Putting down roots

2004/09/03 at 15:52

We’ve lived in Pflugerville for over seven years now, but until recently, it’s just been the place where our house is located. We led significant parts of our lives in other parts of the Austin area: work, church, kids’ school, etc.
Eighteen months ago, we bought a different home within Pflugerville, and things started to change. First off, we (and especially the kids) have made quite a few friends in the neighborhood. I attribute a lot of that to the lack of privacy fences and the greenbelt behind our house where the neighborhood kids play.
We decided a few months ago to try to take root in Pflugerville: first step, we joined Pflugerville First United Methodist Church. We’ve also taken the kids out of private school. Hannah just started fourth grade at the public school two blocks from home, and Samuel is attending the preschool at our church. Turns out, Samuel’s preschool teacher lives a couple of blocks from us, and we run into her every day at the elementary school.
All in all, our plan to take root here is going pretty well. It sure feels good not to have to drive the kids all over creation to school. Unfortunately, Katie and I both still work far away and do a lot of commuting, but that’s a much bigger challenge, given our professions.
I think I’m particularly sensitive to the sense of rootlessness in modern American urban and suburban lifestyles, since I grew up in the country. In any case, it feels very good to become more a part of our community.

Stuck in my head

2004/08/31 at 16:38

I pretty much always have a song playing in my head. Normally, the songs rotate pretty frequently, except for two cases: if I’ve listened to the same music repeatedly (which I tend to do with new CDs) or, I just remembered, when I’m singing in a choir.
Occasionally, I overdose on a new CD and get really tired of the song(s) in my head. If I stop listening to that music, the song will eventually change to something else.

But now that I’ve started singing in a church choir again, I remember that there’s a different dynamic to the songs that get stuck in my head. Rehearsing and performing a choral piece seems to lodge music more firmly in my head than just listening to it (which makes sense). I’ve had last Sunday’s anthem replaying all week–and I didn’t really like it in the first place! Maybe it’ll be replaced after Wednesday night’s rehearsal. I hope so, because I’m REALLY tired of it.

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.