Wednesday, March 31, 2010

February 2010 Recap

Wow! I guess we’ve been busy the past couple of months! Since I’m about 1 1/2 months behind, I’m going to do general monthly recaps for February and March. Sorry!

School was the primary focus of our time in February, followed closely by the Olympics. I have always been a fan of the Olympics, but became even more so when I was a volunteer at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. I worked in the Athlete’s Lounge at the Delta Center (at that time), the location for figure skating and short-track speed skating. I was fortunate enough to work with Apolo Anton Ohno almost every day! And here we are…eight years later…and he is still an Olympics celebrity! Ryan and I stopped everything we were doing when Apolo had an event. We celebrated when he won each additional medal, and were disappointed when he crashed or was disqualified. We also enjoyed watching skiing, snowboarding, and the other sports. We went into a little bit of withdrawal when the Olympics ended, but watched considerably less TV!
Our cub scout pack meeting for February was celebrating the 100th birthday/anniversary of the Boy Scouts. I talked about things that were happening in the country 100 years ago, and then we had a special guest speaker who has been involved with scouting for over 50 years! He has a fun collection of scout stuff from the past 50 years, so he talked about the changes in uniforms, awards, books, etc. He spotted Ryan in the front row with all of his arrow points and called him up as a "helper." He had no idea that Ryan was the cubmaster's son! He just saw the long line of arrow points and called on him, pointing out the long row of arrow points. Of course, Ryan loved it!After our guest speaker finished speaking, we played a couple of fun birthday games and then had birthday cake. I think it went very well.Ryan and I had a wonderful experience in February, due to the generosity of a lifelong friend. My friend Curtis has season tickets to the Jazz games, and his seats are just a few rows behind the Jazz bench. He was unable to attend a game one night, and gave us his tickets!Curtis is also involved with several philanthropic organizations, including some with Thurl Bailey, former Jazz player and current Jazz commentator. Curtis not only gave us his tickets, but made arrangements for us to meet Thurl during the game. We also met Pace Mannion, former University of Utah player, who is now a commentator with Thurl Bailey. When we went up to the area where they broadcast, there was a crowd of people around watching and hoping for an autograph or a picture. Curtis told us to walk right up to the security guard, tell him that Curtis had sent us, and he’d let us in. He did! We had fun taking pictures on the set and getting autographs. The crowds waiting were very jealous, and we felt like VIPs!Ryan was also thrilled to find out that Thurl was number 41 when he played for the Jazz…Ryan’s number this year on Jr. Jazz!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ryan’s Swim Meet ~ February 20, 2010

On Saturday, February 20, Ryan had a swim meet at an aquatic center near the University of Utah. I was required to be at graduation at Kingsbury Hall, on the University of Utah campus. I was hoping that since I didn’t have any students coming for graduation that I could skip it entirely, but I wasn’t able to make that arrangement. So Rara & Papa took Ryan to his meet.

I had signed Ryan up for his usual events when I did his registration. But as his first regular event was coming up, he went over to his coaches to check in. They had him down for an event TWICE AS LONG as his usual event! His main coach asked him if he wanted to try it, and he said he did! He tried it, and came in 4th!

We don’t get the official results for another couple of weeks. But he beat his own best time in his two other events, and set a new time for the new event. Rara and Papa said they think he came in second place in his other two events!

I am so proud of Ryan for being courageous and willing to try the new distance! I am also proud of him for beating his own time in his events. (With all of the excitement, as well as confusion about the events, no pictures were taken.)

WGU Semi-Annual Meetings ~ February 16-20, 2010

Our WGU meetings were a little bit different this year. My group of close friends (The Southern Girls) have all gone different directions within WGU, so we no longer attend the same departmental and smaller group meetings together. Since some of those changes were made, I have become much closer to a few people who were my friends before, but have truly now become my close friends. I was so happy to be able to spend more time with them.

A few months ago, we were given a couple of challenges. My work team of about 15 people won the “graduation challenge.” We had the most students graduate among all of the teams. I was second-highest in my team, as well! We were told that we could choose wherever we wanted to go for dinner on our one free night (Wednesday), and WGU would pick up the tab. We chose to go to The Melting Pot. I have only been there once before due to the cost. It was wonderful! Yes, our bill for the 15 of us was almost as much as one of my paychecks! We were sure glad that we weren’t paying! It was a lot of fun to spend an informal evening with my work team and get to know them better. I have only been working with them for a few months, so I didn’t know many of them outside of work circumstances. It was a fun evening. (Photos courtesy of one of my co-workers.) On Thursday night, we had the semi-annual President’s award dinner. I was one of a handful of employees honored for 5 years of service at WGU. I passed my 5 year point on November 15. My former boss and wonderful friend, Tom, was also honored for his 5 year anniversary. In previous years, a photographer has taken pictures of each honoree with President Bob Mendenhall, and then the entire “cohort” of employees celebrating the 5 year anniversary has a group picture taken. For reasons unknown, the pictures didn’t happen this year. So we took our own. WGU now has a chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the honor society for educators. Two of my good friends are the advisors, and invited me to join as one of the employee members. They had all of the supplies, paperwork, programs, decorations, etc. shipped to my house, so I think they felt obligated. :) Friday, February 19, was the chartering and initiation ceremony. One of my students (originally from Pakistan and now living in New York) was asked to be one of the officers, so she and her husband came to attend. It was fun to meet her in person!Saturday, February 20, was graduation. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have any students travel to attend graduation. But my student and her husband decided to stay and attend the graduation ceremony. Also, since no photographer was taking pictures of the 5-year-service honorees with President Bob Mendenhall on Thursday, I had a friend take a picture of us at graduation. Perhaps it was more fun to have us in our full academic regalia in the picture anyway. It’s always an extremely week, but always a lot of fun to spend time with my good friends.

Playing Catch-Up

Wow! I can’t believe that my last post was February 15! And I only had one post in February! That should illustrate how crazy February was. I have some time today, so I’ll try to get caught up a little bit. But I’m going to keep everything in separate posts instead of one huge post. More shortly…