Autumn Reveries

I am so tired I literally cannot see well as I write this blog entry.  I felt the need to preserve my tiredness for posterity by sharing the highlights of the first whirlwind weekend of October 2011, which coincidentally corresponds to my birthday.

I planned earlier in the week (still in September) to attend the Friday opening night showing of Courageous with my hubby.  Since I ended up driving the van for the workday commute last Friday, I got home early, around 5:15 pm.  While changing out of my work clothes, I received a call from my uncle, who is visiting Winfield, Kansas for events surrounding Homecoming at his alma mater, Southwestern College.  I’ll spare you the details from the thirty minute conversation and instead refer you to last month’s post about interfamily technical support.  I dispensed what help I could and we headed south to the Legends, making a quick stop at Subway for a bit of supper.

With a good fifteen or twenty minutes to spare, we were surprised to learn the movie was nearly sold out and we ended up seated in the second row of theater eight.   While Terry and I thought the movie was good, we did not think it was as great as Fireproof or even Facing the Giants. It suffered from scrambled subplots, sprawl and heavy handed preaching at the expense of good story. There were a few laugh-out-loud moments. While the theatre was packed, but you could tell you were ‘preaching to the choir’ from the composition of the audience.

Saturday, the first of October, we had planned to board the dogs and head south to Wichita to visit Terry’s life-long friends after the recent death of several family members, with the intention of attending the memorial dinner Sunday evening.  As noon approached (and the cutoff for dropping off the dogs at the kennel), we learned one of the family members thought they had the flu, and since neither Terry nor I have received this year’s flu shot yet, we opted to do a marathon trip on Sunday rather than expose Terry to potential viruses.   I canceled the boarding and Terry canceled the lodging, which left us with time on our hands.

Terry wanted to take me out for a birthday dinner, since my actual birthday would be spent driving to and from Wichita to attend a funeral.  I struggled for an hour trying to find someplace relatively close to dine at, finally deciding to try Stone Canyon Pizza in downtown Parkville, Missouri.  We drove through a beautiful fall later afternoon along K-5 and Missouri 45 only to discover upon arriving in Parkville that the city was overrun with an Octoberfest and locating a parking spot close enough for Terry became a pipe dream.  The backup plan became Zona Rosa and we eventually ate at Abuelos, a Mexican restaurant (not my first choice for cuisine, since I despise cheese, but they were convenient and not overly crowded and we got front door parking on a Saturday evening).

Terry suggested that we drop by High Noon Saloon to listen to Southern Reign.  We arrived shortly after the first set completed, spoke to the band members briefly, then found a table and enjoyed the next two sets.  I surprised myself by ordering a hot chocolate as my first drink, since the door to the Saloon was propped open and the temperature kept falling quickly as the night progressed.  I must admit that hot chocolate proved to be one of the best, if not the best ones I’ve ever drank.

I spent most of Sunday morning recording DVDs from the DVR (same way I spent Saturday afternoon once we decided not to drive to Wichita).  I even sneaked a watch (without the hubby) of the season finale of Doctor Who (more on that later in the week) and the latest Star Wars: the Clone Wars.  Terry woke up before noon and we hit the road by one o’clock.  Having forgotten that Kansas recently raised the speed limit on Interstates from 70 mph to 75 mph, we made record time down the turnpike, savoring the autumn beauty of the Flint Hills.

Many friends and family attended the memorial service and dinner, including half of the decedent’s high school Class of 57 (all eight of whom drove up from Oklahoma on Sunday and planned to return that night).  Of the two hymns we sung a capella, I loved singing In the Garden, which had been my great-grandmother’s favorite hymn.  I received several complements on my singing, even though I haven’t sung regularly in months and tried to keep my volume as soft as I could without sacrificing pitch and phrasing.  The dinner, provided by the host restaurant (Yaya’s Euro Bistro) proved delicious and soon afterward the guests began to depart.  We tarried long enough to briefly speak with our grieving friends, then hit the road north, shortly after eight o’clock.

I drove the first leg of the trip, stopping briefly at the Matfield Greene Service Center to get some water for Terry.  His poor digestive system needed some heart burn relief via Alkz Seltzer.  I spied a couple of interesting paintings of sunflowers, my favorite being the one below:

I continued driving north and took a brief side trip to Emporia for my one birthday treat of the day:  ice cream from Braums.   Terry drove while I enjoyed my butter pecan waffle cone, returning to the turnpike.  The clear skies shone with brilliant stars, such that I even asked wistfully if Terry could drive without the headlights just so I could enjoy such pristine dark skies.  He ignored me and kept driving safely.  Soon after finishing the cone, I fell asleep.  I drug myself out of my dreams after we crossed over the Kaw River east of Lawrence and stayed awake until we pulled into the driveway at a quarter past eleven.  I stumbled upstairs and crashed into bed, but failed to fall back asleep until after midnight.

After such a jam packed weekend, I dreaded the five o’clock alarm that would set me off on further adventures, this time for my employer, with a business trip to the Windy City aka Chicago (a misnomer if you consider the factual data that points to Dodge City as the windiest city in the States).  In fact, I’m finishing up this blog post in my hotel room after a long day of work and travel.  I’m so looking forward to more than five hours of sleep.

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