Sunday, September 14, 2014

Forever Friends

I've been lucky enough the past two weekends to spend time with two of the best friends I have ever had.  In fact, two weekends in a row I got to spend time with my friend Heather, who I've known since Kindergarten.  We went to the art gallery together on my birthday, and then last weekend she came to stay here for about 24 hours from Friday to Saturday.  We spent a lot of time chatting and reminiscing about our lives now and the 30+ years of friendship under our belts.  I didn't get a chance to post this earlier, but here's a picture from when Heather took Jacob on the carousel at the mall...
In case it's hard to see, Heather is peeking between Jacob and the horse's head.  And yes, Jacob is wearing the hat he got for this birthday...
This weekend I got to see my college roommate Mary.  We've now officially known each other for half our lives, which is crazy, since for so long, we were such good friends despite only having known each other for a short period of time.  Now it's been 18 years, four of which included a lot of togetherness in a 10'x12' (-ish, or less) dorm room.  Being together at such a pivotal time in our lives definitely accelerated the friendship, and in each other we found our other half...or, as we chose to call it, our shared "third brain".  Because, after all, we were each too smart to share a single one!  We had so much in common, found a mutual love of nail polish, and ventured together into the world of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, which changed our college experience completely.  Over the course of college, we became rather inseparable, to the point that people were surprised when they'd see one and not the other.  I always felt like, from high school on, that the people I considered my best friends never really considered me their best friend back.  Other people always seemed to have someone else who was their go-to person.  Even early on in college Mary had two very good friends at home, and it took a while before it was clear that we were really each other's best friend...but finally reaching that point was so enjoyable.  We were so fortunate to have been placed together by Residence Life (or, rather, GOD), and it's clear to both of us how unique this relationship truly is, all these years later.  We know that no matter how long we're apart, even when communication is minimal, when we get back together, we're right back in the groove.  Being with Heather is much the same, and I feel blessed to have two friendships like that...and to have two weekends in a row to enjoy that. 

Anyway...back to the recap.  I worked a half day on Friday and had a short detour for a (routine) doctor's appointment.  Once I was done there I made a quick stop at the mall on the east side of town and then headed toward Syracuse.  I got there around 4pm, and after settling in a bit at Mary's apartment, we headed out for dinner--yummy 2-for-1 chicken parm that we'd both been looking forward to all week!  I'll admit I was pretty excited to eat whatever I wanted without worrying about gluten.  I appreciate that opportunity to eat almost anywhere without worrying about what they have or how they prepare their food.  We manage pretty well most of the time, but I won't lie--it's tiring sometimes and getting a break from that was really nice.

After dinner we headed downtown to the concert that prompted the visit. 

The theater is a classic old theater full of gilding.  Gold everywhere!  It reminds me of pictures I've seen of a couple long-gone theaters in Rochester.  One of them was a Loews theater, just like this one appeared to be, based on some lettering over one entrance.  I was excited to see it and hoped that my new camera could do it justice.  The front lobby didn't go particularly well, but I wanted to include this here to try to show the grandness of it...

The part of the lobby leading to the seats was a little brighter, so I think this worked a little better...

It was breathtaking, even though it's apparent that it's not what it used to be.  We found out the place is in some pretty serious debt, so hopefully they'll be able to turn it around because it's too cool to lose.

The concert was fantastic.  We were mostly there to see a band called Switchfoot.  They're a Christian rock band that has seen some decent mainstream success.  You've probably heard their music as bumper music during televised sporting events, or maybe even on the radio.  I actually saw them way back in college as an opening act when they were only a couple albums into their career, and I loved them back then.  Still, I could never decide on which CD to buy first, and it wasn't until a handful of years ago that I got one of their later CDs as a gift and fell back in love with them.  I've wanted to see them in concert ever since, and they finally came close enough!  On a weekend!  In Mary's hometown!  Yay! 

The opening act was another interesting band called Gungor.  They're a very unique Christian group that doesn't sound like most Christian musicians.  They've got a little electronica, awesome voices, and a unique presentation.  I had a couple of their songs for free through a site I frequent, and while the songs didn't wow me initially, I did enjoy their concert and look forward to listening to them again. 

When the main act came on, it was awesome to hear their songs in person.  They're such a fantastic rock band and I knew they'd be great live.  The lead singer has such a unique voice and I wasn't sure about how it would sound live, but it was identical.  Perfection.  They even played my favorite song! 

Out in the crowd!

On our way out of the theater, I took a couple more shots of the classic features...
Stained glass exit sign

Amazing light fixture!
We finished the night at Starbucks with a couple of Mary's friends (and who knew, they have packaged gluten-free treats there, including their awesome flourless chocolate cookies!  Good to know!), and stayed up late watching reality TV and chatting. 

Saturday I slept in a bit (no kids, after all!) and then we just hung out all morning until we could decide on somewhere to go for lunch.  We have always been terrible decision-makers, and some things never change!  She wanted me to be able to pick the ideal gluten-filled foods of my choice, and I was just so excited to eat at different places that I had a hard time figuring out the best of the best.  We settled on Tully's, a local chain that has expanded to Rochester and Buffalo.  Their food is awesome, though, and we ended up sitting there for more than two hours, just watching the end of the Syracuse University football game and chatting. 

Eventually we headed back and I did some research for my stop at the outlets on my way home.  It was hard to leave, but I was looking forward to doing a little shopping on my way (unsuccessful) and getting back to a quiet house (more on that in a bit).  Along the way I decided to do a random, quick stop at somewhere I've always wanted to go.  There's a spot here in Rochester, Cobb's Hill, that offers a great view of the city.  I'd never been up there.  The sky was cool on my way back, lots of clouds with fiery orange peeking out behind them, and I decided to try to capture the remains of the cool sky with the city lights.  I wasn't sure what the lookout point would be like and I wanted to be safe since it was dark, so I drove up to the reservoir and eventually drove past a break in the trees.  I'm not even sure that's the normal spot that people take pictures from, but I stopped the car, rolled down the window, and took a few shots using some of the different settings on my camera.  Here are the results...

Farther view with the sky in the background

Closer building is the white one in the middle.  Xerox is to the left (black), Bausch & Lomb to the left of that (pointy top).  To the right of my building is the rebuild of Midtown Plaza and the HSBC Building.

I came back home to a 65 degree, empty house.  It's been cool for the last couple days and the house is cold!  I'm waiting to turn on the heat until there are more people here than just me.  Where are they?  Well, Craig took the boys to Buffalo today for his brother's birthday, and they'll be back sometime on Sunday.  I'm missing them a lot, especially all the little things Carter does that perk up my day.  I miss them all, obviously, but so much of what Carter does is so cute and so uplifting, and it's weird not having that to cheer me up at any given moment.  I don't miss all the yelling and constant cleaning up and infinite mom checklist in my head, but life is definitely not the same without them.  I don't like missing things, especially on weekends when I usually make up for not seeing them all week, but I know this is a unique situation so I'm just trying to appreciate it while it lasts.  It's not often that I get time like this, so I'll make the most of it and hopefully be a more chilled out mom by the time they get back.  It was definitely strange being gone, though, and strange coming home to a quiet house.  As I typed this, a couple times the TV got loud and I momentarily felt compelled to turn it down so the kids didn't wake up.  But of course, they're not here.  Weird.

Anyway, it was a great couple days and now I need to be productive until the boys get back!  I feel so lucky to have had so much friend time lately.  It makes up for not having friends like that here in town, but definitely makes me wish for more!

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