UPDATE: Dallas Festival Of Ideas

Because the weather is challenging, the The Dallas Festival of Ideas organizers have just dropped all fees associated with today’s programming. It’s not because they’re rolling in dough. It’s because of “the generosity of our supporters.”

The Dallas Festival of Ideas*

The Dallas Festival of Ideas*

They go on to report, “To join us for Beer and BBQ, it is $20 unless you are already a ticket holder. Starting Tuesday, we will be handling refunds.”

Ah, come on. Refunds? Really? The show is still going on and the organizers are doing all they can to provide the program without endangering the safety of others. Still the costs of flying experts in and facility rentals have to be paid. So, if you want to feel like a “generous supporter,” don’t bother asking for a refund.

JUST IN: Masquerade

Masks galore (File photo)

Masks galore (File photo)

Genesis Young LeadersMasquerade Co-Chair Marybeth Conlon just sent word that tonight’s fundraiser is still a “Go!” at 3015 at Trinity Groves.

It starts at 7, so you can spend all day getting ready.

So, warm up your masks for the Genesis Shelter fundraiser.

JUST IN: Dallas Zoo IS Closed Today

African penguin (File photo)

African penguin (File photo)

The Dallas Zoo is closed today. Don’t worry about the critters. The staff is making sure that the animals are safe, fed and warm.

Even the penguins are pretty fed up with all this February Freezer.

JUST IN: Dallas Arboretum Opens At Noon

Yup, it’s cold and icy outside, but the folks at the Dallas Arboretum are opening up at noon today. While today’s Dallas Bloom‘s official opening isn’t going exactly as planned with a breakfast, the tulips and other flowers in the Arboretum’s wonderland are still blooming to see you.

Flowers in the snow*

Flowers in the snow*

However…and you just knew there was a “however” coming up. The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is closed due to the weather.

For your enjoyment please, the Arboretum folks have sent this video shot yesterday.

* Photo and video provided by the Dallas Arboretum

CHANGE OF PLANS: The Dallas Festival Of Ideas Changes Start Times

Remember yesterday how the organizers of The Dallas Festival of Ideas were committed to have it happening despite the weather. Well, they still are…only they’ve adjusted the schedule due to Mother Nature’s cold shoulder and the well being of all participants.

The Dallas Festival of Ideas*

The Dallas Festival of Ideas*

Here’s the word that just arrived:

“Tonight’s Opening Night Signature Event for The Dallas Festival of Ideas is being postponed until tomorrow, Saturday, February 28. Based on the current forecast, we have reworked the program so that doors will open at noon, with lunch concessions available.

“The Opening Signature Event will start at 1 pm in the Dallas City Performance Hall, with all panels immediately following.

“We are confident that even with the snow, The Dallas Festival of Ideas will ignite, unite, and energize the people of Dallas through the power of ideas.”

So, the good news is that the show is still on. This way, you’ll be able to stay snug tonight, sleep in Saturday morning and then head to the Dallas Arts District for idea cooking at noon.

* Graphic courtesy of The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

JUST IN: “Kinky Boots” Master Class Postponed

Those planning on attending Saturday’s “Kinky Boots” Master Class at Colleyville Heritage High School can chill, literally. Because of the iffy weather, the class has been scheduled to Saturday, March 7, from 9 to noon. The location of the class has yet to be determined.

There may still be some openings, if you want to sign up for the class. It costs $25 to be “kinky.”

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation #BESTSELF Postponed

Dallas Women's Foundation*

Dallas Women’s Foundation*

Just heard from Dallas Women’s Foundation‘s Kristyn Senters that the sold-out #BESTSELF event scheduled for Saturday has been postponed.

Kristyn added, “We will be in touch with reschedule event details soon! Safe warm and safe!”

* Graphic courtesy of Dallas Women's Foundation

JUST IN: Cowtown Marathon Cancels Some Activities And Delays Others

Fort Worth always seems to get the bad weather first. And that’s what happened earlier this morning.

Due to the conditions predicted to only get worse over night, Saturday’s Cowtown Marathon has been canceled and Sunday’s race has been delayed.

Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control, Mother Nature Is Throwing A Snowy Fit

Like KRLD’s Bob Goosmann said, if only the snow had come before rush hour, schools and businesses would have been closed. But, oh, no! Mother Nature had to have it her way.

Now, traffic is creating all types of jams and it’s not pretty.

Traffic in the snow

Traffic in the snow

But this ain’t nothing. According to experts, this stuff is likely to freeze tonight and make tomorrow morning a icy nightmare. The good news is that schools and offices will automatically have the day off. But there are still activities scheduled.

Organizers are presently in the dicey position of having to decide whether to go ahead with their plans or cancel for the safety of guests, volunteers and vendors. That’s a tough call. If you cancel, you loose more that income generated by the event. You still have to pay for rentals, services, etc.

Still, North Texas is an old pro at such situations. Most folks like the 2013 White Rock Marathon and Children’s Parade pull the plug and canceled their annual events when that weekend’s storm created precarious conditions.

The MySweetCharity elves are hunkering down at MSC world headquarters in their cashmere jammies because they’re rotten drivers even in the best of conditions. Queenie can be heard snoring in her hibernation chamber.

A Beacon Of Hope Luncheon Father-Daughter Speakers Reveal How The McIngvale Family Work Through Mental Illness

The father-daughter team of Jim “Mattress Max” McIngvale and Elizabeth McIngvale-Cegelski brought their story of struggling with Elizabeth’s obsessive-compulsive disorder to the Beacon of Hope Luncheon on Wednesday, February 11.

With more than 450 guests attending the Grant Halliburton Foundation fundraiser at the Westin Galleria, they kicked things off w

Elizabeth McIngvale-Cegelski and Ann Mirabito*

Elizabeth McIngvale-Cegelski and Ann Mirabito*

Jim McIngvale*

Jim McIngvale*

ith a video interview with Barbara Walters that aired on “Good Morning America” 10 years ago. That’s how long the McIngvales have been warning the world of the “horrors and feelings of hopelessness mental illness brought to their family.”

Elizabeth’s “hope is given in the form of education and empowerment, removing the stigma of mental illness and improving access to help.”

Neatly coinciding with the McIngvales’ focus on young people and their families battling emotional and mental issues was the announcement regarding Teen Contact. Despite the Contact Crisis Line being shuttered in December, the Grant Halliburton Foundation has integrated the Crisis Line’s Teen Contact into its own programming by training more than 3,200 students and staffers.

This development fits with the Foundation’s mission “to help prevent suicide, promote better mental health and strengthen the network of mental health resources for teens and young adults.”

(Editor’s note: Someone might want to update the Grant Halliburton Foundation’s website. It still lists the Contact Crisis Line’s services as being in operation. Families in distress don’t need to get an “out-of-service” message.

UPDATE (Saturday, February 28, at 4:18 p.m.): A Grant Halliburton Foundation representative just reported the following: “The GHF website has been updated.” Congratulations on a speedy response, GHF! BTW, it’s a very thorough list of services available to help those seeking better mental health.

* Photo credit: Dana and Daniel Driensky

The Stodghills’ “A Conversation With Curator” Chatted Up A New Program For The Meadows Museum’s 50th Anniversary

Remember how Jennifer and Doug Houser skipped out early from the Heroes For Children event at Jimmy Choo in the early post? That’s because they had to head north to Anne and Steve Stodghills’ in Preston Hollow. The Stodghills were hosting “A Conversation with the Curator” for the Meadows Museum.

Mark Roglán, Anne Stodghill and Stacey McCord

Mark Roglán, Anne Stodghill and Stacey McCord

But the conversation with Meadows Museum’s Linda P. and William A. Custard Director Mark Roglán was brief, since the crowd was focused on meeting, greeting and catching up. He told them about the Meadows having the “finest collection of Spanish art in the U.S.” From the staircase, Mark, Anne and Meadows Museum’s Stacey McCord told of plans to get involved the younger art loving set in the Meadows. The Stodghills will chair the newly created John Alexander Membership Society (JAMS). It’s all a part of the Meadows 50th anniversary celebration. Named after SMU grad John Alexander, it’s a year-long membership including invitations for special members parties in connection with the 2015-2016 exhibitions — John Alexander (March 22-June 28, 2015), Abello Collection ( April 18-August 2, 2015) and Treasures from the House of Alba (September 4, 2015-January 3, 2016).

Anne, who speaks her mind, told the crowd, “Arts groups can be really  clique-y. This one’s not gonna be clique-y.” Then she added with a twinkle in her eye, “Unless we create our own clique. Let’s do it!” Laughter from all followed.

When asked about the age range of the society, Anne replied, “From 21 to 105.”

And the Meadows folks had better watch out. Lady Stodgie has her eye on rebranding the magnificent Jones Great Hall at the Meadows as “The Party Room.”

Painting by John Alexander

Painting by John Alexander

BTW, Anne and Steve are longtime buds with Alexander and have one of his paintings in the primo spot of honor in their living room.

Debra Nelson and David Copeland

Debra Nelson and David Copeland

John Chamberlain and April Box Chamberlain

John Chamberlain and April Box Chamberlain

Snapshots: Jolie Humphrey admitted that she was one of the last to leave the dance floor on Saturday night at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Ball… Debra Nelson and Dallas Film Society President/CEO Lee Papert were finalizing arrangements on her winning the Dallas Uncorked auction package of VIP passes to the Dallas International Film Festival… Both Stodghills admitted that January had been a long tough month for them. Steve’s sister, Sheri Stodghill Parks had died after battling cancer. The Stodghills’ yellow Labrador Zeus had died. Anne’s mother in California had been in ICU with pneumonia. When Anne’s mom was taken off the ventilator, Anne was surprised to hear that her mother was busy with “yoga.” Come again. Oops, she heard them wrong. Her mother was busy having “yogurt.”… Nancy Gopez was still flying high over North Texas Food Bank’s being selected as a 2015 Crystal Charity Ball beneficiary… April Box Chamberlain was being given a tour of Stodghill manor courtesy of the builder, her husband John. Last seen they were on their way to the “Bat Cave.”

Tackle The Chill With Soups Galore At 16th Annual North Texas Food Bank’s Empty Bowls

Have you put that adorably cute nose of yours outside today? If you have, you didn’t for long. Once again, the February Freezer is still in place. It looks like the chill is gonna stay in place for a while.

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

How simply perfect! Why? Because a bowl of soup would be better than a pain-free wax peel. And those food-loving folks at the North Texas Food Bank are gonna make you very happy. No, NTFB CEO Jan Pruitt is not going to be in charge of the peels. But she and her team are going to be at the Meyerson next Friday (March 6) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the 16th Annual Empty Bowls. Soups from 19 restaurants will be ladled out including handmade local cheeses from Paula Lambert’s Mozzarella Co. and artisan breads from Empire Baking Co.

Bowls (File photo)

Bowls (File photo)

Of course, you want to know what restaurants to make sure they’re up to your tastebuds. Here they are including the six newbies:

  • Blue Mesa Grill — Painted Desert Soup
  • Celebration Market and Restaurant — Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Curls
  • Dining at the Meyerson — Traditional Pork Posole
  • Empire Baking Co. & Mozzarella Co. — Artisan Local Bread and Handmade Local Cheese
  • Kroger — Chili and Broccoli Cheddar Soup
  • McAlister’s Deli — Chicken and dumpling soup, sweet and un-sweet tea
  • Meso Maya — Chicken Pozole Verde*
  • NTFB Community Kitchen — Navy Bean and Ham Soup, Cornbread, Assorted Tarts
  • Panera Bread — Miniature Cookies
  • Place at Perry’s — Tomato Artichoke Bisque
  • Royal Cup Coffee — 100% Arabica Coffee
  • Snappy Salads — Farm Fresh Salads*
  • Ten 50 BBQ (a new restaurant concept from Larry Levine, founder of Chili’s) — Crunchy Cole Slaw *
  • Tejano Brothers — Martini Mashed Potato Bar
  • The Green Door — Chicken Tortilla Soup*
  • True Food Kitchen — Tuscan Kale Salad
  • Urban Crust — Polenta and Meatballs*
  • Wolfgang Puck Catering — Cruciferous Garden Chowder with Watercress
  • Zoe’s Kitchen — Tomato Bisque, Basil Pesto Hummus, Red Pepper Hummus, Pita Bread and Cucumbers*
Soup line (File photo)

Soup line (File photo)

General admission is $35 and gets you food, beverages and a handcrafted artist bowl. Ah, but the $100 VIP tickets gets everything the general admission folks get plus early entry at 10:30 a.m. through a VIP entrance. This event is definitely one where the early bird gets to miss the crowd that is all-too-probable just like last year.

But if you’re really, truly strapped for ca-ching, then you can do the $25 special (food and beverage but no bowl).

And while on the subject of last year, remember the traffic jam around the Meyerson that took place? The NTFB crew not only remembered it, they’ve put together a plan to ease the problems. Here’s the official POA:

Empty Bowls Parking*

Empty Bowls Parking**

  • UBER- New users who enter promo code ‘EmptyBowls’ will receive $20 off their first ride
  • Meyerson Symphony Center garage via Munger Ave off Pearl
    • Self-parking is $10
    • Valet parking is $25
    • Handicap valet parking is $25 with valid permit via Munger Avenue off of Pearl St
  • Hall Arts Center garage off Ross Ave
    • Self-parking is $10
    • Handicapped self-parking is available next to the elevators on levels G4 and lower
  • AT&T Performing Arts Red Lexus garage (Winspear Opera House) self-parking is $5
  • Platinum Parking self-parking:
    • Lot at Ross and Harwood is $10 (not on map)
    • Lot on San Jacinto between Leonard and Hawkins is $5
  • Additional parking is available on street level

They’re encourage “guests to carpool and take public transportation.”

* First-time restaurant 
** Graphic provided by North Texas Food Bank

Heroes For Children Step Things Up At Jimmy Choo Leading Up To The 10th Anniversary Celebration

Jennifer and Doug Houser

Jennifer and Doug Houser

While the Dwell with Dignity crowd partying at Embree & Lake Antiques‘ “Fall In Love All Over Again…” at the Slocum Street store, the Heroes For Children 10th Anniversary celebrants were literally kicking off their shoes at Highland Park Village’s Jimmy Choo.

It was all for Heroes for Children with a portion of sales going to the 10-year-old group.

Jennifer and Doug Houser were a couple of first guests to arrive at Jimmy Choo and do a test run of the footwear finery. Within a couple of seconds, Jennifer had focused on a pair of black-and-white stilettos that met with both Houser approvals. No sooner were the shoes marked “Sold!” than the shoes and Housers were gone.

But they were soon replaced by a slew of other Heroes For Children supporters, who tried on everything from sea-designed flats to jewel-laden heels.

Jennifer Dix and Skye Brewer

Jennifer Dix and Skye Brewer

As one Jimmy Choo staffer sat on a chair chewing gum and checking her smartphone, guests gathered in the room facing the HP Village Theater. The talk of the night ranged from Kim Bannister’s heading to a volley ball game to concerns about measles and shingles. Ouch!

Heroes And Handbags 10th Anniversary

Nicolette Weber

Nicolette Weber

Co-Chair Jennifer Dix was catching second looks for the bracelet and matching earrings that husband Richard purchased for his wife to wear to this past Crystal Charity Ball…”Fella” Co-Chair Skye Brewer has been juggling the commute between Big D and the Big Apple… Andrea Weber arrived with baby Nicolette Weber in one arm and a Louis Vuitton on the other.

Others in the crowd like Cindy Stager and Missy Kennedy were checking out the “choo-sie” items with the idea of wearing them to the March 28th fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole. Unlike years past, this one is going to a seated dinner with “surprise entertainment as featured on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” That means to gents can join the festivities.

 

Weather Or Not, The Dallas Festival Of Ideas Is A Definite “Go”

Snow? No snow? Ice? No ice? Mother Nature is keeping everyone on their tip toes. TV newsrooms have been slap-happy with all this weather angst taking place during their sweeps that ended Wednesday.

But the weather worries haven’t ended. There are “possibilities” of more wintry weather for the next few days. So that means kite flying fundraisers and sand sculpting competitions may be in jeopardy.

The Dallas Festival of Ideas*

The Dallas Festival of Ideas*

There’s one that has raised some concern about whether it’s on or not. It’s The Dallas Festival of Ideas. The reason for the wonderment is that word “festival.” Most folks associate that with outdoor events with girls in floral frocks frivolously frolicking (don’t you just love alliteration).

Well, forget that image. This two-day event is #1 indoors at the various venues in the Dallas Arts District.

And #2 it’s about as frivolous a TED gathering. But then what would you expect when it’s being put on by The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and The Dallas Morning News? It is going to deal with Dallas’ future with a focus on the following areas:

  • The Physical City
  • The Cultural City
  • The Innovative City
  • The Political City
  • The Educated City

And to address these areas, local and national experts will be brought together to brainstorm along with live entertainment provided by singers, dancers, painters and performers.

So, the message is regardless of Ma Nature does, The Dallas Festival of Ideas is on starting Friday night at the Dallas City Performance Hall with a two-hour signature event.

All the deets including dining venues, parking, schedules, etc., can be found right here! BTW, the word free pops up in surprising places.

* Graphic courtesy of The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

Baylor Health Care System Foundation Luncheon Literally Went To The Dogs

Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board luncheons deal with issues facing the healthcare industry. At the 10th floor of the Baylor Charles S. Sammons Cancer Center on Tuesday, February 10, the room was fill with a pretty heady crowd as usual. But there was a common thread for certain folks like Jan Rees-Jones, Diane and Hal Brierley, Trisha Wilson and Marti Carlin. What was the common denominator — the appreciation and respect for animals that assist humans.

Hal Brierly and Rue

Hal Brierly and Rue

It was appropriate since the day’s topic was the Canine Companions for Independence. This program had started in Santa Rosa, California, and flourished thanks to the late Charles Schulz (aka father of Snoopy) and his wife Jean. Over the years their world-class program had bred, trained and provided incredible dogs to aid humans who were disabled in some fashion.

Robin Robinson

Robin Robinson

Even the ever-charming Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson admitted that seeing how a multiple sclerosis patient was aided by one of the dogs hit home. His daughter has MS.

He admitted that until he had visited the Santa Rosa campus, he hadn’t realized how the dots were connected. But then he saw how the dogs were bred and trained from birth to accomplish the most amazing tasks.

 Jan Rees-Jones

Jan Rees-Jones

Robin then announced that the Rees-Jones Foundation had provided $2M for the creation of a CCI South Central Region in North Texas in association with Baylor Scott & White Health. Presently under construction in Irving, the Baylor, Scott & White Health Kinkeade Campus will serve the state of Texas. In appreciation for the donation, Robin revealed that the decision had been made to name the center, the Jan Rees-Jones Canine Center after one of Dallas’ great animal lovers.

The center located in Irving will provide intense training for specially bred and early-life preliminary trained dogs. At the center the dogs and the highly vetted human partners will go through additional training and bonding.

Joel Allison

Joel Allison

Jill Smith

Jill Smith

Terry Connor

Terry Connor

Trisha Wilson

Trisha Wilson

The jammed room of heady types like Baylor Health Care System and Baylor Scott & White CEO Joel Allison, Terry Connor, Board Chair Margo Goodwin, Richard Eiseman, Bob Sanford, Lisa Longino, Beverly Nichols, Leonard Riggs, Elizabeth Denton, Maurine Dickey, Jill Smith, Anita Arnold, Bob Kaminksi, Lindalyn Adams, Cynthia Krause and Keenan Delaney, received the news with applause.

Ed Kinkeade

Ed Kinkeade

But the program was just starting. Federal Judge Ed Kinkeade told his fellow board members of his dog Beau and their participation in the Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy program that had made him aware of the importance animals served in helping patient regain healthier lives.

He told of his early involvement with the program and attributed it to Baylor AAT head Linda Marler, who was seated in the back of the room with her therapy dog Eli. Linda coordinates 90 teams of animals and humans and their work at the North Texas health care centers.

Then Ed became a stellar storyteller and cheerleader. Perfectly blending humor with touching recalls of his partnership with Beau, he had CEO’s and philanthropists charmed.

Jason Morgan

Jason Morgan

The final speaker of the day was Ret. Staff Sergeant Jason Morgan, who told of his debilitating “accident” in South America during his military service.

Seated in his wheelchair with his canine companion, Rue, at his side, he told how they had only recently become partners. His previous canine Napal had been a turning point in his life. His wife had left him with three boys to raise. He had faced numerous surgeries including the loss of his leg. But the dog had been more than an aid. Jason told how when he finally accomplished a life-long goal of accomplishing a marathon, he looked to the finish line and there was Napal waiting for him. That joy amazed even him.

On a side note, he shared that before Napal had entered his life, he sensed people kept their distance due to his being in a wheelchair. But that all changed with Napal at his side. Now people gravitated to “the man with the cool dog.”

As Jason told of his struggles and the difference that CCI had made, grown CEO-types and veteran fundraisers teared up.

Rue

Rue

Napal died last year and CCI came through with Rue. She’s turned out to be a perfect companion and representative of the program.

Following the luncheon and while waiting for their cars afterward, Jill Smith and Tricia Wilson told how they understood and had witnessed personally the impact of animals in the process of healing.

Come summer, the center is scheduled to graduate its first class of canine companion teams.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about adopting one of the pooches that don’t quite make the cut, get in line. It’s a long one because the dogs that don’t qualify usually end up with their puppy trainers. But, you can always try.

A Writer’s Garden Valentine Tea Chair Dorothea Meltzer Celebrated Her Birthday With Author Michael Devine And Honorary Chair Marilyn Hailey

Dorothea Meltzer*

Dorothea Meltzer*

The ladies gathered on Tuesday, February 10, at the Dallas Arboretum for “A Writer’s Garden Valentine Tea” presented by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum. Birthday girl/Event Chair Dorothea Meltzer arranged for former Neiman’s model Marilyn Hailey to serve as honorary chair. To celebrate her runway days, a video was shown with “an array of shots during her modeling career which started in the early 1960’s.”

In addition to selling out of his book “An Invitation to the Garden: Seasonal Entertaining Outdoors,” author Michael Devine told the ladies-who-tea about “tempura fried herbs. Parsley, thyme, basil – all dipped in batter and fried to perfection.”

Dorothea is an old hand at chairing the annual fundraiser for the Woman’s Garden at the Arboretum. She did it last year and has agreed to do it next year.

* Photo credit: Deborah Brown

A Faux Tale

Editor’s note: I need apologize for any misunderstanding about this post. It was originally written on February 24, 2010. We had included the date at the bottom of the post, but evidently it wasn’t enough. Thank you for all the kind comments. Even today, they provide such great comfort. May everyone have a Faux in their life.

It was 14 years ago on March 17 that a marvelous litter of Australian Shepherds was born in our neighborhood. Six weeks later while walking my cantankerous Border Collie Chauncey, I saw the litter and immediately spotted one out of the dozen that seemed to be the center of attention. All the others wanted to play with her because she was such a happy little soul and such a great sport. I didn’t need another dog, but there was just something about her that was magical, so I asked if I could just take her home for one night. Chauncey was not pleased, but it was for just one night.

Baby Faux

Baby Faux

The next morning I called our neighbors and asked how much the puppies were. They said “$250, but they would sell her to me for $200.” At that time they might as well have said a thousand, but I decided that my rainy day fund could help me out this one time and paid the full $250. I wasn’t going to treat this pick of the litter with anything but top dollar.

While Chauncey was still not very happy about our new roommate, she adjusted because the puppy hero-worshiped her. I always thought that I trained the puppy, but looking back I realize now that it was Chauncey who taught the puppy how to raise a human.

Eventually after many name tries (Clancy, Mary Posa, etc.), we settled on Faux Marble because her coat looked like fake marble. Over the years, she grew from an adorable puppy to a rather beautiful Aussie. Yet, she retained her Miss Congeniality title with everyone and every dog that she met.

Faux

Faux

She excelled in her puppy obedience, so much so that she moved up in the ranks to advanced, super-duper obedience. There was talk of her competing in trials, but I decided that she wasn’t meant for that.

Then one day I read a notice in the paper that Baylor Healthcare System’s Animal Assisted Therapy program was testing candidates for its program. It sounded interesting and I thought it would be nice for Faux to have people pat her on the head. After all, what more does a therapy dog do, but visit people in the waiting room? So, we signed up for the test.

While testing for therapy programs differ, the Baylor test under the direction of Linda Marler is right up there with facing the Supreme Court. As we waited in the outer room for our turn, we watched other canine/human partners leave the testing area looking like they had just weathered the Iditarod. What had I gotten us into?

As we were called into the room filled with veteran teams of the therapy program, I hesitated but Faux pulled the leash and headed into the room as if she knew exactly what to do. During the test, they did all types of things to rattle us. I was a bit shell shocked, but Faux never wavered. It was as if she had been studying for this opportunity all of her life. At the end of the test, Linda announced to the veteran therapy program teams that Faux had passed the test with flying colors. I think they let me in because Faux was so outstanding.

That day led to a journey taking us far beyond the waiting rooms. We would work in various areas of Baylor — the Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation, the psych unit, the transplant floor, and Our Children’s House. Faux would do tricks to entertain both patients and staff. She especially loved the staff who always greeted her with special pats and knew just the right spot to scratch.

Faux

Faux

But it wasn’t all tricks like shake, sit, and down. No, the dogs were expected to work with the patients and therapists. While at home the canines were just regular pooches, but once inside Baylor they became working staff demonstrating patience and showing no apprehension of the equipment, noises, and smells in the facility. They proudly wore their uniforms of blue bandannas, leashes, and collars. You got the impression that these dogs knew they had a talent and an awareness like the rescue dogs in Haiti or the service dogs that aid the blind. They were simply cut out for this type of work and thrived on it.

What amazed me about Faux and the other dogs in the program was how time and time again they would sense a patient who needed a certain type of attention. They tended to gravitate to the patient who had left a pet at home weeks ago and needed some “unconditional medicine” that wasn’t in medical books. Simply by putting her head on the knee of someone, or letting a child pull a little too long on her ear, she just knew how to handle those moments without a word being said.

I would kiddingly say that she was the volunteer and I was simply her escort.

But it wasn’t all work. There was the infamous annual Pink Pooch Parade at Baylor’s Plano facility in October. Each of the poor therapy dogs was humiliated by being dressed in various pink outfits and then paraded through the hospital as part of breast cancer awareness month. It was at this time that Faux thought I was akin to a stage mother of a baby beauty contestant.

Faux

Faux

One of the lessons that I learned from the program was the phrase, “crossing the rainbow bridge.” I had never heard of it. But every now and then I would get an email from Linda that one of the dogs in the program had died, or “crossed over the rainbow bridge.” It was a painful email that all the program teams dreaded. Not only for the loss of a marvelously giving animal, but also because we knew that one day it would hit our team.

This morning Baylor lost one of its volunteers. Faux crossed the rainbow bridge.

-Originally written on February 24, 2010

Movie Mind Trust Gary Cogill Popped Up His Oscar Picks At Dallas Uncorked Benefiting Cáfe Momentum And Dallas Film Society

There’s just something about Sunday night casual gatherings in the off-football season. On Sunday, February 8, Veritas was forcing organizers to haul in extra chairs to accommodate such a fest.

It was Dallas Uncorked with movie brain trust Gary Cogill giving his insight for the upcoming Academy Awards. It was like having Santa’s chief elf giving the insider tips on the hot must-have toys for the season.

Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton Cogill

Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton Cogill

Dallas Uncorked founder/Cogill wife Hayley Hamilton Cogill sighed that they had filled the wine bar practically to the max to benefit Dallas Film Society and Café Momentum, and could have sold many more tickets.

Somebody asked, “What about the Grammys?” After all, they were being presented that night. But this was a film-loving crowd, so they had already set their DVR’s.

Dallas Film Society chief Lee Papert whispered he was in the back of the room. Someone said that Lee was smart to be back there for off-the-record commenting.

But up front was a reserved table for Ellen and Don Winspear. When someone asked what Don was up to, he was surprised at the question, answering, “I thought you were more astute. We’re chairing First Night.” Guess Don hadn’t gotten the memo that the official word hadn’t been announced. The staff was keeping it mum until the whole kit and caboodle was ready for presentation.

Former Dallas Cowboy Flozell Adams with Marisa Ritter, Pat Holder and Wayne Ritter were at a high top near the table with Paul Divis and Randall Goss, who was solo. Randall’s wife Kara was spending quality time with her 12-year-old daughter Kate Peterson.

Flozell Adams and Marisa Ritter

Flozell Adams and Marisa Ritter

Lori Rakowitz  and Tiffany Divis

Lori Rakowitz and Tiffany Divis

Speaking of old-time relationships, Tiffany Divis was with her longtime buddy Lori Rakowitz.

In the entry area at a table for two, John Tesar was chomping on popcorn with Amy Vanderoef, while Debra Nelson was catching up friends on her recent vacation in Mexico.

David Tice, Debra Nelson, John Tesar and Amy Vanderoef

David Tice, Debra Nelson, John Tesar and Amy Vanderoef

After enough wine had been served, it was just about time for Gary to present his insights. First, there was an auction of all types of goodies from the Dallas Film Society, Studio Movie Grill and Boulevardier Dallas.

After giving a brief run through of his life prior to the night, Gary told of his attending the Oscars. Highlights of his talk included:

  • He admitted that he never went inside the theater for the Oscar presentation. Instead, he did the red carpet interviews. One time he was standing on the red carpet with the BBC on one side and Women’s Wear Daily on the other. Tom Cruise twirled Nicole Kidman and she turned to WWD about her outfit and Tom chatted with Gary. Surprised, Gary asked Tom what he was wearing. Tom replied, “Tom Ford and what are you wearing, Gary?” Gary’s response: “Culwell and Son [in] Snider Plaza.”
  • Every year following the presentation, Marcia Gay Harden would seek him out and kiss him on the lips with her then-husband glowering.
  • Among the lineup of limousines delivering guests at the Spielberg after-party, Gary pulled up in a red Ford Fiesta.
  • Interviews: He liked Robin Williams, who would correspond with Gary’s daughter. He found Tommy Lee Jones to be difficult. Meryl Streep and George Clooney were dreams.
  • Comparison of 2013 to 2014 film season: 2013 was one of the best in the last 15 years. This year’s crop not so.
  • “American Sniper”: “American Sniper” was better than he thought it would be. “It’s a very conflicted thing. One of Clint Eastwood’s best.”
  • One of his favorites: “Begin Again”
  • Favorite movie of the year: “Birdman”
  • Most complete movie: “Imitation Game”

For his Oscar picks, he revealed:

  • Best original song: Song from “Selma” by John Legend
  • Best supporting actress: Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood”
  • Best supporting actor: J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”
  • Best actress: Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”
  • Best actor: Michael Keaton in “Birdman”
  • Best movie: A tie between “Boyhood” or “Birdman”

In closing, Gary offered some movie etiquette tips that won’t be found in Emily Post. They are:

  • Turn off your cellphones in the theater. “When you hold it up to check your messages, you have turned on a beacon to about 10 rows behind you and it annoys everyone.”
  • Stop shaking the stupid ice in your cup. “You might as just go rattle the wall.”
  • Stop shaking your popcorn bag. At least, wait until the loud moments in the movie.
  • Stop ordering theater nachos because “the jalapenos stink for about five rows.”

And by the way, all the auction items went for more than the value prices. In fact the DFS package for the Dallas International Film Festival passes was sold twice.

Postponed: Boots & Horses

Boots

Boots

Horse

Horse

Snow is in the forecast early tomorrow morning resulting in muddy conditions in the afternoon and evening. Because organizers of the “Boots & Horses” want everything to be perfect for a sneak peek of the new Texas Horse Park, they’ve decided to postponed Wednesday night’s festivities. The event is for The Trinity Trust River Rats and Rat Pack members and potential members.

The new date is Wednesday, March 4. That’s good news. Because if you aren’t a member, you have time to join up and feel right at home among the “rats” and the “nags.”

Tuesday Ain’t Lookin’ So Great, But Don’t “Skip” Out

Skip Hollandsworth (File photo)

Skip Hollandsworth (File photo)

The Dallas Independent School District and others are already shuttering down due to the predicted overnight freeze that will create Tuesday morning’s “Auto Ice Rink.”

On the other hand, Les Femmes du Monde is charging ahead with its “members only” meeting with Texas Monthly‘s Skip “Be Still My Heart” Hollandsworth.

The chat with one of the Dallas media’s most charming fellers is taking place at a private resident. So, it takes membership to get the deets.

If you’re not a Les Femmes member, sign up just to attend Skippy’s talk. He’s quite a storyteller. So many stories that he discovered and told beautifully. In fact, he’s the one who brought “Bernie” to the public eye. Just ask him about his daughter, Tyler‘s take on who was more adorable  Matthew McConaughey or Jack Black.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Debutantes Executed Perfect Texas Dips And Conquered Tricky Steps

Maybe it was the glorious weather. Or, perhaps it was that golden moon hovering over the Meyerson. But the annual Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s Deb Ball seemed to relax past stringent rules on Saturday, February 7.

Before the first wave of guests gathered in the Meyerson’s lower lobby, the 40 debs in magnificent white ballgowns with long gloves were posing with their escorts in white tie and tail for a group photo on the steps leading to the McDermott Concert Hall. After the prim and proper photo was taken, the group broke up with some posing for cellphone photos and others just relaxing. Not to sound way too corny, but the cluster of girls in white dresses “chilling” on the staircase looked positively dreamy. This collection of gowns was just slightly spectacular. But the signal was given and the debs disappeared backstage following the tradition that the debs and their dresses are formally presented to “the world” on stage and not before.

Debs heading backstage

Debs heading backstage

Ah, but protocol doesn’t always fit with a girl’s plans. As guests started arriving, the Meyerson’s downstairs lobby filled with men in tuxedos and tails and ladies of all ages in fabulous gowns. Some of the designer frocks were shimmering; some were jewel-colored. And, of course, the jewelry was remarkable. In the tapestry of colors, there was one that stood out to vet observers. It was a pretty young thing in a white ballgown with opera gloves. It was a deb. Glory be. To the newcomer, it was no biggie. But for the very proper types, it was right up there with a bride greeting guests at the church door before the wedding.

One vet raised her manicured eyebrow and summed it up, “Naughty, naughty.”

Still the deb stayed drinking water and having a male friend provide tidbits for munching. Mustn’t soil those white gloves, don’t you know.

But she was the only white swan seen in the cocktail reception. Another one scampered to a crowd on friends/family and then rushed back up the marble steps to be with the sisterhood.

Another eyecatcher was the young lady in the multi-colored evening gown who proved that even in formal attire one can walk across the lobby chewing an appetizer with mouth wide open.

Margaux Anbouba

Margaux Anbouba

Sarah Frazee and Claire McCormick

Sarah Frazee and Claire McCormick

 

Stan and Sara Gardner

Stan and Sara Gardner

Mary Mitchell

Mary Mitchell

Others in the crowd were Assembly President Claire McCormick in a gown by Sherri Hill and President-Elect Sarah Frazee in a dress from Tootsie’s; evening emcee Stan Gardner with his wife Sara Lee Gardner in a gold Chris Roth gown with matching wrap; mother-of-a-deb Mary Mitchell in a shimmering Giovanni with white shawl; deb little sis, 7-year-old Emma Allen spending time with Event Chair Venise Stuart in a red, hot Patti Flowers with added sparkles from Eiseman’s;  Aileen Pratt in a “vintage” Carolyne Roehm and husband Jack Pratt in Armani, of course; and former DSOL deb Margaux Anbouba in a black gown by Milly with a Christian Dior purse, Louboutin shoes and her mother’s Syrian jewelry.

Venise Stuart and Emma Allen

Venise Stuart and Emma Allen

Aileen and Jack Pratt

Aileen and Jack Pratt

As the Meyerson chimes alerted the guests to move upstairs for the presentation, some were a little surprised at the attendants who advised them that beverages were verboten in the hall.

Stan welcomed the tiers of guests and gently suggested that decorum should be kept in mind. Translation: No shouting, hollering, stomping, air horns, etc. This message seemed to be directed to some of the younger members of the crowd, who seemed to be visiting the Meyerson for the first time. The message got across to the majority. However, there were momentary breaks with cheers from deb buddies. One went on a little too long and was answered with sh-sh-es from parent-age types.

Another issue that developed was the problem of guests leaving the hall during the presentation. In some cases, when a deb and escort left the hall, some of their friends exited, too, to congratulate the twosome on a successful debut. The friends didn’t take it kindly when attendants told them there was no re-admittance. After a huffy complaint or two by returning guests, the staffers decided that it wasn’t worth a disturbance to abide by the rule and just let the returnees back in. Guess along with a program, organizers need to include rules for attending presentations.

As for the presentation itself, it went off without a hitch. Okay, there was that one time when the deb appeared high atop the stage and heard the wrong song being played. The music stopped and the right tune was played. Luckily, the deb didn’t flutter an eyelash and continued on.

Dixie Marshall

Dixie Marshall

Brice and Cynthia Beaird and Lynn and Presley Mock

Brice and Cynthia Beaird and Lynn and Presley Mock

DSOL President Dixie Marshall and Venise thanked all involved in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra fundraiser including Cynthia Beaird, Sharon Ballew, Marena Gault and Sharon Popham. Honorary Co-Chairs Cynthia and Brice Beaird were presented. Then Stan returned to the podium to introduce the Assembly officers and Honor Guard officer. To the left side of the stage, three rows remained empty, while the rest of the seats were filled. Eventually those empty places would be filled by the presenting fathers, uncles and grandfathers.

Sharon Ballew and Marena Gault

Sharon Ballew and Marena Gault

Sharon Popham

Sharon Popham

Gracie Hayhurst

Gracie Hayhurst

While all 40 swans (Arianna Allen, Ellie Allums, Kathryn Anderson, Emily Bearden, Ellen Beecherl, Madeline Beecherl, Sarah Bruyere, Anne Marie Bullington, Sissi Buss, Sarah Carlsen, Courtney Chavez, Ellen Crowe, Carolyn Cunningham, Mary Cole Daulton, Sydney Dunbar, Alex Ferrer, Brownlee Fielder, Caroline Frattaroli, Margaret Hardage, Gracie Hayhurst, Brookie Hewes, Lexie Hood, Camille Humphrey, Arielle Iola, Sarah Kline, Courtney Klingaman, Coco Kubicki, Olivia Lewis, Alexis Madormo, Meghan Mitchell, Abbey Mock, Lauren Newman, Brooke Oliver, Brittany Perry, Caroline Reece, Megan Reynolds, Mason Strickland, Tiffany Tubb, Hayley Waring and Sydney Wilkins) pulled off the step-down from the entrance stage to the main stage where they executed perfect Texas dips and then from the stage down to the hall’s floor, they weren’t off the hook yet. It was those tricky steps leading up from the hall to the hallway that proved a surprise challenge. Those dang, gorgeous expensive gowns that looked like glorious puffs of meringue didn’t mix with the steps. Some of the debs with bouquets in one hand and Honor Guard in the other discovered themselves in the dimly lit aisle stepping on the hems. Realizing the next step would probably take them down, they dropped the fellow, grabbed a hunk of the skirt and managed to climb the stairs.

After the last deb was presented, she and her escort swiftly moved to the back of the stage for the presentation of all 80 debs and escorts on stage.

2015 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Debutante Ball presentation

2015 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Debutante Ball presentation

The next step in the evening was the first dance that was to take place in the Meyerson lobby on the dance floor between the debs and the senior men in their lives. While families and friends surrounded the dance floor and many of the younger crowd found spots along the balcony overhead, a pathway was cleared for the debs to make their way from the hall to the dance floor. Soon, a parade of debs and Honor Guard members were seen parading along the path. At the edge of the dance floor, the escorts peeled off and the debs sought their families to hugs, smiles and congratulations as photographers hustled to get photos. When all were reunited, the first dance of the night took place on a very crowded dance floor with moms smiling from the sidelines.

Meghan Mitchell

Meghan Mitchell

Sissi Buss

Sissi Buss

Arianna Allen and Ellie Allums

Arianna Allen and Ellie Allums

Alex Ferrer

Alex Ferrer

Following the dance, guests settled down to dinner and more partying. The next morning the deb families would gather one last time for the Tears and Cheers brunch at the Fairmont’s Pyramid Room before heading back to the real life of jobs and schools. Those magnificent white gowns would go into storage.

For more photos of all the debs and many friends and families, check the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

 

 

JUST IN: Tonight’s “A Symphony Of Chefs” Postponed

Checked with the folks over at KidsLink Foundation about tonight’s A Symphony Of Chefs fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole. Here is the news:

“Sadly, we’ve had to postpone because of the weather. We expect to have a reschedule date in the next few days.”

Translation: The organizers recognize that despite the icy conditions, KidsLink supporters might try to make it to the event. They don’t want to be responsible for any possible problems, so they’re simply moving the five-course, dine-athon to a date that will be convenient for the chefs, the hotel and the rest of the world.

Remember, this event is not canceled. It is simply postponed. So, stay tuned for the new date.

The Perfect Day To Stay Put And Catch Up

Leave the roads to the emergency vehicles

Leave the roads to the emergency vehicles

If you’re in North Texas, you’re probably sitting in your warm and comfy home. Good for you! There’s no need to be out in the white stuff. The emergency vehicles need to have free rein on the roads.

But back to your day. You’ve already checked your fav websites. The snow has only provided enough material to make an anorexic snow person. You’re patting yourself on the back for stocking up on soups, batteries and “stuff” over the weekend. How smart you were to visit the Arboretum and Zoo (they’re both closed today) when the temps were higher. You’re thinking about pulling out that 3D jigsaw puzzle you got for Christmas or watching your entire collection of “Downton Abbey.” Cabin fever and boredom haven’t quite set in…yet.

MySweetCharity Submit An Event

MySweetCharity Submit An Event

However, when the thrill of sitting still does get ho-hum, think about checking your calendar of upcoming events. If you find one that needs to be posted on the MySweetCharity Calendar, now is the perfect time to get it in. Just click this link, fill in the form and submit. The MSC Calendar staff will do the rest.

Announcement: Monday Closures

According to our buddy Steve McCauley and the KXAS team, tomorrow’s closures are already checking in.

If you’re a boss, cut your staff some slack. If you’re a parent, take a deep breath and realize this is an opportunity to be with your kid-lets and make a lasting impression on both you and them. Use it or lose them.