Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Randomness: A list about blogging, vacation, my books, and bunnies

  • I missed blogging last week. My good intentions to schedule a post went out the window in my rush to wrap things up at work and home in preparation for a week away.
  • Is it really vacation when you're chasing around two children under two? Our week visiting with my sister and her family was a toddler-inspired adventure. I can't say that it was restful, but we did have a lot of fun, and we even managed to catch up on some sister time by staying up late talking after our kids (and later our hubbies) were in bed.
  • My fun project this month is to finish the updated edition of my family cookbook. I love the art of layout and editing the eclectic collection into a whole. (Just smile and nod.) I try to give a copy to family members every other Christmas, which makes this edition only a bit over a year overdue. So far it's 48 pages, but I have a stack of recipes yet to add and quite a bit of tweaking to do. Okay, so I confess that I always have more tweaking to do, but there is a difference between "quite a bit" and putting on the final polish.
  • Speaking of cooking.... I am really enjoying the use of my Kindle Fire as a cookbook, in conjunction with the Belkin Kitchen Stand and Wand for Tablets that my brother so wisely gifted me for Christmas. Add the M-Edge Leisure Kindle Jacket and my Fire is well protected from cooking splatters and toddler explorations.
  • I haven't quite finished re-writes on another chapter of Dormant. See the first and second bullet points. In that vein, if I can stay up late talking to my sister, I can certainly stay up late writing.
  • I confess that I still haven't caught up on the housework since the holidays. Our house isn't a total wreck, but it could certainly use a bit of TLC to rescue it from the toys and dust. On second thought, maybe I should leave the toys out to hide the dust bunnies. They've reached a nice status quo.
  • Speaking of bunnies.... Did I mention that my last post was my 100th blog? In honor of the occasion, I'm giving away a copy of Pink Snowbunnies in Hell: A Flash-Fiction Anthology to one lucky reader. Just post your own random thought in the comments section below.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My newsletter: Cantaloupe, laboratory improvements, and son as model

I am excited to announce that I just published the January issue of my newsletter. I always have so much fun working on it; the days just fly by as I compile articles, information, and photos and edit them in order to build the web page for online publication. Pardon me while I do a happy dance. Here's my my editorial to keep you busy meanwhile.

My son’s favorite fruit is cantaloupe. I have often grabbed bites for myself as I washed, seeded, skinned, and diced. Perhaps, like me, the sweet, earthy scent evokes summer, bringing back memories of swim-enhanced appetite slaked by devouring the orange flesh straight from the rind, juice dripping toward your elbows. The recent food outbreak linked to cantaloupe stole some of my heedless joy in cantaloupe consumption. What if my son had been exposed to the bacteria that caused such wide-spread illness and even death? Fortunately, his window of danger is long past, along with cantaloupe season, but I know that I’m not the only one who will scrub next summer’s cantaloupes with added vigor.  Read the article on “Investigating Listeriosis” to learn about the important work of public health laboratories as we work to solve food outbreaks.

As we begin the New Year, our Newborn Screening (NBS) and Blood Lead Screening programs continue their contributions to our on-going resolution: improve health and wellbeing in Texas. NBS is working to enhance the processes used in screening each baby born in Texas, and the Clinical Chemistry Group is working on internal and external improvements. You can read more about their progress in “Presenting NBS and Clinical Chemistry Process Improvements.”

Delve deeper into one of our improvement methodologies in the article on “Improving Laboratory Efficiency: Implementing Lean Six Sigma Principles.” This tool helps us overcome challenges in order to maintain high quality laboratory testing and improve customer and employee satisfaction.

A safety article on Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls was also included in the employee edition. We used a photo of my son as an illustration on how we learn to walk. I just have to be the proud mom for a moment (see photo below). He was exploring one of his favorite places, aka outside, and in this case our back yard.

Son, hubby, and I also explored a nearby playscape. I challenge you not to smile at this photo:

Monday, January 2, 2012

New year, old resolutions

Happy New Year!

Did you stay up until midnight to greet 2012? I had a rare look into the future at 9am on January 31, 2011, when I helped my parents greet the New Year in Korea via Skype.

My family and I celebrated the eve of the new year with a road trip to a favorite vacation spot—my parents' cabin at Bright Star Ranch. Our family activity for the night involved introducing my son to s'mores, made with impressive Texas-sized marshmallows. Son settled on eating the ingredients separately, despite my repeated offers of completed s'mores "sandwiches."

I must admit that I didn't quite make it to midnight here in the US. Sadly, my night owl status has been slipping since the birth of my son. Instead of staying up until 3 or 4am on weekends, I tend to collapse into bed around 11pm. Hubby and I called it a night at 11:30pm. This time I blame an exhausting day that involved a road trip and a broken lock at our destination. (It took us an hour to get into the cabin, negating any chance we might have at a future as cat burglars.) However, it may be more accurate to pinpoint the energy drain as a certain adorable toddler with boundless energy.

In honor of 2012, and in order to take advantage of the motivational opportunity, I am actually going to make New Year's resolutions. The resolution that is cogent to this blog: Finish and publish my book. Sadly, this has taken back burner for a while (I'm a notorious procrastinator with a wonderfully full life), but I'm jumping back in with a veangence. I plan to finish re-writes by the end of February (happy birthday to me). In order to achieve this, blogging is being relegated to a once-weekly activity or shorter notes and updates. Then it's off to my editor, who has been waiting ever-so-patiently for the manuscript.

Did you make New Year's resolutions? Why or why not? If so, what were they? Please share in the comments section below.