Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast

Since 1959, the Kiwanis Club of Arlington has had its Annual Pancake breakfast. As a member of the club I have been selling ticket and working the breakfast for 15 years. So for those who are doing the math, I have been part of 29% of them.

This breakfast is the club’s annual fund raiser. The breakfast raises over $30,000 annually that is directed to the youth of Arlington. Parts of those funds go to support Little Troop 5, so since 1997 I have been showing up in Scout Uniform.

About 3,000 people come through the breakfast. The boys of Troop 5 help serve drinks, bus tables and roll silverware. I stand and drink coffee to listen to stories from old Arlington residents of when they were in scouting or how cute the boys look in their uniforms. I smile and nod.

This past Saturday was no different, but as always enjoyable. Friends from all parts of my life wander through and say hello. Cyclists, work friends, Dalworthington Gardens residents, Texas Tech buddies, and of course scouts. The boys of Troop 5 showed up in force and did their job well.

The most important thing was Aedan made it to his first pancake breakfast. The tradition continues.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stan Wilkes

There was another sign that I am full fledge adult, retirement pary. Yes I know I am forty-three years old with a grandchild, but realizing you are a middle aged man is difficult. Last night Carol and I went to the retirement party for one of my mentors, Stan Wilkes.

Stan is retiring from being the City Attorney for Dalworthington Gardens after 35 years. I met Stan the first day I came to work for little DWG in 1993. I was 26 years old, just fresh from 2 and half years at the City of Dallas. I thought I was prepared to be a small town City Administrator. I learned over the next nine and half years how incredibly naive I was on my first day at work, but stayed out of quite of bit of trouble and litigation through the wise advice from Stan.

Stan was a wealth of knowledge on City Government, have work at an Attorney for Fort Worth and at one time the City Attorney of Arlington. Although at times I tried his patience, he gave me an understanding of civil attorney that has served me well to this day. He has trained quite a few governmental administrators in his 50 years of being a lawyer. I was lucky to be one of them.

Last night he joked that he always panicked when I called. He knew by the time I called him, I had already answered all the other questions that were going to get us in trouble. Most of the time, it all worked out.

Dalworthington Gardens is going to miss Stan more than they realize. I and I hope one day when I retire, I have had the same impact on people entering my field.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I went to Sweetwater this week to go to a funeral for the mother of a good college friend. It was a surreal experience on many levels. We think of ourselves as just a few years away from school, but as one of my buddies pointed out, we are away from Texas Tech longer than we waited to get there. We have gone from weddings, to having babies, and to now going to funerals.

I have learned over the years, when you run into an old friend, if they were truly a friend, it is like no time has passed. That was the case during this trip. A significant percentage of the old college gang was there. We all met because of our Catholic service fraternity Chi Rho. At some other time, I will delve into this subject.

It was really good to see my old friends, some that I have not seen in many years. I even drove out with one of my fraternity brothers/roommates. We got caught up with each other lives, which was also very enjoyable. I was advised not to feel guilty about seeing friends at funeral. I did the best I could. It should be noted, that they all enjoyed calling me grandpa.

There was a full mass in the packed sanctuary at the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was clear the Sweetwater community had loss someone very special. My friends family lost a wonderful mother.

It had been awhile since I have been to mass, even longer since I have been to a funeral mass. I was quite surprised how easily I fell back into the Catholic rhythm. It was proof that it never leaves you and made the mass quite meaningful to me.

I am very blessed to have the friends that came into my life in college. I just need to make sure we see each other in other places than funerals.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Window View

As I have previously blogged, snow is a big deal in Texas. We got hit with it again and to steal a line from one of my Facebook friends that have been inundated with snow- It is Snowageddon! The metroplex will grind to a halt for the next two days. Thanks to public transportation, I made it to work right on time, which allowed me to take the above picture of the Tarrant County Court House covered in snow from my office window.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I have concluded the best way to make your lunch hour seem longer is to run on a treadmill.

If I have my act together, I like to run at lunch. It does two things, one it is healthy and two it saves money from eating downtown. I use the Sheriff’s Deputy locker room and run on the trails by the Trinity. With the Ipod shuffle working, it is actually quite relaxing and charges me up for the afternoon.

However, with the weather is cold, wet or wet and cold; I go to the Administration building and run on a treadmill. Even with the Ipod on, I cannot not help but watch time stand still as the seconds tick off to get me to thirty minutes.

Today was such a day. It was a mind numbing thirty minutes.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Ride

Yesterday was the Annual Super Bowl Ride. The Greater Dallas Bicycling Club sponsors an annual ride to Downtown Dallas on Super Bowl Sunday. It really is one of the traditions of momentum. From all over the metorplex, cyclists ride from their local bike shop to the West End.

I am not really sure how many years I’ve done it, but it has been something I do since 1996, unless it is really freaking cold. What makes it cool is that you see a bunch of your cycling buddies you have not seen since the time changed last fall. It was particularly enjoyable to me, since I had the hand injury that kept me off the bike since August.

It was cold and windy, but I got a good 65 mile ride in with some good cycling friends. As a rule it is not a hammer fest and you get quite of bit of jawing in. I did find myself riding with the front group until we hit the Loop 12 Hill on 180 heading into downtown. I finished the ride with some old Texas Wheels friends, always worth the ride.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Carol’s Day in Court

Carol got a speeding ticket back in October 2008 in Fort Worth. She was coming out of downtown where 5th and 7th Street merge onto 287 as you are heading south. Everyone ramps it up there to get up to highway speed, but the speed limit is 40 mph. Her ticket was for doing 56 in the 40 mph zone.

My line to everyone when you get a traffic ticket it is just your turn. Odds are you have speed, ran light, changed a lane without a turn signal, or rolled a stop sign without getting a ticket. It is just karma catching up with you. Take defensive driving, deferred or just pay it and be done with it.

Carol insisted that she was not doing 56 and she did not deserve the ticket. The problem is it becomes her word versus the police officers. As a rule, the police officer will win. As the former City Administrator of Dalworthington Gardens, I have witness this first hand. Carol still wanted to fight the ticket. She requested a trial on the back of the ticket and sent it in.

Then we waited. At times we got nervous that Fort Worth would put a warrant out for her arrest for not taking care of the ticket. Every time we called and checked, it was still in process. Finally last month we got the court setting for Friday February 5, 2010 in Court Number 4 at 3:00 pm.

We arrived in court and Carol was getting real nervous. She is not a big fan of taking on authority. She was shaking. I again suggest she just plead “No Contest” and request Defensive Driving. The judge came in and started calling the docket. It became clear this was the 2008 ticket docket. Each defendant was asked how they plead. One after another they stood up and plead “Not Guilty” When it became Carol’s turn, she stood up, and plead “Not Guilty”. She sat back down and looked at me and said “Sorry, I could not do it, I was not speeding”.

I told her no big deal, but was thinking, “Good God, we are going to be here all day with these trials”. The judge began working on the computer and started calling out the names. One by one, each ticket was dismissed. When it was Carol’s turn we got the same good news. Carol told the judge “Thank You” and we got out of there.

When we got to the hallway, I said “Well Screw Me” with a big smile. Her smile was even bigger. We guessed that the officer did not show up, but still Carol stood her ground. I was real proud of her.

When I got back to work and started relaying the story to my prosecutor friends, I was truly amazed by the theme. These are people who make a living putting people behind bars. They all said “Good For Her” pleased that she stood up for herself. Plus everyone loves a “got out of a ticket story”.

Way to go Carol!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Walgreen’s Wine

At lunch the other day, a co-worker shared with me a Star-Telegram article about wine under six dollars. The point of the article was not to say that this was the best wine in the world, but one could find a passable wine for that price. Make no mistake; I am not a win connoisseur. One on my can lines is that I drink coffee and wine for the same purpose. Effect.

On Saturday Carol and I were in Walgreens and I saw the $2.99 Southern Point wine describe in the article. This wine as a Walgreen’s exclusive. That in and of itself quite amusing - A pharmaceutical wine. I decided to go with the White Zinfandel. Why? Why not?

Tonight, we broke it out for dinner. I found it pink. Carol on the other hand was not big of a fan. It was a tad fruity. But for a $2.99 it really was not all that bad. It was the perfect wine to go with my home made pizza I made for dinner.