Monday, November 24, 2014


Well, fellow adventurers, the weekend was sort of a mixed bag. 
Thursday and Friday I had a trial at work (it was a contested competency trials, and I lost, so that's all I'm gonna say about that).
Friday night Amy and I went out for dinner.  It was nice.  Jury trials are always sort of all encompassing and draining, so it was nice to just go have dinner with Amy, relax, and enjoy her company without work stuff bouncing around in the back of my mind.
Saturday we went down to Congress to run an errand and pick up some baby shower gifts. (did I mention that we know a lot of pregnant couple right now?)
After shopping we had lunch at Homeslice Pizza.  That place gets really crowded (a waitlist in excess of an hour is not uncommon) and the parking can be difficult, so sometimes I get sort of negative about it (just open another location or two, Homeslice!).  The pizza is really good, though.  Amy and I are both big fans.  It was lightly raining when we got there, so we got a table relatively quickly.
While we were eating lunch, the skies opened up and it started to rain- and by rain I mean pour.
We finished our food, tried to leave, and ended up huddling under an awning in front of the store, watching the growing flash flood on South Congress.

There ARE down sides to bike commuting

Personally, I think if you find yourself standing in this kind of weather
to wait for a hamburger, you need to reexamine your relationship with food

When the rain lightened up for a minute, we dashed back to the car.  We got home, though, to find that there was a little bit of water creeping into out laundry room.  This was a bummer.  We've had drainage problems in there before, and we had talked about having some landscaping/drainage work done to fix the problem, but we decided to try to go with gutters first.  The gutters probably helped a little bit, but not nearly enough.  As the rain continued to pour down over the course of the day, we had to use the wet vac and some fans to dry out the laundry room.  the water never accumulated very much, but it was disheartening to see it come in.  At any rate, I put in an email to our landscape guy, and he's supposed to come help us out with the situation in January.  Let's hope we don't get any major flash flooding between now and then.
Saturday afternoon we had planned on going to a housewarming party, but we ended up on wet vac duty instead.  Saturday night Amy made some chicken tacos and we watched Friday night lights.
Sunday involved housekeeping and some other chores.  Amy went to a baby shower for Katie, a friend of ours.  Mom and Dad stopped by while she was gone, so I visited with them for a couple of minutes and picked up some supplied for Thanksgiving.
Sunday evening I went to band practice (pretty good- we all made it), and Sunday night Amy made stir fry. 
The weather was really nice on Sunday.  Amy and I took a couple of walks somewhere in there.

That was about it!  Hope you guys had a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Update: Sedaris; Veterans Day; Shelly B-Day

On Monday night I went out to dinner at Curra's with Amy, Jean, and Greg, and then we all went to see David Sedaris at The Long Center.  David Sedaris is, I guess, what might be traditionally known as a humorist.(?)  He's primarily a writer, and his speaking engagements consist largely of Sedaris reading from his various essays and books while throwing in some personal anecdotes for good measure.  He's funny, of course, but also a good writer.  His insights and observations about everything from family to culture to technology are, by turns, hilarious, poignant, thought-provoking, and outrageous.
Amy and I had heard Garrison Keillor speak at the Paramount only a month or two ago, and so listening to Sedaris, I couldn't help but compare the two.  Keillor sort of came across like an amused, gently sardonic grandparent.  He quietly makes observations about modern American life from the vantage point of the resident of an idyllic, homogenous midwestern community.  In Keillor's work, people discover one another's differences and diversity creeps in, but there's a sort of confidence that equilibrium will always be maintained, and that eventually a sense of harmony and community will be restored.  Community is everything, and it will always survive any particular structural changes in the great American social fabric.
Sedaris, on the other hand, writes from the perspective of a 57 year old gay man who grew up in North Carolina.  He's observant, charming, and witty, but his humor comes from the viewpoint of someone who has developed self confidence and strength despite the dynamics of the community around him rather than due to the support of accepting neighbors.
I don't mean to make it sound as if Keillor is an utter conformist, and Sedaris is a crusading rebel.  Both of them are more complex than that, and I feel that their viewpoints play out in subtle ways (Sedaris seems to occasionally take delight in shocking his audience, for example, while Keillor seems more inclined to draw out chuckles of recognition).
Anyway, we had a great time listening to David Sedaris.  You know the guy has good material when he can just stand up there and talk for two hours and keep everyone thoroughly entertained.

Tuesday was Veterans Day, so Amy and I both had the day off from work.  I went out to Lockhart with my dad and Greg so we could eat barbecue.  We went to Kreuz Market.  I got some smoked turkey and a little sausage.  Dad and Greg had brisket and sausage.  It was  fun.  Nice to have a tasty lunch with the vets.  In the afternoon I went with Amy, Jean, and Greg to look for a rocking chair and a stroller for the baby.  Apparently I will need a stroller with tall handles so I do not become a hunchback from pushing the bebe around town.
Tuesday night Amy and Jean made some delicious Toscana soup.  We had it with salad and bread, and it was delicious (espeically good since the weather had turned cold outside).   

Wednesday Jean and Greg left town.

Thursday night I had Veterans Court and got home sorta late.
On Friday night we went to The White Horse to celebrate Shelly's birthday.  We did some Cajun dancing and listened to lively Cajun music and hung out with some of Amy's friends from work.  Heather, Amy, and Mary were all there, and all three of those pregnant, sober ladies were willing to brave a crowded East Austin honky tonk on a chilly winter night in order to celebrate the birthday of a friend.  Let that be a lesson to you excuse-making couch potatoes who are too lazy to meet up with your wingmen/wingwomen/wingpeople!  Tommy, Kelly, and Stephen were also there (along with other assorted people that I did not know. but who seemed friendly enough).

On Saturday we did chores and ran errands.  We had breakfast in the morning at Kerbey Lane.  Breakfast was good, but the cafe's computers were down, and the waitstaff seemed borderline panicked about having to write down orders and add up bills with a calculator.  You would have thought that they were resorting to cooking by candlelight over campfires.  It was kind of hilarious.  Maybe those people gained a new level of respect for people who used to wait tables in the 1980s.  Probably not...

Saturday night we watched UT play against OSU over at Tyran and Jamie's house.  It was fun.  Mom and Dad were there, as well as Jamie, Ryan, Nicole, Matt, and Juan.  Matt and Nicole brought some tasty chicken chili, and Amy made some artichoke/spinach dip.  I brought a veggie tray.  The game was good, too!  UT not only won, but looked fairly dominant.  Nice to pick up that win, given that our next game is against on Thanksgiving against a fairly formidable TCU.

Sunday was cold and dreary.  We got some chores and errands done (including a trip to the mall, where the Christmas decorations were up, Santa was taking orders from the good kids, and Christmas songs were blaring through the PA system). 
I played some guitar for a while (in lieu of cancelled band practice), and then watched Walking Dead while Amy did some reading.

That was it!
It's been busy!  Hope everyone is doing okay!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Update; Ryann's Wedding; Jean and Greg Visit

The weekend went by in a fun, crazy blur.
Friday night was a little more subdued.  We came home, exercised, got some pizza, and watched 1987's Overboard, starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.  Watching Overboard, it occurred to me that people in 2014 take things waaaayyyy more seriously than people did back in the 80's.  Overboard is essentially a wacky, lighthearted movie about a man who kidnaps a disabled woman (an amnesiac with a head injury) and turns her into a slave (she's incredibly wealthy, but he tricks her into thinking she's the wife and mother in his working class, hard luck family).  All of this because she owes him $600.
The movie is fun and goofy and harmless- and yet I'm sure that audiences (and especially critics) today would lose their sh*t if a modern comedy were released with a plot involving the abduction of a woman who was tricked into becoming some sort of indentured servant housewife.
But you know what?  It's funny!  Because it's absurd!!!
Modern comedy has lost something, and I think part of it comes from our inability to joyfully embrace the ridiculous.

On Saturday we got up and ran some errands and did a few chores.  Amy's parents are here for a visit this week, and they arrived in the afternoon.  We chatted with them for a little while, got some exercise, and then got ready to go to a wedding for one of my friends and coworkers, Ryann.

Ryann and her fiancee, Jorge, got married at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd over off Windsor Road.  Their reception was at the Driskill Hotel.  It was a black tie wedding, so I wore a tuxedo and Amy wore a sort of formal black dress.  A number of people from my office were in attendance.
We had a really good time!  The wedding was an extremely tasteful, classy affair.  Good food, music, flowers, drinks, and decor.  Ryann and Jorge looked great.  Everyone enjoyed themselves.  We felt grateful to have been invited.

(this was sort of a candid shot, taken by Judge George)

(Me and Dan)
(just a typical Saturday night)

(Amy and I at the church.  Amy looked beautiful!)

(it's a monument to marital bliss- disguised as a cake)

(Ryann, Allison, and Brandy, with Greg and George
in the background)

After the wedding we went over to the condo that Jean and Greg are renting during their visit.  We hung out with them for a little while.  Amy gave them the details on the wedding.  Then we headed home and went to bed!
On Sunday we got up and went to meet Jean and Greg at Maria's for breakfast tacos.  Afterward we went over to our house and did some chores.  Greg and I took a ride over to Home Depot and picked up some hardware so we could hang a few racks that Amy had bought.  I the afternoon I went on a bike ride.  The weather was perfect.  I rode downtown, past Fun Fun Fun Fest, and then rode back home.
In the evening we (Jean, Greg, Amy, and I) joined my parents, Ryan, and Jamie for dinner at Steiner Ranch Steakhouse.  We had a drink and some hors d'oeouvres at my parents house, and then we carpooled over there together.
It was a very nice meal.  Nice food, drinks, and company.
Thanks to Mom and Dad for taking us out for dinner!

And that was the weekend.  Very nice, but over way too fast.
Congrats to Ryann and Jorge!  Best wishes to them as they launch off into marriage!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Halloween Weekend

So Halloween fell on a Friday this year.  That's always fun! 

Amy went out of town this weekend.  She flew out to Arizona to see her family and have a Halloween hangout with the nephews. 
It was a little weird for me.  Halloween is not the most romantic of holidays, but at some point I realized that this was the first Halloween that Amy and I have ever spent apart.  When I first met Amy, she was not a big Halloween fan, but I've been working on her over the years, trying to get her to engage in Halloween frivolity with me while promising to downplay the scary/horror/gross elements of the holiday.  I think I've had a little success.  She's now willing to watch some classic horror movies around Halloween, and she enjoys handing out candy and seeing the kids in their costumes.  We've even attended a few Halloween parties and had a good time!
Anyway, this year- no Amy.  Which was weird.  I missed my reluctant Halloween partner.

On Friday afternoon, my coworkers brought their kiddos to the office for trick-or-treating.  A few of dressed up for the yearly event (which is always a lot of fun).  We get a lot of kiddos up at the office, and it's cool to see them in their costumes.

(someone, Gayle, and Lasto)

(Laura and some clown)

Anyway, as tradition would dictate, I went over to Ryan and Jamie's place to hand out candy.  Their neighborhood is way festive with Hallowwen decorations and neighbors who sit on porches and driveways handing out loot. They always get a lot of trick-or-treaters, and most of them are dressed up.  We had a good time handing out candy.  Ryan and Jamie were Superman and Supergirl, respectively, and I was, uh, well, this guy....
(freaky deaky in South Austin)
Ryan and Jamie are not a big fan of this particular mask, as they believe that it scares the bejeezus out of children, thereby ruining the child-friendly Halloween Supervibe that they've got going on over at their house.  With Amy out of town, though, this was my perfect chance to implement my long held (but little appreciated belief system) in which children must learn to conquer fear in order to earn candy.
And you know what?  Like 90% or more of these kids had no trouble.  They did find the mask scary, but they would eye me warily, slowly approach, and then grab a handful of candy before running away.  As a God-fearing American, this makes me proud!  I think it's good training for the kids!  Learning to let greed triumph over fear, especially when dealing with suspicious people, is what drives the American economy!  It's what allows us to take out ridiculous loans to pay for everything from houses to college, is it not?  Shove that fear down deep in the hole, grab the prize, and run!  Of course, this mentality might have led to the mortgage lending crisis of 2008, buuut... we all got over that just fine, didn't we?  Didn't we?!?!

(Dan and Adriana- a study
in costume as metaphor)
After handing out candy with Ryan and Jamie and eating a sandwich at their house, I went over to a Halloween party at Ruben and Miguel's place.  It was fun!  Good company, good food, and a very festive atmosphere.  I got to hang out socially with a few friends from work, and I got to see my director, Dan, dressed as a werewolf.

On Saturday I got up and worked out, and I went to the 512 Brewery tour with Matt, Matt, Ryan, and Chad.  The weather was perfect, and we had a good time.  Tasty beer, nice folks, and perfect weather.  It was fun to hang out with the dudes and drink a couple pints of beer on a sunny, fall afternoon.  We want to eventually explore some other breweries in the area.  Or at least I do.  Hopefully I can drag my dudes with me!

(this guy did a really good of keeping the tour short and uncomplicated,
recognizing that there was much fun to be had in hanging out, talking, and
sampling the beers)
 Saturday evening I went over to Ryan's house to watch the UT-Texas Tech game.  UT won!  Granted, Tech was never very good in the first place, and their quarterback got hurt early in the game, but... did I mention that UT won?!?!  Hooray!  We'll take 'em where we can get 'em this season.  fun time hanging out with Ryan, Jamie, Nicole, Matt, and Juan.

After the game I went over to Mandy's house for her Halloween/Dia de los Muertos party.  It was fun, and it was good to see her and Vicki and Kate and Candace, but I was also tired.  I only lasted about an hour before I wandered home, pet Cassidy, and climbed into bed.

Sunday I ran errands, did some chores, worked out, and had band practice.  Amy flew back in on Sunday night.  So good to have her home!  Really, really good.

And that was the weekend.  It was busy, but fun!
I can't believe that it's already November!
Hope you guys had a good one!