Monthly Archives: December 2013

Busy Week — Part Two

We ran to Dallas last weekend to see Peggy’s mother for Christmas, then came back to Austin to spend Christmas Day alone at home. We left on Friday to drive to Mississippi to celebrate with my father, spent a night in Baton Rouge, and got back home in time for New Year’s.

This is what I have been seeing repeatedly since we got home:

You left me for three days. Now let’s walk some more!

Allie actually had to be boarded while we were gone, and it had to be a special place because of her diabetes. She loves being around other dogs, but they cannot let her be as active as she wants to be. So, from the minute we got home she has been wanting to go outside. Since we live in an apartment, that means we have to take her outside. She won’t even let me take her harness off.

Fortunately, we love taking her for walks. Her favorite is to go down to the river (Colorado River/Lake Austin) and get in the water under the Pennybacker Bridge. And to hike up to the scenic overlook on the other side of the river. And to act like a dog while doing it. It is glorious to see such canine enjoyment.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Day, which means tonight will be fireworks. That will make for a quieter day tomorrow because she will still be afraid of the noise and will not be as eager to be outside. So we will take her out as often as she wants to go today. It’s the least we can do after her unfortunate incarceration.

We’ll go out to eat tomorrow and enjoy a little football. Then our friends come Thursday afternoon and our son comes Friday afternoon to stay for a couple of days. I am sure that I will have more to write this week.

But right now Allie needs to go for a walk.

Have a safe and happy New Year! 

Christmas in Austin

This was our first Christmas in Austin, and our first Christmas since 1986 living in an apartment. Now, the apartment we live in today is nothing like the apartment where we lived in 1986, but the statement is accurate.

Because it is just us for Christmas I asked Peggy not to go all out on the Christmas decorating. The living room in the apartment is a nice size, but one entire wall is windows so all of the furniture is along the other two walls. I really did not want to have a tree, even a Christmas tree, blocking the beautiful view; you know, the reason we got the apartment in the first place.

Peggy surprised me by being OK with the request. We have always had another small tree that has a bear climbing it that is my favorite Christmas decoration. Peggy decided to make the Christmas bear our only Christmas tree this year. It was perfect!

The Christmas Bear serving well as our Christmas tree this year…

One other advantage of the Christmas Bear — no cats have climbed the Christmas tree this year, nor have we heard the late night excitement of knocking ornaments off the tree and chasing them around the house. Actually, I kind of miss both events, so I may insist on a tree next year…

We ran up to Dallas to see Peggy’s mother, and we are going to Louisiana and Mississippi to see my family between Christmas and New Year’s, so we really just wanted a quiet Christmas time at home. As soon as we get back from Louisiana we have folks coming to visit for New Year’s, so keeping it quiet seemed like a good idea.

I hope each of you has a wonderful and blessed Christmas season!

Christmas morning coffee and selfie. It’s a tradition…

She’s Amazing

The year was 2004. Peggy had come through a battle with cancer that turned into the complete loss of her voice for many months. In the meantime, she had been working out with a personal trainer for a couple of years and was in the best shape of her life.

I was gently exhorting Peggy to get a job. Actually, I’m a guy, so I am not certain that my exhortations were all that gentle. But they were persistent and consistent.

When our son was six years old Peggy came home from work to be with him. She stayed home with him through junior high school while serving in numerous volunteer roles at school and church. When he started high school I told Peggy that I needed her to find a way to contribute financially so we would be able to afford to send Mike to college in four years.

Then she got cancer, then the battle to regain her voice, and I stopped asking her to figure out what kind of job she wanted to get. I just asked her to get well.

She was given a clean bill of health. In fact, the doctor told her that her outstanding physical conditioning played a role in her recovery. I began exhorting in earnest, and she began exploring avenues.

Understand, Peggy had been tremendously successful in her ten year career before coming home to be with Mike. In fact, if she had continued working she would probably have been the Chief Information Officer of the company for which she had worked. But things change quickly in the cyber world and her knowledge from eight years before was pretty much useless now. Hence, her quandary.

It was her personal trainer, Becky, that offered the most obvious solution — get certified as a personal trainer and join Becky as her partner. Peggy threw herself into obtaining the most rigorous personal training certification in the United States, and in a couple of months she was working with clients.

Her practice grew very quickly. You would have to know her to understand how positive an influence she is, and that translated quickly into clients. She developed a reputation for working extremely well with elderly people who were preparing for surgery or recovering from injury, and doctors in the area began sending clients to her to get help.

Peggy views her job as teaching her clients enough that they can stop coming to her. She tells each client this when they begin. For some reason — maybe even for that reason — they just want to continue working with her. Or maybe it is just because she is the most loving and compassionate person you could meet. And then she kicks your ass in the gym. But always with a smile on her face.

Peggy paid for Mike to go to college. He graduated two years ago with no student debt. More importantly, she found a calling. She loves helping people, and they love her.

Today is the last day of her training practice in Katy. She has been driving from Austin to Houston two or three days every week since we moved. She has been helping some of her clients transition to a new trainer, and some of them will now work out on their own.

Peggy is pretty confident she will find something to do in Austin. I’m no longer exhorting her to do anything except what she wants to do.

I cannot express how proud I am of her and the work she has done. And I look forward to having her in Austin a little more frequently, too!

A hot cup of coffee and a cool gym. She’s gonna miss this.

Busy Week

We thoroughly enjoyed our last day in Las Vegas. We typically try to fly out in the afternoon so we can do a few more things before we leave but still get home before it’s too late at night. This works particularly well if you are leaving on a Monday.

We had Las Vegas to ourselves as we walked around and said our goodbyes. The weather was cool and a little overcast, so it was a good morning to walk. We ate lunch outside and shared something called “Frozen Hot Chocolate” for dessert. It was not hot, but it sure was good. So good that even my personal trainer wife ate some of it.

We got home Monday night and went to work on Tuesday, then we headed to Brenham, Texas for a Hot Flashes Christmas show on Tuesday night. Great audience, great show, great time had by all, then a long drive back to Austin. Tomorrow Peggy has to drive back to Katy to work with her personal training clients and I have client meetings in Austin.

It’s a little bit hectic, but it usually is this time of year. When you add in having to introduce yourself to all the clients in a new city at the same time your wife is traveling three hours three days a week, that only creates a new level of hecticity (not a real word, but you know what I mean).

We have our last Christmas shows next weekend, and Peggy has already set a date for ending her training in Houston, so it will calm down a little bit after that. Then we can begin to figure out what living in Austin is really all about.

Or we can just keep traveling all the time. That’s an option, too.

They call it “Sin City” for a reason…


Poor Shania

Well, three out of four ain’t bad.

Tonight, our last night in Las Vegas, we decided to go see Shania Twain. She was performing in the Celine Dion theater in Caesar’s Palace. The headliners frequently take the time between Thanksgiving and New Years off, and they get acts to appear in their place. Shania is Celine’s replacement for a few weeks.

To be fair, we should have seen Shania before we saw Justin Timberlake. The show and the evening were so special last night that anyone would pale in comparison. Plus, you don’t realize until you see the show how much of Shania Twain’s career was really about music videos and not about music.

That might not be a completely fair statement — she has the highest selling album by a solo female artist in any genre in the history of music — but I challenge you to remember a Shania Twain song and not think of the video first. And I sang “From This Moment On” in many weddings in the late 90s.

Still, she has a lot of hits, and she sang them all. I wouldn’t exactly call her an entertainer, but she made sure not to leave out any of the songs her fans love. And there was a live horse. I’m still not sure what that was all about, but it was interesting.

It was a show her devoted fans would love. For us, hey, dinner was fantastic!

As I am writing this I realize that part of the problem is that Shania’s popularity was based primarily on her sexuality, and she came along after Peggy and I were already married. Maybe if she had hit when I was younger I would find her music more interesting. Or maybe I am just a little bit of a music snob.

Whatever, if you can go three out of four in anything you are doing pretty good.

Dinner before the show.
Seriously, Shania didn’t stand a chance.