Saturday, May 31, 2008

Itty Bitty Book Review "A Thousand Splendid Suns"

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini

I think this is even better than "The Kite Runner". A tough story to read in some ways because of all the pretty awful things going on in Afghanistan but he does write beautifully and beauty and the triumph of the human spirit do win out. I really do admire his ability to do this and still get the ugliness across without making the reader hopelessly mired in it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


This azalea just keeps getting better every year. I think it must have loved all the rain and cooler weather.

I love these poppies that come up every year.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Until next year... : June 2007 : The Glastonbury Blog : Arts : Telegraph Blogs

Richard just got back from the Sasquatch Music Festival in Washington which I'm sure was a less muddy experience than his 1997 mud fest in Glastonbury. Reading the Telegraph today and picked up the blog from 2007 Glastonbury...seems like nothing has much changed.

Until next year... : June 2007 : The Glastonbury Blog : Arts : Telegraph Blogs

And a few last images of Austin

"Townlake" which goes right through the town and seems quite a neat recreational area for people.

We meant to get here but always crowded so gave it a the sign!

Blanton Art Museum...pretty fancy place just opened two years ago.

I thoought this old gas station turned restaurant was pretty cool.

Austin is pretty amazing for public transportation. The "Dillo" (short for Amardillo) is a free bus that runs on various downtown routes and the regular buses are only 50 cents.

This was a pretty interesting music store and I'm sure there are lots of people wanting guitar themed toilet seats...

The best reuben ever at the Driskell Hotel.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A poem for today

When I was in Houston at Rice University I read through a publication called the Texas Observer and really liked this poem by Marian Aitches who teaches at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

I wanted a photo of Bougainvillea and this painting by Sonya Terpening called "Bourgainvillea" came up on a google search. Of course the blue volets reminded me of France and I can never resist cereablue shutters or volets and when I saw that she lives in Grapevine, Texas....well, obviously it was a perfect fit!


I have just learned that Arabs
call ou Mejnoona-
crazy woman in love
or woman in crazy love
which makes good sense
any way you say it.

Now when I watch the news
I will look for you
in the drama of war-
since they have dreamed a word
I know you are there somewhere
bounding up the wall
of a woman's bedroom oasis
in the madness of men.

You are bright pink or red or vivid orange
so unless you have burned in war's embrace
you will be visible
if I look hard enough,
a blazing sign that we still live
in a world where women fall in love
and flowers recall their craziness.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Trees wonderful trees

We were very impressed with the trees in Houston and also in Austin. It seems these deciduous trees don't ever completely lose their leaves in this area because it never gets cold enough for any length of time.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Palm Springs....not!

Amazingly, there was this mid-century modern house in our very traditional neighbourhood in Austin. Somehow the house worked and fit into the landscape.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More houses around our neighbourhood in Austin

This neighbourhood which is called Travis Heights has done an excellent job of preserving the original look of the houses yet expanding to accommodate contemporary families. There are some exceptions and the first photo is a house that won the "Most Ugliest House Award"....very well deserved, I think!

Yep...ugliest house award!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

And then there are the mansions...

Mostly these mansions seem to be taken over by businesses..great that they are preserved. The first one is where the Texas Teachers Union has their offices in Austin.

The next one isn't really a mansion but I loved the tree.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Back home again

We got home Sunday and it was great to see Richard and have a visit and lunch at Granville Island. It was a super day and so glad to see people got at least two good days on the holiday weekend. It was a good trip and Jim worked very hard and got good results for the research. And it was a real treat to have Roger and Kerry visit with us for a few days at the end and for us all to go back to Houston via San Antonio (where the Alamo is) and fly back to Calgary together. It made getting up for our flight at some ungodly hour bearable!

Jim and Kerry after we had the famous Reuben sandwich at the old Driskoll Hotel.

Our brave lads...

On the Friday before leaving we were around the university and it was fun to see the grads and their proud parents. Writing chalk congratuations seems a bit of a tradition.

Roger pointed out that the grads wear capes rather than hoods and they get to keep the capes...nice idea.

The bookstores along "the drag" were fun to browse in.

This pond at the University of Texas was stocked with about a hundred turtles.

All of us in front of The Alamo in San Antonio.

Then for a great lunch on the Riverwalk. Kerry had a fabulous Cobb Salad, I had oysters and the boys punked out with burgers.

Heading our separate ways in Calgary.

Walking to Granville Island for lunch we saw this rather interesting art installation a student had done.

Heading towards home sweet home on the ferry.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Having fun with the Turnells!

Roger and Kerry arrived Tuesday night and it was great to see them. Yesterday we went to the State History Museum and saw an IMax film on the story of Texas plus the "spirit theatre" where we got wet with the water from the 1906 hurricane in Galveston and goosed by a rattlesnake in our chair...quite fun. The exhibits were exceptionally well done too.

Big storm last night with hail as large as baseballs in some areas and quite a bit of rain and power this morning.

We went to the Harry Ransom Center where Jim has been doing his research and saw the Gutenburg bible as well as a very interesting exhibit on the "Beat" poets and also played around in some of the funky stores on South Congress today as you will see by the photos.

The four of us in front of the "lone star" at the State History Museum.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Ransom Centre

Well...this is where Jim has been slaving away. He didn't even notice the red swing! He eats a quick sandwich for lunch in the courtyard then it's been back to the grindstone. One day a relatively small blue bird (who had been sizing him up the day before) flew into his hand, knocked his sandwhich out and flew away with it! A better experience was a cute little squirrel sat up with its big brown eyes asking for something. He got a bit of cheese but didn't seem too interested.

This is the famous (and infamous) University of Texas tower.