Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Happy Anniversary!!

Happy anniversary, Amy!  It's been a great two years.
I love you.  You make me immeasurably happy, and I feel unbelievably fortunate to have you in my life! 

Monday, October 26, 2015


Hey! How are you? Everyone doing okay so far as we fall into fall?
Here's a video that I actually took last week of Raylan.  It's just a quick video of him enjoying a bath, but he really loves water these days, and I haven't really show him in action very much on the ol' blog.  He just turned 6 months, so this seems like as good a time as any for a video.

Our weekend in Austin was, as predicted, very rainy.  Fortunately, we ended up having a sort of moderate, steady rain instead of constant heavy downpours, so we didn't get any flooding (at least down in our neck of the woods).
Our weekend consisted of mostly indoor activities, though, as we tried to stay dry.
On Friday night we just hung out.  We watched an episode of The Americans, I think.
On Saturday I got up and went grocery shopping, and then we went out to Steiner Ranch to watch the UT v. K-State game.  Amy and Raylan decided to wear matching Mono Ensemble outfits to enjoy the game.  Amy got some stitching and reading done while Mom, Dad, and I watched UT slowly defeat K-State at a very wet DKR Stadium.  Mom made some tasty turkey chili, and put out some veggies and crackers.  It was fun.  I can't emphasize enough how nice it is to have someplace where we can get out of the house for a while and feel comfortable taking Raylan (he has a crib over there that he can nap in if he gets tired).

(Wait.  I have to be a fan of who now?)

(I suspect that someone has put something ridiculous on my head)

On Sunday Ryan and Jamie came over in the afternoon.  They hung out with Raylan and me for a little while.  Amy was napping at first (Raylan did not sleep in this weekend), but eventually she woke up and joined us.  It was good to have them stop by!  Raylan was a little zoned out initially (he also just got up from a nap), but eventually he snapped out of it and got more excited.

(Stare down contest.  Start....NOW!!!)
In the evening, I went to band practice.  It was good.  Jim played piano.  It's a work in progress integrating the piano, but it's coming along.
When I got home, Amy had made a good dinner with salmon and a topping that involved onions and tomatoes.  Very good.  Also some polenta.
After dinner and dishes I watched The Walking Dead.  Man, this season has been rough so far.

And that was the weekend!  It was rainy.  It was good.

(Nap attack?  What's a nap...?) 

Monday, October 19, 2015


(This is my foot.  I have this one and a spare on the other side.)

So it was a good weekend.  Amy's mom, Jean, got into town on Wednesday, and stayed with us through the weekend.  My parents were in Nashville visiting the Blood family this weekend, so it was sort of a parent swap.  Ryan's been in Portland for work, so the Steans family has been spread out, somewhat.
It was nice to have Jean visit.  Raylan is old enough now that he's aware of people, so he and Nana hit it off.  Jean and Amy got him to really start eating several different kinds of solid foods.  Amy's been blending up all kinds of stuff, but apparently apples are a big fave right now.  They also took a lot of walks.  Jean and Amy also worked on some quilting and stitching projects.  Seems like they had fun.
I should mention that, unfortunately, Amy came down with a cold right as Jean was getting here.  It wasn't horrible or anything, but she was a little bit more tired than usual and coughing a lot.  It was kind of nice to have Jean in town to help out a bit with Raylan while Amy wasn't quite feeling up to par.
(This picture sort of symbolizes the weekend.  Coughing Amy and hanging out with Raylan.
Note that Amy's coughing toward me, and not Raylan.  Protect the bebe!)
What else?  On Thursday night I stopped in at a "goodbye" happy hour after work for Danielle, Greg, and J. Michael, who are all going to the D.A.'s office to work on felony cases.  Happy hour was pretty fun.  I'll be sorry to see them go.  All three of them are good people, and I've worked with Danielle a lot because she was my partner in the Veterans Court for several years.  She's a good lawyer.  I'm sure she'll kick some butt in the D.A.'s office.
Thursday night Amy made chilaquiles (yum!), so we had a nice dinner after the happy hour.  Friday night we ate some pizza.
Saturday morning I sold my CRV.  I had posted an ad for it on Craigslist, and I had quite a few people call me about  it.  There's a strangely high demand for CRVs from around the 2000 time period, I found out.  I guess it's because they only made that particular body style for a year or two.
Anyway, I had told Amy that I was glad to be getting calls about the car, but that I really wanted to sell it to a college student or someone who would just buy the car and have a good time with it (as opposed to fixing it up to resell it).
Well, in the end Nancy Hohengarten, the judge whose court I work in for the mental health docket, ended up buying the car for her son, Matt.  Matt goes to college nearby, so he just needed something to get him around in.  I hope he has fun with the CRV, and I hope it holds up well for him.  It's an old car, but it was good to me!

(End of an era!  Take care of her, Matt, and she'll take care of you!)

So having sold the car pretty early in the day on Saturday, I took advantage of the extremely nice weather (and the off week for UT football) by going for a bike ride.  It was a great day to be on the bike.  I pedaled my way downtown and went by the book festival.  I stopped and got a turkey sandwich, watched the kids at the skate park for a few minutes, and then pedaled my way home.
Amy and Jean worked on quilting while I was out, so they were probably glad to have me out of their way.
Afterward, I got home, took a shower, and ran to the grocery store to do our shopping for the week.
That evening we ordered out for Thai food and played with Raylan.

(Raylan expresses interest in Cassidy.  Cassidy, wisely, plays dead.)

(Sometimes Raylan seems pretty proud of himself on his walks.  Not sure he realizes that Amy is the one doing the actual walking.  Silly bebe.)

On Sunday we got up and took Raylan over to Kerbey Lane for breakfast.  It was very nice.  Raylan was pretty mellow and easily entertained, and we all had a nice breakfast.

(Sunday morning breakfast with Nana!  Raylan had the blue, plastic bowl,
a la carte)
After breakfast Jean and Amy ran some errands while I hung out with Raylan for a while.  Later on I went to the gym.  In the evening I went to band practice.  It felt good.  We had some strong music moments in there.
When I got home, Amy had made turkey sausage stuffed peppers and a salad.  Excellent dinner.  She made an apple crisp for dessert.  Jean and I both liked it, but Amy was on the fence.

And that was pretty much it.

It was a nice weekend.  Beautiful fall weather.  We spent a lot of time with the windows open, and we wandered in and out of the house.
Thanks to Jean for visiting!  We enjoyed having you! 
It'll be nice to have Mom and Dad back, too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


So the weekend was good! Went by quickly. I'm not sure what we did on Friday night.  I think we went to bed early.  I can't remember.

(Saturday morning hangout with Dad while Mom catches
up on some much needed sleep)

On Saturday afternoon, I watched what has been by far the best UT game of the year.  We played against OU in the Red River Rivalry, and UT was victorious.  It was awesome.  Made me so happy all day!
(Raylan watching the UT game with me.  "Hey Dad!  Guess what? 
OU sux!")

On Saturday afternoon my parents picked up Raylan.  Afterward, we ran some errands, which was easier without a kiddo in tow.  Saturday night we went out to dinner with Shelly, Emily, Joe, and Kit.  We had a really fun time!  We went to Taco Flats for dinner, and then went to Pinballz afterward to play some vintage arcade games.  Pinballz was a lot of fun.  It turns out that arcade games are more enjoyable when you're an adult and you have more than $2 or $3 in quarters to spend on games.  Anyway, it was fun to hang out with the gang.  Thanks to Mom and Dad for watching Raylan!
(Emily and Joe do some racing while Shelly and Amy critique their technique)

On Sunday we got up late and went out for breakfast (there are a lot more people at the restaurants when you get up late, apparently).  Then I ran to the grocery store.

My parents dropped off Raylan in the afternoon, and we talked with them for a while.

In the evening I went to band practice, which was good for my soul.  Amy made soup (it had potatoes and onions and saffron).  It was muy bueno. 

That was pretty much the weekend.  Very nice!

BTW, on Monday I sat in on a roundtable with U.S. Senator John Cornyn about legislation that he's supporting which involves mental illness and treatment for it in the justice system.  He's pushing the legislation as an alternative to any sort of significant reform of  our firearms laws (his bill has NRA support as well as support from mental health advocates).  I don't really believe that addressing mental health will fix our gun violence problem in any significant way (the actual percentage of gun crimes committed by the mentally ill is apparently fairly low and not really any higher than that of the general public), but I'm willing to support help for the mental health care system any way we can get it.  Politics, as they say, makes strange bedfellows.  Anyway, I'm not too cool to admit that it was kind of exciting to be part of a policy discussion that involved a senator and was covered by the media.

(It is me, or does my expression in this  picture sort of say, "So are we gonna get
our money, or what?")

Monday, October 05, 2015

ACL Weekend 2015

(Rylan helps me practice for the festival by sitting on a blanket
on the grass with me Friday morning before I headed out)

Hey!  Another ACL Festival under the belt!  Initially I was gonna go with Amy while my parents were going to watch Raylan, but Amy had a work conflict, and ultimately decided she's just rather stay home, so it ended up being Frank (of Mono Ensemble guitar fame) and myself at the festival.  We met up with Mandy, Vikki, and Ellie once and tried to meet up with them again, but... there's a lot of people at ACL Fest, y'all.
The weather was really good, we heard some good music, and we had a good time!

My parents watched Raylan Friday, and he stayed at their house overnight.  We missed him, but also, hey, sleep is nice!  We got up and went out to breakfast Saturday morning.  Did a little shopping, and they brought him back around noon.  I watched about ten minutes of the UT-TCU game and then had to turn it off.  So horrible.
Frank and I did the festival in the afternoon.
I went to Garrison Park on Sunday morning with May and Raylan.  We met up with Amy's friend Katarina and her little boy, Logan.  Logan is about 9 months old, so he and Raylan are fairly close to the same age.  The weather was beautiful, and it was fun to hang out in the park.

Here are my festival notes.  I think TV on the Radio was my favorite this year.  They were really good.
Great weather!

Friday:  American Aquarium (partial set), Ruen Brothers, a few minutes of Royal Blood before heading over to Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, a little bit of Billy Idol and then Maggie Koerner, Tame Impala, Gary Clark, Jr., and overheard Foo Fighters on the way out.

We got to the park during American Aquarium, but they were good.  I'd never heard Maggie Koerner before, but she was good.  Great vocals, a sort of sparse instrumental sound with good guitar work.  Cool stuff.  Gary Clark, Jr., was good, too (I heard someone compare him to Stevie Ray Vaughn recently, and I'm not sure he's that good, but he's good).

Saturday:   some of Shakey Graves (mostly from a nearby stage while waiting for...), Sturgil Simpson, Unknown Mortal Orchestra (partial set), part of Alabama Shakes (while waiting at nearby stage for...), TV on the Radio, and one or two Deadmau5 songs on the way out.

Sturgil Simpson was really good.  Super tight, good band with good slide guitar.  TV on the Radio played a really good, high energy show.  Amongst the best I've seen of them.  They've gotten better and better with their live shows over the years.

Sunday:  The Decemberists, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Alt-J, and Dwight Yoakam.

The Decemberists were really good.  As always.  Kurt Vile was fun.  Alt-J also had a really standout show.  Good to see them still doing well (they had at least one personnel change since I saw them last, I think).

(Maggie Koerner- really good show)

(TV on the Radio!)

(There's always the possibility of a whale attack at a Decemberists show)


(this picture was taken one moments before Raylan
unexpectedly levitated for the first time)