Leonard Lives!

2004/08/31 at 08:26

Yesterday I was pretty sure that Leonard had become a late-night snack. Today, I’m happy to report that he was sacked out as usual on his leaf last night.

Leonard is dead

2004/08/30 at 10:15

I’ve mentioned the lizard that sleeps outside the bathroom window. Well, we’d named it Leonard. On Saturday night I looked out the window, and there was Leonard stretched out on a leaf, as usual. But stretched out near him in the shrub was an 18-inch garden snake.

The next morning, Katie suggested that perhaps the snake wasn’t just sleeping; rather, he was seeking a late night snack.
Well, Leonard hasn’t shown up again yet. He’s usually visible on the shrub only about one of every three nights, so I haven’t lost hope yet, but we’ll see this week. Keep Leonard lizard in your prayers.

Wildlife Rescue

2004/08/15 at 16:10

This morning before church, I took the dogs on a walk around Hendrickson High School. When we got back near the athletics facilities, I spotted a large owl trapped inside one of the baseball batting cages.

Each cage consists of a steel frame holding up a big ‘box’ of synthetic net. Apparently, the owl had landed on the ground outside the cage and gotten inside it under the edge of the net. But it wasn’t able to find its way back out.
I lifted up the net on one side and propped it open, hoping the owl would find its way out. But due to the owl’s very sharp talons and beak, I was reluctant to try to coax it towards the opening I’d made. And the presence of the very excited dogs further complicated the situation.

Then we walked home and I reported the problem to the county animal control. But the kids wanted to see the owl, so we hopped in the van and drove over there.

When we got there, I noticed another big frame of the net material inside the cage. So, I picked it up and walked toward the owl with the frame between me and the owl who at this point was hanging from the net roof. At the first attempt to coax the owl toward the opening, it just flew a few feet and hung from the net again. I advanced and again tried to coax it to fly. This time the owl flew right out the opening and flew off toward the nearby corn fields. I did it!

Lunch Addiction

2004/08/13 at 12:35

I just have to say that Randall’s Grocery Stores make the yummiest sandwiches.

Corporate (hell) eating establishments

2004/08/04 at 13:47

I just called the nearby Macaroni Grill to make a reservation for a coworker’s going away lunch. When the phone was picked up, here’s what I got: “Hi. Thank you for calling Macaroni Grill in West Lake Hills, now offering curbside take-out. This is Stacy. How many I help you?”

Man, I could have gone and smoked a cigarette before Stacy got that out. I just imagine the Director of Telephone Reception at corporate Macaroni Grill’s HQ issuing his weekly memo on how to answer the phone properly, and reports from marketing analysts stating that mentioning curbside take-out in telephone reception will increase sales by X percent.

When I occasionally go through the Taco Cabana drive-through on my way to work to buy a breakfast taco, I get a similar spiel: “Hi, Welcome to Taco Cabana. Can I get you a [current breakfast special] this morning?” Me: “Uh no. I’d like one bacon and egg breakfast taco.”

Lounge Lizard

2004/08/02 at 09:49

We have an anole lizard who sleeps at night on a red tip photinia leaf right outside the window in our downstairs bathroom. I saw it sacked out on a leaf a few nights ago and thought it was cute. But it was back again last night and this morning. I couldn’t figure out how to get a good photo in the dark, so I came back right at dawn. Sure enough, the lizard was awake, standing up and looking around. When I checked a few minutes later, it was gone. Off to do whatever lizards do during the day–eating bugs in our yard, I hope.

Dropping out…

2004/07/28 at 10:22

Every time we vacation in New Mexico, Katie and I spend some time discussing how we could manage to move up to the mountains. This summer, I realized that when I think about moving up there, I fantasize about completely dropping out of our (sub)urban professional lifestyle: lose the cell phones, big home, cable TV, broadband, traffic, worrying what the neighbors think, etc.

One part of me would be very happy to live wherever (which, in rural NM, probably means a trailer), drive an old pickup, let the kids run free in the woods, do a less demanding job, etc. Not sure it’ll happen anytime soon, but who knows?

Back from vacation

2004/07/08 at 10:49

We spent a lovely couple of weeks in New Mexico. Photos are now online. But now it’s back to the usual routines.

Lizard along for the ride

2004/06/17 at 09:51

This morning on my way to work, I stopped at a light about 10 minutes from home. Suddenly, a panicked-looking anole lizard scrambled across my windshield and into the area where the wipers reside. After I got through the light, I pulled into a parking lot to rescue the lizard

I managed to capture the lizard off the car, and threw him onto the grass next to the parking lot. As I turned around to get back in the car, I saw him scrambling back toward the parking lot, not toward the bushes in the other direction. It seems an interested mockingbird was sitting in a nearby crape myrtle tree, and the poor little lizard was heading for the nearest cover–my car.

I couldn’t reach him under my car, so I pulled ahead a few feet, hoping I wouldn’t squash him in the process. I got out; he was still alive, but when I went to catch him again, he once again ran under the car. Pulled the car ahead again, got out again and managed to capture him. This time, though, I walked him over the the nearby shrubs.

Poor thing, he was panting furiously. I’m sure he’d seen his little lizard life flash before his eyes several times this morning.

Leading the Blind

2004/06/09 at 09:17

Back when I was a sophomore in college at UT, I worked for Ralph Read, a blind professor of German. Dr. Read had diabetes and had gone blind a few years earlier, and when I worked for him, he had several undergraduate and grad students who helped him with various aspects of his work and personal life. (Dr. Read passed away from diabetes complications while I was still working for him in 1985)

My job was to drive Dr. Read to and from school each day and help him some with class preparations. But it’s our daily car trips from his house in south Austin to campus and back that I remember most fondly. Dr. Read prided himself on his listening skills, and every day he asked me about my life and listened politely as I went on about the concerns of a 21-year-old for pretty much the whole 20 minute trip.

Being a good listener is a difficult skill, and I try to keep Dr. Read in mind as I try to exercise that skill myself.