Wednesday, August 25, 2010

G'Day Mate!

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
So what's with the Australian slang? Well that would be the influence of my Aussie mate Angela, my gal pal from down unda! Alright so I can't speak with a proper Australian accent, let alone type with one. Angela has been staying with me for a while now and today is her last day in New Braunfels. She'll be staying with another friend in San Antonio and then Houston before heading back home next week. I miss her already.

Angela is one of the reasons I've been absent on the blogging front for a few days. That plus the start of school has kept me busy here, but throw in a full week on the photography front and I'm just thrilled to have a minute to sit down. Today I'm sharing a photo I took the other day of Anthony. He's a personal trainer in Austin and needed a few images to get his website up and running. He'll be offering his personal training services and get some boot camps up and running pretty soon. Should be fun.

I'm also dealing with all the drama that is middle school band and a little 4th grade turmoil as well. Those are worthy of blogs all by themselves so maybe I'll save some of that material for later. For now I'll end it here to spend a last few moments with me mate before she flies away back to the land of vegemite (tastes a bit like olives) and wallabies. Where women glow and men plunder. Can't you hear can't you hear thunder. You better run, you better take cover.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nature! Up close!

Howdy folks, Jayme here again to share a little bit of nature's beauty I'm fortunate enough to stumble across now and again. I was taking a walk along a country lane in Bastrop with my little boy when this colorful little fellow caught our attention. I'd never see such striking coloration on a caterpillar, and immediately thought the maroon and gold indicated the larval form of a Texas State University Bobcat!

The boy and I watched it munch happily on its leaf for a while, then continued our walk. Later, I grabbed my camera and macro lens and went back in hopes it would still be there. It was--and even better, was willing to pose for me as long as I wanted to shoot. A little online research told me this was a Danaus gilippus caterpillar, the larval form of the Queen butterfly, a lesser-known relative of the famous Monarchs. At any rate, it's a beautiful caterpillar and I'm happy to share!

Monday, August 16, 2010

We Gotta Say Good-bye Summer

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
This is where most people would probably blog about how they can't believe summer is coming to an end. How it seems like just yesterday that school was out and then they blinked and it all came to an end. I hope you've learned by now that I am not most people.

This has been one long summer. It seems like ages ago that we kicked off our summer at Disneyworld and I can't believe it's only been a couple of months since we hit triple digit heat. This summer has been an endless stream of squabbling children, sweltering heat, and non-stop work. It feels like it's always been this hot. Was I ever really comfortable outdoors? October can't get here soon enough. People outside of Texas would argue that actually fall begins in September but they don't know how hellish September is in Texas.

I love my children and I love to spend all day with them every day. Really I do. But I usually forget how much I love spending all day with them somewhere around the middle of June.

The end of summer means the end of swim season so I'm sharing my final photo of the swim team for this year. The Dolphins hosted their fun meet on Saturday. It's the one meet of the year where the kids can team up with their parents to compete in relays. I always hear 'why don't you get out there and swim" and I laugh it off with something like "gotta take the photos" yada yada yada. But you want to know the truth that I'm ashamed to admit to all these brave and fit swim parents? Truthfully, I don't like to get splashed in the face. I don't like water up my nose, and I can't hold my breath more than a couple seconds. Oh and I never learned to dive. There it is. I'm a wimp. Is it any wonder that I'm so fascinated that my daughter is like a fish in water and can swim circles around me. I'm okay with that, as long as she doesn't splash me in the face.

Thanks for all the memories Dolphins! See you next year!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mystery House

Mystery House
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Most of my family is from Temple, TX yet I was raised in Bastrop, TX. As a result, most of our holidays and a lot of weekends were spent on the road between Bastrop and Temple. As a result, I got to know that road like the back of my hand -- how many minutes between Elgin and Taylor, between Bartlett and Holland, Academy and Temple. I remember the spot I got stuck for about an hour one day when they closed the highway to film a scene from "Secondhand Lions" in Coupland. For a while I could name every little community on that road and give the exact population number and tell you how their Dairy Queen was.

Okay so that leads me to this photo I'm sharing today. From the age of about kindergarten and up I can remember admiring this house. It didn't always look this creepy. It's off the main road just a bit in Holland, but you can see it clearly from Highway 95. As a child I imagined that life would be just about perfect to live in this house. It had plenty of space, I imagined it had plenty of little hiding places like the old houses always do and I was sure it had a ghost or two. I know someone who tried to buy it about 30 years ago by leaving an offer on the door. Nobody ever called her about it. I suppose the owners were content to let it fall to ruin rather than sell it to someone who may have saved it. I don't recall ever seeing anyone living there.

I once pulled over to take a closer look about 15 years ago when I was by myself. At that time there was an old chain-link fence around it and I was puzzled at the presence of an old rotary phone stuck in the fence and intertwined around some of the links. How did it get there? Was it thrown? That fence is gone, as is the phone. There's not much left of this house but an unstable shell. I suspect that soon it will be gone too, either by bulldozer or nature -- reclaiming to the earth the shattered remains of what was once the home to a family or several. I'm happy I was finally able to capture it before it was too late.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Welcome to Waco, Now Go Home

TAAF State Swim
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
This weekend was extremely full for my little family. I already told you about the reunion I attended in yesterday's blog. Yes, I am blogging two days in a row -- stop the presses! But before all that chaos, I was honored to take my daughter to the TAAF Games of Texas for a swim meet. Swimmers have to qualify for state by placing in the top two in their region so it is an honor to be able to go.

Last year it was in San Antonio and we had a blast. I guess it was too much to hope for another pleasant state swim meet. This year it was in Waco, and as a former resident of the Temple area, I must admit to not having much love for my former neighbor to the north. Aside from Dr Pepper, they haven't really offered much and that contribution was quite a long time ago.

But I arrived in the city with high hopes for a pleasant swim meet. Those hopes were dashed, however when we were greeted at the Waco Water Park by some of the crankiest gatekeepers south of Dallas. We were not allowed to bring our own water into the meet. Excuse me, did I hear that right? The temperatures were in the triple digits and they were forbidding water? To make matters worse, we were also forbidden from enjoying the zero-depth pool next to the competition pool. It was however, fully stocked with lifeguards whose sole responsibility for the day was not to guard our lives, but to yell at any person who got near the edge of the water, even when they merely wanted to touch the water with their hands to cool their burning skin.

The swimmers also had no separate pool to warm up in so some of them, including my daughter, had to sit for more than 3 hours between the pre-meet warm-up and her event time. Not that she could cool off sitting in triple digit heat (did I mention that?) and with minimum water that was sporadically put in orange coolers placed around the pool. If we were lucky the water was luke-warm! If we weren't lucky the coolers were empty.

On the bright side, my daughter rocked that swim meet by shaving 9 seconds off her time and placed very well against competitors in her group --most of whom are a year older than she.

So thank you TAAF for inviting my daughter to swim at your meet, and thank you, Waco, for inventing Dr Pepper.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

BHS '90

BHS '90
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Twenty years ago I graduated from Bastrop High School. Did I just reveal my age? So anyway I was one of those genius kids who graduated high school when I was 12. Really I was.

The class officers asked me to shoot the reunion and I was thrilled with the job. I must have heard "thank you for doing this" a hundred times, but seriously thank YOU for letting me do it.

It was so much fun to see some of my old friends again. I haven't seen some of them in 20 years and they look just as beautiful and are just as much fun as they were then. I'm kicking myself for letting us lose touch.

It was a crazy weekend with a float decorating, a parade and then a dinner and dance. Our float won second place in the decorating contest, but I'm sure it was rigged. There's no way the Class of '95 float was as cool as ours and I know they didn't have as much fun. We drenched them with our water pistols as they went by.

For old time's sake we hung out on main street, drove the "L" -- which basically means driving your car back and forth between what used to be Big Long's and what used to be Little Long's along Main and Chestnut streets, and my best friend even locked her keys in her car at midnight -- just like old times. The only difference was I didn't have a curfew but I got tired before long and actually wanted to go home early. Then I got to sleep on an air mattress in the living room of my mom's house and get kicked in the face by my 4-year-old.

It was fun while it lasted! Now back to the real world. But I can't wait for the 25-year reunion!