Home on La Grange. 

Since day 1 of the MS-150 was called off, we had a leisurely morning in Houston.  Day 2 will start in La Grange at the courthouse, and our riders’ team arranged a place for them to overnight at a beautiful ranch outside of town.  

We spent the afternoon exploring the historic downtown. 

La Grange is the county seat of Fayette County.   Texas has some of the grandest old county courthouses.   The one in La Grange is a good example.  

 

After lunch at Orsak’s Cafe and bluebell ice cream at Latte on the Square we headed to the ranch to drop off riders and bikes.   What an amazing spread.  

 

I spied a purple martin house by the pond.   

 

Yeah, I’m a sherpa. 

Three of my girlfriends have ridden in the MS-150 for nearly each of the last 15 years.   It’s a 2-day Houston-to-Austin cycling event and fundraiser to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis.  And when they do ride, I go with them as their sherpa.  My duties consist of helping schlep things as needed, keeping the wine flowing Friday night, delivering them to the starting line Saturday morning, and making sure their vehicle gets back to Austin.   It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. 

This is the first time I snagged one of the bandanas for myself.  :)  Please consider donating to help fund a cure. 

This year’s ride is impacted by the recent rains.   Notifications went out this afternoon that Day 1’s ride was cancelled, but we’re in Houston tonight and will do what it takes to get our riders on their way.  

Good for what ails you. 

I brought a head cold back with me from Seattle.   For dinner tonight Monte suggested chicken soup, and it was just the ticket!   We already had 1 1/2 quarts of homemade chicken broth in the fridge.  And a grilled chicken breast leftover from last night.  I just had to add a cup each of chopped onion, celery & carrots; a sprinkle of salt & pepper.   At the end I threw in a few ounces of pasta.  And voila!

Delicious!  I feel better already.  

  

Heavenly views.

Yesterday I returned home from several weeks in Seattle.   I had my nose glued to the window, as usual.  It is so easy to take for granted that we have the luxury of being able to view our planet from the vantage point of the angels.

A front was moving in from the east, bringing a late dump of snow in the Cascades.  This is a shot of it moving in over Southcenter, looking east.

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The cloud deck must have been about 15000 ft.  Mount Rainier was buried in clouds. Can you find it?  This shot is looking east, flying south.  If you look closely in the bottom left of the frame,  you can see another jet flying below us.IMG_7948

Then we turned east, flying below Mount Rainier.   Little Tahoma peak stuck its head out, right of the summit.IMG_7955The mighty Columbia River brings life to eastern Washington.  Irrigation circles dot the landscape near Paterson.IMG_7962Cotton ball clouds somewhere over Texas.IMG_7973

Back on the ground.  Glad to be home.

Embracing the No.

I’m gonna give it a whirl – saying “no,” I mean.  Not to everything.   Just to a few well chosen requests made of me.   See how it goes.   If I turn out to be really good at it, there may be no stopping me!  :)

No reason for this shot across Hood Canal as the sun heads for the horizon other than that it is calm and serene.   That’s what I’m going for.

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See the forest.

Another shot from yesterday’s walk through the woods.   I found myself literally surrounded by trees as far as my eye could see — much like I feel with my todo lists from work and home.   It was a reminder to try to keep the big picture in perspective, and not get hung up on the little things.

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Home.

Found today on a walk through the woods.

“May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
 and all your heart might desire.” — Irish blessing

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Jazz it up.

One of my unofficial new year’s resolutions was to dedicate some time to learning.  Have you heard of MOOCs – massive open online classes?  Well, there are MANY online courses on every subject imaginable, hosted from many different institutions and web portals.   They are free – if audited, and are taken online from the comfort of your couch.  Ten weeks ago I enrolled in a MOOC on Jazz Appreciation on edx.org, along with 11,000(!) other students.  I love all kinds of music, but I really didn’t know much about Jazz, and I thought if I learned a bit more about it, its eras and artists, that I might enjoy it even more.

Today I finished the course.   I highly recommend it.   I now know a bit more about early jazz, swing, bebop, cool, hard bop, modal, free jazz, fusion, and neo-classical eras.  I know that Coltrane was THE MAN on tenor sax.  I know that Miles varied his music on trumpet to influence many eras.  I found out that I really like the pianist Bill Evans and will seek out some of his albums.  I understand why Charles Mingus and Thelonius Monk transcend a specific Jazz era.  I decided that I don’t care as much for bebop – no offense to Dizzy and the Bird.  I enjoy early jazz and modal and hard bop and cool.   I can distinguish blues form from AABA form.   I can listen for the bass and drums to try to pick out swing from even-8th rhythm.   I heard many snippets of a variety of performances from artists that I was already aware of, whetting my interest to hear more by them.  And I learned about some of the newest artists to appear on the Jazz stage.  Professor Hellmer was great.

All and all, a great class!  Aaaaaand, I got an A.  :)

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openculture.com maintains a list of over a thousand MOOCs here.  Take a look, pick one out that sounds interesting, and enroll!

Be happy. 

Today is the International Day of Happiness.  Get out there and make a happy moment.  :)   Here are a few happy moments from my day. 

Friday!  Nuff said.

It’s raining over the lake. 

The vernal equinox will occur at 5:45 PM in Austin today.  

Julie is coming back to Austin tonight for a visit.   It’ll be nice to catch up with her at dinner. 

Aaaaaand we’re going to make pizza!



Ides of March. 

We enjoyed a beautiful night on the lake.  I came home early today to get some Work things done before tomorrow.   Boooo!

The calendar says we are midway through March already.  The late freezes haven’t killed everything though.   The bluebonnet patch out back is coming along.  



Only one more week of winter !