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Eclectic Thoughts from a Homeschool Mom » Good, Bad, and the Ugly of Texas Summers

Good, Bad, and the Ugly of Texas Summers

July 11th, 2007

I spent the first 27 yrs. of my life in California. That is a very “interesting” state, California. I won’t go into that now though.

We moved to Texas almost 11 yrs. ago and I am so glad we did. There are many things that I love about Texas, some things I can’t stand. I thought it would be interesting to post what I like/dislike about Texas by season. As it is summer, we can start there.

Great things about Texas in the summer:

-Sunflowers. Most folks in the U.S. don’t realize that summer brings millions of roadside sunflowers. Not the gigantic sunflowers. No, these are the cut-flower sized sunflowers. They bloom everywhere. They grow wild. It is almost as if a “Johnny Sunflower-Seed” had a field day all over the state. No matter how bad my day might be, seeing roadside sunflowers in bloom always makes me smile.

-Barbeque. You just can’t beat Texas barbeque. All you need is a brisket and a smoker. You don’t need any sauce (unless it is from Rudy’s).

-Music. Texas is full of music. Any type you can think of plays here. Austin is said to be the “live music capital of the world”. I think they might have something there.

-Boating. People really do love the lakes and fishing here.

-Patriotism/State Pride. Seems like Texas is its own country at times. Most folks are really proud of their state and country here. Red, white, and blue run in their veins. They are proud to be Texans and Americans. The 4th of July and Memorial Day still mean something. I wish the rest of the country could feel that pride.

-Fireflies, Grackles, Cicadas, Walking Sticks, and Armadillos. Nights are magical with fireflies. Days seem a bit more cheerful when you hear the mating hum of the cicadas. It is always a treat to see a male Grackle do a “look at me” dance for a perspective lady friend. When you can find Walking Sticks, they are amazing. Armadillos? I still think they were born flattened. I have only seen one actually moving in my 10+ yrs. here. So strange.

-Rainstorms & Lightening. They have huge downpours here. When I first witnessed one, I thought of Noah and wondered how long it would take to build a makeshift boat to save ourselves. They call them “frog stranglers” here. Catchy name, don’t you think? Also, the lightening storms are amazing. Our dog hates them, but I LOVE them. Just make sure to not play golf or fall asleep under a tree during one. You knew that though, right?

Bad things about Texas in the Summer:

-Heat. There are days when you wonder when you moved to Hell. On some summer days, it might only be 10 degrees cooler than Hell. I have seen a summer day reach 112 degrees. On that day, my little city was the hottest place in the world. I think they were wearing sweaters in Hell that day.

-Fireants. A gift from the devil, I am sure. They go crazy with building colonies just after a rain. They bite, leave puss filled welts. What a joy. You can add in mosquitos and tree roaches too. Just can’t figure why these things were created. God? Can you fill me in on your plan for these 3? I’m stumped.

-Stereotypes. This isn’t necessarily just for summer. Folks all around the country think that everyone living in Texas wears a cowboy hat, chaps, and rides into town on their trusty Pinto (the horse that is). Sadly, I even thought that when I moved here. That’s really far from the truth. Yes, people wear hats (sometimes), no chaps (unless ranch-hands), and the only people that ride horses on a regular basis live out in the country (and can afford to have them).

-Roadkill. I know this is gross, but have you ever smelled a decaying animal that has baked in the sun? Ewwww! Nothing worse than smelling a squished armadillo, raccoon, or squirrel on a 90 degree day. So gross. Makes you want to pass out when you are jogging/walking.

– Big. Seems that Texas has a reputation for “BIG”. Big cars, big ranches, big hats. They forget to mention big portions. Texans love their food. After coming from California (where a carrot stick and a bite of chicken on a fancy white plate is a complete course), I was extremely surprised by portion sizes in Texas. When you order a meal, think the words “I am eating for two”, because you will be. Granted, you DO get your money’s worth. You also get several hundred calories more than you need. Texas has a weight problem. “Could you halve that chicken-fried steak and box it to go” should be the new state slogan.

Ah, the glorious summer days in Texas.

12 Responses to “Good, Bad, and the Ugly of Texas Summers”

  1. DM Says:

    Umm..OK. I don’t think I can take any more California-bashing. What did we ever do to you? At least we are environmentally conscious, and we don’t give mentally-handicapped and underaged “murderers” the electric chair. Let’s not forget the worst government in the history of the U.S. came from Texas, along with Enron and Haliburton. As for your pluses and minuses for Texas Summers, I think 112 degree weather just about cnacels everything out. When do you enjoy the sunflowers? How fast do you run inside to eat your BBQ? in summary, California trumps Texas by any measure. Thanks for the neat blog, though.

  2. Shan Says:

    At first, I was going to delete this reply. I thought: “Wow! This person is a very angry individual.” Then, I thought I would reply.

    I lived in California for 27 yrs. I am a native Californian. What do I love about California? Well, I love Yosemite, Julian apple season, Santa Isabel bakery, Mira Mar air base, Del Mar fair, picking up starfish on Half Moon Bay beaches, the Pumpkin Festival, cable cars, and Fisherman’s Wharf.

    I lived in the San Francisco area for 7 yrs. before moving away from California. I was a Marketing Director for a property management firm. When the studio apartments that my company were advertising were marked at $1200 a month (and had a waiting list), I knew it was time to move. As my father and friends still lives in California, I hear first hand about new laws and changes.

    What don’t I like about California? For starters, it is all about how much and how big. How much money can I make? How big is my car, my chest, my severance pay, my home? Everything costs a fortune – gasoline, meat, housing, etc. The average family can not live happily and be so financially strapped. How can parents spend time with their children when they are working tons of hours in order to pay for their overpriced cars and home?

    Another thing I noticed when I moved away from California is that people there aren’t themselves. People in other areas of the country will pull over to help a stranded motorist. They will wave to you on a country road – even when they don’t know you. They care for one another. Californians (not all but a great deal) put themselves first. It is about getting ahead. Pass someone in the grocery store and smile. Most people won’t make eye contact.

    Where my father lives in California, they have made smoking against the law in every establishment and even outside of apartments. I am not a smoker, nor do I think it is healthy. I do believe that people have rights and freedoms that are being taken away. The health care issue in California is getting worse. Politicians spend and the state goes more and more in debt.

    As for being environmentally conscious, I find this ironic. How many people that are “going green” purchase “environmentally friendly cars” and dump their old cars? Do they realize that by dumping their old car, they are filling landfills and using up precious resources to build their “environmentally friendly car”? Do they realize that 10 yr. down the line when their “friendly batteries” die that they will be filling the landfills with them? Are these same people sitting in leather seats, wearing leather shoes, writing on paper with their wooden pencil? Something to think about.

    There are many former Californians here in Texas. Many that I have met want a healthier world. Honestly, who isn’t worried about that? Many of us grow our own food, make our own clothing, support only local businesses, teach our children (more than just what will be on tests), drive/maintain old cars, and volunteer with our churches and community.

    No, Texas isn’t perfect. Yes, we do believe in the death penalty. We believe that those that commit crimes such as the murder of Polly Klaas or Adam Walsh need to answer for them. Many believe that getting incarceration shouldn’t mean getting a comfy bed, 3 square meals, your own personal television, and a free college degree. If I had my way, I would bring chain gangs back. Seeing felons cleaning roadways or building highways just might deter thugs from stealing or committing murder. What is the message we are sending out right now? Commit a crime, get a shortened (due to lack of space) stay with a free college degree. Many of us wish we had it so good.

    As for heat, ask those in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico. You get used to it.

    Those that live in California might not know what is outside. It is its own private island. You don’t know what is out on the sea if you are confined to the sand.

  3. DM Says:

    Thanks for the rebuttal.

    No, I am not an angry individual – I just think your generalizations of Californians are unfair, and it’s rediculous. By the way, starting a rebuttal with “you must be angry” is a copout attempt at demeaning an opposition.

    I’ve lived (and born and raised) in San Diego, and I currently live in the Bay Area, so I can relate to your issues. Also, I have relatives in Texas and I lived half of my life in the South. However, your summary of the average Californian is just plain wrong – you’ve only lived in major metropolitan areas. Have you ever been to Bakersfield? or Sacramento? These places, and many others, are just like small towns in the South or Midwest.

    How different is downtown Austin or Dallas from San Diego or San Francisco? Not much. There is extreme greed and extravagance everywhere. Many businesses in Texas have set the world standard for avarice. I’m sure all the oil tycoons are worried about their severances, large homes, and big Cadillacs.

    Smoking SHOULD be outlawed, even in public places. It is killing people and blowing our medical costs sky-high. Yes, there is a line, but it has not been crossed yet. As for other environmental issues, at least we are trying to do something. We are setting high watermarks for smog control, recycling, and other standards. What is Texas, as a state, doing? If Texans are so health conscious, it seems like big business is talking for you.

    As for the death penalty, I see your point. But the system is obviously geared towards the rich and powerful. Only the underprivileged get the death penalty. if you think it is a deterrence, that’s a weak argument. Yes, bring back chain gang, even for white collar crime. As for the “comfy beds”, etc., those are extreme cases. Show me the examples of college degrees for felons.

    I like the heat – I prefer it. Even SF is too cold for me. However, the heat is not why I would never live in Texas. I’m not sure if we are an “island”, but we are the fifth top economy in the WORLD, and deserve more respect. You talk about Texas stereotypes, but you are guilty of spreading California stereotypes.

    Thanks.

  4. Shan Says:

    This was found regarding correctional education in North Carolina from website: http://www.fridaycenter.unc.edu/cp/correctional.htm

    “Since 1974, 203 students in Correctional Education’s on-campus study-release program from Orange Correctional Center have ultimately earned college degrees (158) or certificates (45), including three PhDs and fifteen Master of Arts or Science. Post-college jobs of Correctional Education graduates include city editor for a large newspaper, respiratory therapist, university psychology professor, federal government accountant, computer programmer, archaeologist, business owner, high school teacher/coach, social worker, dental technologist, corporate executive, plant manager, graphic artist, and university applications analyst/programmer.”

    Also refer to:

    The Correctional Education Data Guidebook Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Correctional Education

    http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/may99/prison0599.htm

    http://www.sbctc.ctc.edu/college/e_correctionsed.aspx

    http://www.bsu.edu/distance/correctional/

    http://www.bsu.edu/distance/article/0,,33372–,00.html

    http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9217/community.htm

    http://www.tecweb.org/vault/white/prison4.html

  5. DM Says:

    Sorry you do not feel compelled to finish this discussion. However, I think the summary is this: don’t post abrasive comments on the Internet if you do not expect a response. Thank you.

  6. Shan Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    My husband, friends, and colleagues have read our discussion and feel that you are a person that scours the Internet looking to provoke arguments. I have neither the energy or the inkling to start and argument with you. My time is far more valuable.

    As our Lord and fore fathers have blessed us with the ability to share our opinions, I respect that you have one. However, we will need to agree to disagree.
    Should you find my opinions disagreeable, I suggest that you find another website to bully.

  7. DM Says:

    By the way, again – its funny how you respond to someone with a different opinion as “angry” and a “bully”.

  8. GunTotinBibleThumper Says:

    Where did my gosh darn response go?!?!?! Dang nabbit!

  9. Shan Says:

    DM: If you were someone reading your original response, you would detect some hostility. There was no hostility towards California in my blog (unless you call the term “interesting” hostile). I don’t believe name calling is something someone over 5 yrs. old should do.

    As I said earlier, you have a right to your opinion. That is what makes our world interesting. We can all have our opinions about religion, politics, weather, inflation, etc. Not everyone will agree. Not everyone will disagree. That is what makes it so beautiful.

    To me, someone that relies on name calling is a bully. That is my interpretation. If you find that funny, so be it. I believe this discussion has now ended.

  10. DM Says:

    Please point out where I called you a name. Furthermore, you are saying that prisoners should not be able to get an education? Is that not part of the process of rehabiliation? To me, prison is not just about locking people away.

    As for your hostility towards California, please refer to your previous blog entry: “When did California take over Texas?” – very negative generalistic view of California.

    NOW the discussion can end.

  11. Shan Says:

    LOL……THAT is exactly why I moved from California. Thank you for proving my point. 🙂

  12. DM Says:

    Wow, how shallow.

    Sorry, I had to add that.

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