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.

    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.

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    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.

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    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. 🙂

    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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    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

    SoCo birthday night.

    I went downtown tonight to celebrate Laura’s birthday.  We ate at Perla’s, and strolled up and down South Congress til it was time to call it a night.

    champers night cap at Hotel San Jose

    IMG_4899the (blurryish) soco view towards downtown… IMG_4921A reflection of the Frost Bank Tower on the building next door… IMG_4926Happy Birthday, Laura!

    The circle of life.

    Today we met Julie’s new dog, Blake.  She’s a good doggie, and I know will bring much happiness into eachothers lives.

    IMG_3264 Today we also learned that another one of our canine friends, Kokopelli (aka “the Admiral”), left us for the big boat in the sky.  Farewell, Koko, you were a great boat dog, and a good friend to Marty and Sue for many years.  Sail on…. we’ll miss you.1-DSCN3701