This is a problem

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The rain barrel is overflowing where I just recently planted lettuce. It’s full so it’s too heavy to turn it so the overflow points somewhere else. Obviously we need more barrels!

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The other barrel is doing the same thing. I’d get pictures but… I’d have to go stand in the rain to do that. I got these from the front porch.

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Aparicio’s Restaurant, McKinney – Taco Traveler

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There’s not much that can compare to a cold beer and some good Mexican food at the end of a tough day. We headed out to Aparicio’s for dinner tonight. It’s located just off the main square, on Virginia Street in McKinney. The downtown area overall has been revitalized by the new streetscaping that went in. Almost all the shops are full and everything looks fresh and inviting. Aparicio’s is not new to town though. The chain, started in Plano in 1986, has had a home in McKinney for several years.

The restaurant and sports bar wins awards for things like – best margarita in McKinney and “Best Afterwork Atmosphere.” After tonight’s dinner, I can see why. Aparicio’s delivers good, quick food, friendly service and goes beyond the nacho, quesadillas and bean burritos so many Mexican restaurants serve. Sure, there were quesadillas on the menu – at least four varieties. But there were also homemade tamales, several fish options and empanadas.

The bar offers around 6 beers on tap and about 40 bottled varieties. I went for a Ziegenbock – which arrived in a very large margarita glass and Mr. Taco Traveler opted for Negra Modelo in a bottle.

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The obligatory chips and salsa were good, though nothing to write home about. The chips were nice and salty and thick, which I enjoy and the salsa was homemade and relatively mild. The taste was good and it was easy to eat plenty since there was no heat behind it.

I decided on a taco combination platter with three tacos – one al Pastor, one tinga and one carnitas. The al Pastor is a blend of seasoned pork and pineapple and comes with cilantro and onions on the side. It is sweet and juicy and Aparicio’s definitely got it right. The tinga was shredded chicken in chipotle sauce. It was definitely spicy, but then, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to spice. Had I not scarfed the whole thing down, Mr. Taco Traveler, who likes spicy things, could’ve weighed in on it all. Carnitas is the seasoned pork which is marinated with orange peel and spices. It was really tasty, if a little dry.

Mr. Taco Traveler chose chicken enchiladas with green sauce.

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I could tell you how delicious it was, except for the fact that he ate it all without sharing a single, solitary nibble with me. I guess that means it was pretty good!

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I also had a small side of guacamole which was good, but not excellent. I’m a bit of a guacamole snob ever since I learned how to make it at home though.

For dinner time on Thursday the restaurant seemed relatively quiet, but there was a poker tournament going on in the basement and I could hear people upstairs in the sports bar as well. It’s hard to describe the decor of the place. It was almost an Old World Tuscan style with plaster over brick walls, some exposed brick, big, old looking pillars and heavy antique pieces around. It looked like it had some cantina roots but maybe it had outgrown them and moved on to a more sophisticated style. I was completely at ease being there in jeans and a polo shirt though, so don’t think it’s an uppity kinda place.

Mr. Taco Traveler and I agreed, it was a solid 3 out of 5 tacos for our dinner. Next time we’ll start with some margaritas and get the score higher!

Photos by Robert Clark

The Great SXSW

I went to SXSW (South By Southwest) a rather huge film, music and interactive festival on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It was awesome and overwhelming all at once. I met some great people, made some super contacts, finally put some people into 3D (met them in person) and generally enjoyed myself. Oh course, I also got completely worn out by the late nights, and a little overwhelmed by all the choices.

There is a reason I work from home. Well, ok that are a lot of reasons. But one reason I like it so much is that left to my own preferences, I’m shy, and like to be a wallflower. Of course, at something like SXSW if you want to meet people and make contacts, that won’t work. I absolutely should’ve had my “elevator speech” ready so I could introduce myself quickly but, I never even thought of it.

Now, I’m home again, working on hanging laundry out on the clothesline, puttering in the garden, making a list of posts to write, planning some meals for this week and generally getting back to normal.

While I was gone on my two trips, my nephew had his 7th birthday, so I need to plan a special dinner or outing for us to take him on since we missed it. I am wondering about maybe the zoo or the nature and science¬† museum. Also while i was gone, Daisy mostly learned how to lie down and stay. Of course, she excelled at stay since I’ve been working with her on that one every day when we get the mail. Everyone in puppy class thinks it’s pretty funny that our release work is rhinoceros but hey, the instructor said pick a word you wouldn’t normally use.

I have absolutely zero pictures from SXSW. I took the big camera which was way too heavy to lug around every day. It needs a shoulder strap I think.

I have been working on the block exchange quilt top, adding some rick rack, so I will post a picture of that up as soon as it is done. It is really changing the look of the quilt, in a good way. It was much too washed out before. Here is the beginning of it with rick rack…

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Many Accomplishments

The weekend quilting with my family was simply wonderful. I enjoyed being together with my Mom, Aunt and cousins and just sewing and sewing and sewing. I had thought I might have a hard time deciding what to work on or that I would take some time to relax and wander about the farm we were staying at. Nope. I sewed for about 16 hours each day! Got only about 6 hours of sleep a night, which is not much for me and generally stayed right at the sewing machine.

Everyone did the same and we got lots done.

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My cousin and I finished the quilt tops with the blocks we have been exchanging since October. Well, she finished. Mine still needs borders but I plan to do that either tonight or as soon as I return from Austin. We had fun exchanging blocks and mailing the little packages to each other and it’s neat to see how differently our quilt tops turned out.

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This photo, from left to right shows a pillowcase and block my other cousin completed and then my small quilt top, a table runner, the camping quilt and two pillowcases I completed over the weekend. The table runner is about 6 feet long and has Jacob’s Ladder blocks down the center and I found the most perfect orange, yellow and green variegated quilting thread for it. And the binding looks good which pretty much felt like a miracle to me!

The camping quilt went to Indiana with some of the squares cut out. I was able to finish cutting it out, piece the top, quilt it and bind it and sew the patches on from places Robert and I have visited together. It even got a label. It weighs a ton since it has a denim backing but I wanted something very sturdy for the camper. And it will definitely keep us warm when necessary. Completing it was my main goal for the weekend.

The pillowcases I made while I was showing the others how I make pillowcases. They had requested a tutorial and I was happy to oblige.

I also finished some blocks for a flying geese BOM project I am working on. I don’t have a picture of that. Overall, it was a great weekend and totally worth the exhausting, straight through drive I put myself through on Sunday to get home (I really wanted to see Robert).

Traveling

I am in Indiana right now. I have come up for a week to visit with family, go through some of the boxes of my things at my parents house and also to attend a family quilting retreat. The quilting retreat starts tomorrow and goes until Sunday. After that I will be driving back to Texas.

It has been a slow, quiet week so far at my parents house. My Dad is working two doubles a week so Mondays and Wednesdays he works 16 hours. I spent some time with him yesterday morning while he was home, so that was good.

My Mom goes to work all day but we have spent time together in the evenings. Monday we went to my original favorite Mexican restaurant. Yesterday we watched TV and I made her dinner. Tonight she has to go grocery shopping and I have an old friend stopping by for dinner at the house. Mom will be packing her car so we’re all ready to leave for the quilting retreat bright and early in the morning.

I can’t get a good enough Internet signal on my own computer to be able to write posts for work, which is unfortunate. At least I can check my mail and write this on my parents computer though.

It’s been interesting to spend time with the cats. Actually my cats that were quite happy to stay with my parents after moving here the very first time! Much different than having a dog. I tried to teach them to sit and shake last night and they just weren’t interested.

I miss Robert and Daisy very much. Robert and I haven’t really spent any time apart since… well his last business trip overseas before we were even married. So, probably for a year we’ve been together pretty much every day after work and other activities. I’m sure it is good for us to have a little break, but, I still miss him! It doesn’t help that he’s extremely busy so it’s hard to even have time on the phone.

I called my Aunt’s house because Daisy is there right now (Robert had to fly to Houston to speak at a conference) and she put me on speaker phone. I said hi to Daisy and my Aunt said she perked right up when she heard my voice. Robert said she is not eating much and just generally missing me. Considering she’s such a Daddy’s girl all the time, I was a bit surprised.

My friend will be here soon so I should work a bit on dinner. Chicken quesadillas with homemade pico and guacamole. Yum!