Buy Nothing Boutique

I love my Buy Nothing group and it’s always amazing how our members help one another find things they want or need without having to buy it. We’ve been in operation for about three years now and almost 600 members. During the pandemic, we didn’t gather in person at all and mostly did “porch pick ups” from one another out of an excess of caution. Earlier this year, we held an outdoor meet and greet which was great fun and gave us an opportunity to meet a few neighbors we hadn’t met before. My co-admin and I started talking about doing a big outdoor “boutique,” basically a garage or yard sale but everything is free to our members. It took a lot of planning and last minute rushing around but the event was a huge success. All of our members were super generous in giving and not so greedy in taking so we had A LOT of stuff left over at the end of the day. At that point we opened it up to the public and had a few more people come in and haul items off. We still have some remaining items but our members are coming by April’s garage to take a few bags or boxes to nonprofits of their choosing…so it’s a win/win, well, except for April’s garage being semi-full.


I donated a ton of our stuff and it felt good to cull things down at our house. That is not to say that we are now living a Spartan life because we still have way too much junk. But it was good to move some of it along. I told myself I would not bring home much, if anything, and I mostly kept that vow. I did find one pair of jeans in my size that were “cropped,” which means they are the right length for a shorty like me. Also a pretty scarf (I think I have a weakness for scarves), a pair of earrings and a couple of necklaces. I really do not wear much jewelry other than feeling naked without earrings but I have come to appreciate the funky necklace lately. I don’t have much of a fashion sense but I picture myself as one of those old granny hippies in my mind. LOL

Election Day of the Dead

Rich and I worked Election Day at the Bath House Cultural Center. We got up at 4:45 AM and did not get home till 10 PM. We had only 76 voters because it was a constitutional amendment election and no candidates were running. We were told to expect maybe 20 voters so I feel like we over-achieved. The day itself was enjoyable and fairly easy; the set up and take down were very hard, stressful, confusing and intimidating. I think we did okay but I was worried about making a mistake! But I am glad we did it and we all said we had the best location in Dallas County. Check out the fabulous art exhibit we got to take in!

Motocross

Quick trip to Clyde to watch Aidan race. We thought the track was closing down and it would be his last race on his home track. Got there and Corey said someone had offered to buy the track so it probably wasn’t closing after all. Had fun watching Aidan doing his thing, got to visit with Corey and Ally (Susan was working so we missed her altogether!) and had dinner with friends Karen, Kaci and Kaci’s cute stepdaughter Natalee.

Mama/Daughter Day 2

Since Susan was off on Tuesday as well, I decided to stay over one more night. She needed to go for an eye exam and get new glasses but we could not get her in anywhere that day. So we went back to another old favorite lunch place, McKay’s Bakery. I used to love their soup in a bread bowl but the only choices were veggie beef or potato onion. Neither something I wanted! They used to have good sandwiches, too, so I ordered a roast beef and Swiss on sourdough. I told the woman behind the counter that I used to live in Abilene and often came for lunch so it was a little walk down Memory Lane for me. She asked if I wanted the bread toasted and I said no. Susan ordered her sandwich and we both ordered iced tea, which ended up being awful stuff from a soda fountain and not brewed tea like they used to have. So I went back to the counter and asked if we could have two cokes instead. When the sandwiches came, they were the puniest little sandwiches I’ve ever seen at an eatery. Really small bread, which had been toasted, and my cheese was white American, not Swiss. I was sorely disappointed but didn’t want to cause any more grief so we sat and chatted and ate our crappy sandwiches. LOL The other thing I always loved at McKay’s were the cream puffs so we were going to get some for dessert…but NO, they “hadn’t made any yet” that day. We settled for petit fours, which were tasty, and bought some thumbprint cookies to take home. I was really sad to have such a poor experience there but didn’t have the heart to say anything when the woman asked if we enjoyed our lunch.

Since I am on this “seeing every town as a tourist” kick lately, I told Susan I wanted to walk around downtown Abilene and take some photos. It was a little bit emotional wandering these streets again after so many years, especially passing the former location of the Abilene Peace and Justice Center that my dear friend Susan (not to be confused with daughter Susan) and I founded and ran when we were younger and more idealistic and thought we could change the world. Well, we did our little part, that is for sure, and I am proud of all that we were able to do in Abilene despite the political atmosphere. 🙂

We picked Ally up from school and went to a fancy iced tea place, Aidan went to work again (that kid works a lot of hours!) and later we met up with Corey for dinner once more. Got to visit with Aidan a little while after work and then we all hit the hay since they are very early risers at their house! Oh, I never mentioned volleyball again, but unfortunately Ally was not passing science so she didn’t get to play. I was disappointed but tried not to make her feel any worse. She has a learning disability and I know academics are hard for her. She had brought her grade up by Monday but it was too late to become eligible. Sadly the season is about over so I will not get to see her play this year. But we had fun visiting anyway….love these kiddos and hope we will see them again soon.

Mama/Daughter Day 1

Susan works 12 hour shifts at a nursing home with patients toward the end of their lives with Alzheimer’s. She is kind and caring and a very responsible, hard worker. I am super proud of her work ethic and her attitude! We planned the visit around her days off so we would get to spend some time together and it was really nice to get to do that! After getting the kids off to school, we did some things at the house and then drove over to Abilene for lunch at one of our favorite places, Hickory St. Cafe. We always always always get the chicken salad and zucchini bread. 🙂 It was great! We then ran a few errands in town before heading back home. Aidan got home from school and we helped him go through the order form for his senior ring and make his choices. I still can’t believe that kid is a senior! Susan picked Ally up from school and Aidan went to work. Later, we met Corey in Abilene for dinner. A full but fun day!

Abilene

I planned to take a little trip to Clyde to see Ally play volleyball and spend time with the kids–Susan was going to be off work so we could have some mom/daughter time, too, which we don’t get very often. Once I started thinking about it, I decided to go to Abilene first and see a few friends on Saturday, then go over to Clyde on Sunday for a few days.

I went to my friend Karen’s house first and then we met our friend Kelly for lunch. I hadn’t seen Kelly in at least two years, prior to the pandemic. She was one of my first friends when I moved to Abilene with a toddler and a baby in 1981. We both worked at the Abilene State School and remained friends when we both moved on to other jobs, she got married and had two kids, I had one more kid, and eventually I moved away to Alaska. Now we are both grandmothers after meeting in our 30s. 🙂 It’s always good to catch up with her and hear about her family.

Next Karen and I planned to meet our friend Dean at a coffee shop but it turned out it was closed “due to no staff,” so we all went to Karen’s house nearby. Dean, Karen and I were part of an Early Childhood Intervention team for many years for the West Texas Rehab Center and have all kinds of fun and funny memories from our years together. Although Karen and I see each other periodically, we hadn’t seen Dean in quite a few years, so again it was great to catch up on news.

Karen happened to find these old pix while cleaning out some storage. We were cracking up at the big hair but mostly marveling at how much better we looked! That’s Karen, Dean, me, our friend Michael who is now deceased, unfortunately, and our friend Ruth who moved away years ago and we are not sure where she is. The little boy is Karen’s son Kyle who’s now in his late 30s and living the life in France!

I told friends the top photo of Michael and me looks like an album cover for a band called “West Texas Desolation.” LOL

Karen and I reminisced into the night and attempted to solve all the world’s problems. We don’t ever seem to make enough headway but we give it a good try. The next morning we had some yogurt and granola and hot tea and then I headed for Clyde to see the kids.

A Surprise Visitor

Monday evening, Rich was talking on the phone with a friend and Bonnie texted me to ask “what are you doing tonight?” Prior to this, Sarah had told me that Emery flew by herself to Dallas to visit with her cousins on her dad’s side and I said I had heard nothing about this!

Anyway, I said we had no plans, what’s up? Bonnie said Emery’s flight back home had been delayed till 10:30 that night and her aunt and uncle needed to get back to Grapevine, where they live–could we get Emery from them and take her back to the airport later? I said sure, and then the more we talked, we decided that the odds were good the later flight would also be postponed or cancelled so Emery might as well spend the night with us and go home the next day.

I texted with her Aunt Hannah and we met at a Starbucks to get Emery. What a fun surprise! We had fun hanging out with her last night, caught up on our “Jeopardy” episodes we’d recorded while in Tyler, and watched “School of Rock,” which she loved.

This morning, Grandpa made pancakes and Emery went to Center of Hope with me and helped with turning in food orders, had two pieces of chocolate cake, then we came home a little early since it was not super busy today. She wanted to cook something with Grandpa for lunch so they decided on pasta with homemade Alfredo sauce, which turned out really well and we all enjoyed our lunch. After awhile I had to take her back to the airport, which ended up being a bit of a complicated mess but we made it through! First off, we are used to dropping people at the curb but I needed to go in with her and it took forever to find a parking spot. Then we had to walk a bit to get to the terminal. I was starting to get a little antsy about our time frame but trying not to overreact. Went to a kiosk to print out her boarding pass and it said “invalid.” I tried another kiosk with the same result. Went to ask a staff person what to do and he said we had to get in the “regular” line at the ticket counter, which was pretty long. Finally got to an agent and explained that Emery was flying unaccompanied and her mom had told me that I could get a pass to go with her through security and wait for her to board. The woman said yes, that was true but when she looked me up, I was not on the approved list, just David’s sister and mother. Thankfully the agent was really nice and added me in based on my driver’s license info. This took awhile. I asked about the time frame and she said luckily Emery’s flight was delayed about 2o minutes. ha

She gave Emery a little pouch on a string to wear around her neck with all of her info in it and printed me out a pass to get through security. She went over all the rules, like I had to check in with the gate agent when we got to Emery’s gate, stay with Emery till she boarded and then I could not leave until I was told by the gate agent that the plane was in the air. Also that the receiving parent in Amarillo had to be there 45 minutes early with an ID. The whole flight is only about 45 minutes. 🙂

Then the line in security was pretty long but we got through that and found the gate. There was no gate agent but one of the flight attendants was standing there so I talked with him and he said the plane wasn’t even there yet but we did need to check in with the gate agent when she got there. We went to get Emery a few snacks and came back; by then the plane had arrived and we checked in with the gate agent who looked at all of Emery’s paperwork and said she would take her to the plane first when they started boarding. We still had to hang out for awhile longer and then finally the agent came to get her and we said our goodbyes. I can hardly believe she was flying by herself and was very calm and mature about it!

I had to wait about 30 more minutes till the plane was in the air and then headed home, with a stop at the Apple Store to get a new charger for my laptop because I apparently left the only one I had at Sarah’s, along with my car keys! Apple was super busy and the “genius” was annoyed with me but I got what I needed and finally got back home around 6 PM after leaving before 2.