Maddie protecting her Christmas rawhide from several much larger dogs
Maddie protecting her Christmas rawhide from several much larger dogs
We’ve taken in two dogs from a friend who suddenly had to move away and couldn’t take them. These sweet dogs really need a new home, preferably together. If you live, or know people, in the Austin area, please put out the word.
I’ve created a web page about the dogs.
UPDATE: We found homes for both dogs.
Looking back, I’m amazed how many activities I took part in as a child and teenager.
At about age 10 or 11, I trapped fur-bearing animals to sell their pelts and mowed some yards for pay. I still cannot believe my mother helped me to skin small animals!
At age 12, I started working as a dishwasher on the weekends at a local BBQ and catfish joint. I continued working there as dishwasher, and later also as a cook, every weekend and summers until age 18. It was hard work, but the owners were very fair and I learned a lot–mostly how to work hard.
During high school, I participated in the following school-sponsored activities:
- Choir (all four years)
- Marching and concert band (all four years)
- Stage band (two or three years)
- Madrigal (elite choir–we didn’t have a class meeting; practiced after school)
- Band and choir solo and ensemble (I received a 1 at state solo and ensemble for my vocal solo my senior year, only the second such honor in our school’s history)
- I started a speech club, was its president for two years and participated in informative and persuasive speaking events
- German club: took part in various competitions, and served as an officer one or two years
In addition to those school-sponsored activities, I also tried out the following outside of school, though I didn’t stick wtih any of them for too long:
- Barbershop quartet singing with the SPEBSQSA chapter in New Braunfels
- Community theater: I got a part in one production, but the organization was such a mess that I withdrew before we got to performance
- Square dancing with a local club
On top of all that, I’m proud to say that I graduated third in my class of 170–though, to be fair, every year, two or three of my six courses were music-related (I got As), which certainly padded my GPA.
The brilliant Heather Armstrong writes:
I am constantly surprised at how different my child is than what I thought she would be, and therefore I am SO MUCH MORE understanding of people with children in public. So when Beth mentioned that she was going to bribe her boys to sit still for the picture, I thought, WHATEVER WORKS! The old Heather would have said, “Ok,” with skepticism dripping from her voice and would have thought silently LIKE A TOTAL FUCKING IDIOT, “I will NEVER have to bribe my children.”
Katie and I were married for nine years before we had kids, and throughout that pre-parental period, I would occasionally make statements about what I would and would not do as a parent. Whenever my father-in-law Harold heard these proclamations, he would just snicker quietly and shake his head, which usually prompted an “I’m serious. Really!” from me.
Now that I’ve been a parent for over ten years, I am beginning to understand Harold’s responses. Parenting is life’s most humbling experience. Pretty much every conceived notion I had about raising children has been stomped on by little feet and flushed down the toilet (only to stop it up!). In my more reflective moments (approximately once every 4-5 years since having children), I think this is a good thing. I’m coming to realize that a life well lived is all about questioning everything.
If you’ve made it to this blog, then you’ve probably also seen that it is part of my personal web site, which contains a lot of information about me. I love the contacts I get based on my personal web site. These have included:
- A woman who found my needlework page when searching for information about four-way bargello. Turns out, she runs a needlepoint shop just a few miles from us. I loaned her my old bargello book.
- A man who bought an antique he thought was a grain probe. He found my eulogy to my grandfather and emailed me to help identify his object.
- This morning, I got an email from a programmer in St. Louis whose mother works at a community library in Austin. She was concerned about the quality of programming work being done to their cataloging system. Her son found my resume when looking for software quality assurance resources in Austin. I offered to talk with his mother about her concerns.
As soon as we put up our Christmas tree, Norman was communing with it. Since he’s an all-indoor cat, maybe he doesn’t mind that it’s an artificial tree:
Everyone who has a Tivo or other digital video recorder has told me how it has revolutionized their television viewing: they watch their favorite shows on their own schedule, never watch something ‘just because it’s the only thing on,’ skip commercials, pause live television, etc.
After waiting impatiently for several years (since TiVo came out), our Cable company finally started offering a digital video recorder. I got one this past week. Sure enough, in just a few short days, we’re enjoying the revolution of broadcast/cable TV on our own terms.
For most of the year (the humid part), our dog Xena’s nose is very dark brown, almost black. But when cool, dry weather rolls in, Xena’s nose turns lighter brown with a dark brown/black border.
Tonight, Samuel’s preschool had their Christmas pageant performance. Since I planned on videotaping the performance for Katie who couldn’t attend, I volunteered to make the ‘official’ videotape. I set up my tripod and video camera at the back of the church sanctuary, right next to the center aisle. I wasn’t worried about being close, as my video camera has a very long zoom lens.
The church sanctuary was standing room only. It seems every family had both a still and a video camera, and some of them disregarded common courtesy in order to photograph their little angel My video was pretty poor, due to the large number of camera-happy parents who got in the way: standing to photograph their kids, holding their camera at arm’s length above their head, walking right down the aisle in front of me and others to photograph, etc.
I’ve always been a reluctant photographer at such events; I prefer to enjoy the moment, rather than spend my time focussing on the technology to capture the moment for posterity. Apparently, I’m in the minority!
To be fair, for many of these parents, it was their child’s first such performance–and for many, their first or only child. I’ve been through all this before. Maybe I was equally aggressive when Hannah Beth was small.
I use FutureQuest to host my domains. I found them a few years ago after conducting exhaustive research into web hosts that supported PHP and MySQL. They are not the cheapest, but I decided on them because they were highly recommended by people who actually use these technologies.
In the several years that I’ve hosted my sites with FutureQuest, I’ve been impressed by the technical expertise of the FQ staff. Well, they came through for me once again this weekend.
Yesterday, Katie and I were not able to send email via FQ’s SMTP server. After doing some diagnosing, I concluded that our home ISP, Cox Internet, had started blocking outbound port 25 (to keep people on their network from sending spam). I sent a support request to FQ, asking whether it would be possible to run my SMTP server on a different port. Their answer: they already run customers’ SMTP servers both on port 25 and another port, just to deal with this problem. So, I set my email client settings to use this other port, and I’m back in business!