Lone Star Junkie

photo-9Most of you know that I have an affinity for anything Texas.  This past week I took my daughter to her freshman orientation at Texas Christian University, where she has chosen to spend the next four years, furthering her education & spreading her wings.  After my mother’s apartment fire, I thought she too could use a break from her daily grind and asked her to tag along with us.  We shared lots of laughter and had a great time.  Although Ryder, (along with everyone else attending) seemed a little uncomfortable the first day, things seemed much more relaxed on the second and the students seemed to be warming up to one another.  It’s a pristine campus with lots of school spirit (Go, Frogs!) & I think once she gets over the inevitable first few weeks of homesickness, she will fit right in and love it. photo-12 I’m also incredibly jealous of the array of gourmet food available to her in their “Market Square”.  They catered our meal the first night there and it was incredible.  Not the stuff the grouchy old ladies in hair nets served us on trays at my alma mater.  I hope she realizes how lucky she is to have the option of pork tenderloin and homemade mashed potatoes that are to die for.  I had hoped to have her do part of the driving while we were there, mainly so she would have some supervised experience driving in the city before it becomes her home.  She informed me on the way down that she couldn’t as she had let her license expire.  She said it casually in a manner that one might say, “Oh, darn!  I let the milk spoil.”  I suppose not getting worked up over things is a good quality but I would have appreciated a little more attention to detail when it comes to her ability to legally operate a motor vehicle.  (This has since been remedied.)  She also found her lost passport so she can travel internationally, drive legally & purchase lottery tickets.  Woo Hoo!

Our first two nights in Ft. Worth we stayed at a Radisson Hotel north of downtown.  It was quaintly situated between a Liq-O-Rama and a donut shop and a hop, skip and a jump from XTC Cabaret, should we get a hankerin’ for some nudity in the early morning hours.  Every other guest at our hotel seemed to be male and one particular guy appeared to hang out by the elevator and peer up from under the brim of his trucker’s cap when people exited.  Creepy. It’s Texas — at least a “howdy, ma’am” would have been nice.  There was one elderly lady who wore giant rings that hinted she might be able to tell my fortune for a small amount of cash.  The morning we checked out, as I was bathing in the tub that constantly drained as it filled, the couple next door got into a heated argument and my mother and I were extremely happy to use express check-out and head to the university for day two of orientation.

After breaking away from TCU with Ryder completing the steps necessary to be an official Horned Frog, we headed for Dallas and our second hotel, the Omni Park West.  What a change from the Radisson!  They spoiled us with service.  Nearly everyone 0n staff had an Arkansas connection and the accommodations could not have been more perfect.  We even had time for Ryder to nap and for me to lie by the beautiful pool before we headed to North Park Center and Maggiano’s Little Italy for dinner.  Well, not Ryder; she never woke up.  Take-out for her!photo-10

IKEA has gotten to be a regular stop on our trips to the Dallas metro area and I have to tell you, this time I was pretty much over it.  I knew what I wanted, got it and we got out.  It’s almost overwhelming and they rarely introduce new things.  Seems like the same stuff every time and the lights for my kitchen I wanted were out of stock AGAIN.  After picking Ryder up at the hotel and checking out, we hit Nordstrom Rack & got some great deals.  After that, we went to “Nordstrom Full-Price”  and Ryder shopped while my mom and I had a wonderful lunch at Bistro N, which is inside the store.  I do love a restaurant inside a department store.  So old school & so few left.  We then drove Ryder to Chipotle to get take-out (are you sensing a theme?) and headed back to Little Rock.  All in all, a good trip with minimal arguing.  The best kind of trip.

This Friday, because I have lost my ever-loving mind, I am going back to Dallas to take 4 teenage girls to see Tim McGraw on his Two Lanes of Freedom Tour.  I even gave up my ticket for a little time to explore the city alone.  I am indeed nuts but love Dallas.  I love it so much, Chuck & I are thinking we will go back for our anniversary in September for numerous reasons.  We had originally planned to go back to the hotel where we honeymooned, The Brazilian Court, in Palm Beach, FL.  However,  the airfare is a bit high when you can only stay for the weekend.  It just seems more logical to go when we can stay a bit longer.  Considering there are many things we would like to do in Dallas without the kiddos & TONS of great restaurants to try, I think we will hole up in a nice hotel there and explore stuff like the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, George W. Bush Presidential Library & possibly catch a Rangers baseball game.  We may just spend some afternoons poolside.  Twenty years is a long time; we have to do something.  We can do a lot for what we would pay in airfare to Florida.  One of our goals this year is to help each other check off items on our respective bucket lists and this would allow us to each have a couple checked off.  So I think Dallas it is.  I can finally introduce Chuck to Smoke’s wonderful brunch!

With Ryder living there as of August 10th, I may get my fill of the lone star state but right now I’m more than eager to explore!

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