People have been telling me lately that it's been too long since I've posted a picture of the girls. So here you go:
Apparently, this is a pretty busy week for blogger birthdays. Tuesday was Elise Hu and Stephanie Stradley; they both got cool presents befitting their bloggy stature to help them celebrate. Yesterday was Atrios' turn; I have no idea if he got any presents, but he does have his own Wikipedia entry, which is nice. And today is mine. (It's also Justine Bateman's, but as far as I know she's not a blogger.) I have it on good authority that there will be some baked goodies for dessert tonight, so I'm covered as far as presents go. One of the things I've learned by having kids is that it's not really a birthday if there isn't cake involved. Good to know I'm doing it right.
There's a slightly belated 51st birthday party being thrown for Rick Noriega tomorrow at Marbella's Banquet Hall, 6632 Harrisburg Boulevard, just off of I-45 and Wayside - here's a Google map for you, and you can look at the invitation (PDF) for more details. Come on out and wish Rick a Happy Birthday and thank him for all he's done as a public servant.
So a few months ago, I noticed that when I put recyclables out to the curb on Sunday night, the bags with paper - mostly newspaper, but with other stuff as well - would be gone by Monday morning, before the trucks arrived. I further noticed, and subsequently confirmed with a neighbor, that I wasn't the only one to whom this was happening. So, being slightly paranoid even though we routinely shred anything that has identifying information on it, I made it my habit to put the non-paper out on Sunday night, and the paper on Monday morning before I go to work.
Which is what I did this Monday. And then, while herding the girls out the door to go to school and work, I saw a gray pickup truck stop in front of my driveway, and an older guy in what looked like a vintage yellow Houston Rockets "Clutch City" t-shirt get out and start to pick up the bags with paper in them from my bin. What the hell?
I stepped out the back door and said to him "Excuse me, what are you doing?" He made some lame excuse about needing the paper for his nephew, said he wouldn't take the paper if I didn't want him to, and drove off. Sadly, I didn't get his license plate number.
Anyway, Tiffany wound up calling the city's 311 line to complain about this, and was transferred to the HPD non-emergency line; an officer came by awhile later, and explained this wasn't a crime. Which we already knew - we just wanted to let the city know this was happening, since presumably it would affect its ability to make money off of recyclables if some "entrepreneurs" were getting to them first.
I have no idea what this guy was up to. The market for scrap paper isn't exactly robust right now - if he'd been lifting the aluminum cans, I'd have understood. The most likely explanation would seem to be that he was fishing for identities for some kind of scam or another. Which at least justified my paranoia, however annoying it may be that his actual action wasn't illegal. We may wind up dealing with the paper recyclables separately as a result of this. Like I say, we do shred, but why take a chance? Regardless, I thought I'd put this out there as a warning to folks in my neighborhood, and to anyone else who might be interested. Has this ever happened to you? Let me know.
Falling snowflakes glimmered in streetlights, so wide that they billowed to the ground like parachutes, and so tantalizing that even awestruck adults reached out their hands or stuck out their tongues to catch one.
By Wednesday evening, the flakes were big enough to hold their shape for a moment on the street before melting into the pavement, and a dusting had collected on parked cars in some parts of town.
The flurries tied a record for Houston's earliest snowfall ever and warmed the hearts of winter weather lovers who have pined for snow since it last made an appearance on Christmas Eve 2004.
"I've got a pot roast in the Crock-Pot, and I'm going to go home, change into my warmest pajamas and eat pot roast and enjoy what may be the only real winter day we have all year," said Tina Arnold, an Illinois native who took advantage of the wintry backdrop to pick up Christmas presents Wednesday at The Woodlands Mall.
Since 1895, records indicate, snow has fallen this early just once -- on Dec. 10, 1944.
Dateline 1988, somewhere in San Antonio. The shaggy guy in the green shirt and ever-so-fashionable glasses is me.
Ten years later, at the Class of 1988 reunion. Tiffany and I had been married for all of three weeks at the time.
We're at the 20-year reunion this weekend. Photos, memories, adult beverages, introducing the next generation to each other, all with (mostly) better hair. It's a beautiful thing.
While we were up in Portland, we asked my talented and indefatigable sister-in-law Cathy to take some family photos of us. She has professional equipment for the task, and a great eye. You can see a sample of the results here. Thanks, Cathy!
It's been too long since I've posted a picture of the girls. So here you go:
Anyway, hope you like the pic. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!
Olivia and Audrey and I spent a little time this afternoon at the public library grand reopening. It was fun for all, as they burned up some energy in the kids area that they otherwise would have expended at home, driving me crazy in the process. The only downer of the day was with the parking. We parked at the 1100 Smith Street garage, which was a very reasonable flat $3 fee for weekends, but almost didn't make it out of the lot. The exits are unattended on weekends, which is fine, but the payment machines didn't take credit cards or bills larger than $10. One poor woman had pulled over and was asking everyone if they could break a $20 - I think she finally got a taker as we were queued up.
Then it was my turn, and though I had a $5 bill, the stupid bill reader wouldn't take it. After several failed attempts, I got out and swapped bills with the car behind me. That one still wouldn't take, and I was contemplating how much it would cost me to just bust through the swinging arm when one last try finally worked. Oh, and it paid change in quarters; if there was ever a time to use dollar coins, this would seem to have been it, but no go.
So, my advice to you, the downtown weekend adventure seeker, is to avoid the 1100 Smith Street garage (located between Massa's and Pappas Barbecue) like the plague. If someone from that garage reads this and is offended by my characterization, all I can say is that I've spelled out what you can do to make this right. All I know is I'll be using the underground parking by Bayou Place next time. It may cost a bit more, but if so it'll be worth it.
UPDATE: For more about the library itself, here's Dwight's review.
So last week, as I was about to chase Olivia off to bed, Tiffany stopped me and said "No, wait, there's stargazing on the Esplanade tonight. Why not take Olivia out for a few minutes and let her look through one of the telescopes?"
(I'll pause for a minute to explain that our neighborhood contains some amateur astronomy buffs, and when conditions are favorable they sometimes gather on the esplanade on our street and set up their equipment to look heavenward. This was one of those nights.)
Olivia, of course, was amenable to this - hey, anything to delay going to bed for a few minutes. We got outside, and I pointed out the big telescope to her, and she was excited about looking through it. Her preschool class had been talking about the solar system that week, and so she could name a couple of planets, one of which was Saturn, which just happened to be visible that evening.
We were the first people to wander over and ask about using the scope, so Olivia was able to get a crack at it right away. There was a stepladder that we moved over for her to climb up so she could peer into the eyepiece, and once it got good and dark, she had a great look at Saturn, which she thought was very cool. She chattered about it quite a bit afterwards.
Oh, and did I mention that there was a reporter for the Houston Chronicle there as well, doing a feature story on neighborhood "star parties" like that one? And that she had a photographer with her? And that they and the telescope dude just about fainted at the prospect of photographing a cute little girl in her pink Minnie Mouse nightgown as she looked at Saturn through a big telescope?
Here's the story. Scroll down a bit to see the picture.
I should note, by the way, that the Chron reporter asked me a few questions as well, but none of that made it in. Obviously, we can tell who has the real star power in this family.
Have a holly, jolly Christmas
A Little Time With the Family
A Little Time With the Family
What I have to be thankful for this year
From the "Things My Parents Didn't Have To Deal With" Department
The happy Wanderers
A chip off the old block
My pneumonia experience
Happy Father's Day, you old coot
A moment of Audrey
Benefit for Mark Strawn tonight
Brush your teeth!
Reminder: Fundraiser for Mark Strawn
Fundraiser for Mark Strawn
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Blood has been given
At home with Audrey
Under the bili lights
Olivia meets Audrey
Announcing Audrey Elizabeth
Not the kind of article I need to be reading right about now
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
The road home (I hope)
Round and round we go