Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016  -  A Year of Change and Blessings

Andrew graduated from IU Bloomington, Mother's Day weekend, with a Masters Degree and began working June 20th, for part of the Kroger company, in Cincinnati.
The name of the company he works for is called 84.51, named for its latitude/longitude location on the globe.
Ashley and Matt had a great year, traveling, traveling, working and traveling.

I traveled to New York in March and Florida in November.

My local Psi Iota Xi chapter, Alpha Chi, stepped up to the task and did an excellent job hosting the 2016 national convention in Indianapolis in June, where I presided as National President.  We were able to bring over $15,000 back to donate in our community.  I have enjoyed traveling around our five Psi Ote states these last seven years, and traveling to several of our national project locations.  I made it to my 100th chapter visit prior to the convention. Traveling to New York City in March, to see the finals of the Metropolitan Opera auditions was related to my Psi Ote passion.
A few of us then traveled to Toledo in July, to visit the U of T Stuttering Clinic, our "Long Term Project."

I was blessed to be able to keep my job, in managing the Richmond TCC (Verizon agent) store, as we combined our two locations in early June.  I was originally told I would need to interview for the position, after working for the company for twenty years.  It remains the main stress in my life, as I now have nine employees, the company has done another restructure and continues to tweak their philosophy as to what the customer needs.  I have a good team and really enjoy working with the public, for the most part, especially the hundreds of customers that have allowed me to build this business over the years.
I have to continue to challenge myself to grow even more into this position with its greater expectations. Because we are now one of the larger stores in the company, we are being held under a microscope.

The biggest change came when I made the decision to move out of the house and in to Richmond.  I told Jim on a Sunday evening, in early July, that I was ready to leave.  I had a friend that needed to sell her place so she could move to Florida and it worked out for me to buy it.  Everything went very amicably and quicker than I expected.  I asked a friend to recommend an attorney and the divorce was final by mid-December.  I am now less than 10 minutes from my folks' home, and 15 minutes or less from work.  I feel very blessed that the whole experience went smoothly and Jim and I can remain friends and still enjoy spending family time together with the kids.

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 in Review - the 1st Quarter

With life "highlights" on Facebook, most can share in my activities as they occur.  In order to try to chronicle each year I wanted to go ahead and blog it.  As we get older all the years tend to "run together."  This will help me differentiate them.

January found Mom and I enjoying sunny yet cool Cocoa Beach, Florida.  They weren't able to take a month away, due to moving, but I had already bought a plane ticket before their moving plans were finalized.  Mom is always glad to get away from the Indiana winter and offered to help with expenses if I took her along with me.  We did alot of eating out, watched a beach wedding, went on a casino cruise (with Ron and Idris) and watched the ships go out from Port Canaveral.

February was full of Psi Iota Xi chapter visits and a trip to the doctor to find out I've gained enough weight (again) to be put on high cholesterol medicine.  Dad had everything ready for an auction, at the Williamsburg Community center later in the month.  Family and friends gathered with the community as we watched many of their belongings, and 70 years worth of farm items being auctioned.  The weather cooperated (only that day!) to help make attendance great.

I did a "car shuffle" for the winter, as Ashley was doing her Pharmacy rotations and needed to drive back and forth to Dayton in January.  She drove my Honda CRV in January and took the Rav to Kentucky in February.  March found her at Ball in Muncie, so we took turns.  Whoever was driving the farthest had the Honda, as the Rav is "leased," and I need to control the mileage on it.  Andrew had her lightweight Pontiac in Bloomington most of the winter. I drove with her to Denver the end of March, as she'd committed to a rotation out there for April.  Luckily, we were able to find great accommodations "last minute" when her original plans were changed.  It pays to have friends (and family) in the right place at the right time.  She actually took Jim's Rav to Denver so I could have my Honda back and he drove the leased Rav for a month.  Are you keeping up?

The weather was absolutely HIDEOUS this year.  By the time it was over, I was actually rooting for Indiana to break the record and hit 52", which we did.  It was SO nice to be able to just pack a bag at home and drive "around the corner" after work to stay at the "Smith hostile" in town when the weather was less than cooperative.  Mom and Dad moved in March.  I think he still borrowed Idris' snow blower once to clean out his driveway.

March took Mom and Dad to their new home in Richmond.  We will call it the "Meadow," as they are on Meadowbrook Road.  It's a little "out of the way" to go by and help Dad eat his nightly pan of popcorn, but now that Ashley and Matt have a home just south of Williamsburg, it's not out of the way to go to their house on the way home from Mom and Dad's.  (Are you following me?)
I did one of my many two-day Psi Ote chapter visit trips, to Crown Point and Remington, after having visited New Castle's meeting on Monday night.  The snow was a REAL irritation on Wednesday, as we traveled to Remington from Flora.  I HATE interstates in bad weather.  I was only going to be on 65 a few miles, but got right off as soon as I could when the car was handling like a boat on water, rather than a car on the highway.  We attended the meeting, and drove back on many roads that were a sheet of ice.  That trip I stayed with Brenda, in Flora.  It's been wonderful to be able to stay with my Psi Ote "Sisters" as I travel to try to visit all our chapters.  I regret I am not good at following up with a huge "Thank you" each time.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Happy 24th Birthday, Ashley Ann!

Proud parents after the "White Coat" ceremony 
     24 on the 24th.  That won't happen again.  If I had not ended up having to go in to work because one of the girls was sick, and we weren't having a TCC Teacher Giveaway this evening, I was SERIOUSLY considering hitting the road for the 4 1/2 hour drive to come down and surprise you today.  I had your cards and gifts in a bag, with some comfy clothes and was ready to go.  I regret that I didn't decide earlier to "take off" and do it.  I will anxiously await your hug next Friday evening or Saturday.

     We are all so PROUD of you!   This is going to be a big year, as you graduate in May, and plan your wedding to Matt in October.  Six years of school is almost over and it's time for you to "hit the road running" in your Pharmacy career.  We know you will do a great job!

     We have been blessed with two wonderful children, and you are the first to graduate college and begin your new life.  I have enjoyed thinking back over the last 24 years, trying to decide which pictures to include in this Blog (and not embarrass you).

Prepping for 2nd ACL surgery 2013
     Let's see.....what are some great 
and/or unique things about you? 

Does anyone know of anyone else who went through 15 different babysitters/daycare providers?

     How many have torn BOTH of their ACL's?  
St Thomas 2011

Mexico, Canada, England, France, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Latvia and of course, St Thomas.
Does that count as another country you have visited?
What a world traveler!

Senior Year

Senior Class President 
Senate President Pro Tempore 
tuba player 
Pharmacy Technician 
are some of the titles you have held.

Ready to turn the tassle

"Do I hug and kiss my Daddy in front of everyone?"  2008
You have been blessed with many great friends and I hope to always be considered among them.

Maid of Honor at Audreyalice's wedding

Christmas 2013
We know you have worked VERY hard.
Spring 2014

 Hurry safely home from Kentucky Friday evening, so we can go wedding dress shopping in March! 

Looking forward to a big hug, 


Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Dad, Frank

     Today we watched many items that created family memories go into the hands of others, to "the highest bidder."  The family farm has been sold, and our parents are moving into town, after having lived in the country almost their entire lives.  They really did need to "down-size," and the reason for my Blog tonight, is in appreciation of all the hard work and dedication our father puts into his endeavors.

     Throughout my life, Dad was always at the fire station, the church, at work, or out working in the yard or around the farm.  In looking through a shoe box of old pictures a few weeks ago I found where part of his work ethic originated. Grandma (his mother) had labeled so many of the pictures.  In many, where he was working along side my grandfather, she had labeled it "helper."  At a VERY young age, Dad was painting picket fence, driving the tractor, feeding and caring for livestock of various kinds, etc.

At the Williamsburg Area Community Center,
spreading fresh gravel to
fill in potholes before the freezing rain "hit" last winter
   I often meet people from his church or in the Williamsburg community, who comment about how dedicated a volunteer he is, stepping in to do whatever is asked of him and so much more. When it came time to move my two kids to and from college, it was (and will be) my 70+year-old father who was called upon to carry the dorm fridge up three flights of stairs when there was no elevator, or the couch and full-size mattress across the lawn or down a hallway nearly the length of a football field.

Snow Blowing his little Sis's driveway, in between volunteer trips to the airport


   I don't spend alot of time talking with Dad, so I hope this displays my appreciation in written word. What he did to get everything moved and cleaned out prior to the auction today was HUGE. 

  I am very dedicated and "passionate" about the women's service organization in which I am very actively involved.  I often tell others I get my service-oriented heart from my Dad.  I only hope I can continue to follow in those footsteps.

Before all the hard work and dedication began

Thursday, February 6, 2014

To Florida We Go!

     Mom hates winter in Indiana.  For the last few years, she has been able to escape to Florida, for at least a month or two.  This year they are moving, from the family farm, of over 60 years, to town, so they had to cancel their warmer excursion this year.  I have joined them, if only for a week, the past two years, and had already purchased my plane ticket, before the sale of the house was confirmed, so I was "committed."  I would be able to stay with my aunt, in central Florida, instead.

     One Sunday evening, Mom called, and offered to pay for a hotel near the beach if I would take her with me.  I knew it would slow me down a bit, but, after all, that is the main purpose in my January escape. It is a great time to REFRESH after the stress of December in RETAIL.  

     We were able to "roll" right on through the airports, grab a rental car and head to the coast.

That's Mom on the top left balcony
   Unique on the Beach  

     One morning, when it was only 40 degrees outside, Mom saw wedding preparations taking place on the beach.  I went out to get a closer look and grab a few pics.  Someone standing near me said the young couple was probably getting married so early so they could get on a cruise ship in the afternoon and begin their honeymoon.  The bridesmaids and littlest girls were barefooted and wore sleeveless dresses.  The bride may have been barefooted as well.  Brrrr!!!

Coming down the wooden and sandy aisle

The wooden sign behind the girls said, "Leave your shoes here."

I thought I heard the officiate talking much faster than normal.

Unique at Breakfast

     The Best Western we stayed at was nice.  We had to go to another building to eat breakfast.  It was cold enough one morning that we chose not to, since we had left our winter coats with Dad in Indiana.  We had good coffee provided in our room, and had bought muffins and other snacks at the grocery upon our arrival.
The unique thing about breakfast was the way the pancake machine "plopped" out its product.

Push the button once for one, and twice for two!
     Thanks to my capabilities on the Smartphone, we were able to easily research local restaurant menus.  We found a local diner that served "Crab Benedict" for breakfast and gave that a taste one morning.

Crab Benedict - okay.
Grits - "You can keep them."
     We were able to spend alot of time in the hotel room, just taking it easy, since it was dark around 6 pm.  I finally walked up the beach a mile and back, but regret I only did it once.  We were right beside the Cocoa Beach Pier, so Mom and I walked all the way to the end of it and watched the surfers, birds and fisherman.  I had walked out on Sunday afternoon, by myself for free, but when we headed out Monday, there was a man at a booth collecting a $1 fee, per person, to walk to the end of the pier.

Ready to "Roll!"

Bird "watching"

     The walk wore Mom out, so I took off to the Brevard Zoo, about 30 minutes away, in Melbourne.  I was able to see it all, at a fast pace, in less than an hour and a half, and head back just prior to dark.

Slow and relaxed pace

"I could nap if people would quit snapping my picture!"

"Hey, lady!  How close are you going to get?"

"Keeping an eye on things"

      I wanted to try to watch the cruise ships leave Port Canaveral on Sunday afternoon.  We were less than ten minutes away, so found a nearby park to sit for a few minutes.  The entry fee was $10.  That was the most expensive ten minutes of the trip.  Even our flight was cheaper than that.  You all probably know which cruise ship is which, but I will label them anyway.


Royal Caribbian

     On the last day, Idris and Ron joined us on a Casino Cruise.  I wanted to at least make an attempt at a cruise, as it is one mode of transportation I have decided I don't have to experience.  This cruise convinced me of my decision.  Mom tried to say that I wouldn't take a cruise because I would be without my cell phone for too long a period of time.  I finally decided that I don't want to do it, probably, because I would not be "in control" for a long period of time.
     Ron had the best day.  Mom came in second.  Idris enjoyed the breeze and scenery of the upper deck.  I couldn't win anything, anyway.  What Quaker can come home and boast of gambling winnings?

Great trip, Mom.  Thanks for coming along with me!

First sunrise

The view of our hotel from the Cocoa Beach Pier

Sunset from our restaurant window the last evening

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Finding the Positive

     I have always wanted to write stories and I don't mind telling them in front of people.  I would much rather laugh than cry or watch stressful drama.  I have always been a worrier, so laughing brings relief.  One of my goals in blogging, hopefully, will be to keep things positive, rather than negative.

Let's start this way, with "Finding the Positive in the Negative"

     This winter has been absolutely ridiculous, as far as weather goes.  I believe the predictions were there, that the temperatures would go up and down multiple times, and there would be alot of snow.  Since I work in retail I have to go out every (work) day.  There are no "snow days" when you are in retail.  My first career was as a school teacher, so I should have experienced them, but I taught for 8 years at the Indiana Soldier's and Sailor's Children's Home, south of Knightstown, Indiana, where the students were residents, so there were no "snow days" for the teachers and other employees there either.

     As Hoosiers, in the Midwest, we usually see it all - snow, heavy/flooding rains, ice and fog.  My drive to work is just over 16 miles, each way.  As I head home from work, I am now seeing the temperature drop anywhere from 2 to 6 or more degrees.  If it is snowing, I can see a difference of 2 to 5 inches between work and home.  This winter we will probably break the record for the most snowfall, which is currently 51 inches.

     Now to find the positive in the negative - Let's go for the record!  Let's make the winter of 2013-2014 one to remember.  My daughter had to drive from Richmond to Dayton to work in January.  She was able to gain a great amount of winter driving experience.  She has only been in Kentucky three days (She's there the month of February) and has already experienced heavy rain, snow and ice.  She is getting great preparation to tackle highway 35 from home to Muncie in March, then Denver in April.

My brother, clearing his drive so Nana can go see her grandson
     When my Aunt, who now winters in Florida, moved to Richmond, I jumped at the chance to "house sit," especially on these lovely winter days.  Since the forecast called for 6-10" of snow yesterday, I had my bags and snacks packed and was ready to do just that last night.  I only had a 2-3 minute drive "home" from work last night and could enjoy trying out my 4-wheel drive vehicle's maneuvers more easily at 20-30 mph in town, rather than on a curvy highway that has deep ditches in multiple places.

My dad, clearing my aunt's drive, so the house looks occupied

     The other positive in the forefront of my mind this evening is that I had a snow shovel in my car when I did come home late this afternoon.  There was another 5" of fresh snow and the sidewalks, that had been cleared, were now drifted shut.  I stepped out of the car to find I would have to shovel my way across the 40' or so to the house before I could unload my bags.

2 scoops per step, only 40 feet to go!
Only 4 more "steps" to go


There.  My first blogpost.  I would not have done it tonight had I not had that caffeinated Diet Pepsi when I got home this evening.