For Char Lee

Picture 044 My co-worker and friend, Jamie, has a pet ferret named Char Lee Charcoal. He has been quite ill recently, and passed away Saturday. I know many of you have four-footed, furry “children”, and can sympathize with the pain of losing a beloved pet.  Please keep Jamie and Char Lee in your prayers.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Picture 117

Queen of Waterfalls

It is against the company policy for me to say the name of my company, or give any information that could give away where I work. I will not tell you the actual name of the relational database that I train people at my company to use, however, I will tell you that its name is a long acronym, that is quite silly. I am fairly certain that someone came up with the word, and reverse engineered it into an acronym! For this post (and any future posts on the subject) let us refer to the system as WATERFALL. I have also changed the names of the people, and groups that are referenced in the letter. Anything in italics has been changed. I tried to make the substitutions interesting and fun, but the real point is to keep me from getting in trouble!

Back in January I was asked to take on the job of being the Global Lead Trainer for the relational database my company uses.  Over the past month it has become clear that not everyone in the company was aware of that fact.  My boss wrote the  following letter to clarify the situation.

Hi all,

Camelia and I wanted to send a formal communication regarding LisaDiane’s role with WATERFALL as it relates to training and let you know she can be contacted directly for training needs related to WATERFALL.

As many of you know, LisaDiane has taken the lead from a training stand point in multiple WATERFALL projects over the past five years. She has worked on reviewing and revising WATERFALL training materials since the system was launched in 2004. She has organized the addition of data, system upgrades, and the baselines for the WATERFALL Training Environment since joining TKO in 2005. She has trained many of the WATERFALL trainers around the world. At Linnie Exemplar’s request, LisaDiane has served as the training representative for WATERFALL impact analysis since 2006. She taught large portions of the R3 T3 in September 2007. During 2008, and continuing to the present, LisaDiane has been involved with the WATERFALL reimplementation project. Most recently, she worked with Charlene Vacillare to lead the training portion of the DogS initiative.

Due to her abundance of experience with WATERFALL, LisaDiane has taken on the role of Lead Trainer for Global WATERFALL Training. In this position, LisaDiane is responsible for coordinating WATERFALL related training initiatives, including creation and revision of training materials. Wherever possible we want new WATERFALL training solutions to be global and LisaDiane will assist us with this. She represents the global training team on the WATERFALL Organic Greens (WOG) each week. She meets with training representatives from each region on a regular basis in order to ensure consistency of message, and share information regarding upcoming changes and initiatives relating to WATERFALL. LisaDiane meets with Camelia regularly to share information on all WATERFALL issues and initiatives, as Camelia is the Electric [Light] Orchestra Committee (EOC) representative. LisaDiane continues to perform the tasks related to impact analysis, and managing the Training Environment.

LisaDiane remains a Training Specialist in TKO offering all of the trainings she always has offered, but this formalizes her other multiple responsibilities related to WATERFALL. Again, feel free to contact her directly for any WATERFALL related training needs.

Please do not hesitate to contact Camelia or myself with any questions or concerns.

I just had to share.  I am Queen of Waterfall Training!  It seems sort of ridiculous with all the replacements, but in truth it is a pretty big honor, and I am really proud.  Shameless, I know, but I brag about other people on my blog occationally, so why not myself?

Successful cleanse and new resolutions

Some people make resolutions in January.  I have waited until June.  Either I am very behind on the resolution making for 2009, or very early for 2010 – take your pick.

I did a cleanse under the supervision of my accupunturist at the end of May.  It was not one of the starve yourself and drink a mixture of honey, lemon juice and water cleanses – I literally could not stomach that!  This cleanse requires you to eat fruit, raw or very lightly cooked vegetables, vegetable broth, fruit and vegetable juices.  You are actually supposed to drink as much of the liquid as you can hold, so you feel oddly full all the time!  My one complaint was that I had to chew so much during the five days I did the cleanse!  Day three was the worst – the third or fourth day is when your body realizes that all the liquid in your system is not a fluke, and decides to clean house, dumping all the toxins out of your system.  I will not describe all the results of the toxins leaving your body, but I will say that I had a splitting head ache for about six or seven hours.  I very much appreciated a leisurely visit to the Serrins-Springfield household.  Spending time with friends who were willing to hang out with me, even when I felt pretty terrible was wonderful.  Debra even made a special steamed version of the vegetables so that I could join the family for dinner!

The good news?  when I woke up on day four, I felt amazingly refreshed and rested.  By the end of the cleanse my appatite was significantly reduced, and my craving for sweets is not nearly as strong.  My skin is so hydrated that when I get scratched by a dog, or my own clumsiness, there is almost no mark!  Karen was very pleased with my progress through the cleanse.  I am pretty excited myself.

I decided that it would be a good idea to continue to eat well after my cleanse.  Karen says my stomach will stay small as long as I do not stuff myself three times in quick succession (based on much anacdotal evidence).  I am working on eating several small meals five or six times a day.  This is probably easier for me than for most people, since I am lucky enough to work from home most days.

I am back to tracking my calories and nutrients on NutriMirror, which is a free website that helps you keep up with your food intake and exercise.  NutriMirror uses the food you log to calculate how much of a variety of substances such as calcium, vitamin C, iron, cholesterol, fat, carbs, etc. you take in through food or supplements.  It displays this information in graph form.  For substances you should have a certain amount of, say calcium, the graph is red until you consume enough of that substance during the day.  For substances that you only want a limited amount of, say sodium, the graph starts green, and turns red if you consume too much.  The goal is to have everything on the graph green.  I have come very close to all green on a few days – taking a multi-vitamin usually puts me over the top on the nutrients I need, but I have been trying to get as much as possible through food.  I have been slightly low on both iron and calcium.  I would appreciate suggestions of foods that will fill these gaps.

My workout habits have not been as stellar as my eating habits, which is very backward for me!  I have not met my workout goals for the past couple of weeks, and I have not worked out regularly since before I went to Singapore!  I will go work out with Debra tomorrow morning, so that will be a fresh start!  I am going to aim for 1000 minutes in the month of June.  I only did 120 minutes last week, but I think I can step it up to 300 minutes  per week for the remaining full weeks in June.  I would like to go back to Body Pump – I am really missing it, so I hope to do that on Wednesday.  I will go back to posting a workout summary every week – that way I know someone other than me is watching!  It is so silly, but I really need a coach/cheerleader to feel motivated.  I think this comes from years of having my dad right behind me in every endeavor – he never let me slack off.  He also never failed to tell me how proud he was of my progress – it is a pretty good deal!

I think Emily would approve of President Obama’s manners

And now I am going to pause from all the Singapore related news to note that President Obama has lovely manners…

During the election last fall we were asked over and over again to consider whether we would like to have a beer with the candidates.  Well, here is a different twist…  are the President’s manners up to your standards?  Would you be embarrassed to have him dine at your table? or meet your friends?

Thanks to my mother and grandmother, and a love of my Emily Post Etiquette book (thanks Kat and Ross for giving me the new 17th edition), I place a high premium on manners.  It seems that our president does as well.  This is evident in an article entitled Mr. Manners: What Obama teaches us about Etiquette, which is in the 25 April 2009, edition of the Huffington Post.  It is a series of pictures with commentary by Anna Post, Emily’s great-great granddaughter.  I became aware of this article because of a link from Anna Post’s blog, What Would Emily Post Do.

Based exclusively on his manners (this is not a political comment), as represented in the slideshow on the Huffington Post website, I would be proud to include President Obama in my circle of friends.  I hope that I can comport myself as well as he does, showing respect and courtesy to the people I encounter in my everyday life.

New links and side menus

Joey rearranged the right menu on this blog recently.  The random image widget is still right at the top.  The formatting of both the archives and the categories have been changed.  Only the main categories are visible, but if you click on the plus, the list will expand.  The archives are now run by a drop down – much more compact.  All of this was really to make room for my ever expanding blogroll.  I have added links to several of my friends’ blogs, and I also linked to a few of the blogs I follow.  Now you can see what I spend my computer time reading.  I think Laura will find the link to Anna Post’s blog, What would Emily Post do?, especially funny.

…especially Barack, our president

I am an Episcopalian.  The Episcopal Church is a Christian denomination, and a branch of the larger Anglican Communion.  Episcopalians usually consider themselves to be somewhere between Catholic and Protestant.  We take communion each week, and we use wine during the Eucharist.  We believe in the Apostolic Succession.  We say the Nicene Creed during our services.

The Anglican Communion began with the Church of England, which has a long history, most famously, its break with Papal authority.  King Henry VII, with the help of Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer, broke away from the Roman Catholic Church for many reasons, some theological, and some political.  In 1534 the Act of Supremacy was passed, creating King Henry VIII as the supreme head on earth of the Church of England.  The first Book of Common Prayer was written in 1549 by Thomas Cranmer.  The services in The English Book of Common Prayer include prayers for the monarch and parliament.  After the United States declared independence from England,  laws were passed by several states, and the Congress, making it treason to pray for the British Crown or Parliament.

Samuel Seabury, elected Bishop of Connecticut in 1783, traveled to Scotland to be consecrated.  He was the first American Bishop of the Anglican Communion.  The first version of the Book of Common Prayer specifically for the US was written in 1790, and the current version of the BCP was published in 1979, although some parishes still use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  All of these version of the Prayer Book include prayers for the government of the United States of America.  The Rite I service in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer says:

We beseech Thee also so to rule the hearts of those who bear the authority of government in this and every land, [especially ___________], that they may be lead to wise decisions and right actions for the welfare and peace of the world.

For the last eight years we have said, “especially George, our president…”. Starting in November, when Barack Obama was elected, we prayed for both “George, our president, and “Barack Obama, president-elect”. I have now been to two services since Inauguration Day, and I get a particular thrill when praying the words, “…especially Barack, our president”. It may seem silly, but I really am getting a kick out of praying for a president that I voted for, and who I believe will be a good leader. Let me be clear, I never begrudged former President Bush, the younger, my prayers. I was always quite sincere when we came to that part of the service – I believe he needed our prayers (what president would not?). But there is something different about praying for President Obama. Call me crazy.

Now, I normally do not express my political views online. I have a healthy paranoia about the availability of my words to anyone who chooses to read them. I am not vain enough to think lots of people are desperately searching the web to find out how I voted in the presidential election.  However, I generally prefer to discuss politics and religion with my close friends, who know that while I may disagree with them, and we might have a great debate, I still love them and respect their opinions. This blog entry contains both politics and religion, and it is difficult to convey tone on a blog.

I am hoping that the rather lengthy history lesson, which is interesting to me, and probably two other people, will scare most people off.  If you made it this far, thanks for reading.  Dear reader, whoever you are, and whatever your political and religious ideas, please do not take offence at my idle ramblings; know that I am sincerely praying for more tolerance, understanding and acceptance in this world, and go in peace.

Inauguration Day

I feel like I should say something thoughtful and deep to commemorate this day.  I cannot think of anything particularly meaningful.  Joey and I did watch the inauguration live on TV this morning.  I enjoyed President Obama’s speech, especially, “We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.”

I am hopeful about the future.  I realize that change is slow, and the expectations placed on President Obama are high, but the beauty of hope is that it can survive the most dire situations.  Hope can exist when all else is lost, and, while we are in difficult times, all is not lost.

I hope President Obama can gain the trust of our allies around the world.  I hope that our service men and women in Iraq and Afganistan are able to complete their jobs and come home safely.  I hope that the financial crisis can be resolved effectively.  I hope that Congress answers President Obama’s call for cooperation.  I hope that the American people can, as our new president suggests, rerturn to “those values upon which our success depends – honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism.”  I hope…