Archive for December, 2008

Building Dreams
December 30, 2008

12/30/08 UPDATE: The team’s final practice will be New Year’s Eve from 9a-Noon.  Then the 10m platform that helped produce our local Olympians comes down first, because it’s a liability.  It’s truly, sadly the end of an era.


If you don’t know Laura Wilkinson, you better ask somebody!  She’s the Olympic Platform Diving Gold-Medalist from The Woodlands.  For years, The Woodlands diving facility has developed and trained Olympians like Laura.  But those days are over.  The facility officially closes this week.  The only hope to keep this world-class tradition alive is Laura’s foundation.  She’s trying to raise money to build a new facility.  The vision is awesome, but it won’t happen without some big time help.


Here’s what Laura’s trying to accomplish:  a new facility located on 10-15 acres near The Woodlands.  It will be an innovative, world class sports facility that will offer state of the art equipment and features for a variety of sports to benefit aspiring athletes in the community.  The main building in its distinct design will house a 20,000 square foot gymnastics area, a 10,000 square foot diving dryland training room, a cardio and weight training room, locker rooms, a unique baby swim pool, four dance studios, a dance stage and auditorium as well as classrooms, medical treatment rooms, conference and party rooms, offices, a reception and lounge area, and unique parent and kid friendly viewing areas.  The outdoor diving well will include multiple 1 and 3 meter springboards, a full set of platforms, a sparging (bubbler) system, and a hot tub.

Happy Holidays!
December 27, 2008

UPDATE: Lauren and Forrest welcome baby Rhodes into the world on the evening of December 23, 2008. He weighed 6lbs. 9oz. Here’s video of Bill Balleza giving the announcement.  Pictures to come…

Baby Rhodes!

Baby Rhodes!


Happy Holidays…and we mean all of them! Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa! Travel safely, save on gas, and enjoy the in-laws. I’m gone to visit family in Pittsburgh until Monday. Lauren’s off until probably late January to -eh hem- have a baby. Wish her luck! I’m sure we’ll post a picture or two at some point. I’ll give you updates as I can. But one thing at a time…


Married in the Snow
December 26, 2008

Remember when it snowed the second week of December?  Two lovers in Cleveland, TX decided to take advantage of that rare event to get married… outside… in the snow!  Sonya Lansford sent us the video.  It’s her brother Scott Walston marrying Sonya’s friend and neighbor Jody Labuff.

Sonya wrote, “They picked up their marriage license the week before but couldn’t decide on a place to get married. Then it snowed.”  They had the license, why wait?  Sonya threw together a makeshift bouquet, got the cameras, and her husband married them in the front yard in about 10 minutes.  December 10, 2008 — definitely a night to remember!

The Best Used Gift Ever
December 19, 2008


What do you do with a box of old cell phones?  Sell them for cash of course!  Then buy calling cards and send them to our troops so they can call their families.  It’s an especially nice gesture during the holidays.  Two kids in Massachusetts have collected the phones since 2004 through their non-profit Cell Phones for Soliders.  Today, they’re still going strong, hoping to collect about 600,000 phones this year alone.  That would equal about 12 million minutes of prepaid calling cards for our men and women serving around the world.  That’s a lot of talk time!  There are thousands of drop-off sites around the country — find one here.  It’s tax deductible.  And you can find out more information at the website.  By the way, in the coming years the group wants to buy video chat time so our troops can see and hear their families.  Gotta love technology.

When Lawmakers Attack!
December 18, 2008


Sometimes I just wish our Congress had the same passion for policymaking that these Korean lawmakers do.  Can you imagine Texas’ Al Green going toe-to-toe with John Culberson?  That would be awesome!  Anyway, check out the fight in the Korean Parliament recently.  One party locked out the other party with the old “furniture against the door” trick.  When they tried to break in — out came the fire extinguishers!  Check out the other pictures.  And there’s a video link in the article.  You’ve gotta look for it.