Like you, I find people's tales of their vacation to be more boring than watching meat cure, but I get a little antsy if I haven't talked to you in a few days, so I'll keep it manageable with bullet points.
• We're in San Antonio, TX, home of the Alamo, which does not have a basement. We're here visiting Tessa'a mom Sandy, whom many of you know as a source of endless good taste and delight. I'm very lucky with in-laws; I've only got one, and she's great.
• Yesterday we went to the San Antonio Stock & Show Rodeo. We watched the younger girls' barrel competition, and Lucy also became obsessed with roping. Like every other kid there, we bought a bunch of ropes, and she is spending her days roping random things in Sandy's house.
I already Facebooked my snobbery about this particular event, noting that they misspelled both "Thanks" and "Ya'll", but I had to include this bit of older-brother tomfoolery, something I would definitely have done to Sean:
• Much has been made of America's obesity epidemic, particularly in "flyover country", but the crowds at the Stock & Show Rodeo were massive, and oddly IN SHAPE. This was not Disneyland or the DMV; all of us were struck how everyone working with the land - and its animals - stayed remarkably fit. Take that as you may.
• Personally, I could do without much of Southwestern American art; in my book, if you've seen one turquoise belt buckle or one oil painting of a majestic stallion, you've seen 'em all. Likewise with the Hispanic folk art, which has devolved into the fetishization of Frida Kahlo and endless variation of skeletons from Día de los Muertos.
But one shop had just the right mixture of antiques and kooky little tchotchkes to make the ladies take notice. In fact, Lucy tried her first pair of earrings, clip-ons from the 1940s:
• We head over to the lands just north of Houston tomorrow to see more of Tessa's family, but San Antonio has been a wonderful respite yet again. And proof that waiting for BBQ in a parking lot has its own kind of beauty.