26 February 2009

About Lockheed Martin

Most of you reading this know that I am now a Lockheed Martin employee. What you may not know is what exactly Lockheed Martin is. To aid you in this dilemna I've compiled some information about the company.

That is the Lockheed Martin F 22 Raptor. It was featured as Star Scream in Transformers. Pretty cool.

Over the course of my two internships and so far during my full-time status I've really gotten to know my employer. Lockheed Martin (LM) is extremely focused on ethics, values, diversity, inclusion, work/life balance, and its employees. Bob Stevens http://www.lockheedmartin.com/aboutus/bios/stevens.html , LM's Chairman, President and CEO, is very present in the work lives of the employees at all levels. It seems he makes an appearance in most all presentations that we see here. I think that shows how much the higher-ups care about the whole family, so to speak. I feel like I am an important part of the LM picture (despite not having an assignment yet, haha).

Now for some background. LM HQ are in Bethesda, Maryland, very near DC (hello, Geof & Lana!).

LM has over $41.9 billion in sales (wow!). Our biggest fan is Uncle Sam: the US DOD comprises 59% of sales, civil government and Homeland Security make up 27%, and the remaining 14% are international sales. The backlog of orders sits at more than $76.6 billion! I can't even fathom that amount of money.

On the New York Stock Exchange LM's ticker symbol is LMT. LM was ranked 57th on the 2007 Fortune 500 list of the largest industrial corporations.

I am one of approximately 140,000 employees world-wide. There are over 1,000 facilities!

If you'd like to learn more, check out Wikipedia's LM article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin


21 February 2009

First Night Out with the LM Folks

Last night was the first night I went out with the LM folks. It was the most fun I'd had since Halloween!

Kevin picked me up around 9:30, we "found" and wagered our way to Jason's to pick him up. On the drive downtown Jason and I reminisced about how Jason's leather seat heater was on for a week before he realized it, haha! And this was in August!

Our first stop was Wall Street, but we didn't go after all (bummer because I've never been there and wanted to see what all the talk was about) and ended up going to this really neat place called Embers. It was indoors and outdoors, they have great drinks at a fair price, and the building's architecture is old Spanish! Beautiful place! A lot of places around here have the outdoor heater lamps like they had in Australia!

Here's the group (pre-Kiley's arrival) (Kevin, me, Jason):

The bought the first round with no hesitation. I had a delicious White Russian! Next round was from Kevin: Malibu and Coke (double shot as requested by one of the group, haha, I didn't know until I realized how light-colored my drink appeared). It was so good, though! We saw a guy wearing a sweater that had fake suspenders screen printed on to it, haha! Kiley arrived after his UCF baseball game wrapped up:

Embers played a lot of great music ranging from pop to 80s. The DJ was really friendly and played Mr. Jones for me and Kevin. We requested Take Me Home Tonight, but didn't hear it played because we left to go to The Lodge. The Lodge is downtown Orlando's equivalent of Harry's back at Purdue and The Down Under Bar in Brisbane: packed, dirty, cheap(ish), dancing, drunks and totally fun! Here's a shot of Kevin rocking out to some Joan Jett and the Black Hearts!

Kevin is quite a little people-magnet! He knew about everyone we bumped into, granted he's from the area. Here is one of us with his friend John:

The girls!!!

Me and Kiley:

Me and Kiley:

A few random thoughts about the night: It's Kevin, not Kyle. Just take the spare house key next time. Fun times being "that girl" in photos, haha! Making friends in the line for the "unofficial" ladies room. Being turned down with a flat no from the DJ upon requesting Walk Like an Egyptian, haha! Quarreling over the artist who sang Mr. Brightside (I was right, by the way, with The Killers' Hot Fuss album). Dancing with my eyes closed. Losing my straw. "Shooting" with the guy in the glasses. Mr. Photographer! Smiling at cute strangers on the other side of the crowd and then looking away as I take a sip of my drink. Zachary.

Awesome night out with some awesome people. I'm very thankful for my new friends, especially now with being so new to the scene. One of the best gifts in life is that of friendships.


PS: chat with old friend, Steve Bray:

although I gotta say...I saw in your blog where you gave a description of harry's as old, dirty, and cheap...
I'm curious on your choice of word with cheap..

that was more in line with the down under bar in australia i gusess
it's that weird culture of griminess but everyone loves it any way
i hope i didn't offend you
harry's is where the purdue nightlife heart beats

no haha it wasn't offensive...just curious is all

......The point of adding this conversation was to exemplify that Harry's, The Down Under Bar and The Lodge are all places one MUST experience. It's just one of those things.

Sex & the City

One day, during the wonderful summer of 2007, a dear friend named Kristin said to me, "Amanda, every woman should watch that show." "That show" being referred to could be none other than Sex & the City (SATC). I nodded my head and brushed off her comment. I have never been the chick-flick movie type, why on earth would I watch "that show?"

I've been so transformed since having the pleasure of meeting Miss Kristin. You see, through our friendship I've learned quite a bit about being a woman. Being the only female in your major for college career can suppress your feminine side drastically. Ask any of my boys. So, Kristin helped me nurture my female self.

When I was studying in Australia, the SATC movie came out. Myself and all of my flatmates went out to see it (even the blokes!). As we were exiting the cinema I was completely taken by surprise as I realized how much I had fell in love with the movie, the ideas, the humor, the concept, the characters - everything about SATC! By the way, Inga pointed out that I was most like Charlotte, which I took as a compliment.

For Christmas of 2008 I asked my grandparents for my very own copy of the SATC movie. I was so excited to watch it with my best friend (who doubles as my mother)! There was something really special about watching that particular film with my mom. We laughed and had a great girls night in, despite being forced to watch the movie in my dad's office because his was the only dual-layer DVD reader in the house, haha!

A few nights after moving to the big, fabulous city of Orlando, where I reside as a single woman, I decided I must watch the SATC TV show. I was empowered as I purchased the first season. I am three episodes in and - no surprise - I absolutely love it. I even joined a Facebook group for SATC.

I think the aspect I love most about SATC is that everyone - young, old, single, married, complicated, happy, sad, ugly, beautiful, rich, poor, male, female, newb or veteran and everything in between - EVERYONE can relate to the show. It's brilliant.

Here are some Sex & the City quick links:

The HBO Sex & the City website.

The Sex & the City 2008 film IMDB website.

The Sex & the City Wikipedia article.


20 February 2009

Books Read in 2009

I've added a new gadget to my blog: Books Read in 2009. I listed the books I read while in Australia on my Aussie blog, and thought it was a neat thing to keep track of. I've also linked the books listed to their respective websites in case you're interested in learning more about the book. I must say that The Secret Life of Bees was an exceptional read! The movie was well done, too, but not as good as the book, naturally.

The next book I read will be... Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Unless I have outside influence on the decision. After reading Emma I may decide to read something more contemporary. We shall see.


My Apartment

Here is the promised post of my apartment. Do enjoy! (They're a little outdated by now - sorry!)

When you walk in, to the immediate right is a closet and the utility room behind that, but in this shot you see the kitchen, which is to the non-immediate right. Follow?

My grandma gave me these lovely canisters. I was so proud of myself for filling them up: sugar, flower, powdered sugar (the most of what I'll surely use the least, haha) and the chai tea (my favorite) that my aunt made me for Christmas:

Jumping to the master bedroom (view from a bit inside the entryway), here is the assortment of things that now reside in my "night stand," which happens to be the beautiful green chest you'll see in another picture coming up:

The vanity/sink area of the huge master bathroom:

The empty but well organized linen closet:

Another view of the master bathroom (I love the flowers!):

I almost couldn't believe that all of my clothes fit in the walk-in closet! Thank goodness for all of that wonderful shelving:

The view of my bedroom from the bathroom doorway:

My lovely curtains (the photo doesn't do them justice):

The VERY spacious living room (the books are all now arranged in a fantastic bookcase - one in the living room and one in my bedroom where the green chest used to be; notice the awesome lamps - thanks Aunt Dawn!):

My lovely dining table - thanks Grandpa! (if this table put out a personals ad it would read "currently seeking four chairs"):

And last, but certainly not least, the computer nook; it is across from the utility room and kitchen (between those areas and my bedroom, that is - screw it: I'm going to upload a photo of the layout, haha!):

Here's the layout of the Biscayne apartment. This should help a bit:

And that's my apartment so far! Will post when I acquire some furniture or anything in addition to the ironing board that occupies the guest bedroom (it's too empty to bother posting an image of).


19 February 2009

Who I Am in 5 Years

Who you will be in the next five years depends on three things:

1. the books you read
2. the people you meet
3. the choices you make

-Bob and Emilie Barnes


I fully agree, and right now each of these elements is so visible in my life. Given the amount of free time I have now that I'm working through the day and have wide open evenings, I have had ample time to read. It is my favorite pass-time, and I firmly believe one can learn so much from books. In that respect, reading greatly shapes a person. As a side note, I'm really excited to start reading Jane Austen's "Emma" with my Mom across the distance!

The people you meet. I am a lump of clay waiting to be molded when it comes to this one. So far, outside of Purdue friends in neighboring cities, I've met one person: Cody, my neighbor from across the hall. Cody is a fine new friend, though I've my work cut out for me regarding my new social life here. I'm happy to report that I've been very proactive in that I've joined the Orlando Women Runners group who meet for a run every Saturday, and I joined LA Fitness last week. I hope to make some friends in a regular spinning class.

Lastly, the choices you make. Our actions define us. I've made some very hard decisions lately, but I know they were the right ones. I've learned that when it comes to things that really matter, it is often the most difficult choice that is best for all. The choice we selfishly don't want but go with, in the end, because it really is the best decision. Not only do our actions define us, but they can teach us a lot about ourselves if we stop to reflect. I know I've grown a lot in the last year - especially with having been abroad for half of it - and as fabulous as it was, the best is yet to come.


15 February 2009

17JAN Weekend

I know I'm super far behind in what I've been up to over the last month (maybe more?) but here's a start, haha. The weekend before I left Indiana to move to Orlando I had a lot of fun visiting with Gracie and Barat and Darin with my Mom, and skiing with Mom, Chucky and Michelle. I'm really glad we were able to ski, and I'm happy that Gracie is out of the hospital (last I heard). = ) Here are some photos:

She is such a sweetheart. Such a good sport for being in the hospital with all the tubes and what not.

She loves her Aunt Tammy! My mom has a gift with the little ones. Gracie had her eyes glued on Mom when she was reading a story book. So cute!

Me and my best friend who doubles as my momma! We had a rough start to the day, haha, but we ended up having a blast! It cracks me up how bundled she was!


Butterfly Tat Ideas

Currently I'm undecided about what I'd have done if I got a tattoo. I'm set on the top of the foot for the location, though. I'm leaning more towards a sparrow tattoo (post coming soon), but I have always loved butterflies, so here are some images of butterflies that I have been considering as a tattoo:

I like the big blue one towards the right out. I like that it's not a straight-on view of a butterfly, but angled quite a bit.

This is obviously a sticker tattoo of sorts, but I like this one because it's of a Monarch butterfly. They are one of the largest of butterflies. I also like these butterflies because I once sketched a picture of one that greatly resembled a Monarch.

This is an image of a real butterfly, not a tattoo or sticker. I really like the sections in the butterfly's wings here. It's intricate. I'm not sure how detailed I could be for the size of the tattoo I would get, but I'd like to have some detail. I really like the shape of the wings of this one, too.

Lastly, this image depicts what I want very well, excepting the location of the tattoo. I like the size, and I like the amount of detail and the shape of the wings. I would alter the fact that it is a straight-on view of the butterfly; I want it to the side a little, as if the insect was in flight and not pinned down for observation.



08 February 2009

Lady Track Shack 5K

Saturday I ran a race: the Lady Track Shack 5K. 1500 spirited women runners and walkers showed their support of the Florida Hospital Track Shack Cancer Screening Fund!

I got up at 5:30A in order to arrive in time to park and prep for the race, but it was a good morning and I was feeling like a good run was in my future. I had my favorite race breakfast: a bagel and cream cheese and some OJ. I grabbed my Nike+ kit and was out the door. I kicked myself because once I parked and got to the race site I realized I'd completely forgotten to check the Orlando Women Runners pages for information on a meet-up at the race, so I missed the picture the group took (I was sad), but just before the race I saw Salina and her friend Angela. I was really glad I bumped into a couple OWR ladies after all.

The race was in Mead Gardens, a really lovely area. I seeded my self at the 9-minute mile marker; big mistake! I totally didn't realize how well I've been training because it's a bad sign when you pass people through the entire duration of the race. That means you didn't seed yourself accurately. In other words, I should have been at the 8-minute mile marker because then I wouldn't have wasted several minutes and energy on passing that group of people. Any way, lesson learned for next time.

My race was especially great because while I was able to continuously push myself and run hard, I was also boosted from all the passing I did! I had one major blip 0.2 miles from the finish where I was so focused that when I saw a timer (one of a couple timers that are only to inform runners of the time elapsed - not the finish line) I stopped and ended my run on my Nike+ kit! Then I realized I wasn't quite at the finish line. That mishap along with the mis-seeding hurt my time, but I'll get it straight next time.

Regardless - and here's the best part of the race - I dropped 1'23" on my 5K time!!! I went from 28'08" down to 26'45"!!! That's fantastic for such a short race (3.1 miles). So I was really happy. At the end the volunteers were passing out fresh strawberries, bananas and water bottles - perfectly satisfying, let me tell ya! And! There was a garden sponsor there who gave out free plants! I have a baby philodendron of some type (no tag and the guy who was passing them out wasn't sure which type it was). I am going to buy a little pot and put it in my office! = )

The image below outlines how my race went by the numbers. It's a smaller image, but you can click to enlarge.


05 February 2009

Israel's Medley

I first heard this when Chucky put it on the iPod while driving around somewhere in Indiana. The video isn't a work of art, and the song's intro is almost out of a drama movie, but give the song a listen any way. Personally, I fell in love with the tune, a mash-up of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful Life" (though the version I heard was just with the ukulele, I think?). I love the island vibes it gives off and how it makes me smile. (For more about Israel.)



Once in a while, you make friends who have the power to restore your faith in humanity. Once in the greatest of whiles, you make friends who can restore your faith in yourself.

I moved into a small town right before the weather changed one year, and it looked like I was in for a cold, lonely winter - away from my friends and my life in the city. Then a colleague from work casually invited me to dinner and a movie with her "chick flick" group. Thirsty for female companionship, I jumped at the chance.

I imaged there would be a light chatter about celebrities - the way my old friends and I had passed the time. But as we sat at the dinner table, one woman said, "Time for check-in!" Each woman then took a turn relating, with deep-felt emotion, what was going on in her life while the other six gave their full attention.

I was uncomfortable. This sharing among friends was more intimate than anything I'd experienced before. The waiter came to the table before it was time for my check-in, and I was secretly relieved.

The next time, and the next, and the next, I kept my mouth closed. When pressed, I would blurt out something simple: "I'm happy it's the weekend!" or "I'll be seeing my family for the holidays." I couldn't bring myself to tell all. Yet the 12 eyes portrayed no sense of disappointment, just the same focused attention they devoted to each other.

One night, I'd just come from an encounter at work that left me devastated, and my check-in came. Before I could stop myself, I told them of my worst fears- that I might not cut it and I'd be fired. I was searching to make sense of everything, but I was so torn and confused. Then as I talked, my fears, buried and knotted deep in my belly, broke up and lightened and started to float. I saw myself reflected back in their eyes: a just, honest soul. Someone who had a lot to be proud of. Someone worthy of respect and understanding. Someone worthy of friendship.

Since that day, I crave the check-ins like a cloudless blue sky in a dull gray winter. As I've learned, the power of loving friends who are willing to devote their entire attention to you is as healing as any force on Earth.

By Mariska van Aalst