Close this search box.

Madrid… NM, not Spain


We drove to Madrid (pronounced Mad-Rid) to see dear friends for Thanksgiving and to take our first long-distance trip in our motor home. We also wanted to decompress from daily life in Austin, Texas, a city that continues to grow by leaps and bounds. 

Madrid is the polar opposite of Austin… of anyplace, really. It’s an off-the-grid artist’s colony, and that’s exactly what we loved about it. The thing I found most challenging–beyond the freezing weather–was the limited cell phone service and no wi-fi connection.

Once I resolved myself to being unplugged, it was kinda wonderful. We enjoyed our friends, completely; met great new people and talked for hours on end, a lot of it about family. It made me think about the difference between family and friends.

In Roger Ebert’s review of my favorite holiday movie, “Home for the Holidays,” he says this difference “is not because we don’t love our families, but because we know them so well…” and they know us so well.

Those of you who’re old enough may remember Rex Harrison’s song in My Fair Lady: “Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man?” What would happen if I changed the lyrics to question, why can’t our families be more like our friends?

Friends are so friendly, good natured and kind.
Better companions you will never find.
Friends are so decent, such regular chaps.
Ready to help you through any mishaps.
Ready to buck you up whenever you are glum.
Why can’t our families be more like our chums?

Some of us are lucky to have our family be our chums, but for those who aren’t, you still have a few weeks to figure out:

1) How to get out of going to see your family for the holidays.
2) How to get out of them coming to see you.
3) How to let go of the past and Be Here Now. Somebody has to do it. Why not you?
4) How to find a way to laugh about your family’s idiosyncrasies.

My New Mexico friend said every time she asks her Mom to bring a green vegetable for dinner, she shows up with green Jell-O and pineapple. It’s easy for me to laugh… It’s not my Mom.

If you find that none of the above works for you, option #5 is to pour a healthy dose of bourbon into your eggnog.


Share this Story

Donna O’Klock spent 35 years in the beauty business, talking, teaching, and learning. These days, she’d “rather write than talk. It’s better that way because I can edit.” She writes two blogs, and, and is the author of  Sick and Tired & Sexy: Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness.

Austin, Texas, has been her home since 1978, but she and her fiancé have downsized and are traveling the country in their RV.

5 thoughts on “Madrid… NM, not Spain”

  1. I’ll never forget a woman I met in Madrid, NM. She was a contrast in extremes: Giant, coal black helmet hair and thick black eyebrows, a mole above her lip the size of a pea and around her neck, a Mexican gold centenario coin rimmed with diamonds. She was hard to miss!

  2. Great suggestions, numbers one and two made me laugh! My big family is adorable, mad, full of love but totally infuriating and most of them don’t really know me that well. Some would say that’s sad but when they live in Australia and I live in London and trying to get them to truly understand me would only make them feel frustrated or maybe even unhappy, I don’t see any harm in turning up, being careful to avoid any controversial subjects and showing only the best of who I am and loving them just as they are. We have a lovely time, I feel loved and I get nourishment from the ones I can be fully myself with. Some families are complicated, others we make complicated by wanting them to understand us when we are vastly different. I AM different from my family – I see that as my blessing, not their curse.

  3. I feel your pain about Austin! I’ve been here since 1975 and it’s a whole different animal from when we arrived! Traffic. And it’s lost it’s innocence. Still a beautiful place, but still sad to see houses and buildings where beautiful terrain once stood in glory.

Comments are closed.


Sign up to our list and we’ll send you our sought-after guide “50 Ways To Change Your Life”
I'm happy you've joined us! If you like what you read, I'd love for you to stay and subscribe to our updates by email. We have a great community of like-minded women, and your presence can only make it stronger.