Once you get to the other side of the Houston/Katy area, you find Texas more like what you imagine it to be. At Eagle Lake I saw what I am sure were hawks circling, and you don't just see big box store signs and endless traffic. You also get to see "scenery". I have no idea what types of plants, trees, shrubs, etc. grow out in those areas, I just know it is restful to the eyes and mind in some ways to see something beyond gray road, gray skies (though both of those stayed the whole drive to San Antonio), exit signs, businesses, and other vehicles that seem intent on making sure you get out of their way.
Driving those long gray stretches gave me the endless opportunity to radio channel surf and to think.
The radio channel surfing was fun for a while, as I did catch some programming I would never have otherwise heard. Some Spanish music, of which I did not understand a word. Since I've never let my lack of ability to speak French stop me from enjoying Cajun music in that language, I didn't let my lack of paying attention in Spanish classes all those years ago stop me from enjoying this, either. The nuances of different types of music go beyond the words.
A few country/gospel stations I picked up for short times, too. I listened because some was restful, and some was simply different from what I generally listen to, which made for a nice change. Sometimes, you just have to give things you thought you wouldn't like a chance, and you can find something about it to enjoy.
I also had time to play the CDs I brought for a while, and smiled along with the familiar favorites. Because I was alone, I did sing, but nobody died or went deaf from hearing me do it. I only sing when I am alone, beats the tar out of being told to pipe down. After all, I have a voice only a baby being crooned a lullabye wants to hear, and only until it has the words with which to voice an objection.
The endless thinking kept turning to the preparations I had made to go on this trip. The volumes of written instructions. Shopping, chore lists, trying to get as much clean laundry stored up as possible.
I know with Sweetie everything has to be written down specifically. The menu for the day. Exactly what needs to be done when. What time to pick up Bigger Girl and Neighbor Boy from school. What time Grandpa will be there to get #2 Son for his trip. What to give Grandpa when he comes. Where the pizza money is, what place to call, what time, how big a tip, how much the whole thing should cost. etc. How to watch out because our local Big Box Delivery place sometimes will add to the total and hope to slip it past you (yes, I have caught them doing it). Where the money for coffee out with his brother is for Sunday, his lunch money is for Monday, when to put air in the tire of his van -- note to self, got to get that fixed soon. What time to wake this child or that, what time to pick up Angel Food on Saturday, reminders to drop off the tapes to be remade into CDs.
Lists for the children. Do this school work. Which child cooks dinner on what night, and what to fix. Who cleans which bathroom. Reminders to do things like pick up their dishes, load the dishwasher, unload it. If you don't do the laundry, it won't get done. If you don't put water in the ice cube tray, you won't have ice. If you don't put water in the filter pitcher in the fridge, you won't have cold water.
I remember in one of her books, Erma Bombeck wrote instructions for things like putting toilet tissue on the spindle and rinsing out the sink before the toothpaste became a permanent part of the enamel. She went on to say something to the effect that if she had to take those skills with her when she went, she wasn't going to go. All through my trip preparations, I had felt the same way.
In the end, it actually turned out I could have just left them all with peanut butter and cereal, as was my first instinct, but I think they ate enough of the other stuff to justify having other foods in the house. And since Bigger Girl is an ovo-lacto-vegetarian, green materials and fruit did make sense.
I wasn't just going on a trip, this was a sort of pilgrimage. I was arguing with myself over what to pack. Yes, I really am bringing my biggest cast iron skillet and the ingredients to make jambalaya for about 10 people -- I promised I would. No, as much as I might like to, I will not bring one of my favorite chef knives for chopping the onion/bell pepper/celery/sausage. Number one, it might be misinterpreted. Number two, Pickles, whom we will be spending time
with, is a farmer who processes her own meat and probably has some good knives. Number three, if I absolutely have to, I can find a Wal-Mart somewhere and remember: Ginsu, only $19.95. It will stay sharp long enough to cook one good meal at least.
What to buy for myself to eat on the trip. It's fine to stick to a raw vegan diet when you are at home. When you are on the road, and you have nothing but dried fruit, a few bananas, apples, nuts, coconut water and packets of green powder to substitute for your usual diet, you cannot
inflict all of that mess on the people you travel and meet up with. There will be compromises. Also, how much of the precious budget, which had to cover everything, from gas to food to groceries left behind for the family to cleaning wipes to sanitize the hotel room, to spend on special foods to bring on the trip.
I had endless time to think about these things from Houston to San Antonio. To debate with myself whether I had made the most of the budget. To wrack my brains trying to remember whether I had gotten to all of the last minute details. To answer my cell phone every time Sweetie called to tell me that he had done this or that.
Book It/ National Young Reader's Day
Buttering-Up Quarter Finals -- Fairy Calendar (I have no idea what this means, but anything to do with butter sounds good.)
Fashion Farrex, UK
Feast of Guardian Angels, Spain (patrons of the police force)
Guardian Angel's Day
Lee's National Denim Day
Marching Band Festival
Name Your Car Day
National Custodial Workers Day
National Fallen Firefighter's Weekend (Through the 4th.)
National Fried Scallops Day
Old Man's Day, Herfordshire, UK
Phileas Fogg's Wager Day
Republic Day, Guinea
St. Leger's Day (a/k/a Leodegar; patron against blindness)
World Farm Animals Day
Redwood National Park established (1968)
Lorraine Bracco, 1955
Annie Leibovitz, 1949
Donna Karan, 1948
Don McLean, 1945
Rex Reed, 1938
George "Spanky" McFarland, 1928
"Sheriff John" Rovick, 1919
Bud Abbot, 1895
Groucho Marx, 1890
Mahatma Gandhi, 1869
Today in History:
Saladin takes Jerusalem from the Crusaders, 1187
Jacques Cartier discovers Mount Royal (Montreal), 1535
Kazan is conquered by Ivan the Terrible, 1552
Jan Lippershey completes a prototype of the modern reflecting telescope, 1608
George Washington transmits the Bill of Rights to the States for ratification, 1789
J Osterhoudt patents the tin can with key opener, 1866
The first cartoon comic strip is printed in a newspaper, 1895
8 hours ago