(In)frequent flyer (s)miles

On a recent trip, I saw a cloud. A word cloud! πŸ˜€

Southwest’s definition of “transfarency”: Philosophy in which Customers are treated honestly and fairly, and low fares actually stay lowβ€”no unexpected bag fees, change fees, or hidden fees.

Company philosophy featuring wordplay — how delightful!

The fun continues on an inflight napkin: “Let us take you from wanna to gonna.”

On the way home, I see more wordplay on a Southwest billboard: “Make changes on the fly.”

Southwest Airlines, I ❀ you.


Wordplayin’ around

Stick around if you like a side of chuckles with your food — or word-y surprises. Seen around Dallas:

A Lake Highlands Chinese restaurant

Ambient music: wok and roll?

A restaurant mural features fortune cookies with sayings like “Rice, rice, baby!”

A downtown spot

Just fine banh mi.

A Lakewood business

I get misty.

Two more sightings for ya.

Leasing-office caffeination station


What a bottle!

H2O courtesy of Carolyn Lee Jones

Wok Star Chinese
Family Thais Asian Bistro
Scarlet Reagan Gallery

Vinyl in the wine aisle

Music records, anyone? This item stood out for the name and the design.

Wonder why the label features tape instead of an LP or EP. A nod to the source of the music that winds up on a record?

Ah, the pattern on the foil cap — so cool. I look up turntables, records, and styluses from a pressing urge to research this design choice. I feel fairly certain it was inspired by microscopic images of a CD or DVD surface or similar stylized view of vinyl. Have other ideas? Jus’ leave a comment, pls.

New to vinyl or rediscovering it? Try this beauty by Joep Beving or this stunner by Stromae. 🎼🀍

Also groovy: The History and Science Behind Vinyl Records.

Sandwich salute

Food and wordplay come together at this Dallas establishment in existence since 1974.

The Great American Hero! The pun works because a submarine sandwich (sub) is called a hero in New York.

“This is hands down the best sandwich shop in Dallas,” says a five-star Google review posted by the front door.

The Healthy Hero did not disappoint. The filling: cucumber, cream cheese, mushrooms, black and green olives, sprouts, and Monterey jack cheese. The sandwich was made Jersey-style, with shredded lettuce, onions, tomatoes, blend of canola and olive oil, red wine vinegar, spices, and oregano. Diners can choose from eight different types of bread.

The vast menu with several veggie heroes πŸ˜‹ and the chance to support a local business are reasons I’ll return. There’s even a Veggie Pizza Hero (open-faced on focaccia).

The Great American Hero is a solid four stars based on 441 Yelp reviews as of this writing. Dine in, take out, or drive through for a punny, palate-pleasing experience. Catering options include boxed lunches, sandwich/wrap and dessert trays, and giant party subs.

Full moon mindfulness

When the thirst for peace is great, it helps sometimes to go outward, to find a spot with peaceful vibes and gently rest in that atmosphere.

The Buddhist Center of Dallas is one such place with its serene main hall and the beautifully tended grounds now laced here and there with flowering plants.

A desire to close out the weekend on a quiet note drew me to this pocket of peace today. I totally lucked out with showing up to the center on Buddha Poornima (full moon occurrence that marks the day Gautama Buddha was born; it also commemorates the day he received enlightenment). 

See the squirrel sipping water from the fountain? πŸ™‚

The sweet sound of chanting reached my ears as I stood by this little Buddha in the garden.

I caught the tail end of a special ceremony for Buddha Poornima and felt instantly soothed by the monks’ low voices layered in unison.


Another guest who seemed to know her way around the place kindly let me know that the center hosts a Thai street food fair on Sunday mornings leading up to lunch where fruits and vegetables are also available for sale. Yelp reviews of the food point to an authentic culinary experience worth checking out.

Koi pond with lotus leaves and buds

I spent a few minutes in the main hall of the center, the stillness settling around my shoulders, a calming cloak I hope to carry into the new week.

I wish you peace, dear reader.

Trinity River Audubon Center – Dallas, Texas

On this gorgeous spring day, let’s chai up at dawn and head 10 miles south of downtown Dallas, with Stromae’s Bonne JournΓ©e (Have a Good Day) setting the tone for our excursion. We’ll walk the trails at a restored prairie pocket bursting with birdsong.

The Trinity River Audubon Center sits atop what was once a landfill of construction waste. There’s no hint of this facet of its past in the beautiful building and surrounding trails — the result of generous endowments for facility construction and efforts dedicated to prairie restoration. Bird-shaped in its aerial view — so fitting for an Audubon facility — the LEED structure serves as the starting point for trails that will take us into natural habitats, including wetlands and a primitive forest.

Trinity River Vista

We’ll hear chickadees and cardinals and sparrows and spy sun-worshipping turtles all lined up on a log. We’ll see a great blue heron take flight from a pond named after it.

Floral fanfare or soft white noise?

We’ll even trade our view of the Reunion Tower for that of a dandy orb!

Let’s take the Wetland Trail and hang out in a bird blind.

Look, this bird blind comes with a picture window!

We can head back into the building and enjoy the exhibit with its mockup of the Trinity River floodplain, recorded bird calls, and prairie views.

Trinity River Audubon Center exhibit

Peep the green messaging in ceramic fixtures on the restroom countertop.

The signage around the center offers ideas for using less and treading lightly on the planet.

After that experience of a spring morning outdoors, this perfect pairing of instruments sweetens the drive home.


I heartly know you

No one’s too young for love. Giving and receiving Valentines typically starts in elementary school in the United States. Classmates and teachers exchange candy hearts and other innocent tokens of friendship.

The grown-up version of the holiday wears the thick makeup of commercialization – V-Day merch everywhere, overpriced flowers, gifting pressures, and restaurant staff hustling like mad. What sweetens the holiday for me is the plethora of puns no farther than the seasonal section of the grocery store next door.

Candy aisle awww

The origins of Valentine’s Day trace back to 270 A.D. If you’re curious how it all began, History.com notes that the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival on the ides of February, drew people who were looking to find a mate. The oldest known Valentine that still exists today is a poem “written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife, while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.” The poor duke couldn’t just pop into Kroger for a Papyrus card.

The vast jukebox that is the internet means access to love songs in every language imaginable. Lata Mangeshkar’s Piya Bina, is one of several beautiful numbers in the Hindi movie, Abhimaan (1973), with lyrics written by Majrooh Sultanpuri and music by S.D. Burman. “Without my beloved, the flute won’t play” is the opening line of Piya Bina.

Listen to Those Good Old Dreams by the Carpenters or Eva Cassidy’s I Know You By Heart. Cole Porter’s Let’s Do It is a songwriting masterpiece, marrying playful lyrics with sprightly piano playing. Go all the way with the romantic comedy the song is from — Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, an airy confection packed with beautiful music and plenty of laughs.

If a blog is on the internet, but there’s no one to read it, does it really exist? You, dear reader, are the only reason I come back with posts, month after month.

Lead me just say thank you!

If you’re not a fan of all the hoopla around Valentine’s Day, you can still find ways to make the holiday your own. Slice strawberries longitudinally and pair with chocolate for an easy treat that fits the occasion. Take a walk in nature to spot heart-shaped items, like clouds and rocks and stones.

I found leaves in that familiar shape on a stroll through the Galatyn Woodland Preserve in Richardson, Texas. Today, I celebrate your love of reading.

From my heart to yours — thank you!

A touch of punshine

Hello! This post seeks to remedy the blog’s rather (p)undernourished state of late. For you I gathered five pieces of packaging wordplay. Picked fresh this afternoon!

Teapigs comes through with this peppy item. Ingredients: hibiscus, beetroot, ginger, green tea, carrot.

“You’d better have a good time,” says the boombox.

Nothing like hot chocolate on a cold winter day. The Texas-shaped patch on the udderly bodacious bovine signals local pride.

The twist on cacao is killin’ me.

And now we have a plant-based line of snacks with clean ingredients and cute packaging.

How sweet it is!

The next one’s so understated that I almost missed it.

Dairy nice!

The fifth pun in this little posy popped up in the Office Depot checkout.

A kind directive for every honey-do list

And also my wish for you, dear reader! πŸ’›

Galatyn Woodland Preserve – Richardson, Texas

Naturalists in Texas find ways to create small green refuges in the heart of the bustling metroplex that is Dallas/Fort Worth. The Galatyn Woodland Preserve is one such spot. The signage in this preserve is so well done that I’m including photos and extracting the text to share in italics. The 1/2 mile loop will take 20 minutes to amble through. Shall we? πŸ˜ƒ

Let’s enter the preserve from the Blue Cross Blue Shield campus.

Nature buffers you from Central Expressway in the distance.

On sign:
Welcome to the Galatyn Woodland Preserve
The City of Richardson invites you to explore an 8-acre natural setting surrounded by the rush of 21st century commerce. The Galatyn Woodland Preserve and its 1/2 mile loop trail opened in April 2003. The level, 12-foot wide concrete path is perfect for walkers, runners, bicycle riders and nature enthusiasts alike. Enjoy a break from the regular daily routine and escape for a moment into nature. Maybe you will discover some of the wildlife that lives here.

The Galatyn Woodland Preserve is open daily from dawn until dusk.

The following businesses and organizations made this Richardson park possible:

Galatyn Park Corporation donated the land.
– Texas Parks and Wildlife Department provided grant assistance for the development of the park.
– The Rotary Clubs of Richardson, in Service Above Self, donated the interpretive signage. Rotary is an international organization that strives to improve the lives of others through humanitarian efforts and service projects.

Map legend:
Slope: level trail β€’ Surface: 12-foot wide concrete β€’ Length: 1/2 mile loopβ€’ Walking time: 15-20 minutes

On sign:
A Hidden Jewel
The Galatyn Woodland Preserve protects a small woodland and water habitat within an intense urban setting. It demonstrates that natural species can thrive in the midst of city growth. Sustainable wildlife habitat in natural areas, green belts, public parks and even in backyards can provide areas for appreciation and observation of native species in their natural environment. It can also provide places of relaxation and study for humans.

The name of this preserve comes from Albert Galatyn Hill, husband of Margaret Hunt Hill, whose family played a large role in the expansion of the Telecom Corridor and in the development of Richardson and Dallas County. The family name is traced to Albert Gallatin, treasury secretary for President Thomas Jefferson.

On sign:
What is an Urban Naturalist?
The City of Richardson has recently pioneered a new effort to assist in the management of its natural resources. Based on and assisted by the Texas Master Naturalist program of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Richardson Urban Naturalists (RUN) is a corps of “master volunteers” trained to lead public programs, conduct resource surveys and work on habitat conservation projects. Leading nature walks or conducting special classes, these volunteers are spreading a deeper appreciation for urban wildlife habitat.

Build them and they will come.
One of the projects promoted by RUN members is building nesting boxes for birds: In a natural setting, large dead trees provide homes for cavity dwelling birds, but these are usually removed in urban neighborhoods. Nesting boxes can help replace the dwindling habitat for these birds. If you look closely while walking through the Preserve, you may see some of the work of the Richardson volunteers.

Plans available for nesting boxes include the design and dimensions required to attract specific birds.

Fond memories of completing the field and classroom instruction to gain certification as a Texas Master Naturalist came back as I read that sign. Full-time employment and that thing called life ended my yearly commitment to the volunteer hours and continuing education it takes to remain certified.

On sign:
Beak and Feather
The City of Richardson set aside the Galatyn Woodland Preserve in 2002 and began work to reestablish the habitat shortly afterwards. As the area matures, bird life will increase. During seasonal changes, there will be migrant birds coming here on their annual flights. The year-round residents will also increase. You are likely to see herons and other wading birds near the ponds. You might hear the hoot of an occasional owl in the woods or the shrill cry of a hawk circling in the sky.

Birds of the Galatyn Woodland Preserve
The birds highlighted below in blue are rarely seen in urban settings but can be attracted by resources in preserves like Galatyn.

[I bolded the bird names below instead of shading them blue. 😊]

Swainson’s Hawk
Eastern Screech Owl
Eastern Bluebird
Wood Duck
Great Blue Heron
Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
Great Egret
Cattle Egret
Mourning Dove
Rock Dove
Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

Great-Crested Flycatcher
Blue-Headed Vireo

American Crow
Blue Jay
American Robin
Purple Martin
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Magnolia Warbler

American Redstart
Black-and-White Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Orange-Crowned Warbler
Northern Parula
Northern Waterthrush
Northern Cardinal
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Summer Tanager
Indigo Bunting
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Common Grackle
Brown-Headed Cowbird
House Sparrow

On sign:
Life Along the Edges
This woodland area was once part of the “edge” environment on the Blackland Prairie of Texas. It then became a boundary along the agricultural fields that moved into the prairie. As urban development expanded into Northern Dallas County, natural areas such as this have become isolated. The Galatyn Woodland Preserve exists today as a mixture of remnant native plants and species brought in to reestablish the woodland area.

Along the water edges, the riparian area in the Preserve is a vegetation zone that is an important transition between the local upland and aquatic ecosystems. Invertebrate and insect life thriving in this environment becomes food for small fish; the fish then become food for amphibians, reptiles and water birds in the local food chain. It is in these areas that you generally see the most wildlife — if you are quiet and observant.

A healthy riparian area:
– Stabilizes stream banks with dense vegetation, reducing damage from erosive flood waters.
– Reduces flood velocities and bank erosion, minimizing property losses.
– Filters sediment, maintaining good water quality, reducing siltation of ponds and lakes.
– Improves wildlife habitat and fisheries by providing cool water, food and cover.
– Provides shelter for wildlife during weather extremes.
– Increases late summer stream flows for water supply, wildlife and fisheries by recharging groundwater.
– Provides popular recreation sites for walking, picknicking, fishing and wildlife watching.

Will we see a heron today?

On sign:
Galatyn as a Gateway
The Galatyn trail is only one of many in the Richardson trail system. From here you can connect directly across Glenville Drive with a trail north into the 51-acre Spring Creek Nature Area.

Like many of the early settlers in what is now Richardson, Jacob Routh and his family were interested in preserving the natural setting of the area. By the late 1800s, they created an undisturbed habitat for native birds and animals on their Spring Creek lands. The city eventually acquired this property in 1992 to preserve the wildlife habitat along the waterway. Spring Creek Nature Area now has almost 2 miles of multi-use trails for recreation and nature study.

To the south of Galatyn Woodland Preserve, a paved trail provides recreational access along the DART right-of-way.

[Map showing “Richardson’s Trails in the Galatyn Vicinity”]

Wonder what critter took those very precise bites out of these leaves?!

On sign:
Tooth and Fur
As development surrounding the Galatyn Woodland Preserve has reduced the local habitat, several mammal species find homes or hunting grounds here. You may spot some of them as you quietly walk the trail. Others are identified by tracks or evidence left behind. Notice the wire wrapped around some of the trees. This is to protect them from the beaver that have moved into the wetlands area.

All the leaves are brown … I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day. California Dreamin’, anyone?

On sign:
In the Water and Out
Much of the animal life in the Galatyn Woodland Preserve is sometimes heard but not always easy to find. Amphibians — frogs and toads — depend on available water sources for their lives. They hatch as tadpoles in the water and then are able to move onto land as they mature. Listen in the early evenings to male toads and frogs calling to attract mates.

Reptiles — turtles and snakes — also can be found along watercourses hunting for food and using the available moisture to help regulate body temperature. The sounds you may hear from them might be a rustling in the grass or a sudden splash into the water.

This looks like a great spot to quietly observe woods and water!

On sign:
Linked by Rails and Roads
Railways and roadways have played an important role in Richardson’s history. The town was established in 1873 when the Houston & Texas Central Railway built on donated lands north of the earlier settlement of Breckinridge. The new town site was named for railroad contractor E.H. Richardson.

Richardson grew slowly, connected with Dallas from 1908 to the 1940s by the electric Interurban Railway. It remained a sleepy farming community until the 1950s when Collins Radio and Texas Instruments moved to the area and established an “electronic suburb.” Central Expressway (US 75) was extended within Richardson’s transportation corridor in 1954 and provided a better road link to Dallas. With the arrival of new companies in the 1980s, the “electronic suburb”. became the Telecom Corridor.

Listen for an approaching train
You will hear a DART train pass by while you walk the Galatyn trail. Beginning in 2002, the light rail service of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) continues this important transportation connection for the area. It is also a link to the past, for it uses the old roadbed of earlier railways.

After a special Saturday ceremony, DART officially began service through the Galatyn Station on Monday, July 1, 2002.

The Galatyn Woodland Preserve is part of the 500-acre Galatyn Park, a mixed-use, rail-transit-oriented development alongside the DART rails and Central Expressway (US Highway 75).

Chess or checkers? Our referee: a juniper tree!

What did you think of the walk around the preserve? Wanna return in the spring? If we come at dawn, there’ll be birds — and birdsong. I’ll bring a thermos of chai and many munchies! 🌿🌿🌿