Finally Friday: Almost Family Time

For those that live away from your family, you know how hard it is to be away from them. There are many holidays I can’t spend with my family because I live about 600 miles away. However, there is one holiday, that is non-negotiable and I am home no matter what: Thanksgiving. It happens to be my Dad’s favorite holiday as well so he loves when we are all together. For the most part, we do too, ha!

In a matter of days, I will be on a plane bound for San Antonio. I will be picked up from the airport by my middle sister. She and I are the closest out of my two older sisters. I admire her very much. She’s married with 5 kids, yes 5, and is so good at multi-tasking. Heck, you have to be with that much going on, right! I feel sorry for the people who are not close to their siblings. Granted, we have our moments where we want to look for sharp objects, but we are always there for each no matter what. I talk to one of my sisters once a week or at least twice a month when things are really hectic for both of us. Now that my parents are getting older, we really rely on each other’s strengths to get through the times and deal with critical issues. Thankfully, we all have a great sense of humor which helps us through the various trials as well.

As Thanksgiving draws more near, I am sincerely grateful for my family. Be sure to express your appreciation and gratitude for those you love.

Enjoy the weekend…it’s FINALLY FRIDAY!!!

Finally Friday: Off Week

This weekend is a weekend where the OU Football team plays away from home and therefore, allows me to get some other things done. I work the home games so my personal time revolves around the home schedule. What tomorrow means to me is sleeping in….and having two cups of coffee and relaxing in my bed. I do have to work for a few hours in the afternoon but otherwise, nothing planned and I’m good with that.

Once again, this week passed in a blur. The weather was cold most of the week which, for the most part, I enjoyed. I don’t, however, like walking to and from my car in 30 degree temps. Tuesday was Veteran’s Day, a day we honor the men and women that have served our country so we can have our freedom. There was a ceremony on the OU campus in the morning and I made a point of getting to work in time to make it. As cold as it was and as tempting as it was to stay in the warm office, myself and a few colleagues braved the cold temps and attended. I kept thinking of my Dad who served in the Korean War and cousins who have selflessly given their time to the Marne Corp, among the countless others who are a part of our military. I said multiple times when asked if I was going, “It’s the least I can do.” President Boren spoke briefly (though he admitted his original remarks came out to over an hour) and then all who were gathered there were given an American flag to post around the flagpole. I felt good about going and am glad we did.

Wednesday evening, I was able to attend the 60 year anniversary of the Oklahoma FCA at Crossings Community Church. My best friend’s husband was the emcee and did a stellar job as always. What a neat group of people in attendance. Kenny Mossman (aforementioned emcee) introduced former Congressman and OU alum J.C. Watts after we heard the talented home run queen Lauren Chamberlain sing the national anthem. Wow, what a voice! I had never heard Congressman Watts speak and was impressed and enjoyed him introduce the keynote speaker, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Oh my gosh, what a fantastic woman and role model! What a career she has had: National Security Adviser, Secretary of State and Provost at a large institution….not to mention being on the Football Bowl Selection Committee-not a bad resume in my book. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Dr. Rice discuss her faith and how it plays a role in her life. She is such a class act and was very inspirational. I loved how unapologetic she is about her faith and that she pushes others to discuss and embrace it.

Other than a staff tour of the OU library yesterday, this brings us to today. Ahh, Friday….the day my colleague and friend Erin have had circled on our calendars for a while. Why you ask….because today was the day tickets for Garth Brooks concert in Tulsa went on sale. Due to my speaking in a class in the morning, Erin and another friend Terri were tasked with getting tickets. When I returned from the class, I stopped in Erin’s office only to find her chatting it up with Terri as if they were longtime friends. I couldn’t help but smile. What we were hoping would go fairly smooth turned into quite an ordeal. Just as the timer turned to less than a minute of wait time, the message popped up saying there were no tickets left. As Terri and Erin clicked and waited patiently, I scrolled through Twitter to see if other people were having as hard of a time. At one point, I screamed, “Oh my God, he added 3 more shows!!” So we switched our search to the earlier dates and then encountered more waiting and more glitches. Just as we began to lose hope, I returned to my office and tried on my computer. I began looking on my phone as well. Fortunately, our patience paid off as I was finally able to secure tickets. What an ordeal! But…this is Garth Brooks…someone who hasn’t done a full-blown tour in over 17 years. He puts on a hell of a live show and we are so pumped. We’re in for one fun girls night out!

Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, Oklahoma Memorial Stadium 2013

I start the weekend on a high note. I’m so blessed to live in a state that has four seasons and allows me to enjoy fall (even if it feels like winter right now) and be surrounded by friends who make me feel so rich. I am where I am supposed to be and I am grateful.

Happy Weekend to all!
Mary

Finally Friday: Wow, what a week!

It is finally Friday, and boy am I glad. This week has been an emotional roller coaster. As I sit here with my feet up on the couch, enjoying a glass of wine, I am able to digest the events of the week. I can’t help but laugh but know God gave me this week for a reason. I pity the people that don’t have their share of ups and downs because they don’t know their own strength. They don’t know just how much a sense of humor can get them through the day. At work, we are all inundated with statistics and data entry right now, that I’m so mentally checked out…thus, the wine. I love that it was a crazy week because there was never a dull moment. I don’t do boring…I like keeping things interesting. I love having a co-worker (who I’m lucky enough has turned into a friend) who emails me shortly after we both got to work and says “Coffee?” That’s all her email says…but it’s enough to make me smile and know that she wants (or needs) a trip to Starbucks…which, thankfully is located in our building. The week was a blur for the most part…that seems to be happening more and more these days…I’m sure it’s my age, but this is just a hectic time of year. Holidays, end of semester, statistics, oh my…

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of chatting with Barbara Niven, an actress who stars in one of my favorite shows, Cedar Cove. She was sweet enough to offer 2 people a short chat with her via Skype. Well, the night before I opened up Skype to make sure it was working which it was. The hour leading up to our phone call, I was nervous….will I know what to say, what should we talk about, should I dress up? Sheesh, I thought..just relax. She’ll be herself so just chill. At the set time, I get the notification that her call is coming through. Not 5 minutes into our chat, we encounter audio issues…and of course they are on my end. I was so embarrassed and frustrated…she could hear me one minute, but then not the next. Darn technology. Being the sweet person she is, she said we would try it again another time. I wanted to crawl in a hole and snap my fingers, hoping to start the day over…preferably with a new laptop.

Here we are and it is Friday night…..back to me on the couch with the wine. Ahh, comfort zone. when I think about the week, I smile. It beats the alternative….except having more wine, not much beats that. Tomorrow, I will do my “volunteer job” (well, there is some money but don’t do it for the money)….I’ll work the football game. I get to see a room full of Sooner fans gathered in one place to watch our beloved Oklahoma football team hopefully beat Baylor. It’s an early morning but to be a part of the day and see everyone’s faces is worth it….

Here’s to a wonderful weekend.

Mary

Finally Friday: Recap from Halloween Week

What a blur this week has been.  I’m starting a “week recap” posting that will take place every Friday.  So to christen things, here is a recap of this week’s events:

Monday: To celebrate the October birthdays, we painted pumpkins.  Some in the office get REALLY into this event.   As stated in my posting Monday afternoon, I am not one of those people.  Nevertheless, it was fun activity we could all do together that could take our mind off work for a while.

Tuesday:   This day consisted of a flu shot in the morning and then an outing with a colleague to visit AAA in Oklahoma City.  We left a little early so we could take an excursion to the outlet shops to purchase a lab coat for one of our Halloween costumes.  After that, we made our way toward AAA but stopped at BJ’s for lunch first.  So we would have enough energy and not fall asleep, we made a Starbucks run before finally arriving at our meeting.  The two representatives were nice enough to give us a tour and then we moved to a conference room to watch some videos and visit about recruiting strategies.  As a treat for us, they had brought cupcakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes.  Oh my gosh, yummy.  Mine was red velvet and was delish!!  We really enjoyed not only being able to escape the office for a bit but also get to know the company better and learn of opportunities for our students.

Wednesday: This was a fairly normal day.  I had a student appointment in the morning and then taught a Gateway class in afternoon.  It’s always nice to get in front of freshmen and get their take on college life.  Oh, to be that young again….

Thursday: Ahh, staff meeting days….our office tends to sign every time Thursday rolls around.  We never know how long our meetings will last.  As usual, this one got off on random tangents and what should take 5 minutes to discuss ends up going way past that time allotment.  Thursday evening, I could be found at one of my favorite places on campus: Lloyd Noble Center.  Anyone who knows me well knows that basketball is my sport.   The women’s basketball team was holding a scrimmage and was free to the public.  I sat next to a fellow softball fan so we chatted while cheering on the team.  Coach Coale was gracious enough to recognize certain individuals and acknowledge her appreciation of the crowd and fans.

Friday: That would be today…Halloween.  So this is the second year that our office has dressed up for Halloween.  I’m really not into this sort of thing but thanks to my co-worker/friend Erin, we came up with a crafty idea.  Seeing as how we are the Assistant Directors for Arts & Sciences students, we chose to dress up as just that-part Sciences, part Arts.  I borrowed a clapboard from a Film & Media professor, brought reading glasses, a credential badge and an old bound textbook to act as my script.  Erin dressed up as a mad scientist and looked awesome.

Halloween 2014

Happy Halloween!

Pseudo Movie Director in Norman

Pumpkin Decorating at Work

Are you one of those people who is not creative at all?  Like when you’re invited to some sort of decorating party, you start to have a panic attack and find some reason to not make it?  Well, I’m not that bad, but pretty darn close.  I have little to no creative bone in my body.  My mother, God love her, is known for one artistic talent: drawing palm trees…well, and she can do some awesome stick figures.  My Dad is the artist in the family and has drawn some amazing pictures.  The details he incorporates are fantastic.  I’m more of a photography girl…give me a camera and I will start snapping away.  So where did all this come from you wonder?  Well, for the October birthdays in our office, we once again did pumpkin decorating.  Naturally, all the women in the office were on Pinterest to get ideas.  As soon as I was armed with a cup of coffee, I was on Pinterest looking for ideas.  I finally found something that looked somewhat easy and that I liked.  At my table sat my friend and co-worker had a cute idea of a football and hers came out great (oh, and being a mom helps….really, that’s just an unfair advantage) and my other co-worker (who shares my thinking which is scary in and of itself) was also sort of struggling.  It didn’t take Rick and I long to both say, “Um, I think I’ll be taking mine out of the voting.”  The original idea I had was this:

 

argyle pumpkin

I started off fine, painting my pumpkin all white and then let it begin drying.  Then it was the waiting game…..I hate waiting.  I’m not a very patient person (I get that from my Dad, but clearly not his artistic abilities).  When I felt the pumpkin was dry enough, I thought I’d “attempt” my design.  I didn’t want to use orange and black because that reminded me of Oklahoma State’s colors.  Erin, the aforementioned mom/friend/co-worker suggested our school colors red and white or crimson and cream.  I chose blue and green because I love those two colors together and they reminded me of the argyle style. I started painting the diamond shapes, stopped and cringed.  I wanted to scream “Does that look like a diamond, you idiot?”  But that would probably warrant being sent home from work.  I continued painting as if my irregular shaped design was exactly what I had planned all along.  As I came toward the meeting of the two sides, I found a gap that would result in the next diamond being the same color as previous…peachy!  So I decided to just put the letters R L for Ralph Lauren in that space.  The dash marks were next and as I began those, I again gave myself too much credit as those turned out to be disaster too.  So I repainted those white.  Then the smearing appeared….sheesh, when will the nightmare end.  I kept thinking, “Hmm, is it too late to start over?  Would they notice if I trashed mine and then disappeared?  Whose silly idea was this anyway?”  I decided the “diamonds” which were really just fat circles looked ridiculous.  I picked up my brush and filled in the green and blue all the way down so it became a green and blue striped pumpkin.  Where was I going with this….wow, blue and green stripes, what an earth-shattering concept?  I know you’re dying to know the end result, so here we go:

my pumpkin

                                                                                                                                                       They almost look identical, don’t they?  NOT!

I like being a team player and all….but ugh, I’m glad this little bonding moment is over.  I’m more of a “let’s gather around the table and eat” type of person.  I’m much better at that.  However, Halloween is a few days away and this was a fun way of getting our minds off work and bringing out our creative sides (present company excluded….and not offended).

Here are the final masterpieces.  Notice the basketball and doughnut (top row, last one and front row, middle)…those are my favorites.  I applaud those people …simple, yet cute.  Note to self: sit next to those people next year and copy them.

                                                                                                                                           Here’s everyone’s masterpiece:

  groupHappy Halloween!

Creatively challenged in Norman

Being open to God’s surprises

I will admit that I am pretty set in my ways (change is not always my favorite word) and tend to be more interested in surprising other people rather than be the one who is receiving surprise.  However, I have learned to sit back and be content, no, more than content…be open to life’s curve balls.  Sometimes it is more fun to “let the chips fall” and not know what’s around the bend.  In Sunday’s homily, a guest priest started off mass by asking us if we would be open to God’s surprises.  I am confident enough in my faith that I would be able to handle not knowing every detail of his plan for me.  In fact, I find it exciting thinking about the endless possibilities.  What people does God want me to meet?  Who will come into my life for a reason/season/lifetime?  Whose lives will I able to impact in a positive way?  Things happen for a reason, I firmly believe that.  We may not understand the reason at the very moment we’d like, but there is an underlying reason.  Just this past weekend, I was able to do a favor for a lady attending the OU football game.  She made what sounded like a simple request.  It ended up more complicated than it should have been (due to circumstances out of my control) but it was worth it to see the smile on her face and genuine gratification.

Later that day,  I met up with a gentleman, graduate of OU, who had temporarily lost his wallet.  Thanks to getting email on his phone, he was able to call my mobile, and we were able to connect so I could return the wallet.  He was from out-of-town and had played in the alumni band at halftime.  He would be traveling for work soon and was afraid he’d have to cancel his credit cards.  Thankfully, that didn’t have to happen.

I love full circle moments.   I was open to God’s surprises and because of that, I was able to make someone’s day and then be able to pay it forward and connect with a fellow Sooner (that was just a bonus, of course).  The lesson I learned, and continue to learn is this: Put your faith in God and trust him.  He has your back.

Escaping the Office

I’ve always thought it would be fun to be one of those people who parked themselves at a coffee shop to work. Well, today I was one of those folks. Due to a last-minute addition to our on-campus interview schedule, I elected to vacate my office for a few hours this morning. After I was released from helping check in recruiters, I grabbed my purse and iPad and headed for a beloved spot on Campus Corner, Cafe Plaid. I walked in, found a booth I liked and then set my bag down. I went to the counter and ordered a vanilla latte and headed back to my booth. When the server brought over my drink, I couldn’t help but smile thinking, “I could get used to this.”

latte

In the background, there is chatter of two ladies catching up two booths down. In the booth next to me look like two professors doing research. They’ll occasionally look up from their laptops   to chat but for the most part are engrossed in whatever is on their screens. Music plays in the distance, probably to get the staff energized for the looming lunch crowd. Even though there are many empty tables and chairs, this is still a great place to people watch.

One of my “dream jobs” (you know those “Oh wouldn’t that be cool but not 100% realistic) is to be a writer….whether I write for a newspaper or possibly a non-fiction book. I could easily see myself coming armed with a charged computer, grabbing a large coffee and settling in to get work done.

For now, I’ll enjoy the fact that I got to escape the office for a little bit…no office phone, no one popping in…just me, my iPad and coffee.