Joy Donovan’s Blog

Twisted Up Over Dancing

by Joy Donovan on July 2, 2014

Maksim Chmerkovsiy will dance in Dallas in July. Will he or won't he take his shirt off?

Maksim Chmerkovsiy will dance in Dallas in July. Will he or won’t he take his shirt off?

There are not many shows I watch faithfully. “Modern Family” is one, and “The Today Show” is another, although Savannah Guthrie is on my last nerve.

There’s one more: “Dancing With the Stars.”

So now I’m all kinds of excited that those masters of twinkling toes and dazzling costumes are coming to north Texas! Yes, two shows of “Ballroom with a Twist” are planned July 19 at the Music Hall at Fair Park. At both 2 and 7:30 p.m., you can expect to see professional dancers Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Karina Smirnoff, Tony Dovolani and Cheryl Burke.

Tickets are on sale at The Box Office, 5959 Royal Lane, in Dallas; 1-800-982-2787 or

Fox trot or waltz? Cha cha or jive?


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It’s Past Time

by Joy Donovan on June 12, 2014

Hey, you! The recent high school graduate! Yes, I’m talking to you, the cute girl with this notion of joining a college sorority.

I wish I could say it was high time to get your resumes, photos and those all-important thank-you notes to the sorority alumnae you’re hoping will write you a glowing recommendation. I can’t say that because it’s past time. Adhering to a June 1st deadline would have been a much better plan.

Let’s say you had the best of intentions, but you didn’t do it. For the love of all things Greek, please get everything in before July 4. Now.

Being busy is no excuse because everyone is busy, including the lovely woman you hope will say nice things about you to her sorority sisters. So now is the time to grovel and hope the nice lady who offered to do this for you at Easter is still willing and not on vacation.

Need some help? Check out, a website run by the National Panhellenic Conference, or for north Texas sorority-girl wannabes, try Then get after it.

Tick tock, tick tock.

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A Tradition I Hope to Break

by Joy Donovan on February 27, 2014

So, there I am at 4:20 p.m. with both hands on the steering wheel waiting at a yield sign. I’m fixated on the two cars in front of me. Their drivers, I can only assume, are watching carefully, as I am, as cars leave the exit ramp at 65 miles per hour. We’re watching, hoping and waiting for a gap in the steady stream of vehicles in Grapevine, TX.

Then…it happens. Crash. I’m a victim of the guy in the red Subaru.


This is the third time in three years I have been rear-ended in north Texas’ white-knuckled, rush-hour traffic. Two times I saw the person happening upon me and could brace for what I knew was the inevitable mashing of metal. This time, though, it was a surprise. All in all, I think bracing is better than being unprepared. At least I didn’t bite my lip the other two times.

Thanks, Jeremiah, for being a nice guy. I just wish you were a more attentive driver.

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by Joy Donovan on November 26, 2013


Claire, Meg and Katie celebrate the 100th birthday of Kathryn McGee Connally Brandon.

Claire, Meg and Katie celebrate the 100th birthday of Kathryn McGee Connally Brandon.

Dan’s mother, Kathryn McGee Connally Brandon, was 101 years old, but Friday morning she decided that was enough, dying in her sleep just seven weeks short of her 102nd birthday. She’d been praying “for Jesus to take her home” for a long time, and I guess He did. Dan had the opportunity to see her just this week, so we are thankful for that.

 She was married more than 50 years to Dan Brandon, known to their many grandchildren as “Pa.” Together they reared four children, including “Dan Jr.”  She was faithful to her Baptist church, singing many hymns by memory at her 100th birthday party. Cooking for a crowd was among the things she loved to do, and she was very proud of her years in high-level security work at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. She and her sister performed instrumentals on the Fort Worth radio, about the time, I think, she was setting girls’ basketball records in high school.

 So “Mimi” lived a long, productive and good life, and we are fine knowing that her time of frustration, near blindness and life in a nursing home is finished. She will be remembered by all of us as a strong and honorable person who loved her family.

The memorial service will be Fri., Nov. 29 at John Ireland Funeral Home in Moore, OK.

Be thankful this week for families. Be thankful for long lives lived well.


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Sorority Rush: Stay Calm, Mom

by Joy Donovan on August 10, 2013

Sorority rush, now called “recruitment” for some silly reason, is in full swing in the south.  It’s an annual ritual difficult to explain to others who know nothing of its drama, an annual rite of fall preceding football season at most big state schools in the south.

The ordeal and its long-term repercussions for happiness and social standing can send shock waves through neighborhoods. It can cause grown women to melt into a puddle of tears. It can cause curtains to be drawn and overwrought mothers to take to their beds.

Ushering in the season is Oklahoma State University, which in fact finished its Panhellenic rush week today. As far as I can discern, the sun will rise again tomorrow.

As the mother of three daughters who have participated in this exciting, agonizing, scary, fun, emotional, confusing, thrilling, whirlwind, heart-stopping week, I want to assure the mothers of these girls going through rush that you will survive. It might not seem like it if you’re daughter calls you sobbing because the sorority she just knew was the one for her decided they weren’t going to invite her back. Or if she chooses the one you know to be the “wrong” one. Or if her roommate doesn’t deserve to be getting invited back to so many. Or if … (fill in the blank with whatever is your current state of anxiety).

I was a rush advisor for my own national sorority for several years, and I have first-hand knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes. It’s busy, and it’s competitive both for the sororities and the rushees. It’s very difficult, as a mom, to send your sweet baby off to college, and the first week she’s there have her go through something like sorority rush. For those who care about sororities, the stakes can seem very, very high.

Countless cute daughters are wearing their best dresses with their best shoes and smiling till their pony tails hurt in an effort to make the right impression. And moms have nothing left to do at this stage of the game but to wad their hankies in knots, talk endlessly on the phone to sorority alums about “what ifs” and drink jugs of wine.

When you do get to speak to your precious baby in between the rounds of parties, remember to hide your anxiety from her. She doesn’t need you dumping your fears on her; she needs you to pump her up.

Most of the rushees are happy with whatever sorority they end up pledging. As my cousin said to me today after her daughter pledged at OSU, “she’s absolutely in the right place for her.”

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Southlake Teens and Their Summer Plans

by Joy Donovan on June 14, 2013

Not all teenagers are up to no good.

In fact, two Southlake teenagers are up to a lot of good.

Maria and Julia Myers of Southlake have started their own non-profit organization. How’s that for not having to whine “Mom, I’m bored” at the beginning of summer?

The inspiration was the documentary “Walk to Beautiful,” a tale of five women who suffer from poverty and inadequate healthcare. The Southlake sisters’ reaction sent them into action. The two girls created the charity Pretty Purposeful and have planned a special fundraiser, set for Tuesday at Timarron Country Club, 1400 Byron Nelson Parkway, in Southlake. The event will feature speakers with topics aimed at teens.

Check it out at

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High Heels and (no) Valet

by Joy Donovan on April 18, 2013


So…these spring fashion shows put on by the ladies clubs are usually where you trot out in your best new frock, blingiest daytime baubles and fanciest shoes.

Fancy shoes, of course, are high heeled. Nothing against a trendy pair of flats, but they’re cute. High heels are fancy. To a fashion show, a lady dresses fancy.

So here I was on a recent Friday all gussied up in my color-of-the-season frock (emerald green), my statement necklace and my heels measuring exactly 4 1/4 inches. Yes, I measured them for the purpose of journalistic accuracy.

Now being caught with a last-minute phone call and traffic being what it is, I didn’t arrive at the Hurst Convention Center for the Colleyville Woman’s Club fashion show earlier this month until 11:35 a.m. Doors to the ballroom were to open at 11:30 a.m., so I understood, and the luncheon to begin at noon. Just wanting to make sure you understand that, although I was not early, I also was not late.

So I circled for a parking spot. And I circled. And I circled once again before I decided to admit defeat and hand the car keys over to the valet. I pull up…”Oh hello, gentlemen,” I say to the bevy of uniformed valets so very interested in their smart phones. “Could one of you park my car?”

To my surprise, the answer was no. No, they could not. They were “full.” Really? I thought valets were there to do the job when it was difficult, especially for a lady in heels.  I was offered self parking in the not-so-neighboring Tarrant County College lot. That is a measurement I have not taken, but I assure you it is far enough that I would have selected tennis shoes for that trek.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Black-eyed Pea ( for allowing me to buy a Diet Coke and park in your lot.

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by Joy Donovan on October 4, 2012

One of my favorite groups is at it again.

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Its members are working, working, working like little pumpkin patch elves to get ready for the Circle of Friends’ annual hand-painted pumpkin sale. Cute ones, scary ones, big ones, little ones–all will be ready for your selection Oct. 13 at 6021 Walker Blvd., suite 121 in North Richland Hills.

The sale is scheduled to last from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. but–and this is a very big but–they usually sell out before the posted end time. Besides being oh-so-darling, these pumpkins are for a good cause. Circle of Friends (  exists to help the small patients at Cook Children’s Medical Center in the oncology and hematology department.

I go every year…there’s usually a Boomer Sooner OU pumpkin waiting for me.

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New (?) Gig for Katie Couric

by Joy Donovan on September 10, 2012

Katie Couric, center, interviewed both Sheryl Crow, left, and Jessica Simpson on the first day of her new talk show.


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I just turned off Katie Couric’s new daytime talk show. “Katie.” It was boring, and I’m disappointed.

On the Today Show, I liked her a lot. I admired how she could maneuver smoothly from an important news story, interviewing a head of state, to a frivolous feature, making fun of a lighter subject. I think she’s smart, and well, perky. I’m okay with perky.

On the CBS Evening News, I thought she did as well as any of the other talking heads. They read scripts. They think on their feet. They have great hair. She did a fine job with what that job entails–reading and nodding.

But Monday’s new talk show? We’ve seen this all before. Just another steady stream of people sitting in front of a studio audience. Her choice of guests, too, was, um, sub-par, inadequate and dull.

Jennifer Simpson, who is getting pretty close to equalling fingernails on chalkboard for me, traipsed out in ridiculous shoes. Even though they showed a clip of her new Weight Watchers commercial, this blond whose 15 minutes surely is up, allowed as how she didn’t want the commercial to be about weight. That must be a surprise to the people paying her to talk about her weight. 

Then Katie felt the forehead of singer Sheryl Crow, who has suffered through a brain tumor. Oh, and we opened with an oh-so-cute dream sequence with former morning show partner, Matt Lauer. This new (?) talk show was an electronic version of “People” magazine.

Again I yawn. I was over Oprah way before she moved on, and I’m already over this show, too.

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Summer Heat Relief

by Joy Donovan on August 5, 2012

I’ve got a question. Ready?

Hot enough for ya?

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Oh, honey, it is way past hot enough for me. It’s hot in more ways than one. The pavement that just radiates heat. The oven that won’t be turned on until October. The curled-up, brown and dead landscape.

I hate summer. You never heard me bad-mouth the ice storms we sometimes get around here in January. No, siree. With today’s modern meteorologists, we have advanced warning of those cold snaps, and I’ve got my books, my chili and my sweatshirts to keep me happy. (If the electricity goes, I am unhappy but that crankiness is about utlities, not weather.)

So in the summer, I have ways to amuse myself to try to get through these days and days and days where the thermometer tops 100. Cool movie theaters. Swimming pools. And my world-famous slushes.

You might ask why they’re world famous. I don’t know if they are yet, but I’m about to give you the recipe. If you send it to two people in another state, and they send it to two more, then eventually we’ll get it to other people in desperate need of relief from the heat. And then the slushes will be world famous, doncha know.

This recipe does involve getting out of the cool pool and finding a liquor store, but I assure you, it’s worth it. Better double it, while you’re at it, so when all your friends and relatives gobble it up, you have some left for your poor, hot self.

Joy’s World Famous Bourbon Slushes

  •  1 12-ounce can of frozen lemonade
  • 2 cups strong tea
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups bourbon

Mix ingredients and freeze. Serve slushy in cups. Spoons optional.


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