I'm in a Southern state of mind. What can I say? I just spent an hour front porch sitting* with a blue blood Louisianian. I heard the exclamation "well shoot me dead!"and not as a joke. I wasn't the only one saying goodness. I ate red white and blue velvet cake. Wagon Wheel just came onto my shuffle. Last night I ate my weight in fried chicken. And then to top it all off, a thunderstorm just rolled in. I was defenseless against a Southern livin' ambush of that magnitude. I'll be honest, it doesn't take much to put me over the edge in terms of missing my beloved South. Don't get me wrong, I am fiercely loyal to the Pacific Northwest as essentially everyone at school can attest. I've been known to claim that you "hardly notice" the rain. And that the indie-loving, barefoot, handmade instrument playing, "I-choose-to-live-on-the-street-because-I'm-against-the-man" people are "charming". And that eco-terrorism is "exaggerated", the public school system is "great" and that Portland is hands-down the best city "ON EARTH". I can neither confirm nor deny the fact that I've seen this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1B2_r6Azvg 128293845784 times. Ok I can confirm.

All it takes though is one whiff of pecans and the slightest glimpse of an oak tree and I'm ya'llin like my life depends on it when I'm in Oregon.

Sidenote: I have discovered that I adopt a thick Southern accent whenever I'm presented with a situation in which I don't know how to behave or am uncomfortable in. Read: every time a salesperson speaks to me. Like an accent so bad that people think I'm from out of town. It's moderately embarrassing, but I can't stop it. I don't know where it comes from, I haven't ever even heard someone speak near as bad as it is.

Luckily, there are plenty of things in Portland to distract from my intense nostalgia for my adopted city. First is my father, whom I love dearly and who wears naked girl trucker socks. You might have seen them. They've gone completely viral. Second is my older sister, whom I also love dearly. She's a disgustingly perky morning person but makes up for it by always finding new and fun things to do on marthastewart.com. Third is my younger sister, whom I also love dearly and who has learned that when she screams, I scream. This is distracting in that I'm constantly on the verge of a heart attack. Fourth is my brother, whom I also love dearly but whose age makes him operate on a completely different level than the rest of us, which makes for great tension and creates never-ending opportunities for me to wonder, "Dear God, was I ever like that?" Then I remember that I've blocked out my middle school years totally so the question is pretty much moot. And last but not least, I have my mother, whom I also love dearly and who just showed me martha stewart's dogs' blog. This is real life. And may I point out, like mother like daughter. Martha seems to be a reoccurring theme in the Hobson household, believe it or not.

Mostly we roll as a 6-person wolf pack, coming in and taking over whatever party, service, farmer's market or coffee shop we go to. I get the impression that once we leave, people don't know what hit them. I would like to think that they're overwhelmed by our grace, gratitude, kindness, shiny teeth and good hair, but the jury's still out on that one. Adding to the experience is our extraordinarily large extended family--everyone knows a Hobson, and whether that's good or bad depends entirely on which Hobson you've met. Once I had a friend describe our family, after a run-in in a town a half an hour outside of Milwaukie, as similar to the Mafia. I tell everyone this, and I don't mention that it was only in terms of our omni-presence in the Milwaukie and surrounding areas, not in terms of taking out hits and who's sleeping with the fishes.** I like a little Godfather-inspired fear now and then.

So yes, the South is great. But not great enough to persuade me to leave my band of Roy Orbison loving compatriots. It's nice to be somewhere where everyone knows me as a part of the Hobson sisters, and they know my grandparents are a little sideways, that my Uncle married my Aunt after they met through my little sister, and that my Uncle and Dad look surprisingly and confusingly alike. And not only does Oregon have the upper hand when it comes my family, I will say there is nothing like Oregon geography. More on that later. Also, Oregon has weather that can't really kill you. I mean comparatively, we are golden. I'm just sayin'.

xoxo, Lauren

*Technically, we were in the backyard, but the concept was front porch sitting. We just don't really have front porches. Too much wood for the rain to rot. Or something like that.

**Vinny, but you didn't hear it from me.