mellicious: pink manicure (Buffy quote: high school)


Once again, after saying I rarely used prompts, I'm using another one, mostly because it intersects with something I was going to talk about anyway. The prompt for today is Do you still live in the place where you grew up? How far away are you now, and why?

I may have to go get a screenshot from Google maps to illustrate, because I'm sort of interested in the relationship between the three towns in this area. But the short answer is that I'm living the closest I've lived to my hometown since college - I'm 10 miles away, at the most. (I was wandering around the other day and ended up buying gas there. It was $1.39, which is amazing but that's another subject.) Since I moved back from Austin in 1986 I haven't lived all that far away from it, but not anywhere near this close, where you could just wander over there in 10 minutes of driving.

I grew up in Alvin, Texas, a little town not far south of Houston, which is most famous for being the hometown of pitcher Nolan Ryan. That's pretty much its one and only claim to fame. We lived there from the time that I was born until I was four, and then we moved away for a few years, and then we moved back when I was seven and stayed there until after I graduated from high school. My parents were still living there when I'd come home for summers in college, but they moved out of town shortly after that, in the early 80s, to be closer to my dad's work. But my mom still worked in Alvin and my grandmother still lived there, so I'd still get the Alvin gossip for a long time. But then my mother retired and my grandmother got Alzheimer's and had to move to a nursing home (which was here in Friendswood, as it happens) and my ties to Alvin grew fewer and fewer. Now that they are both dead I really don't have much contact with people from Alvin. Most of the gossip I get comes through my dad, who still has more ties than I do even though he's actually up on the far-north side of Houston.

Map ahoy )
mellicious: pink manicure (me - age 4)
I had the day off today. Rob has been off for the last three days (for no particular reason, his boss just likes his employees to take some vacation periodically) so I took today off so we could go and do something. I didn't know what, just something. When we worked at Gaido's - a long time ago, now! - we used to go up to Houston every week or two and just mess around. We would go to the big Bookstop on Alabama or go to a mall or go to a movie, and we almost always went out to eat. So we wanted to have a day like that. We ended up going to the Galleria and eating at Cheesecake Factory and going to the big Half-Price Books on Kirby. (The Bookstop we used to go to is now a Barnes & Noble, and it's still a great bookstore because it's so huge - not to mention being in an old movie theater - but we were in more of a Half-Price mood today.)

You know, Cheesecake Factory gets maligned a lot - and I've maligned it myself from time to time, I admit - but really their food is generally good. Especially given the options in the mall, even a mall as big as Galleria. I had the lunch-size pizza, which came with a salad, and it was just the right amount of food. (Well, the salad was really too big, because I never finished it, but I can live with that.) They also had the best iced tea I've had in ages, which is no small thing in my book. (Rob had what he always has, which is some kind of chicken - Chicken Romano, I think it is. I tasted it, it was pretty good.)

We didn't really spend a lot of money, except on the meal, and even that wasn't too bad. The only thing I bought at Galleria was another mascara, at Sephora. This time I bought a Stila waterproof one. (For some reason, Stila's mascara is very reasonably priced. It was $9.50, which isn't much more than L'Oreal's. That certainly doesn't seem to match their pricing strategy for the rest of their line. Not that I'm complaining about the mascara being too cheap, you understand.) Other than that, we mostly walked around the area where the expensive stores were and window-shopped. These shoes were in the window at Kate Spade - complete with dinosaur - and if I were the kind of person who wore things like that, not to mention the kind of person who bought $325 shoes, I would totally buy those. (They're cheaper than I thought, actually. I told Rob they were probably $500.) (And it's funny, because I am not really a person who's into shoes, normally, but I have found myself admiring shoes a lot lately. I don't know what's up with that, exactly. Maybe I'm shoe-deprived.)

Then we drove over to Rice Village and prowled around Half-Price Books for a long time. Rob bought a couple of books, I couldn't tell you what, and I bought Foucault's Pendulum and The English Patient, which I have been meaning to read ever since I finished Anil's Ghost a year or more ago. We spent a good while combing the History section but didn't end up buying anything. (I still have to buy my dad a birthday present, though, so I might be back there. But I'm not going to see him for a week or two so I decided to wait on that.) I also looked for Connie Willis books but didn't find anything, darnit.

(Which reminds me that I have been meaning to write about the Connie Willis kick I have been on. But it's getting late so that will have to wait.)

By that time it was getting to be rush hour and we decided we'd better head home. We took sort of a long way round to go around the traffic, and we ended up going through Alvin, my home town, which I hardly ever go to now that none of my family lives there. So I spent a lot of time going, "Oh look! they're building a high school in Manvel!" and so forth. (Manvel is where my dad grew up. It's about 10 miles outside of Alvin, and all these years everybody in Manvel has had to go into Alvin to go to high school. It's a measure of how much Manvel has grown that they've finally caved in on that point.) They also have apparently either torn my grandmother's house down, or built something in front of it so that you can't see it any more. I suspect the former, but I'm not sure because the landmarks have all changed, and I wasn't about to try to do a left turn on that busy highway to find out for sure.

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