Sunday, July 15, 2018


Hi!  Our weekend was pretty good.  One or two hiccups, but pretty good.

On Friday night Ryan and I went to see The Violent Femmes at the Moody Theater.  Echo & the Bunnymen were the opening act.

The show was good.  I don't think I had ever seen Echo & the Bunnymen before.  They were around when I was growing up, and I had some friends who were pretty into them.  I always found their music pretty good and easy to listen to, but never something that particularly clicked with me.  I remember them resurfacing much later when the movie Donnie Darko came out and their song "The Killing Moon" was featured in and heavily associated with that film.  They put on a pretty good show, though.

Echo & the Bunnymen.
Despite the name, "Bunnymen", there was very little hopping involved.

The Violent Femmes put on a really good, high-energy show.
I first saw them back in around 1993 in San Antonio when I was going to Trinity.  They were one of the archetypical bands of alternative music in the '90's, to be sure.  Gordon Gano's warbling, anxiety-stricken voice  was something that we all related to as he stumbled his way across a variety of subjects, ranging from teenage sexuality and romance to gun violence to taste in music.  Gordon Gano had a voice and guitar ability that made you want to say "Well, I could do that!".  Brian Ritchie's skills on the bass, however, are still downright intimidating to me after more than 25 years of playing bass.
Anyway, the Violent Femmes are a really unique, great, American band.  They're definitely not for everyone, but if you like 'em you probably love 'em.  And I'm here to testify that even after all of these years they still put on a great show.  The audience loved them and they seemed to love the audience.  They even played a version of "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain" because they were playing on Willie Nelson avenue with a statue of the man out front.  Very cool.

The Violent Femmes
On Saturday morning I took Raylan in the car and went out to Steiner to go swimming.  Amy stayed behind because the tile guy was supposed to come and fix our tile.  Long story short, he never showed.  Raylan and I went swimming with Dad, and we had a nice time, but the tile didn't get fixed, and that had to be rescheduled (which was a pain, given the fact that Amy moved a ton of stuff to get it off the floors).
Anyway, we were back home by the afternoon.

Later in the day Ryan stopped by and brought Raylan a wagon.  It's super cool and has seats in it and cupholders and fancy wheels.

A new chariot!  Pull me, slaves!
On Sunday morning Amy went to a baby brunch with her friends Emily and Shelly and their kids, Spencer and Cecilia.  It sounds like she had fun at her brunch.
Meanwhile, back at our place Raylan and I settled in to watch the final game of the World Cup!  The France-Croatia game was really fun.  I tried explaining soccer, and the World Cup to Raylan.  I told him all about how cool it was that all of the countries were playing against each other and about how people from all over the planet could come together to enjoy this event, even if they didn't speak the same language.
All of that kept him engaged for about 20 minutes.
After that he watched cartoons in our bedroom while I watched the game.
We both had a good time.

Getting ready to watch some soccer!
Sunday afternoon Amy played in the sprinkler with Raylan.  They got his little kid pool out.

Spraying Mom with a sponge.
Good comedy!

Sidewalk art on a Sunday afternoon.  Raylan tells Amy he has to draw her
with a big head.  Probably in retaliation, Amy draws Raylan with a big head.

Sunday night I had band practice.  Eric, Reed, Frank, and me.  We sounded pretty good.

And that was about it!
The weekend went by way too fast.
Have a good week!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

4th of July and Update

Whoops!  I realized today that I forgot to do a blog post about the 4th of July and last weekend!  
I guess we've been busy!

Last Wednesday was the 4th of July.
We had a nice time, even though it felt sort of weird to have a holiday snack dab in the middle of the week.

We got up in the morning and went to La Posada for breakfast.  Afterward we went out to Mom and Dad's house in the morning and went swimming at the Bella Mar pool in Steiner.


We had a really nice time at the pool.  Raylan is getting really good at swimming.

We went back to Mom and Dad's house afterward, and Mom fed us a great lunch with hot dogs, chips, potatoes, fruit, and other stuff.

During lunch it started to rain pretty hard, which made us glad we had gone to the pool early.
We hung out at my folks' house for a while.  Eventually we went home and did a few chores.
We didn't really do fireworks on the 4th.  They started late, and it had been raining most of the day.

On Friday night we ate some Indian food and some frozen yogurt.  Raylan was pretty into it.

Saturday morning I took Raylan to the park and Amy did some chores.

Saturday night Susan did some Raylan sitting while Amy and I went out to dinner at Polvo's with Kit and Shelly.  It was really good to see them.
Afterward they went to a movie, and we went to ABGB to have a beer and listen to some live music.
Kev Bev and the Woodland Creatures were playing.  They're sort of a funky, silly, whiter, and probably, to be honest, less talented version of Parliament.  But they were fun, and we had a good time.
We got to sit outside and talk and have a beer before the music started, as well as hear a funk band.  Best of both worlds.

On Sunday we had some kid-having neighbors over for a sort of meet and greet play date.  Amy coordinated the whole thing on Nextdoor, and it seemed to go pretty well.  We met some nice folks, and hopefully found some playmates for Raylan in our neighborhood.  The kids mostly played outside, and a little bit in the house when it got hot.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.

Sunday evening we didn't have Mono Ensemble practice, but Frank came over and we did some acoustic guitar stuff over at our house.  It was a lot of fun.

And that was pretty much the weekend!
Hope everyone is having a good week.



Sunday, July 01, 2018

50th Anniversary Trip

So Friday, June 29th, was my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.
Fifty years of marriage is a remarkable achievement.  Mom and Dad are pretty great people as individuals, but they are even more amazing as a couple.  They've set an amazing example for me in terms of having a marriage that has been defined by love, generosity, compassion, and respect for one another.
When I was a kid, like most kids, I sort of took my parents for granted.  As I've gotten older I've come to realize that the way that they live their lives- dedicating themselves to friends, family, the church, and their community- truly is exceptional.  They never turn down people in need, and although they have each had a lot of success in their professional lives, the starting point for how they have always measured success has been in terms of whether they were simply being good people.
When I was a kid and my parents volunteered at church or school events, hosted holiday celebrations, assisted sick friends or neighbors, provided help to struggling students from Mom's classes, or helped people out in countless other ways, I just sort of thought that was the sort of thing that all adults did.  As I got older I realized how much work and effort had gone into the things that they did.  There are plenty of other people (sometimes, sadly, myself included) who have good intentions, but just don't find the initiative or energy to follow through.  But my parents always walked the walk.
They did it because of their strong religious beliefs, but also just because my parents both genuinely like other people.  They have a great ability to see the best in people, and they take a lot of joy in forging connections with all kinds of other folks.
Bottom line- my parents are great, and I love them a lot.

So this week, in celebration of 50 years of great marriage, our family went to the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort.  Amy, Raylan, myself, and my parents went down to San Antonio on Wednesday.  Ryan and Jamie joined us down there on Thursday afternoon.

We got there on Wednesday and took Raylan out to the water park that adjoins the hotel.  Raylan got to try out his first small water slide and splash around in the kid pool.  My parents met up with us and we did a little swimming.  We intended to meet up with my parents that night for dinner, but Raylan managed to slam his face into a sharp corner and cut open his lip while running down a hallway at the hotel, so we retreated to our room and ordered a pizza.

Amy on a walking path on the resort property
The next day we got up and had a very nice breakfast buffet at the resort.  Then we visited the San Antonio children's museum, The DoSeum in the morning.  Raylan loved it, and the rest of us had fun playing with him on the exhibits.

Papa helps Raylan work the bucket on a mini frontloader.
I think it was a mind-blowing experience for both of them.
Dad, Mom just wrote my name with light.  WITH LIGHT!!!!

This robot had a face on a screen that told you whether you were making
it happy or sad.  I spent a lot of time trying to keep it happy.  I'm
apparently a very needy person.

This thing was awesome.  Raylan colored in a picture of a truck.
They ran it through a scanner, and....

... it appeared in a moving 3D mural on the wall behind him!

The water exhibits were outside.  Raylan managed to not get himself
soaked until right as we were getting ready to leave.  :-)
We went back to the resort after the museum.  Raylan took a big ol' nap.  Mom sat with him while Amy and I used the very nice exercise facility at the resort.

In the evening Ryan and Jamie arrived and we all went out to dinner at Alamo Cafe.  (Both Jamie and I used to eat their when we were in college, and Amy used to eat their when she was a little kid and her family lived in San Antonio).  We had a good, fun meal.  Raylan was really excited to be eating with the whole family in a new place.
Amy and I introduce Raylan to a little piece of our respective histories
Raylan's first toast!

Uncle Ryan shows Raylan how to throw a penny into a fountain
 and make a wish.  Critical skill!!
After dinner we raced back to the resort to try to catch the s'mores campfire that they were hosting for the kiddos.  

Kids playing at sunset on the lawns and golf course

Raylan's first s'more!  (he liked cooking it but wasn't crazy about
the roasted marshmallow)

Random shot of our suite.  Mom and Dad were very generous with us.
Thanks, Mom and Dad!
On Friday Amy and I got up and worked out.  Then the family headed down to the water park.  We hung out down there for a bunch of hours, riding the lazy river, doing the tube shoots, and swimming with Raylan in the pool.  It probably bears mentioning that even though it has been especially hot in June this year, the weather at the resort was dry and breezy pretty much the entire time.  So the weather was very pleasant, and it never felt anywhere near as hot as they said it got on the thermometer (it was the sort of weather where I had to keep reminding myself to put on sunscreen because it was dangerously easy to be outside).  Anyway, there was even a little artificial beach next to one of the pools, and Raylan and I made a really sad looking sand castle (but we tried hard!).
Between Dad's hat and Amy's hat, I could generally spot my people
from afar.
I think we all napped on Friday afternoon.  For dinner, to celebrate Mom and Dad's actual anniversary evening, we had dinner at 18 Oaks, an upscale steak restaurant at the resort.  The food was good, Raylan settled in and was well-behaved, and we had a nice evening just chatting.

50 years after my parents got married!
After dinner we wandered the grounds a bit and came across one of the organized, family-friendly resort events on a different part of the property.  There was a live band playing, a large lawn where kids were running around and adults were playing cornhole, and a sort of building that had a large bounce house set up in it along with some other activities for kids (they had a virtual reality setup).

Band.  Lawn.  Sunset.  Muy bueno.

Somewhere in this picture Amy and Raylan are waiting in line
for the bounce house
Saturday morning I did not work out.  Amy wanted to exercise, so I had breakfast with Dad.  Mom watched Raylan.
Later we all went back down to the water park for a good while.  More lazy river.  More tube shoots.  More sweeeeeming.....

Raylan shows off his floating abilities for Mom

Dad, Amy, Ryan, and Jamie, camped out on lounge chairs
and possibly thinking about ordering a beverage.

Raylan takes a break with me

The pools were nice.  We ordered some food and drinks poolside and ate down there.
On Saturday evening Amy and I pawned Raylan off on the rest of the family, and we went out and had ourselves a date night at the resort.

Raylan was very excited to pack up his backpack to go "stay with
Grandma and Papa" on Saturday night.  At their hotel room.  About 3 doors down from
Amy and I had a really nice evening.  We got a drink at the hotel bar, and sat outside.  We talked to a few random people, because pretty much everyone is in a good mood at a resort on vacation.

I love my wife.
Eventually we sat outside too long and Dad walked by with Raylan and Ryan.  They ended up wandering away to grab dinner, but not before we got a picture with Raylan on our date night!

And now I'm gonna hang out with you for the rest of the night, right guys?
Anyway, we had a fun dinner and a nice evening.  Sounds like the rest of the family had a good dinner and evening as well (I think they found more live music).

On Sunday we worked out and then packed up and headed home.

It was a great trip!  

Thanks, Mom and Dad.  Thanks for including us in your celebration, and thanks for once again showing me and our family so much love.  

We all love you very much and are so happy to have you in our lives.

Congratulations again.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Update; Anniversary Party

We had a good, but busy, weekend.
On Saturday Rick and Jeanne Farleigh hosted a 50th Anniversary party for my parents.  It was really, really nice.  They have a great house out in Lake Austin, and there was a live band that sounded great (the Shelton Ray band).  A bunch of my parents' friend were there from their Steiner Ranch Young at Heart group.  Also, Rick and Peggy Magsig came into town, Marlene and Tom Leih came, and Susan and Uncle Donald were there.  Ryan and Jamie also came (with Dick), and Ryan and I each did a little toast when the band took a break.
The party was really nice.
Raylan was a little restless (as three year olds are) and wanted to run around the whole time, but he had fun being there.

On Sunday we ate at La Posada for breakfast and then Dad came over and helped me assemble Raylan's new twin bed.  This process also involved taking apart and moving two cribs, as well as rearranging some furniture.
While we worked on all of that, Amy took Raylan to a splash pad birthday party hosted by her friend, Katarina, for her son, Logan.  


Sometime late in the afternoon on Sunday we realized that Raylan had a fever.  Around 5:00 he actually asked to go to bed (which never, ever happens).

Anyway, he's still sick, and I missed work Monday to stay home with him and take him tot the doctor.
Hopefully little guy is in the mend.

So that's it!
It was a fast and furious weekend.
It was a great party for Mom and Dad!
I love you both very much!





Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day Update

So, I'm leading off this week's post with a picture that is actually from a couple of weeks back and has nothing to do with this week/weekend/Father's Day.  This is a picture taken by one of Raylan's teachers of "Splash Day" at Raylan's school a couple of weeks ago.  during the summer the kids get to play in the sprinklers and with water on Fridays up at their preschool.  Here they're drying off at the end.  Raylan is actually wrapped in a towel with a hood over his face all the way on the right end of the picture.

Splash Day!

Her's another Splash Day picture where you can see more of Raylan:

So this weekend Amy went out to Arizona to visit her family.  We have some trips coming up over this summer and into the fall, so she needed a chance to see her family before things get too busy. She flew out during the day on Thursday and flew back on Sunday evening.

Her absence, of course, meant that Father Day Weekend 2018 involved a lot of actual fathering on my end!  
But Raylan and I had a good time together.
On Thursday my parents watched Raylan during the day and took him to swimming lessons.  Thursday night we all went to dinner at La Posada.  It was nice.
On Friday we got up and went to school and work.  Raylan's school had a Doughnuts for Dad day (Raylan had a doughnut, but I abstained).  Raylan made some very nice artwork for me, including a drawing of one of his favorite items- a washing machine.

Getting ready to go to school/work on Friday

Father's Day preschool quotes.  Raylan both likes me and knows my first name.
So far, so good!
Friday night Raylan and I went to Central Market, ate some chicken nuggets, and both sort of crashed.

Look, Mom!  Dad got some veggies into me!  Pouches count, right?
On Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast and then went out to Steiner Ranch to go swimming.  Raylan did a lot of swimming.  He is a very good swimmer.  He's very comfortable in the water, which is great, especially given the fact that swimming is one of the few activities that we can comfortably do in the summer heat.

I wanna swim!  Lemme goooooo!!!

Steans men in the pool (minus Uncle Ryan, who was probably still asleep)

My Mom took off a little early to go help set up for an anniversary party for some friends of Mom and Dad.  Dad hung out and fed us lunch, which was really nice of him.  Dad gave Raylan a cookie or two, and Raylan loudly announced that "I'm gonna be so wired!!"  The boy knows the power of sugar.  After lunch, Dad had to head off to the anniversary party as well.
Raylan and I headed back to our house.

Uncle Ryan came over in the afternoon and watched Raylan for a while so I could go to the gym. Sounds like they had a good time playing games and watching some cartoons.
Later, when I asked Raylan if he had fun with Uncle Ryan, his response was, "Yes!  He talks a lot. And he knows about a lot about everything!"
So I guess that's a success?
Late Saturday afternoon Raylan and I went shopping.  Raylan helped pick out some fruit and helped carry some groceries into the house when we got home.  He also managed to get a ride on a lady's motorized wheelchair with her after repeatedly asking her how it worked.  They both seemed to have fun, but as this lady was wheeling through the store with my kid I suddenly wondered exactly how fast those motorized things can go and what I should do if she suddenly headed for the front door. ("County Prosecutor tackles handicapped woman and child!  News at 10:00!!!").  No drama in the end, though.  Just fun.
We had pizza bagel bites for dinner and then raided Mom's (i.e., Amy Mom's) vanilla ice cream.  And her chocolate sauce.

He demanded the ice cream bowl instead of the cone, and I couldn't figure out why.
Mystery solved.
On Sunday we got up and Raylan took me out for Father's Day breakfast at Kerbey Lane.

Father's Day breakfast, 2018.
We had a nice breakfast and then went back to the house.  We played for a while, and then went over to Ryan and Jamie's at about 11:00.  Ryan, Jamie, Dad, Mom, Susan, Donald, and Dick were there (and Scout and Lucy).  Mom and Dad picked up some Rudy's barbecue, and we all had a nice lunch together.

Raylan and Uncle Donald polish off some BBQ
After lunch I went to the gym.  Mom and Dad took Raylan back to our place and put him down for a nap.  I came home and showered and headed to the airport to pick up Amy.

Amy came home, and I was really happy to have her back.  I missed her!
Raylan missed her, too.

Once, I think on Saturday when I was getting ready to give him a bath, he walked up to me and said, out of the blue, "I miss Mom.  I don't need Mom, but I want Mom."
We've been talking about the difference between wants and needs when he says stuff like, "I need ice cream!!"  
Anyway, I thought this was a very insightful thing for a 3 year old to say.  I was glad he felt comfortable with me taking care of him, but, of course, I was not at all surprised to hear that he wanted his mom.  I knew the feeling...
Anyway, Amy's back now, and everything feels more normal.

I had a nice weekend with Raylan, though.  There was something sort of special about taking Father's Day weekend and actually spending a lot of it caring for Raylan and strengthening that bond.
Hats off to the single parents because it's tiring, but I had a nice weekend having some Dad time with the boy!

And now I'm glad Amy is back... ;-)