Friday, June 20, 2008

A drive through Texas Hill Country...

I'm back again. I've been persuaded to continue posting...and not necessarily on Isla, so I had to change the title of my blog. I'll try to keep things interesting...which brings me to my first photograph. A few nights after getting back from Isla, my son woke me up late at night because we had an unexpected visitor! Well, I'm kind of uneasy about getting visitors in the middle of the night, but I'm open to new things, so what the heck (as long as it's not the police). But I didn't like this guy. In fact, I would rather have seen the police.'s great to be back in good ol' Texas. (Holy crap!!)

We just took a picture and went back inside...hoping he would mosey along somewhere else. Now that I think about it, we're damn lucky he didn't strike when we were trying to get a good angle, but I was later told that they have to be in a coiled position to strike, so I guess he was just lounging around for the moment...and posing for our picture. Makes me think he would have considered Bud, our cat, a mighty tasty morsel, so we'll be keeping him in at night.

I neglected to mention in my prior posts that two days before I left for my vacation to Isla that I was laid off of my job because of slow business. I have never been laid off of a job before so it was a little un-nerving to say the least. Since my trip to Isla was already paid for, I decided to go anyway. I went out to breakfast with my son the day before I was scheduled to leave, and he said, "Why don't you stay longer since you don't have a job to come back to?" (Did I raise him right, or what??) So instead of thinking that I needed to come back to job hunt immediately, I extended my vacation by five days. What the hell. Between you, me, and the fencepost, I didn't like my job anyway, so I considered it a blessing in disguise and a slap in the face to go in a different direction. And that's why I will probably be using this blog as therapy...working things out as I go...and not falling into the trap of another "job" just to pay the bills.

So now that I've been back, I've been sending out resumes, going on interviews, making phone calls...etc., etc...for the past two weeks. Other than getting together with a fellow laid-off co-worker for lunch, I have devoted my time to job searching. But I woke up this morning and decided to get out of the house and do something. So I grabbed my camera and just drove.

First stop was Gruene, Texas. I live in New Braunfels, which is about 35 miles north of San Antonio and 45 miles south of Austin. I'm on Interstate 35 which goes all the way up to Minneapolis...and since I went to the University of Minnesota, it's a familiar highway. Gruene is a very touristy area in Texas. The Guadalupe River runs through it (big on tubing) and is home to Schlitterbahn...the largest water park in the world. (Or so I've been told.) Gruene is about five minutes from my house and is actually a very quaint area. They have a restaurant called the Gristmill which is mostly open-air...definitely a must if you come to visit. The only thing you need to know is that "Gruene" is the German word for "green," but the actual German pronunciation is kind of a nasally "groon." Here in Texas, however, it's pronounced "green." So there are clever little takes on the word in the various establishments, like "Tavern on the Gruene," and the "Gruene Onion Grill." Enough about that.

This picture is of Gruene Hall...the oldest dance hall in Texas. I don't think they've done any improvements on it's just your basic dance hall from years ago. There's no air conditioning and believe you me, that's something here in south Texas. They only have ceiling fans, but the music is pretty darn good. I was there once when a band was playing comparable to the Blues Brothers...a couple of women were playing the was great...definitely your foot-stomping kind of music.

I've already mentioned that I have a friend in South Dakota who sells Harleys. He sent me a 2006 accessories catalog a few years ago and this was one of the photographs. Looks familiar.

So now I'm going north on I35 towards Austin and hit Kyle, Texas. A very small town, but is becoming very popular with the commuters. I love it because of fact, this is going to become my new life motto: "Life's more pie." How could you possibly go wrong with that...other than the cholesteral/fat thing, which I'm not going to go into.

Here's a close-up of the pie. Looks pretty damn good, if you ask me.

Heading northwest, I hit Driftwood...and if I would have blinked, I would have gone past it. This is ALL of Driftwood. Pretty cool little gas station, but I think it looks better... black and white. Just that kind of that old time photo.

This is another one that was featured in the Harley catalog...on the front cover. Pretty cool. (They took off the Texaco sign.)

This is across the street...the Driftwood Methodist Church. And even though I've been by it, I've never visited the little cemetery next door...until today. Quite interesting. Very small...and had some things I've never seen before. Other than Isla, it's been a LONG time since I've been through a cemetery, so I thought some of these things were pretty interesting. I don't mean to be morbid and I have the utmost respect for the deceased, but I think cemeteries can tell lots of stories.

I have never seen little tombstones like this before.

This is sad.

And so is this...but at least there are flowers.

And this was the gravesite of a woman only about 20 years old.

A lot of the gravesites were of people who obviously didn't have much money.

And some of them looked like the flowers had been setting around for MANY years.

This was pretty strange.

And I guess everything has its story...which we know nothing about.

I guess this says everything.

This was totally different in a very OLD cemetery. Is this the new wave in gravestones??

So, on to Wimberley. Wimberley is another touristy town of Texas. A lot of artisans display works here...many of which are VERY good. This was the doorway to the restaurant where I had lunch.

And I'm sure these will be a must in everyone's front yards. (I especially like the Texas star on the head.)

Just what the hell are these things...jackalopes???

Now these guys I kind of like. I could handle one of these on my porch.

Wimberley's nearby river...which reminds me of the swamps.

...and again...

But this had to be the all-time best photo of the day. Since I'm looking for employment, I will have to put this on my list. I could definitely use some Ninja powers. And to think I was wasting time sending out resumes.

Thanks for joining me on my diversion for a day!


wayne said...

Excellent, most excellent! A question. Before you started blogging, would you have stopped at that cemetary?? Amazing how you start noticing the world once you start blogging about it.

Isla Deb said...

Good question, Wayne. It also helps that I have a LOT more time on my hands these days!

jamqueen said...

So glad you're continuing your blog! I love to read about different parts of the country that I haven't been to yet...