Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day Weekend 2016

Hey! Hope everyone had a good weekend! We had fun.  On Friday night we had a pretty good chicken dinner from Central Market and just sorta went to bed early.  I don't really remember anything other than going to Central Market to get food and then eating it later.
On Saturday morning I got up and fed Raylan some breakfast while trying to let Amy sleep in a few extra minutes. 
 
(Father-Son breakfast.  As usual, Raylan seems extremely amused by my
efforts at solo parenting)

After breakfast I took Raylan to his Little Gym class while Amy ran an errand or two.  It was fun!  This was Raylan's third gym class, and he seems to really be enjoying it.  He already has a surprising amount of confidence while crawling about on the mats and equipment, and he sort of/kind of interacts with the other kids a bit (or at least watches what they're up to).  He does some rolls and basic tumbling, and they sing little songs and stuff.  It's fun.
 

("My actual grandma isn't here, lady, but you'll do.
Check out my climbing moves...")



("If I've ever seemed standoffish during gym class, please forgive me.
You had me at 'bubbles'".)
Saturday afternoon Amy made a key lime pie (yeah!), and I played with Raylan.  I ran an errand, and we both worked out. 
My parents came over Saturday afternoon and picked up Raylan to take him to their house for the night.  He gets excited to see them, so it makes it easier to let him go to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the evening.
Amy and I went out to dinner with our friends Shelly and Kit at Din Ho.  Really good Chinese food.  Probably some of the best that I've had in Austin, for sure.  Afterward we went to play trivia at the Opal Divine's up north.  We met up with Kellie and Tommy for that.  It was fun!
So we had a good night out and went home and crashed into bed about 4 hours later than usual, for us.
The next morning we went out for breakfast and went grocery shopping.
Afterwards we both worked out, and then we went out to my parents' house.
It was a really nice afternoon!
We took Raylan to the pool.  Then Mom and Dad picked Raylan up and Amy and I got to hang out by the pool for a while, sans toddler.
We went back to their house to shower and change clothes and had a BBQ dinner from Rudy's.
For dessert we ate Amy's key lime pie, which was excellent.



("Dad, first Grandma and Grandpa picked me up, and then
we went to the pool, and then I we played with toys,
and then I read a book, and then I ate some food, and then-"

(Dad, Raylan, and I in a quick, pre-swimming
snapshot) 

Then we went home that evening, put Raylan to bed, and watched Game of Thrones


We got up this morning, and I took Raylan to daycare and dropped him off.  He seemed happy to be back at school and playing with his friends.


 


 


 


 Hope everyone had a good weekend!


 


 


Monday, June 13, 2016

Update

Hey!  Sure was hot and muggy in Austin this weekend.  We had a pretty good weekend, but I'm not sure where it went.
Friday night Amy made a pineapple-soy sauce chicken dish.  Pretty tasty.
Saturday we got up and I went to the store while Amy took Raylan to his class at The Little Gym.  Sounds like they had fun.  Amy and I both worked out.
In the afternoon we took Raylan to Petsmart.  It was pretty fun.  He got to see birds and rodents and lizards and fish.  He really liked the fish.


Saturday night we got Torchy's for dinner, and passed out early.
Raylan's had sort of an upset stomach lately, so he hasn't been sleeping super well.  So we've all been a little tired.

On Sunday we got up and walked down to Central Market for breakfast.
Afterward we did some shopping and wandered around the store.
In the afternoon and evening we went to Steiner to visit my parents and have dinner.  It was nice and relaxing.
Ryan is in Ireland for a work conference. We wish him safe travels.
Also, on Sunday we learned about the mass shooting in Orlando with 50 dead.  It's horrible.  Something has to be done to curb the gun violence.  It's just too easy for people to get their hands on powerful weapons.  And I have a hard time feeling like we're living in a civilized society when the only response to madmen with guns is to tell other people that they're responsible for carrying guns themselves.  Is the theory that we'd all be safer if everyone was always ready for a firefight?  Something has to change.

That's it.  Hope everyone had a good weekend (national news notwithstanding).


 

Monday, June 06, 2016

Update

Hello! Hope everyone is having a good time sliding into summer!  We had a nice weekend.  Fairly low key, but it was good.  We finally got some sunshine on Sunday, and it was awesome.


On Friday we didn't do much.  I ended up working sort of late, and my mom took care of Raylan during the day because he seemed to have a bit of a cold or something.
Thanks, Grandma!
Amy made some really good Mexican style stuffed peppers for dinner!  Yum!
On Saturday we took Raylan to a class at The Little Gym first thing in the morning.  He was sort of freaked out and a little shy at first, but eventually he warmed up to the whole experience and had a good time.  He was in a class with just two other little boys and their parents.  He did a little tumbling, walked on a balance beam, played with balls, and just sort of got used to some of the other gym equipment (i.e., bars, rings, etc.).  He seemed to have fun, and Amy and I both enjoyed ourselves.
After the gym we hit a neighborhood yard sale and got some Raylan stuff (tiny table!).
Amy and I both worked out and Raylan napped.
I got a haircut and ran some errands.



"Naw, I don't need to ask for directions!  I only missed one turn. 
Let me just hook a little U-turn here..."


We learned on Saturday that Muhammad Ali had passed away on Friday night.  I own a copy of When We Were Kings, a documentary about the 1974 "rumble in the jungle",  world championship bout between Foreman and Ali.  It's a great film (won an Oscar), and it does a good job of portraying the larger-than-life figure of Muhammad Ali.  While I know that the man was controversial, I've always been impressed by the fact that, to me, it seemed like Muhammad Ali was determined to use his influence in ways that would make positive changes in the world.  You can quibble about whether he was correct about details or specific points of view, but, on the whole, Ali took a stand for improvements in the life of African Americans (and all Americans and people around the world), was an outspoken advocate for peace, and a staunch humanitarian.  He stood by his principles even when they put his career at risk.
Now that we live in an era when so many celebrities seem to measure their influence through the size of their mansions and yachts, it's good to be reminded of a figure who measured his success by way of the amount of positive change that he could bring about in the world.
At any rate, When We Were Kings is a really good documentary.  Even if you're not a boxing fan, it's a fascinating story.  Highly recommend.

On Sunday morning we went out for breakfast at Kerbey Lane.  Although I fed him when he got up (waffle, yogurt, fruit), Raylan happily scarfed down a second breakfast of eggs, biscuit, potatoes, and milk.  There were lots of dogs and babies on the patio, so Raylan was entertained.

"When, oh when, will my second breakfast arrive?!?!"

As we were leaving Kerbey, a guy walked up to me and introduced himself.  His name was Dan, and he had been a friend of a friend some 15 years back.  Anyway, I only vaguely remembered him, but at some point, back when I was a defense attorney, I had helped out his sister with some sort of minor misdemeanor case.  We had gotten her into a program where she did some counseling and/or classes, and eventually her case got dismissed.  So he came up to me just to say that his sister was now doing well, and had sort of gotten her life back on track and gone to college after that incident.
It was nice to be thanked, of course, and I told him that it's always good to hear that sometimes the system works.
As we were leaving afterward, I couldn't help by think about the fact that I'm now a prosecutor, but I was a defense attorney at the time.  Did I help people more as a defense attorney than I do now?
I hope I'm not rationalizing in order to justify my current existence, but I don't think so.
Defense attorneys have one-on-one, direct interaction with clients, so they get the personal gratitude and the warm, fuzzy moments, but, honestly, the job of a defense attorney is simply to beat the case.  Defense attorneys aren't tasked with making sure that the defendant actually learns anything or changing their life as a result of their experience in the justice system.  The job of a prosecutor is a little more complicated, and a lot more thankless.
If a defense attorney can beat a drug possession case in a way that allows their client to go free without dealing having their client deal with their addiction or chemical dependence issue or whatever, a defense attorney is obligated to seek that result, if that is what their client wants.  The attorney might be afraid for their client's wellbeing, but, ethically, their job is to advocate for the "best result" for their client, which typically means the result that their client to achieve (and criminal defendants are notoriously short-term thinkers).
In Dan's sister's case, it was actually the willingness of the prosecutor to allow her to take a track that allowed her to get her case dismissed, but while still insisting that she remain in  a program that required some level of culpability that probably brought about real change (if Dan was correct, and the case had proven to be an actual turning point for his sister).
Anyway, the gratitude just made me think.  I do miss those moments of client interaction sometimes.  It's harder to see the impact that you have on people when you're a prosecutor, and few defendants are going to heap thanks upon the person who made them do counseling and/or think about changing their life.  But if I didn't think it was important, I wouldn't be doing it.

Anyway, after breakfast I went to the grocery store.
In the afternoon we tried to go to Garrison Park Pool, but it was closed.  We ended up at a splash pad over in Bouldin.  It was nice!!  Raylan seemed to really enjoy it.  That boy loves him some water. 
There was a nearby playground, as well.


Moms, swapping notes.  Kids being kids.



Afterward we headed home.  Once we were dried off, Uncle Ryan stopped by for a few minutes and we read some books.  It was good to see him.  He's heading off to Ireland for a conference next week.


After dinner we watched Game of Thrones.
And that was it!  Nice weekend!
Hope everyone has a good week!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day

Hey! How's it going? Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend! 
Amy and I had the second half of last week off from work for vacation.  We had planned a trip to Tullum, Mexico, a month ago, but then we cancelled it because it looked like it was going to rain the whole time that we were gonna be down there.  We rescheduled it for a month, but by the time the trip rolled around this time we just had a hard time leaving Raylan behind for a week, so we ended up cancelling it again.  It might sound weird that we had planned to go on the trip a month earlier and then ended up cancelling, but, as crazy as it sounds, during that one month timeframe Raylan really became more aware of his surroundings and of the people coming and going out of his daily life.  Suddenly he started calling out to us when we showed up to pick him up from daycare and running over to greet us.  He started watching us leave and sometimes waving goodbye to us when we left.
Basically, suddenly we felt like we were going to be missed in a way that probably wouldn't have been as much of an issue the month before.
So we stayed in Austin, took time off work, and had a staycation.
And it was fun!
Raylan still spent a couple of days with my parents, so Amy and I still got to do some grownup stuff, and we both got a needed break from work.
On Wednesday we played with Raylan for a lot of the day.  I know I read him a lot of books.  He demands books these days.  To be honest, I'm not sure what we did on Wednesday.  But we did not work.
On Thursday my mom and dad came and picked up Raylan in the morning.  Amy and I went to the gym and ran some errands and went to see The Jungle Book.  We both really enjoyed it.  It was a fun movie.  Definitely a worthy successor to the animated version that I remember watching as a kid.
On Thursday night we went out for dinner at a restaurant called aRoma Italian Kitchen on South Lamar.  Dinner was good!  The restaurant was nice, the food was tasty, and the service was good.  They have wood fired pizzas and other Italian foods along with a pretty respectable wine and beer selection.  We had a nice evening there.




(I love Raylan, but you know what you don't get
with a toddler around?  This!!)

On Friday we ran some errands during the day, exercised, and relaxed.  I got to play my guitar for a little while.  Amy worked on some needlepoint while I went to see Captain America: Civil War.
I enjoyed it.  It was basically a fun action-adventure, popcorn flick, but the plot, centered around who should shoulder the responsibility and blame when superhuman battles inflict sizable collateral casualties, was grounded enough to keep the movie from devolving into a completely ridiculous superhero joyride.
Friday night we went to see B.J. Barnum at Strange Brew.  Barnum is the lead singer of American Aquarium, a band I had previously seen at SXSW and at one of the smaller stages at ACL Fest.
For the Strange Brew show he played a solo, acoustic singer-songwriter set, playing a bunch of tunes from a solo record that he plans to release later this summer, mixed in with some American Aquarium songs more typically plays with the band.

BJ Barnum


The show was good!  Barnum's new album, and much of his music in general, deals with the trials and tribulations of working class life as a Southerner in modern America.  He's good at conjuring up images and evoking emotion.  He kind of reminds me of Bruce Springsteen with a bit of North Carolina twang.
Anyway, the show was really good.  The music was good, and Barnum was a funny, engaging performer.


("While Mom and Dad were on vacation, I had my own vacation at the
ranch house with Grandma and Grandpa!")

On Saturday we went out to Steiner Ranch to pick up Raylan.  We also took him to the pool.  He'd been to a pool before, but last summer he was so little that he didn't really know what was going on.  This summer he loved it.  We were a little afraid that the water would be too cold or that he would be freaked out by the bigger kids or whatever, but- nope.  He wanted to play in the water and on the splash pad and in the kid pool.  The family pool in Steiner Ranch near my parents' house is really nice, and it has all kids of features for kids.  Raylan had a blast.  The water was a little bit cold after the recent rains, but he wanted to stay in- up to and beyond the point where his lips started to turn blue.

("Mom, are you seeing this?!")

Mom and Dad took Raylan back to their house once he was worn out, and Amy and I got to hang out at the pool by ourselves for a little while.  Afterward we went back to their house and had a really nice dinner of salmon burgers, corn, salad, etc.  Thanks so much to Mom and Dad!
Saturday night we watched an episode of Silicon Valley.

On Sunday we ran some errands.  We took Raylan to the store with us.  In the afternoon, Jamie and Ryan came over and we headed over to Doc's, a beer and burgers place near our house that has a big playground out back.  We got to take turns watching Raylan and taking him to the playground while visiting with Ryan and Jamie.  It was fun.  It was nice to see them.  Seems like it had been a while.
Later in the afternoon we played in the backyard a bit.


("I'm back at the fancy pool!  I'm back at the fancy pool!!")






Sunday night we watched Jupiter Ascending.  Having read the reviews when it was released, I was prepared for a total train wreck.  Instead, I thought it was just a mediocre science fiction movie with some good ideas, amazing visuals, and an inability to deliver on its potential.  I actually liked the overall plot (featuring a wealthy, space-dwelling aristocracy that seeds planets with humans so that they can later be harvested in order to produce life-prolonging materials).  The writers mostly failed by way of dialogue, character development, and a compulsion to hastily and overzealously explain every potentially wondrous thing in the movie.  With some relatively minor tweaks, this could have been a classic.  Instead it sort of fell flat.
On Monday it rained in the morning.  In the afternoon we went back out to Steiner Ranch and went to the pool.  Once again, Raylan liked it.  More kicking, laughing, smiling, and playing.  The weather was nice, which was amazing, given that we had woken up to a morning of storms.
Monday night we watched Game of Thrones while Raylan slept.  It was good.


And that was the staycation!  It was fun.  It was actually really nice to have time off from work without having to deal with the hassle of travelling somewhere, packing, unpacking, etc.  Also, we got spend time with Raylan, my folks, and Ryan and Jamie. 
We had a nice, relaxing time.


Now... back... to... work...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Update

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Ours was pretty mellow, but good.
On Friday we didn't do much.  We hung out and watched some TV.


On Saturday morning we went to Strange Brew for the kiddie show and saw The Que Pastas.  They must be popular on the kid music circuit because the place was packed.  Raylan had a blast.  He wandered around, bounced up and down a lot, and occasionally even bounced to the music.
The Que Pastas

(Here's a pic of Raylan trying to place his
first order at a bar.
"Hey!  Down here!  Can I get some whole
milk, please?")   



Saturday also involved some walks and a brief trip to the park (pretty soggy from our recent rain).  We also went grocery shopping together.  Raylan was good, and seemed to enjoy being out and about for the shopping experience. 
Amy made fish sandwiches for dinner.  Tasty.

("Eat your food!!!!!")


On Sunday we went out for breakfast to Juan in a Million.  We shared our Don Juan tacos with Raylan, which he seemed to enjoy, and he smiled at our waitress.  I've been eating at Juan in a Million since at least law school (so a couple of decades), and until I had a toddler I never knew that they opened at 7:00 a.m.!  Raylan has taught us a lot about the early morning weekend community here in Austin... 




There was some afternoon playtime with Raylan.




Amy's friend, Emily stopped by to hang out.  She spent some time with Amy and Raylan, and I took the opportunity to sneak out to run an errand at the mall.  Apparently Emily also got roped into reading some books to Raylan.  Raylan seemed to take to Emily right away, but even if there had been any doubt, reading to him has become a pretty surefire way to earn his favor...

("Well, yes, I doooo like this book, Emily.
Read it again!!)


I went over to Reed's house and played music with him, although we didn't have a full blown band practice.  It was fun, and I think we sounded good.  It was also nice to have a chance just to catch up with Reed.


Amy made a Mexican crockpot chicken dish on Sunday night.  It was really good.


We also watched Game of Thrones on Sunday.  Hodor died in a way that vindicated him after being a fairly one note (and, in my opinion slightly annoying) background character for many seasons.  It was one of those episodes that reminds you why you started watching the show in the first place.


And that was our weekend!


Hope everyone had a good one.





 


 


 


 


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Update

Well, our weekend was pretty good!
Saturday involved shopping and running errands and stuff.
Saturday night Amy made chicken enchiladas.  They were good.  I think we watched a couple episodes of The Night Manager.
Sunday we went out for breakfast.  Raylan has gotten pretty used to strollering down to Central Market.  Apparently, he likes their eggs.


We played outside.  Amy and I tried (semi successfully) to convince Raylan that water-filled Tupperware is just as fun as muddy puddles.


We played in Raylan's room and took a slightly belated 12 month photo.

(Raylan, spinning his "vinyl")
If you take enough pictures, Raylan will climb into your lap and
demand to see that gadget that you've been clicking

We also me up with some friends, Libby and Jordan, at Radio, a coffee shop in the neighborhood.  Very nice to see them.

Sunday evening we watched Game of Thrones after Raylan was asleep.  Amy put together a wagon for him that Jean had gotten him.


And that was our weekend!  Hope yours was good!
 


 


 


 


 


 

Monday, May 09, 2016

Update

Hey! How was the weekend? Good?
Ours has been pretty good.  My parents are off vacationing and adventuring in Peru, and Amy's mom, Jean, has been in town visiting us since Wednesday.
Hopefully she is having a good visit!  We've been enjoying having her.  Raylan is definitely enjoying his Nana time!


On Friday afternoon I had Mental Health Court.  It's sort of an informal treatment court where we have defendants come check in so we can see how they're doing and make sure that they're taking care of themselves and staying out of trouble.  Next door in Court 6, during the same time slot, Project Engage takes place.  It's a caseload for youthful offenders.  This week they had Guy Forsyth come and play some music and talk to the kids.  I've seen Guy Forsyth a number of times over the years.  He's a really good musician and singer.  It was nice of him to come out and support the program.  I'm not sure his music was entirely the sort of thing that the kids in the program were typically into, but some of them definitely seemed to enjoy it.  The lawyers and judges who stopped by to listen definitely enjoyed it.


Guy Forsyth plays Project Engage

On Friday night we ordered some Thai food and mostly just hung out.
On Saturday morning we got up, and I ran to the store and ran an errand or two.  We all took turns working out and Raylan wrangling, and then, after lunch, we headed out to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  It was a pretty nice day for it.




(Raylan leads the way)



There is a children's interactive exhibit at the Wildflower Center featuring watering holes.  It was sponsored by the memorial fund created in Jeff Wilson's name after he passed away, and the exhibit has a sign bearing his name.  It was sort of a bittersweet moment watching Raylan happily play in the water at the exhibit and explore the place.  Jeff passed away ten years ago this summer.  That seems unreal to me.  He was a great friend, and I still miss him all of the time.  I wish he could have met Raylan and Amy. 
The watering hole feature is great, though, and I know it would have made Jeff laugh and smile to watch Raylan crazily scrambling around the place, playing with the water and watching it pour out of the fountain and through the rocks.
The Wildflower Center is great.  We all really enjoyed Jeff's exhibit and the whole place.  We need to go back again soon and bring more sunscreen! 


(Let me go, Mom!  I got this!!)






Mom explains fish and plants and creeks and ponds.

On Saturday night, after we had gotten home and gotten Raylan fed and put to bed, Amy made turkey burgers. Very good!
On Sunday morning we went out for an early Mother's Day breakfast at Kerbey Lane.  There were a couple of tables that just had dads with little kids in tow, but with no moms to be seen.  I guess as Raylan gets older I'll see if Amy wants to celebrate being a mom by getting a break from kid duty.
But we had a nice time having breakfast together!  I enjoyed it, and I hope she did, too, seeing as how it was Mother's Day!


Mother and daughter supermom team!



After breakfast we went for a walk and hung out at the park for a while.  Raylan ran around, enjoying all of the attention.





After the park I picked up some childproof latches at Home Depot and installed them in the kitchen.  Now that Raylan is walking around and getting into everything, it seemed pretty important to get them installed.
After that, I worked out and went to visit Ryan and Jamie.
Amy and Jean went shopping with Raylan.
For dinner we had barbecue chicken tacos.
Amy might be coming down with a cold again, so she went to bed pretty early.  I didn't stay up very late, either.


By the way, Raylan did some dancing this weekend!  He's always liked music, and for quite some time he's been bouncing up and down in my arms for certain songs, but now that he can walk, I decided to play one of his favorite songs for him, and he bounces up and down to it with a big smile on his face!


Just for the record, the first song that Raylan ever danced to was Manila by Seelenluft.  For some reason he seems to love this song.  It came on when we were in the car one day on the way to daycare, and I could see him bouncing back and forth in his car seat to it, so I found it on Spotify and started playing it for him.  Seems to make him happy.





And that was pretty much our weekend!  Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers!  I exchanged emails with my mom in Peru.  Sounds like she's having fun.  And it's been good having Jean here for a visit!