Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hello, 2013! (Part II)

Check out Hello, 2013 (Part I) here.

In early February, my friend Sarah came to visit Ellie and I! Sarah lives in Alexandria, VA. We had a really great time enjoying margaritas...

 and painting pretty pictures of the Alamo!

The next weekend, I was able to go out to Washington, DC and see Mike for a few days before he left for Afghanistan. We stayed in Old Town Alexandria and spent time with each other and with friends. We managed to see Sarah (again!) before she left for a work trip overseas. I got to meet Mike's friend Patrick, whom I've heard so much about since I met Mike. Patrick was originally slated to be one of our groomsmen, but ended up being deployed at the time of the wedding. We also spent a whole day relaxing with my mom at her house. It was a very relaxing (and cold!) three days, but I enjoyed the extra time with him before he left.
The last photo of us together until August!
On the way home I learned the beauty of the USO at the airport. Free ice cream, food, and wifi as well as comfy theater seating in front of a big screen.

At the end of the month, our friend Onae, who moved to Kentucky last May, came to visit us in San Antonio. We all got together at Clarissa's one night and hilarity ensued:

Talk about coming in like a lion... On the first day of March, my work team went on an outing (most teams do these quarterly). This time we went skeet shooting. That's right. I learned how to shoot a shotgun! I was a bit nervous leading up to it, but in the end it was pretty fun! We had an instructor, too, so he made sure that each of us shot at least a few targets.

That weekend, I volunteered for my favorite Spina Bifida Texas event, FashionAble! This program pairs local high school fashion design students with disabled children. The design students design and make an item of clothing for the child and then they both show the piece off at a fashion show at Morgan's Wonderland, an amusement park for people with disabilities. It is always such an inspirational event to see the high school students bonding with their models and then seeing the audience react when the children walk out on the catwalk. There probably aren't many bright days for these children, and seeing them soak up their time in the spotlight is so uplifting!

That weekend I also ran in the Alamo City Run Fest 10K! It was the first year for this event and I ran with Team Rackspace. My goal was to run the 6.2 mile race in less than an hour. It was a lofty goal as I'd have to maintain less than a 10 min/mile pace and I hadn't gotten much training in. I managed to scoot across the finish line at 58:35 and ended up 16th in my age group! Not bad! It left me wondering what would have happened if I'd really dedicated myself to training!

Alright I think we're all caught up for now! :) I'll be sure to post more regularly in the future! With Mike being gone it seems like I shouldn't have much of an excuse not to write, but I'm so fortunate to have such and amazing group of friends here and they're keeping me extra busy!

Hello, 2013! (Part I)

[Insert joke about how long it's been since I've posted.]

[Insert sincere apology for my absence and heartfelt promise to write more.]

It's 2013! Time for a fresh start! It's certainly a time for big changes here at the Holtz household! Here's a run down of the last 3 months (over this two part series). Hang on to your hat, it's been a wild ride!

I told you I traded in the Runner, but we also traded in Mike's truck for a 2013 Prius 4, straight off the boat from Japan!
The Prius!!
It sort of looks like a spaceship inside and I think it can fly, I just haven't found the button yet....
It's been a really great car and it's already very clear we're saving a lot on gas! It's our only car, but there were only a couple weeks where we had to share it before Mike left for training in New Jersey, but we'll get to that later...

So our first road trip with the Prius was to Louisiana for Christmas! It did really well and we enjoyed having Sirius radio and Pandora on the way! In Louisiana, we got to spend time with Mike's mom and sister as well as our nephew and niece, Landyn and CJ.
Now kids, Uncle Mike is not a jungle gym!
While we were there, a line of storms rolled through Christmas day. To be safe, we brought Mike's mom to our hotel room where we all hung out, took naps and watched TV. When the storms got there, we went outside to watch (of course). Nothing terrible where we were, but I do believe there were some tornadoes further east that day.
Took a picture of this classic SLC (scary-looking cloud) from our hotel parking lot.
After a few days in Louisiana, we drove back home, did some laundry, pet the cat and then boarded a plane to Wichita early the next morning. While in Wichita, we caught up with friends and relatives and in between socializing, we worked on a puzzle that Mike and I got my dad for Christmas.
I think these two were more in to the puzzle than I was, but we all worked on it!
For New Year's Eve, we had some friends over. Sadly, due to widespread illness, our party was a bit smaller than we'd planned for, but it was still and enjoyable evening with Ryan Seacrest, Apples to Apples and some bubbly!

Steve shows off his winnings from Apples to Apples. 
On Saturday, January 5th, Mike left for Fort Dix in New Jersey where he would attend a month-long Army training course before his deployment to Afghanistan. I dropped him off at the airport with a tearful goodbye and hopes that it would work out for me to go visit him on the East Coast before he left.

The next day, Sunday, I was the volunteer coordinator for the American Meteorological Society's Weatherfest, associated with their annual meeting in Austin. I was worried that we wouldn't have enough help, but everything went very smoothly and I had a great time. I got to meet several new weather friends as well as meet up with old friends! I also handed off my work computer to a now-former co-worker. My employer had run out of grant money to pay for my position, so they had to let me go. I knew it was time to move on, but I certainly enjoyed my two years working from home. So....

On Monday I started my brand new job with Rackspace, the Open Cloud Company! I've known about Rackspace ever since we found out we were moving to San Antonio. If you Google "Best places to work, San Antonio" Rackspace is one of the first companies you'll see! I was so excited to get hired on as a Content Strategist. Basically, I'm a technical writer as well as an admin for a Knowledge Management System. It seems like a strange jump, but I was doing a lot of technical writing with the National Weather Service, so this is a very natural move for me.

So Rackspace is known for it's company culture, much like Google. There are vendors or food trucks for breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon-Fri. You do have to purchase your own food (we're not that much like Google), but you can choose from things like Freebirds and Rudy's as well as other local restaurants that bring in food! Also, when other Rackers (Rackspace employees) ask where my desk is, I tell them I'm near the slide. Yes, that's right, the slide.

They're also really big on t-shirts. I'm averaging about 1 t-shirt per week!
My first Rackspace t-shirt!
So Rackspace is more than just food trucks, t-shirts and slides. As you can see from their Core Values, they're a great company both for customers and employees. I have a one-on-one meeting with my supervisor every week and I'm on the cycling team and the running team. I'm even looking into joining RaxFit (free CrossFit for Rackers!).

Stay tuned for Part II....