Monday, August 22, 2011

National Flute Convention

YEAH!! Finally another blog post. I feel a lot comfortable typing my blog post on my own computer, plus I have access to my pictures. I have had internet this past week, but on another person's computer.

So, this post will be a recount of the quick trip down to Charlotte, NC for the National Flute Convention. It really was a quick trip. We headed out on Friday morning after a quick trip to the Pentagon and were back on Sunday afternoon. That Friday evening, we actually tried to find a darker spot in the city to watch the ISS pass overhead and see if there were any meteor showers that were going to show. We did see the ISS, but no meteors. :-( Saturday morning was an early morning after a late night. After getting dressed up in my business attire, you never know who you are going to meet, I headed out to the Charlotte Convention Center in downtown Charlotte. What a great city!! Once arriving, I went and registered as a one day individual and started studying the huge book that they gave me of all the events and music programs that were to be performed.

First on the agenda, listening to an old instructor of mine from camp. I met Claudia 10 years ago and we have stayed in contact throughout the years. I would encourage everyone to listen to a CD called ZAWA! Great CD and great performers. Unfortunately, Claudia had to go back to Colorado so we could not catch up for very long. The next event of the day was to explore the different exhibits that filled up a huge room downstairs. Powell Flutes, Haynes Flutes, Carolyn Nussbaum Company, and many other great music companies were there. I got to look and play on some very shiny and pricey flutes. ;-) My favorite! After wandering around for a while, it was time to head back upstairs to hear Cady Coleman speak.

While in Baltimore, I was thrilled when Col. Coleman told me she would be going to the convention. There were a lot of questions I wanted to ask in Baltimore, but knew that the chances of a 3rd flute player being in the crowd was slim. She spoke about her time on the ISS and the different people she was able to "play" with. She had a lesson from James Galway and played a tribute with Ian Anderson to Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin. She also spoke about the differences in playing on the ISS and when she got back to Earth. It was wonderful because again, it was space geek meet music geek for me! :-) After she spoke, she went down to the Powell booth, she plays a Powell flute, and signed things and took pictures. Two highlights were her remembering me from Baltimore, no, I do not stalk astronauts, chatting with her for a few minutes, her signing my own flute case, AND getting to play on the headjoint she took with her to the ISS. How cool is that last highlight?!?!?! Okay, that was more than two. . . Oops! ;-)

On the way back on Sunday, we stopped off and were able to meet my best friend who was driving back to AR from NC. We had not seen each other all summer, so it was a wonderful way to end an already great weekend. With that, I will close this post with a few pictures from that weekend. Hopefully, it will not take me so long next time to post. Hope everyone is doing well!

My flute with the headjoint that FLEW in SPACE!!!

Cady Coleman

Downtown Charlotte

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meeting Astronauts

While, some of my fellow space tweeps were down at KSC for the Juno launch, I had the wonderful opportunity to head up to Johns Hopkins University to hear some of the crew of STS-134 and Expedition 26/27 speak. WHAT AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE!! So, here goes a rundown of the evening.

My wonderful father took off work early so that I would not have to go by myself. We left the DC area around 3ish and were up there around 4:15. After making a few turnarounds on the JHU campus, we eventually found the building where the presentation was going to be held. We got there about 2 hours early, but I did not care and it actually gave us time to explore their astronomy building. We also got there plenty early to scope out the good seats and sit down. They had the entire left side of the auditorium marked off for NASA people and then the first three rows of the middle section marked off. I got nosy and started looking to see who had a reserved seat. I see none other than a seat reserved for Cady Coleman!! Now, for those of you who know me you have probably heard me speak of her. She took a few different instruments into space, namely flute instruments, and also played a space-earth duet with Ian Anderson. (I play flute, for those of you who did not know this.) Side note-- I am getting all smiley just thinking about the evening! :-) It was an amazing evening! Back to it. . .

The auditorium started to feel up and then, a lady came and ripped off Cady Coleman's reserved sign. :-( I got super sad at this point, but knew there could still be a chance of seeing her because she was at the DC event earlier in the day. They had also not taken off her guest reserved seats that they had just put up since we had been there. About 10 minutes before the presentation began, this lady walks down to the front of the room with two people. Another lady points to the Cady Coleman guests seats and tells them that is where the people would be seating. Now, I hate to admit this but it took me a moment to realize that it was. . . CADY COLEMAN!!! I started hitting my dad and was like OMG there she is!! Yes, I acted like a 5 year old in a candy store. I was just over the moon, no pun intended. Hehe! ;-)

The presentation itself was AMAZING!! Mark Kelly was an amazing speaker and seeing/hearing all the other astronauts speak was amazing!! They also showed an amazing video at the end before they took questions from the audience. At the end, we all made our way up to a reception. We stopped one of the professor's and asked if they would be out speaking to people and he said they were supposed to be. When we walked back out to the rotunda, we noticed different crowds gathering. I got so excited knowing that I was more than likely fixing to meet these astronauts. The first astronaut was Mark Kelly. He was incredibly friendly and more than willing to chit chat for just a moment. What an amazing person! I totally forgot to bring something with me to sign and he ended up just signing a piece of paper that we had printed out about the event. I did not even care at that moment. Next, was finding Cady Coleman. She was also incredibly nice and friendly!! I introduced myself and told her I played flute as well. We briefly talked and I asked if she was going to the National Flute Convention next weekend and she said she was. I hope to get time to ask questions and my fingers are crossed. By this time they were ushering the astronauts out, but I did manage to get Paolo Nespoli to sign my paper and pose for a picture.

Mark Kelly

Cady Coleman

Paolo Nespoli

Even though I was not at the Juno NASA Tweetup, I must admit this is going to be very hard to top. I had an amazing and once in a lifetime evening! Every time I think about what all I got to do and the people I got to meet, a huge smile comes on my face. :-) So, to end this post here are some pictures from the evening. Enjoy!! :-) 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Greetings from Virginia

You read correctly, I have finally made it to Virginia. I started the trek this way last Friday after taking my last University of Arkansas test and an exit interview with my boss from the past summer. I arrived late afternoon on Saturday. It was slow moving in and I have not quite finished putting up everything, but all the clothes are put away and you can at least see most of the floor. The drive up was not too bad, just really long! I made it to Knoxville the first evening and then got up early and headed out the next morning. After finally getting here we unpacked the way too filled car and headed out to my favorite Alexandria pub, Pat Troy's. Yummy!!

I have not done much in the way of getting out to see things. I honestly have not even made it into DC yet. Surprising, huh? It is a funny feeling knowing that for now, I am up here until something job wise happens. I do not think it has hit me yet that I am not going to go back to AR in a few days. Ask me in a few weeks how I feel. I am truly loving being here though. Sunday night, on the way to dinner, we passed the mall on the outskirts of DC and I was like, "No big, I live here now." I could have gone down to the mall anytime this week, but I have just stayed around the house. Tomorrow night, the STS-134 crew will be giving a presentation in Baltimore and we are planning on going. Friday, dad is giving a lecture up at Mount Vernon and I am going to go watch him and then head to VA Beach for the weekend. I would definitely not be able to do all this stuff back in OK/AR. The opportunities are just endless.

Workouts: I have restarted my jogging program. Started on Monday and will do the second day as soon as I get back to the house here in a bit. Yesterday, I took the bike out and rode while Dad ran. Should have made sure the seat was risen high enough and that back tire was full enough because my rear end is sore today. TMI? Oh well. ;-) I would love to find a YMCA around here to get back into weights. Side note: should have gone jogging/walking earlier. It is starting to ran heavier. Boo! :-/ I guess that means no concert on the Capitol steps tonight either.

Alright, out for now. Not the most engaging post, but a post none the less. More details next week when I actually will be doing stuff. Pray that the ran stops or it will be in the morning before I get a jog/walk in.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reflections on a Birthday Post

Catchy title, huh? I think it kind of has a poetic/musical sound to it. Hehe, music geek. ;-) In this post, I am going to reflect back on the past year. Why? Because I can and because today is my birthday. :-) Gosh, that almost sounds weird saying. I cannot believe another year has gone by. I can only imagine how I will feel another 22 years from now. So, here are some highlights from this past year and some valuable life lessons I have learned.

In no particular order:

1) Graduation- After 4 years at the University of Arkansas, I made the walk across the stage on May 14th to finally receive that empty degree holder. I eventually will get my actual degree sent to me as soon as I finish the online Ethics class I am taking. I cannot believe that 4 years have gone by! Honestly, I still feel too young to be graduated and looking for a job or going on to get a Masters. I loved my time at the U of A and I am so fortunate that I had the opportunity to go there. Go Razorbacks!!

2) Space Camp- This is probably the most recent highlight for me of this past year. I had the wonderful opportunity to be 1 of 16 people selected to go down to Huntsville, AL for a Space Camp tweetup during the last Space Shuttle launch. I learned a great deal and I am still learning more everyday. I actually just stepped away to go watch the International Space Station pass over here in AR. It was a beautiful site and a wonderful birthday present. I wish I had grown up learning to love science and math. I believe it is never too late to learn something so maybe this next year sometime I will take a math course or science course and really work on those things. I think about the shuttle program that is coming to an end. I also look at the math. Meaning, the shuttle program began in 1981 and a lot of the current astronauts were still in college at the beginning of the shuttle program. Currently, we do not have a "replacement" program for the shuttle. There is still time for me to potential pursue that path. Yes, it would take a lot of work and more schooling, but if given the opportunity I would take it. One of my favorite movie quotes is from Contact: "If it really is just us, it would be an awful waste of space." I do believe that! How amazing and beautiful is the world and universe that we live in??

3) St. Paul's Episcopal Church: For the first three years of college, I really did not attend church anywhere here in F. The beauty and the sense of awe led me to try out St. Paul's. Yes, this is way different than what I grew up in, Baptist. I feel like I have found a place that I belong in and that I can always ask questions in. The questions part is important to me because I do tend to ask questions. They were more than willing to talk about those questions and the answers. The warmth and love from this church has amazed me and I will miss it a great deal.

4) Life lessons: I have always been living in my own little world and have been oblivious to what others can see. I, as far as I know, did not know of anyone smoking illegal substances in high school. Same thing with alcohol. This continued throughout college, even though I know it goes on everyday, maybe I just choose to ignore it. But, in the past few months my eyes have really been opened to this thing called life. It is messy! People do things and say things that I, again, knew went on, but could not bring myself to actually see. Sounds funny coming from me. I guess, maybe I am just a simple minded person. This point is honestly hard to articulate in a post so I will leave it at this. Life is messy. Things happen. People are not always what you believe them to be. That is okay. Everything will work out in the end.

5) I have an "old" soul: Hehe, this may make since to only a few people, but here goes it anyway. I believe I do not look at life the same as any other 22 year old. I think I have always looked at life differently around kids my own age. I prefer to hang around the "older" crowd-no, I do not think you are old ;-)-because I tend to get along with them better. I have no problem sitting around on a Friday night watching a movie by myself, but I also like to go out and have a drink with friends. I like the idea of a set schedule and something that is familiar to me. If that makes me old for my age, I am perfectly fine with that! :-)

6) True friends are not the friends that tell you you have no friends and that no one likes you. True friends are the ones you can always count on and not be afraid to be yourself around. If you are afraid to speak up in a friendship because you are afraid of losing that person, then maybe that person is not as good of a friend, if even a friend, as you thought.

Those are just a few of the highlights from this past year. I hope you all enjoyed an insight into my life. Stay tuned for the next blog post because it will more than likely be from VA! Thank you all and have a BEAUTIFUL day!


Friday, July 15, 2011


"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Eleanor Roosevelt

Now that I have officially talked to my mother I can post that in a few weeks I will be moving to Virginia. I will begin working on my Master's until I hear anything about the Navy or the other job that I have started the process with. I am feeling so very many different emotions right now. I feel too young to be graduated with an undergraduate degree (okay, almost) and already pursuing a graduate degree. I can remember when I was younger and I could not wait to grow up. I definitely do not want to slow down the process and I am not saying that growing up is hard. In this moment, even though my future the next few months is really uncertain, I am so excited!! I want to do something great with my life and at the end know that I have made a difference. Does that sound kind of egotistical?? In a weird sort of way, I honestly do not know exactly where I want to go in the future, as far as a career goes. I would love being selected to become a Naval Officer and serve my country like my father, grandfathers, and many special friends have. I would also love becoming a federal agent for a government agency. Both career paths offer many great things and I am in a wonderful position right now because I am young, single, and willing to go anywhere. Even though I do not have the same dream each evening or day, I still believe in the beauty of whatever and whichever dream of mine comes true.

6 miles tomorrow. I will let you all know how it goes. I am planning on getting up early again and going to do Lake Fayetteville again. I know this post had very little to do with training, but I hope you all enjoyed seeing another side of me. You all have a fantastic evening and wonderful Saturday. BTW, the crochet cowl I have been working on looks great!! I am so excited to see it turning out. :-)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

7 Weeks, 4 Days

That, my friends, is how long until the VA Beach Half Marathon!!! I am super duper excited. Training has been going great! I was going to start a different training program on the off days and only have Sunday off, but I have decided to just stick with my old cross train. So, this is what weeks will look like from now on.

Sunday: Rest Day
Monday: 45 minutes on the elliptical; full body weight training
Tuesday: allotted training miles; ab work
Wednesday: 45 minutes on the elliptical; full body weight training
Thursday: allotted training miles; ab work
Friday: 45 minutes on the elliptical; full body weight training
Saturday: allotted training miles; ab work

The food realm has pretty much sucked lately, to be very honest. Got to get back on the wagon. I did almost reach a nice goal on Monday. I have been trying to break 4 miles in 45 minutes, but I have not been able to. And before anyone calls that slow, I have the elliptical on an interval training program. I begin with the crosstrain on 4 and the resistance at 1, then it ramps up to a 10 on crosstrain and an 8 on resistance. I was with 7 seconds of reaching the goal. It is amazing how much more effective a workout can be while not reading a magazine. Not sure if I will hit that goal tomorrow. I sometimes feel the harder I push on the elliptical, the worse the top of my left knee right above the knee cap feels. No pain, no gain! Right?? :-)

Today has been a rather exciting and long day all wrapped into one. Some short term decisions have been made regarding the next few months and I am both thrilled and apprehensive about it all. I am excited about growing up and I cannot wait for this journey called life to continue. I also bought new knitting needles today for a new project and I have I think finally gotten the hang of the crochet project I have started. (After pulling out the yarn 3 different times.) Going to sign off here as I am fixing to be off work. Yeah!!

You all have a great few days and until next time! Much love!!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Back to the 1/2 training :-)

PHEW!!! Boy am I glad that I got up early this morning and knocked those 8 mile walk training out of the way. It is H-O-T-T HOTT here this afternoon. I was tired after I got down, but could not have imagined if I had waited any longer. Currently is reporting it is 97 degrees, but it feels like 104 degrees. Humidity is only at 42% though.

This morning's walk was around Lake Fayetteville. There is an 4.25 mile paved path and then an 5.0 mile nature trail. I opted for the paved path. I somehow managed to miss the beginning of the path so ended up starting out at the mile 1 marker. Fastest mile ever! Haha, just kidding. This walk was different from others for a few reasons. This walk was only the second walk outside and this was the first walk with any type of elevation change, even if it was slight. Last weekend was walking along the boardwalk, so no real elevation change. I am finding out, slowly, how important it is to just get away from the treadmill and do the walking outside. Overall time. . . 2:18:38 for 8.03 miles. Not the best, but I am going to be spending more time outside from now on. overall, feeling pretty good. Went back after getting some groceries and a new scale (AWWW!!!) to take a shower and quick nap before work. Back to work after a wonderful vacation. Definitely time to get to busy with finishing up a few school things and getting to it with training. Just under 2 months now. Yeah!

Short, sweet, and to the point. Next blog, hopefully soon. Check out the other blogs from my vacation and Space Camp!! :-) Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!!