Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Snow Day in Idaho

Hubby and I flew to Idaho last week to spend the holidays with family. There was snow on the ground when we got here, and a few days later we got a few inches more.  It snowed most of the night and we had almost 3 inches of fresh snow by morning.  Beautiful to look at from inside, but then there is that task of clearing the driveway and walkways.  Not to mention driving in snow, which we have not done in quite a few years.  Everything has worked out fine so far.
The view of the back yard at my Idaho house. I love the look of the snow on the bare branch trees. This tree is a Crabapple, and in the far background there are several tall pines next to the fence.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

BRRR! It's winter in Texas

Well, it's winter everywhere isn't it?  Most places I have lived though, there are 4 seasons and winter comes on gradually.  Here in Texas, we are wearing shorts one day and our parkas the next.  Last week we had two days of 80..then overnight, "The Big Arctic Freeze" blew down and we had a freeze.  It did not get above 30 for 4 days in a row.  Most cities in Texas are not equipped to deal with ice and snow because we don't get it on a regular basis.  Plus we have all these high in the sky overpasses and bridges that freeze over.  Makes life interesting. Our little fountain on the porch did not get drained yet, so it has had a bit of ice on it the past few days.  I like the way it looks.

The colors have finally changed here though and it looks real pretty.  I don't have an oak tree in my front yard.  I have a live oak in the back and it doesn't shed it's leaves in the fall, only in spring when new growth occurs. But my neighbors on both sides have oak trees and so I have the benefit of tons of leaves.  I find it amusing that the guy on the left rakes most of the leaves from my yard, he says it's the least he can do, since they came from his tree.  Matters to me not a whit, we eventually rake or vacuum them up when they all fall.  The guy on the right rakes right to the property line, so I always just hope that the ones on my side blow back into his yard..HaHa  He also rakes every few days, then the next day the yard is full again. He's also the guy who mows his yard 3 times a week, while the rest of us do it once a week.   Both my neighbors are great, its just funny to me, the differences in people..
 Oak tree to the right
Oak tree to the left
Leaves in my yard
Leaves for crafting

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The three day recovery that took a week and a half

The weeks kept slipping by and I had been putting off a dental procedure that I really needed to have done.  I had a failed root canal that had been giving me fits for awhile.  I had lost confidence in my regular dentist and was trying to find a new one.  After visiting a dentist that was rated REALLY high on Angie's List, and having a dismal experience, I was beside myself with what to do.  Sought advise from my periodontist, the one who had done my implants a number of years ago. He gave me a few recommendations, but in the meantime referred me to an endodontist to see what could be done about the tooth that was problematic.  That experience was a nightmare...very creepy fellow to begin with, with a lot of weird things happening during the exam, and him telling me when I asked for an explanation of the procedure called apicoectomy...  to "google it".   So after two really horrid dental experiences, I was beginning to question my sanity, and thinking perhaps I just needed to lower my expectations...and that maybe my previous dentist had not been so bad after all, in comparison.  Reported to the periodontist that I would not be having the procedure done there, and that he might want to rethink his recommendation of that office...  He apologized profusely and told me we would work on finding a better fit.  He did send me to a regular dentist who it turns out I really like and like everyone on his staff.  They sent me to a newer endodontist who I felt a lot more comfortable with.  So that hurdle is over.  Now to find time to have this procedure done, what with all the festivals, my full calendar, the holidays looming, etc.   Told them I wanted and needed to be fully recovered in time for the Formula 1 Races. It was also the week-end of mine and hubby's 40th anniversary.   Oh, no problem, it was a 2 hour surgery, and intensive, but I would be fully recovered in two days.  So, I had the procedure on the 12th, pretty much slept for a couple of days, confident that I'd be fine on Friday.  Well, Friday comes and not only am I still so swollen my face is distorted, I am totally bruised from my eye, to my chin.  I looked like I walked into a door. I had followed all the instructions to the letter, but was feeling weak and nauseous from all the meds.  Antibiotics, pain killers. anti-inflamatories.  So on Friday I stayed home and hubby went to the events.   Keep in mind we had our tickets since last year and it seemed kind of special, being it was our Anniversary.  So on Saturday, I did my best to cover my bruised face with make-up, took all my medications and headed off to the races.  I was so miserable that I only lasted about half a day, then we came home and I went to bed.  I was realizing by then that I "might" be having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic I had already been taking for a week.  I was breaking out in a rash all over my neck and chest.  Well, Sunday I coated myself with cortisone cream and off we went again.  No way was I missing the final day of the races.  I really took it easy and spent most of my time under the awning out of the sun, until the actual time of the race...a couple of hours. So there I was, bundled up in a scarf to cover my rash and a big floppy hat to cover my face, in the blaring sun.  Then back home and to bed again, first calling and leaving a message at the Dentist for them to have on Monday morn.  I had discontinued the antibiotics when I first realized that might be adding to the problem.  After taking some Benadryl I had gotten some relief, and when they called me on Monday morning that is what they told me to do anyhow.  So I made it through Monday and spoke to them again on Tuesday.  The rash was subsiding a little bit, but the pain in my face and tooth area was not.  I went in yesterday and they removed the stitches and the Dentist was shocked to see the state of my face.  He said he had never had a patient have that kind of bruising and this was totally unexpected.  I said NEVER? and he replied that I was ONE in about two hundred people he had performed that procedure on and it had never happened.  So aren't I the lucky one?  Oh yes.  I am still feeling poorly, but it is getting better day by day.  Anyhow, I hope this will be the end of my dental woes for awhile.  It really kind of ruined our anniversary, but it will certainly be one to remember.

A nice man who was seated next to us, took our photo to commemorate the occasion.  I don't think I look too bad considering what I was going through, but still... Oh and the fact that most of my face is in the shade. Ha Ha.  Maybe you can see the bruising and swelling . Our 40th anniversary photo.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Festivals of October

I cannot believe I am so far behind in posting about all the fall festivals.  But just going to them all has kept me so busy that I believe I may be suffering from what might be called Festival Fatigue.  The entire month of October, every week-end was spent attending some kind of event. I had started this story several times, but today just deleted it all.  I'll post some photos of a few of the places we went. 
 First of the month, local Museum Day, when all the museums have free entry.  We made it to a couple of locations then went to Mexic-Arte for a sculpture demo and make and take. Fun, but challenging, lots of laughs from those who had not worked with this clay before. Some of us had experience as children with clay, but not a lot as adults. The guest artist Angelica Vasquez was so interesting and helpful to everyone.  She actually made the tiny flowers on my hat, so I just used them instead of continuing my efforts to make my own!

 Mine, the lady in green(forgot her name) and Hubs on the end.

The following Saturday, we went to another make and take, a carving demo. Once again, I had not done any carving in so long, I was at a loss.  Hubby jumped right in and did the Heart, and I struggled with a fish.  The young boy across from me did the shark and we traded a print. The main reason I am posting these photos, both of the carving and the clay is this...  When you don't do something for a long time, you forget how. At least that seems to apply to me, as I have gotten older.  When you continue to do it on a regular basis, you get better at it and can see progress.  So my juvenile attempts were pretty humbling, but gave me the challenge I need to try to improve in both of these mediums.    
Dia de los Muertos came the next week-end.  The Mexic-Arte festival used to be held at the end of the month, closer to the actual date ( Nov1 and 2nd) but they have moved it up the past couple of years because of conflicts with so many other festivals.  This is the first and traditional one, read about it here.  MexicArte-fest  This holiday has become very Anglo-cized over the years.
One hundred Catrinas were stenciled on the outside wall, in honor of the 100th anniversary of JoseGuadalupe Posada, the artist who created the original la catrina blockprint.  We had one done in memoriam for Hubs Mother, who passed two years ago.
We have also gone to a couple of music events, the Texas Book Festival, a football game, a convention for work, another art festival.  I must say I am worn out from all the activity.  I am getting too old for this constant running around. I know you are thinking, well then just stay home!  Ha Ha.  There are so many tempting things to go to, that it is difficult to resist.  November has begun with a bang as well, and the month is filled with things that have nothing to do with the Holidays.  I am planning some serious sleeping and relaxing at home over Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Buckets of Rain

We've had a lot of rain this past week-end.  I haven't read all the numbers in inches, but the reports have been anywhere from 6" to parts of town that got over 12".  We had around 8 inches in my part of town.  It started Saturday night and I heard it off and on all night, with thunder and the skies lit up with lightning.  Hubby was scheduled to work at the golf course on Sunday morning.  He was there a couple of hours taking photos then came home. Needless to say, the golf course had to close.  It rained all day, again last night and some today.  The last day of the Austin City Limits music festival had to be cancelled yesterday.  A lot of the concession tents collapsed and the roads into the festival area were flooded.
The golf course is about 5 miles from our house.  A couple of streets in our neighborhood are underwater as well.

                                                                Hole #1
                                                              Hole #1 Green        

                                                               Hole # 10
7th hole fairway
                                                                       16th hole
                                                           Pump house
construction area
Hubby took tons of photos, everyplace on the golf course was flooded.  Also a video,of the rushing water, I can't figure out how to upload it. We need the rain, because of the drought, and it raised the lake levels.  But the flooding is very inconvenient and causes a lot of damage.  The golf course has an obstacle course that runs around it's perimeter, and it is used for police and some military training. It had just had a great deal of work done on it the past two weeks, getting ready for some big events.  That is entirely ruined and will have to be started over.
Our 5 day forecast is for more rain.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Farewell to September

How quickly time passes, regardless of whether you are having fun or not.  Slow days have been my September.  Being kind of lazy some days, whirling about other days.  A lot of sitting, thinking, watching, planning.  Oh yes, procrastination at it's finest!  I've been noticing the shadows, the way they change in September.  Finding it harder to wake up since it's darker longer in the morning.  Wandered downstairs the other morning and was struck by the light shining through the back door curtains. 
I've started gathering up things for Dia de los Muertos  coming up in awhile.  This link is to events from 2012. If you look closely you can see the skull hanging on the bakers rack to the right. It's a new one I just bought.  The local parade is being held this year on October 19th.  A bit early, as they usually don't have it until close to the actual days...November1st and 2nd.  At least, in years past, it was closer to the original date.  Not sure why they have moved the local celebrations earlier in the month, but have noticed the past few years it is earlier.  I am determined to finish a couple of the things I started last year and let fall by the wayside.  I seriously seem to have become the Queen of Unfinished Objects the past couple of years!  Not even going to try to analyze that, just attempt to make things right, at least in my own mind, for this coming month alone.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Coming Home

After a month away from Texas, Hubby and I flew home on Thursday. I have become very weary of flying, and it tires me out more all the time.  I pass the time reading, sleeping, or observing the clouds out the window.  They are always so much more beautiful than a photo can capture, but I still make the attempt.

We spent our time first in Boise, at our someday retirement home.  We worked in the yard, well Hubby did that more than I did. I spent a lot of time sitting on the deck watching and listening to the waterfall and fountain. At several different times, I saw three hummingbirds hovering around the Honeysuckle vines that are right next to the pond. There were lots of dragonflies as well. I don't sit outside much in Texas in the summer, so I am really very aware of the opportunities to do it when we are in Idaho.
We spent time with relatives and kept very busy with attending the events at the assisted living facility where my Mom and Dad now live.  We flew to Chicago for a week on business and had a great time there, staying a couple of extra days in downtown Chicago and doing a bit of sight seeing.  Then back to Boise for another week, and then home on the 6th.  I celebrated my 70th birthday on the 31st of August, and my cousin had a nice big family dinner in my honor.  YIKES...it is difficult to say I am 70 as that sounds so old, and I don't feel that old.

All in all, we had a great time.  However, the heat we left Texas to escape to cool weather for, seemed to follow us.  Boise was having a heat wave, the temps for the entire month of August were only below 90 on 4 days! They were also experiencing the summer fires that have plagued the entire Western States for a number of years now.  It was so smoky when we first arrived that the foothills were not even visible.  It came and went, with fires throughout the region.  A lot of acreage lost and some homes as well.  It is sad to see the forests disappear and the threat to wild life and people as well.  When in Chicago it was a bit cooler, but still hotter than normal.  We did leave there just as they were beginning to creep up into the 90's. 

While leaving Boise on Thursday, we did get to witness something really special.  When we got to the airport, we saw a news crew downstairs and didn't think much of it.  But when we got checked in and arrived at our gate, there was a lot of excitement taking place.  A Southwest flight had just landed at the next gate, bringing home some WWII veterans that had been flown to Washington D.C. earlier in the week.  This is part of a program that has been going on for a few years across the country.  Honor Flight

Anyhow, as they came off the plane, they gathered in front of  our gate, waiting for everyone to deplane.   Most of these veterans were in wheelchairs, but some of them were walking. Everyone in the terminal stood and applauded.  I turned and was speaking to the lady next to me, she had tears in her eyes, as did I.  When I turned back to where my husband had been standing, I saw that he was not there.  He had walked over to them and was going down the line, shaking each of their hands.  Then a very young soldier in uniform was walking the line as well.  Everyone in the gate area was standing and applauding as the group left the area. This was such a touching event, and I am so glad we were there at just the right time to witness it.  When I finally got my wits about me, it was all over and I was able to only get a couple of photos of the way Southwest had decorated around Gate 15.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Long Ago and Far Away

Yes, it's been ages since I dropped by to let anyone know what's going on around these parts.  Mostly, I've been busy and too stressed to write about stuff.  Most of May was spent on another road trip to Idaho, a couple of weeks there, then back home to prepare for the home construction here.  All of June was spent with the house entirely torn up, with holes dug around and under, and yes even inside the house. Then July was spent cleaning up, unpacking the things we had to pack up to get out of the way for the foundation repair. Things are back to normal, house-wise, still a few needed repairs.  We are taking our time with that.

As usual, I am slogging through the hot, muggy, Texas summer. Another trip on the horizon though.  Back to Idaho, with a side trip to Portland for a mini-family reunion with Hubs people. Then to Chicago for a week, then back home. Anywhere we go, it will be cooler weather than here, thankfully.

I had tons of road trip photos from the May trip, but never got around to posting them. Most of them were shot from the cab of the Penske truck with the cell phone I had to buy the day before we left, because mine broke.  So, although some of them were interesting, none of them were spectacular!  We spent a night in Amarillo on the way, just so we could go see the much famed Cadillac Ranch. Out in the middle of a field.  At least we can say we saw it.  LOL

We stopped at several other roadside attractions along the way.  We actually took an extra day on this trip, just for that reason.  We stopped to see a place I had never been to in all my years of growing up in Idaho. The town of Twin Falls, with the lovely Shoshone Falls Park.   Very beautiful, even though we were told the water was at it's very lowest in years because they had not had enough snow or rain last winter.  Most times the water spray reaches the observation deck, which is in the bottom left corner of the photo, right under the rainbow.

Nothing much else to show, except...look at this beautiful plant growing in one of my neighbors yards. It is Agave, also known as century plant. This is the first year it has bloomed.   It is done now, and the base is dying out and the stalk is leaning towards their doorway, getting ready to fall.

Sunday morning clouds on the drive out of my neighborhood.
 I have not done a bit of artwork this summer, which is making me kind of cranky.  I have started sewing again, just a few small things, and making some plans for some needlework.  But no journaling, painting, etc.  Have most of my supplies still packed up.  I usually go through this drought of inspiration in the long hot summers here anyhow. Hopefully I'll snap out of it soon and get busy with something.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Walking in Austin

I worked hard most of the week-end, sorting, packing, and just putting one foot in front of the other.  I've been so overwhelmed with all this packing.   What to take, what to leave. It's difficult splitting households when we are going to be spending time in both places for a couple more years.  I've been suffering from spring allergies as well, so feel really tired.  Hub and I took a little break yesterday and went out to the  West Studio Tour.  We visited a few people we already knew, and a few new ones we hadn't heard of.  Met a couple of really interesting artists, and saw some very nice architecture in the process.  Visited parts of town we had never been in, or hadn't been in for several years.  There are too many participants to even see half of them, even with two week-ends to do it.

Walking about I took a few local colorful shots.  Some of these were front yards, some were back yards, which I tend to find really interesting in some of the old parts of Austin. Especially artists places, they always have interesting "junk". Interesting to me anyhow.



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Every day Earth Day People

Several things going on around town this week-end. Hub and I chose this one. I wanted to go to Whole Foods, but they were the same time, so we chose music over food. Our friend went to Whole Foods and we reported back and forth to one another.
When we first got there, we visited a lot of the booths, signed pledges to be more "green" picked up brochures and freebies. bags, etc. Then Hubby went to sit and listen to the bands, while I walked around more and visited with people.  People were subdued, talking about recent events, the Boston bombings and the explosion in West.  But mostly everyone was upbeat.  There was a lot going on, kids activities were happening and music and a drum circle taking place.  I sort of even forgot I had my camera with me until I sat down to watch the bands.  Things were picking up by the time Mingo Fishtrap came on...a very good local band.  Yes, there was dancing, and local characters.  So that is what I took photos of.
                                                                    Mingo Fishtrap Band
 This green shirt dude was everywhere...sitting, walking, dancing every time he came through the open hangar where the music was.
Happy Hippie couple dancing..nice people.
Orange dress lady, she was very entertaining.  She'd dance, then go back to her chair and take a drink of whatever she had in a small bag.  I think she may have brought in her own beverage.   A little later, she was dancing with green shirt dude.
This couple was dancing up a storm and they were really good.

These two were not together, but I thought they looked like they could be. This was the typical Austin Earth day costume. 

The Mayor, waiting his turn to speak.

Hubby, listening to music and people watching.

We didn't stay until the end, so we didn't hear the last band. It was a really nice day weatherwise, almost cool in fact, so I wasn't worn out from the heat like I usually am.  We got a good parking place really close by so did not have to hike too far. I was still getting tired, and both Hub and I
 were ready to leave at the same time, which does not always happen.