East Austin, part 2

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Austin, Texas. June 2015.

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East Austin, part 1

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Exploring the east side of town with my bro.

Austin, Texas. June 2015.

Town Lake

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Lucky to spend Father’s Day this year biking around a rainy downtown Austin with my Dad.  While I know it’s technically called Lady Bird Lake now, she’ll always be Town Lake to me

Austin, Texas. June 2015.

Take me home where I belong

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Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, Texas.  June 2015.

Lady Bird, part 2

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IMG_0656Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, Texas. June 2015.

Lady Bird, part 1

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Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, Texas.  June 2015.

Slowhand

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Austin, Texas.  June 2015.

Quiet dear, I’m blooming within

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Sure, wildflowers grow just about everywhere, but nothing compares to my memories of them in Texas.  The harsh sun means wildflowers there are of a hardier stock that the delicate beauties that grow in the north, and throughout the spring and summer, the state bursts into fields of bluebonnets, paintbrushes, Mexican hats, and black-eyed Susans.  While I was in Austin last weekend, the firewheels were in bloom, lining the highways, and filling people’s gardens and all the fields with the only kind of wildfire that is welcome around here.

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Ate ice cream in a desert dream

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Leave all your love and your longing behind

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Wanderings: Austin

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A few happy days with my wild, gorgeous loves in the wild, gorgeous city that will always be home.

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It’s Friday, I’m in love

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I’m Austin-bound today for my sister’s high school graduation.  Being home and surrounded by family always feels so good, and I’m looking forward to Mexican food, a few hours at the pool, and spending some time with my parents and siblings.

The photo above, of my little sis, is about six years old, but it’s one of my favorites.  She has always been my favorite muse, and I’m excited to see what she’ll do in the world.

Have a lovely weekend!

A wedding party in Houston

Is there anything better than when awesome people find happiness with other awesome people?  Recently two of my favorite people got hitched, and they threw a big party in Houston to celebrate.  We couldn’t be happier for them, and were thrilled to travel down south to spend a fantastic evening eating cake, drinking champagne, and dancing the night away with friends and family.

Wanderings: Beach birthday in Galveston

We had to travel to Houston for a wedding celebration over the weekend that my Mister turned thirty.  I lived in Houston for a few years when I was very young, but haven’t spent much time there as an adult and was at a bit of a loss for things to do for a fun birthday.  Houston is a huge city and I was nervous about driving on so many highways, and getting lost or stuck in too much traffic especially on a day we meant to have fun.  At the last minute, the Mister, who grew up along the coast in New England, suggested that we drive out to Galveston and spend his birthday bumming around on the beach.  A brilliant plan!

Getting into Houston late on a Thursday night, we set out early Friday for the hour long drive to the coast.  We couldn’t have timed a trip better if we’d planned it out months in advance.  It was late enough in the season that all the spring breakers were back in school, but too early for summer vacationers, and we found ourselves with a warm, quiet island mostly to ourselves.  As a birthday treat, I sprang for beach cruiser rentals and since we were the only customers, the bike shop let us park our car in their lot for free!  We spent hours riding up and down the sea wall, taking in the golden haze, enjoying the ocean breeze, the sounds of the waves, and the frequent flocks of pelicans flying just above us.

We found a popular local lunch spot called Shrimp & Stuff—what a name!—and tucked into giant baskets of fried shrimp and oysters and hush puppies.  I chased seagulls with my camera and the birthday guy flung himself over crashing waves.  We drank giant sweet teas, chatted with locals, rode our bikes some more, and sat on our towels, staring at the ocean, losing ourselves in its sounds and smells, and tried to forget that there was anything else in the world except for us and the sun and the sand and the sea.

Wanderings: Dallas city lights

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Dallas is gorgeous at night.  I’ve always loved the city skyline with its electric blues and greens, and set as the backdrop for the strangely geometric Klyde Warren Park, it makes for a stunning landscape.  One night, after a fantastic dinner at Lark on the Park, I felt an irresistible tug to take a little stroll around the park and museum district, admiring the city lights and quiet streets.

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Chalk art at Lark on the Park

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Wanderings: Dallas, after all these years

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Are there places you won’t go?  For me, for a long time, that was Dallas.  It wasn’t anything about the city itself, just bad memories about things that happened there a long time ago.  Bad enough to keep me away for 14 years, and likely they would have kept me away forever if I hadn’t been offered a work project that would mean travel to Dallas.

I was terribly nervous leading up to the trip, but this is a project I love being a part of, so not going was never really a consideration.  It didn’t hurt that while DC had just been hit with another round of snow, I arrived in Dallas on a bright sunny day with temperatures in the low 70s.  I dropped off my bags at my utterly charming little hotel, and raced over to the Nasher Sculpture Center, eager to wander around their lush, green sculpture garden and soak in the art, warmth, and sunshine.

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Leaving the Nasher just before closing, I wandered over to Klyde Warren Park, a vibrant, modern space that was bursting with people and activity.  It had amazing playgrounds, a drum circle, games to check out, a lending library, splash pads, and dozens of people spread out on picnic blankets.  The modern architecture, art, and energy that had been infused into the downtown area was impressive.  I’d read about the efforts to revitalize the business-centric downtown area, but this was the first time I’d experienced it and it was nice to get lose myself in the bustle and buzz of the hundreds of people lounging around in the park.  After a few hours admiring all the architectural details, indulging in food trucks, and people watching, I felt a little warmth growing within me for Dallas.

The days went by quickly.  I spent a little time with relatives who live in the area, ate at a few excellent restaurants, and even got chauffeured around in an SUV with a longhorn skull mounted on it’s grill.  It was easier than I imagined not to dwell on the past, and get to know a different Dallas.

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