Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Requiem for a Ficus

Saturday morning I caught the 7:25 a.m. train from Parker Road Station in Plano to downtown Dallas.too The train arrived at West End Station at 8:11. I walked over to the Dallas County courthouse. After passing through security, I took the elevator to the second floor.

I was at the courthouse to judge another round of the county high school mock trial competition. As before, I judged a single trial between two high schools designated only by letter designations. Each side did an opening statement, a closing argument, three direct witnesses and three cross-examination witnesses. I sat in the jury box with two other attorneys grading the performances. Another attorney served as presiding judge.

Two weeks ago I judged the first round. That is relatively easy work, as the kids, though all putting in a good effort, are pretty disparate in their skills in the early rounds. This semi-final round was different. The teams were nearly exactly evenly-matched. The contest came down to which team made the fewest mistakes.

These kids were great, and on my scorecard only an error by one witness and another error by a prosecutor, both minor and yet both deviations from the performance,made the difference. My judge panel voted 2 to 1 for the defense to win, but all of us felt all the kids did great and all were very skilled. I was back at the train stop by 11:45ish a.m.

I hopped on an Orange Line train north to get out of the cold, though on Saturdays this line does not run far enough north. I got off at Cityplace, an enclosed train stop under a building. I thought I'd explore whether I might get lunch nearby. As I climbed the steps upward, though, I saw a few people sleeping on the steps in a station that is largely dormant on the weekend.

They were not particularly"scary", and each left room to easily get by, but I did not want to wake anyone. So I headed back and caught a Red Line train. I decided not to tell the guard to go wake the sleepers, though I thought the sleeping spots non-ideal for commuters. I might have acted differently on a busier day. The stairway was so warm, I could not blame them. One young woman stays in my mind, with her little pack or bag and her laptop case. People face such challenges.

As the train came into Richardson, I saw a BBQ place I've been meaning to try was just across a fence from a station. I got off to try to get some BBQ turkey. Unfortunately, there did not seem to be a way to get from A to B on foot. I walked instead to Plants and Planters, and toured their lovely indoor plant collection. This emporium knows how to take care of cool indoor plants. I liked a
rattlesnake plant and a slightly less usual sansiviera. I resolved to return for a new plant someday soon.

My train ride to Parker Road station arrived in good order. I drove to Williams Chicken, Dallas' best local chain chicken place. I got a chicken breast and wing, from which I removed the extensive breading and skin to make it more weight-watchers-friendly. I watched the store television soccer match as the Tottenham Spurs defeated a team from Middleborough which gave them a good game. My chicken was good. I only ate a bit of the cole slaw, but it was okay.

I took Beatrice for a walk, noting the substantial number of Ring-Necked Ducks in the park pond. I like that our pond gets a variety of Winter ducks, as Summer is pretty much mallard-centric.

I worked for a couple of hours on a work project. Then I went for a dusk walk in
Allen Station Park.

My wife and I tried Lila's Mexican restaurant for dinner. This place is a Mexican/Indian fusion place, so we had chicken tikka fajitas. They were pretty good but I wish I had gotten the green enchiladas instead.

We went to sleep early. I got up at dawn and put another hour in on my work project,before passing my suggested changes back to the person who did the lion's share of the work.

I walked on the Chisholm Trail before my 9:30 a.m. Weight Watchers meeting. I saw lots of birds, but a Cooper's Hawk caught my eye in particular. At Weight Watchers, I was up 3.2 pounds. I knew I would be up, due to some sumptuous meals in Austin coupled with a huge fruit intake. So I was not upset. My weight ping- pongs around a bit, but overall stays in the right range which is, I suppose, why I go to Weight Watchers. I walked in Shawnee Park in Plano for 20 minutes before church. The last of the chilly, hazy morning was starting to dissipate.

I enjoyed church this morning, and then went for three soft tacos at Casa Taco.
I walked in Allen Station Park, and then came home and walked Beatrice. After the chill wind of yesterday, today is sunny and beautiful and a bit warmish. Bea stopped a time or two to luxuriate in the shade.

Sadly, the hard freeze killed out our huge outdoor ficus tree. We should have brought it indoors, of course, as ficus is not really an outdoor plant here. Last year it made it through in good order, but last year our freezes were not so hard. I feel badly that I did not insist on bringing it in, though its sheer size made that a bit daunting. We got the plant out of its huge pot, so that we can re-use the pot this Spring.

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