Tag Archives: Prescott

Looking Back at 2010

To make a tradition stick forever you must do it year after year. I am not sure if year three of this blog review makes this a tradition. However, let’s still call it my “Traditional Year End Countdown” of all the major moments in my life over this past year. This year Chris went back to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers, I changed jobs and the changed again, I made it to Fourth of July on the farm for the first time in a long time and who could forget all the times I tried to give away my dog, poor Boo. While looking back I realized this year could be known as the STS 131 Year! Let’s take a look at the top ten moments of 2010 for this redhead.

Facts of Life Summer: It was one of those summers that you take the good, you take the bad, and there you have the facts of life! I always loved Jo on that show. I did have a great summer in retrospect; however it was difficult not being around camp programs. Since I was 15 years old, I have spent my summers working with children. In April I left camp operations to be the Director of Education and work with teacher camp.  Leaving that was not easy. However, I learned lots about myself, good and bad. Now that I am back where my heart is happy I just have too work hard and do what I am called for! I loved my job as Director of Education, but helping a kid overcome homesickness is more fun than teaching teachers! Sorry, love you teachers (Rhonda & Veronique).

Red Bull Racing: Driving back from the launch of STS 131, I checked my email. NASCAR driver and Red Bull Racing team member, Ryan Vickers was going visit camp the day we returned to work. I felt it was my duty as Red Bull to volunteer my services as tour guide and show our friend around camp. Ryan Vickers is such a nice guy! He was so friendly and nice. He was really interested in space and what we did at camp. The neatest thing I observed while hanging with the NASCAR driver was when I offered him a bottle of water. His assistant took the bottle from my hand, removed the paper label and then handed it to Ryan. It was not a Coke product. He wasn’t in the winner’s circle or on a race track, but the sponsors are still priority.

The iPad Revolution: I know that this may seem silly, but starting the iPad revolution at camp was monumental for me. When I started working nights at Space Camp I saw the value of my iPhone (this too was a great adventure of 2010) when answering questions and concerns by campers and staff. I have had fun teaching Marcia about the power of the iPad. It seems like a magic window that helps me get my work done more easily. With all the apps and multi-tasking tools, emailing, and fun facebooking, the iPad is one of the best and most useful gifts Chris has ever given me. I only wish that Bill Cosby would create a Picture Page app for the iPad! To all my Aerospace iPad friends, let’s have a productive 2011.

Snapper and Redbull at Oak CreekRiver Adventures: I have recruited for Space Camp at colleges far and wide for four seasons. There are two colleges I look forward to visiting each year, Embry Riddle in Arizona and my school, Delta State in Mississippi. This year our recruiting involved adventures around rivers and creeks. In Arizona, Snapper and I trekked up Oak Creek at Slide Rock where I discovered the meaning of Slide Rock. In Mississippi, I took Snapper to one of my favorite hang outs during college, a sand bar at Rosedale along the mighty Mississippi River. Both of these rivers have come to mean a lot to me. However, the adventures I had on both of them made this year’s recruiting season the most enjoyable on to date!

Yankee Adventure: Chris and I made our second trip to New York City. This time we didn’t just spend a day in the Big Apple. We adventured around the city along with watching three MLB games. Among our stops along the site seeing tour was the U.S.S. Intrepid, Chelsea Market, B&H Photography – the most amazing store in the world, the Top of the Rock, Grand Central Station, and Central Park. The great thing about New York City is that visiting the concrete jungle is totally out of the normal for Chris and me. I would much rather play in the mud or work at Pottery Barn, but visiting America’s welcome center is always a learning experience. Go Yankees!

Christmas Calendar of Awesomeness: If you don’t know me, I haven’t been a fan of Christmas for the last few years. It is a time of travel and in-laws and not much focusing on the greatest of Christmas. Christmas is a time for family and friends to remember the great gift of Christ’s birth. But for many of the past years it has worn away at me. A few years back Snapper promised to help me find the Christmas spirit again. Unfortunately that was the year of mono for her. This year she made good on that promise. She made the Christmas Calendar of Awesomeness. It was simple, each working day she gave me a small happy with a Christmas quote. It made an advent calendar of sorts. It helped me remember the coolness of Christmas. Christmas this year was great for this and many other reasons!

Alex and Luke Visit Camp: When Alex and Luke visited camp I wasn’t their escort that was the job of Charity the social network guru. I met Alex and Luke at the Astronaut luncheon with Bob Springer. Charity had chatted with them about their adventures around North America on their social media directed tour of the greatest country in the world. I gave Alex and Luke something I thought was just a simple happy, a Space Camp coin. Luke mentioned later in a road trip recap video it was one of his favorite tokens. This made me so proud of the work that has been done since Alumni Andi and the Space Camp coin first started. Alex and Luke are great people and I am envious of there road trip… I also wish I could live Red 3’s adventurous life!

STS 131 Trip: In early spring a group of Space Camp staff traveled to Florida for the launch of STS 131. This wasn’t any shuttle launch for Space Camp. Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger was a Mission Specialist on board and the first Space Camp alumni to travel into space. It was the perfect event! Night launches are the best. Hanging out with co-workers and friends was amazing. The road trip down was a great adventure. And how can we forget Doug Wheelock, “Pig on the right, Shuttle on the left.” Tears and cheers were on the balcony of the OSBII that morning as we saw STS 131 lift off with Dottie and Space Camp riding along!

The 4th HOF Event: This year we had the Hall of Fame that we all wanted and looked for since its inception. Max Q played after dinner under the Saturn V, Hoot Gibson was simply a guest, Dottie joined us for the event, and the whole family seemed to be there. Personally, having Rhonda, Veronique, Snapper, and Safety there, and others who have been there every year, made the HOF very special for me. This year the HOF event was more like a family reunion and less like a production. Thank you, Mike Flachbart!

Wings in Space: I think I was taking a shower when I thought about asking Dottie to take along a few Space Camp wings on STS 131. It only seemed fitting that she take along the symbol of a Space Camp graduate along with her. I was so honored that she agreed to take a pair of Space Camp and Space Academy wings. What was even cooler was to discover after the mission Dottie took them out and posed for a family photo onboard the ISS. She and the over 500,000 graduates represented in those wings, floating in space! The day she presented the wings at graduation was one of my proudest moments at camp. The wings currently can be found on the wall of Discovery MOCR on the MCC floor at Space Camp.

All in all this has been an outstanding year! I look forward to 2011 and the many adventures I will go on! I do hope to write more, laugh more, and have more free time… next year.

Oak Creek

One little beer cap with so many stories. Let’s start with the obvious, it is from Arizona. In 2007 Snapper and I visited Arizona with little known about each other in hopes of finding Space Camp counselors. We found Minnie! All was not lost! We found beer too, at least Snapper found beer. She didn’t know much about good beer!

Thing is, this bottle cap came from Arizona 2010. However, Snapper and I would find this beer in 2008 at the Hassayampa Inn with our favorite barkeep, John, at the helm. Oak Creek Nutbrown Ale is a 2004 Gold Medal winner in the North American Brewers’ Association competition. This Arizona favorite has a consistent nutty flavor with just a hint of spice in its depths. A slowly emerging bitterness crops up along the way and is unobtrusively incorporated into the smooth flow. It finishes with a gentle nuttiness and spiciness. This beer bear is great with sandwiches and subs, as well as recruiting at ERAU.

Ok, let’s cut the bull! At one point in time Safety would retrieve a resupply of Oak Creek for people in Alabama. As he drove cross country to work at Aviation Challenge. This beer is so epic that it has followed me on two canoe trips in Tennessee. When Oak Creek made the trip on the Elk River, only Red Bull and Snapper enjoyed the Arizona beer. This year as I was off recruiting in Arizona, Nemo was trusted with the care of my puppy. She shared in the goodness of Oak Creek beer by drinking the last of Safety’s beer.

However, the best way to drink Oak Creek Nutbrown Ale is to drink it in a small chilled glass at the Hassayampa Inn with one of your best friends. Prescott, Arizona is special place and that is why this Arizona blazoned bottle cap is on my cork board. This beer, these memories, and Arizona it’s self are special to me!

Rice Works: Arizona 4.1

The home remedy of using uncooked rice to save your water soaked electronics really works. I am here to testify that if you should lose your balance in a creek in Arizona with your camera in your pocket, there is hope for your camera. There is always a happy ending; you just have to look for it. I am telling this story out of sequence. Let me start from the beginning.

It was Monday afternoon when Snapper and I arrived at Huntsville International Airport and from the corner of my eye who did I see, Antoine Dodson! If you haven’t been on YouTube in the last few months he is big brother who spoke out about his sister’s attempted rapist on WAFF. YouTube and the rap “Bed Intruder” has made him famous. People where walking by Mr. Dodson snapping his photo with their smart phones.

We didn’t speak to him in Huntsville. His flight left from a different gate than ours. We were off to Atlanta after a thirty minute wait in the ramp area before heading to the runway. Needless to say after a run from terminal to terminal we missed our flight to Phoenix. We had a flight on a 9:30pm flight and standby on a 7:30pm flight. It was going to be an extremely long wait in Atlanta if we didn’t make the standby flight. So Snapper and I did what any good traveler would do, we went to the closest sports bar to pass the time.

Right after sitting down, I looked up from my menu and who did I see? That’s right, Antoine Dodson! He was like a travel elf, bringing entertainment and fun travel. This time, I didn’t pass up the opportunity to speak. I chatted with him for a few minutes as he waited to board a flight to New York City. He seems to be a really nice guy! I wanted to ask him to do a recruitment commercial for us. Many people on my Facebook gave mottos and pitches for him to use in our recruitment efforts. Here are two of my favorites:

“You dont have to come to us… we gonna find you, we gonna find you!”

“Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband too, because they are recruiting everybody up in here!”

After hanging with Antoine and some refreshments, Snapper and I, like little kids, celebrated making our 7:30pm flight to Arizona. If you can’t have fun traveling stay out of Atlanta, that airport might suck the soul out of you. We celebrated again when we saw our bags being loaded onto our aircraft. This was turning out to be a great day!

We made it to Phoenix and picked up our rental car, a red Mustang convertible. I saw the writing on the wall after pulling out of the parking garage, “Ruth gets second speeding ticket in Arizona.” All was well as we headed to Flagstaff to visit Northern Arizona University. I must say, NAU is one of the nicest campuses I ever visited. And no tickets, yet!

On our drive to Prescott we took the scenic route though Sedona. WOW is pretty much all I can say about that drive. Snapper spotted a park to venture through. Little did I know that flip flops should have been worn. It was an area called Slide Rock on Oak Creek just north of Sedona. Here is where the rice comes into play. Snapper and I waded through the water and saw a few lizards but no other critters. We were almost out of the water, so close to where we dropped off our sneakers, when I fell in. It was epic. Snapper had made it across and I did what I always do, I got cocky. Oh yeah, this is easy… I can make it across the water and rocks.

My camera was soaked and unusable for the remainder of the trip. However in my soaked state Snapper gave me some uplifting words of wisdom, “At least it wasn’t your iPhone!” There was a silver lining in this watery adventure! Well, it wasn’t a bad diversion from the road trip; it was really fun and a very peaceful spot on the side of the road. Snapper made sure I had a souvenir from Slide Rock. We made it to the hotel room in time to watch Glee. After Glee, I walked to Albertson’s to purchase a bag of rice. This trick really works. I am glad I didn’t have to try it on my iPhone.

It wasn’t a flawless trip and you will have to read more later to see if I got a ticket or not. However, everything about this day and our trip was good. The bumps along the way made for a more epic adventure. My first recruiting trip to Arizona wouldn’t have been memorable without a Diet Mountain Dew exploding all over me. My slip into the water during the fourth was just another memorable moment in Arizona! 

Arizona, Part 3

In 2007 Space Camp changed the way they recruited counselors. Rather than recruiting only in north Alabama they would send staff to colleges around the United States. That first year I was lucky enough to travel to Arizona and my home state Mississippi! Traveling with me to Arizona was then counselor, Jen DiCarlo, a.k.a. Snapper. There are three things I will never forget about that trip. First, Snapper being nervous about traveling with me. Secondly, staying at the Ramada Inn in Mexi-Ghetto. And finally, the epic explosion of a Diet Mountain Dew in my lap, on my shirt and in my face when we stopped for directions to Embry Riddle.

Last year on our second trip we attended Embry Riddle’s career fair. Snapper and I made the trek out to Prescott to man the booth. We didn’t plan on visiting any other college in Arizona other than Embry Riddle. But, we took it upon ourselves to venture around the city to find two other colleges. First was Yavapai College, a community college which is home to other universities’ satellite campuses. Yavapai is the only community college I know that if you can stick around long enough you can get a doctorate. They are also home to seven time national soccer champions and really cool t-shirts! We also found Prescott College, which is a school that focuses on environmental studies. We searched for a while looking for the school. If you blink driving through you will miss it. We visited the campus book store and felt that if we wanted to purchase illegal drugs we could. That is if we wanted to. We decided that would be our first and last visit.

Yavapai College, Prescott AZYear three and I am still on the recruitment team. Charity hasn’t kicked me off the team yet. I am trying to figure out how to take an In-N-Out burger home to her, which should keep me on the team for another year. I am trying to stay out of trouble in the southwest. However, yesterday while visiting Yavapai College I thought we were about to be kicked off campus or worse. We set up in the campus cafeteria right at the front door so everyone could see us. We met lots of nice people including a Space Camp alumni and Navy veteran. The cafeteria’s general manager walked to our table and asked what we were doing. We told him cheerfully, recruiting staff to work at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. He didn’t want a job. He asked a few more question, like who gave us permission to set up in “his cafeteria.” Snapper and I both debated the best way to escape the wrath of Mr. Food Service. All was ironed out, but it was tense there for a few moments.

Yavapai has a beautiful campus, very modern buildings with great architecture. It is most definitely the nicest community college I have ever visited. After meeting some great people and hanging out at the library and purchasing t-shirts at the book store, we ventured to the airport to look for the Yavapai chapter of the Ninety-Nines. This was a futile exploration, but we did enjoy the adventure. I think the adventure is the greatest thing about being on the recruitment team.

What would a recruiting trip to Arizona be if we didn’t stop at the Prescott Brewing Company for our favorite sandwich? Embry Riddle graduate and U.S. Air Force officer, Joyce Hirai, a.k.a. Forecast, introduced Snapper and I to PBC and the PBC Wedge. PBC is a great restaurant and micro brewery. They have coasters on the wall, I would estimate over 3,000 coasters decorated the walls. The restaurant is in a shopping center similar to the shopping arcades in London. Last night we ate out in the atrium and watched the shop keepers close their novelty shops for the night. It was enjoyable just as always. We did miss the company of Forecast!

Today we had an info session at the Christine and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Library and Learning Center. Wow, whoever picks names for buildings should learn to shorten them? A dozen students showed up to hear our song and dance. I was very excited by the great questions they asked. Probably the greatest question was, “So how is the food at camp?” This man knows what is important in life. You can’t be happy without a full belly. After the info session we visited the ERAU flight line. I was very impressed.

On our way to visit the flight line we saw an iron cross towering over the hillsides. It was made of various pieces of scrap. The amazing thing about the cross is how perfect it looks on the hill but out of place since there were no churches around it. The colors of the Arizona terrain are dusty browns, rusty reds and sandy greens. The randomness of the iron pieces is similar to the randomness of the trees, brush, and rocks. I am sure weary travelers are reminded of Christ just like I was as we drove along the highway. Any hillside is a perfect hillside for a cross!

Iron Cross, Prescott AZ I am lucky to visit this beautifully ugly area. Prescott is so wonderfully neat. Snapper proclaims daily that Arizona is so different than home. She wouldn’t want to live here, but loves the cactus and hills, the rocks and trees. The one thing she doesn’t love is the rattle snakes. There are houses in between rocks and on the edges of cliffs. There are not many bright colors and hardly any green grass. I love visiting different places to help remind me why I love the south so much! I am thankful for this trip each year!

Sandwiches

Remember on “Friends” when Joey had one of his meatball sandwiches. And there was that time when Joey appeared to be protecting Chandler from gun shots. It turned out that Joey was only lunging to save his meatball sandwich. There are many varieties of sandwiches. Jared lost like 200 pounds by eating at Subway. Elvis had his legendary fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. There are even some sandwiches that you might not classify as sandwiches like gyros, pitas, hot dogs or wraps.

In celebration of something as old as Passover I have selected my favorite sandwiches of all times. Sandwiches are important to a person and who they are. I am not Joey, and I wouldn’t take a bullet for a sandwich. But I will classify and list my favorite sandwiches.

5. EALD Sandwich from Space Camp

The Early Arrival/Late Departure sandwich is something of Space Camp lore. It is so strange how a sandwich made of a burger bun, a slice of turkey, and slice of processed cheese product which has been in a cooler for over 24 hours could be so good. Maybe it is because when a person eats an EALD sandwich they are hungry and exhausted. Or it could be that it simply reminds you of Space Camp and childhood, something simple, something refreshing, and something that is grounded. An EALD sandwich is accompanied by two Oreo cookies, Lays potato chips, and a condiment/plasticware pack. I am sure the unneeded plasticware would make Al Gore anger but it is the unexplainable nature of Space Camp.

4. Open Face Roast Beef from Airport Grocery in Cleveland, Mississippi.

Ah… Airport Grocery! Is there anything better in the world than a Friday afternoon in the Mississippi Delta? The original Airport Grocery was along side Highway 8 in Cleveland near the airport and near the movie theater. I loved it. The open face roast beef with gravy fries is better than Jack & Coke! True, at the time I had not met Jasper Newton Daniel. But if you know me, you will understand the analogy. The old road signs and other produce signs along the wall only inspired me to fashion my back porch after my Delta roots. Or maybe it was the fact that eating gravy fries with beef shortened my life by fifteen minutes with each visit to the grocery that made life great as a college student!

3. Bacon Turkey Bravo from Panera Bread

Ok… when I first set out to make this list I didn’t want to put a “chain” sandwich on the list. But I can’t not put the Bacon Turkey Bravo on the list. The tomato basil bread with just a hint of cinnamon-sugar on the crust of the bread makes the sandwich unexpected and child like. Remember the first time your chocolate fell into the jar of peanut butter? Oh how the combination excited you? The Bacon Turkey Bravo reminds me of all those culinary accidents like peanut butter cups and penicillin. The smoked Gouda gives something to the noise and to the taste buds. The great thing about this sandwich is how many people love the sandwich, but can you blame anyone for loving something with bacon on it?

2. PBC Club at Prescott Brewing Company in Prescott, Arizona.

Some may be shocked to find the PBC Club at number two on my list of grand sandwiches. It is the best sandwich that can be purchased at a restaurant. I originally discovered the sandwich from a chance meeting in Prescott Arizona with a vegetarian. On a recruiting trip with Snapper and a dinner with Forecast I was introduced to a club on focaccia bread with a chipotle mayo spread. Yum!!! I guess I just love the club family of sandwiches. The PBC Club is the best version of the club to date. I know I am too young to be an expert and too old to be a friend. But the sandwich is good and the environment of Prescott is awesome! I can’t wait for Arizona 2009!

1. Peanut Butter and Jelly from my mother’s kitchen in Winona, Mississippi.

I am a finicky eater! As a red head who didn’t like pizza as a child the only protein for me was peanut butter! My mom would make me PBJs. With a knife she would meticulously smooth the peanut butter out over the Wonder Bread and then with a spoon she would apply the home made jelly. Only a NASA scientist could measure the thickness as exact as my mom. It was the perfect ratio of peanut butter to jelly. Only Jif peanut butter would do and only my mom could make the perfect sandwich. It was perfectly made to keep me alive. The bread was perfectly aligned, made with love, and tasted great. In some ways, I think my mom’s PBJ made me focused on perfection, because as a small carpet crawler I found perfection on a plate in Carroll County Mississippi!

I am sure there will be more sandwiches I will love along the road of life. I will some day tell you about pancake puppies and my fetish with corndogs as a child; but know that a sandwich is as close to perfection as we will see in this lifetime. Enjoy! Visit your favorite deli, sandwich shop, or kitchen soon! But most of all tell the chef or cook you love them!