Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fave Five Food Deals - 2/25/10

Neither rain, sleet, snow nor the birth of my first child can stop the week's best grocery deals.

1. Romaine, green and red leaf lettuce, 2 for $1 at Sun Harvest (through 3/3/10)

2. Asparagus, .77/lb. at Newflower (through 3/3/10)

3. 64 oz. orange juice, $1.99 at Newflower (though 3/3/10)

4. Central Market Veggie Chips, 3 for $5 at H-E-B (through 3/2/10)

5. Sprouts organic milk, $3.99/gal. at Sprouts (through 3/3/10)

*no artificial ingredients or preservatives

Also, be sure to pick up an H-E-B circular this week to get a coupon for $1 off a gallon of milk (including Central Market Organics brand). And don't forget Sun Harvest's 48-hour sale on Thursday and Friday only. Featured sale prices include pineapples for 88 cents each and Blue Bell Ice Cream pints for just a buck, so stock up.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kate's Baby Story

Kate posted her thoughts on the birth of our child on Lone Star Kate today. I didn't say too much about it in my last post because I figured the birth itself was primarily her story, not mine.

I will say that watching her labor gave me a whole new understanding of what a strong, courageous woman my wife is. Simply put, she did great and it blew my mind.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Alexander Harrington Beets

Alexander Harrington Beets was born Friday, Feb. 19 at 11:34pm. He weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces at birth and Kate labored for about 17 hours to bring him into the world. Mother and son were released from the hospital yesterday. My dad took our first family photo (above) shortly before they were sprung.

Now we're all back home and learning to live as a three-piece. Everything looks just like it did when Kate and I left for the hospital, but we might as well be on another planet for how much everything has changed. It still hasn't completely sunk in that this beautiful, blond-headed boy who just turned 72 hours old a few minutes ago is really ours.

Before he was born, I had no way of knowing if the bond all my parent friends kept telling me about would happen. But there I was, gently rocking him in the hospital nursery at 2am while the radio played "Dance With Me" by Orleans, knowing there was no place else I'd rather be than right there at that moment.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Domestic Terrorism, North Austin Style

We had a real-live domestic terrorist incident about a mile up the road from our house this morning. Some nutjob named Joe Stack set his North Austin house on fire, took off in his single-engine plane from the Georgetown airport and crashed it into the 4-story Echelon I Building on Research Blvd. that houses an IRS field office. Stack died in the crash and one IRS employee is still unaccounted for. Two others were critically injured.

The authorities have shied away from using the T-word here, which seems a bit odd. I'm confused as to how a guy who leaves a manifesto before flying a plane into a building with federal offices would be considered anything else. I guess maybe you could say it wasn't terrorism because Stack apparently acted alone, but there's no way anyone would hedge on this if he wasn't white and/or American.

In reading the 53-year-old Stack's adolescent "manifesto," I'm struck by the fact that he takes absolutely no responsibility for anything that befell him. It's always the government or corporations or unions or the Catholic church or stupid Americans or this town with a "highly inflated sense of self-importance" that he voluntarily migrated to from California, but never his own boneheaded choices. Stack envisioned himself a rugged, self-made patriot under attack by The Man and I can only assume we're supposed to buy that because he ran his very own software company and didn't like paying taxes.

Whatever valid points he makes about creeping corporatism and the rich getting richer are quickly subsumed by his morass of narcissistic paranoia. I find this grossly disproportionate sense of woe-is-me entitlement emblematic of a certain subspecies of angry white men in this country. They liken paying taxes to anal rape but have no problem calling 911 when they have chest pains. They expect something for nothing and throw toddler tantrums when they can't get it ("Keep your government hands off my Medicare!").

Looking at the building, it's nothing short of miraculous that more people were not killed or injured. To that, I say hats off to the taxpayer-funded civil servants who helped mitigate the despicable actions of a self-aggrandizing tool.

Fave Five Food Deals - 2/18/10

If you’re in the mood to drink beer while stir-frying your dinner, the gods of Austin grocery deals are smiling on you this week. Be sure to pick up some Texas-grown grapefruit for breakfast while you’re at it.

1. Broccoli crowns or red and yellow bell peppers 69/lb. at Sprouts (through 2/24/10)

2. All natural* chicken breast tenders, $1.69/lb. at Sprouts (through 2/24/10)

3. Texas jumbo Gulf shrimp, $3.97/lb. (26-30 ct.) at Newflower (through 2/24/10)

4. Six-packs of Anchor beers (Steam, Liberty or Porter), $6.99 at Central Market (through 2/23/10)

5. Texas Rio Red Grapefruit, 10 for $1 at Newflower (through 2/24/10)

*no artificial ingredients or preservatives

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More Beets Please

No, that isn't an entreaty to the Great Beyond to expedite birthing. It's actually the title of my Uncle Mark's latest EP, which just nabbed him a nomination for Male Vocalist of the Year in the Academy of Texas Music's 8th annual Texas Music Awards. Past TMA winners include Lone Star stalwarts like Michael Martin Murphey, Shake Russell, Lloyd Maines and Johnny Gimble.

This year's winners will be announced May 15 at the 2010 awards show in Marshall, which will be hosted by B.J. Thomas. Public voting accounts for 10% of the award, so check out Mark's music here and cast a vote here before March 5 if you're so inclined.

Congratulations, Uncle Mark!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"No Baby Yet!"

If I had a dollar for every time I uttered the above phrase today, I'd have the belated little buckaroo's college tuition locked up by now.

It's weird how a "due date" goes to work on your expectations even when you know it's not perfectly predictive. Although Kate and I weren't counting on him arriving today, I was using it as a benchmark date to make sure certain tasks were either completed or at least well in hand.

I'm not quite sure what to do with myself now. I don't feel like diving into anything I can't finish quickly because I might have to abandon it before getting any real work done. Of course, there's never a "good" time to do your taxes.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Weekend in Waiting

Our baby boy's Feb. 16 due date is fast approaching. More than a few friends have said they have a feeling he will be born early. That could very well be the case if he takes after Kate. If he takes after me, he'll probably arrive late, but not too late.

Regardless, I've been treating the last few days as though he'll show up this weekend just to make sure the critical tasks are well in hand if Kate suddenly says it's time to go to the hospital. Some part of me thinks the thing to do in the final days of pre-fatherhood is to gorge on garbage food, see a lot of violent and/or sexually gratuitous movies and cram in as many domestic beer-drenched rock shows as I can.

But then I look at the yard or the shower stall and realize our soon-to-be harried home life will be marginally less harried if I get those things into some semblance of shape before the baby comes. I've never been much for housekeeping, but when I think about not being able to readily devote a large chunk of time to it for months and months, it makes me want to try and start off with as clean a slate as possible.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fave Five Food Deals - 2/11/10

Welcome to another edition of Fave Five Food Deals. Kick your shoes off and sidle on over for the week's best deals in Austin groceries.

1. Romaine, red leaf or green leaf lettuce, .69/ea. at Sprouts (through 2/17/10)

2. Harris Ranch all natural* 85% lean ground beef, $1.57/lb. at Newflower (through 2/17/10)

3. 6 oz. blueberries, $1.50 at Sun Harvest (through 2/17/10)

4. 1 pint grape tomatoes, $1.50 at Sprouts (through 2/17/10)

5. 4 oz. Canadian lobster tails, $4.99/ea. at Central Market (through 2/16/10)

*no artificial ingredients or preservatives

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Patty Melts for Two

If you’re short on change for Valentine’s Day, Whataburger has a deal for you and yours. Dine in between 5 and 10pm on Sunday, Feb. 14 and they’ll give you a free Patty Melt Whatameal when you buy one.

This may not sound like the most romantic dinner on first reading, but if you bring your own tablecloth, silverware, candelabra, vase, flowers and smooth saxophone solo, you can easily create a pitch-perfect homage to John Cusack in Better Off Dead. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.

Sadly, this offer does not apply to lonely hearts with an appetite – two people must be present when ordering. However, there’s no law stopping you from soliciting an expedient “Patty Melt Partner” in the parking lot.

Who knows? Maybe he or she will be the one you’ve been looking for all along.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Denny's Gives It Away

Denny's is giving away a bunch of food these days. Next Tuesday between 6am and 2pm, you can get a free Original Grand Slam Breakfast just for showing up. Expect a crowd since Denny's is running ads to promote this during the Super Bowl on Sunday. Last year's free Grand Slam promotion drew 2 million people.

If you don't have all day, you can still get a coupon for a free burger and fries if you're one of the first 500,000 people who sign up for the new Denny's Rewards program before Feb. 14. Other than possibly getting a bunch of e-mail you'll have to delete, this one looks pretty painless.

Starting Feb. 10, Denny's puts the smackdown on IHOP by providing free refills on any order of pancakes or fries. I always thought IHOP's $4.99 endless pancake promotion was a rip-off because I can't eat that many pancakes, but I can put away plenty of fries. And I will. Just please don't tell my wife.

Best of all, you can get a free Grand Slam breakfast on your birthday. That's not quite as good as the old free birthday meal deal, but I'm not one to argue with the fickle mistress that is Free.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Fave Five Food Deals - 2/4/10

Welcome to the pre-Super Bowl edition of Fave Five Food Deals. Not surprisingly, this week's boffo Austin grocery deals include lots of party foods. Parties are okay, but is there really a better friend out there than having a family-sized tub of homemade guacamole all to yourself?

1. All natural* pork sausage, $1.97/lb. at Newflower through 2/10/10

2. River Ranches all natural** ground beef, $3.99/lb at Natural Grocers through 2/27/10

3. Haas avocados and/or Roma tomatoes, .39/lb. at Newflower through 2/10/10

4. 1 lb. bag of peeled baby carrots, .99 at Sun Harvest through 2/10/10

5. All beer at Central Market, 20% off through 2/9/10

*In Deal #1, "all natural" means no artificial ingredients or preservatives.

**In Deal #2, "all natural" means grass-fed, pasture-raised, no antibiotics, no chemical pesticides or artificial hormones and no animal by-products (other than the beef, I guess).

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Kate at 38 Weeks

Kate and I are now less than two weeks away from the due date of our baby boy and the dawn of our new lives as parental units. I took this belly shot of Kate on Monday night. I think he's gotten bigger just since then.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Twenty Tinnitus' Trivial Triumph

Despite heated competition from the Austin City Limits team, the Chron's Twenty Tinnitus team eked out a one-point victory in last night's Mind Over Music trivia smackdown.

Every person on our team was able to nail down answers that eluded the rest of us. I wasn't entirely sure whether to be proud or embarrassed about having the lyrics to Charlene's "I've Never Been to Me" etched in the mindspace that should've been reserved for long division, but a win is a win, baby!