Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Victorian Elegance Wedding

Click to enlarge
Jim and Kristie's wedding theme was one of Victorian elegance. In keeping with that theme we took their engagement photos on the Historic Bremond block in Austin, TX utilizing the architecture and details. The day of their wedding dawned an absolutely beautiful Texas Spring day. The famous Austin restaurant Green Pastures was the setting. This majestic Victorian estate is the epitome of Southern hospitality with antiques and world class food. Kristie had gotten very creative with Black, white and pink details. There were pink programs with black ribbon, pink flip-flops and white feather boas for those who wanted for dancing, small antique cars holding thank yous and a table of their favorite candy as favors. Jim and the Groomsmen even wore black and white formal shoes with their tuxedos. The ceremony was held inside with a backdrop of dramatic windows and flowers as they pledged to each other. We took the family photos outside while guests mingled and Peacocks strolled under the grand live oaks. The estate trees were filled with twinkle lights giving it a magical air as they exited to bubbles and then were driven off in the boot of dark blue 1935 Plymouth coupe. What a fun night.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lake Austin Osprey

An Osprey with its preyAn 80+ degree Spring day in Austin Texas was a perfect day to get away and take the boat out. As we arrived at the boat launch at the 360 Bridge it turned out that we weren't the only ones with this idea.... The parking lot was packed! We had brought our camera along with the 100-400mm lens hoping to get a few photos.

As we tooled up this lake casually looking for wildlife and enjoying the sunshine we saw numerous turtles sunning on rocks and exposed tree limbs and roots. A few Turkey Vultures and a Blue Heron were passed by. We kept on past Emma Long Park and caught a glimpse of white in a tree. A beautiful bird that we had not seen before. It was an Osprey. I idled the boat to drift by as Ray brought the camera up. Sherry noted that he was holding his lunch in huge talons.
He was calm yet watched us closely and as we turned for another look he left his perch with his partially eaten fish and flew a bit up river to another tree. We carefully followed him and watched him eat a bit of his fish. A boat sped by and he took off to eat his fish in peace.
I searched for Texas Birds of Prey after we returned home and identified him. I like to know what we take photos of if possible. A little about the Osprey. The Osprey's diet consists almost exclusively of fish. The Osprey and Owls are the only raptors whose outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful when they grab slippery fish. The Osprey is a subspecies of Falcon.

By 2pm we were back ashore and headed home...a fun day on the lake. Our first for this year but definitely not our last.
Turtles under the 360 Bridge

Monday, March 8, 2010

Disco Dancing...

There's a party going on right here, A celebration that'll last throughout the years
So bring you good times, and your laughter too...
We gonna celebrate your party with you
Come on now, Celebration - Let's all celebrate and have a good time,

Celebration - We're gonna celebrate and have a good time Girl Scouts dancing to Disco Music with their dads

And they did...
For the second year in a row we photographed the local
Girl Scouts Father Daughter dance. This year's theme was Saturday Night Fever.
It was a fantastic last night! Here's a little info on it... Saturday Night Fever hit at the Old Town Elementary School in Round Rock Texas the other night as 300 girls of all ages danced the night away with their Dads. The event was the annual
Ladybird Service Unit Girl Scout Daddy Daughter Dance. Donning silver sequined hats, disco ball necklaces and fingerlights, the girls line-danced, boogied and danced the train for two hours.
Between groovin' under the disco ball, shaking with their dad in the black light room, some great refreshments and getting their photos taken a wonderful time was had by all.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cat Training

Jasper Doing Cat BusinessFor those who think cats cannot learn anything they are wrong. Here's our story. I have always had indoor/outdoor cats since I was a little girl. They come in to eat and sleep and play and do cat business outside. Right now we have Jasper, a typically finicky and stubborn siamese mix. We also have been adopted by a stray we call Flick who is mainly an outside cat. Very skittish. During the winter I tended to keep a litter box inside...just in case. And, it did get used periodically. My husband does not like cat boxes. One late night watching TV rather than a "Girls gone wild" comercial we saw one of those "as seen on TV" items we just had to check out online. It was a bit pricier than some others out there but with us having a big cat and reviews saying it was sturdier we decided to try it out. We were pleased to see that Petco carried it. It is called the Litter Kwitter. It promised to:
1. Train your cat to use a human toilet in 8 weeks or less
2. No more mess, no more germs, no more smells, no more hassle
3. The training is easy for cat owners to understand and use
4. Comes with a standard white seat that fits most standard toilet seats
With Jasper not being an indoor cat it took a little longer than they said but we are well on our way. Our steps went as follows: I placed the toilet shaped frame on the ground with the red insert and put a small amount of litter in the center. He checked it out and ignored it for a few days but one late night he used it. I scooped it. With his periodic use we went through this routine for all of November. Mid-December we moved to step 2. This meant moving the unit to the toilet. The entire toilet seat has to be up so it sits on the base. It seemed pretty secure. The first time he got up he was so big he hit the toilet seat. Bang! It fell and hit him and he flew out of the room. I thought for sure the Litter Kwitter experiment was over. But I didnt give up. Into the garage I went to see what I could find. I grabbed that miracle device known as the bungee cord. With it I strapped the seat and lid to the tank. (Good thing we have another bathroom for human use) Well, for a few days he ignored it but then up he went and he went literally. He seemed to like this arrangement. After 3 weeks of near daily use it was time for step 3. I wasn't sure how well we'd do with this phase because it involved changing the center solid insert to one with a center hole. There is a ridge about an inch from the hole to hold a small amount of litter around the hole. A couple of days later at the sound of scratching on litter I go in to find that he's used the potty and not the litter! I flush and no cleaning of litter needed. Amazing! It is now March 4th and I have had to clean the litter part only twice. Ray laughs and says "It's a funny world when people are servants to animals and our cat has his own bathroom". Of course, now it's time for the next step. The next insert has an even larger hole. After a couple of weeks of that then we go to the "no insert" phase. I'll have to post again when we are done with training but I have no doubt now that we will finish the training and Jasper will be using the toilet...now, If I can only find a way to teach hm to flush!