Fall is in full-swing here in Texas.
The temperatures dipped into the 70s this week, which is still not cool enough for these kids to wear outfits. You know, with shirts and actual pants.
But this cooler weather has invigorated our family. With shorter days comes the promise of holidays, tastes of pumpkin-everything, and s’mores in the fire place.
With invigoration comes happiness.
With happiness comes a list.
This is Happy: A List
1. We spent most of our weekend at the beach. Our friends joined us on Saturday night for dinner over the Gulf, a 3D movie, night crabbing, and hot cocoa. Even though we all loved being together, it was Nate who was super-duper happy about friends at the beach house.
His friend Sydney is two, so clearly Nate felt like he was a cool tween compared to her. He had the swagger. He told her jokes, patted her hair, and invited her repeatedly to sleep with him. Sydney’s parents were sweet about our prowling pre-schooler, even when she agreed to sleep in his bed so she could “Pat him while he went to sleep.” What’s happier than that?
2. I’m working on a new book and needed a little quiet time to make some progress, so I headed down to the beach early. On Friday it was pretty much deserted, except these two French grandfather-types and a little toddler girl.
Both times I took our Greyhound, Manny, for a walk on the beach, I passed their little set-up of chairs, sand toys, and large glasses of red wine. The little girl only wore a diaper, and she dug in the sand with a large shovel.
And a grin.
I don’t know how this trio ended up on our little beach. I’m guessing they rented a house in our neighborhood, and their wives and daughters were off shopping or spa-ing. These burly men, wearing Rolex watches and Speedo-type suits that barely covered their thighs, always nodded to me when I passed. They held up their glasses of wine and called, “Cheers!”
I stood near them and took pictures of the Gulf, which was so calm and beautiful on Friday. I wanted to hear what they were saying. What were these two Hemingway-type characters with their little bathing beauty discussing?
But while taking this picture, I discovered they were speaking French.
I’m guessing they were saying something like, “Look at that wretched middle-aged woman! No husband! No children! No wine! Sharing this beach with only her dog! Such a shame.”
The next day I passed them while I was walking with the kids. They were driving their golf cart back to their house. The little girl slept between them on the seat. The men’s faces had that vacation-look of too much sun and too much wine. I waved, but with my gaggle of kids, they didn’t recognize me.
Oh well. These two doting grandfathers at the beach was still a happy scene. So was the brilliant blue sky.
3. On Saturday night, we ate at Jimmy’s on the Pier, which is just about our favorite place to go for subpar food and a tremendous view. While waiting for a table, we paid $3/person to walk on to the Galveston Fishing Pier. I’ve mentioned that Catie is an avid fisherwoman. She’s been asking to try fishing on this pier. We expected to find the fisherpeople catching little sun fish/catfish. Take a look at the pier’s Facebook page to see what they were catching that night.
All the fishermen/women/kids were thrilled to show us their catches from the pier, which is just a little ways away from where our family swims. They had caught stingray, eels, and more than one shark!
As we walked back toward the restaurant, I watched the kids’ faces. Would they connect the dots that shark and stingrays were swimming in their waves? Would this freak them out?
Finally, Sam piped up. “I’m SO GLAD those people caught those sharks.”
“Why?” I asked.
“So there aren’t any left to BITE US!’
Bless his heart. This Sam Sense made me happy.
So did the view from the pier of the sun setting over the water.
4. Friday morning, before I left for the beach, I went to brunch with friends while wearing my pjs. Which was just about as shameful as it sounds.
The night before, M had offered to take the kids to school. On Friday morning, I ran around cooking eggs and making questionable lunches, and helping all four kids find their shoes, all in my pjs. Because, of course. Why would I get dressed if I was just going to spend the morning in my office?
But at 8:00, just as the kids were piling into the car, M announced he actually had a conference call and COULD NOT TAKE THEM TO SCHOOL. I threw on a sweatshirt and shoes and raced out the door, totally planning to drop them off in carpool so no one had witness my crazy, unwashed self.
But Nate needed to be walked in. I planned to do THAT as quickly as possible, with absolutely no contact with other humans, who might detect I was still wearing my pj pants. And had not brushed my teeth.
Then, my friend Michelle said, “Are you going to that breakfast this morning?”
Well, shoot. I had completely forgotten about my GREAT IDEA for moms to meet at Black Walnut to get to know each other better. Holly, who is efficient and organized and never wears her pjs to brunch, had set it all up. I needed to go.
So, I wore my pjs and my bed head to Black Walnut.
But then, this weekend, I realized something. This is how I always look in Galveston (picture below). Because of the combination of the high humidity, the strong Gulf breezes, and the fact I’m relaxing rather than showering while down there, I always look like I just woke up. In other words, I look like a mess.
This is funny to me. I was so embarrassed to wear my pjs with a group of women who sees me made-up, hair-straightened, and showered every day of my life.
But when I’m in Galveston, possibly the only place where I’d run into someone I would want to impress, I look crazy.
Anyway, here’s the (happy) picture of me at the beach.
Hope your Monday is also happy!