Archive for the 'Life in Austin' Category

Golfing after a 30-year hiatus

Golf in Austin

Golf in Austin

This weekend delivered more sunshine-filled days in Austin, which allowed me to accomplish a long-time personal goal of mine: I played a round of golf for the first time in more than 30 years. My husband, young daughter and I grabbed our clubs (yes, I have clubs) and hit the links. Here’s the TOP 10 LESSONS I learned after an afternoon of golfing with my family:

  1. My seven-year-old gives really good golf instructions. (“Mommy, glue down your feet so they don’t move!”)
  2. I have the potential to be a good putter.
  3. My seven-year-old child is a better golfer than I am.
  4. Golf is humbling.
  5. My husband is amazingly patient.
  6. I am not patient.
  7. I really need to apologize to all the worms I possibly beheaded while trying to get the ball from the tee-box to the green.
  8. I need cute golf clothes.
  9. I’m not good at doing things I’m not good at doing.
  10. My daughter and I can have an impromptu dance party anywhere we are!
-LTV Mom
Photo credit: Lakeway Country Club

09-11-11

Remembering 9/11

Remembering 9/11

Today marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The numbers nine and 11 will forever be etched in the minds of people around the world who were old enough to be aware of what happened that tragic day. I’ll never forget my husband walking up to me and simply saying “something has happened.” After hearing those words, my husband and I were glued to the TV, we called everyone we knew in New York, D.C. or possibly on a plane in Boston to check on them. We cried and hugged each other. Stunned.

Ten years later, I still am at a loss for words to express how I feel. I spent time watching the anniversary specials on TV, reading the new articles and shedding more tears. I was not a mother on 09/11, so ten years later, the events mean different things to me. It affects me differently now. Still impactful and still horrific, but different.

I was not sure how to remember the day. Honor the people who died that day, the people who saved lives that day. My husband and I proudly hung the United States flag on our house. We dressed in red, white and blue. We went to church. The flag is an obvious choice. The clothing is just a way to honor our country; we wear patriotic clothes every Fourth of July and today seemed fitting too. Going to church was seeking comfort, reason, inspiration and hope.

Like churches all over the country, my church offered an Act of Remembrance, which helped me find the words I needed. I share those words with you today:

When we remember stockbrokers, office workers, maintenance workers, bystanders, window-washers and all the others who worked together so valiantly to help each other, we can say together,

We remember great courage.

When we recall the firefighteres who rushed upstairs as most of everyone else was racing out, we can say together,

We remember selfless service.

When we recall teh police officers who stiod to protect and defend the people and perforned their duties, we can say together,

We remember selfless sacrifice for the safety of others.

When we recall those citizens who rushed to help, did all they could to helo we can say together,

We remember and give thanks for dutiful commitment to those in distress.

When we recall the thousands of workers, women and men, old and young, single and married, American-born and those born in countries around the word who did not escape the buidlings, we can say together,

We remember the loss of human life.

Please share my thanks and respect to Rev. Dr. John Elford and the University United Methodist Church if Austin, Texas for those words. Read more from Pastor John at his blog, he’s doing his best to Keep Jesus Weird each and every day.

God Bless America, my home sweet home.

- LTV Mom

Photo Credit: SB Nation

365 Days in Austin

My Southern Belle

My Southern Belle

One year ago today, the Libby family rolled into Austin. In the past 12 months, we have had highs and lows as we built our new life in Texas. It was hard to adjust to a new hometown with very few friends, a remote job and shallow roots in the community. As I look back at the evolution of our life, even since I wrote a post at the six-month mark, I can happily report my favorite parts of the past year:

Becoming a Tex-Mex and BBQ expert: The food in Austin is awesome, as evidenced by my impressive flabdomin and muffin top. I have found my favorite fried fish tacoahi and avocado tacofried egg sandwichSunday brunch, and Mexican martini. My mouth waters just typing this post…

Finding an amazing elementary school: One of the reasons for saying “yes” to a work transfer was the public school system in Austin. I am happy to report that our elementary school is excellent, and we are so happy with our daughter’s progress and thankful for her wonderful teachers.

Cheering for the Cyclones: I do have to admit, I love being back in Big 12 Country. We were lucky enough to witness an Iowa State football win at UT… and not-so-lucky to witness an Iowa State slaughter on the UT basketball court. Regardless, this loyal Iowa State grad loved watching my team with fellow alums.

Making some great friends: I’ve said it before, people in Austin are kind and nice and welcoming. We have made some very nice friends… and drank a lot of wine in the process.

Buying a house: We sold our house in California and bought a house in Austin. This helped with the “deepening the roots” process. We have nice neighbors, and even found babysitters and cat-sitters just a few doors down.

Enduring a Texas Summer: Dude. Summer in Austin is hot. H. O. T. We are talking 107 degrees for days on end. Thankfully, we have air conditioning and a neighborhood pool. I hope to forget about August in Austin when it’s March and we are enjoying the 75 degree-weather while we eat dinner outdoors.

Buying my first cowgirl hat: Now, this might be the highlight of my year. My husband organized a bash to celebrate my 40th birthday in February. Many friends (who happen to be some of my favorite people ever!) traveled to Austin to help me celebrate the Big Day. My friends decided I needed boots and a hat, so they took me to Cavendar’s to go shopping. I got a cowgirl hat. I love my hat… and just look at how cute my little girl looks in it!

While we miss our California friends terribly, I’d say life is good.

- LTV Mom

Six Months in Austin, Texas

My new hometown.

My new hometown.

It’s hard to believe I moved Austin, Texas six months ago. There’s been a myriad of ups and downs as my family learned to navigate our new city.  Six months into it, I can proudly say that I am home. I love living here, and just typing that makes me excited, relieved, happy and hopeful.

In honor of this milestone, here are the top ten things I have learned about Austin in six short months:

  1. Austinites are beyond nice: At first, I was worried I wouldn’t fit in and was searching for pockets of sarcasm and attitude. Yeah, I’ve found that… but I just love how people say hello when they meet each other on the sidewalk or offer a friendly wave when driving down the road. It’s refreshing and kind, very much a sense of community.
  2. Food in Austin is delicious: Yeah, I gained about 10 pounds the first three months we lived here. We lived in a small apartment, and most of my cooking gear was still in California, so we ate out a lot. A. Lot. We’re talking Tex-Mex, Comfort Food, BBQ and fried catfish. I stuffed my face with fried fish tacos, chips and queso, smoked brisket and Mexican Margaritas. Mmmmmm. (Note: I’m back on track and lost the added pounds!)
  3. College sports rule: This is one of my favorite differences from the Bay Area. Granted, Austin is Longhorns country… but I proudly wear my Iowa State gear on game-days.   The icing on the cake is access to the ESPN Big 12 channel! (Of course, I must mention that this also is Cowboys country, so my husband is in blue-and-silver Heaven.)
  4. Austinites exercise… a lot: This actually is pretty cool.  A day never goes by when I don’t see someone running, cycling, walking, playing tennis, etc. What’s really cool is that moms and kids often ride their bikes to and from school, which is awesome in my book.
  5. Austin has a more casual dress code than Silicon Valley: Believe it or not, I see more flip flops in Austin than I saw in Silicon Valley. Okay, I’ll beat you to the punch: there are plenty of cowboy boots on the streets too.
  6. There are churches everywhere: Luckily, you see all kinds of denominations around town. It seems to me that most people in Austin are members of a congregation, whether it’s a super-conservative or a surprisingly liberal church.
  7. Austin really is the live music capital of the world: Honestly, I questioned this claim before I moved here. But, live music really the backbone of Austin’s culture and community.  It’s not just on 6th Street either. It’s on 4th street and 2nd Street. It’s on South Congress and it’s in the mall. You find it in a neighborhood church and on a raft floating on Lake Travis 20 miles away from downtown!
  8. Tex-Mex food is awesome: Coming from California, I was accustomed to what Austinite’s refer to as “interior Mexican” and have grown to love the Tex-Mex fare. And, on that note, you don’t eat breakfast burritos here, you eat breakfast tacos. And they are awesome!
  9. It is flipping hot here in the summer: We moved here in August when it was a whopping 105 degrees. We lived on the third floor apartment… no elevator, just lots of sweat. And ice-cold margaritas.
  10. (Most) everything is bigger in Texas: I say this tongue in cheek, but there are things noticeably bigger in Texas: parking spots, grocery stores, number of children in each family, food portions at restaurants, and pick-up trucks. There is just more space to spread your proverbial wings.

If in town to check out my new city, please drop me a line. Thanks, y’all!

- LTV Mom

Photo Credit: The Austin Dude

Wordless Wednesday: My Texas Belles

My girls with their boots and bling!

My girls with their boots and bling!

From Silicon Valley to Silicon Hills

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Well, it’s official. I am an Austinite. For those of you who you did not hear the news from me, I am so sorry. The whole thing happened quickly and quietly for many reasons. Quickly: we wanted to be somewhat settled before The Kid started Kindergarten in late August. Quietly: the entire process has been extremely emotional and stressful, and I really didn’t want/need the added attention. Plus, I hate goodbyes, and these goodbyes were just too hard.

Jon and I lived in California for 16 years, and they have been some of the happiest years of my life. We finally found where we belonged, built great careers, discovered new hobbies, bought a home, brought our daughter into the world, and met amazing friends… no, built a family… in California.

Since I left with unanswered questions, here is a quick Q&A:

Q: What? You moved?! A: Yes. We moved to Austin, Texas this week.

Q: Um, why? A: Job opportunities and closer to family.

Q: Are you leaving Voce? A: Thankfully, I will continue to work for Voce and service my clients from Austin. My colleagues at Voce have been very supportive of this change, and I am so appreciative. I am also beyond thankful that my clients are so supportive, which is a relief and a joy.

Q: Will you be visiting California? A: I will be in the Bay Area once a month for work. This actually is pretty cool because I will return sans family responsibilities, so I will have time for happy hours in Santana Row, dinners out in Palo Alto, and maybe even karaoke with Glennia.

Q: Was it hard to say good-bye? A: Oh yes. Beyond words. The hardest person to hug good-bye was my beautiful goddaughter. Well, I didn’t actually tell her goodbye, I told her good night. I am a chicken.

Q: How have people responded to the news? A: It’s been a mixed bag but mostly positive. Those who have been to Austin are excited or even jealous. Of course the Silicon Valley loyalists think we are crazy.

Q: Do you know anyone in Austin? A: Thankfully, yes. We have friends there; in fact, our first friends in California are now in Austin. Also, my cousin (and possibly my daughter’s favorite person on Earth) lives not too far away in Dallas.

Q: Who had the most surprising reaction? A: My mom-blogger friends. I was touched and humbled by their support, surprise, sadness and (in one case) tears. You have no idea how much you touched my heart. [Note: second runner-up goes to four-year-old Olivia who cried for 30 minutes when she heard the news. I love that kid!]

Q: Can we come visit you? A: Absolutely! Please! We will have a small apartment at first, but hope to be in a house by the time SXSW hits (because apparently we will have a houseful, so make your reservations soon!) Just make sure you give me enough warning so I don’t have to cancel playdates with Sandra Bullock’s kid or postpone my regular bike rides with Lance Armstrong.

Q: Are you going to buy a pickup truck? A: No.

Q: Are you going to wear cowboy boots? A: No.

Q: Are you going to start yelling “Hook ‘em Horns?” A: Hell no.

Q: Will you fly your Iowa State flag on game day? A: Hell yes. Even on Oct. 23 when the Cyclones roll into town for their annual slaughter.

Q: Do you blame UT for ruining the Big 12 conference? Q: Well, I would like to actually make friends here in Austin, so I will quickly move to the next question.

Q: When can we see you? A: You can see me every day on Facebook on Twitter or here on Laptop TV Mom. I will post updates and photos as long as you do the same!

Q: Are you excited? A: Actually, we are excited. Change is good. This much change at one time is stressful, but it can be good. But I will only accept change – and be excited – as long as we can continue friendship with the people we love.

- LTV Mom

Photo Credit: Wikipedia