I was scheduled for a 10K yesterday in Galveston. I have several really good friends in Houston, so I planned to stay with my gay boyfriend Michael and meet up with the rest of the gals I know over the weekend. I got this really weird email last weekend informing me that the Coast to Coast Series run in Galveston was being canceled due to the fact that they couldn’t get permission from some landowner on the race route. WTF? Really? But, I wasn’t about to cancel my trip. My friends Alayne, Michael and Marlene are among my best friends, and it had been too long since I’d seen them. So, I was Houston-bound as soon as I left the office on Thursday.
Riley and Dixie – The Cutest Dogs in the World!
All I ever hear about is the traffic in Houston. I’ve heard about it since I was a little girl in neighboring Louisiana. What I discovered is it’s not just Houston that has extreme traffic – it’s that whole Texas corridor between Lake Charles and Houston. It was a fairly stressful drive. Michael kept texting me and telling me to hurry up. “The speed limit is 75 in Texas… you can do 80.” I’m like, really? There are cars in front of me, Dude. I could do 80 in spurts but, I was constantly having to weave in and out of traffic, and the speed limit is not 75 in Texas. In some places it is, but, in a lot of places it was 60. After paying for a root canal on Thursday, I didn’t have the money for a speeding ticket. I decided to play it conservatively and safely and drive no more than 5-10 over the speed limit when the traffic allowed. Michael had a bowl of home-made grits and a fried egg waiting for me, one of my favorite comfort foods. And that’s the way Michael is … if it’s in the realm of possibility, and I want it, it’s mine.
Friday Night Dinner with Craig and Sy at Emma’s in Pearland (Click on pics for captions)
I had to run to Target the next morning to pick up some things I forgot, and I tried to follow some confusing directions on the GPS. I realized pretty quickly that I’d gone the wrong direction on the highway and got off on the next exit. I took the first road I could to double-back, and I was a little shocked in this monstrous city that I was on a little country road in the middle of what looked like …. nowhere. All of a sudden, the road turned into …… a gravel road! I wasn’t 10 minutes away from my friends fancy Pearland neighborhood. I texted him and told him to quit complaining about the Houston traffic … the road was clear at 9 AM on a Friday morning. Just about that time a crop duster flew right over my head. I felt like I was in the twilight zone.
I spent most of the the weekend lounging by their pool or watching gay television. I’ve never seen so much HGTV in my life. We watched re-runs of Fashion Police and several episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, a show built around normal gals in Atlanta and New York shopping for wedding gowns. I never laughed so hard at television in my life. I had great decaf coffee all weekend. The first night I resorted to having heavy whipping cream in my caffeine-free mix because there was no half and half, and I fell in love with it. By the next day, I was drinking my coffee with sweetened condensed milk – thanks to last weekend’s indulgence – and the party was on. Occasionally, I even topped off the sweetened condensed milk concoction with heavy whipping cream just for the hell of it. It was absolutely divine. I’m waiting on my morning cup now … Micheal?? I’m waiting. 🙂 Uh …. oh …. I hope we’re not out of sweetened condensed milk – we all tied one on last night.
The big event of the weekend was a ‘Michael and Darren Dinner Party’. My friend Marlene and her partner, Cheryl, and a new friend Kristi and her husband Mark were coming. I had never met Kristi but she grew up in Watson about 10 years behind me. She says she remembered me because I was a senior in her yearbook, and, as seniors are, my picture was plastered all over the pages. So, we met for the first time last night. Marlene is my acupuncturist from Memphis, so they arrived early, and I got a treatment while I was listening to the party revving up in the other room. The red wine was flowing, and, by the time my chi was balanced, Kristi and her husband had arrived, too. You never know how a group that has never met each other is going to mesh, but they all got along great and found many mutual interests and ways in which their lives had crossed paths in Houston. It was fun to see them all begin to become friends.
The Dancing House
The cocktail party featured mushrooms stuffed with crawfish stuffing, cream cheese topped with a wonderful pepper jelly and lots and lots of red wine for all. Michael had what I called a wine bong that was a source of entertainment. And, apparently, he and Darren had some great wines. I heard lots of ooohing and aaaahhhing as each bottle was served. Dinner was perfectly-spiced Shrimp Tchefuncte with some amazingly huge gulf shrimp on Saffron Rice. All of us Louisiana French Bread purists were disappointed in the Whole Foods “french bread” in Texas. It wasn’t actually French Bread but more of a – as Michael called it – white bread. Kristi – who has lived in Houston for many years – gave Micheal some tips on where to get REAL New Orleans’ French Bread and Po-Boys. I’m sure he’ll be making a trip there soon.
Eventually, I announced that it was time to eat cake because I knew that Michael had made my favorite cake in the world, Fresh Strawberry. They got out the coffee, and everybody – even my health nut acupuncturist friend – had coffee with sweetened condensed milk. It was followed by dancing in the living room to disco music. I was so happy at the end of the evening when everybody asked for me to share their contact information among each other and tentative plans were made for everybody to attend the Houghton Hall art opening at the end of June where Kristi works. I love it when people mesh! After everyone left, we de-briefed the evening while watching more gay television, and it felt like family.
The Dinner Party
So, yes … I am having the fabulous cup I wanted, and I’m dreading the trek home. Kristi said it best last night when she commented on the energy in this house. This house is located in a suburban, pretentious area, and I have no idea who built it or what kind of ghosts mingled among the rooms before Michael and Darren got here. Whatever the history is, with Darren and Michael this place has become the Dancing House. It’s open spaces flow with an energy full of joy and love. I’ve been in many houses that Darren and Michael own, and every one is transformed with their desire to make wishes come true and create an ‘experience’ for every guest they entertain. This place is no exception, and I imagine there are ghosts here now that love to dance and dream of coffee laced with sweetened condensed milk and fabulous red wine. They all danced among us last night. We were not alone. It was a lovely, perfect evening and a very special weekend.