Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cyclone Corral

Yesterday, Dan and I met up with fourteen of his former colleagues and their families and we traveled 45 minutes outside of Waco to go to Cyclone, Texas. Never heard of it? Well, neither had I before last night...and we passed about eight other towns that I'd never heard of either on our way to get there. But we ended up at a destination that is one of the best-kept secrets by all the Central Texas locals... Cyclone Corral!
In Texas, the way to tell if a restaurant is any good is to pay attention to the parking lot. Unpaved? Good sign. Full of trucks as far as the eye can see, with maybe a few motorcycles thrown in? Yep, you're probably at a good place for some authentic Texas barbecue.

Cyclone Corral is a BBQ "restaurant." I use the term loosely because it's not what you might think of as a normal restaurant. It's only open Thursday through Saturday, and only for six months out of the year. It's all open air, so although there is a roof you're still basically outside. There are plenty of big tables, so even if you go with a group of 16, like we did, you still sit together.
And the food... The food is all served all-you-can-eat family style...for $12 a person! What this means is they brought plate after plate of ribs, brisket, and sausage, and bowl after bowl of potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, and corn on the cob. It was just amazing. I rarely eat red meat, maybe once every couple of months, but I loved this dinner!
We had a lot of fun spending time with the Rapoport crew, enjoying the summer weather, and eating good food. And of course, enjoying the decorations...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Best of Waco

Every year, the Wacoan magazine comes out with the "Best of Waco" issue. This is our third (!) year to enjoy this annual tradition.

Well, the thing about Waco is...there aren't really that many places here. And since most of the "Best of" categories revolve around food and drink, it tends to get a little repetitive. Basically, the same three or four restaurants just keep rotating around in different orders to be the best entree, drink, appetizer, etc... It's been this way every year, but instead of recognizing the absurdity of it, they just keep adding more categories!

This year, we have reached a new level of ridiculousness. Without further ado, here is a sampling of the "Best of Waco 2009."I've limited it to the Mexican restaurant portion of the list because there are ONE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN categories total.

Best Chips and Salsa
1. Ninfa's
2. La Fiesta
3. On the Border

Okay, I guess that's good to know. But wait - what if I want to order an extra appetizer? Well, luckily, there's another list:

Best Chile Con Queso
1. La Fiesta
2. Ninfa's
3. On the Border

Phew, that cleared things up for me - I almost would have gone to the number TWO restaurant on that list if I'd just seen the Chips and Salsa List! Okay, now that that's cleared up, where should I go to get the best main dish?

Best Quesadillas
1. Ninfa's
2. La Fiesta
3. On the Border

But wait! Quesadillas are only tortillas and cheese. What if I want tortillas, cheese, and meat?

Best Enchiladas
1. La Fiesta
2. Ninfa's
3. El Conquistador

...with some salsa and lettuce?

Best Tacos
1. La Fiesta
2. Ninfa's
3. El Conquistador (wow, this underdog came out of nowhere!)

Okay, fine, but what if I want veggies with that too?! HOW WILL I KNOW WHERE TO GO?

Best Fajitas
1. Ninfa's
2. La Fiesta
3. On the Border

I need a drink. Oh, great, that's here too:

Best Margaritas
1. Ninfa's
2. La Fiesta
3. On the Border

Hmm, you might be thinking. That's got to be it. What else could they possibly have people vote on? Well, here's your answer:

Best Mexican Rice
1. Ninfa's
2. La Fiesta
3. On the Border

Charro Beans
1. La Fiesta
2. Ninfa's
3. On the Border

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back in the Midwest for a Week

I just got back this morning from a week up north. It was great - lots of time with friends and family, shopping, good food...

I spent the first few days with Andrea and Kyle in Chicago - well, Lincoln Park. We walked around by the beach (yes, there are really beautiful, clean beaches! I had no idea!), shopped at really cute boutiques, and I got to see some friends from college who I haven't seen forever! It was great and made me wish I lived closer to everybody up there. We had so much fun I forgot to take you'll just have to believe me that I was there.
Julie drove down then and we got to spend some quality sister time together. We walked up and down Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago pretty much all day Thursday - my feet were absolutely killing me by the end of the day. But we recovered with some Chicago style pizza at Lou Malnati's...luckily, because we pretty much had to run the 20 blocks or so to the Oriental Theater to see the Broadway version of Legally Blonde. (We were running a little late)
The next day, we drove back up to Grand Rapids, Michigan, so Julie could graduate from college!
We spent the next three days with our family and it was wonderful. I hadn't seen anyone except my dad since Christmas, so it was really nice to get to spend time with them.
Oh and the best part? I came back home to find a dozen roses waiting for me, along with a husband who is officially DONE with teaching - yeah!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May Break

I don't really have a whole lot to write about. I'm enjoying my break from school - two more weeks until my intense summer class begins! Dan has five days left of high school...which still doesn't feel quite real. I don't think he'll really believe it until about a week after he's gone. Then in two weeks, he too will be starting intense summer classes at Baylor.

In the meantime, I'll be traveling a little - to Chicago and Michigan, mostly for my sister's graduation but also to see Andrea and other friends! And I'm hoping to get in at least a little bit of shopping... I'll be gone this Tuesday through next Monday.

While I'm gone, Dan and Sammie will be holding down the fort as Dan completes his last week of teaching. There's a "party-size" Stouffer's lasagna and a frozen supreme pizza in the freezer, so at least we know they won't starve. Who am I kidding -  he's going to like that better than most of my culinary creations! He also got to rent "Quantum of Solace" on Netflix ... so I think he'll be alright. :) 

We've been on an Oscar movie watching spree lately  - the last three movies we've gotten have been Slumdog Millionaire, Benjamin Button, and The Reader. I liked them all, but the order I listed them in is the order I would recommend them in. The first two are close - it was hard to decide which was better. The Reader, on the other hand, was good but a little graphic so I'd just be aware of what you're getting into if you want to rent it. 

Enjoy your week. :) See lots of you soon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Counseling Center It is!

Just a quick note to let you all know I found out where I'll be next year...and it's the Counseling Center! Yeah! In my last post, I secretly told you about the sites in the order I liked them, so as you can see it's my first choice.

In other news, Ted Nugent's wife is now teaching a Latin Dance class (called Zumba) at our local YMCA. Now if that doesn't get you to come to Waco, I don't know what can!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It's Interview Time Again!

I'm finally done with spring semester! I finished my last exam Thursday evening at 6:00 and it has been glorious. I'm getting my hair cut! And all those other things I never have time for during the semester.

I also have been interviewing the past couple weeks for my practicum job for next year. In case you don't remember, I switch jobs every July. The program sets up all the placements for us, but we still have to interview and rank where we want to go. I interviewed at three places:

If I work here, I'll be working with Baylor students. I'll do individual, group, and possibly couples therapy - and I would get to walk to work!

The VA job is a really a rotation of three different jobs. I would spend 1/3 of the year in the mental health clinic, 1/3 of the year in an in-patient psychiatric unit, and 1/3 of the year either in a geropsychology unit or a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder unit. I would of course be working with veterans, and doing therapy, assessments, and running groups.

This is a substance abuse rehab clinic here in Waco. If I worked there, I'd probably be running groups and also individually working with clients -mostly from the women and children's center.

I'm nervous! I should find out early next week. I have 7 more weeks left at the Speech Clinic, and then I'll start my new job!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sharefest Waco

Dan and I, along with the rest of our small group from church, participated in Sharefest Waco yesterday. It's an event that happens once a year where a bunch of different churches get together and serve the Waco community. People were divided up into lots of projects, including carpentry, landscaping, painting, serving food, and plenty more! The whole day was focused on sharing Jesus' love throughout the Waco community, and coming together with unity as Christians rather than being split up according to our church.

We got to paint railings on an apartment complex in East Waco. We were actually really close to Rapoport Elementary School, so we were serving some of the same community that Dan works with at school on a daily basis.

I didn't take any pictures but our friend Jenna did, and you are lucky that she is an amazing photographer and has a blog! So go here if you want to see Sharefest pictures. There's a great picture of our entire small group, as well as one where you get to see me in all my painting glory - hot pink pants, frizzy hair, and old tennis shoes! Also, if you look closely, you can see Dan's man-pris. He was quite proud of his fashion statement.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Classes are OVER for the Semester!

Yesterday was my last day of classes for the spring semester! I can't believe it. I still have a final left, which is next Thursday evening, but other than that I'm done until June!

Well, done with classes at least - so I'll have free Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Well, free Tuesdays and Thursdays except for my two weekly therapy clients that I see on Tuesdays, and supervision for those on Thursdays. And of course, not counting the interviews and assessment clients I've already allowed to talk me into coming into work for on those days.

Well.. in theory, it's a break!

Anyway, my Experimental Design professor, Dr. Kirk, stopped teaching us how to design experiments yesterday with about a half hour left in class. He told us he wanted to share with us the three most important pieces of wisdom that he has accumulated throughout his life. (Which, trust me...he's had a while to accumulate said wisdom). It was really pretty neat and felt like a good way to end the year we've spent with him.

His advice? Well, the first thing was really mostly applicable to people in academia. He said to make sure that when you do any research, you need to get at least three things out of it. So he used the examples of a journal article, a poster, a chapter in a book... but he said that you need to make sure you are getting the most out of all the work you do, and to do this, you need at least three publishable things for every project.

Advice #2: Network, network, network. Not only with people immediately surrounding you - really, Dr. Kirk advised against that - he said he spends all his time networking with other quantitative psychologists across the country. He spends hours each week specifically focused on networking with other people in his field! Wow.

And finally, advice #3: Hire the best accountant you can find. It's not how much money you make, it's how much money you keep. And you'll be able to keep the most of your money by working with someone who really knows the ins and outs of the laws. He got more in detail with this, talking about his own business, renting rooms to himself, and municipal bonds...but let's be honest, that's not so much my territory so I'm not going to try to repeat it and risk messing it up. The take home message here was that an accountant is a good thing.

I have no idea what my three pieces of wisdom would be...but it's something fun to think about. Discuss amongst yourselves...