Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for Zoé

Zoé is my first daughter.  Her full name is Zoé Noelle.  Her due date was Dec 18 so the Noelle seemed appropriate.  She came 18 days early so it wasn't so close to Christmas but I didn't feel like going back to the drawing board for a new name so I kept it anyway.

It's the French pronunciation so it's pronounced "zoh-ay" not "zoh-ee" like how most people pronounce it.

She's very bright and always getting into things she shouldn't.  She's had a speech delay because she's almost 2 1/2 and still not talking but we're working on it.

Zoé means life and she's certainly full of it!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Whitework End in Sight

I got a bit of work done on my whitework this Saturday and Sunday.  I took it to work and did it over lunch.  Over half done now. 

It's so hard to photograph for obvious reasons, so my husband suggested using his phone as a flashlight to illuminate it.  Makes it light up nicely I think.

So glad that A to Z is almost over.  Last  post tomorrow.  Back to our regularly scheduled blog topics.  I warn you, posting may be slower until the end of June when I expect it to pick up because I'll be home.  

Y is for Yesteryear

And by yesteryear, I mean those conversations where you start "remember when..."

I'm not old by any means but I can still can say "Remember when..."
  • you could go to the airport and meet people by the gate even when you weren't flying?
  • see and says had a string and you could make the cat say "moo" if you tried?
  • station wagons had a third row that popped up?
  • you could play with cardboard swords and not get arrested?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Star Trek New Frontier Blind Man's Bluff

Blind Man's Bluff (Star Trek: New Frontier, #18)Blind Man's Bluff by Peter David

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The beginning of this book starts with Calhoun on Xenex back as a freedom fighter against the Brethren.  Going back in time a bit, the pieces unfold on how he got there.

Morgan Primus is getting out of control and Calhoun knows it.   At the beginning of the book, we see things start to go in motion for some kind of plot against Calhoun.  When the plot is executed, Calhoun is summoned to Xenex and then is left there.  Morgan makes it look like he beamed back up so the crew has no idea he's down there and Morgan blocks all his transmissions.

Morgan then brings the Excalibur to New Thallon and attacks the planet.  Everyone in Starfleet thinks that Calhoun is out of control and a manhunt ensues for the Excalibur which is now at the whim of a mad computer.

Meanwhile, Soleta is enlisting the help of the Doctor and  Seven of Nine to find someway to get rid of Morgan.

David often likes to go back and forth in time to tell his story.  He's good at it and it's easy to follow the story without too much confusion.

View all my reviews

X is for Xavier

Both of my children have turned out to be girls but I did have a boy's name waiting in the wings. We toyed with a few. Since we didn't know Adèle's gender for quite some time, we kind of had the time to "finalize" a boy's name. We settled on Xavier Benoit. Like the girls' names, it would have been the french pronunciation so it would have been said like this:

Zah-vee-ay Ben-wah

Xavier means "new house" and Benoit means "blessed." Probably will never have to use this name but I thought it was good.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World was always my family's go to destination for vacation. Probably because my parents honeymooned there just a year or two after it opened and back when you had to get tickets for rides (like the e ticket). While doing my scrapbook a few years back, I discovered that you can kind of see me grow up with pictures with Mickey.

If you can't read the ages it's 2, 4, 5, 11, 16

I've visited there a total of 7 times. The two that aren't in that scrapbook page are visits in 2005 and 2007.  The visits when I was smaller I don't remember so much but we have plenty of pictures.  We always had to plan well in advance for stuff so if something special was going on, it was always a surprise.

When we went in 2006, we were surprised to discover that the castle had been painted pink.  It turned out it was the 25th anniversary and there was lot of extra stuff to do.  The next time, it was 100 years of magic.  I had really wanted to go to the Millennium celebration and was disappointed when we couldn't go but a lot of the stuff from that was at the 100 years.

You can see the pink castle in the upper right.

The Donald Duck hat was always a staple until I got my sorcerer's hat

See, Figment used to be a puppet.  And the one in the upper right is Minnie Mouse in her 80s futuristic getup
This happens to be the last family picture we took.  It was the year before Dad died.

I also started collecting the pins. 

I kinda had to go with two different lanyards...

The last time I visited, I was 22 and we had got free vouchers to fly anywhere on Midwest Airlines, so we decided on Florida. Mom and I just sat back and enjoyed ourselves. We went out to eat at one of the fancy restaurants in World Showcase, something we hadn't done before. It was the Food and Wine Festival and finally I was old enough to enjoy it.

My favorite rides are:
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Mickey's Philharmagic (a 3D show)
  • Test Track
  • Mission: Space
  • Norway
  • Soarin'
  • Star Tours
  • Rock n roller coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Expedition Everest
I also love the night shows especially Spectromagic and Fantasmic.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Vocal music

Being Lutheran, I learned to sing at an early age. It's part of the Lutheran tradition. Martin Luther was a prolific hymn writer because he saw it could be used as a teaching tool. Most of the time, I sing chorally. I haven't really done a choir since I got out of college. If I still lived in Milwaukee, I'd probably try to join the Lutheran Chorale but my church is 45 minutes away and choir practice is on a night that I work, I think.

In high school, I decided to take voice lessons. I'm classically trained, so I know all about proper breathing and the soft palate. I did competition three times in high school and got high scores each time. In college, I took voice lessons and also ear training since I started as a music/education major. The ear training was challenging because part of it was having to randomly try to sight read pieces of music with just the starting note.

After college, I taught some voice lessons along with piano for about 9 months.  It was fun.  As a result, I own quite a few more vocal books than I did even in college. 

Now, I don't sing much anymore. I just don't have the time and the girls keep wanting to play Mommy's piano. I'm hoping to get my voice back into shape after I'm laid off.

Yesterday, I was looking through  my books and I ran across a song that I started to learn in college but never finished.  I'm thinking of learning it again as a stress reliever while this whole job transition period goes on.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for United States

I have lived in the United States for my entire life.  I've never actually been outside the country either.  I know people from other countries think it's shocking but when you look at the actual size of the country, there are so many places to go inside the country and it's so large that it's not really that surprising.

And don't let Alaska fool you either, it's never shown actual size.  Here it is actual size:

Currently, I live in the 2nd largest (land size) state in the U.S. known as Texas.  It's really a big state.  I can drive in a fairly straight line for 9 hours and still be in Texas if I really tried.  For a frame of reference, let's overlay it over Europe.

At last count, I'd only visited 23 states.  I haven't really done anything on the east coast.  Perhaps, I'll have to visit my brother-in-law one of these days and do a historical tour.

The United States isn't really that bad of a country to live in.  We do take our free speech rights and freedom of religion for granted.  There are definitely things that are changing that I'm not happy about and I'm not pleased at all with our current president.  His values are not consistent with my values at all.  But I can say that publicly on a blog and not have to worry about being arrested.  Go free speech, go.

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Teaching

I think I decided that I wanted to be a teacher in 3rd grade. All through school, I focused on nothing but being a teacher. I never explored any other careers except thinking about being a librarian for about 2 minutes.

I went to college to be a teacher but had some issues with the school administration and decided to graduate without student teaching. 

I ended up being a professional musician for a year but I put my teaching skills to use.  I taught piano and voice lessons and also worked in a before-school program at a local Catholic grade school.  But I decided during that year that I really wanted to teach so I went back to college for a semester to student teach.

I made it through the first experience which was 9 weeks in a 1-3 grade classroom but I had issues with the second 5 week experience in a middle school math classroom because it had been awhile since I'd done any advanced math.  So, I had to move back home and ended up getting a job in a call center for a generator company.

Now that I'm married and in a different state with kids of my own, I think I'm finally ready to teach.  I don't think I was ready 5 years ago.  I needed more life experience.  So, I've applied for Texas alternative certification, taken my content tests and now I'm just trying to find a teaching job.  Not as easy as it would seem in this economy.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two months and counting

Two months from today, I lose my job. It's both relieving and nerve wracking at the same time. I work for T-Mobile. One month ago, they announced that they were closing 7 centers to reorganize the centers. They could have just shut the doors, but they didn't. They gave us 3 months notice and we're getting severance packages and last week we started with the firm they've hired for career coaching. Really, we're being treated well. As well as can be expected when you're losing your job. It was really supposed to be a temporary job. It's lasted almost 3 years. Not so temporary. We'll talk about what I'd rather be doing tomorrow on A to Z. My husband is frantically looking for a job. We were already talking about him going back to work and me being a stay at home Mom. He's been at home since about 6 months before Adèle was born. Hopefully he'll be able to find something before I lose mine. I'm taking the opportunity to hone my interview skills and get professional help with my resume job as 300+ teaching applications have not even yielded an interview. I'm hoping my resume and cover letter will be better with a makeover.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Star Trek and Stargate and Science Fiction

I am a bit of a sci fi nut.  It all started in first grade when they came out with this new channel called the "SciFi Channel."  At the time, they didn't have any original programming at the time so they played reruns of older science fiction.  I was hooked on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Battlestar Galactica.

Then I discovered Star Trek.  Glorious Star Trek.  I was an instant Trekker.  At the time, Next Generation was in about it's 5th or 6th season when I started watching.  And when it was finished, I latched onto Voyager.  Kinda skipped Deep Space Nine.  Then I did Enterprise.  It was hard to keep up with it with no cable at college so my Dad taped them and shipped them to me.  I also was heavy into the books.

When I was 21, my lifelong dream was fulfilled.  I got my picture in the captain's chair.
It was comfy too.

Then something happened.  Gasp.  They stopped making Star Trek.  Gasp.  What to do to fill the void?

I found other stuff.

I had already been watching Stargate SG1 on fox.  They had reruns from Showtime on Saturdays.

I tried to get into Atlantis but failed.  Until one of my friends in college lent me the first season.  Then I was hooked.

One of my other finds was Farscape which I watched on and off.  Never got the chance to watch it properly until I bought the DVDs.

I'm a fan of Firefly/Serenity as well but didn't watch it until way after it aired.

Now, I pretty much only read Star Trek New Frontier.  It's a novel only series by one of Star Trek's best authors.  Reading the most current two right now.  Otherwise, it seems that becoming an adult has taken the fun out of sci fi a bit.  I don't watch it much anymore.

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Road Trips

My parents liked to take vacations when they could.  Most of the time we took to the road.  We went to lots of interesting places.

House on the Rock

Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI
St. Louis Arch
Graceland, because Mom is a HUGE Elvis fan
Lincoln's Tomb
Lincoln's Birthplace
Sometimes I felt like I was being dragged along, but I had a good time.  The nice thing about being the only child is that you get the ENTIRE back seat.  :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Questions

As a tech, I ask a lot of questions.  Mostly because I'm working blind as it's hard to see your cell phone through a phone line.  You would think that Q would be for Quilting but I don't quilt so I had to find something else.

Therefore, I'm opening up the floor to questions.  I'll answer some basic questions and then if you have any more questions about me or my blog or how to do something that you think I might know how to do, feel free to leave a comment.  Within reason, please.

What is your middle name?

When were you born?
December 22, 1984 (that makes me 27)

What states have you lived in?
I've lived most of my life in Wisconsin but went to college in Minnesota and spent a summer living in Colorado but now I live in Texas.

Are you married?
Yes, I've been married for 3 years (see K is for Kenny)

Where do you work?
I am currently a technical care specialist for T-Mobile (aka PDA/Blackberry support or Tier III Smartphone support).  When my center closes in June, I will be just short of working there 3 years.

What languages do you speak?
English and very little Spanish

How many children do you have?
3 stepchildren and 2 little girls

What are your hobbies?
Reading, writing, cross stitching, needlepoint, loom knitting

What instruments do you play?
Piano, organ, handbells, mandonlin (still learning), I'm also a classically trained singer

That's all I can think of for now.  I'm opening the floor to questions.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hooded Scarf Finished!

I finished the scarf today.  It took a bit longer as there's a mistake in the pattern.. You're supposed to make two pieces to form the hood.  Armed with that info, it didn't take me long to finish it today and it looks great.  Hope Em will like it.

I'm sure it will also look much cooler on Em than on me.  I so need to lose some weight. 

P is for Piano

Piano is my first love.  I started when I was 7 which means I've been playing for 20 years now.

It wasn't always smooth sailing.  I think about 3rd grade I hit the plateau.  Its that part of the learning curve when you feel you aren't going anywhere.  I wanted to quit but Mom had just bought me a piano and they're not cheap.  So I kept going.  And I'm glad I did.

If I had money, I want this piano:

But they only sold 50 and it's like $50,000.  Guess I'm out of luck.  Besides, I don't have room in my house.  However it's a Mark IV Disklavier which is incredibly awesome.  Drool.  Drool.

I used to have an acoustic piano.

My parents bought it for me when I was in 2nd grade and we'd moved to a house where there was more room for it.  But it's not practical for an apartment.  Fortunately, I worked for a music store teaching lessons and so I got a great deal on my Yamaha P-140 Digital Piano

It's kinda like a portable Clavinova.  I'd been teaching piano lessons on Clavinovas and it's really really hard to tell the difference, the action is so authentic.  They also sampled from actual Yamaha pianos so it also doesn't sound digital.  Plus this one is actually portable.  Well, portable in the sense that it attaches to the base.  It's like 40 pounds and full sized so it's not really easily transported.  You can check the specs here.

I like Yamaha pianos.  I've played on Steinways and I know it's probably blasphemy to say this but....I don't like how they play.  I always feel like I have to push really hard to get anything out of it.  The Yamahas I've played are like playing butter.  So responsive.

I don't just play solo piano either.  I've been an accompanist since I was 11.  I cut my teeth playing for Sunday School and then moved up to choir in 7th and 8th grade.  I did choir in high school as well as soloists and instrumentalists and also two of the high school musicals.  I sight read so that makes it easier for me to learn new music quickly.  Didn't do a lot in college besides playing for soloists for their voice recitals.  The organ and voice lessons kept me busy enough.