Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hello, snow.

You have not been gone long enough for me to miss you.

It is October. It is not even Halloween yet. However, you are here, so much so that I walked to and from work with you falling on my head in the space of two hours this morning. "Go home," they said. So I did.

Snow, I understand that you are useful and necessary to the health and well-being of the state. The farmers need you to fall so they have enough water for crops next year. The mountains need you to bring tourists who will spend lots of money while they're here for ski or snowboard vacations. I even love you, sort of, because you allow for us to go snowshoeing and to pelt each other with snowballs and to make snowmen. You make everything beautiful for a few hours or even a few days. You quiet the city, muffling everything. You look pretty when you fall, sometimes, especially the ploofy kind of you.

However, I must object to your early arrival this year. I wasn't finished with autumn yet. I admit, I have been kind of dreading you this year, and there was all sorts of evidence over the past month that you'd be showing up sooner rather than later. But damn, snow. Damn. October 27 (because you began last night, although you also showed up briefly last week, so I guess I could call it mid-late October) is before there should be snow. We haven't even ended Daylight Saving Time yet. (I am going to be soooo bummed when we do, I mean, seriously, why can't we stay on DST all year? We're on "standard" time for less of the year than we are "saving" time, so what makes that standard? I hate short days and no light. Harumph.) It's not Time Yet for snow days and slushy slurry that I have to wade through on my way to work and heavy clompy boots and thick coats. It's time for pumpkins and leaves blowing around and tights with skirts. It's time for pears and squash and candy corn. Snow means Christmas and New Year's and and and...

You're not listening, snow. Here I am, trying to be reasonable. If you could just hold off until maybe Thanksgiving, maybe, it would be allowable. You're early, snow. I'm not ready to think about all the things that you bring in your wake.

It's days like this that I miss California the most.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Next

Some people are planners.

Some people have ideas, when they are young, about who they want to be and what they want to do by a certain age. I knew people in high school who had already mapped out exactly what their lives would be, and knew even more in college who were the same way. People who would be married by 22, have a kid by 25, be finished with childbearing by 30 ("I want to be a young mom!"). People who would go to graduate school and start on the high-paced career track of an investment banker or corporate lawyer. People who were going to graduate, join the Peace Corps, and work for a multinational NGO making the world a better place.

I have never been that person. I am not a planner. When I was a kid, I was scared shitless of growing up. I remember being in 8th grade PE and thinking that when it became the year 2000 I'd be 20 years old! About to turn 21! My god, I was going to be ancient.

Now, I always had goals, things I worked toward. I got the best grades I possibly could, got into the school I wanted to attend, and even got excellent grades (freshman year Chemistry excepted) there, in case I ever wanted to go to grad school. But by the time the year 2000 rolled around, I had been in school continuously for 18 years. (That is not a typo. I started preschool in January of 1981, before I was even two years old.) And I had no idea what I wanted to study in graduate school, or even if I really wanted to go. So I didn't. I went to Europe, and then the dotcom bust happened, and then I started working.

I was never, however, the sort of person who had age goals. When I met Dan at age 22 I was nowhere near the mindset of wanting to get married anytime soon. Our long-distance relationship worked well for me, until it didn't, so I moved. Living in sin worked well for both of us, until eventually we decided that we wanted to get married, so we did.

Internet, we have a next, now. We have plans. We have things we want to do and goals we want to achieve, and in a way it's a little bit scary, but in a way it's also exciting. The first major goal was for Dan to finish school and finish his internship. Now that's accomplished, and we're working on Stage 2 of our Master Plan. It's taking longer than we thought. I've written before about how patience is not one of my virtues, and Stage 2 is not the sort of thing that has a specific time frame - it will happen when it happens, that Stage 2, and not until it happens.

But I want it NOW. I want these things to happen, I want Next to be Now. The last couple of months have been frustrating for me, primarily because I've been looking forward to what's next for a long time, and Next isn't Now yet. In the last week or two, I decided that it's not going to do me any good not to enjoy what is Now. So I'm taking photos of the fall, and we're going to parties, and last-minute road trips. Things we can only do Now.

And hopefully, before I know it, the Next will happen. And then it'll be Now. And that will be good.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Last-minute road trip, part 4: Old, Older

Sunday we had two main goals: to see the rest of the missions in San Antonio, something I'd never done, and to visit Natural Bridge Caverns, something I hadn't done in many years and thought Dan would enjoy.

The day started off with a rainy breakfast of donuts, babybel cheese, and a giant shared peach in the car, and we found our way to the first mission, Mission Concepcion.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of this mission, but there wasn't a lot to see - the main church part, the best preserved of the four, was closed for renovation, but we did poke our heads into some of the other rooms. Mass had just been held.

We made our way south to the next mission, Mission San Jose. This mission was by far the largest and most complete of the four we saw, and we were able to explore quite a bit, though mass started right after we got there so we didn't get many photos inside the church. My favorite part was the still-functional mill. It continued to rain and my shoes and pants got soaking wet.

Next, we hit Mission San Juan Capistrano, where (again) Mass was being conducted inside the little church. We explored a bit but it wasn't as big or extensive as the previous mission and there wasn't much new to see - other than a priest in vestments going around the side of the building to pee. The lawn was full of giant starlings taking advantage of the rain to eat whatever worms came up out of the ground.

Finally, we arrived at Mission Espada. I really enjoyed this one, partly because the Friary is still used by the Church, partly because they were having a festival out front and I could tell the mission was a big part of the local community. We peeked our heads into the church and walked around a bit but the best part was getting lunch from the stands selling gorditas and aguas frescas. I think the turnout wasn't quite what they had expected, given all the rain, but it was still festive.

Pants and shoes soaked, bellies full, we headed north to the Natural Bridge Caverns and took the original tour through the caverns, seeing all kinds of interesting formations, and going through back passages because some of the rooms on the normal tour were flooded due to all the rain. I wasn't able to get the photos I really wanted to, due to the low light available, but I think I got a few good ones. My favorite part of the tour took us back up from the lowest point we were able to go, and when we got up to the top and looked down it was like seeing something out of Lord of the Rings: being in the mines of Moria or the caves that the army of the dead live in.

It was really, really wet inside the caverns, but since my shoes and pants were already soaked it didn't matter much.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Last minute road trip, part 3: The search for Dan's Bike

On Saturday we drove to San Antonio and had lunch with my Aunt Edy. I was so glad Dan got to finally meet her, though sadly her dementia/memory loss is much worse than the last time I saw her. We told her about how we met and that we were married about 6 or 8 times, and heard the same five stories about her life several times. But it was nice to see her and I kept thinking about what a neat life she's had these past 90 years.
Hello, cleavage.

After that, we drove to downtown San Antonio and found $5 parking, then walked around the Mexican Market, by a big church with dead people in it, and up to the Alamo, where, sadly, Dan's bike was not to be found. I hadn't done these things since I was a kid, and being in the Mexican market especially brought back memories for me - everything looks the same, though I doubt they were selling Lucha Libre masks back in the early 90s.

I had one of these paper flower wreaths with ribbons for YEARS.

They showed dead people (for a whole year!)

Sadly, the Alamo has no basement.

The only blue sky/sun we saw for the entire trip. It lasted about an hour.

When we'd had our fill of downtown, we headed north to my aunt's house in New Braunfels. We had the garage door code, had directions to access the key, but had neglected to ask how to turn the water on - sadly, we discovered it was off in a less-than-ideal circumstance. But I got to show Edy's house and yard and stuff to Dan, which was kind of awesome, and also a little bit creepy to be staying in her house with nobody else around. I even half expected her old dog to bark at us every time we came through the door, even though he's been dead for many years now.

We managed to find our way to a grocery store (HEB) and went to dinner at the Gristmill in Gruene (pronounced Green), home of the oldest dance hall in Texas. Some sort of art and wine festival was going on, so the town was crowded, but we didn't have to wait too long for a table.

After dinner, we drank wine and played strip Gin. And we discovered that at some point, someone had bought a digital converter box, because the TV actually worked, sort of.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Last minute road trip, part 2: Austin

When we finally made it to Austin on Friday, we found a place to eat downtown and then explored the state Capitol building for a while.

It reminded me a lot of Colorado's state Capitol building, which I walk by every day on my way to work, but inside the Texas Capitol everything is Texas. And stars. Everywhere.

Also, Davy Crockett.


We also did some walking around the downtown area.

Anyone want to guess how much more phallic this looks when there's actually water coming out of it?

Then, we went to spend the evening (and night) with Yank in Texas and The Boy, got loved up by their kitties, and had delicious TexMex food.

Last minute road trip to Austin, part 1: The road

On Wednesday I was feeling restless and frustrated. So we decided to go on a roadtrip to Austin and San Antonio. We left Thursday morning, stayed overnight in Oklahoma City, and continued on to Texas from there.

Here are some of the interesting things I saw along the way.

Truck porn!

The love that dare not speak its name.

Pornier truck porn!

It's not every day you see a truck 3-way.

False advertising.

Russell, Kansas is the boyhood home of Bob Dole and Arlen Specter.

It is also the home of the sign for a great big porn shop.

Bob Dole doesn't need this!

Dear Western Kansas,

The contents of my uterus and what I may or may not decide to do with them are none of your business.

(Sadly, the signs are all so small that it's hard to get a good photo when you're whizzing by at 70 mph.)

Monday, October 05, 2009

What fall looks like in the mountains

We went on a hike on Saturday somewhere in Jefferson County. The goal: To get outside, to get out of the city, to find some cool shit to photograph.

I think we managed to accomplish our goal.