Saturday, February 28, 2009

It's been a good week :-)

The sun is shining, it's above 20 F and I'm in a great mood. There is something about all the very subtle signs that spring will actually come again that are helping me shake the winter blahs.

And, there are several things that have reminded me to be thankful: My job is as safe as any job can be right now, Tim's lab results came back normal and the dogs are getting along better.

I've been a bit overwhelmed by all the bad news about the economy. This area of Michigan is quite hard hit and we know several close friends who are suffering from reduced or lost jobs. It just seems that everywhere we turn, someone is hurting or is having financial difficulties. At K, our stock price is way down and there are lots of business direction changes at work. Plus, with Tim student teaching, we rely very heavily on my paycheck. I've been worried about the security of my job -- I got a great review this year, but if they had to make lists for cuts, would they keep me? At the end of this week we had an R&D/Engineering yearly meeting where the CEO spoke to us. He didn't exactly say our functions were free from any threat of layoffs, but he came close to it. That's helped me feel a whole lot better.

We have been applying for term life insurance, and Tim's lab results came back with some high levels for liver function enzymes. Worrisome, of course, both for his health and for getting the insurance. The end result is that he went to his doctor to discuss and re-test, and the results were normal. Yeah! The insurance company approved his policy and we're waiting to see what the premium is going to be. Hopefully, if it is high, we can send them the results of the test with the doctor and get some reduction.

We've been working with a dog trainer to help us understand why Henry and Bea suddenly stopped getting along. Trust me when I say that it was bloody and very tense when it all erupted. It was touch and go for a bit about whether we could keep both, but things are looking up. We had a great lesson yesterday and while we have much more work to do, they are making great progress. It's not nearly as neat or easy as the Dog Whisper makes it seem!

I'll be traveling next week, and it is to warm and sunny places -- TX and CA. If I have to be away from home, those are great places to be. Maybe it'll be warmer here too by the time I get back. We've been dreaming about fun things to do this spring and summer . . . kayaking, camping, biking and mountain bike races (that's Tim's idea of fun) and other stuff. Only about 6 weeks more until we should be able to be outside consistently. I think I can make it!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hiram Gals in Arizona

I've been blessed to have a great group of college girlfriends who've kept in touch over the years. (Side note: in August it will have been 20 years since we all met as Freshmen! No way do I feel that old :-) We used to try to get together more often, but that's waned a bit with marriages and kids. On a bit of a whim, we managed to get together in Scottsdale for a 3 day weekend with most of the group. It was awesome to reconnect and relax with a whole weekend of basically doing nothing. We did some shopping (shoes were bought!) and some sight seeing (day trip to Sedona with awesome views) and saw a chic flick.

It's hard to say why this group of women is so amazing and why we have all stayed friends for so long. Most of us didn't have many classes together and we didn't even all live in the same dorms, though a few of us did. Somehow, though, we clicked. We all have very different careers and live far apart in different states. Each of us is pretty strong and opinionated, but is still able to support and listen to each other. I think the secret is each is a strong, successful woman who understands that without our families and friends, we'd would never have made it this far! I'm proud to be friends with Mary, Janice, Dawn, Kelly, Kate and Jen (who wasn't able to be there with us this time). And, I know it won't be so long in between get togethers next time.


I know, I know, I've been such a bad blogger. I really intended to keep up with the blog, and the further behind I got, the worse it was to get started again. So, with little mention of all the things that have happened since September, I'm back to posting.

In no particular order or importance, here are some of the things I've left out of the blog: Brother Josh got married to the lovely Allison and we all had a great time at the wedding. Except for Tim who had to turn around in Ohio and go back to deal with sick dogs. We now call Bea "Giardia Mary" because she gave it to Henry and all the cats. I was pregnant again, and miscarried, again. That pretty much sucked. I traveled a lot for work and made Gold status on NWA. A dubious distinction, I think. I made consumer test samples on a new product that is very cool and also a bit strange. You'll hear more about that at a later date. I launched a new cereal for Kashi "Organic Promise Island Vanilla." In stores now, so look for it (organic shredded wheat). It is yummy and I eat it for breakfast about 3 days a week. We had the whole family here for Christmas again. This year it was more work and the dogs had a hard time with all the people in the house and were acting out a lot. Tim and I went to Chicago between Christmas and New Years for a much needed break. We stayed at the Palmer House Hilton. It's a really fabulous hotel and we had a wonderful relaxing time. Since the first of the year work has been complicated by the peanut recall. It's even delayed the cool new product that I made the samples of earlier. No peanuts in that one, but the production facility was using the recalled ingredients and they had to shut down to clean. We missed our window to get sales samples to the sales force, so we're not going to be in market with this one until Jan 2010. Tim quit his job in December to student teach at Portage Northern High School in the business department. His mentor, Amy, is now out on maternity leave so he is the long term sub for the classes. He's learning the way he likes best -- by jumping in feet first. He loves teaching and is more energized by connecting and impacting students than by anything else I've seen him do. I'm taking a cool class at the Lilah Arboretum in BC on perennial propagation. One day I'd love to be a master gardener, but for now I'm concentrating on learning more about plants and digging up parts of the yard! Hopefully I'll post pictures of that process. Work travel is ramping up again in March, and we've planned to go to FL to see Tim's step dad over spring break. At least planning all of this will keep my mind of the crazy amount of snow we've gotten this winter.

So, please keep checking back for more posts about what's going on in our lives!