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Posts Tagged ‘Abilene’

I’ve lived in Abilene for seven years. I moved here in Aug. 2002, and except for three semesters in England and a few summers away, I’ve been here ever since. So I know this town pretty darn well by now. I know where to shop, where to eat, where to get coffee, where to meet friends. I know when the trains run. I know how to navigate that tricky interchange under the overpass at S. 1st and Treadaway Blvd. This town has become home in a way I never imagined it would when I arrived here as a college freshman.

So, some favorite Abilene places:

1. Mezamiz Deux Coffee House. This is the site of our weekly ladies’ coffee night, and many, many other chats with friends. Great drinks, yummy scones, tasty sandwiches and wonderful ambiance. (And sometimes, live music.)

2. Rosa’s Cafe. We have two locations; I love ’em both, and I love Rosa’s takeout, with tortilla chips still warm in a brown paper bag. Oh, how I’ll miss this when we move up north.

3. Los Arcos. This is our favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican place. Fresh salsa, yummy enchiladas, water in big red plastic glasses, and great odds of seeing at least one person we know.

4. Hickory Street Cafe. Home of the best zucchini bread EVER, delicious soups/salads/sandwiches, and long chats with Julie or Bethany or Lisa.

5. Bogie’s. This is Lisa’s and my place, and ALL the sandwiches are named after Bogart films. And there are Bogart posters on the walls. Love it.

6. Monks Coffee, next door to Bogie’s, has good chai, frequent live music, charming mismatched furniture and “Keep Abilene Boring” T-shirts.

7. The Center for Contemporary Arts is where I take yoga, and we also stroll through it at ArtWalk every month. So fun.

8. The Abilene Public Library is small but charming, and a great place to people-watch.

9. Tuscany’s Coffee House keeps odd hours, but they have yummy spicy potato soup, flavored lemonade and gooey chocolate cake.

10. Sharky’s has delicious burritos – Brent loves them, and my sister HAS to eat here every time she comes into town.

11. Little Panda is the original site of our Chinese Food Fridays in college; they evolved to bring-your-own Fast Food Fridays at House 9, but LP still has great takeout.

12. Box Office Video, next to LP, has a wide selection, low prices and a friendly owner. (Jeremiah fondly refers to it as “B.O.”)

13. It’s About Time, on S. 14th, has a great mix of antique and new housewares, knick-knacks and fun stuff. And I know the owner – she’s lovely.

14. Spano’s is now defunct, sadly, but for years it was our favorite Italian restaurant, and a great date place.

15. Erinshire Gardens, near ACU, is where Jeremiah proposed – a beautiful wilderness of trees, tree houses, wooden crosses, blue-bottle yard art, flowers and a little log-cabin chapel.

16. Cajun Cones is a springtime/summertime institution in Abilene. So. Yummy.

17. The farmer’s market is a new love – friendly people with fresh produce under striped awnings. So fun.

18. The Paramount Theatre shows vintage films and hosts community performances. And there are twinkling stars on the ceiling.

19. I love downtown Abilene in general, especially during ArtWalk. Music, dogs, children and good fun. Amanda usually does henna art; there’s always live music; and the art galleries always have new and colorful stuff.

20. The Lunsford Trail around ACU is a favorite of walkers all over town. We used to walk here more often in college, but I still love it.

21. Play Faire Park is vintage in the best sense – a little worn, but colorful, and you can play mini golf or try out your hula-hoop skills.

22. Ann’s Thai Kitchen serves delicious Thai food. This is Bethany’s very favorite place. When it was on Treadaway, my friend Erin and I used to go eat panang chicken and talk for three hours. We ate there when Bethany came into town the weekend we got engaged, and well, it’s just delectable.

23. Highland Church of Christ is, well, my other home. It’s not an attractive building – the auditorium is ORANGE – but I’ve spent many hours here over the past six years, laughing, crying, singing, clapping, hugging friends, listening, talking, attending weddings (and our own rehearsal dinner), and living. This is one of the centers of our life in Abilene; this is where we live, and one of the places we’ll miss most.

I know we’ll have new “haunts” in Boston/Quincy. But oh, I’ll miss these.

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Last weekend we took advantage of a uniquely Abilene delight – seeing a movie at the Paramount Theatre. I’ve adored this restored vintage theatre since my first visit there in ’02 (when our entire freshman class watched The Sandlot together). I’ve been to dance recitals and even sung in a concert there, but I love the movies the most. The sky-hued ceiling is dotted with stars that really twinkle, and through a cool lighting effect, clouds actually appear to slide across it. The view is good from either the floor or the mezzanine, and tickets are $6 – a bargain in today’s cinematic world!

We saw Casablanca, which I’d only seen once before. I had forgotten how much I love it. The complicated love triangle captures my heart, of course, but I also love the scene in Rick’s Cafe where the band breaks into “La Marseillaise” and everyone starts singing along, tears streaming down their faces. I love the tender way Sam takes care of Rick, and Victor Laszlo’s undying devotion to his cause. I love the way all three main characters are pulled along by something greater than themselves. I love the way the film explores people’s motivations and how they’re often so complex. And I always cry when Sam plays “As Time Goes By.”

I wouldn’t consider myself an Old Hollywood expert – not like Valerie. But some movies are truly timeless, and I believe this is one of them.

(Tonight, in sharp contrast, we’re off to see the new Harry Potter film. Not so much a cinematic classic – but I love the books and I’m excited!)

Happy weekend to you!

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I have spent my last night in the little flat, sung my heart out at Highland for the last time (for a while), hugged every member of my beloved Lifeteam, squeezed all my stuff into Jeremiah’s storage unit (thank you, honey – and everyone who helped!) and all of my clothes into my suitcases and my parents’ closets. I have bought a new camera, as my beloved old one has been acting up for a couple of months. I have weighed my two huge suitcases at least four times each. I will probably wind up paying at least one overage fee.

I have had coffee and hugs and tears and smiles with various girlfriends – Kathy, Amanda, Barbara, Jana, Dawne, Charity, Grace, Leigh Anne, and two Julies. I have spent two nights with my dear friends the Montgomerys – Monday night because I planned to and Tuesday night because I just couldn’t leave. I have cuddled with my J every night for the past two and a half weeks, and I have finally held him and cried with him and blown him a last kiss goodbye. We still have several phone conversations to go. And we will see each other via Skype soon – and for real in just under four months.

I have eaten half a dozen Tex-Mex meals in the last few days (thanks to Cole and other friends) – stocking up because I won’t get any for a while. I have left my wedding ring with my mother, my plants with Grace, and a large part of my heart in Abilene. And I am ready. Ready for this new adventure, which holds all sorts of things known and unknown. And my plane out of Midland leaves in 16 hours – and my flight out of Dallas leaves tomorrow at 7 p.m.

So here’s goodbye, here’s so long
I must go and follow love
I feel my heart movin’ on
I must go and follow love
Carry on while I’m gone
This is what I’ve been dreamin’ of
I’ll miss you so, but I must go
Go and follow love

-“Follow Love,” FFH

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summery moments

Special summery moments this week:

-a looooonnnnnggg walk in the rain with J around the ACU track on Sunday night

-Running into the Montgomerys, part of our beloved Lifeteam, on last night’s walk and strolling with them to Jacob’s Dream

-Luscious bottled fruit smoothies. Mmmmm.

-Fresh strawberries with French bread for lunch.

-Magazines – thanks to Julie for the issues of InStyle and Real Simple. I adore glossy pages with pretty stories!

-A cookout to honor Kelly Banks, another Lifeteamer who leaves soon for Iraq, on Sunday night. Lots of kids in the inflatable pool, yummy burgers, fresh blackberries and cherry tomatoes, and lots of tortilla chips. And several new friends.

The workday’s nearly over…off to enjoy the sunshine!

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Happy almost-September, everyone! The mornings are actually classifiable as “cool” now; when I leave the house at 7:45, I can drive to campus with my windows down and even shiver slightly in the breeze. I’ve been watching a lot of sunrises since I began my new job – Tim and Julie’s house has tons of front windows, and the light just floods in when the sun rises.

I can’t believe I’ve spent a whole week in my new job (without any major crises or problems – yet). 🙂 I have my own office – with a window that looks out into a tree! – and a large bulletin board that is already half full of schedules and reminders, and two lovely lamps that add ambient light. Glenn (my boss) keeps a supply of M&Ms (which he calls “stress pills”) in his office, adjacent to mine, and Carlene (across the hall) has a large candy dish shaped like a frog, which holds yummy soft peppermints. So we’re well-stocked for sugar, which is good, because on weeks like this, we need it.

My first three days on the job were fairly calm – either the faculty or I, or both, were in meetings much of the time, and very few students came in with questions or problems. We’re off and running now, however, and I’ve spent much of my week directing traffic, answering students’ and graduate assistants’ and faculty members’ questions, and sending student workers to make copies of various documents. (This job requires a LOT of delegating.)

On my first day I received FOUR bouquets – one from Dad, one from Julie, one from Jeremiah, and one from Betsy. And on Monday, John and Evelyn Willis sent me more flowers, with a card that says, “We appreciate you!” Bless every one of their hearts. I’m so glad to have people who love me. 🙂

Speaking of love, Glenn tells me every day how glad he is that I’m working in this office, and Carlene (who handles most of the student traffic) is a sweetheart, and my student workers (some of whom are my age) are all very sweet and helpful. And everyone over in the dean’s office, across the way, has been so good to me when I have questions. I’m slowly settling into this role. Lots I don’t know yet, but it will come. For now, I think I’ll steal another handful of dark chocolate M&Ms.

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I got a job!

As previously disclosed on the Chatbox (for those of you who read it), I GOT A JOB!!! A real one, with office hours and benefits and a staff parking tag and everything! Yes, that’s right…on Wednesday at 8 a.m. sharp, I will begin work as the new Bible department administrative assistant at ACU. It all happened so fast…here’s the approximate timeline:

On July 30 at Lifeteam, I met Pam Pemberton (wife of Glenn, the department chair – their precious daughter T’auna is a regular at our Lifeteam), and she told me Glenn needed a secretary. I sent in my app to Human Resources later that week.

For two more weeks, I worried and agonized over not only that, but lots of other jobs, and sent out resumes, and worried some more.

While in Nashville on Aug. 15, I got a call from the department asking me to set up an interview. On Aug. 18, after driving back to Abilene the night before, I spent an hour with Glenn Pemberton and Camille Dickson (a friend of mine, who works in the department), interviewing. About 24 hours later, Glenn called and offered me the job! – but told me I should think about it. (Which was helpful, since I needed to think about it…talk about a quick turnaround!)

After talking to several dear friends, making two extensive pro-and-con lists (one for Abilene and one for Nashville), talking to my mom, talking to Jeremiah, praying a LOT, and being at Lifeteam last night, I came to the conclusion…this is the right thing, at least for now. There are so many people who love me, and whom I love, in this town. I can’t leave this family yet…not the Lifeteam, not Highland, not the blogosphere folks who are in A-town, not Jeremiah, not my sister, not my dear roommate Leigh Anne. I need to be here. When I said that last night, Marlene smiled and said, “We want you to stay.” Calvin couldn’t stop smiling. Lorin hugged me and kissed my cheek and said, “We’re glad you’re going to be around.” T’auna was so excited she couldn’t form a complete sentence. And Sarah Butcher grinned at me and said, “Yes. You need to be here.”

So that’s the story. I have a job!!! Thanks so much to everyone who prayed and thought about me and left encouraging comments and listened to me worry over these past months. I love all of you. Hugs. 🙂

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