Thursday, June 24, 2010

"C" is for Chattanooga

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This week I'm taking a training course in the great state of Tennessee.  I'm here in Chattanooga learning about transportation of radioactive materials, so I won't bore you with the details.  If you're really interested, you can check out 49 CFR 173.  Let me know when you wake up from your nap. 

Last weekend I made a road trip to Dallas.  I visited my friend, Lara, and we had a really good time out and about with friends.  My body quickly reminded me that I'm not 21 any more, but I'll be back to visit her soon.  We had sushi one night at The Fish Sushi Bar and Lounge near West Village and used a $25 coupon from  Be sure to check out the website for discounts on restaurants near you.  There was a Father's Day promo code for a $25 coupon for $3, and there is currently a new deal going on for a $25 gift card for $2 using "summer" for the promo code.

While I was in the Dallas area, I also stopped by to see my friend, Stevie.  If you haven't read Stevie's story on my blog already, click here.  It was wonderful to have some quiet time with her.  We chatted and laughed about all sorts of things, and I had a ton of dorky questions about her therapy.  Since the agency I work for regulates radioactive material, I wanted to know exactly what kind of radiation therapy she was receiving.  She answered all of my questions on her blog today.  (Thanks, Stevie!)

My training wraps up today, and I'm ready to get back to Tulsa for one day before I leave again for inspections, another road trip to Texas, and a work trip to DC.  Three weeks+ on the road might be the end of me, but if I miss a week or two of posting, you'll know I'm either out "protecting people and the environment" or relaxing on Lake LBJ with family and friends.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"C" is for Class Reunion

We had our 10-year class reunion on Saturday.  My parents were gracious enough to let us use their back patio for the event, and Big Rob's BBQ catered a delicious pulled pork dinner.  It was great to catch up with classmates.

The Class of 2000...10 years later.

 Dan Warrior and Chris Davidson provided the music.

Matt Anderson helped to organize the event, and at least one person went swimming.

A big thanks to my mom, dad, Matt, Dan, Chris, and everyone who came out and braved the heat and humidity!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"C" is for Calories

In the July edition of Real Simple, I couldn't help but notice the huge, two-page, GNC ad with a chick apparently working out in her underoos.  GNC is advertising their be-HOT™ nutritional supplements, which they claim burn three times more calories before your workouts and 12 times more calories for up to one our after.*

Did you catch the asterisk?  I did.  So I jumped down to the fine print to find out that GNC's claims are based on a the results of 25 subjects running on a treadmill twice.  I'm not a rocket scientist, but I know that you need waaaaaay more than 25 people doing something twice to call your study conclusive.

Epic fail on the scientific study, GNC.  And next time have your model wear some clothes--no one does kickboxing in panties.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"C" is for Charity

In May, John and I took part in our neighborhood garage sale (see "C" is for Clutter).  We sold a lot of things, including our Ford Explorer, but still had items leftover.  We inventoried the remaining items and made a tax-deductible donation to a local charity, Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Inc (DVIS).  DVIS advocates to protect sexual assault victims, provides shelter for women and children, counsels to promote healing, and educates to change attitudes.

Our friend, Lauren, is a new counselor at DVIS, so she helped us unload and process our donation.  One of Lauren's classmates, Kelly, who is interning at DVIS, also helped.  I met Kelly while we were volunteering at the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project earlier this year (see "C" is for Celebrity), so it was fun to see her again.

Our stuff at the garage sale

I forgot to take photos all of the big plastic bags of clothes and the boxes with household items as we unloaded them, and by the time I emailed Lauren asking her to take some pics, she and Kelly had already unpacked everything.  They worked very quickly!!

Lauren unpacking our donations

The DVIS donation room

We didn't donate everything in the room above, but I can see a few things of ours.  It looks a little crazy, but at least all of our unused items will eventually be put to good use.  We are glad we will be able to help women in need.  A big thank you to Lauren for giving us the idea to donate to DVIS and to both Kelly and Lauren for helping us unload and unpack!

Friday, June 4, 2010

"C" is for Cayes

I fell of the blogging bandwagon last week, but I have two really good excuses: 1) I was in DC for work and 2) after finishing up in DC, I headed straight to Ambergris Caye in Belize for a friend's wedding.  I met up with John and our other friends, Russ and Paul, at DFW.  Our first class upgrades went through, so I wasn't too upset about the four-hour delay.

Once we finally made it to Belize City, we were happy to find out the "puddle jumper" airlines held our second flights to San Pedro.

 Russ and Paul

We made it to our hotel, Belizean Shores, and met up with our friend, Chris, for a few drinks.  Chris convinced us that Mike and Maria were asleep and then two hours later informed us that they were at the other resort, El Pescador, with the wedding party.  So we made the trek over to El Pescador and met up with the bride and groom, Audrey and Zach, and other friends, Jacquelyn and Tony.  This is where we were officially informed that Mike and Maria were, in fact, at Belizean Shores asleep, and apparently we had woken Chris up from a nap upon our arrival.  The rest of the week went along those same lines...chaos, fun, alcohol, more chaos.  Here are some highlights:

Belizean Shores

First Day at the Resort



"C" is for Coral
There was a barrier reef just off the shore from our hotel.  John, Ben, Abby, Russ, Chris, and I used the kayaks to paddle ourselves out to the coral.  We got to see a huge ray, so that was exciting.  There were lots of colorful fish too.  I think I was more excited about discovering that Abby's snorkel mask fit my face than I was the actual snorkeling!  I had tried out three different leaky masks on the previous day.

"C" is for Comestibles
Several our friends staying at Belizean Shores pre-ordered groceries that were delivered to the rooms.  John and I thought we'd be thrifty by purchasing our own groceries when we arrived.  After watching our friends wait on the ferry for over an hour, we decided our time was better spent at the pool, so John called the grocery store and asked them to deliver a variety pack.  Thirty minutes later, bread, eggs, cheese, deli meat, chips, salsa, tamales, beer, and vodka arrived at our room.  Awesome!  Between our food and Ben and Abby's, we were able to create breakfast and lunch meals throughout the trip.  The bride's and groom's families hosted dinners each night.  The dinners included local cuisine at various restaurants around San Pedro and open bars.  We were amazed at the families' generosity, since we were not expecting meals to be covered at all.  A huge thank you to all of the families who hosted dinner for all of us!!

 Happy Hour at El Pescador
John and Ash

Ready for dinner at Wild Mango's, a local bar and restaurant
Chris, Ashley, Abby, Maria

Wild Mango's
Maria and Mike
"C" is for Caves
Russ planned a trip for a group of us to go tubing through some caves.  Problem 1: Russ did not show up for the trip.  Problem 2: Russ did not inform the group that the tubing trip required a 1+ hour boat ride, a 1 hour bus ride, and a 30 minute hike.  Problem 3: The groom's family arrived at our hotel an hour after we were supposed to leave to ask why we called and canceled.  Problem 4: I realized the night before I had kidney stones (again!).  Don't ask me why I still agreed to go on the caving trip, but I did.  The boat and bus rides were a nightmare, and anyone who has experienced kidney stones knows the last thing you want to do is hike.  To add insult to injury, our group was too big, so they split us into two subgroups.  The tour guide for my subgroup wasn't actually a tour guide--he didn't tell us anything about the caves.  My tour guide also thought it was funny to splash us with the ice-cold water.  I thought it would be funny to leave him in the jungle for the leaf cutter ants to dissect.

"C" is for Crafts
Audrey's family hosted a bridal brunch the morning of the wedding.  We made some neat flowers out of tissue paper to decorate the bride's and groom's chairs at the reception.  A few of us also made some for our hair.  Fun times!

"C" is for Ceremony
Audrey and Zach's ceremony was beautiful and very intimate.  It started raining around 3:30 pm, and the ceremony was scheduled for 4:30 pm.  Magically, at 4:30 the rain let up, and a beautiful rainbow crossed the sky.  

Aud walked down the aisle, beaming, with her parents on both sides.  There were about 45 of us there, so we all got to stand around a little thatch gazebo barefoot while Aud and Z said their vows.  Way cool.

Maria reading scripture

"C" is for Celebration
Shortly after the wedding, we began celebrating at the reception.  We all sat at one huge, long table, and dinner was delicious.  The bride's parents brought shells from Matagorda Bay in Texas to Belize, and they had our names on them as placeholders for our seats.  At the end of the night, we made wishes and launched the shells into the Caribbean.  John later commented that we probably introduced some foreign bacteria into the Belizean ecosystem that will wreak havoc in the future.  Oops!!! 

As the night went on, the rain picked up again, and before I knew it the bride was dancing in the rain with her friends, and some of the adults ended up in the pool, fully clothed. 

It was a fun night and a great end to our vacation, minus the part where we had to walk home in the rain.  It was POURING, and we had a 15 minute walk.  Ugh.

Leaving Ambergris Caye for the airport
Abby, Ben, Amy, Scott, Ashley, John, and Russ

 Paul, Mike, Maria, Chris

We had an amazing vacation.  Thanks, Audrey and Zach, for letting us share in your special day!
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