Team Hensley

Team Hensley

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Smooth Moves and Pirate Ships

My friend Joe got me some part-time work with a company he helped found: Smooth Moves Inc. Smooth Moves, as the name implies, is a moving company. I worked two days last week helping move tables and chairs around from one hospital office to another. It was pretty easy work.

But Oh Noes! Earlier in the week, Randi claimed she had a surprise for me on Friday. But I had a Smooth Moves gig on Friday! What if I didn't get to have my surprise? That would be lame.
Luckily, our work on Friday was very short, so I came home, got cleaned up, then we began a long trek to Navy Pier. To ride a pirate ship!!!

"The Windy" is a half diesel, half sail ship that you can ride into Lake Michigan. They have different themes for each ride. One gives a history of Lake Michigan's rum runners; one tells [lake themed?] ghost stories at night; the one we went on talked about Lake Michigan's pirate history.
The ship sets out of port using its diesel engine, then hoists the sails--with the help of some lucky passengers--to sail around the lake.

While the ship is sailing around, two pirate guys tell the stories of pirates who worked in Lake Michigan.

And I got to shoot the cannon! One pirate said they usually let some kid do it, but because I was such an eager beaver, they let me.

I was told the cannon was capable of shooting a two-pound cannon ball, but that that was discouraged by the city of Chicago. Instead, it shot some sort of shotgun round.

Here I am getting ready to hit the back of the cannon with a hammer. I missed the first time.

Here's probably a look of satisfaction on my face after I taught the lake a valuable lesson.

Here is a picture of the city I took with my phone. The sun was right in my face, so I couldn't really see what I was doing.

Here is my ship mate.

Then we shook the hand of a "pirate" who shook the hand of a "pirate" who shook the hand of a man who shook the hand of a pirate. So we're kinda like real pirates now.

Back on shore--where it was 10 degrees hotter--we walked over to gawk at the new Marlyn Monroe statue.It was kind of weird.

Before that, I punched a metal kid in the stomach at the park.

The end.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Who goes on vacation twice in one month? This moi.

I spent July 7-14 in Texas. It was a super relaxing trip complete with lots of chocolate cake, lots of floating in the pool, a facial, cable television, and tons of much-needed Mama love.

My trip was scheduled around my dear sister's birthday (July 9). Only once have we not celebrated together (and that's 'cause she was in Fiji), so being there was important to me. I totally recommend spending a birthday with Lydia Jones if you ever get the chance. She knows how to do it right. After going to a yoga class, we went to a leisurely lunch. Then she took a nap while I finished up her cake. I thought it was way beyond my skill level, so I'm pretty proud of it--chocolate cake with a strawberry filling, chocolate ganache frosting, and strawberries on top (obviously). Next time, I might change up the frosting, but it was pretty good.

Lyddie, Trevor, Mom, Sarah and her daughter, Scarlet, Daniel, Joe, and Ryan Gregory's sister and mother met up for dinner and merriment. Dad had been in Boston for a business trip, but arrived just in time for cake. Lydia chose to meet at a place close to her house that has a bunch of different food trucks.

The food was good--bbq, burgers, and Pakistani food.

Then we ate snowcones and cake.

It was super fun--good company, good eats, and a good reason to celebrate.

Sadly, these are pretty much all the pictures I have of the entire trip because my camera died and I was too lazy-er, I mean busy-to get a new battery. But, don't fear! I did get one of this pooch:

Like I said, I spent most of my time in San Antonio in my parents' pool. But I did sneak away to Austin for one day.

I picked up a shift at Epoch (the coffee shop I worked at for four years where I met some of my very best friends). I thought this would be a good way to kill two birds with one stone--make some much needed money and see a bunch of people in a short amount of time. I had the pleasure of working with the ever-lovely Amanda Pack. And my bestie Ben Lance gave me a very warm welcome by filling the place with balloons, roses, and my favorite candy (and bunches of it!). He also came and made margaritas during our shift. Was it dreamy? Yes, it was!

**Thanks very much to Amanda for sharing her pictures with me!**

After work, we went to celebrate the wonderful Ariele's 30th birthday. A great lover of sandwiches, she hosted a sandwich making competition. I got to be a judge! The competition was super fierce, but Benji still took home second place.

Being in Austin for one day made me really want to move back. So many good folks that I really, really miss.

Sadly, Shelley was away for work, but I did get a good night's rest in her bed. The next day, my dear friend Lily, who is also on staff for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, and I got together to scout out locations for the CEDP's national convention (which is in Texas this year for the first time ever!). We had a sushi lunch with her son (5 year old Oscar) who is super fun to be around. He asked me if I wanted to hear his favorite song. When I said, "yes, please!", he hummed the Star Wars theme song very loudly. He is awesome.

I returned to Schertz for more relaxing. A week went by so fast, but I was ready to get back to see my sweet husband. Unfortunately, he had to stay behind to look for jobs and entertain Matt B who was in Chicago. I missed him so and am looking forward to go back for the CEDP convention and Christmas when he will be able to come along. I'm also excited for the fall when Amanda, Shelley, and hopefully my family come up for a visit!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So proud.

The very handsome and intelligent Nathan E. Hensley graduated with his Master's Degree from the University of Chicago on June 11. He finished in under a year with a really high GPA and a killer thesis. Now, while taking a year off to figure out what lucky school will give him a PhD, he begins his job search in a super bummer of an economy.

Pcitures to follow of Tucker/West/Hensley Chicago shenanigans. :)

Colorado Adventure

Last night, I returned home tired, sore, and cut up from my trek around Colorado with my two sister-friends, Alicia and Rachel. We survived high school and college together, they were bridesmaids at my wedding, and I look forward to the three of us making each other laugh until we're old and gray. We are scattered across the country now (Alicia is still in Austin about to begin a prestigious screen-writing program, Rachel is an archaeologist in Grand Junction, Colorado and I am, of course, in Chicago), so we have vowed to get together every year for a vacation together (saving our pennies for Paris in five years!). This year, Rachel generously agreed to give us a Colorado tour.

I flew into Denver early Friday morning. Rachel picked me up and showed me around Denver while we waited for Alicia's flight to arrive.

We drove out west where we camped out under the beautiful Aspen trees, ate deer sausage provided by Rachel's dad with delicious cheese, played cards, caught up, and drank wine and whiskey (turns out, I can't handle ANY hard liquor these days).

The next morning we got up and went into Aspen to visit the farmer's market. The city of Aspen is beautiful and it's fun to walk around the farmer's market and gawk at all the plastic surgery and very large, well-groomed poodles.

After the market and some lunch in Apsen, we headed out to the Elk Mountain Range, where we faced the Conundrum trail, which has been one of my biggest foes to date.

We hiked up 8.5 miles to 11, 200 feet carrying 35 lbs on our backs (mine was around 35, the girls' packs were even heavier). The last two miles, as it was getting dark and cold, we had to cross a river and hike the rest through snow, which was four feet or so at some spots. Physically, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I was dizzy, nauseous, and had sharp pains in my lungs. I literally gave that mountain my blood, sweat, and tears.

This is the reward for the long, treacherous hike. We sat in these hot springs checking out the incredible view. Unfortunately, I left my camera at our campsite, which was about half a mile away. Since I had no desire to go back in the cold and get it, I have stolen this picture from the AOL travel website. It's missing the snow, but you get the idea of how beautiful it was.

My body is still sore, but I am glad for the experience. And impressed by my friends. Rachel didn't struggle at all and Alicia was steady all the way up. The next day, we hiked down and then went to Glennwoods Springs to recover. We went to the hot springs, ate a delicious steak dinner at a place called Juicy Lucy, then slept like angels at a cheap roadside motel.

On Monday, we woke up and headed to Grand Junction to shop and eat a delicious sushi lunch. We then headed out to Palisade to check into our adorable bed and breakfast.

Palisade has many up and coming vineyards. The oldest winery is only 25 years, but the wine is still delicious and the people are happy to talk to you about their wines and eager to let you sample their wine. We had a really nice time, met a falcon who guarded the vineyards against bugs, and did our fair share to support Colorado wine.

Then, we went to the local distillery to drink bloody marys. Afterward, we went home to our king size bed to gossip and eat cookies. It was a fine time.

The next day, Rachel and her boyfriend were kind enough to drive us the four hours back to Denver to catch our flights. Our trip felt so short and I hope that it's not another year+ before I get to see my best girlfriends.