Thursday, March 27, 2008

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting

I've spent two days this week at work learning all about Six Sigma and Green Belt. My company requires every new employee to become Green Belt certified within one year of their start date (and since we were acquired last July, they started our clock as of January 1). I'm the team captain and I feel a lot of responsibility for making sure we complete our project this year. It's all about improving some process in our group and my team has chosen a hefty project that if we can get it off the ground and obtain senior management approval, it will make all of our lives a lot easier. Training has been fun (except for the day when we learned all about statistics and standard deviation - I didn't like that class in college and I certainly didn't get it this time). We've had some fun games to teach us about process improvement and my team certainly piles on the wisecracks. The first day, our instructor told us to write our names or whatever we want to be called on the table tents and Patti wrote "Princess." Pete wrote "Hey you." We are a fun group.

With all this green belt training, I have this urge to challenge my friend's five year old, Parker to a karate contest. He just started learning karate a couple of months ago and I bet he already has his green belt. Lucky kid.

I took a cooking class Tuesday night and really enjoyed it. We made a vinegar-based potato salad that was really good and flank-steak appetizers with Thai dipping sauce. The chef purchased the dipping sauce, but only because he hasn't figured out how to make it yet. We also make a Dijon mustard vinaigrette for our salad, roasted tomatoes, chicken Caesar (outstanding!) and balsamic strawberry shortcake for dessert. My sister-in-law was one of the attendees and she brought some food home for my brother - how sweet! I came home raving to Mike so it looks like we'll be taking a knife skills class their in the future. It's called Chef Bryan's Kitchen and it's in the Kentlands.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Gotta cut foot loose!

I've gained three pounds more than I did before Priscilla and my pants are getting a little snug. Not only am I training for my 5K walk on April 6th, but now my goal is to lose those three pesky pounds by the end of the month so I can wear my darn clothes. I've been either walking or interval training (walk/run combo) nearly every day for the past three weeks, except when I had a cold. I was making progress until I had dinner with Keith and Mike last night at Maggiano's! It's all you can eat family style - bring on the creme brulee.

In addition to all this walking, I've been doing my water aerobics for the past few weeks too. I went this past Tuesday, forgetting we had a sub for the last week of class until the next session. You know subs, they're not as good as the normal teacher. Anyway, she must be in her early 20s and she brought her boom box with her Footloose CD. It was all good in the beginning because I loved that movie - brought back some memories of my youth. Then I started thinking about where I was swimming - the aquatic center attached to my junior high (now a middle school - I am old). I started having flashbacks to junior high when we were forced to take swimming as part of gym. There's nothing more traumatic than having evil junior high kids see you in your swimsuit. I was a tall, gangly, shy girl with "great" 80s hair and big glasses. Good times.

The swim class went well, but I had forgotten the other songs on the Footloose album. Who knew "Bang your Head" was on that album? Mike didn't and he used to be a total head banger! It was quite the trip down memory lane.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jaycee of the Year

Several weeks ago I went to the year-end Jaycee convention in Timonium, MD (hmmm, I wore this same dress at the 2007 year-end convention...) This particular convention is always fraught with tension and curiosity as chapters and chapter officers around the state vie for awards and the TOP award - the Henry Giessienbier, named after the Jaycee founder. In addition to chapter awards, the Gaithersburg/Germantown (G&G) Jaycees had nominated three of our members for state and national awards without them knowing (except they did because there were some slip-ups over the past few months in trying to keep things secret). Anyhow, we were especially fraught (love that word today!) with anticipation. We had arranged flowers, cake, and champagne for the recipients and I had worked hard making scrapbooks for two of them.

The banquet on Saturday was amazing with two MD state troopers on hand to accept a $9,000 check from the Jaycees for their stab vest program to protect the dogs inside state prisons. As far as awards, G&G did really well and our chapter officers and a couple of members received some nice plaques (if you weren't there, you'll have to come to our membership meeting next week to find out what the awards were - too bad!). However, during all of the excitement it came time to announce the Maryland Jaycee of the Year. MDJC President David Smith got choked up during the presentation because the award is named after someone from his chapter - the Salisbury Jaycees - who unexpectedly died several years ago. I don't recall everything that President David said, but I got teary eyed when I realized he was talking about me and my courage and strength this past year. I am honored and thrilled to have received this award, especially when I think about how many Maryland Jaycees there are. I will be PROUD to display on my wall (once Ron gives the plaque back to me after the membership meeting!).

Friday, March 7, 2008


I've caught a cold. I tried really hard to avoid sick people since I know there's nasty flu going around, but it didn't completely work. My head is stuff and I can't breathe. I stayed home from work today because I feel miserable and there's not since in sharing my germs with everyone there. I am thankful it's not the flu. Mom had the flu a couple of weeks ago and Dad's doctor gave him Tamiflu so he wouldn't get it (which he didn't). I haven't had the flu in several years and I really would like to avoid that. I know my immune system is not as good as it should be, so I've been trying to stay as healthy as possible. I don't want any more trips to the hospital!

We're working on fixing up one of the townhouses we rent and after painting a test area the other day, decided we really need to paint over the dark wood paneling in the basement. I'm supposed to help with that tonight, but I doubt I will be there with this cold. I hope I'm better tomorrow so I can help finish painting at least. We had a couple of people walk through the other day, so we will see what happens. I'm really pleased with how the kitchen turned out. Mike and our friend Eric put down wood laminate flooring, we painted all of the kitchen cabinets white, and replaced all of the hardware too. The stove, microwave, sink, and countertops are all new. It looks really nice, now we just need someone to agree and rent it soon.

I just wanted to share a picture of my friend Mary's little girl, Laura. Mary and I went to Seneca Valley HS, although she graduated a year before me (we won't go into what year that was!) Mary found out she was pregnant right around the time I was diagnosed so I got to hear wonderful updates of her pregnancy while I was going through all of that. It was very nice to hear about life going on outside of my own chaos. So, here's baby Laura! What a cutie!