Friday, September 24, 2010

wiped out

Today was a busy day. I drove the kids to school and then met my students at the train as we were taking a field trip to downtown. Unfortunately, I couldn't ride the train with them because I had an afternoon meeting on the other side of town afterwards. So once they departed on the train, I raced downtown in my car. We got there about the same time, but then I had to find parking- $9!!!!
But we soon met at the cafe we had agreed on, and after getting coffee and soup, which some of the students wanted for breakfast, and waiting for another student whose mom had driven her downtown, we finally set off on our walking tour.
First stop was Thanksgiving Square- a very fitting place to visit with students of varied religions and nationalities, and designed by Philip Johnson. Then we walked by Neiman Marcus' flagship store, and over to the central library. We walked through the library and over to City Hall, designed by I.M. Pei and used in Bladerunner. A Henry Moore sculpture created specifically for Dallas sits in the plaza in front of the building, and to one side is a circular pool with red spherical sculptures that appear to float on the water.
From City Hall we walked over to Pioneer Plaza to see the cattle drive depicted with larger than life statues of cows and the cowboys driving them. The setting of a waterfall and stream, although manmade, is beautiful.
The Dallas convention center stretches pretty much from City Hall, past Pioneer Plaza and a few blocks further north. We walked past the new Omni hotel being built to hold conventioneers, and turned to pass the old Union Station, still in service for Amtrak and DART (local trains). As any walk in Dallas does, this took us past many works of art- mostly sculpture on this end of town. We were also passing by horses and drill teams and clowns, since the State Fair parade was set to head down Main Street in a short while.
With a brief look at the old Red Courthouse, we walked over to Dealey Plaza and I pointed out the place where JFK was shot, and the window he was shot from. I tried dto point out he grassy knoll, but I'm never quite sure where that is.
Then we headed over to our sister college for a bathroom break and then entered the tallest  building in the city -921 feet- to access the tunnels that snake through the downtown area. Between the tunnels and the skywalks, it's easy to get from one end of big D to another without really going outside. Well, technically it should be. For some reason, one part of the tunnel appeared to be closed, so we had to head streetside via the nearest stairway. Unfortunately, it reeked of urine- perhaps from the full take out cup sitting on the stairs. When we got outside, we were right where we wanted to be, so headed down to Main street to get some curbside seats for the parade marking the opening day of the Texas State Fair. By this time we were pretty tired. A band was playing in Pegasus Plaza, where people lined up for Fair food. Soon the parade started, and it was delightful, but luckily not too long as the curb is pretty hard for sitting.
Parade done, we walked back to the train, and I pointed my students in the right direction before grabbing some lunch and collecting my car to go west.
This evening, despite my weary legs, Leila and I went over to the art opening at UTD. I was really struck by the work of two of the artists. When I have the energy to get up and fetch the information, I'll post more on them. Leila headed straight for the snacks, despite having eaten dinner (and having told me today, "I'm glad I broke my habit of snacking.) We ran into the fabulous Kim A, who gave us some tips on authors Leila might enjoy, and later Leila amazed my professor with her wit and intelligence. She rather amazed me, too. And she made me laugh, because she wouldn't stop talking. When one subject finished she'd start on a new one. I  let her continue because he continued to engage with her. He's got a daughter, too, though now grown up.
Home again to a still awake Ali. The kids wanted to watch something, so I put on Mrs. Piggle Wiggle from Hulu, and then to bed- them to sleep, me to work on the computer.

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