Sunday, February 14, 2010

The stars aligned but we forgot coats & cameras ...

Sometimes the transformer -- that would be me -- needs some transformative rejuvenation. Sometimes she needs alone time. But other times she needs to renew the creative energy with laugh-your-ass-off girlfriend time amidst mountains and beer joints.

So a few weeks ago, the stars aligned and I was actually able to sneak away on a quickie trip to West Texas with two of my old, old, old best friends, Deb and Lisa. They're not really all that old. We've just been best friends since the olden days. One of us actually just turned 45, but I'm not saying who.

Why is this blog worthy? Because I am just floored and amazed and blessed to have such creative and amazing friends. Does your average girl has such talented friends? It has nothing to do with me. I'm just fortunate. Anyway, more about that later. This is a tale about weather and mountains and old friends. You know, the usual.

Leaving Fort Stockton, we could see the windstorm/cold front in the distance and realized we forgot heavy coats. But it looked a pretty long way off. There is nothing wrong with this sentence. It's perfectly normal to say "a pretty long way off."

Here's Deb, the creator of a lavender body care line, getting gas in Fort Stockton, looking just a little bit too much like Cousin It. We were experiencing the cold front hitting first-hand. Then we realized we forgot our fancy cameras so my handy iphone filled in.

You know how the stars aligned and these three incredibly busy women were able to get away for a whole weekend? Well that's just part of it. Our other old, old, old, friend Dara actually met us at the White Buffalo Bar at the Gage on our first night there. Lisa had not seen Dara in probably 25 years. It really was just like old times, except the wine was much better!

Remember that I'm kind of obsessed with mountains? Well, this little pointy mountain is called Mitre Peak. There's a tragic Girl Scout camp at the base of it (tragic only because I'm not the Girl Scout type and I went there one year and they made you wash your own dishes. I thought I was on vacation. I mean seriously. And, they wanted me to sing. Please). One day, it would make me so happy if I could see lava oozing out the top of Mitre Peak. Doesn't it just look like that's bound to happen? Someday?
So what do three creative chicks in need of artistic renewal do on a free Saturday with no agenda? Ride around. And take pictures. We spent our entire youth doing it and it's really effective for solving the problems of the world and soaking up the energy of the beautiful West Texas landscape. When we called Dara to see if she wanted to go with us, she said she was perfectly happy in her warm house, out of the nasty cold wind. We understood. She gets to see these mountains every day.

When you're fortunate enough to be a lucky girl from West Texas, this is what you get used to seeing out your front windshield. This view struck me so powerfully. It was like a whack to my head that said: "Do you see this? Do you realize how blessed you are?" I got it. I get it.

But you know, in between beautiful mountains, there's a town here and there. And as you might imagine, if you're on a drive around the countryside, you might happen upon a bar. This one is in Marfa. It's called Padre's and it's located in the old funeral home. I don't know the address but it's on the south side of the railroad tracks, right near downtown. You can find it, real easy.

Here are my creative friends, who are also kinda gorgeous, bellied up to the bar. Really, their bellies weren't even close to the bar because they don't even have bellies. What's significant here is I love the chandeliers: the juxtaposition of the dark, edgy bar-ness, with the luxury of the chandeliers bringing light to the darkness. After gazing upon the cactus painting, I decided I'd better get busy painting because I could so paint that. Lisa cautioned she thought it was painted by somebody famous, as a way of telling me maybe I shouldn't say that out loud. Whatever.

Here's the entry area leading to the restrooms ... old velvet paintings paired with crystal.

I will be impressed with your bathroom if you've got a beautiful chandelier for lighting, and even more if you pair it with old-school floor tile. Love it!

While in Marfa, we decided we'd better go stop in at Mando's and determine whether their food is as good as it was back in the day. We were not even close to being hungry, but it was good enough to entice my gluten-free self to eat a flour tortilla. Pretty decent, and the green sauce was as good as it used to be.

Lisa (who's kind of an amazing photographer of famous people), spied this interesting vignette out the window of Mando's. She told me to take a picture with my iphone because she left her camera in the car and didn't want to go to the trouble of getting it out. Ok ....

Then, on the way back to Alpine, I made Lisa pull over so I could take a picture of this sign at Paisano Baptist Encampment. Such a beautiful scripture, but I like the NIV version better.

I lift my eyes up to the hills -- where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. -- Psalm 121:1-2

I needed rejuvenation, and God's "help" came in the form of some time with my girlfriends, in my own personal heaven. Pay attention: Your help might come from a really sweet snuggle with a wiggly five-year-old. Or, a suggestion from a friend, that's really hard to hear. Help is out there: in the mountains, in the sky, in your friends, in the little things that become big things. We found it in all the energy of the universe, in hellish weather that included wind, hail, rain, and God's promise of a rainbow over Iron Mountain.

It doesn't have to be elaborate, or expensive. Sometimes you need to get away and see things from a different perspective, and that's when you might just get the "help" you need to grow and develop and renew yourself.


lisa said...

Nice job Sam!!! You actually made drinking beer, eating mexican food, and driving around with my favorite people sound sorta noble!

fyi---it took 3 trips through the car wash to knock all the mud off of my car! Where is the old green scout when you need it?!?!?

Lavender Chick said...

Great post, Sam!!! Loved it. You said it all so well. I forgot about all the iphone pics you took; here I was thinking we had a great trip with no recording of it.

I keep laughing about seeing Dara and how much like old home week it was. It's amazing how we can all get together and pick right up like the miles have never really come between us. If we have any sense at all, we'll commit to doing this at least once a year!

Greyeyes said...

You know that I totally enjoy reading your blog. More often than not it gives me a smile that i couldn't share with anyone because they just wouldn't get it. This time I feel more like a Peeping Tom. Here i am enjoying this diversion from the grind by vicariously hitching a ride on the Painted Groove. I'm truly happy the three of you have what you do and Deb's right. You should commit to it every year. Just my pesos worth, D

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