Monday, December 29, 2008

Peek morning

The early morning sun peeks through a glen in west Houston.

--steve buser

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shine On.... you

May the Star of Bethlem shine your way this Christmas.

--steve buser

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blind kiss

Our grandkids came to visit a while back and their friend, Jenna Anderson, took them to see her FFA project -- Randy the goat.   Sophie gets in close for a kiss.   Do you close your eyes when you kiss a goat?

--steve buserTechnorati Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blanketed with Christmas spirit

The weathermen and weather ladies said Beaumont received three inches of snow this week. Maybe at the weather station it did. There were lots of places that clearly got five to six inches.

Let us not quible over inches. It was a rare event, in terms of  1) it snowed at all  2) how much it snowed   3) that it snowed so early

It, put me in the Christmas spirit, though.

Oh, see the green in the foreground, by they red curb. That is a helium balloon that lost its spartanic battle of trying to stretch to the heavens. I suspect it sucumbed to the cold before it sucumbed to the snow. The shot is at the Preserve on Old Dowlen Road. ( I left this picture pretty big, so double click it to get a good blast of snow in your face.)

--steve buser

Monday, December 8, 2008

Flag still wave into the sunset.

Flags in the sunset from a couple years ago at a church in Beaumont Texas.  You can tell the flags had quite a whipping in the wind.

One thing about flags,  they may get a bit frayed, but their message just intensifies.
--steve buser

Monday, November 10, 2008

The unbelievable adventures of Dr. Jones.

We ran into Indiana Jones at the mall in College Station. TX, this weekend. (Actually, he prefers to be called Dr. Jones, if you please.).

From the look on our grandson's face (I mean Dr. Jones' face) you can tell he was letting his imagination and his energy run wild in the play area. He has the whole garb -- the whip, the hat, the khakis, the Crocs (Dr. Jones does wear Crocs doesn't he?) and the case (do not call it a purse, handbag, satchel or anything like that, if you don't want to feel the crack of a deadly whip!).

This is his daily garb now. You are probably thinking that he got this as a Halloween costume. Actually, he got it before Halloween and began the daily drama immediately. When his mother went to ask him "Do you want to dress up as Indiana Jones for Halloween?" he was quick with the retort. "Mom, I AM Indiana Jones. You can't dress up for Halloween as someone you are!"

YOU probably would've known better thnt to ask that silly question. Wouldn't you? Never mind, I know you better than that.

My daughter is wondering where he got this drama streak. I was not brave enough to tell her that when she was just a little older than he is, she decided she was going to be the first kid astronaut. I decided I needed to "manage her expectations" in the parlance of today. I said very politely, "You know, Vicky, they don't have any kid astronauts."

She didn't miss a beat -- she popped a pose, arms akimbo and head bent in that "I can't believe what my dumb dad just said" way.

"Of course not, " she said "If they did, I couldn't be the first one."

Drama, it seems, runs in the family.

--steve buser

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The lazy days of summer's shadow

It was a lazy day at the Houston Zoo this past weekend when we were there. It wasn't all that hot, which brought lots of people (we had the very last parking spot, furthermost from the entrance.). ;

The animals were languid. There didn't seem to be any snap in anybody's pace, on both sides of the fence.

Just a lazy semi-summer afternoon.

The brown pelican above and his (her?) mate barely moved unitl the fish were brought out for their meal. After eating, they took a short swim on the pond. Don't ask me what that was about -- don't you always take a swim after you eat? You don't? 

 Go figure.      --steve buser

Monday, November 3, 2008

Eye zoo

This is the American Bald Eagle at the Houston Zoo. We took our grandchildren there recently to see the elephants. This guy didn' get a glance. Giraffes were the surprise favorite.

--steve buser

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ocean sand slide

The water slides up and along the beach at Perdido Key in Florida. While a couple figures splash along.

--steve buser

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Steamy D.C. sunrise

This was the steely-blue scene in Washington D.C. recently when we travelled to see our son in a triathlon. The sun was still yawning and jets flying in over head were leaving vapor trails behind them as the snaked along the river into the Ronald Reagan National Airport nearby.

The summer humidity was already wrapping us up even in the early D.C. hours.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Can I have a bite?

This is one of the gators at the Louisiana Gas and Oil Museum in Jennings, LA, where I stopped off the Interstate the other day. If I remember right, he is about 14 years old. It's a fun stop for kids and the whole family. The visitors center there is a great place to stop and learn more about the region and these guys.

This gator has just one question for you. "Can I have bite?" Fortunately, he can't get to you.

--steve buser

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Come on, let me see you wash a tail feather

Bath time. Save these pictures for the next time the kids complain. Even ducks like to take baths. This fellow was ruffling his feathers at the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park in Jennings the other day. Several good long splashings later, he was ready to retire to the shade, straighten out his feathers and pick off the stuff that had come out.

Abraham Lincoln on this bird blog, Sunday, had a great little write up about this routine and more.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stare-down -- Great Egret and Comorant

A Great Egret and a Comorant seem to be having a stare-down on the small lake at the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park in Jennings, Louisiana. The Egret flew off when he noticed me. A few minutes later the Comorant's partner swam up to it as if to plead with it to make a quick escape, also.

The I-10 park, which is midway between Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, is a great place to pull over for a break and a little scenery

--steve buser

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Washington Monument -- early up

This is the Washington Monument in Washington D.C in an early-morning, before-sunrise shot.
We were up early to make it down by the Tidal Pool for my son, Charlie, who was racing in the Nation's Triathlon.

-- steve buser

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wind and water skimming

A Great Egret (Ardea alba) skims gracefully away over the water to find a better feeding spot. This is at the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park in Jennings where I stopped the other day for a break from my I-10 travels. Never one to miss a good shot, even on a bathroom break, I had to hold nature back while I ran back to the car to get my camera. Map

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Buddy, can you spare a meal?

I looked down and this Ring-Billed Gull was standing right beside me. Maybe he was just trying to get a hand-out, but he stood still long enough for me to get his picture. Then he had a enough and took flight.

This was on the Nation's Mall in Washington, D.C.

-- steve buser

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. is a good ways away from the other monuments.  The lazy walk around the tide pool to get there is well worth the effort. When we got to the Memorial on our recent trip to the nation's Capitol, I had one of those aha! moments. Why did they build with columns so much in ancient public buildings? It allowed access, free flow of air and light -- I suppose a closed in building in historic times could be a pretty dark and steamy place.

- steve buser

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gustav's angry seas, frothing sky

Who would have ever thought that if you went more than 200 miles from where a hurricane hit, you would be lashed with tropical storm force winds. Angry seas and frothing skies threatened us for two days in Perdido Key, Florida, where we evacuated from Hurricane Gustav. Gustav, for his part,  was zooming toward New Orleans at the end of August.

--steve buser

Friday, September 19, 2008

Aragonite, the unstable sister

No idea.

I had absolutely no idea there were so many varieties of gems and minerals in the world. We were touring the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. and wandered into the gem and mineral display. I could have spent days in there. But, had to settle on a half hour. Gleaming, beaming, shining, waxing, and every other thing a mineral can do, they were there.

This is a specimen of Aragonite, a strange, and weaker sister of plain calcite.

-- steve buser

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Starling -- the beautiful pest (Sturnus vulgaris)

They're mostly considered a pest. Nonetheless, the they have striking markings. This European Starling came right up to the table as we sat the National Mall, in Washington, D.C. this weekend.

We were just drinking lemonade at the outdoor stand, but across the patio, the couple was enjoying a hamburger and french fries. Suddenly, a Starling swooped in and stole one of the fries from the woman's basket as she held it. Needless to say, she was nonplussed by the theft.

The birds were artificially introduced into the U.S. from Europe.

-- steve buser

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hurricane Gustav gone, getting back to normal

An elderly lady gets escorted on to a evacuation bus last week by a photographer, while a National Guardsman helps with her pet. The thousands who took advantage of the city-provided evacuation by bus and train are now returning home. New Orleans and the region are fighting their way back to normalcy.

Electric companies are reporting that this weekend will be a point by which vast numbers of customers will have had their electricity restored. In this storm, damage to electric infrastructure is the biggest impediment to getting things back to normal and getting people back home.

The state still fights damage and weather worries to the south of New Orleans and up in the northern part of the state. Gustav still is messing up daily life for the folks up Michigan way.

I think many people across the country fail to realize that hurricanes are a threat both to the shore line of the Gulf Coast and Atlantic states, but also to interior states when they unwind and spill the billions of tons of water they have stored and continue to suck from the Gulf.

- steve buser

Wading out Hurricane Gustav

A young man ventures only into the shallow waters, aware of a storm heading into land far to the west. The Perdido Key area in Florida was pounded with heavy winds and violent surf from Hurricane Gustav, but escaped the problems faced in Louisiana where the tropical system wreaked destruction.

-- steve buser

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hunkering Down from Hurricane Gustav

It was a time for hunkering down Sunday as Hurricane Gustav roared toward Louisiana and made the Perdido Key area in Florida an express lane for winds and rain showers rushing in from the Gulf. Even animals which were used to the elements were having a hard time of things. This bird was finding some shelter from the wind behind the log. It appeared to have an injury of some sort, no doubt from the almost unrelenting gales.

-- steve buser

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You've got the cool water

Wading in a pond is not only a way of getting food, but also a way of staying cool on hot New Orleans afternoons. These two Ibis were at Lafreniere Park in Metairie --- the 150-acre park is built around a central lake and birding habitat that rivals anything in the wild. It features Ibis, Egrets, Canadian Geese, Black Swans and more -- I have even seen a pair of Roseate Spoonbills there.

--steve buser

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Keep falling on my head

Rain drops. Outside my window. The weatherman said the afternoon would be clear, dry and low humidity.

So it goes.

--steve buser

Friday, July 18, 2008

Feathery flying freeloader

Okay, you can take back what you said about being stupid as a bird. Take it back.

This feathered fellow was faced with an obvious problem. "If I can't fish, I can't eat and I will starve to death." So he put some good old bird-brain power into it  and decided to panhandle to earn enough for some bird feed. The Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron wasn't getting any takers, but he had stick-to-it-ness. He was standing like this for about an hour while I was there. ("there" is the rookery on Oschner Island at Audubon Park in New Orleans.) I figured he was just one of the indigent species here.

-- steve buser

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Double Glide

A phantomous Great Egret glides over the lagoon in City Park, New Orleans, while its image glides in rhythm with it across the glade-green water.

-- steve buser

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Home with the groceries

An Great White Egret navigates through the top of the trees at Oschner Island in Audubon Park, New Orleans, to zoom into its nest.  Once there two hungry chicks will fight and make a big ruckus over who gets to eat first. Mom will thrust her beak down the beak of the chick to deliver a delicious concoction of digested insects and other creepy things.

- steve buser

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The ouch caterpillar

This is an Io Moth caterpillar that was hanging just a couple feet from me the other day in New Orleans. These caterpillars like their space, if you get stung by one (by touching it), you will give them that space from then on. Notice the red and white strip that is an identifying characteristic of these caterpillars

--steve buser

Monday, June 16, 2008

Listen to the rhythm of the pounding rain

The rain finally stopped just short of noon. It was the 7 a.m. to about 9 a.m. time frame that did the damage. For a while, rain was coming down at the rate of about 5 inches per hour. The garage roof, just outside my window was a sheet of water -- not water trickling down, a SHEET of water. Then, it stopped and the sun came out. sparkling the leaves, evaporating the drops on their bright surfaces. 

-- steve buser

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Like a fish in water

The end of the slide has come and you now slip into another feeling, another being. You let the water surround you and shoot past your face. You slide into the colorless world of your new aqueous being. Mouth closed, you hide your life-giving air tightly inside you while you explore your new watery existence.

Hey, its what being a kid is about. Exploring your world in all the ways you can. But never too far from mom.

Our grandson, Sullivan, forgot that he had become a fish at the end of last summer, but he quickly remembered that was what he was in his first visit to the deep. The fisherman becomes the fish.

The site is a water park in College Station, Texas

-- steve buser

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cloudy robes

Trees can only sit and oogle as the sun wraps its majesty in princely clouds -- this photo was on the road (I-10) from to Houston, Texas.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

At The Top

Okay, you have climbed and climbed. You've justled and pushed. You bounced past all those other water drops. You're at the top. You've won. Now it's time to look down. Let gravity have its way. You've had your day. It's time to let go and find your destiny below. Don't hit the ground in vain. Push and bustle your way down to smash on your target. Find a kid. Splash him. Grand style. Do it.

At the splash park in College Station, TX.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Almost finished line

This picture is from the Triathlon at Moody Gardens on Galveston a couple weeks ago. The center rider is our son, Charli. The small group comes in for the finish of the 28 mile bike ride and prepares for the 6.1 mile run to finish the Quarter Iron Man.

--steve buser

Monday, April 7, 2008

Wave jumper

At the beach in Galveston, our grandson practices the fine art of wave jumping. Our daughter, Vicky, and our son-in-law Aaron, also dip their toes in the salty waves of the Gulf of Mexico

--steve buser

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Water weary

We were in Galveston this weekend for our son, Charlie's (Chuck) first triathalon event. He ran his first marathon in January and ran another one last month. So he decided to see how he would fare with a triathalon. He ran the quarter Ironman -- here he emerges from the 800-meter swim in Galveston Bay, stripping off his wetsuit (the water was 70 degrees) to jump on his bicycle for a 28-mile ride before finishing with a six-mile run.

The event was a better spectator event than the marathon, because they came back near the transition zone several times -- we saw him five times during the race.


Waiting. Waves lapping close. Waiting till the family returns from their sea shell hunt. The buggy sits at the beach in Galveston, TX, on a misty day. Waiting

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Babies in the back window

We've got babies next door! The Mourning Dove that has been silently brooding in the tree out our bedroom windows had her babies last night. She was up cleaning one early this morning. Then,  she has tucked them tightly under her for protection. Every once in a while one will push the feathers aside for a peek. We can't wait to capture the first photos when she shows them to the world.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Here Ye! Here Ye!

Waiting for dad to come by at the Houston Marathon a couple weeks ago, this young lad took advantage of a nearby hill for some play time. However, with his placard in hand, he seems to be practicing for some oratory. "Friends, Houstonians, countrymen, lend me your ears..."

--steve buser

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's all about love

I can not report this first hand, however,  they say that last 200 yards is maybe the toughest in the whole 26.213 miles of a marathon. If it is so, then you'll pull out any stops to get you over the line. At the recent Houston Marathon, this man's whole family came out for that last two grueling blocks of running -- 26.2 miles behind you. Now it's the .013 miles left.

The smiling, laughing faces of your loved ones, full of pride, urge you to the finish. You can do this -- suddenly your legs realize it's do-able and spring back to life. The message spreads up to your brain. You lift your eyes and fix them on that clock counting out the seconds. In your mind, you are already there. You did it. They did it -- they gave you that last burst of energy.

By the way, his tag says his name is Victor. The shirt says "It's all about love. How much do you love yourself?"

--steve buser

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pastoral prayers

While we were standing around in Houston waiting for the marathon runners to come by, this scene unfolded across the street. The Methodist church is down by the museum district but looks like a scene from some European country, 1800's. The vestments that the service offerers were wearing hearkened me back to my younger years.

--steve buser

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lily life is sweet on the river

These lily pads get to play in the sun on the tranquil Rio Dulce (sweet river)in Guatemala. We took the boat ride up from Livingston two years ago. Along the way, scenery was amazing cliffs and hillsides along with waterfront bungalows where the locals lived and earned their living. Sweet River, sweet life.

--steve buser

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sun sitting

Alone with your thoughts and a gentle breeze that keeps bringing you back to the moment. The lake is whispering in staccato cadences -- white sounds that enclose you from the traffic far away. The sun has to use glitters on the waves to get your attention because the canopy of green above you won't let him intrude on your moment.

The thoughts flow and flow. Slowly you are becoming at peace with your cares.

As in a dream, you don't want to be aroused. "Let me just juggle my thoughts some more." The day will slowly melt. Time isn't what's important. Another day will come to take its place. But this time, this moment with your new peace, it can't be replaced or regained.

--steve buser

Friday, January 11, 2008

Colorful tunes

The famous Soji Tabuchi Show in Branson Missouri is not just a delight for the ears. The show comes right at you with a cornucopia of colors and images. I have to admit I was skeptical going into the show. But I came out a fan. --steve buser

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Merry mountains

It's an all-American tradition, the holiday parade (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, and more I guess) . However, when you have the mountains as a backdrop, it just seems a little more poignant. Certainly it has a more patriot feel to it. This is from Asheville around Thanksgiving a few years ago. We were visiting my daughter, Vicky and her family.

-steve buser

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Stark reminder

From the Stark House website : "Completed in 1894, the Queen Anne home of William Henry Stark and his wife, Miriam Melissa Lutcher Stark, stands alone in Orange, Texas, as an extraordinary statement of Texas social history.... Today the W. H. Stark House appears much as it did in the 1920s with rooms filled with original family furniture, carpets, silver, a collection of antique porcelains, and an outstanding collection of American Brilliant Period cut glass."

Well worth a stop off the I-10 in Orange for a visit.

--steve buser

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Texas to the max

At the state line, as you cross from Louisiana to Texas on the I-10, they have a huge star at the welcome center. Of course it doesn't look like this. But I started with a picture of the star and said, "Now if I had designed that welcome sign, how would it look?"

It would have to have the colors of the Texas flag of course.

--steve buser

Monday, January 7, 2008

Papa 's present

Guess what my grandson Sullivan got Papa for Christmas? 

He does his own shopping at the dollar store and it is a real pleasure to see what he picked out for each one in the family. Every one of his presents has a real connection to the person receiving it. For instance, guess why Papa got this?

You're way off. I am sure this is so I can find clues.


-- steve buser

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Previewing the game

It seems there are broadcast booths set up all over New Orleans for the BCS College Football Championship game here Monday night. In this photo, the Fox Sports Network were previewing the game at Artillery Park, across from Jackson Square and with St. Louis Cathedral as their backdrop.

--steve buser