Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hello Arizona!

After two long days of driving (ten hours the first day, nine the second), I arrived in Mohave Valley, Arizona yesterday around 4:30 in the afternoon. So far, the drive has been good, and thankfully my guardian angels haven't been busy. However, my GPS wasn't working, so I'm glad I know the way--I've driven this route so frequently that I felt like I was on auto-pilot!

Here are some of the sights from yesterday's drive:

Driving on CA-99 near Fresno

The desert near Needles, CA
Gas prices in Needles--EEEEK!

This one is from an earlier visit with my parents. 

Two days into my road trip:  Mohave Valley, AZ 

This is what lies ahead!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The long drive (day one)

Mt. Shasta
Ten hours. But with some great scenery! I've seen this scenery . . . many, many times. I've taken photos a few times, but I've never shared them. As you can see, driving from anywhere in Washington State down to Northern California isn't so bad . . .

Ten hours from Washougal, WA brings me to Folsom, CA (just outside of Sacramento). There was a time when I thought of Sacramento as the "armpit of California," and I swore I would never live there. I stand corrected. I enjoyed living there, and I made some wonderful friendships!

If given a good opportunity, yes, I would move back!

Hello California--I've missed you!!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The side of the road

The Gospodor Monuments
Earlier, I said that I was going to take pictures and blog about the things I see and people I meet as I drive to South Carolina and beyond, but I see things every day as I travel near home. Yesterday, I drove to Gig Harbor to spend time with my kids (and my hair stylist).

For years, my kids and I have pondered the existence of the strange statues on the east side of I-5 near Chehalis. Yesterday, I took a picture of them on my way home. Seattle millionaire Dominic Gospodor erected them commemorating the Holocaust, Christianity, and Native Americans.
"Dominic Gospodor, the eccentric bachelor who spent over $1 million building the Gospodor Monuments, has died at age 86. He never told anyone why he built them, or exactly what he meant to say with their peculiar combination of Mother Teresa, Native Americans, Jesus, Holocaust victims, an eagle, and an enormous weather vane.
Mr. Gospodor reportedly wrote in his will that upon his death a nonprofit organization had to be found to take over ownership of the monuments. But he also reportedly left no money to maintain them, or even to pay for the electricity that lights them at night. The monuments are made of rustproofed steel, however, and should be around for a while (2010)." [credit]
The statues are just there, on the side of the road in a field . . . very strange.

Gig Harbor is beautiful--it was my home for several years.

But of course, the best part of this mini road trip was spending time with my Rachel and Tyler!

Rachel, me, Tyler
Eating mango sticky rice at Thai Hut in Gig Harbor

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Bucket List

My dad's Beechcraft Musketeer
I realized today that I need to revisit my bucket list. I created my current bucket list a few years ago--just before writing my strategic plan. Why do I need to revisit it? Well, I've been able to check off several items on the list!

I need to add more to the list, but one of the more important items--learning to fly--is still there. And it's achievable now . . .

Why do I want to learn to fly? When I was a child, my dad wanted to learn to fly. He and my mom bought a Beechcraft Musketeer, went to ground school, and learned to fly together. My dad earned his pilot's license, and my mom soloed. I remember them taking trips with their friends, flying themselves to their destination. I always admired them for that . . . and when I was ten (yes, this has been on my bucket list since I was ten!), I decided that someday I would learn to fly too.

So what am I waiting for? Bring it on!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Email

Years ago, I received this email from a good friend. I remember when her son was born, and I was at his funeral. Her email touched me deeply, and I saved it as a reminder on my refrigerator door. Now I want to share it with you:

"It was 5 years ago today that my first-born son made his entrance into this world.  He was a beautiful baby with a deep soul who only lived for 5 days but gave me an enormous gift.  I would like to share that gift with you on the anniversary of his birth.  Please do not let the grinding details of life weigh you down.  Each day will pass by too fast so it is incredibly important to always reach out to those who mean the most and tell them how wonderful they are to you. Love to all"


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Life is all about how you handle plan B . . .

"Plan A is always my first choice . . . you know, the one where everything works out to be happily ever-after. But more often than not, I find myself dealing with the upside-down, inside-out version where nothing goes as it should. Do I sink or do I swim? . . . The choice is all mine. It's at this point that the true test of my character comes in. Life really is all about how you handle plan B." [From a fun T-shirt that I own.]

Plan B

People make too big of a deal over plan B. Seriously! Plans should be flexible . . . what is most important is the mission! A change in plans isn't a change in mission--plan B is merely a different avenue of approach.

One thing that I always try to keep in mind is that my plan A may not be what is best for me. It may accomplish the mission, but at what cost?

I have a strategic plan for my life and my career--yes, it's true (I am THAT anal). And yes, I weigh every decision according to this plan. Yet at the same time, I realize that I may not have all of the information, and my original plan may not be the best plan to accomplish the mission . . .

Do I sink or do I swim?

That is a silly question--of course I swim! I look at life this way: if we create a plan or a map for our lives and everything goes precisely according to the plan, how boring would that be? Where are the challenges in that?

I love the twists and turns in life--they usually bring heightened success!

Dialing it in

What am I talking about here? One example could be my own change from the Army's MI branch to Finance. Attending Finance BOLC and becoming a Finance Officer was my plan B. I won't share all of the details of my personal strategic plan, but the goal in that segment of my plan had already been met, so the change wasn't truly significant. However, initially choosing MI was important to my end-state. My background is actually in finance, so this change made sense . . . but MI still holds my interest!

My point is that it's important to not only have a plan, but to fully understand the steps in the plan and the desired end-state . . . otherwise you may get so caught up in the details that you lose sight of the end-state which is the ultimate goal!