associated with the Lytle Animal Care facility.  It wasn't as cheap a date as I expected it to be, but I'd say by the time we got home, it was worth it.
 First off, we expected the burgers to be just a patty on a bun with a few ketchup packets.  The idea is, for charity, you want to keep it cheap.  In reality, the burger plates were easily worth the $5.00 charged including good buns, a selection of cheeses and toppings.  Eva's (pictured above) just had some lettuce and tomato, but mine (I ate it before I could take a picture) had jalapenos, loads of pickles, and generous scoops of mayo and mustard.  Is it any wonder I can't wear those fashionable skinny jeans?
As we ate, one of the fine folks from the Animal Control Facility shared a tear-inducing video (just think of your standard Sarah McLachlan commercial) and a heartwarming story or two about the volunteers and needs of the facility.  Hey, it works.  You feel like a creep if you don't at least want to help a little.  I mean, a little more than pay for supper.
 At first, I thought maybe we should go buy several plates of cupcakes and I'd just take them to work, but then they started auctioning things off.  Up first was a certificate for a stay in the jacuzzi suite at the brand new, Best Western Lytle just opened up off of I-35.  An estimated $180 value, nobody would bid even at $75.  So when they lowered it to $50 as a starting bid, Eva started nudging me.  Fine, we paid $85 for a hotel room less than a mile or two from our house.  But it has a jacuzzi in the room!  Oh wait, we have a jacuzzi too.  Oh well, I felt like we did our good deed and who knows, maybe well give the dogs a night alone in the house and go live it up at the Best Western!  Or, as the police chief of Lytle suggested, we could try to resell it to some of the oil field workers in need of a relaxing evening.

So everything is good.  In fact, after we went and wrote a check for the certificate, we were going to hit the baked goods table and leave feeling like we did our part to maybe pay for a dog or two to get neutered.  Not so fast.  After buying an $8 bag of cookies (that are totally out of this world awesome I might add), we watched as the put this spiffy grill up for bids.

You know that I need to purchase a new grill from time to time since I am the worlds biggest abuser of them.  I think I mentioned a while back that, my theory has become, buy a cheap grill, then replace it every year or two.  I know those of you hard core outdoor grillers probably think badly of me for this, but I just can't spend several hours each week detailing my pit like it is a 1964 Ferrari.
 This baby included a bunch of accessories (like flavored wood chips) and as I clutched a big Zip-Lock bag of peanut butter-oatmeal-M&M cookies, Eva kept nudging me to bid.  At about $220, I started to feel like we were Jarrod and Brandi trying to remember what our highest bid was going to be.  I hope this doesn't cost me an unnecessary speeding ticket, but we did outbid the police chief and took home the grill.
And now it sits waiting to be broken in for use. 
I have to admit, this one is a built a lot more heavy duty than my current charcoal grill.  Perhaps we can find an oil field worker who needs a stay at the Best Western but wants to do a little grilling before he hits the jacuzzi.  All for a good cause, of course.

Have you ever unexpectedly bought stuff from an auction when all you meant to do was eat a burger?  Did you purchase a yacht or an old mansion?  Do tell, won't you?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Daily Deer...

It has been a while since we've had more than one deer come by at a time, and bonus, in the day time!
And this little guy came in for a close up!  I had just stepped outside with Gracie when I noticed this one looking at us.  Gracie sniffed around a bit but because of the new fence between the porch and the deer camera, she didn't quite realize the opportunity to play with a special friend was upon her. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Air Force One in Town...

I pulled out of work and looked down to the flight line as I often do (my office sits on a hill overlooking Kelly Field), I was reminded that San Antonio has a special visitor today.
No need to contemplate politics and such, it is just nice to see Air Force One with its stately paint scheme in our city.  Too bad the ridiculous electrical lines got in my way of a good picture with San Antonio's Tower of the Americas in the background.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Spiffing up the Gate...

One of the people in our neighborhood is having a house built on his property and he has been doing a great job of landscaping the place as the work on the house commences.  We could not help but notice how he had welded some goat fence to the entry gate.  Currently, we have regular field fence strapped to the posts on either side of our entry gate.  We stopped and talked to the owner of the house and he was kind enough to provide us with the number of the welder who had come out and done the work.  That guy came out and gave us an estimate that was extreme to say the least. 
 So instead, we called the same guy who had cleared our property next door, and on Saturday afternoon, he and his son came out and started on the first one.  The important thing to understand about this little project is not that it is so difficult to do, but you have to have the equipment.  First off, the fencing comes in 20 foot panels.  The bed of my truck is about 8 feet with the tailgate open!  Secondly, and more important is the mobile welder seen in the pictures above.  This is a fancy device that is fully self contained.  You start the engine and it provides the energy for the welder, plus, it has outlets to plug in 110 and 220 wherever you are at.  I'm trying to think of why I might possibly need one of these, because it just seems like the thing one ought to have.
Anyway, Joel and his son (with a little help from me) made quick work of the first gate entry, but he will come back on Monday to finish up and do the entry on the property next door.  Once everything is done, we'll get out there and put a nice paint job on both entries.
In other news, we made a slight modification to the patio area where I keep my grills.  We extended the flagstone and added a second series of of patio blocks to keep the grills on.   Eventually, we'll have that small fenced in area leveled and sodded.  What it really needs is a hammock!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Random Photo Report: He's Gonna Get Me...

I have an ongoing project of scanning in the hard copy photographs that fill boxes of photo albums throughout the house. As I was going through yet another shoebox full of pictures taken over the years, tossed in no particular order, I stumbled upon a picture of my father and I standing on a huge fallen tree at Big Trees or Big Basin, I'm not sure which, State Park in California.
There is slightly more to the story than this image of my father standing there, and me, not quite 4 years old.  The family story, mostly exaggerated like so many urban legends, that while we were camping, something we did often in those days, I had wandered off a few feet from the campsite.  My parents heard me screaming, "He's gonna get me!  He's gonna get me!"

I could liven the story up and suggest that it was a huge grizzly bear or perhaps a rabid coyote, but as this alleged event unfolded, it was nothing more than a chipmunk, just as scared shitless as I was, at the other end of the log.  Poor little guy.  Both of us.

I know it is strange, but I actually recall standing on this huge log with my father.  I can only assume the photo was taken by one of my older brothers or sisters, probably earning a merit badge for some scouting project.  But before tonight, I had never seen this photograph at all.  My mom sent me several boxes of pictures, and as I was thumbing through a few envelopes tonight, this one just fell out onto my desk. 

June of 1967.  I was much thinner back then.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kudos to DirecTV...

I may have mentioned this before but we put off getting DirecTV until it became an absolute necessity.  Once we moved out here where even getting DSL is a huge ordeal (and not even available to my nearest neighbor), the idea that we could get AT&T's UVerse or Time-Warner was a mere pipe dream.

My complaint about DirecTV was the idea of a dish on my house, and more importantly, I wanted TV's in every freakin' room without having to have boxes everywhere.  You get over that quickly when it is your only option*.  In short, we have had DirecTV since the day we moved into this house 18 months ago, and we have been pleased.

Then last night, something very bad happened.  We went to bed with the usual agenda of watching KENS5 news followed by the first 10 or 15 minutes of Letterman.  But there was no signal on the TV.  The DirecTV box gave a code of 771A which equated to no signal from the receiver.  We got back up, watched the headlines on the TV in the living room, then back to bed with only the fine purr of our expensive Tempurpedic making that rumble that it makes as it shakes us into deep sleep.

After work today, I went online to see what a code 771A was, and then did all sorts of trouble shooting.  I took a receiver from another room and swapped it out, and the TV worked, so I knew there was not a problem with the cable in the room.  I finally decided to call customer service and lodge my formal complaint.  Of course as expected they service person asked me to go through the usual steps of checking cables, and all the stuff I had already done, but I quickly interrupted her and read off the laundry list of things I had done to per-trouble shoot for her. 

Eva laughed at me when the lady informed me that I had missed a critical step.  There is a heretofore unknown box hidden behind my main TV that can occasionally needs to be reset.  Dammit!  Why did I not know this information?

After resetting that puppy, I was somewhat smug about the fact that the TV in the bedroom still had the 771A error.  But, my little DirecTV phone queen told me I needed to reset the receiver again, and yes she knows I had done it already!  My demeanor changed and suddenly I was extremely (even overly) pleasant as the receiver started to pull in the signal I had been missing for a full day.  Eva said if I had been any sweeter, she would have required a fork to gag herself.  Hey, I like to tip good service and write complimentary notes to companies that have good technicians, and I did.  

And this is my publicly declared statement that, the DirecTV chick was smarter than me.  

*Yes, I recognize that there are other options - Internet, digital antenna, nothing, but we are weak and we must have HBO and Showtime and crystal clear KENS5!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Daily Deer: Daytime Fun...

The usual visitor only comes around at night for the most part, and I don't mind seeing a few pictures of the same character getting a morsel while moving on to the next feeding area.
And some of you enjoy the pictures too, so here ya go.
The real prize for me though, is when they show up during the day.  I love the daytime pictures, and this is why my deer cam stays out all the time.
Oh, and occasionally the camera catches me in action!

Fence Update: Mostly Done...

Just a quick post to add a few more pictures to the fence project.
 I took down the old privacy fence and removed the posts so I can recycle them.  Recycle is code for, I'm not buying new posts when I can use the old ones.
 I finished up the fencing and built gates for the side and back.  The dogs were not happy when I cut off their quick access from running back and forth.
 And we planted a mess of Plumbago along the side.  We'll see if the Plumbagos can get going without the dogs attempting to dig them up.  I'm sure Eva will have an eye on the situation.