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!

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.

Goodbye for now, Durhams!

Sarah and Miles were not going to get home till later Sunday night and Sarah texted me a weather report that heavy rain, high winds, hail and possible tornadoes were expected in Dallas around the time we would have been driving back. We decided Rich would drive home after dinner to beat the storm and be there with the cats, plus he had a doctor’s appointment on Monday. Then Sarah would drive me halfway to meet him the next morning.

So he left and I finished straightening up the house, folded laundry, got the kids to bathe and get ready for bed and for school the next day. Jack was asleep when the parents arrived but the other two were still up and were really happy to see them! Sarah and Miles had a wonderful relaxing stay in Mexico and made it home around 9:30. We chatted a bit and then I talked with Rich who said the storm was not that bad, though our pool umbrella had somehow flown out of the hole in the table and was on the ground.

The next morning I walked Jack to school while Miles took Beck and Sarah took Elle. Then Sarah and I met Rich at our favorite halfway point, Duke’s, which has home made fried pies and brownies to tempt us any time we stop in.

Another fun visit and more memories made with the grandkids! Jack and I worked very hard on his spelling words all week and when he came home Friday he was convinced he’d made 100 on his test. Unfortunately he didn’t get the test back while I was there so I am waiting to hear! I am slightly competitive about those sorts of things! 🙂

Putt-Putt Golf

This is becoming one of our traditions in Tyler. We were going to go in the AM before it got hot but I thought to look up the hours since it was Sunday and sure enough, they did not open till 1 PM. By the time we got there, it was already in the 80s. The kids wanted to play both courses so we got a family pass and began on course #2 since there were other people starting course #1. Almost immediately the kids began bickering about who would go first and who moved their ball and who wanted a “do-over,” and so on. There was a family behind us and the mom kept laughing in a sympathetic way and rolling her eyes at me. I finally told the kids that we could just go on home if we weren’t going to be happy and have fun. LOL

Meanwhile Beck got a hole in one and that cheered him up, only to have Jack get a hole in one right behind him. I think that irritated Elle because she didn’t get one. We carried on and got to hole #9, which I thought was the last one, and I was admittedly happy about it. Come to find out, no, each course was 18 holes–I thought it was 9 and 9. So we took a break and got some cherry-limeades while sitting on a picnic table under an umbrella. (Later Beck said they were the best cherry limeades he’d ever had…just in case you ever go to Tyler and want one). After a rest and a drink, everyone was in better spirits and we carried on, though getting hotter and sweatier by the minute. Jack was on fire and got three more holes in one, much to everyone’s shock and amazement. 🙂

In the end, Grandpa won, as usual, with Elle right behind him, the boys tied in the middle and Gigi, also as usual, pulling up the rear in the scoring department. 🙂

Chill Saturday

Everyone was pretty tired today! Elle got home around noon and Beck’s friend left soon after. We lounged around, then Rich, Elle and I put together a cat condo for Kitty. It came in the mail a couple of days ago and I intended to leave it for Miles. LOL But Elle wanted to do it and it ended up being easier than it looked, despite a couple of wrong turns. Kitty seemed interested and we’re hoping she’ll like it better than the furniture for her scratching needs. 🙂 Later we went out for pizza, followed by a rousing game of Apples to Apples, then an early bedtime.

A Full Friday

Rich got up early to get donuts, then everyone was off to school. Please note the steep hill I have to climb on the way home from walking Jack to and from his school every day. Perhaps it is counteracting the donuts a tiny bit.

Next we did some chores and then went back downtown to have lunch at Don Juan’s on the square. It was quite colorful and the fajitas were great! As we were walking back to the car, I saw three guys holding signs across the street. Realizing they were signs for peace, I told Rich “Oh my gosh, I have found my people in Tyler! I have to go talk to them!” Rich is more reticent than I am about speaking with strangers so he said he’d wait for me. LOL I ran across the street and I am sure they were wondering if I was friend or foe before I started gushing, “I’m so glad to see you here–I told my husband you are my people and I had to come talk with you!” They all smiled and one guy asked me if I lived in Tyler; I said no, we are here babysitting grandkids and live in Dallas. We all introduced ourselves and I asked if they were part of an organization locally–they said no, just something they do on their own. None of them were former military although one guy said his dad was in the Army and told him right away that Vietnam was a mistake going in. They have stood on this corner every Friday at noon since 2007! They said they don’t really get any hassles in Tyler and a cop drove by as we were chatting so I asked what about the police. They said no, they have always been supportive and helpful. Nice to hear! So, meet Dan, Paul and Rick–warriors for peace in conservative East Texas!

Near where we’d parked, we saw the Tyler Art Alley so we had to walk through and take pix. I loved all of the murals. Which are your favorites?

Jack had been working hard on his spelling words all week so I was anxious to see how he did on his test. When I picked him up, he said he was “pretty sure” he got 100. LOL Unfortunately he didn’t get the test back yet so we are still in suspense. He told me he’d call me Monday and let me know. 🙂 After school Elle went home with a friend to spend the night and Beck’s friend E came back again to spend the night with us. After dinner we went to Andy’s downtown to have some ice cream, then everyone stayed up way too late. Let the weekend begin!

Acting the Tourist in Tyler

Rich and I went downtown to wander around and have some lunch at Culture ETX which was recommended by Sarah and Miles. I had the warm kale salad and Rich had blackened fish tacos. Both pretty good, though I have had better at home. This is the blessing and the curse of being married to a chef. 🙂

Miles is refurbishing an old hotel downtown so we got to walk past it and glance at it from the outside but didn’t want to disturb the workmen that were hauling things in. It’s gonna be really nice when it’s done! I know you can’t tell much here but we didn’t want to get in the way of the people doing the work.

Then we walked around the square to see what we could see before heading to the grocery store for dinner items. Elle is going to help Rich make orange chicken tonight.

At 3:00 I went to get Jack, dropped him off at home with Grandpa and then went to get Elle. Beck gets home later and has a ride so we will see him shortly. First full day in the books and we did fine with all the drop offs and pick ups so I feel like it’s a success! And I never took a nap but Grandpa did. haha