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.  

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.

IMG_7939

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.

IMG_7912

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.

IMG_7910

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

IMG_7919

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.  :)

150321

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!



And *poof* … 5 years gone by.

Sunday was the 5 year blogoversary for sheila365!  I meant to draft a post ahead of time, and post it bright and early on March 8th.   But I just looked at the calendar and time has snuck by on me once again.

That’s ok.  In these 5 years sheila365 has evolved, and I think I have a bit, too.  My blog started as a post-a-day 365 project during the first year or two, which had me snapping photos during the day to make sure I had something that I judged “share-worthy;”  and now it has become more of a leisurely, post-every-week-or-so project, which I have to say has been much easier, though less artistic in terms of trying to capture beautiful photos, but rather just moments from my day that struck me as special or interesting in one way or another.

So happy blogoversary to me!  :)    I thought I’d go back through my posts from year 5 and pick a photo from one post from each month that especially makes me smile.  I have to say it was very hard to pick just one picutre from each month. 

 March 2014:  Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.   A visit to the walled El Morro.  Beautiful Caribbean views.

20140330-124351.jpg

April 2014:  British Virgin Islands sailing trip – this was taken while snorkeling off Cooper Island.

Turtle dude surfacing - 2

Turtle dude surfacing – 2

May 2014 – A trip home to Seattle.  One of several last year.   It is a beautiful, special place for me.IMG_4009

June 2014 – Back in Austin for fun on the lake with some of my crazy sailor friends.IMG_4863

July 2014 – An amazing trip to Panama City Beach to celebrate a very special anniversary with a very special family.

IMG_5225

August 2014 – A roadtrip to the Texas Gulf Coast.  One of my favorite places to relax.IMG_5697

September 2014 – A lovely anniversary trip through the Texas Wine Country.IMG_5876

October 2014 – A fun girls’ trip to Washington, D.C.  Lots of laughs, lots of wine, and lots of walking.  :)

The residential streets are lined with historic townhouses.

The residential streets are lined with historic townhouses.

November 2014 – An oh so special birthday.IMG_6994

December 2014 – Family visiting means showing off Austin and the Hill Country.  Never gets old.IMG_7297

January 2015 – Hiking as many trails as I can before I had to go back to work after taking a few months off.IMG_7688

February 2015 – Yep, more tulips.IMG_7780

What an amazing lap around the sun!

Thanks for coming along for the ride. :)

Stained glass trilogy.

I’ve enjoyed playing with the iPhone app called Brushstroke. It’s a pretty versatile app for adding water-color / oil painting effect to photos.

These are three shots I took in different cathedrals on my birthday trip to France, with a little post-processing with Brushstroke.

Notre Dame. Paris:

IMG_7701

Cathedral Notre-Dame de Chartres. Chartres:

IMG_7702
Sainte-Chapelle. Paris:

IMG_7703

A hill (and a thrill) with a view.

IMG_7681

One of many familiar images of Austin is of the Pennybacker Bridge at Loop 360, overlooking a stretch of beautiful Lake Austin.   The 360 Loop drive and its Hill Country views are one of my favorite parts of Austin.  I crossed off one of my must-do’s by hiking up the cliff overlooking the bridge to take in the view for myself.   In the panorama above, you can just see the downtown skyline peeking over the hill on the left of the image.   I’m not afraid of heights, but I have to say my heart skipped a beat or two as I stood on the rock on the edge of the cliff.

For reference (from google streetview):

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.42.57 PM

I think I like this shot better.  It’s taken from a vantage point slightly farther west, down the trail along the top of the cliff.

IMG_7688

Just another gorgeous day in my little corner of paradise.