Thursday, September 30, 2010

San Antonio Trip -- Who's Surprising Whom?

Compared to last year, the drive in was almost too easy. Even through Houston, the big, bad, bugaboo, there was not much to talk about. There was construction downtown, and one truck decided to stop because the road was narrow, but the traffic was about like back home and I didn't let all of the crazy signs get me confused. I was amazed at how quickly everything was passing.

Generally when I travel I surf the radio and try to find local stations that are of interest to me. This time, I stuck with listening to what I like at home, or to the satellite radio. The music is soothing and it was just easier.

It also gave me more time to take in some of the local names of places I was passing, like a street name of Bingle in one place, reminding me of Christmas as a child, and Woman Hollering Creek. There has got to be a real story in that one.

I only made 3 very quick pit stops, and I noticed that my gas sipping rental cost less than half of what my van costs to top it up. Each time I went in to pay, I had to go back for change as I had badly overestimated how much it would be.

Off the interstate and onto the loop without having to ask for help this time, and I even remembered to pass the mall before starting to look for the exit. Once I found it, it was just a couple of turns, and I hoped to show up at the door and surprise Grace by asking her if she ordered a personal chef for the weekend.

The surprise was mine, however, as she wasn't home! Turned out she had picked up Blossoming at the airport earlier, and that she didn't expect me in yet so they went to the store. Her son was home, but he was asleep and didn't hear me knock or ring the bell.

So, what to do now? I only had her home number, and so I called, and listened through the door to the phone ring, and left her a message to call me when she got in. Then I got in the car and went further down the main street, past a couple of schools with cute freckled kids wearing the yellow safety vests and carrying stop signs. I behaved, and stopped when told, and waved to them, and smiled. Their grins as they went about their work was contagious.

I knew there had to be a gas station nearby, and found it. So I went in to ask where I could find a coffee shop or something with wifi. I figured if I had to wander alone in a howling wilderness, or even in the middle of a city where I am lost beyond a three block area, I might as well pull out the old laptop and plow through some email. It turned out that the small restaurant next to this same gas station had just gotten its wifi up that day. So the nice lady there helped me get my setup online, and I bought some juice, and sat as she waited through the lull between lunch and dinner.

After a while, I decided I had invaded her hospitality enough, and headed back to Grace's house. It turned out that her son Neil was awake this time, which was good as I needed those refrigerated items out of the ice chest soon. Shrimp and crab will turn on you on a dime if you don't handle them with care.

Neil helped me get the groceries in, and I decided to wait on the rest of my things. He didn't know where his mom was, and called her cell phone. She didn't answer, as she had left it in the car. It really didn't matter much, though, as now I had stuff to do. I took over half of her fridge and freezer and started peeling shrimp so I could boil the shells for stock. Neil felt it was his job to keep me entertained in his mom's absence, and he did a great job. We talked about all kinds of interesting things, and finally got his mom on her cell phone.

Grace and Blossoming walked in just as I was almost done, and I got so distracted with hugging these friends I had missed so much that as usual the stock started to boil over. Happens to me almost every time, my pots do only boil when I turn my back. We laughed, and I moved the pot to the side and turned it down, but left it boiling a bit. We talked and laughed as we scurried about putting all of the groceries up, getting my stuff out of the car and up to the spare room, and after a while straining off the stock. I insisted that the shells go out of the house immediately -- I know how quickly those things turn on you.

We sat and chatted about our plans for the evening. Grace wanted us to meet up at a vegetarian restaurant that evening, so we went to "freshen up" a bit.

Today is:

Independence Day -- Botswana

International Translation Day

Medetrinalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (goddess of medicine)

National Mud Pack Day

National Mulled Cider Day

National Women's Health and Fitness Day

Shemini Atzeret -- Jewish

St. Gregory the Enlightener (or Illuminator; patron of Armenia)

St. Jerome's Day

St. Otto's Day

Birthdays Today:

Eric Stoltz, 1961
Fran Drescher, 1957
Marilyn McCoo, 1943
Z.Z. Hill, 1935
Johnny Mathis, 1935
Angie Dickinson, 1931
Truman Capote, 1924
Deborah Kerr, 1921
Buddy Rich, 1917
Rumi, 1207

Today in History:

Rambam (Maimonides) authorizes Samuel Ibn Tibbon to translate the Guide of the Perplexed from Arabic into Hebrew, 1199
Mozart's last opera, The Magic Flute, premiers, 1791
Anesthetic ether used for the first time by Dr. William Morton, who extracted a tooth, 1846
The first Portuguese immigrants arrive in Hawai'i, 1878
The world's first commercial hydroelectric power plant begins operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin, United States, 1882
Hubert Cecil Booth patents the vacuum cleaner, 1901
The first manned rocket plane flight, made by auto maker Fritz von Opel, 1929
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Yemen join the United Nations, 1947
The World Series, featuring the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, is televised for the first time, 1947
The U.S. Navy submarine USS Nautilus is commissioned as the world's first nuclear reactor powered vessel, 1954
James Dean is killed in a road accident, 1955
Mexican-American labor leader César Chávez founds the United Farm Workers, 1962
James Meredith enters the University of Mississippi, defying segregation, 1962
General Suharto rises to power in Indonesia after an alleged coup by communists, and massacres over a million Indonesian people suspected of belonging to the Communist Party, 1965
BBC Radio 1 is launched and Tony Blackburn presents its first show, 1967
Ethernet specifications are published by Xerox working with Intel and Digital Equipment Corporation, 1980
The Dalai Lama unveils the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights in Canada's capital city of Ottawa, 1990
The first images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat are taken 600 miles south of Tokyo, 2004
The controversial drawings of Muhammad are printed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, 2005

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