...or when composing emails, do you also reflexively smile when you add an emoticon? I don't know if I'm smiling "back" at the little digital face, or if my subconscious believes that by physically reinforcing the expression, my tone will be more adequately conveyed in the email.
It's also possible that I'm just an insufferably cheerful person.
So, this weekend Alex and I jetted down to San Antone for my dad's birthday--his 58th, which just adds to my whole reinterpretation of age, as he looks and acts, at nearly 60, nothing like what I thought of that age as a kid. I think he's more of what I thought 40 was--then again, when you're 12, it's hard to believe the world will still exist when you're 30. Anyway.
We had a great time--Alex made the remark, echoing what I've often thought, that my parents' house is an amazing place where you can truly relax. We tried to assess the reasons why, when we got back. We both think that a lot of it has to do with all the trees around their house--which bodes well for our future home, as the lot has tons of big, old trees. But there's also the birdsong (also related to trees), the "nearness" of the outdoors due to their abundant garden spots and back deck, and the sheer quiet. Alex and I lived in a similarly country-ish area at our old house, but there was the lack of trees (and thus birdsong), and because of the placement of our electronics, the house was always loud, even if you didn't consciously notice it. Whenever the power would go out, we'd be reminded of how loud the house usually was--the constant barrage of white noise from UPS's and computers and theater equipment and fans and the fridge.
So after waking up in that relaxing place--and enjoying my traditional cup-of-coffee-with-the-parents while Alex caught another half hour or so of sleep (this usually occurs on the back deck, but due to rain this time was moved to my mom's art studio, which is in a small red shed near the house), we took off for San Antone itself. We enjoyed the re-opening weekend festivities at the McNay Art Museum, a small but wonderful jewel of a place that reminds me of the Kimbell in Fort Worth (only with gorgeous Spanish colonial architecture instead of gorgeous modern architecture). It has a similarly comfortable and human-scaled approach to art display, with one of the most beautiful inner courtyards I've ever seen. We were ferried to and from the museum in a school bus in which the bus driver decided to dramatically illustrate that the shocks were not made to hold a load of adults, much to our discomfort (and amusement).
Then we headed off to enjoy a Jazz and Arts Festival at Crockett Park... but were perplexed to find it nearly empty, few booths (with the exception of the excellent Starbucks booth that twice provided us with free caffeine), and most befuddling, no music at all. Most people, performers, and vendors had apparently been frightened off by some earlier drizzles. We pronounced it neither jazzy nor festive, and instead spent awhile browsing through Half-Price Books, a dangerous activity for four people addicted to print. This was the third bookstore Alex and I had been to in a week and a half, and we brought home our fifth (at least) sack of books. I think we're a bit flustered by all our books being packed in boxes, and desperately trying to fill that hole--and since we plan on using movers for our next move, we don't have the thought of hauling heavy boxes to deter us.
Then we enjoyed a yummy (if loud) dinner at Tomatilla's, and headed back to my parent's casa rather late. A good time was had by all.
I'm now reading a ton of material in preparation for an all-day meeting tomorrow. Alex is off to Vegas (yes, again!) tomorrow through Friday, my mom is in town Wednesday through Saturday, my pal Jayne will be here over the weekend and a tad longer, and we have plans for yardwork and socializing over the weekend. Ah yes, and there are still preparations to be made for Alex leaving for Russia the following weekend.
It's a busy life, but at least it's an interesting one.