Category Archives: Dallas Picks

Happy, But Not Satisfied

This weekend, while escaping to San Antonio for a brief getaway, JB and I consumed our eighth bowl of guacamole in 24 hours as we watched the Texas Rangers clinch their 2nd consecutive World Series bid. I even broke my stringent rule of not sitting on the same side of the table when out to dinner (I hate when couples do that) so JB and I could both be in prime TV-viewing position.

We cheered too loudly in a we-think-we’re-in-a-sports-bar-but-we’re-not type of way during the exhilarating 9-run, 3rd inning. And later, we high-fived from our hotel room (in bed by 10p.m. each night!) as the celebratory pile-on of players and coaches happened on the field about 300 miles to the north of us. I lived vicariously through Facebook updates and pictures of friends in attendance.

But as the longest-tenured Ranger’s Michael Young said, we’re “happy, but not satisfied.”

This year, it’s not enough just to go to the series. This time, we have to win it! We’re favored, we’re expected and anything less won’t be good enough. But anything can happen, so in honor of our World Series run starting on Wednesday, I am re-posting my Why I Love: Baseball post that ran this past March to mark opening day of the 2011 season. Who knew what our season had in store at that moment?! And it’s not over yet.

Go Rangers!!

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Why I Love: Baseball

The state pride!

The noise of the fans!

The Captain!

The awesomeness of the game! (ok, and yes, men in baseball uniforms. Sue me.)


Happy Opening Day people! Beyond the start of baseball season, it’s also a glorious sign that summer is around the corner. My interest in baseball started as a boy-crazy middle schooler who watched the games on TV because I thought the 2nd baseman was cute.  It blossomed into a true love and respect for the sport and it has weathered salary strikes, losing seasons, and just average-looking 2nd basemen. I even kept the stats for my high school varsity team, which is ironic seeing as I dropped a statistics class three times in college before accepting that the psychology minor wasn’t going to happen.

These pictures are from a playoff game last year, but *one day* I will take off work to spend the Rangers home opener at the ballpark. So get up your antlers, do the claw, and brush up on your singing, it’s time to go out to the ballgame. Best of luck to the Rangers (Cliff Lee who?) and to your team of choice.

Unless it’s the Yankees.

Does baseball opening day mean anything to you? Any special memories related to baseball? And if you want to read about other things I love, here is a movie and here is a teen-focused, country cross-over star.

Taylor Made

If you’re not familiar with the Dallas area, we have a football team called the Dallas Cowboys. They play in a 100,00-seat stadium in Arlington, Texas, halfway between Dallas and Ft. Worth. It looks like a spaceship:

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Since it opened last season, it hasn’t exactly been a place for fairy tales. The Cowboys are the Cowboys and even the Super Bowl game was not quite what the DFW area was planning for.

But last night, this oversized sports bar next door to the home of the AL West champions (and counting) Texas Rangers, transformed itself into a place where 55,000 young girls (and their moms… and me… and JB) were able to experience the dreamland theatrics of young love and heartbreak that can only be brought to life by one Taylor Swift!

I have already written about my adoration of this girl. And those who know me well have listened to my countdown to the concert since I purchased the tickets more than 7 months ago. It was only fitting that her show take place after I had spent the previous 24 hours observing the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. On this day, we atone for our sins and are forgiven for our transgressions of the past year. It is important to attend a Taylor Swift concert when you are at your most pure, because as my friend and fellow attendee keenly observed, there is something very Disney about her show and her fans.

Cowboys Stadium has a Giant Screen of Epic Proportions. If I wasn’t such a lazy blogger, I’d look up the dimensions, but trust me, it’s huge.

Portion of the crowd and the Giant Screen.

It takes an amazing set of pores to feel confident enough to have your face on this screen. There’s no make-up that can hide anything. But with her Hollywood-glam looks, including striking eyes and her signature cherry red lipstick, Taylor was always ready for her close-up. We couldn’t help but be distracted by her perfect teeth.

Perfect teeth, meet Giant Screen.

Taylor’s show was full of some of her greatest hits coupled with Broadway-like performances with a chorus of dancers and her high-energy band. If you have seen the movie Valentine’s Day, you probably already know that acting is not one of Taylor’s strengths. She’s a little awkward. But in the context of her concert, when music is the main focus, she could pull it off.

Sure, I had my jaded, I’m-too-old-to-be-here moments. Her constant looks of awe (amplified by the Giant Screen) at all the shrieking and cheering for her by her many fans got a little old for me. I have no doubt she is grateful, but I can’t buy that she is surprised. This isn’t her first rodeo. And floating over the crowd in a Juliet-esque balcony during the final number was perhaps taking the fairytale metaphor a little too far.

But then again, my friends and I did wear homemade matching t-shirts:

Thanks A!

And that’s really what this concert, and all others, are about. Sharing good (whatever that means to you) music with friends. The fiance, who doesn’t listen to any pop music, but misses a big night of college football to join three girls (in aforementioned matching t-shirts) because he knows it’s important to me.

And the moment the house music abruptly stops, the lights go out, and you know the show is about to begin. And so what if you shriek louder than the 11-year-old next to you?

What are some of your best concert memories? I’m sure this concert was the first for a majority of the crowd. What was your first concert? Mine was Lionel Ritchie. Oh yeah.

Coffee Photo Revolution

While catching up on my Google Reader this Labor Day morning, Amber at A Day Without Sushi mentioned she was participating in a Coffee Photo Revolution started at One Sister’s Rant.

As it turns out, I adore coffee. I’m not good at taking photos, but the thought of participating in a revolution on Labor Day is fantastic. The idea was just for coffee lovers like myself to post a photo of their cup of coffee on their blog, link it up with others, and share the joy that so many of us feel from our java.

Coffee makes me happy. It appeals to all my senses — most significantly I love smelling it brew and hearing it poured. And of course, the taste.

Some of the best coffee in Dallas, at Oddfellows in Bishop Arts District

Coffee makes me excited to go to work. I look forward to waking up at my desk (not sure what I am doing during that 30-minute commute) and checking emails while I sip on some Folgers (seriously, I don’t have to be fancy with my coffee).

Representing at work -- Go 'Cats!

Coffee is a reminder of how much JB cares about me. When I stumble downstairs on weekend mornings, I can smell the coffee he brewed for me before he left to play golf. Sure, I could make it for myself, but this gesture is always so much easier sweeter.

And coffee is time spent with friends. In high school, we started hanging out at this Starbucks place. And it’s where we went to catch up when we were all home for winter break during our college years. And just today, I enjoyed a relaxing brunch with two great girlfriends as we all injected our beloved caffeine — even if the restaurant had run out of coffee mugs.

We'll drink out of to-go cups -- just BRING US THE COFFEE!

Not surprisingly, we were not the only ones looking forward to a steaming cup of coffee as they caught up with friends, read the paper, recapped the weekend or just enjoyed a day with a high temperature of only the upper 80s. It’s just the sort of thing that calls for a coffee kick.

Mmmm… I’m already looking forward to work tomorrow.

Are you a coffee drinker? If so, do you just enjoy it in a healthy way that people enjoy a beverage or has it taken on a whole new level like me?

Cool Sketch… or Just Sketchy?

Sometimes odd and special things happen on a random Tuesday morning. I was working at Starbucks while my new office was being painted. Typing away at the big group table, my sister and niece surprised me with a brief visit.

Fast-forward about 30 minutes and all patrons are being evacuated for a drainage issue (which is not what you want to hear when it’s YOU coming out of the bathroom). The gentleman who had been sitting across from me stopped me on the way out to give me this sketch.

Beyond being great proof for my boss that I was actually working, the picture captured time with my niece and was beautifully crafted. I was truly touched. Yes, I was caught off guard and thought it to be a little odd, but I also couldn’t stop staring at the drawing my entire ride to work and for the rest of the day.

Excited, I shared the sketch with my friends on Facebook, where it received 20 “likes” and 33 comments. (Not like I care.) (I hardly ever notice or judge my self-worth by things like that.) (I’m just saying that’s close to “It’s a girl!” level of responses.) The comments were divisive — between the “how cool and special” variety and the “creepy and weird.” Finally, a friend wrote this comment:

I don’t think it is creepy at all. People are so hyper sensitive these days instead of just seeing it for what it is.

I understand that because of my niece’s presence, the potential creep factor increases, but I can honestly say I felt nothing but goodwill from this stranger. You could tell he truly enjoyed sketching and the “reveal” to the unsuspecting muse (Too much? I know, but I’ve always wanted to be a muse, humor me).

Through the Facebook comments, I also learned that this artist, Geoffrey Williams, has been spotted at Starbucks many times and even sketched one of my friends before. This prompted me to Google him. I found another blog post from 2008, where the blogger wrote about how this stranger surprised her family with a sketch of them eating dinner. She didn’t seem to mind at all. And from her bio on her blog, she was also fighting Stage IV small cell lung cancer. I can imagine when living that battle, you don’t worry too much about randomness or creepiness. It’s just another unexpected moment in life that should be cherished.

So it begs the question — are we too sensitive? Have we become so cynical that an act of kindness from a stranger immediately evokes “run for your life” responses? I hope not. Because as I have seen these past couple of weeks, it is sometimes strangers who are there when you most need it. More on that below…

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Switching gears, most of you have probably read about (or perhaps even have a personal connection to) the Berry family of Houston. If you are not familiar, the parents, Joshua and Robin, were tragically killed in a head-on car accident coming back from vacation. The three children were also in the car and the two boys (9- and 8-years-old) are paralyzed from the waist down with spinal cord injuries. Their 6-year-old sister was also injured, though not as seriously.

The struggle of these children as they face a long road of rehabilitation both physically and emotionally has inspired Texans (and beyond) to act. Communities are rallying to raise funds to support the children and their family and friends who will be caring for them.

You can help too! If you’d like to read more about this family, please visit the Facebook page that has been set up to keep everyone updated and to promote fundraising activities. There is a link to donate, and if you are in Dallas, next Sunday, July 24, there will be two bake sales taking place.  It’s a small way to make a big difference in the lives of these children and their family.

Cause Confusion

I’ve never had a problem with heights, so it doesn’t bother me to climb up and perch atop a soapbox from time to time (when appropriate of course). I have strong opinions on certain issues and I try to stay up-to-date on those topics. I vote in national and local elections.

But every now and then I feel the need for more — a get-fired-up-and-go-back-to-grad-school-for-a-public-policy-degree kind of urgency. It’s not necessarily the P word, just a worthy fight. But I’m sometimes conflicted as to where my energy is directed, as highlighted by last week’s events.

I was psyched to attend a Q&A session early in the week with former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Geoffrey Canada, the CEO of Harlem’s Children Zone, which was featured prominently in the education documentary Waiting for Superman. They were on campus at the university where I work, and before their formal evening lecture, they participated in a student forum where both college students and local high schoolers can ask questions. I was moved by how impassioned the students were, and I was basically fist pumping as Secretary Spellings and Mr. Canada answered with some sad truths and realities about our school system.

So, I thought to myself, I must fight for education!

Later in the week, the university was screening Waiting for Superman. I surprisingly have not seen it and I was ready to be inspired and to likely sob like an infant. I was in full-force rally mode…. until.

Until I received an invitation to attend opening night of the Dallas International Film Festival hosted by the Dallas Film Society. Have I mentioned that I also really love the arts?? And I can always Netflix the movie. Besides, I shouldn’t cry in front of students who I could very well be meeting with the next day. It’s awkward. So I slipped on a cocktail dress and off to the festival I went!

I listened to speeches about the importance of a local arts community (which I agree with), dazzled in the Dallas pomp, and stood next to Whoopi Goldberg.

And as I listened, I thought to myself, I must fight for local artists!

Feeling satisfied in my current cause, I contentedly settled in to watch the opening night screening film: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey. As you may deduct, it is a documentary about the career of Kevin Clash, the man behind the red, furry phenomenon. It’s an interesting tale of anonymity despite “being” one of the most recognized characters in the world.

But what really touched me were all the scenes of Elmo and the other Sesame Street characters visiting schools, hospitals and Make A Wish children. The kids and their families were so excited to see these beloved puppets “in the flesh.” The show’s far-reaching impact is personal as well as educational.

So as I wiped away tears, I reasoned to myself, I must fight for public broadcasting!

I don’t like to be flakey and jump on bandwagons. And I know I’ve always been drawn to education and the arts. But last week left me trying to answer the question: Am I overly compassionate or just easily swayed?

I’ll probably never know for sure. And for that, I’ve chosen to blame Elmo.

How do you support the causes that are important to you?

Why I Love: Baseball

The state pride!

The noise of the fans!

The Captain!

The awesomeness of the game! (ok, and yes, men in baseball uniforms. Sue me.)


Happy Opening Day people! Beyond the start of baseball season, it’s also a glorious sign that summer is around the corner. My interest in baseball started as a boy-crazy middle schooler who watched the games on TV because I thought the 2nd baseman was cute.  It blossomed into a true love and respect for the sport and it has weathered salary strikes, losing seasons, and just average-looking 2nd basemen. I even kept the stats for my high school varsity team, which is ironic seeing as I dropped a statistics class three times in college before accepting that the psychology minor wasn’t going to happen.

These pictures are from a playoff game last year, but *one day* I will take off work to spend the Rangers home opener at the ballpark. So get up your antlers, do the claw, and brush up on your singing, it’s time to go out to the ballgame. Best of luck to the Rangers (Cliff Lee who?) and to your team of choice.

Unless it’s the Yankees.

Does baseball opening day mean anything to you? Any special memories related to baseball? And if you want to read about other things I love, here is a movie and and here is a teen-focused, country cross-over star.

My Perfect Sunday

I wrote about Blue Monday earlier this week, but I’ve been prompted to move to Sunday. One of the Daily Post topics this week asked readers to describe their idea for a perfect Sunday. I like thinking about perfect days, so here it goes.

Naturally, it would begin with brunch. A wondrous meal because it does not involve getting out of bed early like its more ambitious sibling, breakfast. And on a perfect Sunday, I would definitely not use an alarm clock. Also since it’s perfect, I’m in Austin. Or at least they have opened a Kerbey Lane in Dallas.

Following brunch, I spend the afternoon at a coffee shop reading my book, clearing out the Google Reader and blogging.

After the coffee shop and possibly some loafing on the couch with the past week’s DVR lineup, I meet up with the family for our regular Sunday night dinners. I use the word “dinner” loosely seeing as we eat at about 5 p.m. due to young children and old(er) grandparents with a bedtime.

This is not my family. We're not quite so L.L. Bean.

Finally, I head home and JB comes over. Because I’m already starving again and because it’s a perfect Sunday, we have one last adventure before the work week commences — frozen yogurt. Our strategy: sample all the sugary delicious flavors, but only load your cup up with the no sugar added kinds. I can usually refrain from the candy toppings and stick to granola and yogurt chips. A perfect way to wind down!

And so it ends, my perfect Sunday. But the good news? This isn’t a fantasy day, this is my normal Sunday! There are exceptions of course. At least a couple of Sundays per month, I am showering a friend for a bridal or baby milestone. And this Sunday, for example, I will be taking my nephew to Chuck E. Cheese’s for his birthday. *Waiting for panic attack to pass* Ok, I’m back.

But for the most part, ensuring there is some part of “perfect” in the Sunday is essential for starting the week off balanced and refreshed.

So the obvious question to you — what makes your Sunday perfect? And perhaps the not as obvious — how do you NOT lose a child at Chuck E. Cheese’s?