Monday, September 24, 2012

The Week in Review

So it was a busy week and a busy weekend.  Last week I went on a work trip for a prosecutor conference in South Padre.  It involved some training and some quality beach time.

(something about this trumps a morning in a crowded
(even nicer than the view from
my office)
Anyway, I was gone from Wednesday morning through Friday evening.  We did some coworker bonding (because we don't see nearly enough of each other at work) and took advantage of the chance to get away from the office.  As I told Amy when I got back, I just really like the beach.  I like the ocean.  I like the sand and waves and water.  I don't need a fancy beach in order to be happy.  I just need a beach.  But as it turns out, South Padre is actually one of the nicest beaches that Texas has to offer.  Blue waves and some whitish sand.  Throw in some nice weather, and it makes for a very pleasant experience.
Anyway, I got back from the conference Friday evening. 
It was really nice to get home to see Amy.  I wish she could have gone to South Padre with me.  Maybe next time (once she's been at her job a little longer and has some vacation time to work with).

Our weekend back here in Austin was very good.  On Friday we just sort of crashed.  I got home, unpacked, and we went and got some frozen yogurt.  On Saturday we got up and went for breakfast tacos.  We took Cassidy down to Auditorium Shores for some play time with the other dogs and people.  When we got home, I went for a bike ride.  Having had no real exercise in three days, it felt nice to stretch my legs. 

In the afternoon we ran some errands.  Now let me back up for a moment and say that before I left for my trip, I had spoke with my brother about going to see Amanda Palmer at Stubb's.  He had an extra ticket, and I've read/heard/seen enough interesting stuff about Ms. Palmer over the years to make me interested in wanting to see her perform live.  Well, it turned out that her concert was on the day that I had to leave for Padre, so I couldn't make the show.  Amy, however, ever the intrepid music fan, was interested and curious, and arranged to attend the show in the company of Roundball.  By all accounts the concert was really good and a lot of fun.  Pursuant to her new interest in Amanda Palmer, Amy has become a fan of the following very excellent song:

All of this to say that one of our errands on Saturday afternoon involved heading over to the guitar store where I got a new guitar cable (long overdue) and Amy got a ukulele.  In our calmer moments over the rest of the weekend the house has been filled with the cheerful sounds of Amy working on learning the ukulele.  Very nice!
On Saturday night Amy made tortilla soup and we watched Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  It's kind of a strange movie, but I like it.  I really like the music.  Amy said she liked it, too.
On Saturday I had seen a message on the sign out in front of El Arroyo that said, "A Car Free Day is a Care Free Day".  Deciding that this message might have been specifically meant for me (at least in some sort of grand, cosmic, quasi-spiritual sense), I decided to put it into effect on Sunday.  I rode my bike to the pharmacy and the grocery store.  Later, Amy and I also rode to the bookstore.  There was quite a bit of South Austin cycling this weekend, and the weather was really good for it.
Sunday evening we had Mono Ensemble practice.  We're still trying to get our sh*t together for our gig on October 19th.  Everyone come check us out at The Carousel Lounge.  9:00 p.m..  I'm not sure how we'll sound, but the beer is cheap, there's no cover, and you're not doing anything that night, anyway.
Sunday night Amy made a really good fish/zucchini dish (it had some sort of really tasty garlic sauce), and we watched Downton Abbey.  Typing the previous sentence just made me feel a little bit like a girly man.  Anyway, it was, in fact, a very nice evening!
So that was the weekend.  Good work trip, but even nicer to be home!

I hope everyone else is doing A-OK!!

Monday, September 17, 2012


Well, it was a good weekend, but it definitely felt more like fall and less like summer.  Friday night I don't think we did a whole lot.  We're sort of latecomers to the series, but we watched the first two episodes of Downton Abbey.  It was fun.  Not really what I was expecting.  The show provides an interesting portrayal of the aristocratic British lifestyle.  The plotlines feel a little more soap opera-esque than I would have thought (the "Oh no you didn't!" style moments of barbed, confrontational dialogue have been coming pretty fast and furious), and the show seems a little less subtle than I was expecting in terms of character development and building/resolving dramatic tension.  But the show is fun!  As Amy pointed out, it's sort of nice to watch something where the conflicts aren't ultimately resolved with violence (Game of Thrones, Deadwood, and Boardwalk Empire are all shows that can involve a fair amount of complexity, but disagreements often ultimately involve bloodshed).  Also, Downton Abbey has made me realize that my life has been incomplete without a valet and a footman.  I intend to talk to some of the interns currently working in my office to see if they're interested in taking on a role at Steano Abbey.
On Saturday we got up and went to Juan in a Million for breakfast.  Then I went for a bike ride while Amy went to the gym.  It was nice.  We went to the store.  Amy made delicious queso and peanut butter cookies and then Saturday night some friends came over to watch UT play football against Ole Miss.  We had a really pleasant time.  In addition to having a good time hanging out with friends, it was satisfying to see UT get its offense in gear and execute all kinds of solid plays.  UT's defense still has some real kinks to work out (most teams aren't going to let us score 66 points against them, and it worries me that we gave up 31 points to Ole Miss), but it was really nice to see our offense playing so well.  Jaci and Josh brought their puppy, Clementine, over, so even Cassidy had a fun game night.
Sunday it rained pretty much all day.  I went to go have a birthday lunch with my Uncle Donald and Susan, Ciara, Ryan, and Jamie (Mom and Dad were attending a funeral in Houston).  It was nice to see them all and get a chance to catch up. 
Sunday evening we had band practice.  It was pretty good.  Everyone made it over. 
And that, for the most part, was the weekend.
As I said, it felt like fall.  I think it was the football and the rain.

Hope everyone stayed dry and safe this weekend!  Enjoy falling into fall!


Monday, September 10, 2012

The Weekend

Well, the weekend was very good.

On Friday night I picked Amy up from work.  It was the end of Amy's first week, and we were just tired, so we really just went home and crashed.  We finished up Season 1 of Boardwalk Empire.  I like that show.  Maybe not the best of all of the shows we've watched (I like Deadwood and Treme better, and possibly Game of Thrones as well), but I definitely like it.  Steve Buscemi does a good job, of course, but Kelly Macdonald and Michael Pitt are standouts as well.   

(you say you need a law written
by a smiley person with keen fashion
sense?  You've come to the right
On Saturday I got up in the morning and had breakfast with Amy and we went for a bike ride.  The weather had cooled off, which made Saturday really nice.

(same 2 guys.  Different year)

In the afternoon I went to College Station with my parents and Reed to see Texas A&M play the University of Florida in A&M's first ever SEC conference game.  My parents are Florida alums, and Reed went to A&M, so we were sort of a house amicably divided as we walked into Kyle Field (and my mom decided, for some reason, to wear her UT sun visor, so I got questions from some Aggies sitting next to us about the various loyalties of our small group).
Anyway, nice weather and a pretty good game.  Even though they squeaked out a win, Florida looked a little flat, especially on defense in the first half.  They seemed to make adjustments in the second half and had a better performance.  A&M had a bit of a second half letdown, but overall, I thought they looked fairly strong.  I thought A&M's freshman quarterback, Johnny Manziel, had a strong performance, especially given that it was his first game.  Both teams, though, seem like they might be destined to struggle during the season against stronger SEC rivals unless they find ways to step up their respective games.
Anyway, it was the first time my parents had been able to attend a Florida game in about 40 years, and we all had a good time.  There were a surprising number of Florida fans at the game, and they were vocal enough to keep things lively.  I had to wonder what all of those Floridians thought about A&M's yells, songs, and traditions.  I wonder if they were left wondering who this Texas University school was that the Aggies kept singing about. 
On Sunday Amy and I got up, ate some Torchy's tacos, and rode our bikes downtown.  The weather was cool, and we had a nice little bike trip.  We rode over to both of our workplaces.  I could definitely ride to work, but I'm hesitant to do it without a shower to use when I get there.  Texas gets hot. 

(some cute girl who was outside the
 Moody Theater)
(Mr. Lovett with Ms. Shawn Colvin)
Sunday evening we had dinner with my parents and then went to see Lyle Lovett and His Large Band at ACL Live.  The show was really good.  We happened to catch the last show of Lovett's summer tour, and the concert was filled with guest appearances (Shawn Colvin and Ray Benson both joined Lyle on stage), favorite cover songs, various originals that had been written by the musicians in Lovett's band, and, of course, Lyle Lovett songs, both old and new.  It was a really good concert.  Lovett played a number of songs that were created by some of his favorite songwriters, and he seemed to be enjoying performing every bit as much as the audience enjoyed listening.  He told some stories about Texas musicians who had helped him out in the early days of his career, and he took the opportunity to put some of his fellow musicians front and center.   I'm sure that the guys in his band, many of them aspiring solo performers in their own right, appreciated the chance to perform their own material with a talented band in front of an appreciative ACL Live crowd.
In a sort of random twist of fate, my mom (aka, The Karebear) happens to know Lyle Lovett's mother.  Mom used to go to church with Mrs. Lovett down in Spring, and they both worked together at an ESL (English as a Second Language) program, primarily attended by Spanish speaking people, that's been operated out of Trinity Lutheran Church for years. 
Anyway, the reason I mention all of this is that Mom managed to get us backstage passes.  We did the meet and greet after the show.  Let me tell you Adventurers, there's something a little surreal about being part of a conversation where a musician that you've listened to for decades talks to your mom, refers to her by name (well, "Mrs. Steans"- he was very polite), and promises to tell his mom that he ran into your mom.
And were we afraid to be the fans who asked to take a picture?  No, we were not.  Mr. Lovett was very nice and gracious, especially given the fact that he was probably pretty tired (it was sort of late and after he had just played for more than two hours), and he had a whole group of people waiting to talk to him.

(Mom teaches ESL for a few years and then this happens)

Anyway, it was a really good weekend.  I'm a little tired today, but it was well worth it.

I hope everyone else is doing well, too.  Wanna send out a shout out to Roundball, who was fighting some sort of respiratory ailment all weekend.  Hope he's all healed up!


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

First Day!


Just a quick pic of Amy as she arrived home from work yesterday after her first day at a career type of job.
I'm very happy for and proud of her!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Labor Day Weekend!

Hey!  I hope everyone had a good weekend!
We had a really nice one over on Tejas Trail.
On Friday I went for a bike ride in the morning, and then my folks came by.  The whole family pitched in and we got some yard work done, cutting back bushes and pruning and stuff.  Mom, Dad, and Amy started this process last week when I was getting my large trees professionally trimmed (I was at work).  Our yard looks really great thanks to all of their hard work!
Friday afternoon we went swimming at Mom and Dad's neighborhood pool in Steiner Ranch, and Friday evening we had a cook out over at their house.  We had slamon burgers, and they were really good.  Friday evening we watched Crazy, Stupid, Love over at their house.  The movie had its moments, but on the whole, probably not exactly up my alley.  Steve Carell presented another sad sack, cringe-inducing character.  When those sorts of characters are completely clueless I can find them funny (e.g., The Office), but when they're relatively self aware (as in this movie) they tend to move too close to depressing for me to find them particularly funny.  Combine this with the fact that the film didn't really say anything new and... I'm not sure what you really have.
Anyway, it had a few funny moments.
Saturday we got up and I went for a pretty long bike ride.  In the afternoon we went to the store.  Saturday night Amy and I picked up a friend of hers and we all went over to my folks' house to hang out with Ryan and the parentals for the UT season opener against Wyoming.
We had a really good time.  UT looked better in the opener then they looked at the beginning of last season, but the defense still has some problems, and there are still quite a few things to work on if UT is going to have a really successful year.
Mostly we just had a good time talking and eating and hanging out.
Sunday we went to Barton Springs (which was very nice) and then Amy and I went on a bike ride together when we got back.  It was very pleasant.  Sunday night Amy made really good spinach and mushroom enchiladas with some kind of tomatillo sauce.  Very good.  In the evening we watched Boardwalk Empire.
Monday I went for most of a long ride again.  I say most of a long ride because I blew out a tire when I was 10.2 miles into my ride.  I walked my bike about a quarter of a mile to a bus stop, threw my bike on the bike rack, and rode the bus home.  Tire repairs are still underway (I put a patch on but haven't tested it yet).  Sunday afternoon we took Cassidy down to the spillover at Barton Springs.  There were lots of dogs and people, but it was a really nice day, and it was fun to watch all of the activity and swim in the cool water.  Afterwards we went to a Labor Day cookout over at Mandy's place.  It was fun.  Andy and Rami showed up with their baby, Wilson, so I got to meet him for the first time.  It was really cool.  I'm very happy for them!  Wilson is very small, but very cool.  Andy and Rami seemed a little tired, but happy.  :-)

In the evening we went for dinner at Homeslice and had some pizza.  As always, it was good.

Today is Amy's first day of work at the Texas Legislative Council.  I'm really excited for her.  Hope it goes well.  I keep thinking of her and wondering what she's up to!  Big day!

Anyway, I hope everyone had a good weekend!
Enjoy the short week!
I can't believe summer is already winding down.