Author Archive

Happy President’s Day 2012

Posted by    |    February 20th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

How many of us have ever been president of something?  I was elected president of the Southwest High School German Club in the fall of my senior year.  I wasn’t ambitious or qualified; I just had the most Germanic name so I was the leader of choice.  My only responsibilities involved overseeing the annual fundraiser, the Gummy Bear sale, and making sure we had enough competitors for the Foreign Language Fair.  Gummy Bears were still very exotic in 1984, so they were an easy sell. Recruiting classmates to perform plays in German was a different story.  We ended up with only two entries in the spoken German category; my best friends supported me by performing “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” auf deutsch and yours truly and another friend performed a depressing dialog about a teenage girl who becomes pregnant and tries to convince her Mutti that a stork is responsible.  Whether it was the material we chose or the talent we presented, none of us left the fair with a ribbon that day.  Sad, since we had given up a Friday night to be in top form for Saturday morning competition; and we didn’t win any resume-building accolades. It was that Saturday evening when I decided being president, being the one responsible for all, is not for me.

Being a president is hard work.  Are any of us really capable or qualified to be president? Having said that, though, the definitions of president sound pretty impressive:  head of state; chief executive; person who presides over an assembly, corporation or group; one who governs a body of people, etc.  What, with all that power, who wouldn’t want to preside?  Who hasn’t thought, just once, “Heck, I could be a better president than that guy!”   (more…)

There Goes the Neigh-borhood

Posted by    |    December 16th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Merry Christmas!  I love saying that.  I kind of feel a little edgy when I say it – so many folks these days stick to Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. I love Christmas, I do. Each year at Christmas I relive my (minor but self important) part in the 5th grade Christmas play (we could still call it a Christmas play in 1977) and belt out “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” in the shower and make the kids watch A Charlie Brown Christmas with me. I love to create funny Christmas cards and buy thoughtful gifts for friends and family. But here’s what I don’t really love: the throngs of people who drive up and down my street and throughout my neighborhood looking at Christmas light displays.

Call me Scrooge. The homes on my street in Highland Park are, for the most part, original 1927-ish Tudors that have been updated. Our lots aren’t wide or deep and our street is narrow. So, imagine a scene in which four vehicles are parked on one side of the street, another seven are parked along the other, and residential traffic is trying to pass through. Then let’s add to this little Christmas kaleidoscope, a horse-drawn carriage with people sipping Starbuck’s hot chocolate and sweating their Thanksgiving paunches off. Just for fun throw in a Dan Dipert super bus inching down the street right behind it.  Then, for a really neat visual image, picture me, in white and blue polka dot flannel pajamas and Uggs, taking my anxiety-riddled Golden Retriever out for a tinkle. (more…)

Remembering the Past

Posted by    |    September 11th, 2011 at 1:33 pm

“We’re in a war,” he said. “The story of this war – dates, names, who started it, why – that belongs to everyone. Not just the people involved in it, but the people who write newspapers, politicians thousands of miles away, people who’ve never even been here or heard of it before.  But something like this – this is yours.  It belongs only to you. And me.  Only to us.”

-Téa Olbrecht in The Tiger’s Wife

Everyone has a 9/11 story. Mine begins in November 1990 when I moved to New York City fresh out of college. I knew my future was there in the form of independence, career and, the damnedest of all things that ensures and derails your future at the same time, love.  We were freshman-in-college sweethearts who had lost touch for years but, somehow, ended up in New York at the same time. His office was in the World Financial Center, mine was in the Flat Iron district. His subway stop, which soon became our subway stop, was Cortlandt Street, World Trade Center. The World Trade Center was our one-stop for facilitating the business of life.  Our first joint checking account was opened at Chase Bank, 1 WTC. Our dry cleaners, our book store, the Lerner NY store where I bought work clothes for my $16,000- a-year PR job – it was right there in the WTC mall. (more…)

Highland Belles Have a New Director: She’s From Walter Kelly’s Former School

Posted by    |    May 5th, 2011 at 9:58 am

Coincidence? You tell me. This is from the I-don’t-report-the-news-I-just-cut-and-paste-it file:

Shannon Harty Carlton was named Highland Park High School’s Belles Director May 5.

Ms. Harty Carlton brings nine years of experience as a high school dance and drill team director to Highland Park ISD. She comes to HPISD from Richardson ISD, where she served as director of the Desperados Country and Western Performance team at Richardson High School and as director of the Highlandette Drill team at Lake Highlands High School. She also directed the Hyline dance team at Westlake High School in Eanes ISD. As a college student, she was captain and sergeant of the legendary Kilgore College Rangerettes.

“Shannon has a history of excellence in leading dance and drill teams, beginning with her days a Rangerette and extending through her experience as the director of some of the top high school programs in Texas,” HPHS Principal Walter Kelly said. “She has consistently demonstrated the ability to combine the traditions of an existing program with the key elements of unity and teamwork among the ranks.” (more…)

Sneak Peek: Marquee Grill & Bar

Posted by    |    April 21st, 2011 at 10:30 am

I attended the VIP party for Marquee Grill & Bar last night and I can say with great confidence that this place will be THE place to seen and be seen. Since I don’t have photos, you just have to go see it for yourself . . its white brick walls are offset by chocolate brown leather and a dark brown and blue geometric shaped carpet.  It’s very sleek and, as one of the waiters said, “It’s just like a beach house.” Well, not any beach house I’ve been to, but to each his own.  (more…)

Earth Day Inspires Sustainable Dining at Dallas’ Finest Restaurants

Posted by    |    April 7th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

How will you celebrate Earth Day this April 22?  Buy yourself a new Prius?  Dust off your composting bin and clean out your refrigerator? While they are both excellent ways of honoring the day dedicated to protecting our earth, they lack a certain flair that Dallasites should insist upon. (more…)

Breaking News: Highland Belles Director Christie Crummel Resigns

Posted by    |    April 1st, 2011 at 9:47 am

It could be an April Fool’s joke but an email that just arrived in my box says this:

Dear Highland Park High School Families,

 Highland Belles Director Christie Crummel will resign at the end of this school year to pursue other career opportunities. We greatly appreciate Ms. Crummel’s seven years of leadership at Highland Park High School. Under her direction, the Belles have continued to achieve at the highest levels and to enjoy a reputation as one of the top dance and drill teams in the nation. Ms. Crummel will always be a part of the Scot family, and we wish her well in the future.

 In the upcoming days, we will begin searching for the next Highland Belles Director. We will work together with the Belles and their families to establish the criteria that will guide us in the hiring process.

 Thank you for your continued support of the Belles and Highland Park High School.


 Walter Kelly


Highland Park High School

Cheers, Ma!

Posted by    |    March 8th, 2011 at 9:54 am

It’s an age-old debate: Should you provide alcohol to your minor children?  Now,  “provide” can mean different things to different people.  Provide can mean let them have a sip of margarita at Mia’s. Or it can mean allowing them to have a glass of wine at Thanksgiving dinner.  Or it can mean providing them with alcohol to drink at your home because, you know, they’re going to drink anyway, it’s better if you give it to them and they drink it at home.  Right?

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal provides an excellent review of this topic, and provides interesting statistics for you parents to chew on. 

72% of high school students have had at least one drink*

16% of alcohol users aged 12 to 20 got it from a parent or guardian*

6% of 12-to-14-year olds drank alcohol in the past month, nearly 45% of them got it from home*

All 50 states outlaw furnishing alcohol to minors, but 31 states exempt parents, gaurdians or spouses*

50% of the students who attended HPHS’s Hi-Lites dance in February were hammered**

* Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; Alcohol Policy Information System; Youth Risk Behavior Survey; CDC; National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

** Not actual data, just speculation based on anecdotal feedback of people there who weren’t hammered

I have many friends who give tacit approval to their minor children, in this case, 16-year-old new drivers, to drink, or “pre-game,” especially before dances and parties. I do not.  My kids know that they cannot imbibe or I will blow a gasket or something far worse.  So far, so good.  What will happen when my son is a senior and he wants to have a few beers at a party?  I don’t know.  I hope that the values I’ve taught and the decision-making processes I’ve coached him on will kick in and he will break the law responsibly. OK, Kidding.  I hope he decides it’s more fun not to drink.

What’s your position?  Let them drink or just say no?

Helmet Headache

Posted by    |    January 5th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

We all know that  in the Park Cities football is the sport of kings. Or maybe just little princes.  We also know that football is a rough, high-contact sport and players need to have excellent equipment to protect their bodies from injury. Especially their noggins. Head injuries in sports, particularly football, have been a major topic of discussion these past few months.  The National Federation for High School Association’s Football Rules Committee strengthened guidelines prior to the 2010 season to reduce the risk of players getting serious head injuries by having more stringent testing on players before the season and after a blow to the head.  Concussions are very top of mind (see how I did that?) for coaches, trainers, players and parents – regardless of the sport.  Which is why I, along with many other HP football parents, bought a very expensive Riddell Revolution helmet for my son.  Riddell claims that its helmet reduces concussions by 31%. 

Now Riddell is under investigation by the FTC because, apparently, these claims are completely unsubstantiated.  How does that make me feel?  Angry and scared.  I spent a fortune on a helmet thinking it was going to protect my son’s head in a football game.  Now it sounds like a bunch of hooey.

Anyone care to weigh in on this?

Girl Talk

Posted by    |    November 12th, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I attended a “moms of girls” meeting last night at which Officer Robert Ramsey, Highland Park High School’s new Safety Resource Officer, addressed the group about raising girls.  What does he know about girls?   Quite a bit, actually, though his background sounds pretty Tough Guy.  While raising two daughters, Officer Ramsey spent his previous public service career as a Rescue Chief, Firefighter, Paramedic and a security officer in Afghanistan.  For the past two years he’s been a Univeristy Park Police Officer.  But I digress.

Officer Ramsey brought up raising girls in today’s Park Cities’ environment.  He gave excellent advice, some harrowing examples of what can go wrong, and shared titles of three books he strongly recommended we read to help us navigate today’s girl world.  His advice was geared towards girls but a lot of it applies to boys too. Here are a few tips: (more…)