Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Crickets

Nothing but crickets and cobwebs around these parts. I never did finish my posts about my vacation and catching up with friends AND rest. I left for my conference with terrible pain in my left shoulder and rotator cuff (which I sprained last December). Once I started my vacation and caught up on rest and relaxation, the pain went away and so did my plan for a full body massage.

Once I came back home, life got busy again. Two weeks away from work meant two weeks to catch up on. Plus, I got involved in a project on another grant. Is it really possible to have 110% of my time accounted for?? Seriously? 

And now, it's almost the end of November.Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and Friday marks my 3rd year with Guam CEDDERS. I did a blog post about my first two years here. This past year:

  • I traveled 36, 551 miles.
  • I went to Hawaii for two weekends for the MCH LEND program (If you click that link, I'm in the 2nd row on the far right).
  • I went to conferences in Jacksonville, FL and Atlanta, GA.
  • I presented on two different topics at a conference in Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia.
  • I was part of 3 grant writing teams. At one point during one grant writing session, we worked till midnight. Two of those grants were funded; one grant was approved, but no funds were available.
  • I killed one external hard drive and a laser printer, not to mention several cases of paper in the process.
  • People still call to ask my opinion about stuff and I'm still amazed that they do. 
I've been doing a lot more this year than I have in the past. I sometimes get to travel with my boss and we share a room. Some of my co-workers are amazed that I am willing to share a room with the boss. I say, "Why not?" She's great to be around and she takes care of me. She makes sure I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner; that I feel okay, that I call home. She's been talking about retiring soon and so she's had me doing some stuff (like the presentations in Pohnpei) I wouldn't normally do. She calls it succession planning. I call it heart attack inducing. (Maybe that's why I've recently been diagnosed with inappropriate sinus tachycardia? I kid... the jury is still out on the reason.)  I'm not willing to take her seriously just yet. When she mentions that she can retire, she also says that she won't just yet because I'm not ready. She has big shoes to fill. But, I must be doing something right because I am still employed there 3 years later. In fact, I signed my new contract last week. That's a new record! I usually sign it a week or two after my anniversary date. I'm 100% federally funded so if there are no funds, I am jobless. Hence, the yearly contract. 

It's been an adventure. I still sometimes work before 8am and after 5pm, on weekends and holidays, on vacation and even when I'm home sick. But, it's all been worth it

 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting back into the swing of things Part 1

I've been a busy bee. But, if you ask me what I've been doing, I would probably leave out a lot of information. September passed me by and I can't for the life of me recall what I did without consulting my planner. And, so here we are in October.

I left on October 1st to Atlanta for a conference. I didn't register for this conference beforehand and was told I couldn't register for the pre-conference session I wanted to attend onsite. Oh my, did I say a lot of Hail Marys. I was lucky enough (maybe the right word would be blessed) to register for both the pre-conference and the conference. Whew! Those Hail Marys worked! I spent the next three days learning. 

Then I went on vacation. My vacation officially started on October 5th. But, let me backtrack a little to how this vacation came to be. When I found out that my god-daughter Allie was accepted at Seattle University, I could already picture visiting her. When it was definite she would attend, I told my boss where she was going. Lucky for me, my boss knows my family. She wouldn't mind if I stopped in Seattle to check on Allie. Yes! 

I've known since the summer that I would be vacationing in Seattle. Vittoria knew as well and I made her promise not to tell her sister. I pretended that I still needed permission from my boss the weekend before I was to depart for Atlanta. I called Allie while I was in Atlanta...on Thursday to be exact. I told her I was stopping by for a visit. Great surprise for her! 

After traveling all day and taking over an hour to get my rental car, I drove to Seattle University. She lives in the same residence hall I lived in while I was there. I waited a bit for her to show up from her adventure to the waterfront with a new friend. Oh, it felt so good to wrap my arms around her! 

Sunday found us at St. Joseph's Church at 9:00am to attend Mass presided by my good friend, John Whitney, S.J. Afterwards, we went to IHOP for pumpkin and red velvet pancakes. We ventured to Westlake Center to hop on the monorail to Seattle Center. We made our way up to the Space Needle and she got her first birds' eye view of the city. 

We got this free digital photo taken for free on our way to the top.


After spending the day together, she went back to campus and I had dinner with my friend Will. Will and I have known each other since we were 16. We had dinner at 5 Spot in Queen Anne and drinks at an undisclosed location. Top secret. 

Monday found me perusing Joann, Michaels, Best Buy and Old Navy while Allie was in class. Then we drove to Northgate Mall for lunch at Red Robin...YUM! Bought her a trench coat style jacket for $16! Bargain!! I grabbed dinner from QFC down the street, put some clothes in the laundry down the hall and settled in to watch the season 3 premiere of Hart of Dixie. Serious business.


The weather outside is something to be desired. Gotta find out what's going on and whether or not we have to batten down the hatches for a storm.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Adventure

About a month ago, my boss asked if I had anything scheduled for the week of August 12. The answer was no and I somehow got included in presenting a a conference in Pohnpei, one of the Federated Sates of Micronesia. I got scheduled to do two presentations- one on language and communication and one on the importance of play.

Then I was told that I couldn't wear pants or dresses above my knee. Oh joy. It was a great excuse to buy some new clothes--maxi dresses and skirts! And then...wait listed for the flight that leaves the day after the conference. Not knowing what to expect, I dreaded having to spend TWO weekends in a place I've never been to before.

Fast forward to last Friday. We boarded the 737 that made its first stop in Chuuk, another state in the FSM. The next stop was Pohnpei. Once the door opened, I was hit with a blas too hot air. H.O.T.  Went through immigration and customs.  Two ladies from the FSM special education office met us at the airport.

We drove to our hotel. After checking in, we went downstairs for some lunch. Oh so yummy crab and cheese sandwich with crinkle cut fries and a tall lass of iced tea. We then headed down to the special education office where we had a meeting to finalize the conference agenda. The Friday before the conference and the agenda was still in draft form.

My boss and I walked around the high school track for about 30 minutes before meeting another colleague for dinner at another hotel. The meal my boss aged another wasn't available so I need up with some very salty teriyaki chicken...and those crinkle cut French fries.

We woke up before 8 on Saturday morning. And then the power went out. I got dressed in workout clothes to head to the SPED office. We started stuffing binders with supplies and within 10 minutes of doing that, I lost all my makeup.

We headed to the riverside restaurant for lunch, which thankfully had generator power and free wifi. I had a acon cheeseburger and...you guessed it, crinkle cut fries. There's a pattern here. We picked up on of the education ladies and headed to the women's fair. Not many things to do and see but it was nice to see some local stuff. We dropped off our friend at her son's house by the capital and headed back to the hotel.

It's hard to imagine being able to fall asleep in the heat with no power, but it happened. Woke up rejuvenated and headed back to the office. Thank goodness the power finalky came back on. We did some more work and headed back to our hotel for dinner. We were joined by our colleague and one of the guest speakers who flew in for the conference.

Dinner was amazing. Tuna stuffed with mangrove crab. It was delicious!  I could eat that over and over!

This morning began at 8:30am. We got ready and headed to Mass. We were 15 minutes late. We thought we were early since we were told Mass started at 10. The whole Mass was in Pohnpeian. The pastor gave the congregation a lecture about answering louder and praying in general and had a lecture for the choir for plaing one song too loudly.

We headed back to Joy hotel for brunch. Only they ran out of pancake mix. But had the meal my boss raved about before. So I had that. It was breaded tuna with rice and sashimi. Afterwards, we drove around and visited some local shops. We headed back to the office at 3.

Lo and behold...the handouts that needed to be put into the infers were not all printed. I slowly began to realize that life moves slower here than at home. We didn't leave there until 8 pm. Dinner was a quick one back at our hotel...crab and cheese sandwich with fries part deux.

My pictures are on my iPhone and my 7D and the Internet works intermittently. So those will get uploaded when I get home. Gotta do some work before heading to bed.

Monday, April 29, 2013

brushing off the cobwebs....

Many cobwebs have grown over this blog. My last post talked about my best friend deploying and that brought a bit of sadness. I haven't talked to her since our last lunch and I get these sporadic Facebook posts from her. She's crazy busy...and I have been, too. 

The last two months have been riddled with stress,tragedy, sadness, sleepless nights, extra hours worked... I've spent most of the last two months writing grants and clocked about a week's worth of extra hours on top of the regular 40-hour work week over the course of the two grant writing blitzes. The first grant was super stressful to write. It's always harder when you have to collaborate with another agency, especially when getting data is like pulling teeth without the proper instruments. Working till midnight one night and 10:00pm on another...crazy! We only had about 2 weeks to write the second grant before its deadline, but that one was a breeze in comparison. No burning the midnight oil with this one, but I went to bed every night completely exhausted. 

In between all that writing, I still had my regular work-related duties...and life in general to live. Yet, I have to stop and think that my problems are miniscule in comparison to the bigger world picture. Aside from the North Korea threat to bomb Guam (now that was truly scary), my problems are really not problems. So I missed out on some sleep, worked massively long days, got a bunch of paper cuts, and my wrists were achy after hours of typing all day. Because in the midst of all that a very good friend lost her two-year-old daughter tragically. 

A true Angel on Earth is now an Angel in Heaven. This little angel...I've held her, shared meals with her, changed her diaper, got whisper soft kisses... was forgotten in the back seat of her daddy's truck on a very hot day. He didn't realize that he forgot to drop her at day care until 7 hours later. I got to read about it in the paper the next day, gasping out loud and startling a room full of people at a strategic planning meeting. The day she was buried was the most heart-wrenching for me. I've experienced the deaths of loved ones, but this one was far more heart-breaking. 

A great reminder to remember "The Gift of an Ordinary Day." 



Sunday, March 03, 2013

best friends

It has been an emotional week for me. It started last Sunday and continues to linger. You see, I said good-bye to one of my best friends in person on Sunday and in Facebook private messages on Thursday. My friend Kristin has been deployed by the U.S. Army for one year. And, while I'm not a spouse, or a child, or a grand child of someone being deployed, the emotions are still there. 

Kristin and I met in second grade. We weren't in the same homeroom, but we had Reading classes together. She sat in front of me. From that day, we were friends. We finally ended up in the same homeroom in 6th grade and then separated to different schools for 7th and 8th grade. We met back up in high school.

Our friends wasn't always filled with sunshine and roses. We've had our ups and downs, our moments of not seeing each other (yes, even on this 32-mile long island), meeting up at local stores and just talking about the superficial stuff. 

But, one night four years ago and another friend later, changed all that. We started meeting up more often for dinner, celebrating birthdays and holidays, just because days, and other made up holidays in between. Dinners that last 4 to 5 hours. Did we seriously have that much to say?

We've known for a year that Kristin would be deploying so it was no surprise when it did actually happen. The closer it got, the sadder I became. I managed to hold it together until she walked out of the building where we had lunch last Sunday. And then I fell apart with my other two best friends there to hold me up and comfort me. You see, we're more than friends. We're sisters of the heart, the sisters God forgot to give me. 

I found the perfect quote on pinterest to make this layout. 

Supplies: Studio Calico February "Front Row" scrapbook kit; "Popcorn" and "Matinee" add on kits; yellow small shipping tag; Silhouette cameo; Bebas and soymilk fonts.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Font frenzy

I downloaded iFont Maker on my iPad today. I first heard about it through Elsie Larsen and Amy Tan. I dowloaded their fonts and forgot all about it. But, today...today I was looking for something in the App Store and stumble across the iFont Maker app. I downloaded it. In the span of an hour, I have created 4 fonts and have 1 in progress. I've become a font creator monster! :) Here are two three fonts for your downloading pleasure...

Vera's Print and Vera's Skinny Print  and Vera's outline font.

Download if you want. If you use it, give credit where credit is due.

In other creative news, I made a card this weekend using the Studio Calico Block Party card kit. I haven't decided whether or not to publish it here on my blog because I'm contemplating this and not quite sure if I can submit if I do put it on the blogosphere. I chose OPEN as my word of the year and trying new things is one of my goals towards being more open. We'll see...I shall ponder a little more.

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

A whole month went by...so this post is EPIC

A whole month went by and not one post made it to the blog. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year...a flurry of activity. I have a whole 4x6 album dedicated to the first 25 days in December so I won't recap EVERYTHING that happened. Just some highlights...

ONE Christmas program instead of 3 different ones since 4 of the 5 little boys I call my nephews go to the same school. The littlest one...his program was during the work day AND on my birthday and I wasn't having any of that "sit-in-a-crowded-hot-room-even-though-the-air-conditioner-is-on" kind of day. 

Our work Christmas party happened on December 14. I treated myself to a night at the Westin so I wouldn't have to drive home at the end of the party. Closed down that event with a few of my favorite people.

I didn't put up the tree until December 16. In years past, the tree went up on December 8. Didn't happen. But, when the tree did finally go up, I sprained the parts of my body connected to my left rotator cuff. The day after I had a really good massage at the spa. Yeah. Still a little sore today.

I completed a whole year of Project Life on my birthday.

We celebrated Christmas in Pago Bay and New Year here at home. Today is the Feast of the Epiphany so the tree came down. 

Besides being busy this holiday season, I managed to see some really, really good friends and spend some time with them. Then someone discovered "What's App" could do group chats...pain in the neck getting all those notifications, but it makes me feel like I really am still a part of the group...not that I ever stopped, but reading and participating in the chat makes me feel like I'm not really missing out. Does that make sense?!?!?

I got to see "Les Miserables" in the theater with one of those good friends. All I did was write that I wanted to see it and someone said they wanted to as well. The joys of being electronically connected. 

One of the things I pondered on for the last month of 2012 was my "one little word" for 2013. I stumbled upon the word "OPEN" and that became my word for 2013. Open means so many things for me this year. Thirteen is supposed to be a lucky number so I'm hoping, praying, crossing my fingers that my word leads me to that luck.

Here's my annual "one little word" layout...
Supplies: Studio Calico "34th Street" kit and "Murray Hill" add on kit, and Mister Huey's Shine; Bic mark it black marker; Zig Millenium .01 pen. 


I also decided to do Project Life for another year, but this time using the Studio Calico Handbook. I like the smaller format...keeps me from feeling like I lead a boring life since it's easy to fill up a two-page spread in the smaller album. 


I spray painted the cover with chalkboard paint. I wasn't sure what else I wanted to do so I left it as is.
 
 I made some cards in Photoshop CS5 (hello 2013 and open)and used printables from the Studio Calico "Day by Day" class for the top right pocket. For the bottom right pocket, I filled a small glassine bag with confetti and sewed the top and bottom to keep the confetti in the middle. The stamp says, "do what you love" from a past SC kit.


 Red thickers came from the SC December Daily kit and the washi tape from the 34th Street card kit. 



 Here's another digital card using the Studio Calico digital products. The stars and "2013" came from the Cyber Monday set. I can't remember which SC digi kit the blocks and dots came from. I used buffet script for "January."

Week 1 left side: SC calendar pocket with a manila tag. Used a scrap of vellum from Kelly Purkey's December kit. Quote card came from Elise Cripe. "Week 1" card stamps from an old SC project life stamp set and the Jenni Bowlin "1" came from the 34th Street kit. Made the random card with SC digi stamps and the project life stamp set and some washi.