Monday, November 18, 2013

Fun in China

These are old pictures from June but I didn't see them until yesterday.  One of the girls that Chris went to China with posted them and tagged him yesterday.  Wish I had had them for his China album but all is not lost.  I can add them to his college album.

Chris took lots of pictures and his friends on the trip did as well but it is always fun to get a glimpse of what life is like for your kids when you aren't around and this was one of those perfect examples of that.  I love that Chris is having so much fun with Sarah in these pictures.  The one picture in particular makes me think of James Bond fighting in his tuxedo.  Fun image for me.  And what is so cool is that they felt so comfortable doing it in such a public place.  Chris had no idea that all these Chinese people had stopped to watch them do their finger fencing.  He was in the moment and having fun.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Drop Night

Friday night was when Tom's class chose their next assignments and the planes they would be flying in.  They call it Drop Night.  His class chose a football draft theme for the party which is basically exactly what it is.  The class is ranked and they get to choose their assignments in order of their rank and what is available.  So they all had football jerseys and the wives and girlfriends made theirs as well.  And those with children had their kids there as well.  It certainly was a fun idea.
Tom's next assignment will be McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas.  He will be a navigator in the KC-135 refueling planes.  It wasn't one of his top choices so he is a little disappointed--not as exciting and sexy as a fighter or a bomber.  But Bill and I are extremely proud of him and think it will be a great assignment.  And we are so looking forward to seeing him graduate next week after a long year of training.  It was hard work and we are proud of him for it.

Wisconsin Part Dieux

This trip to Wisconsin involved a little more education time.  And was a little more frustrating.  More technical in nature with actual building involved in two different programs that had to be built just right to work.  Some days we finished early and one day in particular, we didn't have enough time to finish and was really frustrating.

Because I arrived around 2:30 on Monday and didn't have class until Tuesday afternoon, I invited Dad and Shirley to come down to Madison to see me.  They picked me up at the airport and stayed at the same hotel I was staying at.  We went out to dinner at the Great Dane in Fitchburg as I didn't want to try to figure out parking downtown Madison.  We enjoyed visiting at the hotel and drinking some wine afterward at the hotel.  In the morning, I took them out to the Epic campus so that they could see where I had been doing my training.  We had time to go through more of the buildings that I had gone through before.  The New York themed building was pretty cool but my favorites are still on The Farm.

I stayed in most of my nights there otherwise except for a shuttle trip to Walmart to pick up a few things.  I did go out for dinner with my work group on Friday night though.  We ate at a place called The Old Fashioned which was right across the street from the capitol building.  I love seeing the capitol building--especially at night when it is all lit up.  So I was thrilled that I got to see it on this trip.  I can't even remember how long it has been since I have been there but definitely more than 30 years.  Since we had a bit of a wait for a table--I went across the street to go inside to see the rotunda.  Just as beautiful as I remembered it.  These are the only pictures I took this week but I am happy I got to see it.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Going Home

One of the nice things about going back to Wisconsin for work was that I was getting to go home.  The first night in Madison, we went to State Street Brats for dinner.  I have been trying to lose weight so I didn't get a brat but I did order fried cheese curds at the last minute since I hadn't had them in many years.  So go figure how I thought I was going to lose weight eating those--but they were oh so good.  And Bucky was on the wall of the bar so I had to get a picture of him. 

The other nice part of going back to Wisconsin was that I got to see my family.  I only had a few days so my only plan was to drive to Tomah after class on Thursday night and get back to the Madison airport Sunday afternoon to fly back home.  No specific plans.  Dane took Friday off so he could spend time with me which was nice.  We decided to go to his mother-in-law's farm to take a walk around the property.  I was hoping I would see a deer but no such luck.  Saw plenty of deer trails, tracks and places where deer had bedded down in the fields but no actual deer sightings.  And I like to drive out on the country roads around Tomah--see the farms, cows, fall foliage, etc.  Stopped at Oak Grove Cemetery to stop by my mom and grandparents' graves.  And the Greenfield and LaGrange cemeteries to visit a lot of family graves.  Came across my Civil War veteran relatives graves and thought I would include pictures of them here as part of my Veterans Day tribute. 

 Fredrick Heser was ill the whole two months that he was in the Army. 
Nathan Spooner and his three sons--Daniel, Charles and Edmond.  Charles and Edmond died in the war.

I wasn't expecting to see anyone except my dad and brothers on my trip home but my Wausau aunts decided to come to Tomah to stay with Uncle Ray and Aunty Karen and to come see me while I was home.  I was thrilled that I got to see them all.  We had a little mini-reunion visiting for several hours and going out to the County Line Restaurant for fish fry that evening.
While we were at the County Line waiting to be seated, we saw John Veldey.  He was my dad's boss for over 40 years at Veldey's Mobil.  Uncle Ray worked there for awhile as well and Dane worked there while he was in high school.  So had to get a picture of these guys together.

I was nice to get home for awhile.  I leave to go back to Madison on Monday.  Dad and Shirley will be coming down to spend some time with me until it is time to go to my class Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New Start; New Job

I'm about a month behind in my blogging.  So thought I had better catch up.

We've been anticipating big changes in PeaceHealth for awhile now.  My informatics team has been waiting to be "reorganized" for almost a year.  The decision was that the informatics team would become a system-wide team rather than local and would be working on the Epic Enterprise project--bringing in a new software program for the whole system of our hospitals in Oregon, Washington and Alaska.  Because of all the issues at our hospital though, the leadership insisted that we needed to keep an informatics presence at PeaceHealth Southwest.  I wasn't really interested in the type of work that I would have to do if I went to the system informatics team and it was going to require a lot of travel so I had pretty much decided I was going to stay at the hospital.  But my former director, knowing my aptitude and love of doing analyst type work encouraged me to apply for an Epic analyst position.  It was a long wait.  I applied at the beginning of August, interviewed at the end of August and was offered the job at the end of September.  Since I needed to start working my new job on October 6th, there was a quick transition of trying to figure out who would take over my various responsibilities and get them trained.  I am happy to be on the project though.  It is a huge job but it is exciting to be able to start something new. 

I thought I was going to be starting to work at the PeaceHealth Shared Service Center in Vancouver (pictured above) but as it turns out, they are preparing office space at our Memorial campus downtown.  Mixed feelings about it.  But it is what it is. 

Around the same time that I was working on transitioning my responsibilities, the article that our informatics team worked on was finally published at the end of September.  It was exciting for us to finally see it in "print".  The sad part was by the time it was published, the entire team had split up.  Rhonda is the manager for Nursing Informatics for the system, Alex has joined her, Jill has also joined her team but has moved back home to Cottage Grove, Amy decided to go back to working in the Family Birth Center, Lacey took over being the informatics manager at Southwest and I was going to the IT analyst team. 

Installing Epic means going to training in Wisconsin.  For my position, it means three weeks of training between October and December.  And then working on projects and studying in between so that I can pass the test and actually be allowed to be an Epic analyst.  I have always heard wonderful things about the Epic campus and I was not disappointed.  The Epic campus is located in Verona out in the country so you have views of Wisconsin farmland from the classrooms.  I only had time to explore a few buildings--the learning center where we had our classes was pretty amazing.  All the classrooms had a theme and were named for that theme.  For instance, my classroom was the Cyclops room of Odyssey.  There were super hero themes, Jame Bond, Star Wars, Clue, etc. just to name a few.  And the grounds were beautiful too.
 These are just a few pictures of the amazing training center.  There is art everywhere as well and the meals were pretty fantastic too.
All the office buildings have themes as well.  Being from Wisconsin, the office buildings that I was most interested in seeing were on "The Farm".  The Farm consisted of three big office buildings that were called The Barn, The Stable and The Shed and there was also the Farmer's Market there which was one of the cafeterias.  In those three office buildings were 980 offices just to give you an idea of the size.  Pretty cool!
I was so impressed with the attention to detail in the design and the decor of the buildings.  In the house portions, the office doors were just like doors you would find in an old farm house.  There were sitting rooms and areas that might look like a kitchen.  There was a creamery between the house and barn and I loved that they had huge milk bottles in their little kitchen area there with cool pictures and saying on them.  In the barn, there was the cow cutouts and Babe the Pig from Charlotte's Web.  The flooring in the barn looked like hay.  You crossed a neat wooden railroad like bridge to get to The Shed which had a '50's Farmall tractor in it.  Jill and I didn't really go into The Shed to see what the offices look like but we went through the Farmer's Market to get to The Stable.  The doors to the office there were like horse stall doors and instead of regular office name plates, they were horse ribbons with their names on.  And the carpeting looked like cobblestones.

I'm getting ready to go back next week for more training.  I might check out a few more buildings or the tree house.  We'll see what I have time for.  But it was a really Epic experience.  And the training was pretty wonderful too.