January 26, 2009


Last Saturday we visited Austin, the state capitol and supposedly the coolest city in Texas. It's still a city, so that's always hard for us, but we found good restaurants, and saw more eco-conscious places (near UT - that's the University of Texas at Austin) than we've seen anywhere here in San Antonio. I don't know of any Tex-Mex restaurant here that has its own organic garden, for instance!

We'd probably have to go at night, and during nicer weather (it was cold by south TX standards - in the 40s) to take advantage of the other things that make Austin famous. That's the music and the parks. So we hope to go back at least once this spring.

I have always loved visiting capitol buildings. I'm sure part of that is growing up outside DC, and part is from my page days in the Virginia House of Delegates. But Texas's capitol building is different - it's made from red granite, which makes it look brownish. I'm so used to white marble. Its dome is, of course, the tallest state capitol dome in the country.

I liked the terrazzo floors (Pennsylvania's capitol building has so much nicer artwork of all kinds), but the most recent gubernatorial portrait in the rotunda is of W. Sigh. Giving props to Texas, though, they've had THREE female governors in the 20th century, some quite a long time ago.

We spent late afternoon at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, which was interesting. Without a toddler, I would have read more labels and learned more about the history, but we liked it anyway. It was fun to look at it as a museum geek again, and critique the content, context, and creation. Overall very good. No bilingual labels though - is Austin that far north of San Antonio that they don't have a Hispanic population? You could NEVER get away with that down here. We also got to hear a honky-tonk band in performance in their auditorium. When I asked Katie on Sunday night what her favorite thing was in all of Austin, she said "the band." My kid.

January 21, 2009

A new day

My computer's been acting up, so I haven't been able to download photos from my camera or think about blogging, but I had to use some of my little available working-screen-time to write about yesterday.

Even if you didn't vote for Barack Obama, you had to be moved by not only the historic nature of his election, but also the emotion in Washington yesterday. It was visible on TV, and I'm sure must have been palpable to anyone in a 10-mile radius (the one time I was sorry I didn't still live in northern VA). Wow.

I think I was moved most by two things: one, the peaceful transition of power and how effortless it seemed -- we are the ONLY country in the world who can say that. And I also felt that there was more in these inaugural ceremonies that included me, a non-Christian Unitarian Universalist, than there has ever been before. From Eugene Robinson's "God of our many understandings", to President Obama's inclusion of "non-believers" in his list of religions, to Rev. Lowry's inclusion of hymns that cross Christian and UU lines, I felt like I didn't have to edit in my head. That's new for me, and a pretty amazing feeling. I have a very small sense of what it must have been like for every non-white citizen in this country, watching a non-white man take the oath of office. Wow.

And to cap it off, our final warm-up at Mastersingers rehearsal last night was "My Country Tis of Thee", in probably 16-part harmony by 130 singers. Wow.

That's about all there is to say. Wow.

January 13, 2009

Joys of being Mom

OK, so I started today feeling sorry for myself because I have a cold (caught from Katie) and couldn't just stay in bed and feel yukky. I had to get up and be Mom, which today meant taking Dave to work, going to story hour (today was "R"), going to the grocery store, and making meals for everyone including the cat.

But I got to do it with my always-cute kid, who LOVES books and the library -- she wanted to read more books rather than play on the computer or eat goldfish in the car, loves to give hugs and tells me regularly "I love you, Mommy", and is really starting to potty train. We're in the same dry pull-up that we started the day in, and that's a first! And this afternoon I'm listening to her on the monitor (she's been in her crib for about 45 minutes, not napping) telling stories to her animals and making up songs. Those things will make me glad to feel like Mom any day.

These are my two most recent photos of Katie, both from this past weekend (you can see the swings in weather we've had in Texas this week - the top photo was an 80-degree day, and this was from a 50-degree day two days later).

January 10, 2009

New Year's Eve 2008

We welcomed 2008 kid-style -- at noon! The Children's Museum had a big bash all morning, with the countdown at noon. Not only did Katie get to play in her favorite museum, and show Daddy everything (his first time), but she got to make special crafts and help count down. All the kids got sparkling apple juice for a toast, and after the big countdown in the lobby, we threw confetti. It was EVERYWHERE!
I feel sorry for the museum staff and volunteers, who I'm sure are still finding pieces of colored tissue paper in all sorts of unexpected places. Dave even saw some coming out of the pipes of the small pipe organ. (Good luck getting that out!)

After the countdown, we dragged a reluctant kid down the street to a very kid-friendly restaurant on the Riverwalk, the Rainforest Cafe. I know it's a chain, but there aren't any near us, so it was an event. Here are Katie and me in front of the tiger; she (Katie's pronouncement) roared every 10 minutes, which was a big hit. It's nice to see your kids not be afraid of those things.

Dave and I actually stayed up until midnight Central Time to watch fireworks around the Tower of the Americas. OK, we watched it on TV (although from our balcony we could see the tops of them over the trees). The idea of being downtown with 100,000 drunk people just didn't do it for us. We must be getting old. Happy 2009!