Austin, Texas

I’ve been at my aunt and uncle’s house in Austin, Texas since last Tuesday for the Christmas holiday- it was my fourth trip to Austin, and I like it just as much as ever. The rest of my family was here and it was generally good times. Par for the course was an enormous amount of good food, more than a few hands of bridge, and mostly gorgeous weather.

Christmas lights, ice climbing photos, and 60 degree sunsets. Welcome to my life.

The outstanding artwork of El Anatsui.

Austin is a rad place- you never know what you’ll find here. Family has brought me here, but in my various visits I’ve also found romance, music, and amazing food. It’s a good place to get to know. Finding things to do together with my family can sometimes be a challenge (the 11 of us span ages 11 thru 91), but we did a good job of it this year. Bowling, ice skating, art gallery, bridge, and a really difficult jigsaw puzzle kept folks together nicely.

Me and my grandma.

Obligatory holiday tradition. Enough sugar and butter for 2012.

I also really enjoyed sneaking out for a bike n’ hike carfree adventure with my uncle and brother (not easy from the West Hills of Austin), and enjoyed helping my aunt out with meal planning and shopping. My aunt is already especially rad, and together we brainstormed to revamped some of the family favorite meals into healthier and more sustainable versions. We shopped the local farmers market first, scored other organic ingredients in Whole Foods, and enjoyed plenty of discourse on the impact of our dietary choices.

Epic quinoa salad for 12.

Soren and I, psyched on the bike and hike adventure.

Not a bad holiday in the slightest, but that said there’s also been a lot on my mind that I’ve tried to write about and can’t seem to find the right words. For those of you who know me, and my history with religious organizations, Christmas isn’t always the most relaxing holiday. I won’t address that here, but it wasn’t all lights and wrapping paper. I’m very grateful for the generosity of my family, and for their respect in the differences in our beliefs. Despite a 9 hour layover in Denver today, I can’t wait to get back to Montana. It’s the first time I’ve traveled very far since “moving” to Missoula, and thus this is my first time coming “home” to my newly adopted city. More adventures soon.

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