Taking the day off.

Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail.

My sister leaves tomorrow, so I took the afternoon off to play hooky with her.  We started off buying beads at a bead shop to get supplies for making jewelry thingies.  No pics of that – a project for another day.  Then we headed to Zilker Park for a hike on the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail.  It was really lovely out.   High 70’s and sunny.  Perfect for a hike.  The creek is mostly dry.  We did see lots of flowers, butterflies and dragonflies.

The orange butterfly in the shot below stopped to let me take several shots.

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae).

Later on down the trail this swallowtail stopped to let me do the same thing.

Eastern tiger swallowtail (papilio glaucus?).

I found a pretty good butterfly guide website to try to identify them.  You might want to bookmark for future reference.

After the hike we stopped by Barton Springs Pool.  Such a pretty place.  The pool was beautifully clear.

Barton Springs.

Then we ran over to Sno-Beach for a must-have best-snocone-ever experience.  You’d better hurry, they close at the end of October for the winter.  Go out and get one!

Sno-Beach!

Then.  Back to Zilker to rent a kayak and tootle around Town Lake (ok, sorry “Lady Bird Lake.” old habits die hard).  We paddled all the way to the South 1st Street bridge.  On our paddle back we passed 3 UT Women’s Crew boats training.

UT Women’s 8.

The Austin City Limits Music Festival takes place this weekend.  It’s a 3 day music extravaganza hosted in Zilker Park.  Everything is setup and just about ready for the throngs of festival-goers.  I took the opportunity to take a quick shot of the festival entrance, so I wouldn’t have to come down here with 75,000 of my closest friends to get the shot this weekend.

ACL!

What a great Austin afternoon!

Summer’s gone.

Last moon of Summer 2012.

This is the last day of Summer 2012.  I had a good Summer, I hope you did, too.  My advice to you:

Summer’s Almost Gone
Summer’s almost gone (x 2)
Almost gone
Yeah, it’s almost gone
Where will we be
When the summer’s gone?

Morning found us calmly unaware
Noon burned gold into our hair
At night, we swam the Laughing sea
When summer’s gone
Where will we be (x 3)

Morning found us calmly unaware
Noon burned gold into our hair
At night, we swam the Laughing sea
When summer’s gone
Where will we be

Summer’s almost gone (x 2)
We had some good times
But they’re gone
The winter’s comin’ on
Summer’s almost gone

Our lone rain lily bloomed!

Mother Earth’s “thank-you” for a several days of rain.

Better late than never, i always say.  We only had one rain lily pop up in our yard, and it bloomed a day after all the others in the neighborhood.  Another fringe benefit, though dainty and fleeting, of the recent rains.

I played around a bit with black and white to show off the bloom, but I left a spash of color in the middle.

…AND, Happy Birthday Mom!!!   This pic is for you

An acorn haiku – just because.

The acorns are back.
Weighing down each red oak branch.
The squirrels rejoice.

Acorn in sepia.

Last year was a lean one for the furry critters that live off the acorns in our neighborhood.  The red oak was just too stressed.  This year the tree is absolutely loaded with them.   I just wish the pecan tree out back would cooperate.

Chock full-o-nuts.

Eleven years on.

Never forget.

I’ve had an eerie experience this morning.  Monte went to the marina last night for some repairs to the jib, and spent the night on the boat.  So I’m up drinking coffee and watching the morning news by myself.  The very same kind of morning I was having 11 years ago today — when I watched a plane fly into the World Trade Center.

At about a quarter to 8AM, central time, it all started.   I recall the evolving emotions I felt …disbelief, anger, uncertainty and confusion throughout the rest of the day as events unfolded.  I went to work that day, but everyone was glued to their web browser or TV monitors.  And then came the prolonged feeling of what can only be described as grief, as I watched the aftermath of the attack play out on television over the following days and weeks.  I did not experience personal loss of family or friends in the attack, but I believe all Americans were mourning the loss, together, of an attack directed at all of us.

Since then, life has moved on for me, bringing both joy and loss.  But in reflecting on that day 11 years ago, it’s startling to realize how quickly the time has flown by.   And, it’s embarrassing to note that I let too many of my days be filled with meaningless concerns and busy work.

So, on this day I pause to remember those that lost their lives, those that sacrificed their lives for others, the family and friends that experienced inconsolable loss, the feeling of national unity that today seems unattainable, and the responsibility we all must bear to live each day of our lives to the fullest.

Last beautiful August sunset.

View from the bow.

On this last day of August, the Friday before a long Labor Day weekend, we packed up and headed to the boat after work.  We’re staying the night tonight in the slip, and plan to raft up tomorrow night.

This was the lovely sunset that we were treated to.   The shot above is from the bow of Nirvana, in our slip.  The shot below is of the light from the setting sun lighting up the clouds from the stern.  You know what they say… “Red skies at night, sailors’ delight….”

True that.

View from the stern.

He built that.

The “after” picture.

“Retired” is a state of mind.  Monte has been working every day out in the shop making sawdust and pretty furniture.  This is his latest project, one of a pair of LP cabinets.  Made out of beautiful walnut with a gorgeous custom finish.  He designed and built them.  Quite the craftsman!

The drawers have heavy duty full bottom-mounted slides. And he designed an angled, adjustable back-stop for each drawer.

Fancy dancy drawers.

Below is the “before” picture 🙂

The “before” picture.

I wonder what’s next?!

Good morning.

Room with a view.

We headed to the lake yesterday around noon.  We have a long list of chores and minor repairs to take care of on the boat, and we schlepped a bunch of tools and supplies out to take care of some of them.  Rain was in the forecast, so not a lot of people were out and about.

About 5 o’clock we called it a day and headed out of the slip to anchor out overnight in Arkansas Bend cove.  Lori, Dave and Jake joined us on Camelot.  We had a very pleasant night but boy did we get rained on.  We hunkered down below on one of the boats and played cards until it let up.  After the rains blew through it was quite nice.  Good breezes through the boat kept us cool.

This morning when I went up into the cockpit this was the view that greeted me.   A beautiful Lake Travis sunrise.   A good morning, indeed.

 

Graceful.

Grace on the back of a sanitary silverware wrapper.

We buzzed over to Chuy’s for dinner tonight.  Since we live so close, we eat there often.  We have mastered the art of timing our arrival before the after-work happy hour and dinner rush.   🙂

Chuy’s uses those old timey wax paper sanitary wrappers for their silverware.  On the back they’ve printed multi-denomenational prayers of grace.   It seems so out of place in our world today.  But it’s a reminder for us to give thanks for what we have, and for what we are about to eat.

It also caused me to reflect on the dinner times from my childhood.   In my family, we sat down for dinner together every night.   No TV, no radio.  No books or newspapers at the table.  We said grace out loud, together.  We had to have a little bit of everything on our plate.  We had to clean our plate before we were finished (or we’d sit there as long as it took until we did finish), and we had to ask “may I be excused?” before we were allowed to get up, clear our place and leave the table.

Was that really that long ago?

May we all be a little more thankful for our many blessings.

Come (rain) dance with me!

Rain at dusk.

It rained again tonight.  We got a good dousing this time.  I would like more though, so please do a rain dance for Central Texas and the rest of the country that is in dire need of it.

If you don’t have a rain dance of your own, then just dance with Matt.  It’s been 4 years since the last one, but he’s just released his latest Dancing video.  Check it out on youtube here.  I dare you not to smile.  🙂

Viva la Roja!

Campeones!

We camped out at home today to recharge, and also to watch the Euro2012 championship.  Spain vs. Italy.  Marty came over to help us cheer on Spain.  España did not disappoint, winning 4 – 0 over a strong Italian team.

They have now won 3 World / European championships in a row.  It’s building up to be an exciting 2014 world cup in Brazil.

Life in the woods.

Thoreau’s view — 165 years later.

As I was driving past Concord on the way to my hotel on Tuesday night, I saw signs for Walden Pond.  THE Walden Pond.  You know, Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond, from his 1854 book Walden.  I remember reading that book back in high school, over 30 years ago.    It made a deep impression upon me at the time, but I haven’t thought about it again since then.   Thoreau decided to live in the woods and did so for over 2 years, from 1845-1847.  He later wrote the book from his notes and observations from the time he lived simply amongst nature.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived”  – Henry David Thoreau

I really wanted to see Walden Pond for myself.  So, after my last meeting today, I drove there before closing time and took a walk.  It was interesting to see how close the pond is to town, and actually in his book he says that even back in the 1840’s the lot where he built his 1 room cabin was only about 1 mile away from neighboring farms.

There’s a walking trail around the lake, about a 1 3/4 mile loop.   The pond is now a state park and when I arrived it was packed with people sunning on the banks and swimming in the lake.  A little bit more bustling than when Thoreau lived here.

I walked to the site of his cabin.  It’s not there anymore, but the foundation is marked, and there is a huge pile of rocks next to where it stood.  A pile that visitors have been adding to over the years – one rock at a time.   I placed my rock atop the pile before I left.

The picture above is a view from the edge of the pond closest to where his cabin stood – about 100 feet behind me.   I like that I accidentally captured the gibbous moon in the top left corner.

The picture below is one that I took looking up as I was standing in the spot that would have been right outside the front door of his cabin.

Very beautiful.

This is a quote from the park brochure:

“…my friends ask what I will do when I get there.  Will it not be employment enough to watch the progress of the seasons?”  – Henry David Thoreau

You got that right, Henry.

I’ll have to dig up a copy of Walden to re-read, for old time’s sake.