Upcoming Weekend Of Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade And MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Bodes Traffic Uh Oh’s

This weekend has all the promise of a traffic headache during the morning hours. On Saturday there’s the Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade in downtown Dallas. Then Sunday the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon benefiting Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children will create road closures around downtown Dallas and East Dallas including White Rock.

For your convenience, here are maps of the parade route

Children's Medical Center's Holiday Parade route*

Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade route*

and the marathon’s race course.

MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Race Course **

MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Race Course **


If you’re planning on attending either or both of these events, please remember to bundle up. Temperatures will be chilly to say the very least. And you just know frostbite doesn’t go with any of your outfits.

* Graphic courtesy of Children's Medical Center Holiday Parade
** Graphic courtesy of MetroPCS Dallas Marathon

MySweetWishList: The North Texas Chapter Of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

According to The North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society  Deputy Executive Director Stacey Russell, LLS’s wish is

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society*

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society*

“The wish of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is simple…its mission:cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, while working to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. The North Texas Chapter and its supporters and sponsors work tirelessly all year to raise money to fund much needed life-saving research and to support patients currently in the fight of their lives. There are a number of different ways for you to get involved and help us achieve our goal of creating a world without blood cancers. Our Wish List to help get us closer to this goal includes purchasing tables or tickets for the upcoming 30th anniversary Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show , joining us to train to end cancer with Team In Training or climbing towards a cure in the Big D Climb. Please join us today as we work to end cancer today. It starts here. With you.”

Graphic provided by The North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Leave Your Computer For The Leaves Of Fall

Walking in the leaves

Walking in the leaves

The fall changing of colors

The fall changing of colors

Who says Dallas doesn’t have a change of seasons? Look at the leaves turning orange, yellow and gold on the trees. Feel the incredible temperatures. Smell the clean air. Watch the squirrels scurrying around for those precious nuts. Listen to the sounds of children playing, dogs barking and birds actually chirping.

OK, so maybe it’s only going to last a couple of days, but why not take advantage of it? When you get home this evening or before heading out tomorrow morning, put on your comfy shoes and take a stroll around the neighborhood. Don’t forget your camera. You’ll want to capture the beauty of leaves in their final days.

By Thursday, things will be back to neck-breaking temperatures, so you’ll have this walk to remind you of fall.

And the best thing about your jaunt — it’s free; it’s healthy; and it’s time that you did it. After all, you’ve been promising yourself a little time away from the computer.

Just A Thanksgiving Eve Reminder

This afternoon while folks are scurrying around to grocery stores to get that last minute Cool Whip or unsalted butter for the crescent rolls, there are those who will be hunkering down for another round of too much cold weather and not enough food or blankets.

It’s just the eve of winter and many, both human and animal, are bracing for what is to come. To help them, there are organizations trying to prevent the painful reality of “the holidays.”

If you get a chance, pull out that spare blanket, those to-be-thrown-out newspapers and not-really-needed canned goods. There are so many who would put a prince’s ransom on them. You can make the difference for good with so little effort.

Happy Thanksgiving for you and to all you touch with kindness.

North Texas Great Santa Run Provides Fun And Funds For M(an)y Possibilities

There’s so much running around this time of year. Head to the grocery for what you forgot on the previous trip. Rush to the shopping center for that pair of something you absolutely need. Lickety-split to three casual holiday parties that you just have to attend.

Whew! All that pitter-patting around can be frightful. How about adding a run-around to your list, where you’re having fun and don’t have to get all dolled up?

Solution: 2013 North Texas Great Santa Run on Saturday December 14!

North Texas Great Santa Run*

North Texas Great Santa Run*

No, it’s not the gargantuan run that the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon is. Let’s face it. That’s a crowd-busting affair. But it isn’t just you and a couple of others. This year they’re projecting around 4,000 including many Santas. Why? Because Santa suits will be provided with registration.

The Great Santa Run is just plain fun. It benefits My Possibilities, the nonprofit providing “occupational recreational and therapeutic therapy for adults with cognitive disabilities, who have aged out of the public school systems.”

Yes, you can pick between a 5K run or a 1-mile walk. To make the time merry, Downtown Fever will be playing and the food trucks (Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe, Tin Star, Gastro Pub Bomber, Easy Sliders and Comb’s Fried Pies) will be lined up for action. Of course, there will be all types of awards — Best dressed pet, most spirited Santa, best dressed Santa, best sleigh (stroller, wagon or wheelchair), etc.

The run/walk will be taking place at the Dr Pepper Snapple Group headquarters.

So, why not walk/run off some of that holiday weight you just know you’re going to gain and get yourself a Santa suit for the good.

* Graphic courtesy of My Possibilities

Here Comes Mother Nature’s Chilly Cool

Yes, it’s a rare time when we post on the weekends, but this is an unusual one. It looks like the area is going to be slammed with wintry stuff Sunday after noon.

Icy conditions

Icy conditions (File photo)


  • Back-up your computers.
  • Charge up your whatevers (cell phones, tablets, batteries, etc.)
  • Check your firewood supply. Don’t know about you, but we just love pinon.
  • Get out your most comfy blankets and clothes. That adorable cashmere has been waiting for ages for you to pull it out.
  • Do not go out without scarf, hat, hand- and foot-warmer, socks, heavy-duty jacket, etc. Think Randy.
  • Stock up on batteries
  • Head to the grocery before noon and stock up on cocoa, soups and grown-up libations.
  • If the ice sets in. . . and you just know it will. . . do not drive. Oh, we know you could easily take on the NASCAR crowd, but let’s face it. . .  others aren’t as talented as you and you really don’t want to bother your insurance agent.
  • Check on your “older friends/family”. The cold is especially brutal for them.
  • Get out your cameras and take photos of the ice, sleet and chilly world. Come summer, you’ll look at it and feel cool.
  • Attention, ranch types: Make sure your ponies and cattle have bales of hay for gnawing on. Check the water just in case it’s iced over. (One of the elves has a fussy unicorn.)

The great news is the weather experts are claiming that all this frigid feel will be history by Wednesday, so Thanksgiving and Black Friday will be sunscreen time. Well, maybe not that bright and shiny, but it will be a heck of a lot better than Sunday afternoon and night.

In The Days Ahead

With the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy approaching, Dallas will have many  visitors in town as well as the national spotlight. For those who choose to claim Dallas should wear a scarlet letter for the crime committed five decades ago, there is no argument that can dissuade them.

However, it will be the present Dallas on which much of the focus will be placed. Just be yourselves — accommodating, gracious and understanding. You have helped make Dallas the city that is one of the country’s leading philanthropic centers, built outstanding facilities (the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Perot Museum, Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Klyde Warren Park, Bush Center), grown incredible educational institutions, established world-class health care facilities and is striving to help those in need thanks to the North Texas Food Bank, the Bridge, Community Partners of Dallas and countless others.

Be proud of the city that you have built and work every day to improve. The past cannot be undone, but the present and future offer great opportunities to make a difference for good.

Art Of The Film’s Lee Daniels Told Stories About Oprah, Mariah And Why Kevin Bacon Instead Of Samuel Jackson Was The Woodsman

There are times when an innocent member of the MySweetCharity community is drafted to help out. On Friday, November 8, Institute of Humanities and Culture’s Emily Hargrove was the draftees and did an excellent job of fulfilling the role of ace reporter/photographer in covering the Dallas Film Society‘s Art of Film. Here is her report:

When the name Lee Daniels hit the Dallas newswire as the honoree of this year’s The Art of Film, a few lips muttered,  “Lee, who?” Google searches spiked and then a collective “Ah, THAT Lee Daniels!” reverberated through the city. Film buffs nodded in deep respect: a director would be the chosen for the first time since the Dallas Film Society conceived The Art of Film four years ago. And this was not just any director – he’s one that tamed Oprah Winfrey, persuaded Mariah Carey not to wear makeup and currently has the film world at his feet.  For those who wanted to experience the purity of filmmaking and to delve behind the raw emotion of storytelling The Hall of State was the place to be on Friday, November 8.

Elvis Mitchell, Lee Daniels and James Faust

Elvis Mitchell, Lee Daniels and James Faust*

The guests got value for money – Daniels is a man that takes his time. He sauntered casually down the red carpet, chatted amiably with the VIP guests waiting to take their photo with him, and joined Elvis Mitchell in an hour-long conversation about his art. Mitchell professed to having just come out of therapy from his 2012 Val Kilmer experience – seems Val didn’t let Elvis get a word in last year. This time, Elvis was much more at ease, happily chewing the cud with an old friend. Daniels didn’t hold back: their talk was frank, honest and at times surprising:

Elvis Mitchell and Lee Daniels on stage

Elvis Mitchell and Lee Daniels on stage*

  • MONSTER’S BALL – he got flack from the African American community as they didn’t think Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton portrayed their characters correctly
  • In THE WOODSMAN – he was planning on casting Samuel Jackson as the lead, but had to switch to Kevin Bacon so he wouldn’t be criticized for casting an African American in the role of a pedophile
  • He couldn’t afford film school, so he didn’t go, but he makes films that project personal experience, which seem to resonate with his audience. THE PAPERBOY was peppered with characters he knew: the pant-less Zac Efron was him as a child, Matthew McConaughey’s character was dedicated to a man he dated in the ‘80’s who later committed suicide and Nicole Kidman’s character was based on his sister
  • As a youngster he was physically abused by his father and by directing PRECIOUS he worked through those demons. Through the father/son love story of THE BUTLER he ultimately came to forgive his father
  • The first day directing Oprah Winfrey and yelled “Action!” he thought “My god, this is Oprah! And then I told her “you suck, do it again”. It took her a second to be told what to do and it was liberating for her because she became fragile, vulnerable and beautiful. She rendered herself to me which was very powerful.”
  • He ended by saying, “Life is not one note. If you are not laughing, crying, scared, aroused in some way during my movies then I have not done my job.”
Linda and Steve Ivy

Linda and Steve Ivy*

Patrons left the auditorium all-a-twitter. Honorary Chair, Linda Ivy, clapped her hands together saying how much she loved it. “He was so open. It was fabulous!” she exclaimed. Chair of the Dallas Film Society Board, Don Stokes thought it was the best yet and everyone was in agreement that his willingness to lay himself bare was a refreshing change from manufactured Hollywood.

Courtney Martin and Benton Bagot

Courtney Martin and Benton Bagot*

At the dinner, talk moved on to other news – Board member Benton Bagot and new fiancée Courtney Martin were proudly sharing news of their 2014 nuptials. Lynn McBee was fresh off the red-eye having been in L.A just the night before at the Opening Night of AFI Fest. Arthur E. Benjamin was enjoying sharing the Marquee Sponsor spotlight with Film Society newcomers Sheri Deterling and Geoff Hawkes.  Sheri and Geoff were introducing their friends Ryan Bingham and Anna Axster to friends Beth and Ron Hall, Gary Cogill and Haley Hamilton, Sundays Hunt, Farah White, Melina McKinnon and Michael Cain amongst others. In 2010, Ryan shared the Academy Award with T. Bone Burnett for the Best Achievement in Original Song for CRAZY HEART.

Lee Papert, Geoff Hawkes, Arthur Benjamin and Michael Cain

Lee Papert, Geoff Hawkes, Arthur Benjamin and Michael Cain*

But for all the celebration, there was one thing missing: Arthur’s four-legged best friend Bandit was so exhausted from shooting four television shows earlier in the day, that director or no director and art or no art, he put his paws up at home and refused to budge.

* Photo credit: Emily Hargrove

American Legacy Celebration Kicks Off Veterans Week

The Sons of the Flag, a nonprofit group that helps military, first responders and civilians overcome burn injuries, is gearing up for its American Legacy Celebration 2013 Saturday at the Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney.

The inaugural event, emceed by writer David Feherty, will showcase military aircraft and equipment, activities for kids, and musical entertainment by performers including Ashleigh Lisset, 121 North, and Sonny Burgess.

Highlight of the free, all-day celebration, which kicks off Veterans Week, will be a “Legacy Jump Skydive.” The skydive will feature a U.S. veteran from each war since World War II, as well as a former member of the New York Fire Department.

American Legacy Celebration 2013 is free and open to the public.

BrainHealth’s Legacy Dinner Honors Jane And Bud Smith Despite The Government Shutdown And A Slip Of The Hand

Bud and Jane Smith

Bud and Jane Smith

It’s hard to imagine Mother Nature actually showing pity, but she did just that on Wednesday, October 9. The occasion was the Center for BrainHealth’s Legacy Award Dinner honoring Jane and Bud Smith at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Outdoor cocktail party

Outdoor cocktail party

As an impressive crowd of guests (Patsy Donosky, Carolyn Lupton, Jean Lattimore, Yvonne Crum, Jill Rowlett, John Clutts, Dr. Sami Arslanlar, Tiffany and Paul Divis, Patty and James Huffines, Debbie and Jim Francis, Ka and L.L. Cotter, Connie and Denny Carreker, Billie Leigh Rippey, Paige Baten-Locke, Sheila and Jody Grant, Nancy Dedman, Ed Cox, Kerbey Clark, Lynn and Allan McBee, Ruth and Ken Altshuler, Emilynn and Claude Wilson, Caroline Rose Hunt, Lisa and Kenny Troutt and Barbara and Steve Durham) arrive, the sign at the curb warned them that the museum and library were closed due to the government shut down, but the Center was still open.

Closure signage

Closure signage

As James Huffines said, “It’s a shame. They’ve spent nine months planning this event.”

BrainHealth organizers had hoped the government would have resolved its problem in time for the dinner allowing guests to explore the museum. But just in case they had a back-up plan. A lot depended on Ma Nature cooperating which she did. The weather was just perfect for the cocktail reception in front of the Center, as Ed Bernet and his crew playing “Route 66,” “Fightin’ Side for Me” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Eventually the crowd moved into the Bush Center without a problem. Thanks to the shutdown, the security detectors were not operating. Dinner was held in Freedom Hall. Unfortunately, the government’s closure that affected the mammoth video walls that had captivated guests at the September 25th Salesmanship Club dinner. Now they were just plain, old stone walls.

Henry and Rita Hortenstine

Henry and Rita Hortenstine

Dinner Co-Chairs Rita and Henry Hortenstine addressed the group from the podium saying the dinner “was frankly touch and go with the government shutdown as to whether this would go on or not. . . Finally, it was determined that Bill and Jane (Smith) are so essential to the health and well-being of this community that this had to go forward.”

And move forward they did. First Couple Laura and George Bush appeared via video on one of the walls congratulating Jane and Bud for being a “quiet couple with a generous heart and pioneering spirit.”

Dr. Sandra Chapman

Dr. Sandra Chapman

After United of Texas at Dallas President David Daniel welcomed the group and impressed many with the fact that university had passed the 20,000 mark, BrainHealth Founder/Chief Director Dr. Sandra Chapman asked guests from the podium, “Is your brain going forward or backward because it never stays the same. I love it when people say, ‘I don’t need brain health, but my spouse does.’” At that point Jill Rowlett whispered to Tiffany Divis, “Tracy (Jill’s husband) must have said that.”

Back to Sandi. She stressed “We have even begun to push the limits of the human brain.” Then she turned her remarks to the honorees. Despite a challenging acoustics system, guests heard her say to the Smiths, who were seated a couple of tables away, “I remember the first time I met you. It felt like I was meeting Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant. I feel like I’ve been hugged with humor when I talk to Bud and Jane. They’ve exposed us to so many people. I feel so inspired every time I get a call from ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and ‘Cary Grant.’ It has taken us six years to get to this night, letting us honor them. You are our brain stars.”

Dr. Sandra Chapman addressing group

Dr. Sandra Chapman addressing group

Sandi turned the presentation of the crystal award over to BrainHealth’s medical science director/Jane and Bud Smith Chair Dr. John Hart Jr., who praised the Smiths for their generosity and love (truest, rarest form of puppy love that’s lasted 60-70 years. We’ve been trying to do this (honoring) for years.”

Dr. John Hart

Dr. John Hart

At that point John left the podium to present the award to the Smiths at their table. Just after handing over the award to Bud, the two men embraced. There was an “oops” moment as the sound of the crystal award hit the hall’s stone floor. Not to worry. The base suffered the hit, but the rest of the award was fine. In accepting the award and the recognition, Bud spoke for the twosome saying, “I’m a businessman. We made an investment in the BrainHealth center. It has been one of the best investments I’ve made.” After Bud thanked everyone involved in the night, John smiled saying, “I get to hug Jane now.”

As guests waited outside the Center for their vehicles, the moon shone just behind the U.S. flag waving in the breeze. Seems the government shutdown couldn’t stop a celebration nor a beautiful night.

NorthPark Starts Prepping for Saturday’s Komen Dallas Race For The Cure

Be on notice that preparations are already taking place for Saturday’s Komen Dallas Race for the Cure at NorthPark. It’s supposed to be a great weekend. So, if you are participating in the walk/run, get there early and help raise money.

If you’re going to sleep in and think about shopping, hold off a tad bit because the NorthPark area is going to be dicey traffic-wise Saturday morning.