Texan in Norwich


It’s the RODEO, y’all!

Since James and I met, he’s been subjected to a lot of stereotypical Texan things. Nearly all of them really. He owns a cowboy hat, been on a working ranch, eaten a ton of TexMex, driven across the whole state to a West Texas ghost town (scene of our yearly family reunions), got married in the Hill Country, and even had the reception in a barn! He owns about 3 “Don’t Mess with Texas” bumper stickers, and 2 “Don’t Mess with Texas Women” bumper stickers. There’s a Texas flag pillow on our couch, a “Welcome Y’all” sign in our hallway, and a thrown horseshoe over our front door. He has tamales for Christmas, drinks from a Texan mug at work, and understands all my family’s slang. But he’s never been to the Alamo, and, before our most recent trip to Texas, a rodeo.

My grandma had the idea that we should take James to the rodeo. I hadn’t been to one since I was small, when I had a cousin who rode bulls, so I didn’t really remember what it was like and agreed that it would be a fun experience for us all. So on a Saturday night we went to Chuy’s in Fort Worth (delicious Mexican food), then popped over to the rodeo!

Chuy's Fort Worth

Now before we even get to the rodeo, let’s talk about Chuy’s. It was a magical experience. The day before we went, I had been given by my doctor a bottle of what I like to call “Magic Pills.” This pill stops, to some extent, my body’s reaction to certain allergies. Similar to how benedryl stops seasonal allergies, when I take this pill it stops my body from creating histimine to combat certain foods it thinks I shouldn’t have. This pill doesn’t help me get over my allergies, and to some extent might be a bit counter-productive in my quest to eventually completely eliminate them, but it does let me cheat every once and a while without the consequences. So at Chuy’s, I REALLY cheated. I ate whatever I wanted. Chips, salsa, creamy jalapeno dip, a strawberry margarita, cheese enchiladas with hatch chili sauce. It was absolutely glorious. Then, feeling oh so stuffed but not at all ill, we made our way to the rodeo.

Cowtown Coliseum

It turned out to be the finals at the Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards, where all the competitors from the past year were trying to win all sorts of cash and prizes. Rodeos give away some great prizes. I have a cousin who won a scholarship, a truck, a horse, and a bunch of saddles from barrel riding in high school. What was at stake though wasn’t really evident in the excitement levels. It was a pretty slow affair. The whole thing was a little boring, if I’m being honest. There were about 5min of set up for about 10 seconds of action, sometimes less, then another 5min for the next competitor to get in place. We saw bull riding (which was scary), calf roping (which made me feel bad for the calves), broncos, and barrel racing.

Cowtown Coliseum

We were there for about three hours, and there was still so many people waiting to compete. I wouldn’t be surprised it if went on until about 3am.

Barrel Racing

Without a doubt my favorite part of the show was the one I wasn’t expecting. Twice while we were there, they called children (first 5-8 year olds, then under 5s) into the arena to chase a calf then a sheep and try to grab a ribbon taped to it. It was hilarious. The first time, with the older kids chasing the calf, was funny because the calf was bigger than the kids and just kept knocking them down and running them over. The second time, with the younger kids, was amazing because some of the kids weren’t concerned with the sheep, and just liked playing in the dirt. It was really good fun.

Calf chasing

Although the actual rodeo was a bit boring, it was a really fun evening. My parents, my grandma, James and I all had a good time, and now James can add “going to the rodeo” to the list of Texan things he’s experienced!


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A (White) Texas Christmas

I’m back in Norwich now playing catch-up now on the Christmas posts… I’m not very good at this, am I?!

On Christmas Eve, my extended family, who all live nearby, came over to have dinner and exchange presents. We do secret santa for the adults, and I had drawn my Uncle Rick. I knitted him an awesome scarf, if I do say so myself. Here he is with it and his silly son, Payson.


I received an amazingly warm coat from my grandma, which has come in really handy in all this snow!

On Christmas Day, we had (gluten free and vegan) pancakes for breakfast, then my sister came over and we exchanged gifts. I am now the proud owner of not one, but TWO animal sweaters (a fox and a panda, thank you very much). We had tamales for lunch, which is a sort of Mexican/Texan and family tradition. Then for only the second time in my life, we had a white Christmas!

Cleo in the snow

Our dog, Cleo, just as it started snowing.

Snow in Grapevine

Christmas Eve is always the party day in my family, so Christmas Day is very relaxed and lazy. We played some board games, watched some movies, and enjoyed being inside during the cozy Christmas snow.

A few days after Christmas, my friends from high school came over and we had our annual Christmas White Elephant Exchange. I know people call this game different things, but this is where everyone brings a cheap/gag/regifted gift and we take turns opening them and stealing them from each other. This year I ended up with Anne Heche’s biography and James got a box of magic tricks. Last year I got some Justin Bieber magnets and a thing you put in your toaster to burn the Virgin Mary into your toast, so this year was an improvement! We’ve been doing this since 2007, our first Christmas in college.

P1020568Not the best picture, but oh well!

The week of Christmas, as you can see, is pretty much the same every year. Pre-Christmas outing with my family, Christmas Eve with my extended family, Christmas Day eating tamales and relaxing with my immediate family, and then a White Elephant Exchange with my high school friends. There’s something very comforting about coming home every year for Christmas and knowing all these events are waiting for me. It’s probably my favorite week of the year.