Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A watery weekend

Last weekend (that is the one prior to this one) we were lucky enough to visit my grandmother and aunt in Arlington. I foolishly didn't take any photos of our trip which is why I didn't post of it. Other than the outrageously high temperatures while we were there, it was a lovely visit. It's a definite advantage of living close by now. Seeing my grandmother in the summer, reminded me of her wonderful peach ice cream. I tried making some of my own last week. It turned out pretty well, but I did determine my ice cream maker may be on its last legs.

 Last week, it was also incredibly hot, but I'd been wanting to go to Blues on the Green all summer and it was the last one. Blues on the Green is a free concert series in Zilker Park. Tons of people go and parking can be an issue. We ended up parking about 20 minutes away and walking through the park. It was fun to see parts of the park I'd never seen before, but it was also 100 degrees which  made the walk seem longer than it needed to be. I enjoyed hanging out and listening to music, but I also ended up desperately spending $5 on a snow cone (well, plus a $4 ATM fee...so really: $9 on a snow cone).  

Austinites ready to listen to Shakey Graves
Anyway, after three weeks or so of highs in the low 100s, the fever that had settled on central Texas finally broke this weekend. This weekend and the whole week has been highs in the upper 90s, and I never thought I would appreciate them as much as I do. We went out to Jacob's Well near Wimberly on Saturday. It's a spring fed swimming hole, so it's always cold water. When I say "swimming hole," it actually is just a really deep underwater cave. A number of people have gone cave diving down there and apparently many have died. There were signs entering the park warning that scuba diving was illegal. This article has some interesting background about their attempts to keep inexperienced people from potentially killing themselves. Experienced cave divers have mapped it though and the passageways extend for many thousands of feet.

Sam with scones on the walk about to Jacob's Well. Can't so swimming without scones!
 There's a great jumping rock right about the well. It's nice to know you can jump in and have no fear of hitting the bottom. The problem is when you're up on the rock, you get nervous about hitting the cliff on the way down. You only have to jump out a tiny bit to clear it, but it's enough to get in your head. The first time I jumped, I spent a good 5 minutes standing up there contemplating.

A girl making the running leap.
 Sam jumped from a lower rock, unfortunately at the exact same moment as another girl (a miscommunication on her part). I captured the near calamity below. Luckily both were fine.

I also captured a nice bit of my finger. 
 On Sunday the weather continued to be lovely, so we took to the water again. Some friends own a boat and took us out to Lake Austin for some floating and general merriment. There's definitely a culture to boat ownership. We had a lot of fun. Sam tried wakeboarding, although I didn't. He didn't stay up too long, but if the water was less choppy (i.e. when there are fewer other boats), he has the makings of a natural wakeboarder. I declined to wakeboard, but I did do some rope swings that were hanging from the shore. Jumping off stuff into water is definitely more my speed.

Sam, the wakeboarder. 
So far this week is continuing to be mild. Fingers crossed the waning days of summer will continue to be kind to us.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The out-of-towner

This past weekend and a bit of this week we had a visitor in from up north. Sam's niece joined us for a long weekend. I don't think she was totally prepared for the scorching heat (it was a high of at least 100 every day she was here), but we managed to have some fun. She's a budding photographer, so she took most of the pictures while she was here. It's funny how much her photography skills take after Sam. Both of them will photograph a beautiful view only when prompted but love taking photos of interesting signs or little details. I feel like looking at their photos at the end of the day, I always notice things I wouldn't have picked up otherwise. Unfortunately, I didn't think to get any photos off of her, and because I'm less the consummate photographer, I only have a few to share.  

Sam was working the first day she was in town, but I took her to Barton Springs, to get ramen, and to the shops of South Congress. Sam joined us after work and we got tacos and went up to Mount Bonnell to watch the sunset. I managed to capture a rare photo of Sam as well.

On Saturday we sent stand-up paddle boarding on Town Lake followed by horseback riding. We went horseback riding in what was unfortunately the hottest part of the day. There was a bit of a breeze for some of it and I always enjoy riding, so it didn't turn out to be as miserable as I thought it would be. Sam was riding in the back, so naturally he took a million photos, much like this one, of us riding in front of him. 

We kind of overdid it on Saturday, so Sunday and Monday we took it very easy. Monday we visited the graffiti walls of the Hope Outdoor Gallery and the downtown Whole Foods as well as a few shops and sites downtown. Our guest had no interest in touring the capitol building, which is a position I quite respect, although we did glance at it from afar. She also had no interest in seeing the bats of the South Congress bridge. This makes her officially the third visitor we've had that said they were scared of bats. I guess I need a better way to market bats to people.

All in all, it was an enjoyable visit. We'd welcome her back any time, although I have a feeling she'll opt for the more reasonable October to March months next time. Austin summer is no joke.