Wednesday, July 29, 2009

April 19, 1995

When I think back to that day, I think of being a typical 12 year old who is gossiping on the telephone with her best friend about how "all this news coverage is interrupting my TV shows". At 12, I did not fully understand the magnitude of what it meant and what consequences (both the negative and positive) arose from that moment at 9:02am.

I was in Oklahoma City for work this week, and being that I work for the U.S. Courts, I was across the street from the Memorial site. Being the gracious hosts that Oklahomans are, my contact in the District Court gave us a personal tour of the Memorial site as well as private areas that are not preview to the public.

After my personal tour and visit to the museum (Oklahoma City National Monument & Museum) I could start to grasp the weight of what happened. As a 26 year old, I could now relate the images I saw from September 11th to the images of April 19th. A federal building was targeted by terrorists that had no regard for human life - especially those of the children in the day care center located on the second floor. One hundred and sixty-eight people died because from the bombing. The Museum & Memorial is organized as a time line of events, relating how the day began and how the weeks, and years, that have followed continue for the residents of Oklahoma City.

What has impacted me the most is that there are over 1,200 survivors, less than 700 are listed on the Survivors Wall - granite salvaged from the Alfred P. Murrah building. Of those names, there are names I see everyday at work. These are individuals whom I never considered to be affected.

Overall, I have a greater appreciation for the human spirit in times that seem utterly hopeless. I encourage you to, at the very least visit the Memorial & Museum website. If your travels take you to Oklahoma City, take the time to visit the site and find, in the human spirit, what I have.

Below, I have included some pictures of the Memorial:

This is the end gate of Fifth Street. This is when Oklahoma City showed all that is good in the human spirit. The space between the gates represents the moment in time: April 19, 1995, 9:02am.

This is towards 9:01am gate. To the right is the Field of Empty Chairs.

The small grassy area on the Alfred P. Murrah Building Plaza was the playground for the day care center.

The Field of Empty Chairs. The smaller chairs represent the children that died. The placement of the chair is indicative to where in the building the victim was at the time of the explosion. The glass cubes are etched with the victims' names.

The Field of Empty Chairs towards the 9:01am gate. The American Elm tree in the far background as originally in the parking lot next to the Murrah Building. It withstood the brunt of the blast, but has, miraculously, survived. The American Elm has become the symbol of the survivors and the Memorial itself.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What We Say and What We Mean

So, I know there are chain emails out there about what guys say and mean and what women say and mean, but as of late, I have noticed some oversight in these understandings. Below, I have seen what women say and what we mean when talking to men in general, as in, not in a relationship. It's not extensive, but it's a, without further ado...

"Can you take a picture of us?"
Simple? Yes. Straight-forward? Somewhat. When a group of girls ask a guy to take their picture, it means that they want all 15 faces (on their good side) from waist up and, if possible, leave off the arms of the peripheral girls. That it does NOT mean is stand as far back as possible to get the full body shot of those 15 girls. Nor does it mean that you should use the zoom on the camera to pull the frame in so tight that cropping could leave an opportune college student with 15 fake ID pictures.

Drinks all around!! What we would like is something that will not require a chaser, is tasty, and will allow for the novice/pickiest of drinkers will at least be appetizing to take. That does NOT mean that Jim, Jack, or Johnny should be the main ingredient...and although I personally like Jose, most ladies do not and that makes him the four wise man that's wise enough not to be in a round of ladies' shots.

Do you known of more? I'm sure that there could be a blog solely dedicated to the mis-communications between the sexes and hilarious examples of what happens when it does go wrong...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Second, Consecutive Weekend in Denver

To celebrate my second, consecutive weekend in Denver this summer, I had several celebrations to attend.

On Friday night, I joined my friends Nicole, Mandy, and Mariyah, and Nicole's daughter, London, dad, Kevin, step-mom, Joanelle, brother, Bennie, and Ben's girlfriend, Vanessa for a birthday dinner for Kevin (turning the double-nickles - that's 55) and London's FIRST birthday.

We dined at Zengo, an amazing modern Mexican cuisine restaurant. It is truly one of my favorite restaurants in Denver. When we order, it's more tapas-style because you really want a little of everything on the menu. However, one of the signature entrees is the Kobe beef that you prepare yourself at the table on heated stones.

These are my recommendations from the dinner menu:
Ceviches - Both the Camaron and Mahi Mahi

Sushi Rolls - Angry Zengo, Kobe Beef Tataki, Volcano, and Crispy Softshell Crab Roll

Appetizers - Edamame XO Style, Won Ton Tacos, Empanadas, Tuna Tartare

Soup - Chipotle Miso

Entrees - Char Broiled Black Cod, Kobe Beef

Just looking at the menu again made me salivate...and to quench your thirsts, Zengo also has amazing mojitos. I prefer the traditional cucumber, but the passion fruit one is delish, too.

After dinner, we took Bennie and Vanessa around LoDo bars, and of course, had to take them to Cowboy Lounge. It's an urban honky-tonk...meaning that they play hip-hop right after "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy". Bennie, being the super-popular, hip-hop DJ in Sacramento area even got recognized at CL...which is really weird...on another weird note, Nicole and I managed to clear half of the dance floor with her custom choreography to "Devil Went Down to Georgia"...nothing feels weirder than being stared at while twirling and lassoing the air....

The group at the CL

Saturday morning started with a bridal shower for Christy (Wedding #6 if you're tracking). The morning was nice with delicious brunch prepared by Miss Kalyn. The theme for the party was lingerie, but in true style, it got a little naughty. Surprisingly, not because of me! Although I think Christy will have quite the interesting honeymoon - and Quintin, you can thank us later. ;)

For Saturday evening's event, I got to officially celebrate Chelsea and David's engagement with both of their families. You can see Chelsea's planning process on her blog A Colorado Cupcake and with her articles for the Broomfield Examiner on bridal style and planning.

Chelsea and Me, the Faboosh Bloggers that we are...

Mr. and the Future Mrs.

Another reason to love summer and time with friends is relaxing on a cool Saturday evening in the backyard while being serenaded with acoustic guitar and music just floats through the air. David is an amazingly talented musician and, with the help of his sister, Ashley, the duo brought tears to people's eyes.

David and his sister Ashley serenading the party

To cap off a weekend of celebrations, a day in the park with friends and cake for London's first birthday was a MUST!

Celebrating one year seems a little odd when you think about it. But, when you think about how much your life has changed in that one year, your eyes open to all the possibilities for where life's road could have taken you.

London was so cute with her cake...she simply kept sticking her finger in the frosting and licking it....she got a little messy, but to her mom's appreciation, not so messy that you would have to hose her down.

Here's to everyone that I got to celebrate with this weekend:

Kevin: May your next 55 years be as amazing as these last 55 years.

Christy and Quintin: I am excited that I get to share the first day of your lives together as husband and wife.

Chelsea and David: Although your wedding is a year away, I can already see the love that you have for one another and I am also excited to get to share the first day of your lives together as husband and wife.

London: You are a little miracle in more ways than one. I cannot wait to see the little girl that you will become, and better yet, the woman you will be.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fourth of July Weekend

Having the hard life that I do, I had to suffer through four straight days of enjoying sunshine, friends, family, and fireworks. I am such a martyr.

For my first weekend in Denver in two months, I started with errand running,

UPDATED: I got to enjoy a Mexican feast at Blue Bonnet with a former co-worker after many trial and tribulations with Apple and updating my iPhone. We got caught up on life and PITAs in our lives. (That's Pain In The Ass)

followed by well deserved Rio margaritas with my cousin, Nic, who is also my hero. He's currently serving in the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA and came home for a week to be with family and friends.

For Friday, I got some friends together to celebrate a weekday without work and had a picnic in Wash Park. We enjoyed the sun, the company, and played badminton - which turned into Getting David's Flip Flops Out of the Tree. I guess I should explain the rules to Getting David's Flip Flops Out of the Tree...

  1. While playing badminton, play near a large, leafy tree.
  2. Next, make sure to get the birdie stuck in the tree with no extra birdies to continue play.
  3. After that, throw logical items at the various branches to get the birdie out.
  4. Naturally, when one flip flop gets stuck (See below), throw the second flip flop so the PAIR gets stuck.
  5. After attempts with a full water bottle that is so heavy, even girls throw like girls, try anything else you have with you on your picnic.
  6. A Nalgene bottle with some water and ice in it have a great balance for throwing and turning the game into modified catch.
  7. The game can last from 5 minutes to one hour...depending on aim, objects, and location.
One of my favorite parts of the Park Day was gaining a shadow. Her name is Lilly and she is the daughter of my friend Heather. It takes Lilly-Boo awhile to warm up to you, but after that, we are best of friends. She'll be celebrating her second birthday, which also happens to be her Golden Birthday, next month, so you'll get to see more of my new shadow. She did also like to play with Obie, David and Chelsea's dog, once she realized that Obie liked her, too.

For the Fourth of July Independence Day festivities, I went to my friend's downtown loft where we could watch the fireworks from Coors Field on his rooftop...being only 3 blocks away, it was like front row seats to the best fireworks display in town! I wasn't able to capture the display with my slow shutter speed, so you'll have to settle for a stunning view of Union Station from the rooftop.

To finish off my four-day weekend, I went to the racetrack to catch up with Kalyn and her family since I haven't really seen them since my trip back to Holly in May. Hammes Racing didn't have any horses running, so I got to enjoy the whole Hammes clan without stress of a horse not placing....or Mama Hammes yelling at Nick and scaring bystanders...

All in all, the weekend was a perfect for celebrating all things American: Friends, Family, and Fireworks...not to mention the margaritas, wine, hot dogs, barbecue, gambling....