Austin Museum of Art, budgeting, Jeep flood

Elise and I had a really great weekend – and we did it on a budget. Well, sort of on a budget… but we’re really working on it!

I tried to get out of work on time on Friday. That didn’t happen. I came home to a prettied-up wife. Not that Elise isn’t pretty all the time, she just… hell, I’m probably going to get myself into trouble so I’ll shut up now. Anyway, she said she wanted to look pretty for her husband after his long day at work.

I had planned on us staying in that evening and eating leftovers. Elise mentioned pizza. Leftovers didn’t sound so good anymore. Not really sounding like we’re budgeting, does it? Well, prior to Friday, I don’t remember the last time we ate out.

We live a hop, skip and a jump from the small community called Oak Hill. We had always eyed the Austin Pizza Garden during previous Oak Hill pass throughs and decided it was time to give it a try. Really good pizza in a small town environment. We opted to build our own pie. I told Elise to pick whatever toppings she wanted. She chose garlic, Canadian bacon, black olives and hamburger. We decided we should have avoided the hamburger, but the pizza was good nonetheless.

After dinner, we went home and played Trivial Pursuit. See, we’re budgeting! Of course, we probably should have went out on the town because every time we play Trivial Pursuit, we end up feeling really dumb. You know what I mean.

I woke up early on Saturday and ran some errands. I had to deposit a check and ship off some items that sold on eBay. While at the bank, I withdrew $20 – our allowance for the day.

I came home, scooped up Elise and we headed out for the day. We got into town and made the proverbial loop around downtown, trying to find a parking spot. We finally found one and headed to the Austin Children’s Museum. I think Elise wanted to go there so I could play. She had also read that admission was free. Admission is free if you’re a child. I didn’t shave that morning. We kept walking up to Congress to our second destination.

Our next stop was the Austin Museum of Art. The exhibit that we went to see was a selection of Robert Frank’s photographs that are on loan from the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Elise and I both studied Robert Frank’s work in college. All I can say is “wow”. It’s so much more inspirational and touching to see an artist’s work in person than it is in books. Frank is famous for his collection entitled “The Americans”. Elise owns the book that contains all of the images from that series. It was really cool to see them in real life.

I really like the black and white photographs that I’ve seen by Robert Frank because they have the perfect amount of graininess, contrast and subtlety. I sound all snobbish and artsy-fartsy, don’t I? Oh well, I took my share of photography classes. I also found myself standing in that museum, staring at a photo and almost saying aloud, “Damn, how the hell did he get that image?” If you’ve ever seen his photos, you’ve seen being at the right place at the right time.

Elise and I were surprised to find out that Robert Frank is from Switzerland. Up until Saturday, we had always thought that he was American-born. It gave completely new meaning to his works from the America series.

We also saw paintings by Alex Katz. Although I really didn’t like Katz’s paintings, I liked visualizing his moods when he painted. The selected works dated from the early 50’s to 2001. It seemed as if in the late years of each decade, he was angry. I also thought it was interesting how each painting resembled a photograph. More like a snapshot of people and places – not just some painting of a boring, random landscape with a minimal focal point.

While I was waiting on Elise to finish looking at Katz’s paintings, I sat down and picked up a book at one of the discovery/refection tables. I don’t know what they called these little tables, but I sat there and discovered and reflected. I picked up a book that contained a lot of Katz’s paintings. I liked the images in the book better than the ones that were on display.

Anyway – Robert Frank’s photos and Alex Katz’s paintings will be on display at the museum until May 4th. I really recommend going to see Frank’s photos.

After the museum, Elise and I drove out to Mt. Bonnell for a picnic. See, we’re budgeting – we packed our lunch. We found a nice little spot on the rocks to eat our sandwiches, watch boats drive by and take guesses at which public eye person owns which lakefront home.

When we left Mt. Bonnell and got back into the Jeep, we smelled something that was not much unlike wet carcass. Elise immediately lifted the floor mat on the passenger side of the Jeep to find about an inch of standing water. The Jeep had been sitting out in the sun while we were having lunch and became a cesspool sauna. I am the guilty party. Last week, when the sky wouldn’t stop crying, I thought it was fun to plow through puddles of water and spray rain all over the place (you can do that in a Jeep). The water had apparently come up through the drain holes in the floor board, soaked up into the carpet and didn’t drain back out.

We drove home, windows down and began surgery on the Jeep. We took out every square inch of carpet and soaked up all of the water. Surgery didn’t take as long as I had expected. We both decided that we like the Jeep better without the carpet. So now we have a that-much-more rugged vehicle. At least it’ll be easier to clean the interior now.

After we fixed the Jeep, we went inside, showered and headed over to Tommy’s to watch Mike Tyson knock out Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds. Woof. It was like watching a rooky play Mike Tyson’s Punch Out on Nintendo for the first time. Elise and I stayed at Tommy’s until late in the night, came home and hit the hay.

I got up on Sunday and worked on Travis’ site pretty much all day. Elise made fettuccini alfredo. I used my mortar and pestle that Steve and Joanne got for me for the first time to infuse garlic, rosemary and evoo for a bread dipping sauce.

Travis came over later last night to drop off some pictures. We played the geetar and Travis sang some songs. That was a whole lot better than watching the Grammy’s. We’re tentatively planning on getting together next Saturday to write some more music and hopefully get something recorded.

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