Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
- Complete Anarchy- They boys just squander the opportunity, no one takes leadership, and it is like pulling teeth to get anything accomplished.
- Dictatorship- One boy takes the lead and plans the year and tells the Troop what it is going to do. They boys vote and approve the calendar, but there is no real discussion
- Actual Senate- The SPL acts as the President of the Senate uses a much modified version of Roberts Rules of Order, the Troop participates in the process, everyone’s opinion is heard and formal votes are taken.
- Political Elite – The older boys of the Troop take charge of the Senate, insure participation, but tend to steer the discussion to things that they are more interesting in, but in the best interest of the troop. They do understand it’s serious, because they were stuck in a meeting like number 1 or 2 above in the past.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
One of the cool things of riding as long as I have is that I seemed to have earned elder status in the group. Cycling is definitely an Alpha male type of activity. The perception of how you rank in the local peloton is usually based solely on your cycling ability. This becomes real clear during weekday training rides as I watch the shaved leg racers drop me like a bad transmission.
However on weekend rides there is another hierarchy that can come into play. Apparently I have fallen into the elder role. I like to say it’s because I am a wise sage of the way of cycling, but it probably has to do with that I know the roads where we ride so well.
This past weekend I finally got in a long ride after getting the cast off my hand. It was the traditional Dalwothington Gardens to Venus route, with a stop at the shop to see if anyone else wanted to ride. Turns out last Saturday was the Fort Worth Bicycle Associations "Century of the Month" out of the Arlington shop. Since I am coming back from injury, I have not been paying attention to such things. Big Dave and I rolled up to the shop surprised at the at the attendance to the normal 8am ride. The FWBA ride was to start at 9am, so the normal 8am crew was not willing to wait. We announced we were headed out to Venus and a rather large group headed out. It was made up of a quite a few people that I do not normally ride with and the normal Saturday gang.
It was a fantastic paced ride. I ended up averaging 18 mph for the 66 mile ride.
Big Dave, Tom, Justin and I took turns at the front. Quite a few of the visitors were "sitting in", with a small number taking pulls. The group kept getting smaller, even as we turned back home with a tail wind. My lack of training and the distance caused me to fall off the back at about 50 miles. Big Dave and Justin realized this and eased off the back to ride with me. When Tom discovered we are all gone, he sat up and slowed the group down so we could get back on. Here is where I feel my wise advice is helpful. Justin suggested we pick up the pace to catch the group. I noted that if they are willing to sit up, we should just roll up to them instead of burning any more energy. We followed my advice.
We rejoined the group. I had abandoned any desire to pull at the front and was just going to sit in the rest of the way. When we hit a small roller, I was struggling to keep in contact. I felt a hand on my back push me back to the group. I turned to expect to see one of my cycling buddies, but found myself thanking one of the visitors. I concluded that he help me up the hill for one of two reasons, but probably a combination of both. Either a) he pushed me because it became clear the group would not drop me, because I am some kind of "elder" on the ride; or b) pushed me because he did not want to wait on me again. Regardless, the results are the same, I got to finish the ride with the lead group.
If I were a visitor, I wager I would have ridden home alone.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Tomorrow I am going to the TCU game against Utah with Nat McQueen, a long time friend from Heidelberg American High School. Nat is a proud graduate of TCU and is flying in from Washington D.C. to go to what is possibly the biggest game in TCU history. I cannot give up the opportunity to see Nat and go watch the football game in Fort Worth.
The problem is of course, TCU kicks off at 6:30pm on Saturday and Tech kicks off at 7:00pm in Stillwater Oklahoma. Tech has a huge game against Oklahoma State on ABC. The winner of the Tech/OSU game has the inside track at the Cotton Bowl. I will have the DVR on overtime recording both games, but my blackberry will be following the Tech game at the TCU game.
I have a plan to address this conflict. I will be wearing a TCU T-shirt over my Texas Tech under armor shirt to insure that there are no karmatic issues relating to the Tech game. Also this will allow me to strip the TCU shirt off at the end of the game to finish watching the Tech/OSU game at a work buddies tailgate.
Too much thinking?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I always tell my scouts that if it was not for those in the service we would not have the freedom to camp or assemble. Scouting is the apidamy and the reflection of American Values that our current armed services protect and our veterens protected.
I remember growing up at Fort Benning and Fort Bragg hearing the sounds of practice rounds, helicopters, C-130s and jets in the background. Today when I take little Troop 5 camping, I mimic my old scoutmasters from those times at campouts when a fighter jet goes over head... "That's the sound of freedom boys!"
Now as I sit here safe at home, with a cold Coors Light and the TV on. All the sacrifice and death and war, Lord I pray that I am worth fighting for... - Lyle Lovett
Monday, November 9, 2009
It started out Saturday morning with Tamara dropping off Aedan for the day. I have yet to figure out the pattern on when we get to keep the Little Dude, but I enjoy every opportunity we get.
Tamara visits with us before she heads off to work. I play with Aedan for a while, then I head out for a bike ride. (Note that the “we” is really Carol who keeps Aedan) I got a nice 40 mile ride in and the rest of the day is spent playing with Aedan. We go shopping, go to lunch, got to a 5 year olds birthday party and finish the day with Aedan watching college football while he naps. After Tamara picks Aedan up, Carol and I wander down to Bobby Valentine’s for dinner. Not a bad day all.
Sunday morning is spent working in the yard with Carol. Carol really enjoys the yard looking nice; I enjoy helping her more than the work itself. After we bag a million leaves, I head out for another 40 mile bike ride, have dinner and watch the Cowboys beat the Eagles.
Not a bad weekend at all.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
This past Tuesday, in addition to Texas Constitutional amendments, a school bond election there was a local election to legalize the sale of alcoholic beverages in DWG. In short, can someone open a liquor store. Carol and her fellow poll workers had a busy day. 30.74% of the registered voters in Dalworthington Gardens voted and of those 71.61% want a liquor store in their town (I was one of those). For those who really want to do the math, there are 1,786 registered voters in DWG. Only 6.92% of voters showed up county wide.
Regardless, Carol had a long day that started at 6 in the morning and ended at 8. I am real proud that she does this civic duty.
Friday, October 30, 2009
All I know is that she is in her element during this event. Last night we bought all the meat for the Tailgate. We loaded up two baskets at Costco and I made a run to the Neighborhood Store to finish up what we needed. She spent until midnight getting all the meat seasoned. We got the grill loaded in her truck and had the cab of the truck stuffed with the food.
Carol spends the entire morning at work grilling. TNP invites all its clients, business partners, friends and family to attend. Carol never sits down during the whole event. She is grilling; making sure the food is stocked to be eaten. All the senior partners look to her to make sure it is time to start eating
Today I sat with TNP’s Office Manager, her husband and TNP’s insurance salesmen. I noted as they watched Carol working hard that it was my job to relax for the both of us.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Since I just wrote about a Significant Object, I thought I would keep the theme going.
Troop 5 is a full uniform troop, with a neckerchief. I always set the example at meetings and campouts by being in full uniform. Little Troop 5 is one of the few full uniform troops in the council. In addition we wear our neckerchiefs drape around the neck without a slide or a woggle. This is done for three primary reasons. 1) It looks good 2) It looks different and 3) you don’t have eleven year old scouts losing their woggles. The bottom of the neckerchief is tied with a “friendship knot” better known as the “square knot”.
At the open house, I wandered around trying to look and act like a Scoutmaster. The troop had set up a backpacking camp site, a traditional camp site, food table, info booth and a slide show. During one of my visits, Mamoon Siddiqui presented me with a woggle that he had purchased at Baden Powell’s house in England. It is rather touching when one of your scouts gives you a scouting gift, so I slide the woggle onto my neckerchief and continued my trip around the open house
Chaos suddenly struck the boys and the adults of Troop 5. Why was I wearing a woggle? No matter where I turned people would ask. Some of the parents have not even seen me since I had the cast remove did not notice that, but the fact their scoutmaster was wearing a neckerchief slide big news. I had to explain over and over again it was a gift.
Funny how such a little thing can draw attention. Despite the distraction, the Open House carried on.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I had already decided that I was only going to go out for two hours. That did give me plenty of time to do my traditional jawing with Tom Fumagalli. I chose a good time limit, because at the turning point the group was about to drop me. As I faded to the back with Big Dave to start to head home, Jeff Donovan noted that I was missed and that Tom had nobody to argue with while I was gone.
It is important to note that 2 hours on the bike makes you guilt free as you spend the rest of Saturday watching football with Aedan and Carol. As a rather young football fan, Aedan seemed more interesting in playing on the floor, but that worked for me as well.
When I sat down on my bike on Sunday, I quickly learned which muscles were the most sore from my Saturday ride. But it still was good to do back to back rides.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Susan had married into the Grayston family twenty-two years ago and had had escaped hosting Thanksgiving Dinner. Family matters had been out of sorts since the family matriarch, MiMi Grayston, passed away in April. The Grayston clan would meet for the holiday at an 1100 square foot house in Old Town for the perfect Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by Grandma Mimi. Karen’s family was left out.
Susan had married the Grayston’s beloved youngest grandson, Robert. That man could do no wrong in the eyes of his MiMi or his parents. Of course they were not married to him, had to do his laundry, or listen to him explain the fallacies of the prevent defense, again. Her only family standing was the fact that she bore two Graystons--seventeen year old, Emily, the current reigning clan princess and twelve year old, Robert Jr.
She was annoyed, but it came as no surprise when her husband announced at MiMi’s funeral that he would host Thanksgiving Dinner that year. Susan knew then that she would spend two weeks getting ready for the horde and it could never meet the standards of MiMi. Susan knew why she was spending time getting ready; Robert would sit in his chair, give the remote control a work out, and watch her work herself into a tizzy.
MiMi was not a bad person. In fact, she was the sweetest lady Susan ever met. She was the only Grayston to treat her as part of the family. She died with such dignity even thought cancer ravaged her body. Susan remembered her last visit MiMi; her eyes were grey and her frail frame was just a shadow of herself. That is why Susan found herself crawling in the basement looking for that little brown Bar-B-Q sauce brush pot MiMi gave her that last visit. Mimi had looked at Susan and smiled, and said in a frail voice, “You need to have this. It has brought me such joy.”
Susan had no idea why this little dust collector was so important, but she did realize that it must be on her table for Grampy Grayston to see. She set the table, placing her treasured center piece sauce pot in its place of honor in front of the patriarch’s seat.
She felt ready for the judgment of her husband’s family and hoped, maybe this once the Graystons would appreciate her effort. The multitude gathered around the table. Karen was ecstatic when critical Aunt Lilly even complimented Susan on her efforts. The illusion of civility was there when grace was said and was abandoned when devouring of the over abundance began.
Robert Jr took the little pot to brush some sauce on his turkey. Susan swelled with pride as Grampy took the little pot out of Robert, Jr’s hand. Grampy looked at it carefully and announced, “Boy, I wouldn’t use anything out of this thing. That brush tickled your MiMi in places we can’t talk about at the table.”Susan remembered MiMi’s smile.
Monday, October 12, 2009
The purpose of this campout was to begin the long journey to Philmont Scout Ranch with the first year scouts. One day, they will all go to New Mexico for a 10-day 70-plus mile backpacking trip, but this weekend was about getting them up a mile and a half up Kyle Mountain.
I have noted before there was a movie, but first years look like hobbits with their backpacks on heading out with the fellowship. Regardless of the advice you give them, they always take too much and over strap their backpacks. The journey up Kyle Mountain took them the amount of time I expected, I did not factor them in getting lost, but they still made it to the top.
I did make the journey with my portable Satellite Radio so I could listen to the Red Raiders play the Kansas State Wild Cats. I was in a very happy place sitting off to the side, listening to the Red Raiders roll, watching the boys cook on or by the fire, and staring at the stars. It was a wonderful scouting evening.
In the morning, we were greeted by a misty rain. I rolled over and found the classic vinyl rock station on the Satellite Radio. I very luckily woke the troop up with the boom box cranking “Get Back” by the Beatles. What an awesome way to start a day, as one of the boys noted, to “Rock Band” music.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I attempted to stay in some kind of shape by riding the stationary bicycle. I quickly learned by sweating, the cast just stunk. It was not very enjoyable typing on the computer and smelling the cast.
So last Tuesday, for all intents and purposes, I exercised for the first time since I broke my thumb in August. I just ran a mile and a half. I have spent the last two days with my legs feeling like they did after I ran the Austin marathon.
It is amazing how quickly I fell out of shape. Yet I ran again today, there is always hope.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
My folks came into town for my birthday this past weekend. It was an enjoyable visit. Besides lots of fine Mexican food, barbeque, and fried cheese, we had wonderful visits with family. We had dinner on Friday with Brett, Brittany, Tamara, David and Aedan. It was really neat to introduce my parents to Aedan. This little 9 month old bundle of joy did not disappoint. We also had dinner on Sunday night with my Uncle Bill, his new wife Bet, my cousin Mark, his wife Julie, and their two children. In between there was shopping, a tour of the Tarrant County Court house and a football game in Lubbock.
It is always fascinating when your parents grasp a part of you that they really never understood. This accrued due to an interesting encounter with another Red Raider at Academy in Arlington. My sister sent my folks on a mission to get some Texas Tech T-shirts for her boys. My Mom, Dad and I were standing around quite the array of Texas Tech memorabilia. I was noting that we owed this section to Michael Crabtree for making that catch against Texas last year, because it used to impossible to find good Tech gear in the metroplex.
As I was waiving my hands around, I almost struck a guy. I turned to apologized and he had a Texas Tech Hat on. We struck up of conversation about the Red Raiders, where we were when Crabtree caught the ball, and the current situation with the team in Lubbock. He was another metroplex resident with season tickets in Lubbock that graduated two years before I finished my undergrad. I lost track of my parents as my new friend and started discussing games from the 80’s and 90’s. The conversation ended with a dissection of the current season. My new friend and I shook hands I went in search of my parents.
My Dad noted that he never saw two people talk so passionately about their football team before. I explained that is why I had season tickets, so that I could surround myself with likeminded people. I don’t think it was until my Dad witnessed this passionate Red Raider discussion with a complete stranger did he grasp the depth of my commitment. The kids and Carol were not surprised at all when the story was retold.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
However, that is not why I ride the bus. I am living proof if you make public transportation convenient and cheap, people will ride it. It has proved to be more relaxing than fighting traffic. The bus drops me closer to my office than my parking space. In addition it allows me to cycle commute. Ride the bike to the bus and then ride the bike all the way home. Again this is not really for “Green” reasons, but more so to get more time on the bike.
In short, saving the environment and reducing traffic are actually secondary benefits for my daily commute on the bus. It is just easier and I get base cycling miles.
Monday, September 28, 2009
I am pleased that the future is quite bright for my muse and activities. The parents are coming to town for the weekend, the cast is coming off on Friday, the parents are coming into town for the weekend, the Red Raiders will be playing in the confines of Jones Stadium and the road bike will be ridden in the near future. If the hand will allow it, I will even start cycle commuting again in the cool fall weather next week.
Life seems to move fast, but the time in the cast has been slow.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The game was very enjoyable, although the Raiders fell short; we walked out of stadium with our heads held high. Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche Journal did a fine job of summing up my feelings of the game
These eyes have seen Tech lose plenty of times in Austin, but this one didn’t have the same feel. Unlike in past UT laughers, Tech didn’t act psyched out, didn’t get pushed around all that much under the circumstances. the Raiders took it, but they also dished it out – Don Williams, Lubbock Avalanche Journal 09/19/2009.I have a tendency to think that I just left the Tech Campus in the past few years, but it is actually 19 This weekend was a constant reminder that I have truly become a forty-something alumni.
Sean and I visited his son Noah at the St. Edward’s. That is a neat little campus overlooking downtown Austin. It is just getting difficult to wrap my brain around the thought that I have friends with college kids. (This of course is from a guy whose grandson was crawling all over him last night) Noah dropped us off close to the stadium and we walked to find a college buddy John Esparza. Who we found was the Cubmaster of Pack 34 doing parking for the game at St. Austin’s new parking garage. We met two of three of John’s boys. John looked like all the other scouters that I have been working with since 1997. Again it became clear that we are reaching a much different stage in our life than I am letting myself believe. The weekend finished up with a visit with my cousin Mark Moran and his family at Rudy’s in Round Rock. As we discussed life, our parents, and families it was again apparent that we were full fledge adults.
These are really not life changing observations, but more facts to solidify my acceptance of where I am in life right now.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Much to my surprise, when the doctor pulled the pin out of my hand, it did not hurt. The pin had migrated away from the bone and actually was about to create an exit wound. I choose not to watch it being pulled out of my hand.
At least it is one-step closer to cutting your own food. - Chris Houters, FB 09/18/2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
My mother has been through these times more often than I have. My father was in the Battle of Soui Tre in Vietnam in March of 1967, five months after I was born, but prior to me ever meeting him. She sent out a rather thoughtful, well written email this morning to her three children, that I want to share.
SUBJECT: Two dates in my life
I sat and watched the 9/11 ceremonies from NYC, DC and PA which brought back two memories in my life that with the same emotion. The first was in March of 1967 and 9/11/2001. Your Dad and David both knew they were ok but I didn’t. It took only hours for us to find out that David was ok but it was two weeks before I hear from your Dad. As you know I read in the newspapers about the battle and there were quotes from Dad’s bosses and men that I knew but I heard nothing from your Dad. I saw two staff cars drive into my apartment complex the day after I saw the news on tv. It was a long two weeks before I got your Dad’s letters telling me about the battle. I was alone with with two baby boys with parents that didn’t know what to say but supported me the best they knew how. I now understand how Mamie felt and am thankful that Dudley had only a short wait to find out her husband was well and on his way home. I guess you three think your mother is loosing it in her old age but I felt like sharing these poorly written thoughts with you.
I love the three of you very much.
Monday, September 7, 2009
I had a wonderful trip this weekend with Adam Rogers and Bryan Stevenson back to Lubbock to see the Red Raiders play North Dakota. I could go into a detail post on the game itself this weekend, but there are plenty of websites dedicated to that. In short they won the game they should have, but have much work to do if we are going to compete in the Big 12.
It has taken me a few years to figure out why a bunch of 18-22 year olds playing football is so important to me, but I think I have figured it out.
Lubbock is the closest thing I have to a home town. Part of my journey back each fall, beyond football is to eat at my favorite restaurants and walk the campus. The day after I graduated from Heidelberg American High School in 1984 I headed to scout camp. Besides a two day visit after my freshman year at Tech, I have never been back. More importantly, I was just a visitor in Heidelberg, a military dependent, and not really a resident.
When I stepped onto the Texas Tech University campus in August of 1984 I became a part of something greater than me. I became a Red Raider. I was not a visitor, but a part of a greater community. I got to buy sweatshirts, t-shirts and hats that identified me as a member. It truly manifested itself in my new passion for football. Suddenly I had a group of young men who could carry my banner far and wide.
Friday, September 4, 2009
This time it was really easy for me to read the x-ray. The pin that Dr. Whittenburg put in my thumb is designed so that he can pull it out in his office in two weeks. I did take a picture of pin on the outside of my hand, but my goal is to keep this blog PG-13, so I did not post it.
I envision some kind of claw hammer for him to pull out the pin, but I wager he has a special tool. I am betting it is going to smart when he does it.
The positive thing is that I can still put my “Guns Up” in my brand new red cast. So I am prepared for the game this weekend. Hit’m Wreck’m
Monday, August 31, 2009
Adam has been one of my scouts since he was 16, when I was his chapter advisor. Along the way he became my friend and now is 28. Patrick Lang and I had the privilege to be his vigil guide a few years back. He noted on the way out, he probably owed me a ride.
Little Troop 5 had three boys going through the Ordeal. I need to at least show up and let them know there Scoutmaster knew it. Troop 5 Eagle Scout and ASM Zack Wisch is the Lodge Chief ; so a little show of support from his Scoutmaster might also be warranted.
I have been active in whatever the current incarnation of the Longhorn Council Lodge since 1997. My short visit not only included visiting the boys of Troop 5, but adult Arrowmen I have become friends with over the years. It is always good to see people who have the same love as scouting as you do. Let it be known that not everyone I have met in the Lodge since 1997 in enraptured by my charm, but at least we are cordial to each other, since at heart, we have the same goals.
The trip had three interesting highlights.
Randy Cox (Troop 43 Scoutmaster), Adam, and Charlie Kahlig (Troop 5 ASM) checked out the $32K Longhorn Council Viking Ship. It is a real interesting expense of Friends of Scouting funds, but I was a tad bit more impressed that I expected to be by the wooden vessel. Although my first attempt to get it for a Troop 5 weekend program failed miserably, I will make another attempt. It looks like fun.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I know that God has a plan and I know that I don't always understand it, but he took a very good man home today. (August 26, 2009) A very special person to me along with all his family. He was loved by everyone he knew and Ron Taylor will be very missed. Love ya Ron. – Carol Miller Shugart
Life at time slaps you in the face and gives you perspective.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
My surgery on the thumb went well on Thursday. Tamara was a saint and took me to the hospital and waited with me. She spent a lot of time rolling her eyes as I attempted my brand of humor with the hospital staff, techs, nurses and doctors. I was successful most of the time, but Tamara has already seen my act way too much.
I had enough visitors and phone calls to address my extraverted nature in the house by myself. Most of the weekend was spent draining the DVR, reading the paper front to back, watching sports and reading. Although at times this was enjoyable, I was very pleased to have Carol home this evening.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I finally go in to see Dr. Charles Whittenburg yesterday. I will avoid all the discussion about health insurance, but let us just say - it is not efficient.
Dr. Whittenburg is member of the Orthopedic Center of Arlington. Apparently, all his years of medical training allowed him to read an x-ray much better than I did. Since I carried my x-rays from Oklahoma with me, I looked at them on the computer at home. It seems that my 4 hours of Biology of Animals at Texas Tech did not train me to be a radiologist.
The good doctor showed me were I “messed up my thumb real good” and scheduled surgery for me this Thursday to put a pin in my thumb to it will heal correctly.
Life is an adventure
Monday, August 10, 2009
My retrospective tour of life included a visit on my brothers back porch with Lou Novack and Nat McQueen. I have not seen Lou in 26 years although we communicated off and on for the past 15 years or so, but our paths have never crossed. It was wonderful to catch up. It was fun sharing old stories with high school and scouting buddies. Not to short change Nat, but he went to TCU and lived in Arlington until four years ago, so we had less to catch up on. Lou did have to tolerate college football talk.
It was good to see my whole family. My nephew Zach and I had much scouting talk. I have found a true kindred spirit in my niece Ashley. Her parents would have much to fear if I lived much closer. My brother has much to fear regardless, she is going be a handful as teenager.
It was clear that my mother was enjoying having all her children in one location. My brother and I did our best to reminder of why she should not enjoy as much, but she was not deterred. My sister-in-law Dudley watched, pretty much her only choice, from the sidelines.
Fun was had by all in honor of my Dad’s 70th birthday celebration weekend. Someday I will have to delve into my relationship with my father, but I am very proud to be his son. He also enjoyed having his boys and daughter around. Rumor has it the elder Shugarts had a grand time. I’m going with that.
I am heading back to Texas tomorrow.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I was greeted at the Metro station in Franconia/Springfield by a much taller Zach Shugart. My nephew was able to spot my quickly based on my clothing choice. I broke out the collared shirt for the trip. I was still in backpacking shorts and Birkenstock sandals, but I was traveling so I had to dress up. All my collared casual shirts are from the Shirley Shugart Collection. So Zach was able to spot the taller rounder version of his father in a shirt that his grandmother would have bought for his Dad. He was instructed by his mother to help me carry my bags, but he correctly noted to her, “He’s a scoutmaster, he not going to have anything with him”.
It was a good day. Five Guys Burgers for lunch with Dudley (my sister-in-law) and my nephew. It also included a tour of the local bike shops looking for a cool Washington area cycling t-shirt. That was a failed adventure, but we did learn where Daniel Schneider, Redskins owner, bought all his bicycles for the team. A salesperson at Spokes Etc. told us that they were instructed the bikes could be any color by blue or silver.
Zach and I got caught up on scouting and I lost a game of Finger Football while waiting for his dad to come home and for his little sister’s dance recital. I have never gotten to see Ashley dance, so I was far more excited to go than Zach. I was able to spot her on stage quickly, from a distance she looks like my little sister at that age, but much more graceful. The recital included traditional, hip hop and tap. There could be a whole blog entry on the irony of watching a bunch of suburban Washington girls do hip hop, but let us move on. It was rather impressive to me to see how hard she works and the enjoyment of it she shared as she ate her Dairy Queen.
Today will bring my folks.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I have teased Butch through the years and have called him Eeyore, with his rather interesting perspective on life, but he has remained a friend and not just a friend from 25 years ago.
Somewhere out there are pictures of Butch and me in Indian regalia preparing to perform an Order of the Arrow Ceremony. We inducted his little brother Michael to the Brotherhood in 1983. We were both delegates to the Model United Nations in High School. Luck would have it he would go to Texas Christian University so he has remained in North Texas since 1985. Since then we have played bad rounds of golf, many hours of video games, gone to football games, and random other events. As the years have gone by, we don’t see each other as much as we should, but we still communicate.
Carol and I went to McKinney on Saturday afternoon and got to visit the entire Swisher family. Col. Swisher and Dr. Sallie Swisher were visiting from Florida and were at Michael’s house in McKinney. We have not seen Butch’s parents since our wedding.
The matriarch of the Swisher Family, Dr. Swisher, was my second mom when I was in High School. The Swishers lived right across from the high school and we would spend many of lunch hours eating in her kitchen or as a weigh point on the way home. I always let myself in the Swisher home, with a quick knock and announce my presence. I would wander into the kitchen and visit with Mrs. Swisher before finding Butch. In retrospect, I have come to realized that the school pscyolisits that was Butch’s mom, doubled as my therapist. She was always asking questions of “Why do you feel that way? Or how does that make me feel?” She was always easy to talk to and still is to this day.
It was a glorious afternoon of sharing old stories and catching up to where our families our now. Times like this I have come to cherish.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Wow, big group tonight. Dang, lots of skinny fit dudes. “Yo Justin”. I think we have a tail wind. “Thanks for putting my bike together Jeff” I have not seen that guy before, I think I can drop him. NO I am not going to pull to the hill, need to fade to the back. “Hey Chris, long time no see.” Ok, here comes the hill. Legs feeling good.. Complicated Shadows. I’m not breathing heavy, cool.. “CAR UP”. Move up, Move up. Up the Plume.. Damn they are flying. Not going to be last. Fine Chris, I will let you pull me up the hill. Where’s Justin? Why is Duke kid pulled over.. Oh.. mechanical, Almost to the top. Wow Duke kid is wasting a lot of effort to get buy me, moneys down the road. Ooh.. got three targets in front of.. Ride smooth.. There’s Justin on my wheel. Its Darker than you Know in those Complicated Shadows. Cool there are four of us. “Chris, stay steady”. We can catch those two in front of us. My legs hurt. Why I am pulling? Well you know your time has come and you are sorry for what you’ve done. “The guy is the red is not working, we got them” Who is this dude in the black jersey, never seen him. Close the gap, dude. Fine I’ll go to the front. It'll soon be time to go but it's darker than you know in those Complicated Shadows. Shit. “PASSING PASSING PASSING” Did he have to pass that close. What the? I just finished pulling your butt for 2 miles and now you attack?. Don’t like this guy in the black jersey. Dang we are hammering. All you gangsters and rude clowns Who were shooting up the town. So you attack and then sit in.. Jerk. “We Lost one” cool dropped the guy in the red jersey we caught, black jersey hurting. But it's darker than you know in those Complicated Shadows. Gonna fly down Plume. “CAR LEFT CAR LEFT’. There goes all my dang momentum. Sometimes justice you will find Is just dumb not colour-blind. Got to take the sprint. “FALL OFF JUSTIN” Damn headwind. Lungs and legs ok. Here we go. Hurt hurt hurt. Nice lead out Justin, bye-bye black jersey. Damn Duke kid. He is blowing.. I can do it.. Alright, I got the sprint. “Good ride” But iron and steel will bend and break In those Complicated Shadows
For some reason Elvis Costello’s new song “Complicated Shadows” was stuck in my head the whole ride, his lyrics are italicized above.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Mamoon and his family were visiting his older brother Moeed who was suffering in the heat as a first year scout at Summer Camp that day. I shook their fathers hand and introduced myself to him. Sid Siddiqui asked me that day, “Which one of these boys is yours?” I paused, thought about it and said, “All of them.”
If was a Friday and I had also suffered through my first summer camp since 1984 and my first as an Adult Leader. Little did I know at the time, I was on my way to becoming the Scoutmaster of little Troop 5.
I have been blessed having the Siddiqui family in my life since then. It is a sad day for me no longer have a Siddiqui as a scout in Troop. Now I just have four adult leaders: two committee members and two Assistant Scoutmasters.
Not only have I got to watch two scouts grow up to be fine young men, the Siddiquis have watched me go from a 30 year old pathetic bachelor who had vacation to burn to go to summer camp to 40 something married grandfather who still takes boys to summer camp. We have supported each other as friends during that time.
Congratulations to Mamoon for being an Eagle Scout-well deserved. Thank you to the Siddiquis for being my friends.
Monday, July 27, 2009
She had no place for the driver’s coffee. So the shortest scout in the troop became the “cup holder”. They would ride in the middle and hold the drivers coffee or diet coke. Fazan Chowan, Zack Wisch and JJ Michaels all served as “Cup Holders”. The radio was always playing loud for the scouts to play “Guess that Classic Rock Song.”
“Ol Blue” could find any Whataburger in the state on her own. As Brett cleverly noted today, more Whataburger was eating in this truck than any other vehicle in the United States.
Hopefully the shade tree mechanics in Oklahoma can bring her back to life, but she is done as a scout truck. Farewell "Ol Blue."
Sunday, July 26, 2009
The Goatneck has been recognized by Bicycling Magazine as one of the top 100 rides in the country. It is phenomenally supported by the community and every turn is marshaled by a volunteer. The major intersections are even controlled by police officers. If you are lucky to stay in the lead group, you get escorted the whole way. I have never been so lucky.
The ride brings out all the top guns from the DFW area to do the ride in addition to bringing quite a few yahoos. This past Saturday was no exception.
My buddy Big Dave and I arrived in time to register, get a little warm up end and make it to the starting line. I had resigned on the way down that I had not been riding well, that I was not going to chase the lead group and was hoping to average 18mph for the 69 mile route. Big Dave noted I was just laying the foundation of excuses.
The start line of the tour was amazing. It had the stark contrast of a bunch of super fit shaved bike racers to a bunch of Cleburne High School kids on their junior high school bikes. I had much fear of the high schoolers, because they were wooping it up and it was clear they never had ridden in a group ride. After being blessed by a Priest, (the closest I have been to mass this year) and the singing of the national anthem, we were off. Leading the charge was a cycling buddy and his girlfriend on a tandem bike. Either one of them could drop me individually, but together they are an amazing machine.
The only complaint I have about the Goatneck is the first turn. It arrives way to early, maybe a quarter of a mile from the start line. There is a mass of humanity moving in excess of 25 miles an hour about make a crit right hand turn. I had already decided to stay to outside, because the high schoolers were blitzing on the inside line about to have to make a 90 degree turn. I was expecting a massive pile up, but by the grace of God, the shaved legged racers gave the kids the room. That was the last time I saw the high schoolers.
As I watched the tandem from hell lead the ride out of town, with Big Dave not given up the chase. I settled down in a nice group that let them go. One of the neat things of riding as long as I have, I can always find a cycling buddy in the group I’m in. One of the disadvantages of riding as long as I have, is that someone you know is always blowing past you waving. What is confusing about these rides is you end up paying $30 to ride with the people you ride with all the time from bike shop for free, but at least the roads are different.
My group was averaging over 20mph by the time we crossed the Brazos for the second time. I had done a very diligent job of never being in the front and felt much better than expected. However, once you cross this bridge, you are climbing all the way back to Cleburne. The rollers and the climbs shred my group. I will say I was not doing the shredding, but just hanging on for dear life. When it was all said and done, it was just my cycling buddies Justin, Jack and I. They are much skinnier and fitter than I am, so I just stayed on their wheels for the climbs. No, I just stayed on their wheels.
Goatneck Hill is the last long climb of the day. The Hill arrives at about mile 48 and ends at about mile 55. It came at about 10am for us and 104 degrees of heat off the road. I cursed a cycling buddy who could not do the Goatneck because of a 10am massage appointment. They were in a much better place.
The three of us survived the climb and picked up the pace towards Cleburne. At about 10 miles out, I went to the front and towed my two buddies in to the finish. After sitting in all day, I had the freshest legs for the final push.
We ended up averaging 19.3 mph for the ride finishing fifteen minutes behind Big Dave. All in all a good ride.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The truth is it is about time. I also do not like the answer “I don’t have time for TV”. That comes across the same way. I allocate my time to work, home, family, scouts and cycling. I am sure there are people in each of those groups who would argue about the order, but that is what I find important. Cycling is a huge time suck when you commit to riding as much as I do. If you are going to commit to balance in the other part of your life, you have to give something up. I have given up television shows.
My obsessive and compulsive personality wants to watch a show from the beginning to the end. The last show I was successful with this was Seinfeld. I have found it easier to be a sports fan. You can turn on any game at any point and in a few short minutes be caught right up to speed. It is great background noise when you are doing things at the house, such as writing in your blog.
I also do not look down on people who watch television shows. I miss out on a lot of good office conversation because I have no idea who is dancing with who, who is still on the island and where the heck the plane crashed on Lost. I have also grown to learn that people grow tired of cycling and scouting stories if they do not participate. Everyone can participate in watching TV, so that is a common bond that I do not have.
For the moment, I think I am going to say, “I’m a sports guy... sorry”, there is a bunch of television networks that are dedicated to that genera. TV watching people will understand.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
With my father being in the military, scouting provided one constant as we moved around from place to place during my childhood. The Cub Scout Pack or the Scout Troop was an instant source of friends in a new place.
I started my Boy Scout career in the “Action” Troop 237 in Fort Benning Georgia. As like all little brothers, I followed my older brother into this troop. Members of Troop 5 would find it curious that the leadership positions in this troop had different color neckerchiefs. The highlights of my scouting in Georgia were: 1) two weeks at my first scout camp at the Chattahoochee Scout Reservation. 2) A 50-mile canoe trip down the Chattahoochee River. I was a scrawny 11-year-old scout that probably paddled twice the whole trip. Reggie Hall was a more than patience older boy canoe partner that was stuck with me.
When my father was transferred to Fort Bragg, NC, my brother and I joined Troop 973. Here I camped at Camp Durant for my summer camp, got elected into the Order of the Arrow, and attended the 1981 Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. Many of our campouts were in drop zones at Fort Bragg. The roar of the jets, helicopters, C-130s, tanks etc were always greeted with one of my Scoutmasters’ saying, “That’s the sound of Freedom” This is the Troop I earned my Eagle in.
After my freshman year in High School, my father got orders for Heidelberg Germany. Here my brother and I joined Troop 1. There is much debate which American troop actually was the first Troop after World War II, but my troop had the number. I chose this troop because they had an annual ski trip to Kandersteg Switzerland at the international scout center. I remember John Wilkerson beating me on the butt with his ski as I was trying to learn to use a T-Bar. (ahh, boy leadership) We took the duty train to West Berlin during the height of the cold war. I played spades with Scott Miller as my partner the whole way, while Scott Corliss was hanging out the train taking pictures of East German guards. I was active in the Black Eagle Lodge and traveled all over Europe to do Order of the Arrow scouting. I also worked three summers at Camp Freedom, with Bill Kennedy, Bill Hurley, Sandro Mezel who I have found again. Bill Kennedy gave me the nickname of “Gonzo” that stuck the whole time I worked camp staff.
I wandered away from Scouting when I went off to College. I owe a whole bunch of adults along the way. I think I am paying them forward by getting back involved in scouting in 1997.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Today I did the Norman Conquest . This is my third out of state tour. I have done the Enchanted Circle Century in New Mexico and the Tour De Vally in Virginia.
Carol is from Moore, OK, so we came up for the weekend, stayed at her sisters in OKC and I got up early this morning to do the ride. Carol spent quality time with her sister and high school friends.
It was the day to do 66 miles in Oklahoma. It was 66 degrees at the start. After the past few weeks of riding in 100 plus degree weather, I was ecstatic.
The route goes east out of Norman, goes across Lake Thunderbird, and it has one rolling hill after another. I know the flyer said it was going to be hilly, but I thought.”Oklahoma?” Well, the flyer was correct and continued to note to the Okie boys I was riding with. “Where is this flat Oklahoma I hear about?” This question was met with much laughter.
I survived in the rolling hills with the lead group for 10.6 miles. I was going to get dropped, but I got hung up in the wrong gear on a turn up a steep climb that sealed the deal. I very nice chase packed formed and I rode with them until mile 40. Unfortunately, a 20 something zero body fat kid with an Oklahoma State Champion jersey rolled into our group. Why the hell did a bunch of 40 something recreational riders think they could chase and stay with this guy is beyond me, but we did and I was spit out the back. I was a tad disheartened until my course merged with the 46 mile course. I had already done that amount and the people I was passing were really suffering. I fine example of schadenfreude on my part. I filled my bottles at the 54 mile rest stop and jumped onto a group as I left. I ending up averaging 18mph for the ride and the temperature was 86 degrees at the finish.
A good day.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I lied and karma kicked my butt.
The normal rider participation was down due to the heat. After we came together on Lake Ridge, the pace quickened as we rode into a head wind. My legs were already starting to bother me, I was gasping for air, and my heart rate was headed towards max. I kept thinking, “I told Carol I would go easy” as I looked down at a speed of 25mph. We reach the base of the first climb and I almost get shelled, but I pull back into the group. I am in pain, my head is swimming and it’s freaking hot. I stay with the group until the base of the big climb, Texas Plume. I give every bit of effort I can to stay with them, but they ride away. I can feel my lunch wanting to come up and see what is going on. By the time I reach the top, I notice that I am not sweating and my skin is nothing but goose bumps. Being the wise cyclist that I am, I proceed to chase the group. Luckily for me, there is a tri-athlete that could not climb worth a lick with me. We trade pulls, but to no avail, the group is gone. By this time it is becoming clear that I have no business being on the bike as I quell the gag reflex of my investigative lunch. I abandoned the ride and found the quickest way back to the car. However, I took it easy, not because I was honoring my word with Carol, but because it was all I could do.
Although I probably cut 5 miles off of the ride, I barely beat the lead riders back to the cars.
If asked, I ride because I enjoy it.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
In the latest issue of Texas District and County Attorney Newsletter has a wonderful In Memoriam section dedicated to my former boss, if you want to read it you will get but a glimpse of this true statesmen.
This is what I said.
J. Greg Shugart
Business Manager, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office
I have been the business administrator for the DA’s office for over seven years. I tell the staff here that I’m the person who keeps their copiers working and their legal pads and paper clips supplied so that they can do their work. But I also worked daily with Tim Curry to keep our $33-million-budget office ticking efficiently. I saw firsthand how Mr. Curry diligently sought to save jobs in our narcotics and check departments as grant funds and check fees dwindled. Many of my administrative tasks required sophisticated negotiations with the Commissioners’ Court and County Administration. Although I often felt clumsy when accomplishing his goals, Mr. Curry always backed me up, just as he supported any of his staff following his directives.
Mr. Curry’s strong work ethic and humble style repeatedly reminded me of Plato’s Greek classic, The Republic. His style emulated the guardians of civic justice that Plato described. Mr. Curry stayed in-formed; he always focused on what was right and just; his loyalty was legendary. And Mr. Curry never sought praise for any of the myriad deeds he accomplished. Those of us who worked for him will strive to follow his example
Saturday, July 11, 2009
She married me nonetheless and we moved into my 1930’s house and she made it a home for Tamara, Brett and I. During these years her grasp of common sense is off the scale, which has been very helpful through our many adventures and trials. She is more than supportive of my scouting and cycling. The Scouts in the troop refer to her as “Ms. Carol”; she has sewn many a uniform. And most of the time does not lose patience with me as we continue to improve out little house. I have actually grown to enjoy working in the yard with her.
More importantly, Carol shares my passion for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. She understands the importance of seeing the scarlet and black clad team in the frenzied confines of “The Jones” Our season ticket holder family around us always upset with me if she does not make the journey.
When Carol is not ensuring the health and welfare of Brett, Brittany, Tamara, David, me and of course Aedan, she is working at Teague Nall and Perkins civil Engineering firm as a Senior Designer. She will be celebrating 20 years of service this year.
My own observation of successful relationships is when the man is aware that he has done better than he deserves. I am such a man.
Friday, July 10, 2009
When the daylight allows it, a group of bike racers and strong recreational riders assemble in the parking lot of the Oasis at Joe Pool Lake. We venture into a hammer fest up Lake Ridge Road, climb Texas Plum, do a long loop south of Highway 67, and return to the Oasis. On a good night, I average over 20 miles per hour on the 31-mile course. I am not that strong in this group and usually finish in the chase group; I am far from an alpha cyclist on this ride, but this group views me as an “elder statesman.”
Last night we had a problem because Texas Plum was under construction and the route has to change. Since this is a leaderless ride, the group had to come up with a different route. There was much discussion and I suggested Route A. There was some consensus and then someone suggested Route B. Everybody seemed to agree on Route B and they turned to be as one of the “elder statesman” and said your call. I decreed, “Let’s do Route B” and off we went.
We got on Lake Ridge and headed south. We were fighting a tough head wind and it was hot. I felt I was riding into a blast furnace and my thermometer read 108 degrees off the road. We climbed Lake Ridge at a heck of a pace. We were surging up Lake Ridge and I was spat out of the back on the last pitch to the top. Three of us regrouped and began the chase. We could see others had fallen off and we were going to end up in the chase pack again.
We started to gain on the groups in front of us when the turn appeared that made Route A and Route B different. Somebody attacked the lead group, made the turn to do Route A instead of Route B. I saw some hand waving from the back, but the whole lead group just responded to the attack and changed the route. All the people that were chasing did the same thing.
Not that any of this is bad, but it just shows that the in a group ride, everyone is just going to follow the wheel in front of them. Democracy gives way to the alpha cyclist. I was quite amused at the end of the ride when we all reassembled at the cars for the “after action” reports, a few of my buddies came up to me to apologize for doing the wrong route. I noted I was not in position to give directions when the turn came.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Brett came into my life when in 1997 when he was 10. It was a scary time for me, I had just started dating his mother and he crossed over into my Scout Troop the following spring. As most of you know, it worked out and he became my stepson in 1999. We have had our challenges but I know I am better for it, hopefully he is as well.
We had the classic Scoutmaster/Son relationship. You have patience for every boy in your troop but one. “You expect me to be better than everyone else!” he once yelled at a campout. I responded, “You figured it out!” Brett is one of my Eagle Scouts and well deserved
Brett is currently working for father at Underwood Drafting &Surveying. He is plugging along on his undergraduate degree with a much better GPA than I had. He recently bought a house in Denison that he shares with his girlfriend Brittney, who is a sweetheart.