Stella is seven months old.
I thought it was time
for her six month

I am nothing if not punctual.

While we are in MN
we are spending time with our dear friends
Will and Rebecca.

They have the 50mm 1.4 lens that I salivate over.
They let me use it today.

The light outside their house was astounding.

And I tried really hard not to get any drool on the lens.



Slip & Slide.



Wednesday Wisdom (Thursday Edition)

*I am exhausted.  Dog tired.  To the point of delirium.

*Being in MN, I realize how much I miss it. Here.

*And how much I want to be HOME right now, instead of a hotel.  But we have no home here, anymore.  The kind that has four walls and a roof. 

*We have every other defintion, however.

*I love my friends.  Each and every one of you.  I have missed you terribly and don't want to go back to Texas.

*I think homesickness is starting to set in a little bit.

*Over this past weekend one of my dearest friends, Jerry, got married to a girl he met in high school.  They didn't start dating until shortly after their 10 year high school reunion.  I missed the wedding.  And the softball sized hail that pounded them during the ceremony.  In honor of their nuptials, however, I saw a funnel cloud pass over my mom's front porch.  I even took its picture.  Then I scampered inside and ducked for cover.

*DRL and Elena made it to the wedding.  Elena had a cupcake.  Or two.  And a swim in the lake with her party dress on. 

*I am learning everything I need to know about all of Empi's product lines.  It's very in depth.  And concentrated.  I have to take a quiz every morning.

*I am not getting enough sleep.

*I am drinking too much red wine.

*And I should be studying now.



Ready for Takeoff.

I flew home on Friday.
From Austin to Minneapolis
via Delta airlines.

Stella flew with me.

It was her first time on a plane.
And my first time flying with a child.

Apprehensive is not strong enough a word.
I was nervous.

But everything worked out fine.
The plane ride was uneventful.
Sure, there were a couple crying jags.

(One of which may have been brought on
by a certain baby
hitting her fragile little head
on the overhead compartment.)

The gentleman in the seat next to me was wonderful.
Having two small boys of his own
back home in Vancouver
he was more than gracious
and happy to help.

He even held Stella once or twice so I could make a bottle.
Or take a deep breath.
Maybe both, simultaneously.

(Thank you, Geoffrey Rutledge of Vancouver, B.C for your kindness!)

Stella enjoyed watching our plane taxi into the gate at ABIA.
And being the photographer momma that I am
I snapped a few photos.

Since I am blogging from my mom's computer
and have zero access to any photo software
this picture is SOOC.

And Stella looks just like my Grandpa Leonard.



(P.S. DRL and Elena are in Aberdeen, South Dakota for a wedding. They endured softball sized hail and red iced cupcakes.  I'm not sure which was more dangerous. Also, I watched a wall cloud pass over my mom's front porch last night as the storms tumbled eastward. I managed to capture a photo of it before I scowered into the basement for cover.  It was pretty damn cool.  When I wasn't terrified that I was going to die or get mamed or something of the sort.  I'll upload it later.)



Today I drove 265 miles.
Two hundred

I went to Temple this morning. 
Then I had a lunch with a pain management group in Georgetown.

Then I drove to Marble Falls. 

I thought I took the scenic route there
but I was wrong.

I took an alternate route home
right through the core of Hill Country.

If I could have pulled over a million times I would have.
But that would have been dangerous.
And crazy.

So I didn't.

I followed on little dirt road hoping to get a good view.

I saw this sign:

It was the "Loose Livestock" that got me.
It did not disappoint. 

Straight through this gate was a cattle field.
Full of longhorns. 

I don't own a zoom lens adequate enough
and so there is no photo.


I did find this

The photo can't begin to do it justice.

But it does enough to convey the general idea.

The trip from Marble Falls to Cedar Park made me wish I was on a motorcycle.
The road wound
and curved
and down
and through
the most beautiful part of Texas I have seen yet.



That's What I {dis}Like About Texas.

The DQ commercials here include a jingle that goes;
that's what I like about Texas!

Allow me to state for that record that
if what you like about Texas is DQ,
enough to sing about it,
then we've got bigger problems.

This past week has been
a bit
to say the least.

I've found myself highly annoyed by Texas
and Texans.

What better way to free myself of the annoyance
than to blog about it.

People do not know how to operate a motor vehicle in this state.  Their driving lends new importance to the phrase defensive driving.  People don't use blinkers.  At all.  They don't check blind spots.  They don't yield.  Basically, the rule of the road here is Survival of the Fittest.  Or better yet: If you don't want me to hit you--MOVE.  Because I drive over two thousand miles a month, I am on the front lines of this horrific new reality.  It's no wonder I've taken such a liking to Shiner.

It is effin HOT in Texas.  Gross hot.  Sticky, sweaty, wet-when-you-walk-out-the-door hot.  I am actually happy when a hurricane or tropical storm is coming because I know here in Austin it will bring a flood of rain and cooler temperatures.  I know I haven't seen anything yet. I know it's only going to get worse.  I know I sound like a southerner in MN in the winter when I complain about it, but I don't care.  I didn't like the heat and humidity in the summer in the Twin Cities and I sure as heck don't like it here.
Luckily, there is a pool.  Close.  And luckily, I do not have to go outside (at all) on the weekends.  Two remedies for the heat that I make very good use of when I can.

There are far too many fast food restaurants in this town.  No matter where you drive, or how far you go, as long as you remain in the Austin Metro Area you will pass no fewer that 10 fast food restaurants per square mile.  Sonic. Chick-fil-A.  Panda Express.  Popeye's.  Taco Cabana.  They are EVERYWHERE.  I, for one, do not wonder why Texas has five of the nation's fattest cities.  The ease at which one can obtain deep fried, calorie rich, nutrient poor food here is astounding.  It is easier, and less expensive, to dine on fast food than to grocery shop for a family of four.

There is no city-run recycling collection program.  If DRL and I want to recycle, we have to separate cardboard, plastic and the like and then drive our collection to the local recycling center.  And they do not recycle glass.  Of any kind.  Which is just plain silly.
Dear Texas: Stop with the double standards!  All those signs on the side of the road? "Take Pride in Texas, Clean Up Your Trash?" "Don't Mess With Texas-$500 Fine For Littering?"  Really?  Really.  If you care so much about the cleanliness of your ditches, maybe we could invest in a real recycling program, too?

The upsides to living in Texas...
because I've been negative long enough--

No State income tax.
Really really nice city parks.
Hill Country.
Sunsets (seriously! The heat of the day stinks.  But when the sun starts to set, the sky turns an amazing shade of blue and pink and orange and purple.  Every day it is stunning.)
Blue Bonnet season.
Shiner Bock.
South Congress.



The Fifth.

Today is the fifth of July.
Which means yesterday was the fourth.
Independence Day.

I love being an American.
I am proud to have had the opportunities that I had growing up
living in a country that celebrates individualism and hard work.
And most of all,

In honor of Independence Day and the birth of America as its own nation,
the History Channel was playing a miniseries documenting the start
of this great nation.

It devoted hours to the story of the white pioneers
that left European rule to forge a new story
a new life
a new nation.

It spent mere moments on the story of Native Americans.
During those brief seconds it depicted the Shawnee as brutal savages.
Intent on doing nothing but killing the white settlers.
Daniel Boone and his company of men, to be precise.

It briefly mentioned the Chinese laborers that were brought over
to build Lincoln's transcontinental railroad.

I think there was a snippet about Sacagawea, too.
Alluding to how helpful she was to the whites.
But it went no further.

There were too many other stories to be told.
More important stories.
The Donner Party on the Oregon Trail.
Headed west, faced with starvation, they ate each other.

The Trail of Tears.

The Gold Rush.

The birth of Cowboys.

The Alamo.
The Civil War.
The end of Slavery.

And we learned how the white settlers
the country's buffalo population.

8,000 buffalo were killed every day.


It was an interesting TV series.
I reminded myself that it was only telling one side of history.

That there are many other stories
with numerous points of view
still left to be told.
The stories of the men (and women) upon whose backs
this country was actually built.
Or taken.

Native Americans.
Migrant workers.

And I want those storytellers to know
that I am here to listen.

Happy (post) Independence Day, all.
Remember where we came from,
as a nation.
So that we can be thankful
for all
who sacrificed
so that we can have the land
we call home.