The weekend before last, a co-worker of mine (and her fiance) invited Erik and me to a little retreat with friends to Mason, TX. Sounds like a typical Texan town, and you may be correct in that regard. Mason is about 2-2 1/2 hours northwest of Austin (google it!) and is smack dab in the middle of true Hill Country Texas. The hills here remind me of little mountains–they’re nothing like the hills of the Carolinas, but they sure are mesmerizing.
We stayed out on a ranch property where there was plenty of land to run and play in as well as the Llano River to admire and kayak through. Erik vanished like a magician about 10 minutes upon arrival to grab a kayak and reconnect with Mother Nature. The land was beautiful–unlike any other climate I’ve ever visited. Well, take that back, it was very Spanish to me while simultaneously being very American, er, Texan. Dry, hot, and little green vegetation. Consequently, my sister was snowboarding in Boone on this fine summer’s (I mean, fall?) day. (Oh, Boone, how I miss thee and you’re snowy mountain tops!)
During our retreat, we indulged ourselves in several fun group games like Scattergories, Set, Kubb, and Sardines. Kubb, a “Viking” game, is very entertaining and addictive. It reminds me of chess, cornhole, and redneck golf–all rolled into one. Check it out: KUBB. In addition, Sardines was played for maybe three hours straight Saturday night. If you (aren’t cool) and don’t know the deal, yo: Sardines is a hide-and-seek-ish game where when you find the “it” person, you must hide closely beside them and remain quiet until the rest of the group filters in. By the way, the game is played completely in the dark, so you probably want to put away the breakables. It’s pretty hilarious hearing the last one banging around and talking to him/herself, trying to figure out where in the world everyone else has disappeared to. You hear a lot of, “Guys, this isn’t funny, anymore” or “Where the–has everybody gone?” Ha-ha! Fun times.
We made veggie lasagna on Saturday evening and woke up to egg-in-a-hole and coffee for breakfast on Sunday, courtesy of my co-worker’s fiance. Of course, I was like the second of ten or so to wake up in the a.m., so I took myself on a nice, quiet kayaking trip on the Llano River for about an hour and enjoyed the wildlife, water, and land. It was serenity and tranquility at its finest. I saw cows, donkeys, ducks, turtles, and catfish. Hooray, nature!
After cleaning from the aftermath of Sardines and lasagna, we all loaded up and went into the grand town of Mason for gorditas at a local Mexican restaurant. I had THE BEST GORDITA OF MY LIFE there–although it did take awhile to get our food–but it was worth it. Oh, how I love thee Mason for your gorditas saborosas! Afterwards, we bid our farewells and parted ways. Erik and I took a lap around the town square and peered into shops that were open (most were closed because of Sunday, the day of rest). Take note of photos in the slideshow above.
Overall, the trip to Mason was much-needed and much-appreciated. The days have gotten longer, and my patience with middle schoolers seems to be wearing thin as the holidays near. May you take moments between now and the end of our upcoming holiday, Thanksgiving, to observe the things and people that you’re grateful for. I am thankful for my supportive husband, loving family, and new and old friendships that continue to blossom daily. I am grateful for the comfort that nature gives in trying times. Sometimes, a short walk outdoors can clear the mind of all the mess that goes on up there. Of late, I have found myself getting caught up in the stress and overwhelming expectations that are accompanied by my profession as a teacher. And, I can tell you, it’s just not worth it. Continue to observe the many graces of your life, and I’ll do so on my end of things, too.
Happy Thanksgiving, all! Erik and I will be heading to Port Arthur/Groves, TX, for Turkey Day with his cousins, grandma, aunt, etc. We’ll also be visiting Galveston for the first time! No worries–I’ll let you know all the details upon return! 🙂 Eat lots of really good things!