02/11/10 - Snowy Day Snow falls rarely in Texas - if ever.  In fact, I'm fairly certain I have a diary entry for every snowfall since we moved here.  In February 2003 we had a light dusting.   In February 2004, on Valentine's Day, we had several inches of snow.  This year we had enough snow to set a record for the City of Fort Worth - 12.5 inches in less than 24 hours.  I'd even venture to say this is more snow than I ever saw in Oklahoma during a 24 hour period - it was beautiful! 



Of course, the wonderful thing about snow in Texas is we enjoy it for a few days and then it vanishes.  Much was the same for this snow as temperatures rose above freezing the very next day.  Fortunately I had enough time for a snowball fight, building a snowman, a walk down by the cold stream, and even a few minutes to spot several igloos along the sides of city streets.  It certainly was a nice change of pace; however, I'm definitely still looking forward to warmer weather (has this winter been colder than normal or is it just me?).

- Nathan

02/12/10 - Pergola Progress There has been a bit of construction around the yard over the past couple of weeks.  We now have a standing pergola over the back patio. 


The above can also be considered a bonus "snow" picture for the previous diary entry.  Construction has also started for a small deck in the back corner of the yard - I should have a picture of that for next month if it is finished by then.

- Nathan

02/13/10 - Death by Chocolate Valentine's was a special, and definitely busy, holiday this year; Susan and I participated in several events over the course of the weekend.  

The first event was Saturday night at Theatre Arlington for a performance of "The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940".  It was a special Valentine show complete with chocolate, sparking wine, and a rose for my sweet Susan from the theatre usher.  The first half of the play was decent - nothing special; however, I must admit the second half was humorous and had several memorable moments.  Overall I definitely enjoyed the show.  It had seemed like forever since our last visit to a live play - we should do this more often!

On Sunday afternoon we attended a private party at Rebecca Low's art gallery.  We visited with lots of friends at this event and had a wonderful time!  Rebecca certainly puts on a fabulous party and I'm definitely pleased to have been allowed to partake of her (and several other hosts') generosity.  We absolutely hope we get invited again in the future!  Thanks Rebecca and Jeanne!!!

Last, and certainly not least, we attended a Valentine dinner at the Kupferles' Sunday evening.  Several wine friends were in attendance and we had a blast chatting by the fire, devouring the delicious cuisine (everyone brought a dish), and generally enjoying a relaxing evening (the best kind in my book).

- Nathan

02/17/10 - HealthMiles My company, Wellington, has elevated themselves to the cutting edge of proactive participation in employee wellbeing over the past year.   Last year we implemented a strict non-smoking policy - this was definitely a move in the right direction.  Beginning February our company started "paying" for gym memberships.  Normally a company will simply reimburse the employee for a gym membership (obviously, if at all); however, this doesn't actually entice an employee to use said membership.  I recall at Creative Labs several employees never bothered to use their gym membership for which the company certainly paid good money.  On the other hand, Wellington has taken a more unusual approach by using Virginhealthmiles.com

Virgin issues each participating employee a pedometer.  If said employee completes enough steps within a certain period of time then the employee earns points.  Accumulate enough points and real cash is disbursed.  I'm personally shooting for the program maximum - $300 (the estimated cost of an annual gym membership).  Thus far I'm on track and I'm absolutely having fun participating.  I've been surprised by home much fun it is attempting to log more steps than my co-workers (we're having a bit of a friendly competition).  I definitely think this was a step in the right direction for my employer - kudos to them!

- Nathan

02/20/10 - Eat, Drink, and Be Married With all the murders Susan and I have hosted at our house I'm surprised we're not on America's Most Wanted (bad joke...oh well).  The scene was in Vegas and dinner was served along with a course of foul play (and I'm not talking about the chicken - okay...strike two).  Everyone arrived in costume and took to their roles with vigor.  It was a ton of fun watching everyone act our their parts and attempt to figure out who did the dastardly deed.  In the end it turned out the not-so-innocent Virgen White killed her father, Black Jack, with a revolver in the church just moments after saying "I do" to her groom.  That is cold....cold blooded killer cold... (okay, I'll stop now).

By the way, DeAnna & Glenda, I'm still picking up feathers =D.


E.Z. Ryder - The groom Virgen White and Reverend Hal Fyre
Ruby Lips and Ace Spader Rock King and Dee Vorst
The Lovely, and Tasteful, Couple Mae B. Wilde and Jack Black

The Accusations Fly The Nuptials

- Nathan

02/23/10 - Carino's The Kupferles invited us to a wine and food pairing at Carino's Tuesday evening.  It is a multiple course meal with all-you-can-drink wine served with each course (what could go wrong with that?).  The wine itself is nothing spectacular and the food is good; however, when you add in friends, and a little fun, then it is definitely well worth attending :).  DeAnna and Ota joined us for a table of 6 in which we dined on the following:

Cream of Mushroom soup with Sauv Blanc

Pasta and Shrimp appetizer with Chardonnay

Chicken Breasts and Veggies with Shiraz

Custard "Dessert" with Muscat

I wish I had kept my cheat sheet from the meal - that way I could have been more descriptive (I will do so next time - rest assured).  Really the soup was the best (in my opinion).  The pasta and chicken were good and I finished every bite.  The custard...well...that is another story altogether.

Here is a description of a generic custard: A good custard should reach the consistency of thick cream or pudding.  The custard should stick to the spoon when held upright and then slowly ooze off the edge into a puddle of gooey yuminess.  A great custard should melt in your mouth and entice the senses.

Here is a description of Carino's custard:  A Carino custard should reach the consistency of 3-month old stale Jell-O.  The custard should require cutting with a sharp blade and should stand erect, firm, and flat on the edge of a fork when stabbed.  A Carino custard should be a choking hazard and entice thoughts of horror and dismay.

Lets just say I prefer the generic brand to Carino's.  The entire group of wine dinner guests marveled at how poorly the custard was prepared and much laughter ensued.  On a final note, since the custard was inedible, I decided to offer the following alternative uses for the dessert:

1) Frisbee
2) Bathroom Caulk
3) Diaphragm
4) Silicone Implant Substitute
5) Kneepads
6) Memory Foam
7) Seat Cushions
8) Gag-Reflex Inducer
9) Dessert Plate Decoration (not for consumption)
10) 30 minutes of Pure Entertainment

- Nathan

02/24/10 - Tao: The Martial Art of Drumming I scored sweet seats to the Tao Drumming performance at Bass Hall.   Prior to the show we had dinner at Lili's Bistro on Magnolia.  This was the first time I had ever eaten Quinoa and it was deliciously paired with goat cheese potatoes and acorn squash.  There was even a small edible orchid as garnish (tasteless, but pretty). 

As for the performance itself Susan says, "About 10 guys and 4 girls.  The drums varied from about 12 inch diameter up to probably 3 or 4 feet. Very entertaining if you like percussion performances!".  There was definitely a wide array of drums used in this Taiko performance, along with oriental flutes and a few kotos.  The drummers were fierce at times and humorous during others.  The skill was simply incredible - I would highly suggest this show to anyone who might have a chance to see it live.  That being said, if you cannot watch live, here is a link to Youtube video:

- Nathan