good times in tyler (aka: holiday blog #2)

Let's pick up where we left off, shall we?

Here's where my memory probably won't function like it should - which really frustrates me. Oh well - it's better for you guys - it'll mean a shorter blog to read (yes, short by MY terms, or shorter than it COULD have been).

The thing I remember MOST about the day after Christmas is the yoga. That's right...Luci talked me into doing yoga with her at her gym (instead of spending the morning working, like I fully intended). I've NEVER done yoga before - and only thought about it once or twice - promptly changing my mind when I remembered how clumsy I am and how badly I'd probably hurt myself. Somehow, the day after Christmas I decided it'd be a good thing to do - mainly because I was feeling like a tubbo from the mounds of food the day before. Anyway...I went....and according to my sister, Tonya - the instructor - went easy on us. Whatever. The class was small, thankfully; it was my sister, myself, Tonya, and two other people. According to Tonya I did fairly well - she gave me a few suggestions to correct my lines or whatever you call them...but I've NEVER seen my muscles twitch like that. I don't think I've ever done anything so strenuous in my life. Toward the end of the class Tonya said something about doing headstands, and I assumed she was joking and nearly started laughing. She wasn't joking. Everyone else aroumd me got on their heads like it was old hat. HA! I'm still on the fence about the possibility of starting to go in for yoga classes at Gold's ....or never doing yoga again, ever. Ha. It was amazingly hard - I was sore for days afterward, but I was proud of myself for doing it.

I don't have any photos from the 26th at all, so I'm going from memory here. I know the 26th started my latte kick - I had coffee with dad in the morning, and then again that evening with Zach Matson (a friend I hadn't seen in YEARS!). I was able to go to lunch at Carretas with Daniel Elbert (one of my absolute best, and longest friends) and hit up Target for some after-Christmas sale goodies (what a great friend, he was carrying crap around Target for me). I also had the pleasure of hanging out with the Becker family and eating some of Charlie's good cooking for dinner (yay for hanging out with Charlie and Em *and Maan and Sarah* in Tyler!)...but I had to turn down several plans for lack of better time-slot-planning (sorry Mark and Amanda). It was a pretty busy day, now that I think about it.

...and since my memory is apparently returning, you can all probably forget about this being a short this point, I'm writing for the sake of preserving what memories I do

The 27th was 'Logan's Christmas'. It's the first year for Logan (my nephew) to have separate Christmases, but he celebrated with my family on the 27th - since we didn't get to see him on Christmas day. It was a pretty big celebration - we had pizza for lunch at his request...and watched him open a zillion presents (and opened our presents from he and Luci). Chance and I got him some webkinz - which I was pumped about playing with...but we never DID get around to it. He got some awesome stuff though...a new bike, a bike ramp, an iPod shuffle.

Man, he's spoiled. But we did have fun playing with his toys! My mom, Luci and I went shoe shopping briefly after that...and then I met up with Elbert for another latte and some wandering around Tyler (checking out some apartments and going to furniture stores and Bed Bath and Beyond). That night I was supposed to go to Megan Carr's wedding...but it also happened to be Tiffany Taff's b-day celebration I opted to hang out with miss Tiffany and the gang instead...and Elbert opted out of the fun, so we went our separate ways. I headed to El Charro (one of the old childhood haunts) to have dinner with some fun folks (including, but not limited to: Trevor, Jonathan, Jennifer, Nathan, and Laura) to celebrate miss Taff being a quarter of a century old. We laughed a lot - then proceeded to her dad's house to play wii. That night - I moved my stuff from my sister's to my mom's so I could stay with her for a couple of days. That's right - not only is my Christmas a mobile one, but every time I stay in Tyler I generally move from place to place so I get to spend a little time with everyone. It'd be so much easier if my whole family just lived in one big house. On second thought, not really.

The 28th...Sunday...I went to Elbert's church which was pretty cool - the service was over 2 hours, which I'm not used to, but the worship was cool and the preaching was great too. Afterwards, I met up with mom, Luci and Logan for lunch at Chili's, then we headed over to my dad's house for Logan's Christmas with him. It was fun to hang out there for a little while...til I had to go work. Working in Tyler was interesting - I didn't get ALL my hours in, but it was fun to venture out to the various coffee shops. That day, I opted to go to Java Jams - the coffee shop in the grocery store (which, at that point, was the only one I knew had free wifi). There were quite a few interesting characters there - like the hobo who was sleeping across from me. My friend (and 'co-worker') Trevor showed up for a little bit with his brother Sam...and talked to me. When I finished working, I headed back up to Elbert's church (where he was setting up computers for them)...and we met his brother Scott for dinner at Little Italy (Lililly - for those of you who knew me in high school). I had probably the most fattening thing on the menu - eggplant parmesan with alfredo sauce. GOSH it was GOOD. I haven't eaten Italian food at a restaurant in at least a year (Chance doesn't believe in it) it was kinda nice. Afterwards, we pulled a typical Tyler move and went to walk around WalMart. Yup. That's what you do at night in Tyler. The boys got tired, and...I went home - intending to work - but passed out as soon as I hit the bed.

The 29th was my day of 'adventure' - Claire style. As I'd mentioned briefly before, Elbert was apartment shopping (he's been living with the 'rents and is ready to move the heck out)...but he couldn't do a whole lot while he was at work. I volunteered to check a few places out for him (get pamphlets, prices, info, etc) - so that's what I spent most of Monday doing. I went by 7 or so apartments before picking up some Chick-Fil-A for myself and Golly and taking it to her house to eat and spend some time with her. After lunch, I headed to these AWESOME new lofts downtown (the Moore Grocery Lofts)...and then worked a little at my dad's. Elbert met up with me around 4 at this really awesome 4-plex I'd found to check out on Craigslist - then we went to another amazing house that had 7 or so different units in it. These places were AWESOME...old...ahh...I can't describe them. The loft + those last two places were seriously amazing. If I HAD to move back to Tyler, I'd probably opt to rent out one of them. Loved them. I think I had soup for dinner at dad's that night - not that you care - lol...and then went to Elbert's to hang out. We played the Office game (one of his Christmas presents) - which he kicked butt at - me, not so much.

Although - I ALMOST won - I kept getting the easy questions. But he beat me. I let him. Not really.

The 30th was another adventure-filled day. I worked that morning at Cafe Tazza (best frozen Chai EVER). Then I went to lunch with Golly (who had been nice enough to loan me her caddy for the duration of my trip - so I was picking her up from her hair appt), mom, Luci and Logan at McAlister's. After lunch, I ran an errand or two, which included moving my stuff to dad's house (where I'd stay the rest of my time in Tyler). Then Luci, Logan and I went out to my aunt Julia's place. She and Jan (her friend who she lives with) have a TON of animals - so we thought it'd be fun to put on our grubbies and go play. There were so many precious pups (this one's Denim),

a cage full of beautiful doves, plenty of name it.

There was a male goose that was in love with a male Great Pyrenees (and very protective of him),

some really funny goats,

and a PRECIOUS horse who followed us around and constantly put her face right in mine the whole time we were there.

Logan even got to ride a horse for his first time.

Afterwards we grabbed some gas station snacks, went shopping for dad's bday present...and then I went home to work a little more. We had leftover soup for dinner (if my memory serves me correctly)...and then I went to Elbert's again to close out the night. This time, we went to Dairy Queen donning free sundae coupons (courtesy of a client of Elbert's), I showed him photos of my day at the farm, he discovered Google Maps Street View for the first time ever and was overwhelmed,

and we watched Peanut (his sweet cat) be mischevious.

I'm a little foggy on the goings-on of New Year's Eve. I know I worked for a while that morning and I'm pretty sure I had lunch at some point, but I have no clue what or with whom. That afternoon I went over to my cousin Allison's house to visit with her and Nana (my dad's mom). It was nice to spend some time with them (even though Allison's bird Tweety was on my head half the time - haha)!

Late that afternoon I drove to the line to purchase some alcohol for NYE beverages. Ohhh - the line. Tyler is in a dry county, so you've gotta drive out to lake Palestine (or Kilgore) to buy any alcohol. Let me tell you - I have NEVER seen liquor stores look like this. It was like black friday all over again. Insane - I tell you.

Elbert came over that evening to celebrate with me. We began the festivities by watching a dvd he'd brought of all the Pixar shorts. It was a good start to the night - watching Jack Jack float around...and the snowman in his snowglobe...and those fat little birds on a wire. We then proceeded in our attempt to make mudslides (one of the only drinks Elbert will drink which is why I bought the alcohol)...only to find out that the blender was leaking. I guess that happens when you've got a blender from the 1970s. Hahah. I was determined to make them though since I'd driven 30 minutes to buy the mixins. Lol. I put some ice in a ziplock and Elbert pounded it with a potato masher while I hand mixed the alcohol with ice cream...then added in ice. We eventually put it back in the blender - just long enough to give it a good stir...then voila! Mudslides! They weren't actually too bad for my first time - especially considering the circumstances.

Somehow, Bert's was quite a bit stronger than mine, lol - oops. Oh well. I'll give the mudslide the credit for getting him to play Perfect Match with me (one of my favorite games when I was a little girl). It was hilarious. I'll give you a peek:

Oh man. I can't even begin to tell you. We kept trying to find Dick Clark on TV but it wasn't on until the very end for some reason - we pretty much ignored the whole New Year's thing happening. I mean - we argued about whether the ball would drop at 11 or midnight - and we said Happy New Year...but that was about it. We were too involved in our game of scrabble (which we both kinda suck at - so we made up ridiculous rules) to care.

Man - it was a relaxing, fun evening though - I love spending time with Bert. Missed Chance of course - and the fun he was having back in Austin...but I had a good time for sure.

New Year's Day I worked some, then met up with Elbert for lunch at Chick-Fil-A. He was pretty worn out from the night before - it seems his parents woke him up earrrrrly...but he still wanted to hang out. So...we chowed down and then headed to the mall and wandered around there for an hour or so. He bought some pretty nice things on sale (this guy's got more style than I'll ever have)...but I think the walking around the mall did him in. He headed hom to take a nap while I went over to Philip Newman's house for his family's annual New Year's Day get together. I was just in time for some dang good food - a LOAD of various potluck appetizer-type was good. I got to play Settlers of Catan, Flux, and some other funny game with shapes with he and Michelle (love her) - and they gave Chance and I Killer Bunnies for Christmas - AWESOME! Without knowing that I'd ever wanted the game, Philip and Michelle prevailed and got it for us. Sweet action.

After getting KILLED in both games (I don't think I'll ever beat those two at anything) ...I went over to Elbert's where we played with Peanut, TRIED to play Killer Bunnies (but failed), and watched True Romance - which was a pretty good, *although pretty rough* movie.

On to the daddy's 60th birthday, and my last day in Tyler...Chance got in town around noon and we once again unloaded the dogs at my sister's house. We headed to petsmart to pick up some food for the boys and some things for Golly, then we met Elbert at Ken's Pizza. buffet. Lol. Greasy, but good - and still one of the best salad bars! Hahaha. Ohman. After Ken's, we went with Elbert to the Mansions, an apartment complex out by the country club Elbert's parents are members at...just to check it out! And...THAT's where Elbert ended up signing a lease. Yaaaay - he found a place he really likes. I'm happy for him. It might not have been MY first pick, but it has most of the things he was looking for in an apartment! So...that's exciting! I'm happy for him. After that, Chance and I went and hung out with Golly - we did three crosswords with her (can I just say I LOVE doing crosswords with Golly?!?!)! Then, we headed to dad's house to meet he and Karen so we could head to Villa Montez (my favorite Tyler restaurant) for his 60th birthday dinner. The meal was delicious and the company was fun. I had a cucumber mojito (excellent) and a pomegranite mojito (not so great) while Chance sampled some imported beer from Argentina (?) and Puerto Rico (?) Lol.

We had family-style appetizers (mmmm, Chino Latino rolls!), followed by sea bass (for me),

surf and turf (for him),

and a massive plate full of dessert (also served family-style). It was a great night and a fun celebration for dad (I think!). It was pretty entertaining for Chance and I...Luci and Logan were there for the first part of it, and toward the end we were entertained by the 55-60 year olds all pulling out their iPhones and showing each other youtube videos. Man. THAT's entertainment. (: Hahaha. They're higher-tech than we are!

Well - that's pretty much the end of our time in Tyler. We hit the road the next day - I'll let Chance cover our time in Amarillo - since that was HIS official vacation.

I'm pretty sure no one will actually read this whole thing, and if you did, I'm sure you were bored to tears. I'm sorry. Lol. I just wanted to have memories recorded for when my memory fails (which seems like it could be any day now)!!!

...the end...(for me, at least).


urban | initiative said...

haha, that was the perfect length by my standards! wow, youve got a ton of family! and i thought mine was big... the holidays get pretty interesting when you get married and take on yet another family hm? im pretty glad we stayed in cincy by ourselves after reading all that, lol, it sounds simply exhausting! christmas back home would have been somewhat similar to that. [and i think the walmart at night thing is pretty common of all tiny towns in texas where theres nothing to do, haha, been there!]

awesome stuff, cant wait to hear about the rest! cheers & happy new year! =]

Anonymous said...

Holy moly Claire, that was a LONG post!

As far as yoga - keep it up, it's hard the first couple of times and gets easier. I took yoga as my kinese at A&M and now I adore it. And it's crazy they did headstands at your class - that's one of the most advanced poses. . . You might have been doing a more advanced class than your friend let on. I will say that yoga during pregnancy may be the only thing that is keeping my body from falling apart. :)

I'm glad you had a good time on your trip to Tyler. It sounds like it was full of fun, friends, family and good food - a fantastic mix! :)

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