Law & Order

Doing Dallas: Fall Into Fall

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. Sunday was the first time in as long as I can remember that it was below 70 degrees for a good majority of the day. Granted, it hovered around 66, but hey – I’ll take what I can get. I still don’t understand how we’re halfway to Halloween and it’s still hotter than blue blazes – in Virginia, we have actual seasons – but maybe that’s why they call Texas, “America’s Oven.” Actually, I’m not aware of anyone calling Texas that, but I’m pretty sure it's a fitting nickname.

Anyway, the dare-I-say chilly temperatures sent me into an autumn craze. I pulled out my sweaters, sent autumn emojis, drank spiced apple cider, and listened to Christmas music. However, this still was not enough. I wanted to go outside and spin around like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. I wanted to jump onto a bale of hay and carve a pumpkin and maybe even hold a gourd. Was there a magical place where I could do all of these things? After conducting a serious Google search, I discovered that yes, there is. Where, you ask? Why, the Dallas Arboretum! I recruited a fellow fall lovin’ friend, donned a pair of boots, and set off on a falltastic adventure.

Pumpkins: A Love Story

#PSL? More like #PTL for pumpkins.

Upon setting foot in the Arboretum, I felt as though I had walked into It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Seriously. Every imaginable harvest vegetable was stacked tastefully around the grounds: rutabagas, pumpkins, white pumpkins, warty pumpkins, squash, zucchini? Enough veggies to keep Rachel Ray busy chopping for weeks.

Gourds galore!

Winding our way down a path, we came across a heavenly sight – a pumpkin patch! This was about to be a dream come true and a childhood fantasy fulfilled. Walking into the patch, Katie doled out to this novice some solid advice in regards to picking the perfect pumpkin: “The right pumpkin will speak to you. Don’t look too hard for it…you’ll just know when you find it.” Was this a pumpkin or a man we were talking about?! Intrigued, I decided to photo-document Katie’s pumpkin hunt. I call the following sequence, “Katie in the Patch: A Love Story.”

pumpkins

Youth Culture Today

Today was apparently “Bring Your Children to the Arboretum Dressed in Halloween-Themed Apparel” Day. Needless to say, the many adorable family photo-shoots happening around the gardens (mostly featuring babies lying on pumpkins) were priceless and had us ogling. As we made our way down the pumpkin-lined paths, we soon encountered a conundrum. In front of us stood the entrance to the Children’s Garden – a special exhibit aimed at young children requiring an extra admission fee. Both of us wanted to continue into the exhibit to see more pumpkins, and, to be honest, in hopes of witnessing more precious photo-ops and maybe even a child dressed as a candy-corn! But, on the other hand, we did not want to come across as “those two grown people in the exhibit without a child” (I mean, that’s how all the Law & Order episodes start, right?)

The older you are, the more appreciative of this flower you’ll be.

A coin-flip led us to the ticket counter, where an attendant looked at me and asked, “How many children do you have, ma’am?” WHAT. Was she insinuating that I was a mother?! I still get carded in bars, and figured my sorority t-shirt and what I’ve always assumed to be a youthful face would be clear giveaways that I am very much without kids. Or, was she wondering why I, a childless 21-year-old, would be interested in entering a garden designed for people a mere third of my age.

“Oh, haha nope – it’s just me!”

“Mmmmhmmm,” she replied, judgment in her tone.

Age doesn't take away your love for lily pad bridges!

Oh gosh – all I wanted to do was see some pumpkins and maybe see a child dressed up in a peas-in-a-pod costume. Was that too much to ask?! Awash in shame, I put on my wristband and continued on into what turned out to be a fantastic exhibit…and might I add, enjoyable for people of all ages. There were water guns and tree houses and giant acorn chairs and artistic renderings of monarch butterflies; basically an outdoor Dave and Buster’s.

Though there is no age limit on fun, the excitement of the whole place quickly wore us out and we soon decided to head home, unable to keep up with the youths of today. On our way out, I happily discovered that there exist pumpkins larger than my head. And larger than a small child, for that matter. Possibly even larger than a baby cow. This discovery really amped up my autumn spirit, and on the way home as we cruised to seasonal tunes and sipped on salted caramel mochas, I insisted that we swing by Whole Foods to pick up some delicious pumpkin seeds. Happy fall, y’all!

Sizeable pumpkins.

Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!

Doing Dallas: Howdy, Partner

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. If there is one thing you should know about me, it is this: I CANNOT DANCE. Seriously. In high school, I came dangerously close to failing my “Beginning Ballet” course because I could not for the life of me do some syncopated running waltz step thing. The teacher took pity on me, though, and attempted to comfort me by announcing to the class, “It’s alright, Chelsea. Rhythm simply eludes you.” Needless to say, anytime I am presented with the opportunity to showcase my lack of rhythmic talent in front of other humans, I sprint in the opposite direction. I have no idea what came over me, then, this past week when I decided to give Texas two-steppin a try.

We came. We danced. We conquered?

It’s a Good Idea to Know What Two-Stepping Is Before Going Two-Stepping

With my lack of dance skills, I really should’ve seen this one coming. I should’ve watched YouTube videos and practiced dancing with a Swiffer for months within the safe confines of my bedroom. Instead, I threw caution to the wind and prayed that by some miraculous act of God I would step out onto the dance floor and be possessed by the ghost of cowgirls past. I mean, how hard could it be to take two steps?

Well, it turns out that two-stepping actually involves taking three steps—two quick and one slow. WHAT?!? It was the syncopated waltz step thing all over again! Standing on the side of the dance floor in full SOS mode, my Californian friend and I did the only thing we could think of to do: Google “How to Two-Step.” Speed-reading through Wiki-How pages as skilled dancers whirled by, we quickly discovered that a written two-step instructional in no way prepares you to actually two-step.

Two-Stepping Is Like Skiing Backwards

The moment of truth came when I was asked to dance. Though I confessed to my boot-wearin, cowboy-hat-sportin partner that I had never two-stepped before, he assured me it would be fine.

“For girls, it’s just like…skiing backwards. Just glide.”

“Oh. Great,” I lied. See, my skiing skills might be the only thing worse than my dancing skills. The one time I went skiing, I couldn’t figure out how to stop and plowed full force into a security officer at the bottom of a hill. Graceful, I know. While visions of this accident flashed in my head, other thoughts plagued me as well. “Is my arm supposed to be over or under his? What did the Wiki-How say again? Why is he stepping on my feet? Will he be able to tell that I have two packs of gummies in my pocket?”**

Feeling self-conscious, I was acutely aware of the fact that watching me dance was like watching a baby giraffe learn how to walk: unbalanced, wobbly, unsure. After taking an awkward, slow-moving lap around the dance floor, the song that seemed to never end finally drew to a close.

“Thanks. That was fun,” I lied again. I mean, I couldn’t just tell the guy that I’d rather stick bamboo shoots under my fingernails than dance publicly.

“Want to go again?”

“I…I have to…pee,” I lied for a third time, before wiggling off into the welcomed shadows of the sidelines.

** Note: The gummies were a snack I’d forgotten to eat on the car ride over.

Jenna with one of the many Jack Daniels statues.

Thank God for Jack Daniels

Having publicly humiliated myself enough for one night, I decided to call it quits on the whole dancing thing. Observing from the sidelines, though, I noticed some interesting things:

—There were no less than five statues of Jack Daniels scattered throughout the establishment. For this, I now rename Cowboys Red River, “Whiskey Mecca.”

—I saw a man get arrested in the parking lot. The cops threw him against the car and handcuffed him behind his back. I can now sleep easy at night knowing Law & Order accurately portrays an arrest.

—Two separate, 50-plus-year-old men attempted to photobomb our Snapchat pictures. For this, I now re-rename Cowboys Red River, “Senior Men’s Mecca.”

—Mechanical bulls are not just things of movies. They actually exist, and people actually ride them.

The night was a real Texan experience, something I can cross off my bucket list. And, though I’m never gonna dance again, should I ever return—I’ve got my eyes set on that mechanical bull.

Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!