Enjoy where you're at. The secret to a lifetime of happiness? Can't say, really. But a personal motto, at any rate. And I do tend to land sunny-side-up. So I'm in Texas for nearly four months now and I am doing anything Texan that comes my way and having a blast. Since January I have...
Gone to the Monster Truck show and loved every second of it. I thought we were just going on a lark. I was fully prepared to enjoy it ironically, ya know? Like watching the local yocals and feeling superior. But you know what? When the lights went down and the engines revved and I got an eyeful of El Toro Loco, Madusa and the legendary Gravedigger I went as nuts as any other redneck there. The noxious exhaust fumes, the deafening noise, the sinus-clogging clouds of dirt, the roar of the crowd - all I can say is don't knock it till you try it.
I'm also eating TexMex every chance I get.
Any eatery where the wait staff approaches with complimentary chips and salsa
and the sing-song suggestion "How 'bout some margaritas for y'all today?" is alright in my book.
And when the sit-down and order option ain't a possibility, a tamale will do.
You can find one of these on every other street corner.
We've made it over to Austin a couple times so far.
Saw Junior Brown playing his self-made double-necked steel / slide guitar hybrid thingy. Legend.
Made it to a couple other shows at Austin's Continental Club which is currently in the running to become my favorite place ever. Their regular run-of-the-mill weekly roster reads like a Who's Who of the alt-country music scene. I expect to be back as often as possible and was delighted to discover there's a Continental Club in Houston too. Yeehaw!
Other Texas activities included...
...gawking at the Alamo in San Antonio....
...and shopping the jerky counter at a roadside rest stop. But that ain't all...
I been to the Houston Livestock show where I saw firsthand the difference between a longhorn...
...and a brahman bull (many thanks to Brett's mom for all answering all my city mouse questions. The Livestock Show was an amazing experience that methinks will eventually get its very own blog post.)
As if a day at the Houston Livestock show wasn't enough Texas fun, it was followed by the rodeo. The RODEO y'all! The rodeo was followed by a Sugarland concert. I don't mind telling you folks I was feeling country strong AND Texas proud that day.
But by far the highlight of my "When in Rome do as the Texans do" quest has been a day at Brett's family farm. We tore it up on four wheelers, gorged on bbq, gathered 'round a mini bonfire and just generally had some good ol' Texas fun. Jim, Sue, Mandy and Jolie were excellent hosts and it was amazing to get some time with old friends Brett, Monica, their little darlin' Brayden and some of Brett's old Texas buddies.
Brett's niece let me ride her horse. I'm not sure if the photo does justice to my barely suppressed panic but all I can say is I'm not a natural. While Jolie clearly is and has the boots to prove it.
(I covet those pink cowboy boots.)
Other ranch activities included feeding the cows treats by hand...
...and helping a lil' calf get her nutrition with Sue and Jolie. But the real country fun started when a bunch of us headed out onto the property's makeshift gun range. I'm not a firearm fan in general, but I felt like Annie Goshdarn Oakley. Shooting with people who are safe and responsible gun owners, who know the ins and outs of their favorite toys and how enjoy sharing it with a pacifist city mouse like me was a treat I don't expect to experience very often. Texas...what's not to love?
And I do not mind admitting that I felt like one bad-ass chick that day. Shooting is fun! Turns out I'm not half bad at it either. I say again, yee haw.
Here's a pile o' guns on offer at The Farm. It started with about four pistols but every time I turned around someone was bringing out something new to shoot. Chris was in heaven.
Above a selection of shells and bullets gathered from the range after we were through. Don't mess with Texas, I'm just saying. We will SHOOT YOUR ASS!
So it's looking like we'll be staying in Houston for a while and I suspect that the fun will not stop. I'm hoping to add more Texan treats to my stable of adventures. There's a place downtown called the Armadillo Palace that looks promising, so stay tuned cowboys.