Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving 2007! We had Val's family over and had a wonderful time. It was our first time making and hosting a turkey dinner. By recommendation, we ordered a Willy Bird Sonoma turkey online (Williams Sonoma) and we don't regret it! It was worth the extra $$, and was so exciting to wait for our fresh young bird in the mail! It arrived Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and we began brining it Wednesday evening. If you've never brined a turkey, we recommend you try it next time. Deeeelicious!

Pumpkin place settings (Val got a little Martha Stewart on us). Talk about recyclable table settings--these babies will become pumpkin bread, cookies, and pies over the following week.

Getting ready for a post-meal Ratatouille viewing. An appropriate movie after a feast--all about enjoying food and following your passion!

Postprandial turkey sedation...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Winged Migration--or Attack of the Birds?!?!

Jon woke up Saturday morning with a plan to drive us 1-1/2 hours south of our little town to Bosque del Apache, NM, where thousands of geese, ducks, cranes, and other birds fly from the north to rest for the winter, or en route to destinations further south. I wasn't prepared for the incredible beauty and awe we experienced--birdwatching is WAY cooler than I thought. Possibly the most magnificent bird to spot was the lone bald eagle on the preserve (he's on the dead tree in the photo below). Make sure to click on the videos to see and hear the sheer mass of birds (less than 1 minute each).

Friends of the Bosque has created and maintains the preserve for all kinds of wildlife, but the biggest attraction each year are the birds. They even have an annual Festival of the Cranes, an event complete with tours, classes, photography contests, dinners, etc. We'll miss the festival this week, but the birds are there through February so we'll be back to visit.

We're Auntie & Uncle Mr. Ashe Now!

Our friends Jennifer and Jonathan Lucero gave birth to a lovely, healthy baby boy on November 9th, 2007. That makes us official!

Christian Lee Lucero
Born: at 4:08pm on 11/2/07
Weight: 8lbs 4oz
Length: 19in
We're so honored and happy to welcome this little treasure to the world! Congratulations guys!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

More Home Cooking: Paella Night

A couple Saturdays ago, we spent the evening with Val's folks, sipping Spanish wine and making a traditional Spanish paella. It was a lot of prep--shucking shellfish, chopping veggies, and measuring everything out--but once we threw it all together in the paella pan, under Mom's direction, it all came together into one of the most delicious home cooked meals ever. She still has the magic!

The best part of the evening was the four of us enjoying our handiwork at the table with a bottle of Bodegas Castano 2004 Monastrell Yecla Hecula, and Val's mom teaching us a repertoire of dirty words in French. Quelle soiree!

Whirlwind Tour

This has been a month of extensive travel and events for us (Val's been on the road nearly every week of October and November). Aside from family illness and tragedy, it hasn't been all bad (for privacy's sake, please call us for details). Val's biz travels the past month have taken her to San Francisco, Galveston TX, Atlanta, and Naples. Sorry to disappoint everyone, but that's Naples, FL. Still it's a pretty place, isn't it? This was the view from my hotel room at the Naples Grande; the Gulf of Mexico is just beyond those buildings in the distance.

I have a couple weeks off from business travel until the week after Thanksgiving when I'm off to Vegas for our largest annual user conference, Autodesk University. This year, the agenda will be all about teaching those architects and engineers how to use our products for sustainable design. As always, it's a great conference, culminating in an event on the final evening to entertain over 7,000 attendees, including employees, Las Vegas-style.

If you ever wondered exactly what I do for the company, here's an example (and an opportunity at shameless self-promotion):