Soon to Say Good-bye…

For those of you who have followed me for some time, I would like to make you aware that this will be my last post on MrsPadilly.com, as I will be migrating this blog to my new self-hosted blog: MrsPadillysTravels.com.

While I am very excited with moving over to this self-hosted site, I am also aware I may lose some of my followers who use the WordPress Reader. In an effort that this may not be the case, I have added a widget to my new blog that users of the WordPress Reader can click (just as we do now by clicking “Follow” on our top toolbar). Once WordPress users click this widget link, you will (should…if the widget works correctly) receive my posts in your Reader just as you have for the last few years.  UPDATE: 7-23-2014.  The Follow WordPress Reader button seems to be temperamental in the right sidebar, so I have added within each post.  If you are a WordPress Reader user, simply clicking the “Follow Mrs. Padilly’s Travels” button should put the URL in your reader, just as it does when WP.com click the “follow” button in the upper toolbar.  Hope you have better success with this button within the posts.

I hope you will subscribe to my new blog, which will still includes stories, anecdotes, and photos of places Mrs. Padilly visits in Texas, but will also include posts on my newest passion, Glamping (one that has consumed my time over the last few months), and some trips beyond the Texas border.

Thanks for following MrsPadilly.com. This site will become private on August 1, 2014.

Regards,

Mrs. Padilly

Categories: Whereabouts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Texas Welcome Center – Orange

Texas Welcome Center – Orange (via http://www.mrspadillystravels.com)

I just returned from a trip to Florida and no matter how many times I see this image of the Texas Star at the Texas Welcome Center, it is always brings me a warm, welcoming greeting back home. But this isn’t the only thing unique about the Texas…


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Categories: Orange, Whereabouts | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

WordPress “Reader” Followers – Please Read

I’m making a very slow, and calculated switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org for my Mrs. Padilly’s Travels blog.

The reason I’m moving slowly is I don’t want to loose the connections I have made in this wonderful WordPress.com community.

The biggest challenge I see is loosing my followers from the WordPress Reader. However, I just found a new button WordPress launched last October that can be placed inside WordPress sites and sites using JetPack.

Now it is time to test it!

I would LOVE if you would click this link, MrsPadillysTravels.com, which will bring you to my new site (looks similar to this one).  In the righthand coloum you will see a follow button for the “WordPress Reader.” Simply click it and any future posts will show up in your reader just like this blog.

Sure is a great tool if it works!

Thanks!

Mrs. Padilly

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My New Casita & My Newest Blog!

This is a repost from my new travel blog: MrsPadillysTravels.com! I hope followers of MrsPadilly.com will hop over and join this new blog! It covers Texas and USA travel by Mrs. Padilly, plus “Glamping” in my new Casita! Thank you! Mrs. Padilly
My New Casita! (via http://www.mrspadillystravels.com)

Welcome! This is my first post to my newest blog, MrsPadillysTravels.com, an extension of my Texas travel blog, MrsPadilly.com, which launched in 2012. Mrs. Padilly’s Travels will include reposts of my favorite posts from my Texas travel blog,…

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Categories: Whereabouts | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge – On the Move

Turtle-on-the-Move

On the move, Texas style!

This turtle was on the move in my backyard, but was willing to stop and pose for my camera so I could photograph her stylish cowgirl bling!

Categories: Conroe & Lake Conroe, Texas Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Photo Challenge – Spring

In Texas, nothing shouts spring more than our Bluebonnets!
I captured this image last week during a drive in the country; I call it Spring Paradox.

  Spring Paradox

Categories: Bremond, Texas Photography | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge – Letters

 Letters Create a State of Mind for Boaters

LettersWeb

I took a trip to Kemah, Texas this past weekend to celebrate my thirteenth first date anniversary with Mr. Padilly at the Cadillac Bar, on the Kemah Boardwalk. At one time we kept a sailboat down on Clear Lake named “Memories” and often sailed her past the boardwalk. Now we sit and watch the other boats go by.

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Marvin Zindler comes to my rescue!

This is Part 2 of a two-part post on Marvin Zindler and the Chicken Ranch:
Part 1 – “The Chicken Ranch – La Grange, Texas,”
 

Please! Send us our Bill!

Posing with Marvin Zindler in my dining room, 2002.

This story begins in January, 2002; I was newly married and we had just moved into a new home. It is also the year that Texas’ electricity market was deregulated, and the reason I would eventually meet Marvin Zindler.

It is now fall 2002, and for the last nine months I have been trying to get our electric company to send us our bill (yes, I said SEND us a bill). I had lost count of how many times I had called the electric company since January, and the number of promises that were made to fix the problem and send me a bill. On this day, however, the person I spoke with was exceptionally “difficult.” I was so frustrated when I hung up the phone that I immediately went to the KTRK-TV’s website to send Marvin Zindler an e-mail, their Houston consumer/investigative reporter. It felt great pounding out my grievances on the keyboard.  I figured this was a classic Zindler report, but when I hit the send button I never expected to hear from him.

“This is Marvin Zindler.”

That evening, as I was making dinner, the phone rang and my daughter picked it up from another room. Within moments she came running to me with this wide-eyed look and said, “Marvin Zindler is on the phone.” Of course my first response was, “The TV station was on the phone?”  She then replied, “NO, the REAL Marvin Zindler!”  Sure enough, it was him, and he began asking me questions about our problem with the electric company, and scheduled a time when he could come to our home to do an interview.

Marvin Zindler visits my home:

After 20+ years of watching Marvin Zindler on KTRK-TV’s Evening News, Mr. Zindler was about to interview me in our dining room.

Zindler Mickey Minnie

I’m a Big Disney fan (taught design and animation for years). When Marvin Zindler learned this, he left me this calling card. :)

On the day of the interviewer, Marvin Zindler came to our door accompanied by his producer/camera woman. If you are familiar with Marvin Zindler, you know he always wore sunglasses with blue colored lens (as seen in the photo above). However, beneath those blue lenses are the bluest eyes that seemed to smile ear to ear, and Mr. Zindler immediately came across as a friendly and intelligent man (not the character portrayed in the “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”). Our conversation began with small talk, and since I am an educator, we got on the subject of education, and he shared with me that at least one of his children was a teacher.  It also turned out that one of his children lived in a town where one of my sister-in-laws did; I started to feel like I was talking to an old friend.

But then it was time for the interview.  Once the camera lights came on, Mr. Zindler’s persona immediately changed into the reporter. He was all business, and started off the interview asking me what happened, and quickly grew tired of my “teacher has to explain it all approach” to answering his questions.  After a few “cuts” I could tell I was a poor interviewer, but I’m also a quick learner. I soon figured out how to respond, and we finally got the interview done.

The interview airs on the Evening News:

I believe the interview aired that evening (I can’t remember), but what I do remember is after the segment aired on the news, the following morning top brass from our local Houston electric company was calling me on the phone (I believe it was actually the woman who Marvin interviewed as part of this story). Within hours the problem was fixed and my electricity bill was on its way.

My ordeal was finally over, thanks to Marvin Zindler, and my bill was finally on its way, which also included a big surprise! It turns out there was a law in Texas that prohibited a utility service from back charging a customer more than six months, so, you guessed it, we got about six months free electricity, which amounted to well over $600! Big smile on my face, and a small token for the months of hassle!

Why did Marvin Zindler take my case?

I’m sure Marvin Zindler got many requests for help from Houston area consumers, and I often wondered why he took my case. I don’t believe it was simply to help me get my electric bill, but suspect it was because this ridiculous story represented another example of mis-management and quality control by a utility company; and the type of report he loved to take on. Mr. Zindler got the job done, for which I am grateful, and I’m afraid the electric company got another black eye.

As for my TV début, I never saw the segment on TV nor did I get a video copy. However, several friends and colleagues saw it, and told me about it, giving me my fifteen minutes of fame.  In fact, my fifteen minutes came twice, when my story aired again during KTRK-TV’s year-in-review segment for New Year’s Eve (which I also missed).

My favorite memory from the interview:

A trademark of many of Marvin Zindler news reports include footage of Marvin Zindler walking up to the door of the person he is going to interview, and then shaking that person’s hand when they answer the door. This footage always appears at the beginning of his reports, but in actuality, it is the last footage Marvin Zindler and his producer shot during my interview.

To set up the scene, he told me that he was going to walk to our front door, ring the doorbell, and that I would open the door and shake his hand. He said that once the producer felt like she got enough footage, he told me he would simply turn and walk away. Interview over.

So there I stood behind the door, waiting for the doorbell to ring. When it did, I opened the door and as instructed, shook Mr. Zindler’s hand, and then he smiled and started to speak! He didn’t tell me he was going to speak, so it took me by surprise and I didn’t catch all his words. By the time I focused again he gave me a big smile, and still shaking my hand he said, “It’s all show business,” winked, and walked away.

________________________________________________________

I love when experiences in our lives come full circle in such remarkable ways. Back in 1979 I joined my family in belly laughs after having witnessed Marvin Zindler’s report for the first time, only to have him standing at my front door 20 years later, but this time I wasn’t laughing – I was very grateful.  I am honored to have had the chance to meet and shake the hand of one of Texas’ Icons: Marvin Zindler.

Categories: Houston, Stories & Anecdotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The “Chicken Ranch” – La Grange, Texas

Due to the title of this post, you might assume this article is about La Grange, Texas’ infamous “Chicken Ranch,” made famous by the Broadway play (1978) and movie (1982): The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. If so, you would be partly correct.

This is actually a story in two parts:

  • Part 1: The Chicken Ranch and La Grange, as it is today.
  • Part 2: Marvin Zindler – A Texas Icon, the man who closed the Chicken Ranch, and the man who came to my rescue.

KTRK-TV & Marvin Zindler:

Marvin_Zindler

Marvin Zindler – 1921-2007

To begin this story, I must take you back to 1979, when my family relocated from Chicago, Illinois to Houston, Texas.  My parents and brother made an earlier trip to check out the region, and when I joined them in the move, the first thing my family insisted I do was watch the evening news to see the man who did the consumer reports segment on KTRK-TV.

They were absolutely in stitches about him, and the way he closed each segment with, “Marrrr-vin Ziinnndleeerrr, Eeeyeee Witnessss Neeeeewsss!” Over and over again they tried to mimic his voice, and I was convinced they were exaggerating for my benefit.

So there we were, sitting in our room in the La Quinta off Interstate 10, west of Houston, watching KTRK-TV Evening News’ Marvin Zindler report. It turns out my family were not exaggerating, and by the end of the broadcast we were all in stitches. Having just relocated from Chicago, Illinois, none of us had ever seen someone like Mr. Zindler before – we became his newest fans.

At the time I moved to Texas, I was unaware of Marvin Zindler’s role in the demise of the “Chicken Ranch,” or that the ranch even existed, and simply thought he was the most unique person I had seen on the news. Little did I know then, that 20+ years later, Mr. Zindler would be sitting in the dining room of our new home, and I would be the subject of one of his consumer reports. I will share that story with you in Part 2: Marvin Zindler – A Texas Icon, but for now, let’s take a quick tour of La Grange, and the remains of “Chicken Ranch.”

La Grange, Texas and “The Chicken Ranch”:

This past spring, my husband and I took a drive out to La Grange to stay in a local Bed & Breakfast, Brendan Manor, located near the town square.  My husband and I truly enjoy staying at B & B’s for their history and the food! Brendan Manor did not disappoint – on both counts. The city of La Grange has about 4,700 people, and makes a great B&B weekend retreat. It is located in Fayette County, near the Colorado River, about halfway between Houston and Austin on Highway 71.

Brendan Manor, La Grange, TX

Brendan Manor, La Grange, TX

Sam Houston (1793-1863)

Sam Houston (1793-1863)

Unaware to most, even Texans, is that La Grange almost became the capital of Texas.  In 1837 Congress passed a bill to make La Grange the Capital of the Republic of Texas (from 1836-1846 Texas was its own nation), but the first regularly elected president, General Sam Houston, moved the capital to, where else, Houston. However, President Sam Houston’s placement of the capital in the city that shares his name didn’t last for long, when, in 1839, Mirabeau B. Lamar, moved the capital to Austin, where it is to this day.

As for a tour of the “Chicken Ranch,” hopefully you are not disappointed, as these images show the closest you can get to the ranch without meeting up with the current sheriff of La Grange. As I’ve stated in past posts, as a Texan, I respect no trespassing signs.

But the truth be told, the “Chicken Ranch” no longer exists at this site, having been physically moved to Dallas long ago to become a restaurant (which did not succeed). All that is left are a few broken down sheds and a lot of brush.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas put La Grange on the map, and created several Texas Icons, including Mr. Zindler. In Part 2, I will share my personal visit with him when he came to the rescue of my family, filming a segment for the evening news from my dining room.

Until then, might I suggest you listen to “La Grange” by ZZ Top, those good ol’ boys from Houston, Texas.

________________________________

It has been 40 years since the ranch closed on August 1, 1973, as reported in a recent article by the Houston Chronicle. This article has several great pictures of the ranch in its heyday, along with one of Mr. Zindler.

Categories: La Grange, Stories & Anecdotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Six Word Saturday ~ Rustic elegance renews the writer’s soul.

The Log Cabin, Fredericksburg, Texas

“Rustic elegance renews the writer’s soul.”
The Log Cabin, Fredericksburg, Texas

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

This post was inspired by the blogging prompt, “Show My Face: Six Word Saturday”  To learn more, click on the link, and join in on the fun.
Categories: Fredericksburg, Texas Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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