Last night we spent a quiet evening, re-watching the Star Trek movie re-boot on TNT, alternated with the television show "The Gifted Man". I woke in the pre-dawn and renewed my XM/Sirius satellite subscription, which just expired on my newish car. I do not think it's very well-priced, but I will try it out for at least another year.
This morning I picked up my young friend at 7.20 a.m. so that we could drive to a Big Brothers Big Sisters event. The event was at Northwood University in Cedar Hill, south of Dallas. Cedar Hill is indeed hilly and filled with cedars as well as live oaks and other trees. This part of Dallas County could pass for the borders of the Texas hill country. The morning was rainy.
Northwood University is one of those small non-profit universities on the outskirts of a city of which one is vaguely aware but with which one is not in the least vaguely familiar. Its small campus, tucked away in deep woodlands on a hill, is one of the loveliest places I've seen in Dallas County. We dined on scones so tiny that they could only have been intended for a catered event. Then we signed up for afternoon seminars.
The morning keynote address was by a fellow with a great speaking style. I had feared his ninety minutes would turn unsuitably long, but his humorous speaking style soon put the audience at ease. Then when he let the audience know about his youthful challenges and criminal incidents, he had everyone hooked.
I am normally quite skeptical of those "human dynamics" lectures which aim to get me to hug people with whom I would rather merely shake hands, but this fellow did a good job of keeping things light and non-new-thought-y, while still making his point about leaving one's comfort zone and being open. I like the part when he asked us to imagine we had all the money in the world, and could buy any form of transportation. Then he asked us to seek out others in the meeting room
who favored the same type. Both my friend and I chose bicycles, and soon we found ourselves in a group of four with this taste. The nice woman in our group asked me what kind of bicycle I favored, to which I replied "Peugeot", relying on happy memories of my 20s and the bike of that brand that I owed then (and wish I had kept). She then pronounced Peugeot better than I did, added "a road bike" with a note of having sorted me into a card catalog, and then reeled off an impressively detailed model number preference for a higher-end mountain bike from Cannondale. Perhaps I should have said a vintage Schwinn with playing cards in the spokes.
Another exercise featured mingling in the audience and introducing ourselves using our favorite foods as our names. I rather liked being "cheese enchilada". I also thought the exercise involving singing "you are so beautiful" out loud far less trite in practice than on paper.
We dined on box lunches from the elegant eatery Chick-fil-et, and then settled in for afternoon seminars. The first seminar was a very good one about setting goals and figuring out how to achieve them. The second was one a great videography lesson, including a demonstration of green screen editing, all run by a Baptist minister. The third one for my young friend was a CSI introduction to law enforcement careers, while I attended a focus group on how the organization serves Big Brothers. I was intrigued that though big brothers numerically predominate over big sisters by a decentish majority in general, the focus group attendees were all female but me. Some of those folks had been mentoring for as much as 15 years, while I have only been involved for a goodish bit more than four. It was interesting to learn new things, and to understand other peoples' ideas.
We drove home at 4 p.m. through the heavy rain. We stopped at Entertainment Mart in Plano, which we learned was having a store closing sale. We made it back to my friend's home at 6:02 p.m. My wife had just gotten home from her own day out with friends. Now I am settled in listening to music, and resting my Saturday night away.