Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book Challenge

5) Exposure
6) The Shunning
7) The White Queen
8) My Father's Country
9) The Confession
10) Snowbound (in progress)

Looking for more books/authors to read. Let me know of some good ones!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quick Update

Steven's surgery on Thursday went swimmingly. He's recovering great at home, even able to play his video games. He's probably going stir crazy, so maybe we'll get him out of the house tomorrow.

Declan is teething (still!) and becoming more independent each day. Has to feed himself and walk by himself. Its adorable.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti

While I do not know a lot about emergency management and response in Haiti, or other poor Carribean nations, I do know this: Whatever they have is unfathomably simplistic to us. There is absolutely no way we can understand what is going on in Haiti right now, not even with the advance of 24-hour news. My dad has a friend who specializes in Carribean Search and Rescue and he says that in other areas they use shovels and rakes to dig through the debris, where as in the United States we use tools powered by electricity, such as the Jaws of Life.

As colleagues of mine are packing and preparing for trips to Haiti to assist in their various areas of expertise, it is so hard for me to sit half a world away and not be able to help at all! I am hoping that some of them will take me up on the offer to post their stories in various forums to make the world aware of the situation. I have included a post from a colleague already in Haiti....

"I'm on a DoD Crisis Action Team. We have been working 24/7 - two of my colleagues did 36 hour shifts. Just a few tips - crisis centers are being inundated with e-mails and RFIs. Please try to use use channels - nothing is worse than trying to do analysis, deploy resources, and riding herd on a herd of cats in terms of trying to de-conflict overlapping requirements."

So, as we keep all Haitians and first responders in our prayers, please keep in mind that while this disaster will fade from the news in a few weeks, the impact will remain in Haiti for generations. And, if you are willing to donate in anyway, please go through a respected agency.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Italy Trip!!

We just returned from our Italy trip. We had a wonderful time! Steven, Declan, and I stayed with my friend Brenda in Vicenza and were able to explore the region at the perfect pace for our family. The weather was a typical northern Italian winter, with temperatures in the high 30s and rainy/cloudy. We explored a local mall and went food shopping Italian style (they have wonderful fresh produce!). Steven and I ventured off to Verona for the weekend and left Declan in the capable and spoiling hands of Brenda. We took the city bus tour (the best way to see any city) and admired the view from the seats in the Arena.

Saturday night we had a fantastic dinner at a little restaurant downtown. We had an appetizer of grilled eggplant, mozzarella, and tomatoes which was out of this world. Steven had pasta figoli (bean and pasta soup) and I had homemade tortollini stuffed with pumpkin and mushrooms. By far the best thing we tasted on this trip was the coffee! We hope to get back to Italy soon, maybe even during this upcoming year. Steven would really like to see Florence, and we loved the welcoming feel we got in the country.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Book Challenge

I've started a book challenge for 2010 and I encourage all of you to do the same. I hope to read 50 books this year. So far, I've finished one. Not so bad, plus having the Kindle makes it so much easier and fun to read.

1) Midnight in Madrid
2) Conspiracy in Kiev
3) Countdown to Cairo
4) Mossy Creek

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve in Germany is an experience everyone should have! Fireworks are illegal in Germany, except on New Years. The sky lit up at midnight in downtown Wiesbaden for at least 30 minutes. It was a beautiful, unorganized chaos. All the fireworks displays were by individual people, but the effect was more amazing than if it was orchestrated. About 12:30am, the smoke from the fireworks mixed with the fog and although I could still hear the fireworks, you couldn't see them anymore.

As I was standing on the commissary hill behind Dawn's house, toasty warm from the fires and enjoying my sparkling grape juice, she mentioned how it must have been similar to the WWII bombing that took place on a very foggy night. How crazy would it have been to be standing on that hill watching the bombing of the outskirts of Wiesbaden and across the river in Mainz? I'm so glad for the amazing opportunity to live in Germany and have such interesting and unique experiences with such amazing people.