Friday, October 17, 2008

Congratulations Graduates

Here's a picture of Allen and his fellow 2008 Local 32 Pipefitter Graduates:

We are so proud of all of you.

Pipefitter Apprentice of the Year went to Joe Jackson, a classmate who passed away in May (details in 5/16 post).

The banquet this year was bittersweet; Joe weighed heavily on everyone's mind, but there was a nice balance of celebration and tributes.

Dana was remarkably composed and looked great (pictured). My heart goes out to her...words cannot describe...seriously, I can't find any.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our Russian Friends

Below are some pictures from an event we hosted last Sunday, welcoming our Russian friends Sasha and Alexander from St. Petersburg. Through Bill Lincoln and his organization CRI (conflict resolution institute) we get to meet and entertain some of the most fascinating and interesting people (check out my post a few months ago when we entertained the Vice President of Afghanistan in our home).
We had a wonderful evening, with beautiful weather and great friends. Through the amazing translating skills of Gregory, we were able to talk U.S. politics, gain insight regarding the invasion of Georgia by Russia and their feelings about Putin's leadership.
I cannot emphasize enough how beautifully Gregory translated, and at the end of the evening I was shocked to find out that he had not traveled with Sasha and Alexander, but that he lives here in the city and through a mutual friend was recommended to accompany them for translation services during their stay.
The ease with which he blended the conversation left me amazed that only one day after meeting each other, everyone was able to enjoy so many seamless conversations on such a variety of topics. I look forward to getting to know Gregory in the future, and hope that he becomes a part of our extended network of friends who visit regularly.
Sasha and Alexander came bearing gifts, including the requisite bottle of vodka which was enjoyed by all (and disappeared all too quickly) and a shirt for me which is pictured below.
Their openness, immense capacity for joy and fascinating tales from their homeland entertained us well into the night.
I look forward to their return this week, before departing back to Russia next Tuesday, and am so very excited to be hosting them for dinner again this weekend. No doubt I will have more pictures to post after that : )

Front yard conversations

Sasha, Kathi and Laura
Alexander, Sasha, Kathi & Laura

Alexander (in foreground) and Sasha

Alexander and Sasha

Monday, September 15, 2008

Congratulations Corky!

My Uncle Corky, one of Rick's older brothers, has been honored at Texas Tech university for his dedication to that institution for over 40 years.

Jacob has fond memories of attending Texas Tech football games with his Grandma & Grandpa and Corky. We're so happy for Corky!


Excerpted from the Lubbock Avalanche Journal-Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Mitchell:

Red Raiders Football Notebook

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Sunday, September 14, 2008
Story last updated at 9/14/2008 - 4:06 am

Oglesby honored

Texas Tech's newly renovated weight room in the Athletic Training Center was renamed in a ceremony Saturday for a soon-to-be 40-year athletic department employee. The weight-training area was christened the Gerald "Corky" Oglesby Strength and Conditioning Center.

Oglesby is a former Tech men's assistant basketball coach and head track and field coach.

The renovation was funded with a contribution from Tech supporters Terry and Lynda Fuller.

Here's a pic of Jacob in Lubbock with Grandpa Oglesby, Uncle Chris, Aunt Pearly, Cousin Tyler and Uncle Corky from a few years ago.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of our Texas Bryant family-hunker down and stay safe everyone...very relieved to hear our Houston contingent has evacuated to BaBa's house in College Station. Still facing threats from severe winds, torrential rains and tornadoes so again, stay safe and we'll be keeping an eye on the news reports and anxiously awaiting word after the storm passes.
We love you all:

Allen, Tanya, Jacob & Austin...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Soccer n Stuff

More pictures; Jacob had his first soccer game today-he had a great time, but was winded VERY early on! Made me realize how much more exercise he needs : )
We have games every Sunday through November; hope some of you local yokels can join us sometime.
Also added a cool picture of a hummingbird feeding on one of the flowers in the front yard; I can't believe I actually got this shot!
The boys have their first full days of school tomorrow, Jacob starting 3rd grade and Austin starting 1st. I think they're happy to be going back, but not nearly as happy as I am!

Jacob's first game-September 7, 2008

Allen, soccer dad!



Their new "piggy" banks

Friday, September 5, 2008

Seafair 08

Better late than never (?) Here are some pictures from our Seafair party in early August:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Old People and 'puters

I received this e-mail today from my Uncle, writing on behalf of my dear Grandmother, who is attempting to crawl into the computer age (or should I say 'puter age?). Since she doesn't know how to look stuff up on the internet, I'm not too worried that she'll read this and be mad at me!

This is Conan.

The matriarch of this family gets some e-mailage and she does like the communication.

However, some of the senders are forgetting that she's OLD. She has no 'puter skills to speak of. She has no idea that there is such a thing as an attachment and doesn't know to look for one. If she does see one, she has no idea what to do with such an animal. She can get frustrated with the 'puter, you know the old 'hit any key' syndrome can come up and we all know she's good with a hammer.

Please send only direct communication to her. No forwards, no attachments, no links, no U-Tubes, no mass mailings. Realize she's more than 80 years old and the horse she grew up with as her main transportation had no USB ports.

She loves to hear from y'all, she just needs your understanding and help.

My name is Mel Nasr and I approve this message.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jason's Story

Stephanie-we all love you, and are so sorry for your loss...

Excerpted from NPR below:

A Soldier's View

A sampling of the photographs taken by Cpl. Jason Bogar while on his three tours of duty:

Morning Edition, July 22, 2008 · When Cpl. Jason Bogar was killed in action July 13 in Afghanistan, he left behind a family in Seattle — and a wide-ranging record of his tours of duty. Bogar took numerous photos and videos of his work and of the families he met in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bogar, who was 25, had already served one tour in Iraq when he was first deployed to Afghanistan. On Sunday, July 13, about 200 Taliban fighters breached a remote NATO compound in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Nine U.S. soldiers were killed in the attack, the deadliest assault on U.S. forces in Afghanistan in three years.

That day, Bogar's family was notified that he'd been killed in action. Soon after, they flipped through photos he'd sent home from his three tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Most of the images aren't of Bogar. They're portraits of Afghan children, many of them with eyes rimmed black with kohl that stare right into yours. In others, women peer suspiciously through jewel-colored headscarves. A baby clutches a fistful of his mother's pleated burqa in his dimpled fist.

"This is the razor wire that they would put around the encampment, and then two women in their burqas, almost like blue ghosts," Bogar's father, Michael Bogar, says of one picture.

"As he talked to my ex-wife, he said that he felt like sometimes he would see the women there and think it seemed like they were in bondage."

The elder Bogar, an interdenominational minister, says that his son was always artistic but that he was also unfocused and got into trouble as a teenager.

Jason Bogar enlisted when he was 17. He went to basic training right before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He discovered photography during his first tour in Baghdad in 2003. After he got home, he volunteered twice to go to Afghanistan.

"There's an e-mail here, it's the second-to-the-last one he sent, from June 1, 2008," Michael Bogar says.

Reading from it, he quotes his son: " 'I really feel this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Some of the guys call me an idealist. But I do respect and want to help the little good that's left amongst this culture.' "

Stephanie Bell was a sort of stepmom to Jason Bogar — she was his dad's partner for five years. She says Bogar expanded from still photography to videography, even wearing a helmet-cam on his patrols. He showed them videos of what war really looked like.

"One thing that sticks in my mind was his joy of showing his work. And kind of just the joy in being able to create something beautiful and also say something at the same time and explain his work and have it seen."

Bell says that as serious as Bogar was about the military and his art, he could still act like a rambunctious kid.

"He would jump up behind me and scare me," she says, "and I would get upset when he would do that. And then, you know, you can't stay mad at him for very long. He would have me in laughter in a few seconds."

Before Bogar's last deployment, his father had been reading about what was happening in Afghanistan and how the Taliban were regaining strength in Pakistan. They talked about it in the backyard right before he left.

"And I gave him a big hug and said, 'Jason, I don't want you to go,' and started weeping. And he kind of looked at me a little bit frightened ... and he said, 'You OK?' And I said, 'No, I'm not OK.'

"I said, 'I'm really, really, really sad.' And he smiled and he said, 'Well, I guess that's a good thing,' and gave me this beautiful smile, like, 'That means you love me, doesn't it, Dad?' And it's like, yeah. Yeah."

Michael Bogar says Jason had started to enroll in art school. He wanted to travel the world, capturing stories of the cultures he encountered through film.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Sprinkler Fitters Local 699 are on strike: local businesses really know how to show their solidarity!