Monday, August 29, 2016

Update

So hi! Feels like it's been a pretty busy week since my last post.


On Tuesday Donald Trump came to Austin.
I'm still not sure why he came to Austin.  Austin is a decidedly red state, so he's almost sure to win the support of the state, overall, no matter what.  So it seems like he should have been spending his time in a swing state, instead.  On top of that, despite the fact that Texas is a red state, Austin is a left-leaning, blue city, so it's not clear that this visit would even be especially fertile ground for fundraising efforts.
But, anyway, Trump was here.
It's no secret that I'm a progressive and a Democrat.  I haven't really ever voted Republican, from what I can remember.  (I have, however, abstained from voting on occasions when I didn't really support the Democrat who was running for a particular office)
This election has definitely made me question what I would do if someone like Trump managed to become the nominee of the Democratic ticket (which is not as far fetched as it sounds- Trump was a registered Democrat from 2001 to 2008, and, even now, his defense of things like domestic manufacturing still sounds like something that could come out of an old school, pro-union Democrat playbook).  Anyway, as I've watched some longtime Republicans come forward to support Hillary (or at least publicly condone Trump), it's been a good reminder for me of the limits of political parties and the fact that the country always needs to come before party  affiliation.  I would hope that it won't come to that with the Democrats, but I'm sure that there are a lot of sensible Republicans who never would have imagined someone like Trump seizing the nomination.
But, anyway...
I have some conservative friends and family members, and I generally see these people as just folks with a different point of view- people with different ideas than mine on how to run a government so that people can be happy, healthy, and safe.
And by this age I'm used to people getting into office who have different ideas than mine.  If they mess up, I think that the system usually has a way of evening things out and allowing damage to eventually be corrected.
Trump scares me, though.
I really feel like he appeals to people's fears and prejudices in a way that isn't healthy.
The news and the media have covered Trump and his faults and flaws ad nauseum, so there's no need to rehash all of the nasty things about Trump here, but I really do dislike him as a candidate on just about every potential level.  I question his judgment, his intellect, his ethics, his temperament, and his overall character.
I truly feel that if Trump were elected, his presidency would lead to a period of time in which our country would become divided against itself along racial and ethnic lines and where the rest of the world would come to look at us as a dangerous, unstable, xenophobic state.
So.... when Trump came through town last Tuesday, I went to the protest.  I wasn't sure I was going to join the protest, but I figured that simply by being there I could be one more person showing up to add numbers to demonstrate dissatisfaction.
But in the end there wasn't much of a protest at all.  There were some people out, but far fewer than I had anticipated, and, judging by the size of the police presence, far fewer than law enforcement had anticipated as well.
I think Trump had been stumbling so badly since winning the GOP convention and doing so badly in the polls that there wasn't a real sense of urgency that was going to bring people out.  Or maybe Austin has just grown really complacent.  I'm not sure.
At any rate, I showed up.
I really feel like this guy is bad news.  He's either going to be seen as a historical anomaly or he's going to herald in a new age of intolerance and political fearmongering.  A triumph by Trump after would be a victory the spectacle of reality television in lieu of any attempt at genuine leadership.  I just wanted to do something to express my reality and frustration with the Trump candidacy other than just posting Facebook comments or engaging in internet activism.  So right or wrong, I went.
Protesters yelling at each other.  One guy was anti-Trump, but I think the
other guy was just some conspiracy theorist who was just mad that we didn't
understand that the world was being controlled by the Illuminati.
Gotta love this town.


We all have an interest in the outcome of this election.
Some people are feeling it more immediately than others.

Anyway, I hung out for a little while near the Moody Theater, but there were probably only about 40 or 50 total protesters hanging out (with 40 or 50 cops).  I heard later that the Moody Theater (where Trump was filming a Fox show with Sean Hannity) wasn't filled anywhere near capacity.  Apparently you could walk right in if you wanted to see Trump.
But I didn't. 
I hopped on a bus so I could get back to Amy and Raylan.


Friday was National Dog Day.


Cassidy loves her some sunshine

Friday night Raylan stayed with Mom and Dad.  I went to see Kubo and the Two Strings with Amy.  It was okay.  Pretty art.  It was pretty good, but not as good as Zootopia.  Fun to go to the movies with Amy, though.
Later Friday night I went downtown to see an old college friend and former bandmate, Henry Benjamin, playing at Lambert's.  It was good to see Henry, and his music was great.  He's a first-rate guitar player, he writes some thoughtful and funny lyrics, and I wish I got to see him perform more often.  He was opening for San Saba County, a band fronted by another friend of ours and fellow Trinitonian, John Saba.  They were having a record release, and they were solid as well.
It was a fun show, and it was good to get a chance to visit with Henry a bit.  He lives out in San Francisco these days, but hopefully he'll swing back through town again soon.



Henry, doing his thang




On Saturday Amy and I went to Maria's for some breakfast tacos.  It was nice.  We sat out on the patio.
Afterward I went to the grocery store while Amy did some chores.
Then Mom and Dad brought Raylan home.  We took him for a walk and played with him.  We got some exercise.

"Keep talking, Mom.  I can't really see under this hat, but
I can follow the sound of your voice...")




"So you wouldn't believe what this one weird kid has been doing at
daycare, Pooh-"



Trying out the new soup!


On Sunday we got up and went to Russell's Bistro.  It's owned by our friends Joe and Emily.  Joe actually manages the place, and Emily works with Amy.  I had never actually eaten there (although I had some appetizers when Amy's Christmas party was held there this year).  The food was really tasty.  I had migas and Amy had French toast.  Raylan, enjoying his traditional, weekend second breakfast, had some eggs and more than his fair share of Amy's French toast (which he loved).
"Dad, are we gonna take pictures or are we gonna eat?!?!")
We sat on the patio.  The weather was unseasonably pleasant for Austin.  It was a really nice experience.

"Mom, I can't help noticing that there's still some French toast on your
plate that you haven't given to me."



After breakfast we drove down Lamar and stopped off at Auditorium Shores and Butler Park.  We let Raylan run around a bit and look at the turtles.  He also got to visit the dog park.  We watched him pretty carefully to make sure that he didn't pick any fights with any dogs, but most of the dogs ran away from him.  A few dog owners with especially kid-friendly dogs brought them by so he could gently touch them.  He loved it.  He was literally panting with excitement.


"Here we are in my favorite place.
It's called Outside."


We also briefly took Raylan over to Zilker Park.  He got to play on the playground there a little bit and see the Zilker Zephyr.  Tickets for the little train were sold out, but it was pretty warm by then, anyway.  We'll be back when it's cooler.  Raylan still enjoyed seeing the train and waving to the kids.

In the afternoon, Katerina came over with Logan, and Chad came over with Truett.  They got to play in the kiddie pool and mess around in the backyard.
Later they played in the house.
It was nice to have them come by.  We enjoyed chatting with Katerina and Chad and watching the kiddos play.



"Hang on there, Logan, cause I am really about
to pick up some speed!!"


Toddler party!





And that was mostly the weekend!  We picked up some pizza from Pinthouse Sunday night and relaxed.
It was nice.
Thanks to Katerina, Logan, Chad, and Truett for stopping by!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dad's Birthday; Update

Hey, there!
So, it's still raining in Austin.  I never thought I would miss the drought, but...
It's August, and it's constantly raining.  Which is weird.  And which makes it especially hot and jungle-ish. 
Raylan is going a little bonkers from spending too much time inside.  We keep taking him to stores and to other places to get him out of the house.  At this point, the kid knows Target fairly intimately.
The rain finally let up for a few minutes on Saturday morning, so I took him out to walk.  He was so excited to run that he immediately fell on his face on the concrete (scoring himself a world class, black and blue goose egg on his forehead just in time for my dad's birthday dinner).
Oh well.
I just hope it doesn't rain all the way through September and October as well!



"Dad, thanks for going to the store and getting me flowers!!
Next time you should really consider getting some for Mom..."

On Saturday morning Raylan and I let Amy sleep in a bit.  We got up and had breakfast and went to the grocery store together while she caught up on sleep.  We had a good time.  Immediately after this outing I took Raylan for our infamous walk/nosedive onto the concrete adventure.
After that Amy fed Raylan some lunch.
I went to the gym to work out.  After the gym we headed over to my parents' house to celebrate Dad's 70th birthday.
We had a really nice time.  Ryan, Jamie, Susan, Donald, and Dick were there along with my parents.  We got to visit, and Raylan was extremely entertained by everyone, at least, in part, but trying to entertain everyone.  That kid loves a crowd, and he knows how to work a room.  As I said, he's been cooped up quite a bit lately with the rain, so he enjoyed the chance to run around Mom and Dad's house and soak up attention from all of the Raylan-lovin' grown ups.
Mom and Dad got barbecue from Rudy's, and we picked up a German chocolate cake from Russell's Bakery.

"Yeah, that's great, Grandpa.  Now are you gonna let me throw
that thing, or what?"


"Yeah, yeah.  Picture.  Great.
Are we done here?  Cause I got stuff I gotta get back to.
Those blocks aren't gonna knock themselves over."

"No, I'm not tired!  This is the best party ever, and there's
still a lot...of stuff... I want... to do..."


 


We watched some of the Olympics on Mom and Dad's giant TV, drank a little beer and wine, got caught up with one another, ate some good food, and entertained Raylan.
Then we headed for home.
Sunday we got up and ate breakfast.  Amy went to meet some friends, have brunch, and do some shopping.  Raylan and I went to Target and ran another errand or two.  We had a good time.
Then he got some lunch and went down for a nap while I worked out.
Amy came home and we did a few chores and wrangled Raylan.  In the evening I went over to Reed's house to play some music while Amy took over Raylan duty.
I went and picked up some Central Market for dinner after I got back.
And that was about it!
I guess the weekend went by pretty fast.


Happy 70th birthday, Dad!  We all really appreciate everything that you do and have done for the family!  It's literally much more than I can convey in a blog post, but my life would never have been anywhere nearly as good  without you!  I truly feel very lucky to have you as my dad (and Raylan is lucky to have you as a grandfather).
Love you!


 


 


Monday, August 15, 2016

Update

So this weekend was weird.  It wasn't bad, but it rained a lot.
In Austin.
In August.
My parents had been in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a week, and they got back late Wednesday night.  On Friday Grandma took care of Raylan.  He was very happy to have her back.



"Grandma, you're back so we can stay home and go for walks
and ride in my car and play outside and read books and wear
my hat and sing some songs and-"


On Saturday Raylan had kind of a fussy night (more teething), so we skipped gym class and played at home instead.  We took him to the park by our house and hung out and played for a while.  Raylan had fun climbing up the jungle gym to go down the slide.  Eventually it started to rain, though.




"Can't help but notice that you have my ball, there, Mom..."

On Saturday afternoon we all loaded up in the car and went out to Mom and Dad's house to just hang out and visit and eat dinner.  Mom made some spaghetti, and Dad grilled some sausage.  It was nice.  It was good to see them and to hear about their Michigan trip, and it was good to get out of the house for a change of scenery.  Being trapped in the house with a busy toddler on a rainy day ain't no joke.




"I don't know who's tickling me, but they have a majestic
head of silver, executive-style hair..."
 

"Grandpa!!!!"

"Mom, I love nature.  I want to run out there, and frolic, and
dance, and play, and-"

"Hey, did you guys know that it's raining?!"

On Saturday night after Raylan was in bed Amy and I watched some old Seinfeld episodes that I had ordered on Netflix.  I'd been inspired by a recent story that I had heard on NPR about the show, and we've been in the mood for some comedy.  Anyway, the show still holds up really well, I'm happy to say.
On Sunday we got up and went and had breakfast at Snooze again.  More of my money going to those carpetbagging Coloradoans because of their irresistible breakfast food.


"And- and- you know what else Grandma said?"

After breakfast we took Raylan to Garrison Park.  It rained earlier that morning, and it started raining after we had been there for about an hour, so we managed to time things just about right.  The park wasn't very crowded, I guess because of the possibility of rain.





"I'm not sure I have the trajectory exactly prefect on this
one.  If I'm going to make it into the Olympics as a swinger,
I really need to up my game."

While we were walking around the park, we saw a lady looking up into a tree.  There were a couple of pretty good sized owls just sort of hanging out in the low hanging tree branches.  They didn't seem especially scared of people, and they let us get pretty close to get a look.  I tried to point one out to Raylan, but the owl wasn't super jazzed about having people point at it.  Raylan was pretty oblivious to the owls.  Eventually the one closest to us flew away.  It was really cool.




"Whooooo do you think you're lookin' at?"
That was about it for the park. Raylan had a lot of fun. He played on the jungle gym (climbing the stairs and running the ramps), went down the slides, and rode the swings.  He loves swings.  He gets mad when it's time to get off.


On Sunday afternoon we did a little shopping.  On Sunday evening Amy made some good chicken sandwiches.  We watched a little bit of the Olympics.  We saw Usain Bolt win the 100 meter race.  We watched Brazil playing Russia in women's volleyball.  
And that was the weekend.  Rainy, but we still got out and did stuff.  It was good.


Have a good week!





 




 


 


 


 


 


 



 


 


Monday, August 08, 2016

Update

Hi! Hope you guys are doing okay!
Our weekend was quiet, but pretty good.  Not necessarily a bad thing.  Life has been pretty busy, so maybe we were just due for a quiet weekend.
On Saturday we got up and took Raylan his Little Gym class.  He seemed to really enjoy it.


"I'll let you hold my hands on this part, Mom, but you gotta let go
when I do the backflip for the dismount, okay?"


After gym class we hung out at the house. We played with Raylan and his toys.


"I'm not sure how I feel about you photographing me with my rainbow lion.
It's sort of personal."



Something leads me to believe that these two enjoy each other's
company...
Raylan did not want to take a nap on Saturday afternoon.  He fought it and fought it, but...



"Heck no, I don't need no stinkin' nap!  I'm totally... wide...
awa-..."
In the afternoon Ryan and Jamie came by to visit.  Raylan, as usualy, started out a little shy, but also as usual, by the time they'd been there for twenty minutes he had remembered that they were all fast friends.  Many books were read, there was some window art, and random playing.  We also got to see Ryan's new car.  Very nice.


"Let me help you with that, Funcle Ryan."


On Sunday we got up and went out to breakfast at Snooze.  The place is a chain that started in, I believe, Colorado, and they really only serve breakfast and lunch.  We had tried to go there before with Kit and Shelly, but the line had been super long, so we gave up and left.  Well, on Sunday Raylan had us up at 6:00 a.m. (little guy is teething again), so we were at Snooze a little after 7:30.
I'm here to report that if you really want to enjoy Austin without the crowds and madness, get your weekend started by 8:00 on a weekend.  It's a whole different town (no traffic, no lines, no crowds- closer to the Austin I grew up in).
Anyway, I'll admit that part of me wanted Snooze to not  be very good.  They're carpetbaggers, after all, and  they're stealing business away from locally owned and operated places.  Also, the hype that we saw when we tried to go there last time was ridiculous.  The crowds woulda made you think they were giving away free tickets to Mono Ensemble shows.
Anyway, good news/bad news- the food was really tasty.  I had a breakfast potato scramble thing with peppers and onions and cheese and bacon, and Amy had pancakes.  Raylan ate his second breakfast of the morning, mostly eating bits of pancake, eggs, and potato from our plates.
Taking after his dad, that kid loves going out to breakfast.  Even when it's second breakfast.  Especially when it's second breakfast.

"Hey- you gonna eat that?"









The rest of our day was mostly errands combined with hanging out at the house.  Backyard shenanigans and playing inside.  There was also a grocery trip, a pharmacy trip, and a Costco trip.  Raylan likes Costco.  So does Amy.


And that was our low key weekend.


Oh yeah- Amy also made good food!  She made a really good shrimp salad that we ate as sandwiches, and Sunday night she made a blueberry crumble that was really, really tasty.  Felt like summer.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Update

Howdy! Hey!
How are you guys doing?
You know how I always feel like I'm reporting that we had a good weekend or a pretty good weekend or whatever? 
Well, this weekend kind of sucked.
Amy started feeling weird on Thursday night, and by Friday she had an upset stomach and a fever.  Mom and Dad took Raylan over to their place, and I just hung out at the house with Amy, resting up and waiting for the badness to pass.
We ran a couple of errands.  Well, I ran a couple of errands, and Amy rode with me once or twice to get out of the house.


"Sick?  Who's sick?"

While Amy was down and out, Raylan was more or less living it up with Grandma and Grandpa out in Steiner Ranch.  He got a trip to the pool and a trip to the zoo out of the whole deal.  Don't think he suffered a whole lot.  Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for helping out!
Amy started feeling better on Sunday, and Raylan returned home on Sunday afternoon.  It was good to have him back.  He's a small tornado of whirling toddler activity, but he's a cheerful one.


"Sand table.  Cup.  Shovel.  Everything is back to great, Dad!"

So that was pretty much it for us this weekend.  We watched Raising Arizona in there somewhere.  Great movie.  I actually think it's a better Coen brothers movie than The Big Lebowski, overall.
That's it! 
Hope you guys had a great weekend!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Update

Howdy, loyal readers! (and yes, I can assume you are loyal because otherwise you wouldn't be reading this)
Hope everyone had a nice week and weekend.
Last week I was at the Advanced Criminal Law seminar in Dallas from Monday through Thursday.
Jean came into town to visit Amy and Raylan and to help out while I was gone.
Sounds like she was a big help, and Amy and Raylan had a good time visiting with her.
Advanced was fine.  I've been to that seminar a number  of times over the years, and, to be honest, at this point it all feels a little repetitive.  Still, it's a good refresher.  Also, of course, it gives me pretty much all of my Continuing Legal Education credits for the year.



This was my seminar cell... er...hotel room


Having a post-class beer at the bar next to our hotel
with Afton, Allison, and Dan



I don't mean to sound overly sentimental, but the hardest part about going to the seminar was being away from Amy and Raylan for the better part of a week.  That's the longest that I've been gone since Raylan was born, and when you're spending large parts of each day watching repetitive lectures of DWI laws, there's a lot of time for your mind to wander and wonder how your family is doing.  Amy kept asking me if I had gotten caught up on sleep, but I actually had a hard time sleeping in a random hotel room without them around (although I did sneak in at least one nice nap).
Anyway, it was nice to get back home.
Amy dropped Jean off at the airport on Thursday night.  Friday I went back to work.
Saturday we got up and Dad stopped by with a water/sand table for Raylan.  We put it together in the back yard before Dad left to do some car shopping with Ryan.  It was really nice of Mom and Dad to get us the table, and for Dad to deliver it and help put it together.


Just like at my office, there were always at least two supervisors sitting
around to make sure I didn't mess up

"If you guys could find a way to fill this thing with
crackers, cheese, and hotdogs, I think we might
really be onto something..."


After Dad left we went to see Big Don at Strange Brew.  Big Don does hip hop for kids.  His show was fun.  Raylan started out a little bit wary, but eventually really enjoyed it.  Katerina (from Amy's office), Logan, and J.R. were there.  Raylan wandered around and danced a little to the music.  He's also starting to interact more with other kids, which is funny to watch.  He really loved one little girl's flower dress, but I'm not sure she was overly impressed with his display of appreciation (which mostly involved pawing at her). 




Big Don brings fresh beats and a smooth flow to
the Lower Austin kiddie hip hop circuit
After Big Don and some lunch/nap time, Chad and Mary came over with Truett.  Raylan and Truett hung out in the back, swimming in the kiddie pool, playing in the sprinkler toy, and playing with the sand and water table (although Raylan showed more interest in that last part).





South Austin water park
When all of the adults got too hot, we hung out inside for a while.  The kids had fun playing with Raylan's toys (there were some quality moments in his tunnel), and we had a good time chatting and drinking a few beers.



Chad does a dramatic reading from one of
our toddler magazines
And that was Saturday.  We tried to go out for dinner, but Raylan was a little tired (i.e., cranky) by then, so we stayed home.
On Sunday I went grocery shopping while Amy did house and Raylan stuff.  In the afternoon Amy went and had some pool time with Emily and Shelly while I hung out with Raylan.  In the evening I went to band practice.  I played bass and did some recording with Frank, Eric, and Reed (Jim was out).
Then we ate some BBQ chicken tacos and delicious cookies that Amy had made.


And that was the weekend!
It went by fast, but it was good.


Hope you guys had a good one!


 


 


 


 


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Update

Hey!  How is everyone?  
The news has been sort of crazy this weekend.  An attempted military coup in Turkey and another ambush of police, this time in Baton Rouge leaving 3 officers dead.  I'm in Dallas this week for a work seminar, and the local news stations here are still dealing with the killing of 5 Dallas police officers from July 7th.  Meanwhile, protests continue across the country following police shootings of black men.
It's been a violent, ugly summer.

Closer to home, we've been doing better.
We took Raylan to Bubblepalooza on Saturday morning at the Long Center.  There were balls and bubbles and parachutes to play with, and the Biscuit Brothers were performing.  We had a pretty good time, but it was hot (and especially humid).  We played around for about an hour before taking off.


We ran into Chad, Mary, and Truett at Bubblepalooza, and they invited us to hang out at their place later in the day.
So after Raylan's nap we piled into the car and headed over to East Austin for some front porch swimming pool fun.


It was a good time, and it was nice of them to have us over.  We got to drink a couple of beers and visit while Raylan and Truett played.  They seemed to have a lot of fun.

Afterwards we all went to The Triangle to Maudie's for dinner together.  It went pretty well.  Raylan, strangely, hasn't figured out how to use his molars yet well enough to eat tortillas.  He happily chews them, but they pop back out.  Weird.
Anyway, that was Saturday.  
On Sunday we did a little shopping, I packed for my trip to Dallas, and Amy picked up for her mom's visit.  We took turns watching Raylan.
Then in the afternoon my parents stopped by for a bit, and I hopped in the car and drove to Dallas.
That drive is awful (the construction and slowdowns are brutal),
Anyway, I'm here now, and I already miss Amy and Raylan.

Hope you guys have a good week!