Sunday, October 28, 2012

Guinness Pictures of the Week - 29 October 2012

Guinness is so incredibly happy to have not just his regular people home to hang out with for an "extended" period of time... he's thrilled to also have his Uncle BJ & Aunt Mel here....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Full circle with Cisco

On Tuesday I mentioned that I traded in my usual "work clothes" of yoga pants and a comfy top for real work clothes. (For those of you who don't know - I work for myself so many days I work at home spending all day on the computer and phone thus no reason to wear anything but comfy clothes!) 

Gillian, from 29 Studios who I became friends with on our Gobi Adventure, introduced me to a great gal named Julie who asked me to be part of a Female Business Leaders Event over Telepresence. Cisco Telepresence is a video conferencing system that is absolutely incredible. The video & call quality is so good that it's like you are in the room with the people on the other end of the call. 

I was honored to be a "guest speaker" of sorts at this event and I was humbled to be in the presence (or shall I say telepresence) of so many incredible women who have accomplished so much in their lives. It was fantastic to be able to have discussions with women in Glasgow and London about topics that are so pertinent to all of us. I think these kinds of events are key to growing as an individual in business because one should never stop learning.

Why do I say full circle with Cisco? Well when I was working as an instructor at NASA one of the things I had to train the astronauts on was the Cisco IP Softphone application which is how they could "phone home" from space! (Every time I say phone home I can't help but this of ET! ET Phone Home...) So it was especially interesting to be on one end of the triad of this Cisco Telepresence call as I have branched out into the world of business on my own!

Here's to some amazing ladies! I really hope our paths cross again in the future wether it be in person or via Telepresence.

Hmmmmm.... perhaps these ladies want to help me bring a Mission Discovery to Glasgow and they could be guest speakers at that event....

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Guinness Pictures of the Week 21 October 2012

Guinness has made himself right at home in Ken's office.... He's become quite the mascot of the Aerospace Engineering Department....

Guinness even has his own Navy Dog Bowl and a whole bunch of treat options in Ken's office too. He loves it there!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Work Outs

When I want to find out the best restaurants in an area I do sometimes use Yelp etc. to find reviews but the first place I go to for suggestions is my friends so I thought why not do the same with my workouts!?!

Lately I've been setting the goal of 3 cardio workouts and 3 weight based workouts a week. (Sometimes pole counts as a weight based workout if it's a tough enough class.) Then I throw in a bit of stretching and call it a full week of working out. I'll be honest it's good to have a bit of motivation keeping me going - I've got 2 formals to go to in a months and over New Year's I'm going to be in a bikini so those things definitely keep me motivated! (What can I say at the end of the day I do sometimes think like a total chick!)

Cardio wise lately it's been mostly running but am hoping to get back on my bike soon. Weight wise I head to the gym here to lift. I honestly prefer free weights and I manage to beat myself up a bit each time I go in. I have a variety of workout options and I like to change it up. That was one of the things I enjoyed most about working out with Rick when I was working to get my back "fixed back up" was that no 2 workouts were ever the same. (By the way for those of you in the Clear Lake area of Texas if you need a personal trainer let me know I'll send you his way - he's awesome!) Likewise since I've gotten here I've tried to switch up my weight workouts and in other workouts I've switched it up too like adding in Pilates (which is all new to me). What I realized though is that my bag of tricks for the weight room isn't as big as I'd like it to be so I figured I would ask you - my friends - if you have any suggestions? What I am looking for is stuff in the gym, not classes like Zumba etc. but specific exercises that you either really like doing or find very effective. (Let's face it they may be ones you hate but are very effective!) Anyone have anything they'd be willing to share? I'm happy to provide my favorites too if anyone is interested :)

Happy Workout Everyone!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baking... Baking... Baking...

Let me start off with the up front comment that I know I am not half the baker that my awesome chocolate sister Cerissa is but I do enjoy baking (and of course I really enjoy eating yummy baked goods!) so I have been enjoying the variety of treats I've had time to make over the past couple months since we got settled in. I've done easy things like chocolate chip cookies and tried completely new things some of which I've loved and some of which were good but not amazing. 

Since I commented that I was making cake balls the other day I thought it only fair to let you know how they turned out... 

Why Cake balls? Well I had found a cook cookbook all about cake balls while I was at Marshall's the other day and just couldn't resist picking it up. Plus they are great bite sized desserts so I thought what the heck I will give it a try. (The cookbook is really cool! Check it out! A wide variety of options!)

I made yellow cake with confectioners frosting cake balls and then also chocolate bourbon & bacon cake balls. (Yes the second one is an odd combination but it was a totally different kind of recipe so I thought I'd step outside the box and give it a try!)

Before you get to look at the picture let me first say that making these was all about taste and not appearance. Yes I did some VERY rudimentary decoration but that is not what it was all about. I will be the first to tell you that the cake balls are not perfectly round nor are they all the same size and the decor is definitely sloppy.

I took a plateful to Ken's office and they absolutely disappeared. We had some friends over and 1 of our "adopted" midshipmen and they had some too. The verdict on both types was the same - very tasty!  Ken took some of the leftovers to a meeting full of midshipmen last night and they got devoured there too with the same response - yum! I just sent a batch to another "adopted" mid of ours so we will see what he has to say.... Bottom line though the response was good! Problem is.... they are a TOTAL PAIN to make in my opinion. It took way too long for my liking. And as far as eating them goes I do think they are tasty but I like a good cupcake MUCH better so unfortunately for all the cake ball lovers yes I will make them again at some point but that some point won't be anytime soon. (Unless of course the appropriate bribery is offered!)

As I type I am baking a lemon cake for one of our "adopted" midshipmen. Why? Well because I offered to bake whatever whenever they just have to let me know. Apparently he and some other classmates lost a bet to someone and the payment is a lemon cake so I was happy to help out. Hopefully it's good because I won't get to taste test it to find out. That said I wouldn't taste test it to find out because I am not really a lemon cake fan. (For those of you who may be keeping track I also do not like pumpkin, spice or carrot cake!) I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's tasty though because to each his/her own on what kind of baked goods they like!

Now if only I could find the perfect cupcake here in Annapolis... I am still on that quest :) 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Race Calendar Ideas for Next Year (2013)

Okay so this was certainly not one of my "better" years as far as races go... to be honest by the time 2012 is done it's entirely possible that I may end up only having run 1 half marathon! Man does that put me behind in my goal for Half 2 Run.  (For those of you who don't know Half 2 Run is a group where you try and run a half marathon in half the 50 states. You know how I like a goal and to travel so this works well for me! Check them out! Half 2 Run Website)

I am signed up for the Annapolis Half in December of this year because I can literally walk to and from the finish line which is a total bonus!
It appears there are still spaces available if anyone wants to join me... I think Mel & BJ may be in...

I have decided that next year I am going to work to check off a couple states in my quest....

Nike Women's Marathon (& Half) is bringing their Half to Washington DC on April 28th. Apparently DC gets to count as a state so that's an added bonus :) There are very very few details out there about this race so far but here's what I can tell you... Mel & I have run the Nike Women's Half in San Francisco and there at the finish line instead of a regular medal you get a Tiffany Necklace (complete with little blue box and bag) handed to you by a man in a tux holding a silver platter full of the beautiful blue bags. THAT is enough to make me want to run this event in April. Here's the little bit of info that is available on Facebook
Those of you who know me know I DETEST Team in Training and many many of their runners (oh don't even get me started) but I am willing to tolerate that debacle of a headache at the race for the bling especially given that it's a true Tiffany Necklace. Sadly it is a lottery to get in so I will keep my fingers crossed.
A few pictures from when Mel and I did this run some years back...

In October I am strongly considering the Hershey Half Marathon though the date has yet to be announced..... I mean a half in Chocolate Town USA? Yes please!!

There are some runs I am not wanting to do next year.....
I am still feeling bitter about my last Rock-N-Roll experience so I think perhaps I will wait til 2014 to foray back into that series.
We have a moratorium on Disney runs for another few years. We've done loads of them and have decided to wait a handful of years and then maybe go back and do a bunch of them again in the same year,,,,

States I want to accomplish before we move out of Annapolis (I am assuming we will be here for 3 years - this list changes if that changes.....)

  • New York
  • Delaware
    • There's one in Rehoboth (Hello Dogfish Head) but it's when it's likely cold... hmmmm...
    • And can't do it this year because that the day Navy will be beating Army in Philly ;)
  • New Jersey
  • West Virginia
  • Connecticut
  • Pennsylvania
    • Hershey Half as mentioned above
  • West Virginia?
  • DC - okay I know it's not a real state but it officially counts in the tally!

Of course there are many other states I really want to run like Hawaii and Alaska but the above list is what is easy striking distance from where we are currently living so it does make sense to really work on those while we are on the East Coast.... not saying I won't travel to other places because I certainly will!!

Other races that are of interest as well
The Land of Oz Marathon
      but can't do it in 2013 due to other obligations....

The Flying Pirate
       but can't do it in 2013 due to other obligations...

So does anyone have a race they are just itching to run? If so let me know and maybe I'll join you! I certainly intend to have more races on the calendar in 2013 than I've had in 2012! As you can perhaps tell we've had a little fun over the years racing together as friends :)

Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon

Regular Disney Half Marathon

Rock-N-Roll New Orleans

Rock-N-Roll Chicago

Disney Wine & Dine (Inaugural)

Seattle Rock-N-Roll

Virginia Beach Rock-N-Roll

And for the record yes I do frequently run in a tutu! Just makes it more fun :) Here's a link to some great tutus if you want to join in the entertainment ;)Halloween Purple Organza Adult's Tutu (Google Affiliate Ad)

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Guinness Picture of the Week 14 Oct 2012

Oh how is this dog comfortable in some of the crazy ways he sleeps?!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Marketing By Referrals - Customer Service 101

I think it's ridiculous that there are higher end services that I have recommended people to go see specific people (I don't want to name any names) and for me to find out if this person has used my recommendation I have had to directly ask. Can you say awkward? I think it's appropriate for the company/person I have referred them to to follow up to me with a thank you of some sort.

You may think I am looking for something for nothing but it's quite the contrary. When I refer someone to you I am sticking my neck out and saying your product/service is great enough that I stand behind it. Bottom line is if your product/service doesn't meet expectations I take as much of a hit as you do. I am happy to take that chance on you but it's nice to know I am appreciated in return.

Thoughts from others on this?

Guinness Pictures of the Week - 8 Oct 2012

Sorry they are late - was out of town yesterday...

Last week we had some absolutely beautiful weather and went for a nice walk around the Academy including the seawall...

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Best of Many Worlds

I have been overwhelmingly busy lately but I have found that every so often during the day I need to take a little time for myself or else I will end up spending the whole day (and then some) working my tail off. While it's normal to work your tail off, working from home means I generally start some form of work within a half an hour of when I wake up and go all day long past normal business hours and sometimes late into the evening I still find myself working when I should be chilling out. So to combat this a bit I have been taking a break every so often to scrapbook. (Hey in some ways it's work too! It's Family Work!)

So lately I have been working on the STS-132 Mission albums. Yes I know Ken's flight was over 2 years ago and No I have not finished scrapbooking it yet! Just haven't had the time. Now that I have my own little hovel (as I like to call it) which is my pseudo-office/scrapbooking room, it's easier to get some scrapbooking done because I don't have to put everything away all the time which takes up valuable time. I get to leave it out on the table and continuously work on whatever I choose. ANyway I am digressing from my main point... Sorry!

Today I was in need of a little down time so I wander upstairs to my hovel and sat down to do a bit of scrapping. I brought my iPod with me to plug into my portable player because music just makes everything better. I was scrapping away to my favorite playlist which is titled "All Glee" and has, yep you guessed it, all the Glee songs I've bought on it (which let's be really honest - is pretty much every song ever by "Glee). So there I am happily singing along...

As I was in my groove the playlist shuffled to the "Glee" version of Lady Gag's "Edge of Glory." I burst out in a humungous smile and started dancing and singing at the top of my lungs because all of a sudden I had a merging of the best of many worlds. You see when I was fortunate enough to lead up an ISSET Astronaut Leadership Program in the Gobi Desert in June I met some absolutely AMAZING people who I know I will treasure the rest of my life.

While there a few of the gals came up with a version of Lady Gaga's song that we will all be singing the rest of our lives I think. By simply changing the word "Glory" to "Gobi" in the song it became our version of her phenomenal song and it takes us back to the incredible journey we shared together. The fact that it came on while I was scrapbooking space stuff (what one might call my first love in life - space not scrapbooking!), the fact that I love Lady Gaga and all she stands for in being yourself, the fact that it brings me such great memories of wonderful friends in a once in a lifetime place and the fact that it was being sung by "Glee" (which anyone who knows me can tell you I absolutely LOVE!!!) is why I am calling it "The Best of Many Worlds." This little few minute experience has made not just my day but my whole week I suspect.

Life is such a treasure and it's a real treat when the best of both or many worlds come together at once. What is something that you consider to be the "best of both or many worlds" for you? Whatever it is treasure it, enjoy it and keep on loving life!

"I'm on the Edge... of Gobi! And I'm hanging on a moment with you....."

Interested in more information about ISSET Adventures? Check it out at