Sunday, December 28, 2008

Your Chance to Win

The Secret is in the Sauce: Win a Keurig Platinum Brewing System and $50 worth of K-cups

I visit The Secret Is in the Sauce daily. Regularly, they have contests where you can win prizes. This prize is a super cool coffee maker on steroids. Personally, I don't do coffee. But I LOVE hot chocolate and hot tea.

All you have to do to have a chance to win this prize is click on the link above and leave a comment. Very easy. Check it out!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Straight No Chaser

Have you ever heard of this group? They have their own website. You should check it out. But just to give you a summary...

They are an acapella group out of Indiana University. They got started in '96. And they are amazing! I enjoy many of their songs. But I have to say, their '12 Days of Christmas' is my most favorite. Enjoy!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Angel Tree

Every year, SAIC gives its employees the opportunity to make a difference in someone's Christmas. The deal is simple. You decide how many kids you want to 'adopt' for Christmas. You get their Christmas list, along with their sizes and favorites. Then you be their Santa Claus.

I spent more time and money on my two adoptees this year than I did on everyone else in my family put together. I don't normally enjoy shopping. But I enjoyed shopping for these two kids that I've never met...that I'll never meet. I loved wrapping their presents. And I loved delivering them to the SAIC offices in Bloomfield.

I'm sure others did too. Just look at the picture. All in all, 54 families, which consisted of 136 children, received gifts. This picture is all of the gifts in the hallways of SAIC prior to being delivered to the kids.

In addition to those who adopted kids and purchased their gifts, several people donated money and candy, and helped organize and deliver the gifts. So many people doing something so good. I LOVE Christmas and what it does to most of us.

I hope your Christmas was equally as blessed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S ! ! !

I have to admit, I got this video from the SITS site. But I love it...a cartoon Christmas special that we all watched year after year, professing the TRUE meaning of Christmas. I just love that Linus. (Maybe that's why I gave my little feline the name Linus.) Anyway, my point is, I loved it so much that I made it my post today too.

I hope you all have a very merry, peaceful, joyous Christmas.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Congratulations are in order...

Jeff got his acceptance letter to Indiana University Southeast today. He was pretty excited. And I'm very proud of him. We were both a little worried...but only just a little.

Although things could change at any moment, his current plan is to get a degree in Biology and try out the whole pre-med thing. Jeff and I decided a long time ago that he was not cut out for medicine because of his complete aversion to blood and needles. But he found a medical position that doesn't have a whole lot of either one. Optometry.

Dr. J., Doctor of Optometry

7-8 years in college.

I wish him well. Really I do. But I have a hard time believing that Jeff will stick with anything for that long. He's not the best student. He should be; he's very bright. But he chooses NOT to excel. Then again, he IS growing up. So, maybe this is just the goal he focus on something bigger than weekend plans, to plan for his future, to truly apply himself and see what he's actually capable of. It could happen.

I hope it happens.

So, now comes all kinds of paperwork. Housing. Financial Aid. Orientation. Logging into the network and creating a schedule.

Wow, in less than 8 months, my son could be in college. Hmmm... I'm pretty sure that I'm not old enough to have a kid in college.

So, what IS a Grenadier anyway?

OH! And my brother, who is a HUGE IU fan, is going to have a field day with this one. Jeff, a HUGE UK fan, will be attending an IU school. Whodathunkit?!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Whole New Attitude

Yesterday, I worked 9 1/2 hours. Today, I worked more than 10. Tomorrow, I'm planning to work another 10. But anyone will tell you that my whole attitude this week (and last) has been immensely improved compared to a couple of weeks ago.

The reason is simple. I've accepted a new position. I'll still be an SAIC employee at Crane. But I'll be working in a different department. Currently, I do customer support and system analyst functions. I enjoy providing customer support; I hate doing analysis work. I just don't feel all that confident, comfortable, or competent with it.

But next week, I'll be administering a couple of applications, providing customer support, and helping to prepare data for conversion to ERP. But this time, I'll have only one customer site instead of 13. So, I'll be doing work that I love and feel comfortable with. I get to start with things I'm actually good at. And it still leaves me room to grow.

Initially, I stressed over the decision to stay in my current position or apply for a new position. Then I struggled with whether or not I truly wanted to accept the position. I didn't want to abandon my current project or the customers. I didn't want to leave my team holding the bag. But I also didn't want to keep stressing over my job and not sleeping well

Ultimately, I said yes to the new position. And today, I am so thrilled and excited about this opportunity. Ever since I committed to the decision, I've been so much more at peace.

So, the long hours this week are to allow me to get everything prepared for those doing the job after me. And let me tell you, it's well worth it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I almost forgot...I've been awarded!

My dear friend Christy at To Be or Not to Be has blessed me with the FABULOUS BLOGGER AWARD! How cool is that?!

Here are the rules to receiving this award:
1. You have to pass it on to 5 other fabulous bloggers in a post.
2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.
3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.

Instructions: On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them.

Okay, first the five fabulous blogs.
1. Sara Willhelm at
Sweet Somethings - I used to work with Sara at Crane. I miss her. But I keep up with her life and her two little ones on her photo blog.
Sprinkles of Light (by Sara Willhelm) - I know, two by the same person. And this one is her business. But I LOVE her work. She takes pictures of pregnant moms, newborns, and kids of all ages. She's really talented.
3. Cassandra Ann at
Living for the Moment - Cassie is my cousin. She's a brand new blogger, mostly to keep her family informed of what she's up to. She is a beautiful girl, so talented and so intelligent. I just always want the best for her.
4. Kerrie Flanagan at
The Writing Bug - Kerrie's hope is that her blog will inform, educate and inspire all those who have caught the writing bug. She definitely informs, educates, and inspires me!
5. Beth Morrissey at
Hell or High Water - Beth is out of Dublin, Ireland and is a freelance writer. Her website is always loaded with writing contests and freelance leads. It takes a special person to advertise work to her competitors. I LOVE that about a person.

Now five fabulous facts about me.
1. I am totally in love with Dr. Gregory House. Not Hugh Laurie the actor, but House the character. I know he's a jerk, but he's so darn good at his job! (Yes, I know he's a fictional character. I've been single a LONG time. Humor me.)
2. I am a HUGE football fan. My favorite teams are the Indianapolis Colts, most of the Big Ten teams, and the Air Force Falcons.
3. One of my favorite songs ever is the Star-Spangled Banner. I'm not sure if I've just always been patriotic or if my stint in the Air Force pushed me over the edge. But there are times when this song brings tears to my eyes. I enjoy singing it too.
4. When I am really down or overwhelmed or out of sorts, I get in my car and drive and sing. I find it very relaxing. The inside of my car becomes my whole world. Nothing else exists. It's a wonderful place to be. Oh, and normally those drives happen in the middle of the night.
5. My favorite bible verse is James 1:2-3 - "Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials. For it is the testing of your faith that produces perseverance." My translation - "It's all good." I say it all the time. ALL the time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I feel like a winner!

I went to my company Christmas party last night. 871 other people attended as well. The party was at the French Lick Hotel and Casino. Good food. Good conversations. Good company...pun intended. I really like working for SAIC.

Between dinner and dancing, they gave away prizes. Like 200 of them! My name was called as a winner! I got a $25 gift certificate for Sears. Also, they gave every person...not just the SAIC employees...but EVERY person a $10 card to use at the casino. THEN they bought us breakfast. I LOVE SAIC! It was all very nice. And I only lost about $2.50. I consider that a win.

Between dancing and going to the casino, Terri and I went up to our room to get comfortable and drop off a few things. I checked my voicemail only to find out that Linus was home! He's been missing since Thanksgiving. I still don't know where he went, but he's home now. So, I felt like a winner before we even stepped foot in the casino.

Actually, I felt pretty good long before we even left for French Lick. I worked the Toy Store for a few hours yesterday morning. That's where the Toys for Tots toys go, as well as the toys collected at the area churches. Talk about amazing. Thousands and thousands of toys, all lined up on tables. The parents get a shopping cart, just like at any other toy store. They push their carts through the aisles selecting two toys for every child. Volunteers wrap the gifts for them as the parents then check out the clothing area. Hats and gloves, t-shirts and sweatshirts, socks and shoes. They get to choose another two items per child. Then before they walk out the door, they get a bag of candy for every child, to put in their stockings. It's so heart-warming to see all of the parents' faces glow as they select gifts for their kids.

I totally feel like a winner!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Gym Trumps my Blog

Okay, working all day and going to the gym makes me too tired to blog. I have things to say, like I interviewed for a new job today and I almost got run over by a semi yesterday. But I don't have the energy to be witty or insightful. I also found out today that Jeff can no longer drive my car. Tomorrow afternoon, we have to stop by State Farm and sign a 'driver exclusion statement'. Both me AND Jeff. I had to break the news to him tonight. He thinks the world is out to get him. And I think I hear my pillow calling my name.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Two Miles a Day

Okay, I'm back to hitting the gym. And I'm loving it. Why oh why do I go so long without hitting the gym. I need to do it. I enjoy doing it. My doctor practically begs me to do it. Yet I find 101 other things to do to avoid it. Ugh. I'm ashamed.

But I'm recommitting. Even if I just walk two miles a day. I can do two miles a day. I can make time for two measly miles a day. It takes me right around 45 minutes. As I get faster doing my two miles, I'll add in some weights.

Today is the second day in a row that I've made it to the gym. I walked more than two miles both days and then did five minutes on the elliptical machine. That darn thing kicks my butt. I couldn't do much more than that really. This week, I'll do five minutes every day. Next week, I'll up it to six. I'll continue to add a minute (or more) every week until I'm counting miles instead of minutes.
Oh, and if I do two miles every day for the next 28 days, I'll have another 40 X 40 goal completed. WooHoo!

And I have to say, I'm sleeping better. I don't know that it has anything to do with my workouts though. I think it has more to do with the antibiotic that my doctor prescribed. I took naps Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon. I probably would have again today, except that I was watching the Colts win their sixth in a row. (WooHoo! Go, COLTS!) I should sleep well tonight though.

Ugh, I think Jeff has a kidney stone again. He doesn't want to go to the doctor. But he was in a lot of pain this morning. He seems to be doing okay right now. But it's only a matter of time with a kidney stone. When it decides to move, look out. I just hope this one passes quickly. This is at least the third time he's had stones since the beginning of June, maybe the fourth. Unbelievable.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What do YOU need?

I recently came across the SITS website. If you haven't visited there, check it out. They honor a blog everyday that the rest of us can visit and comment on. By taking part, your blog is eligible to be the 'blog for the day' in the future.

Today's blog for the day is
Keeping up with the Chreste's. The author of the blog submitted three posts that she wanted to share. One of them was from July 25, 08. It's called 'What I Need (According to Google)'. She typed in "Julie needs" in the google search line and then made a list of the first ten things that were returned. Check it out. It's really funny...and enlightening.

So, I tried the same thing. This is what Google thinks I need.

  1. Leslie needs shows with tour dates, songs, videos, etc. (actually, I'd like a tour date with book signings!)

  2. Leslie needs a fat reality cheque. (pun intended, I'm sure)

  3. Leslie needs a home. (hmmm, I have a home, but the link was about a dog)

  4. Leslie needs lots of attention. (who doesn't?)

  5. Leslie needs a vacation. (google knows what it's talking about)

  6. Leslie needs 'happily ever after'. (you don't say...)

  7. Leslie needs people like you to do some meaningful work. (polite way of saying get back to work!)

  8. Leslie needs a life. (that's probably true)

  9. Leslie needs to be a little more aggressive at times. (that's probably true too)

  10. Leslie needs to go home. (lol, I say this all the time when I'm at work)

Give it a try and see what Google says that you need.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What do you want for Christmas?

Today at work, we had our Christmas Goody Day. Everyone brings in their favorite holiday favorite, some sweet, some not so sweet. Then we graze for hours.

It was really nice. The decorations were beautiful. The Christmas music was the perfect backdrop for our get-together. And the food was yummy!

While we were sitting down eating together during lunch, I asked some of the guys sitting with me what they wanted for Christmas. I have to say, I got some unexpected responses.

Dave looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. He laughed out loud. Then he stopped long enough to say, "I don't know. I hadn't really thought about it." I'm like, "It's December 3rd! No one has asked you what you want for Christmas yet?" He said that he hasn't been asked that question in a really long time

Huh... really. So, I went about asking others.

Vic said that he didn't know what he wanted. Finally, he said, "World peace." Okay, Miss America. I'm sure that will probably fit into your stocking.

JR was the first to give me the kind of answer I expected. He said that there's a toolbox he's had his eye on for awhile. Then he followed it up with, but I'll probably have to get it for myself.

I asked Randy what he wanted for Christmas. He didn't tell me what he 'wanted'; he told me what he 'needed'. Four tires for his truck. I asked him if he'd mentioned it to anyone that might give him Christmas presents? He just smiled at me. I wasn't sure if he didn't hear me or if he didn't want to have to say, 'No.'

John said that he wants a pardon. He might need it after he deals with his teenager for his latest antics. Well, I can totally relate to dealing with an uncooperative teenager. But unless you're tight with the governor, you're going to have to expand your Christmas list.

Jeff said that he wanted a boatload of mistletoe. Now THERE'S an honest answer! The man wants some quality time with his honey.

Still, I was really surprised at how many of them hadn't thought about what they wanted for Christmas. I'm guessing that no one had asked them prior to my asking them. I remember when I was little, EVERYONE talked about what they wanted for Christmas. Santa always asked us what we wanted. Our parents asked us. We even wrote one-page papers for English class on what we wanted for Christmas. Today, every other commercial on television is telling US what we want. In our house, we hardly get through, Halloween...before Jeff gives me his Christmas list.

So, here's my challenge to you. If you haven't thought about it yet, decide what you want for Christmas. I don't care if there's no chance that you'll get it. I just think we should all take just a moment to think about Santa giving us our wildest dreams. We used to. In a simpler time. Why not go back and live in those moments for awhile?

What do I want? A kiss (not the chocolate kind this year), a clean house (that I didn't have to clean myself), and an apology (from my least favorite LHS administrator...or the opportunity to slap him. Okay, Santa would not be happy with me; I get that.) Oh! What I really want is for Linus to come home. He's been gone for a week now.

Am I going to get any of that? I might get kissed; it's hard to tell. Unlikely, but possible. My house will only get cleaned by someone else if I pay them to do it. Which I may. : ) And that apology? Yeah, about as likely as the slap. As for Linus, unfortunately I have a feeling that he is no longer with us. Whether or not I get anything on my Christmas list is not going to dictate how blessed I feel during my most favorite time of the year. But still, it's nice to have wishes.