Saturday, December 26, 2009

Weekend Reflections - Georgetown Icon

It's time once again for Weekend Reflections, graciously hosted each week by James at Newtown Area Photo. Be sure to visit and see some beautiful photography from around the world. I got a new camera for Christmas (guess DH got tired of me borrowing his) We set out the Saturday after Christmas to try it out. These are some shots of a Georgetown icon, the Monument Diner. This favorite local diner quickly outgrew it's original location and the owners built a new restaurant right up the road. They did a wonderful job of recreating it, just enlarged it and added more parking. The old building is sitting unused at the moment, but will soon be renewed as a local market selling locally grown produce, dairy and meat. I can't wait!

Make sure to stop by and say hello to James and see what everyone is sharing this week!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Peace Be Unto You

Peace Be Unto You - Dalhart Windberg

This is one of my favorite paintings, I think because I love the title so much. And what better gift to wish for than peace. I posted it last year at Christmas and wanted to share it again. It's been a blessing to get to know all of you. I can always count on someone out there in blogland to make my day a little brighter, make me think a little harder or just laugh out loud. Thank you for all of your comments and great good cheer! From our house to yours, may you have a joyous and blessed Christmas!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekend Reflections #7 - Berry Springs Preserve

TGIF! Friday, and it's time for Weekend Reflections. Be sure and visit our host James to see some fabulous photography from around the world. I had every intention of finding some interesting and unique reflections this week. But the weather has been awful and there just aren't enough hours in the day this time of year. So I dug back and found this little gem that we took earlier in the fall at Berry Springs Preserve Park. We sat outside until the gates opened at 7 am, trying to get a good sunrise shot.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of an autumn sunrise in our town. I'm looking at this and wishing we had that weather again! Make sure and stop by and say hey to James. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Weekend reflections #6

Thanks again to James for hosting Weekend Reflections. He's such a dedicated host, he is continuing the event while he is out of the country! Make sure to stop by and visit Newtown Area Photo to see some really outstanding photography.

A shot of our downtown square on a cold and rainy night, Thanksgiving weekend. Both of these shots were taken with my trusty pocket Coolpix. It never fails that I see a good shot when we are out with someone else, so I've started carrying it in my purse always! But I have learned to carry extra batteries too.

One short week later, the Christmas Stroll parade on a cold, clear and beautiful day. Make sure to enlarge this shot to see all of the various reflections.

Thanks for stopping by, make sure to visit James and all of his participants. You won't be sorry!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Fun Christmas Meme

I saw this at Our Really Empty Nest and In My Mind It's Always Funny and thought it looked like fun. Feel free to take this away and post it on your blog too. It's a fun way to get to know a little more about each other.

(1) What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Three way tie It's A Wonderful Life; A Charlie Brown Christmas; A Christmas Story. Honorable Mention: Trading Places (hey, it's set at Christmas!)

(2) What is your LEAST favorite Christmas movie?

I didn't know there was a bad Christmas movie

(3) What is your favorite Christmas Song?

Top of my playlist, Sugar Rum Cherry by Duke Ellington

(4) What Christmas song(s) drives you crazy?

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

(5) What is your favorite Christmas drink?

Egg Nog
(6) What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Going to see the window display at Wolf and Dessauer Department Store.

(7) What is the best toy/gift you've received on Christmas?

A Pulsar watch that my husband gave me on our first Christmas together. I still have it, and it still works.

(8) What is the worst toy/gift you've received on Christmas?

A horrible polyester pantsuit from a boyfriend's grandmother. It would have been lovely on her, and I really appreciated the thought, but I was 17!

(9) What do you LOVE about the holidays?

The lighting of the Square; the Christmas stroll; the time spent with my family. But mainly the looks on little one's faces on Christmas morning.

(10) What annoys you about the holidays?

Pushy, nasty people when shopping. A friend of Cait's who works at Walmart (bless his heart) actually took a baseball bat to work. And he saw a woman get so angry at another woman for taking the last one of a particular toy that she actually threw a bicycle at her! I mean really, ho ho ho and all that jazz to you too!

(11) Do you prefer star or angel on top of a Christmas tree? Or something else?

We have a reproduction vintage tree topper thingy - not sure what it's called, but I love it

(12) What is your family favorite recipe at Christmas?

Cranberry bread; monkey bread

(13) Are you a Grinch or a Who at Christmastime?

I'd like to think I'm a Who

(14) Christmas light displays - Love them or Hate them?

I love Christmas lights! I prefer all white, but I like to see what everyone else does. And I love a particular street in our neighborhood, they go all out!

(15) Santas at the mall - Fun times or Creepy?

I love mall santas - especially the one they used to have at Barton Creek Mall when Cait was little. (I still think that he really was Santa and not just one of his helpers)

(16) Christmas cards - do you send them, yes or no? Yep!

(17) What is the best thing about Christmas, in your opinion?

The spirit of giving. This year has been rough for alot of people. We decided to not have our company Christmas party this year and instead donate the money that would have been spent to a local charity. We chose Eagle Locker, which provides clothing, personal care items and school supplies for homeless children in our school district. We're going to have a potluck dinner at the clinic instead of the usual bash at a restaurant.

(18) What is the worst thing about Christmas?

Keeping the cat out of the tree!

(19) When do you put the tree up and take it down?

Day after Thanksgiving; New Years Day

(20) Out of the 12 days of Christmas, which day and item would you want your truelove to give to you?

I was going to say the eight maids, but only if they clean. I don't drink milk.

(21) Why do you think that Grandma got run over by a reindeer?

Santa forgot his designated driver?

(22) Who is your favorite reindeer?


(23) Do you believe in Santa Claus?


(24) What is your favorite smell at Christmastime?


(25) What would make you happy at Christmas this year?

To have my brother and his family be able to come from Florida. They won't be able to, because they are planning on coming for Cait's graduation (Lord willing) in May!

This was fun! Feel free to take this and answer it on your blog too. If you do, leave me a comment so I can read your answers! I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas with no crazy Walmart ladies!

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!