Jul 14, 2010

The moon, planets & stars, oh my!

You might want to go into a dark room to see this image.   I follow an online sky-watching site called Sky & Telescope.  Each week it points out notable things in the night sky to watch out for.   This week there is a pretty cool lining up of Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn, alongside the crescent moon.

So, I went out tonight on a mission to try to capture a picture of this glorious event.  I had limited success.  Mercury was not visible.  I was able to see the others.   Here is the best image I have.   Not great, but kind of cool if you think about what you’re seeing.    If you look diagonally  from top left down to bottom right you can see:  Saturn, then Mars, then Venus (brightest star to the right of the crescent moon) then below Venus to the right is Regulus.

Pretty cool, eh?!

If you look on the right side between Saturn and Mars, you’ll see the star Denebola, which is part of the constellation Leo.

This is the diagram from Sky & Telescope, if it helps.

I’m starting to look at fancy-dancy cameras now.   Not sure if that was the point of this picture-a-day project, but we’ll see what develops.  get it?  develops?   heh heh  😉

Jul 13, 2010

Holy cow!

Last week I went in to Lenscrafters to order replacements for my Raybans that I lost on our last San Marcos tubing trip.   They called today to say they were ready.

While I was at the Arboretum to pick them up, I took a walk around the nearby park.   If you’ve been there you may recognize the stone cows.   A favorite for kids of all sizes to climb up on.

They used to have Blues on the Green at this park every Wednesday night.  It’s held down at Zilker Park now.   I checked out the schedule for the rest of the summer (here’s a link)… there’s 3 more scheduled.   I’m going to try to make one of them.

Jul 12, 2010

On hiatus

I like making things, working with my hands.   I’m pretty good at finishing projects that I start.  But there are a number of them that remain un-done and frozen in time — for whatever reason.

We have a side-entry garage on our house.   So, if you want to park in the driveway and come in the front door of the house, you have to trample across the lawn.    One of the projects I started, but haven’t finished,  is a pathway of stepping stones across the lawn from the driveway to the front walkway.   Two years ago (oh my) I started the project.   I ordered a stepping stone mold that I liked with a celtic knot design from Garden Molds, bought some limestone mortar mix and started making them one by one.   I made one or two per week, mixing the mortar and letting each one cure in the mold.  I figure I’ll need about 40 of them to span the distance.   When I finished about 24 of them I stopped.  Things got busy.  The remodel on the house started last summer and it wasn’t a good idea to put them out on the lawn until that work was all done.  The project was put on hold.  In the mean time I’ve stacked them out back and they have been weathering beautifully.    I walk by them every day when I walk to the way-back part of our yard.  When it came time to bury our parakeet Petey, we even used one of them as a headstone.

One of these days I’ll finish the stepping stone project, lay the stones out front and admire the outcome.   One of these days.

Jul 11, 2010

Shaking out the cobwebs

As Sunday morning rolled around, we were rafted up again with Teri & Jim, Marty & Sue & Joe in Hurst Harbor.  Aquapalooza was this weekend on the lake about 8 miles upriver.  There were a couple thousand motor boats on the lake churning things up.   We sailed up just to see it Friday night, but yesterday and today we decided hang out close to home.  We picked a spot in Hurst Creek to anchor, well sheltered from boat wake and enjoyed another great weekend on the lake with friends.

Back at the dock this morning I got this shot of one of the many spider webs that decorate the boats and slips.

We made it home to watch the final match of the 2010 World Cup.   Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0!!!    First time ever, Spain wins the world championship!!!!

Jul 9, 2010

After a rain

The purple coneflower that I planted a month or two ago has started to bloom.   I have tried to grow these in the past and they never took.  Maybe it’s due to the preparation of the flower bed that I did this year – compost, mulch and fertilizer.   Works wonders.

It’s been rainy today.  I got this shot this afternoon in between rain showers.   I like the water droplets on the tips of the petals.

Jul 8, 2010

God's an artist

I’m host tonight for a book club / girls night out that I’ve been involved with for a while.   So, I went out back to cut some flowers to bring inside and saw this really pretty butterfly.  When he flew by I didn’t think he was all that interesting because all I could see was beige.  It was starting to rain while I was outside, so he seemed happy to stay on this piece of siding to get out of the rain.  When I got closer I saw the detail on his wings and his faint greyish blue body.  I’m amazed at all the unique beautiful things out there.

Pretty cool, I think.

Jul 6, 2010

Mimosas anyone?

We have a mimosa tree out back by the shop.  It casts a lot of shade, and the leaves are quite pretty, really.  This is a shot looking up from underneath the canopy.  We thought it was dead after a long, dry summer last year followed by a cold winter.  The bark had several splits from some hard freezes.   But this spring it sprouted to life with its silky pink flowers, and I’m glad that we get to enjoy it for one more year.

My mind is on a young great-niece who has been fighting a battle for her life for two and a half years now.    I’m reminded that life is fragile.   We don’t get to choose where we’re planted or how long we stay.    Here’s to enjoying another day!

Jun 28, 2010

Empire state of mind

Back to NY for meetings this week.  I indulged myself by traveling on Monday instead of Sunday.

As we were landing, I took this shot of the Empire State Building and surrounding part of Manhattan right before sunset.   I don’t have time to hit the big city this trip though.  I’m blowing right through La Guardia and headed to Somers.

I have another shot of the Financial district on the southern tip of the island,  but it still just looks wrong without those 2 towers.  Hard to believe that was nearly 9 years ago.

Over the weekend I read in the news that a 6 month old infant was killed and her mother seriously injured by a falling tree branch while posing for a photo taken by the father during a visit to the Central Park Zoo.   So terribly sad, and so random.