For three years now I've made a little pilgrimage into the mountains each late September to catch the golden color of the aspens before the snow sets in and the color quickly litters the ground as the leaves are swept away. Different years bring different shades and patches of gold, as there seems to be no rhyme or reason why one stand of aspens remains green while the stand across the road has already dropped. Each year brings its own excitement and awe, though, and yesterday was Year #3 of living very close to paradise.
I love reading people's blogs, I love writing. Get me wound up on a topic and I can go and go. So why is keeping a regular journal so difficult for me? It occurred to me on the drive home this afternoon that I hadn't checked back in here since my birthday almost two months ago. Why is that?
It's not that I'm ever at a loss for things to ramble about. In fact, perhaps it's the opposite, too many notes, too many melodies, too much to sort out.
So here I am. Pulling out one of the many tunes going on my head and then letting stream of consciousness take over...
Just logged into johnmayer.com to hear his first release from Battle Studies, which I've been following on his blog all year. I like where he's going with this album. Less than two months before the full release and if the first single is any indication, I'll be on iTunes buying the whole damn thing on November 17.
That will be exactly one month after Courtney Jo's wedding, which is the event bringing me back to Houston for the weekend. In fact today I found what I hope is actually THE dress, but might not be, because I cannot seem to commit. This is the third "THE" dress, although I'm thinking the third may be the charm. It's a short sleeveless fitted red velvet with some shiny strappy sexy heels. It's velvet, which would work perfectly up here in October, but how hot will it be? Can I get away with velvet? It's sleeveless, that counts right?? I think it becomes a matter of just pulling it off with confidence now, and after trying it on again this afternoon, I'm getting pretty damn confident just typing this.
Think I can pull it off?
Looking at this makes me want to hit the gym this instant, but considering that a year ago I would never even attempt a dress this short, THIS is progress!
I'm a little torn over the weekend. This may be my only chance to get together with old friends. But I don't want to make a production over getting people together, and I don't want to leave Lynne out, who is picking me up from IAH and sharing The Old Parsonage B&B House in Kemah with me. We'll see. Lynne has already told me she's going primarily for me and wants a tour of my childhood/teenagehood through the old neighborhood. Having been back in front of the old home place, with its boarded up windows and all the missing trees, I'm not sure how much worse it will be post-Ike. Sunday, who lived behind me on Sageway and STILL lives in that house tells me the backyard is all filled in and virtually a dump. And yet, part of me is dying to ring the doorbell and ask if I can just walk through one more time.
I don't know why this weekend feels like a chance to reconnect to a place I may never return to. Maybe it's just my melodramatic side, but I seem to want to embrace it.
Now that I think about it, I'm trying to come up with a list of the places I will take her to. What's still there? What can I no longer find? If it were all still there the same way it used to be, I'd like to go on a bike ride along the back roads up to Thompson and along the ditch under the power lines to the 7-11 where I bought cheeseburgers out of the deli case, warmed them up in the microwave, bought gum in the shape of cheeseburgers (even in the styrofoam looking square package) and then consumed said junk food before biking back. We'd eat pizza at Vaudeville, maybe even make our own pies like I did when I was a girl scout. And we'd eat in the dark along those long tables watching the big screen projection screen showing old 3 Stooges episodes and cartoons.
We'd go back to the back of Sagemont, all the way back to Skate Ranch, in view of the strange little HUD building where we had our girl scout meetings, where we'd hang out and skate in an endless circle to late 70s music under the sparkly disco ball, except when it was couples only skate, when we'd eat junk food and talk jealously about all the couples out there holding hands.
We'd go swimming at the pool near Sagemont Baptist Church, when it hadn't abandoned the Baptist part of the name, where I took swimming lessons, even though I really learned everything about swimming from getting thrown in by my grandfather much earlier than that, and I might be brave enough to jump off the high dive with enough encouragement. Then again, I might tiptoe out to the edge and chicken out, which would be a lot more realistic if we're actually going back in time...
Texas Commerce Bank would be there, and the big truck that threw ice out into a congealed pile that we would try to pack into some semblance of a snow ball and then drink watered down hot chocolate and pretend and dream about one day living somewhere where snow was a reality.
Eventually, we'd make our way over to Almeda Mall and it would be bright and shiny and new. The big boat in the shoe store would be there and I'd climb up the rope masts as far as I could go. We'd toss pennies in the center fountain, and wander down to Woolworths for coffee and pie (because I am all grown up in the fantasy, too) and then browse through B. Dalton's bookstore. And since we never get full or fat in this fantasy either, we also hit Farrell's for ice cream.
I now see that the dead center of this entire nostalgic trip down memory lane is food. Can I eat my way back there?
Dobie would still be on Beamer and I'd show her the beloved bandhall, the cafeteria, Mr. Golenko's room, and Mrs. Rayburn's, and Mrs. Bray's. I could trace the path my car took out of that parking lot over to my boyfriend's house behind Beverly Hills junior high, or around to my best friend Marci's house, which were the two destinations almost all of the time when I didn't have to go home. Oh, and Stephanie's house, back over by that little MUD building again, showing her how easy it was to sneak out from her window to the main road.
In reality, we'll probably drive through streets and I'll tell stories, and then we'll get the hell out of there because it will be depressing and there just isn't enough time to bother with that nonsense. Bring on the sexy red dress, and good friends, and good food, and good music and dancing.