Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: A Look Back at My Year

It's been another action-packed year chez nous, a year of weather extremes, scholastic achievements, travel from coast to coast, new adventures, and most importantly, togetherness.

January saw more snow in Virginia than we have ever seen.  The school children ended up stretching into the summer to make up the snow days. 

February brought Sophia's 20th birthday and our 21st anniversary.  Where does the time go?

Vic didn't have as much travel in 2014 as he has had in the past - a couple of underway periods (a few days here and there out to sea and one longer period that involved him riding the ship across the Atlantic and then flying home from Greece) and his last trip to Djibouti.  What a desolate place.  It was while he was in Djibouti that he received word that our next duty station would be Bremerton, Washington,   He celebrated his 20th Navy anniversary in July - hard to believe it's been that long since he was sworn in by a naval medical officer wearing scrubs!  That's a story for another time.  I kept busy on the home front at the Tidewater Collection and enjoying outings with the spouses' group.

The luncheon put on by the Spanish ladies of the NATO group was amazing and very colorful.

Sophia finished up her second semester at Tidewater Community College with perfect grades and the distinction of being inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Academic Honor Society.  She was accepted to Western Washington University and was very excited about the educational adventure to come.

The Virginia summer was a scorcher.  I was so looking forward to Washington's climate.

Betty Blue Subaru Forester joined the fleet in preparation for our coast to coast road trip.  We left Virginia on August 2 and traveled 3370 miles through thirteen states in seven days.  We managed a stop in Nebraska to see friends and a day's layover in South Dakota to visit Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and Custer State Park.  

We settled in our rental house in Washington with this view from the back deck.  It is so beautiful here - mountains, mountains, mountains as Glencora Palliser once said - stunning vistas all around.  We made a quick trip to Oregon to see Barbara and family and then Vic headed off to work and Sophia to school.

It was tough to say goodbye and I'm glad she's not too far away.  With Vic busy at work and out to sea a lot, I searched out the local spouses' groups and found my niche quickly.  Coordinating two craft clubs got my scrapbooking off to a good start and I'm really enjoying the camaraderie of fellow MilSpouses. 

And that brought us to the holidays and the end of another year.  Vic and I dabbled in the Whole 30 clean eating program, did spectacularly (we've never felt better!) and then we promptly fell right off the wagon.  We are determined to get back on and make 2015 a healthy year.

Thanks to Caroline over at Mrs. M's Meanderings for the Look Back at My Year idea!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Life Last Week #3

I really planned to post more regularly but I should have remembered that this is the season of craziness!  One day late, here is Life Last Week.

I skipped Mah Jongg in favor of staying home for the fireplace (propane) serviceman's visit to install the new thermostat with remote control.  He set everything up for me and just gave me the details - "push once for on, three times for off".  Voila!  Let there be flame!  This house is cold, really cold, and since the electricity bill doubled from last month to this month, I'll be using the fireplace quite a bit more.  It heats the family room which is where we spend most of our time.  The bedrooms and bathrooms all have individual thermostats so we just turn them on in the bedrooms a couple of hours before bedtime (and then turn them off when we go to bed) and in the bathrooms when we are in there.  Ok, that's enough about heating our house.

It was back to back lunches last week.  Tuesday was the gathering for the command officers' spouses at a local tea room.  Although there were nine on the RSVP list, only five of us showed up.  Ugh, I hate that, it's so rude.  The person organizing the event called ahead to make sure a table for nine was set up and then we only ended up using half of it.  So inconsiderate.  Those of us who attended had a lovely time, though, a delicious lunch and fun conversation, and since the tea room had a gift shop, we had a lovely browse after our lunch.  I left there and finished up a bit of shopping as I had to get all the gift wrapping finished before Vic and Sophia come home.

Wednesday's event was my local officers' spouses group and again, eight on the RSVP list and only four showed up.  This time I was the organizer and I was really ticked off.  Not only did we once again have a giant table only half-filled, but I spent time and money on making ornaments for everyone.  I just wouldn't bother anymore except that I really enjoy the company of the four ladies who did attend so I'll just hope for a better outcome next time.

Individual ornaments before I added the personalized ribbon

Thursday's event turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  This one was for our local area spouses group and it was my idea to hold it.  It was to be a potluck lunch and ornament exchange.  There were thirty spouses on the RSVP list (we won't even mention the 20+ who were still on the "Maybe" list on the morning of the event!) and the two spouses who were key in helping me run the event told me that this group is notorious for saying they will attend and then not showing up.  Surprise, surprise, twenty-two of the thirty spouses were there!  It was a true potluck so I was hoping that we didn't end up with a table full of desserts with little or no main dishes.  As it was, we had a great variety of both savory and sweet dishes and everyone remembered their ornaments.  The ornament exchange was great fun - one of those you can steal ornaments from others but with a twist as we had a script that spelled out the stealing and when it was over, we all opened our ornaments and there were some truly lovely ones.  I had lots of help to set-up and clean up, new friendships were made, old were renewed, a fun time was had by all, and they are all looking forward to doing it again next year.

It was time to hit the road on Friday to pick up Sophia for Christmas break.  We had a terrific wind storm on Thursday and the power went out about 10pm.  It still wasn't back on when I woke up so I got washed and dressed by flashlight and then MudLynn and I headed to Bellingham.  An uneventful drive and it was lovely to see Sophia.  Ok, it's only been two weeks but I miss her terribly when she's gone.  We stopped at the bookstore to pick up her books for next quarter and at parking services to pick up her new permit and then headed to the ferry.  Another uneventful drive and we were home mid-afternoon.

Up bright and early on Saturday morning to participate in the Wreaths Across America event at the local cemetery.  It was a very moving ceremony, well-attended by active duty service members and many veterans, and then everyone disbursed through the cemetery to lay the hundreds of wreaths.

Sophia and I ran a few errands, headed home to walk MudLynn, and then headed out again for downtown.  We took a carriage ride, had fish and chips for lunch, and then headed to the Jan Brett book-signing event.  It was very crowded and the line was long for the book signing but we did manage to get two books signed even though it was only supposed to be one per ticket.  Her books are really beautiful and she did an illustration while she was talking which was amazing.

We rounded off the week with the first of what will be a couple of grocery shopping trips for Christmas.  Vic will be home soon and I want to have all the errands out of the way so we can spend his holiday leave time doing fun things.  We've got quite a list of December movies to see - Into the Woods, Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, as well as our Target and Barnes & Noble shopping trips, a Christmas tea at the Victorian Tea Room, one final Christmas party, and the Christmas Eve church service.  In between all that there will be lots of cups of tea or coffee and chocolate biscuits and afternoons by the fire.  'Tis the season!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

3rd Annual Christmas City Swap - Reveal

I sent off my entry for the 3rd Annual Christmas City Swap hosted by Allison over at be up & doing and received this lovely package of goodies from Whitney.  She included a card saying that she had read my blog and could see how much I loved England hence the contents of the package - the January 2015 issue of Britain magazine (one of my favorites!) and a two-pack of England-themed journals.  I have a special purpose for these journals which cannot be revealed until after Christmas so stay tuned.  I will say that I had been looking at these exact same journals at my local bookstore, what a coincidence.  Thank you, Whitney, I love my package!  Please check out Whitney's page, Whitney Elizabeth Green, she's an amazing multi-platform, visual media producer and graciously offered to talk to Sophia should she have any journalism questions.

I'll post the details of my Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas package that's on its way to Michigan as soon as I know that it has been received.  Don't want to give away the surprise in case the recipient is reading my blog!

Monday, November 17, 2014

LIfe Last Week #2

Here I am again, behind as usual.  It's been a busy couple of weeks but I'll just bring you up to date with last week, since that was the most event-filled.  Last weekend, I made the 5 1/2 hour trek to Spokane, by myself, to support Sophia and the Western Washington Equestrians at their first show.  It's the longest I've ever driven by myself and I have to thank Tom and Barbara Good of the Good Life for keeping me company.  I think I listened to the entire 10+ hours on the way there and back!  I arrived late on Friday afternoon, checked into my hotel, grabbed some dinner (thanks, Outback, for not including any utensils!), and waited for Sophia to arrive.  She rolled in after 10pm (and we had to be up early the next morning), not a happy camper at all since she'd been squashed in the center seat of the rear row of seats in the van for the entire trip.  It was off to bed right away.
The next morning dawned cold but thankfully dry.  We headed to the venue for the warm-up which was to have commenced at 8:30am but was delayed almost an hour due to the late arrival of the medical team who had to be on site before any jumping could begin.  We were somewhat fortunate to be fairly close to a heater but it was still bloody cold and we had a long, long day ahead of us.  The team started out strong, with first and second place finishes in the first class.  Bravo!  The day seemed to move along at a good pace, although standing in the line outside for the one loo was quite a chore.  Finally, it was time for Sophia to ride (we're at about 4pm now).  She had a good horse, but one that had a mind of its own at times and she handled it beautifully, placing first in her class.  What a way to start the show season!  Not only that, but her team was the high point team for the day.  Way to go, Western!
We stopped off for some dinner and headed back to the hotel.  Sophia took a shower and was asleep the minute her head hit the pillow.  We woke up the next morning to the realization that we had slept through the alarm and that the team had left for the second day of the show without Sophia.  They left a voice mail, telling her where they planned to go for breakfast and what time they were heading back to the venue so we just took our time getting ready and checking out, before heading over to join them.  Sophia wasn't riding on Sunday, she was just there to support the team and we got there during the warm-up so no problems there.  I dropped her and her things and hit the road for home.  I got back in plenty of time to pick up MudLynn from the kennels and headed home for dinner and bed.  What a weekend.
Mah Jongg on Monday and then Vic called to say they were back (from a short underway period) so I drove to the base to pick him up.  He had duty on Tuesday so I drove to Kingston for a Scrapbook Meet-up which was fun - I love sharing ideas and learning from others.  Really looking forward to my Paper Crafts Club meeting next week.  I took MudLynn to the groomers on Thursday and ended up taking her to the emergency vet that evening because her tail was bent at an odd angle and she was clearly in distress.  They ran tests but came to the conclusion that it was a case of over-wagging and prescribed some pain and anti-inflammatory medications.
I did some Christmas shopping last week, a little at Target and some more online.  Our local spouses' group has a Christmas community project to benefit the local women's shelter - we make up gift packages of pajamas, socks and anything else we'd like to add so I popped in a lotion set for the adult box and underwear, socks, and a few Christmas treats into the children's boxes.  We will wrap them at our Christmas party next month.  I still need to look for a couple of items for gift exchanges - one for my Mah Jongg group, an ornament for an exchange at another spouses' group, and another gift for an exchange at the aforementioned Christmas party.  I think I'll buy something I like and perhaps I'll get lucky and it will come around to me in the exchange!
I'm busy keeping up with the November Page-a-Day Scrapbook Challenge in my scrapbook group's Virtual Scrapbook Retreat on Facebook although I've failed miserably at the Christmas Countdown.  I feel like I'm on track this year so I'll try to be better organized next year!  I've got my scrapbook station permanently set up in the family room so it helps that the fireplace and telly are right there, and MudLynn is usually curled up on her bed in front of the fire.
Hope you had a good week - would love to hear all about it!

Friday, November 14, 2014

3rd Annual Christmas City Swap

It's that time of year - Be Up & Doing launched the 3rd Annual Christmas City Swap.  I did this last year and it was great fun.  Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Life Last Week #1

It seems like I'm always behind on The Week Ahead so I thought it would be easier to tag along with Mrs. M's Meanderings' Life Last Week series of posts.  So much easier to think about what I actually did, rather than what I might be doing!
I started off the week with Mah Jongg.  I am really enjoying getting to know the other spouses in the group, most of whom are living their post-Navy days here in Washington.  The game is interesting, not at all like that online game which is more like the children's Memory (matching) Game.  I suppose you could say it's a bit like gin rummy or Phase 10 with tiles.  There are dozens of possible winning hands and that's where it gets tricky.  Most of the group have been playing for years and have the hands memorized, while I spend my time flipping through the handbook, trying to figure out what direction to take!
Tuesday was a brunch at my house for the Pacific Northwest Mustang Spouses.  I was hoping to find a similar group of ladies to the group we had in Hampton Roads but response was slim and then two cancelled at the last minute so it ended up being just four of us.  It was fun, though, and nice to get to know two new spouses who are already signed up for next month's lunch.  I guess I'll put the events out there and see who responds.
I spent the rest of the week running around gathering up items to take to Sophia.  It was the Fall Family Open House at Western on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and although due to Sophia's community service project and Vic's work schedule, we were only able to make a quick trip for the day on Saturday, she had quite a laundry list of things for me to bring.  Since we were only going for part of the day, we took MudLynn with us and that made Sophia very happy.

A busy week although not a very exciting one.  The weather has been a bit grey and rainy, which I love, so I've been able to get some scrapbooking sorted in preparation for a November scrapbook challenge.  A Page a Day or Seven Pages in a Week should help me get the 2007 New England Travels with Janet album completed.  Looking forward to two craft clubs that I'm hosting next month; two more opportunities to crop with like-minded crafters which is always fun.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Visit to the Library

Finally made it to the local library for a stash and what a variety!
Christmas with Southern Living 2012 to get ready for the Christmas Countdown
At Home with Beatrix Potter for some trip planning
London's War just because I love the World War II era in England
Three novels - French Lessons, Lunch in Paris, and An Untamed Heart.  Couldn't put An Untamed Heart down; love Lauraine Snelling's Red River of the North series and this is the prequel.  A great read.

I've also downloaded the audio version of Year of Wonders which is this month's selection for the book club I have joined.

Happy reading and/or listening!

Christmas is coming!

It's Day 1 of the Christmas Countdown over at Organized Christmas!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Journal Jar Q48: Write About Your Favorite Job, Part II

Sophia and I left Saipan in 1995 and I didn't work again until 1999.  I was busy being a stay-at-home mom and when Sophia went off to preschool, a full-time student.  I finally completed my Bachelor's degree, not in business or nursing or elementary education (all of which I had pursued at one time), but in history, my favorite subject.  19th and 20th Century European History to be exact.

Program Support Clerk, Patient Financial Services and Secretary to the Chief of Staff, Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), North Chicago, Illinois

We moved to Great Lakes in 1999 and with Sophia off to kindergarten, I found a job at the VAMC in the Patient Financial Services department.  It was pretty dull as I spent my whole day calling veterans to remind them of their upcoming appointments as an excuse to update their records.  I don't think they do this anymore; I can certainly see that they might encounter resistance at asking for so much information over the phone.  You just can't be too careful these days.  I worked in this department for a year when I saw an advertisement in the local newspaper for the position of Secretary to the Chief of Staff.  Because it would mean jumping up two pay grades, I had to apply as if I was outside the VA system.  The position had been posted internally but there had not been any successful candidates.  I interviewed for the job and was hired.  I didn't realize at the time that this position made me number three in the secretarial hierarchy on the executive floor but it didn't change the way I worked or the way I interacted with people.  There was a lot of politics on the executive floor but I stayed away from that and earned the respect of those who worked above and below me.  I loved my boss; the Chief of Staff was an amazing man and I was very sorry to leave when my parents decided to move to Illinois to stay with us.  I got a lot of kudos for giving up my job to take care of my elderly parents although it was something I really wanted to do and since my Mum died shortly thereafter, it was a blessing that I got the opportunity to spend that time with them.

Administrative Assistant, First Command Financial Planning, Virginia Beach, Virginia

We moved to Virginia in 2003 and I started work in 2004 as the Administrative Assistant to one of the financial planning agents.  I worked here about six months and although I liked my boss, I didn't care for the work.  I didn't feel that they had given me adequate training to be dealing with transactions involving people's money and I just never felt connected.  It really was a cutthroat business, all about the commissions, and I was glad when I decided to leave.

That was my last paid job.  I've done a lot of volunteer work between then and now but never felt the need or desire to go back to work.  I did look, briefly, when we moved to Virginia after leaving Rhode Island in 2012, but the electronic age has run right over me and being able to put 100% into a job just wasn't possible when I had Sophia's senior year and college admission process to oversee.  I enjoyed volunteering, as it was something I could do for a few hours while Vic was at work and Sophia was at school.  Working full-time would have been impossible with the schedules we kept.

My favorite?  I'd have to say working for the Chief of Staff at the VAMC.  We had a lot of good laughs in our office while getting the work done and I have nothing but the fondest memories of that time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Journal Jar Q48: Write About Your Favorite Job, Part I

It's been ages since I posted - I've been in a real blog funk lately but as I was surfing through my favorite blogs, I found this post to jump-start my return to blogging.  I love Caroline's blog, Mrs. M's Meanderings, and her Journal Jar posts are a great read.  I'm going to follow her lead and give you, as she said, a whistlestop tour of my working life.

Cashier - Presto's Supermarket, Whitefield, England

I started working part-time when I was studying for my A-levels.  We had gone to the supermarket one weekend when Mum noticed a sign at the customer service desk.  I applied and joined a group of about ten new employees who were assigned to various parts of the store.  I became a cashier and my new friends Sue and Brendan reported to the produce and meat sections respectively.  I worked Thursday and Friday evenings and all day Saturday.  I can't remember how much the job paid, not much I'm sure but I do remember that the wages were in cash.  I loved working as a cashier; I was good at my job and built up quite a following of customers who would stand in my line a little longer than some of the shorter lines because I always had a smile and a cheery hello for them.  After the store closed, we did various jobs until the end of our shift like sweeping or restocking shelves.  I loved the canteen lunches on Saturday - the ladies there made the best cheese and onion sandwiches.  I worked there less than a year and left to work full-time when I decided that A-levels and I were not going to get on.

Travel Clerk - Albany Travel, Manchester, England

I can't remember how I came to work at Albany Travel.  I left school and must have been looking for work and I found this position.  It paid ridiculously low (I remember that Mum gave me bus fare and lunch money so who knows what I did with my wages) but I enjoyed the work making rail, hotel, and ferry reservations and I had wonderful co-workers.  We were just up the street from Granada Studios so I can remember making bookings for several actors and actresses.  I left there after Mum talked me into going back to school - a course called Foreign Correspondents at the local technical college.  It was secretarial with languages and I lasted a year there before we moved to California.

Dispatcher/Customer Service Representative/Accounting Clerk/Administrative Assistant/Office Manager/Marketing Manager - State TV Cable/Cooke CableVision/Chambers Cable, Chico, California

We moved to California in 1978 and Dad had an interview at the local cable company.  I went along for the ride and waited for him in the car (it was August and there was no air conditioner).  He and the Office Manager decided he was over-qualified for the job and spent a considerable time chatting instead.  When Dad was ready to leave, he asked her if she would give me a few pointers on job hunting and so in I came, sweaty and no doubt pretty grubby looking.  I was very surprised when she called a few days later and asked if I was interested in a job!  I worked in the cable industry in California for twelve years, starting as a dispatcher and working my way through a variety of positions.  I loved them all, my co-workers were fabulous and I really enjoyed my time there.  I left to move to San Francisco, returned to Chico shortly thereafter, and went back to school for a semester before returning to the cable industry.

The launch of our first premium channel - Showtime (1979?) - before that, your biggest decision was whether to have one outlet or two!

Administrative Assistant to the General Manager - silk dress now instead of a T-shirt with a slogan - this was my birthday in 1991

Office Manager, Guam Cable TV, Guam and Administrative Manager, Saipan Cable TV, Saipan

I was going to school when I got a call from my former boss (I was his Administrative Assistant above).  In the shuffle from State TV Cable to Cooke CableVision and then to Chambers Cable, he had lost his job in that top management shuffle that goes on in big business, and he ended up as the General Manager in Saipan.  Where?  I had to look it up on a map.  I loved working for him and I jokingly said that if he ever needed an Administrative Assistant again, call me.  About a week later, I got a call from his boss (in Guam), asking me if I would be interested in interviewing for the Office Manager position.  Guam?  Why not?  If I didn't like it, I could come back to California, but if I didn't go, I might never know what I was missing.  Off I went for the interview and three weeks later, I was off to Guam.  I stayed about a month and then they transferred me to Saipan for a month to fill in for their Office Manager while she was on a month-long vacation.  I came back to Guam, armed with a report on all the things in Saipan that could be done more efficiently and four weeks later, I was transferred back to Saipan permanently.

It was an interesting four years during which time I met and married Vic, Sophia was born, Vic joined the Navy and we eventually moved back to the States.  The company was in financial difficulty and woefully mismanaged but we hobbled along.  When the end was near, the Navy opportunity came along for Vic and off he went to basic training and his first assignment in Florida.  Sophia and I stayed in Saipan until I completed my employment contract and then we joined him.  The company folded soon after.

Customer Service Department - 1992
I'm going to break this into two posts - more tomorrow.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Week Ahead - September 8

Outside my window...It's dark because it's 5:45am. Sophia and I got up with Vic this morning - I fixed his breakfast and lunch for work while Sophia was up early because her part-time job when she gets to college will be from 5:00am to 8:00am so she needs to get in the groove of waking up at 4:30am. It is forecast to be 74 degrees today, partly cloudy and with showers later tonight. The weather here in Washington has been warmer than we expected and we have been told that this summer has been unusually warm.

I am thinking...that there is just over a week left until we take Sophia off to college.

I am thankful...that she won't be that far away!

From the kitchen...healthy, healthy, healthy. We are on the Whole 30 eating program and today is Day 15. We aren't supposed to weigh ourselves during this time so I don't have any numbers but I do feel that my clothes are looser.

I am hearing...the washer and Sophia moving around in her room.

One of my favorite things...the new mini-series Outlander.  They are doing a fabulous job.

I am reading...Restarted Lauraine Snelling's Red River of the North series and all its follow-on books.  I'm on number 11 right now, Sophie's Dilemma.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...plunging headlong into the Officers' Spouses' network with two Welcome Socials this week - the local group has theirs on Friday morning and the ship's group is the same day but in the evening.  I hope I meet a group of ladies as fabulous as the group I had in Virginia.

Volunteer Update...Nothing; not sure where I plan to volunteer yet.

College Update...Most of the shopping is done - one more trip should do it.  Sophia is moving in four days early because she has volunteered to be part of the HELPs program which provides assistance to students moving in - helping carry their things from cars to dorms and assisting with directions to orientation and campus locations.  We will head up there next week to move her into her dorm.  Her roommate is also volunteering for the program.  We'll be back three days later to attend the family orientation and other events for new students.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...Washington is so beautiful and there is so much to see and do.  We took a trip yesterday to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park.  Absolutely stunning vistas and along the way, we found lots of places to add to our must-see list.

MudLynn loved her outing in the car
A section of Hurricane Ridge behind us
A shot on the descent from Hurricane Ridge
Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Long, Long Trek across the USA...coming soon!

I'll be back on Tuesday with all the details of our journey from Virginia to Washington but today we're off to take a campus tour of Western Washington University.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Week Ahead - July 28

Outside my window...The forecast for the week (moving week!) is mostly sunny.  It's 76 degrees here, 52 in Poulsbo, Washington.
I am thinking...that the to-do list is getting smaller every day.

I am thankful...for the local transfer station where we can drop some old furniture - 1-800-GOT-JUNK wanted a ridiculous amount to haul things away.

From the eat up the meager offerings from the fridge or to eat out - out will win I think.

I am hearing...the air conditioner.
One of my favorite things...dinner with friends, even if it was a farewell dinner.

I am STILL reading...Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters...I think I'm going to have to start from the beginning again.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...taking the vehicles (Vic's truck and Sophia's car) to the transportation terminal today so that they can be shipped, packers arrive on Tuesday and have allowed two days for packing but I'm not sure they are going to need that second day since I have many, many filled totes, loading the household goods on to the truck on Thursday, cleaning the house for the final inspection Thursday afternoon and evening and then we move to the Navy Lodge for two nights, final housing inspection Friday morning and then Vic checks out of his command with manicures/pedicures for Sophia and I in the afternoon and then early on Saturday morning, farewell Virginia, we are on the road. 

College Update...Sophia and her roommate received their residence hall allocation.  It wasn't their first choice but it was one of the halls on their list and, in hindsight, they think it might be a better choice than the hall that had been their top pick.  We booked a campus tour for a week after we get to Washington.  Sophia is so excited.

Volunteer Update...I'm done!  I worked for two hours on Saturday and said my goodbyes (well, they are "see you laters" in the Navy since you never know when your paths will cross again).

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...We had a final family field trip (in two parts) on Friday - Sophia and I toured the newly-renovated Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk along with a stop to watch a demonstration at the Glass Studio and then in the evening, we went to the Mermaid Factory where Vic and Sophia painted mermaids.  We ended our family field trip day with dinner at Small's Smokehouse and Oyster Bar which was delicious.

Sophia named her creation "Alana" - she has a magenta glitter tail, sand dollar bra, starfish in her hair and a tiny seahorse is suspended from her hand.  Vic's masterpiece is "Pamela" (his take on a Navy wife, perhaps?) and she has a blue tail, gold bodice, and proudly flies the Medical Service Corps insignia.

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Christmas in July 2014

I just stopped by where you normally find me in July, the Magical Forums of Magical Holiday Home.  They are in the midst of Christmas in July and I missing it all!  Just not enough hours in the day this month to have any Christmas fun - I'll be doing double duty next year.

Moving plans are chugging along - I'm busy with my home inventory (love the MyStuff2 app!) and packing totes so that things aren't chaotic at the other end.  We found a house, I've planned the cross-country route, arranged to ship our vehicles, and I'm cleaning as I go along.  Sophia's plans to attend Western Washington University are going well and we're even going to try to squeeze in a weekend visit to see my sister and her family in Oregon before Vic starts work.

Busy, busy, busy...that's my July.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mid-July Update - July 16, 2014

I've been really terrible about updating over the last month so the catching up begins now!

Outside my window...a high of 79 degrees forecast for today with scattered thunderstorms and a high of 85 forecast for Bremerton - ok, that sort of weather has to stop now!
I am STILL thinking...about everything that has to be done before we move.

I am thankful...for an amazing home inventory app - MyStuff2 for my iPad.

From the kitchen...Vic's cooking tonight so it's chicken adobo.

I am hearing...the clock ticking.
One of my favorite things...all the methods we have for keeping in touch with friends, no matter how far away we may be...e-mail, Facebook, Skype, Christmas cards and newsletters, not to mention phone calls.

I am STILL reading...Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters...not far to go now but there never seems to be a moment to pick it up.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...meeting a co-worker at the Tidewater Collection sometime this week as her sister from Washington is in town, eye appointment for Sophia tomorrow and haircuts for both of us on Friday. 

College Update...all quiet on the college front.

Volunteer Update...all volunteer positions are turned over although I am filling in this week since the new Volunteer Coordinator is out of town and I'm on call to make change as the Bookkeeper is gone as well.  They just won't let me go!

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...I should call this the Moving, Travel and Family Field Trips Update so I can bring you all up to speed.  The move is all planned - packing July 29 and 30 with loading on the 31st.  Vic will check out of his command on Friday, August 1 and we will turn over the house keys on that day.  We'll be on the road on Saturday, August 2 and proceed via Ohio-Illinois-Nebraska-South Dakota-Montana to Washington, hopefully arriving on August 9.  We pick up the keys to our new home on August 10 and aim to have everything (vehicles and household goods) delivered during the week of August 11.  The house is about 60% inventoried and Vic is sealing up the Rubbermaid totes so that the lids stay secure.  The oven is clean so that can be checked off the to-do list.  We will take the furniture that we are not moving to the transfer station on Sunday, July 27 and drop the two vehicles (Vic's truck and Sophia's car) to be shipped on Monday, July 28.  Things are coming together.

Enjoying last weekend's Bastille Days celebration en famille

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Week Ahead - June 16

Outside my window...75 degrees already this morning and we're going to hit 90 today.  A blissful 51 and raining in Bremerton.
I am thinking...about everything that has to be done before we move.

I am thankful...for a great brunch with my Tidewater Collection co-volunteers yesterday morning.

From the, fish, or fish.

I am hearing...the clock ticking.
One of my favorite things...a table set for a festive brunch, lunch or dinner.  The table at yesterday's brunch featured nautical napkins and place mats and a lovely floral centerpiece.

I am still reading...Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters...still haven't had time to read so much as a paragraph lately and it still doesn't look good for this week either.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...brunch yesterday followed by a few hours receiving new merchandise at the Tidewater Collection, meeting with the new Volunteer Coordinator tomorrow, stopping off at the Tidewater Collection on Thursday to see the photos one of our volunteers took during her recent trip to Paris, working at the Tidewater Collection with a volunteer who has not yet been trained on the new computer system on Friday, working on Saturday to move furniture and make our Tidewater Collection extended shop space ready to go, and taking Vic to the airport on Sunday.  Apart from picking up Sophia after her riding lesson this afternoon, I'm spending the day getting ready for the housing pre-move inspection which is tomorrow afternoon.  It's a Tidewater Collection kind of week! 

College Update...a week closer to Sophia's telephone meeting with her advisor after July 29, housing assignments and parking permit issuance both on August 1.

Volunteer Update...turning over the Volunteer Coordinator position tomorrow although I'm still on the schedule for a few more training dates.  Must finish my shopping before I lose my 25% discount!

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...Vic's heading to San Diego this weekend for a class - that's the only thing on the travel schedule.

We finally took the plunge and bought a new vehicle - meet Betty Blue, a 2015 Subaru Forester.  It's going to be a much smoother ride across the country in August.  Sophia inherited Bamm-Bamm, the Hyundai Accent, and we'll ship it to Washington so she can have it at college.  Vic remains faithful to Henry Ford Ranger.  Yes, they all have crazy names!

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Week Ahead - June 9

Outside my window...another ghastly hot week - I'm loving that the temperatures in Washington are running 20-25 degrees cooler every day.
I am thinking...about leaving the Tidewater Collection.  I have really enjoyed my volunteer time and the friends I have much as I am looking forward to our new adventure, I will be very sad to leave.

I am thankful...for fellow volunteers who stepped up to take over my Secretary/Volunteer Coordinator slot.

From the kitchen...something easy as we have a appointment this evening.

I am hearing...the clock ticking.
One of my favorite things...the amazing home inventory app, MyStuff2, for my iPad.  I'm in a barcoding frenzy, logging all our DVDs and books into the app.  Love it!

I am still reading...Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters...still haven't had time to read so much as a paragraph lately and it doesn't look good for this week either.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...Mother-Daughter Morning Out yesterday (breakfast and shopping, so much fun), working at the Tidewater Collection today, Thursday and Friday, thirty-one event on Saturday, Father's Day on Sunday. 

College Update...a few upcoming dates: Sophia's telephone meeting with her advisor after July 29, housing assignments and parking permit issuance both on August 1.

Volunteer Update...said goodbye to another volunteer job, CORE Planning Committee Member and working on the Tidewater Collection turnover.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...Vic's heading to San Diego for a class later this month - that's the only thing on the travel schedule.

Had a fun morning discussing dorm room options with Sophia

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Week Ahead - June 1

Outside my window...ugh, 80+ degree temperatures all week - Virginia summer.
I am thinking...about that I don't want to go/I want to go feeling.  There are some parts of living in Virginia that I will really miss and there are so many things to look forward to in Washington.

I am thankful...for a successful end to the Tidewater Collection's inventory.  It took three days but we're done!

From the kitchen...steak and chips with sauteed mushrooms.

I am hearing...the clock ticking.
One of my favorite things...steak and chips!

I am still reading...Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters...haven't had time to read so much as a paragraph lately but things will slow down a little this week.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...errand-running tomorrow and then picking Sophia up at Whole Foods after her riding lesson (uh oh, Whole Foods is a dangerous place!), running by the Tidewater Collection on Tuesday to show the day's volunteer our new computer system, Tidewater Collection board meeting on Wednesday, a possible CORE planning meeting on Thursday, and then training a new volunteer at the Tidewater Collection on Friday.  What will I do with my time when I no longer have the Tidewater Collection?

College Update...found out that Sophia is not eligible for Summerstart as it is only for incoming freshman.  She will have to have a telephone meeting with her advisor after July 29 in lieu of attending the orientation for transfer students

Volunteer Update...found someone (two people actually) to take over my Tidewater Collection responsibilities so I'll be working with them over the next couple of weeks.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...Vic's heading to San Diego for a class later this month - that's the only thing on the travel schedule.  As far as family field trips...well, let me give you a little teaser and stay tuned for more:

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Week Ahead - May 27

Outside my window...two days of 85+ degrees coming with thunderstorms spells Humidity with a capital H.  So happy to see that while it is currently 71 degrees in Norfolk at 7am, it is only 46 in Bremerton!
I am thinking...about the moving to-do list - organized the garage this weekend in preparation for the pre-move inspection by the moving company.  I swear that Vic will end up on an episode of Hoarders - the Tool and Electronic Division!

I am thankful...for confirmed dates for our pack-out and pick-up - summer is the busiest season for household goods scheduling and I was happy to get our notification the same day I dropped off our paperwork.

From the kitchen...pork chops with Spanish rice - olé.

I am hearing...the clock ticking and the air conditioner running.
One of my favorite things...a great lunch with my Mustang Spouses group.  Moving from the enlisted to the officer ranks is an interesting experience for a military spouse and it's nice to have a group of ladies who have been there, done that...our get-togethers always make for interesting conversation.

I am still reading...Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters...I was intrigued so I downloaded it to my Kindle and I'm loving it.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...working at the Tidewater Collection today, last TOSA lunch (with a field trip to the Virginia War Museum), baby shower on Thursday morning followed by inventory at the shop, more inventory on Friday, and finalizing the inventory over the weekend.  I hope we can knock it out on Saturday.

College Update...FIGs (First-Year Interest Groups) application is complete and Sophia got a spot in the Journalism group.  Next up is the registration date next week for SummerStart, the student and family orientation weekend along with advising and registration.  Can't remember if I explained FIGs before:
A FIG is a cluster of three courses: two general education courses (psychology and anthropology, for example) linked with a two-credit seminar (max. of 25 students). While the seminar itself is small, the general education classes (also known as “GURs”) are usually quite large: Those students enrolled in the FIG participate in the GUR courses the same way as other students enrolled in the courses, but also get the advantage of meeting together as a small group in the seminar. The learning community environment created by a FIG cluster can help students connect more quickly to university life, and foster a smoother transition from high school to college learning and expectations.
Volunteer turnover complete, STILL waiting for the shop co-managers to meet with the potential candidate for the second one.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...we realized that we have less than 70 days left in Virgnia so we made a bucket list to knock out before we leave.  Number one was a visit to the Big Yellow Duck, the work of a Dutch artist, Forentijn Hofman, making its Virginia debut in Norfolk. The big yellow attraction has visited China, England, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Brazil.

After multiple attempts to take it on our own, we finally handed the camera to Sophia!

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Week Ahead - May 19

Outside my window...another summery week - temperature from the high 60s to the low 80s.
I am thinking...about the moving to-do list - I should put it on here for accountability...where is my to-do list?

I am thankful...for another straight A semester for Sophia - she really worked hard and we are so proud of her.

From the, I think.

I am hearing...the clock ticking.
One of my favorite things...a yummy dinner at our favorite hibachi restaurant for a triple-header celebration - Vic's safe return from Djibouti, Sophia's straight A semester, and getting orders.

I am reading...Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters...I was intrigued so I downloaded it to my Kindle and I'm loving it.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...Turnover Brunch for the TOSA Board on Monday, working at the Tidewater Collection on Tuesday, and swinging by the Tidewater Collection for opening and closing shifts the rest of the week to train volunteers on the new computer system, turnover meeting with new WebMaster on Wednesday, and Mustang Spouses Lunch on Friday.  The weekend is blissfully empty.

College Update...housing deposit PAID!  FIGs (First-Year Interest Groups) application date is today.

Volunteer turnover scheduled for Wednesday, still waiting for the shop co-managers to meet with the potential candidate for the second one.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...busy working on the next big travel adventure - coast to coast - it's tough to plan any real sightseeing since we have MudLynn and Vic needs to be in Washington by the 11th to take a training course so we're only including a stop-off at Mount Rushmore.

It was another birthday in heaven for Mum on Saturday - here we are in 1966 - a photo Mum had taken to send to Dad when he was Vietnam.

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Week Ahead - May 12

Outside my - up in the 80s with a thunderstorm here and there - ugh.
I am thinking...orders, orders, orders, we have ORDERS!  I probably don't need to tell you this, though, because I'm sure they heard my YIPPEE as far as Washington last Wednesday morning when I opened the e-mail and found them forwarded from Vic's office.

I am thankful...for orders - now I can really begin to plan.

From the kitchen...leftovers.

I am hearing...the clock ticking.
One of my favorite things...a new Pandora charm for my bracelet.

I am STILL reading...Navy Wife by Debbie Macomber...quick and easy.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...spending most of the week at the Tidewater Collection - prep fo the clearance sale today, set-up for the clearance sale tomorrow and then the clearance sale on Wednesday, working at an evening event at the shop on Thursday and then getting my bangs cut on Friday.

College change - still waiting for housing deposit due date - notice will come at the end of May - and FIGs (First-Year Interest Groups) application date - May 19.  Today is Sophia's last day of school - can't believe that my girl has a whole year of college under her belt.  This time last year, I was planning her high school graduation.

Volunteer turnover still needs to be rescheduled as the candidate had to go out of town so our meeting was cancelled, discussed the status of the second position at the board meeting last week and there is a potential candidate - the co-managers will take her out to lunch and pop the question.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...we wouldn't have made it to Washington DC over the weekend because Vic ended up having duty but Smitten by Britain has a great post on the British Embassy's open house event here.

Sophia spent a little of her hard-earned pet-sitting cash on a couple of new dresses - love this one!

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all my friends out there, mothers and caregivers of human and animal children!  To my Mum in heaven, my mother-in-law, my sister (Mom to two active young boys which should qualify her for extra credit!), and to all my friends near and far.  Have a lovely day and I hope you are pampered.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Week Ahead - May 5

Outside my window...more of last week's mid-60s to mid-70s range with some rain.
I am STILL thinking...still no orders.

I am thankful...for air conditioning - it's getting to be that time of year.

From the kitchen...more fish.  I told you last week it was a big bag.

I am hearing...nothing.
One of my favorite things...having Vic home again...only a few more days.

I am STILL reading...Navy Wife by Debbie Macomber...quick and easy.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...spending most of the week at the Tidewater Collection - new computer system training for board members on Monday, working there on Tuesday, board meeting there on Wednesday, CORE Little Black Dress debriefing on Thursday and then a blissfully free couple of days culminating in Mother's Day.  I doubt our Washington DC trip is going to happen; I'm exhausted after the last couple of days and I think Vic will be as well.  I'll be sorry to miss the EU Open House but who knows, we may be stationed back in this area another time and be able to make the trip.

College change - still waiting for housing deposit due date - sometime after May 1 - and FIGs (First-Year Interest Groups) application date - May 19. 

Volunteer turnover needs to be rescheduled as the candidate had to go out of town so our meeting was cancelled, will discuss the status of the second position at the board meeting on May 7th.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...working on the route from coast to coast.  It's best to be prepared because I think there's not going to be very much time from the day we receive the orders to the day we need to be in Washington.  Any idea how tough it was to find seven pet-friendly hotels from coast to coast that were not on the Bed Bug Registry? (When you're married to someone who has pest management in his repertoire, it's one of those things you have to consider!)

The CORE Planning Committee (I'm on the far right) at the conclusion of the Little Black Dress event - so much fun!

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Little Black Dress

It's a big night tonight - the event put on by Hampton Roads CORE, Continuum of Resources and Education, a group I work with that provides continuing education (workshops and conferences) for spouses to meet the unique challenges of a military lifestyle.  Tonight's event is the Little Black Dress: Styles and Stages of Leadership.  It's modeled after the Little Black Dress skit that's been around since the 50s - how military wives wear their little black dress through early marriage to their servicemember, how it changes with motherhood, through deployments, and as their spouse rises through the ranks.  One of our committee members has written a skit and there will be models in their black dresses, styled for the various stages.  We'll also have a panel of leadership spouses who will talk about their roles and how they have changed.

Sophia is coming with me and we've got our little black dresses ready to go.  I needed something to put over my shoulders (well, ok, upper arms!) and picked up this little wrap at Nordstrom yesterday.  Just a browse through the accessories department showed me how sadly lacking my fashion sense has become and I aim to change that.  Mom on the Run is my current mode and I would love to get back to a more stylish look.

Then it was off to the salon for manicures.  I'm rocking a lovely new shade, new to me that is as I can't find it in OPI's line-up.  A bit out of my comfort zone but that's the new me!

Hope to have a photo of the two of us to share with you tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Week Ahead - April 28

Outside my window...temperatures fairly consistent this week, mid-60s to mid-70s range but it looks like we are in for a whole lot of rain.  That's ok as long as I don't have to be out in it!
I am STILL thinking...about moving - when, where, how?  Still no orders and even with that, it doesn't look like blogging every day is going to happen anytime soon...bear with me.

I am thankful...for a safe arrival for Vic at his current destination...and no matter how much I moan about the weather getting warmer, it's still cooler here than at his location.

From the  I bought a big bag of tilapia so it will be breaded, fried, grilled.

I am hearing...nothing.
One of my favorite things...the discovery of things thought lost when you come to start the clean-out before moving.

I am STILL reading...Navy Wife by Debbie Macomber...quick and easy.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...turnover meeting for one of my volunteer positions on Tuesday, lunch and shopping with the spouses' group on Wednesday, Little Black Dress: Styles and Stages leadership event on Thursday, training a new volunteer at the Tidewater Collection on Friday and the Hallmark Keepsake Ornament event on Saturday.  Yes, it's only May but the Premiere Weekend is still scheduled for July.  This Saturday's event is billed as a Dream Book Party - sounds like they are making an event of the availability of the ornament catalog.  I had my event last week - I'm such a good customer that my Hallmark retailer gave me the book early!

College change - still waiting for housing deposit due date - sometime after May 1 - and FIGs (First-Year Interest Groups) application date - May 19. 

Volunteer turnover scheduled, will discuss the status of the second position at the board meeting on May 7th.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...working on a weekend in DC for the European Union Embassies' Open House and a visit to the Holocaust Museum as a getaway for Vic and I when he gets home.

Closing out the Month of the Military Child with this throwback to our Florida days.  So proud that despite all the moving, deployments, separations, and other trials of military life, Sophia grew up into a lovely, well-rounded young woman.  And extra BZs to my amazing hubby, seen here as a lowly junior enlisted sailor (only a few steps up from the deck-swabbing stage) who has accomplished so much.  Ok, bragging over!

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Week Ahead - April 21

Outside my window...the weather is all over the place this week...partly cloudy, partly sunny, high 50s, low 70s.
I am thinking...about moving - when, where, how?

I am thankful...for a lovely Easter with my family - church, brunch, chocolate.

From the kitchen...something Chinese.

I am hearing...the heater.
One of my favorite books on my iPad.

I am reading...Navy Wife by Debbie Macomber...quick and easy.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...TOSA board meeting this morning, taking Vic to the airport tomorrow, dropping more things at the consignment shop on Wednesday, CORE planning meeting followed by riding for Sophia on Thursday, and Mustang Spouses lunch on Friday.  Sophia has a mixture of babysitting and pet sitting woven in there.

College Update...waiting for housing deposit due date - sometime after May 1 - and FIGs (First-Year Interest Groups) application date - May 19. 

Volunteer Update...will most likely split my current position between two volunteers.

Travel and Family Field Trips Update...the trip to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum didn't happen because Vic had to work but I'm still working on a weekend in DC for the European Union Embassies' Open House and a visit to the Holocaust Museum.

Our tenants are interested in buying our house - stay tuned for more on this.

Leave a comment below if you'd like to share your Week Ahead.