There are so many things I love about visiting Texas.

My parents, sister, and nephews live there.

Although the humidity can be stifling in the summer, it ensures that pedicures last longer. You can get a pedicure and two weeks later your heels are still soft.

Texas has incredible state pride. I’ve not been to all 50 states, but the several I have visited don’t seem to have it like Texas does. I see more state flags here than anywhere else I have visited. I see more Texas merchandise than anywhere else. Of course, I had to get some, because you can never have too many kitchen towels. My daughter disagrees with this, but I have hope she will grow to see the light.


I get to visit with Rachel at Panera Bread, eat yummy things and knit for hours. Twice. Look at that cute little baby bump! I’m sorry I was a dork and forgot to give you your present, twice! I’ll make it up to you by shipping something extra from here 🙂

Rachels baby bump cropped

Flowers are still popping up out of the ground in February.

Flowers in February cropped

The quirkiness of family. You’d think a sister would make more of an effort to see you when you come to town. Last year she didn’t come over because she had to go shopping for a desk before the shops  all left town for an undetermined amount of time. Who knew when she’d be seeing them again? Oh wait, that was me that was leaving town. Thank goodness the next time I came, she invited me to come over and put that desk together for her. I might not have gotten to see her at all. I must be visiting too often. You’d think that when your sister sees you for the first time after cutting off 14 inches of hair and getting it streaked, she’d say something other than, wow from far away it looks like you’ve gone gray, but up close I guess it looks cute. You’d think your family would have better things to do than to criticize your sentences. The ones they actually let you finish, that is. Or the way you rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Do you ever feel like you are either invisible to your family or walking around with a giant “Criticize Me” target on your forehead? Ah family, gotta love ’em. Fortunately, I do. Lots.


I didn’t get any knitting or crocheting done on the trip down. I tried to crochet a little bit, but I messed up the starting chain of the mint green baby blanket and just didn’t feel like sorting it out. David and I did our usual chatting and listening to music. I would love to say we had an uneventful 2nd day of our trip, we got pulled over by a state trooper (think, Buford T. Justice) and we’re not sure why. He said we were going slightly over the speed limit, we had been seeing 75 speed limit signs, we were going between 70-75. He also said that we were following the truck in front of us too closely. We were behind that truck because just as we were going to pass it, we saw the state trooper and got back behind the truck. The trooper pulled up beside us and stared at us for a long while which caused the truck to also slow down and we couldn’t back off any farther than 2 car lengths before he pulled us over. He said we should have been 4 and that if an elephant had run out in front of the truck where would we be?

Seriously? An elephant? We dutifully answered that we would have landed in the trailer of the truck in front of us.

So, we went through all the driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance crap. I couldn’t find the current printed copy, but handed him the old one and explained that USAA doesn’t send them to me, I have to print them and I hadn’t gotten around to it.  Of course every answer was met with a rebuttal and disbelief. It really is best to just not say anything.

He separated us and asked us both questions about what we were doing and where we are going.

He told David we were suspicious because we didn’t have a definite return date. He asked us both if we worked, if we were married, if we had jobs and who with. While he had David in his truck, he asked him about drugs and if he knew what THC was. He thought it was odd that we were going down to be supportive of my sister for her divorce and to just visit family. Why, he’d heard of traveling for a wedding, but not for a divorce.  He then came and asked me for my proof of insurance, saying that David had told him I could look it up online. I did so while cheerfully and in my best drawl sprinkled liberally with yessirs, answering the many questions he asked me most of them the same that he asked David.

He was fishing for something. I’m sorry we’re such boring people. Maybe he was lonely and just wanted someone to talk to. The event did have the bonus effect of keeping us revved up and wide awake for the last couple hours of our drive into Houston.

I have concluded that the current Texas speed laws go something like this:

Natives: speed limit +10

Plain cars with out of state plates: speed limit + 5

Red cars with out of state plates: speed limit – 1

Office Priest of the East Texas State Troopers?  Let’s be careful out there.

Oh, and watch out for elephants.

Sally Feb 2013 cropped

Sally was skeptical about the elephants.




Packing for a trip is always interesting to me. I spend a bit of time dithering about what to take. I’m good on the basics, I have a list in my head about makeup, jewelry, contacts/glasses, toiletries etc. Even what clothing to take isn’t usually hard for me.

It’s the hobbies I have a hard time with. I made an extra effort to pack light but I wanted to make sure I had enough knitting. What if I run out of knitting? I’m on a yarn diet, so I don’t want to buy more when I’m out there. I’m sure I could just take one big project and not even remotely come close to finishing it, but what if? What if I suddenly start to knit as fast as the Yarn Harlot? What if I suddenly have more time on my hands than I anticipated? What if the pattern isn’t suitable for the car? I’d need a car project and a relaxing at Mom’s house project. What if I get stuck on the pattern or get bored and want to make something else? What about other crafts? I dithered about whether or not I should take cross stitching. The last time I visited, I didn’t take cross stitching with me and got hit by a stitching bug so badly, I had to visit an LNS and buy a small project. I’ve barely worked on that project, that’s totally beside the point. I didn’t want to buy more cross stitching stuff so I took a few things along just in case. I took the project I bought last time, and the Halloween project that I’ve worked on the most recently, and a project that Mom started that I really want to finish. I didn’t work on any of it, but it made me feel all prepared and stuff. I also wanted to continue working on my journal. This brings up a whole new set of packing decisions. Which journals do I take? This year’s, obviously, but what if I got all caught up? I should take another year to work on as well. Should I take my mood journal? Probably, since that is an important part of my therapy. How many pens should I take? Just the black ones I use for my journal or should I also take the multi-colored ones that I use for everything else? (Perhaps a discussion about my intense relationship with office supplies should be left for another day) If don’t take enough pens, I will feel compelled to buy more, so I had better take more than I’m sure I will need. I seem to suffer from grand delusions about how much time I have and how much I can get done in that amount of time and what kinds of things I really need. All of these things fly through my brain at lightning speed and whirl around and around until I finally have to type this out in an email to my friends just so I can step back, see how silly I am and get some perspective. They talked me down, made a few sensible suggestions that fed my need to be prepared but stopped me from renting a large trailer to transport the entire contents of my desk and craft area. I finally decided on Mom’s shawl, the mint baby blanket and the yarn for a couple of dishcloths since I know that Mom really likes those. The 2013 journal, two black pens, the 2011 journal, the mood journal and two purple pens made the cut. I didn’t pack enough shirts and found myself momentarily wishing I had brought one or two more but the knowledge that I had plenty to knit, crochet, cross stitch and write kept me satisfied.

For the record – I finished one dishcloth, three pattern repeats on the blanket, and ripped the mitten back to before the thumb area. Oh, did I forget to mention I also took the mittens I was working on? Moving on. Nothing to see here. Except this dishcloth that is photographed upside down, but looked too odd when I rotated the picture, and maybe this baby blanket that is a replica of the one I made for my son when he was born.