Friday, October 27, 2006

Progress docked

Things have been busy for the Taylors lately. Last weekend we met with our life group, which is a group of about 8 couples that meet twice a month to hang out, eat good food, and study God’s Word. Ross usually leads the discussion. Our group has really enjoyed using the studies that Bill Hybels wrote as a guide. They always seem to ask questions that get people talking about their lives. We also went to a wedding for April and Patrick where we got to see some of my friends from Chi Alpha. It was fun to see people with their kids and find out what they’re doing now that they’ve graduated. Sunday we went to see The Guardian with our friends Emma and Chris who recently found out that they are expecting a little one of their own.

This week has mostly been about work, but we did get to go to dinner with some of my friends from ISU one night. We met Alvin (from Ireland) and Melissa (from Washington DC/Houston) at Chuy’s for some good Tex-Mex food! Alvin is attending Rice University for the next six months, so I’m looking forward to seeing him more while he’s here. Melissa was in town getting ready for the Space Exploration Conference that will be held in Houston in December. They’re going to have some great speakers there, and I’m really hoping I’ll get to attend.

I’ve been working on console this week. There was a lot of excitement on Thursday when a Russian Progress vehicle docked. Things didn’t go completely as planned and we had to power down some equipment on the station while they got everything back to normal. That kept things interesting and busy for a while!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Rain, Rain...go away!

Today was a little crazy. On our way into work this morning, we kept hearing the radio announcers talking about school closures in the area due to heavy rain and flooding. We didn't think much about it since the streets here were okay this morning, but the trip home was a different story! I left around 5:30 and had a lot of trouble getting home in my big SUV. The water in front of our house was up past the sidewalks and there were a lot of flooded and stalled cars in the area. Ross was playing basketball and tried to fight the same water in his low Trans Am. However, he quickly realized that he wouldn't make it home, so he went back to work for another hour while the rain stopped and the water drained.

The exciting part of my day was when I got a call from Alvin! He's a friend from Ireland that I met at ISU. He's studying at Rice for the next 6 months, so hopefully we'll find time to get together while he's here!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ruston and LA Tech's Homecoming

Ruston was our next stop. Both sets of my grandparents live in Ruston, and we got to see them all. When we got into town we visited with my Dad's parents, and were thrilled to find out that my Aunt Kathy was there as well! From there we went to my Mom's parents for a catfish fry! It was sooooo good. To top that off we got to spend time with three of our very best friends. My cousin and maid of honor, Meg, drove from Atlanta, GA to see us, which was about an 8 hour drive, and Barbara and Heath recently moved to Ruston. Heath is now a professor in mechanical engineering at Louisiana Tech University, and Barbara is continuing to work for the same company from Ruston. They also recently found out that Barbara is pregnant!

I had an Industrial Engineering Advisory Board meeting all day Friday where we spent time learning about the new things going on in the department and meeting with the students. It's a little frustrating because there are a lot of things that need to change and the progress is slow. Things are improving though, and the students this year are really dedicated and want to see things improve too. Hopefully, we can all work together to make a difference!

Saturday started with a bike ride through the Mitchum Peach Orchard with Barbara and Heath. Then we went to the tailgating events for LA Tech's homecoming with Meg where we visited with a lot of our old friends from college including Ross' best man, Scott, and met Barbara and Heath again for the football game. It was a pretty bad game...8 turnovers. Needless to say, we lost, but I had a great time despite the score. We ended the night by going to one of our old hang outs...Johnny's Pizza. We sat around talking for several hours. It was fun to think about how we all met and remember all of the things that happened while we were there. I've posted a few pictures from the tailgating and the game, so check out the album.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Shreveport and the Revel

Ross and I had a great time in Leakey last weekend. After Leslie and Philip's wedding, we headed to Shreveport to visit with my parents. We had a great time there. We had dinner with two of my high school friends, Brandi and Adam. They are one of the coolest couples I know. They have been together since high school and have always been two of the strongest Christians I've ever known. Brandi was one of the most influential people in my life in high school and college. She always held herself and me to a higher standard. It's thanks to her that I never got into any trouble! Adam's pretty incredible too. He's a walking miracle. While fighting overseas, he had a rather large piece of shrapnel go into his neck and somehow miss all of the important nerves, arteries, etc. that go through that small area. I really enjoyed getting to catch up with them.

We also made it to the Red River Revel while we were there. The revel is an arts festival in Shreveport that takes place every year. We always enjoy walking around checking out the paintings, pottery, photographs, jewelry, and crafts. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they have a lot of good Louisiana food too!

Our last day in Shreveport we went for a bike ride through downtown and along the river. It started raining about half way through the ride. We were soaked and muddy by the time we got home, but it was so much fun!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Back to life

Since returning from ISU, Ross and I have been busy getting used to normal life again. Another shuttle flight has flown. I was on console to give a "go for launch" call, and Ross worked the flight providing support during inspections of the shuttle. At work I was recently made "lead" for several things including an upcoming space walk, which will occur the day before Thanksgiving, and a European Space Agency (ESA) flight that will take the Columbus module to the International Space Station (ISS). Being "lead" means that I will be the representative for my system responsible for coordinating between other systems and international partners. It will be a challenge, but it should also be a lot of fun. It may include another trip to Europe, which would allow me to see some of my new friends from ISU!

I came home to a couple of friends recently engaged, several weddings to attend, and a handful of people announcing they were didn't stop while I was gone! We are actually on a vacation right now. Ross and I drove from Houston to Austin, TX to visit some friends and meet a new baby. Ross gave a presentation at the University of Texas for work, which was our excuse for going to Austin in the first place. From there we went to Leakey, TX to see Ross' sister, Leslie, get married to a great guy named Philip. We had a wonderful time! They worked us hard, but it was a lot of fun. When we arrived in Leakey, the building that was to host the reception was still under construction. It did not have toilets, electricity, or dry-wall, and there was construction equipment and stuff everywhere...this was 2 days before the wedding. The next morning it was incredible to see how many people pulled together to get everything done. Leakey is a town of about 360 people, and I think about that many people pitched in to help in one way or another. By the end of that day we had dry-wall and electricity, and the girls had finished everything that could be done to prepare for decorating...we still didn't have toilets yet though. At 6:30 the morning of the wedding, the guy who owned the company responsible for installing the toilets came down and installed them himself! Ross and I were actually able to sneak in a bike ride that morning before getting started working. For those of you who don't know, Leakey is in the hill country of Texas, and we are used to riding the flat roads of Houston. Needless to say, we didn't have to ride very far to get a good workout!

When we got back from our bike ride, we helped set up tables and chairs, covered exposed pipes and electrical cords with rocks, cleaned the building...literally sweeping the workers out, and decorated both the wedding and reception sites just in time to get cleaned up and have a wedding. Ross and I were the photographers for the event, so we had fun taking pictures of everything. It was absolutely gorgeous! It was the first wedding I've ever been to where I got to wear blue jeans and people were in cowboy was perfect for Leslie and Philip. They looked so happy, and we are happy for them! You can check out some of the pictures we took in the album section of our web page. I think they turned out pretty well.

Now we are in Shreveport, Louisiana visiting my family. Ross' parents will be back in Shreveport tomorrow. Then we will head to Ruston, LA where we went to school at Louisiana Tech University. I am on the industrial engineering advisory board there and have a meeting that will last all day Friday. Both sets of my grandparents also live in Ruston, and my mom's parents will be having a fish fry on Thursday...I'll fill you in on the details of that after it happens!

New Blog...

We've decided to start a new blog page now that I'm back from ISU to keep people posted on what we're doing. Of course, Ross will continue to update the Projects Blog as well to let you know what kinds of projects we're doing around the house...there's always something!