Friday, December 29, 2006

Our JCPenny Christmas Portraits

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Promise? What a joke!

And to think... I actually thought I would be able to stay on top of things this holiday. But no, I should have known better. My cards will go out today - so they may arrive before Christmas. The box for my folks will also go out today - and I'm determined it will arrive before Christmas (but I sure wish I had been able to put more in it). I have to finish my shopping w/my 12/22 paycheck - and I so look forward to shopping the weekend before Christmas! [NOT!] I swear...

Monday, December 11, 2006

"My Bad" and "Jacked Up" - Too Cute!

Phoebe has picked up two phrases recently that amuse me so! And what makes it so cute is that she uses them in the correct context! Got a wedgie? "My underwear's all jacked up." Looking for something in plain view? "Oh, my bad, nevermind, I found it." My little smarty!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"I Don't Want to Go to School!"

My coworker warned me... she would love school, until it wasn't new anymore. Well, apparently Thanksgiving week at home was the turning point, because today it was all boo-hoo when we got to school! My poor baby. I knew it would happen eventually, but it still didn't prepare me for the feeling of betrayal I felt as I left her in the arms of Miss Shiela and walked out while she cried for me to take her back home to her Daddi. I sure hope this is a once-in-a-while thing, and not a new daily battle.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mommi, Mommi, Mommi Get All Clean!

Phoebe's doctor recommends a steamy shower as more effective than OTC cold remedies, so we've been taking more than our fair share lately. Phoebe has come up with an adorable little chant/song/diddy she likes to sing as she dabs me in the face w/her purple hippopotamus scrubby - apparently on her own little mission to get me clean. :) She's so cute, and so fun!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

An all-out get stuffed Thanksgiving Thursday w/my sis, and another 20-person get overstuffed Thanksgiving Friday with lots of family... it was great! I'll add pics later, but just wanted to say what a nice Thanksgiving it's been. :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Oh How the Mother in Me Weeps!

The article below made me cry, and I mean boo-hoo-hoo, all-out sobbing. That little girl looks to be about Phoebe's age, and the thought of such an innocent little spirit having to cope with her life - I can hardly stand the idea. I found myself wondering if she might have been better off to have not survived her own gunshot. Sounds harsh, I know, but when compared to the life she's got left - a meager wartorn existence full of violence and hardship, with no parents... how can people do this to one another?!

Reports from Iraq

I have often wished our news (local and national, but especially global) was more uplifting and positive. Regardless of your political/economic opinion of the war, I know our men and women are doing good things wherever they go (bad apples excluded). I wish stories like these made major headlines as often as the controversial and despicable.

Global Orgasm

Well now... here's a new approach to the world's problems! This group is actually orchestrating a Synchronized Global Orgasm. From their press kit: "Our minds influence Matter and Energy fields, so by concentrating our thoughts during and after The Big O on peace and partnership, the combination of high orgasmic energy combined with mindful intention will reduce global levels of violence, hatred and fear." If only it were so simple.

Visit for more info on the event. Enjoy.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm an Official Motorhead Wife

We have long marveled that his stock block has survived a nitrous kit, an alcohol system, a supercharger, and a turbo charger, plus a whole host of other performance mods. It was only a matter of time before the horsepower blew the block or internals... and it finally did - the #5 piston and cylinder wall are DONE.

So... all the peripherals get installed on the spare 302 sitting in the corner, he rents an engine hoist (for 4hrs), thinking we'll just pull out the old and drop in the new - piece of cake. Well, the old motor does indeed slip right out - remember it's now stripped. But the new motor, complete w/heads, valve covers, etc, does not slip right in, not even close.

He tinkered w/it for 1½ days before I chimmed in w/my observations about the need for the angles to match (the angles of the dangling motor, and the transmission shaft). Notice I said "observations" because I rarely "help" in the garage. So, he made some adjustments (to the angles), and then I lowerd the engine as he guided it easily into the mounts, in perfect alignment with the transmission housing. We really do make a good team - even if he's not always quick to see it that way.

And then, the nice lady at ABZ Equipment Rental didn't even charge him for the overage for having had the hoist for two days. People here are so nice. :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Christmas Poem

The first of the year, but certainly not the last. I love this sentimental patriotic Christmas stuff, but I'd rather post it here than spread it by email.
A Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me."
"My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am."
"I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures; he's sure got her smile."
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat."
"I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother,
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.
So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money?" I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
Fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
Stand your own watch, no matter how long."
"For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled,
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Who's Not Adjusting Well to Daycare?

Mom & Dad? - we're fine! Phoebe? - she loves it! It's the poor dog. Sydney makes occassional "rounds" throughout the day looking for Phoebe, then settles down to mope herself into a nap - she's such a sweet loyal dog. :)

Thursday, November 9, 2006

You Decide 2006?

What exactly has been decided? What changes can we really expect now?

I just can't get excited about politics. Sorry, I know it's not the socially responsible way to be, but they're all so full of it! Me, personally, I'd rather not have to pick a "representative" of my interests - I'd like to cast my own vote on every single item. Ok, clearly not feasible, but still. I'd like to vote on every bill and every budget, knowing that my vote didn't help some absurd greedy pork project. Is there a govt system like that?

Daycare Open - Work Closed!

Oh joy!! Phoebe gets to go to "school" on Friday, while I have Veteran's Day off, woo hoo!! I could nap... craft... study... read... or all of the above! :)

A Christmas Promise

Every single year, I find myself overwhelmed, over budget, and over stressed - all the way up until the last day or so. This year, I vow to get all portraits, cards, and shopping done early!

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Happy Halloween - Trick or Treat!

Phoebe & I trick-or-treated for the first time, what fun!! It was a fun end to an already full and fun day - her first full day at daycare. We ran into our little neighborhood friend Ana early, who happened to also be Tigger! The two little cuties held hands, bravely venturing up walkways w/out their Moms, and exploring neighborhood Halloween decorations - until Ana pooped out. Then little Phoebe and I literally sprinted from house to house for another hour - and this before she even ate any candy!

Then she and Dad sorted through all the goodies - she'd never seen fake teeth before - these dracula fangs were her favorite! They were candy - harder to wear correctly than the old-fashioned wax ones I'm familar with. Phoebe sure does help us have some real spirit to our holidays.

All My Byself

Phoebe's done a lot of growing up recently... I think successful potty training marks the official transition to "big girl"! Plus she's enjoying her new daycare environment ("school") at the Y, doing lots of dressing/undressing on her own - and yesterday started on buttons - what a challenge.

And I love that she proudly reports her accomplishments - "Hey Mommi & Daddi - I went poop, all my byself!"

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Open Enrollment

Boy does this get more complicated each year! It was so easy when I was single: lowest deductible = plan for me! Now I have to actually look at our past and planned usage to figure out what will be the best deal for my family - will she end up in the emergency room at some point next year? - will I end up pregnant? - will he actually go to the doc when he needs to?

Then, with those questions theoretically answered, it becomes a matter of how/when I want to pay for all that - low premiums w/high deductibles and copays? - or higher premiums w/lower deductibles and copays?

My insurance offers an online plan selector and cost estimator - in many cases the combined employee/employer cost of the plan exceeds the expected cost of planned health care services!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

First Day of "School"

I dropped my "baby" off this morning for her first half-day trial at daycare – and she loved it! She made her first not-parent-assisted craft, and brought home a little blue + orange scrubby/pipe-cleaner spider! :) I'm so happy w/the place I found for her at the YMCA, they're super nice, the place is clean and well-equipped, and it's affordable. I'm sure Phoebe will be very happy there, and I sure do welcome another stabilizing factor for my life!

So... our little Phoebe is now officially a BIG GIRL!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I have a dream...

I need to put myself in the financial position so that I can take my family on some exotic fun all-inclusive adventure vacation. But not just my family, everybody that I love - and everybody that they love, everybody that I would have invited to a wedding. See, JR & I wed at a simple civil ceremony, and we've never had an opportunity to express ourselves before family and friends. The catch is, I don't want to wait as long for the adventure as I realistically expect it to take me to get in the financial position to do it. So... since it's still just a dream, I get to imagine all sorts of wonderful possibilities - JR's always wanted to go to Hawaii, my Mom's always wanted to see Australia, and my sister's gotta get to Disney! Who knows... we'll see...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Absolutely No Soliciting!

Absolutely No Soliciting
Welcome related or expected only!

I hate my doorbell, I had it removed today.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Get Motivated!" Business Seminar

I spent the day at the Hampton Coliseum, looking for a little inspiration. My to-do list is filled w/good intentions, and we all know where that could lead. But lately I'm drawn to change, so why not!? The lineup included Zig Ziglar, America's #1 Motivator; Rick Belluzzo, Legendary Microsoft Corporation President; Phil Town, Author of #1 NY Times Best Seller "Rule #1"; Dr. Robert Schuller, America's Best Inspirational Speaker; Suze Orman, America's #1 Personal Finance Expert; Tom Hopkins, America's #1 Authority on Selling; Krish Dhanam, Sales Training Expert; Peter Lowe, America's Success Strategist(TM); Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech Heach Coach via satellite; and Rudolph Giulliani, Former Mayor of New York City!

Now, you can't beat that for a day's worth of coaching! However... the Hopkins, Town, and Orman bits were all more sales pitches than I realized they would be. Live and learn.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"I Found Hope"

Phoebe and I often gaze into one another's eyes, musing about what color they are or aren't, if we can remember [wink], and whom we got them from. When I told her this morning that I think my eyes are blue, she said "lemme look!"

She concentrated intently for a moment on my right eye, and then said "I found hope."

"You found hope?"

"Yep, I found hope.
Lemme see your other eye...
I don't see anything."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Great Piece on Current Events

My my friend Anthony spews stuff that would take me months to come up with! I love his recent piece on our response to the latest terrorist activity.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

I think Lean Six Sigma is cool - does that make me a geek? :)

I am so enjoying a three-day class in iGrafx, a very nifty little industry tool!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

For My Dad

I hope you're 100% soon!

Two of my favorite pictures of my Dad, who is in the hospital for a few days. We'll all feel better when they can run all the diagnostics they need to, but he's most likely to be fine in a few weeks.

I love you Jim.

Happy [Belated] Birthday to Me! :)

I turned 36 yesterday, no big deal. Except that for my birthday, my Mom and I quit smoking cigarettes. I'm not gonna bitch, but it sucks! But I'm on a mission to make things happen in my life, so it's time to start walking the walk. And when better to start than your birthday? The gift of better health for both myself and my Mom, I can't not do it. Gotta get my sister in on this too.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

One of My Favorites Too Mom

Oct '03 - I'm entitled to back-date my new blog w/old baby pictures. This is when she was about one month old, she used to make this most adorable little kissy-face as she was waking up. It's one of my Mom's favorite photos - and mine too!!

The "Cost" of Healthy Living

I found a cute funny on the Smile of the Day blog...

Finally, a Worthwhile Project

As you may know, I work in an environment frought w/beaurocracy, so you can imagine it's very ripe for process improvement. I am Lean Six Sigma Green Belt trained, but politics and bs have kept me from being able to work a successful initiative (mostly in the previous HQ organization I supported). But today I was tasked with an honest-to-goodness good idea project! And even better, my successful coordination of events will result in the deliverables I need to turn my training into certification!

Yeah, and then there's the "so what" factor... I'm already planning my escape from the industry, so why do I care about certification? Well, just because. It would go against my nature to give anything but my best. Plus, it might be nice to end my defense run on a high note - one little sphere of order (mine) amid the chaos.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

No More Poor Puppy! :)

It worked, it worked! Benadryl totally cleared up the rash, the oil softened and shined her coat, and I think the allergic reaction just finished off the seasonal shedding. She's looking gorgeous again, thank God. Props to hubby for being all over it.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I Won a Blog of the Day Award!! :)

Blog Of The Day Awards Winner
What a pleasant surprise!
It's nice to know there's folks out there who enjoy my content.
Thanks Much!!

My Poor Puppy

Silly Rottie eats whatever's within reach. And we try, we really do, to keep stuff out of her reach. But she's big, and we have a toddler, they share the same plane @ 0-3ft. She usually ends up munching some toy, but recently she ate a bunch of potpourri, which I suspect my daughter dumped out to play with the container. Now the poor puppy's got an all-over rash from chest to hind-quarters, and she's loosing a lot of hair. We're trying Benadryl on the vets suggestion, but I'm afraid she's going to need to go in Monday, she's not looking as much better as I expected.

We actually have pet insurance, but their reimbursement rate sucks, and we just went $800 out-of-pocket last month, $400 for her overnight spay, and another $400 for the darn kitty's "dietary indescretion." They're worth every penny, I'm just irritated w/myself for not having that much readily available.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Still a most memorable day... 15 Sep 97, almost nine years ago! Despite my obvious frustration w/parts of my job, I still love having been involved. Bureaucracy aside, I have met some of the best people in the world, and together we have designed and built some of the coolest stuff I'll probably ever see in my life.

Icebreakers are HEAVY, very heavy, and the Mississippi River is only so deep, so when we pushed this big beast of a boat down the ways - it splashed greater than anybody had calculated! Thankfully it didn't stick to the muddy bottom, but it did squirt LOTS of water, and some very dangerous waterbourn debris into the crowd. The VIPs got soaked! We peons didn't even realize it hadn't gone perfectly until we saw a little blood on the ground, and a few dazed and confused among the crowd.

Imagine, the old inclined wooden ways are sturdy enough to support the entire structure through years of construction, and yet also designed to literally fall apart at just the right moment during a side launch. A little grease, a little shove, and then when the speed and angle are just right for the ship's weight... the ways simply crumble into the water with the ship. These broken way bits (massive pieces of lumber and huge nuts & bolts) were what got squirted into the crowd with that massive splash. And because so much of HEALY's hull is reinforced w/2" thick steel, it was far heavier than the shipyard's prior launches, creating an unexpectedly forceful expulsion of the water beneath.

Inclined ways were already becoming a thing of the past, in favor of more precise construction and launch techniques. If my memory serves me correctly, HEALY's launch was set to be Avondale's last side launch anyway, and I think the Navy stopped side launches altogether after HEALY's. Side launches are spectacular, and HEALY's was even more so! A stern launch is still pretty cool to watch, but I have passed on a couple floating dry dock launches (who wants to watch a ship-sized bath tub fill, very slowly).

Monday, July 10, 2006

"Supporting" the Navy

Wed 12 Jul 06 Follow-Up
Oh, I was privy to witness a typical union response to information put out at that the organization is adding full time employees. Okay, I think we can all agree that jobs should be open within an organization before they're made available to outsiders - fair enough. But I think we would all also agree that ANY candidate, from within or from outside, should be QUALIFIED! These people actually believe in their hearts that just bringing your butt to work every day is enough to warrant life-long raises and promotions. Seriously, they do.

Original Post
I've spent ~16yrs supporting various defense programs, primarily Navy ship/sub acquisition. I recently transferred from HQ to a shipyard, hoping for a more down-to-earth hands-on experience. I thought the change in pace and culture from DC to Hampton Roads would compliment a friendlier more team-oriented work environment. Many of these folks have been at the shipyard, or the affiliated govt organization that I support, their whole professional lives. It's a small enough town that you play sports and go to church with these people, and run into them at the grocrey store or the mall. Was I wrong to assume I would be welcomed here?

And I was welcomed, by the community at large. I've discovered friendly neighbors, honest merchants, good business referrals, it's all I'd hoped for.

But the shipyard... can you say govt "UNION"? These folks hate that I'm there, just because I'm not employed by Uncle Sam. We contractors are specifically excluded from pertinent govt "all-hands" information, and from office social functions. We are seated apart from our customers - a most inefficient situation. Their "affectionate" term for us is "contractor scum." And to top it off, I sit within earshot of a bunch of govt costs analysts who seem to spend their whole days calling into question the integrity of every contractor invoice they process. If they treated and talked about [some minority] the same way they do "contractors" they'd have a major EEO issue on their hands.

If the general tax-paying population had any comprehension of the full extent of government waste and inefficiency, it would become a Congressional crisis. Why should politics and pork be the primary influences for govt spending. It's appalling. Do you know the federal govt is just now switching to a merit-based pay and promotion system!?! And does it surprise you they had to fight the union on that? All with your tax dollars of course.

This govt/union attitude is one of the primary reasons I have decided to explore a true private sector career. I'm looking forward to working in a for-profit environment, where good ideas don't have to fight against bureaurocracy.

And may every civil servant whoever discriminated against a contractor be interviewed by that contractor for their post-retirement job. Amen.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

New Drive-Thru Starbucks!

I prefer my own home-brewed regular coffee, but I do frequent Starbucks for the occassional fru-fru flavored coffee concoction. For years I've thought how nice it would be to have a drive-thru Starbucks. And when we moved here eight months ago there was no Starbucks in my immediate vicinity nor between home and work.

But now... low and behold... a drive-thru Starbucks just 2½ miles from home, and directly along a reasonable route to/from work - gotta love that! My drink of choice: a Venti Cinnamon Mocha.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Friday v. Monday

Friday v. Monday What a great little video!

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Birthday America
(far from perfect, but I'd still rather be here than anywhere else)

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Look at that hair!

She loves her curls almost as much as we do! And she prefers we not tie them back - which suits me just fine!

Saturday, July 1, 2006

My Rottie's a Sweetheart!

Dogs are what you raise them to be, period. Any breed may have breed traits that must be recognized and managed, be they health or behaviorial. But I knew that our two cats, loving daughter, and my control-freak husband would be the perfect home for Sydney. She is companion and guardian extraordinaire. We are training and socializing her extensively, and I hope to get her into therapy work at the end of her next round of doggy school.

I grew up with the best dog in the world, ever, so I had very high expectations for a family dog. My childhood dog "Jack" was a 110lb black lab - smart, eager-to-please, and full of personality. I never imagined another dog could live up to those expectations, but Sydney sure is trying! My only complaints relate to my own inconsistencies, and occassionally her adolescent insubordination.

Watching a Brand New Submarine Go to Sea

Not a bad way to spend a day at the office I tell ya! One day recently I left my building at the shipyard and walked about five blocks or so to a tiny little city park on the waterfront, I was the only person there. I knew just when to get there, so as soon as I settled down on the old stone wall w/my coffee, sure enough from the right . . . there she is, floating into view, crew members still securing rigging and hatches. They did their thing, took in the view for a few minutes, then disappeared one by one into the hull. And they were going so slow, they were still only just directly in front of me. Silently she floated another several minutes out of sight... no pomp and circumstance, no media, no band, no politicians... just TEXAS and her crew - it was an awesome morning.

USS TEXAS's very first underway was at some unspecified and ridiculous hour of the day. My account and the picture are of a following builder's trial, the unclass pictures were widely distributed in the office.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Lunch w/my Realtor

I had lunch today w/the Realtor who helped us buy our house in September - I think I found myself a mentor! I recall growing fond of her during our purchase process, and now I remember why - we were at the Olive Garden for 3½hrs today! I feel like I spent the afternoon with my best friend. Plus we seem to have so much in common - socially, familialy, and ethically - I see huge potential for a lasting personal and professional friendship. This is gonna be fun!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I Have the Best Sister in the World!

My sister is so awesome! 15 months younger, you'd think she was older - as much as she teaches me about life, selflessness, and generosity. I love that girl! And my little Phoebe is crazy about her her Aunt Banana!

It's been slow at work, with TEXAS delivered, we're just prepping for her first availability. The boss has been out all week, and I've been distracted by a personal fubar, publishing, and starting this blog. Tomorrow will be productive though, I've gotta have something good to show for a week's work.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My Lovely Sweet Daughter

Our Little Phoebe
Born During Hurricane Isabel in 2003
Her Favorite Word & Phrases
"No" (even while obeying)
"I don't want..." (that Caillou needs his butt whooped)
"I'm Sorry, I Promise," (really means "Please... Please!") followed by
"I'm Sorry, I Promise, You wanna give me a kiss?"
(really means a tantrum's next)
My Favorite of Her Phrases
"I love you too much!"
"Thank you very much." & "You're welcome very much."
"I've got an idea!" & "That's a very good idea!"
"Are you okay Phoebe? Yeah, I'm okay. Are you okay Mommi?"

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Blog Kick-Off Post

Okay... first post... blog officially established! Now there's no excuse for personal clutter on my new forum site. Hopefully one little blog link in my sig will satisfy my maternal instinct to make people look at pictures of my lovely daughter. I used to roll my eyes in embarrassment when my own mother did the same thing, but now I understand. Maybe it's genetic? No? Oh well, at least I know I'll have an audience of at least ONE for my blog! Thanks Mom. :)

So, my new site...! I'm a sentimental fool, my 20yr HS reunion will be in 2008, and I wanted a place for us to plan it together. But I got such a cool domain name, I didn't want to hog it for just my class, nor just for alumni, so I'm trying to push it as a one-stop hangout for all things MDIHS past and present. It's only been like three days and I'm already wishing I had more users. We shall see.