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May 13, 2010

For a while now, I’ve been talking about Central Texas in general, and Austin in specific. This is mainly because I’ve moved here. I haven’t really admitted that out loud to myself, much less to the entire internet, but there you go. We are moving. We have moved. I’m not sure why it took me so long to put that out there, but I know this, I’m not very good at goodbyes. And I must say, just typing that right now brings up complex emotions.

It’s hard to describe.

But I’ll attempt. Last Fall, my mom started talking to me about my great grandmother’s house, which was in need of someone to move into it and love it. I volunteered. Kinda. I think I said, well, um, okay, then, maybe, or, I guess, possibly… IF we can find a school for Harry and work out about a thousand other details.

Honestly, I never thought we’d get past the “find a school” part. Because, as I’ve come to learn, schools are hard to find. But then, thanks to Twitter (Thanks, Twitter.), we found one. And that’s completely another story, a longish one in the list of longer ones that all lead back to this house, in a tiny town, just a little bit south of Austin.

It’s very different from the city.

There’s a lot of open land to find things. And to dirty up your boots.

There are barns.

Several of them.

And a chicken coop. For reals, y’all.

No chickens yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

And then there are projects.

Lots of projects.

Don’t even get me started on the projects.

This morning I woke up to a giant tree that had fallen into a barn and a fence.

In the city, I rarely woke up to a giant tree falling on a barn and a fence.

But I also didn’t wake up and have breakfast on the front porch.It’s really different from my life in the city. So different that I haven’t really wrapped my brain around this, because I guess, in all honesty, it doesn’t yet feel like my life.

It’s slower. Quieter. Roomier.


It’s almost like I’ve taken a few months off and rented a summer vacation life somewhere.

And then there’s this duck that mysteriously and randomly appears high up in the pecan trees.

I’m not sure what he symbolizes, but I like him.

The truth is, I don’t really know what to think about it all. And when I do think about it, I don’t exactly know any more why we picked up everything and migrated three hours north to a very different life, a very non-city life in the Austinish country, and the not knowing is sorta strange. There’s a lot to figure out. And I plan to blog about this new space a lot, as I attempt to adapt to the new home.

As one of my friends in Houston said, “It’s like that house is drawing you into it. You just need to go.” And that sounds exactly right…it also sounds waaay more Exorcist than it feels. But yes, that.


Soundtrack: Homesick, Kings of Convenience.

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  • Reply Imelda May 13, 2010 at 9:50 am

    When moving into a space of fear, breathe & go inside. Then ask, I wonder what wants to happen next?

  • Reply Julie @ The Mom Slant May 13, 2010 at 9:52 am

    “It’s almost like I’ve taken a few months off and rented a summer vacation life somewhere.”

    It’s been five years since we moved from NY/NJ to Colorado, but reading this post and that line in particular brought me right back to our new beginnings out here.

    It will become home.

  • Laura Harrison Mayes
    Reply laura May 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Imelda, I think I’m going to paint that on a canvas and put that on my wall. I’m not even kidding.

  • Reply zan May 13, 2010 at 9:55 am

    I am totally and completely envious of your breakfasts on the porch. Anyway, home, for some, is never a certain thing, but the ability to see the things you love in a place is what makes it HOME.

  • Reply Brené May 13, 2010 at 10:00 am

    we miss you, but i’m totally jealous. i cant wait to play in that barn!

  • Reply Fayza May 13, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I have so many thoughts about this post, but not the wherewithal to put them all into words. Well, not words on the Internet anyway; a few things about which I’ve been ruminating. So I’ll summarize and say that I’m glad you wrote this the way you did, and I’m looking forward to you finding your way (as you always do). I’ll be along for the ride.

  • Reply Amy --- Just A Titch May 13, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I look at that house/barn/yard and see so much possibility. Also, I love those front porch chairs!

  • Reply Tracy M. May 13, 2010 at 11:08 am

    That’s a Black-bellied Whistling duck! They’re way cute and they like to hang out in trees. You’ll like having him and his friends around.

    I think your new space is just glorious and I can’t wait to see what you guys do with it! Congrats 🙂

  • Laura Harrison Mayes
    Reply laura May 13, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Julie, thank you. Zan, totally. Brene, bring it. Fayza, awesome. Amy, I’m open to ideas. Tracy, I have no idea how you know how to spot Black-bellied Whistling ducks, but that’s fantastic.

  • Reply Sarah aka MainlineMom May 13, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I’ve been wondering. I’ve been asking everybody I know! Maggie tried to explain it to me 🙂 We miss you, but frankly it sounds quite glorious…in a countrified way. I have mixed feelings about someday moving out…way out. My relaxed nature thinks it would be great, but I am not so good at the projects part. I think having the internet makes me much more likely to actually do it. I certainly will be following your journey closely.

    Imelda that is an amazing comment.

  • Reply EdT. May 13, 2010 at 11:29 am


    H-Town’s loss is Austin’s gain. And, it seems H-Town is losing a lot: you, Continental Airlines, The Bloggess… *snif*

    Anyway, have fun out there, and maybe the next time I am in the area we can get a cup of coffee. And a cupcake. And, of course, a bowl of chips. And queso.


  • Reply Helen Jane May 13, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I’m so excited to hear about your discoveries.
    (Says the lady who moved 2 months ago and is still unpacking.)

  • Reply Emily Sanderson Whitaker May 13, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I cannot tell you how envious a huge part of me is! I completely understand the struggle between city vs. country – does everyone feel that? Maybe not. I look forward to living vicariously through you. Have you ever gone to http://www.thepioneerwoman.com? You may enjoy it!

  • Reply Barchbo May 19, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Hi. I live in Austin. Maybe we could get together? You sound like a nice person.
    I like ducks, fallen trees, and The Exorcist, too! (Or, maybe I read that wrong.)

    Call me!

  • Reply Maggie Mason May 21, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    You have a black-bellied whistling duck in your tree. That’s a thing that’s happening in your yard right now.

  • Reply Jyl Johnson Pattee May 22, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Ohhhhh! I can’t wait to have breakfast on your front porch and check out all the stuff in the barn. Did I just invite myself over for an informal house warming party. Why yes! Yes I did! How soon can we get started?


  • Reply apathy lounge May 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

    If that is your real front porch (or even your back porch), I’m totally coming to visit.

    –A Fort Worth blogger

  • Laura Harrison Mayes
    Reply laura May 26, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Thanks guys! Totally come for a visit. But wait until we get the electrical sorted out. You know.

  • Reply Noelle May 28, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I’m not affiliated with Austin Mamas, but I LOVE this group. 2,000 women who talk about all things mama in Austin. You would fit right in!



  • Reply UpsideUp May 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Of course there’s a duck in your tree.

  • Reply Marta May 29, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Oh, I know how you feel, we just move from Boston, Ma, to Morgantown, WV. (I said “just move” but it will be a year soon) we have a lot open land, barns, and trees too! I ‘m also very thankful we have a lot or projects in our new house, other wise I will go crazy… I’m still trying to get used to it. I have good friends in Boston and I also have found a couple around here, so I’m thankful because of that. but now, I should say, I was, I’m and I will be a city girl! even now, that I start to enjoy living in a very small town…

  • Reply Petit Elefant May 29, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    You had me at barn. No, chicken coop. No, wait, projects.

    I need to move to the country.

  • Reply Carmen May 31, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Hi! I would like to have the opportunity to move from the city to the country. Nowadays we need more “natural” things, healthier life, more silence, more nature…I’ve thought about moving to a place like the one you’re in now, especially because of my daughter (10) and son (2). I would like them to appreciate what life is without the influence of the crazy world that we live in.

    Cheers!! you’re lucky and I’m sure that in a whlie you will feel like home, without missing the chaos of the city!

  • Reply meredith winn June 3, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    wow, i love that red barn!! and breakfast on the front porch sounds divine to me.
    welcome home! austin’s glad to have you 🙂

  • Reply jen.lemen@gmail.com June 30, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    you’re making me want to come to texas now, something i always swear i’ll never do.

  • Reply Uncovering The Path. | Blog con Queso September 14, 2010 at 9:17 am

    […] may remember that last spring, we moved into the house that my great grandmother spent her days in, with the full intention and ambition of loving it back to its glory life of 1925 (but with air […]

  • Reply Jane October 5, 2010 at 2:42 am

    Welcome to Central Texas, Laura. It is a great change of pace from the Houston area. You’ll get used to the lower humidity! Holler if you want a tour of “North-ish” of Austin.

  • Reply joslyn November 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    wow. this place looks AMAZING. what a change…but an awesome one. congrats lady.
    i feel a retreat at your house coming on. just sayin 😉

  • Reply Staygold512 January 30, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Welcome to the Austin area. I’ve been here for almost 6 years and have grown to love it. The 76 degree day were having almost makes up for the harsh summers.

    Check out La Condesa, the owner had a place in Brooklyn that burnt down and reopened in Austin. Pastry chief if from Marlow & Sons so you know it’s for real. Also Habanero cafe for a more local hole in the wall spot.

  • Reply Kelly May 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Oh that porch. I just spent the weekend on my parents’ Virginia porch and coming home to sidewalks made me a little blue. And pecan trees sound like something out of Candyland.

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