Always Wanted

I have always wanted to be the mom or aunt who did cool things, had cool ideas.  To have a house full of young people around.

However, my life’s travels have just not allowed it.  I will never be a mom as I married late in life.  My husband has two daughters but they still grieve for their mother though the grieving has eased for them.  I have and will never expect them to consider me their mother.  The best I can hope for is to be their friend.

The best I can do is to be a “friend” to those young individuals I work with.  To help them with the challenges they face by pointing them in the direction where they can find the answer on their own.  All I can do is offer guidance but they must to come to their own conclusions or answers.  This is something I wished I had had as I was navigating through my career.

So for the last years of my career my goal is to provide guidance to those young individuals, to leave some type of legacy.  It may not be one remembered by management but it will be remembered by those who with whom I had the pleasure to share.

This is my hope and dream.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox.



Patrolling the Perimeter

Maybe you fell for the girl next door or considered a fence to keep out the nosy neighbor. Tell us a story, draw us a map, or give us a hidden gem about your neighborhood, past or present.

A dog’s perspective of the neighbor from the back yard.  The first home for Hans was in Amarillo, TX.  It was in a new subdivision called City View which grew leaps and bounds around us.  He wanted no part of being on a leash and walking the street we lived on.  He was content to stay in the backyard and bark at all the dogs around us.

Next door was a couple with their little dog named Major.  He was an older dog to Hans at that time.  When Hans discovered Major was on the other side of the wood fence between the yards, he would head straight to the fence and begin his patrol for Major.  If Major was out, the dance would begin.  Up and down the fence, Hans would run barking with his tail wagging.  When the dance was done, Hans would stand looking for Major through the spaces between the fence.  Eventually we would have to call him to bring him in.

Each day this would continue until one day we relocated outside the Houston area.  It would be awhile before Hans would have a yard again.  This time it is much smaller and again in a subdivision which was growing in smaller leaps and bounds.  There are dogs nearby which he will bark at when he goes out into the yard to see who may be out.  The first neighbor on our west side had a dog, and once Hans discovered there was a potential bud next door would patrol the fence once again.  They eventually moved out and it was awhile before Hans realized his bud was not there.

These days the first thing Hans will do when he steps in the backyard is to bark to check who is out in the neighborhood.  If there is an answer, the conversation will begin.  If there is none, he goes about his business and comes back in.  The patrol of the fence these days has ceased but he seems content to just bark as his outreach to the other dogs.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “Be Neighborly.”



Write an ode about the unending loyalty or the curious antics of a furry friend. Did you learn something about yourself or the world from your pet this year? Maybe you learned a lesson from an animal in the wild, or a nature program?

Dachshunds … they are stoic little dogs.  I have had two in my life, and I would not trade them for the world.

My first dachshund, Short Stuff, was a long haired beauty.  She was red with black markings.  I got her at a pet shop at the mall in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  She traveled around with me wherever I went.  From one job site to the next.  There were times it was difficult to find a place to rent which would allow pets but we managed.  She was my companion for 16 wonderful years and my husband’s for about 2.  When she recognized she no longer needed to watch over me, she stepped out of my story.  We had her cremated and took her ashes with us to Amarillo, Texas.  She finally got to be in the yard I promised her but not in the way I had hoped.

Our second dachshund is named Herr Hans Texan with the American Kennel Club, Hans for short.  What can I say about Hans.  He was another pet shop purchase.  He is a miniature dachshund with all sorts of markings, from dapple to boar, mainly red in color.  Just as Short Stuff was the queen of the household, he is the king.  It is true what they say, they will control their human parents.  There is also a lot of factory reset of the ears.  And don’t forget the belly scratching.  We do it all with him and for him.

He is not a very good traveler.  Though he gets excited to get into the car, the minute we start drive the moaning begins and does not end until we reach our destination which is mostly the vet.  Once there he gets excited once again as they all love him there, and he has a few human buds who spoil him should he be vacationing there while we are away.

In terms of stoic, this guy is.  Just after we moved into the house in Rosenberg, he was having trouble getting around.  We took him to the vet on an emergency basis.  I won’t go into the details of what transpired but he had to have surgery on his back.  It was a challenging time as there was the possibility of having to put him down.  Luckily with him only being 4 years old the surgery was a success.  Since then he gets around as if there had not been a surgery.

I have loved both dachshunds.  They love unconditionally, have been our protectors, and can be “”  (pains in the you-know-what) at time.  They are my favorite dogs even with any challenges they may experience .  Should we decide on a third dachshund, this time we will consider rescuing one instead of purchasing.

Stoic … yes dachshunds are.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “Animal Kingdom.”

Through the Eyes of a Child

You know the story about all work and no play… How did you play with others this year? Let your hair down and share how you escaped for an hour, a day, or more.

I have one favorite place in all the world to go and play, Disney World.  I have been there many times whether by myself, with my husband or with family.  If I could go there every year I would but there are years where other priorities present themselves.  So a trip to the Magic Kingdom is postponed until another year.

Of all the venues at Disney World, Epcot is my favorite.  It is magical to visit at different times of the year to see how Disney dresses it up for the occasion.  The first year I went with my husband was very special.  We had just gotten engaged and were spending the week at my timeshare.  We were walking the World Showcase area near Canada when the magic hit us both.  It was a very special time, and we remember it every time we are there.

One of our planned trips this year had to be cancelled due to an illness.  We had been looking forward to this trip but it was just not meant to be.  I needed to get away from work to relax so we decided to head to Orlando for the timeshare week.  The airline tickets were already purchased.  It was just a matter of changing the reservation.  So the week at the timeshare was confirmed, the car rental reservation made and when the week arrived off we went.

I can’t say this was one of the better trips to Orlando but I did get some much needed rest.  We got to go play at Epcot and the Magic Kingdom, and enjoyed every minute.  We also went to what was Downtown Disney.  It is in the process of experiencing a makeover, name and all.  Its name has been changed to Disney Springs.  There is construction everywhere but knowing Disney it will be spectacular when it is finished.

One year once again I hope to see the magic of Disney through the eyes of my husband’s granddaughters.  I got to see it about 20 years ago through the years of a very special 12 year old.  It was wonderful to see then.

Disney is always magical to see through the eyes of a child.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “Play Date.”

Sharing Wisdom

Life is so much easier when you have someone to help you navigate. What makes a mentor great? Have you ever had a mentor? Been someone else’s?

I had debated all day as to whether I would write about today’s prompt.  I had a talk with my husband and as the conversation progressed he pointed out though I had never had a mentor at work I had become one three years ago to one of the college hires coming into the company.  There is a process where the college hires interview potential mentors in a “round robin” session during their first week with the company.  They then decide if they would like to be in a mentor-mentee relationship and with whom.  I was chosen by one of the female college hires.  We would get together on a monthly basis to talk about her challenges, answer questions and provide guidance.  The past year has been meet, and she finally received the opportunity to go on a field assignment in Australia.  I am happy for her but saddened this relationship has come to an end.

But my mentoring opportunities do not stop there.  I mentor each and every day in a different way.  The simple definition as per is “someone who teaches, or gives help and advice to a less experienced or often younger person.”  Each and every day I receive calls, emails, Skype pings on how to perform a process or resolve an issue in one of the two applications I support.  I also receive requests for help and guidance on how to handle a cost engineering issue.  So mentoring duties continue and will for a very long time as I enjoy what I do, teaching and helping others.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “Role Models.”

To The Children I Never Had

What movie made the biggest impact on you this year? Describe the feeling upon leaving the theater (…or sitting on your couch).

My husband introduced me to the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”  I reluctantly watched the movie but feel in love with it.  I felt a connection to some of the characters in their quest for finding a more economic place to retire and enjoy their retirement years.  Then the sequel, “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, became available.  We purchased both to add to our movie library.  They are both fun movies, and we go to them often when there is nothing worth watching on cable.

The official website provides the following synopsis of the first movie.  “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel follows a group of British retirees who decide to ‘outsource’ their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self.  Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.”

And the sequel’s website provides the following: “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the expansionist dream of Sonny (Dev Patel), and it’s making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tina Desai).  Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy – posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig). Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Maggie Smith), the keeper of everyone’s secrets. As the demands of a traditional Indian wedding threaten to engulf them all, an unexpected way forward presents itself.”

Both movies have many life lessons to share.  The sequel has touched me the most.  At the end Muriel writes a letter to the young couple, Sonny and Sunaina, as they are celebrating their wedding at the newly acquired second hotel.  A line from the letter “…written from the heart to the children I never had…,” touched mine.  I will explain why shortly.

As she is delivering the letter, the business man whom she and Sonny had a meeting with at the beginning of the movie has arrived at the first hotel.  They exchange dialog and she ask why he really has come to the hotel.  He says “To pay my respect to you.  There is nothing I admire more than someone planting trees under whose shade they may never get to sit.”  Her response “But others will.  That’s what counts.”  This hit home to me.

This is what I hope to do, plant trees at work with the younger individuals I help each day, and also with the young individuals in my family.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt is from a lifeline: “Silver Screens.”


We Are All Part of a Legacy

How far back can you trace your family? What was their life like? What else do you know? Tell a story, share an old family photo or draw your family tree. If you know nothing, ask a relative for some history to share.

Legacy.  What is a legacy?  One definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past.”  We are all legacies as we were born and grew up in someone’s past.  We also have others who will be our legacies.  My siblings and I are our parent’s legacy.  My two stepdaughters are my husband’s.

My father’s parents (my grandparents) have left a very large legacy.  My dad was one of five sons (two died as children) and seven daughters.  Today, only he, two uncles and two aunts remain.  The others have left the story of my grandparent’s legacy.  Yet their children carry the legacy forward, and along with them their children.

I watch this legacy as it moves forward on a Facebook page established by some of my cousins.  The page portrays all of us as our grandparent’s legacy in the posting of pictures from the past and present, and sharing known facts on the family and how it came to be in the United States

The first history lesson posted was from one of the aunts.  In the post it notes that our great, great, great (however many) grandfather and his brother immigrated from the village of Graben, Germany to Worms, South Russia in the 1800’s.  From another posting, on April 6, 1904 my great, great, great (again however many) grandmother who was 16 at the time arrived with her family to America via Ellis Island on the ship, SS Kaiser Wilhelm II.  They traveled to be with family in North Dakota.

There have been no further postings to bring the legacy forward to my grandparents.  Hopefully one of us who are part of this legacy will find another piece to the puzzle, and share.  For now, there are other postings of pictures taken at family picnics over the years, occasions for celebration, and even those of sadness when the next family member leaves the story of this legacy.

The legacy will continue forward.  Of that there is no doubt.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “Dig Into Your Roots.”