Saturday, December 31, 2011


The ceiling at Threadgill's (South Location) is festive. So I'm presenting it and wishing you a Happy New Year. Have good safe fun tonight.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Natural Planter

In Hyde Park we encountered a large old stump that had been hollowed out to form a planter for cacti. FFP took this shot with his iPhone.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Put a Fork in Them...They're Done

The Hyde Park Bar and Grill on Duval has a 'fork in the road.' There's always something interesting on its tines. At the moment it's the horns from a Longhorn. (Also the fork has been knit-bombed.) Last night the University of Texas Longhorns football team played the last game of their season at the Holiday Bowl and won. Season done.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Little More Christmas

Let's hold that spirit a little more! Last Friday a brass quintet played Christmas carols at the Headliners club in front of the 'flower tree' with the Frost Bank tower looming behind. The company, the Bloody Marys and the buffet were all extra fine.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Not on My Bucket List

Riding with other drinkers on an open pedal car is not something I aspire to do. See this around downtown all the time, however. The person braking and steering is, presumably, sober. Is this officially a bike? A pedicab. The people bellying up to the bar can get exercise and help propel the thing but...really! This sighting was on W. Sixth.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lady Bird Lake Firefighting

We saw smoke on Lady Bird Lake yesterday but couldn't figure out what was on fire. It looked like the lake itself. Turns out there were two separate boat fires at a marina near the Hyatt. Our faithful correspondent Jackie had a good view from her apartment and submitted some great pictures. I chose this one to show the firefighters using the Congress Avenue bridge as a perch to fight the fires.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hoping Santa Was Kind

This picture was taken in Austin about six decades ago. Here's hoping that whatever elf or spirit you believe in has been kind to you this season and that you have a lovely Christmas morning if that's your tradition and take good cheer into the New Year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jolly Old Elf

FFP at the annual Headliner's Member Christmas Party, with Santa. He should look more jolly. FFP that is. But I'm the one who had a couple of Bloody Marys. Santa looks a bit oblivious. It's a rainy Christmas Eve here in Austin. I can honestly say I'm glad it isn't snow.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Dress You Need Not Wrap

This display in a Second Street dress shop appears to be a 'dress' fashioned from gift wrap and ribbon. Very festive!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Soldiers in the Wings

FFP was backstage again last night at Ballet Austin's "The Nutcracker." The soldiers will need some help before they defeat the Rat King, though. We will see a performance from the orchestra level in Dell Hall at the Long Center tonight. And then I'll really be in the holiday spirit.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Armadillo Christmas

Decades ago there was a venue called the Armadillo World Headquarters. The location is now an office building but the venue lives on in our minds and in the Threadgill's restaurants AND at the annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. Originally the event was at the music venue and combined shopping for unique presents with music. When the venue was gone, the bazaar continued in various locations and has settled for the last couple of years at the Palmer Events Center. We went last night to hear Bill Kirchen and Marcia Ball play hits from back in the day and amusing bluesy, rock and roll and country influenced Christmas tunes. Fabulous. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is a great place to finish your shopping, too, because they are open until 11PM right up through Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Last Minute Shopping

The shops on West Sixth Street (west of Lamar) provide a place to pick up a perfect last minute gift or just to make a portrait of yourself in the glass. Seriously, if you grab a place to park around here there are several unique shops selling goofy things or 'edition of one' art pieces. Plus you can grab some lunch at Z'Tejas and pick up something to spice your eggnog at Wiggy's. All while avoiding the malls.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Angel Wrangler

Some of the smallest performers in "The Nutcracker" are these little angels. A wrangler prepares them for their entrance at Ballet Austin's production Saturday night. FFP took this photo backstage with his iPhone. I love it! Performances continue Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. This has become one of my favorite traditions of the season. Our tix are for Thursday but FFP has been doing a little wrangling of his own meeting with some of the VIPs riding the large comic Mother Ginger skirt.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Southwest Christmas

Sometimes our climate does a good imitation of the desert Southwest. The plantings in this Old West Austin yard reflect that. Add some Christmas balls and voilá: holiday in the desert. Thankfully some good rain the last few days might have broken our drought a bit.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's Beginning to Look Festive

We haven't done anything to decorate unless you count having holiday cards people have sent sitting around. Oh, and one lone bendable Santa figure left over from when I did decorate for the season three years ago. But we are dressing in a festive fashion for parties and I caught FFP in the lobby of the office building for last night's event with a dual tree.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Crafts and Food

Note that the restaurant in this picture, Los Huaraches, has a picture of a guy with giant feet and sandals. That's apparently a joke because there is a Mexican dish called huarache because it is roughly shaped like a sandal (which is huarache in Spanish). Also note the word 'manualidades' under Julia's Crafts. Multilingual areas are great places to learn a few things about words and word origins.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Try This Combo

This home in our old neighborhood has a nice example of using purple and yellow trim. I like it. You?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fancy Dress for the Season

The Julian Gold store on West Sixth provides a nice reflection portrait. I'm not so fashion-forward myself but if you are....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Porch Message

Is someone in the family a Special Forces guy they hope will come home and wear those boots again? Or is it a more random message or a memorial?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stuff on the Front Porch

The stuff on your front porch says a lot about you, but sometimes I don't get the message. Maybe they were planning a little porch sale?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blue Entry

This is the entryway to the house (studio) with the blue steps.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Blue Steps

When we were walking around on the East Austin Studio Tour this studio made good use of blue outside.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Driskill, at Christmas

As mentioned earlier the Driskill Hotel is having it's 125th Birthday this Christmas season. Last Thursday they served this cake which looks like a pile of presents.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Uncommon Objects

One of my favorite shops is the antique and junk mall on South Congress called Uncommon Objects. You can find most unusual Christmas presents here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Time to Dress as Santa

Lucy in Disguise, the costume shop on South Congress, has a window display up for Christmas. I'm guessing if you want to dress as the jolly elf this season they can help you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Mural for the Books

This wall on South Congress used to be repainted frequently with murals...sometimes just ads and sometimes seeming to promote the art glass shop in that building. Now that South Congress Books occupies the building this mural showed up. I can't tell if it is finished or in progress. We frequently shop here so we'll find out.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tattooed Truck

There is a tattoo parlor on South First and their truck is decorated to show their craft.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Actually yesterday was cloudy with temps near 70 Fahrenheit. But the historic Driskill Hotel is celebrating its 125th Anniversary with a variety of activities and last night for the tree lighting they blew in a bunch of snow on Brazos. It was melting quite fast when I shot this picture of FFP. Today it is raining and close to 60. We need the real precipitation so we aren't complaining.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Action Shot...Where's the Beef?

It's the first of the month and on City Daily Photo that means theme day. This month's theme is 'action shot.' I decided to show you these two people running in the Thanksgiving Day Schlotzsky's Turkey Trot because it's Texas and if you are a serious runner (as these two in the foreground seem to be) you will be powered by beef! Think their team must be the Beef Council or something. (Yes, in Texas there is a Beef Council.)

Many City Daily Photo blogs will participate in the first of the month theme day. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Paint and Flower Match

Recent rains revived some blooming things. This house on the east side has a nice match between blooms and trim.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vintage Christmas

Want some Christmas decor that looks vintage, like you inherited it from your grandparents? Shop Uncommon Objects on SoCo. Just about anything else sufficiently old and odd can be yours this great institution as well. Happy Christmas shopping and keep it weird.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sweet Graffiti

Graffiti never lasts long on the Lamar railroad overpass but maybe the sentiments here won't be so quickly painted over. Robot love? But the arms look so much like tentacles.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Curb Appeal---How About These Colors?

I probably wouldn't have chosen these colors but they don't look too bad, do they? Shot on the east side when we rambled over there last Sunday.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fall Roses

Little garden plots on the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge are tended by civic-minded companies or people. These roses were opening up on a beautiful Thanksgiving day. Today it is raining and we are very thankful for that.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Hot Dog

At first I didn't get it but then I realized it was a turkey hot dog costume. Dog was patient with his owners and the costume but barked convincingly at us.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ready to Trot

One of the biggest 'fun runs' (and walks and kid's K) of the year is the Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot. Thanksgiving icons ready to trot this morning.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It Actually Rained

Overnight we had some rain as the wet pavement on the parking garage attests. FFP took this picture while there were still some clouds at dawn.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Curb Appeal Series

I love when people select interesting colors and paint their exteriors. If one had a home and wanted to see how certain combos would look if you painted the house and trim that way they could just scout around and check it out. This one is in Clarksville. I'm a big fan of yellow. The peach-colored door, though, is an interesting choice but seems to work.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lone Star

The Lone Star flies over the Texas State Cemetery on a cloudy day. This is an interesting place to walk on the east side.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

An Honest Profession

I took this picture of a mural on the east side the other day. I find it intriguing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

End of an era

My 91-year-old mother died in front of my eyes Wednesday. She had been fussing to us about “feeling rough” and she decided that the problem was the street construction in front of her house exciting her allergies.

Her remedy for that was to ask me to come get her and take her for a drive so she wouldn’t have to listen to the thumping and grinding of the machinery for a while. When I arrived at her home, she said that LifeLine had called and said that their unit wasn’t getting any power. So I got on the phone with them, with my back turned to my mother, who was sitting on the side of her bed.

When I hung up from that conversation, I turned around and in that instant, she went unconscious and fell off the bed and onto the floor. No response. I called EMS and they had a truck there in about three or four minutes. Amazing. They managed to get her heart restarted, but when we got her to the hospital, it was obvious it was hopeless and she expired after about an hour. Honestly, I think that she had subconsciously willed herself to last until I arrived to have the attack. (If that is possible, believe me, she would have done it.)

She lived a long life, the way she wanted it. This photo is of my parents either on a date or shortly after they got married—I always marveled at how well turned out they both were in shots like this one—dad in a tie and hat and mother all spiffy. She and my dad were unusual in this world of constant change: married for 72 years and in the same house for 70 years. My dad died this January.

Rest in peace.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

High Rise Living

I was visiting a friend in the Milago Condos on Rainey Street the other day and whipped out my camera to get a picture of the view from there but Dixie and Frieda caught my eye, relaxing, their work put aside for the moment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

E.A.S.T. with one of our Favorites: Jennifer Balkan

Last weekend (and next, too) there is a massive art tour of studios called East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.). Sunday we went to a few spots in an area of east Austin called French Place. Jennifer Balkan poses here with one of her paintings. She's one of our favorites and has appeared in these pages and couple of other times: here and here. She had a show in a gallery in our neighborhood, too, in 2008.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jazz Al Fresco

We attended a fundraiser for the Pease Park Conservancy a couple of weeks ago and heard music from the Ephraim Owens Quartet, which provided a sweet background for the festivities. The guys were playing outdoors on the grounds of the hosts' house, which overlooks the park. The night was chilly, so they had to bundle up.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

East Side Model Home

Spotted this in a yard on Rosewood on the east side. What at first looks like a derelict old home is actually a scale model, sitting outside on a table outside heaped with twigs. This weekend (and next) the entire east side is filled with open art galleries exhibiting their wares in the E.A.S.T (East Austin Studio Tour) but I snapped this on an ordinary day, one of those when life itself seems to be art.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fireman's Color Guard

We watched the entire Austin Veteran's Day parade yesterday. Lots of vehicles and people but I offer this picture of a color guard of firemen because I love that they carry ceremonial axes.