Hump Day Doings

If you watch TV, you have probably seen the hump day commercials?

During at least one meeting on a Wednesday, someone at my work would mimic the “guess what day it is”, some better than others, bringing much needed humor to the subject at hand.

Now my Hump Day looks a bit different. I have my to-do list still. Doing yoga, calling the plumber, going to the grocery store (in anticipation of 4-8 in of snow tomorrow!) are way different than my work to-dos such as scheduling interviews, reviewing and editing budget testimony, IT roadmap, Approps committee talking points, hot issues etc.  And I usually experienced more than 1 fire to put out each day and it could easily trash my day to the point where I accomplished little else.  Oft times the fires came up from somebody’s failure to deal timely with a deadline or request.  A constant source of frustration!

So we just melted away all the ice and now tomorrow are due for 4-8 inches of snow though I hope the forecasters have it wrong!  DSC_0065

I have focused on indoor tasks, like cooking, organizing files, etc.  The other night I made Braised chicken with carrots and fennel.  I saw the recipe in Southern Living and left out the green olives (as the hubby won’t eat olives), added fennel and bone-in chicken wings.  I had to up the ingredient portions to about 1 1/2 the requirement.  Served it over couscous, the small kind not Israeli.  And then lightly steamed some asparagus to place on top.

We plan to eat out tonight looking at one of these new-to-us restaurants.

Hanks Oyster BarBRABO or Jackson 20 all in Old Town.  I want to go to Hanks though I don’t think they take reservations.  I like BRABO’s menu though it is pricey.  So will see where we end up as we will be at home tomorrow, I’m sure.


Day 1

Just a quick post on day 1 of retirement.  I read this article, How Baby Boomers can revamp the economy, in the Post this weekend.  Some interesting thoughts on how  the concept of retirement is evolving.  I don’t intend to not work.  Just have not figured out what I will do other than take photos of the 6 ladies who frequent the backyard.

DSC_0072 DSC_0074

I took these right before a big snow storm over President’s Day weekend.  And then here, one doe feeds at the bird feeder.


The ice from yesterday’s storm is melting and I have some plans for today, nothing exciting.  Just doing what I want to do, no have-tos for now.

Re-Tired Message

The following message is what I sent out to all Farm Service Agency employees yesterday, on my last day in the office.  I wish I had written all of it, I did have help from our public affairs director.  He is so talented.  He reminded me that I don’t have to write in bureaucratese anymore!  I should write how I feel!  I hope I can re-train myself.

Woke up to a 2 hour delay due to another passing snow storm.  So my quiet cake and coffee reception was just that, exactly what I wanted.


FSA Friends

As I prepare to retire on February 28, already I feel a gamut of emotions, from the fulfillment of attaining another milestone, to the joy of anticipating new days ahead.  I also feel the subtle apprehension of reaching the next juncture of my life.  And by now, I’ve felt the tears of my final conversations, knowing that in a few short days soon, I’ll be completing the boxing up of records and mementos, taking that last look around my room, clicking off the light, locking my door, and hearing those echoes of my footsteps down the long, tiled hallways of the South Building for the very last time.

I have had a truly remarkable career with USDA over the last 34 years.  I started with the Office of Inspector General, where some of my first assignments were auditing the county offices of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service across the Midwest.  Those days provided my first experiences with this incredible nationwide network of dedicated local staff – inspirations that have guided me to this day.  Later, I transferred to ASCS’s Kansas City office, and then to Washington, D.C. where I’ve worked hard to use my experiences during my earliest days in the field to keep the confidence of our county staff throughout the performance of my duties.

Right from the start, I became dedicated to FSA’s important mission of supporting and enhancing American agriculture, assisting our farmers and ranchers to become the most productive and efficient producers as they could be.  As I helped to implement six different farm bills, each time from a different perspective, my appreciation grew further as I saw how my colleagues kept their commitments to American agriculture and rural communities, through teamwork and cooperation.  I have been so fortunate to have had mentors, teachers, and brilliant leaders who provided me not just with many incredible opportunities along the way, but with many insights and inspirations that helped to light the path.

That’s why I will miss coming here every day – – because I love working with all of you.  I have always found FSA employees to be the best:  you are creative, collaborative, and compassionate.    FSA truly is and will continue to be the “Can-Do” agency.   As my days draw to a close, I am so grateful that I can say how proud I am of my career with FSA.  And most of all, I am so proud of what we have accomplished together.

All the best,


Windy Sunday

Lots of sounds today, the big ole north wind hitting on the house causing the furnace to kick on and the fire in the wood stove popping.   Looking out the window, I see the shingles on the shed blowing up, looks like some have already blown off.  I don’t think I will venture out much today!

So I have 2 weeks left at work.  Things have slowed down finally.  I really only have 8 work days left.  I go from very happy, almost giddy to incredibly sad.  Jon Stewart announced his retirement from the Daily Show on the same day, I announced mine at work.  I keep listening to Jon Stewart’s retirement announcement and it hits home.  I loved the part where he talked about the show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host and how he loves the people, and what an honor and privilege it is to work there.  His sentiments hit the nail on the head for me.  I love the people I work with, I have been incredibly blessed with opportunities and I have been hooked on our mission for countless years.

AND I DONT KNOW WHAT I AM GOING TO DO!  Scary for me, who always planned her career goals in 1 and 5 year increments.  So I have some decompressing, resting, and contemplating to do.  My goals for the next 2 weeks are to be patient, stay in the moment, do more yoga, and don’t cry!

I have looked through countless photos to put into a slide show for my retirement party.  This one is from 1981, I was working in KC, met Mom and Carl at the Airport Hilton for some event.

Mother and I - 1981

Mother and I – 1981 

This one is from mid 1990s.  I was home for a visit and helped Carl tend several of his hives.  I liked to help him with the bees, so interesting and I never got stung though he did many times.  I think I may acquire a hive this spring.

Carl and I tending bees

Carl and I tending bees

My seedlings are up and looking good, all except the parsley.  May have to re-plant that flat.


Weekend tidbits

We had a busy, busy weekend and now have the MLK holiday or what used to be Lee-Jackson Day in Virginia.  Though Hubby doesn’t get a holiday as his company only gives a few holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Infamous Stringdusters

Infamous Stringdusters

So Friday night we saw the Infamous Stringdusters, a favorite bluegrass band at the State Theatre in Falls Church.  Another fantabulous night of music.  Frank Solivan and the Dirty Kitchen Band opened who we saw last year at Merlefest.  Great band also!  Highlights for me were opening with Lovelight, then in the second set Scarlet Begonias, Let it Go and Cripple Creek.  Met up with some longtime friends we hadn’t seen in a while for the show.  And we met some new folks while hanging.  I ended up as the DD, and we headed home around 1:30am which made for a late night for this old lady.  Here is the setlist:01 Lovelight, 02 GDTRFB, 03 In God’s Country,04 Starry, 05 LLD jam>Y2k, 06 Fearless, 07 Blockygrass, 08 Angeline *, 09 Blue Night *, Second set 01 Jam>Hitchhiker, 02 Hey You, 03 All I can Take, 04 Mountain Town, 05 PBD, 06 Scarlet Begonias>OMB, 07 Colorado,08 Red Fox,09 Let It Go,10 Pioneers, 11 Echoes,12 Cripple Creek>Machines, 13 Head over Heels.  * Frank Solivan set in.

Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen Band

Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen Band

These guys opened strong and set the mood for a great night.  During the Stringdusters they were walking around and enjoying the show.  And towards the end of night, here we are hanging with friends and taking a selfie.

Candy, Doug and Vance

Candy, Doug and Vance

Saturday ended up pretty quiet, lots of time in the kitchen, cooking breakfast, baking cookies to send with ben-jammin’ back to school, and then dinner.   Sunday, we made the round trip to Radford to take ben-jammin’ back for his second semester.  He was so ready to go and get back to school, friends, the dorm, just away from us!  The trip started out miserable as it poured down a cold rain until we got out west on I66.  Then it turned into a pretty nice day.  We literally dropped his stuff in the dorm room, went out to eat lunch, stopped to buy him some bottled water, and dropped him off=about 2 hours in town.  As the great hovering mom that I am, I so wanted to help him unpack and organize his room.  Didn’t happen!  He wasn’t wanting any help.  So after a big hug good bye, off we went, back up the road to NOVA.  The entire trip took about 10-11 hours.

So today, I have to get my retirement papers completed.  Announcement at work coming this next week!


Another List and a Scary Subway Story

Even though I will retire soon, I continue to have an interest in managing people/projects.  So am posting this 2015 New Management Books list from Government Executive.  I may review this list later in my “free time”.  As I may do some other job or project later where these will be relevant.


Also wanted to share this scary story, seems yesterday afternoon a Yellow line train (I rode this same Yellow line track every day for over 20 years) stopped in the L’Enfant tunnel and filled with smoke!  One woman succumbed to the smoke inhalation and later died at the hospital, scores of people went to the hospital sickened by the smoke.  I confess to a high degree of claustrophobia and on more than one occasion when stuck on a train in a tunnel had to practice some calming exercises until I could GET OUT OF THE TRAIN CAR!  So this incident scares the crap out of me.  Here is the WashingPost’s Deadly subway incident story from this am.  No answers from Metro, the story seems very confusing as to why they left the passengers in the cars for so long, why the DCFD wouldn’t enter the tunnel from the L’Enfant station, what did the train operator say or do?  Typical of Metro-little or no communication.  I am so THANKFUL that I have a parking pass and do not have to ride the train daily anymore!  And it will take me quite awhile before I ride the train again.



8 x 8 day


It was 8 degrees this morning when I went into work. And I have 8 Thursday’s left to work. Sure hope it gets warmer. I met a friend for dinner at Art and Soul. I had the swordfish, very tasty!  And discussed some future opportunities for me, very exciting.

Drove by the Capitol which is undergoing renovation on the dome, very cool view, though the photo from my iPhone does not do it justice.  Looks like it has a shroud wrapped around it.