Monday, June 22, 2009

If retirement is like this past weekend . . .

If retirement is like this past weekend, I'm in for a lot of fun and hectic times. Forgive me if this is one of those "And then I did this" blogs, but it was too good not to relive. Saturday morning Jeannie and I left for Albany (Texas, of course--someone asked me Saturday night if I'd been to NY for the day. Wrong). We sort of left at 8:15 but by the time we picked up the cell phone I'd left at the office and dropped her son's dog off at his house, it was 8:45 before we got on the road. Albany is about a 2-1/2 hour drive from Fort Worth, and it's a lovely drive. A few miles west of Fort Worth you leave the trees and hills behind and are suddenly in the edges of West Texas--great rolling plains and expanses of land, places where you can look for miles across the empty land, other places where you pass fields of mesquite and then fields of young mesquite where you know someone has plowed and the new pests (as ranchers think of them) have started up. It always makes me realize how much empty land there is in Texas, even though cities seem to reach out their tentacles all the time. We left the interstate at Cisco, home of the first Hilton Hotel--and this time, on the way back, we were able to identify it. Before we'd been looking at the tallest buildings and wondering which one it was but the bookstore owner in Albany described it, two stories, built right on the railway tracks which makes sense. It was not a hotel where one went for days but only for perhaps a few hours on a layover between trains or negotiating oil deals. It's now the Hilton Historical Center.

In Albany we had lunch at a place witha limited menu--either turkey legs or hamburgers. We had the latter, though it's not on my diet, but it was grilled outdoors and was absolutely wonderful. Then we shopped, something Jeannie is better at than I am, and from 1-3 I signed books at the Lynch Line Bookstore. They had a variety of my books, and I sold some of all--19 in total. Surprise: this man walked in who looked really familiar but he was wearing a gimme cap and was certainly out of context. I stared at him and he said, "You don't know who I am, do you?" Just then it dawned on me, and I said, "Yeah, I do, but why are you here?" It was my longtime bank advisor and turns out he grew up in Albany and had brought his grandkids for the annual outdoor pageant called Fandangle. The town was full of tourists there for Fandangle, which is why it was a good time to sign. all in all I sold 19 books, which I consider a good days work. Jeannie and I had been there for a signing and gone to Fandangle and eaten BBQ on the grounds of the courthouse two years ago and still remember it all fondly.

Then whoosh back to Fort Worth for Jacob's third b'day party--about 30 adults and who knows how many kids of all ages. Jord has cheese, crackers, dips, etc. and someone brought taquitos (I later figured out that meal cost me as many Weight Watchers points as the elegant dinner I'd had at Central Market a couple of weeks ago!). About 8:30 Jamie was ready to go, and we went by my house to feed animals and pick up my suitcase. Then off to Frisco, five exhuasted people by the time we got there.

Sunday was Father's Day, and the girls had planned their dad's day--lunch wherever he wanted it, then a movie he wanted to see (Eddie Murphy in Imagine That). They had also made him, on the computer, a booklet of poems and letters about why they loved him. Here he is reading it, if I can get the picture positioned in the right place. His choice of restaurants was the India Palace--now I would tell you I don't eat Indian food. Way too spicy, but Jamie was there to tell me which things were mild, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I loved the movie, though the only time I go to a movie is with them, and they choose movies with a six- and ten-year-old in mind, so they're right up my alley. It was funny and touching, and I enjoyed it. Then to Barnes & Noble to browse--six-year-old Edie got her first chapter books and spent dinner reading one, carefully saying the words out loud to herself as she read and often spelling a word to ask what it meant. Maddie got the first in a series I've heard good things about, The MagicKeepers. She likes the fantasy and semi-fantasy and is an avid read.
Then off to an Irish pub for dinner--I felt like I was having a gastronomic tour. Jame talked me into corned beef, mashed potatoes, and boiled cabbage--then sent his half of the corned beef back because it was dry. I ate mine with horseradish sauce and enjoyed it. Not sure I liked boiled cabbage that much.
We finally met Jordan and Christian at a point between Coppell where they'd been and Frisco, and we all headed home about 8:45. I was exhausted, and so were the Burton crew except Jacob who crowed and screamed until his mother did the ultimate bad--stuck a pacifier in his mouth! Still I got sweet kisses and hugs when I got out of the car abut 9:30. And it took me two hours to settled in and go to bed. No wonder I slept in a bit this morning.
My really good news. I lost another pound plus last week, so now I've lost 7.9 lbs. Do you think I could call it an even 8 lbs?
I'm still tired but still relishing what a wonderful weekend it was.
And today I had lunch with a friend who was once my physician and is now a friend. We hadn't seen each other in a long time but had been emailing, and today we had a lively conversation--about families, medicine, medical economics, the government health plan, etc. Lots of fun, and I'm grateful for a new friend.

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