Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Court Street Coffee Shop Is The Place to Meet

Lyndon and Mary Jo Langford decided to create a place to meet in downtown Seguin that would have the feel of the old-time coffee shops, you know, the kind of place where folks used to sit and drink coffee while they discussed everything from world events to local gossip.  

They opened up for business on May 15th, 2014 and they are on the road to success. Their son, Kevin Filip has been by their side, helping with the customers as their business has grown, and now they have gotten to the place where they have been able to add some part-timers to help carry the load. 

They are located on Court Street, between Austin and Camp Street, so they are an obvious choice for downtown folks looking for a good cup of coffee, a light lunch or a dip of ice cream.

There are several comfortable seating groups for folks who don't need a table. What a great place to meet friends and spend some time together.

The Court Street Coffee Shop offers locals a place to cut their teeth on a small stage for poetry readings of a bit of music, so if you want to hear some country music while you sip your coffee, you know where to go.

Another wonderful feature of the Coffee Shop is the kid-friendly environment. There are tables set up for a friendly game of checkers, and if the parent's don't mind, there are tubs of play-dough for little fingers to squish and mold to their heart's delight.

As a local artist, I was pleased to see the walls covered with fresh and vibrant works of art created by friends of the Langfords. I recognized the brillant sculpture of Marika, and noticed photography by Matthew Chase as well as oil and acrylic pieces by local artisans. Mike Bednarski has several large works hanging on the opposite wall. What a great way to promote the visual arts of Seguin.

Of course, the star of the Court Street Coffee Shop is the coffee. If you are a java aficionado, you have got to come by and try one of their great cups of coffee.

While I was in the shop, a little boy picked out his favorite flavor of ice cream for a treat.

He has just enough to enjoy, without so much that he will make a mess. Smart move, Lyndon and Mary Jo! I am sure moms appreciate that.

So, Seguinites, if you have not stopped by the Court Street Coffee Shop, you ought to come by and see what it's all about. In a few weeks, there will even be a pet-friendly patio out back, so you can bring Rover and Foo-Foo by and let them meet and greet with other furry Seguin residents.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Yard "Sailing" in New Braunfels


Garage sales, or "yard sales" if a person doesn't actually have a garage, lol, are kind of like modern treasure hunts. Someone (like me, for instance) can head out on a Friday or Saturday morning, early, you know, for that is the best way to snag the "good stuff" that has been offered for sale by other people who have too much stuff in their house, or by folks who are moving and wish to get rid of everything that is doesn't make sense to pack up and move.

I LOVE yard sales. There is a thrill to the hunt and excitement over rare finds. Today, I picked up my mom and headed to New Braunfels, a nice-sized town about 15 miles away from Seguin, where I live.

The first thing to do is to pick a housing area and start to look for hand-made signs pointing the way to a sale.

Next, you find the sale and park along side the yard of the house having the sale. If there are a lot of other shoppers already there, you may have to park farther away, like I did at this sale. Yard sale etiquitte dictates that you do not park in other people's driveways, also that you do not block any one's driveway.

Sometimes, the host of the yard sale also offers the buyer refreshments for a price. You might find baked goods, soft drinks or "l i m o n a d" for sale.

Old tins and used holiday supplies are often sold for next to nothing. Why pay full price for an Easter basket when you can buy one at a yard sale for a quarter? By the way, most items at successful yard sales are either a quarter or a dollar.

There are pricier items, though. People sell old appliances, like this 1950's sewing machine which I purchased for $20. Many folks sell couches, beds, end tables and dining room sets for pennies or for way too much, but the buyer always has the option of bargaining with the seller.

Then, there are the odd-ball and offbeat items for sale, like this bright yellow bra….

 and this male torso.

Here are three vintage dining room chairs, beat up but still proud, for only $10.

Quite a few yard sales have lots and lots of clothes. Here, you can purchase any of the t-shirts hanging on the fence for $1.

As you can probably tell, I like old sewing machines. This one comes with a very nice cabinet for $225.

I met lots of friendly people while yard "sailing" this morning. This lady told me about a diary she has that was written in the mid-1800's by a Texas lady that sounded very interesting. 

If you have never been to a yard sale, you have missed one of the more amusing ways to spend a buck or two. You never know what you will find when you start your search and you get an opportunity to see how well you bargain when you think an item is priced too high. There are no rules, and lots of courtesy and fine manners from the sellers and other shoppers, so it can be a wonderful way to spend a morning on a fine September Saturday.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Ancient Hellenistic Faces at San Antonio Musuem of Art

When I have a camera in my hand, I have an obsession to photograph people. However, I feel funny taking pictures of people unless I introduce myself and ask their permission. When that happens, I generally lose the candid and honest emotional shot. I may end up with something usable, but I feel a little sad that I did not get the realism that is possible when the subject is unaware of the lens.

At the San Antonio Museum of Art, I got to photograph a great assortment of faces. The room housing the ancient Greek and Roman work was filled with statues, coins, mosaics and pottery showing the faces of people who lived in a different time. Here are a few of my favorites.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Texas Gets to See Matisse Up Close and Personal

Three artists spent a wonderful morning admiring the San Antonio Museum of Art's special show of a large collection of Henri Matisse's work. They enjoyed having the opportunity to study a great master's work up close, being able to see brush strokes and thickness of paint as well. It was also interesting to see the scale of the different works.

Matisse began to paint in oils in 1889 after an attack of appendicitis. While he was recovering, his mother bought him some paints. He later said,  “From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.” His mother gave him some good advice. She told him not to follow traditional rules of art. Instead, she suggested he listen to his emotions.

Her advice speaks to the author of this blog, too, since I have a strong adversion to being bound by rules, conventions and traditions. 

For my readers who have an interest in art, here are a few of the paintings which I especially admired, along with some close-ups so you, too, can get a better sense of Matisse's brush strokes and colors. 


1921 or 1922