A Little Valentine

I always often have trouble sleeping at night.  It takes a variety of things to create that perfect sleep atmosphere and it’s taken several years to discern what those things might be.  Years ago I stumbled upon a company that sells the cutest herbal eye pillows – little animals stuffed with various organically grown herbs to promote sleep and restfulness.  How could I resist?  My first sleepytime companion was their original “Sydney Greensheep”.   The thing I love about these eye pillows is not only the aromatic herbs that help me sleep, but also the weight of them.  Something about having that weight over my eyes seems to help me drift off to sleep a bit easier.  After two versions of Sydney (the first accidentally went through the wash.  Note to self: don’t do this again), I have owned a succession of these guys.  I finally thought it might be about time to retire “Rudi Rabbit”, who came with his own t-shirt.  Rudi has served me well for quite some time, but was starting to show his age.  Eric is all for anything that helps me sleep better (because, you know, then he can sleep better), and so for Valentine’s Day he gave me this…

A new herbal animal!  Notice her name is Eartha Cat.  And while all my previous companions have been various pastel shades, I’m totally in love with the red version they did for Valentine’s Day.  So cute!  She smells lovely, and I’m so happy to have her. 

 Such a little thing, but what a difference my little eye pillow makes.  Thanks so much, sweetie!  I think I’m ready for a little nap now.


Austin GPS Photo Safari

A couple of weekends ago, Eric and I went to Austin to join up with the photo club there for a “GPS Photo Safari”.  I was really looking forward to going because it would be my first time out with my new camera.  Plus, as you saw in my last post, we’d pretty much been homebound for a week.  Of course any post where I’m sharing photos of one of my adventures always seems to make me second guess myself.  A while back someone commented that they hate blogs that have dozens and dozens of photos.  And that people need to be considerate of their readers and not post so many photos.  So, I always think about that when I’m posting (because I love photos, obvs, and want to share as many as possible).  As I was putting this post together tonight, the same thing popped into my head and I wondered if I should limit my photos per post to 5 or less?  But, then I said to myself “WTF? People need to a) get over it b) invest in some higher speed internet c) go elsewhere if they don’t want to see photos”.  So, allow me to overload you and your bandwidth with my photos from Austin. 

Back to what I was saying…we went on a GPS Photo Safari.  We met up for lunch with the Austin group and were given a sheet with clues and GPS coordinates (ie latitude and longitude).  We plugged in the information for our first location and off we went to Santa Rita #1.  This is the first oil rig in Texas and it began drilling in 1921. 

I actually wasn’t thrilled with the majority of my photos at this first location.  I was using my trusty 50mm lens, but I wanted to be able to get in closer.  Eric actually switched lenses with me at one point, but I was still having issues.  I was happy though, that I was shooting in AV mode, rather than in the normal CA mode I’m usually in.  Little by little I’m going manual. 

Our next clue led us to the Littlefield Fountain at the UT campus.  I changed lenses at this location and went to the 18-250mm.  I was much happier using that lens.  It enabled me to get really wide shots (much wider than you see here), but then also closer shots…so a much wider range. 

I loved this area with the fountain and the surrounding buildings.  It reminded me of the fountains in Rome.  I took about a billion shots of the fountain, but then I also tried to focus on some other things too.

This was one of my favorite photos of the day… “O Fortuna” with the capital in the background.  Of course, this had me singing Carmina Burana the rest of the afternoon, but whatever.

Can you believe the blue sky?  Even now I’m amazed at how blue that sky was. 

And then we were off to our next location, the Capital.  On our way from the car I spied this sculpture, and I liked the shot with the capital in the distance. 

I had a lot of fun playing with my point of focus too. 

I think Eric is rubbing off on me.  He’s always climbing around to get his shot, and for this one I actually laid down on the walkway to get the perspective I wanted.  Who am I?

Being at the Capital brought back some memories.  When I was a senior in high school, my drillteam won Best in Texas and we got to perform in the rotunda of the capital.  We did a high kick routine (always impressive).  The day was kind of a blur, but it sticks out in my mind.

And then we moved along to our next to final location – one of the Moonlight Towers.  These are lighting structures, used to illuminate the city at night.  According to Wikipedia, Austin is the only city in the world known to still operate one of these lighting systems. 

Again with that crazy blue sky.  I love how abstract this looks.

Last location – we headed to Mt. Bonnell, the highest point within the Austin City limits. 

It was a crazy hike up about 8,000 stairs to the top (reminded me a bit of Rome too).  But the view was great.  This is looking back at the skyline.

It was a gorgeous day, and so nice to be out and about after all the ice and snow.  I really had a ton of fun on the Photo Safari and I can’t wait to get out and take more photos soon!

But, since I’m going for broke with the photo overload today, and since I can’t be satisfied with just one camera…I thought I’d share the couple of photos I took with my phone via the Instagram app. 

This one was on the road out of Dallas, see…snow everywhere.

This one was taken at our meeting location – Players.  I liked the carving on the tables.

And finally, the Capital.  I love how this one turned out. 

Ok, that’s plenty for today.  I hope you enjoyed my little historical trip around Austin!


Snowy Days

Last week I think most of the country was hit by “winter weather”, and even in Texas we saw more than our fair share.  The icy roads, which were then covered by a layer of snow, forced many to stay at home…including me.  I am always thankful that I have a job that allows me to work from home when I need to (or want to, really).  I prefer going into the office, but when the roads are icy, my ass is staying in the house.  So, I worked from home four days last week.  Eric was sick with a stomach bug, so I spent some time making hot tea for him and trying to get him to eat a little once he was able to keep something down.  He was better later in the week, thankfully. 

But, between working and tending the sick, I did venture out briefly to take some photos.  I’m still amazed at how much snow we got.

And although it was the perfect weather for curling up with a good book, I’m struggling with the current book selection for book club.  We’re reading Parrot & Olivier in America.  It’s ok so far.  I’m only about 36 pages in so far, but I’m just not inspired to pick it up.  Hopefully it will begin to grab my interest soon.  I’m too tempted to pick up the last book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series instead, but when I read one of those I can’t seem to remember to sleep or eat or talk to my husband.  I just walk around with my nose buried between the pages.  So, perhaps I shouldn’t put off Parrot & Olivier quite yet. 

 We did finally make it out of the house on Saturday though, and we took a roadtrip to Austin for a photowalk.  I took a ton of photos, so I’ll have to spend some time editing them before I can share.  Maybe during the next snow day?

In the meantime, I think I’ll enjoy some Mexican hot chocolate (God, I’m addicted to the Instagram app).