Sunday, November 20, 2005

On friends and my home...

I had hoped to post pictures of my weekend quick trip to Austin, but forgot my camera. So, instead, I will try to paint pictures for you with my words...

A delayed departure meant a rush to leave. Several hugs to the crying toddler, and funny faces as I pulled away, to try and calm her crying. I got a big grin and a laugh, and gave my last wave as I drove away.

The trip back to Austin was a quick one. Feeling rushed because I left later, I did not take in my surroundings as much on the drive. I always feel hurried to reach my destination, but it is a good rush--that of anticipation to see old friends and catch up, to do things that I can't always do with my kids, and to just relax for awhile in a safe and comfortable place.

Arriving at my dear pal's house, we fall into an immediate hug and automatically jump into our usual banter. As I sat, taking in her house again and hearing what was going on with her, I marveled to myself at how one can be away from someone for so many months and still just find comfort and friendship there. Why is it with some people you can do this, no matter how much time passes, and with others time can build a wall that keeps you from staying connected?

A quick jaunt to a local brick oven for lunch and my favorite salad and slice, and then some attempted shopping. My horrid allergy cough got the best of me though, and we retreated to her house--me with kleenex in hand and cough drop in cheek. I was disappointed that the cough was flaring up again, but was relieved that my friend didn't seem too upset that we couldn't go and do things. Overly tired from lack of sleep the past few nights, I was happy she was content to just relax and chat.

Calls came in and plans were made for an evening of fun. Friends arrived, and we shuttled over to enjoy some great Tex Mex and drinks and wonderful conversation. Several of my closest pals joined us, as well as one I don't talk to as often but I always love to see. Each one, I was so glad to see and reconnect with, feeling so blessed to know them at all. We are all in such different places in our lives: some married, some single, some child-free, some with kids, some happy in their careers, others looking for change or forced to make changes. Yet, somehow, we all still can sit at a table and enjoy each other's stories and presence in the same way as we first did many years ago at lunches or those work happy hours venting about poor management and meager pay.

New friends joined us too, and I found them instantly easy to talk to and fun to be around. After too much Mexican and just enough "spirits" to tire us, we opted out of a trip to the bowling alley and instead drove back to my pal's house for more conversation. College stories and a picture parade of my friends' cruise to Alaska and some laughs, then our eyelids started to droop, bodies giving in to exhaustion even though our minds wished we could continue on. Plans were made for the next morning, where we'd dine for brunch downtown.

A fitful night of coughing as I tried to sleep, and then finally I found my snooze zone. No children to wake me, only the occasional sound of a cat or a train in the distance, I drifted off to a deep rest that I don't often get at home. Oh, how I really relish the gift of a good and solid sleep!

Awaking to more violent coughing, I hope that am not waking up my friend a few rooms down, I chose to pack up and prepare to leave so I'd have more time to chat after she awoke. As she got ready, we chatted more. Looking back, some of the best conversations I've had over the years with my mom, sister and girlfriends have been over make-up and hair curling!

We headed out for brunch, planning to meet my two other close friends downtown. I felt lucky that we took a favorite drive of mine into downtown, straight up Congress Avenue. There's something about that grand Texas Capitol building awaiting you at the end of Congress, that just catches my breath every time.

As we drove down this road, I took note of first the typical Austin hodgepodge of shops followed by the skyscrapers of downtown. Antique shops, vintage clothing, funky local art galleries all nestled in together--it is the look of Austin--a mismatch of anything imaginable. To me, it so represents the diverse culture in this city where the homeless and poor walk the same streets panhandling that the wealthy businessmen and politicians do to their daily work. Young yuppie corporates park for work alongside old artsy bookstores where perhaps some earth-loving activist is looking up information for a devoted cause. I consider myself very in-the-middle in my political beliefs, and perhaps that is why I enjoy this city for it's varying extremes.

Our brunch food was average, nothing to write about, but I was so glad to get more time to talk to my friends and see a great album of photos from their cruise too. It was the perfect way to end my little trip to the city I lived in many years back, but where I always feel a little part of me still lives.

On the drive home, blasting my Patty Griffin CD, I sang along to her raspy voice. I took note of the Texas landscape, making a forced and abrupt change from balmy temperatures to the sudden cold snap that had finally fallen upon us. The plains were losing their brilliant green hues, and giving way to the yellow and gray dying back for the winter. Clouds were layered in the sky, with bottoms flat and gray, and tops foamy white. It looked to me like waves crashing into the shore on a windy day. I had grown up in the north of the state, spent time in college in the west, lived centrally for several years and then settled more east. There wasn't much of the state I had not seen at some point or other during my life.

There are times I've dreamed of moving away somewhere different to enjoy unfamiliar scenery, but on a day like today I just feel so blessed to have lived where I have made these dear friends who love me for who I am and who I will cherish as much as I do the landscape that is my home.


Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Sounds like you had a great time and a well-deserved break.

I am DYING to visit my friend from high school- She has a new house and everything- I think I'm going to try and go in January. Luckily, she lives in the same town as my parents, so I can drop Baby off with them.

Did you know I came really, really, really close to moving to Austin? Five years ago, I got an offer to work at KXAN. But I chose my town instead, in the end. Funny, huh? My life would've been totally different.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving week!! :)

10:37 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Tyra said...

Glad you had a good weekend with your friends!

7:41 AM, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Theresa said...

It sounds as if you had a marvelous time! What fun! Love the way you described the clouds - very visual!

8:53 AM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger Babs said...

What a great entry about your AWESOME visit!!! I too noticed the beautiful clouds after our brunch, making it feel so good to be alive.

Looking forward to seeing you again very, very soon. Love the blog, but LOVE seeing you in person even more. :)

10:31 AM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger Lisabell said...

Hey chica, I'm so happy you could come, it was an awesome weekend! I'm looking forward to doing it again soon -- now it's my turn to come to Houston!

Glad you had a safe trip back, too. Have you listened to Abra yet?

1:47 PM, November 21, 2005  
Blogger Connie and Rob said...

Well you didn't need pictures. I felt like I was on the trip with you. It sounds like a lovely trip with your friends. It is so nice to be able to unwind and talk to people you feel very comfortable with after all these years. Those are the kind of gifts you will always treasure. Laughing and eating with girlfriends is right there on the top of great things to do more often!

4:58 PM, November 21, 2005  

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