Monday, October 24, 2016


Hey! How's everyone doing?
Fall is falling!
Well, in Austin we've dipped below temperatures that are in the 90's, so that's about as close as we get!
We had a few hiccups this weekend, but, overall, it was still a nice couple of days.
Friday night Amy went out and had some wine and appetizers with Shelly and Emily, a couple of her friends from work, while Raylan and I had father-son night at home (which, it turns out, is a lot like every other night, except, perhaps, with a few less vegetables for dinner).
After Raylan was in bed, I took the chance to engage in a non-Amy activity: watching a horror movie on HBO.  I watched Jeepers Creepers.  It's kind of dumb, but still fun.  It was the second time that I've seen it.
Ryan and Jamie and I have been watching "spooky" movies once a week during October (Amy is, I think, relieved that I have found someone else to watch them, given that she doesn't really like them, and I have a tendency to try to pressure her into watching them with me around Halloween).
Anyway, it's been fun to watch them with Ryan and Jamie, and on Friday night we were having nice, cool weather, so, even though I was alone, it was fun to have the windows open, Raylan in bed, the Halloween decorations lit up, and a scary movie on TV.
On Saturday morning we woke up and Raylan had some kind of toddler mystery goop in his eye, which also seemed a little irritated and pink.
Fearing pink eye, I took him over to the Austin Regional Clinic.  It turned out that he didn't have pink eye, but he did have an ear infection.  Wheeeee!  Anyway, we got him some amoxicillin and started him on it, even though he seemed like he was doing pretty well.
We watched the UT-Kansas State football game, and Shelly and Kit came over to watch.  Amy made queso.
It was fun to have Shelly and Kit over, but the game was pretty bad.  UT played pretty poorly.  They had a sort of rally toward the end of the game, which, in a way, was even more frustrating because it sort of demonstrated that they had been underperforming throughout much of the rest of the game.
But, it was fun to see Shelly and Kit.

Raylan shows Kit how to play Raylanball

At some point Amy took Raylan to the park for a bit, as well.
"I'm steering!  I'm steering!!"
Sometime toward the end of the football game Raylan started showing signs that he wasn't feeling great.  He wouldn't really nap, he started getting cranky, and he had head congestion (I'll spare you the details). 
Anyway, we were supposed to go to have dinner with the Shaw family that night, but we ended up cancelling because Raylan seemed worn out and sort of sick, and we didn't want to push our luck.  It was a bummer.  We'd been looking forward to dinner with the Shaws, and I'd even bought some Star Trek beer to bring over for the occasion!  Hopefully we can reschedule.
Anyway, instead of the fun Shaw dinner I went to the grocery store while Amy watched Raylan.

On Sunday we went out to Steiner Ranch to go to their pumpkin patch.  The whole family went!
It was a pretty brief trip, but fun.  They had some booths set up to sell treats, do crafts, and play games.  Proceeds went to the Dell Children's Hospital and other charities.

Ryan and Jamie sat here for 8 hours debating which pumpkin to get...


There was a giant pumpkin that you could guess the weight of in order to win a prize.  Raylan was strangely attracted to it and kept running over to stand beneath it with his hands on it (like some weird form of toddler vegetable-idol worship).
"Dad, I'm not sure I should be sitting on this
pumpkin.  I think it could be important..."

Arts and crafts with Mom and Grandma

After the pumpkin patch we had lunch over at Mom and Dad's house, and then we took Raylan home for a nap.  He slept for quite a while.

There was a brief trip to the park after that, and then I went over to Reed's house where we had Wastewood practice and drank the Star Trek beer that had been intended for our ill-fated dinner.  We had a good practice.  We played a lot of music.

And that was pretty much the weekend.
As usual, it went by really fast!

Thanks to shelly and Kit for coming over, the Shaw family for trying to have us over (and having me for band practice), and Mom and Dad for buying us a pumpkin and feeding us lunch!

Have a good week!






Monday, October 17, 2016


Hey! Hope everyone had a good weekend.  Ours was nice.

Friday night we ate pizza and then I think I just drank some beer and played guitar after Raylan was in bed.  Amy did some stitching, I think.  On Saturday I went grocery shopping in the morning and ran some errands while Amy took Raylan to the park.  Amy exercised, and in the afternoon I got an oil change and ran a few more errands.  We took turns playing with Raylan.
Saturday night we had a babysitter (one of the teachers from Raylan's daycare), and we went out to dinner and then went to a party that Ryan and Jamie threw.
The party was fun.  We got to catch up with some old friends, watch the UT-Iowa State game, and have a few treats.  Our friend D.K. was there, and even though I work at the courthouse with her, I really haven't had a chance to talk to her in a long time, so that was good.
We also got to wish Matt and Nicole congratulations on their engagement.
So it was a fun party!  Thanks to Ryan and Jamie for hosting.

On Sunday we went out to Steiner Ranch.
John and Julie Bridenstine were in town with their kids, Ben, Brandy, and Beau.  They went to the UT game and stayed with my parents.
It was great to see them!  Their kids seemed really excited to meet Raylan.  Raylan seemed slightly intimidated by the bigger kids at first, but he warmed up to them very quickly.  He was following Beau around by the time we left.
"I'm showing these guys how my stuff works, Dad,"

Continuing a lifelong tradition of semi-chaotic meals
when our families get together
Beau explains to Raylan the importance of a good stick

After breakfast and some time hanging out with John, Julie, and the kids we headed home so Raylan could take a nap.  Except he didn't want to take a nap.
We tried and tried to get him to go down, but it didn't happen.
We had planned to go to a pumpkin patch out in Bastrop in the afternoon with our friends Adam and Katie and their daughter, Ophelia, but Raylan's schedule got all out of whack, and it was a lot warmer out than we expected.
Instead, we ended up going to an event in Hyde Park that was, as far as we knew, just a tour of a fire engine at the local fire station.  Instead, it turned out be a costume parade with not only a fire engine, but also a live band and food provided by local businesses.  Raylan got not one but two balloons!
We met up with Adam, Katie, and Ophelia, but we lost track of them somewhere along the parade route, and I guess they ended up going home (maybe Ophelia wasn't down for all of the excitement).
We also hung out with Chad and Mary and Truett and ran into Heather and Otto and Katarina, J.R., and Logan.  So all of the kiddos from the Environmental Protection Division baby class of 2014-15 were in attendance!
The event was fun, but a little bit crowded and crazy.  We were all there, but I'm not sure we all hung out with each other (although we all visited a bit at different points in time).

(If you look very closely at this picture you might be able
to spot Amy and Raylan watching the band)

(a moment of recognition between Logan and Raylan)

After the parade/costume contest/fire engine show, we walked over to see Chad and Mary's new house in Hyde Park.  It's a really cool house in a very nice neighborhood.  It's a really nice place, and it sounds like they have some plans to make some improvements, as well, before they move in.
Raylan and Truett had a lot of fun running around the empty house, playing with each other, and roaming around the yard.

("If you really put your back into it, Truett, you can
make sure the mini blinds don't get away.")


("Truett, are you just gonna sit there or are you gonna help me try to
break some more stuff?")

 In the evening we went home and got Raylan dinner, a bath, and bed.  He collapsed hard.
Amy made some delicious pasta.  Yum!!
We watched Westworld and called it a night.

That was our weekend.  It was nice! 




Monday, October 10, 2016

ACL Fest, 2016

Hey!  Well, this weekend marked the15th Austin City Limits Music Festival, and, consequently, my 15th year of attending the event.
It's sort of crazy to think back on all of the years that I've gone to ACL.  There have been so many changes in that time- changes in my life, changes in the lives of friends, changes in the festival itself, changes in the music scene that the festival is intertwined with, and changes to the City of Austin.
And yet, some things have remained pretty constant.  The energy level always remains pretty high, there are always some acts worth seeing, the beer always remains a little overpriced, and, despite grumbling on some years about the weather or the lineup or the sound engineering or whatever, I'm always glad that I went.
I went with Frank again this year.  Thanks to him for going!  I think we're both pretty thankful to our wives and our families for allowing us the chance to get out and go!
Here's the lineup of what I saw:

Weekend 2

Bad Suns (partial), The Wombats
The Front Bottoms, Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes, Banks & Steelz
The Strumbellas (good!), Chairlift
The Struts
Corinne Bailey Rae, Flying Lotus

Margaret Glaspy
DJ Mustard
LL Cool J feat. DJ Z-Trip
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
Blue Healer, Cage the Elephant
Conor Oberst

Pete Yorn
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Willie Nelson
HAIM (partial)
LCD Soundsystem

The Strumbellas were really good and pretty funny.  Bombino was good.
Radiohead played a really great show.

On Saturday, Margaret Glaspy was good.  LL Cool J played a good set (do NOT call it a comeback), Blue Healer was interesting (really liked some songs- others less so), and Conor Oberst was good, even if he was really angry about everything from Donald Trump to the volume of the bands on neighboring stages to the reliance of Millenials on the Internet.  It was fun to watch LL Cool J lay down old school, analog hip hop (his DJ used actual record turntables).  They could throw in a bit of improvisation that the younger, computer-driven hip hop artists couldn't match.

On Sunday pretty much everything was really good.  Pete Yorn played some good ol' fashioned straight ahead Americans roots rock.  Nathaniel Rateliff laid down some soulful, funky, bluesy tunes (moments of conjuring Van Marrison).  Willie Nelson played and sang an hour set that was far better than any of us had a right to expect or hope for (it was better than even some of the television appearances that I've seen him in in recent years).
And LCD Soundsystem just played a nonstop, high octane set that kept the audience dancing throughout the whole thing.
Sunday was a very good day for music.  And we had great weather, too.

Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes

My parents spent some time with Raylan this weekend so Amy wouldn't be stuck doing solo parenting all weekend.  It sounds like he had a good time.  And he got a haircut!




Frank at the gates

Margaret Glaspy

LL Cool J

Conor Oberst

Central Market breakfast

Earning my "Dad of the Year" award at Dick Nichols Park

Pete Yorn

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

LCD Soundsystem 



















Monday, October 03, 2016


So we had a pretty good weekend!
On Thursday I helped a couple of other friends from work in throwing an office baby shower for our friends Libby and Jordan.  Libby is in the trial division with me, and we've been friends for years.  Her husband, Jordan, is in the domestic violence division in our office.  They're good folks, so we got some snacks and desserts and threw a little shower for them.  Amy and I got them a book (Jazz Baby) and a hat and a towel.  Also, most importantly, Amy's mom, Jean, gave a really nice quilt for us to pass along to them that she had made.  They seemed to really like it and appreciate it.

(Ain't no party like an alcohol-free, office conference
room baby-havin' party!)

On Friday night Mom and Dad kept Raylan overnight, so Amy and I went to Cypress Grill for a couple of beers and some tasty Cajun food.  I had blackened catfish with etoufee and Amy had trout meuniere (I think).  We both had gumbo.
Anyway, it was a nice dinner, and a nice evening.  Thanks to Mom and Dad for giving us the gift of some grown up time!  I love Raylan to death, but I love Amy, too, and it was really nice to have some time alone with her.

On Saturday we got to sleep in a little bit.  Then we spent some time running a couple of errands, cleaning up, and setting up Halloween decorations.
Mom and Dad showed up before the UT-OSU game started at 11:00 to bring back Raylan and watch the game.
The game turned out to be pretty terrible.  Despite having two weeks off since losing to Cal, and despite every media source in Texas crying out for substantial changes to the Texas defense (and many calls for the replacement of Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford), Texas continued to look every bit as bad as they had in the Cal game, with defense being the worst part of the problem.
In short, hope dwindled, and it's starting to look like UT isn't going to be much improved over the last couple of years.  Charlie Strong's position is in serious jeopardy.
No one really wants Strong removed, but the University of Texas sinks too much money and energy into its football program to tolerate underachievement and mediocre results for significant periods of time.  
Strong was brought in with the expectation that he would be able to turn the team around and produce some significant results in a relatively short order (as he had done at Louisville).  He's in his third season, and that doesn't seem to be happening.  He doesn't need to hit it out of the park this year, but he needs to have a pretty good season, and that's looking increasingly less likely.
Anyway, the game was pretty bad, but it was fun to hang out with Mom and Dad.  We ate some pizza and had a chance to catch up.

(Spooktacular Halloween decorations!)

Later on Saturday afternoon we took Raylan to Dick Nichols Park for a bit.  We had fun, but he found the splash pad pretty quickly (which he's drawn to like a bear to honey), so our trip was cut a little short on account of soaking wet toddler.

Sunday we got up and walked down to Central Market for breakfast.  Beautiful weather.  Afterward we hung out for just a little bit at the house.


Then we went to the zoo.  We got there pretty early, which was nice because it wasn't crowded and the animals were up and about.
Raylan was really excited to be there.  It was fun.

("Ok, here's some stuff to eat.  After that, I get to ride you...")

We fed the goats, rode the train, and saw the lions, bears, and tiger.  Also saw a pig eating.  
And fans.  Raylan's toddler brain is obsessed with fans.  A number of the enclosures are equipped with electric fans to keep the animals cool in the summer, and Raylan was every bit as excited about the fans as he was the animals.  He also liked the cars in the parking lot.

("Cheerios and a train?  Okay, I can work with you guys on this.")

In the afternoon we all went to the grocery store together.  It was a circus, but Raylan enjoyed the trip.
Mandy was at ACL Fest (weekend 1- I'm planning on attending weekend 2 next week), so we went over to feed her dogs, Lucy and Darla.  Darla is younger than Cassidy and doesn't mind toddlers as much, so it's fun for Raylan to get to see her.

And that was pretty much the weekend!
It was a nice one with beautiful weather.  It went by too fast!





Monday, September 26, 2016


Hey!Hope everyone had a good weekend!
Ours was pretty nice, but sort of busy with little chores and stuff.
I got home Friday night after picking up Raylan.  Amy was working a little bit late.  I took him out in the  back yard, and after running around for a little bit, he managed to sort of tumble onto his head on our back patio (while chasing after Cassidy, who was trying to hop away from him as quickly as her old, three-legged self could move).
So we went back inside. 
Apparently Raylan's bump on the head, unexpectedly, resulted in a sudden ability to read!

Raylan peruses some catalogs during dinner

Friday nightI don't think we did a whole lot.  We ate Chinese food and went to bed fairly early.
On Saturday we got up and went to the 2016 NAMI walk.  I try to do the NAMI walk every year.  Mental illness is a challenging thing to have to deal with for both individuals and their families.  I have a job which is kind of weird, since I prosecute cases that involve people who are struggling with mental illness, but the whole point of my position is strive for a level of empathy and understanding in dealing with these cases that might not happen in the regular court system.
It's tough to balance community safety with compassion for people who have legitimate, difficult health issues, but I enjoy my job, and I definitely want to try to approach it from a place where I strive to understand the issues on all sides.
NAMI provides support for those with mental illness and their families.  It's a great organization, and I'm happy to support it.
So we met up with Melissa, the director of the Mental Health Public Defender's Office, and her family, and walked the 5K loop from Auditorium Shores up to the Capitol and back.

Here's Raylan getting ready for the walk.  He looooves it when you tell
him he has to ride in the stroller instead of running around.  ;-)

Amy and Raylan on the South 1st Bridge over Ladybird Lake

South Congress

In the afternoon we were at home.  Raylan ate lunch and took a nap and played a bit.  Amy took care of some chores.  I spent some time putting together a new bathroom cabinet that Amy had ordered online.  As usual with those sorts of jobs, it ended up taking longer than I expected.
We also went for a walk or two and there may or may not have been an impromptu trip to Dairy Queen for some ice cream (which may or may not have been precipitated by some shameless whining on my part).
Anyway, I ended up working out in the evening.

On Sunday we got up and went to Snooze.  Afterwards we all went grocery shopping together.  Raylan seems to sort of get a kick out of going  to the store.
Then there was a walk.

"Dad, you don't think I'm a control freak just because I insist on
steering this thing, do you?"
There was lunch, a Raylan nap, workouts for Amy and I, and a trip to get some Cassidy supplies.   Amy took Raylan to the park for a little bit before it started raining, and I seized the chance for a few minutes of uninterrupted acoustic guitar playing.

Then they came back and we all hung out for a little bit before I headed out for band practice.
Band practice was Reed, Frank, Jim, and I.  We had a good time.
I got home, and for dinner we had a beer-braised crockpot chicken dish that Amy made.  It was really good!
So, nice weekend.  Busy, but not very eventful.  It was a bye weekend for UT, so no football.
My dad had surgery on his foot on Friday.  I've spoken with he and Mom a couple of times, and it sounds like things are going pretty well.
Anyway, we wish him a speedy recovery!

Hope everyone has a good week!





Sunday, September 18, 2016



Our weekend was, with the exception of the UT game, pretty good.
On Friday Mom took care of Raylan, so we met up with her when we got back to our house after work.
On Friday night I think we just ate pizza and watched some Seinfeld.  Last week was a pretty busy week, so we were sort of worn out.
On Saturday we got up, and I went to the store to do some grocery shopping.  Amy did some yard work.  I helped move some bags of leaves and sticks, but she did the lion's share of the clean up before I even got home from the store.  It was hot and humid Saturday, so I gave Raylan a bath afterward (he'd been outside "helping" Amy) and got him some lunch.  Then he took like a three hour nap.
I went to the gym.
When I got back and after Raylan woke up, we piled in the car and headed over to a baby shower in Mueller for our friends Danielle Tierney and Gavin Tabone.  They recently adopted a little girl, Abby, who was really cute.
There were a lot of friends there from the County Attorney's Office and from the DA's office (people who used to work at the CA's office, but who've moved on).  It was a nice get together with food and drinks.  We gave them a gift card and a quilt that Jean had made.  They seemed to really like the quilt!  (thanks, Jean, it was very nice!)
(Given that Abby is not in Longhorn garb on a game day, Raylan
greets her with suspicion)

We didn't stay at the baby shower all that long.  Raylan took a really long nap, so we go there a little late, and then we left as soon as it started showing signs of winding up because we had to get to dinner at Mom and Dad's house.  But it was fun to go, and the people from work enjoyed meeting Raylan (who was pretty well behaved).
Uncle Bob and Aunt Linda were in town from Florida for a visit, so we headed out to Steiner Ranch for a really nice dinner with them and the family (Ryan, Jamie, and Susan were also there).  Mom made chicken enchiladas (with rice and beans and salad).  It was a nice time.  It was good to see Uncle Bob and Aunt Linda and have a chance to talk with them.  Of course, it was fun to see the rest of the family as well.  Raylan ran around and did his best to entertain.
Eventually, after dessert, we left to get Raylan home to put him to bed.
At 9:30 the UT-Cal game started, and I watched that at home.  What a mess.  Texas' defense looked pretty terrible.  Shane Buechele did a decent job, although he made more mistakes than in the previous two games, including throwing at least one costly interception.  Overall, the big problem was the Texas defense, though.  They did nothing to stop the passing attack, and weren't great against the run, either.  While I think he has some raw talent to work with, it doesn't seem like defensive coordinator Vance Bedford is pulling things together.  To be honest, I don't have a lot of confidence that he's capable of rebuilding the defense. 
Also, it was ridiculous for UT to play a game that was scheduled in the evening like that on the west coast.  It had to hurt the television ratings for the game (UT has a big audience, but asking them to stay up that late is asking a lot).  The kickoff for the second half occurred after midnight our time.  Amy made it through the first half (which was after 11:30) and hung out with me, which is way past her usual bed time, so she gets a fan spirit award.  Anyway, they need to do those west coast games as day games.

On Sunday we got up and went out to breakfast at La Posada.  It was pretty good.  Good salsa.
Raylan is hypnotized by the plaster parrot decoration (not pictured) 
After breakfast we went shopping for some Halloween/fall decorations (yea!) and a few things for the house.  We went to At Home, which I guess used to be Garden Ridge.  It was fun to wander around.  Raylan got very excited about the holiday decorations.  He was, surprisingly,  not frightened by even some of the "scarier" Halloween stuff.

("Hey, Dragon, can you come here?  I got a question.")



Sunday afternoon we did some chores and some playing.  Amy and I both worked out.
In the early evening I went to band practice.  We played some old songs and did a little bit of recording.  It felt good.
Amy made red beans and rice with sausage for dinner.  Very good.  We went to bed early.  Because that lame ol' UT game kept us up late the night before (grumble, grumble).
Overall, it was a good weekend.  We had fun at the baby shower for Abby, and it was great to see Uncle bob and Linda!

Have a good week!

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Hey! Hope you guys had a great weekend!
Our week was sort of unusual. We got back into town on Tuesday evening from Phoenix.  Early Thursday morning Amy left for a meeting in Houston for work.  It was an overnight trip with co-workers.  My Mom and Dad took care of Raylan on Thursday during the day, and he spent the night at their house.
Thursday marked the 50th anniversary since the first episode of Star Trek aired, so on Thursday evening Ryan came over and we had a mini Star Trek party.  We drank beer, ate pizza and watched a couple of episodes ("Arena" and "The Enterprise Incident", to be specific).  It was fun to hang out and catch up and revel in some vintage Trek.  Thanks to Ryan for coming by!

This beer was actually pretty good, in addition to
being appropriately festive

Amy got back into town on Friday night.  I had dinner with my parents and Raylan at Central Market, and Amy was home to greet us by the time we returned.  Raylan was very excited to see his mom!
On Saturday we got up and spent a little bit of time outside after breakfast.

"You know what, Dad?  I like to lounge."
In the middle of the morning I headed out to Steiner Ranch.  My parents are converting one of their guest bedrooms into a playroom/bedroom for Raylan with a day bed sort of deal, so we offered to take their barely used, king-sized guest room bed off their hands.  Also, their neighbors, Doug and Nancy, are moving to Sun City in Georgetown, and they had a kitchen table that they were looking to unload.  It's a really nice, table, AND they had access to a free moving truck, courtesy of their realtor.  So Saturday turned into moving day.  Amy had a hair appointment that had already been rescheduled twice, so she headed off to that while Mom and Jamie watched Raylan.  Ryan, Dad, Doug and I moved furniture.  Thanks to Mom and Dad and Doug and Nancy for the nice furniture!  Thanks to Ryan and Jamie for the assist with the moving operation!

Raylan helps supervise the furniture delivery


New eating platform!
Saturday afternoon I got some exercise.  In the evening we watched the UTEP-UT game.  It was sort of a blowout, and UT once again looked pretty solid.  Still, it was fun to watch.

The fall of 2016.  Hopefully both of these signs are backing winners!
On Sunday morning we went to Kerbey for breakfast.  Raylan got up late, so he only got one breakfast this time.  Consequently, he was very focused on his eating.

After breakfast we went to the Austin Zoo.  We met up with Katerina and Logan.  We'd taken Raylan to the zoo once before, but, being older, he was much more interested in the animals this time.

Here Logan looks on in amazement as Raylan laughs at being splashed
by a bathing parrot.  Good times.

Amy tries to restrain Raylan as he charges at the goats

Logan takes things in while Raylan tries to figure out how you ride
these creatures.

Amy taming one of the wildest critters at the zoo

Sunday afternoon we got exercise and Raylan took a nap.  We rearranged toddler car seats, and I took my bike to the repair shop to have the brakes and shifter cables tightened up.
When Raylan woke up we all went to the grocery store together.
The store was a little crowded and crazy, but Raylan seemed to enjoy the outing, and we all had a good time.

Sunday night Amy made pasta with spinach, wine sauce, and sausage.  So gooood.

And that was the weekend.  Busy, but fun!
Have a great week!