Monday, January 31, 2011

Super Bowl in North Texas

The Super Bowl is in Tarrant County, in Arlington, at the Cowboys Stadium, to be exact. It will be interesting to see how DFW is portrayed in the national media.
I took a part of Friday morning off so see how close I could get to the Stadium on my bike. Not very, but it did look really impressive all dressed up.

This morning, I got off the bus early to check out ESPN’s broadcast of the Mike and Mike Show. ESPN has pretty much closed downtown Fort Worth for their on location studio. It is quite impressive. We will see how they do in the weather that we will be getting in the next few days.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Body Mass Index

I had my annual physical in January. It has become very obvious that I cannot out exercise my terrible eating habits.

I have always argued that I am not an athlete, but someone who exercises regularly. Based on studies, only about 40% of the county actually exercises at all. In addition only about 7%-8% of adults participate in 3 or more true works outs a week.

I am a member of that group that out exercises over 90% of America. Yet my body mass index is actually in the obese range. These are things one does not like to hear or know.

I have been reluctant to throw this information down on the internet, but publishing it probably will help me stick with my goal to get my Body Mass Index down to Normal. My first goal is to get it to Overweight.

A little over a week ago I have begun counting calories, because I do not think I can exercise anymore than I do.  I hope to post progress.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

December 2010 Backpacking Trip Day 4

We woke up (particularly me) to find us all dry from the rain storm. The boys digressed a little, but we made it out. I had moved the bus so they had to hike about a mile.
Thanks to the graciousness of the Longhorn Council, we took showers at the Lake View Cabins and headed home.

Although they did not get their orange hats, we still went and had a victorious lunch at a Tex-Mex place in Bridgeport, Dos Chiles.  I recommend it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

December 2010 Backpacking Day 3

I don’t think I mentioned it in the last post, but we spent the night on Stripling Island. It is a neat part of Sid Richardson that is surrounded on all sides by Lake Bridgeport. It was a good test for the bivy and cold wind over water. Bivy passed.

Since now we had a bus to use on a backpacking trip, we had the whole camp open to us. The boys made a plan and I moved the bus to the point where we get on it to move us to our next campsite. I noted over and over again, I have never driven this much on a backpacking trip.

The boys chose to head out to Windy Point, go around the peninsula and end up at the gazebo at the COPE course. Even though they knew that the orange hat was beyond their grasp, they remained focused. They started to figure out who was good at what during the trip. I think for one thing, this crew has found their map reader.
They moved with a passion on this day. If they would have had the drive on Day One, they would have accomplished their goal. The issue is of course, they had to have Day One to be able to have Day Three. We covered more ground than the two previous days combined.

We loaded up the bus and headed to the Canoe base. I again dropped them off so they had to hike into camp. This worked out for us, because the base had a shelter and it rained like the dickens. I must confess, I did not test the rain worthiness of the bivy, because I slept under the shelter.

It was a bummer that our last night could not be spent around the fire.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2010 Backpacking Trip Day 2

For Christmas my parents gave me an REI gift card. I used that card to buy a bivy for my sleeping bag. Instead of having a tent, I just had a breathable, waterproof shell around my bag. I think it was the way to go, but I woke up the morning of day 2 to a 20 degree morning. There is no in-between getting out of your bag to being outside. Just an observation.

Over the years, Troop 5 is a 90 minute troop. What that means is that from first waking up in the morning, the troop can pack the camp, gear and eat breakfast and be on the trail in 90 minitues. I had encourage the boys the night before that we would need to get moving in the morning in order to accomplish the goals of the trip, having already being short of our night one campsite.
Well this crew was a 4 hour troop the first morning. I regretting getting out of my sleeping bag to wait in the cold for them to get ready. I could have packed the whole camp by myself in 90 minutes to get them ready for the trail. Instead the adults sat and watch the boys just putter around.
By the time we hit the trail, it was almost lunch time, but the boys did decide to continue to push. When we sat down for lunch, I went over the map and concluded there was no way the boys would make their goal. In addition, they were short on water. In the summer this would be a bigger problem, but it is still a problem. This is where health and safety over rules boy led in Troop 5.
I hiked back with the high school senior to the troop bus and drove to where the trail crossed the road. The rest of the crew continued down the trail to they met us. By this time it was 4pm. We had about 4 more miles to go to make our campsite. Hiking without water in the dark would probably not be the wisest thing, so the bus would have to be used.

I sat down with the boys and explained the cause and effect of their four hour morning. In short, once they stepped on the bus, the idea they would get an Orange Hat at the end of the trip was a dream. The boys, although not pleased, accepted their fate. I was very proud of them by realizing it was a group failure and at no point did they blame any one of them, but all of them.
I dropped them off about a mile from the campsite and took the bus to get some water.

They finished up that day with one heck of a dinner and a wonderful fire. We may have a long way to go on backpacking, but we sure can make a big fire.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2010 Backpacking Trip Day 1

The key to any high adventure trip in Troop 5 is that it has to be at least three nights. I have learned over the years that boys have figured out how to camp over two nights, but the third adds the little extra. You have to plan more and pack correctly.

We left from Key Elementary like we always do and actually on time. I was blessed as an adult leader to have six adults including myself to take nine scouts camping. Two of these adults were young Troop 5 Eagle Scout assistant Scoutmasters, a high school Senior and a sophomore in College. These type of young adults make the trip so much smoother, plus they have the energy to keep up with the boys.
The plan was to get to Sid Richardson Scout Ranch, divide up the gear, and hit the trail. Over the years I become very frustrated with this process. It seems that it takes forever for boys to figure out that goofing off at the beginning of the day makes the end of the day a long way off.
In traditional Troop 5 fashion, the boys took forever to divide the gear and hit the trail. This caused the crew to adjust their goal of their first night campsite to being a much shorter distance. This new crew was not hiking very quickly, but at least they were steady.
We bedded down for the night at Hermit’s Cave campsite. On a positive note, we had one heck of a fire that night.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter Packpacking Trip

This is late, but over the next few days, I will post the blog about Little Troop 5’s Backpacking Trip over Christmas Break. Life is busy but this really was an interesting trip, it is due some kind of historical retelling.

I am not real sure how well it will do in the marketing of Troop 5, but the boys that went learned more than I expected even if we did not accomplish the goal.

A little back story on why Little Troop 5 does a winter backpacking trip. It started in 2001 with the goal of being an annual tradition. As a scoutmaster, I believe backpacking is one of the most important teaching tools in scouting. It solidifies the patrol method while testing the boys both mentally and physically.

One of my lines about backpacking is it teaches you to separate your wants from your needs. Most of us are guilty in confusing what we want as something that we need. In backpacking, you learn to carry all that you need. The backpack becomes heavy enough with food, water, shelter, and clothing, you try to trim it down to as little weight as possible. You may choose to carry some luxury item but you have decided that it is worth the extra weight.

Since this type of High Adventure is so important to the development of good youth leaders in Troop 5, the troop has established a reward for those that complete such a trip. It is the Orange Hat. Not only it the orange hat a mark of accomplishment in Troop 5, but all over the Longhorn Council I tell the boys, you can be spotted with that orange hat, for all the good and bad that you do.

The Scoutmastering Corp of Troop 5 always looks up to find an Orange Hat to solve any boy problem in the troop.

Nine boys went on this past winter backpacking trip with the hopes of coming home with an Orange Hat.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fort Worth Stockshow Parade

Luck sometimes plays into some of the neat things in life. Aedan , Carol and I were headed downtown this past Saturday to drop something off at her office. Carol cut through downtown because it is usually faster due to less traffic.

Well we quickly got hung up in traffic and we were confused as to what all these people where doing downtown. Then we saw the horses. Carol rightly concluded it was the Fort Worth Stock Show parade. After a creative way through downtown, we parked at her office. We also had for some reason, taken Aedan’s stroller with us. So after a quick assemble we moved as fast as we could back to the parade route.

I am not sure how much of it we saw, but it was quite a bit. We found shelter from the mist under a bus stop and watched the parade go by. I was not sure if this was my first or second time to see the parade. If it was my second, it was only since we were in Fort Worth in 1970. I learned later it was my first.

Those that do not know what to expect from the Fort Worth Stock Show Parade, it one group of horseback riders after another marching in downtown Fort Worth. Police, Sheriff, churches, schools, cutting, and roping clubs all were groups in the parade. There were wagons pulled by all kinds of horses. In addition to all the horses, the local Fort Worth High School Bands marched.

One advantage of Aedan being a cute little boy is he got waved by those in the parade. I also wager 10 or so went the extra step and rode over to Aedan. He showed no fear. For those that know my fear of large animals, I also did well.

Not sure if we had planned it would have worked out as well as it did.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Judge Tom Vandergriff

This post is more work related than most. Today in Arlington there was a memorial for Tom Vandergiff. I was blessed in my professional career to know Judge Vandergriff.

Judge Vandergriff was an astute politician. I met him in 1993 when I first started working for the City of Dalworthington Gardens. I was introduced to him as Greg from the Gardens. From that day forward that was who I was to Judge Vandergriff. Everytime we crossed paths, even when I moved to work for the District Attorney’s Office; Judge Vandergriff would begin every conversation the same and would be something like this.
“Good to see you Greg, how are the Gardens?
I would respond the same way. “We are doing well”
“Keep that Mayor out of trouble for me.”
“Will do, sir”
Arlington and Tarrant County have benefited greatly by Judge Vandergriff service. There will be much better eulogies and histories created in honor of Judge Vandergriff, I will truly miss giving him the report on my little city.

Happy New Year

I am way behind on the blog. I need to catch up, but I probably will not get it all in. The annual DWG Santa visit, busy Christmas, backpacking trip with the Troop and then a Bowl game on New Year’s need to blogged.

I guess in the end I am very blessed that a busy and full life.