Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Camera Phone Art

Originally uploaded by drmacro.
We've been pretty busy lately just trying to settle into a normal day-to-day routine while finishing the unpacking and what not. This has reduced the amount of picture taking I've been doing since I'm not purposely taking pictures of something every day as I was during construction.

Still, I do carry a camera phone and I've been trying to capture Dada as best I can with it.

The first picture was taken at the Chuy's on 183 in Austin, where they have a wall with glass garden spheres embedded in the wall. I really like how the colors work here. The irregular surface coupled with the pattern of my kilt helps to obscure my presence as photographer.

Image013This picture is of Dada in her new T-shirt that says "I do all my own stunts". The phone camera has a way of capturing motion that I like.

Image009The last picture was taken at the dog park, Dada playing on her mother's lap.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Dada as Future Star

Originally uploaded by drmacro.
Here is Dada playing one of the ukuleles we brought back from Hawai'ii a couple of years ago. This picture was taken with my camera phone.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Surfside Beach Trip 2006

For the second year we were invited to share a beach house for the weekend with this great group of families. We met them through our friends Marla and Andrea who went last year and invited us to join. This year there were eight families with kids ranging from 18 months to 11 years. We rented a big house right on the beach in Surfside Beach on the Texas Gulf coast, west of Houston.

This year it was just Eliot and Dada as Julie decided that what she really needed was a couple of days to herself after all the stress and chaos of the previous couple of months, not to mention that she hadn't had a full day off of mom duty since we got back from China last year. I was certainly happy to let Julie have some alone time and do a father-daughter beach trip.

We had a reasonably pleasant drive down. It's about a four hour drive and Dada slept for the first couple of hours or so. Toward the end she was getting pretty tired of being in her car seat (who wouldn't be) so we stoppped and shopped for the last few items we needed for the beach.

Finally we arrived at the beach house, got our stuff out of the car and still had enough daylight to do a little playing on the beach. Discovered that Dada really likes to stand in the waves with me either holding her or holding her hands while she stands in the water.

I love the water and was really hoping that Dada would too and it appears that she does. Last year she was too little to really enjoy the water but in the intervening year she's had swim lessons and spent a lot of time with us at the pool. We spent a lot of our time standing in the water and laughing with delight as the waves came in and splashed us. By Sunday afternoon she was running untethered into the water. I'm sure that next year it'll be hard to get her out of the water.

CIMG3618Unfortunately, on Saturday morning, while we were having our breakfast (excellent breakfast tacos--each family signs up for a meal) Dada got a nasty splinter in her foot from jumping around on the deck. It was right in the ball of her left foot. It wasn't deep but it clearly hurt. This injury put something of a damper on her activities as it made it hard for her to walk. So she ended up spending a lot of the weekend either hanging out on the sand or in my arms. Which was OK but wasn't exactly how I had pictured the weekend.

It was a little bit of a challenge to be a single parent at the beach--because of her injury Dada was a little more clingy than she otherwise would have been so I really didn't have any opportunities to get into the water myself, although the conditions weren't that inviting--there was a pretty strong wind on Saturday and the water was just cold enough to have required a wetsuit for surfing. And I could have probably tried harder to get Dada to spend time with the other families and parents but I didn't want to impose. But we had fun.

CIMG3614Dada got to fly a kite all by herself (in the sense that she held the string and managed to both keep the kite in the air and not let go of the string).

On Sunday, as I was trying to get all our stuff packed up, Tacia, another single parent, was able to get Dada to go with her and her daughter Riley (who is at least as cute and charismatic as Dada) and play on the beach, which was great.

Finally, after a final half hour of playing in the water together, she and I got in the car and headed back home. Dada fell asleep almost as soon as I turned the key and slept until we pulled into the carport.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Because we have no budget or time or energy for landscaping and because our yard was either a mud pit or a dust bowl depending on the current weather, we decided to just mulch the whole thing in shredded cedar, which is good for erosion control, will stand up to the dogs running back and forth, smells nice, and keeps bugs away. That will then give us time to figure exactly what we want to do with the yard and save up for it.

This picture shows my friend and collegue Joshua working out some anger issues related to his quiting smoking by forking mulch like a madman.

We got two truckloads last Tuesday and Joshua happended to be at the house working with me because I needed to be at the house to meet the mulch trucks.

Unfortunately, there was no way to dump the load for the back yard over the fence, so we had to move it by hand. Joshua helped tremendously by putting in several hours of hard work--we shifted the better part of the pile that afternoon and evening. Julie moved the rest of this weekend while Dada and I were at the beach.

CIMG3598The pile in the front has yet to be moved--I was half hoping that our builder would be able to use his Bobcat to move the pile but he claims it's "in the shop".

Anyway, the pile in front will be easier to move because we just have to spread it from the pile, no need to hump it through the fence by the wheelbarrow load.

Catching Up

Originally uploaded by drmacro.
We were so focused on the construction issues of the last few weeks and that I hadn't had a chance to report on what else was happening.

Grandpa Bill ("Ba") came week before last to attend the BBQ. He had a nice visit, tolerating the lack of hot water for the first couple of days and playing with Dada. We didn't get to do a lot of touristy things but we can do that stuff some other time. Our big excitement was arranging for a playscape to go in the back yard. We decided to go with Playwood, an Austin-based company that prides itself on quality materials designed to last a lifetime and an almost maniacal focus on safety. We should have it installed in a few weeks. It was fun to have Ba here and we're looking forward to his next visit, which hopefully will be a bit more relaxed.

The BBQ went off pretty well--we had lots of people and nobody went hungry. I was very pleased with how well the driveway worked as outdoor entertainment space. We even had a ping pong table set up in the carport, which worked better than I expected (turns out the fence around the back of the carport will usually stop a ping pong ball even though it's a pretty big mesh).

We spent most of last week just luxuriating in a fully-functional house, trying to establish a more or less normal daily routine of getting to and from work, mother's day out, and so on. We also had to deal with the builder's attempts to resolve the remaining issues on the punch list.