Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring Break in the Metroplex (DFW)

When you think of Spring break you think: warm blue water, soft sand, palm trees, bikini, and a drink in hand. Not this year. Instead I opted for pecan trees, squirrels, pollen, and humidity in landlocked North Texas to visit my sister and cousin. You may recall from past posts that my sister used to live the rural life in a state park in New Mexico. Well, last summer she made some major life changes and decided to move to Denton, TX to pursue them with her husband and their dog. So of course I had to go visit her new home!
 Denton is a college town, home to two universities, which makes it a young and diverse city. My sister's place is just a couple of blocks away from the University of North Texas, which puts her in very close proximity to some cool events, like the Distinguished Lecture Series and the Fine Arts Series, so she's been able to see badasses Ta-Nehisi Coates and Laverne Cox (and others) speak at the campus. Being so close to the university also gives her easy access to Mean Greens, an all-you-can-eat vegan cafeteria!
Like typical college towns, Denton has many musicians and is gaining notoriety as an up-and-coming location for indie bands. Its music scene especially shines during the 35 Denton (like Austin's SXSW) and the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival (coming up soon), which is why some people refer to Denton as a "mini-Austin" and my sister and I agree; Denton is like Austin was before the yuppies, tech firms, and traffic took over. 
So Denton's cool and all but the highlights for me were just getting to hang out with my sister and do normal, everyday things together, like walking Macy, going to the dog park, washing the car, shopping, watching Netflix, and drinking coffee. Perhaps the most spring-breaky thing I did in Denton was get a massage, the best massage I've ever had in my life (Brandy, I think I love you). 
Denton is part of the DFW Metroplex, meaning it's one of the 13 counties that makes up North Texas, meaning that Dallas and Forth Worth are Denton's neighbors, meaning there are thousands of things to do and places to eat nearby, like the deliciously vegan Spiral Diner in Forth Worth. We met Drew's parents there for an early dinner Tuesday evening and since Caroline and I arrived earlier than everyone we'd polished off an order of Hot Nacho Cheese and Chips before everyone else arrived. For my meal I ordered the Grilled Portobello Quesadilla and it was one of the best quesadillas I've ever had. For dessert I shared a generous slice of strawberry cake with my sister and it, too, was absolutely fantastic (and beautiful). The food at Spiral Diner is so hearty and flavorful that a lot of people don't realize it's vegan because a lot of people assume vegan food tastes like cardboard. The Spiral Diner proves that vegan food is tasty...super tasty!
My sis and I drove down to Dallas, jamming to the TLC station on Pandora, to visit our cousin and her family. They live by a big lake where we hung out and fed the many migrating birds. There were even a few pelicans perched together on a the middle of landlocked Dallas. The closest beach to Dallas is Galveston, which is almost 300 miles away, so those pelicans had no business being at that lake.
While the boys were at school we went to the the Dallas Art Museum where we saw a few exhibitions, notably the one of Japanese artists Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga. Both artists are phenomenal but Shiraga's work is particularly impressive because he paints using his feet. Not in the way you'd think, with a paint brush between his toes, but rather by holding onto a rope that's been suspended from the ceiling and then sliding around a huge canvas which he's generously peppered with globs of paint. His paintings were so textured you could almost rip off a generous chunk of hardened paint.
After refueling with some noodles from a Vietnamese food truck we ran some errands, one of which included going to the Texas grocery store Fiesta to find candy for the kindergarten Easter egg hunt. Fiesta is a Latino grocery store with stores in Houston, Austin, and DFW. When I lived in Austin we were close to a Fiesta so I had a bit of a nostalgic experience with the Dallas Fiesta, hence why I took photos of a supermarket.
The main reason we went to Dallas wasn't for the museums, or the food, or the lake but to spend time with cousin Dora and her kids, whom I hadn't seen for almost three years! Kids their age grow so quickly so in three years they'd changed a lot. Last time I saw them neither was in school and now they're in second grade and kindergarten! Ah! As a primary teacher I know firsthand how much kids grow in just one school year so seeing them after three years was too long and I hope to be able to see them more regularly. They are curious, intelligent, and silly boys so it was fun helping them with homework and hanging out with them in their colorful play room.
So I didn't have the typical Spring Break experience but it was just as great. The only thing missing was Chris, who had to stay home because he got a new job!
 Thanks for reading and happy Friday, hope it's a great one!


Anonymous said...

Excellent post with many nice photos! Amazing how the boys have grown. (Google white pelican and you'll see they have every right to be in that lake.)

Mami said...

I'm so glad you did this trip to see your sister and your cousin "Dowa". I love all the pictures! The three of you together looks like you're sisters! Beautiful sisters!!

Anonymous said...

keep the yuppies out of Denton! Keep the yuppies out of Denton! good post and I wish I could have joined everybody. Just means I have to come along next time. -c

Coot said...

I finally got to read this. Woohoo! Good memories. Man, it flew by so fast! Come baaaack! Someone needs to "meme me" from the picture of me looking at that silver Vienna shelf thingy!