Sunday, October 30, 2016

Happy Halloween!!

Hey! Happy Halloween! Hope everyone is having a good one!
Our weekend was nice!
On Thursday Amy and I celebrated our third anniversary.  Mom and Dad took Raylan overnight, and we went out to a nice dinner at Odd Duck.  In the end, I think I liked the food more than Amy, but she still liked getting out to try a new place.
Mom took Raylan to his music class on Thursday, and then Mom and Dad brought him to my office on Friday for some workplace trick or treating.  Raylan has multiple costumes for this year, but he seems to have settled upon his Superman costume (provided by Funcle Ryan) as a favorite.  He got some candy at my office (the people at my office sort of go all out on Halloween with decorations and some costumes and whatnot), and then we headed over to Amy's office where he met more people and had more treats.  It was a fun way for Raylan to meet friends and coworkers at both of our offices.

"I'm gonna grab that autoharp.  I'm gonna grab
 it, run away with it, and take my act on the road..." 

Friday night we got pizza and just chilled out.  We watched Young Frankenstein (still hilarious).
Saturday we had what Amy refers to as a "down day".  This means we stayed home, although we were busy doing stuff most of the day, so I'm not sure she and I have the same definition of a "down day". 
We went out to Kerbey Lane for breakfast, and then I went to the store to do some shopping.  Amy went running with Raylan in the jogging stroller.  She did a loop through our neighborhood that I think is somewhere around 3.5 miles.  She did that on both Saturday and Sunday.  That's some serious exercise, in my book.  Running over 3 miles definitely qualifies as exercise to me in any event, and when you're pushing a 29 pound kid up and down hills on a relatively humid day, it definitely becomes the sort of exercise that I wouldn't even attempt.  Good for her!
I went to the gym and used an elliptical machine in air conditioning.  Because that's how I roll.

Here we see Amy tricking Raylan into believing that
cleaning up leaves is fun.
There were some chores around the house, and then in the afternoon I watched the UT-Baylor game while carving a pumpkin.
UT won!!  We beat the number 8 team in the nation!  It was close, and the Longhorns almost blew it on many occasions (and the officials seemed to blow a couple of calls), but for once it came down to the wire and the Longhorns ended up in with more points when the clock ran out.
It's really fun to watch football when UT wins a close game. Wish it happened more often!

I carved this jack o' lantern during the UT game.  I think it gave us luck
against Baylor.

Saturday night Amy made spaghetti and we watched Battlestar Galactica.

On Sunday we got up and Amy made hash browns and eggs and toast.  She went running while I ran an errand or two.  I also went to the gym.
In the afternoon, after Raylan's nap, we went over to Hyde Park to meet Chad, Mary, and Truett for Polkapocalypse.   

Los Texmaniacs

It was pretty fun.  The music was lively and entertaining.  Raylan wanted to run and run and run, though, and he was a little hard to keep up with.  In true toddler fashion, there were acres of land available for him to run around in, but he mostly seemed drawn to some stagnant water down in the creek.
We took him over to the playground, though, and Truett came with.
The weather was nice, and we had a good time hanging out. 

"Get our of the stroller and let's run around, man!!!"
Sunday night Amy made chili, and we watched Westworld.  We're both really enjoying that show.  It's not for the faint of heart, but it's well written.  Many mysteries.

"Figuring it out, Dad!"

"Chewbacca is about to mess you up, Boba Fett!"
And that was our weekend.  It was a nice one.  Went by too fast.

Happy Halloween!!!!










Thursday, October 27, 2016


Three years since we made it official!  I'm still constantly amazed at how lucky I am to be married to such a wonderful person.  
Happy anniversary to a great wife, mother, partner, and best friend.
I love you, Amy!!!


Monday, October 24, 2016


Hey! How's everyone doing?
Fall is falling!
Well, in Austin we've dipped below temperatures that are in the 90's, so that's about as close as we get!
We had a few hiccups this weekend, but, overall, it was still a nice couple of days.
Friday night Amy went out and had some wine and appetizers with Shelly and Emily, a couple of her friends from work, while Raylan and I had father-son night at home (which, it turns out, is a lot like every other night, except, perhaps, with a few less vegetables for dinner).
After Raylan was in bed, I took the chance to engage in a non-Amy activity: watching a horror movie on HBO.  I watched Jeepers Creepers.  It's kind of dumb, but still fun.  It was the second time that I've seen it.
Ryan and Jamie and I have been watching "spooky" movies once a week during October (Amy is, I think, relieved that I have found someone else to watch them, given that she doesn't really like them, and I have a tendency to try to pressure her into watching them with me around Halloween).
Anyway, it's been fun to watch them with Ryan and Jamie, and on Friday night we were having nice, cool weather, so, even though I was alone, it was fun to have the windows open, Raylan in bed, the Halloween decorations lit up, and a scary movie on TV.
On Saturday morning we woke up and Raylan had some kind of toddler mystery goop in his eye, which also seemed a little irritated and pink.
Fearing pink eye, I took him over to the Austin Regional Clinic.  It turned out that he didn't have pink eye, but he did have an ear infection.  Wheeeee!  Anyway, we got him some amoxicillin and started him on it, even though he seemed like he was doing pretty well.
We watched the UT-Kansas State football game, and Shelly and Kit came over to watch.  Amy made queso.
It was fun to have Shelly and Kit over, but the game was pretty bad.  UT played pretty poorly.  They had a sort of rally toward the end of the game, which, in a way, was even more frustrating because it sort of demonstrated that they had been underperforming throughout much of the rest of the game.
But, it was fun to see Shelly and Kit.

Raylan shows Kit how to play Raylanball

At some point Amy took Raylan to the park for a bit, as well.
"I'm steering!  I'm steering!!"
Sometime toward the end of the football game Raylan started showing signs that he wasn't feeling great.  He wouldn't really nap, he started getting cranky, and he had head congestion (I'll spare you the details). 
Anyway, we were supposed to go to have dinner with the Shaw family that night, but we ended up cancelling because Raylan seemed worn out and sort of sick, and we didn't want to push our luck.  It was a bummer.  We'd been looking forward to dinner with the Shaws, and I'd even bought some Star Trek beer to bring over for the occasion!  Hopefully we can reschedule.
Anyway, instead of the fun Shaw dinner I went to the grocery store while Amy watched Raylan.

On Sunday we went out to Steiner Ranch to go to their pumpkin patch.  The whole family went!
It was a pretty brief trip, but fun.  They had some booths set up to sell treats, do crafts, and play games.  Proceeds went to the Dell Children's Hospital and other charities.

Ryan and Jamie sat here for 8 hours debating which pumpkin to get...


There was a giant pumpkin that you could guess the weight of in order to win a prize.  Raylan was strangely attracted to it and kept running over to stand beneath it with his hands on it (like some weird form of toddler vegetable-idol worship).
"Dad, I'm not sure I should be sitting on this
pumpkin.  I think it could be important..."

Arts and crafts with Mom and Grandma

After the pumpkin patch we had lunch over at Mom and Dad's house, and then we took Raylan home for a nap.  He slept for quite a while.

There was a brief trip to the park after that, and then I went over to Reed's house where we had Wastewood practice and drank the Star Trek beer that had been intended for our ill-fated dinner.  We had a good practice.  We played a lot of music.

And that was pretty much the weekend.
As usual, it went by really fast!

Thanks to shelly and Kit for coming over, the Shaw family for trying to have us over (and having me for band practice), and Mom and Dad for buying us a pumpkin and feeding us lunch!

Have a good week!






Monday, October 17, 2016


Hey! Hope everyone had a good weekend.  Ours was nice.

Friday night we ate pizza and then I think I just drank some beer and played guitar after Raylan was in bed.  Amy did some stitching, I think.  On Saturday I went grocery shopping in the morning and ran some errands while Amy took Raylan to the park.  Amy exercised, and in the afternoon I got an oil change and ran a few more errands.  We took turns playing with Raylan.
Saturday night we had a babysitter (one of the teachers from Raylan's daycare), and we went out to dinner and then went to a party that Ryan and Jamie threw.
The party was fun.  We got to catch up with some old friends, watch the UT-Iowa State game, and have a few treats.  Our friend D.K. was there, and even though I work at the courthouse with her, I really haven't had a chance to talk to her in a long time, so that was good.
We also got to wish Matt and Nicole congratulations on their engagement.
So it was a fun party!  Thanks to Ryan and Jamie for hosting.

On Sunday we went out to Steiner Ranch.
John and Julie Bridenstine were in town with their kids, Ben, Brandy, and Beau.  They went to the UT game and stayed with my parents.
It was great to see them!  Their kids seemed really excited to meet Raylan.  Raylan seemed slightly intimidated by the bigger kids at first, but he warmed up to them very quickly.  He was following Beau around by the time we left.
"I'm showing these guys how my stuff works, Dad,"

Continuing a lifelong tradition of semi-chaotic meals
when our families get together
Beau explains to Raylan the importance of a good stick

After breakfast and some time hanging out with John, Julie, and the kids we headed home so Raylan could take a nap.  Except he didn't want to take a nap.
We tried and tried to get him to go down, but it didn't happen.
We had planned to go to a pumpkin patch out in Bastrop in the afternoon with our friends Adam and Katie and their daughter, Ophelia, but Raylan's schedule got all out of whack, and it was a lot warmer out than we expected.
Instead, we ended up going to an event in Hyde Park that was, as far as we knew, just a tour of a fire engine at the local fire station.  Instead, it turned out be a costume parade with not only a fire engine, but also a live band and food provided by local businesses.  Raylan got not one but two balloons!
We met up with Adam, Katie, and Ophelia, but we lost track of them somewhere along the parade route, and I guess they ended up going home (maybe Ophelia wasn't down for all of the excitement).
We also hung out with Chad and Mary and Truett and ran into Heather and Otto and Katarina, J.R., and Logan.  So all of the kiddos from the Environmental Protection Division baby class of 2014-15 were in attendance!
The event was fun, but a little bit crowded and crazy.  We were all there, but I'm not sure we all hung out with each other (although we all visited a bit at different points in time).

(If you look very closely at this picture you might be able
to spot Amy and Raylan watching the band)

(a moment of recognition between Logan and Raylan)

After the parade/costume contest/fire engine show, we walked over to see Chad and Mary's new house in Hyde Park.  It's a really cool house in a very nice neighborhood.  It's a really nice place, and it sounds like they have some plans to make some improvements, as well, before they move in.
Raylan and Truett had a lot of fun running around the empty house, playing with each other, and roaming around the yard.

("If you really put your back into it, Truett, you can
make sure the mini blinds don't get away.")


("Truett, are you just gonna sit there or are you gonna help me try to
break some more stuff?")

 In the evening we went home and got Raylan dinner, a bath, and bed.  He collapsed hard.
Amy made some delicious pasta.  Yum!!
We watched Westworld and called it a night.

That was our weekend.  It was nice! 




Monday, October 10, 2016

ACL Fest, 2016

Hey!  Well, this weekend marked the15th Austin City Limits Music Festival, and, consequently, my 15th year of attending the event.
It's sort of crazy to think back on all of the years that I've gone to ACL.  There have been so many changes in that time- changes in my life, changes in the lives of friends, changes in the festival itself, changes in the music scene that the festival is intertwined with, and changes to the City of Austin.
And yet, some things have remained pretty constant.  The energy level always remains pretty high, there are always some acts worth seeing, the beer always remains a little overpriced, and, despite grumbling on some years about the weather or the lineup or the sound engineering or whatever, I'm always glad that I went.
I went with Frank again this year.  Thanks to him for going!  I think we're both pretty thankful to our wives and our families for allowing us the chance to get out and go!
Here's the lineup of what I saw:

Weekend 2

Bad Suns (partial), The Wombats
The Front Bottoms, Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes, Banks & Steelz
The Strumbellas (good!), Chairlift
The Struts
Corinne Bailey Rae, Flying Lotus

Margaret Glaspy
DJ Mustard
LL Cool J feat. DJ Z-Trip
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
Blue Healer, Cage the Elephant
Conor Oberst

Pete Yorn
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Willie Nelson
HAIM (partial)
LCD Soundsystem

The Strumbellas were really good and pretty funny.  Bombino was good.
Radiohead played a really great show.

On Saturday, Margaret Glaspy was good.  LL Cool J played a good set (do NOT call it a comeback), Blue Healer was interesting (really liked some songs- others less so), and Conor Oberst was good, even if he was really angry about everything from Donald Trump to the volume of the bands on neighboring stages to the reliance of Millenials on the Internet.  It was fun to watch LL Cool J lay down old school, analog hip hop (his DJ used actual record turntables).  They could throw in a bit of improvisation that the younger, computer-driven hip hop artists couldn't match.

On Sunday pretty much everything was really good.  Pete Yorn played some good ol' fashioned straight ahead Americans roots rock.  Nathaniel Rateliff laid down some soulful, funky, bluesy tunes (moments of conjuring Van Marrison).  Willie Nelson played and sang an hour set that was far better than any of us had a right to expect or hope for (it was better than even some of the television appearances that I've seen him in in recent years).
And LCD Soundsystem just played a nonstop, high octane set that kept the audience dancing throughout the whole thing.
Sunday was a very good day for music.  And we had great weather, too.

Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes

My parents spent some time with Raylan this weekend so Amy wouldn't be stuck doing solo parenting all weekend.  It sounds like he had a good time.  And he got a haircut!




Frank at the gates

Margaret Glaspy

LL Cool J

Conor Oberst

Central Market breakfast

Earning my "Dad of the Year" award at Dick Nichols Park

Pete Yorn

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

LCD Soundsystem 



















Monday, October 03, 2016


So we had a pretty good weekend!
On Thursday I helped a couple of other friends from work in throwing an office baby shower for our friends Libby and Jordan.  Libby is in the trial division with me, and we've been friends for years.  Her husband, Jordan, is in the domestic violence division in our office.  They're good folks, so we got some snacks and desserts and threw a little shower for them.  Amy and I got them a book (Jazz Baby) and a hat and a towel.  Also, most importantly, Amy's mom, Jean, gave a really nice quilt for us to pass along to them that she had made.  They seemed to really like it and appreciate it.

(Ain't no party like an alcohol-free, office conference
room baby-havin' party!)

On Friday night Mom and Dad kept Raylan overnight, so Amy and I went to Cypress Grill for a couple of beers and some tasty Cajun food.  I had blackened catfish with etoufee and Amy had trout meuniere (I think).  We both had gumbo.
Anyway, it was a nice dinner, and a nice evening.  Thanks to Mom and Dad for giving us the gift of some grown up time!  I love Raylan to death, but I love Amy, too, and it was really nice to have some time alone with her.

On Saturday we got to sleep in a little bit.  Then we spent some time running a couple of errands, cleaning up, and setting up Halloween decorations.
Mom and Dad showed up before the UT-OSU game started at 11:00 to bring back Raylan and watch the game.
The game turned out to be pretty terrible.  Despite having two weeks off since losing to Cal, and despite every media source in Texas crying out for substantial changes to the Texas defense (and many calls for the replacement of Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford), Texas continued to look every bit as bad as they had in the Cal game, with defense being the worst part of the problem.
In short, hope dwindled, and it's starting to look like UT isn't going to be much improved over the last couple of years.  Charlie Strong's position is in serious jeopardy.
No one really wants Strong removed, but the University of Texas sinks too much money and energy into its football program to tolerate underachievement and mediocre results for significant periods of time.  
Strong was brought in with the expectation that he would be able to turn the team around and produce some significant results in a relatively short order (as he had done at Louisville).  He's in his third season, and that doesn't seem to be happening.  He doesn't need to hit it out of the park this year, but he needs to have a pretty good season, and that's looking increasingly less likely.
Anyway, the game was pretty bad, but it was fun to hang out with Mom and Dad.  We ate some pizza and had a chance to catch up.

(Spooktacular Halloween decorations!)

Later on Saturday afternoon we took Raylan to Dick Nichols Park for a bit.  We had fun, but he found the splash pad pretty quickly (which he's drawn to like a bear to honey), so our trip was cut a little short on account of soaking wet toddler.

Sunday we got up and walked down to Central Market for breakfast.  Beautiful weather.  Afterward we hung out for just a little bit at the house.


Then we went to the zoo.  We got there pretty early, which was nice because it wasn't crowded and the animals were up and about.
Raylan was really excited to be there.  It was fun.

("Ok, here's some stuff to eat.  After that, I get to ride you...")

We fed the goats, rode the train, and saw the lions, bears, and tiger.  Also saw a pig eating.  
And fans.  Raylan's toddler brain is obsessed with fans.  A number of the enclosures are equipped with electric fans to keep the animals cool in the summer, and Raylan was every bit as excited about the fans as he was the animals.  He also liked the cars in the parking lot.

("Cheerios and a train?  Okay, I can work with you guys on this.")

In the afternoon we all went to the grocery store together.  It was a circus, but Raylan enjoyed the trip.
Mandy was at ACL Fest (weekend 1- I'm planning on attending weekend 2 next week), so we went over to feed her dogs, Lucy and Darla.  Darla is younger than Cassidy and doesn't mind toddlers as much, so it's fun for Raylan to get to see her.

And that was pretty much the weekend!
It was a nice one with beautiful weather.  It went by too fast!