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 pregnant...life 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 hats...it 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!