Archive | June, 2010

Just Say Ahh…

Just Say Ahh…

by Taryn McColpin

Ahhh…August.  Backyard gardens are giving up their crops, and pantries are filling with jewel-toned glass jars of canned goods.  The air is ripe with the sound of ice cream truck music, air conditioner hum, childrens’ swimming pool squeals, and…cell phone ringtones?

As recently as 60 years ago, some places in this country did not even have landline phones. This is the story of The Time The Phones Went On In Texas.

Once upon a time, there was little girl who lived on a farm waaaay out in the country, on Garrett’s Creek Road, with her grandparents.  She spent her days playing with baby chicks and climbing the peach tree behind the farmhouse, which was covered in hot pink blossoms and butterflies in the spring, and carefully-avoided reddish fruits in the summer.

On a steamy day in July, the bushel baskets and Mason jars were pulled from the dry cellar, and Mammaw walked the path to the peach tree in her sundress and wide-brimmed hat. Carefully inspecting for worms, she dropped the winners into the baskets, and soon the kitchen counter was covered with piles of fruit.  The little girl watched from her yellow metal chair-stool, wistfully yearning to help Mammaw can the peaches, but such a dangerous process is not for the young.

Soon the big black cookpot of peaches was boiling away to help with the peeling process, the scented steam roiling above it, then they were cut in half, pitted, stowed away in the hot Mason jars, and carefully lowered into the canner, with its ominous-looking gauge on top.  After what seemed like hours but was only ten minutes, the weight on the lid began its jiggling dance and off went the fire. More “hours” for the pressure to subside, then the golden jars were carefully lifted from the canner and set on hotplates to cool, covered with dish towels. The little girl had been told that this was important, in case one of the jars exploded, and when she saw a towel slip off, she leaned over from her perch to re-cover the jars, and….bang! Too far of a reach, too top-heavy of a stool, and down she went.

Mammaw turned around at the noise and saw her unconscious baby lying on the floor, a knot already forming on her forehead.  Panicked, she scooped her up in her arms, calling out her name, and when no response came she ran cold water in the tub and immersed the fully-clothed child, hoping to waken her.  Still no response, and with the girl again in her arms, she ran out the door and down the rock road, not noticing the rocks cutting into her bare feet. The closest neighbor, the local nurse, lived an eighth mile away, and Mammaw flew there on wings of adrenaline and love.  By the time she arrived, the child was awake; the diagnosis, possible concussion and “keep her off high stools.”

In those days, telephones were an option and a luxury, not the necessity they have become, and the small and poor country community had seen no need for the expense. But the little girl’s fall, and the cloud of “what might have been,” put things in a different light.  Within the month, phone lines were in, and Garrett’s Creek Road was connected to the rest of the country.

Nowadays, there is no longer a landline at the old farmhouse.  Everyone who lives there has a cell phone, connecting them not only to the country, but to the world.  The rock road is paved, the peach tree is gone, but a little girl’s memory of peaches – and love – lives on.

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The Heat Is On

The Heat Is On

by Laurie Griffin

Protecting Pets in the Summer

It’s that dreaded time of year again.  Outdoor temps are climbing, moods are getting cranky, sometimes it’s too hot to even move.  Summers in North Texas can be brutal for all of us, including the animals who count on us for their care.   Keep the following tips in mind when making plans for your animal friends during this hot and steamy season.

•    Never leave an animal inside your vehicle while unattended.  Unlike humans, dogs and cats lack the ability to regulate body temperature through perspiration. A car parked in as low as 75 degrees can become a deadly trap for animals locked inside, where they can soon suffer heat exhaustion, stroke, brain damage, or death.  Cracking windows also does very little to provide relief from sweltering heat. Check out, a site dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of leaving pets inside vehicles on warmer days.  There you can find out just how hot a parked car can become, download a printable flier to place on unattended vehicles with pets left inside. Note: Contact police immediately if you witness an animal in danger or child left unattended in a vehicle.

•    Always transport animals safely inside the cab of a truck, or inside a tethered kennel in the pick-up bed.  Each year countless pets are killed by riding in the back of trucks, due to flying debris, being tossed out inadvertently, or jumping out on their own.  Each year, local animal groups, newspapers, lost pet websites, and animal controls are contacted by those who have lost animals because they were thrown or bolted from the back of a truck.  In warm months, restrict animal transportation to the inside of cabs only, as a pick-up bed can become dangerously hot in a hurry.

•    Many dogs are terrified in thunderstorms and by July 4th fireworks.  Leave animals at home when attending summer celebrations, and whenever possible, bring them indoors when neighborhood fireworks and summer storms explode.

•    Lawn fertilizers and insecticides can be fatal for pets and children.  Take extreme caution when using them in your yard.  Also, there are over 700 plant varieties that can be toxic to animals and children.  To find a complete list, visit

•    Whether indoors or out, make sure animals have access to plenty of water, and change several times a day.  When possible, keep pets indoors.  If your animals must be kept outside, make sure to provide constant shade, as well as bowls of water and food that will not tip over.  While exercise remains important, limit daily walks and play sessions to early morning or evening hours.  In days of extreme heat, skip outdoor activities.  Apply sunscreen on light-colored ear tips and noses, and never have coats clipped shorter than one inch.  Cutting fur too short can lead to sunburn and overheating.

•    Most animal bites occur in summer months.  Spay or neuter pets to reduce negative behavior, such as aggression and anxiety, and to help prevent thousands of unwanted litters born each year.   For information about low cost spay/neuter, call the Denton Humane Society at 940-382-PETS.  The incidence of rabies rises in summer months, too., so make sure pets are current on vaccines.  Heartworm is spread through mosquito bites, which increase in summer as well.  Keep animals on heartworm preventative to keep this potentially fatal disease at bay.  Summertime is also flea season.  Maintain your animal’s health and comfort by using a flea/tick control product recommended by your vet.  Always make sure your pet has a collar and ID tag, or have your vet implant a microchip, to insure your pet can be found in the case she becomes lost.

•    Use caution when exposing pets to pools and lakes.  Don’t assume your dog will automatically know how to exit the pool if he happens to go in.  Teach him where the steps are and never leave him unattended.  When boating with your dog, always use a canine lifejacket.

•    Make yourself aware of the signs of heatstroke and know what to do if your pet is in danger.  According to, signs of a heatstroke include:  panting, bright red tongue, slobbering, thick and sticky saliva, depression, weakness, reluctance to move, convulsions, eventual death.   If you see any of these signs, it is vital to lower your pet’s body temperature immediately:  move your pet to the shade or air conditioning, place wet towels on his body (on head, neck, and chest only), provide cool (not cold) water and allow him to drink in small amounts, offer ice in small amounts for him to lick, and call your vet immediately.

Posted in Featured, Pet Care0 Comments

Economy is No Barrier to Fashion

Economy is No Barrier to Fashion

by Amber Pierce,

In today’s economy, it may seem difficult to dress as fashionably as we might like.  While limited resources might hinder our ability to buy anything we want, it can serve as a challenge to our creativity where fashion is concerned.  Fashion is available to anyone, regardless of economic circumstances!

I have been guilty of cleaning out my closet at the end of a season with no regard for how some garments might be reworked in the next season.  My attitude toward clothing could have been summarized like this:  “Oh, it’s just a shirt.  I can always get a newer, more stylish one!”  I know that my attitude was wasteful and uncreative.  As I have talked with older, more seasoned women about the role of fashion and clothing in our culture, I have learned that there is another approach to moving from season to season in the world of fashion that involves the creative use of clothing resources.

Most of us know what looks good on our own bodies.  Regardless of the current fashion trends, we should trust our instincts where clothing is concerned.  Just because pastels might be in vogue this summer does not mean they will work for every person.  For that reason, we all need to identify our personal style and use what we already have to develop our wardrobe for a new season.  With the addition of a few carefully selected accessories and some minor alterations, we can turn something old into something new and fashionable without breaking the bank.

Another side of this creative fashion thinking involves sharing clothing with friends and family.  We might look at last summer’s maxi dress with disdain, but our next door neighbor will look adorable in it with the simple addition of a belt or necklace.  This summer, examine your resources and get creative with fashion!

Posted in Fashion Report0 Comments

Editing and Sharing Digital Media

Editing and Sharing Digital Media

By Marc Herbst, Panhandle House

Compared with taking photos on film or video on tape, digital photography or videography provides more opportunities for editing, storing and sharing your media with friends and family across the globe in an instant. However, taking advantage of these compatibilities typically requires pairing your digital video or still camera with a relatively new home computer and some basic software.

Most digital cameras available today capture photos or video onto a small internal hard drive or on a removable media card.  A modern home computer, whether a Mac or a PC, if properly equipped, will provide all the tools necessary to get the most of this digital media.

The first challenge to overcome involves transferring video and still images from a camera’s internal hard drive or removable media cards onto the computer for editing.  USB (Universal Serial Bus) has become the standard interface for most consumer digital cameras and all modern home computers.  Many PCs also come equipped with a variety of media card readers installed.  Macs typically do not include media card readers, but all-in-one media card readers which connect via the USB port are inexpensive and readily available.  In either case, it is important confirm the compatibility between media card reader and the camera.

The right software can make the transfer process relatively painless and offer a range of editing and sharing options.  Some cameras come with very basic editing software, but it is frequently only Windows compatible.  For Mac users, software that comes preloaded such as iMovie or iPhoto, might be all that is needed.  Those programs are designed to automatically detect a camera connected to the computer’s USB port and help streamline the process of copying the files onto the computer.  They also provide basic video editing capabilities and photo enhancement tools like easy “red eye” reduction.

PC users might want to look to third party software for more powerful editing capabilities.  Adobe’s Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements are scaled down versions of their professional video and photo editing applications and are surprisingly powerful and easy to use.  Premiere Elements will easily transfer video from hard drive based cameras, removable media cards, DVDs or tape based digital video cameras.  In addition to basic video editing one can incorporate still images, titles, music and narration.  Once a video has been edited, it can be shared by burning it onto a DVD or exporting it to a compressed video file such as an .mp4 to be emailed to friends or uploaded to a social networking site like YouTube or Facebook.

At The Panhandle House, we frequently transfer older home movies, videos or photos shot on 8mm film, VHS or camcorder tapes and 35mm slides, as well as, audio recordings to digital files which the savvy home editor can incorporate into a video using their own editing software.  For those who would prefer to leave the editing to the professionals, we can do that as well.  We create simple videos for families and friends just as frequently as we produce slick corporate promotional materials.

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Major League Soccer: FC Dallas

Major League Soccer: FC Dallas

by Leigh Anne Gullett, FC Dallas

America’s “New” Sport

It’s the biggest sporting event on the planet. Only 32 countries qualify for the FIFA World Cup every four years and only seven countries have claimed the trophy in the tournament’s 80-year history. With 205 nations competing, simply qualifying for the tournament, a three-year process,  is challenging. The United States shocked World Cup favorite England in 1950 with a stunning 1-0 win at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil’s Belo Horizonte. Author Geoffrey Douglas later chronicled the upset in his book The Game of Their Lives, which was later made into a film of the same name. However, the celebration was short lived as the Americans failed to qualify for another World Cup until 1990, 40 years later.

My, how times have changed. Only seven countries have qualified for the last SIX World Cups (1990-2010) and the United States is part of this elite group.  Those countries are Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, Spain, South Korea plus the U.S.  The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa garnered unprecedented attention in the United States. From telecasts to radio to newspapers, magazines and blogospheres, the World Cup mattered more than ever before on American soil. Why now? For one, the U.S. National Team is better than ever. The birth of Major League Soccer in 1996 and its subsequent growth has seen matching progress for the U.S. National Teams. Since MLS began in 1996, the U.S. has qualified for all four World Cups. Of the 30 players who participated in the final U.S. World Cup training camp (including FC Dallas defender Heath Pearce and former FC Dallas defender Clarence Goodson), 23 either currently play or have played in MLS. Of the final 23 players, 17 have MLS ties. Thanks to MLS, the American player is better than ever before and earning a spot on the final 23-man roster has become more and more difficult with increased competition for fewer spots.

No one understands just how elusive those final 23 roster spots are better than Dallas’ Heath Pearce. The 25-year-old defender has 32 caps with the U.S. National Team and made 11 appearances in 2010 World Cup qualifying matches. Only nine defenders made the 30-man preliminary roster for the U.S., including Pearce. Only seven defenders made the final 23-man USMNT roster for South Africa. Worldwide, there are only 736 players on a 2010 FIFA World Cup roster. Broadening the view beyond just the U.S. National Team, MLS has players representing England (an injured David Beckham is serving as a member of his country’s technical staff), Honduras, New Zealand and Mexico. L.A. Galaxy captain Landon Donovan is widely regarded as the best U.S. player and is joined on the squad by Galaxy teammate Edson Buddle and MLS stars Jonathan Bornstein and Robbie Findley.

Brazil is the host country for the 2014 World Cup and FC Dallas has quite a few young stars, like Pearce, who should be in the mix. There’s 18-year-old phenom Bryan Leyva (Mexico) and young U.S. stars Brek Shea (20), Dax McCarty (22) and Kyle Davies (21). Exactly who will form the next generation of American soccer stars? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, we have a front row seat in Texas.

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4th of July Events

4th of July Events

4th of July Jubilee
Celebrate 4th of July at Denton Civic Center and Quakertown Park with carnival games, live entertainment, a hot dog cookout, and more.  Prior to the Jubilee, the 12th Annual Liberty 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk begins at 7:30 am, and the Yankee Doodle Parade begins at 9 am. Live entertainment until noon. Lucky Horseshoe Tournament, children’s carnival and Great Gutter Race, arts and crafts show.  Civic Center Pool admission $1.00 from 12 noon until 6:00 pm. For more information, call 940-349-8733.

Kiwanis Fireworks Show & Independence Day Celebration
5:30 pm:    Gates Open – only west side stands are open
6:30 pm:    City Folk Band- Set #1
7:50 pm:    Kiwanis Welcome and Announcements
8:00 pm:    Color Guard, National Anthem
8:15 pm:    George Dunham and the Bird Dogs Band
9:45 pm:    (Approximate time) – Fireworks Show
10:15 pm:    Happy Trails
George Dunham from Sports Radio 1310 “The Ticket” (and the Mean Green Radio Network) is lead singer for the Bird Dogs.  Veteran Dallas/Fort Worth guitarist, Steve Porcari anchors both bands who will perform a blend of covers from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, as well as original country/rock songs written by Dunham.  Denton Kiwanis, 940-390-7869.

Lake Cities Celebration

Saturday July 3rd, from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. Cities of Corinth, Hickory Creek, Shady Shores and Lake Dallas unite for a one-of-a-kind, 4th of July blow-out Celebration!  City Park of Lake Dallas is filled with FREE 4th of July festivities including an old fashioned parade, the CrossPointe KidZone with free kid’s games, giant waterslide, inflatables, contests for cash prizes, great food, art & craft booths, free live entertainment  and a spectacular fireworks show tops off the celebration!

Red, White & Lewisville
The city’s annual fireworks show, will be held July 4th around Vista Ridge Mall. The show will start at approximately 9:30 pm.  The best viewing opportunities will be on the South side of Vista Ridge Mall and along the 121 Bypass.  For more information please call 972-219-3401.

10th Annual Freedomfest
July 4th, gate opens at 5:30 pm. Event benefits Peace of the Rock Ministries and local and international missions.  Cost is $5.00 per person, kids 3 and under are FREE.  Family Fun including: pedal boats, canoes, fishing (bring your gear), playgrounds, inflatables, mechanical bull, Old McDonald’s Kiddie Train and LifeGate Church Praise Band.  Food and drinks may be purchased at the Chicken Coop Cafe.  No alcohol or pets please.  Firework Show begins at 9:30 pm. Located at Rancho De La Roca Retreat Ranch, 2459 W. Blackjack in Aubrey, 940.365.7625,

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