Thursday, November 24
On Thanksgiving Day, it's rare to find an activity that doesn't involve watching a televised sport after consuming an absurd amount of starchy food. Why not take things a bit literally on Thursday? After all, Dallas does have its own Thanks-Giving Square at 1627 Pacific Ave. And this year, said square (and the associated resource organization) is offering a week of events all geared toward, you guessed it, giving thanks. With the motto "Gratitude is our Attitude," the resource offers gratitude poetry, an original play, dance, a reenactment of the first interfaith Dallas Thanksgiving and more at the square and other locations throughout the week. It may be an American holiday, but it's a universal practice. Thursday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., enjoy music and candlelight by which to give thanks in the Thanks-Giving Square Chapel. Call 1-888-305-1205 or visit www.thanksgiving.org.
Friday, November 25
A friend once said, "I know I'm getting older because all I really ever want is a good bran muffin and a cup of tea. Oh, and I can't watch those IMAX movies anymore; they make me throw up." So obviously she won't be attending the Omni Theater at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History Friday as it opens The Polar Express: The IMAX Experience. Other non-vertiginous folk, however, can delight in the multiple vocal roles of Tom Hanks, the giant train teetering along mountainsides and, the best part for Texans, the feeling that snowflakes are actually falling right before your eyes. (Hey, the Omni might be wise to offer a super-air-conditioned IMAX feature consisting entirely of snow falling. Dallasites and Fort Worthians of all ages would be mesmerized for hours on end.) Take the kids and enjoy the rumbling soundtrack, or hell, just the snow through January 26. The museum is located at 1501 Montgomery St. in Fort Worth. Tickets are $6 to $7. Call 817-255-9300 or visit www.fortworthmuseum.org for show times.
Saturday, November 26
There is a question that haunts my mind. It presents itself during that bizarre thoughtless state that occurs when I'm just drifting to sleep or when I've accidentally landed on MIX 102.9 and John Tesh's monotonous baritone begins to hypnotize me on my drive home. It is a problem I know for a fact others have attempted to address: How is it that Dwight Yoakam can look so viciously striking in a cowboy hat and so revoltingly average without one? It never fails. Check out The Minus Man or, God forbid, Sling Blade, and you'll find that the man is a fine actorjust not so fine to look at without that magical hat. Pick up a copy of Blame the Vain, Hillbilly Deluxe or (yes, please) If There Was a Way, and you'll find a dashing visage in vintage country splendor. What I don't get is that the face is the same--attractive, distinct, emotive--and yet the overall impression changes completely thanks to a well-designed Stetson perched on his crown. I firmly believe I will never find an answer to what will become an age-old question, but while I've questioned Yoakam's appearance, I've never doubted his talent or his ability to put on an amazing show. He'll be doing just that 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Billy Bob's Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza in Fort Worth. Tickets are $11 and $28. Call 214-373-8000.
Sunday, November 27
Should you have a young child that doesn't want to practice her ballet routines at home--and let's just make it clear that she really needs to in order to avoid ridicule come recital time (this so did not happen to me)--we can offer some surefire motivation. Take her Sunday, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., to the Westin Stonebriar Resort, 1549 Legacy Drive in Frisco, for the Sugar Plum Fairy Tea. Dancers from the Collin County Ballet Theatre will offer a short performance from their current production of The Nutcracker, pose for photos and hang around for some stories and a formal tea with their admirers. The cost is $25 per person. That's nothing if you consider the newfound dedication (read: no more wasted classes) that will come from meeting a real-life Sugar Plum Fairy. Call 469-951-1399.
Monday, November 28
Having grown up in a predominantly Episcopal family, somber hymns and Christmas carols were really the only type of religious music to which I ever had much exposure. But thanks to the Time Life compilation series Songs 4 Worship and its accompanying late-night commercials (on very, very heavy rotation), I have been able to memorize not just one, but more than 12 snippets of contemporary Christian pop songs. I can now sing 5-second portions of hits by Amy Grant, Twila Paris, Delirious?, Michael W. Smith and others. The choruses of songs like "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever," "Shout to the Lord" and "Place in This World" no longer elude me. Unfortunately, my new, abbreviated talents will probably be of little use at the Christmastime with Michael W. Smith concert 7:30 p.m. Monday at Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St. in Fort Worth. Tickets are $45 to $65. Call 1-877-212-4280.
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Tuesday, November 29
As a little kid, there's little more frightening than thinking a wooded area with talking animals, evil queens and a great amount of general danger exists on the other side of a piece of your furniture. Why not leave the stable, non-threatening furnishings at home and experience all the magic of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (minus the danger, of course) in the safety of a well-lit shopping center? The Shops at Willow Bend had the right idea here. Kids and their parents can investigate Narnia by walking through that magical wardrobe, play around with a green screen, see lifelike characters from the movie in snow globes and get a photo with Santa (now that's probably something C.S. Lewis himself wouldn't expect). Even if the little ones were frightened by the flick (or the book, to be fair), this festive, wintry atmosphere can make them forget about that nasty encounter with the White Witch. Step inside some furniture at the Snow Globes at the Shops at Willow Bend, 6121 W. Park Blvd. in Plano, through January 8. Admission is free. Call 972-202-4900 or visit www.shopwillowbend.com.
Wednesday, November 30
Fresh produce currently in my house: one tomato. Food items that didn't come pre-packaged currently in my house: two eggs, milk (possibly expired), ice (does that count?). Everything else is either frozen or sealed in some way. I adhere strictly to the 20-something's Lean Cuisine-Easy Mac-Campbell's diet for the unfit, unhealthy and altogether too busy. It's a food plan replete with "lacks"--lack of nutrition, lack of energy and lack of progress in achieving good health (excellent now that cold and flu season is here). Wednesday, I'm turning to Dr. Michael T. Murray (author of Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Dr. Murray's Total Body Tune-Up and more) when he hits Sprouts Farmers Market, 4100 Legacy Drive in Plano, at 6:30 p.m., to discuss healing foods. Not only is this guy a nationally respected speaker and author in the health food scene, he's also known for an ability to relate to general consumers as well. I think I'll down one last Slim-Fast in the hope that I'll understand instructions other than, "Heat at 50 percent power for 5 minutes. Turn once during heating." Admission is free, but seating is limited. Register in Sprouts' vitamin department or call 972-618-8902.