Monday, November 11, 2013

Deep in the Heart of Texas

I’m sitting in the Houston airport, where I will be sitting for about the next four hours, feeling my usual mix of feelings for Texas. I can’t tell you how many times in the last six days I’ve thought to myself, “Oh my LORD I’m so glad I don’t live here anymore,” yet I’m tempted to buy an I heart Texas t-shirt from one of the airport shops, and I already did buy two more Texas keychains for my keychain collection. Being a cranky sort of person who is still basically good-hearted, there are many things with which I have a love-hate relationship, and one of the most intense is my love-hate relationship with Texas. Ah, what a state.

My trip this time was supposed to be to help care for my mom after her cataract surgery. It was her second one, the first one was done about three weeks ago. She felt drained and a little out-of-it after the first one, but this one seemed to go much better. I didn’t really have that much to do. I drove her around for the first three days, and tried to keep her from bending over—cataract surgery patients aren’t supposed to do any heavy lifting, or bend over so that their head is below the level of their waist. So I emptied the dishwasher and got out her crockpot for her (which is in a lower cabinet). But mostly we just ate Texas food—Mexican, barbecue, and surprisingly good gyros at a tiny little Greek place—and worked on her manuscript (more about that another time).

I also spent some time with my six adorable nieces, who are so exactly classic pre-teens, tweens, and teenagers that I wonder how my sister and her husband are staying sane. (It’s possible that they aren’t.) Actually, I’ve always wondered how you can stay sane with SIX CHILDREN, the oldest of whom was eight when the youngest one was born. But my sister and brother-in-law seem to be managing it pretty well. They even seem to be enjoying the chaos. (Well, most of the time.) They’re amazing.

And then there’s my mom’s little lap dog, a Japanese Chin, who is of course named Sushi. I’ve never really bonded with Sushi before because I’ve never been a big fan of small dogs. But I was in charge of walking Sushi on this trip, and I have to say that she is growing on me. She’s a sweet little thing, even if she did scavenge for food in my suitcase every time I turned my back.

It is entirely different walking a little dog on a leash in a densely populated neighborhood than it is taking our motley crew out for a walk back home. At home, we stride along with the dogs bounding around wherever they please--we live out far enough that there is rarely any traffic. With Sushi, you have to walk slowly, stopping for lengthy, thorough sniffs of whatever she can find. And you have to, um, scoop, if you know what I mean. But we still had a good time, and she seemed to appreciate it.

So that’s what I did last week. Unfortunately for those of you who don’t like the grad school posts, there are still a few more coming. But I may spread them out. I’m going to try to keep “Words on Wednesday” and “Food on Friday” going for the whole month, but I suppose it will depend on being able to find things to write about.

Now I’m in Denver. Only three hours here. One of the major downsides of living in an out-of-the-way area is that airlines don't care if your travel is convenient. But it gives me plenty of time to read, and also write this post, so I can't really complain. I had a hard time making myself get any exercise while I was back in Texas, but as I go further north, I find myself itching to move. I got off the plane and did the full loop of Terminal B at DIA (which, according to their website, is two-thirds of a mile one way) before I slowed down.

The Broncos are playing and crowds of people are standing around the terminal TVs. In Houston, there was a constant drone of news in the background—I quickly found a quiet spot and put on my headphones so I wouldn’t even have to know whether or not they had tuned in to Fox. But here I can write wherever I choose—the subtle noise of sports announcers in the background is just the sign of a typical Sunday afternoon. In my childhood, Sunday afternoons were for snoozing on the couch after church, with football or Wimbledon or the PGA droning in the background. I’m mildly interested—I look up often enough to track what’s happening—but it’s just white noise to me, in a way that news is not.

Denver is winning 28-20. Just in case you wanted to know.

What is the food of your childhood? and on an entirely different topic, can you write with the TV on? I think sports is the only way I could.

1 comment:

  1. Food of my childhood are (is?) all casseroles and baked goods. My mother was creative, to a point.

    No, I can't write with ANY words in the air. That includes songs with lyrics and sporting events. Can't sleep with those things happening either.

    (I'm loving all of this new material you have right now. And wow, I just had the greatest idea for blog posts..... too bad I don't have money to travel.)