So I concentrated on cleaning up the inside of the garage and barn. About noon the tornado warning sirens started going off around the county. This storm cell blew through. We got pretty high straight-line winds (oh look a flying bunny!) and some rotation in the clouds but I never saw anything touch down.
After the storm blew through, I drove over to the nearby village of Chambersburg where I found both an abandoned church and an abandoned school to shoot. The full sets will be appearing in rural_ruin soon. Late that night I drove back to Joliet for work on Monday.
The Texas trip was just kinda weird. I got to meet and hang out with blurofego (Kris) and all her friends a good bit. She and I went to Starbucks for coffee almost every morning even though the heat was stifling and I don't drink coffee. But that was fun and something I could get used to. I think Deb and I will give it a try a day or two a week.
I got there on a Saturday morning and she and I hung out at my hotel the rest of the day just talking and getting to know each other better.
Sunday, we joined her friends Trystan and Jake in Arlington for the Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games. The girls spent most of the time shopping for girly clothes while Jake and I spent most of the time admiring the girls and fondling replica swords. I bought a claymore...muwahahahahahaha!
Both the girls bought some kind of clothing. Trystan admired this corset while the vendor helped and admired her. This was a man who truly loved his job.I have to admit she looked quite fetching in it. blurofego bought a cool lavender dress. You can tell a girl really loves a dress when she looks like this.
There was much bagpipe playing and athletic events going on as well. Burly kilted men poking helpless burlap sacks with long pitchforks and other burly kilted men playing with their heavy metal balls and long poles. But to be honest, it was pretty damned hot in the direct sunlight so we mostly opted for the inside of sales tents and such. I did see aronal again at her Things Celtic booth. She was selling the heck out of Utilikilts with the help of her friendly Ork, godorion whom I'd only heard about but not met to that point. He was quite the personable fellow. Somewhere the girls found a pirate to fondle.
Monday we were supposed to take a trip to Austin to see her friends and mine but all hell broke loose both physically and metaphysically. Her psycho mother-in-law booted her and her husband out of the house. Her husband James, a long haul trucker was out in NM somewhere and had to take days off and come speeding back with the intention of finding somewhere for them to move to. About the same time, a weird metaphysical cloud descended on all of us. Some stuff from their past mixed with some new giftedness for me. I went from being moderately empathic to very empathic within a few hours. That may sound cool but when you can suddenly feel everyone's emotions around you and can't shut it off immediately, it can actually be somewhat horrifying. I called my good buddy chimerae for some advice and within a day, got it under control. It was interesting to work with blurofego on her issues, her being a witch and me a shamanic practicioner. Seeing the different angles we came at it from, the different forms of personal protection we employed. I enjoy that kind of collaboration. A nice point of the day was we took her kids out to lunch. We got absolutely soaked in a sudden downpour and I mean soaked to my skin. But her kids are like the bestest kids in the whole world. I had gifts for all of them. Some would say bribe...I say gift.
Tuesday, I took off on my own to find some ghost towns. I drove for quite a long way to find the towns of Kimball, Chalk Mountain, Comyn and Thurber, ending up several hours away from Dallas. I'll post pics as I have time to get them edited. But mostly they were sad towns, even for ghost towns. This is the unfortunate part about what happens when people are aware of abandoned sites. In Kimball, souvenir hunters have so picked over the old stone buildings, that the remaining ruins are kept safe and unreachable behind chain link fences. I'm used to standing next to ruined walls in ghost towns but here I had to keep a respectable distance or shoot over fences. At Chalk Mountain, the 100 year old Masonic Hall had been torn down in 2004 and a new one built so nothing to see there. At Comyn there was little left except an old railroad sign and the sign that once hung on the defunct post office. Thurber, an old coal town had a little more to see but most of it has been restored rather than left in it's declining state. I've mixed feelings on restoration like this. Sometimes I think it's better to see things in the ruined state and imagine what it was like rather than being forced to look at someone else's vision.
The drive back to Dallas on I-20 was refreshing. Windows down, stereo blasting, driving 85 mph most of the way. I was reminded of what I love about wandering. The smells, the sound of wind whipping by, the feeling of freedom. It makes me high just to think about it.
Wednesday, I helped blurofego and James move. A very Chicago-like wind was howling all day. That and constant Vitamin Water were the only things that really kept us going in the 96 degree heat. Even hotter when we were in the back of the rented moving van. It took most of the day but we did get them moved.
Thursday, most of the day was spent doing things for the new place and getting a little shopping done. We went to a nice rock shop and I got some new and very cool stones. In the afternoon, they dropped me off as I needed to do laundry. We were to meet up later for coffee night at a local favorite beanery called Dunn Brothers. They picked me up around 7 again. That was a really fun night. Kris and James, Trystan and Jake and Trystan's mom Teph, this really cute chick Mandy, a younger friend of Kris and James named Ryan and me. We had our coffee and drinks (a cup of decaf Earl Grey and later a Corona for me) outside and great conversation ensued. Ours would occasionally spill over into the conversations of those around us which was fun as well. Live music was going on inside which spilled out whenever someone opened the door. About 11 pm they closed down and kicked us out so we ended up at a local iHop where we ragged on the management for bad service and were generally obnoxious but it was fun and cheap food. MMMMMMMMM pancakes and bacon at 1 am...heaven!
Friday, blurofego and I went down to Austin which we were supposed to do on Monday. We forgot however that it was opening day of the Republic of Texas Biker rally. And while I generally like Bikers, being surrounded by thousands of them just wasn't my cup of meat for the day. We found a little cafe downtown and had coffee and I took my favorite picture of her. None of her friends were around and we got lost downtown trying to find my friend which made it impossible to go see other people I'd planned on seeing. I was able to find my friend Doug O'Connell who is a Colonel in the Army reserve and the State General Counsel for the Adjutant General of the National Guard in Texas. I'd not seen him in over 20 years. He joined us for beers at a little dive bar called Deep Eddy's. It was really good seeing him after so long. We were both east coast boys at one time who worked together at the National Level of the Boy Scouts, Order of the Arrow organization. Yes, Kris, that means I was a Super Boy Scout.
On the drive home, we ate in Waco and then somehow took the wrong fork of I-35 and ended up heading to Ft. Worth instead of Dallas and had to find our way back over. Guess we were just tired.
Saturday morning she picked me up about 10 am. We checked me out of the hotel and went for our last coffee together, then hugged fiercely and said our goodbyes before I got in my car and got out of Dodge....er Dallas. The drive home was long and uneventful thankfully. I think I was on autopilot most of the way.
This week I've returned to find we are now working a 4 day work week...something I requested from the company president. Three day weekends and I don't have to drive in to the city on Friday, the worst traffic day possible. I should save about $23 a month just for not driving to work that day. Plus I can now take the Friday Morning train to the farm for $21 instead of $41 for the night train and come back Sunday morning for $21 instead of $47 at night for another savings of $184 a month. So just the one thing of not having to drive to work on Fridays will save me over $200 a month. Hey, $200 is $200. Plus the whole leaving a smaller carbon footprint thing.
The other thing I've returned to find is I've contracted a bladder infection. I have no idea how I managed that one but it's a pain so I'm heading to Urgent Care after work and get me some drugs. I can only stand so much cranberry juice.