Surprise!! I'm still here! Haven't been sick, haven't died, haven't quit blogging! The last month or so has been particularly busy and I just haven't had the time to write very often and when I did have the time, I didn't have the inspiration. Plus for the last 9 days we have been out of town.
Yep, that's right a VACATION! Whee! We haven't been on vacation together for more years than I can remember. I won't fly and the Big Guy doesn't like to travel so convincing him to go anywhere has been impossible. Not that that stopped me. If I wanted or needed to go somewhere I went by myself! That was okay, I like road trips. But this time, I managed to convince him we needed to go together.
A little background here as to why we needed to go to Chicago. We have a long history with our very best friends, Cathy, Tim, and Helen. All of us are singers. Cathy and Helen and I had been a trio for over 15 years and all five of us had worked together on several "performance" events over time. When we moved to California in 1991 leaving them was the hardest part.
We drove to Chicago to attend the 30th Wedding Anniversary celebration of Cathy and Tim. We had told them we had several conflicts (including M-t-G's elementary school graduation) around the time of their celebration and we obviously couldn't be in two places at once. They concluded (as I intended) that meant we wouldn't be able to come for their celebration.
It was, however, an erroneous conclusion! We had fudged a little on the dates of our "conflicts" and we missed M-t-G's actual graduation (with her permission!) We actually surprised them by showing up at their home the night before the big party!! It was terrific! My dear friend, Cathy, must have said "Oh my God!" fifteen times when she opened the door; then the very next thing she said was, "I have to change clothes!" She had been doing all the things one does before a big party around her house and she was dressed for that, not entertaining guests!! But we convinced her we didn't care about her clothes at all!! Tim had not been home when we showed up and when he got home, he said "Oh my God" at least ten times!! It was so funny! I love surprising people and they were really glad to see us as I knew they would be. It was terrific.
We saw several other old friends at the church and party the next day. Everybody kept saying, "Oh my God" when they realized who we were!! What a hoot! One of the highlights of the party was close to the end of the party one of our friends asked the trio to sing and we did!! Even though we hadn't rehearsed and hadn't sung together for an audience in 21 years!! It was amazing how many songs we remembered and how we still pretty much sounded good! I almost miss singing with the trio more than anything else.
Through a fluke of timing (life is funny that way), not only were Cathy and Tim home for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (Memorial Day), they were home on Tuesday and Wednesday too. Helen joined us as soon as she finished work and the five of us spent the better part of all five evenings together! We talked, ate, sang, and laughed for hours on end. Like with all true friends, it was as though we hadn't been away at all. It was just the best ever!
Of course, Mike and I didn't totally monopolize their time, each day we tootled around Chicago driving by places we had lived or worked or went to school. We visited the grocery store and stocked up on a few things that aren't available in Austin. We went to all our favorite restaurants and had memorable meals of all our old favorites. Chicago has, obviously, changed; after all, we haven't lived there since 1991. A lot of things can happen in 21 years. Nevertheless, it was recognizable and felt like home. We each realized how much it still feels like "My Kind of Town". If it weren't for the cold, cold weather and the snow and ice Chicago is a great place.
It is, however, a huge city and in some ways it feels mostly like a big set of highways with a few residential and business areas thrown in! Traffic was pretty awful. After being there for those five days we had pretty much had it with the traffic! We were ready to come to back to Austin traffic which, although getting worse every day, is still a snap compared to Chicago!!
It was a great trip, and we were both thrilled to be able to spend time in our dear old home town and with our dear old friends!
Must admit, however, getting back home last night (and sleeping in my very own bed) was pretty terrific. Seems like Austin is "My Kind of Town" too!