Girlhood. Momhood. Lifehood.
Insights on navigating the craziness of life with young kids one — “large coffee with skim please” — day at a time.

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It’s Different Down Here

February 19th, 2010

So here I am, sitting on my parent’s couch in their cozy ranch house just outside of Austin, watching some of the Winter Olympics, and trying not to think about leaving and going back to reality tomorrow.

Our trips to TX to the “Glorious and Relaxing Land of Grammy and Bah” are always, well, glorious and relaxing. This year we opted to come out for school vacation week in February and it was a very good decision. No snow. No ice. No gloves, mittens, hats or puffy coats. No schedules, no homework, just an escape.

Not only do I cherish the time with family, but since my folks moved out to TX over a decade ago, we’ve learned to really love it here. The weather is warmer, the grass is greener and so much about it is just..different. The hill country, the foliage, the ranches, the architecture, the food..the whole vibe. And although I am geographically a Yankee now, I can still 1) pick out a southern accent in a crowd like a dog can hear a dog whistle and 2) make a mean banana pudding.

But being down here for a week is just freeing. And not in the way that a tropical resort with a swim-up bar used to be freeing. But it’s a lazy, relaxed, no agenda kind of a feeling. A drink-coffee-over-the-local-paper-and-unplug-and-nap-and-go-through-boxes-of-old-photos-and-watch-your-kids-cuddling-in-an-arm-chair-with-your-dad feeling. I love that every day of our visit here there’s something that reminds me that, well, we’re not in Yankeeland anymore. For instance…

1. When you go garage sale hopping with your mom in nearby neighborhoods, you could just as easily purchase a Gap sweater with the tags still on it for $3 as you could a hunting rifle.

2. When you go to a local diner for breakfast, you can’t get eggs benedict but you can get grits…and the barstools up at the counter are all occupied with men wearing big cowboy hats and boots.

3. Everywhere you go they call you “ma’am” and “sir” and in the grocery store they will ask you if you need help taking your groceries out to the car even though it’s not 1950 and you aren’t elderly.

4. Try to get a cappuccino at the Sonic drive thru (Dunkin Donuts just ain’t around these parts) and they’ll tell you “Ma’am we only sell iced coffee.” Because when you think about it, why would Texans want hot lattes when it can be over 100 degrees for a good chunk of the year?!

5. Throw a stone and you can find a great barbecue joint.

6. They wear flip-flops all year.

7. When you go to a Queen tribute concert in downtown Austin, there are cowboys there too.

8. You can sit back on a bench at a playground on a Tuesday afternoon in February and just feel the sun on your face and let the kids run around so much they actually get sweaty.

9. Even with all those big cars and big ol’ trucks on the highway, they just don’t feel the need to honk as much.

10. When you see the color burnt orange, it’s usually a t-shirt, flag or bumper sticker for the UT Longhorns. These folks really, really like their football.


I’m just not ready to go home tomorrow. But I always feel that way when it’s time to leave. I’m not ready to leave Grammy and Bah or their cozy ranch house or these blue skies.

But I suppose that makes me lucky. Give me a week deep in the heart of Texas and I just might be able to make it through that dang Yankee winter…with a help of a few hot cappuccinos.

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