coffee cup image

Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Feb 02 2016

The first 5’1″ Commandant of Cadets

Posted by Mugs @ 2:43 pm in Family,Nature,Running,school,Sightseeing,Work Print This Post Print This Post

Last month, Dale and I were thrilled to attend the ceremony in which Diana Holland, our friend, became the Commandant of Cadets at West Point.

During the ceremony, I was thinking: “Diana and Jim are the same down-to-earth people even if they live in a giant house and have aides bossing them around – Ralph (Diana’s dad) looks so very happy – Nora got on my case about not ‘hooting and hollering’ and there she is a couple rows in front of me ‘hooting and hollering’ – I’m so glad I convinced Dines to come even though she’s wearing her ridiculous Russian Spy hat, because we both got a shout out in the speech – Look, there is Paul Owen, he looks just the same – Wow, this is really happening – It is bitter cold here – hell really did freeze over.”

Maybe I only thought those things or maybe I whispered them to Dale and Dines sitting next to me during the hoopla.

Diana gave a great speech. Her line about Beth yelling “I told you so!” from miles away couldn’t have been more true. She also made a great joke about her and Jim discussing what a historic moment this was because she would be the first Commandant who couldn’t see over the poop deck. (The poop deck is a raised location in the center of the mess hall from which the announcements are made to the Corps during meals.) Downplaying, of course, the fact that she is the first woman to ever hold the job of Commandant of Cadets. Dale and I know her as a friend, fellow cadet, and Engineer Officer. We know she will work very hard and set a great example for the Corps.

Diana and Jim tried to enjoy the reception with family and friends, but Diana’s aide kept whispering in her ear about who she needed to hobnob with. (A long time ago, I thought it must be terrific to be a big wig, but as I’ve gotten older, the thought of having every moment of the day scheduled to accomodate the needs of others sounds quite unappealing to me. It’s too much like motherhood.)

Dale, Dines, and I had a lot of fun walking around the cadet area. (Because the signs said those authorized by the commandant were allowed, we figured we’d risk it since we had a reasonable chance to be authorized. The backup plan, if we got stopped was to tell security to check with the Com and see what she had to say about us.)

While shopping at the C- Store, Dale was finally able to buy a replacement greengirl. (He has never forgiven me for throwing out his old one.) John Brockhaus gave us a tour of the GIS lab, and Mark Gagnon let us admire his daughters “do not erase” art work in his office. The sky was blue, the stone was gray, it was 8 degrees, and a bitter wind was whipping off the Hudson trying to freeze us to death. Dines walked to the ceremony with a hot cup of coffee in her hand and by the time she arrived, it was cold.

The night before the ceremony, Dale and I had a lovely visit with Kristin, Mark, Ryan, Justin, Jonathan, Kathryn, Morgan, Maryann, Joseph, and Michael Gagnon. The Gagnon home is a happy home and Dale and I were uplifted to spend time with such a sweet family. Evan and Megan were not in attendance as they had decided to follow their parents footsteps and become cadets at West Point. Megan and Evan are still coming to grips with seeing a photo of their Mom with the Com. (For most cadets, it’s really best if the Com does not know your name.)

Throughout our two day trip, I enjoyed all things New York: the headlines of the New York Post, delicious diner food, and being able to talk in a loud and rude manner with no one looking askance.

Jan 25 2016

Snow Daze

Posted by Mugs @ 6:01 pm in Family,Nature,Pets,Work Print This Post Print This Post

The Snow Daze Continues. Today, Josiah was finally able to drive to work after hiking a mile in a blizzard uphill to work. His grandchildren will be proud of him someday when he tells that story.

Dec 18 2015

Friends, Family, and Countrymen – Lend Us Your Prayers

Posted by Mugs @ 10:22 am in Church,Family,school,Work Print This Post Print This Post

Our friend and classmate, Diana Holland will become the West Point Com on January 5th 2016. Lord willing, Dale and I, Kristin and Mark Gagnon, the one and only Debby Dines, and many other classmates and friends will be in attendance. Pray we can make it safely to West Point because obviously, hell will be frozen over.

If you cannot attend, please send a card of congratulations to: Brigadier General Diana Holland Commandant West Point, NY 10996.

Most importantly, please pray for Diana, her husband Jim, Diana’s dad Ralph, and all of their extended family. Pray God grants them wisdom and strength each day. Pray for God’s favor and help in this duty assignment that He has provided for them. Pray their positive influence will continue to encourage those around them. Pray God will guide them in their task to make West Point and the Army a better place.

Praise the Lord! He has done great things!


Dec 14 2015

nanowrimo – where did Mugs go?

Posted by Mugs @ 9:00 am in Family,Work Print This Post Print This Post

Hello again, friends. Sorry to leave you for over a month. How did it start, you may ask? Dale is to blame, of course.

My husband believes that email is the most effective means of communication, and will communicate to me via email even if I’m sitting in the next room. I do not believe email is the most effective means of communication and will sometimes go days without checking my email which often forces my husband to ask, “Did you get my email?”


Dale sent me an email on November second that challenged me to do nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). I read the email on November third. I signed up and this is what I wrote on nanowrimo for my author bio:

“I dearly love to laugh. My father, mother and siblings make me laugh. My boyfriend made me laugh, so he eventually became my husband who makes me laugh. We have four children who make us laugh. Most of my friends laugh with me and sometimes at me. If I am with someone who does not understand jokes, I don’t know what to do. It’s very awkward. I love books that make me laugh. In spite of all this, I was determined to be a serious writer. I attempted to write serious things, including serious poetry. This was a serious mistake. When I wrote funny things, people laughed. My husband challenged me to do this 50,000 words in one month madness. I thought, ‘There is no way. I spend all my time fretting about proper word use. I’m lucky if I can write two hundred words a day.’ Then I said, ‘What if I write a 50,000 word story of utter nonsense, not trying to say anything poignant, just writing about absurd situations that make me laugh?’ That’s what I am going to attempt to do here. It will most likely be utter rubbish when I’m done, but Lord willing, it will be 50,000 words of utter rubbish.”

To accomplish fifty thousand words, a writer needs to write 1667 words every day for thirty days. I started on day three, so I had put myself in a 3,334 word hole that I would not overcome until the end. There were several days during the process when I wore my pajamas all day and other than eating some food, I sat at the computer from 0700 to 2300. On those days, I wrote over 5000 words – yes, I am a really, really, really, slow writer.

Dale – aka Tech Support – bought me a Surface so I could write on the go. The Starbucks on the corner of Cowan Blvd and Jeff Davis Highway in Fredericksburg, VA is a great place to write, They have big block tables to spread your stuff out on. Many, many people did things I normally do so I had time to write. My family members filled in a lot of gaps, wore dirty clothes most of the month, ate cereal, sandwiches, and takeout for days. Dale and Abby covered my ‘seating people’ job at Zeke’s play. All hail to Rachel Gawinski and Abby Squared for making Thanksgiving dinner! I only made the fruit salad, because Rachel forced me.

Much to my amazement, on the night of November 30th, Dale uploaded my words and I was declared a nanowrimo winner. (Everyone who writes 50,000 words wins.) After I held up my certificate, my brain shut down and my fingers took a typing break. Dale gave me a birthday week full of cards and gifts, and I attempted to wash a pile of laundry taller than Barry Gawinski.

January through March, I hope to finish the chapters missing in the middle and get the novel in a somewhat readable format. If it some day gets published…Praise the Lord! But, if nanowrimo’s only results were: seeing 50,000 words I had written; meeting Dale’s challenge; and making Dines laugh – it was worth it.

Jan 23 2015

For Your Convenience

Posted by Mugs @ 11:34 am in Family,Work Print This Post Print This Post

Thanks for your prayers. Josiah has been hired at the local corner store to make fresh coffee every two hours, to mop the floor, to ring up clear sodas for women who vehemently dislike dark colored sodas, to grab items one at a time with a pause in between for a grandpa methodically checking off his list of purchases, and to listen seriously to a US Marshall exhorting him to be diligent with checking I.D. cards.

This grand adventure has earned him a paycheck, a free cup of coffee, a 10 cent tip, a commemorative coin from a US Marshall, and – most importantly – enough material to begin writing comedy skits.