Burj al Arab
Originally uploaded by R. Parks
Well, I'm back from trip to Dubai and it was great!

I travelled to Dubai to participate in the second part of a sales management training program that my company is hosting with Purdue University. I arrived on Friday, November 30, and returned the following Saturday after a pretty intensive week of class and sight-seeing.

I plan on going into some detail on the following posts, but wanted to give everyone a chance to visit my flickr site and look a the handful of pictures I put up this evening.



Black Friday

We were supposed to go to Dallas this weekend, but decided against it this afternoon. I was feeling a little under the weather, Amy was tired from shopping and we both wanted to take it easy this weekend.

Also, I didn't go to the gym today and spaced my eye doctor's appointment.

I think whiskey is in order.



You can see from the pics that our thanksgiving was very tasty. We had a great time at my sister's, though the kids got a little uptight by the end of the afternoon. Amy did a great job on the bird and the carvings went swimmingly.

Hope yours was great as well!


FL I / Workout A / Day 5

Superset #1
Squat: 3 sets / 10 reps - 155#
Cable Seated Row: 3 sets / 10 reps - 210#

45 sec. rest between sets

Superset #2
Supine Hip Extension: 3 sets / 10 reps - body weight
Dumbbell Push Press: 3 sets / 10 reps - 45# dbs

45 sec. rest between sets

Superset #3
Rotational Lunge: 3 sets / 10 reps - 30# dbs
Swiss Ball Crunch: 3 sets / 10 reps - 45# db

I ended up going to the gym late because I wanted to see Amy after she got home from work. It wasn't too bad, but I did have to go up on the weight today. Typically, I hate going to the gym at night, but the crowd was pretty light since tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I probably won't be able to go back until after we get back from Dallas on Sunday.

How about you?

It would take 16 bottles of Paulaner Salvator to kill me


FL I / Workout B / Day 4

Superset #1
Deadlift: 3 sets / 12 reps - 135#
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 sets / 12 reps - 50# dbs

60 sec. rest between sets

Superset #2
Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 sets / 10 reps - 20# dbs
Mixed-grip Lat Pulldown: 3 sets / 12 reps (each grip) - 140#

60 sec. rest between sets

Superset #3
Romanian Deadlift: 3 sets / 10 reps - 95#
Bicycle Crunch: 3 sets / 12 reps - 10# medicine ball

Today's workout was more difficult because I aggravated something in my lower back on Sunday. It hurt Monday, but less today. So, after warming up, I felt okay. By the time I made it through my first superset and went to the split squats (which are always hard), I had to do less reps. The romanian deadlifts were even tougher. It'll be touch-and-go tomorrow.

Take that, Xbox 360.

sid with braces
Originally uploaded by R. Parks
Today, we got braces.

Well, at least on the top teeth. Because of Sid's slight overbite, the orthodontist thought it would be best to wait a few months before putting on the bottom set. It only took about an hour as they had pre-set the brackets up on a model and simply set them to his teeth in one step. (I remember being in the chair for about 2 hours.)

Fortunately, we don't have get both of the kids' teeth done at the same time. We may be able to wait until Sid's are off before Cait needs them. Let's just say, it's a good thing the whole "debtor's prison " thing was abolished decades ago.

When Sidney asked what he was getting for Christmas, we said, "Braces."

Then, Cait asked what she was getting for Christmas.

"Your brother's braces."


dented highlander
Originally uploaded by R. Parks
Amy was picking Sid up at my sister's last night and backed into a car parked on the street. We filed an insurance claim last night and will bring the car in on Monday to get the bumper replaced. But, between this, paying for Sid's braces and my trip overseas, Christmas is going to be a juggling act.

Quite frankly, this sucks donkey balls.


I hate weeks like this . . .

candle holder and vase
Originally uploaded by R. Parks
Really, there are only threes days of actual work to be done. But everything seems to happen in those three days.

I usually feel like taking it easy the week of Thanksgiving and things in my business typically slow down around this time, but this year has been difficult, business-wise. So, we're kind of in a crunch to make our numbers.

Therefore, instead of disliking the holidays for the regular reasons - too much extra family, too much money being spent and the general stress of making everybody happy - I now have work to worry about.

Happy holidays.


FL I / Workout A / Day 4

[I'm using a book called The New Rules of Lifting, but I'm not trying to do the exercises in the order dictated in the text. The author designates a number of different body types/schedule restrictions and then recommends the schedule of exercises. Since I don't think I fit into any of the categories, I'm kind of adjusting it to fit my goals.]

Superset #1
Squat: 3 sets / 12 reps - 135#
Cable Seated Row: 3 sets / 12 reps - 160#

60 sec. rest between sets

Superset #2
Supine Hip Extension: 3 sets / 12 reps - body weight
Dumbbell Push Press: 3 sets / 12 reps - 40# dbs

60 sec. rest between sets

Superset #3
Rotational Lunge: 3 sets / 12 reps - 25# dbs
Swiss Ball Crunch: 3 sets / 12 reps - 45# db

Though I don't follow the book exactly, it is full of tips on proper form and good information on warm-ups and stretches. Typically, to warm up, I will jog for 5 minutes and then do some light weight versions of the major-muscle exercises. If time permits, I will try to do 15 minutes of cardio after the workout; usually stationary bike or elliptical.

Dallas Apartment

Living Room
Originally uploaded by R. Parks
I'm now in Dallas, working out of an apartment in Irving. I moved in last week, but won't be able to really start working there until after the 8th.

But, like I wrote earlier, we're going up on Friday to finish setting everything up.

Workout Progress

running shoes
Originally uploaded by R. Parks
With all of the travelling lately, it has been hard to keep up with my workouts. I try to go to the Y in the town I'm in (most participate in something called the AWAY program), but it can be difficult to find the time. Hopefully, by keeping track online, I can not only keep up the workouts, but keep myself motivated.

As of last week, I am officially working in Dallas. The company set up an apartment in Irving and I will begin commuting to Dallas on the 10th of December. I am trying to get everything set up there, so Amy and the kids will go to Dallas with me after Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping.


No Sell Yet, But Still Moving

Well, it's been a couple of months, so I guess it is time for an update.

Though we've yet to sell the house, people are continuing to look. We average about 1 visit from a potential buyer each week and their comments are typically good. Still, no offers. So, we'll probably keep the house listed at its current price until the first of the year so we can see what the market does during the holidays. Perhaps people will look to move during the school break.

I'm still moving to Dallas before the end of the year, however. The company is making arrangements for an apartment in Dallas so that I can commute each week. I plan on travelling up on Mondays and back to Houston on Thursday evenings. While there, I will go to Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Conway, Arkansas a couple of times each month. But, with the holidays nearing and my trip to the Middle East coming up in about 4 weeks, I'm not sure how many trips north I'll be taking.


Crunch Time

It has been a crazy summer, but we're no closer to moving to Dallas. The last couple of offers were a little low and we feel like we've priced the place to sell. Still, as school starts in a couple of weeks, we may look at lowering the price. Also, I spoke with my boss last week and he didn't indicate that the higher-ups were rushing the move from their end. So, right now, we are just focusing on back-to-school stuff.

Besides all of the relocation issues, I just attended my first session of classes with the NOV-Purdue University Sales Management Institute. Our next session is in Dubai, UAE in the first week of December, but we have a couple of large projects due between now and then. So, needless to say, I'm a little busy. To be honest, we've kind of put the move on the back burner.

If anything changes, I'm sure I will post it a few weeks too late.


It's been a long time, so how about a moving update.

A lot has happened since we officially started the move to Dallas. Let's see:
  • We put our house on the market - pricing it a little lower than we wanted in an effort to sell it quickly.
  • We had an offer 3 weeks later only to have it fall through as we were finding houses in Dallas.
  • After two weeks of the house being off the market, we put it back up fearing that we'd missed our window.
  • We've had two more offers - one was pulled early and the other is currently in the buyer's court following our counter-offer.


It's Official

Officially official, to be precise.

We're putting the house on the market in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, this will go quickly and we can make the move well before the school year starts in August.


Big D

It's not officially official yet, but it looks as though we will be in Dallas by the beginning of the next school year. We were planning on placing our house on the market in order to move into a larger one, but when I mentioned it to my boss, he thought the timing was good for the bigger move.

I should receive my relocation package this week and, provided it is sufficient, we should be placing the house on the market by next week. Wish us luck.

In the Corvette - Epcot

In the Corvette - Epcot
Originally uploaded by R. Parks.
This past week Amy and I took the kids to the Disney Parks for an early vacation. We took about 600 pictures, but you can see a few of the better ones at flickr.com.

Sidney and Caitlin took their first plane trip, rode their first roller coasters and saw each of the four parks. This picture is from the car display following the Test Track ride at Epcot.


Our first game of the year

Me and the kids at the game
Originally uploaded by R. Parks.
Amy and I took the kids to their first Astros game of the year today. The game sucked (we're now 1-5 in last place, on our way to a early road trip), but we had a great time. The kids got plush toys as part of the first group of kids at the park and got to eat a ton of junk food.

Amy took this picture before the game started.


Hotel sign

Hotel Sign
Originally uploaded by R. Parks.
This is a post from the flickr site. I'm testing to see if this will be better than posting pics from my computer directly to blogger. Any advice on this would be appreciated.

This picutre is a lazy homage to Chris Glass. He takes a lot of pictures of signs such as this - only with better editing and quality. Check his pictures out, they're great.

Sid's first fish

Sidney caught his first fish last Saturday. It was kind of iffy that day - the weather was bad in the morning and ended up being bad that night. But there were a few hours where we had an opportunity to fish. Dad and I caught a few each, Sid caught one and my uncle came up empty-handed.

It's kind of a shame that Sid is eleven and just caught his first, but we don't get an opportunity to get out on the water very often. He was pretty proud of this little perch and cannot wait to get another shot at 'em.



Woke up early and left for Arkansas at around 5:30 AM.

I stopped for a late breakfast and to get gas before I got to Conway.

When I got to my hotel, I unpacked, checked my email and took a nap.

Later, I went to our shop, met with the guys and discussed what we were going to do the next day.



This morning I got up and packed for my trip while Amy went to church with Sidney.

I played the Wii for a while and had tacos for lunch.

Then, Amy, the kids and I went shopping for dress clothes for Sidney's 'Manners Banquet' this Friday.

Amy went to work and I watched the kids play the Wii for a while.


I got up this morning and went straight to the gym to run a few miles.

After getting home and playing with the Wii for a while, I met Amy's cousins at St. Arnold's.

I came home and helped Amy get the gumbo ready for the evening.

Later, Dave and Rhonda came over with Bryan and we sat around, ate and talked until around 10:30pm.


I slept in this morning, but got up before 8am to help Amy with some things around the house.

Before lunch, I travelled about 20 miles to find a Wii for Sidney's birthday.

Later, I picked up the kids at school and then went to the office to pick up some paperwork for my trip.

That night, I went to the gym much later than normal.


Went to the Galleria area and by a customer's office in the morning.

Then I met my wife's cousin for lunch at Beck's Prime.

Afterwards, I went to the library and back to the house.

At the house, I made some calls to set up appointments in Tulsa for next week.



I went downtown in the morning and visited with a friend of mine at a customer's office.

I received news that one of my accounts will make some changes in one of their markets.

Came home and went to the gym.

Watched 'District B13' and went to bed without posting.

I'm probably too old to take up parkour.



Today I went to a customer's office and then to my office.

I received two pens I ordered yesterday and discovered that I liked the cheaper one better.

After the gym, I came home and ate some chili without beans.

I skipped the 'State of the Union' and watched 'Idiocracy' instead.

I totally think that Hillary will win the Democratic nomination for president and Barack Obama will be chosen as her running mate.



After getting the kids off to school, I went to work at my regular time for a Monday.

Before lunch, I went downtown and spoke to a couple of customers.

Following our sales meeting, I went home and then to the gym.

Tonight, after checking the mail, I cooked dinner.

Just like 'Married With Children' was often called 'Al Bundy' by its fans, I'm finding that '24' is being called 'Jack Bauer.'



I got up this morning and helped Amy get the living room back in order after the party.

Around lunch, I took Sidney's friend home and went to the gym.

Later, I watched the Saints lose to the Bears, but only half-watched the Pats - Colts game.

Caitlin ended up staying up late because she forgot an assignment she had to complete for tomorrow.

Ang Lee started out strong, but his last few movies have been kind of weak.



After sleeping in, I got up and took Sidney to rent some games for his party.

We came home and I set everything up so the guys could play video games.

I also helped Amy decorated his 'Nintendo DS' cake.

The party was fun and everyone was tired afterward.

Fifteen dollars is just not enough for an iTunes gift card.


After an early morning trip downtown, I went into the office finish up some work.

Before lunch, I went to Kinko's to ship a package and talk to my sister.

I picked the kids up from school and ran some errands before going to the gym.

I ate a bowl of cereal and watched some t.v. before going to bed.

SNL is actually better since Tina Fey quit as head writer.



I only visited one of my regular customers this morning.

As a result, I ended up getting to the office earlier than usual and had my pick of parking spaces.

I planned on meeting my dad for lunch downtown, but the bad weather and traffic made me change my plans.

I worked at the house later and went to the gym pretty late.

If someone offers you fried jalapenos and onion strips as an appetizer, pass.



Even though our schools were open, I stayed home instead of going downtown.

I had lunch with Amy at our favorite Chinese food restaurant.

Disappointed my new gym shoes didn't come in, I decided to skip my workout.

I drank a couple of whiskeys and watched 'A Prairie Home Companion.'

Roderigo y Gabriela are pretty fun to watch, but I'm not sure I could listen to them play for a long time.



It wasn't nearly as cold as was forecast and it didn't rain overnight.

I ended up going to lunch with my boss and another salesman.

Afterwards, I went to the library and then to the gym.

Later, I ate a Manwich and watched 'The Unit.'

'Mumford' is a pretty awesome movie.



Today it was pretty cold, so I didn't go to Dallas.

During lunch, I parked my car in a grocery store parking lot and finished the book I was reading.

When I got home I decided to go to the gym in case I couldn't go tomorrow.

Later, I watched '24' on t.v.

The Hold Steady is probably the best band in America right now.


Typing the word 'blog' gets harder each time I do it.

It's simply too time consuming to keep up a blog.

I don't know if it is just too boring to write about what happens on a daily basis or if the redundancy in writing about that stuff seems stupid. It seems to me that the most successful sites, at least recently, are those that do not focus on their author's own life.

Oh well, bored already. . .