The Magnolia Cafe in Austin TX

DAY ONE — It’s a trip down memory lane — literally, for my husband at least. We’ve flown down to Austin, TX where he was raised and went to college (Hook ‘em Horns!) for a mini family reunion with his mom and two of his siblings.

Another brother who was supposed to come had to cancel because he’s in the National Guard and at the age of 49, is being shipped to Iraq.

Sure it’s hot (it is July in Texas after all) but the heat isn’t as oppressive as we’d feared. We drive down South Congress, which has any number of hip eateries and shops, and opt for lunch at the very busy Magnolia Café. We figure it must be good if people are waiting 15 minutes for a table and it was — great enchiladas and catfish tacos. Next door, at the café’s gift shop, I buy “Keep Austin Weird” t-shirts for our two daughters who couldn’t join us on this trip.

Next stop: The Barton Creek Resort and Spa. We chose this hotel because we wanted a place where the guys could play golf (there are three courses here), the girls could hit the spa and there would be activities for the little girls — who unfortunately didn’t come because of my brother-in-law’s impending departure for Iraq. We also didn’t want to be too far from downtown Austin so everyone could revisit their favorite old haunts.

The resort doesn’t disappoint. The pool is packed with families; the public areas are decorated with old photographs showing people having fun in Austin a century ago — playing golf, picnicking, swimming. The public areas make me think this is what a big comfortable ranch living room would be like — leather sofas, plenty of books, interesting things to look at every turn.

We meet up with old friends at a restaurant nearby — The Grove Wine Bar — and talk about old times. It’s fun for us to see Austin through my husband’s eyes.