Monday, October 24, 2011

Great Adventure 2011

This past Saturday night was the 2011 Great Adventure Dinner and Auction.  Saturday marked my 2nd year as an employee at Medical Teams International and my 3rd auction.  The past several weeks have definitely been busy - there is a lot of work that goes into an event of this scale.  At times I was amazed at everything that our team of three (me, Deb and Chiqui) were juggling: item procurement, decor and catering, invitations and rsvps, wine donations, catalog production, run-of-show schedule, corporate sponsors, a Lexus raffle, hundreds of volunteers.  This event is definitely becoming a well-oiled machine!

A few days before the big night, the warehouse at our headquarters was cleared out and transformed into a Caribbean dining hall.  Things came together pretty smoothly this year.  Deb and I got into the office early on Saturday morning, made a few last minute tweeks, then looked at each other and said, "Let's do this!"

I got chills as people began flooding in the warehouse at 5pm on Saturday evening.  All that we had dreamed about and planned was finally becoming a reality.  Generous items that were procured by our dedicated committee members and wine that I had carried in and out of our storage facility was now being bid on by guests who's name tags showed names that I had become quite familiar with over the past few month.  Then the guests were seated for the dinner and live auction where our new auctioneer, Letitia, welcome them with plenty of energy and got them riled up over 28 live auction items, each one better than the last.

Everytime I try to explain this amazing auction to friends or family, I find that I can't actually put it all in to words.  I can never relay the energy and excitement that fills the warehouse.  Or fully explain the humbling generosity of our donors and how miraculous one night can be.

On Saturday night we raised a record-breaking amount: $1.414 million!!!!

The following morning, our incredible staff and volunteers gathered for a celebration brunch to congratulate one another and talk about what a great night it was.  I sat there and looked around the room at the amazing people whom I was surrounded by: a couple who have dedicated the last 3 years of their life chairing this auction and getting literally everyone they know involved, the president of Lexus of Portland who completely donated a $31K Lexus for our raffle, an elite producer who practically donated all of his production services to make our event top-notch, the most knowledgeable wine connoisseur I know, and a handful of women who won't take no for an answer when it comes to procuring auction items.  This is the reason I love my job.  It is truly a blessing to work with each of these people.

So another successful auction is behind us... and we're already scheming for next year!
our superstar committee

the Caribbean dining room

the international auction room

Katie, our auction intern, and me

more pictures coming soon...

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Would Give Anything...

I'm pretty sure last weekend was just about the worst weekend ever.  It all started on Thursday evening at 10:30pm when I locked myself out of the apartment where I was dogsitting.  No keys, no phone, nothing but two rowdy dogs, and me in my pajamas.  After about an hour of bothering several strangers to ask for help, borrow their phone, get a little advice/sympathy, I was directed to Pop-a-Lock.  The guy used a glorified coat hanger to let me back in to a place where I don't even actually live and then charged me an arm and a leg.  Friday was a long, busy day at work and when I finally got home and stumbled over to climb into the big comfy bed, I stepped in dog poop.  Saturday morning, I took the dogs down for a walk, paid the meter for my car that was parked on the street, and headed back up for a little more shut eye.  I kept my eyes shut for a little too long and when I went back down to reload the meter, I already had a bright yellow ticket on my windshield.  No wait, it wasn't just a ticket, it was two tickets.  One for expired parking, the other for an expired license plate.  There goes my other arm and leg.  Sunday night, a rancid smell woke me up at 3am.  I turned on the light, looked around the room, and saw poop.  Everywhere.  And a little puke to top it off.  So it's 3 in the morning and I'm on my hands and knees cleaning up dog crap.  I go back to sleep for a few short hours and wake up to a Monday that has already started off on a bad note. I walk downstairs and outside into the rain.  I cross the street to where my car is parked by a downtown park.  I look at my car and think, "Oh geez, did I really leave my window down all night?"  Nope, my window isn't rolled down.  It's shattered.  Glass everywhere.  My car has been broken into.  As if I expected this to happen (because I'm on  a pretty impressive streak of bad luck), I roll my eyes, turn around and walk right back into the apartment lobby to call the police.  I file a report, find out that it's not covered by my insurance (if I had a third arm and leg, they would be gone too) and arrange for my windows to be replaced. So on one of the busiest week's of the year, I don't even have a car to drive into work.  When it rains, it pours (into your car that is missing half of the windows). I'm in the downtown apartment lobby crying on the phone to my mom and the janitor takes a break from mopping the floor to bring me a box of kleenex.  At that moment she was a saint - it didn't take much to add a touch of brightness to my day.  I start planning a really long run to blow off some steam and then realize that my brand new, never worn running shoes (plus favorite rain jacket, gym bag, watch and ipod) were all stolen.  Who steals a pair of size 5 shoes and a pink jacket? Seriously.  Well maybe I can relax by curling up and reading.  Nope, they took my favorite copy of Les Miserables (which coincidentially is about a man who was a thief and then turned his life around).

So to recap: locked out of the apartment, stepped in dog crap, parking ticket, another ticket, even more dog poop with a touch of vomit, sleep deprevation, car broken into, barefoot running, no arms or legs.

I was seriously scared to walk down the street or turn a corner for a couple of days, afraid that a bus might hit me.  I started thinking, "Things were pretty bad this weekend, but they could have been worse, right?" And I tried to come up with things that could have happened to put me in an even worse situation: my car could have been completely stolen, I could have been kidnapped, someone could have died.

And that led me to think about the times when we say, "I would give anything for ________ not to happen."  We always say that on the back end of things when something awful has already happened.  What if we looked at that statement on the front end of things when awful things haven't already happened.

For example: what if my car was actually completely stolen, or I was in a car accident that left me a quadriplegic (literally cost me my arms and legs), or what if one of my family members died... would I give up my measley ipod and my replacable running shoes? Yes. Would I take the hit of a couple parking tickets? Yes. Would I even step in dog poop? Sure.

So maybe all of this happened in the place of something worse happening.  Instead of saying, "I would give anything..." I'm just giving it without knowing what could have happened.  I know that's a crazy train of thought, but it makes me feel a little better about my streak of bad luck.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Colorado with Hannah

This past weekend, I met up with my friend Hannah in Colorado.  Hannah is a recruiter for Baylor and is in Colorado for 2 weeks for work.  I came to keep her company for the weekend and we had a great time together!

I flew into Denver on Friday afternoon and we went straight from the airport to Red Rocks Park for a little hike.  It just so happened that there was a Grateful Dead cover band concert at the amphitheater that weekend, so we were completely surrounded by 45-60 year old total hippies.  I’ve never seen so much tie dye apparel in my life!  We enjoyed a nice walk through the park then headed back to our hotel to freshen up and head out to dinner.

Our friend Jordy, who lives in Denver, recommended a pub called Bulls and Bush which was very local and tasty.  Since Jordy couldn’t join us for dinner, we bought her a souvenir poster from the restaurant and dropped by her house to drop of her surprise gift (ding-dong-ditch style).  Missed you, Jords!

Saturday morning, we had brunch at a spot called Toast before heading 70 miles south to Colorado Springs.  We drove to the Garden of the Gods were we got out for a nice morning walk through the amazing spired rocks.  It was a gorgeous day and there were lots of rock climbers out which made me want to throw on a harness and start climbing up the walls.

We stayed at the beautiful Glen Eyrie Castle in Colorado Springs.  Hannah had a “Baylor Joe” coffee meeting schedule that afternoon for prospective Baylor Bears in the area.  I came as her “assistant” and loved having the opportunity to see her hard at work.  Talk about a girl who is passionate about Baylor!  She made me want to enroll in classes again!

That night, we went to the amazing Broadmoor for drinks and dessert.  We sat outside by a beautiful pond and enjoyed watching the sun set over the Rockie Mountains.  Truly breathtaking.

Sunday morning, we drove to the top of Pike’s Peak, a 14,110 mountain.  I’m amazed that you can drive your car all the way up a paved road to the top of such a big mountain.  It was pretty touristy, but the views were amazing.  Especially at this time of year with leaves starting to change.  I think that is the highest I’ve ever been before.  It was cold up top… and actually a little hard to breath.

We then drove back to Denver for another Baylor Joe full of excited high school seniors and their parents.  I actually loved getting to talk to those families about my Baylor experience and hopefully give them a good perspective on what Baylor is all about.  We then had dinner with our friends from Baylor, Chris and Michael, who just moved to Denver about 6 weeks ago.

It was a wonderful, relaxing, much needed weekend with one of my best girl friends.  Thanks for letting me come join you during your work trip, Hannah!

Hannah and I at Red Rock... blantantly being called "tourists" by the old hippies.

the amazing view of Pikes Peak and the Rockies on the drive to Colorado Springs

Hannah at I walking through the Garden of the Gods

taking in the amazing scene

our castle for the weekend
(yes, there are lots of funny solo shots from this trip since it was just the two of us)

at the top of Pikes Peak - our first 14er... and we didn't even break a sweat.

the fall leaves turning colors. it was a great time of year for this drive.