Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weekend Reflections

The weekend after Thanksgiving! Take some time out from all the shopping craziness to sit back, relax and enjoy some beautiful photography from around the world. James at Newtown Area Photo hosts Weekend Reflections. He is even hosting this week in abstentia, as he is vacationing overseas.

These are some photos I took some time ago when I was doing a post on the difference between what the eye sees and what an artist paints. I had forgotten that there were some nice reflections in these.

This second shot is my favorite. Click to enlarge ( click again to make the shot full screen) There are a couple of little surprises there!

This last shot was actually a discard. Didn't work for the original post, but it's perfect for
Weekend Reflections!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday - Bleeding Orange

It's Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, and time for Outdoor Wednesday. Take a little break from cooking and stop by to visit Susan at a Southern Daydreamer. Susan hosts Outdoor Wednesday each week, rain or shine, and everyone shares their favorite outdoor photos. My last two posts were from our visit to the Texas State Cemetery. This week, we'll visit someplace a bit livelier!

You may have noticed the orange script in honor of our fabulous Longhorns. Saturday night, DH and I drove our niece into Austin to take some night shots of Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium during the Texas-Kansas game. The Longhorns won 51-20, leaving only 2 more games to complete an undefeated season and hopefully a trip to Pasadena! Click to enlarge (click twice to view full screen) There was not an empty seat in the house. And this place is LOUD! We were on the top level of a parking garage about a mile away and we could hear the cheering loud and clear.

This is a shot of the UT tower. It glowed orange later that night and hopefully will glow orange again on Thanksgiving. The park in the foreground of the photo was full of tailgaters celebrating another Longhorn victory. Our niece wanted to know why all those people didn't just go watch the game in the stadium! She was also fascinated by all the tents that had flat screen tvs!

I wish you all a blessed and safe Thanksgiving. We will be hosting dinner at our house this year with friends and family. And watching the Horns! Hook 'em!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Weekend Reflections

The weekend is here! Time to relax, kick back and enjoy Weekend Reflections. Stop by and visit our gracious host James at Newtown Area Photo and see some wonderful photography.

I've been stuck on water reflections lately. DH and I drove into Austin on Sunday to visit the Texas State Cemetery and see if we could find some inspiration there. Of course, the visit led to reflections of another sort.

The first reflection I noticed was in the stream that wanders through the grounds. I know, water again.

Vietnam Soldier Memorial

As we strolled through these beautiful grounds, I began seeing reflections in unexpected places. This is the gravesite of Governor John Connally.

This was one of my favorite inscriptions that we saw.

Thanks for visiting. Now make sure to visit James and see what everyone is sharing this week.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday - Texas State Cemetery

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for one of my favorite blog events. Outdoor Wednesday is graciously hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer every week. Visit Susan weekly to see some outstanding outdoor photographs from all over the world!

We've had some beautiful fall weather here in Central Texas. Sunday was overcast and the skies had a slightly ominous look to them. DH and I decided to trek into Austin and take some photographs at the Texas State Cemetery. If you ever find yourself in the Austin area, make sure to visit this beautiful historical site. The grounds are absolutely gorgeous, and there is so much history there. You can almost hear the stories whispering in the trees.

Upon entering, the first thing you encounter is this lovely rock waterfall and stream. The stream meanders throughout the grounds reflecting the beautiful trees and sky.

Entrance path to the grounds

Beautiful path under a regiment of Texas State Flags leading into the cemetery

Stephen F. Austin died and was buried in Columbia, Texas. In 1910, his remains were re-interred at the Texas State Cemetery.

I just thought that this moss covered monument was lovely.

Confederate Field

Burial site of General Albert Sidney Johnston. The statue inside the tomb was carved by Elisabet Ney, famed 19th century sculptress from Austin.

9-11 memorial

I hope you enjoyed this tour of the "Arlington of Texas". It truly is a serene, peaceful place full of history and beauty. Don't forget to visit Susan to see what others are sharing this week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thank you Lori E!

Lori E at Family Trees May Contain Nuts was sweet enough to pass the Kreative Blogger award along to me! Thank you so much! I hope I'm creative in some form or fashion, I'm certainly not creative in the crafty/decorating sense. As I'm sure you've discovered, I am terribly craft impaired! I first started following Lori after seeing the title of her blog, which intrigued me to no end. And if you knew my family, you would understand. Let's just say we put the "fun" in dysfunctional! (see #4 below) If you haven't made Lori's acquaintence yet, what are you waiting for? She has a great, fun, always interesting blog. And she is a hoot!

The rules of engagement: I'm supposed to list 7 things about myself that you might not know. I tend to ramble, so you probably know some of these already. And if I start rambling again, just tune me out and listen to the playlist lol!

1) I was born a twin (identical) My sister died several days after birth. And I'll always be thankful that my lovely Aunt Adrienne found out that she was carrying twins first, because Mom gave her what she thought were the best twin names ever - Pamela and Tamela. Who soon became known as Pammy and Tammy. And I'm sorry, I just can't see myself as a Pammy or Tammy!

2) I used to breed and show whippets

3) I was a gearhead in High School. Had a tool box and traffic cones in my trunk. The traffic cones were used to mark off 1/4 and 1/2 mile increments on Dupont Road, where we used to race, er, go for nice safe Sunday drives.

4) I have a relative who is an infamous outlaw (hint, my maiden name was Younger)

5) I'm terrified of snakes. Really, really terrified. Spastic, run screaming down the street, wet my pants phobic.

6) I love marching bands! I love opera. I ADORE jazz. I do NOT like country music (and they still let me live in Texas, bless their hearts)

7) I've worked for the same veterinary clinic for 25 years. After first working in the mortgage banking and title insurance industry. Believe me, I'd rather get bit by dogs and scratched by cats than work in real estate again!

That's it!

Now I am to pass this along to 7 other bloggers. I hate this part, so I'm going to break the rules here a bit (hey, I'm a rebel - see #3 above) If you blog, you have a creative soul in some form or fashion. So if you want to play along, please take this award. Just leave me a comment, because I'd love to learn more about all of you!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekend reflections - Rockport shots

I'm so excited to have some new shots to share for Weekend Reflections. We took a recent mini vacation to Rockport Texas and I was able to capture some fun shots from the balcony of our rental condo. I'm still getting used to this camera but I was fairly happy with the results. I did discover that it does not care much for low light. Guess I'll have to leave those shots to hubby and his "fancy pants" camera lol. Make sure to visit James at Newtown Area Photo to see some really beautiful, creative reflection photographs.

Sunrise reflections from our balcony (click to enlarge to see the reflections better)

Resident blue heron who came to feed every morning. Their camo is so good that you can see him better in the reflection than on land!
Pretty palms, gazebo and clouds

Hubby's version of a Corona ad

Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to visit James and see some beautiful photography!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Writer's challenge - my favorite movie

(Note: If you want the full effect, scroll to the bottom and play the theme music while reading)

Lori at Family Trees May Contain Nuts has challenged us to write about our favorite movie. I am a confessed movie addict. But I'll admit that I prefer older movies to most of what is out right now. Among my favorites are Gaslight, Vertigo, The African Queen, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Graduate, Rear Window... well, you get the picture. But my favorite movie, the one that I watch over and over again, is To Kill a Mockingbird. It is my favorite book and usually I am disappointed in movie adaptations. But to my mind, this was perfectly done. From the casting to Bernstein's score to the cinematography, this movie truly captured the essence of Harper Lee's novel. The sense of place is so beautifully conveyed. I swear you can feel the still, thick heat and taste the dust from the roads.

There are so many wonderful scenes in this movie. From Scout rolling down the street in the old tire, to Atticus defending his client from a lynch mob in front of the jail, to Scout finally meeting Boo Radley. Her simple "Hey Boo", has got to be one of the greatest lines ever spoken. But the scene that sends chills down my spine every time I see (or read) it is the scene when Atticus is leaving the courtroom after the verdict. Scout is told "Jean Louise, Jean Louise, stand - your father is passing" as the entire balcony rises to show respect and gratitude for Atticus. I cry every time I see that scene. Isn't that the vision that we all want to have of our fathers? To know that they will stand for what is good and right when it would be so much easier to stand silent in the face of injustice?

Image compliments of google images

The major plot line concerns the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. Atticus is appointed to defend him at trial, and the majority of the movie shows the ways that this affects his family. But I've always felt that the main character in To Kill Mockingbird is the town of Maycomb, Alabama itself. The townspeople are the same group of people that you know from your own town, seen through the eyes of Atticus' children, Jem age 10 and Jean Louise, better known as Scout, age 6. And Maycomb has it's own version of the bogeyman, Arthur Radley, known as "Boo" to the children. Boo is reputed to be crazy, a monster who stabbed his own father with a pair of scissors, someone to be terrified of. But Jem and Scout are naturally curious about this strange man, sneaking up and trying to see in the house to get a glimpse of him. At one point, Boo leaves them little gifts hidden in a knothole of a tree. When his father discovers this, he cements over the hole. The children finally get to meet Boo at the end of a long and terrifying night, when he saves them from the father of the woman who falsely accused Tom of raping her.

Image courtesy of google images (Robert Duval in one of his first movie roles)

Ultimately, To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite movie because it takes me back to my own childhood. It makes me remember the wonder and awe of being a child, when the simplest things were often the best. And it makes me laugh when I remember the people and places that scared the tar out of me. As we get older we realize that people are not always what they appear to be, for good or bad. And many times the people that we fear because they are "different" are often the best people around us. This movie reminds me that sometimes the most ordinary things in our lives are really the most extraordinary.

I think Scout sums it up best in one of her last narrative lines in the movie:

"Neighbors bring food with death, and flowers with sickness, and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a knife, and our lives."

If you've not seen this adaptation of Harper Lee's seminal novel, run, don't walk to your nearest video store and rent it. Or better yet, buy the anniversary edition. It is full of neat extras and wonderful liner notes. And if you've never heard the soundtrack, give that a spin as well. Bernstein was a true genius in conveying place and mood through his music. His score is brilliant, invoking the sense of wonder and magic that is a child's world.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday - Rockport!

Wednesday, time once again for Outdoor Wednesday so graciously hosted each week by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. Be sure to visit Susan's beautiful blog and see what gorgeous outdoor photos everyone is sharing this week. We just got back from 4 wonderful, relaxing days in Rockport Texas. My last post was about the great Film Festival and Reception that we attended. These pictures show some of the other things we saw while on our (too) short vacation.

Don't forget to click to enlarge any of the pictures. The bird photos in particular look much better when enlarged.

This was the sunrise view from our balcony. Dreamy isn't it?

This beautiful blue heron came by every morning for breakfast! He had a veritable buffet off of the boat slip each morning.

On Friday we took the short ferry ride to Port Aransas. Cait caught this pelican watching over the bay as we passed.

Port Aransas coming into view. The ferry ride takes about 3 minutes, but during high season you can wait up to 2 hours to board!

I was so excited to see these white pelicans! This was the first time we had visited in the fall. I had no idea that they even came to this part of the gulf. Sorry about the picture quality, I only had my little point and shoot with me when I saw them. And I had to clamber over a seawall and construction site to get the shot, with Cait yelling at me in the background "Mom, you're going to end up in the bay!!"

This is a shot of the Fulton Mansion. This gorgeous home overlooks the bay and is now a museum. We have never been here during the open tour times. Maybe next visit!

Isn't the detail of the tile work and around the windows gorgeous?

I love this shot of the mansion as the sun was setting. Doesn't it remind you of the Eagles "Hotel California" album cover?

Windswept oak on the mansion lawn.

I just love the stately palms on the mansion property. Can you imagine waking to this view every morning?

Sunset view from our balcony. I love this shot, it makes me think of a ghost ship!

Time to say goodbye to Rockport, until our next visit!

I hope you enjoyed our mini vacation as much as we did. Make sure to visit Susan and see all the beautiful outdoor photos this week!

We're back!

We just got back from Rockport and we had a wonderful time! I've got some beautiful pictures of the water and the Fulton Mansion to share with you. But right now I just want to share a bit of the opening night of the Rockport Film Festival. As you know, the movie we were most excited about seeing was CHOPS. This is the story of a Jacksonville (yes Sheila, Jacksonville Florida!) high school jazz band auditioning and being accepted to the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival in New York City.

Rockport Center for the Arts. This was the location of the opening night reception and outdoor screening of CHOPS. If you ever have the chance to visit Rockport, make sure that this is one of your stops. It's a beautifully restored old home that was donated to the Art Center. There is always something exciting going on here!

Live music at the reception. They were wonderful!

There was a wonderful exhibit called "Shorelines" going on during the film festival. Some really beautiful and interesting pieces were on display.

Thanks to Alicia Ross, we finally got a picture of all three of us together! Usually whoever is taking the picture is missing.

I was able to embed the trailer from the movie CHOPS. If you get the opportunity to see this movie, please do! It's an amazing film that shows the amount of work and soul that these kids put into their music. I'm going to order the DVD this week, because this is a film I want to watch over and over again!

Chops Trailer from B-Side Entertainment on Vimeo.

I will be sharing some more pictures later this week for Outdoor Wednesday and Weekend Reflections. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

UPDATE: Just found out that CHOPS is available on Netflix!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And we're off!

I'll be taking a short blogging break as we head off to Rockport. We will be spending 4 wonderful days in this beautiful little bayside town. This year we are attending the Rockport Film Festival, relaxing in our favorite rental condo and taking lots of pictures for Outdoor Wednesday and Weekend Reflections! And I'll be shopping for fun things for my 100th post and pay it forward give a ways! If you would like more information about the film festival, click here. There are several films that we are excited about seeing, but CHOPS is the one that we are most enthusiastic about at the moment. CHOPS is the story of a Jacksonville high school jazz ensemble working toward attending the Essentially Ellington Festival in New York City. If you've read this blog for long, you know how passionate I am about arts education in our schools. What you may not know is that our daughter Cait was involved in our local high school's first jazz band and played lead saxophone. So this movie should be right up our alley. To learn more about this inspiring documentary film, click here.

Even though we have a busy weekend planned, I still intend on making sure I'm able to do this

And this....

And lots of this.....

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I'll be back next week, hopefully with lots of great pictures and some goodies for my give a way!