I'm back; the weekend was both relaxing and tiring at the same time, which makes sense when a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old are involved. At any rate, it was great to see everyone; the kids really do "grow up so fast," and I feel like I'm missing out on a lot if I go over three months in between visits like I did this time.
One thought that hit me on my way down on Friday was that I always seem to be in a hurry on that trip. I'd really like to, at least on occasion, be able to stop and smell the proverbial roses here and there--go down a U.S. or state highway instead of "all I-35, all the time" or stop and eat at one of the homegrown places along the road. Anyone who's done Dallas-to-Austin will recognize Up in Smoke BBQ, the Heitmiller Family Steakhouse, or the Elite Circle Grille; I'd like to actually try these places...which would take multiple trips--or a whole lot of gluttony--since they're all within thirty minutes of each other. (I did, however, get to snag some most excellent kolaches from the Czech Stop in West, which has been a regular stop for as long as I can remember.) I just always seem to be so crunched for time--and my trips never start when they're supposed to--that I don't get to enjoy the actual trip part all that often.
I did get to have both homegrown food and a nice, scenic drive on Saturday, though; one of my schools was playing in the Longhorn Jazz Festival at UT, and they invited me to lunch with them at a place called the Salt Lick BBQ in a little town called Driftwood, which happens to be both out in the middle of nowhere and fifteen minutes from my sister's house. It was really good stuff (which I'd had before, since the post-dedication lunch for my nephews a few years ago was catered from there), served family-style; trust me when I say that the two tables of students went through an overwhelming number of plates of meat, whereas we at the chaperones' table waved the white napkin of surrender after only around two. (I also got to see them play a few hours later, but I didn't go back for the evening concert, so I don't know that it "counts" as being at a jazz festival for a fourth week in a row. Oh, and parking at UT was an adventure, as they had the Texas Relays, an honors program graduation and some sort of soccer thing going on as well as the jazz festival. I got a remarkably close parking place, but it took forty minutes to get there.)
I realized this morning that this weekend was the third Saturday out of four where I had awakened somewhere else besides my own bed. I love the activities that I've been doing, but I'll be very happy to have a three-day weekend coming up this week, along with no travel to speak of for a while.
Cool new words of the weekend: My oldest nephew, Noah, who's five, is almost to the point where he pronounces all of his words correctly, but two of the ones he doesn't will stick with me for a while: He refers to the famous Japanese monster as "Gonzilla" and the stuff you put on your skin before you go outdoors as "sunscream." Heh.
Fun fact #53? With gas getting more and more expensive, I was cheap on my way home and didn't run the air conditioner in the car. Because the sun came in on my left side almost the whole time, my left arm is already much darker than my right (since I do lots of driving and am rarely a passenger). This often happens by midsummer, but rarely this soon; maybe I should have borrowed some "sunscream" when the boys were putting it on this afternoon.