Friday, August 08, 2008

Last Friday: An All Day Date!

August 1, 2008

Oh was it ever hot.
Hot, hot, HOT.
Steaming outside, and my back had spasmed so hard I was uncomfortable no matter if I stood, sat, or stretched out flat.
It was best to just keep moving; walking seemed to help a bit so Bernie and I ignored the weather and headed for the three mile trail through the woods.

On our way to the trail head we passed our neighbor's garden, with photo worthy flowers everywhere.
Pride of Barbados still blooms beautifully there.

The first time I saw this wooden path I was so happy: At last I could walk through the woods without fear of trodding on heaven-knows-what lurking in the foliage.
I love that every time I walk, I see something new.
Isn't this an odd plant: berries on a single stalk?

This time of year I look up a lot. The spiders seem to float in the air around us; this spider in the proper head down position, with her diminutive Mister watchfully positioned above her.

We joke about the rare web with two or three males: do they wish their polyandrous brethren ill, or rejoice in their company?

Dead Bird Point (AKA Otter Point): A gentle unexpected cooling breeze rippling the water.
The greenery flanking each side of the path is sparked with shaggy amethyst blossoms; not thistles, and not quite asters either.
The light playing on the matte finished arrowhead shaped leaves causes them to glow in the deep forest shadows.
More of the purple gems...
The decomposed granite path is groomed regularly; leaves and branches are swept up and fresh fine gravel is added where needed. It only stays pristine for a moment; the forest is determined to reclaim it back to a natural state.

It serves me well to note what has fallen upon the path, and my eyes now easily discern what is flora and what is fauna in the dappled light.
That isn't a branch ahead on the path's right hand side!
Snakes have a particular style of manners: They stop and stare, then it is "Hello to you, I must be leaving..." and they turn and silently retreat from your presences.
Bernie used to hunt snakes in the California deserts, his mother driving in the night as he watched for snakes illumined in the car's headlight. Seeing a snake or lizard, they would stop and he would attempt to capture the snake, to later sell to pet shops.

The experience taught him that snakes wish only to retreat.
If only the WOULD race up to attack; Bernie noted to me as we walked.
The snakes never did, you always had to chase them as they were hell bent on a rapid retreat.

A new sort of mushroom had sprung up further along on the path.

One was the size of a large marshmallow.

Next to it was a tinier version, not fully "mushroomed" out, and only slightly larger than the tip of my thumb.

The larger one, side view. Not a chance of an "under the petticoat" photo shot here.
The red whirligig flowers that had given me trouble with a macro shot before still refused to cooperate. Now how is it possible that I could get that close to the tiny mushroom with precise focus, and a few steps later I can't get a clear shot of this flower?

It has taken two years for it to finally register in my head that this flower IS all the way open when it looks like this.

The walk ended, we returned home to wash up and make a trip to the gym. Perhaps a soak in the Jacuzzi will help the back? A dunk in the pool? Anything is worth a try. It doesn't help much, but at least we are cool.

When we return home, I am hobbling still.
And there is a message: a realtor would like to show our house. We decide to go out to eat to kill some time...and of course not mess up the kitchen!

Besides; after two months of dacronian thrift we can now celebrate. We have jobs to go to in Utah. Let's go out to eat!

For seven years the back of Kingwood has had little to offer in terms of restaurants. We had found one Chinese restaurant with a fabulous spicy eggplant dish, which we frequently order from home on Saturday or Sunday evenings. One rather ordinary Mexican restaurant served Margaritas that pack a wallop; otherwise the menu items were actually rather bland.

We would drive across the bridge to another town to eat crawfish beside the lake, eating on the deck as gulls cried overhead and as the sun set over the water we could pretend it was the ocean and we were back at home in San Diego.

It seemed so odd that with so much shoreline there was but one restaurant capitalizing on the view, and that being a place best suited for drinking long neck beers and wearing cut off shorts, and everything on the menu was deep fried.

A few years back Kingwood opened an exclusive gated development; custom manors to be built overlooking the lake, and each home rose up as a mansion. Such wealthy homeowners would need restaurants suitable for dining with equally privileged guest, and over the course of two years the forest on the edge of the lake was cleared and a new town center was created to serve the newest residents.

We had watched the building go in and waited for the restaurants to open, taking walks and reading signs announcing the new restaurant's themes. One by one they began to open, and we kept saying that we needed to go there and try them out.

I was thinking of the newly opened Mexican restaurant; we were in tee shirts and shorts, which should be fine in such a place.

But we found parking in front of this establishment instead:

It was 99 degrees out...far too hot to walk the few steps over to the Mexican place.

Besides...what exactly was served at a South American Grill anyway?
It was far too hot to eat outside, so we chose to enjoy the waterfront view from inside.

It was still very early, only one other table had diners being served.
We studied the menu munching on fried plantains dipped in garlicky olive oil and parsley mix.
What a combination. I may never crave chips and salsa again!
The appetizer menu...(can I have them all???)
As usual, we probably should have just stuck to the appetizer menu. Delicious right sized portions.
But no. I couldn't resist a main course. I could barely finish it; it would taste great for lunch the next day.

(Smart me: I saved room for dessert! )
The vegetable side dish...grilled along with Bernie's steak dish, each tasting deliciously steak like.
Tres chocolate! Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!
Three small bites of each was all we could manage.
Sadly the heat outside would make them each into puddles if we took them with us, so we had to leave the uneaten portion behind.

(I still regret that.)
After sitting for the meal, my back was stiff again, so we braved the heat to stroll the area.
The splashy fountain had shots of water that randomly fired to various heights; children could chase about playing an aquatic form of tag I suppose.
An anole perched on the edge of a planter, colored green in response to the white bricks.
I wonder if it felt cooler in green skin than in brown?

Over the water thunderheads towered in the distance. The hot breezes twirled the sculpted sunburst overhead.

It is such a pretty place to visit. It felt modern European; on a more reasonable day it would be a perfect place to sit beneath the yellow umbrellas and enjoy a treat from the ice cream parlor or a drink from the soft drink cart.
You know your husband will do anything for you when he agrees to carry your purse because it is just too heavy with a complaining back.

What should we do now to finish out our date day?
We rent a perfect video:
Sitting on our couch we travel to cool clear tropical waters, enjoying the views of both the area and Miss Kate H. and Mr. Matthew M. in "Fool's Gold".
Perfect! We laugh and enjoy the bickering quips between the two stars who spend the whole movie in swim suits.
(Yes, that is our Texas born celebrity in his typical shirtless state on the television screen.)

(Sometimes when you go on a date, three really isn't a crowd after all.)
An all day date.
Now that is my idea of fun.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed following along on your blog about your date day. As always, the pictures were great, and wished I could have been there to help you both finish the yummy dessert. I hope your back is getting less uncomfortable by now, Jill, and everything with the house and the move to S.L.C. is falling into place. Love, mom S.

Anonymous said...

Except for the ailing back, and the left-behind chocolate, it sounds like a perfect day!

So, is there any part of Kingwood that you'll miss (like the heat and humidity...hee hee hee...)?

Becky said...

It was good again to peruse your site, and remember times of last year. I have been keeping up with your move, and health via Lovella, and have been praying for you as you wander about in the journey of life. I loved your post today as it allowed us to walk with you through your backyard of Texas. Have a good day, my friend!

Unknown said...

I sure am going to miss your Kingwood posts, but I am really looking forward to the new SLC posts. I have never been there, so it would be like looking through a window into a different world.

You show me parts of Kingwood I have never seen and would not even know about without this blog...

Julie said...

What an interesting day , Jill ! A couple of things made me happy I was enjoying from afar -- the snake and the heat!
I pray your back will soon heal and let you be painfree! and I do hope the right buyer for your house comes along quickly!

I agree with you! A husband who will carry your purse will do anything for you! Vic is always willing to carry my purse for a good reason!