Monday, June 29, 2009

Rude Sunday Morning Awakening

Early Sunday morning we were peacefully sleeping when suddenly the house shook violently, a sound similar to a jet engine surrounded us, and every car alarm in the neighborhood went off. Many thoughts went through our minds - tornado? Plane crash? Sonic boom? It didn't take long for us to decide that sleep was more important than our curiosity and we went back to bed. I finally saw an article late Sunday night explaining what it was - the attempted demolition of an old BASF plant just right across the river from us. I say "attempted" because (in typical Portsmouth style), the demolition didn't exactly happen. Click here for the story and video.

And I really want to know...who the hell schedules a demolition for 7:00 on a Sunday morning??

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Home Improvement Frenzy

I'm not sure what exactly got into us, but we have been on a home improvement frenzy this weekend! Actually, I can attribute some of my fervor to my fear that we will never be able to sell the house should we actually get transferred next next spring. There are so many things that I want to do that will make the house show better. A lot of it is pretty much on the surface, but at this point I'm all about appearances.

The whole exterior of the house desperately needs to be painted, but the porches are something that we can tackle by ourselves pretty easily. This weekend we started with the side porch - the smallest and easiest of all the porches. On Saturday we cleaned, sanded, and primed it, then on Sunday we painted. We switched from the previous blue-gray color to a light greeen. I think I'm going to like it, but I'm not entirely convinced.

We also did some painting inside - just a couple doors and some touch-up in the kitchen and laundry room, but it's all progress! I actually really enjoy the painting. Probably because it's not that hard to do, but it makes such a difference. I wish we had been better about doing some of these weekend projects throughout the last year rather than waiting until my transfer panic set in!

BEFORE: The side porch, in a bluish gray color

AFTER: Rob working on painting the porch a light green color

One of the other projects was clearing out all the dead vines from the latticework that stretches from the ground to the second floor porch. It had gotten a little out of control!
Kitty was completely worn out from working in the yard all day!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

How I Spent a Lazy Sunday (by the cats)

Kitty: Sleeping on mom's computer bag (it would be so much easier if she'd just lay it down flat!)

Black Cat: Sleeping on the clean clothes that just came out of the dryer (don't mind the bald spot on my belly...)

Grayson: Sleeping on the printer (talk about a printer jam!)
Oliver: Gracing the house with my beautiful presence (did you expect anything else?)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Reasons Why I Wish Rob Were Home

  1. Needed to move the heavy coffee table to put down the new rug
  2. Had to go solo to the Operation Smile fundraiser in Va Beach on Thursday night (although hanging out with the girls was fun)
  3. Big scary spider in the bathroom sink
  4. The lawn needs to be mowed
  5. Wanted breakfast in bed this morning
  6. No one to snuggle with at night (snuggling with Black Cat doesn't count)
  7. The wireless internet went out and was a pain to fix
  8. Need someone to prod me to go to the gym
  9. Foot massages
  10. But mostly...I just miss him. I miss having him by my side, holding my hand, listening to me talk, telling me I'm beautiful, laughing at my jokes. Just eight more days...

Friday, June 5, 2009

A busy week...

Luckily, though, keeping busy makes the week go by much quicker! I can't believe it's already Friday. First a confession: I didn't go to the gym at all this week. That was one of my goals while Rob was gone - to hit the gym hard. Hasn't happened.

Instead, I went over to a friend's house on Tuesday. She just moved to Ocean View, so we snuck some wine to the beach and enjoyed a great evening. Too hot to stay too long, though, as it was in the 90s, so we finally left for a restaurant (and air conditioning) to continue the night!

Last night was another night of hanging out with coworkers and enjoying wine - but this time for a good cause! It was a fundraiser for Operation Smile held at Casby's in Virginia Beach. The highlight of my evening? Drinking a shiraz called Razor's Edge (the irony being that the Donor Database system I manage for OpSmile is called Raiser's Edge!). We had a fab time, and hopefully also raised a lot of money for a good cause.

As I've mentioned earlier, Rob is out to sea until June 15 doing sea trials on the mighty USS Bush. He mentioned that there were quite a few media people scheduled to be aboard, and sure enough I saw an article tonight about the ship and what they're doing. That was just in the local Newport News paper; apparently there are national media on board as well. I'll keep an eye out for those articles and post them when I find them!

No big plans for the weekend. Hopefully it doesn't continue to rain all weekend! Today I could barely see on the way home because it was downpouring so hard.

Hope you all have a good weekend!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Is Nothing Ever Easy?

Call it Murphy's Law. Or maybe just Rebecca's luck. Rob left this morning for another two weeks at sea. When I got home this evening, eager to send him an email, the wireless internet wasn't working. Couldn't happen yesterday, when he'd be here to fix it! No, it had to happen today so that it could waste a huge portion of my evening. First I called Cox, thinking it might actuallly be the cable connection itself. After spending a half hour on the phone with them, it was clear that the problem was the router, not the modem. At least, that's what the incredibly polite automated trouble-shooting voice told me. So then I called Belkin, the maker of the router. I got a real person this time...someone who was obviously in India. Definitely NOT as polite as my automated customer service agent from Cox. It was a long painful process, but another half hour later I was finally back online.

I guess it's a sign of our tech-obsessed world that I actually experienced severe anxiety and depression at the thought of not having internet tonight. Life without Facebook? No Twitter? I might as well just go to bed at 7:00 and try to move on with my life in the morning. But now all is right in the world and I have a lot of surfing to make up for. I bid you adieu for now!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Cats Under the Porch

First off, let me say we do NOT need more cats. Four is more than enough. Some would say four more than needed.

That said, we seem to have a single mom and her kitten living under the porch. The kitten is downright adorable, and the mom is pretty cute, too. We first saw the kitten about a month ago. It literally was hanging on the side door one day. It had been trying to climb the door to play with our cats on the inside! Since then, he has been a regular fixture on every porch of the house. Like all kittens, he is so playful and fun. However, he's very skittish - he won't let us anywhere near.

His mama has started surfacing as well. She is often found laying on the porch in the evening, just watching the kitten play and run. She's getting more accustomed to seeing us and doesn't run right away. Tonight I finally got a picture of the two of them on the porch. The kitten has grown quite a bit since we first saw him.

Now, like I said, we most definitely do NOT need more cats. I can barely keep up with the four we do have. But this little family is so cute...and they seem to really want to come into the house...

Stay tuned...

Day Trip to the Outer Banks

I finally got to see Rob this weekend...but unfortunately, JUST for the weekend. He came home yesterday morning, and leaves again tomorrow morning. A quick 48 hours together! This is getting a little old.

We did make the most of the weekend, however. Yesterday we did a lot of errands and also bought a new outdoor dining set (in preparation for a planned wine party in July!) Today we took a day trip down to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Despite having lived in this area for 3 years (on this tour...not to mention the 2 previous times we lived here), I had never been to the Outer Banks. For some reason, I had this idea in my mind that it was difficult to get there, lots of traffic, not much to I never made the effort. Boy, that was dumb! We got there very quickly today (hour and a half?) and had a fabulous day. The Outer Banks are beautiful, and a tad more classy than most beach areas. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch at a restaurant right on the water in the city of Duck, and then did a little shopping and just driving around to admire the fantastic beach houses. We both got a bit sunburned from leaving the top down on the car all day, but overall it was just a great day. We will definitely be going back when Rob returns in a few weeks!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

Just wanted to take a minute to say thank you to all the service members out there - both those who are still with us and those who are not. Being in the military is heroic, selfless, patriotic, brave...and I hope that everyone pauses today to thank the service members in their lives. They fight so that we may know peace and security. Appropriately enough, Rob is out to sea right now, so I've spent the day alone. Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. I'm looking forward to his return on that he can go back out to sea again on Monday! Ah, the life of a military family. :)
Have you thanked a service member today?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Peru Gets Canceled

While I was in London, I got some very disappointing news - the mission to Peru with which I was supposed to particpate got canceled due to the outbreak of swine flu. Ironically, there have been no instances of the flu in Peru...and the government wants to keep it that way! So the mission was postponed indefinitely.

It was a major disappointment, but not unexpected. And truthfully, it probably works out better. I would have left a couple days after returning from London, which I think would have killed me! Also, Rob was originally planning on coming with me. He was going to spend a couple days on the mission, then when the mission was over we were going to go on to Machu Picchu for an experience of a lifetime. However, as happens so often, the Navy got in our way. The ship's schedule changed and he had to go out to sea to do flight deck certifications and other tests on the mighty Bush. Since his trip was already canceled, it didn't hurt as bad when mine got nixed!

On the bright side, I am tentatively scheduled to go on a mission to Fortaleza, Brazil in September. If things work out right (big "if"), Rob will probably try to meet me in Brazil for a few days and then we might try to take a week's vacation somewhere in South America. Maybe Buenos Aires or the wine country of Chile. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back to the US...and to blogging

Yeah, I fell off the bandwagon again. But this time I have an excuse - I spent almost a month in London working with the UK office of Operation Smile! I left for London on April 22 with the intention of only be there for 10 days, but I got extended twice and ended up staying for almost 4 weeks. It was an absolutely amazing experience to have - to feel almost like I was living and working there rather than just visiting.

The reason I went over was due to the launch of a Direct Response campaign that incorporated both 60-second TV spots and newspaper ads. Being a very small office (2 full-time employees and a few part-timers), they really didn't have a database specialist or a plan for how to track the (hopeful) influx of donations that the campaign would bring in. In the past they've relied mainly on special events to raise money, so this was a brand new endeavour. Enter me. I went over to analyze their current database solution (a nightmare), help get the call centre set up to sent us data, and try to come up with some procedures for entering and acknowledging the gifts in a timely manner.

The tiny little London office!

It certainly wasn't easy, but I really enjoyed the challenge. It was refreshing to do something different for once; it's not always easy to sit at a desk and do the same thing day in and day out. It was something that I really needed. It brought a new perspective to my job, and actually helped my self-confidence quite a bit because I was able to go in and really make a difference in a pretty short period of time. And I can't say enough about the folks who work in the office. They're incredibly dedicated, but also tons of fun. I feel like I made some very good new friends.

Luckily for me, Rob was able to come visit me while I was there...not just once, but twice! He came for two long weekends. He's absolutely nuts, but I love him for it! The first time he came we stayed in London for the weekend and did the typical touristy stuff...and shopped...a lot. The second time he came, we took a train to Cardiff and spent the weekend there. By then it was actually nice to get out of London and see another part of the UK. Neither of us had ever been to Wales before, so it was a great time.

All in all, it was one of the best experiences that has ever happened to me. I feel silly admitting this, but I actually started to cry on the plane home because I wasn't ready to leave London yet! It just confirms what I already knew - I definitely have to live overseas at some point! And soon...I'm not getting any younger!

If you want to see more pictures, I have two albums on my Facebook page (you don't have to be a member to see the pics):

If you're curious about the UK Foundation of Operation Smile, here is a link to their website:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Help me change a child's life in Peru

Take a moment to imagine your life in a totally different light. Imagine being shunned, or laughed at, or hidden away by your family because they think you are cursed. Imagine not being able to attend school because of the ridicule you’d have to endure. Imagine not being able to speak or eat properly. For thousands of children in developing countries who are born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, this is a grim reality.

But these children needn’t suffer for the rest of their lives. This is something that can be fixed! A surgery to repair a cleft lip can take as little as 45 minutes and $240. Something so simple that can change a child’s life forever.

As many of you know, I have worked for Operation Smile for the last two-and-a-half years. In May I will travel to Lima, Peru to participate in my second OpSmile mission, having had the experience of my life during my first mission to Morocco in 2007. I hope you will join me in changing children’s lives by helping to fund two surgeries. Any amount is appreciated - nothing is too small! When combined with other generous souls, a life can be changed!

Even if you don't wish to donate at this time, I hope you'll check out our website to see how we're helping children around the world. I'm passionate about the work we do at Operation Smile, and I hope that you will be, too!

Click here to be taken to my personal fundraising page, where you can donate online or find the address if you'd prefer to send a check.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


So once again I have disappeared from the blog world. And once again I am determined to get back into the swing of things. I think my lack of dedication over the last 9 months or so can be attributed to a new addiction - Facebook. Apparently I can only handle one social networking compulsion at a time. After fighting the Facebook craze as long as I could, I succumbed. I devoted far too many hours to forming my profile, loading pictures, trying to think of clever status updates, and reconnecting with people whom I hadn't thought of in years (in some cases, almost 20 years). And once I was finally fully immersed, I came to the crushing realization that Facebook isn't actually cool anymore. Apparently Facebook is being overrun by us geezer over-30 types. Now all the kids are on Twitter or other technologically-challenging sites that I really don't understand. (I do ride the Twitter short bus, though. You can find me there as wanderlust5 if you want to help me get over 20 followers. I know - I dream big.)

So I find myself crawling back to the blog world and remembering what the original purpose of this whole thing was - trying to stay in touch with our family and friends who are spread all over the world. Many of you are on Facebook, which is great. You've been kept up to date on momentous occasions like "Rebecca is cleaning out her sock drawer" and "Rob has duty tomorrow. Yuck." Unfortunately, though, Facebook doesn't really allow for a deeper exploration of some of the truly life-altering events we've experienced in recent months. Like the commissioning of the US Navy's newest aircraft carrier (the George HW Bush, upon which Rob is currently stationed), or the inauguration of President Obama. In that 10-day period, we saw every living president of the United States (some of them twice!). Maybe I'll try to retro-blog some thoughts about those events. And I shall try to be better in the future about keeping up with this, and realizing that I don't have to write a novel every time - just a few sentences will suffice!