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Dawnell’s 2009 Year at a Glance

Happy New Year!  2009 was such an important year for me and my family; I thought I’d write a New Year’s letter to my family and friends!

Coming up in 2010:  Jackson Jackson Jackson!  Work work work! Las Vegas in January, Joan visits in March, Dallas in May, probably at least one trip to San Antonio and Northern Virginia and Fun Fun Fun! I really want to go to Germany this year, hopefully this summer. I want to visit my German friends and see the once per decade “Passion Play” in Oberammergau!

December: Another trip to San Antonio, this one only 3 days. Work. Christmas is quiet and subdued, Jackson has a bit of a cold and we just stayed close to home and enjoyed a great family dinner. It is hard to believe that Jackson is already 6 months old. He is amazing. Paul’s work situation is also improving. He has been doing some very sporadic work for a couple of different companies, but nothing much promising. This month he gets a bona fide contract that should keep him busy for a couple of months, at least. He is still looking for full time, permanent work, but nothing has turned up yet. But it will, I am sure. Life is like that, isn’t it?  Santa is good to me, lots of chocolates, wine and spa gift certificates. Yea!

November: Week long meetings in San Antonio to officially get started on my new project. I see old friends and make new ones!  Paul comes along and meets more of my work buddies and new colleagues. We have a LOT of fun and get a lot done. Back home, we host a big Thanksgiving dinner that is delicious and enjoyed by all. We make pitchers of Long Island Iced Teas. I work a lot this month. A lot. But still I make time for Jackson. He is SO cute.

October: I start winding down my work with SAIC and preparing to go to ASM Research. I take another day off to spend with Jackson, and then I end my old job. I take a quick two day trip to Fairfax, Virginia to start the new job in the middle of the month. After meeting the people I will be working with and getting to know more about the company, I feel much encouraged and sure that I have done the right thing. I visit Joan, who lives out in Loudon County, but don’t get out to Fredericksburg to see Sally. Next time, old friend! Paul’s niece, Hellen and her husband and daughter come for a 10-day visit this month to relax and unwind. Jackson is a pumpkin at Halloween! He is so darned cute, I can hardly stand it – I just want to gobble him up.

September 2009: Laurilee, Paul, Jackson and I all schlep home to Kentucky to visit my grandmother. Now, think about that for a minute. I took my grandson to visit my grandmother. How amazing is that?  WOW! Five generations of family! We made the local newspaper as well!

By this time, I have decided to change jobs. I had been “enticed / recruited” from a company that my former boss and good friend had gone to work for a year or so earlier. It is a good company that has good people and does good work. They had an exciting project coming up, and after a lot of thought and considering of my options, I resigned from SAIC. After 9+ years with a large, well respected Fortune 500 company, I just gave notice and quit. It was a pretty big leap of faith, with the American economy in the ditch, my husband on unemployment and all sorts of financial uncertainty going on all around us, but my family and friends supported me, so I just DID IT. BAM!  I quit. I take a couple of days off work to accompany Laurilee to the doctor. She goes back to work the last week of the month (Jackson is already 3 months old!) and I babysit him a whole day .. just me and him alone. Oh!  He is so sweet!

August 2009: Happy Birthday Laurilee!  She is such a great mother! On Tuesday the 11th of August, I am notified that I HAVE PASSED the CISSP. I am stunned and thrilled and all that jazz. Whoo hoo!  I passed – I feel like I have used my worn out ole brain one last time and passed that exam. The failure rate is something 75% – and I didn’t even go to a boot camp or class or anything. Paul and I immediately plan a trip to Tunica, Mississippi in celebration. The last weekend of the month, we flew into Tunica and drove down to Clarksdale, Mississippi, the birthplace of The Blues. Quaint, and funny and interesting, and oh yeah, good food! And then we drove into Memphis and wandered around down on Beale Street and had lunch at Neely’s BBQ joint. We took short walk along the Mississippi river and I just loved it .. Loved it all. We stayed at Harrah’s Tunica and I spent most of my time in Paula Deen’s restaurant. OH MY GAWD!  That restaurant alone was worth the trip. The food was some of the best I have ever eaten, and people, that is saying something.

July 2009: My life changes forever with the birth of Jackson. He is so wonderful and so tiny!  Still, I gotta work to earn money to buy stuff for Jackson. But life at SAIC is becoming increasingly more political and my situation is getting worse. I take a couple of days off to be with Jackson and Laurilee. I also really buckle down to study for that CISSP exam – which is looming ever closer. The exam is on a Saturday and Paul and I go over to Tampa for the weekend. The exam is a horrible six hour long marathon and I am certain I failed miserably. Paul and I got Hard Rock Casino to assuage my fear and loathing. I don’t feel much better, frankly. I come home and go back to work. I must wait 23 long days – into August for my test results.  Laurilee and Jackson come up to stay with us for a few days so I can get to really “love up” on Jackson!

June 2009: Paul loses his job on the first day of the month. Sad, but, frankly -not totally unexpected. Laurilee is getting uncomfortable and her feet are swelling. The baby’s room has been ready for quite some time now. We are just waiting on the due date which is either July 3 or July 6 or July 8 depending on whom you should ask. Paul and I celebrate our wedding anniversary and I set the date to take the CISSP exam. Saturday, July 18, 2009. *dramatic music* Mostly, we wait for the baby. Who … arrives at 10:35pm on Tuesday June 30, 2009. Jackson Elias is here and he is perfect. I am Oma!  Hear me roar!

May 2009: A banner month!  My conference in Atlanta is wonderful, fun and informative. I love STC conferences. My friend Joan comes for a visit from Northern Virginia and we shop, eat lunch out and just pal around. Laurilee has a wonderful baby shower. Indeed, Laurilee is surrounded by her family and friends and this was such a joyful occasion. Paul takes a trip to the Netherlands to see family and to attend a reunion of his DataPoint colleagues. The last week in May, Paul and I take a trip to San Antonio for my work. May whizzes by so quickly I hardly know where it has gone.

April 2009: WORK! Study for CISSP! Prepare for Society for Technical Communication (STC) annual conference. Laurilee enters the 3 trimester of pregnancy. I am getting very impatient. I am quite certain that something else must have happened in April 2009, but danged if I can remember what it may have been!

March 2009: Early in the month, I accompanied Laurilee to her ultrasound appointment. Clearly, she will be having a boy!  The rest of the month is pretty uneventful; I do finally get the colonoscopy I have been procrastinating on for more than a year. Thankfully, I don’t have to do that again for another ten years. A lot of work drama and I start to seriously study for a major professional certification. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional or CISSP.

February 2009:  My friend Sally and I took a trip to Las Vegas just for fun. We gambled, shopped, tripped the light fantastic AND we saw Elton John’s Red Piano show at Caesar’s Palace. It was wonderful to see Sally and wonderful to have a girls getaway. It was fun. Paul and I celebrated his birthday by going to dinner at Squid Lips with friends. Yummie! Laurilee’s pregnancy is smooth sailing!

January 2009: I took a quick trip to San Antonio for business and stayed warm in Florida the rest of the month. We went on short little boat right out to sea to watch a huge Delta Rocket launch, which was fantastic. Laurilee is about 3 months pregnant and I am so excited about becoming a grandmother. Oh, and I turned 51 years old!  Yikes! Working a lot, office politics are hell.