How I came to be eating Zucchini soup.

So last Wednesday I made Zucchini soup. I’ve always been a meat and potatoes guy. Well, not the potatoes. But you get the gist. The idea of zucchini soup sounded revolting to me. But I’ve gotten hooked on epicurious.com’s “Dinner Rush”. Go to www.epicurious.com, then hover over “Articles and Guides”, and click on “Everyday Cooking”. They have a weekly planner for every week with 5 meals.

Even though some of those meals don’t appeal to me at all, I go with them anyway. It’s definitely made our eating much more varied and nutritious. At worst the recipies aren’t that exciting, and we’ve been suprised by how often they were really, really good, and introduced us to things we would never order at a restaurant.

And that is how I came to be eating zucchini soup last Wednsday. Stella and I were shocked. We really liked it.

my favorite race

Race Time Min/Mile
1 27:05 8:41
2 25:54 8:18
3 25:32 8:11
4 25:36 8:12
5 25:22 8:08
6 25:32 8:11
7 25:18 8:06
8 25:59 8:19
9 🙁 didn’t make it in time to race
10 25:42 8:14
11 25:38 8:13
11 26:53 8:37

So last night was my last Sunstroke 5k. It completely whipped me. I don’t know if it was the temperature or what, but I barely made it through, and I’m still feeling crummy today. I’ve never come as close to blowing chunks after a race as last night. But, last night was my favorite race. As I crossed the starting line I heard a little voice – “Go, Daddy, Go!, Go, Daddy, Go!”. Stella was cheering me on, unprompted by the adults she was with. She’s a cool bean.

Quick Updates

Update 1 – The rain train fell in a hole. This knocked off one of its arms causing water to flow out. The rain train tried to keep going which caused the wheels to keep turning and dig itself further and further into the hole as the hole got wetter and wetter. I find this really amusing for some reason. Have no fear though, the rain train will be back in service on Saturday.

Update 2 – I was playing in the backyard with Stella when I noticed Lucy was flipping something around in the air with her mouth. I went and investigated since this is not her normal behavior and we discovered a baby bird. We took it to Austin Wildlife Rescue the next day and they said our baby blue jay is going to do fine. Its little blind eyes reminded me of Roxie, and it kept propping itself up on its bottom with its feet sticking directly out in front of it and its head up in the air waiting for food. Seriously cute:

Update 3 – Julie spent two days taking care of my little sister (yes Julie is an awesome sister-in-law) after some surgery. Stella stayed with her Mimi in Houston. While they were there, I finished getting Stella’s big girl bed ready. This involved extending the side rails so that her Ikea purchased slats wouldn’t fall off. Plus I had to put in slat start and end bumpers so they wouldn’t shift around. Took me about two hours to get everything done, but I love the results:

This is one of the two matching mid-century modern twin beds that we purchased so we could have matching beds for the two kids who eventually end up sleeping in what is now Stella’s room. We got them both for $79. Great deal.

Still running.

Race Time Min/Mile
1 27:05 8:41
2 25:54 8:18
3 25:32 8:11
4 25:36 8:12
5 25:22 8:08
6 25:32 8:11
7 25:18 8:06
8 25:59 8:19
9 🙁 didn’t make it in time to race
10 25:42 8:14
11 25:38 8:13

So back down in the low teens again. It bugs me to slow down, but it’s easier to keep in perspective when it’s only about 6 seconds we’re talking about. Plus there was this guy with a jogging stroller who totally slowed down my first mile this week. Yeah that’s my story.

Bulky Trash Day

The City of Austin picks up bulky trash twice a year. This is our day for putting say, that old gun safe that’s been sitting in the garage, on the curb. We can’t put these things out on just any trash day like many cities. Which I think is for the best. My mother-in-law, however, thinks it’s insane.

So last night everyone put out their bulky trash. And today has been a non-stop feeding frenzy. People in my neighborhood are seriously into bulky trash. When we moved in we had some things we needed to get rid of (including an 6′ tall entertainment center that hadn’t done well in the move). We just put these things on our front yard with a “Free” sign, and they were gone within 24 hours. Most of them were gone within the hour.

We don’t currently have any bulky trash. We’ve managed to go a fairly long time without doing any home improvement projects and we mostly like the stuff in our house. But as I sit here I can watch the crud my neighbors across the street put out. In the past hour there have been a minivan and a truck, and both have taken something from the pile. The pile now appears to only contain a while chunk of lattice work and a cardboard box (which the city won’t pick up, but maybe they’re gambling that someone else will).

I’ll keep you updated.

Immoral Commerce

I got a call from United American Technologies the other day. They said they were from the “campaign to restore morals and values”. Then they went on to tell me that they could provide me with a list of all the sexual predators in the area including pictures. Which is one of my pet peeves. I feel like we either need to lock up those with sexual crimes for life or leave them alone. This vigilante justice nonsense really sickens me.

But anyway, I pushed 1 to talk to their representative. I asked how they got my name and asked to be taken off their list and they hung up on me. I called them back using my caller id, and got the same message. I finally got a representative. They took my phone number, and hung up on me.

Julie went to book club that night and one of the mothers recounted that her 4 year old had answered the phone to that message. Kids shouldn’t have to listen to this sort of vigilante hate speech. Now if this was a political message I’d just chalk it up to the usual conservative a-holes, but it turns out this is actually to sell phone service! They say that all the other phone carriers support pornography and they’re the only phone service for people who care about their children.

Absolutely, disgusting. You can call them at 877-266-6277 if you would like to be taken off of their list preemptively.

Slowing down

Yesterday was not a good run. I just didn’t feel great running. It was hard work from the outset. Normally I enjoy the running (which is why I do it). Before I ate dinner I nearly passed out sitting up at the table and Julie was pretty concerned about me. I perked up after dinner though. Who knows what that was about…

Race Time Min/Mile
1 27:05 8:41
2 25:54 8:18
3 25:32 8:11
4 25:36 8:12
5 25:22 8:08
6 25:32 8:11
7 25:18 8:06
8 25:59 8:19

get on the rain train… rain train

I’m not big on watering. I don’t like the fact that I have to supplement nature. Plus I’m lazy. But, I’ve come to realize it’s a necessary evil. We put in a cactus garden in our old house with a rock base and the temperatures coming off there were scorching. Like actually scorching the undersides of the cactus in some cases. Like you couldn’t walk across it to weed after 7am or you could feel the heat coming up through the soles of your shoes. Obviously just covering your yard with rocks is not ideal. It’s only one step removed from concrete. As much as the idea appeals to me.

Our new house came with some beautiful, well established grass. The backyard in particular is wonderful. You can walk on it in bare feet which I think everyone who lives in Texas can agree is a ridiculous ideal that no one actually believes is possible. I feel responsible to this soft grass to take care of it and not kill it through neglect.

I’ve got the front yard on a timer and it works well. I don’t even have to think about it. Well, it woke up Stella last week so I had to change its time a bit, but mostly I don’t have to think about it.

The old homeowners recommended the rain train for the backyard. The idea behind it is that you lay out the hose in the path you want the train to take across your backyard. The water coming through the hose propels the train across your hose “track”. It does this slowly and evenly watering the whole back yard. This has turned out to be very nice. It waters quite evenly. My backyard is a long strip. My guess is that to water it using a traditional spinkler I’d have to move it at least 3 times. That’s not going to happen. The rain train does require that I lay out its track and turn it on and off. But I don’t have to remember to move it at regularly spaced intervals. I know that with a traditional sprinkler I’d end up with one really nice green section, one sorta brown section, and one completely dead section. I know my limitations.

So I’m happy with the rain train. It’s pricey, but worth it if you’re unable to remember to move a sprinkler like I am. Plus you get to sing “get on the rain train.. rain train” (to the tune of “Love Train”) all day.

Someday, I do plan on migrating the front yard to a cultivated prairie. But I think I’ll keep the backyard grass. It is nice to do my morning sit-ups in, Stella can run across it barefoot, and it is awfully nice for a nap.

I’ll keep it as long as it can withstand only being watered twice weekly by the rain train in this hot, hot summer. It’s doing good so far.