Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sometimes the best thing to do....

Is to do nothing at all.
One view of the backyard at my little retreat in Idaho..
 
 
I arrived there on August 31st, my birthday.  I spent almost the entire month of September there. Every morning I chose a different window to sit by and drink my coffee/tea/chai and gaze out at the garden. In the early evening, I wandered out to the deck or one of those weathered chairs and sat there, looking back towards the house. It is truly a retreat for me, and I enjoy being there so much, for a variety of reasons.   This is not to say that is all I did while there.  I ran around with family and spent time with my Mom. Saw the Aunts and Uncles.  Went to a football game with Hubby, went to several art fairs.  But my best times while there, have become just hanging out with Hubby at the house and relaxing, or even working in the yard.  I know it will feel different when we move there for good, but for now, I see it as a little escape from the real world and I relish it so much. September was truly vacation month for me.

When I get back to Austin, everything is so hectic, with a million things to do, and being pulled in so many directions.  I've been really busy since I got home and here we are the middle of October already.  I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed so I'm trying to focus on taking care of myself instead of just slipping back into the rut I usually do.  Part of taking care of oneself is setting time aside to create, instead of planning to create when everything else is taken care of.  It never happens.  So that is where I am at, and where I will be for awhile, with my head down...trying once again to find some balance.  Maybe even some finished artwork.  Don't know why that is so difficult for me, but all I can do is continue to keep trying.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Delicious and nutritious Saturday lunch

 

My friend Pat called mid-morning and said she was bringing lunch over. She arrived with all manner of "green, raw stuff".  I am not quite as adventurous with food as she is, but I do like a lot of what she likes.  After determining there was no "seaweed" in any of the dishes, I relaxed and set the table. 
 
We gobbled up the spinach dip with crudités, not much left to take photos of.  Here's what we had.
This is golden beets, spiral sliced into noodles, with arugula pesto, with pine nuts.  Hubby came by and asked us why we were eating worms! This was very delicious. There were a few veggies left from the spinach dip, carrots, red peppers, cauliflower, pea pods.
 
This is arugula salad, with red onions, sundried tomatoes, sunflower sprouts and toasted buckwheat sprouts. The dressing was tart and delicious, it had honey, cashews, and citrus juice.
 
There was also a loaf of sourdough bread which we toasted. So everything we ate except the bread was "Raw". We were feeling very virtuous after eating this delicious and nutritious lunch, but we weren't finished yet. 
 
I had been hearing about the new Dreyer's fruit with veggie bars, so bought some so we could try them out.  Besides Apple, these have kale, spinach, mango, pineapple, kiwi, and pumpkin.  Well.....  about the only thing I can say is they were cold and refreshing.  But not something I would try again. So my friend will have to eat them when she is over.  I talked Hubby into trying a bite, and he kind of turned his nose up.  He likes the plain old Raspberry ones, and my favorite ones are the Coconut Water with Pineapple.  I may try some of the other veggie varieties, but then again I may not.  They did have a carrot/tangerine one that sounded like it might be good.  I wonder what the theory behind these treats is...for Mothers to get veggies into their kids in yet another way except real veggies?  I can't imagine most kids liking these as they aren't very sweet.
 
I do believe we got our recommended daily allowance of vegetables, not only for today, but tomorrow as well.

 
 
 
 
 
  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Live in Austin Texas

I won't complain about the heat in this post, really I won't.  Just to tell you that it was 98 at 5 p.m. the other evening when we walked into Waterloo Records, downtown Austin.  We went to a CD release party for one of the old timer Texas artists.  Billy Joe Shaver is a legend around here, well loved by many people.  The place was packed full of folks, to capacity in fact. A very mixed crowd, young and old.  A lot of people were standing outside in front peering in through the windows.  Hard to get photos, because it was so crowded, but we got a few.
Billy and Casper before the show
 
Me, getting a hug from Billy Joe before the show. I was talking as usual, so I'm blurry.
 
 
 
Sometimes it's best to just go and not even attempt to take photos.  But, the point of this post, really is to tell you, that as much as I complain about the weather here in the summertime, this is the other side of living in Austin.  Live music every where you go, and an atmosphere that just can't be beat.  What you have heard about Austin really is true, that it is an awesome city.  The latest statistics show that 140 people move here every day. Because of that, it is losing some of its ease of getting around, but still has not lost its flavor.

Friday, August 1, 2014

August 1st in Austin Texas

We had a cool front today...Ha Ha.  It was only 72 when I got up, and I sat on the front porch with a cup of coffee.  Went out around 10:30 and it was only 82, was very nice.  Went to the stone yard with hubby, and to the garden center next door to look at plants.  Walked around for awhile.  I'm not saying it wasn't HOT...but it only got up to 91 today, the coolest August 1 since 1998.  Weather guy says we will be in the low 90's this week-end.  Likely the coolest temps we will have until October. 

I love this front porch at the stone yard..very Texas looking, it just needs an armadillo.


The garden center next door, which we drive by weekly, but have never stopped in before, has the kind of local plants you don't find at Lowe's or Home Depot.  We only bought a creeping rosemary for the side yard and one of those lovely chartreuse green sweet potato vines.  But found the Mexican Bird of Paradise, they just didn't have the ones with the yellow blooms that I want. The one with the yellow blooms is actually called Caesalpinia Mexicana and the blooms look like this. 

 We ordered these cute fountain grasses, called Little Bunny. They had already sold every one they had today.
 
They had these lovely wooden arches and a lot of statuary, but I only looked.  I cannot bring home anymore things for the yard, that will eventually have to be moved.  Hard to resist though.





Friday, July 25, 2014

The Barometric Pressure Blues

Lately I have become sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  Yeah, I know, that's an old one..but very apropos. I dislike summers in Texas, and every year attempt coming up with better ways to deal with it, since I can't always run away to my other home.  We have hovered around 100 degrees for a week and a half, with occasional thunderstorms that only drop the temps a bit for awhile. But the constant change is enough to throw me off kilter.

The past week has been pretty rough.  This is giving me fits to no end. I spent 4 solid days with a headache that never quite went away.  Sinus pressure, always verging on migraine, or feeling like I was recovering from one.  Medication did no good, except to remove the intense migraine issues, but the nagging headache lingered on.  Went to bed with it, woke up with it, it hung around all day.  Finally on Tuesday it seemed to clear, and I felt much better on Wednesday.  Then yesterday, I had an eye appointment and after the series of  bright lights in my eyes, guess what...by the time I got out of there I had another migraine! Fortunately it didn't last long and I was fine by bedtime.

Needless to say, I have been spending a lot of time with the shades drawn and resting.  When I have felt better I've been sketching and painting a little bit, trying to keep up with the class I am taking, from the fabulous Mary Ann Moss.  Her classes are a riot, and I am behind, but still enjoying it.  I have my supplies strung all over my work table and stop and do a bit each time I pass by. Watercolor is hard, but teacher assures us that, as with anything, practice and you get better. Her approach is a lot more relaxed than the "traditional" type watercolor classes I have attempted before. I say attempted, because I never really completed them.  I could never learn to render accurate sketches that seem to be required, so gave up.  Some of my sketches are pretty laughable, in fact most of them are...so I won't be sharing any just yet...but soon...soon.   Well..okay, just one, and it's okay if you laugh along with me.  In fact, I insist that you do!  After I had it finished and painted, I noticed that I had 5 pods and 6 stems.... So you can easily tell which pod I added in last.   Back to the drawing board!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Independence Day Week-end

Out to the Circuit of The Americas racetrack for the Austin Symphony concert and the 4th of July Fireworks.  The track is only 20 minutes from our house, so it is much easier to get to than other places they have had events at before.  It is a redundant statement to say it was really HOT...in Texas, this time of year.  But...it was really hot and I wilted the moment I stepped out the door.  Thankfully, because we are season ticket holders, we had VIP passes so our parking lot was right across from the front entrance.  It only took us about 15 minutes to get to the area that was reserved for us. But it was still out in the direct sun and it was 4 p.m.  There were two areas we could use, one, seating down in front of the stage, or behind the stage on a grassy area facing turn one.  That is where the fireworks were being shot off from, behind turn one.  I was already exhausted....Ha Ha.  But we picked a place and sat our cooler and bags down, while Hubby went back to the car and hauled our chairs and umbrella over.  There was a nice hot breeze blowing, so it was not too bad.  I did find a spot to stand in the shade and visit awhile with the staff who were guarding the VIP area, to make sure the folks without passes didn't get in.  Ha Ha.  Believe me, the whole place is really nice, and every area was great, ours was just up higher and better for viewing the fireworks.  Or so we were told, but actually, they were pretty visible from everywhere.

Side view of the top of the 360 ampitheatre.


Selfie with Officers Brenmer and Tank.  Yes, I do look like Bo Peep in that hat.  It was not intentional.
 
 
In the direct sun with the tower behind us.  Around 98 degree temperature.
 

These two little girls kept our section entertained, by running up and down the slope to the fence then pulling one another back up, taking their shoes off, putting them back on, etc. They only fell down one time, laughed and got up and kept going.
 
 Seating area in front of the stage
 
 The orchestra
 

The Mayor, introducing some of the World War II veterans who had just returned from an Honor Flight to Washington D.C.
 
 

The end of the evening.
 
I had to spend a lot of time yesterday just recovering from being out in the heat for so many hours.
 
 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

I will hang the Prayer Flag

While I was spending time in Idaho, when I was not watching the birds, or watching the garden change daily and cutting flowers, I did some stitching.  I sat by a window in the sun room where the light was natural and with the window open, I could hear the fountain in the pond, and the birds chirping.  I free form stitched a few things.  I practiced my French knots on a small banner, and I did this prayer flag, in honor of my Father.  I used denim from an old pair of my husbands jeans, and bits that I had cut from a few of my Dads' well worn western shirts. On the back is a blue plaid panel from a different shirt than the piece on the front. The buttons are from an old vest that his sister had made him, and the deer was embroidered on the vest.  I cut around it and attached it to the flag.  The other fabrics are recycled as well.  As I stitched, I thought about long ago memories of my Dad and how well he took care of me and my siblings, how hard he worked, how his sense of humor kept everyone who knew him smiling.  It was very meditative, sometimes emotional, but it was healing for me. On the 19th, it will have been 5 months since his passing.  I've been avoiding thinking about Fathers Day this year. However, tomorrow, I will find a suitable place to hang this flag outside where we can see it every day.