Highs and lows, man. Highs and lows. Lil Miss Austin is to the point where you can almost understand her, even if you don't live with her. Words like "dangerous" are starting to be clear now. She's also decided to start using inclusives like "we" and "us." It's something of a gradual step, because while I still think it's parrot like repetativeness that leads her to these vocal improvements slash cognitive leaps slash quasi adult communication skills, it's starting to become more and more her own thoughts and actions rather than just repeating what she's heard. I came to a realization recently that she's already reading letters, and soon she'll be putting words and sounds together, not even realizing what a huge step that is. She'll be reading cat, not exactly knowing that she's reading a word that she's already known for years. It almost seems backwards to the adult mind, doesn't it? I'm going talk about something I don't know anything about, and then go learn all about it. Well, I guess if you work in marketing that's how it's run.

So we think it's a big deal. She now wants to do things together, or follow us, or "we can do it". It's no longer about her. The I has been replaced with TEAM. It makes it seem like she's finally figuring out that even though she's a left handed shot, she's still better off on right wing; now part of the family, inclusive.

I'm guessing now that because she's been having all these great mental accomplishments, her brain is working overtime. Which would explain why she's NOT SLEEPING! Holy Pot of Coffee Batman, this kid hates going to bed and hates getting up. While she's getting some verbal skills, she still has a long way to go for temporal reasoning. "If you go to bed when we tell you, you won't be crabby the next morning." Yeah, good luck with that until she's 28 and can truly appreciate a good nap. She doesn't sleep at school or at home. She only naps on long car rides and the last couple weeks has been like a horror movie each morning. She cries herself to sleep and cries as soon as her eyes open. It makes for fun car rides to school.

I can't really fault her, I've got shoes that are older than her, so it's not like she's got any idea what's going on. But man I feel bad about her not getting sleep. She has to be at school at 7:30 so I can get to work on time, and then she's there till 5:30 so I can stay at work till 5. Then it's a flury of activity in the evening right before she's shoveled into bed, story, bath, dinner or not. Ugh, poor kid. I'm seriously hoping my company adopts a more European work week so I can knock down some of my hours. Of course, we could always wait for Mrs. Austin to gain financial independence allowing me to quit, draw at home and have LMA in school only partial days until she's 5 or so.

Of course, if it turns out she's a genius, she can stay up as long as she wants. Right?


Denver Trip

The Austin Family goes to Colorado

Wow. I'd like to retract my bitching and whinning about short trips, and that's all I'll say about that.

We packed a lot of stuff into our little 4 day trip to Colorado. What was at first just a weekend packed around an Eddie Izzard concert on Monday turned into a pretty packed couple of days, capped off by a hysterical performance by our favorite Executive Transvestite.

To start, we flew into Denver and headed straight for the Air Force academy to see the Falcons take on the Cowboys of Wyoming. In the past, I was pretty sure that Wyoming would have kicked our butts, (I say "our" because Air Force is the home team) but it turns out AF is pretty good this year. They won, but not terribly convincingly. If you don't know about Falcon football, for the past, I don't know, 20 years, the head coach, Fischer Deberry has had about 5 plays in his playbook and he runs them all in succession. They're all Option plays. Q-B runs, Q-B pitches out, Q-B hands off to running back, or drops back and throws to the only receiver. You'd think with a name like Air Force, they'd pass more. Anyway. We also found out that my dad is now the 3rd highest "ranking" civilian to hold season tickets. Way back in the late 60's, AF built a new stadium and my grandpa got tickets in the family section. These tickets were passed on to my dad and I'm sure one day to either me or my brother. I'm hoping they make a Rollman plaque somewhere on section M13 to commemorate the dynasty of airchair quarterbacks.

So a good time was had by all. I haven't been to a Falcons game in years, and it was such a treat because this represented a piece of my childhood. The memories of fly-bys and parachuters and the cadets marching onto the field and peanuts and cocoa and frigid cold days and sunburning hot days, they all came back to me and it felt like a home away from home. I'm glad I got Mrs. Austin to see the Drum and Bugle Corp, I'm glad Lil Miss Austin got to see the Bird and the "only performing mascot in the NCAA" (which is actually a peregrine falcon, not the guy dressed up, though he does do some fun stuff.) Afterwards we headed back to Casa Rollman and grilled up some burgers and chatted with everyone in what amounted to a family reunion. LMA got to see her great-grandparents, who are pretty great, as well as most of the great aunts and uncles, so it was pretty keen.

That was just Saturday.

Sunday we headed south to Colorado Springs to see my mom and step dad. We grabbed some coffee and headed to Canyon City and the Royal Gorge. The Royal Gorge is an 1100 foot crevace carved out by the Arkansas River. I don't know the distinction between gorge and canyon, but I guess the geologists among you will whisper this tidbit into your needy little ears. The point is, there's a bridge that goes over this chasm and it's pretty spectacular. Along with the shops and kiddie stuff, there's a gondola/tram that goes to each side, an incline railway that goes to the bottom and a Skycoaster that flings out over the abyss. We did all the attractions, and took a lot of pictures.

Mr. and Mrs. Austin at the Water Clock.

Mr. and Lil Miss Austin petting some (devil) goats. (I hate goats.)

Dad and Daughter riding the tram. (Scarier to me than the skycoaster, for real.)

Mrs. Austin was taking pictures of this while simultaneously on the phone checking how much life insurance money she could get.

So we spent a goodly amount of time trapsing around the Gorge and its Bridge and headed back. The next day was a pleasant lunch with the other great grandma, great aunt, grandma, Mrs. A, LMA and myself, then a nap, then off to downtown to hang out and see Eddie. We had some plans on going to a candy factory tour, or a movie, or Elitches, but by the time we actually got downtown we had just enough time to do nothing in particular. So we walked down to the Capital building, saw a drug deal, felt kind of threatened and out of place, ate some Subway and did some window shopping. 16th Street in Denver has changed a lot since I was there so it was fun to see what has changed, and what hasn't. Over all it was NOT fun to get lost while driving. Between having a 6 year gap in memory and all the construction going on, my normally keen geo and topographic mind was reduced to a stuttering nimwit full of holes and "I think this is it."

>But we did make the show, and it was awesome. I remember seeing Seinfeld in Austin and not laughing this hard. Izzard is the funniest comedian today I think. Nods to Mitch Hedberg and Thomas Rhodes, but for my money, give me a British Transvestite talking about Neanderthals. Top notch.

So we made it home without incident. It was a good trip and everyone behaved, for the most part.


Editorial Retraction

Well, it happened. I knew some day I'd upset someone with what I write here. It ideally was a place to document Little Miss Austin's journey through her childhood. We don't do a lot of home movies, we take a crapload of pictures though. So I thought it'd be a good place to write stuff down.

The problem is, folks, that after about 2 years old, the leaps and bounds just aren't as common. Parents will back me up on this. Children are amazing creatures. Their ability to learn and adapt and grow is nothing short of miraculous. But lately, and I'm not FAULTING anyone here, but lately the milestones just aren't happening every four hours and it leaves a journal to wallow in blankness for days upon days. "Oh the idle brain is the Devil's playground, trouble! Folks right here in River City. Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Pool!"

Don't know where that came from.

The point is, lately I've had to come up with filler, and I don't have much to talk about other than what's rattling around in my excuse for a brain. I could bore you people with talk of what I'm doing with my drawing or what I plan on doing with some comic book scripts or what happened on West Wing, but that would be pretty dule, wouldn't it? Isn't it then more interesting to delve into the depths of what really drives a person? Understand their motivations? Gleen a little insight into what makes them tick, what makes them get up each day?

No? You say you just want more pictures of LMA doing cute things?

Yeah I do too.

Well, it's not totally current, but it'll have to do.


Jibba Jabba

So we're planning a trip to Denver to see our favorite comedian Eddie Izzard. Actually, I don't know for sure if Mrs. Austin has a favorite comedian, but it's probably Eddie, maybe Ellen. Entertainment-wise, I'm really only sure she likes Sex in the City and West Wing, Willie Nelson and Bob Schneider. Everything outside of that is a guess or an anthropomorphic assumption that she likes what I like, which is pretty impossible to believe because what I like is pretty much crap. [ed. -True. He likes crap. Total crap. He's so not kidding. He tried to let LMA watch a violent anime movie the other day and I almost had to set up the therapy session right then.]

So yeah, we're going to Colorful Colorado and honestly I really wish we weren't. Let me explain before you get your mouse cord completely around your neck. I wish Eddie was coming to Austin, it would just make life easier. We've got just enough time off and just enough funds to make this mad dash 1200 miles north, cram in as much family face time, sight seeing and event doing as we can before whisking back to Austin in time for school. I guess it's a vacation in the strictest sense; we're leaving our home, spending money, taking time off work, going somewhere else. But it doesn't FEEL like a vacation. [ed.- its a vacation. shut up. i'm totally excited about it and all he can do is whine that there aren't going to be free drinks w/ umbrellas and girls in bikinis.] I have this overactive imagination that dictates vacation as a Corona commercial. No stress, sand, surf and alcohol that flows freely while steel drums drip their lovely, haunting melodies in the background. As it is now, here's what I'm thinking off. Early flight, is the airline going to give us crap because LMA is over 2, where are we spending the night, will we have enough money, are both my mom and dad going to be equally appeased by our presence, will either need more time, will we need more time? [ed. Notice how he hasn't mentioned that we are going up there for our anniversary? Anyone want to lay odds that he forgets this important date too?]

The last few months have been just choked with these weekend spurts. Quick drive to the beach, quick drive to the swimming hole, quick drive to Sea World. I think it all started with our Boston trip. Suddenly we're Power Vacationers. There's no lounging around and relaxing, it's all BAM BAM BAM, get your check list marked off and get home. Fly to Chicago, cram in a convention, don't even get out of the hotel for 3 days. Fly to Denver, see mom day one, dad day two, friends day three, go home. [ed. he whines a lot doesn't he? I wonder how many people he is going to piss off with this entry. I wonder if I'm pissing him off by editing this and calling him a whiney-baby. He doesn't mention that half the "power vacations" were his idea. Additionally, I've been trying for a year to get him on a cruise ship but to no avail.]

I'm fondly looking back now on our trip to the Bahamas that was as lazy, food fed, liquored up and sand in the crannies as any trip I've ever taken. There was no rush, no schedule, no need to be anywhere at any time. No juggling over which family members to see when. It was my idea of a vacation. [ed. -again, cruise ship.] Not to down play the fun we've had on our outings within driving distance, or the last minute jaunts. They've produced some seriously memorable photos and keepsakes and, well, memories. It's something fun to do with LMA, and especially being in a large state, there's so much to do and we'll probably never do it all. I just wish I could stretch it out more, make it 10 days instead of 3, a full week instead of 4 hours. Am I being greedy? Probably. And probably a bit slacker...ish..y.

Besides, I don't have much to write lately and not a lot of time to organize pictures. I can't wait to have my own web server so I can post hundreds and hundreds of pictures and film clips and art and what not, depicting our great Texas travels. I have just enough time lately to write this. [ed. - don't thing I didn't notice the blatant attempt here for me to give in to the concept of buying a new computer just so he can post pictures for this website. As if that would lead to more less-whiney entries about the lack of sand in his shorts. Yeah, and I've got a bridge for sale.....]


I've been haggled!

If you're a new parent, take heart. It's only 2 years and some months until you don't have to deal with diapers anymore. I can't tell you the relief we're now feeling that LMA is about 90% potty-trained. She still wears "night panties" to bed (ie pull-ups) but during the day it's just regular underwear and the occassional prancing about with no drawers on, or what I like to call "The Uncle Chipper." It's a true blessing now that no money is spent on disposable clothing anymore. Now we're just working on the regular clothing that we have to buy every 2 months.

Which brings me to a conundrum Mrs. Austin and I have run into. LMA doesn't eat. I mean, she's capable of it, and we see her do it and somewhere in the forgotten worlds of possibility she's finished an entire meal, but for the most part she just drinks milk and water. Now I don't want to panic, I've heard other parents say that toddlers are picky eaters, but LMA is already small as it is. She's still wearing clothing with tags that say 12 mos! I'm a little worried, a little scared. I'm sure nothing is actually wrong with her, but you can never tell right? So every night becomes another bribing routine. "You eat one more beet and you can watch the Muppets." "One more bite of tofu and we'll go play outside." I don't like the fact that I have to bribe my child to get her to do something I think is right or needed. And with that statement, there are scores of grandparents just laughing their asses off. Now that I think about it, a story of me not wanting to eat pot roast comes to mind. I would stuff my face full of meat just to get it off my plate, but I wouldn't actually eat it. So there I sat with chipmunk cheeks just waiting to be excused so I could go spit it all out. Man I didn't like pot roast. Now I'm trying desperately to get this little one to eat her veggies, just praying I don't see pull a Dizzy Gillespe with some broccolli.

Pictures to follow on this. Our latest family outting was in sunny, sandy, surfside Corpus Christi. We decided 10 mins after leaving our house that we were going there. (Planning is not our strong suit, stay tuned from the Eddie Izzard in Denver post.) Both of us are sick with head/chest colds, so what better way to spend a weekend then driving someplace unfamiliar.

Truth be told it was fun. The sudden burst vacations and road trips tend to yield the most enjoyment for us. I'm sure mainly because there's no expectation, no stress from planning and no reason to fight over stuff that may or may not happen. We drove down 35 to San Antonio, stopped a couple times to potty and once in Buda to wait in apparently the only Subway in Texas for 20 mins while Saturday Business Atire Lady decides to haggle over her 27 turkey light sandwiches. We arrive in CC around 4 and just hit the beach running. I'm reminded of another story of me and my younger brother in Florida, seeing the ocean for the first time. Running like gang busters, we pitch into the oncoming surf to be greeting by a mouthful of salt water. Not what I, nor LMA was expecting. Oh the water was warm and delightful. LMA spent her afternoon chasing seaguls, running into then away from the surf and throwing as much sand back into the water as possible. Her 2 year old brain must have thought the water was broken because it was dropping all this dirt along the beach, all she was doing was helping it get it all back.

High point was burying daddy in the sand. We'd buried LMA earlier and that was cute, she giggled. While I was being covered in sand, my upper body already succumbed to the weight of it, I shout that my nose itched, like it always does when you suddenly can't move your hands. Well, Mrs. Austin just laughs and says I'll have to tough it out. Not Lil Miss Austin, she wants to help. Crunch! Face full of sand. Sand in tear ducts, nostrils, molars, ears. I'm sure it didn't occur to her that the hand she wanted to help daddy scratch his nose with was full of sand. A for effort, that's for sure. Lil demon.

Rest of they day was cool. Say a big navy type ship (USS Lexington) from afar, have to wait to go back with my dad cuz he loves that stuff. Ate at Joe's Crab Shack, which I thought was a bit cliche, but we were hungry and not picky and it was my idea so shut up.

I dig my family. I'm glad that even though we have a kid, some times we can pick up and just run off someplace. As much as I love, and could really use a 2 week vacation in Greece, these little weekend adventures are pretty cool.

As soon as I figure out the web site situation, there will be pictures. Oh yes, there will be. Don't try and stop me. I'm a blogger on the edge!!


Lil Miss Austin gets a lot of comparisons to the Olsen twins. Not so much lately but from about 18 months to 25-26 months old, we got a lot of people approaching us with this little tidbit. I could see it for a while; big eyes, sandy blonde hair, puffy cheeks. She was, and still is, a little sprite. Plus being so precocious it's hard to not see a little bit of star power behind her cherub face.

Knowing she was a camera hog (says "cheese" when a camera is in the room) we did actually send a picture to the Gap when they had a "talent" search, realize as we did so it went against the beliefs that we held about not turning our child into a little starlet, the ramifications of such a life not one we'd wish on anyone. But we were swept up in the glow that is our little girl and probably a desire to let the world know just how adorable she is. Parental bias aside, she's just damn cute.

With this in mind, I'd like to set the record straight on the cute factor.

My money is on the girl dialing her agent asking for more press and less nap time.


Just a quick word, polariscomics.com is down and that's actually the host that stores all the photos for this page, so you fine viewers are going to be pictureless for a few days till it's sorted out.

Not much to report otherwise. Couple days of rain, working on the house more, Mrs. Austin started school and then proceeded to get very sick, but she's ok now. Rowan's moved up to the older kids class, not the oldest but one up from where she was. Very exciting.

I had a bunch of pics to show you but it'll have to wait, without them talking about them really doesn't make much sense.