Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Troop Senate

Saturday was the 2010 Troop Senate. It is the annual planning conference for the troop and spring SPL elections.

I know I have whined about this in the past, but one of the frustrations about being a Scoutmaster for a long time is reinventing the wheel every few years. You have a group of boys who finally get it and they turn 18 on you.

That being said, the next group of teenagers are now in charge of the troop. This group of 13 year olds have quite a bit of promise, they just need to focus. That can be said for lots of people I suppose.

One of the lessons of a Troop Senate is to put together a meeting with an agenda and follow it. I have been in many meeting with people with MBAs. MPAs, JDs, etc. that have not known how to run a meeting, so I need to give a 13 year old a little slack.

The boys started out a tad bit adrift, but I kept steering them out of the ditch and finished strong.

I was most impressed with the SPL election. Four boys stepped up to run and it was a thoughtful and closed election.

The calendar for next year is set, just waiting for approval from the troop committee.

The boys have a big 2011 planned, now to the implementation.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cat Issues

Carol feeds the stray cats. I always say I am blessed that she takes in strays. However this past Wednesday, one of the strays caused a major problem

We have two inside cats, both were former strays. Oreo is a big black fat cat that was just a kitten when I rescued him at the lower water crossing in Dalworthington Gardens. I made the mistake of letting my girlfriend know about it at the time. She took the cat into her home. When Carol and I got married, she brought Oreo with her.

The other is Possum. She was the runt of one of a stray cat litter that Carol was concerned would not survive. She is a white and grey smallish cat. She was part of the problem on Wednesday.

I was coming into the house and there was what I thought was Possum in our mud room, I showed her in the house only to discover that we now had three cats in the living room. I had let one of the strays into the house.

This stray was not greeted kindly by Oreo and Possum. I reached down to pick the stray up and it let me know that it had no desire to be handled by scratching the heck out of my hand. The stray proceeded to run into our tool closet to hide.

Since Carol was not home, I knew that she needed a funny story on how I got the cat out of the house, not that there was an extra cat in the house. I grabbed a towel and found the stray. I successfully captured the back half of the new cat, allowing me to hold a screaming, yowling, flailing, biting, clawing creature towards the door. Possum and Oreo responded to this activity by getting into their own tussle.

I did get the cat out the door. Oreo spent the evening hiding under our bed and Possum would not come near me, but did continue to patrol the house to make sure the cat was gone.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

White Rock Half Marathon

This past Sunday I did the Dallas White Rock Half Marathon. My time was 2:06. Not a personal best but based on my level of training, I was very pleased.

It was rather cold at the start and I wore my Texas Tech Football Under Armor Shirt over a running shirt. Not a fancy running shirt, it proved quite effective in keeping me motivated. All along the root I kept being cheered on with Go Tech, Get your Guns up, Wreck’em. I would flash the “Guns Up”. It is always nice being rooted on.

It was rather an uneventful run; I just plugged along with my goal of a two hour half. The course was different than the previous three times, so it was difficult to gage where I was based on my pace. In addition, this was the first year they started us in corral, so I was 20 minutes behind the gun time when I started.

It was quite disheartening in the last three miles, when I was giving my six minutes back to have the lead Marathoners run past me. They were moving at mile 23-26 faster than I could run or ever run period.

I wager I will train again for next year so I can do a sub two hour run.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Frying Turkeys

Brett and I fried two turkeys for thanksgiving. This was our first attempt. You cannot get any manlier of a thing to do for Thanksgiving than frying turkeys. You are outside; it involves fire and the positional of expositions.

This being the case, we fried the turkeys in the front yard. This way we figured the Dalworthington Gardens Fire Department would have easy access if we somehow caused a problem.

Truth be told, two Eagle Scouts through proper preparation, successfully fried two turkeys without any major problems. We had some challenges with the oil level, but handled that with no panic.

Since we did not need them to come by, we brought one of the turkeys up to the DWG Police /Fire/Dispatch to feed our Public Safety Personnel working on Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 29, 2010

GPS Journey

GPSs are cool. 

When I left Danny's deer lease outside of Sweetwater this past Sunday morning, I hit the home button so it would calculate my arrival time.  That way when I called Carol I could give her a good guesstamation of my arrival.

I then realized that it was not taking me back they way I expected.  It was going to take me on the back roads on top of what I learned was 9 mile mountain. 
 
Anyone who has ever driven on I-20 between Abilene and Sweetwater, know they can see a bunch of windmills to the south.  My route to Abilene took me right through the middle of them.
 
For some reason I am fascinated by the windmills and truly enjoyed the trip through them.  Carol often accuses me of avoiding the back roads because I am not interested in the journey, but the destination.


I enjoyed the journey this time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

College revisited

This probably deserves so many more blog posts than I am going to give it, but life is moving real fast right now and the past week is going to get away.

I have spent time the past week or so with college friends. Some I have not seen in over 20 years. This strange journey started on the campout. Due to a very strange circumstances, my college friends Lauren and Steve were actually camping right next to little Troop 5 with their boys Dallas Cub Scout pack.

On the following Monday, I saw a significant portion of the college gang at our friend Rod's father's Rosary. Rod was one of my many college roommates, but also a member of my Catholic service fraternity, Chi Rho. Although a funeral is not the most happiest place to see old friends, it was still nice.

Then on  that Thursday, I ended up at Chi Rho happy hour in Irving. A larger group than Monday and even more people I have not seen in a very long time. It was also a nice time. I spent most of it breaking down the Texas Tech football season. It has become very clear and rightfully so, that I am perceive expert on all things Red Raider sports in the college group.

Saturday I drove to Sweetwater and picked up Danny Ortega at his deer lease to head to the Tech game in Lubbock. Again a Chi Rho college buddy, but I had not spent this much time with Danny in years. It was really cool to get a good visit and catch up with the details of our lives. I even spent the night at the deer lease on the way back. The REI camper hanging with the Cabela's crowd. It was fun.

Finally this past sunday night, I hung with two dorm buddies from my freshman year at Tech. I had not seen then in forever. Jay, Ken and I shared old college stories that I have not told in a long time. My freshman year I was given the nickname "German" because of coming from Heidelberg Germany. It was quite amusing when it all came together for Jay's wife, "so you're German!?!?".

I am not sure what all of this means, but I really feel like my college days have been reset and it will not be a long stretch between visits with these friends.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Camryn McIntyre

This past Tuesday, November 16, 2010, Camryn McIntyre became Little Troop 5’s 23rd Eagle Scout. (18th under my watch as Scoutmaster) Like most of my Eagle Scouts, Camryn is yet another screaming Eagle finishing everything just under the wire, but he made it

I did throw him under the bus when I introduced him to the Eagle Board. I always call Camryn the troop’s Labrador Retriever. He kind of wanders around to the beat of his own drum, but he is great to have around, and is a good crew mate. More importantly, the young Scouts are not threatened by him at all and follow his lead. This at times involves throwing rocks into the river, the pond, or the lake or the field. I think Camryn alone has caused the Brazos to raise a foot by the amount of rocks he has tossed into it.

I took Camryn to his first Scout Camp at Slippery Falls Scout Ranch in 2004. He was a wonderful apart of the 2008 Philmont crew. He is the only Troop 5 member to work both at Worth Ranch and at Sid Richardson Scout Ranch.

Camryn’s involvements in the troop lead to my friendship with his father Randy. In addition to Randy serving as committee chair, he was one of the three adults that went as Advisors to Philmont in 2008. If you have to spend 12 days camping with me and still talk to me, you have to be a friend.

Congratulations Camryn! Well deserved.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blogging

Life has been real busy and I am behind on my blog. It has been a good busy so I have lots to share.

I am not real sure who actually reads this blog, but the therapeutic nature of writing it down and publishing my thoughts have become real important to me. I will far exceed my goal of 8 posts a month in November if I get my act together.

So look for something soon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nolan Tull

Nolan arrived yesterday weighing in at 8lbs 6oz and 19.5 inches long. I will save Tamara the internet picture of them together.

Words cannot describe how luckily I am to get to share in this experience. As previously noted in this blog, my first trip around with a baby was with Aedan. It was really cool to get to hold Nolan yesterday. He seems really huge in comparison to Aedan, who was 4lbs and 3oz.

I sent Tamara and David a text this morning at the hospital that summed up where I am on the arrival of a second grandchild.

Good morning to a glorious new world.  I am very proud  of all four of you.  Thank you for sharing your family with me.-7:07am Text

Monday, November 15, 2010

Constantin


Little Troop 5 spent the weekend at Camp Constantin on Possum Kingdom Lake. Although completely surrounded by the Longhorn Council, Camp Constantin is the Dallas Council Camp, or as known in Scouting, Circle 10 Council.

I always tell parents if you want to know a scout troop, go camping with them. Little Troop 5 is a camping troop and this is what we do best. So we had a group of Webelos take us up on the offer. They Webelos might report differently, but I believe their campout was quite successful.

I was looking forward to our hike up to Johnsons Peak on this trip. I had done it one time before when the Troop made its only other visit to Camp Constantin 8 years ago. I had built it up to boys as the “Kyle Mountain” Trip for this camp.

So the crew of 15 boys and four adults embarked on the trip up to Johnsons Peak on Saturday morning, via the trail signs at Camp Constantin right outside the nature area. As always, I took my position in the back to have the boys get us up the trail. Besides the extra 15 minutes we spent trying to find the nature area, the boys did a good job of figuring out the map.

However, it became increasingly clear, that the trail to Johnson’s Peak had not been maintained since the last time I hiked on it. There were times where it felt we were not even on the trail, we were flat out bush whacking. I was very pleased with the boys keeping their spirits up as they dodges cacti, mesquite trees, and over growth as we made our way the mountain. It turned what should have been a 90 minute hike to the top to a two and a half our hike.

Due to the fact that the boys did not want to trudge back through the same brush, through some adult encouraging, we took the main trail back down to Park Road 36 with the plan to road hike back to camp. The extra time started to wear on the boys, particularly the Webelos. By the time we made it to the road, we were really straggling.

Luckily for the hikers, two assistant scoutmasters who were coming out on Saturday were at camp. Through the expert use of cell phones, the tired hikers were rescued on the side of the road. I still think we ended up doing about 7 miles of hiking, so it counts for something.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Clyde, Texas

As always, a Texas Tech football win makes it easier to write. Tech played one of their most complete games they have played in long time to beat the Missouri Tigers. Jeff Bennett made the journey with me for this game, because Carol could not bear to watch them play poorly in person. She was willing to watch them on TV and it was handy to have Carol at home to text me what replays were showing.

As a slave to routine, I always stop in Clyde, Texas on the way to or from Lubbock to eat at Whataburger. It is almost perfectly halfway if you take I-20 to Highway 84 route to the Hubbaplex to Dalworthington Gardens.

As Jeff and I were headed back home from Lubbock, in my eco-friendly little blue car with the road bike rack, it became clear we were part deer hunting, camouflage wearing, big truck convoy back to the metroplex. Apparently we are all creatures of habits and we all stopped at the Whataburger in Clyde.

I am not passing judgment on hunters. I respect anyone who gets up in the morning on a weekend to do something they love. Whether its golf, tennis, cycling, running, sailing, fishing, or in this case hunting.  I just want to note that the little blue Aveo with the peace sign hanging from its rear view mirror could not have been anymore out of place if I was trying in the Clyde Whataburger Sunday morning.

Jeff was concerned for my personal safety as I started to talk to all the hunters about their weekend exploits at the deer lease. I may not hunt, but I can talk the language. Most were not successful, but as they all agreed, that just means they have to go next weekend.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Heidelberg American High School

This past Friday evening, Carol and I met up with a bunch of Heidelberg American High School alumni. Carol was quite understanding.

Heidelberg was a very important part of my foundation in life, but I just viewed it as a place I was passing through and not a home. Before the age of the internet, I just assumed that I would never run into classmates again. Even the ones that ended up at Texas Tech with me, we seemed to part ways.

What seems to be a theme this year, through the magic of Facebook, I have been to reconnect with High School friends. More importantly, it has allowed me to connect with those that have a shared experience in Heidelberg.

We all have long lists of regrets in our life, but it becoming clearer that I should have cherished the people in High School as much as enjoyed the experience of living overseas. My visit with Francisco and now this past Friday has seemed to driving this point home.

One of the purposes of the evening was to commit to doing a Heidelberg Reunion during the Houston Live Stock and Rodeo in February 2011. I have concluded this is a must.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Micheal Kahlig

This past Tuesday Micheal Kahlig became the 22nd Eagle Scout in Troop 5 history. He is also the 17th under my watch as Scoutmaster.

Michael’s first summer camp was a Slippery Falls Scout Ranch in 2004. It has been fun to camp with Micheal over the years. He has been with me to New Mexico and was part of the 2008 Philmont Trek.  I can still see Micheal’s backpack in front of me, with everything in the world strapped to it as we are heading down the trail. We had no concerns of sneaking up on a bear with the noise his backpack made.

One of the blessing that Micheal has is that is like his father. Charlie Kahlig is one of the finest Assistant Scoutmasters you could ever have in your troop. Charlie is an Eagle Scout as well and understands the mission. He is supportive of the boys as the troop and when Charlie finally speaks his mind, is always relevant and thoughtful.

A second generation Eagle Scout is something special. Way to go Micheal! Congratulations!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Lion

I am not a big fan of Halloween. Not really sure why, but I am sure it has something to do with my fear of clowns. People pretended to be something they are not.

That being said, we only had one very confused trick or treat-er last night. Aedan arrived with his folks in an adorable lion costume. In his mind, I assume he just viewed this as some another outfit with a hood. He did not get the concept that for the first time in his life he was supposed to stop at the door, so he began to wander into the house. However, the T-Ball hit from the school yard sitting on the step became far more fascinating than the bag of cookies I was trying to give him. What added to the madness were the flashes going off as pictures were being taken.

Aedan made it into the house with the ball. Aeden had a very successful trip into Grandma’s house.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trek

Our dog Trek passed away on the back step yesterday at 15 and a half years old. He started out as my dog, but when I married Carol, he became hers as well. He sure always looked for her every night when I brought him in the house for dinner.

Trek was a generic brown shepard/chow mix that was found as a puppy dumped in the park. Living by myself at the time, he gave me a reason to come home. As one of my scouts pointed out many years ago, before Carol and the kids made the place where I lived a home, it was Trek's house.

My favorite story about Trek is about his relation with the Moody family. Until I figured out how to fix the fence, Trek would often get out and make it to the Moody's house. They had a dog name Bisket that could have come from the same litter as Trek. I would come home from a bike ride or work to find out Trek was hanging out with the Moodys.   The Moody's did not mind. I would have a nice visit with Vikiki Moody and load Trek in my Rodeo and head home.

Chip Moody was the local anchor of Channel 8. So you can imagine their home was quite a bit nicer than mine. So I understood why Trek always made it over there. Chip was fighting Hodgkins disease in Arizona at time, so often got a report on his health from Vikki when I was picking up Trek.

I went on a trip to Austin once and when I returned and Trek had escaped again. I got a message from Vikki and learned that Trek had come to visit as her family was headed out to Arizona to see Chip, so they took him along to keep Bisket company.

I got to go to Austin and Trek went to Phoenix. Chip told me he enjoyed having Trek come see him. Thanks to Carol I figured out how to fix a fence, so he did not go on any more adventures. Trek spent his last night with us, sleeping at the foot of the bed in his house.

He will be missed.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Texas Rangers

It is real cool that the Rangers have made the World Series. I am willing to admit that my level of fandom with the Rangers is not even close to my emotional commitment with the Texas Tech Red Raiders, but I have followed the Rangers since July 29, 1989.

That date sticks out in my mind quite clearly. I grew up being an Atlanta Braves fan. We I first started paying attention to Major League Baseball, my father was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. Ted Turner was just start to broadcast the games state wide on Superstation 17, the precursor to TBS that we know on cable/satellite. We moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and the family continued to follow the Braves on Cable. I continued to track the Braves in the Stars and Stripes when we moved to Heidelberg Germany.

So when I went to Tech, I had no affiliation with the Rangers, so I continued to follow the Braves. However, being a broke graduate student, I dropped cable in the summer of 1989. I still wanted to follow baseball and the Rangers were the local team. So on July 29, 1989 I decided that the Rangers were now my baseball team.

I remember lying in bed listening to Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel announcing the Harold Baines trade that night. It is perceived to be the worst trade in Rangers baseball history today. Of course, this is right before the Braves made their big run in the 90s. I switched my allegiance at the worst possible time.

I have probably been to about a 100 Ranger games over the years since I moved to DFW. I made it to the first playoff game in 1996 and the first playoff game this year. Back in the day in old Arlington Stadium, you could get in the outfield seats for $2 on Tom Thumb half price night. That is when I saw most of my games. I even saw Nolan Ryan pitch from those seats.

There are far more passionate Ranger fans they have sufferer much more than I have. I am also happy the Rangers made it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fransico "Paco" Hamm

I am sure there is a direct correlation between a Texas Tech loss and my lack of blog posts.

This past weekend Carol and I headed to Lubbock to witness a rather frustrating football game between the Raiders and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. It put quite the damper on the weekend. Our Season Ticket family around us are all quite perturbed about Tech's performance. What kept us from completely melting down was constant updates about the Texas Rangers wining their first home playoff game in Arlington.

The weekend was not a total lost though. Through the magic of Facebook I learned that Fransico "Paco" Hamm was going to be in Lubbock for the weekend.

I think the last time I saw Fransico was in 1987. Fransico and I not only went to Tech together, but we graduated from Heidelberg American High School together. Besides serving our country in the Air Force, Fransicos real job is to be the human Heidelberg association coordinator. If you need to know where someone from Heidelberg is, no matter when they graduated, check with Fran. If he does not know, he knows someone who does or will find out.

Carol and I had dinner with him at River Smith's. As Fransico pointed out, it was comfort food. I noted it was required for me after the game.

Fransico is a bundle of energy and optimism. You cannot help but feed off of it in your conversation with him. We caught us as well as anyone who has not seen each other in 23 years could. It really soothed the loss.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cotton Bowl Trip

This past weekend was a serendipitous trip to the Cotton Bowl to watch Tech play Baylor.

Little Troop 5 was heading to Worth Ranch this weekend while one of my college buddies was supposed to go to the game with me. As I was making sure the troop made it out, my friend called to tell me he was sick and could not make the game.

As I waved the troop goodbye the scrambled began to find someone to use the other ticket. Normally this would not be a problem, but last Saturday was sports insanity in DFW. Besides the Tech game, the Aggies were playing Arkansas in Jerry's World, TCU was playing Wyoming, and the Ranger's were playing The Rays at the Ballpark. This does include SMU and UNT also playing at home. Therefore, most of my friends who drop what they were doing on Saturday to go to an 11 kickoff in Dallas were either camping or going to a game already. It should be noted that Carol was on her way to Oklahoma to visit friends and her sister.

In the middle of the contacting the limited choices I had available, I get a text from Victor Williams, a college dorm friend from San Antonio. He had just gotten tickets to the Tech/Oklahoma Stare game and was wondering if I was going. I informed him that I was, but my real problem was I needed someone to go tomorrow and I wished he lived closer. An hour later Vic texts me and said if I still had a ticket, he's in. So Vic got up at 3am and was in the driveway at 7:20 so we could go catch the train.

I had not hung out with Vic since 1986. I hunted him down during the Alamo Bowl last year, but this was really cool. We had a good time catching up, enjoyed a rather exciting game that Tech held on to win, had an interesting experience at the W Hotel bar waiting on the train, and finished the day at Bobby V's.

What put the weekend over the top was Vic brought his road bike. So Vic, Justin and I got a 40 mile bike ride in on Sunday. We did the downtown Starbucks trip and had an adventure in Arlington cruising the Rangers/Cowboys traffic.

We were done in time for me to greet the Troop. I was quite pleased out the weekend turned out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mike Leach

Last Thursday, my boss, Joe Shannon, Jr. received the Texas Wesleyan University Excellence In Justice Award. I was honored that Joe invited me to attend the awards ceremony. The key note speaker at the Lunch was former Texas Tech Head Football Coach Mike Leach. Joe correctly figured that I would be interested in hearing Coach Leach speak. I had to agree to control my “Texas Techness” in order to attend.

The Awards luncheon was held in the Fort Worth Club. I have been there a couple of times more often as a speaker at some professional’s organization. Since Joe was getting “The” award, I was seated at the table right under the podium. I had told Joe my goal for the day was to shake Coach Leach’s hand and thank him for the win over the Texas Longhorns in 2008.

As I was visting with a law professor at my table, I heard a voice behind me I recognized. I realized quickly that Mike Leach was sitting at the table right behind me. I turned to Joe and said “I’m going in”

I waited until the person that Coach Leach was talking to walked away and went over and introduced myself. I informed him that the Texas win in 2008 was right below the birth of my grandchildren in importance. Leach politely noted that it was an important win. What surprised me from here was that he then began to break down the game with me. We engaged in about a 10 minute football conversation about that game and officiating in the Big 12. I had never imagined my conversation going this long. The cool thing about Coach Leach is that you really don’t have to carry it.

I looked up and could tell that every Red Raider in the room figured if I could talk to him, so could they. As a crowd started to form around Coach Leach, I broke off the conversation and thanked him again and for the notoriety he brought to Texas Tech University.

I headed back to Joe’s table quite proud of myself to have successfully pulled off my goal.

Mike Leach gave a classic Coach Leach talk. I sat politely through the awards ceremony while texting everyone I knew I had just chatted with Mike Leach about football.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

17 minutes

Troop 5 is a boy led troop. What does that mean? That means it takes 17 minutes to figure out where you are going camping in November.

It was utterly amazing this past Monday to watch the troop come up with an a campout plan since the District Camporee got canceled. It is a simple problem, one they face once a year. If we were an adult camping club, it would have been a one minute discussion and the boys were told where they would camp.

Instead we watched the boys wrestle getting everyone’s attention, come up with ideas, try to get everyone’s attention again, and attempt to vote, change what they are voting on, struggle again to get everyone’s attention, and finally vote.
We are camping at Camp Constantine in November.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Magic of Facebook

I continue to be fascinated by the magic of Facebook. It has created another community in our lives that never existed. I have often argued that you can catch up on your life with someone you had not seen in 20 years in five minutes, but you can go on for hours about your bad service at lunch with a friend you see every day.

Facebook has created a mechanism to reconnect with people you knew 20 years ago all over the world and drop them in your everyday life. I think that is real cool.

Case in point, I would have never watched Undercover Boss this past Sunday if it was not for Facebook. One of my friends from High School who I have not crossed paths with since my senior year in High School boss was on the show. I watched and was able to find my friend on as I watched.

Odds are I would have never watched and if I did, would have no idea my old friend was on TV. Facebook Magic.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Joshua Munguia

This past Tuesday night, Little Troop 5 has another Eagle Scout. Josh Munguia became the 21st Eagle Scout in Troop 5 history and my 16th as Scoutmaster.

Josh crossed over into the Troop in 2003. In fine Troop 5 tradition, Josh was a screaming Eagle, just under the wire before his 18th Birthday. Nonetheless, he pulled it off.

I have always enjoyed camping with Josh. He always understood his role as a leader in the troop. As with most of my scouts, we butted heads, but I will say that Josh was less so.

I have told this story many times, but will put it in my blog for prosperity. Josh was my 2008 crew chief at Philmont. For those that don’t know, Philmont is a 10 day high adventure backpacking trip in the mountains of New Mexico. Little Troop 5 took 3 adults and 8 boys in 2008. Josh’s role was to be our leader. The adult’s role is health and safety. As the trek moves on, the boy leadership becomes more important because the adults are physically tired. A good crew chief determines the true success of the trip.

I was real stressed bout this the 2008 trek. The crew of boys was probably the best physically gifted group I had ever taken, but they never seemed to mold into the “Philmont Team” I come to expect. Once we started on our way to Philmont, Josh took the lead. It was awesome.

I will save the Phillips Mountain story for a another time, were he really showed hit a home run, but what I truly remember about Josh and the trip was walking back to the bus after we turned all our gear into the quartermaster.
I had such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction on how well the trip went. I turned to Josh and asked him “That was awesome, are your feet even touching the ground”. Josh answered with a huge smile on his face. “NO”.

Congratulations Josh! You are a well deserving Eagle Scout.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Frustrating Loss

My Texas Tech Red Raiders have only beaten the Longhorns 15 times losing the other 44 times. Lucky for me, I’ve been a Red Raider for 9 of those wins. But I digress.

The lost this year was frustrating. It is not that I expect to beat Texas every time we line up, I do not. I understand they have the best facilities, the best recruiting classes, and tons more money than my University. It is what makes it so much sweeter when the Raiders win. The point is that there are few opportunities, when the stars align correctly, that Tech has a legitimate shot at beating Texas. September 18, 2010 was one of those times.

I anticipate the Red Raiders will not be stuck on 15 forever, but at least another year.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dang Muse

The muse really did not leave me after Texas Tech's loss to Texas this past weekend.  What really happended is that I had to much to write.  I informed one of my high school friends that went to Texas that I would save my rant for my blog.   So its coming sometime.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Spanky's Fried Cheese

Football Season is here! Jeff Bennett and I went up for the first Red Raider home game this past Sunday. (for those keeping track, Jeff is the committee chair of little Troop 5) The Raiders played on Sunday so they would be the only game on TV. They played well for two middle quarters. The struggles in the first and fourth quarters caused the game to be a tad closer than Red Raider Nation wanted, but they got a win.
What is really important about the trip was my visit to Spanky’s Sandwich Shop. I have been going to Spanky’s since 1984. At the time, it was just a one story dive the size of my office. It has grown to be a two story restaurant with a heck of a patio.

I explained to the SMU fans that were in line with us, the reason you come to Spanky’s is for the fried cheese. I have search all over the world since 1984 to find better fried cheese and I have not. Bobby V’s in Arlington is a close second, but not quite there. The Red Raider family in front of us chimed into the conversation chimed in to second my food review.

So I got a Tech victory and some awesome fried cheese. Life is good to me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Running

I started training to run the Dallas Whiterock half marathon in December yesterday. It will be my third time running it.

I am continually amazed how my body reacts to running again. It has been since March since I ran. I only did 3 miles at lunch yesterday. My body is more sore from that run than it was from the 100 miles I rode on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hotter N Hell Hundred

4am is real early to get to a bike ride. It is real important at the Hotter N’ Hell. Parking has becomes limited and you need to get onto Scott Street as soon as you can. If you lollygag around, it could take you hour to just get across the start line.

Justin, Bob Jung and I made it to my parking place at about 5am, thanks to the fine folks at Hudson Blueprint. This was Bob’s first Hotter N’ Hell. I was a tad concerned about the level of training he had put in, but he seemed confident he could do the hundred miles.

We made it to the start line on Scott Street at about 6am. The Hotter N Hell organization goes to great lengths to have markers so that fast riders do not have to comingle with the slower riders. I think about 75% of the riders pay attention to where they should start. I always try to start towards the front, most of the time I am where I need to be. Another cycling buddy Jack found us at the start.

Scott Street is amazing the morning of Hotter N Hell. 13,000 plus cyclist all crowded together makes quite the atmosphere. One can look back and see a sea of colorful cycling helmets. One can look back and see the temperature on the downtown bank building. We were very pleased to see it at 70 degrees.

After the national anthem, fly over, and the shot of the cannon we were off. Actually we were not, we scooted our bikes for about ten minutes until we crossed the start line. I would guess there were about 500 people in front of us at the gun, but by the time we cross the line, you can see cyclists for miles.

The mass of humanity was off. I had set a goal of completing the ride in 5:30 minutes. I have done it much faster, but felt this was realistic. Justin was shooting for a little better, Jack’s goal was 4:30 and Bob had aspirations of just fewer than six hours.

I rode with Justin and Jack for as long as I could. You spend the first hour of the HHH trying not to wreck. There is a high percentage of “Freds” at the HHH and they are scary to ride around. Moreover, bikes are flatting; water bottles are hitting the pavement and well as riders. This problem is solved by riding 25 miles an hour in a group on the wrong side of the road. Lucky for us, the roads are in essence closed and police support forgives us for this transgression. They even stop the train for us when cross the tracks in Iowa Park.

With all the chaos of the ride, I lost Jack and Justin in front of me. I kept a close eye on my speed; I wanted to sit around 22mph so that I would have something left at the end. Bob was somewhere behind me. There is always a group to ride in at HHH so this was not a problem.

Bob came screaming past me at the 20 mile rest stop. He was really cooking. Luckily for me I could check my ego and I let him go. I knew it was going to be a long day and head wind and heat was in our future. I caught Bob as we approached the 30 mile rest stop; I cautioned him it was going to be a long day. He was stopping for water, but I kept rolling.

I found myself in a very good group and we were cruising. I was wearing my Texas Tech Cycling Jersey so for the next 40 miles or so, there was much Big 12 football discussion with my newly found friends. Most were curious on my position on Tommy Tuberville. (Good hire) My Tech Jersey got me lots of “Go Tech” and “Wreck’m Tech” yells by fellow cyclist, event workers and just spectators.

I was still averaging 21.5 mph when we passed through Hell’s Gate. By then I was riding with Jack again but no site of Justin or Bob. I had not stopped yet and knew I would need to fill up my bottles at the 70 mile rest stop. I was starting to get quite optimistic that I might be able to pull off a sub five hour HHH. I pulled over quickly at the 70 mile rest stop, filled up, got back on the bike and found another group. All was well.

This group was moving slower, but I was pleased. Somewhere right after the 80 mile rest stop, the wind really picked up. I was struggling to stay on the back of this group and then the “bonk” arrived. I have come accustomed to bonking, but it became suddenly clear that I had nothing left. I comforted myself knowing that I had just did 80 or so miles plus 20mph average, but I still had a ways to go to the finish.

I kept getting into groups and riding at 19mph, 18mph, 17mph, 16mph, and 15mph and at times by myself I was doing 10mph. I kept looking at my computer watching my time extend and my average drop. I knew I wanted to be 5 miles from the finish at 5 hours so that I could do 10mph and still make my 5:30 goal.

The last 15 miles were brutal. In addition to my suffering in the head and the headwind, everyone around me was suffering as well. Groups are dangerous during this period because everyone is tired. I rolled through a crash site of a group that just dropped me. I glad I missed it, but I am also glad I missed the fight that was breaking out between the guy that caused the crash and the one of the guys that hit the ground.

I was six miles from the finish at 5:00 hours, so I knew I had to keep it above 12mph to make it. I actually got a second wind and started to move above 15mph. As I went by the “beer stop” at mile 98, I kept moving. I just wanted off the bike. I was pleased when I crossed the line at 5:20 minutes (19mph average) with the PA guy announcing “We have a Red Raider crossing the line!”

I snaked my way through the finish line and rolled back to the car. Justin found me their sitting on the pavement under the shade of the hatchback. He had completed the HHH averaging 19.4mph. (I learned later Jack finished in 4:55) Bob was nowhere to be found.

Justin and I loaded the car headed over to the Agriculture Barn where they set up showers. Yes they are the same showers used to wash horses and cattle, but they are very welcome to get the combination of dirt, sunscreen and salt off your body.

When we got back in the car, Bob had texted me he had finished. So we headed back and gathered him up. I was quite surprised on how well he looked. He finished just over 6 hours, so I was real impressed.

There was only one last thing to do before we left town. That was for me to swing by Whataburger and have a triple meat triple cheese. That is 1,400 calories with about 75 grams of fat. But on a positive note I burned over 7,000 calories on the ride. A good lunch was had and the tall tales of the ride had begun.

I will be back next year and in better shape so I will be willing to stop at the beer stop.

Monday, August 30, 2010

HHH Routine

The Hotter N Hell Hundred is the largest cycling event of the year for me. In fact it is probably one of the largest cycling events in the country. There were over 13,000 cyclists this year.

I always mark August of 1994 as my commitment to road cycling. I had been riding sporadically before then, but I made a goal in 1994 to ride the HHH the following year. So in 1995 I did my first century at HHH. (Story of that one will go up on the blog one day) I have probably only missed the event three times since then, one being last year because of the broken thumb.

Since it had been since 2008 since I had been up to Wichita Falls, so I was excited to go back up. Make no mistake; HHH is all about the event and the number of riders. One does not ride in Wichita Falls for the scenery or the cool weather.

I went up with my cycling buddy Justin. For those that don’t follow the blog, I have been riding with Justin for about 8 years. His first century was the 116 mile Dallas adventure this past March. This was Justin’s first trip to HHH.

We headed up this past Friday. It is only a two hour drive, but one wants to get there to register and check out the largest cycling trade show. It was a flat out zoo in the MPEC (the creatively named Wichita Falls Multi-Purpose Event Center). Justin and I got registered and fought the crowds to get our T-Shirts. I usually like to shop, or at least gawk, at all the cycling gear for sale, but I just bought a bunch of cheap tubes, a T-shirt for Carol and bailed. It was just too crowded.

From there we hunted down what I call my "Hotter N Hell Gang". I am not real sure who I met first in this gang or when, but for the past 10 years or so this is who I hang with at the event. Our leader is Tod. Tod seems to work deals to get us a cheap place to stay. It started at a mattress store, one year it was the remodel rectory of a Catholic Church, and currently it is a house right on Lake Arrowhead. I am not real sure how Tod pulls this off, but with hotels booked a year in advance, I really do not care.

The corp of the rest of the group is Pete, Bob and Bill. All three are Vietnam Era veterans. I met Bob and Bill through my Kiwanis Club and Pete through them. There have been slow additions and people that come and go but these are the most entertaining. (No offense “Other Bob” and Mike)

Over the years we have had some interesting stories at HHH. Many of them retold every year in the Parking lot of the MPEC under the shade of a pop up in what is referred to as “The Tailgate”. This tailgate is followed by watching part of the criterium and wandering over to McBride’s Steakhouse for dinner. We are doing what we can to pump money into the Wichita Falls economy.

My college buddy Bob Jung met us at the house on Lake Arrowhead and we all sacked out to prepare for a 4am walk up on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Broken Bow

Last weekend the troop did its annual Trip to Beaver Bend State Park in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. We can say annual, because this was our 11th time. This year it had much trepidation for me. For those that recall, my last trip down the Lower Mountain Fork River resulted in a broken thumb. I can safely say as I type this on my blackberry, no broken bones this year.

I often call the August campout "The Campout of the year". My perception of this campout was verified when I ran into one of my 19 year old Eagle Scouts' father at the grocery store last night. He shared with me that his son had to much on his plate to go this year, but his son hated to miss "The Campout" (finger quotes included).

We took 30 on the trip. 18 boys and 12 adults. Of the adults, 4 were all under 25 eagle scouts. In fact including the boys, 20% of the trip were Eagle Scouts. My long term vision for this trip is that it be a Troop 5 reunion trip. It is slowly headed that way.

The trip was a week later this year so that we could use our favorite outfitter for the canoes. Without turning this blog post into an advertisement for W W Canoe outfitters, let me just say, it was worth the week delay. What a professional outfit compared to who we used last year. We will call them on March 1 to get our traditional week next year.

I spent the past week debating if I was even going to get on the river. Part was nervousness on the thought of going over Presbyterian falls again and part was we only had 12 canoes for 30 people. W W found two more canoes out of their inventory so the later became less of an excuse.

The trip to Broken Bow was quite uneventful. Phillip Pierce, I think for his own sanity, drove the bus for the Troop. This allowed for two things. One I got to play with my blackberry the whole way up and to allow the bus to get headed down the highway while Aric Justice and I waited for three boys who were not on time.  With a 4 and a half hour drive, every second the bus gets down road is in the best interest of the troop. Aric and did catch the bus in about a 100 miles and the boys that were late got to shift to un-air-conditioned bus with the rest of the troop.

We got to the campsite at 11pm. Because Oklahoma Schools had already started, we had our campsite to ourselves. Which is quite handy when 30 people ascend on a campsite in a state park this late. Brett and Mr. F had come up early and secured the first come, first served campsite.

As one would expect, we did not move with much due diligence in the morning, our goal to be at the outfitter by 9am was missed by a good hour. However W W not fazed in the least.   We got on the river close to eleven. I elected to have Jade as my canoe partner. Little did he know how nervous I was about hitting the rapids. In fact I am sure he was completely unaware of the events of last year.

The river trip was quite uneventful.  The boys tipped over their canoes as usual, sometime because of the river, sometimes because they wanted to, and sometimes because someone else wanted them to flip.  Fun was had by all.  Every rock of Jade and mine canoe caused me much apprehension, but we successfully made it just above Presbyterian Falls with no major mishap.   Brett astutely pointed out the rock I hit last year and informed me to say well to the right of it.    I got the canoe strait on with the falls after watching a couple in front of us fail to make it and off we went.

I would like to say that I went over the falls with no fear, but that was not the case.   Jade and I successfully made it over , without flipping and more importantly, with no broken bones.  As the troop gathered back together for the last part of the trip, I proudly answered no to the 20 times I was asked, "Did you break anything?"

Now that I was done with my therapy, I was really able to enjoy the boys enjoying the trip.  Nothing is better than splashing in a cold river on a hot day on Scout trip. 

We made it back to camp to have a late lunch.  The boys played in the river all afternoon and then cooked a hearty dinner.  About 8 pm it became very clear we were about to get hammered with a thunderstorm.  The boys packed the campsite and battened down the hatches with awesome efficiency.  Everyone stayed dry.

I look forward to another adventure in Broken Bow next year.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rode anyway

I cycle commuted this morning. I got up and while I drank my coffee, I contemplated why I should not ride. I was tired, my head hurt, my legs were tired, it was going to take a while, it was hot, I had not packed my bag, I had to shower at work and I was tired. I got up, got ready and rode my bike into work, not because I wanted to, but because it is what I do.

I am slowly coming back into form as I approach the end of cycling season, but I know that every ride is now important if I am ever to get better. So I rode. I am glad I did.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hot Ride

I am very frustrated about my cycling fitness this season. The truth is, it has become increasingly clear, I am becoming an older rider. I used to be able to roll into shape without any organized training of any kind, I just had to ride.

I admit, my normal riding schedule has not been easy to keep to life observations, but it is going to take a concerted effort from now on to make better use of my riding time as “training” in lieu of just another bike ride.

In my goal not to be “that guy” the shop ride group waits on and in mission to beat the summer heat of Texas, Big Dave and I left at 7am on Saturday. Our goal was 70plus miles, and we ended up with 75, so it was a good ride.

We cut out to Joe Pool Lake, rode through Midlothian, Mountain Creek and started heading home through Venus. Since we had an hour head start, we ran into the shop ride in Venus. They were on their water break and were preparing to turn around to go back to the shop.

Dave and I were greeted as long lost friends, with the friendly jawing of my conspicuous absences from the Saturday morning rides. They invited us to ride back to the shop with them. All and all a very bad plan.

I knew I did not have the fitness level to stay with them from the shop, why on earth would I think I would have the fitness level to stay with them when I had a hour more in my legs that morning than they did. Suddenly my plan of a Long Slow Distance Ride ramped up to a hammer fest. As I started to abandon ship, I was drifting to the back and told my buddy Justin “I cannot do this all the way back to the shop” he informed me he could not do it now.

I hung on for a while, my buddy Jeff even came off the back with I got spit out to bring me back to the group, I told him it was not worth it. Big Dave sat up and we returned to the LSD ride we had started that morning.

It is the ride I needed to get back into shape, but a clear reminder I am not there yet.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer Court of Honor

Friday night was Little Troop 5’s summer Court of Honor. A Boy Scout Court of Honor is an event that provides an opportunity for the Troop to recognize the boys’ advancements and achievements over the past three months.

The Summer Court of Honor is a big one. It recognizes the boys for all their work at Summer Camp. There are lots of rank advancements, merit badges, patches and special recognition for every active boy in the troop.

I was quite touched when the troop decided to recognize me for my ten years of service as Scoutmaster of Troop 5. I really was expecting it, but I have to admit I had been thinking about it. I know I talked about it during the BRCT with the boys and the adults.  Little did the Troop know it was Summer Court of Honor in 2000 that I took over as Scoutmaster, they picked the date perfectly.

The troop has evolved and change quite a bit in the ten years that I have been Scoutmaster, I hope and pray that it is improved. I have learned so much about myself and scouting during this time. When I was working on the blog post on Hayden, I looked at all the names of boys that have become Eagle Scouts under my watch, their parents, the trips we took, and the related adventures. It is a quite a reflective exercise.

The troop gave me a new scout uniform, with all my knots, and a very nice fleur de lei the will take a promenade place on my desk at work. They even gave Carol a gift certificate to Home Depot.

When I was trying to say thank you to the troop, I attempted to say how I feel I become an extended part of their family. It is very true. The boys of Little Troop 5 I view as my boys. I am very blessed that someone took the time to get me to Eagle, I am even more grateful that I get to help other young men achieve this honor. I have sat on top of mountains in New Mexico, in lakes in Canada, trails in Arkansas, and numerous scout camps in Texas with some of the finest young men. They listen to me babble and sometime, I think they even hear me.

There is no question there have been challenges, but the rewards for my time is priceless. Little did I know in 1997 when I volunteer at a Kiwanis Club meeting to be a summer camp adult, that I would still be scouting, let alone ten years as a Scoutmaster.

Thank you Little Troop 5 for given me the honor to serve.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hayden Pierce

On Saturday evening Troop 5 honored Hayden Pierce as your 20th Eagle Scout. He is the 15th Eagle Scout as Scoutmaster. (Still working on training the "Guns Up" but I am getting there)

It was quite the enjoyable evening. I have been camping with Hayden since 2004. It sounds cliché, but it is really enjoyable to watch him grow up from the first year camper, to a scout, to one of my camping buddies.

The neat thing about being a Scoutmaster is that you become part of the extended family of your Eagle Scouts. Hayden’s parents, Angela and Phillip, also have become trusted friends. Phillip and I have camped many of nights together on the trail. As I always tell the boys, you camp with someone, you really know them. Strangely, Phillip still camps with me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Elvis T. Busboy

I think I am going to work backwards on these posts. On Saturday, Carol and I went to the Blackfinn in Arlington to see Elvis T. Busboy and the Blues Butchers in concert. I am not real sure when the first time I saw ETB. I know it was in Lubbock after a football game at the Texas CafĂ© or as we called it “The Spoon”. I think I was still in graduate school at Texas Tech. The point is, it was a long time ago. I have seen him many times since then. A few years back, I took Carol to see him at J. Gilligan’s in Arlington and introduced Brett to them at Gameday in Mansfield. In fact on Sunday, I got Aedan to dance with me to ETB’s version of  “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love Baby” So three generations have now enjoyed ETB.

Steven Shaw, aka Elvis T. Busboy, is quite talented and the Blues Butchers are phenomenal musicians, Below is the cut and paste from their reverbnation.com page.

I know, you're probably asking yourself, where did the name Elvis T. Busboy come from? Well, did you ever see the Elvis Presley movie King Creole, where Elvis plays a busboy who becomes a hit when nightclub fans learn he can sing? Same deal here.

Elvis T. Busboy (aka Stephen Shaw) started out a roadie for the P.J. Belly band & went with him in '89 to the Arts & Crafts festival in Kerrville, where P.J. Belly asked Shaw if he wanted to get up on the stage & sing. "I didn't have time to think about it long enough to be nervous," Shaw says. He got up & sang the only tune he knew, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's 'That's All Right Mama' & it worked. The following year Belly opened up his own Lubbock club & Shaw became the singing cook there. Shaw would stop cooking, come out & sing, then go back & cook some more. Friends started calling him Elvis because of his unique voice & would holler 'You wanna hear the busboy sing?' So he became 'Elvis the Busboy' which was eventually shortened to Elvis T. Busboy....voila!

The Texas Blues Butchers were a side version of Lubbock's premiere '80's band The Nelsons, which had 1 LP & 1 CD released. The Nelson's toured with Culture Club & played on Farm Aid, but were struggling & thus formed the Blues Butchers to get blues gigs. Shaw started singing with the band and before they knew it they were getting gigs all over town. Shaw recalls, "they were a terrific rock 'n' roll band trying to play the blues, and they literally were butchering it.

That's not the case anymore however. Jobs have been coming so steadily, they are booked several nights a week in blues bars from Dallas to New York, and when they play it is almost always to a packed house.

This band is packed with talent and has such a tremendous energy...it is no wonder their fans are willing to drive across the state of Texas to see them! And if you've ever been to Texas, you know that's saying a lot.
– Source http://www.reverbnation.com./#/page_object/page_object_bio/artist_362689
We met two of my college friends, Lauren and Steve Moore, Brett (who brought a lovely young lady named Ashley) and fun was had by all. Carol will argue that I time travel back to my younger days when I am with my college friends and even more so when we see ETB. I did not time travel to much, but it was an awesome way to end a great Saturday that started so early in the morning.

Monday, August 2, 2010

July 31, 2010

This past Saturday was an epic day for me. It involved cycling, scouting, family, college friends and Elvis T. Busboy and the Blues Butchers in concert. The only thing that was missing was a Texas Tech Football Game. It will take me a few days to completely describe Saturday, but I will not have a problem getting myself imposed eight posts a month up.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

BRCT Day 4

One of the advantages of blogging about an event that happened two weeks ago you remember only the good parts. There had been a disconnect between the adults and the boys on this trip that really manifested itself on Sunday morning. It was quite a learning experience for us all. However, what I really remember about Sunday morning was my cup of coffee in the morning.
Sleeping on the ground for three nights is not very comfortable. At 5am on Sunday morning I was done lying on the ground. I got up and made myself one of those instant Starbucks Coffees and watched the sunrise. As we get busy in our lives, there are few moments that we get to pause and reflect. That morning was one of those mornings.
Do to the boy’s effort we were really close to the take out point Sunday morning. It was just a guess if Zack Wisch would actually be there on time. I was so please to see the bus come rolling down the road.

We got back to Worth Ranch took our showers and in little Troop 5 tradition, stopped at the Mineral Wells Waterburger for lunch.  I look forward to taking the next crew down the Brazos in a few years.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

BRCT Day 2 and 3

The good night’s sleep did provide quite a bit of clarity. The Crew had a good breakfast and got on the river early. The boys were on a mission to complete the trip as quickly as possible, but as I continued to point out, we were going to be picked up on Sunday. Regardless, if we were doing this at summer camp, we would be on the water for 5 days, so even 4 days was cutting it short.

One of the cool things about the Brazos River Canoe Trip is that we go by Worth Ranch. This allowed us to visit our home camp and fill up our water jugs.

There are lots of cool rocks along the way that would lend themselves to being jumped off of into the river. I can assure you, I could do no such thing.

The second night we camped on a sand bar in the middle of the river. It is a relatively safe place to camp, but you have water on both sides of you and if the Brazos River Authority decides to open a few gates at Possum Kingdom, your sand bar could suddenly get quite a bit smaller. It is important to tie up your canoes at night to prevent them from floating away if this happens.

The third day on the river was rather uneventful, but what it was hot. The crew did an excellent job of getting down the river and slathering themselves with sunscreen. I keep putting on 8 hour water proof sunscreen every hour and could still see my knees turning red.

We made it to our campsite at a reasonable time. The boys had a swamp war with the canoes as the adults floated in the water under the shade of a tree.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 1 BRCT


The first day of a short trip is the most important. You have to get a lot of things done in a short period of time. In this case, we had to leave our pick up point at Key Elementary, get to Worth Ranch, get the gear ready, load up the canoes, get to the River and make it to safe campsite before the sun went down.
We had arranged the trip so the boys that were going to summer school for duel credit could attend. So we started the trip at 12:30 pm. We had a lot to do in a very short window. In a perfect world, I had envisioned us getting on the river by 3:30 but no later than 4. We got on at 4:50pm. No amount of prodding or "barking" seemed to change the boys understanding of the situation. It did not help that it became clear they were not mentally prepared to take the trip. Even though they had planned a menu for 4 days, they seemed genuinely surprised that they were leaving on a Thursday and coming back on a Sunday.

Much to their surprise, getting on to the river late led to a much longer day than they expected. They were getting frustrated by the distance and their lack of knowledge of where they were going, although they had a map and a river guide with the same map.

Once we arrived at campsite at sunset (Seven Rocks, 11 miles down the river), it was not nearly as pristine as we had hoped. Erin was disappointed that the spring and summer rains had caused it to be washed out and muddy. With everyone tired, the sun setting, and a muddy camp site; it was a tough evening for the crew. The boys were still trying to figure out what was going on and the adults were confused that they did not know or use their resources.

All this being said, It should be noted that Erin was amazed that we got down the River that far from getting into the water that late. It was clear there would be no physical concerns about us being able to complete the trip. The scenery was cool and the Seven Rocks were an impressive rock formation.

As one of the boys noted, a good night sleep solves lots of problems. I went to bed agreeing with that wise advice.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Looking forward to the Trip.

I was really looking forward to the trip down the Brazos. Having been scouting as an adult leader since 1997, at times you get the “been there done that” feeling. The troop had never done this trip, so it was going to be a new adventure for all those involved.

What added to the excitement was that I saw the trip as a culmination of all my years as scoutmaster. One of my Eagle Scouts Erin Fleming, now 23, took time out of his schedule to be river guide. He had been the BRCT staffer and a BRCT director at Worth Ranch. We could not have been in more capable hands.

In addition, another young Assistant Scoutmaster, Zack Wisch, was assisting in the coordination of gear at Worth Ranch, dropping us off at the river and picking the crew up on the last day.

Finally, the majority of the boys going were from my 2008 Philmont Crew. I always reflect on that trip as the best crew I have ever taken on high adventure. I had high expectations for this trip. Three generations of Troop 5 were making this happen.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Brazos Canoe Trip

I have spent the last four days canoeing down the Brazos River as part of the High Adventure portion of Little Troop 5’s scouting program. It was an experience I will never forget. Using the troop’s resources, we were able to do what the Longhorn Council calls the Brazos River Canoe Trip. Troop 5 is lucky to have one of its Assistant Scoutmasters, Erin Fleming, and a former BRCT Director, available to take the troop down the river.
I am going to work very hard in attempting to blog about this trip with the next few days. It had so many different types of highs and lows. Scouting is a leadership program for youth, but it is often a patience program for its adult leaders. This trip tested my limits on my patience as an adult leader. I will admit at times during the trip I failed, but overall, I believe I passed the test.

Each experience in scouting, or life for that matter, whether good or bad, is a learning experience. In the end, the boys of Troop 5 made it down the river just fine and learned quite a bit.

I will attempt to quantify it in the next few posts.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Carol's Birthday Dinner

There are pictures, but for the sake of my marriage, they will not be posted on the blog. I am a little slow on this, dang pesky life. Sunday was Carol’s birthday. It was the tour of meals. I took her to breakfast. Brett and I took her to lunch. Aedan, Tamera, David and I took her to dinner.

We went to Texas Road House for dinner. Texas Road House has a tradition that they bringing out a saddle on a sawhorse, have the birthday person sit on it and the wait staff sings a stupid birthday song. NOONE in this family likes to be the birthday person, but all of us enjoy watching someone else.

I ratted Carol out to the waiter and soon all heck broke loose. I was holding Aedan, watching Tamara and David laugh as Carol started turning beet red in the face. As the commotion of wait staff started to form, Tamara noted to me that Aedan was getting scared and to hand her son to her. I was very slow on the uptake of the situation. The staff was surround Carol and beginning the song, Aedan was crying with concern of what is happening to his grandmother. Tamara again informed me to hand Aeden to her, by now; I was way over my head and attempted to hand Aedan over the table. This of course sent dishes all over the place and a glass of water onto Tamara’s lap. She was quite pleased with me to say the least.

Aedan still was quite upset once the event was over, Tamara was soaking wet, Carol was a tad perturbed and I believe David was ducking for cover. What I learned that evening was that I was not going to have my birthday at Texas Road House.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thank you Note!

Yes I know this is a form letter, but I thought it was funny that the Buffalo Trails Council sent a thank you note to my boss for letting me take the Troop to Summer Camp.

I wager the administrative staff of the Buffalo Trails Scout Ranch were quite please to see me go, with hopes that I would never return. I unfortunately, became “that scoutmaster” that never seemed to be happy in the Staff eyes.

I will admit that an end of a very long day, after a rain storm, after not having a camp site I was a tad short with the people at the trading post when they did not have our pre-order ready. However as an administrator, most of the problems of BTSR could have been solved with someone taking charge, which seemed not to be the case. They did not seem to appreciate it when I pointed that out.

That being said, it was quite thoughtful of them to market the Boy Scout program with people’s employers. I am sure we will go back someday.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July

For the past four years, Carol and I have gone to see the downtown Fort Worth Fireworks. The key to the whole operation is my access to the County Garage on Taylor Street. We back up the pickup on a space on the 4th floor that overlooks the Trinity River and La Grave field.  Of course, I am not the only county employee who does this, there is a rather large crowd on the roof of the building, but I prefer my box seats. This is the first year we have taken the young Tull family. Fun was had by all. Aedan soaked in the fireworks like any 18 month old can.