Spice of life.

Tonight we went to dinner with Mike and Amber at the Pour House. A fun evening. And we ordered a colorful variety of draft beers. Monte seems to be a bit ahead of us before the toast, though. Cheers!

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We got game.

Last night we enjoyed a fun New Year’s Eve celebration at our house, clocking in at 3AM by the time we went to bed.   Temperatures have dipped into the 20s, for the next few days.   We even got some snow last night, so the merrymaking  was pretty much restricted to indoors.    Nonetheless, a good time was had by all.

The day after New Year’s Eve has come to mean spending the afternoon at Ann & Dave’s house, playing games with friends and friends-of-friends.  It is a very-low-key, come-as-you-are, and bring-your-leftovers-and-libations kind of affair.  Some people creep in, looking a little worse for wear after a fun night of celebrating.  Other regulars are missing in action.  But, eventually, everyone perks up, ends up laughing, telling stories, and making plans for the new year that has just begun.

One of the New Year’s Day games that has become a regular is a home-made version of Jeopardy.  The mistress-of-ceremonies for the last several years has been Doray.  This year she, again, painstakingly prepared the categories, questions and answers.   Very fun!

Henry sez…

IMG_3014I’m headed home after a wonderful weekend with two lovely ladies that I wish I had kept in closer touch with over the years.  But, thankfully, we picked up where we left off – and then some.  It was a really great visit.  I’m looking forward to all the others.  🙂

FaceTiming with the bird. 

Today was another lovely day in Palm Desert.  Irene and I took a long walk this morning and found two geocaches along the way.  We all had massages this afternoon and then grabbed a bite to eat while watching the end of the Seahawks game at a restaurant nearby.  We won!

Back at the house we did our best to finish off all the food and wine we had bought for the long weekend.  We stayed in the hot tub again looking at the moon and stars til we were pruned.  

We also face timed with Keeto, a first for both of us.  Goodnight birdie!

Desert fun.  

I’ve met up with Irene and Linda, two girlfriends from high school, in Palm Desert for the weekend.  We are having fun catching up on three decades of our lives while enjoying this beautiful oasis.  

This is the view from our patio. Lucky us.  This is looking east across the Coachella Valley towards the Little San Bernardino Mountain range.  


This is the same view, later last night as the full moon was rising.  

GNO.   

It’s been busy here for the last month or so.  We had several nieces under our roof and at the lake with us this past week, which was a joy for me.  Good visits, good fun and lots of laughs were had.   But they are now back in their respective places living their exciting young lives.  As for me, I’m committed to relaxing for the rest of this week.   Last night I joined some friends for girls’ night out at Alcomar in south Austin.   I enjoyed it. 

 PROs:  Tasty tapa-ish seafood dishes.  Happy hour from 3-6pm every day.  And their own parking lot on S 1st! 

CONs: wine not included in happy hour.  

Blues on the green.  

Tonight we made it to the last concert in this year’s Blues on the Green free concert series at Austin’s lovely Zilker Park.   Bright Light Social Hour was the headliner.   We joined Lori and Doray, who have made it to every show this year. They’re professionals; they have the parking/tailgating/setup thing down.  We got downtown early, went for a swim in Barton Springs Pool and then headed over to the Great Lawn to set up our chairs and share some nibblies before the show.  


    I enjoyed the night very much.  Temps were in the 80s!! How lucky was that?!

    On the threshold.

    Here we are again – the last day of the year.   2015 brought lots of things:   fun parties with friends, lots of visits from friends and family, more time spent in Washington State,  a wonderful family reunion, the passing of my mom, happy moments on the lake, stargazing, beautiful spring flowers, roadtrips, the passing of a friend, cooking, sunsets, Seahawks (!), much more reading, breakups between good friends, exploring local breweries and wineries, El Niño rain, a nearly full lake, birthdays, more sunsets, amazing girlfriends and our trip to New Orleans, music, dancing, laughs, tears.

    Tonight we are headed to a friend’s house to ring in the new year.  Last year we hosted the New Year’s Eve party – here’s a shot from that night a year ago… how fast time flies:

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    Pause.

    This week a friend of mine died unexpectedly – a fellow sailor, a husband, and father of 3, who worked in the IT industry by day, and sang karaoke at night.

    This week is also the 3 year anniversary of the unexpected death of a cousin of mine who was my age.

    Mom died not too long ago, not unexpectedly, but creating a great hole in our hearts.

    An aunt died without any warning signs, mourning the loss of her husband 2 years before.

    My sister-in-law’s brother died this year unexpectedly as well.

    The impact of all these losses piles up, in the mind.   And it causes me to pause.   And maybe because of that when I saw this quote posted this week, it touched me:

    So live your life that the fear of death can never

    enter your heart.

    Trouble no one about their religion;

    respect others in their view, and demand that

    they

    respect yours.

    Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all

    things in your life.

    — Chief Tecumseh’s Words of Wisdom

    I shall strive to do so.

    A fun, full, first weekend of Fall!

    We’ve been busy!  This past weekend, we made a roadtrip out to west, stopping first at William Chris Winery, where we caught up with a friend of ours that we ran into, by chance;  then we hopped over to Wildseed Farms to pickup a bunch of seed; then made it over to one of our faves, Becker Vineyards, where we had a tasting, a picnic, and checked out their new field of zinnias.  Just beautiful.

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    On the way home we headed over to the Real Ale Brewery in Blanco.  We took the river road south/southeast from Hwy 290 to Blanco, and stopped along the way several times to check out the now lazy river that was uncontrollably raging just 4 months ago, tragically sweeping away homes and families over Memorial Day weekend.IMG_9158

    At Real Ale, Monte sampled a flight, and I sipped my favorite – Hans Pils.

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    Then Sunday rolled around, and we headed out to see the Anderson Mill historical site, near its original location at Cypress Creek on Lake Travis.   The Anderson Mill Gardeners do a wonderful job of preserving the site and its history.IMG_9183We made it to the boat in time to cheer the Seahawks on to their first win of the season, enjoying the recently repaired air conditioning on Nirvana (yay!).

    About an hour before sunset, Kurt, Barbara, Dakota and little Leila joined us on the boat, and we motored out to the body of the lake to drift and watch the supermoon lunar eclipse.

    Have I mentioned taking photos of the moon and stars on a moving boat is hard?  I didn’t get any good shots.  But I thought this one was kinda cool… you get the idea.

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    It was a great weekend, indeed.