Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day

Hey! How's it going? Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend! 
Amy and I had the second half of last week off from work for vacation.  We had planned a trip to Tullum, Mexico, a month ago, but then we cancelled it because it looked like it was going to rain the whole time that we were gonna be down there.  We rescheduled it for a month, but by the time the trip rolled around this time we just had a hard time leaving Raylan behind for a week, so we ended up cancelling it again.  It might sound weird that we had planned to go on the trip a month earlier and then ended up cancelling, but, as crazy as it sounds, during that one month timeframe Raylan really became more aware of his surroundings and of the people coming and going out of his daily life.  Suddenly he started calling out to us when we showed up to pick him up from daycare and running over to greet us.  He started watching us leave and sometimes waving goodbye to us when we left.
Basically, suddenly we felt like we were going to be missed in a way that probably wouldn't have been as much of an issue the month before.
So we stayed in Austin, took time off work, and had a staycation.
And it was fun!
Raylan still spent a couple of days with my parents, so Amy and I still got to do some grownup stuff, and we both got a needed break from work.
On Wednesday we played with Raylan for a lot of the day.  I know I read him a lot of books.  He demands books these days.  To be honest, I'm not sure what we did on Wednesday.  But we did not work.
On Thursday my mom and dad came and picked up Raylan in the morning.  Amy and I went to the gym and ran some errands and went to see The Jungle Book.  We both really enjoyed it.  It was a fun movie.  Definitely a worthy successor to the animated version that I remember watching as a kid.
On Thursday night we went out for dinner at a restaurant called aRoma Italian Kitchen on South Lamar.  Dinner was good!  The restaurant was nice, the food was tasty, and the service was good.  They have wood fired pizzas and other Italian foods along with a pretty respectable wine and beer selection.  We had a nice evening there.




(I love Raylan, but you know what you don't get
with a toddler around?  This!!)

On Friday we ran some errands during the day, exercised, and relaxed.  I got to play my guitar for a little while.  Amy worked on some needlepoint while I went to see Captain America: Civil War.
I enjoyed it.  It was basically a fun action-adventure, popcorn flick, but the plot, centered around who should shoulder the responsibility and blame when superhuman battles inflict sizable collateral casualties, was grounded enough to keep the movie from devolving into a completely ridiculous superhero joyride.
Friday night we went to see B.J. Barnum at Strange Brew.  Barnum is the lead singer of American Aquarium, a band I had previously seen at SXSW and at one of the smaller stages at ACL Fest.
For the Strange Brew show he played a solo, acoustic singer-songwriter set, playing a bunch of tunes from a solo record that he plans to release later this summer, mixed in with some American Aquarium songs more typically plays with the band.

BJ Barnum


The show was good!  Barnum's new album, and much of his music in general, deals with the trials and tribulations of working class life as a Southerner in modern America.  He's good at conjuring up images and evoking emotion.  He kind of reminds me of Bruce Springsteen with a bit of North Carolina twang.
Anyway, the show was really good.  The music was good, and Barnum was a funny, engaging performer.


("While Mom and Dad were on vacation, I had my own vacation at the
ranch house with Grandma and Grandpa!")

On Saturday we went out to Steiner Ranch to pick up Raylan.  We also took him to the pool.  He'd been to a pool before, but last summer he was so little that he didn't really know what was going on.  This summer he loved it.  We were a little afraid that the water would be too cold or that he would be freaked out by the bigger kids or whatever, but- nope.  He wanted to play in the water and on the splash pad and in the kid pool.  The family pool in Steiner Ranch near my parents' house is really nice, and it has all kids of features for kids.  Raylan had a blast.  The water was a little bit cold after the recent rains, but he wanted to stay in- up to and beyond the point where his lips started to turn blue.

("Mom, are you seeing this?!")

Mom and Dad took Raylan back to their house once he was worn out, and Amy and I got to hang out at the pool by ourselves for a little while.  Afterward we went back to their house and had a really nice dinner of salmon burgers, corn, salad, etc.  Thanks so much to Mom and Dad!
Saturday night we watched an episode of Silicon Valley.

On Sunday we ran some errands.  We took Raylan to the store with us.  In the afternoon, Jamie and Ryan came over and we headed over to Doc's, a beer and burgers place near our house that has a big playground out back.  We got to take turns watching Raylan and taking him to the playground while visiting with Ryan and Jamie.  It was fun.  It was nice to see them.  Seems like it had been a while.
Later in the afternoon we played in the backyard a bit.


("I'm back at the fancy pool!  I'm back at the fancy pool!!")






Sunday night we watched Jupiter Ascending.  Having read the reviews when it was released, I was prepared for a total train wreck.  Instead, I thought it was just a mediocre science fiction movie with some good ideas, amazing visuals, and an inability to deliver on its potential.  I actually liked the overall plot (featuring a wealthy, space-dwelling aristocracy that seeds planets with humans so that they can later be harvested in order to produce life-prolonging materials).  The writers mostly failed by way of dialogue, character development, and a compulsion to hastily and overzealously explain every potentially wondrous thing in the movie.  With some relatively minor tweaks, this could have been a classic.  Instead it sort of fell flat.
On Monday it rained in the morning.  In the afternoon we went back out to Steiner Ranch and went to the pool.  Once again, Raylan liked it.  More kicking, laughing, smiling, and playing.  The weather was nice, which was amazing, given that we had woken up to a morning of storms.
Monday night we watched Game of Thrones while Raylan slept.  It was good.


And that was the staycation!  It was fun.  It was actually really nice to have time off from work without having to deal with the hassle of travelling somewhere, packing, unpacking, etc.  Also, we got spend time with Raylan, my folks, and Ryan and Jamie. 
We had a nice, relaxing time.


Now... back... to... work...

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