Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m., my niece and I set out. We first went to Market Street and each had a bowl of hot oatmeal with brown sugar. Then we drove to the Brockdale-Park-adjacent trailhead of Trinity Trail. We walked for 70 minutes
to Hiker's Point and back. The skies were full of flocks of dove and pigeons.
My niece saw a small tortoise on the trail. We moved it to the side of the trail.
After our walk, we drove the little country roads near Lucas, exploring. We turned down one dead end street which ended just where a miniature horse was standing in a pasture. My niece loves horses and even owns one. She explained to me how miniature horses came to be.
We picked up my wife at home in the mid-morning, and we all drove my niece to the Allen Wakeboard Park. This is a park in which wakeboarders are pulled around a course via overhead cables. My niece had wakeboarded from a boat before, but never from a cable. She tried 4 times, but could not get up, instead, as she put it, "faceplanted" each time. The lines to wakeboard were long, meaning my niece got only 4 tries in a bit over an hour. Next time,I will pay extra to get her private lessons until she gets the hang of it. We met other folks who advised that it sometimes takes a few visits to get up on the wakeboard. My niece is one of those resilient can-do people. She had a great time and did not feel badly about having some learning curve to overcome. The wakeboard park did not have good shady places to sit, so my wife and I got quite hot as we spectated.
For lunch we all went to Elke's Market Cafe, where I had a really good black forest ham sandwich on a hoagie with fresh fruit on the side.Then we headed
to Color Me Mine, a pottery painting place in Frisco, one town over. This continued a tradition with my niece, as she has visited such places on at least 3 visits. She is very artistically gifted. Her sketchbook is filled with realistic figures and impressive calligraphy.
Color Me Mine charges a small table fee and a small price per piece of porcelain.
Paints and a place to create are included, as well as firing of the resulting porcelain. The heat outside was epic, and we found it very relaxing to paint in a cool setting around a little circular table. My niece created a pencil cup with a drawing of a creature that bore a bit of a resemblance to a bear or an ewok from Star Wars. My wife made this really cool set of geometric abstract designs on a little bowl. I chose a serving plate, and, as is my wont, giving my limited skills, painted a simple flower.Analog painting differs from digital painting. In analog painting, you have to actually paint the sky instead of just using the fill icon to fill in the blue.
We left our pieces to be fired. Experience shows that the firing subtly alters the fired porcelain, so it will be fun to see all three.
We stopped at Aaron Brothers art store and allowed my niece to get a little paintable figure, about the size of a chia pet. We then went to Cheesecake Factory for a very early dinner. We arrived at 4:45 at the one in Allen. I had two initial trepidations about Cheesecake Factory.
One was that it would be too crowded. Popular chain places in our very-young-family-oriented area fill up on Saturdays. The second concern was that the portions would be huge and hugely unhealthy. Fortunately, our early arrival meant no crowd. By the time we left at 5:30, folks were crowding in. Also,they have a new skinnylicious menu with low-calorie meals. I had something called a skinnylicious chicken enchilada, which was really a bit more like tamale pie with no tamale case. It came with an interesting salad with a sweet Asian dressing, cabbage and sweet pickles. The portion was moderate.I wish they had had a nutritious information chart, as all they offered was calories, and not the protein, fat and the like I needed to run a Weight Watchers points calculation. Still, the food was good and the service well done. We all enjoyed the meal.
Then we all went to see the movie "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones". I had not read this young adult series with supernatural overtones. The movie was, in a word, great. The story was dense with texture but easy to follow. Genesis' Phil Collins' daughter Lily Collins was perfect in the lead role. The special effects were a bit extravagant but never annoying.The story had a lot of elements in it which reminded me of the writer Charles Williams' work. The movie made me resolve to read the books. This is a great thing about having a 17-year-old niece. She was an avid reader of the books, and thus suggested the film. I am impressed, by the way, with her maturity. She is polite, well-mannered, has a huge vocabulary, kind, artistic, outdoorsy, and she takes herself neither too seriously nor too lightly. We all had a grand time at the movie. Then we got a frozen yogurt at the Velvet Spoon.
We arrived home at 9.30. I got on the couch in our living room, and my wife and niece each took easy chairs. I fell asleep almost instantly, awaking at midnight and properly going to bed. It was a great, busy, fun day.