Saturday, December 4, 2010

Queso & Amigo @ The Austin Beagle Brigade's Christmas Gift Exchange

Today, December 4th was the ever-fun holiday Beagle Brigade!  It was in the small dog area of Norwood Estate Dog Park at the northwest corner of Riverside and I-35. 

Here's how the gift exchange worked: All the gifts go into a bag and each dog that brings a gift receives a number.  When we start the exchange all the dogs are leashed.  The dog with the number one goes first, two goes second etc...  All the gifts are placed in the middle of the play area and when your number is called you and your dog go to the gift pile and any gift that your dog paws at, mouths, or picks up is yours!

Queso was #10 and he selected a talking treat ball.  The pups have been playing with it all over the house and everytime they bump into something, the treat ball repeats our prerecorded message, "Good boy Queso!  Good boy Migo!"

Migo was #22 and he seleted a rubber and rope chew toy.   Neither of them have really discovered it yet as they are distracted by the toy that gives treats at the moment.

Both the boys made lots of friends today.  Here was an especially cute little girl moments before a big kissing scene between her and Amigo. Needless to say, she chased him around with lots of smiles and giggles for a while delighted with all the puppy kisses.

Too cute.  Thanks to Mercedes for organzing the event.  We all had a great time.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

What could be better to do on Thanksgiving morning?

Turkey Trot Austin 2010

Jack and his Turkey!

This was not us....

Our Turkey Trot Crew.

What a great way to  kick off the holiday.

Ben and the boys.

Michelle and the boys...


Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Crazy fun Birthday weekend....

Saturday morning started off pretty lazy. We went to the neighborhood cafe for breakfast eats and coffee, before we headed out for some shopping.

Interesting thing here....a cappuccino is not what you'd expect.  It is a wonderful espressso with steamed milk but with the bottom of the cup filled with chocolate, which you then have to stir into you drink.  It is delicious!

After breakfast we went to the market that we had gone to earlier when we had first arrived.  We went in and out of shops for a while just looking for things to bring home with us.  Oddly enough there were tons of jewelry stores and Halloween shops.  This was my favorite of the Halloween decorations that was on display...totally is a head hanging by a hook over a bucket where the blood flows down like a fountain.  Something to freak the kids out I guess...yikes!

That evening went out for an amazing birthday celebration.  We went to dinner at Terraço Itália, an Italian restaurant that it on the top floors of the what was once the tallest building in Sao Paulo.  I don't have pictures to show of the view, but it was amazing to sit right next to the window an look out over the city at night.  Click on this link to get a feel of the place:  It was like stepping back in time with the old fashioned chandeliers and the pianists playing Nate King Cole and Frank Sinatra songs in each room.

Then we went with our friends to a night club called Boogie! Flash back to the the 1970's, 80's and some of the 90's on the disco on the dance floor. It was so much fun.  I knew when we arrived and they were playing Depeche Mode that this was going to be a fun night.  And KB, you would be proud.  I sang Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer" at the top of my lungs when the DJ played it. :)

Sunday we went to a soccer game.  Palmeiras v Cruziero. 

We were Team Palmeiras and sadly, while we dominated in the first half with 2 points, we lost our goalie in the second half and Cruziero managed to get 3 goals.  It was a somber ride home on the metro that night with the other disappointed fans, but we had a blast at the game.

What a great weekend!  :)  And the birthday adventures continue.....tee hee!

Congratulations to Ben!

Last week Ben's call center launched with much success! Here is a pic of some of the work stations and the signage in the call center.

To kick off the day, they had a team breakfast before the center started taking their first calls.

Here are some of the agents....

At the end of the day, I met up with Ben and some of the Sitel projects managers for dinner at this amazing place.  From the entrance it wasn't much to see, but once you entered it opened up into a fantastic multi-level patio with a fun vibe.

The best part was the kebab extravaganza that was the meal.  Basically, servers would come by with all kind of different meat on kebabs and you would just grab whatever you felt like eating.  In addition to grilled meats, they had bread, veggies, garlic and the like served on sticks as well.  The grand finale was the freash fruits and candies on skewers dipped in chocolate.  Yum!

Congrats again to Ben for a successful launch!  It was great to finally see all of his hard work and long hours pay off. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Follow the Cow - "Siga la vaca"

These are terrible pics. Sorry about that.

We went to dinner in a very popular part of town, St. Cecilia. It was packed with hip and trendy young people. Many fun restaurants that all featured kebobs & karaoke of course! We landed at a "Siga la vaca" or Follow the Cow!

Siga la vaca has 5 different rooms, being 3 karaoke rooms, balcony and living room. Sadly, we didn't hit the stage. It was packed and we were WAY too full by the time we finished dinner which was an event in itself. I don't have a pic of it, but you could order a huge beer tower to be brought to your table so you could basically serve yourself during your visit. It was cool.

We had a crazy amount of food. Meat and veggies were brought out to us on our own grill that stayed at the table.

In addition, we had other kebobs, polenta, fries, and a myriad of sauces. It was quite the spread and covered 3 tables I think.

Holy cow, Ben! This is us outsdie the restaurant.

Our friend Randy. Forgot to mention, all that food wasn't just for us. We had Randy along to help. He works for the company that Ben is coordinating a project with here for Dell.

What a fun night!! Yummy good!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The São Paulo Museum of Art (in Portuguese, Museu de Arte de São Paulo, or MASP)

Also over the weekend, we went to the MASP (pronounced Mash-P) which is a very famous art museum located on Paulista Ave. It's well-known for its acutal building, a 1968 concrete and glass structure design whose main body is supported by two lateral beams over a 74 meters freestanding space, considered an landmark of the city and a main symbol of modern Brazilian architecture.

Near the entrance to the MASP, we were stopped for a survey. This is Ben being interviewed (in Portuguese) by some university students. They were asking him questions about what he liked and disliked about São Paulo. He is so good!!

While the museum was very nice and had a great selection of artists works, we were both suprised by how small the museum was overall.

"Romantismo — A Arte do Entusiasmo" (Romanticism - The Art of Enthusiasm). The paintings of Bosch, El Greco, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Dali, León Ferrari, Tomie Ohtake (Paulista artist) and dozens of others show that the ideals of Romanticism in this exhibition.

The works are limited to 2 floors elevated above the freestanding space of the structure. You purchased your tickets under the building in the open air and then when you hand over your ticket for entry, you are escorted to the elevator leading to the floors above to see the exhibits.

"Cala Boca Sylvester Stallone" (portuguese for "Shut up Sylvester Stallone")

On Friday night we decided to go to the movies. Our options were limited as A) movies from the US don't make it here until much later if even released here and B) we needed it to be in English. :) So, much to Ben's hesitation, we went to see The Expendables.... For the record, it was a such a terrible movie that it was really funny and we had a great time. It is definitely one of those movies that you could play a drinking game to....take a drink everytime something explodes.

We found out later in the weekend that the movie was actually filmed in Brazil...and that Stallone had said some disrespectful things about Brazil in an interview and had lost many Brazilian fans.

"You can shoot people and blow things up and they say, ‘Thank you! Take a monkey home with you!’ We couldn’t have pulled off what we did [somewhere else]. We blew up huge plots of land. It was like, Everybody bring their hot dogs. We’re having a BBQ today. We’re gonna blow up this village.”
Apparently he was quickly attacked with the Brazilian twitter mafia for his politically incorrect comments. Media here now reports that Stallone issued an apology because he didn't want to be known as the Mel Gibson over here. Ha!
Sylvester did issue an apology, but apparently hasn't settle all of his movie making debts incurred while filming here, so he isn't out of hot water yet here at least. Also, in a later interview to promote the movie with a Brazilian reporter, Sly was presented with plush monkey in an ironic slap back for his dumb comment.
Oh Sly! You should know better than that! Shame on you. Sigh.

Ibirapuera Park - The Central Park of São Paulo, Brazil

This weekend we spent a lot of time at the park. The weather was amazing and there were tons of people enjoying the sunshine in the park as well. Ibirapuera Park is a major urban park in São Paulo. It has a large area for leisure, jogging and walking, as well as a convention center and many museums. It's importance to São Paulo is comparable to that of the Central Park to NYC.

We spent lots of time just wandering around the park and the museums both Saturday and Sunday.

Within the park, there are plenty of vendors around with food and drink. Coconut water is very popular as well. They just crack into it and pour the water into a glass for you. It is kind of strange tasting. Like water but with a strange after taste.

Art or seating area made from a fallen tree. Very pretty.

There is also an amazing array of trees and plants in the park. There is an entire nusery that we walked through where they grow everything that is later put into the park when ready. It is really something to see.

This one was just so strange I had to take a picture.

Cherry Blossoms.

They call this winter? Sign me up! :)

There was also a bonsai exhibit as well. They were teaching classes on how to manage your tree. Ben really digs these and wanted to check it out.

Such a unique art.

This tree is 105 years old. Isn't that amazing?

We also went to a modern art museum in the park. We couldn't take pictures inside, but here is some of the work on the outside of the building.

What a fun time we had relaxing in the park.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dinner at Mestiço

We had a lovely dinner with our friends Suzie and João last week at this wonderful little restaurant. It was a small place with a fun atmosphere. It certainly has a curious variety of cuisine. At Mestiço (mestizo) it's possible to find the spice seasoned dish from Bahia, the Indian curry, the Thai chili paste, the Chinese Teriyaki sauce or even the Japanese tare.

Check it out: