Thursday, October 24, 2013

A New Normal

Yeah, yeah, I know it's been two weeks since my last post.  I guess nothing too exciting has been going on, in combination with busy weeks at work that haven't allowed me flexibility to write during my lunch as usual. In any case, I'm back today in hopes of not falling off the bandwagon and getting another post or two out before the end of the month.  In reality, though, I'm already super proud of myself because my 18 (now 19) posts to date in 2013 have surpassed the number of entries for 2010, 2011, and 2012.  Wow!

So, last weekend was really...what's the word...normal?  What I mean is that the weekend seemed to have just the right balance of work, relaxation, and time with friends.  It was one of those rare occasions where I think, "Hey - we're normal people again!" (As opposed to new residents of a city where we know no one, have no involvement with community events, and work strangely long/odd hours...aka: 90% of our current life.)

On Friday, Alex and I both got off early - him because the university closes at Noon on Fridays and it was bye week for football, and me because I knew I had to work most of Saturday so I decided to skip out on an afternoon in the office.  With that extra time, we were able to spend a little time talking about our game plan for the weekend, and even got to check out two new-to-us local attractions.

Thanks to a GPS malfunction (I've had too many of those lately.), we barely caught the start of a moonlit hike at Black Bayou State Park.  Apparently, the full moon was the inspiration for this night hike, but other than tons of banana spiders (which are wayyyyy creepy in the dark) and a baby alligator, there was really nothing interesting to note from the experience.  I did take a few photos when we got to the open water area where we were able to look out on the bayou (sooo gorgeous!).  We'll have to go back sometime on our own when we can really spend time enjoying the view before it's dark out.

After the hike, we tried out a new restaurant for dinner.  The term restaurant should be used loosely here because Enoch's is technically a "pub" and I think there was more drinking/smoking going on there than eating.  In fact, we sat ourselves in the back room to avoid the cramped room filled with tall tables and smoke fog.  Having the room to ourselves was kind of unique though; that never happens in restaurants - it was like our own private dinner.  :) For entertainment, we quizzed each other on which Monroe restaurants we thought each of our friends would most enjoy.  It's likely only a few of you out there would actually enjoy this particular place.  I think we'll be sticking to our tried and true list of favorites for a while.

Saturday morning, I met a group of 4-H Jr. Leaders at Tractor Supply in Bastrop, where we spent two hours promoting their bi-annual Paper Clover Sale.  I gave each teen a stack of ten clovers and told them they would receive 1 extra entry in our monthly drawing for every 5 clovers they sold.  The incentive worked okay and I think we ended up selling at least 80 clovers in two hours.  It is what it is.

Afterwards, we all had lunch at Wendy's and then loaded up for our second attempt at visiting Curry Farms, a local pumpkin patch/corn maze/Christmas tree farm.  Thankfully, the weather was gorgeous this time around and I think the group really enjoyed their visit.  I'm looking at the possibility of having Mr. Curry, the owner, speak on the subject of agritourism at our meeting in November.  We'll see.  I had a great time and would totally take Alex there or even any of our friends; it's always fun to be a kid again!

Somehow, I ended up making it home earlier than planned, so Alex and I were able to attend Mass at a little mission church near our home.  It was totally spur the moment, but I'd been wanting to check it out for a while because it's 5-7 minutes from our house as opposed to the 20 minutes we usually drive for Mass.  Little churches always crack me up because usually there isn't music and the mass is sometimes as short as daily mass (30 minutes).  In fact, we were in our cars 47 minutes after Mass began, and I know it'd been over for a while before that because the priest spent time sharing announcements, congratulating birthdays/anniversaries, and even had a guest speak about his recently published book...all within 45 minutes.  Too funny.

That night, Alex and I made dinner together (breakfast pizza) and watched a movie recorded on the DVR.  No Strings Attached, with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher was actually better than I expected.  Yes it contained crude behavior and sexual content, but there was still a story line and a happy ending.  Ultimately, the movie ended with the understanding that "friends with benefits" don't work and faithful relationships are the way to go.  Not too bad.

Another spur-the-moment friend visit occurred on Sunday morning.  Dawn made the trek to Ruston for the weekend to celebrate homecoming at her alma mater, Louisiana Tech.  She invited me to have brunch with her after Mass, on her way to Shreveport before heading back to Dallas.  This girl makes me tired, ya'll!  Haha.  Anyway, it was fun to see her again in such a short period of time, and believe it or not we had lots to catch up on even though we just saw each other three weeks ago.

That afternoon, I was able to enjoy the second game of five in the ULM Blood Series for baseball.  The idea is that players are designated as coaches, two teams are drafted, and at the end of the five game series, the team who loses has to give blood as a service project.  There are some other losing-team stakes, too, but I can't remember them all. In any case, I had a great time enjoying the great weather and lovely game of baseball.  Alex even let me work the scoreboard during the series, which I always love.  Yay!

See - things have been busy, but nothing really special to report.  It was a good weekend overall, as I said. Coming up, Alex and I are working on a fun project together and I can't wait to share it.  No, it's not baby/marriage/house-related.  Actually, it's something related to work for both of us and I'm pretty excited to see how everything turns out.

Until next time.

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