Back from Houston. Pictures have been uploaded.
I really like Erin's neighborhood and how her family borrows supplies from their neighbors (and vice versa). I also liked getting a "chick" cigar from Micahl, seeing Kevin Barnes, playing Super Mario World, eating lunch at the Hazel's with 13 people at the table, staining my teeth with blueberries, and riding on their yellow moped.
And it doesn't matter where I am - "joy in every station," even in tame ole' Richardson.
Starting my new job this moment. I'll tend to it better since, you know, my new boss is not human, but God. That's what my father says. I got some good bongo practice time in this morning though.
After we arrive in town, we drive around Sharpstown, cursing the mean breed of Houstonian drivers while looking for some dimsum. Then I am dropped off at Erin's, where I am greeted by her sisters, their friends, and no parents. After a bit of hoo-hah, Kristi called and Erin said we were coming over; I dryly ask if Kristi lives in a mansion or something (since I had never been to her house); all I get is a half smile and a cryptic "you'll see." So we're driving over there and I notice that Erin makes a lot of unnecessary turns like she's lost. The she admits that she is and I stare at her like she's got seven heads or at least has gone insane because she and Kristi have known each other for almost a decade. I blame the temporary lack of memory on the certain subject she was talking about in the car ride, call Kristi, and see her waiting near a statue in the cul-de-sac of her house. Let me describe this dwelling: It easily took up a whole block and was surrounded by tall, well-trimmed bushes that prevented anyone from seeing it from the road. Erin tumbles out of her seat laughing, Kristi does the same thing, and we three walk through the entrance towards the front door. The first thing I see is something akin to a servants' cottage that looks nicer than my own home and a shiny red Ferrari which I ask if it's D's (her stepdad), and she validates the statement. As we're walking I'm marveling at the massive green lawn and magnificence of the cottage-type main house (which is a mansion), trying not to seem too impressed with it.. and E & K haven't stopped laughing at E's stupid driving mistake, in fact, they were doubled over in tears. What's the deal? I attribute their weird behavior to their weird personalities and proceed to walk up to the front porch. Finally, one of them bursts out "This isn't her house! We wanted to play a trick on you!" Then I get it and laugh! And then the mysterious person who had been eyeing us from a second floor window barges out the front door, shoots our legs with mafia-type guns, and drags us unfortunate three girls inside. Not really, but it's not that improbable, considering the situation. That was amusing moment #1. It was very funny and made a good story for the "Favorite Things" sharing time at the Hazel lunch table.
After that we go to Kristi's real house, which looks very New Englandish, pack a few picnic items and head off to the Water Wall for, well, a picnic. Micahl, Erin's new friend, meets us there, bringing Jar 1 from the 18 jars of homemade blueberry jam in his fridge. We are having a grand old time talking in the shade and enjoying jam on crackers and raspberry mint tea and then the sprinklers come up on the left side of the lawn (not our side). Then we amuse ourselves watching the little kids (tagging along the wedding and quinceanera groups) playing in the water and laugh mercilessly when the tykes decide to aim the sprinklers at a nearby couple who had been triggering nausea among us parkgoers via their PDA. Suckers! All of a sudden, in mid-chuckle, a sprinkler head pops up at the very edge of our blanket and with a yelp we clear our spot. Sadly, everything gets sprayed, even the jam, and after getting wet and grassy from wrestling, we wrap up the blanket with everything still in it and hoist it back to the car.
Next stop: Micahl's apartment. The man is a tobacco enthusiast, to say in the least! He carved his own pipe, admits to being a cigar snob and leaves packs of cigarettes lying on the floor. For dinner he offers to make us all some blueberry pancakes (read Erin's latest entry for the why on the blueberries) and eggs, which we take up. Oh yes, and he also entertains us with his hammer-dulcimer playing, one of the many instruments he plays. Neat! With the afternoon deliciously dwindling down, we girls go back to K's to get ready for the concert that night.
We leave late, drive around town looking for the elusive Fat Cat's, and arrive just in time to see the tail end of the first opening act (not worth mentioning), meeting up with some more of E & K's friends. It was a small, dingy venue, littered with high schoolers outside the entrance and at the very front next to the stage. Tilly and the Wall are next, toting their childish melodies, whimsical charms and sweaty tap dancer girl, who serves as the band's only percussionist. The main act, Of Montreal, comes out after much deliberation (it was because they had all changed into costumes), and regaled us with many, many synthy tunes suitable for dancing and moving about. I was very tired, dirty and couldn't help but play the role of a mute at Whataburger, where the gang deciding to go for food and ice cream afterwards.
The next day I am dumb and sleep in for church, eat homemade cinnamon rolls and help Claire (K's 9-year old sis) beat a few levels of her SNES game before heading off for Erin's. That's when we eat pasta for lunch with three of their kid neighbors and two of Hilary's (Erin's 3rd sis) school friends in their very crowded, but homey dining room. K and I get to ride the moped around the block and we both decide we want one of our own. It was neat to be a part of their normal Sunday afternoon and after listening to (and dancing to) a bit of the Blind Boys of Alabama, my family (mom, grandma, uncle Rocky) arrives and whisks me back to Dallas.