Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekend Reflections - Underpass Abstract

The weekend is finally here, so it's time to visit James at Newtown Area Photo for another edition of Weekend Reflections. Be sure to visit all the participants, you will see some breathtaking photos from all over the world.

A few weeks ago on a jaunt to South Texas, we saw an old trestle bridge. While walking across the bridge, you could see the new overpass running beside it. Not too interesting....

Until you look under the overpass....

I wasn't too thrilled with the quality of these shots - day one of using the new camera. But I loved the almost abstract pattern of the reflections under the bridge.

Make sure to visit James, you'll be glad you did. And have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Finding Beauty - Priceless

Friday means it's time for Finding Beauty, a wonderful new event hosted by Claudia at Dipity Road. We get to share the beauty that we see around us every day. Whether it be a glorious sunset, the smile of a child, or a beloved pet, there is always beauty to be found if we'll only take the time to look.

As many of you know, our darling daughter Cait is home for the Spring semester while she student teaches. There have been some adjustments made, getting used to having an adult daughter move back home after having been on her own for 3 1/2 years.

Groceries: Double

Gas bill: Tripled

Trips to the outlet mall for "professional looking clothes": Tenfold increase - I wear scrubs every day!

Seeing this one afternoon:


Hope you all have a beautiful day too. Make sure to stop by and visit Claudia and visit some wonderful posts about the beauty all around us.

Alphabe-Thursday - B is for Bangs

It's Thursday - time again for the fun new meme Alphabe-Thursday hosted by Jenny Matlock. If you haven't met Jenny yet, please make sure to swing by and check out her blog. She is a wonderful writer, and I guarantee you will leave with a smile on your face. This week, our letter is
Image courtesy of

B stands for lots of things - bees, boys, basketballs, baseballs, bocci balls. But this week, for me anyway, B stands for bangs. As someone who has worn her hair really, really short (think Jamie Lee Curtis) for lots of years, there are some adjustments that need to be made when you decide to grow your hair out again. Apparently for me, it's remembering the correct way to trim your bangs. The correct way to trim your bangs:
The incorrect way to trim your bangs:

Yes, that would be a picture of my grill. Sorry the quality is not so great, but as you can imagine, I was a bit preoccupied.

Make sure that you stop by and visit Jenny and see what everyone else thinks of the letter B!

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Stop by and visit JennyMac at Let's Have a Cocktail.
She is having a fabulous give away to celebrate her blog anniversary. And if you win because I sent you, don't tell me - PLEASE. I heart this purse!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday - Caldwell County Courthouse

Time once again for Outdoor Wednesday, graciously hosted each week by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. Make sure to visit Susan's beautiful blog and see some wonderful outdoor photography.

On New Year's Day, we took a little road trip to South Texas. One of the stops we made was in Lockhart, to see the gorgeous Caldwell County Courthouse. To learn more about this beautiful little town, click here.

Main view of this beautiful historic landmark.

Side view - isn't that tree grand?

A bit of the roof detail. Photos really don't do this building justice.

If you happen to be in South/Central Texas and find yourself in Lockhart, make sure to visit this gorgeous old building. And while you're there, treat your self to lunch at Black's BBQ.
Black's is one of the pillars of Texas BBQ. The food is amazing, the place is fun, and you'll be glad you stopped!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend reflections - the other side of the picture

Time once again for Weekend Reflections, hosted each week by James from Newtown Area Photo. Be sure to stop by and see some beautiful photography from all over the world. James is on vacation, but left MacLinkey up so that we could play! And after the week I've had, I definitely need some play time. What a great host.

This is a shot that I took while in New Braunfels. It is the other side of the spillway that I posted last week. I just loved the stillness of the water.

And for all of you who wanted to know what was reflected in the spillway last week (just in case you didn't read my comments), this is it.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. We had a week of absolutely gorgeous weather, and now that it's the weekend, it's gray and gloomy! So what better way to spend it than perusing all of the beautiful photos in Weekend Reflections?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Alphabe-Thursday - A is for

Time for a fun new meme hosted by Jenny Matlock. If you've not met Jenny, you absolutely have to run over to her blog right now! Her writing runs the gamut from hysterically funny to sometimes heartbreaking - but is ALWAYS entertaining. Go ahead, check her out, I'll wait....
See, told you so. Anyway, Jenny has started a fun new weekly event called Alphabe-Thursday. There are even prizes! This week we start with the letter A - come on, what did you expect?? The first thing that popped into my mind was attitude. As in bad. As in I've had a really cruddy week. Don't believe me?

1) The cedar count is through the roof and I have gone through 5 boxes of kleenex in 7 days.

2) Darling daughter informed us that her check engine light is on and her car is due for inspection in February.

3) Said daughter is student teaching this semester, therefore is not allowed to work, therefore has no income to have her car worked on. It's a good thing she's so sweet...

4) Had to completely update and revamp our employee handbook in 3 days.

5) Had to explain to our employees why their health insurance premium is going up again even though the coverage is going down. Oh, and the deductible is going up.

6) My fancy new coffee container from Starbucks leaks whenever I raise it to take a gulp, er, gracious little sip.

7) The first patient I picked up this morning proceeded to lick my face joyously while simultaneously urinating all down the front of my scrubs.

8) Client calls to tell me that she thinks her dog's ears are better but she's not sure. But she doesn't want to come in. She wants the Dr. to call her and tell her if the ears look better. Over the phone. I could not make this stuff up.....

9) Client calls to ask if feeding her dog the old chicken she was going to throw out (because it smelled bad) would make the dog sick. I told her absolutely it would make him ill - do not feed him the chicken. She then wanted to know when she should bring the dog in. I asked what we needed to see the dog for. She fed him the chicken. . . 2 days ago. Dog has been vomiting and having diarrhea ever since.... Oh, and she can't bring the dog today because she has a tee time she has to make.....

10) Then I walked outside and it was 77 degrees and sunny and the week started to get better. I may play hooky tomorrow....

Don't forget to swing by and meet Jenny and see what everyone comes up with for the the letter A.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Prayer request

If you've not seen her blog today, there is an update from Laura about our sweet Ann from LifeatAnnsPlace. She has been readmitted to the hospital with some complications from COPD. Click here to read the update and to send our sweet Ann your best wishes and prayers.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekend Reflections - accidentally on purpose

Thank goodness, it's the weekend! Time to visit James at Newtown Area Photo for Weekend Reflections. James is on vacation this week, but he posted mckLinky so that we could still play. What a dedicated host!

I took this on our recent trip to New Braunfels. I shot this photo at the last minute, almost an afterthought. When I got home, I started playing with it and this is the result. There are reflections, but do you know what is being reflected? (Click to enlarge for a better view)

This type of photography is out of my comfort zone, but I'm pretty happy with the results. Make sure to stop by Newtown Area Photo and see some gorgeous work from all over the world.

Finding Beauty #2 - Sit and chat for a while

Claudia at Dipity Road is hosting Finding Beauty again this week. This is such a fun event where everyone can post what is beautiful in their lives every week. If you haven't discovered Claudia's blog yet, you really need to pay a visit. Her photography is gorgeous! And if you hurry, you can get in on the fabulous giveaway she is having to celebrate her 100th post.

It's the end of another busy week, time to stop and relax and unwind. What better place than on these benches looking out on a lovely, serene water view. Join me for a chat!

The family took a little jaunt last weekend to New Braunfels Texas. We finally warmed up a bit and the sun was shining, so we hit the road. New Braunfels is a beautiful little town in Central Texas that boasts lovely restored homes, wonderful antique shops and great spots for tubing on the river. While looking for a road (that we never found) we discovered this lovely park smack dab in the middle of town. If you'd like to read more about beautiful Landa Park, click here. There were lots of people out feeding the ducks, walking the trails and just enjoying the day. Lots of kids too, guess cabin fever was getting to everyone! Enjoy the pictures and remember to keep your eyes peeled, you can find beauty everywhere. If we hadn't been lost, we might never have discovered this lovely place!

Now be sure to swing by Claudia's and see the beauty that everyone is sharing this week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Writer's Challenge #3 - Teacher, Teacher

Lori at Family Trees May Contain Nuts is hosting another Writer's Challenge! Our topic this month is "Teachers Who Made a Difference in Your Life - Good or Bad". As much as I adore the majority of teachers, I have known some who seemed to delight in stamping out any individuality or creativity that may have flickered in a child's heart. Thankfully, I think that they are few and far between. And I can honestly say that while not all of my teachers were fabulous, I can't think of any who purposefully tried to stamp out that spark.

(image from Google Images)

Mrs. Barcus was my sixth grade teacher. One of our assignments was to find a poem that we really enjoyed and to write about it. At the time, I was totally enamored of Elton John. So I chose the lyrics to "Madman Across the Water" from the album of the same name. I remember how moved I was the first time I heard the song, and I was so excited to write about it. I swear that essay was my Magnum Opus, and I was so proud when I handed it in. I was sure that there were no other 6th graders who could possibly be sophisticated enough to listen to Elton John, much less find the deeper meaning in Bernie Taupin's lyrics!
Imagine my chagrin when the paper was returned to me with a B! Mrs. Barcus said that the paper was well thought out and well written, but she was very disappointed that of all the great poetry in the world I had chosen to write about a "pop song". At the time, I was highly offended and thought that she was just too old fashioned to understand modern music lyrics and the effect that they could have on a person. However, as I grew older, I also grew to appreciate her criticism. At that point I had never really read much poetry. I loved to read, and constantly had my nose buried in a book, but poetry just didn't interest me. I began to check out books of poetry from the library, and while it has never become my favorite subject matter, I did grow to appreciate it. And I discovered some poets that I enjoy to this day, including Robert Frost, Maya Angelou and Edger Allen Poe. Of course I had read Poe, but who knew he was also a poet!
With apologies to Mrs. Barcus, I still find that music and music lyrics contain the poetry that speaks to me most clearly. But I will always be grateful that she pushed that somewhat arrogant 12 year old girl out of her comfort zone and into a world that she had not yet discovered.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday - Top Notch!

It's Wednesday, time to visit some beautiful outdoor spaces with Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. Make sure to visit Susan's wonderful blog and see some fantastic photographs of the great outdoors. Like the rest of the country, we've been under a deep freeze since New Years. This weekend, we warmed up - to the 40s! But it was sunny and dry, and the wind finally died down, so we decided to escape and go on a photo safari.

Top Notch is a local legend in Austin. It was used as a location in Richard Linklater's 1993 film "Dazed and Confused" - recognize it? It still looks almost exactly as it did when it first opened several decades ago. Top Notch is old school - the burgers are cooked over a real charcoal grill - yum! And the onion rings are to die for. And the chicken.... Well you get the picture!

Top Notch is located on one of the busiest commercial streets in town. They still offer curb service!

We took these on Sunday so we could get shots without all the traffic. Believe me, you couldn't get near this parking lot to take these during business hours.

If you're ever in Austin, you need to try this local institution. But bring cash, that's all they accept (there is an ATM machine inside for your convenience!) Told you it was old school. Don't forget to stop by and say Hi to Susan and visit all the participants in Outdoor Wednesday!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weekend reflections Gonzales Texas

Time to play again! It's the weekend, which means that you need to visit James at Newtown Area Photo and his fun weekly event Weekend Reflections. James is such a gracious host that people from all over the world post their beautiful reflection photographs for this meme.

DH and I took a road trip to South Texas on New Years Day. One of our stops was the little town of Gonzales. We found some neat old buildings and had alot of fun. Also had a very nice man come up to our car as we were leaving to "introduce" himself and ask if we were just visiting. Gonzales is a very small town and we think that someone called him and told him some "strangers were taking pictures". He was quite nice and when he was satisfied that we weren't up to anything nefarious, wished us a Happy New Year and on our merry way we went. It probably didn't hurt that DH dropped his bosses' name, who happens to be a famous artist from that part of the state!

This first building is an old, meticulously restored Mobil station. We aren't sure if it is an antique store now or what, there was no signage visible. But it really is a beautiful building.

This next building is a real "blast from the past" This is a functioning, full service gas station in the middle of town. It appears to be frozen in time, at least until you look at the prices on the pump! Played around with this in B & W, I just thought it suited the subject. I'm still learning what will make a good B&W photo, as the number of shots in my "dump" folder will attest!

Hope you enjoyed our little South Texas Cruise. Now make sure to stop by and say hello to James, you will be glad you did!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Dance Alert!

Can you see me doing the happy dance here? Yes it's Friday, but more importantly a dear friend, Kathysue, has finally started a blog! Kathysue is one of the most talented design consultants that you will ever meet. I'm using the photo of her spa like bathroom because I think most of you will recognize it. It is one of the most popular rooms ever on RMS and Micasa. It's also the room that led me to "meet" Kathysue, so I'm partial to it!
I'm sure you've also seen her guest posts for Marty at A Stroll Through Life, Debbie at Confessions of a Plate Addict and Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Now with company like that, you just know this gal is good! Please make sure you stop by Good Life of Design and introduce yourself, you won't be disappointed. Kathysue has such a fresh outlook on design, and she is also a frugal shopper. She truly believes that good design does not have to be expensive, which is so refreshing!

Finding Beauty

Claudia at Dipity Road is hosting a fun new blog party called Finding Beauty. It's all about finding the beauty in our everyday lives, between the hustle and bustle of work, kids, family, and all of our other obligations.

If you've not met her before, this is our little Sax. Talk about "found" beauty! She was discovered by our daughter lying in a puddle next to the dumpster at the veterinary clinic that I manage. It was pouring rain and Cait could not bear to leave her there. She brought her home and she has become such a big part of our family. Sax is truly the most social, loving cat I've ever met - and believe me, after working for a vet for 25 years, I've met alot of cats! It doesn't matter what kind of day I've had or how much I've got going on in my life, one look at this little bundle of fur can immediately make me smile and relax, if only for a bit. She really does embody what is important in life - companionship, fun and sleep! It's a proven fact that having a pet can reduce your blood pressure and increase your life expectancy. And when this little gal curls up in your lap and starts purring, you can feel the tension leaving.
I hope you enjoyed meeting my favorite fur person. Now swing by and say Hi to Claudia, you'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday - Lake Georgetown Sunset

It's Wednesday once again, time to join Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday. Be sure to visit and see all of the beautiful photos everyone is sharing this week. I'm excited to be joining once again this week. It got so crazy over the holidays that I really didn't have time to do much blogging. But I got a new camera for Christmas, and DH and I decided to take a trek out to Lake Georgetown and play with some sunset photos.
I apologize in advance for the length of this post. We thought we were taking a short little walk down to the lakefront. WRONG! My first clue should have been the sign that warned "Hunting ongoing - stay on the trail".

The "trail" - I assume they are using the term VERY loosely!

After a mile and a half of mud, rocks and deadfall, we started to see some glimpses of blue..

I started to realize how isolated this area is when I saw that Tom Hanks had left his trusty sidekick "Wilson" here!

We're getting there....

Finally! I was starting to think that our recent drought had dried the lake up completely!

Waiting patiently, our long hike began to pay off.....

As you can guess from the progression of these pictures, the "trail" was dark when we started our hike back to the car. NOT smart. But I'm so happy with the photos that we got that I guess the burning calf muscles and muddy feet (not to mention 1 very large mesquite thorn in my jacket) were well worth it. Hope you enjoyed these views of our glorious sunset. Don't forget to pay Susan a visit and check out all the beautiful photos.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cait goes shooting

The day after Christmas, Cait's boyfriend and his father offered to take her to a local shooting range. This is something she has always wanted to try but has never had an opportunity to do. I'm terrified of handguns, perhaps because I am a total klutz and I just know I'd shoot my foot off! Unfortunately, Cait inherited the klutz gene from me. So it was with some trepidation that I told her she could go. Understand that she is 21 years old, so I thought it was sweet that she even asked permission! She was so excited that she posted on her facebook page "who needs to go shopping when you can go shoot guns!" Now keep in mind, this is the same girl who had to base her apartment renting decision on whether or not there was enough storage space for her shoes! Cait's boyfriends father is a retired Army sharpshooter, so I felt comfortable with him being her instructor. If you're going to learn, you might as well learn from the best.

Cait learning the basics

Checking her stance

Dirty Harry's got nothin' on my gal!

Cait's first target. Not too shabby! I told her she might want to post this in her first classroom, just to keep those rowdy band kids in line!

Cait had a really good time. She's probably one of the few kids here in town who had never shot a gun in her life. And I will probably go to my grave having never shot a handgun! But at least she learned in a controlled environment from a skilled instructor. Whether you enjoy shooting, hunting, target practice or any of the other gun sports, gun safety and education has to be first and foremost. Personally, I'll continue to shoot with my Canon!