Eventful Times

Social and political tensions are running high, even for an election year. More than once over the past year I have commented to Luke and Elizabeth that I am grateful to be living where I am. It’s hard to picture riots breaking out in the well-groomed streets of DFW.

The shootings in Dallas felt unreal. I followed the incident online as it unfolded, saw familiar buildings lit up with police lights, heard sniper fire rattle down familiar streets, saw a police officer die on live video, watched the death count rise to five. It felt like a sinister presence had invaded my adopted home.

Since then, I’ve noticed that most of the people I’ve interacted with seem to be making an effort to be extra friendly and kind. I work in customer service, so I come into contact with a lot of people every day, and this has been a definite trend since the shootings. I can’t think of a better response to such a horrible and hate-fueled tragedy. It has made me glad all over again to be living where I am.

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Elizabeth’s post-graduation plans are fairly straightforward: get a job, save up for a car and then relocate to the “left coast.” Texas is a bit too conservative for someone of her youth and temperament. She found a local job pretty quickly, and is now in the saving phase.

Luke left for his summer stint in Anza, and Elizabeth and I soon discovered that he was apparently the only one cooking meals anymore. With him gone we live like slovenly bachelors, scrounging up meals that require minimal preparation and letting the dishes pile up in the sink. It’s been eye-opening.

Elizabeth and I both had Monday off, the first time we’ve shared a day off since she started working. She wanted to check out an art supply place in Fort Worth, and I wanted to check out a Fort Worth deli that I’d heard serves a good pastrami sandwich, so we decided to make a day of it.

The pastrami on rye at Carshon’s Deli turned out to be everything I was hoping for. I will be going back for sure.

While we ate, I realized that Trinity Park lay directly between the deli and the art store, and that Elizabeth had never been there. So we made an impromptu addition to our itinerary and stopped at the park.

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My favorite part of the visit to the park was all of the couples and families and groups of friends we saw out playing Pokemon Go. I’ve never played it myself and probably won’t, just because there’s a limit to my spare time, but anything that gets people out spending time together in the fresh air and sunshine is a good thing in my book.

Speaking of sunshine, it was a hot day and we were catastrophically thirsty by the time we got back to the car. Elizabeth had brought a bottle of acai-pomegranate juice for hydration on our adventures, but we sucked that down in like ten seconds as soon as we got back to the car, and we were still as thirsty as before. We drove over to Asel Art supply, and by lucky coincidence there was a smoothie place a few shops down. I plunked down an impressive $16 for a bottle of orange juice and a green smoothie, and we headed over to the art supply place.

Picking out art supplies cannot be rushed. I found a stool near the register and got comfortable eavesdropping on the pleasant chatter of the two shopkeepers while Elizabeth spent like half an hour comparing the delicate fruity notes and woody undertones or whatever of various shades of colored pencils. When I finished my smoothie I was STILL thirsty, so I asked one of the shopkeepers if there was a drinking fountain or sink in the store where I could refill my cup. He said there wasn’t, but he went into a back room and got me a bottle of water. When I tried to pay for it, he laughed and said it wasn’t for sale. “I mean, it’s not like we’re going to refuse you water,” he said, as if this were a basic tenet of human courtesy. I absolutely love Texans.

Elizabeth finally made her selections and paid for them with her own paycheck money. We did a bit of grocery shopping in Hurst and then called it a day.

These are eventful times we live in, but there is no place I’d rather spend them. Texas suits me just fine.

 

 

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Artwork, environment, Family, food, kids, Life, Weather | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Little Bear Creek Trails, Part II

Eight months after we first discovered the string of parks along Little Bear Creek, we finally made it back to explore the next stretch of trails.

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Parts of McCormick Park are flooded from all the recent rains. Picnic, anyone?

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Most of the parks and trails are clear and dry, though. I’m always freshly impressed by these little pockets of natural beauty tucked in amongst the freeways and housing tracts of the Metroplex.

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Didn’t see any official park signs today. Here’s a sorta-sign to make it a sorta-official addition to the collection:

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I like that this trail system uses underpasses for major road crossings.

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We found a fun jointed balance beam on one of the many playgrounds.

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And I got my very first semi-successful photo of a Texas Cardinal! It’s blurry but squarely in frame, which is the best I’ve managed to accomplish so far with this elusive bird.

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The squirrels weren’t shy at all today.

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This is my favorite trail system in the HEB area so far. Absolutely gorgeous.

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We’ll be back to explore more of it!

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Animals, environment, Family, kids, Life, trees, Weather, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Graduation

Elizabeth’s high school graduation ceremony took place in the Fort Worth Convention Center. Her dad and…uncle-in-law? Not sure how to say that. Anyway, Steve and his sister’s husband, Brent, drove out from Anza for the occasion.

This was my first time inside the Convention Center. It is big.

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The ceiling is a spiderweb of catwalks and gantries. I want to play tag up there!

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I enjoyed the ceremony, but I think the most entertaining part of it was listening to Steve and Brent discussing their strategies for surviving a terrorist attack. DFW is a bit more diverse than Anza.

Getting a photo of Elizabeth receiving her diploma pushed my camera’s zoom to its limits.

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After the ceremony we went next door to the Water Gardens to cool off.

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There was much frolicking among the menfolk.

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Luke was looking rather dashing.

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Congratulations, grown-up girl!

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Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Celebrations, Family, kids, Life, School | Tags: | Leave a comment

Bison, Deer and Wildflowers Along the Trinity

Earlier this week, President Obama signed a law making the American bison our national mammal. We commemorated the occasion by visiting our own little local herd at the Fort Worth Nature Center. I’ve been meaning to check this place out for a while now, and I’m so glad we finally did – it is wonderful. We had some concerns at first that we wouldn’t be able to find the bison in their large enclosure, but eventually we tracked them down.

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It’s wildflower season in Texas, and the vibrant colors are everywhere.

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There are all different kinds of scenery at the park, but I love the forest trails best. I’m a woodland creature at heart.

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I’m always amazed by Luke’s energy on these outings. It’s like taking a greyhound pup to the park and letting him off the leash.

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He always ends up putting in three or four times the mileage that Elizabeth and I do, just from scampering up and down the trails while we catch up.

We got a nice surprise in one of the woodsy areas.

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Pretty!

The Trinity is running high from all the rain we’ve had. Some of the lower trails are underwater.

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We were done exploring and ready to head home when I remembered that it wouldn’t be an official addition to the park collection unless I got a photo of a sign. We were all the way down near Greer Island (is it really an island if you can walk out to it on land?) by then, far from the park entrance, so these will have to do:

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This is easily one of my favorite parks so far, although I should mention that there is an admission fee of $5 per adult. Worth every penny; we will be coming back!

 

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Animals, environment, Family, kids, Life, trees, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Earth Day, Birth Day

Today is Earth Day, and Mahogany’s birthday. In my mind she’s been “eight or nine years old, somewhere around there” for a while now, so today I did the math. This is her TWELFTH birthday. How did THAT happen?

Anyway, we celebrated both occasions with a lovely trail ride. Her pasture buddy, Kokomo, kept her company during the grooming and saddling.

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The weather couldn’t have been nicer. Everything was either brilliant green or in bloom, and the blue sky was dotted with puffy white clouds playing peekaboo with the sun.

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Almost everyone we passed, humans and animals, gave us a friendly greeting.

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The backroads have their summery scenic beauty back after a long, drab winter. I am so glad spring is here. I am just not a winter person at all.

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Back at the stable, we said hello to the newest addition to the family. She’s one week old today.

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And back to the herd!

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Categories: Animals, Birthdays, environment, Horses, Life, trail rides, trees, Weather | Leave a comment

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