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Our ‘Non-Traditional’ Thanksgiving

2020 has delivered one of the most non-traditional Thanksgivings that I have ever experienced.

Please don’t think I am complaining; I am fully aware of how some folks didn’t get to celebrate at all for a multitude of reasons. Plus, this isn’t really a complaint per se. It just adds to the strangeness of this year.

If you’ve been following me (THANK YOU!), you will already know that two close family members have been in the hospital with COVID for about 2 weeks. It’s tough to be celebratory when you don’t know what the next few days/weeks will bring for their health. I think worst of all is that we are helpless to do anything that may assist them. We can’t visit; speaking to them on the phone is nearly impossible because of all the machines and texts are sparse.

So, going into the holidays has been just weird. I see commercials saying, “SALE! SPEND YOUR MONEY!” and sometimes it angers me. How dare someone throw a sales pitch at me when people are sick? But, back on Earth, I realize this type of advertisement is typical for this time of year and has been aired since Lord-knows-when.

Hubby and I didn’t feel like messing with a big dinner for just the two of us. We looked around on the Internet to see what food sources were open on Thanksgiving, and then settled on Chinese food. So, our celebration was chicken fried rice, salmon with veggies and binge watching Absentia.

I know many people have “non-traditional” dinners, with the “traditional” being turkey and sides and pumpkin pie, and I am not trying to judge anyone. It was just different for me.

Do you and your family eat “non-traditional” meals on Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear about the different family traditions around the country. If you so desire, leave your comments below.

DART’s Annual Holiday Stuff a Bus Event Returns December 4

With the holiday season just around the corner, here’s your chance to make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is reaching out to the North Texas community to support the annual “Stuff a Bus” event taking place on Friday, December 4, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. at SMU/Mockingbird Station. The initiative will deliver socks and blankets to area nursing facilities – as well as new and unwrapped toys and canned food for children and families in need throughout the North Texas area.

The DART “Stuff a Bus” annual campaign is a program run by the DART Operations team. This year’s donations benefit the Senior Source and Jonathan’s Place.

This year’s event will take place on December 4 at SMU/Mockingbird Station (5465 E. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas) near the intersection of North Central Expressway and Mockingbird Lane. SMU/Mockingbird Station is served by DART’s Red, Blue and Orange lines. Bus routes 24, 76, 81/82, 84, 521, SMU Express (Route 768), GoLink for Lakewood and Park Cities, and the Bush Center/Meadows Museum Express (Route 743) also serve the SMU/Mockingbird Station. To ensure the health and safety of the community, a curbside donation location is also available.

For more information, visit

COVID and learning how to make iPhone fonts larger or smaller

That’s kind of a weird mix, isn’t it? It reminds me of when my dad and I used to try to come up with some company that sold two completely different products, like “Bob’s Glovebox Light Repair and Cold-Fusion Rocket Company.”

As for the COVUD, hubby and I weren’t exposed and are feeling fine. My close relatives that are dealing with this live about an hour and a half from me, and it has been a while since I have seen them. But then there are so many feelings that accompany things like this. For us, the main one is helplessness.

Because they are COVID patients, we can’t visit. And it’s tough to talk with them because they are on a bunch of machines, so we text and wait for responses for when they are up to it. That’s frustrating in itself because when we don’t hear back soon, a million reasons cross my mind, even though, logically, I’m sure a doctor, nurse or just plain old sleep may be the true situation. They are the first close-to-me folks to get the virus, but it just gave me the “realness” of it all and how COVID symptoms are so different sometimes.

One of them has been through cancer, so she was already more susceptible than many other people. Her hubby loved to go out and see people and do things before this happened; plus, he’s in is 80s. But it seems he’s doing better than she is (my theory is because he hasn’t been through cancer). I know down deep in my heart that they will both be OK, but that doesn’t stop the worrying (and I am NOT blaming anyone for this – it could’ve been anyone or anything).

Last night, we got a text asking how to make text messages, etc. fonts larger. As we can’t really communicate over the phone, hubby and I came up with a short video to illustrate how she, or someone else in her room, could do this.

So, if you’re not sure how to do this for yourself and you have an iPhone follow these steps:

  • Wake up your phone
  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll down and go to Display & Brightness
  • Scroll down and go to Text Size
  • Use the slider at the bottom to set your text size

Y’all stay healthy out there. Wear your masks (and gloves if you desire). It sounds like we’re about to get back into quarantine mode. Woo hoo.

Group Highlights Stark Difference How Black Veterans Are Remembered Across Lake From DFW National Cemetery

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A group of concerned Grand Prairie citizens spent part of Veterans Day bringing attention to an old cemetery where dozens of mostly black veterans are buried, some in unmarked graves.

There are as many as 90 veterans buried at Antioch Life Park Cemetery on the other side of Mountain Creek Lake from DFW National Cemetery.

Despite that short distance, the difference between the way veterans are honored in the two cemeteries is stark.

At Antioch Life Park Cemetery, they are the forgotten heroes of a generation.

Veterans from World War I through Vietnam are buried there.

Some have headstones that are fading or overrun with grass.

Other veterans that are documented to have been buried there don’t have one at all.

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, a group led by Feed A Million Veterans and the Grand Prairie chapter of the NAACP took on the task of cleaning headstones and placing American flags next to those who served.

Read more from CBSDFW…

Rotary of Keller Celebrates N. Texas Field of Honor

The celebration of the North Texas Field of Honor® was held in front of Keller Town Hall, located at 1100 Bear Creek Parkway, on November 7. The field will be accepting flags until November 14.

One thousand seven hundred and seventy six (1776) U.S. flags, purchased by those who wished to honor their hero(es), are being flown, paying tribute to veterans, active and reserve duty military, first responders, and medical professionals during Veteran’s Day week, November 7 – 14, 2020. The full-size flags will have a card with the information of the individual in whose honor the flag was purchased. Net proceeds from the event will benefit veteran, first responder, medical professionals, and local Rotary Club charities.

Colors were presented by the Keller Police and Fire Honor Guard. The Keller High School Choir Quartet sang the National Anthem. Father Greg McBrayer, who serves as pastor at Saint Barnabas Anglican Church in Keller, is the Chief Flight Controller at American Airlines and Chairman of DFW Airport Chaplaincy led the prayer.

Emcee and CBS Channel 11 co-anchor Doug Dunbar opened the ceremony, by welcoming local political leaders and explaining the purpose of the ceremony. “Welcome Senator Hancock, Representative Capriglione, and Mayor McGrail, all our honored guests, but most of all to the men and women of the armed forces of the United States of America and to all our veterans who have worn the uniform of this great nation, to our first responders who serve and protect our families and to our medical professionals.”

Other speakers included Jocelyn Irby, President of the Rotary Club of Keller; Keller Mayor Pat McGrail; Representative Giovanni Capriglione; Senator for portions of Tarrant and Dallas Counties Kelly Hancock. Major (Retired) Karl Monger, who served in the US Army from 1983-1993, read The Spartan Pledge.

The Rotary Club of Keller, TX, whose 50 plus members are committed to the motto of “Service Above Self,” organized the North Texas Field of Honor®. The Club supports various charities and schools in the Keller area through service and contributions.


Happy Birthday, Marines!

Venkat Kalyan Chivukula Announces ‘First Of Its Kind’ Solution For SAP BRFplus Users


Venkat Kalyan Chivukula, a leading technology expert, announced today the development of ‘DSA’, a solution for SAP BRFplus that allows organizations to use SAP BRF plus as their rule engine.DSA enables customers to better manage their SAP and non-SAP systems enhancing and improving the management of the entire landscape.

“DSA is a game-changer,” says Chivukula. “I contributed to the development of DSA with the Mouritech team because of the pain points I heard from my clients who needed a solution that works in non-SAP systems.”

“With DSA, organizations can now effortlessly work in non-SAP systems in their landscape without needing multiple rule engines.”There are no other products like DSA offered in today’s market.”

Mr. Venkat Kalyan Chivukula has been in IT for almost two decades and is an expert in several technologies: ERP’s like SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoftweb technologies: Java, HTML, XML, DotNet.

Click here to learn more about DSA.

Just in Time for Halloween, GPISD Students Premiered “Tardy Terror”

High school.

From Carrie to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, monsters and high school have gone together like, well … Frankenstein and Dracula. It can be scary stuff.

As part of a class project, students at GPISD’s Dubiski Career High School played with the idea of what would happen if there was a monster lurking on their campus. That project grew into something much more. As in, feature-length more.

In the 2018-2019 school year, Dubiski Career High School instructors Tyler Case and Brian Blosser took a short-film project and turned it into a full-blown movie-making adventure.

The film, titled “Tardy Terror,” had a budget of $3,000 (with $2,500 of that donated) and ended up taking 65 days to shoot. That didn’t involve editing, post-production, or a worldwide pandemic that slowed – but didn’t stop – the project.

The cast is almost exclusively students though some professional actors, previously brought in to speak to and mentor students, ended up being part of the film as well. Several teachers were also involved as were a number of extras and even some parents. Though most of the film was shot on the Dubiski campus, the crew also used Main Event in Grand Prairie, Hangman’s House of Horrors, and the Gopher-Warrior Bowl. Costumes were made by Midnight Studio Effects and the school’s Architecture pathway even built some of the sets.

The students, and the school, hosted a limited, invitation-only, masked and socially distant premiere at the Studio Movie Grill in the Arlington Highlands on Thursday, October 29, at 7:00 p.m. On Halloween, they had a 24-hour showing of the movie on YouTube.

Their goals are to submit their work to film festivals, get it on Amazon Prime and Vudu, and ultimately market it for sale with money going  directly back into the program so other students may have the same opportunity.

For a look at the film, here are some previews of “Tardy Terror”:

Tardy Terror – The Blast Clip
Behind the Scenes

Watch the Movie

DART Amends Uber Contract to Support GoLink Services in Garland, Irving, and the Expanded Inland Port

Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) Board has approved an amended three-year contract with Uber Technologies, Inc. (Uber), for shared ride services that will supplement their popular GoLink service.

The amended contract became necessary when two new GoLink service zones were implemented October 19 for Southeast Garland and South Irving.

Another zone scheduled to begin Mon., Nov. 2, is the Inland Port Transportation Management Association (IPTMA) GoLink.

That zone is a partnership with IPTMA and DART formed between the cities of Dallas, Desoto, Hutchins, Lancaster, and Wilmer. UberPool will provide service for IPTMA as back up to Star Transit from 5 a.m. till 8 p.m. UberX will provide service for IPTMA from 8 p.m. till 5 a.m.

DART has been implementing GoLink zones as a cost-effective alternative in areas where traditional fixed route bus service does not appear to be the best option.

The on-demand service is already available in Farmers Branch, Far North Plano, Glenn Heights, Inland Port, Kleberg and Rylie, Lake Highlands, Lakewood, Legacy West, North Central Plano/Chase Oaks, North Dallas, Park Cities, Rowlett and Western Carrollton.

DART Announces Gary Thomas’ Retirement as President/Executive Director

Gary C. Thomas, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) president/executive director, has informed the DART Board of Directors of his intention to retire from his position after almost 20 years of leadership. The board will initiate a search process to identify a successor for Mr. Thomas.

“It has been my privilege and honor to be part of Dallas Area Rapid Transit for this moment in time. I have seen many “firsts” throughout the years and have been able to work with many dedicated board members and team members as DART has evolved into an indispensable resource for our residents throughout North Texas and beyond,” said Thomas. “I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to our current management team and our almost 3,700 employees, as well as all of the DART team over the last 20 years that without whom our shared success would not have been possible. I’m extremely proud of what we have built with help from our communities and elected officials with whom we share a vision for our future. I have complete confidence that DART will continue to improve the quality of life in North Texas.”

Thomas joined DART in 1998 as the senior vice president of project management with almost 20 years of experience as an engineer and architect, consulting for national and international projects including DART projects going back to 1986. He was appointed as president/executive director in 2001 when DART’s rail system was only 20-miles long and led the agency to provide North Texas residents with the longest light rail network in the country at 93-miles.

Under his leadership, Thomas forged the agency into an award-winning transit model, providing residents across DART’s 700-mile service area with a world-class public transit network. Through Thomas’ leadership, DART has frequently defined what a modern 21st century transit system can be.

Thomas directed DART’s commitment to sustainability and conservation with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing clean, alternative transportation options that help decrease the number of cars on the road. This included a focus on renewable energy and the transition of the entire DART bus fleet to the more environmentally sensitive natural gas fuel rather than diesel. DART was also an early proponent and adopter of electric buses, adding 7 buses to the fleet in 2018.

As a champion of the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) service model at DART, which provides travelers with the ability to plan, book and pay for the mobility solution that works best for their needs, through the award-winning GoPass App, he led the effort to make DART’s multimodal transit system flexible, reliable, affordable and more available to everyone by developing new technologies and services including fare equity, cash to mobile options and GoLink.

With a focus on ensuring that DART continue to serve as both a mobility and economic engine for the long-term benefit of the entire region, Thomas developed polices that engaged development projects near DART light rail stations, generating billions of dollars in revenue, taxes and jobs for the local economy while enhancing mobility opportunities that improved the quality of life of North Texas residents.

“While there will always be more work to do, I know that we have the right team in place to turn our vision into reality, improving the lives of our riders by providing safe, timely transit solutions,” explained Thomas. “Our ongoing platform extension project on DART’s Red and Blue rail lines will allow us to move up to 33 percent more passengers throughout our busiest operating times. The D2 Subway project, our second light rail alignment through downtown Dallas, has moved into 30% Preliminary Engineering. We’ve expanded our GoLink on-demand service, which includes our partnership with UberPool. The Silver Line Regional Rail Project, DART’s first east-to-west commuter rail service, will provide residents with improved mobility, accessibility and system linkages to major employment, population and activity centers in the northern part of the DART Service Area. And of course, the DARTzoom Bus Network Redesign project will define the future of bus service for the entire service area, providing enormous positive transit opportunities by aligning service to meet the needs of our riders now and in the future.”

“On behalf of the DART Board of Directors, I want to thank Gary for his service to the agency, the member cities of DART, and the residents of North Texas,” said Paul N. Wageman, chair of the DART Board of Directors. “Through his leadership and dedication, he has earned the respect of city leaders, the DART board, its employees and his peers in the industry for his passion and innovation. Gary is leaving DART in a strong position, as the quality of the management and operations teams has never been better. We are grateful to Gary for his leadership of DART and his friendship. We wish him the best as he embarks on this chapter of his life.”