I’m not sure how to tell you this Reader, but Danger Kate (my camera) was banished into hiding a few weeks ago.

While I pranced around the Internet for stock images to illustrate this blog, she simply sat on the shelf, bored.

“When are we going on more adventures?” she’d ask me.

“Soon,” I’d mumble, not looking up from Pinterest.

But Danger Kate has made it clear that she would like to rejoin Austin Eavesdropper again.  So I took her down from the shelf, dusted her off, and snapped a few pictures of Claudia for good measure. She will now be accompanying me on future outings.

In the meantime, my trusty little Instagram has been taking her place.

I go through periods of fits and starts with photography, sometimes viewing the whole world as an expectant and photogenic palette, and other times just not wanting to mess with all that. But even though I’ve been photo lazy lately, there have been some interesting moments that I’d like to tell you about.

For one — the 4th of July. My mother-in-law made that tiny, patriotic parfait above on Sunday, and it was so adorable I couldn’t help but break my own preachy rule about “not turning your life into social media material” and bam, doing exactly that.  I mean, the thing was crying out for Instagram immortalization, right?

One of the things I love about my in-laws is that they are very PROUD to be Americans.  They cue up enthusiastic march music on their player piano, they haul out silly American flag-patterned hats, they make red, white and blue desserts. I think sometimes my generation, particularly the college-educated, never-having-gone-through-a-World-War cohort of my generation, feels a shifty relationship to America, and is a little uncomfortable giving unqualified endorsements of our country. At least I feel that way. We joke about defecting to Canada, we are embarrassed for our country sometimes (and sometimes, rightly so), we may adore our American leader but cringe at our equally American Fox News. Or vice-versa.

But deep, deep down, down beneath my liberal arts college cynicism, I know I’ve always felt extremely lucky to be an American. It’s true. I’ve fantasized before about being Italian or British or French, but if I were, how different would my life be without this big Texas sky? Without beat poets? Without Catcher in the Rye and Mad Men and the Velvet Underground and denim and protest songs and NPR and Martin Luther King?

Without — brace yourselves — New Kids on the Block?

(Not to mention those other little things, like free speech, due process, etc.)

Reaching back out to the weekend before this last one, Reader, and I was helping a group of friends make a music video. That lady draped in black above?  She’s the lead singer of A Sky Jet Black. She and I are the main characters of a video for their song “Out to Sea,” and we filmed part of it at Red Bud Isle, which you see cloaked in evening dusk there.  The rest we filmed at my aerial silks studio, because I am aerial dancing in the video!  It comes out in late August, and I can’t wait to see it.  I can’t wait for YOU to see it.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted any videos of me doing silks stuff, and this will be the very first time somebody with a nice camera has captured me doing my thang.

Finally, that gorgeous plate of lettuce you see? Seriously. Only chefs know how to turn lettuce — lettuce — into sexy food.

More specifically, David Bull at Second Bar & Kitchen knows how to do that. I had a happy hour there two weeks ago with some girlfriends, and when he came to visit our table, everybody swooned collectively. Because really, after that lettuce, he had us at hello.