Taking a Break

I’m taking a little blogging break, because I’m doing so many other things right now. Here are some things.

The Austin job is full to the brim with tasks. And random new ones keep popping up. Job security, I guess, but, gee, if someone wants you to do something that you thought was their area, a direct request would help. I’m whining.

Here, this rose should make me feel better.

Luckily I visited my kind therapist/shaman person who listens to me and helps me plan how to deal with my challenges. One of these days I’ll share my big one, but it’s not time yet. Just remember that no matter how cheerful people may act, they may be hiding heartbreak.

Continue reading “Taking a Break”

Advertisements

Bar Blogging

This is an experiment in live blogging. I wrote this all last night, and today I’m just adding links.

Well, Sara asked me and Anita to go with her to see a performance by a lovely young woman from New Zealand (among other places) who goes by the name of Emma G. She’s been following her for three or four years now. Doors open at 7! In East Austin. Dozen Street. Were we ready? Yes.

Anita’s shirt scared us.

Well, I’m an old hand at these places, since my son used to play at venues such as this back when he was in the indie rock bands. I knew the featured artist would not be on at 7, so we did not hurry to get there.

I’m jaded by Austin venues.

Thus, we had plenty of time to have an amazing dinner at Old Thousand. Yep. You should eat there. There were flavors and vegetables I’d never experienced in the many dishes we tried. Even Taiwanese people like the food! It’s Austin-y Chinese. We were not the oldest people in the room!

You can’t forget this peacock. It keeps Austin weird.

I thought maybe Dozen Street (named because it’s on 12th Street!) would be nicer than it was a couple years ago. Nope. But it is funky. Yes. And we ARE the oldest people here.

Continue reading “Bar Blogging”

Projects and More Projects

There’s not much to share today, because I’ve been mainly preparing for things.

Last night I spent most of the night at a neighbor’s house participating in the HOA landscaping committee, which I and the other member not on the board were repeatedly reminded has NO power and makes NO decisions. I’m pretty sure the other woman and I were put on the committee to placate us after running for the board and losing or something.

This is the view of Cat Creek from the landscaping committee chair’s house.

It’s okay, though, because these folks had great wine and really nice Italian furniture. We actually did come up with a list of plants to humbly suggest that the board adopt as options for landscaping. They need to be drought tolerant and things deer don’t love.

One of the plants the chair of the committee just loved was one I wasn’t familiar with, though I’d heard of it. When I saw this lovely flowering tree at work, I thought it might be that, but no, it’s an orchid tree native to just this area. Very pretty, and it’s leaves are cool.

I like these leaves.

Another Project

Next Saturday is the Master Naturalist chapter’s big event of the year, our Earth Day event. They said they wanted exhibits, so I volunteered to do one on the dangers of balloons and plastic bags to livestock and wild animals.

I’ve ended up doing a lot of research and learning interesting things, so I also developed a presentation on the topic, with a pretty good slideshow, I think. I used it as the basis for my poster display.

I’d say it’s at least up to middle school standards.

Making the display was fun, because I got to use my collage supplies. Yay.

I’d hoped to present my information to a chapter meeting, but though I thought they said they were looking for speakers, when I wrote to volunteer, I was told they’re all full. Oh well. Maybe someone else would enjoy it.

Or maybe I’ll write it up here. That will wait until I have more energy.

Drowning in the To-Do List

You haven’t seen much of me in a while, and probably won’t until Friday, unless I squeeze some “me time” in. My calendar looks pretty scary, even though the all-day training on Thursday doesn’t show up. The gap in the afternoon on Thursday is for me to drive to Cameron so I can do two MORE meetings.

Goodness, that’s not much time to rest.

I have been trying to remind myself where I am and what I’m doing by using some of my Starbucks mugs that say “Austin” on them. I hope that helps, at least a little.

I am HERE,

But, I have to say that my mind is as cluttered as my desk, as I think about the newsletter I have to put together for a nonprofit I help with, the Master Naturalist presentation I need to finish putting together, and all those t-shirts I’m supposed to make into tote bags. I regret taking last weekend off to watch the rain!

I do like my keyboard, other than the broken “n” key, which I will blame all my typos for.

Hey, have a good rest of YOUR week folks. I will take some time to read other people’s blogs, and I hope to have a book report for you by the end of the week on a book that combines fiction with naturalists!

Bluebonnets! Maybe They’re Interesting!

My last few posts have been duds. Nothing has died or anything, so I understand. But it’s wildflower season!

Anita matches the flowers.

I’ve been driving by some really pretty patches of pink flowers on my way down the big Far West hill lately. I wanted to know what they were.

Pink onions!

So, with the pretext of taking dog photos among the bluebonnets, I got Anita to go with me to check them out. They are Drummond’s onion, which is a pink version the wild onions that are blooming everywhere in this area.

Noble canine among the lupine.

I love alliums, so I was happy to identify a new one.

Selfie fail. I even made the dog laugh.

And yes, we did frolic among the sweet-smelling bluebonnets with Pickle and Vlassic. I failed pretty well at doing a floral selfie, but we had fun.

I’ll try to get some traditional bluebonnet pictures of the other doggies back at the ranch.

The Champion Is…

Today we did a rare and lovely thing at work: we had a relaxing team building activity! Our fearless leader, Craig, loves to barbecue and smoke meat, so he decided to cook for our team and have a traditional cookout.

Craig says he is very happy. Maggie sets out food.

My friend Maggie, who is a party planner extraordinaire, put together the side dishes, and we got out some lawn games the company had.

Rachel supervises competitive gaming. What’s this game called?

The day was perfect! Everyone had a delicious meal, then we tried all the games.

It was so nice to see the group relaxing and chatting. It reminded me of paintings of the past, with people picnicking and playing croquet or something.

Jon works on another step.

The highlight of the day was when Maggie and our colleague Jon started game of big Jenga. As the stack of blocks grew taller and taller, more of the team gathered around. The stack would wobble, but keep growing!

Voila!

More than once, we declared that HAD to be the end, but no! Maggie and Jon were really steady and smart.

Boom! The tallest stack any of us had ever seen finally falls.

When it finally fell, we erupted in cheers! Dipu got a Live Photo, and the one below is from it!

I wish we could all have a pleasant break from the work day in the spring when it’s neither hot nor cold. I’m so grateful to our group at work for pulling this off.

New iNaturalist Project

Yesterday I was thinking about how many observations of plants and birds and such I make around the office park where I work in Austin. I said to myself, “Suna, that would make an interesting iNaturalist collection, and then you could also see observations other people make around there.

This pecan tree was here long before the fake pond and office complex.

Since I’d just taken a nice, long walk where I took many photos of plants, trees, birds, and such, it seemed like good timing.

Of course, nothing is simple, so it took me a long time to find the hidden option for making a project a “collection” with a defined set of boundaries. The nice thing about these is that any observations you make in that area automatically get added to the project, so you don’t forget to add them. I remembered that Linda Jo Conn (the great iNaturalist guru) had showed me how to do it when I made the Hermits’ Rest collection, but I had to re-remember.

Heron on fake pond, which is surrounded by cypress trees and has lots of nice riparian plants

I’m really happy with how it turned out in the end, though, and especially pleased that three other people had made observations there in the past. So, I’m not alone. I’m just the more obsessd person with it.

Why it’s interesting

The area where our relatively new office complex is located interests me, since I’ve actually been observing it since 1997. When we were building our house in Brushy Creek, we’d drive through the complex as a shortcut between Jollyville and Round Rock. Now, of course, there are large zoomy highways to get there. Back then, there were only a few companies with
large buildings there, and we enjoyed seeing many deer in the wide expanses of grass and groupings of trees.

Now, many more buildings are present, but there are still a few relatively natural areas, along with some places that were once landscaped but gone wild. There is an interesting mix of native and introduced plants.

Native plant!

Plus, our office has the courtyard where the hawks live, and it is full of mostly native plants, just groomed to death by landscapers.

I’ve written about this site before, especially one article last June when I did another major sweep of the area. That’s when I first started on iNaturalist and was practicing my identification skills.

I hope any of you on iNaturalist will enjoy what I share there. Of course, I’ll share a lot of the photos here, too!

Yellow iris that was planted by the pond