Our Lot

Above is a pic of my fiancé, Jennifer House, and me standing in the middle of the unimproved lot prior to the start of construction.

Village Of Stonelake Estates

Happy New Year !

Above is a picture of the entrance to the neighborhood I will move to in the middle of this year! It will be a very exciting and event filled year.

According to the builder the architectural plans for the home are almost complete and will be delivered to the City of Frisco next week for the city to review. Once the plans are approved and building permits granted expect the lot will be graded and prepared for pouring of the foundation within the next two weeks.

31 Dec 2013

Wylie YWAM Team

Shortly after noon today my daughter, Mary Radcliff, (pictured above at left) and eleven others from the YWAM base in Wylie, Texas departed on a flight from the Dallas/Ft Worth International airport to the city of Entebbe in central Uganda for a six week Christian mission trip.

During the six weeks she will be in Uganda Mary will lead the above team (plus one other girl not pictured). In country they will be working in the city of Jinja in local orphanages and ministering to human trafficking victims and other children at risk.

You may follow Mary’s adventures at her blog, Adventures with Mary.

Bless you!   Go Mary ! 🙂

15 Dec 2013

Frisco, Texas

During the past couple years have shopped for a home and evaluated neighborhoods in many north Dallas communities including Frisco, McKinney, Plano, Lewisville, Coppell, Carrollton, Allen, Little Elm, Flower Mound, Lantana, Southlake, Grapevine, & Colleyville.

This past fall, however, finally narrowed down the search to two communities (Frisco & McKinney) and eventually chose a neighborhood in the north east corner of Frisco.

Frisco is an affluent bedroom community which spans parts of Collin and Denton counties. And it is a rapidly growing Dallas area suburb. In fact like many of the cities located in the booming northern suburbs of Dallas, Frisco serves as a bedroom community for many professionals who work in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

The city’s growth principally occurred during the past ten years or so as the Dallas suburban development moved north through Plano, Frisco, and beyond.

Accolades recognizing the growth of the city and its desirability as a place to live are many. A few examples from the past several years include …

Demographics
Frisco has a current (2013) estimated population of more than 135,000 people and a land area of approximately 70 square miles. This current population is at least 100,000 more than the population of 33,700 recorded in the 2000 US Census. And as noted above as a testament to this growth the city was recognized in 2007 as one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.

Schools
As an example of Frisco’s tremendous growth the past several years the Frisco school district has grown from a total of four schools in 1995 to a present count of 52 (6 high schools, 13 middle schools, and 33 elementary schools) and has recently been opening between two and six new schools each year. With a current student population of 46,000 the school district expects to have over 65,000 students by the end of the decade.

Sports
Frisco is home to five area professional sports franchises …

  • The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, the worlds 2nd most valuable sports franchise, will in early 2016 open their new headquarters and team training complex in Frisco (news release). This new facility will include two outdoor football fields and a 12,000 seat indoor stadium which will be shared with the City of Frisco for special high school football, soccer, and other local events.
  • The NHL’s Dallas Stars team is headquartered in Frisco and holds practice on the ice at Frisco’s Dr Pepper Arena.
  • FC Dallas, the Dallas area’s Major League Soccer (MLS) team & owned by descendants of Lamar Hunt, is headquartered and plays in Frisco’s FC Dallas Toyota Stadium.
  • The Frisco Rough Riders, a Class AA affiliate of the Texas Rangers, is headquartered and plays in Frisco’s 11,000 seat Dr Pepper Ballpark. According to Forbes the team is America’s 4th most valuable minor league baseball franchise.
  • The Texas Legends, an Eastern Conference NBA Development League (NBA D-League) team affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks, is headquartered and plays in Frisco’s 7,000 seat Dr Pepper Arena.

Transportation
Both major airports in the Dallas/Ft Worth area (i.e., Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport) are about 25 minutes from Frisco. And with one major highway (i.e., the North Dallas Tollway) running north-south through the middle of Frisco and another major highway (i.e., Texas 121 Sam Rayburn Tollway) running east-west along the southern border of the city, Frisco is well positioned on the path of growth in the Dallas area.

Shopping
Stonebriar Centre located near the intersection of the North Dallas Tollway and TX 121 Sam Rayburn Tollway is one of the Dallas area’s premier shopping malls. It is a 165 store mall anchored by Nordstroms, Macys, Dillards, JC Penney, Sears, and an AMC 24 screen movie theater. In addition to hundreds of other stores and restaurants Frisco is home to the Dallas area’s only Ikea store.

Homes & Neighborhoods
As of early 2013 Frisco had over 46,000 housing units. There are presently dozens of neighborhoods in Frisco with homes ranging in price from less than $100,000 to several million dollars.

14 Dec 2013

Today signed a contract to build a new house in a northern suburb of Dallas, Texas!

14866 Overland Park Lane Frisco Texas

Above is a picture of the unimproved (65′ by 135′) lot on which this home will be built.

It took several months of intense house shopping with my girl friend, Jennifer, before finally settling on a community, a neighborhood, a builder, a lot, and a floor plan. During this past fall we went on several all day house hunting trips. We looked mostly on our own, but we did some with a local real estate agent. Our shopping took us through old homes, new homes, and not-yet-built homes in the narrowed down communities of Frisco and McKinney. This focused search came on the heels of attending open houses on countless Sundays the past couple years all over North Texas (i.e., Flower Mound, Coppell, Plano, Lantana, Carrollton, Las Colinas, Lewisville, and Frisco) in order for me to get a feel for the area, communities, neighborhoods, and home styles.

The builder of this new home will be Saxony Homes LLC, a Shaddock family home building company jointly owned by Peter Shaddock Sr & Peter Shaddock Jr. It will be in a neighborhood known as the Villages of Stonelake Estates. The address of the home will be 14866 Overland Park Lane, Frisco, Texas 75035.

This house will have room for entertaining, working, playing, eating, and sleeping. It’s key features will include a study, game room with wet bar, media room, dining room, high end kitchen, five bedrooms (with one functioning as a “Texas basement”), family room, three car garage, covered front porch, and a covered rear patio. Given the high price of land in the Dallas area the resulting cozy back yard will be enclosed with an 8′ tall stained cedar fence.

When choosing a floor plan for the home made sure there would be room for my baby grand piano and space for doing studio photography. Sure enough the piano should fit nicely in the family room and the media room should be able to easily double as a photo studio. The generous space and extra bedrooms should also provide room for visiting out of town family and friends.

After the holidays once all the permits are issued and plans drawn expect activity to ramp up with lot grading followed by laying & pouring of the foundation.

More to come 🙂

Found this armadillo along the side of the road in Denton (Texas) this morning.

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Having been a resident of Texas for the past two years am surprised to have not yet met one of these ugly critters (dead or alive) before now. 🙂

9 Sep 2013

What a great first game of the football season.

As the NFL 2013 season officially began this past weekend had the good fortune to both tailgate and watch in person at Cowboys Stadium (now known as AT&T Stadium) the Dallas Cowboys take on the New York Giants. It was an absolute blast!

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For the past many years have paid only scant attention to the NFL. It was usually from a distance and without much knowledge of or interest in the league. It wasn’t that I didn’t know the game. Have been a huge fan of college football for years. In fact before moving to Texas a couple years ago my home in Michigan put me within a short drive of the grand football palaces of the University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame. Plus, for the past many years had season tickets to football at my alma mater, Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo.

But my move to Dallas, Texas a couple years ago significantly changed my perspective. College football, of course, is also very big in Texas. But the big schools (e.g., University of Texas or Texas A&M) are rather far afield from Dallas. So to follow the idiom “when in Rome” I headed off to check out Cowboys Stadium. And OMG! It’s the grandest cathedral to football ever. And besides being one of the worlds’ most valuable sports franchises the Cowboys have a very rich football tradition. So after attending a few games over the past couple years decided this year to set my sights on season tickets.

And lo and behold the picture above of the unfurling of the flag at the beginning of the game this past Sunday evening is taken from the perspective of my new season ticket seats.

Look forward to attending and following the Cowboys for years to come. Through thick and thin. Let this season begin. 🙂

The title for today’s post borrows a sports idiom to make a point. In this age of retina displays and gorilla glass the time has come (just like it did for film and all manner of film cameras) to remove the traditional ground glass view finder and mirror.

Several camera manufacturers (inlcuding Nikon, Canon, and Sony) in the past couple years have designed, manufactured, and marketed various mirrorless cameras. But recent reports from these companies indicate they area experiencing some sales bumps. And Canon has even hinted it may cease marketing them in the US.

These mirrorless cameras without the bulk of the through the lens viewfinder and mirror are both lighter and smaller. And given the miniturizaiton that occurs routintely with all things tech this new breed of camera follows a natural and quite welcome photography evolution. It would also seem a good weapon to counter the proliferation of the ubiquitous “always have a camera with you” smartphone.

Any time a new product is imagined and introduced there are bound to be adjustments both in the product and its marketing in order to hit the sweet spot of consumer acceptance, sales volume, and profitability. As such would hope the major camera manufacturers are able to take the long view and keep at it until they get it right.

Key features am looking for in the next iteration of Nikon’s high end mirrorless cameras (presumably the V3) inlcude (1) phone to camera bluetooth & wifi upload, (2) improved sensor, (3) same caliber AF as Nikon’s pro-sumer DSLRs, and (4) and more high quality lenses.