Travel Here: Dallas Museum of Art Presents Exhibition of Islamic Art

Invitation to the NUR Preview

Invitation to the NUR Preview

NUR: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World Opens at the DMA

Though I loved absolutely everything about the recent preview party for NUR, I almost didn’t get there. Bill and I were working on a project and even though I’d reminded him, all day long, we had to finish up in time to get to the museum, when it was time to go, I was physically and emotionally drained.  “Maybe we should just blow it off,” I suggested.  Bill nearly fainted.  He knew I’d really been looking forward to the exhibit and preview party, so he all but scooped me up and put me in the car.

In the visor mirror, I tried to get my reflection to look like something other than a windblown mess, but I don’t think I did much good.  I was dressed right for the event, but I felt out of synch with the idea of having fun.  Though I usually have an event’s schedule committed to memory and a plan for getting the most out of it, on this day, I wasn’t even sure we were arriving at the right time.

As we waited for the elevator in the museum’s garage, I asked Bill if I’d given him the invitation and membership card.  He showed them to me and I took the invitation from him to look over the schedule.  As I studied the card, the elevator opened and I stepped in.

Now I know that you should always let the people off the elevator, before you enter, but I was operating on auto-pilot.  I’ve been going to the museum for after-hour events for decades.  It used to be that no one would be riding the elevators down.  Even so, I should have glanced up, right?  You’re absolutely right, but I didn’t.

As soon as my foot crossed the threshold, I knew something was wrong.  Some tardy alarm went off in my head, “People park down here for other stuff, you know!” I started apologizing before I even raised my head to see who I’d been rude to, but the offended party was already dressing me down for my faux pas – and in no uncertain terms, I might add.

You know when something happens in seconds, but you remember it in slow motion.  That’s how this situation went.  I dove into the corner to get out of the way as the offended party stepped out of the elevator.  My husband and a couple of other people followed me into the elevator and the doors closed.  Standing there outside the elevator was a mother holding a child, yelling at me.  The mother had switched from English to another language for good measure and her child began to howl.

As if I hadn’t already felt bad enough, now I was miserable.  I turned to the two strangers and tried to explain what happened.  Their sympathetic faces suggested that maybe I hadn’t been the rude one after all.  My husband, who is quick to point out the error of my ways, was red in the face.  I braced for the lecture, but all he had to say was directed at the woman who’d been so agitated at me.  When the elevator opened I asked him if he thought I should go back down and try to excuse myself for my mistake.  “Don’t you even think about it,” he warned.

Things got better after that.  We were late for what the invitation said was pre-lecture comments, but we did get up to the Founder’s Room before all the hors d’ oeuvres and wine were gone.  As we admired the re-purposing of the old restaurant and enjoyed the view from the Founder’s Room Balcony, Bill and I reminisced about meeting one another in that very place over twenty years ago.  The angry woman faded from my memory.

After a while, we moseyed down to see the exhibit and listen to the formal lecture and it was delightful.  Here’s what I said about it on Yahoo:   Islamic Art Shines in Dallas, Texas.  I hope you’ll take time to see the exhibit, but please remember your manners or you might run into a little elevator rage.








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Filed under Art &Travel, Dallas, Museums, Picks and Pans, Texas

Travel There: The Garden

I snapped this shot along the Three Capes Loop in Oregon.

I snapped this shot along the Three Capes Loop in Oregon.

And now for something completely different. The first thing I ever had published was a poem in a literary journal. It’s been a while since I penned any verse, but I submitted a favorite piece of poetry to Yahoo Voices to see what would happen. They published it! Here is is:


Filed under Art &Travel, Oregon

Travel Here: Great Wine Bars in Far North Dallas

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This was lunch at Mercy Wine Bar, not a centerpiece, and it was delicious.

Mercy Wine Bar Leads the Pack by More than a Small Margin

In a recent Yahoo Voices article, I praised Mercy Wine Bar.  The parameters of the assignment only allowed me four hundred words and I had to include three other wine bars, along with my favorite.  I was grateful for the assignment, but I could have bragged on Mercy for a lot more than four hundred words and never mentioned anyone else.

Great Word of Mouth

Before I ever went to Mercy Wine Bar I knew I was going to like it.  My bestie started raving about it several years ago, but I didn’t have much time for hanging out at wine bars, then. So I just put it on my wish list and kept on trucking.  The next time I heard good things about Mercy, I was talking to my nephew’s then-fiancee-now-wife.  She spoke from the complete opposite side of the generation chasm.  Now I was really interested.

The Bottom Line

Some of the places I frequent are favorites because of a specific dish or atmosphere, but I love Mercy because it’s a variety of experiences all at once, with great food and beverage, at a reasonable price.  I’ve had a quick lunch in the middle of the day. I’ve tasted wines out on the patio all of an afternoon.  I’ve met friends there, in the evening, to celebrate an occasion. Obviously my nephew appreciates the romantic factor.

I think you’ll like it, too.  The other wine bars I reviewed, all of which I enjoy, are: Sip & Savor, Ziziki’s Taverna and Cru.  Here’s a link to the article:  And if you visit one of these great places, let me know what you think.

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Travel There: Yahoo!

Traveling Beyond the Boundaries of WordPress

Do you Yahoo?  Most of us belong to one Yahoo Group or another.  Some of us use Yahoo for email or as our search engine.  I have one friend who uses Yahoo as her primary news source.  Well, now I Yahoo in a big way and I hope it takes my writing career to the next level.

Surrounded by Fans at My First Poetry Reading

Surrounded by fans at my first poetry reading in 2008

A Writer’s Journey Towards Fame 

Most ordinary people I talk to (you know, the ones who don’t claim to be writers) think the hard part about writing is the writing.  Au contrare mon ami!  That’s the easy part – at least for me.  Finding an audience, especially one that wants to pay me, has been quite challenging – and from conversations with other writers, I know I’m not alone.

In the olden days, writers sat in their garrets writing their masterpieces and the agents and publishers were responsible for finding an audience for the work. Those days are gone.  Today, many writers find their own audience or “platform” through blogging and social media, bypassing traditional publication models.  Even if an author wins the publishing lottery and someone pays them an advance, the writer is expected to get out there and promote their book.

So while writers wait to be discovered, most of us pound the pavement of social media, trying to build a foundation for that elusive “platform” all agents want us to have.  And BTW, we wouldn’t mind finding a way to make a few bucks  while we’re at it. Free-lancing fills the gap for many people, before and after they’re famous.

Enter Yahoo

So, after reading a few blogs on the subject of freelancing and discussing it with several writers, I decided it was time to put my toe in the water.  I also needed to get a little experience under my belt before I started demanding big bucks for my valuable words.  I decided the least threatening and most helpful thing I could do was sign up for the Yahoo Contributor Network. (Writers, feel free to contact me if you’d like more information about writing for Yahoo.  I’ll be glad to send you the link.)

What that means for you, my faithful blog audience, is that if you like what’s here, you’ll probably like what’s there.  If you’ve been visiting for long, you know my blog is all about travel, so of course I’ll be writing travel articles for Yahoo, like this one: Lost Wedding Guests on an International Wild Goose Chase; but I’ll also get the chance to explore other subjects, such as the ones listed below:

(Disclosure:  Yahoo Voices pays its writers in several ways and one of them is a few cents per bazillion clicks, so if you click on one of the links above you are helping to feed a starving artist – me!)

Since this blog is about living in Dallas and traveling elsewhere, any Yahoo article about that will be mentioned here and you’ll see it whatever path you used to get here.  But if you’d like to keep up with my other articles (and help feed me by clicking on the links), then here are a couple of ways to do that:

  1. Go to my “Jane Sadek, Writer” Facebook Fan Page and like me.  (This new page is more writer-specific than my personal page, where I go to let it all hang out.  If you’re connected to my personal page, you’ll see less and less of the writer there.  On the Writer page, along with sharing some of the best of the Web, I’ll also post a link to all my Yahoo Voices articles whenever they come out.  As I spread my writer’s wings, the reach of the page will also expand.)
  2. Follow me on Twitter.  I browse through a lot of blogs everyday and share many good ones on my Twitter page, especially if they are related to travel or Dallas. I also post links to anything and everything of mine that gets published.
  3. Add me on Google+. I still haven’t figured it out yet, but I do post my publications there.  If you get it, then please explain it to me.
  4. Connect on Linked In. Since that’s about professional networking and I’m a writer, I’ll be posting many links there.

Thank You!

A final word – I’ve got the best friends in the world, in the flesh and digitally.  You guys have supported me in a million ways.  I took the time to explain this process, because from time to time someone will ask me what they can do to help me in my career.  This helps and if you enjoy browsing the internet, then I’d love to get all the clicks I can.  If following my personal Facebook page or occasionally reading one of my blogs is more your style, then please know, just having you among my buddies is an honor I cherish.

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Filed under Art &Travel, Dallas, Picks and Pans, Travel Planning

Travel There: Stranded in a Frozen Dickens


Galveston‘s 2013 Dickens-on-The-Strand Suffered from Chilblains! 

“You can’t always get what you want!”  The Rolling Stones were spot on with that one – especially when it came to this vacation.  The Polar Express gypped me out of my luminaries on the Riverwalk and then followed me to the beach.

My mom used to say things like, “If you had the sense God gave a goozle,” (and  I’m not exactly sure what a goozle is) but I’m sure my husband was thinking the same sort of thing as we froze our assets off, strolling down the Strand.

Important, but Chilly Anniversary 

I was expecting big things from this British-flavored festival with its side order of Victorian literature.  This was the fortieth Dickens-on-the-Strand and for the first time, it was a three day festival, not just an overnight flash in the pan.  What I didn’t expect was London!  Actually London has been warmer the few times I’ve been there.  This was more like the cold, wet, windy day I’d visited Coventry Cathedral and had nothing but a thin windbreaker between me and the chill.  I think that’s the coldest I’d ever been up until that day in Galveston.

Bill really does deserve the Champion Husband of the World Award – at least in the travel department.  Anyone with any sense would have headed back to Dallas after our frozen stay in San Antonio, but not me.  I was going to Dickens on the Strand and I had friends to see.  The friends were worth it.  Dickens? Not so much.  The festival may have been in full swing the day before, but on it’s inaugural first Sunday, it was a ghost story, and not in a cozy Christmas Carol way.

Still, we found a cheap place to park, walked several blocks to the entrance, paid our fee and landed virtually nowhere.  A few braves souls strolled the streets in their Victorian finery, but we had to decide who was dumber for showing up – us or them.  A few performers mounted stages and tried to entertain the lost souls wandering the Strand, but it was cold enough out there without stopping and standing in one place.  The greatest hub of activity was an area for steam-punk enthusiasts, an important factor in the popularity of the festival, but try as I may, I have very little, beyond a passing interest, in steampunk – and Bill had less than that.

When All Else Fails, Eat

We might have had an interest in chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but most of the heat seemed to be at Yaga’s Cafe.  The crowded interior didn’t seem to suffer from it’s lack of an identifiable theme in the decoration or menu.  The service was friendly, if not adequate, and the food adequate, if not tasty.

Lunch behind us, we explored the island by car for awhile and decided we’d certainly return, but next time, we’d rent a beachside cottage and the weather would be warmer.  For dinner we drove back towards Houston to meet some Pearland friends, Jimmy and Melanie, at Pappas Seafood House. Now that was good seafood and good company.  We are fortunate in our friends, even if we don’t always make the best decisions about when to visit the beach.

So, should you go to Dickens on the Strand?  I might go back someday, but I’d check the weather, go on Saturday and stay somewhere besides the Beachfront Palms.  Come back next week and we’ll start thinking about a new trip!


Filed under Art &Travel, Picks and Pans, Restaurants, Road Trips, Texas, The United States

Travel There: On the Road to Galveston

Friends - great excuses for road trips!

Friends – great excuses for road trips!

The South Texas Christmas Ramble Moves West from San Antonio

As usual, San Antonio served up a good time. I’d been to some of my old favorites and tried out some new things. The biggest disappointment was the Polar Express that blew in, cancelling the luminaries on the Riverwalk, which had been the impetus for my trip. My favorite new thing was the Blue Crab Salad at Boudros or maybe it was the new Briscoe Western Museum or perhaps… I’ll just have to face it. I love San Antonio. I haven’t even finished writing about the last trip and I’m ready to go again.

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel

Speaking of new things, been to the Cracker Barrel lately?  Hubby loves it and in the past, I’ve tolerated it, because breakfast has never been my favorite meal.  However, I discovered something new as we left San Antonio.  For some reason Cracker Barrel doesn’t have it on their website and that’s a real shame, because I forgot what they called it.  Regardless of it’s moniker, it’s an extraordinary frittata with egg, cheese, bacon and who knows what else, with blackberries on the side.  I’m not a fan of omelettes.  I don’t like scrambled eggs and I prefer my veggies to be cooked before they’re mixed with the eggs, but frittatas, I love!  Also, since going on the South Beach Diet, I’ve permanently abandoned potatoes, so I don’t eat those egg casseroles with hash-browns, either.  This new dish, that I’ve forgotten the name of, was right up my alley.     For the rest of the trip I was suggesting Cracker Barrel for breakfast.

Stayed at The Beachfront Palms

We pulled into Galveston around three and found the Beachfront Palms without any trouble.  We’d gotten an expedia deal on the room and it was a decent place to stay, but it was completely no frills and no thrills.  They’d recently done a remodel, but only cosmetic fixes, no upgrade.  The appliances really needed replacement.  The pillows were thin and the bedspread was some sort of slick made-in-china excuse for fabric.  We were there for only two nights and had other places to be, so we lived through it. (A little fact checking on the internet revealed that the Beachfront Palms is now a Red Roof Inn.  It was an indie when we were there.  Good luck with that.)

Our first order of Galveston business was to see Linda and Clay.  In the days before I arrived on the scene, Linda was one of Bill’s best friends.  Since then, he married me and she married Clay, forming a rather syrupy mutual appreciation society.  Now, they’ve retired to Galveston and live in the penthouse of one of those high rise condos right on the seawall.  I’ll go a couple of years without visiting and then walk back into their place -OMG!OMG!OMG!  It’s like living on a cruise ship and having a balcony suite!  You’re so high up that the highway, seawall and beach completely disappear and it seems you’re suspended above an endless sea.  I try to play like it’s only jaw-dropping because I see it so infrequently, but if I lived there, I’d probably still wake up in the morning and say OMG!OMG!OMG!

Clary’s for Dinner

Our friends took us to Clary’s for dinner.  I’ve got to be fair and tell you that they love it and everyone who works there treated us like we were the King and Queen of Dallas on a state visit to Her Royal Highness, the Holy Roman Empress of Galveston – but that didn’t take a lot of effort.  Everyone who knows her, loves Linda.  We just thought the food was mediocre.  Linda and Clay say they eat there several nights a week, so maybe our mouths were just out of joint, but I’d have rather been at Gaido’s.

It’s always good to catch up with good friends, but we were there for Dicken’s on the Strand, so we returned to the Beachfront Palms and tucked the strange feeling bedspread under our chin, because Baby, it was cold down there.


Filed under Accommodations, Art &Travel, Picks and Pans, Restaurants, Road Trips, Texas

Travel There: The Nutcracker at San Antonio’s Majestic Theater

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San Antonio’s Majestic Theater Earns Its Name with a Glorious Nutcracker

Here’s how I know Bill was bending over backwards to accommodate my wishes on our trip to San Antonio; he agreed to go to a ballet at the Majestic Theater.  He played it really cool until afterwards, but then he made a post to Facebook that revealed the truth.  He hadn’t been looking forward to it at all, but enjoyed it anyway.

Off to a Rough Start

We needed a bite to eat before the show, so we went to The County Line, a BBQ joint on the River, because it was close to our hotel and we were in a hurry.  In our opinion, a BBQ joint is supposed to let you get a BBQ sandwich, but that only happens at lunch at The County Line.  For dinner it’s a meat and two veggies kind of a place.  Bill ordered a sliced brisket plate and I nibbled around the edges, but my mind was not on the brisket.  WHERE WERE THE LUMINARIES?

Remember, I came to San Antonio because I wanted to see the River all dressed up for Christmas.  Well, the weatherman threatened icy rain and sleet, so no luminaries were installed.  The primary thing I came for didn’t happen at all.

And it was cold!  And a stupid sign outside our hotel sent us an entire block out of our way.  And did I mention it was cold.  Bill was smart.  He ignored the occasion and dressed warmly.  By golly, I’d brought a special outfit for the theater and I was going to wear it, even if it killed me.  Well, it didn’t kill me, but there was a danger of frostbite.

Majestic Lobby Warms up the Night

As soon as we hit the lobby, I knew we were someplace special.  I had no idea of how gorgeous the theater itself was going to be, but the lobby was a knock-out.2013-12-06 20.08.43

We were on time.  Our seats were good.  And this had to be the most amazing theater I’d ever walked into.  The pictures don’t begin to do it justice, but they’re all I have.  Bill was wishing for more than his smartphone to capture the theater’s interior.

San Antonio’s Nutcracker

The Nutcracker was marvelous.  I hope San Antonio will forgive me for being a bit of a Dallas snob.  I assumed that a ballet by the San Antonio ballet and symphony might not stack up.  It was charming with great dancers and great music.  The sets and costumes were out of this world – but not quite as far out of this world as the theater.  I’ll leave you with a few more shots.  Hope you enjoy.

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Filed under Art &Travel, Picks and Pans, Restaurants, Road Trips, Texas, The United States