Thursday, January 10, 2008

Food, Folks, and Fun

For those of you who have been associated with Matt and I within the last three and a half years, it should come as no surprise to you that the issue of living in Texas at some point in our future is one that lacks unanimity in our family (consisting of Matt and I). Matt, who claims Texas as his home, even though he spent many good years, including his formative ones, in locations other than Texas (including New York, Oregon, Utah, and my favorite, Missouri), is a huge fan of moving and spending the rest of his life in the greatest nation in the United States. Austin, he claims, is "in Texas, but not of Texas," and boasts of many "The Best Cities to Live in" titles, the greatest live music outside of Nashville, bats under bridges, a thriving cultural and academic atmosphere, and the perfect weather all year long.

While I think his characterization of the weather is a bit hyperbolic--Austin humidity, though not as suffocating as Houston, still ranks rather low on my comfortability scale for most of the summer--it almost proved to be the key to my undoing this winter break.

Since Thanksgiving is the best time for all of my family to get together, Christmas has been traditionally spent with the Gees in none other place than Austin, TX. This year was no different. In packing our bags, we looked forward canoeing on Town Lake or going golfing on New Year's Day, and packed accordingly. Though slightly chillier than expected (I occasionally had to put on a light jacket), the weather was almost as enjoyable as the food, laughs, and family. Here are pictures of a few highlights:

The nephews (Jackson, Addison, and Preston Lewis) waking up to a totally awesome train table and set from Santa Claus (that took three hours to set up!).

The arrival of Matt's "third wife," (the MacBook is number two) aka Gibson Les Paul Studio electric guitar.

The second annual Gee New Year's Iron Chef Totally-Out-Of-Control Competition (would you expect anything less? Honestly...).

Family (and soon to be family!) enjoying the great Austin outdoors.

Good times with the Gees!
(This family photo taken on our last day in Austin is quite deceptive. Not only is it not a complete family photo--where are the spouses?--it's also pretty darn cold. See, Matt? Even Austin has it's moments.)

Though family pictures in Texas were made slightly unpleasant due to a cold front on New Year's day, this was nothing compared to what we were going to face in the next four hours........

My sister Karen got married on January 4th in Nauvoo (great location!). Due to this factor, instead of flying back to DC from Austin, we took a slight detour through Missiouri, Kansas, back to Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois.

And I had the chance to remember how cold blows the wind in the old Midwest. (It's really, really cold).

The bride, wanting her pictures to somehow change the fact that she really got married in January instead of June, insisted that pictures be taken without coats, or jackets, or gloves, or hats, or any protective item that might shield the wearer from the bitter bite of winter. I protested. Matt got bronchitis. We took the pictures without coats anyway. And in a moment of weakness, or rather, in several moments of weakness (try the entire time we were in the Midwest), Matt almost persuadest me to be a Texan.

In any case, the wedding was beautiful, the roads safe, and the reception a ball. What more could we have asked for?

Some highlights from the wedding: Matt's performance of a wedding song for Karen and Adam and the bride and groom's first dance. We've tried posting them unsuccessfully, but will make another attempt in the near future. To see Karen and Adam's first dance visit youtube and type in "Karen and Adam's first dance."

After basking in the sunshine and then battling the cold, we were happy to return to the temperate temperatures of Washington, DC, where we were able to thaw out and even enjoy spring like weather the last few days. There is no place like home--the homes we grew up in and return to for holidays and the home we make wherever we are. For the present, I'm glad that's DC. As for the future, we'll see.

(I think the operative word in both Agrippa and my statements is "almost.")