She called to the local mall photo shop, which could take us at 2:30. I put on a suit, she put on a red top and a black pants outfit, and we jaunted off to Frisco, Texas, to the Stonebriar mall.
We arrived at the mall quite early, so we stopped in Macy's for barbecue sandwiches at Sonny Bryan's, long Dallas' best "hole in the wall" place, now turned into a regional chain. The pulled pork was very good and very affordable.
We went to the photo place for our pictures. This store was called the People Photo,
a chain owned by Hallmark cards. Hallmark Cards is a Kansas City endeavor, so that it always "feels like home" in some ways, as my wife hails from the Kansas side of Kansas City. I have been to the Hallmark Museum, and let me assure the reader that cards have been catalogued there.
A charming one year old was being photographed in the front studio of the mall shop when we arrived. He smiled entirely appropriately when the little purple whatever-it-was above the photographer was squeezed, causing said whatsis to emit a whosis kind of pet toy sound. We are fond of children, whom we refer to by the generic sobriquet "pals".
The staff explained the pricing to us, which was quite reasonable. As with most things these days, the best value for what we wished to obtain could be sought by joining a club that cannot be too elite, as it was entirely willing to have us as members. The long explanation by the charming saleswoman was succintly summed up by the young photographer for us "you pay four dollars more, but you get this, that and these that you'll want but don't get otherwise". I like people who can cut to the chase and refrain from euphemism.
We were led to the back studio, as apparently the front studio is more a showcase for toddlers than a place where middle aged people get captured on film. The photographer, who was perhaps 26, worked solidly and well--he knew what he was doing. Rather than approaching it with the air of a frustrated artist stuck in a mall shop, he approached it with the air of an easygoing craftsman who knew what he was doing.
The photo shoot took just a number of minutes, and then we were dispatched off for an hour to await the mall photo prints. My wife and I set a meet-up time and went to shop in different stores. I went to the Barnes & Noble, where I bought Poet & Writers Magazine, some books to mail to my mom she will like, and
Gary Kasparov's book about Tigran Petrosian and Boris Spassky. I find Petrosian utterly fascinating, so it was an easy purchse to make.
Then I adjourned to the Dave & Buster video game parlor, to kill my remaining time electronically. Although this parlor features numerous high-intensity video games and games in which people are quite realistically shot, knifed, gunned or nuked, my preferences run a different way. I like to play the silly arcade games like skee ball or "cause the coins to fall off the ledge" or "throw a coin in a hole", to try to win as many tickets as possible.
In the course of an hour, I had amassed hundreds of tickets, bulging from my suit. With a few hundred more I might have resembled the Mad Hatter or a 19th Century stock floor trader. I found two 10 year old girls counting their tickets as their parents each used separate cell phones. I donated them my hundreds of tickets, leading them to say "Thank you SO MUCH", as like the Lone Arcade Ranger, I receded into the sunset towards the escalator back into the mall.
The portraits turned out very good, and we ordered prints to send to family members. A few of me alone I had hoped to use to replace the "young Bob" picture on my website were less satisfactory. I am better when I smile than when I do not smile. Our "member card" gives us a free sitting later, and I will have to have more individual portraits done to hunt for a usable one.
We drove home, seeing kestrels here, there and yon as we went. Then we took our younger lhasa, Teddie, for a walk in our neighborhood. It was about 70 degrees, with a light kite breeze. We saw a ruby red biplane overhead, a duck on the pond, and a dusky tiny moth in flight.
I settled down to read about Petrosian, and already finished the text portion. Next I must play over the games. I read of numerous poetry contests I can enter, in line with a resolution I made for the New Year. I stood amazed at how many MFAs in poetry run ads in Poets & Writer, which is apparently the successor to what I call "Coda". We had a dinner of salad with oranges and Navy-bean-and-pork soup. Tomorrow I work a half day, then travel to Claremont, CA for a mediation. This was a restful weekend.