My *firsts* in Dallas continued this weekend. On Friday night I ventured to Arlington and attended my very first Texas Rangers game. The weather had been threatening showers and storms all week, but magically there was a beautiful window of weather that opened up for the game. It was a company sponsored event, and my ticket included all you can eat nachos, hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn and soft drinks. I’ve been to a major league baseball game, but this was my first time to do it in Texas. Detroit tied up the game in the final inning, and there was an exciting finish to the game and the Rangers won. I got a kick out of the fireworks afterward, and filed another memory in my Texas book of firsts.
Saturday was Sandwiches for Soupmobile day. While making a trip to the store to pick up my donation of bread, meat, cheese and sandwich bags I received a text message from Julie. Julie is new to Texas as well, and she’s been joining me for the sandwich group. She asked if I was up for dollar days at the racetrack. Sure, I didn’t have any plans, why not?
I’ve been to the dog track a time or two, but have never been to the racetrack to see horses race. Everything was a dollar, admission, hot dogs, beer and popcorn. The place was packed and there were long lines to make bets. We finally started using the electronic betting machines. The lines moved much faster. Our race picks seemed to win the races we did not bet on, and for the day I only had one winner. I loved the name of the horse *Shesacougar*. I took the wussy bet, and picked her to show, and of course she won. My winnings $4.80. I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon to bet on the ponies. The weather was perfect, the company was fun, it was a great afternoon, and probably cheaper than movies and popcorn for fun. I heard people complaining about the lines, saying that dollar days was a terrible day to go to the races. I just enjoyed the moment, and the people watching was priceless.
After the races we decided to have dinner at an Argentinian restaurant. The restaurant, La Carreta, was brand new and reminded me of a house with a patio on the front for dining. We were greeted at the door by a young girl of about 10, she was delightful, and kept our drink glasses filled. Julie & Blake shared a pizza, I opted for the Caprese salad, a very refreshing warm weather type dish. All three of us ordered empanadas. I decided that the blue cheese and ham was just too hard to pass by. I’ve never had an empanada before, but this one was pure heaven. The crust was light and flaky, the balance of cheese and ham inside was wonderful. It was a the perfect end to a great day.
Sunday, was another beautiful day in Texas. I had made plans in my head the night before to do a little spring cleaning, to open up the windows and rearrange furniture. Oh, my plans were grandiose to be sure. Then my friend Critt asked me how the azaleas were this year in Texas? I took that as my nudge from the Universe to head to the Dallas Arboretum to enjoy the weather, and the flowers–especially the azaleas. I made a trip to the arboretum last year on Halloween. The place was packed, and I thought it was because of the Halloween event. Today the parking lot was just as full, and the arboretum was filled with families, couples hand in hand, and people like me with camera in hand taking photos.
It’s funny how out of the blue emotions can sneak up on you. One minute I was walking through the garden taking photos, and in another moment I had a wave of emotion that was so strong I started to cry. It may have been a combination of the amazing flowers, the scent of all of those blooms, I’m not sure, but I was reminded of my mom. She loved flowers, and no matter where she lived, always surrounded herself with a variety of blooming plants and bird feeders. She would have loved the gardens at the arboretum. More than once I buried my face in a bunch of flowers and just took a deep breath today, trying to take it all in, to press the scent into my memories.
I took time to walk through the gardens, and to be in the moment. I stopped on a bench and just took in all that was happening around me. I know that sooner rather than later, the Texas heat will arrive, but days like today, they are meant to be savored, not spent inside of an apartment cleaning and organizing.
I’ve always believed that I have two guardian angels, my mom, and my friend Maria. Both of them loved flowers and I am sure that they were with me enjoying the day today.
I made a stop at the Farmers Market on the way home and bought new potatoes, fresh green beans, garlic and some apples for the week. I decided to bake some chicken breasts and I diced up some onions, used some of the garlic and added the chicken stock and some white wine. Paired with the new potatoes for dinner it was yummy.
The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion
If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. ~Terri Guillemets