Thursday, December 29, 2005

Chanukah at Ikea..the multi-cultural meeting

My friend Rochelle Brown took me to the newly opened Ikea today for a Chanukah lunch. How cross cultural. A Baptist woman of color from the South take a nice Jewish girl from the Midwest to eat at a Swedish restaurant in Texas.
We had their marvelous meatballs and then looked for the sale. Not much was marked down, but then Ikea is generally such a good deal it was not too disappointing. I found some interesting gadgets, and then when we were checking out, Rochelle handed me a gift card for Ikea from her Aunt Bertie. It was a great present.

WE still have lots in common

I ran into an old sorority sister today at Ikea. I had not seen Paula Joyce in years--our pattern was that our paths would cross at some artsy event or speaker every five years or so.
When I asked what was new she replied, "I'm divorced" jubilantly. My lovely friend Rochelle, said nicely, "Oh, that is too bad." But I understood and said me, too, matching Paula's level of enthusiasm.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Bargains at California Girl

Two dollar separates. New things. Cotton and knit in black, navy, cream, red and hot pink.
California Girl is on Garland Road near Centerville.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays

AFter being home sick for five days, I was ready to get out. My friend Diane Teitlebaum invited me to join her family at her sister Lori's house for xmas Eve Dinner. By the time we got there, Lori was sick and so I never saw her. But the rest of us enjoyed a wonderful dinner with four desserts. The Lindt chocolates I brought were a big hit. I think I ate enough calories to make up for a week of not eating.,

Friday, December 23, 2005

I love Italian Farmers

My friend Diane Teitlebaum, the wine wizard, invited me to a dinner celebrating Slow Food and sponsored by farmers from Turin, Italy. The food and wine wine was wonderful--platters and platters of roasted vegetables, cheese in honey, carved vegetables, and wonderful wines. (Oh, I said that already)
It reminded me of the wonderful time and fabulous food I had in Italy and made me want to go back soon.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Blue Artichoke

Tried a wonderful new lunch place in the design district with my friend Rochelle Brown. It had yummy soups, salads, sandwhiches and pasta in a sleek, sophisticated setting.
There are two antique buildings-- LOST and FOUND. One is black, the other is white.
The restaurant is in FOUND even though both Rochelle and I got lost finding it. Address is 1225 INdustrial. It is only open for lunch.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Why I am freezing cold

Dallas is not really prepared for cold weather. So when the roads freeze, we all panic. I decided to stay home and just snuggle in. Good idea--except the heat in my building went out.
I kept moving the heating thermastat up and it seemed like it was getting colder and colder.
I drank hot chocolate.
I sipped Hot Chai Tea
I made chicken noodle soup.
Even food did not solve the problem.

I bundled up with four sweaters which made it difficult to work on my computer with frozen fingers.

I finally had a service call and now I know what the problem is. The heat wasn't on

Thursday, December 01, 2005


iF ONLY I had a prom to go to. Or a few more holiday parties. I cannot believe the beaded dresses and separates at the SIX DOLLAR STORE.

Stephen told me they were getting it in,,,but I had to check it out first before I sent this out. He has 7,000 beaded things so there is enough for all my friends and all my friends friends.

These are so gorgeous and so cheap I thought about buying lots and cutting them up and making pillows or bedspreads.

The store is 1505 Wycliff. (between Stemmons and Irving) across from the Anatole.

There is another one on Camp Wisdom Road near the old Red Bird Mall, next to Office Depot

Monday, November 21, 2005

Guatemala was great

November 11-19, 2005

Press Trip Itinerary

Friday- November 11
Arrival and transfer to Guatemala City
Dinner and overnight stay in Hotel Quinta Real ph: 502-2-420-7720

Saturday- November 12
6:00 AM Breakfast in hotel
7:00 AM Bus ride to Quiriguá
11:00 AM Tour Quiriguá archaeological site
2:00 PM Lunch – Hotel Green Bay
3:00 PM Tour of Cerro San Gil
5:00 PM Dinner and overnight stay in Amatique Bay Marina and Resort

Sunday- November 13
7:00 AM Boat ride to Livingston for breakfast
10:00 AM Boat ride to Biotopo Chocón Machacas, cañón del Río and Isla de Pájaros
1:30 PM Lunch at Río Dulce in Hotel Catamarán
4:30 PM Boat ride to the San Felipe Castle and Lake Izabal
5:00 PM Visit Paraíso estate
6:00 PM Dinner and overnight stay in Río Dulce’s Hotel Banana Palms

Monday- November 14
6:00 AM Transfer to Flores, Petén
7:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Transfer to Tikal National Park
10:00 AM Arrive in Tikal
1:00 PM Lunch in Hotel Jungle Lodge
2:00 PM Continue tour of park
5:00 PM Dinner and overnight stay in Camino Real Tikal’s Hotel La Lancha
ph: 501-824-4912

Tuesday- November 15
7:00 AM Transfer to Mundo Maya International Airport for flight to Guatemala City
8:15 AM Departure to Guatemala City
9:05 AM Arrival in La Aurora International Airport and transfer to Antigua
10:30 AM Tour of Antigua
1:00 PM Lunch in Mesón Pansa Verde
2:00 PM Continue tour of Antigua
5:00 PM Dinner and overnight stay in Antigua’s Hotel Casa Santo Domingo
ph: 502-782-0-1220

Wednesday- November 16
7:00 AM Breakfast – Porta Hotel Antigua
9:30 AM Transfer to Guatemala City
11:00 AM Tour of Guatemala City
1:00 PM Lunch – Restaurant Kakao
2:00 PM Continue tour of Guatemala City
5:00 PM Dinner and overnight stay in Hotel Westin Camino Real
ph: 502-233-3-3000

Thursday- November 17 -SaturdaY Nov 19
INtercontinental Guatemala City

Three hours prior to departure, transfer to La Aurora International Airport

Guatemala Quick Facts

Location: Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize.

Map References: Central America and the Caribbean.

Area: Total -- 108,890 sq km; water -- 460 sq km; land -- 108,430 sq km.

U.S. Area: In comparison to a U.S. state, slightly smaller than Tennessee.

Land Boundaries Total: 1,687 km; Border countries include Belize 266 km, El Salvador 203 km, Honduras 256 km and Mexico 962 km.

Coastline: 400 km.

Maritime Claims: Territorial sea -- 12 nm; exclusive economic zone -- 200 nm; continental shelf – 200m depth.

Climate: Tropical -- hot, humid in lowlands and cooler in highlands.
Temperature predictions during your stay will range from the highs 75˚ F/ and lows 58˚ F.

Attire: Casual.
Note: It tends to get chilly in the evenings.

Seasons: Rainy season varies from May to October. Dry season varies from November to April.

Currency: Quetzal.

Exchange rate (Est.): 1 USD = 7.57 Guatemala Quetzales.

Note: Bargaining throughout various marketplaces in Guatemala can be
done either in U.S. or local Guatemala currency the Quetzal.

General Fact Sheet

What makes Guatemala different from many other countries is it’s variety of environments, you can be enjoying the calm of lake Atitlán and a couple of hours later you can be discovering the history of an ancient city like Antigua, climbing the Agua Volcano or going to a shopping mall in Guatemala city.

1. The Mayan World Adventure
2. Living Indigenous Highlands
3. Different Caribbean

4. The Pacific Coast

5. Modern and Colonial Guatemala

6. Discovering Guatemala

7. Natural Paradise

To promote the most visited tourist destinations within Guatemala, seven areas were designated as part of an aggressive tourism campaign. The areas selected include the most visited destinations as well as new areas proposed for development:

A Different Caribbean
v Includes the Province of Izabal.
v It’s name says it all, Izabal is part of the Caribbean but unique in its nature. It was the stage for Pirates and Galleons during the conquest, and it is presently the home of the Garífuna culture, which arrived on the coasts over 200 years ago.

v Río Dulce (Sweet River) and Lake Izabal are truly a paradise for nature lovers and water sports aficionados.

Living Indigenous Highland
v Located in the western part of the country, this sector includes the provinces of Huehuetenango, Quiché, Totonicapán, Sololá, Chimaltenango, San Marcos and Quetzaltenango.
v After the Mayan cities in Petén where abandoned, the highland rejoiced with the arrival of its descendents who, surrounded by cold weather and fertile lands, called the mountains and valleys home.
v Over 20 Mayan ethnic groups occupy the indigenous highlands including the: Cack’chiquel, Quek’chi, Mam and Tzutuil.
v Their traditions, languages and crafts are a legacy of today’s Mayan World
v It is characterized by its beautiful landscapes of mountains and volcanoes, which frame the pictorial indigenous villages and sowing fields.
v Some of the destinations most widely visited in Guatemala are located in this area: Lake Atitlán and Chichicatenango.

The Mayan World Adventure

v Includes the province of Petén, the largest province in the country.
v The Mayan Civilization made the dense tropical jungle of El Petén, its home.
v The region is the cradle of the Maya: it watched the Maya civilization flourish and reach great astronomical, mathematical, architectural and artistic achievements such as Mirador, Tical and Aguateca.
v Thousands of years later, these cities still hold many of the mysteries of Mayan civilization.

The Pacific Coast

v Includes the southern provinces of Retalhuleu, Suchitepequez and Escuintla.
v Over thirty volcanoes contribute to the formation of the volcanic sand beaches on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala.
v In the warm and humid environment, these beaches, canals and wetlands serve as a refuge to a large variety of wildlife.
v Among its frequent visitors is the marine turtle, which prefers these beaches to nest their eggs.

Modern and Colonial Guatemala

v Includes the provinces of Guatemala and Sacatepéquez.
v This region holds two of Guatemala’s capital cities: one, which is a silent witness of our colonial past and the other, the largest and most modern metropolis in Central America.
v Since the arrival of the Spaniards, this area was recognized as the settlement of great cities, which is to date the pride and heart of this Mayan land.

Discovering Guatemala

v Includes the eastern provinces of Zacapa, El Progreso, Chiquimula, Jalapa, Jutiapa and Santa Rosa.

v Largely, tourists have not frequented the provinces that make up this region.
v This provides a great advantage to those who wish to venture into a world of tradition and culture that, until now, has hardly been explored. Among its main attractions are: the Basilica of Esquipulas, the only basilica of Central America and home of the Black Christ of Esquipulas.

Natural Paradise

v Includes the provinces of Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz.
v This area is commonly known as “Las Verapaces”, since the conquest period.
v It holds the largest and most important habitat of the majestic Quetzal, which feathers once adorned the heads of the Mayan kings and princes. It is “green, green, green” as once described by the Guatemalan Nobel Literary Prize Winner, Miguel Ángel Asturias.

Guatemalan Provinces

Guatemala, a country of contrasts and mosaics that enrich us with their natural vibrant colors that grow from our soil’s unique characteristics; warm and friendly, just as our weather, our people and our traditions.

So strong and playful, it’s beauty is reflected in it’s wide mountains and vast lands with a naturally enriched soil that gives life to a huge diversity of flora and fauna like no other in the world, towering pyramids rise above the jungle’s green canopy and howler monkeys share the tops of trees with colorful birds, this is Guatemala. Many places where to stay, and many moods to share.

Guatemala has the richest ethnic diversity of all the countries of Central America. Eighty percent of the population is indigenous. Most groups are descendants of the Mayans and have preserved their traditional clothing, folklore and language. Some places from the Mayan empire, like Tikal, are world famous, others still lay hidden in dense jungles waiting for explorers to discover their secrets.

Tikal. Adventuring at the ancient Mayan acropolis.

If you dream of visiting old Mayan temples hidden in lush jungle with giant Ceiba trees, colorful birds and howler monkeys, Tikal is the right place. The biggest acropolis discovered were the temples are magnificent, but what makes this park so unique is its setting. All groups of monuments are separated by thick rainforests with century old trees. The forest only is worthy of a visit even if the Mayan temples weren’t there. At least tropical birds think so. You can see more species there in a day than anywhere else, toucans, parakeets, colorful turkeys, and vultures. Spider monkeys jumps from tree to tree while howler monkeys can be heard from a distance. The trees are spectacular as much from the ground, where they offered valuable shade, as they were from the top of temples surrounding the monuments with an array of colors complementing the darker earth tones of the stones. If you want to feel the extremely experience of climbing a temple under the powerful heat, this is the right place for the challenge.

In the late afternoon the howler monkeys roared like an army of lions. Tikal is one of those places you just wished you had more time to visit longer. Your interest could be art, anthropology, archeology, history, ecology, bird watching or just to look for a peaceful place in a beautiful rainforest, whatever your purpose may be, Tikal will easily seduce you and remain etched in your memory.

Cobán. Where you find your extreme natural spirit.

You can find some other experiences in other places for all those who like extreme. Cobán is the right place where the warm weather, rainy and foggy forests tempts you to adventure. You can stay there enjoying the landscape and the sound of the river or if you like it rough you can take a rafting tour at the river Cahabón; but also you can set free your spirit exploring the underground caves feeling the mysticism and magic of the unknown.

Antigua. Surviving and conquering the colony.

If you are looking for a quiet and cultural experience, Antigua is a colonial town with a rich history and impressive architecture. It is certainly worth a visit. Not a large town, but is the most visited destination in the country. It was the most important city in New Spain until the capitol was moved to present day Guatemala City after the destructive earthquake of 1773. During the mid-1800’s, with the introduction of the coffee industry, a few of the colonial structures were restored. However, the city has remained isolated until recently.

Antigua is among the oldest and most beautiful cities in the Americas. Set amid three magnificent volcanoes - Agua, Fuego and Acatenango - its superb yet sturdy colonial buildings have weathered 16 earthquakes and numerous floods and fires. La Antigua was declared a National Monument and a Monumental City of the Americas. In 1979 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Today cultural activities take place inside magnificent monuments and houses. You can feel old Europe while walking among the cobblestone streets and colonial architecture. Tourists from around the world mix with Indigenous people in traditional clothing who have come in from surrounding villages. Antigua is a lovely place to relax, and a much better place to wait for a flight out of the country than the nearby capital.
Antigua is especially beautiful during Semana Santa or Holly Week, when the streets are carpeted with elaborate decorations of colored sawdust and flower petals. The city's churches have lost much of their Baroque splendor, the post-earthquake repair and restoration leaving them denuded of embellishment and elegance. However, many remain impressive, in particular La Merced, Iglesia de San Francisco and Las Capuchinas (now a museum). Casa K'ojom is a fascinating museum of Mayan music and ceremonies and related artifacts. On Sundays, visitors and locals alike gather to assess the goods for sale at the bustling market held in Parque Central.
Guatemala. The metropolitan age.
Guatemala City is the largest urban city in Central America. Like all Guatemalan towns, a logical grid system has been imposed on the city's layout: avenidas run north-south; calles run east-west. The huge city has been divided into 22 zones, each with its own version of this grid system.
Few colonial buildings grace the city, especially in the zone 1, where the Central Park (officially the Plaza de la Constitución) is a classic example of the standard Spanish colonial town. People who like to take walks or even sit on a bench to soak in the surroundings visit this Park every Sunday. In front of this park you can see the majestic National Palace of the Culture, a great museum of history. And in the other side of the park you can see Metropolitan Cathedral.
In zone 10 are several and important museums like the Museo Popol Vuh, which is a superb private collection of Mayan and Spanish colonial art, and the Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena, which displays the rich traditional arts and costumes of Guatemala's highland towns. Zona 13 houses the Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, with its prized collection of Mayan artifacts, and the Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno, which has a superb collection of 20th-century Guatemalan art the Museo Del Niño.
The most important hotels and conventions centers are placed on zone 10 of more common denominated, La Zona Viva.
The High Lands.


If your spirit is much more quiet, you can also enjoy the beauty of lake Atitlan. Volcanoes surround the lake, and the town is the starting point for excursions to the smaller, more traditional indigenous villages on the western and southern shores of the lake. The most popular day-trip destination is Santiago Atitlán, with its colorfully dressed locals and a unique, cigar-smoking resident deity called Maximón. The market town of Sololá has been attracting traders for centuries, and the town's main plaza continues to throb with activity on market days. Village life can be sampled at Santa Catarina Palopó, while lakeside San Pedro La Laguna is fun for its population of bohemian travelers who liked it here so much they stayed.


At 2030m (6658ft), the magical and misty highlands town of Chichi is surrounded by valleys and overshadowed by looming mountains. Though isolated, it's always been an important market town. The Sunday market is the one to catch, as the cofradías (religious brotherhoods) often hold processions on that day. The locals have combined traditional Mayan religious rites with Catholicism; the best places to witness these old rites are around the church of Santo Tomás and the shrine of Pascual Abaj, which honors the Mayan earth god. Incense, food, drink and cigarettes are offered to ancestors and to ensure the continued fertility of the earth. The town's Museo Regional contains ancient clay pots and figurines, flint and obsidian spearheads, maize grindstones and an impressive jade collection.


The commercial center of southwestern Guatemala, Quetzaltenango, more commonly called Xela ('shay-lah'), is an excellent base for excursions to the many nearby villages, noted for their hot springs and handmade crafts. The city prospered during the 19th century as a coffee-broker and storage center until an earthquake and volcanic eruption ended the boom. In recent years, Xela has become well known for its Spanish-language schools. The town's major sights are the central square and the buildings which surround it, a couple of basic though useful markets and the ubiquitous Parque Minerva - many such monuments were built during the presidency of Manuel Estrada Cabrera (1898-1920), to honor the classical goddess of education in the hope of inspiring Guatemalan youth to new heights of learning. The beautiful volcanic countryside surrounding Xela features natural steam baths at Los Vahos and Fuentes Georginas. Also in the vicinity are the picture-postcard village of Zunil, the garment district of Guatemala, San Francisco El Alto and the centre for woolly woollens, the village of Momostenango.

Livingston. The sounds of the caribean.

The town of Lívingston is accessible from the Caribbean port of Puerto Barrios. The local people named the Garífunas lives on the island. The blend of Maya, African and European culture had created the unique language and traditions of this town. Tiny Lívingston with coconut groves, gaily painted wooden buildings and a fishing economy is the starting point for boat rides on the Río Quehueche and Río Cocolí, which take you through tropical jungle scenery for a swim or a picnic, or out to the Cayos for snorkeling and fishing.

Pacific Coast. Warm weather, warm people.

Situated on Guatemala's Pacific Slope, this is an important site for anyone interested in Mayan art and culture. The sugar cane fields are dotted with great stone heads and scenes carved in relief. The artifacts are the remnants of the Pipils. There are three main archaeological sites in the surrounding sugar cane fincas (ranches or plantations). Finca Bilbao consists of several ceremonial sites containing stone sculptures, many of which are hidden among the cane. Hilltop Finca El Baúl has the additional fascination of being a still-active place of worship, while Finca Las Ilusiones contains hundreds of objects, which have been collected from the fields over the centuries. Also in the pacific coast you can find beautiful black sand beaches like Monterrico, Las Lisas and Sipacate, where you can practice water sports and enjoy beautiful nature walks. Avid sports fishermen that frequent the area, internationally recognize the black sand beaches of Puerto Quetzal to participate in the sport.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rub me for good luck!

Even though I am busy getting ready to go to Guatemala tomorrow for ten days, I decided to run down to the media party for Purgatory that was being held in Absinthe, the bar in my building.
Everyone laughed because all I had to do to get there was take the elevator down from the ninth floor.
Fiftenn minutes after I got there, I won the first prize--a trip for two to Purgatory, including airfare and hotel for two and lift tickets (applications are now being taken for my guest spot)

One guest who really wanted to win came up to me and asked if she could rub me for good luck.
She did, and then she won the next trip.

Maybe I should go to Las Vegas next.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


When I got a degree in journalism, I never thought people would fly me to Zurich business class just so I could eat chocolate. But Lindt actually did that. I joined about a dozen other lucky chocolate writes who were wined, dined and fed the best chocolate treats in the world. They also sent us home with an enourmous supply of goodies.
They were nice enough to ship mine home since I was traveling on for another month.

All in all, I spent 35 days in 18 different hotels and changed trains about 24 times.

It was wonderful, but with my bad back, it got more and more difficult each day as people gave me more and more goodies. Really good goodies like wine, and books and then some propoganda.
I estimated that I got five pounds a day.
That doesn't sound like too much until you multiply it by 35.
Do the math.

The last week of the trip was at Romantik HOtels in Germany and France. We ate in several Michlein star restaurants.

The most amazing thing of all was I did not gain any weight.
In fact, people keep telling me I look thinner.

Maybe chocolate and wine really are good for you.


I must be thinking like a photographer. Yesterday I was driving home at sunset and the sky was so beautiful I pulled over, took out my digital camera, and started shooting pictures. I had a moment where I understood why photographers go nuts over light. The sky was ribbons of pink and blue and purple that were reflected in the ball at the top of the Hyatt Reunion. When I zoomed in on the ball, it looked like something out of a space age movie.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The man who hit my car was blind, deaf and a liar

Thank goodness there was a witness to my accident at the end of August. The man who backed into me told his insurance company that I had come from another lane and hit him.

The bad guy driver actually backed into me. I honked. The witness behind me honked. The guy got out of his car with his cellphone still attached to his ear and said .."i DID NOT SEE YOU." I guess he did not hear either of us honking at him. That adds up to blind and deaf in my book.

In the end, his insurance company is covering all of it.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I keep hearing these little noises

The last couple of nights before I went to bed, I hear an upbeat percussion music, It lasted a few minutes, then stopped. I could not tell where it was coming from, but I have always had quiet neighbors.
Then I noticed it after I laid down for a nap in the middle of the day.
Suddenly, I started noticing it happened whenever I went to sleep.

What was different? Why ws I hearing voices?

Eventually I figured out that it was the "hibernate" warning from my new computer.

The music is nice, and now that I know it is not all in my head, I sleep a lot better

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

solitary confinement is better than this

My computer is sick. I bought a new one. They are both being rehabed and retrained and reformatted by Mark Wilson. I am hanging out in the business office, trying to keep up with the thousands of emails I get every day.

Having no computer while you are on drugs (for my accident of course) means I am not sure who I am and what my phone number is. I certainly can't call anyone else unless their phone number is saved in my cell phone. Oops, I better so plug it in. It is my last link to the outside world.

I am doing amazingly stupid stuff. I left my purse in the car today. Then searched all over my loft to find it. Accidently took my phone off the hook, so no one could call me.

Monday, September 05, 2005


I went over to Judith ABbott's house for a casual dinner. She had just bought a new pickle cookbook and pickled everything. The best was the curried pickled zucchini with red grapes. (really, it was wonderful) Also tried bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, sweet and sour pickles, coleslaw and had sandwhiches (no pickles included) She made chocolate cupcakes for dessert and slipped me a few on the way out. Ever since I started people seem compelled to feed me pickles.

Friday night I went over to Diane Teitlebaums while husband Bill was ice-fishing in Alaska. We had Eddy's New York Pizza (actually came from Albertson's but tasted authentic) Plus yummy chocolate cake and mocha swirl ice cream. I brought some Sabra hummus that someone had sent me to sample for appetizers.

Tonight I ate over at my neighbors, Jan and John Belcher. John grilled hamburgers and we had real Texas food, beans and coleslaw. The beverage was a wonderful pinot noir I was sent and it was a perfect pairing on a hot night.

Tomorrow I back to the usual routine of visiting doctors all day.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Innocents at it really a swingers bar?

The trendy bar in my building, Absinthe,is rumored to be a swingers bar, I have no firsthand knowledge of this. But the Dallas Observer said the "code" was to ask for a green napkin.
Tonight they had a happy hour for residents. REcruiting?
The food was ladies lunch style--triangles of chicken walnut salad on wheat and egg salad. Plus veggies, fruit and brownies and rice-crispie squares for those on low fat diet. (I guess swingers have to watch their love handles)
But maybe this is like the early bird for the old folks in Miami so they can get people in and out (no pun intended) before the action starts.
I went there one other time with a tall handsome man. I noticed a young blonde woman staring at him. I told him I thought she was interested in him. He said, "no, she is interested in us."
I have been afraid to go back ever since.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Vodka Tasting

I wnet to a vodka tasting for Effen Vodka at Whiskey Bar in Dallas. I actually loved the blue lemonade. Since it was a joing promotion with the Rolling Stones, they gave out all kinds of goodies. I was toasting with Dallas computer Whiz Mark Wilson

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Thursday I accidently threw out a bag of new clothes I had bought. I had so many packages when I came inside, that I put my mail inside the bag. Then when I reached the loft, I put it down by the door (where I often put things on their way out)

As I rushed down to a friend's loft for dinner, I noticed the bag. All the mail on top looked like press stuff I had thrown away, so I dumped the bag.

Bye Bye Mail

Bye Bye new clothes.

Then I washed my hair with a big new bottle of stuff on the ledge of the bathtub.

My hair seemed smooth and stiff, but not clean. Later I looked at the bottle. It was a styling gel.

I am just not used to being home this much

I want to be a website maven is going great
www.chocolateatlas is off to a wonderful start--hits tripled last month

and now I am working on developing a cocktail website with Patricia Sherman and thinking of doing an automotive site. We have reserved coffeatlas, cheeseatlas, breadatlas and others and will soon have a bunch of topics going at once.

Is there a 'HIT ME" target painted on my forehead

AS I was leaving my building on Tuesday morning (the day after my exciting time on the Texas Motor Speedway) a van backed into me in the parking lot. He had an earpiece in and seemed to be on a cellphone. At least he did not hear when I honked and honked. The car behind me honked and honked.

When the guy finally realized he had hit me, he got out and said, "I did not see you." I guess he was deaf and blind, but I was sure glad there was a security guard behind me to witness it.

At first he said he did not have his insurance. When I said that I would then call the police, he found his insurance in his glove compartment.

But most annoying of all was after we exchanged info, he said, "Now will you back up your car so I can park." I told him he would have to drive forward as he should have in the first place as there were cars behind me and we could not all back up just for him. He hit the gas and sped out.

I could not believe I had another accident. My friend Marilyn McCray told me her accident story

>Hi Madelyn,
>I hope your back is feeling better. I had a similar accident when I
>lived in Rochester. The day I was released from care, I was sitting in
>the very same intersection which was the scene of the crime. Looked in
>the rear view mirror only to see a car looming large on the horizon.
>The person who hit me that time was a med student who had been on a 36
>hour shft. Word to the wise, don't return to the scene of your original
>Hope you will feel better soon. Sad to think of the Travel Lady being

I had a chance to test drive a Hyundai Sonata

I had never been to the tExas Motor Speedway--and then on Tuesday I had a chance to test drive the all-new 2006 Sonata Hyundai.
I loved it. About a dozen or so Automotive Writers met at the Doral Tesaro for breakfast. After a presentation on the new features, we picked our cars. Following detailed maps, we toured the area and then met at a park to get drinks, snacks, and change cars and drivers.

The most exciting part came at the end when at the Texas Motor Speedway, race car instructors joined us in the cars to demonstrate the braking and manueverability.

Pretty exciting stuff for a girl who failed drivers ed because she had an accident in the drivers ed car. But that is another story.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Oops no postings from Tale of the Cocktail

Am I hung-over from five days of drinking cocktails? No, just exhausted from trying to travel with a bad back. I never thought about how much energ it takes to travel. I came home late Saturday and crashed all day Sunday. I forgot where I left my car and got a ticket.

Went to doctor today and did not get much else done. I seem to get behinder every day.

The good news is I got another invite to Italy, and this would be my third trip in less than a year. I also think I got invited to Germany.

And I still have not unpacked from New Orleans

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Tale of the Cocktails

Just got back from New Orleans. I was at an event sponsored by Southern Comfort called Tale of the Cocktails.
Imagine having the professional responsiblity to drink dozens of cocktails a day. And then imagine who else is doing it with you. Met lots of fun people and hope to go back again next year. Also had some fabulous meals...but then you expect that in New Orleans. My two favorite restaurants this trip were Cuvee and Cobalt.
Also did spa treatments and some shopping.
Stayed at the Monteleone Hotel which is a great historic hotel. I was in a corner suite with two bathrooms and loved every minute of it. All the speakers and journalists got goodie bags with amazing coupons for free meals and drinks and gifts.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Madelyn's New Orleans Schedule

I always wanted an easy way to post my schedule. So people who want to know, can find it.
And people who don't care won't be bombarded with emails of my itinerary

New Orleans august 2005 schedule******************

American Airlines Flight Number: 2238 Coach Class S
Depart: Dallas/Ft Worth, TX 08:54AM August 15, 2005
Arrive: New Orleans, LA 10:17AM August 15, 2005

August 15, to August 20
Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal St.

Monday August 15
Lunch open

Bamboozed spa treatment (arrive early) 3-5
At Belladonna
Lauren MassetGuest Services ManagerBelladonna Day Spa2900 Magazine StreetNew Orleans, Louisiana

6:30 dinner with Eric Johnson at Cuvee

Tuesday August 16
Monteleone spa Sandy Blum, the owner of Spa Aria
2:15 facial and eye treatment
Lunch open
Dinner 6:30 at Brennans with Eric Johnson

Wednesday August 17
Shopping story day
Lunch open?

“Tales of the Cocktail”, the three-day event, dedicated to celebrating the history and culture of dining and drinking in New Orleans, will take place on Thursday, Aug. 18, Friday, Aug. 19, and Saturday, August 20th at the Hotel Monteleone and other French Quarter locations. The event will feature dinner pairings, book signings, culinary demonstrations, a cocktail clinic, industry seminars, film screening, dine and design luncheon, entertainment, celebrity bartenders, a VIP tour and more.

As a VIP guest of Tales of the Cocktail we would like to make you aware of the events and invite you to participate in all of them. The two-day celebration will feature the following events:

“Welcome Dinner”
Wednesday, August 18, 7:30 p.m. cocktails and dinner
Café Giovanni
117 Decatur Street
Please join us as we bring together our VIP’s, authors, media and sponsors for a New Orleans welcome dinner.
RSVP 504-299-0404


Thursday, August 19, 9a.m.
Court of Two Sisters
613 Royal Street
Come enjoy a sumptuous southern breakfast of classic style eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits and gravy. With beverages and eye openers.
RSVP (504) 299-0404


Lunch open

Bitters Panel Discussion - led by Phil Greene
Napoleon House
Thursday, August 18th, 1:30 p.m.
500 Chartres Street
Phil Greene is an author and descendant of Antoine Amedee Peychaud, the 19th century New Orleans pharmacist who concocted Peychaud’s Bitters and is credited with coining the term “cocktail.” Phil’s discussion will include the history of bitters.
RSVP (504)558-1820

Spirits U - led by Chris Morris
Thursday, August 18th, 3 p.m.
Arnaud’s Restaurant
813 Bienville Street
Chris Morris of Brown-Forman will discuss the universality of whiskey, its origins and production of how it became Americanized.
RSVP (504)558-1820

Cocktail Hour
Thursday, August 18, 5:30p.m.-7:30p.m.
Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal St.

Meet and greet authors of famous books, purchase autographed copies, and sample their signature cocktails. Taste classic dishes with a twist, by local chefs who conduct cooking demonstrations with New Orleans own Southern Comfort. Meet our celebrity bartender and enter a raffle to win a Southern Comfort bar.
RSVP (504)558-1820


Spirited Dinners
Thursday, August 18, 8 p.m.
Various Locations
Enjoy a fine dining experience in one of 19 famous New Orleans restaurant with a unique menu, specially designed by the chef and a cocktail book author. Each menu will be served with complementing cocktails and spirits. Mingle with the authors and learn how to prepare unique cocktails. For a complete list of restaurants and menus visit RSVP online or call (504) 558-1820.

Friday, August 19, 9a.m.
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
514 Chartres St.
RSVP (504) 299-0404


Dine and Design Luncheon
Friday, August 19th, Noon
Brennan’s Restaurant
417 Royal Street
Join author and designer Beverly Church for a lesson in party planning and entertaining. Enjoy a fabulous meal, complete with cocktails and wine and leave with great ideas for table settings, party favors and special events.
Call (504) 558-1820 to RSVP


Bartending Consulting as a Profession Panel Discussion – led by Dale DeGroff
Friday, August 19th, 2:30 p.m.
Ritz-Carlton Library Lounge
921 Canal Street
Dale DeGroff, author of “The Craft of the Cocktail,” consults around the world, developing drink menus for restaurants and training the next generation of world-class bartenders. DeGroff will discuss how to start, run, and market a professional bartending consulting business and the hospitality industry today.
Call (504) 558-1820 to RSVP

VIP Southern Comfort Cocktail Tour
Gray Line Lighthouse
Toulouse Street at the River
Take the walking tour that explores history – with a twist – in New Orleans’ oldest and most renowned bars and restaurants. Special guest, Kerri McCaffety, author of “Obituary Cocktail,” on which the tour is inspired, will accompany tour guide Joe Gendusa.
RSVP (504) 569-1401

Hollywood and Cocktails Seminar/Film Screening – led by director Peter Moody
Friday, August 19th, 5:30 p.m.
Antoine’s Restaurant
713 St. Louis Street
View Peter Moody’s first feature length film, “Olive or Twist,” as it traces the history of the U.S. through the martini, from the industrial revolution to the present, and learn about the role of cocktails in Hollywood.
Call (504) 558-1820 to RSVP


Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Saturday, August 20, 11:30 a.m.
Led by Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown
Muriel’s Jackson Square
801 Chartres St.
Authors Miller and Brown drink (and write) for a living. Join them as they present cool cocktails for the dog days of summer. Classics such as the Mojito, Tom Collins, and Margarita will be presented along with their history and the famous people who drank them.


Mix It Up
Saturday, August 20th, 6-9 p.m.
2000 block of Magazine Street
Listen to music, shop, enjoy cocktails by Southern Comfort and celebrate at the final Tales of the Cocktail event.


By now, Jan Dressler should have made contact with everyone about travel arrangements. Jan is with Navigant travel

When you arrive to New Orleans you will receive a welcome basket with a final itinerary enclosed and gift certificates for other meals and treats from our sponsors..


Anne 504-299-0404 or

Bonnie Warren


Belinda Lazaro []


Depart: New Orleans, LA 05:16PM August 20, 2005
Arrive: Dallas/Ft Worth, TX 06:50PM August 20,

Friday, August 12, 2005

The yin and yang of my life. Getting a hanicapped parking permit the same day I am asked to test drive cars

It seems ironic that when I returned from the state office to get my handicapped parking sticker I had an invitation in my email to Hyundai Vehicle Safety Technology Test Track.
They want me to test the safety features on a track.
How was I chosen for this honor?
Do they know how bad I drive? (although I have never been at fault in any of my accidents)

Where is the best place to eat Swiss Chocolate?

My wakeup call this morning (literally) was from a PR person who represents Lindt Chocolate. She was inviting me on a press tour of Switzerland for Lindt. I was kind of grumpy when she called so I hope to hear from her again. (I am grumpy if you wake me up--especailly when I am on drugs) I am a lot nicer once you tell me you are inviting me to Switzerland to eat chocolate.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Are accidents contagious?

Last week, my wonderful chiropractor Craig Jacobs told me that his wife had been in an auto wreck. I was really sympathetic.
Today he told me that he had been in an accident on the way from his Plano office to Baylor.

Maybe accidents are contagious. I seem to have caught more than my share.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

ARe you wearing clean underwear today?

Did you know that August 10 is National Underwear Day?
Actually, it is not official yet, but a large group of lobbyiest will be wearing their underwear iin public and trying to get signatures to make it an official holiday.
I think the whole movement is sponsored by a large underwear manufacturer.
How do I know about this?
It is one of the fascinating facts they send to journalists.
(no pictures yet)

I must have some kind of underwear fetish or karma. I live in a loft in the old Sears Roebuck Building in downtown Dallas and recently found that the ninth floor where I reside was where they sold underwear. At least that is what some of the former employees told me.

Here is the unedited press release on the underwear day************************

Tomorrow, August 10, 2005, marks the 3rd Annual National Underwear Day. Events for the day include:

-Underwear-ing models polling people on underwear preference and collecting signatures for official recognition of the day.

-C-IN2’s mobile changing station, encouraging New Yorkers to try on the C-IN2 wares, and wear them home.


-2(x)ist and the National Prostate Cancer Coalition’s information center, offering underwear to anyone who pledges to get a cancer screening.

The event, currently ranked as the No. 1 event for August on AOL’s CityGuide, will last from early morning through midday. Please find below the necessary contact information for scheduling interviews or taping segments, as well as a schedule of where the models will be throughout the city today, celebrating our beloved skivvies and encouraging everyone else to do the same.

The team

More information is located:

Swag of the Day

Swag is a new word for me. I learned it from a friend who came to my loft and exclaimed over all the "Swag." I thought he was critiquing my housekeeping abilities.
Actually, I learned swag is what journalists get as freebies from PR people. I confess to getting lots of swag and loving it. Today I got some Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookies, my absolute favorite, from a Hilton Contact. Yum. I am inspired to write by chocolate--this post is just an example.

I confess to having lots of Swag. And I am not alone. I learned that is the term used for the gifts to judges for events like the ACademy Awards. Who wouldn't love swag?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Chocolate Party Pictures

Madelyn loves chocolate

Went to Mikki Mallow's art and chocolate show at South Side on Lamar on Friday night. It was adorable. You signed in with a Hershey's pen on candy striped paper. There was a chocolate fountain with marshmellows, pretzels, cookies, dried fruit and brownies for dipping. A "candy striper" in uniform passed out chocolate covered blueberries and cherries, three to a medicine cup. There was also a candy "cigarette" girl with a tray who passed out candy cigarettes and cigars. At the "candy bar" there was jar labeled "dental fund" for tips. All in all, a sweet success


I had two doctor appointments today. Actually neither one was with a doctor. One was with the doctor's ASSISTANT, the other with the chiropracter in his office.
It took two weeks to get an appointment with the assistant, but I carefully co-ordinated it with the traction appointment.
This morning about an hour before my first appointment, the chiropractor cancels and wants me to come to his office in Plano instead of Baylor.
That leaves me driving to Baylor early in the morning and probably waiting around to see the doctor's ASSISTANT and then rushing 28 miles to wait in another doctor's office.
If I don't see the assistant, I can't get a medicine refill. (Somehow, the rules for patient care seem to be slanted toward doctor convenience, not patient need)
Many places charge a patient if they cancel with less than 24 hours notice.
But a doctor can cancel whenever he wants.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


While I am home, I am working on my new website
Lots of people are sending me chocolate to review.

Travellady is Grounded

After ten years of touring the world, meeting the best chefs, sleeping in the best beds, I am temporarily grounded from a car accident.
I was innocently stopped at a traffic light, when a young kid in the next lane rear-ended me so hard two other cars stopped in front of me were involved.
It took two emergency people to open my car door.
The car was totalled.
A tow truck came and took it away.
If you ever have an accident, do it in a rental car. It is a no hassel, no worry way to get rid of it.
I mean you do not have to wait for repairs, etc.
The young man who hit me was sited for negligence, but he then drove away.

I am sentenced to a year of physical therapy and lots of paperwork with insurance companies, doctors, car rental people and etc.

Instead of going to exotic destinations, I now visit doctors office and wait and wait in their waiting rooms. Instead of a glamourous life, I am not redefined as damaged goods, a person whose time is worth nothing.

The most annoying thing about going to the doctor is the forms. Each doctor has you fill out the same information about when you were born and where you live. There should be a scanner machine and a chip for this. You could get carpal tunnell just from filling out forms.