Monday, March 14, 2011

Who says you can't go home?

I just got back from a 10-day, 1200-mile trip up I-35. I saw plenty friends, family and co-workers along the way!

It all started several months ago when I decided I wanted to go to the National Severe Storms Workshop (NSWW) that's held annually in Norman. It's a really fun event with interesting talks, great networking opportunities and delicious food! Since it's in Norman (and my employer was paying for my attendance to the workshop) I decided to arrive the Sunday before and spend a few days in the office. Since my dad's birthday always falls on or near the dates of the workshop, I decided I could pop up to Wichita (since I was going to be close) and spend the weekend with him as his birthday gift. Then I realized that the Cowtown Run in Fort Worth was the weekend before the conference and Mike would be running the half-marathon. So, for those of you keeping track at home, that's Fort Worth on Saturday, Norman on Sunday, Wichita the following Saturday and all the way back to San Antonio Sunday. Whew!

Fort Worth
Mike did really well in his half-marathon. He finished in 2 hours and 17 minutes which was really great. He ran with Ryan (the brother of my bridesmaid, Ashley) and our friend Grant (Ashley's husband). It was Ryan's first half-marathon and he finished in just over 2 hours! Way to go! I was proud of all 3 of the boys as their personal chauffeur for the event! Mike and Grant reconfirmed their friendship when they discovered they used the same type of toothbrush!

I had a great 3 days in the office. It was nice to talk to everyone in person. We had an in-residence course going on so I got to help out in the lab. It's nice to have folks to eat lunch with everyday!

The conference was great. I made a few connections and learned a lot about severe weather. (Did you know the US averages 1300 tornadoes each year? And almost every state gets them!)

That Friday, one of my co-workers hosted a bratwurst party at his home. Another co-worker of mine lives in Wisconsin and brought back lots of brats for us to enjoy! It was really great to have one last hurrah with the office before coming home, especially since several of my co-workers have been fortunate enough to take on new opportunities that will further add to their success.

I got to Wichita just before lunch. Dad and I ate at Schlotzsky's which isn't unique to Wichita, but there isn't one close to us in San Antonio and I just really wanted a good sandwich. After lunch we dropped my car off for an oil change and went to visit my Grandma. I enjoyed some one-on-one conversation with her before her big 100th birthday bash that will take place May 1. With over 200 people in attendance and family coming in from all over, I likely won't get to talk to her much.

Dad and I went to the Wichita Garden Show where were learned about rain barrels and other fun gardening ideas. Dad even got to hold a snake. (I watched from a safe distance.) After that we met up with my aunt, uncle and cousins as well as Dad's friend, Terry, who is like an uncle to me, for Il Vicino. Il Vicino is a wood-oven pizza place in Wichita that I pretty much HAVE to go to every time I go to Wichita. It's where I went the day after our wedding and I even considered having the welcome dinner there. It's just really good.

Sunday morning I had birthday breakfast with Dad and Terry before gassing up the 4Runner and heading south. It was a long lonely drive but I had the Audiobook of Three Cups of Tea to ward off boredom.

When I arrived home my wonderful husband had cleaned the house and was just getting home from purchasing groceries (including pretty flowers). I had a great time but it's good to be back!