Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How Much is a Good Mother Worth?

I cried yesterday while reading The Dallas Morning News.

I was reading an editorial called "Simple Acts, Senseless Deaths" about two recent random acts of violence in Dallas.  The first one killed a new immigrant from Baghdad when he and his wife rushed out to take photos of our recent snowfall.  Mr. al-Jumaili had "survived bombs and the terror of wars, only to be killed a few feet from his apartment" in northeast Dallas.

Tragic, senseless horror.

But the second random act of violence was the one that made me cry.

Irma Martinez was doing what so many good mothers do - she was sitting in her car, waiting to pick up her teenage son from a friend's house, when she was killed for her cellphone.  Ms. Martinez had "cleaned houses for 18 years but found time to be there for her son, who was involved in Dallas Police Explorer, a Boy Scout program for teens and young adults interested in police work".

Tragic, senseless horror.

Ms. Martinez's story just kills me because there are so many kids who don't have a mom like Irma Martinez.  Her life is over because some idiot wanted a phone.  This got me thinking...

How much is a good mother worth?

I'm not talking about the salary Ms. Martinez made cleaning houses -- that was probably not much money compared to the salary that you or I make -- but certainly the time she spent cleaning her employer's house(s) probably allowed her employers to be better employees and parents.

But if we could estimate the value of the time and energy she spent into taking care of her son -- pushing him to succeed in school, making sure he enjoyed relationships with peers, ensuring his safety by picking him up after school, etc. -- we could put a very high value on making a good boy into a good man.

At Community Partners of Dallas we see lots of bad parents, so when Dallas loses a good one, it's a true tragedy.  Ms. Martinez's life was worth more and she deserved so much better.

Every child deserves an Irma Martinez.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What happened on March 11, 2002?

Today is March 11, 2015

Thirteen years ago today...

  • George W. Bush was President of the United States.
  • Rick Perry was the Governor of Texas.
  • Laura Miller was the Mayor of Dallas.

The most popular TV shows were

  • Friends
  • CSI
  • E.R.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond

The most popular films were

  • The Lord of the Rings:  Fellowship of the Rings
  • Black Hawk Down
  • Collateral Damage
  • The Time Machine

The Billboard charts for the month included

  • "Wherever You Will Go" by The Calling
  • "Hey Baby" by No Doubt
  • "Ain't It Funny" by Jennifer Lopez featuring Ja Rule
  • "Can't Get You Out of My Head" by Kylie Minogue

You may be wondering why I care what happened on March 11, 2002, but it was a big day for me -- it was my first day at Community Partners of Dallas!

I was lucky then and am still lucky now.  I love my job!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Pakpow Observations

Sorry, but I missed writing the blog last week.  The icy weather kept me inside for 3 days and we are expecting more tonight.


Now, back to regularly scheduled programming...

I had lunch plans with my long-time friend Carol on Monday and we were supposed to meet at Pakpow Thai at 11:50 am.

NOTE:  Yes, this is an odd time to meet, but I'm sneaky like that at a place that takes no reservations and I want to beat the lunch crowd.

Anyway, due to a little confusion in the text-message-only lunch planning, Carol was about 45 minutes late, so I ended up sitting at the table for quite awhile by myself.  And since I didn't think I had my phone with me (I actually did but didn't know it until after Carol arrived), I just sat there and observed the other people in the restaurant.


  1. Most people who are sitting alone (waiting for someone else to join them) stay on their cell phones the entire waiting period.  I bet FaceBook gets a big rise in users from 11:50 to 12:45 each day.
  2. Of the 28 people seated (it is a small place and it was almost totally full), I was the third oldest.  This is an estimate and there were a couple of dudes who looked older than me, but I really think they weren't at all -- just balding.
  3. While the tables are super close to one another and conversations were happening on either side of me, I couldn't keep up with either one of them.  Not sure if this is because the music is loud or if I'm losing my hearing (see observation #2).  Obviously, eavesdropping on a conversation or two would have made my waiting super enjoyable, so damn you, Pakpow and your apparently great space planner.
  4. Most of the tables seemed to be occupied with people having business meetings or friends.  I don't think anyone was on a date or with family, except perhaps the only couple older than me. 
  5. Each table of people seemed to be dressed somewhat alike.
Once Carol arrived (and ate the rest of my meal that I had finally ordered since I assumed she wasn't coming), I told her about my observations.

NOTE:  Observation #2 changed the moment Carol walked in.  I went to fourth oldest.  Love my OLD friends!

The observation that really interested me was that people who were together were dressed alike.  I watched people come in and sit alone (and get on their cells, natch) and then their friend or business appointment would enter and I could tell almost immediately who the person arriving was coming to meet.  The guy in the Patagonia puffy vest was waiting for the guy in the puffy jacket (both navy, I might add).  The girl with long blonde hair, leggings, and boots was meeting the table of girls with pony-tails and draped scarves.  Even I had dressed to meet Carol in a slightly more boho outfit than I normally wear since Carol and I were theatre majors together and she is a creative type -- I just hadn't realized it until I saw it happen in front of me.

Of course, this all brings me to think once again about how important what we do here at Community Partners of Dallas is.  The kids we are helping may have never had a new dress or a new pair of shoes.  They go into the world each day feeling worthless (because their parents tell them they are) and then when they arrive at their destination they are shown in living color that they don't fit in. They are wearing old, torn, ill-fitting clothes, while their peers are dressed for success.

We all want to fit in.  The clothes we provide for the abused and neglected kids of Dallas County CPS are truly making a difference.  And if a new outfit makes me feel better, just think what it can do for a kid who's never had one.

Thanks for helping us.

Please take a few minutes and observe your next restaurant patrons.  I'd love to know your thoughts.

On a related note, look what Joanna and I are wearing at work today.