Posts

Showing posts from 2015

35: a little reflective

Image
I have 35 Mondays left before retirement. 

Sometimes I am reflective and deep. Sometimes. 
I remember when a day at the office could mean: running for cover on the way from my CHU to the palace; near misses during celebratory fire after an Iraqi national soccer game; combat landings into BIAP; clearing your weapon on your way into the chow hall; gauging the echo to determine if it's incoming or outgoing; bracing yourself during small arms and returned fire on a Blackhawk ride across the Baghdad landscape; rolling off your rack with our pillow and covering up with your vest and helmet hoping for a few more minutes of sleep before post attack accountability checks... The good old days?

40: Looking back on a thousand Mondays passed

Image
With 40 Mondays remaining, I have been reflecting on a thousand Mondays passed. 
I don't usually look to the past. I try to focus on the way ahead. But 1,000 Mondays makes for a long history of service and commitment. It is hard to believe I have been in the military for that long. I have traveled around the world, met countless people, seen amazing things, and had experiences I would have never otherwise been afforded. 
I am ready for change and to transition out of the military but I wouldn't trade the past for anything.

42: Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything.

Image
I haven't been deep in thought this week so I figured I would let Douglas Adams have this one.

43: The process

Image
Forty-three Mondays remaining. 
With only 43 Mondays left, it's time to begin the official process required for retiring from the military. Tomorrow, I will submit the paperwork needed to confirm my eligablity. It seems like a pretty useless step that should be included in the retirement application but it's not.

45: Convincing others

Image
I am eligible to retire in 45 Mondays. 
I know this isn't the most serious way to mark the time remaining but I am serious about my plan. It isn't the easiest thing to communicate to the people around me. Even though I have told my boss the plan, I still had to sit down with him and convince him it is a reality. 
For me and my family, moving on is the best thing.

46: There's no place like home

Image
We just returned from a two week vacation back home. It was really nice to spend two Mondays on recreations versus in the office. 
46 Mondays left!
One of the bigfest decisions weighing on us is whether we will head back to Illinois right away or delay to keep our youngest in the same high school for all four years. To stay in Maryland, I will have to find a fulltime position that pays as well as where I am now. The cost of living here is significantly higher than the Midwest.  From housing expenses to tax on my pension, it would take quite a bit to make living here affordable after I retire. 
I guess I will have to keep plotting and scheming to see how this shakes out.

47: What a pain

Image
47 Mondays and counting. 
With just under a year remaining, there are things that have to be done for me to break out on my own. I am standing up my own business and laying the foundations for what I hope will be a success. Some things are easier than others but in order to do this right, they all need to be done. From the top:
1. Find a name. This has got to be the biggest pain in the ass!  I am trying to pick the perfect name so I can do all the rest. I have lots of ideas but it's hard find one that no one else has thought of. In today's market, one must also consider whether the URL is available. It's enough to make me want to pull out my hair. 
2. PAPARWORK! Once I have a name I will have to file all the paperwork needed to legally operate a business. It's not complicated, but I can't really do it until the name is locked in. 
3. Tell the world. Once I have all those little details together I will be ready to tell the world. I figure if I take on a couple of client…

48: A change of venue

Image
The countdown continues and I am happy to be one more Monday closer to retirement. 
With 48 Mondays remaining, this week I think about perspective. The boy is petrified by the thought of my retirement. For his sake, I have taken to calling this a "change in venue."  
He is afraid we won't be able to maintain our current standard of living. He is afraid of taking the reigns. I have been steering our path for almost 16 years after all. He is afraid that the next relocation will be bad for the girls. His fears are sound and rational. I will give him that. 
I, on the other hand, am excited by my prospects. I am exploring a couple of options right now that are quite exciting. I have taken on a part time consulting gig with a friend whose IT company need to focus on updating their image. I am only putting in 7 to 10 hours a week on this, but it is satisfying work. The pay isn't bad either - even at the "friends and family" discount. 
This experiment in consulting may…

50: Where will I be this time next year

Image
I have finally reached a concrete decision about retirement. Two weeks ago, I celebrated my 19th Anniversary as a military member. 
I have 50 Mondays remaining until I am retirement eligible and I plan to spend each of the here, sharing the adventure of preparing to transition. 
Yes, I am really counting down the Mondays. I have already served 989, and they are my least favorite day of the work week. 
Today I am putting together a checklist of things I will need to accomplish. Next week, I'll share them with you!
It may be a rocky road, but I am ready.

Girls will be girls

Image
I had a fantastic weekend hanging out with Byrd.  We haven't done much in the way of Girls Scouts this year but, we ran off with her troop for a two night camping trip.  Despite my apprehension, we had a really great and relaxing time roughing it. I was very pleased that the girl and I remembered how to put the tent up and had zero issues.  I, being old, did bring and air mattress for under my sleeping bag.  I wouldn't have last two nights without the extra cushion.  Percolator camp coffee was a huge help as well. We couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather or scenery.  The best part of the trip, though had to be the girls.  Each of these young ladies has been in scouting since they were very young.  Mine has been a Girls Scout since Kindergarten.   We are so very proud of them.  This trip was bitter sweet in that it is their last one as Juniors.  Next year they will be high school seniors and finishing up more than just their Girl Scout careers.  I am so glad I was …

Luck

Image
I am trying to figure out if I am very lucky or if there is something seriously wrong with Maryland.


Before two weeks ago, I had never found a four-leaf clover. My oldest daughter found one about 3 years ago and that was the first I had seen in person. At the end of April, I found both a six-leaf and a five-leaf clover in the same day. It really hasn't been the same since. 


It hasn't stopped there. I have literally found a dozen. Between my yard and the lawn at work, they just keep coming. I kept thinking to myself that maybe these aren't clovers. Maybe it is a different species that resembles clovers. This week, however, the white clover flowers started to bloom so I knew they were right ...according to my internet research;)


So, with the inordinate amount of 4, 5 and 6-leaf clovers I have found, it's logical to conclude that I am either very lucky or there is something unusual about the soil around here. 

Conquering the Festival

Image
This past weekend (May 1 - 3) was Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  I had a blast and truly feel like I conquered the festival.

Day 1:
I started the adventure off by doing something I don't normally do. I took part in some festival workshop for the first time. I am so happy I did, too. I filled my Friday with two classes taught by Jacey Boggs Faulkner of Ply Magazine. I had the pleasure of taking both "Building Your Fiber Business"; and, "Plying and Ply Structures."  
The only thing regret is that the classes weren't longer.  Both workshops were half-day and I can only imagine how much more I would have learned in full-day sessions. 
Day 2:  With the cooler full of water, Diet Coke and Snacks, we loaded the car with teenagers and headed out early.  As my friend Tanya and I like to do, we drove through for breakfast and got there just before the festival was to open.

Out primary goal for Saturday is always to get to the fleece sale before they open.  Our tim…

Crossroads

As the summer of 2015 approaches, I find myself nearing a crossroads in my first career. I have been examining my life to try and figure out what I want to do when I grow up. I know I don't want to do THIS forever. 
So far, my career aspirations include: grow my hair out; wear jeans to work everyday; and, be my own boss. 
I feel accomplished in narrowing it down to these overarching goals. I have yet to figure out when, where and how I will get there. I have some ideas and, of course, I think they are good ones. I haven't fully fleshed out any of these ideas or tested the market. 
I need to narrow my focus. I want to succeed in the craft industry but still have to find my niche.

Turtles

Image
Look at the shell on that bad boy!  Just kidding.  I just wanted to share a little progress I am making on a spinning project of mine.  Someone recently said, "I didn't realize you were a spindle spinner."  I found this surprising.  I thought everyone knew;)  Looks like I need to talk about it more and share more pretty, pretty pictures.


Winter Wonderland

Image
I love snow days.  I love the quite of my home when the rest of the family is sound asleep.  The peace and quiet, and ability to concentrate on a cabled sweater fireside.  This poor sweater has been in hibernation for a long time because i couldn't find time to focus on it.  As it turns out, I can't cable when my family is around.  I spent the time entertaining distracting questions like, "Mom, have you seen my shoes?"; "Can you wash my work shirt?"; and, "what's for dinner?"

I will inevitably mess the sweater up and have to rip back.  The weather we have been experiencing, coupled with my family's love of sleep, has created the perfect environment for cabling the hell out of this sweater.


This is my winter wonderland.

My big project

Image
This is the biggest project I currently have in the works.  This room is a mess.  I really need to get it organized and put together so I can start making pretty things.  I have so many things I want to sew, spin and knit but they seem impossible to even start with my space in this condition.

Oy!  My birthday is in a couple weeks and since the joyful boy has decided to through the party here I guess I have to get on it.  People are gonna wanna see this place.

I have to get the house and the craft room company-ready!

Slow Lights

Image
So, we recently moved to a new home.  It needs little to know work.  I sweat though, the biggest issue I have is the slow lights.  I hate slow light -- despise them even.

Sadly, I am cheap and not one to waste.  This house is full of lights that are the early halogen bulbs that take for even and a day to warm up and reach full light.  I can't bring myself to swap them out, though.  I won't until they burn out.

I will however, complain every time I have to wait on my slow lights.

When I grow up.

Trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up is not an easy task. I guess I know what I want to do, but still haven't figured out how I am going to pull it off.
So, this I what I am sure of: when I retire from my current position, I don't want to start a second career. I want to work for my self and have a go at turning this crafty goodness into my livelihood. I know I want to wear jeans everyday and not have to punch the clock.  
I can see myself designing knitwear, getting published and going on the circuit. The problem is, I worry about having the financial freedom to pursue these things. I really want to retire in 2016 but I don't think we will be where we need to be to make that leap. 
There are so many factors left to consider. Where? The state I choose to retire in is now up in the air. I know I don't want to stay here and the boy goes back and forth about returning the Illinois. It's too expensive here for me to live off my pension. The problem with I…

Lessons learned... My knitter's fail.

Image
I learn a little something every time we move. The house you live in says a lot about who you are but, the house you leave reveals all your dirty little secrets. 
Last time we moved, the house taught me four lessons: 
1. Pre-soak: when you live in a house for four years with 2 kids and 2 dogs you are going to unearth some stains once the furniture is on the back of the truck. Pre-soak and pre-treat each according and you won't kill yourself trying to get them out. I learned this half-way through the clean up chore. 
2. Tape: I am pretty good at painting a room but I am down-right amazing when I take the time to tape. It's helps emensely when I become tired or lazy and get sloppy. 
3. Furniture steals stuff: I would have never imagined that that much stuff was hiding in and under my couches. It boggles my mind how many kid socks and yarn tools accumulate there. 
4. You can't drop it if it's already on the ground: in an effort to save time and energy I held a paint can and di…