A view from the penumbra.

Crazy weather here. It rained and poured this morning. Then we had an hour or two of sunny blue sky, which afforded a glimpse of the partial solar eclipse through a hastily-made pinhole camera.

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Then the cloud bank rolled in again with rain. I’m glad mom had a chance to watch it, if only for a half hour or so.
Pretty cool.
The next solar eclipse will be on August 21, 2017. Mark your calendar!

A moment from a lovely walk.

Rain is in the forecast for the entire week here.  I timed my walk today for what I hoped to be a break in showers.  As it turned out, l made it back home after an hour or so with barely a drop on me.

I was listening to Pandora, and as I crested a hill on my way home I turned up the volume when I heard one of my faves through my earbuds – Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole’s cover of Somewhere over the Rainbow.  As I was listening, I turned my head and coincidentally saw a faint rainbow lit up during a brief sunbreak – making the song even a little more enjoyable than usual.   Nice.

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And now, for something completely different…

Last week I began a short break from the rat race, taking a couple months off from work.

Soooo….I went shopping on Monday; golfing on Tuesday; sailing on Wednesday; woke up at anchor Thursday morning; back to the lake Friday for two nights on the boat; rafted up with Kurt & Kevin on Dancer, and Marty & Sue (yay!!) on Caribbean Hug Saturday night; made it back home Sunday night to watch my Seahawks and make pizza; and then headed to Seattle for a visit this past Monday.

I’ll try to get my sheila365 groove back. :)

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Girls’ trip 2014 – Destination Washington, D.C.

Last year five of my girlfriends and I went on a trip together to San Diego and had a really great time.  We said we’d try to make it an annual thing.  And we did!  This year’s destination:  Washington D.C.

The fall weather was beautiful.  We rented a townhouse on Capitol Hill just south of Lincoln Park – about a mile and a half walk to the Capitol buidling.  What an amazing place to live.

The Highlights:

We walked about a hundred miles (!), mastered the Metro, and took in some amazing sights.   We visited the Library of Congress & National Gallery of Art, and their outdoor Sculpture Garden.  We took a 3-hour Segway DC Monuments & Memorials tour with CitySegway (I highy recommend them, and our wonderful guide, Ray).  We caught a showing of the Broadway musical Evita at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  We drank a couple barrels of wine.  And danced the night away in the townhouse.  We we sure crammed alot of fun into a 4 day weekend.

The Eats:

- The night we arrived we ate at the highly touted Spanish tapas restaurant Jaleo (2 blocks from the Archives metro station).  This madrileña gives them a bleh and a thumbs down.  Service was ho hum, their traditional tapas like gambas al ajillo were not traditional at all… (made with red, spicy pepper sauce with no garlic!).  When we complained, the waiter said they’ve changed the way they prepare them now and we should have ordered them traditional if that’s the way we wanted them, even though that’s how they were described on the menu.  We shared a pan of lobster paella which tasted like new orleans dirty rice made with a burnt roux.   Sorry José Andrés, you let us down.

- for breakfast the next day, Friday, we ate at the Madison Cafe atop of the Library of Congress’ James Madison Memorial Building.  What a great, unassuming breakfast stop, with reasonable prices.  Spectacular view of the Potomac, but apparantly you’re not supposed to go out on the patio unless accompanied by the Capitol Police (oopsie).

- for lunch on Friday’s sightseeing marathon (seriously, Laura’s pedometer said we walked about 23 miles that day!), we happened upon a really wonderful farmer’s market/outdoor food court in the Federal Triangle – Capital Harvest on the Plaza.  In contrast to last night’s meal, the paella I got here on a paper plate was perfect and the real deal.  They are open Friday’s through the end October.

- for dinner on Friday night we ate at the fabulous italian restaurant Graffiato  (a short walk from the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stop).  Now this was a great meal!  The service was fantastic.  We tried nearly everything (watercress salad, caesar, mussels a la vodka, potato gnocchi, homemade pasta, white house pizza, and even more that I don’t recall) and came away wanting more.  Delicious!

- Saturday morning we walked to the nearby Eastern Market – a historic indoor/outdoor food and arts market and a hub of the neighborhood on Capitol Hill.  We bought ingredients for our planned dinner-at-the-townhouse later that night.  The menu:  spinach soup, grilled salmon steaks, asparagus risotto, green beans with lemon vinagrette and goat cheese.  We outdid ourselves!

- for brunch on our last day, we headed to Le Greniere, a fantastic french bistro on H street, about a mile walk from Union Station.  Their weekend brunch menu has a great variety of delicious choices.  My croque-monsieur could have fed 2 or 3.  :)  excellent service and brunch menu.  We were all thankful for the walk afterwards.

And then, *poof* it was over.   Til next year!

Some of the sights:

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Literary inspiration.

I recently read Ernest Hemingway’s Islands in the Stream. I enjoyed it – set in the Caribbean, full of sea and salt and many an alcoholic beverage.
One of the favorite drinks of the main character in the book, Thomas Hudson, was a gin drink with coconut water, lime juice and bitters. It sounded interesting enough to me to concoct one and try it. And it was pretty good! We call it a “Tom Hudson.” There wasn’t a recipe in the novel, so the individual quantities are up to the bartender’s discretion. But here’s how I like them:

Tom Hudson
– 2 oz gin
– 4 oz coconut water
– juice of 1 lime
– a few (or many) drops of bitters
– serve on the rocks

Cheers, Ernest!

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Yay, us!

We took a roadtrip over the weekend to celebrate our anniversary.  I’ll skip the narrative and just let some pictures tell the story.

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Centuries-old hill country live oaks.

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Texas wine trail.

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Picture perfect views @ William Chris Winery.

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One of our favorites.

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True.

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I ❤ FBG.

Wildseed Farms are always in bloom.

Wildseed Farms are always in bloom.

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Anniversary-appropriate passion flower sighting.

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C’mon longhorns, turn around and smile for the camera!

Nothing to see here.

The natives are restless.

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Happy anniversary, sweetie!

We’re back!

After getting Nirvana 2 years ago, we had to move to E-dock. Last week a slip finally opened up on our beloved B-dock. So, of course we said, “Yes, we’ll take it!”

So today we headed out to the marina on a cool, drizzly day and moved our boat, dock box, and kayak to the new slip.

We celebrated with frosty beverages and (best ever) hot dogs with Kurt.

It’s good to be back!
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I kind of zoned out there.

My posts for the last few months have been a tad infrequent.  And it’s been two weeks since I last posted. I think I have just been decompressing.  I have had a great summer – spending time with family, and then coming back to Austin for a couple of downtime weeks to play with Monte.  Somewhere, in there, the summer has nearly slipped by.  That’s ok, though.  Onward!

Yesterday Sue & Marty joined us on the boat for a windless day on the lake.  We headed directly for our cove, set anchor, jumped in and floated until just before sunset.  A great day!  Here is a shot of the blinding sun on its way to the horizon. IMG_5768

And the cotton is high…

The words are swimming around in my head:

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high….

I like Billie Holiday’s version.

We took a trip to the Coastal Bend of Texas for a few days.   We come down here nearly every year, and really enjoy it.   Very rustic, but beautiful.   Along the way to the coast, we drive through the cotton fields.   This time we came a little earlier than usual, and we got to see the fields before harvest.   A sea of white fluffiness:

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Staycation.

Back home now, Monte and I are enjoying the time together.  We took a drive to Brenham to see the BlueBell ice cream factory (and the accompanying large scoop of ice cream after the tour).   Every other time we’ve driven by Brenham on the way to or from somewhere, it has been a weekend, and the factory is closed on weekends.   So we made a special weekday trip.  It was worth the special trip  :)  We dallied on our way home stopping in at antique stores along the way.

If you are not blessed to live where BlueBell is sold, you can move to one of these places to see what you’re missing:

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Yummmmmm.