Yes, yes. With new job comes new do. Mrs. Austin sports her best new look of 2004. I'd go into who the stylist was and the clothes she was wearing, but I'm currently a cross between a comic book fanboy and a bigfoot so don't look for any tips from me. I like the new do, I told her so, as well as all her coworkers. Done and done. (If you haven't figured it out yet, click the "web page" to get a better view.)

A little before the folicle follies, the trio had made it's way to Zilker, as mentioned previously, well here are the photos. As you can see, it was chilly for Austin, a nippy 45?. This morning wasn't better, at 35?. A brisk jog at 5:30am is a heck of a way to start the day, at least it's not Detriot.

So we fed the birds. Then we headed over to the springs and fed the ducks. Then back up to feed the birds. Toward the end it was getting pretty brisk and Little Miss Austin had devolved into a girl/cat and ended up just chasing any pigeon that was white.

We're also in Chinese New Year. At least, that's what her school told us. I'm not Chinese so I don't know for sure, but I should know because I fancy myself a worldly guy, knowledgeable of all things cultural. But alas, the request to wear red snuck up on me. In her lunch box was a treat we found later than night. All the kids got red envelopes with characters on them, characters I'm guessing that have something to do with it being the year of the Monkey. In the envelopes there's suppose to be money, but being 2, what good is money, so they had little chocolate in foil coins.
Remembering this very late, I gave LMA her envelope while Mrs. A was reading to her. We opened them and LMA knew immediately that it was candy. We made a deal that if she went to sleep right then, she could have the candy in the morning, and we put the coins on her night stand. Well, this morning rolls around and we find all the foils are open and there's chocolate on LMA's face and some on her bed. Little stinker. I guess that's why she was so quiet last night, sneaking candy.

This will remind my parents of me hiding chocolate syrup under my bed.

We also went to the Children's Museum. That was pretty fun. Nothing like walking into a building and turning to your toddler to say, "Ok, go have fun. We'll follow." We did, then had dinner, then hit a book store. It was a grand evening. LMA loved the Children's Museum, so much so that we had to promise a toy at the gift shop to get her out of there with minimal breakdown.

Superbowl is this weekend, I will be watching for a 2nd installment of the Rubberband Man Office Max commercial. I couldn't even tell you who's playing or the names of any of the players. I do know that the Colorado Avalanche are in first place OF THE ENTIRE NHL! Not the Pacific West, not the West, the entire league. This is exciting news. I'm excited, are you? Yeah, admit it. You are. You're a closet hockey fan. Superbowl is on Sunday, but I know you're just dying for the NHL All Star game and the playoffs. That's when real athletes show up.

On a side note, did you ever get a piece of news, or talk with someone and get a story that you could absolutely nothing with? Ever have a phone call or get an email and the person says, "Now, you can't tell anyone this, but..." I'm currently involved in this. I wish I could talk with someone, other than Mrs. Austin about this. I told her, she's excited for me, but it's news that really only applies well within my little outter family clique. No offense to Mrs. A at all, she's as excited for me as I am about her political opportunities or her going back to class, which is to say very excited, I just wish I could brag a bit, show off that I have information that very few others have. It differentiates me from the drooling fanboys.

Eh, I better stop there.


New stuff

Yep, she'll have Trump's job in no time.

All the waiting and nail biting is over, Mrs. Austin finally got the promotion she's been looking for. It's not really a promotion, but it's not a transfer. It's a little of both, actually. She got into a new team that will offer her a bit more cash while it's new, plus instead of large corporations her clients are schools and medical facilities, so there's the high moral value as well. We're all very happy for her.

Nothing else really going on. School has started up for Mrs. Austin again, Lil Miss Austin is still going to school, and I'm still trying to do my comics. We're all either working or not home or trying to do something on the weekends that doesn't involve watching Law and Order. But in reality, all we're doing is watching Law and Order. This last weekend we went to Zilker again to feed the pigeons and ducks. It was a little chilly so we were all bundled up, and there weren't a lot of folks there, but the people that were there had brought their kids to feed the birds.

And whoever thought up this Atkins regiment (I guess that would be Dr. Atkins) should be horsewhipped. For those of you who are considering it, let me ask you a few questions. Do you like juice? Do you like chewing gum? Do you like chocolate or coffee or milk or a nice hoggie roll? Too bad! You can't have any! No sandwhiches, no noodles, no ketchup, no salsa! You can eat meat, cheese, eggs and about 40 vegetables that no one's ever heard of. That's it. I don't know why I'M on it, I'm the pasta/chocolate/toast king. I need sugar and chocolate in my coffee. I need Macaroni and Cheese. I need a Chuychanga with sour cream!

And that's why I also need to lose 20-25 lbs.

So on top of running I chose to alter my diet even further and give it a jump by doing Atkins. Mrs. Austin has been VERY supportive during this trying time, even allowing me a small relapse to see if my wooziness and lack of focus was because I was physically deprived of things I was used to, or my head was so pissed that I couldn't have a Coke that I made myself sick. (Now that I think about it, I'm still not sure which one it was.)

You have GOT to give me more SUGAR! These jumping jacks won't do themselves!

Daddy, what exactly is ammortization?

Some times, it's cold enough that you need to share.

The pregnancy is going as expected, we have another visit today, normal stuff, but so far all is well.

Actually, that's a bit of a simplification. It's going well in the way a land war in Asia is going well. The baby is doing fine, the mommy is, how shall I put this, out of sorts. I won't delve into matters more than that, but suffice it to say it's been stressful.

Meanwhile, Lil Miss Austin is being just the same ol' hyperkenetic, percocious little ragamuffin. She's become very good with cleaning her room and helping clean the house. She likes to feed the dog and, recently has discovered how to use the pump for the hand soap to get copious amounts of liquid clean all over the sink. She's very proud of this last bit, wanting to show us how clean the sink is. She still doesn't want to sleep, nap or sleep in, but she's 2. About the only thing she doesn't want to do is get up for school. I think I'll develop a new tactic on trying to wake her up at 6:30 on a Saturday and tell her it's time to go to school, then head back to bed myself, assured that I will now have another 90-120 minutes of bliss before she figures it out.

She's also taken a leap of speach in the last few weeks. It'd been months while she toiled away on such banalities as what color is the banana and how many trains are there. Suddenly her vocabulary increased to include such words as "yet" and "only" and "because." Because was the big one. Just yesterday I asked her if she like the names Ainsley or Cloe for the new baby (don't worry, we don't know what it is yet) and she said, "No, I don't like Cloe." "Why is that?" I asked. "Because Cloe makes me mad." (Ainsley makes her happy, I don't know the distinction on that.) The point is, even though it sounds both cute and depressing, she used "because." Before when asked "why" anything, she'd say, "Um, dunno." So this was huge. She's also using more averbs, which I think is probably the hardest grammatical pollen grain to grasp. She's starting to grasp time as well, events that have happened or may happen. She knows that "tomorrow," "in two hours," and "soon" all pretty much mean the same thing, but they are different from "yesterday" or "last night."

It's a big move approaching 3, and it's fun to watch. She's running more solidly, can put her clothes on by herself, can get clothes out of the drawers just by asking and can do all the bathroom stuff she needs. Lately we've been putting her cups on the lower shelves and she can get water from the door of the fridge or juice boxes and snacks from in the fridge. She's almost totally self reliant and it's wistful and melancholy.

Oh, and she and I measured her feet yesterday, her's are 5 1/4" and mine are 8 3/4"



Rose Bowl Madness

You know, just when I thought I had a handle on Mrs. Austin, she does something completely unexpected. Something so monumentally out of the ordinary, it's both frightening and amusing at the same time. Just more reasons why I love her.

She cries at parades.

Now before I get hogtied for my prose, let me clarify by saying she cried at seeing her High School's marching band perform in the Rose Bowl parade.

Still not convinced? Ok, she cried because she was in this marching band in high school.


The high school I'm talking about is Permian High School out of Odessa, Texas. Ah, now I see the nods of understanding.

You see, in Odessa, since the gas and oil boom have pretty much dried up, there's basically one thing left in the town that defines it; high school football. There's Odessa High School (OHS) and Permian High School (for some reason MOJO is used here as well, but I can't find where this came from.) Permian was apparently the third school in Odessa, OHS being one of the other two, the other I don't know. But, the rivalry was between OHS and Mojo. The rivalry was so intense that Permian High's parking lot stop signs were black and white so as not to match OHS's school colors of red and white.

Yeah, that's what I said.

So anyway, Mrs. Austin was a flautist in the Panther's Marching Band. A band, by the way, that has gone 40+ years with what amounts to a perfect score for Marching Band along with other performing band areas. Mrs. Austin's brother was in the band as well. The school, indeed the whole city, was centered on football and the band and anything involved with them. If you look at the Mojoland website you can see it's primarily about football. I'm sure in doing a search for Permian High School Drama, the only thing you'll find would be a commentary on the movie Varsity Blues.

At noon after a blissfully lazy morning on New Year's Day, a shock of realization went through Mrs. A's brain and she flipped the channel to the Rose Bowl parade and started the digital recorder. "Permian was going to be on in the first half hour of the parade," she said wistfully.

"So why are you recording it now?" I asked, knowing I was stomping on sacred ground.

"Just in case," she said with a tilt of her head like I can imagine an astronaut's wife might look when commenting on going past the 3-minutes of radio silence upon re-entry.

Sure enough, the last band to be seen in the 2004 Parade of Roses was none other than The Permian/OHS Composite Marching Band. 400 plus members all told. They were the largest band in the parade. They played some song that suggested that even though they wore composite uniforms and marched under a combined name, Permian was the major force being represented. Tears flowed, hearts jumped into throats, phone calls were made. I sat quietly sketching my superheroes patterned after the forces in quantum mechanics and wondered just what I'd gotten myself into 7 years ago.