Sunday, July 29, 2018


Hey!It feels like it's been a long time since I posted. Of course, it's actually just been a week, but a lot has happened in that week.
I wrote about how Amy's mom and dad arrived from Phoenix to hang out for the week.
Well, on Sunday I left for San Antonio to go to the State Bar Advanced Criminal Law Course.  I go almost every year.  It helps me get my continuing legal education credits.
It also provides a pretty good opportunity for networking and hanging out with co-workers and colleagues from the courthouse.

Rosa, Lasto, Dan, and Judge Crain pile into the back of a too-small
Uber in search of Mexican food

Lasto "weighs the evidence" in terms of who got the bigger

Lunch with Corby and Ruben

Flo and Ruben at Southerleigh

Me, Kathryn, and Ruben at Bar America.  We used to occasionally
go to that bar in college.  It's been open since the 1940's.
I drove Kathryn back from San Antonio.  We fought some horrible traffic, and it took over 3 hours to get home (usually it takes half that).
On Saturday we went to a birthday party for Dorothy, one of Raylan's school friends.  The party was at the splash pad over at Ricky Guerrero park.
We had a nice time!  Raylan had fun playing with his school friends, and it was good to see and catch up with all of the parents.

Raylan and Genevieve keep cool in the water

Raylan, already having a cupcake, eyes Dorothy's cupcake
After the splash pad party, Amy went to the gym, and, tasked with feeding Raylan lunch, I took him to Dairy Queen.

Chomping that cone
Splash pad, punch drunk crazy and flying high on sugar.
Must be summer time.

On Saturday Jean and Greg drove up to Georgetown to check out Sun City.  They spent the night up there (which is a thing they do for potential home buyers), and had a nice time.

Raylan talks to Nana about how things are going in Sun City
On Sunday Jean and Greg stopped back by the house to say goodbye before heading for the airport.
It seems like they had a nice trip.  Greg put up some more shelves at our place while I was gone and repaired a problematic door.  (so, thanks, Greg!)

Raylan plays a phone game with Nana
Later on Sunday, we all piled in the car, picked up Shelly at her house, and drove out to see Tommy and Kelly in Taylor.  The day was hot, but it was good to see them.  Kelly is recovering from a medical procedure, so  we brought her some treats and some company.

Raylan "says hi" to Chowder at Shelly and Kit's house.  Chowder, being
no fool, heads for the exit.
We went up to Taylar and visited Kelly and Tommy.  It was good to see them and nice to see their place.
On the way out we stopped at a park near their house so Raylan could see the ducks.  He was much more impressed with the small stream, the pond, and some water pipes that he found than he was with the actual ducks.  But I liked the ducks.

The ducks, being almost as big as Raylan, were not fazed by him.
That was about it.  We went home and grilled salmon burgers for dinner.

Between going to Advanced, having Amy's folks in town, a birthday party, and visits with friends, it's been a good but long week!  (I'm just tired)
It's also really hot.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Monday, July 23, 2018


Hey! So our weekend was fast and sort of crazy.
Raylan spent the night with my mom and dad on Thursday night.  Amy and I went to a neighborhood association meeting and went out to dinner.
On Friday we came home and met up with my parents and Raylan at our house.

Raylan and Dad construct a perpetual motion machine out of plastic pipes
After we got home we had to take off pretty quickly.  We went to a neighborhood happy hour out at Hi Sign Brewery.  The weather was arm, but it was fun.  The kids ran around on their lawn and played with some of their games, and we got to know our neighbors a little better.  The place is right under the Flight Path to the airport, so low flying planes occasionally roar by overhead.  The kids just sort of took that in stride.  I guess everything is new and crazy when you're a kid, and the loud, low-flying planes were just another one of those things.

Hi Sign with the neighbors
On Saturday we took turns working out and doing a few chores.

Marble runnnn!
I took Raylan to the park on Saturday.  It was a little hot.  For a while we didn't mind, but then we did.

Undeterred as the temperature climbs into the triple digits,
Raylan leaps onto the park's elliptical machine

Raylan ponders whether it is his own ego or his reverence for the mountain
which compel him to climb.... this completely plastic collection
of fake playground rocks
On Saturday afternoon Jean and Greg arrived from Phoenix.  It was really good to see them!
Nana (Jean) arrived with some surprises for Raylan, including giant rubber bouncy balls!

The hoppin' ball version of Austin traffic
On Saturday night we went out to dinner at Chuy's.  Raylan had gotten up early, played all day (a lot of it out in the heat), and then refused to nap.  By the time we got to Chuy's he was a little punchy...

Hey, lady!  Who am I?  Where am I?
We had a really nice dinner, though.  Good food and good company.

On Sunday we got up, picked up Jean and Greg at their VRBO condo, and went to Deep Eddy to go swimming.  We had a nice time.  I'm not sure that Jean and Greg were quite ready for how cold the water was, but at least we kept them cool while being outside.

Sunday afternoon I had to leave for the Advanced Criminal Law Course in San Antonio, but I was home for most of the day.  It was nice.

Well, that was it!  It was good to see Jean and Greg.  I'm sure I'll see them again before they leave town (once I get back).  Have a good week!  It's crazy hot in Texas, so everybody stay cool!

Sunday, July 15, 2018


Hi!  Our weekend was pretty good.  One or two hiccups, but pretty good.

On Friday night Ryan and I went to see The Violent Femmes at the Moody Theater.  Echo & the Bunnymen were the opening act.

The show was good.  I don't think I had ever seen Echo & the Bunnymen before.  They were around when I was growing up, and I had some friends who were pretty into them.  I always found their music pretty good and easy to listen to, but never something that particularly clicked with me.  I remember them resurfacing much later when the movie Donnie Darko came out and their song "The Killing Moon" was featured in and heavily associated with that film.  They put on a pretty good show, though.

Echo & the Bunnymen.
Despite the name, "Bunnymen", there was very little hopping involved.

The Violent Femmes put on a really good, high-energy show.
I first saw them back in around 1993 in San Antonio when I was going to Trinity.  They were one of the archetypical bands of alternative music in the '90's, to be sure.  Gordon Gano's warbling, anxiety-stricken voice  was something that we all related to as he stumbled his way across a variety of subjects, ranging from teenage sexuality and romance to gun violence to taste in music.  Gordon Gano had a voice and guitar ability that made you want to say "Well, I could do that!".  Brian Ritchie's skills on the bass, however, are still downright intimidating to me after more than 25 years of playing bass.
Anyway, the Violent Femmes are a really unique, great, American band.  They're definitely not for everyone, but if you like 'em you probably love 'em.  And I'm here to testify that even after all of these years they still put on a great show.  The audience loved them and they seemed to love the audience.  They even played a version of "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain" because they were playing on Willie Nelson avenue with a statue of the man out front.  Very cool.

The Violent Femmes
On Saturday morning I took Raylan in the car and went out to Steiner to go swimming.  Amy stayed behind because the tile guy was supposed to come and fix our tile.  Long story short, he never showed.  Raylan and I went swimming with Dad, and we had a nice time, but the tile didn't get fixed, and that had to be rescheduled (which was a pain, given the fact that Amy moved a ton of stuff to get it off the floors).
Anyway, we were back home by the afternoon.

Later in the day Ryan stopped by and brought Raylan a wagon.  It's super cool and has seats in it and cupholders and fancy wheels.

A new chariot!  Pull me, slaves!
On Sunday morning Amy went to a baby brunch with her friends Emily and Shelly and their kids, Spencer and Cecilia.  It sounds like she had fun at her brunch.
Meanwhile, back at our place Raylan and I settled in to watch the final game of the World Cup!  The France-Croatia game was really fun.  I tried explaining soccer, and the World Cup to Raylan.  I told him all about how cool it was that all of the countries were playing against each other and about how people from all over the planet could come together to enjoy this event, even if they didn't speak the same language.
All of that kept him engaged for about 20 minutes.
After that he watched cartoons in our bedroom while I watched the game.
We both had a good time.

Getting ready to watch some soccer!
Sunday afternoon Amy played in the sprinkler with Raylan.  They got his little kid pool out.

Spraying Mom with a sponge.
Good comedy!

Sidewalk art on a Sunday afternoon.  Raylan tells Amy he has to draw her
with a big head.  Probably in retaliation, Amy draws Raylan with a big head.

Sunday night I had band practice.  Eric, Reed, Frank, and me.  We sounded pretty good.

And that was about it!
The weekend went by way too fast.
Have a good week!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

4th of July and Update

Whoops!  I realized today that I forgot to do a blog post about the 4th of July and last weekend!  
I guess we've been busy!

Last Wednesday was the 4th of July.
We had a nice time, even though it felt sort of weird to have a holiday snack dab in the middle of the week.

We got up in the morning and went to La Posada for breakfast.  Afterward we went out to Mom and Dad's house in the morning and went swimming at the Bella Mar pool in Steiner.


We had a really nice time at the pool.  Raylan is getting really good at swimming.

We went back to Mom and Dad's house afterward, and Mom fed us a great lunch with hot dogs, chips, potatoes, fruit, and other stuff.

During lunch it started to rain pretty hard, which made us glad we had gone to the pool early.
We hung out at my folks' house for a while.  Eventually we went home and did a few chores.
We didn't really do fireworks on the 4th.  They started late, and it had been raining most of the day.

On Friday night we ate some Indian food and some frozen yogurt.  Raylan was pretty into it.

Saturday morning I took Raylan to the park and Amy did some chores.

Saturday night Susan did some Raylan sitting while Amy and I went out to dinner at Polvo's with Kit and Shelly.  It was really good to see them.
Afterward they went to a movie, and we went to ABGB to have a beer and listen to some live music.
Kev Bev and the Woodland Creatures were playing.  They're sort of a funky, silly, whiter, and probably, to be honest, less talented version of Parliament.  But they were fun, and we had a good time.
We got to sit outside and talk and have a beer before the music started, as well as hear a funk band.  Best of both worlds.

On Sunday we had some kid-having neighbors over for a sort of meet and greet play date.  Amy coordinated the whole thing on Nextdoor, and it seemed to go pretty well.  We met some nice folks, and hopefully found some playmates for Raylan in our neighborhood.  The kids mostly played outside, and a little bit in the house when it got hot.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.

Sunday evening we didn't have Mono Ensemble practice, but Frank came over and we did some acoustic guitar stuff over at our house.  It was a lot of fun.

And that was pretty much the weekend!
Hope everyone is having a good week.



Sunday, July 01, 2018

50th Anniversary Trip

So Friday, June 29th, was my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.
Fifty years of marriage is a remarkable achievement.  Mom and Dad are pretty great people as individuals, but they are even more amazing as a couple.  They've set an amazing example for me in terms of having a marriage that has been defined by love, generosity, compassion, and respect for one another.
When I was a kid, like most kids, I sort of took my parents for granted.  As I've gotten older I've come to realize that the way that they live their lives- dedicating themselves to friends, family, the church, and their community- truly is exceptional.  They never turn down people in need, and although they have each had a lot of success in their professional lives, the starting point for how they have always measured success has been in terms of whether they were simply being good people.
When I was a kid and my parents volunteered at church or school events, hosted holiday celebrations, assisted sick friends or neighbors, provided help to struggling students from Mom's classes, or helped people out in countless other ways, I just sort of thought that was the sort of thing that all adults did.  As I got older I realized how much work and effort had gone into the things that they did.  There are plenty of other people (sometimes, sadly, myself included) who have good intentions, but just don't find the initiative or energy to follow through.  But my parents always walked the walk.
They did it because of their strong religious beliefs, but also just because my parents both genuinely like other people.  They have a great ability to see the best in people, and they take a lot of joy in forging connections with all kinds of other folks.
Bottom line- my parents are great, and I love them a lot.

So this week, in celebration of 50 years of great marriage, our family went to the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort.  Amy, Raylan, myself, and my parents went down to San Antonio on Wednesday.  Ryan and Jamie joined us down there on Thursday afternoon.

We got there on Wednesday and took Raylan out to the water park that adjoins the hotel.  Raylan got to try out his first small water slide and splash around in the kid pool.  My parents met up with us and we did a little swimming.  We intended to meet up with my parents that night for dinner, but Raylan managed to slam his face into a sharp corner and cut open his lip while running down a hallway at the hotel, so we retreated to our room and ordered a pizza.

Amy on a walking path on the resort property
The next day we got up and had a very nice breakfast buffet at the resort.  Then we visited the San Antonio children's museum, The DoSeum in the morning.  Raylan loved it, and the rest of us had fun playing with him on the exhibits.

Papa helps Raylan work the bucket on a mini frontloader.
I think it was a mind-blowing experience for both of them.
Dad, Mom just wrote my name with light.  WITH LIGHT!!!!

This robot had a face on a screen that told you whether you were making
it happy or sad.  I spent a lot of time trying to keep it happy.  I'm
apparently a very needy person.

This thing was awesome.  Raylan colored in a picture of a truck.
They ran it through a scanner, and....

... it appeared in a moving 3D mural on the wall behind him!

The water exhibits were outside.  Raylan managed to not get himself
soaked until right as we were getting ready to leave.  :-)
We went back to the resort after the museum.  Raylan took a big ol' nap.  Mom sat with him while Amy and I used the very nice exercise facility at the resort.

In the evening Ryan and Jamie arrived and we all went out to dinner at Alamo Cafe.  (Both Jamie and I used to eat their when we were in college, and Amy used to eat their when she was a little kid and her family lived in San Antonio).  We had a good, fun meal.  Raylan was really excited to be eating with the whole family in a new place.
Amy and I introduce Raylan to a little piece of our respective histories
Raylan's first toast!

Uncle Ryan shows Raylan how to throw a penny into a fountain
 and make a wish.  Critical skill!!
After dinner we raced back to the resort to try to catch the s'mores campfire that they were hosting for the kiddos.  

Kids playing at sunset on the lawns and golf course

Raylan's first s'more!  (he liked cooking it but wasn't crazy about
the roasted marshmallow)

Random shot of our suite.  Mom and Dad were very generous with us.
Thanks, Mom and Dad!
On Friday Amy and I got up and worked out.  Then the family headed down to the water park.  We hung out down there for a bunch of hours, riding the lazy river, doing the tube shoots, and swimming with Raylan in the pool.  It probably bears mentioning that even though it has been especially hot in June this year, the weather at the resort was dry and breezy pretty much the entire time.  So the weather was very pleasant, and it never felt anywhere near as hot as they said it got on the thermometer (it was the sort of weather where I had to keep reminding myself to put on sunscreen because it was dangerously easy to be outside).  Anyway, there was even a little artificial beach next to one of the pools, and Raylan and I made a really sad looking sand castle (but we tried hard!).
Between Dad's hat and Amy's hat, I could generally spot my people
from afar.
I think we all napped on Friday afternoon.  For dinner, to celebrate Mom and Dad's actual anniversary evening, we had dinner at 18 Oaks, an upscale steak restaurant at the resort.  The food was good, Raylan settled in and was well-behaved, and we had a nice evening just chatting.

50 years after my parents got married!
After dinner we wandered the grounds a bit and came across one of the organized, family-friendly resort events on a different part of the property.  There was a live band playing, a large lawn where kids were running around and adults were playing cornhole, and a sort of building that had a large bounce house set up in it along with some other activities for kids (they had a virtual reality setup).

Band.  Lawn.  Sunset.  Muy bueno.

Somewhere in this picture Amy and Raylan are waiting in line
for the bounce house
Saturday morning I did not work out.  Amy wanted to exercise, so I had breakfast with Dad.  Mom watched Raylan.
Later we all went back down to the water park for a good while.  More lazy river.  More tube shoots.  More sweeeeeming.....

Raylan shows off his floating abilities for Mom

Dad, Amy, Ryan, and Jamie, camped out on lounge chairs
and possibly thinking about ordering a beverage.

Raylan takes a break with me

The pools were nice.  We ordered some food and drinks poolside and ate down there.
On Saturday evening Amy and I pawned Raylan off on the rest of the family, and we went out and had ourselves a date night at the resort.

Raylan was very excited to pack up his backpack to go "stay with
Grandma and Papa" on Saturday night.  At their hotel room.  About 3 doors down from
Amy and I had a really nice evening.  We got a drink at the hotel bar, and sat outside.  We talked to a few random people, because pretty much everyone is in a good mood at a resort on vacation.

I love my wife.
Eventually we sat outside too long and Dad walked by with Raylan and Ryan.  They ended up wandering away to grab dinner, but not before we got a picture with Raylan on our date night!

And now I'm gonna hang out with you for the rest of the night, right guys?
Anyway, we had a fun dinner and a nice evening.  Sounds like the rest of the family had a good dinner and evening as well (I think they found more live music).

On Sunday we worked out and then packed up and headed home.

It was a great trip!  

Thanks, Mom and Dad.  Thanks for including us in your celebration, and thanks for once again showing me and our family so much love.  

We all love you very much and are so happy to have you in our lives.

Congratulations again.