Thursday, 30 December 2010

"I sometimes wonder if I exist myself."

As most of you who follow this blog know, every other year we tend to go down to Texas to visit the family. This means that it gets harder and harder to find new and exciting sights to visit in the Corpus area. I know some people could see the Lexington every year for the rest of their lives, but my martial interests don't extend much beyond the development of air technology via hot air balloon.

I very proudly wrote my friend Popeye-x in San Antonio that I had located the Alamo, but for some reason he seemed dubious.

I was sure my Alamo was better than his. After all, his alamo couldn't possibly have such a wonderful decor ... such as classically clad Grecian (well um - pseudo-Grecian) beauties....

And does his silly old San Antonio Alamo have....

gargoyles? I think not. So I was quite confident that I had won the argument until he sent me this:

For those of you that know me, you will have immediately realized that I was totally conquered. Mick Jagger and I go way back and of course what could possibly trump Bill Wyman in a Coon Skin Davy Crockett cap?

I would need to find another stupendous sight. One of my sisters (the one who told me that Austin was bigger than Chicago) told me there was a really cool rhinoceros in Corpus, so she drove me around all over the place only to let me know at the end that we'd missed it somehow. Evidently Corpus is rapidly approaching Chicagoan size too.

We did however find this rhino:

I was quite surprised when my other sister told me there was indeed a rhino in Corpus and she would take me to see it. She then proceeded to drive around in the same aimless pattern the other sister had. After turning back she informed me we had missed it somehow. (I don't know why that sounded familiar, but I was beginning to suspect a conspiracy.)

Well, on the way home she got very excited. I was fully prepared to be made the buffoon victim of yet another Chicago joke. The rhinoceros, I was told, had to be behind that fence.

I was supposed to walk into some wealthy person's yard and look through the holes in the fence. Note the slits in the wall. Because it was private property, I gingerly snuck over to the slit on the far left. I looked quickly preparing to scamper back if I should see people out sunbathing by the pool or a shot gun pointed in my general direction. I looked again. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to say. Were they pulling my leg, or did they really think that this was a rhinoceros?

There was no shot gun and no sunbathing, thank goodness, but in that whole walled enclosure, do you see anything resembling a rhinoceros? Okay, so just to be sure, I moved over to a slit on the right. Hmmm... okay, well, maybe... or I really was the butt of some elaborate and large joke?

As I found yet another slit, it was confirmed - this indeed looked like a rhinoceros.

Running around the corner to the left, I peeked through a slit on the street side and there it was in full splendor.

Austin was indeed as big as Chicago and all was right with the world. On the way home we gave a busker some money to share our holiday joy.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

December Drawing

My niece is graduating from art school this year. Here is a sketch of her at our holiday gathering.

Birds I missed

On the way home from Texas we saw lots of hawks. Unfortunately all I could catch was this...

(Obviously not hawks). Of course we were hurtling through space at 60 (plus) miles per hour, so I guess I should be satisfied with the memory and any blurred trace I could manage to capture. My first attempts managed only a few empty branches. (No time to aim or focus.) We saw a golden eagle and I didn't even bother to raise the camera. I was entranced by her beauty and wanted to be sure to appreciate her rather than grab another shot of empty air.
Here is the image from Wikipedia.

Ours was in a tree, but you could clearly see the brown color and the yellow beak. It had the mottled white spots here and there on the chest too.

With left Texas and I kept pracitising and missed all the birds in Oklahoma and Missouri, but in Iowa with a little luck I managed to catch the tree that had this bird.

And I got a closer shot but no focus on this hawk:

My best one was this one, but it is also completely out of focus.

These were easier to catch for some reason.

While others take pictures of the bridges of Madison county, I was more taken with their dilapidated barns.

I missed some great shots of these too, but still there were a few whose beauty seemed to make the world stop even just a moment.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Sad Little Toys

I lost a dear friend today. I had already written this post, but as I edited it, it struck me how lonely these animals looked, probably because I felt lonely too. We miss you, Dana. I just can't imagine the world without you.

Some toys seem not to have gotten any humans for the holidays. We took a tour of Corpus this morning and discovered an awful lot of toys who just didn't reflect that holiday cheer. All of these sad toys were in the same drugstore. Somehow you just have to feel for them.

So many demoralized denizens of the store were to be found prone.

Some just looked down.

Some look like they felt unwell and unloved.

Mickey was just hanging around aimlessly.

Some just looked lost.

Others just couldn't get up.

Or didn't show their best sides.

Some were barely hanging on.

It's always best if you aren't alone.

But some sadness just cannot be surmounted.

Even outside of that store there was the same trace of sadness.

Santa, I know how you feel.

A Corpus Holiday

Took this one yesterday - it sort of sums up the Winter holiday in Corpus.