February 2009


Casa Rio

Kem and I did a short road trip recently down to San Antonio. It made for a nice change of pace. While it’s relatively close by, San Antonio always seems to deliver a little bit of feeling a world away too. We whiled away the time wandering through the King William District and ogling the restored old homes.

Right next door – or maybe it’s considered part of – the King William District was the Blue Star Arts complex. Most of the shops/galleries featured contemporary art. Some I might qualify as a little on the edgier side. The Bettie Ward exhibit of embroidery (entitled “Optimism and Horror”) at the Blue Star Contemporary Art center would certainly qualify.

Later we poked around the galleries and shops of La Villita. La Villita is just up the stairs and right off the River Walk so is a tad bit more touristy than the Blue Star complex. Some really nice stuff though. We found a little watercolor there at a placed called “The River Art Group” that we both liked by a woman named Joyce Sweet. Kem got it for me – what a nice gift!

The picture here is my own snapshot rendition of the painting done by Joyce Sweet. It’s of a place on the River Walk called Casa Rio. I over saturated the colors a bit on purpose to give it a similar sort of feel to the painting. You’ll just have to come visit to the see the actual painting.

Texas Mountain Laurel

I managed to get out for lunch today and what a gorgeous day out there. Our dreary clouds and fog are gone and it’s all sun and warmth. Car said 81 degrees on the way back.

Just outside the door of our office building is a Texas Mountain Laurel in full bloom. Check out the picture to the right. Aside from just looking good, the great thing about these small trees is the scent they give off. Read the link above and they describe it as smelling like grape Koolaid. Well, I don’t know about that, but it’s definitely fragrant. Too bad there’s no scratch-n-sniff here.

Dry Barton Creek
Squirrel on Barton Creek greenbelt

I was thinking it’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything so I figured it might be time for a quick update. I’ve had the good fortune of being able to get out and enjoy some hikes and bike rides on January and February weekends. In particular, I’ve tried to start getting in some more long walks. Along the way I’ve taken a few pictures too.

Though I’ve not taken advantage of it very often, my office is located just off the Barton Creek green belt here in Austin. Just across the parking lot I can get out on the green belt trails and feel a world away.

The first picture here is of Barton Creek itself just a ways down the path from the office. Looks more like a dusty desert doesn’t it? Austin and central Texas in general has been going through a really bad drought. If you click on that link, you’ll see a big dark red spot over all of central Texas. Classified as “D4” – “exceptional” drought.

As I walked along the path, I think I scared this poor squirrel in the 2nd picture half to death. At least he seemed pretty upset.

The final picture below was actually taken closer to home. I was walking on a trail not too far from home and the bright red berries on this bush really caught my eye. Most everything else is pretty brown right now. I have no idea what kind of berries these are. Kinda doubt they’re edible – but who knows? Don’t think I’ll be trying them any time soon though.

Red Berries