Monday, March 12, 2007

Times in Texas

I bought myself a "Don't Mess with Texas" mug today at one of those touristy stores in San Antonio. It has a big snarly bull on it. That's kind of how I am in the before about 9 am. I plan to drink my herbal tea with even more attitude in the mornings now.

So everything is big in Texas. The women have big hair, people are big, cars are big, food portions are big, the world is big. It takes hours by car just to get out of the state. It's just an enormous piece of land at the bottom of the country. My sister says sometimes she feels trapped living in Texas because it takes so long to get OUT of Texas. Oh, and I've seen tons of tattoos in the past five days.

Yesterday we drove down to San Antonio. What a great, pulsing city with an eclectic mix of people! We stayed in an historic hotel on the River Walk and enjoyed the cool spring breezes on our River Walk cruise. All kinds of native shrubs and flowers were blooming along the way. The palm trees made a stunning backdrop to the newly sprung pink, purple and yellow blossoms.

The Alamo was a fascinating historic site in which hundreds of people had decided to visit. I think all of Texas was on spring break there today. I learned a little bit of history in between dodging the hoards of humanity. Then we decided to visit the San Antonio zoo. It took us 15 minutes of bumper to bumper in the parking lot to realize that we wouldn't be able to get a park. And since the five-year olds had already been walking for three hours that day and were getting whiny, we decided to pass.

My brother in law offered to tend the kids so Lisa and I could go shopping, bless his heart. While driving to the Round Rock Outlet Mall, we tried to think of the last time we'd been shopping together sans kids. We figured it was eight years ago, right before Lisa had moved to Anchorage, Alaska. (Yes, she does go from one extreme to another, doesn't she?) Eight years since we'd been out together! Back then we sat in a Barnes and Noble cafe and made up Master Card commericals. Ours went something like this: Pot of mandarin tea to share--$4.00; lemon cream cookies to share--$3.00; Anchorage Daily News--$1.50; spending time together without children--priceless.

Today I made up a new one: Breakfast for seven on the River Walk--$54.00; Passage for seven on a River Walk Cruise--$27.00; a pink cowboy hat and T-shirt at the souvenir store--$22.00; snacks to make everyone happy on the way home--$15.00; cousins sleeping in the back seat together--priceless.

There have been other priceless things about this trip. Like when I listen to my nephew whine it sounds exactly like his cousin--my own daughter--back home. (Well, this is more amusing/annoying than priceless!) When I look at my niece's baby pictures it reminds me of how my own babies used to look. When I walk into my sister's bedroom and see it is painted EXACTLY the same color as my own bedroom, I realize how similar we really are. In her closet I see clothes and shoes that I would wear, too. I remember how I used to go into her room and "borrow" what I wanted to wear! And when my niece sits down at the computer to write a story, I realize that yes, we really do share the same blood.

As usual, this trip has passed way too quickly. For Lisa and me, there is never enough time to be together and there's always way too much time in between visits. There's a thousand and something miles between her home and mine. When we were growing up I'm sure we never thought we'd live so far apart. There were days as a teenager when I remember thinking I didn't ever want to see her again. And I know she thought the same about me every day!

Today, though, I'd love just a few more days down in the Lone Star State.

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