Monday, September 26, 2016


Hey!Hope everyone had a good weekend!
Ours was pretty nice, but sort of busy with little chores and stuff.
I got home Friday night after picking up Raylan.  Amy was working a little bit late.  I took him out in the  back yard, and after running around for a little bit, he managed to sort of tumble onto his head on our back patio (while chasing after Cassidy, who was trying to hop away from him as quickly as her old, three-legged self could move).
So we went back inside. 
Apparently Raylan's bump on the head, unexpectedly, resulted in a sudden ability to read!

Raylan peruses some catalogs during dinner

Friday nightI don't think we did a whole lot.  We ate Chinese food and went to bed fairly early.
On Saturday we got up and went to the 2016 NAMI walk.  I try to do the NAMI walk every year.  Mental illness is a challenging thing to have to deal with for both individuals and their families.  I have a job which is kind of weird, since I prosecute cases that involve people who are struggling with mental illness, but the whole point of my position is strive for a level of empathy and understanding in dealing with these cases that might not happen in the regular court system.
It's tough to balance community safety with compassion for people who have legitimate, difficult health issues, but I enjoy my job, and I definitely want to try to approach it from a place where I strive to understand the issues on all sides.
NAMI provides support for those with mental illness and their families.  It's a great organization, and I'm happy to support it.
So we met up with Melissa, the director of the Mental Health Public Defender's Office, and her family, and walked the 5K loop from Auditorium Shores up to the Capitol and back.

Here's Raylan getting ready for the walk.  He looooves it when you tell
him he has to ride in the stroller instead of running around.  ;-)

Amy and Raylan on the South 1st Bridge over Ladybird Lake

South Congress

In the afternoon we were at home.  Raylan ate lunch and took a nap and played a bit.  Amy took care of some chores.  I spent some time putting together a new bathroom cabinet that Amy had ordered online.  As usual with those sorts of jobs, it ended up taking longer than I expected.
We also went for a walk or two and there may or may not have been an impromptu trip to Dairy Queen for some ice cream (which may or may not have been precipitated by some shameless whining on my part).
Anyway, I ended up working out in the evening.

On Sunday we got up and went to Snooze.  Afterwards we all went grocery shopping together.  Raylan seems to sort of get a kick out of going  to the store.
Then there was a walk.

"Dad, you don't think I'm a control freak just because I insist on
steering this thing, do you?"
There was lunch, a Raylan nap, workouts for Amy and I, and a trip to get some Cassidy supplies.   Amy took Raylan to the park for a little bit before it started raining, and I seized the chance for a few minutes of uninterrupted acoustic guitar playing.

Then they came back and we all hung out for a little bit before I headed out for band practice.
Band practice was Reed, Frank, Jim, and I.  We had a good time.
I got home, and for dinner we had a beer-braised crockpot chicken dish that Amy made.  It was really good!
So, nice weekend.  Busy, but not very eventful.  It was a bye weekend for UT, so no football.
My dad had surgery on his foot on Friday.  I've spoken with he and Mom a couple of times, and it sounds like things are going pretty well.
Anyway, we wish him a speedy recovery!

Hope everyone has a good week!





Sunday, September 18, 2016



Our weekend was, with the exception of the UT game, pretty good.
On Friday Mom took care of Raylan, so we met up with her when we got back to our house after work.
On Friday night I think we just ate pizza and watched some Seinfeld.  Last week was a pretty busy week, so we were sort of worn out.
On Saturday we got up, and I went to the store to do some grocery shopping.  Amy did some yard work.  I helped move some bags of leaves and sticks, but she did the lion's share of the clean up before I even got home from the store.  It was hot and humid Saturday, so I gave Raylan a bath afterward (he'd been outside "helping" Amy) and got him some lunch.  Then he took like a three hour nap.
I went to the gym.
When I got back and after Raylan woke up, we piled in the car and headed over to a baby shower in Mueller for our friends Danielle Tierney and Gavin Tabone.  They recently adopted a little girl, Abby, who was really cute.
There were a lot of friends there from the County Attorney's Office and from the DA's office (people who used to work at the CA's office, but who've moved on).  It was a nice get together with food and drinks.  We gave them a gift card and a quilt that Jean had made.  They seemed to really like the quilt!  (thanks, Jean, it was very nice!)
(Given that Abby is not in Longhorn garb on a game day, Raylan
greets her with suspicion)

We didn't stay at the baby shower all that long.  Raylan took a really long nap, so we go there a little late, and then we left as soon as it started showing signs of winding up because we had to get to dinner at Mom and Dad's house.  But it was fun to go, and the people from work enjoyed meeting Raylan (who was pretty well behaved).
Uncle Bob and Aunt Linda were in town from Florida for a visit, so we headed out to Steiner Ranch for a really nice dinner with them and the family (Ryan, Jamie, and Susan were also there).  Mom made chicken enchiladas (with rice and beans and salad).  It was a nice time.  It was good to see Uncle Bob and Aunt Linda and have a chance to talk with them.  Of course, it was fun to see the rest of the family as well.  Raylan ran around and did his best to entertain.
Eventually, after dessert, we left to get Raylan home to put him to bed.
At 9:30 the UT-Cal game started, and I watched that at home.  What a mess.  Texas' defense looked pretty terrible.  Shane Buechele did a decent job, although he made more mistakes than in the previous two games, including throwing at least one costly interception.  Overall, the big problem was the Texas defense, though.  They did nothing to stop the passing attack, and weren't great against the run, either.  While I think he has some raw talent to work with, it doesn't seem like defensive coordinator Vance Bedford is pulling things together.  To be honest, I don't have a lot of confidence that he's capable of rebuilding the defense. 
Also, it was ridiculous for UT to play a game that was scheduled in the evening like that on the west coast.  It had to hurt the television ratings for the game (UT has a big audience, but asking them to stay up that late is asking a lot).  The kickoff for the second half occurred after midnight our time.  Amy made it through the first half (which was after 11:30) and hung out with me, which is way past her usual bed time, so she gets a fan spirit award.  Anyway, they need to do those west coast games as day games.

On Sunday we got up and went out to breakfast at La Posada.  It was pretty good.  Good salsa.
Raylan is hypnotized by the plaster parrot decoration (not pictured) 
After breakfast we went shopping for some Halloween/fall decorations (yea!) and a few things for the house.  We went to At Home, which I guess used to be Garden Ridge.  It was fun to wander around.  Raylan got very excited about the holiday decorations.  He was, surprisingly,  not frightened by even some of the "scarier" Halloween stuff.

("Hey, Dragon, can you come here?  I got a question.")



Sunday afternoon we did some chores and some playing.  Amy and I both worked out.
In the early evening I went to band practice.  We played some old songs and did a little bit of recording.  It felt good.
Amy made red beans and rice with sausage for dinner.  Very good.  We went to bed early.  Because that lame ol' UT game kept us up late the night before (grumble, grumble).
Overall, it was a good weekend.  We had fun at the baby shower for Abby, and it was great to see Uncle bob and Linda!

Have a good week!

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Hey! Hope you guys had a great weekend!
Our week was sort of unusual. We got back into town on Tuesday evening from Phoenix.  Early Thursday morning Amy left for a meeting in Houston for work.  It was an overnight trip with co-workers.  My Mom and Dad took care of Raylan on Thursday during the day, and he spent the night at their house.
Thursday marked the 50th anniversary since the first episode of Star Trek aired, so on Thursday evening Ryan came over and we had a mini Star Trek party.  We drank beer, ate pizza and watched a couple of episodes ("Arena" and "The Enterprise Incident", to be specific).  It was fun to hang out and catch up and revel in some vintage Trek.  Thanks to Ryan for coming by!

This beer was actually pretty good, in addition to
being appropriately festive

Amy got back into town on Friday night.  I had dinner with my parents and Raylan at Central Market, and Amy was home to greet us by the time we returned.  Raylan was very excited to see his mom!
On Saturday we got up and spent a little bit of time outside after breakfast.

"You know what, Dad?  I like to lounge."
In the middle of the morning I headed out to Steiner Ranch.  My parents are converting one of their guest bedrooms into a playroom/bedroom for Raylan with a day bed sort of deal, so we offered to take their barely used, king-sized guest room bed off their hands.  Also, their neighbors, Doug and Nancy, are moving to Sun City in Georgetown, and they had a kitchen table that they were looking to unload.  It's a really nice, table, AND they had access to a free moving truck, courtesy of their realtor.  So Saturday turned into moving day.  Amy had a hair appointment that had already been rescheduled twice, so she headed off to that while Mom and Jamie watched Raylan.  Ryan, Dad, Doug and I moved furniture.  Thanks to Mom and Dad and Doug and Nancy for the nice furniture!  Thanks to Ryan and Jamie for the assist with the moving operation!

Raylan helps supervise the furniture delivery


New eating platform!
Saturday afternoon I got some exercise.  In the evening we watched the UTEP-UT game.  It was sort of a blowout, and UT once again looked pretty solid.  Still, it was fun to watch.

The fall of 2016.  Hopefully both of these signs are backing winners!
On Sunday morning we went to Kerbey for breakfast.  Raylan got up late, so he only got one breakfast this time.  Consequently, he was very focused on his eating.

After breakfast we went to the Austin Zoo.  We met up with Katerina and Logan.  We'd taken Raylan to the zoo once before, but, being older, he was much more interested in the animals this time.

Here Logan looks on in amazement as Raylan laughs at being splashed
by a bathing parrot.  Good times.

Amy tries to restrain Raylan as he charges at the goats

Logan takes things in while Raylan tries to figure out how you ride
these creatures.

Amy taming one of the wildest critters at the zoo

Sunday afternoon we got exercise and Raylan took a nap.  We rearranged toddler car seats, and I took my bike to the repair shop to have the brakes and shifter cables tightened up.
When Raylan woke up we all went to the grocery store together.
The store was a little crowded and crazy, but Raylan seemed to enjoy the outing, and we all had a good time.

Sunday night Amy made pasta with spinach, wine sauce, and sausage.  So gooood.

And that was the weekend.  Busy, but fun!
Have a great week!


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Labor Day in PHO

Hey! Hope you had a good Labor Day weekend!
We had a nice one.  We flew out on Friday for Phoenix to go visit Amy's family, and we got back in town Tuesday night.
It was a nice trip!
We got to spend time and catch up with Amy's family, and Raylan got to spend time with them and hang out with his cousins.
On Friday morning my parents drove us to the airport (so thanks to them for getting up early to get us there).  Raylan was fairly good on the plane, although he was a little bit wiggly.
"C'mon, guys- be cool.  Just a few laps up and down the aisle.  I'll barely
touch the emergency exits."

When we got to Peoria on Friday (the area northwest of Phoenix where Amy's family lives), we hung out at the house and Raylan got to play with Nathan, one of his cousins.  This was good stuff for Raylan.  First of all, he and Nathan seemed to get along well as playmates.  Second, Jean and Greg's house is well-equipped for entertaining and caring for Amy's nephews and niece, so there were lots of new and exciting toys as well as a friendly dog (Molly) and an elusive cat (Lola).

"Don't pressure me, Nathan.  I can do this."
Friday afternoon we took Nathan and Raylan to the pool.  It was a lot of fun.  On Friday night we had some good chicken that Jean had made.  Also, she made a really good berry crumble sort of dessert.  Very good.

Carol and Jerry, Amy's grandparents, were kind enough to let us sleep over at their house in their king-sized bed while they slept over at Jean and Greg's house during our stay.  This made things very comfortable for king-sized Steanso, and, more importantly, normal-sized Amy, who tends to get a bit "crowded out" when sleeping in a smaller bed with me.  So thanks, Carol and Jerry!

On Saturday we got up and drove out to Anthem where they had a fun little train for kids as well as a very nice park, playground, and splash pad.
Raylan fell asleep in the car on the way out there and was delighted and amazed to slowly wake up and find himself boarding a train.

 Afterward he played on the playground a bit and splashed in the splash pad.

"This whole place is so magical!  I can't wait
to see what amazing flavors this water holds!"

Checkin' out the ducks and birds at the pond with Nana and Mom
Later we went back to the house. 

With a little help from Amy, Molly and Raylan work things out.

In the late afternoon Greg and I went to see Star Trek Beyond.  We both had fun going to see the movie, but we also both agreed, I think, that it probably wasn't the best Star Trek movie we had ever seen.  It was still mostly an action movie with a menacing bad guy, but not a lot of old-fashioned Star Trek mystery or alienness to it.  There were some good character-building, buddy moments with the cast, but the process of figuring out what alien races are up to and understanding the unknown has been largely overlooked in the new Trek movies, and where it does exist, it's really more a matter of figuring out the plans of the bad guys as opposed to understanding what how another entity is thinking.  I miss that part of Star Trek.
There was, however, a reference in the movie to the giant, green hand from "Who Mourns for Adonais?", a memorable episode from the original series, so when we got home, we dialed that up on Netflix and watched part of it.  Raylan was interested in the whole Star Trek thing, in general, and the giant, green hand, in particular.

"Thanks, Poppa.  This really clears up some things that I've
been wondering about."
Saturday night we went to Saigon Kitchen while Carol babysat Raylan.  I had a dish with garlic noodles and shrimp.  Very tasty.  It was a nice dinner out.
Saigon kitchen is one of our favorites when we go to Arizona.

On Sunday we got up and went to the pool with Matt, Heidi, Carol, Jerry, Matt, Nathan, and Joanna.

Big boys in the big pool!
"You're getting wet, Poppy!"
Amy-Jean time
I the early afternoon Jean and Amy did some sewing while I borrowed a car and ran to a nearby store to do a little quick shopping (I took advantage of a nearby store that carries tall clothes). 
In the afternoonwe watched the UT-Notre Dame season opener.  Jean made queso and delicious shrimp tacos, and Jerry and Carol came over. 
The game (which went into double overtime) was really, really fun.  There were still a few signs of the old UT weaknesses (e.g., a few defensive lapses and some costly and needless penalties), but, on the whole, the team looked much better than last year.  For starters, UT's new true freshman quarterback, Shane Buechele, displayed a confidence and poise that seemed pretty amazing in front of a capacity crowd on the opening game of the year (and against Notre Dame, no less!).  It's still early, but that kid really seems like he could be something special.  And Tyrone Swoopes seemed to get the job done running when he subbed in at QB!  The offensive line seemed much improved, and, for the most part, the receivers caught the ball.  I like the new hurry up style offense.
Anyway, it was a fun game.  Time will tell whether this victory against a young Notre Dame team is truly a signal of things to come, but at the very least, it was great to see UT show some determination and focus during a long, hard fought game. 
Hook 'em!!!
Beer helps the Longhorns win!

Bleeding orange in the Arizona desert

On Monday, Labor Day, we got up and went out for breakfast with Jean and Greg at The Haymaker.  It was good!  I ate some sort of fried chicken, potato, eggs benedict creation that was delicious and probably could have fed a family of four.

Nana shows Raylan how to order things on Amazon (not really)
Later Jean took us to the pool again to meet Heidi and Scott and Nathan.  I got to go down their large water slide with Scott a couple of times, and Raylan had fun swimming with Nathan and Scott.
In the later afternoon we had a cookout at Greg and Jean's house, and the whole family came over.  We played Quirkle with Scott, Heidi, and Matt, and Raylan ran around and played with his cousins.  Heidi made a buffalo chicken dip which was very good.

"In all honesty, Nana, I should probably be wearing this
helmet much more often..."
"Everything looks squared away back here, Dad."
"Not a fan of the paparazzi, Uncle Jason. 
Not a fan."
"What ya got, there, Scott, is a tower that needs knockin' over.
Lemme help ya..."
Ya know what gets four squirming
kids to sit still for a second?
Buffalo chicken dip.

It was a good evening.  Greg grilled some tasty chicken breasts and we had corn on the cob.

Tuesday Jean made us some breakfast and we left town.   Before we went we had one last get-together with the cousins and Raylan.  We tried for a more organized group picture with the kiddos, but this was as good as it got (it may not be perfect, but I think it's a pretty great photo):
Greg, Jean, Nathan, Joanna, Amy, Scott, Raylan, and me

And that was about it.  Greg was kind enough to drive us to the airport.  We had a great time.
Thanks to the Davis, Koffel, and Sinex families for hosting us!
As always, we really do appreciate the hospitality.