Friday, July 22, 2011

East Metropolitan Park Jewel

An approximate mile from my house sits one of the most peaceful parks I have ever had the pleasure to visit. East Metropolitan County Park in my opinion is one of the better jewels on the more eastern side of Austin.

It sits nestled in the middle of miles of farmland and prairie. If you didn't know it was there, you may would never know.

I guess I may be a little partial to it because it's very convenient to my home, never overcrowded, quite, and clean.

There is a little something for everyone at East Metro. A pool, sports fields, catch and release fishing, disc golf, tennis and basketball courts, picnic areas, volleyball courts, indoor pavilion rentals, a paved walking trail, and a a couple of small playgrounds.

In the past 3 1/2 years I have utilized a few of the amenities at the park but lately my favorite is the disc golf course...but not for disc golf. I have found the disc golf course to be the perfect hiking/running path.

I can arrive early in the morning and hike, run, or just walk..whatever strikes my mood for the day. It's mostly shaded and when there's not a drought going on there are streams that meander throughout the course. From my estimation the course is approximately 2 to 2 1/2 miles depending on which trail you take.

Wildlife is abundant..there again, depending on the weather conditions what you may come across. Being a natural kind of "girl", this place is my mecca.

Even though East Metro has a nice paved path that loops throughout the park, I prefer to use the natural trails as opposed to pounding the pavement - which I have to do when I run my neighborhood.

Here I will give you a glimpse of what a stroll/run/hike/play through the disc golf course would look like....

The entrance into the trail..

Exiting out of the trail onto the paved path....

Cooling off in the pond is Bo's favorite part...

And back to the car....

Nice and refreshed for the day ahead.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Inks Lake..Again

We drove to Inks Lake State Park this week. I can't say it was the best day but it was no where near the worst.

A portion of the park that I loved the most was bone dry and quite honestly the oppressive heat and drought conditions are beginning to put a damper on my mood. I don't really mind the heat as much as I do the lack of rain mixed with daily triple digits...

Either way, I tried to make the most of the day but found myself mostly irritable and ready to get home...

Here are highlights of our day at the Lake...

Climbing to the top to take the plunge...

Lucas will be so proud that his little sister braved to the top of the rock and took the plunge into "Devil's Hole"...even if it take her a little while to make the plunge. After that, there was no stopping her.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day to Day - Wednesday

Not sure of the details, but my dad got a little homesick so my brother was forced to head back to Alabama a day earlier. One one hand, I totally understand being homesick but on the other hand I really wish I had got to spend that extra day with my Alabama family..

I woke up this morning a bit cranky. Even my morning run didn't put a damper on my mood. I think I must have had so much fun while my out of town family was here that I hated to see the fun end so soon...I'm spoiled, I know.

Anyway, we try to do at least one activity a week that Bo can participate in and today was the day. I was so ill that I was not offering any suggestions and shooting down everything Toby suggested. Put bluntly, I was just being a hard to get along with Bitch.

Finally, I agreed reluctantly to head to Barton Springs. Not that I don't like Barton Springs, but it's 102 degrees and all the creeks are dried up. Hiking in the heat along a dry creek did not sound appealing in the least to me.

Once we got there we headed along the the very hot, 1/2 mile unshaded path towards Campell's Hole. I tried to make the best of it and walk leisurely along with Summer while Toby and Bo trekked way ahead to check on the condition of the creek.

Shortly after, here they come back down the path Toby gesturing that the hole was bone dry...just as we suspected. We headed straight back to Barton Springs toward the free part where dogs are allowed and people that are too cheap to pay the $3 dollar entrance fee into the actual spring area go.

On a hot day the ice cold spring water feels like heaven!! After sitting there watching Bo and Toby interact with all the people and dogs and Summer exploring the water my mood began to lift considerably and I was glad that I agreed on this particular destination.

I mostly sat on a rock ledge in the water and took pictures. Here are just a few to share....

See that guy in the back round of this pic? He's playing a flute of some kind. It took me forever to figure out what the noise I kept hearing in my "peripheral" hearing was. For whatever reason, folks like to hang out on the banks of the creeks and play their musical instruments. There was a guy on the other side of the creek playing a guitar...

Summer devouring a snack from the snack stand while Bo takes a cat nap after all the activity..

I had such a pleasant time that the springs are on my agenda for next week...that is if I don't come up with something more interesting to do before then..

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day to Day - Tuesday

Today we headed to toob down the Comal River with my family. My dad opted to not toob down the river. I was a little worried about him having to hang out by himself while we toobed, but I really couldn't think of any other alternative for him. He's always been pretty good about entertaining himself and I hoped that today would be no different.

Because of the drought the river was way below level but it still didn't affect the float down. Schlitterbaun is nestled right against the Comal and obviously they were doing some construction that led to the closures of some of the stop-off areas of the float down..which was sort of annoying for anyone needing to take a break or ride the chute down again.

Here are some pics of our day on the Comal...

After we were shuttled back to our origin, I was glad to see dad alive and well patiently waiting on our arrival. We grabbed a bite at a local BBQ place then headed home.

Days like these are always some of my favorite memories....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day to Day - Monday

Today we consider our Friday so TGIF!! Toby's work week is Friday-Monday so our "weekend" is Tues.-Thurs.

I was more glad than usual to see the end of the week. I awoke with a spring in my step, sucked down a cup of coffee and took Bo for a run. I figured since I had awoken with such energy that I would take advantage and challenge myself and run the steep hill. I was happy that I made it further up the hill than I thought. It was a good run morning for sure.

One thing that I have noticed about myself lately is that I'm not as "fresh" as I used to be. I run in the mornings and the evenings and spend a lot of time outdoors and in the pool. I sweat a lot and always smell like chlorine or the outdoors.

I hate taking a shower when I know that in just a couple of hours I will be pouring sweat again or jumping into the pool. I guess it's sort of like not making your bed everyday because you're just going to be messing it up again that evening when you go to bed...

So since it was my "Friday" I focused on getting all the the house clean and all my chores done so that I could spend my "weekend" having nothing but fun.

Later in the afternoon I took me a nice long bath and shaved my legs. It was nice to feel clean for once...too bad Toby wasn't home to enjoy it because by the time he sees me again I will smell like sweat....

Shortly after my bath the doorbell rang. I opened the door and I was in shock to see my dad standing there!!! I guess it's true that thoughts become things because lately I have thought a lot about my dad and how long it has been since I have seen him!

Through my tears and surprise I then see my brother, my sis-in-law and niece trailing behind. Those are the BEST surprises in the world!!! As much as I love my home here in Texas and the wonderful friends I have made, there will always be that ache for my dad, brothers and my son.

Having visitors got Bo pretty excited so after they left for their hotel room to relax for the evening I took Bo for his evening walk. It was still pretty hot so I didn't do much running. I did try to run some but had a little shin pain mostly likely from my exertion on the hill this morning. I saved myself some injury and just walked briskly.

I'm excited about tomorrow. We are going to go toobing (that's how we spell it here) down the river. Not sure how my dad is going to like going down chutes (small rapids)...guess we will have to make it up to him somehow.....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day to Day - Sunday

I finally half-ass got finished with a grocery list and headed off to the grocery store early this morning. I'm grateful that I can shop when I want to and not on a 9 to 5 schedule. The grocery store is bad enough without trying to shop when it's crowded. Early morning is the best choice for me because mornings are when I am most alert.

While I was shopping I got a text from a neighbor from a neighborhood section over (we live in a large subdivision). I don't see her very often or know her all that well and only see her when we do neighborhood clean-ups, but yesterday we got to talking about the creek and the greenbelt. Her house sits right on the front of one of the largest parts of the greenbelt where the creek is located. I told her about my dilemma of trying to find the creek through the overgrown grass.

She offered to lead me through to it from behind her house. I was really excited that someone was willing to go trekking with me. Toby and Summer aren't as keen about wandering the snaky greenbelt in the summer heat as I am.....

Since the grocery store trip had hampered my morning run with Bo, I grabbed him and took him with me.

I was very pleased to find out my neighbor was just as intrigued with the greenbelt area as I am. Matter of fact, she informed me of a lot of the history of the area and the names of some of the vegetation and animals that I had always wondered about. She also told me she has excavated many fossils and found arrowheads and Indian artifacts and even some shark teeth in the creek. Boy, she had my attention!!!

She lead me meandering all through the area for a couple of miles showing me different paths and sites. I'll probably never remember them all but as long as I follow the creek I should be okay.

We came upon what appeared to be an old homestead. We could tell it had been put there next to once the remains of a wet creek. I couldn't help trying to imagine what the life of whoever lived there was like living there on that piece of land in the middle of the prairie.

It was really interesting to find old pottery and bottle pieces laying around. We dug and around in the crumblings a little while until something ran out from underneath the rubble and startled us. Bo almost took my arm off when he tried to dart off after whatever the bolt of lightening was...

There was an owl that kept following us from tree to tree hooting-during the day no was kinda creepy..

We came upon the pond that was bone dry from the drought. It was interesting to be able to see the bottom of the pond without water...

Julie claims that she has found shark teeth and arrowheads along this creek side. One of these days when it gets a little cooler I plan on dragging Toby out here to do some heavy duty artifact hunting....

We trekked around a couple of miles and I could tell Bo was starting to lose strength. Because of his muscular physique he can't take the mid day heat. I didn't think we were going to be so long out there so I didn't come prepared with any drinking water. Luckily Julie brought enough for everyone..including Bo.

I was having so much fun I didn't really notice how hot it was. We headed out and Julie lead us out the way towards the path on my side of the neighborhood. No wonder I couldn't find it..the entrance was completely covered in Johnson Grass.

It was only by luck that none of us were snake bit out there...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day to Day - Saturday

I got up early this morning drank my coffee and headed out the door to run Bo. We took a little detour this morning and trekked through the back of the neighborhood through the greenbelt. I was in search of the old dirt road that lead to the creek. It's been a long while since I have been back there and since there is very little traffic down to the creek, the road had completely disappeared underneath the prairie grasses over the summer.

The entrance of the trail was so overgrown that I wasn't able to find the path that lead to the creek. I decided to just go where the animal paths and Bo's nose took me and enjoy the scenery. It was a nice change for both Bo and I. There were a lot of new smells for him and I enjoyed checking out some new territory.

After I got back from our extra long run I dropped Bo off and headed to help out with a little neighborhood cleanup. Because of the fact that there is a lot of wooded areas trailing through our neighborhood some residents think that it is also a dumping ground. Humans are so pathetic...

By the time I got back to the house the rest of my family was rousing. It's obvious that I don't need quite as much sleep as my hubby or child...or maybe that I like to get my day started a little earlier than they do..

I made us some brunch and did some much needed vacuuming before Toby left for work.

After he left I went and took me an afternoon dip in the pool. There is nothing like the peace and tranquility I get in my pool...I'm glad I have started to utilize it this year.

Quite honestly, except for my evening run with Bo, I pretty much slacked the rest of the day doing only the bare essentials of housework.

Shame on me...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day to Day - Friday

I suppose since I don't have anything interesting to post lately I'll just resume posting a daily diary since it has become obvious that is the only activity my blog will get anytime soon.

Summer and I had an early morning play date so I missed my morning run with Bo for the first time in weeks. It made me want to cry to see his black and white face staring out the front window at me in confusion as my car pulled out of the driveway.....I also wanted to cry because I was missing my morning "fix". I did manage to get in my ab workout before I left....

PLAY DATE a local splash park then on to Chik Fi la for Cow Appreciation Day. It's always nice to have adult conversation but I have come to the conclusion that toddlers are never satisfied and tend to whine a lot and that trying to get in depth conversations with mom's of toddlers is close to impossible. Now I know why my mom always had old ladies as friends....

I also found out that people will come far and wide and dress in any form or fashion to receive free food.

I stopped by the Dollar Tree on the way home to pick up some toilet paper. Toilet paper seems to go quicker than any other commodity on our household. I'm still not sure who the culprit is, but I can tell you that it's not me or Bo. I'm too cheap and Bo uses the carpet to wipe his ass...

We got home around 1:00p.m. and as usual I start resuming any unfinished chores. Dishes had to be unloaded out of the dishwasher and a 2 loads of laundry needed to be folded.

I then decided to go outside and replant some plants. I moved my more drought tolerant Salvia to the back of the yard and my...whatever it is that seems to wilt every couple of days closer to the water spigot. I then dug up some Johnson Grass and some other viney stuff that I had let grow and run along the fence in hopes that it would turn out to be pretty and flowery. All it has done is attract more wasps, so I pulled it all up. I also scooped some poop.

By this time I had worked up a sweat. I have found that since I have been keeping my home thermostat on 82 during the day and being outdoors running/walking and working in the yard I have worked up a slight tolerance to the heat. I think I have now figured out how our ancestors lived without a/c...they acclimated themselves. Now if I could only convince my hubby that 82 degrees is a comfy inside temp.....

I decided to treat myself to a dip in the pool. I didn't think I would ever really utilize our pool but I have recently figured out that it wasn't the pool that I didn't like but the people in the pool with me that I didn't like. Toby gropes me and Summer thinks I am her personal water play equipment. When they are in there with me I never get to just float around on my raft enjoying the sun beat on my face while making pictures out of the clouds and watching Caracara's...aka Mexican Eagles fly overhead.

After I relaxed in the pool for awhile I came inside and watched an episode of Teen Mom. I had once seen an article that claimed that Teen Mom glamorized teen pregnancies. From my perspective it's the scariest show I have ever seen. It makes me scared to get pregnant and I'm 47 and post menopause!

The sun had finally set enough that it was then time to do my evening walk/run with Bo. I was looking forward to it because I had missed our morning run. Toby scolded me the other day because I run every day, but just missing one run had made me feel less conditioned...or maybe it's just all in my head...

When I got back from my run I made Summer and her friend a chocolate peanut butter smoothie and went upstairs to veg out on my computer till bedtime.

Just an ordinary day in an ordinary way.