I'm not an everyday blogger... If I have something to say...this is where I will say it. You will also find links to my specialized blogs.

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says... 'Oh shit....she's awake!!'

""Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!""
— Unknown

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 Thank You!

Thank you for making our 2008 annual party another roaring success!!! The weather once again put a crimp on turnout so there is way too much food leftover.

Because of your generosity, we will be delivering $1271.00 to The Other Place tomorrow.

The 100 of you who did brave the elements consumed: 16 lb smoked turkey, 10 lb skirt steak, 6 lb shrimp, 4953 ml liquor, 58 bottles of beer, 7 bottles of champagne, 15 bottles of red wine, 5 bottles of white wine, and 32 cans of pop! If only you had also consumed all of the other food! :)

If by any chance you took photos during the evening, please pass them on...we'd love to see them. Wishing you the best in 2009! Ann and

Sunday, November 30, 2008

2008 Annual Letter

Once again 2008 has brought change on National and personal levels. In September, my position with SPi was eliminated; October brought a new position with LexisNexis; and in November we celebrated a historical Presidential election. Ann is currently working at LexisNexis as a Project Manager in a contract-to-hire position learning new technologies and no longer traveling. On the other hand, John continues working for Sierra Nevada Corporation in Business Development and has been traveling almost every week since May.

Our family is all doing well. Grandma fell in February and broke her femur. It was a tremendous inconvenience for her given all of her volunteer and social commitments. In true style, she was walking again by May and has resumed all of her commitments. Dad and Carol celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary this year. The "kids" hosted a surprise party for them at El Meson with about 60 guests. It was a great time! Jason graduated from Northmont and continues working at Complete Pet Mart. Sydney, a senior this year, is thrilled to have her own car and a new puppy, Pongo. She’s also been exploring her college options but plans to spend the first 2 years at Sinclair. Matt continues to work for his father when he is not running back and forth to Columbus to visit Stacy, his girlfriend. Caleb and Henry continue to grow like weeds and when Jenny married Greg Muhlenkamp earlier this year, we added Luke and John to the family. Brian, Jennifer, and new daughter Allison recently relocated to Colorado Springs thanks to the Air Force. John and Elizabeth are living in Dallas as is Sara. Laura, Jose, and Alex are still in Houston and survived Ike. Laura was just accepted to nursing school. We hardly get to see Julie and Ben these days…even though they are just “up the road” in Columbus.

So much work travel left us wanting to stay home instead of traveling for vacation. However, we did manage a few trips. In March, I joined John in California for a wine tasting trip. In August, I took my Grandmother to her niece’s 50th wedding anniversary in Boise ID. There’s a lot of stress ensuring that the 91 year old Matriarch makes it safely. Particularly when I agreed to take her I assumed we were headed to Cleveland. However, I was thrilled to make my first trip to Idaho and I also got to meet Bob Feller, former Cleveland Indian and oldest living member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Check out my photos from this trip at Stanley, ID Travelpod. Also in August, we took Jason on his High School graduation trip to Washington DC and environs which I called the Magical History Tour. Gettysburg was way better than I expected but one can really stand to only visit so many battlefields. Grass, hills, rocks…it’s really all about the same. Of course, Jason also experienced some exceptional food.

We are still holding at 5 cats. Our oldest, Momcat, is 17 and amazes me every day. She is deaf and has only one functioning kidney. While she moves slower, she shows no real sign of slowing down. Of course, none of them move as fast as our youngest Harley…even his heart murmur doesn’t slow him down. Namir, Lola, and Kirby continue to tolerate us and the other cats.

We continue to be actively involved locally. As usual, we hosted several fundraisers. I am starting my second year on the Board of K-12 Gallery, a nonprofit arts organization located in the heart of downtown Dayton, offering a wide variety of classes, workshops, exhibitions and special events for children. John and I both served on the Masquerage committee for AIDS Resource Center Ohio.

People frequently wonder why we are still in Dayton OH. While Dayton is struggling economically, it continues to be an amazing place with great arts and entertainment and very special people. Last year I joined a group called 100+ Women Who Care. Dayton Women Who Care was the third chapter. It is the best 4 hours and $400 that I spend a year. The concept is simple: each quarter the group selects an organization, each member writes a check for $100, and a non-profit organization reaps the benefits. For more details, see my blog post “We All Give What We Can.” The Dayton Chapter has now over 180 members and since it’s inception in April 2007 this amazing group of women has donated over ?? Probably more interesting to me is that these chapters aren’t showing up in “major” cities…they are showing up in places like Dayton OH, Jackson MI, Dupage County IL, and Albion MI. And now Dayton will boast the first 100+ Men Who Care group, which will include John. John (aka Stella Artois) also performed in his third RubiGirls show at Club Masque on November 29 to benefit ARC Ohio. It’s always a great time for not-easily-offended adults only! All this and more is why it is still GREAT in Dayton.

An update on the Smith-Roberts Annual Holiday Party. Recent news stories have indicated that many companies are pulling the plug on holiday parties because of the economy. We think this sends the wrong message to employees and is bad for morale. While Viacom gave 2 additional personal days to their employees, we intend to move forward with the 18th Annual Smith-Roberts Holiday Party. However, we thought we would take a page from a company we heard about who instead of throwing their office holiday bash will be donating to charity. So with that sense of holiday spirit and hope, we are asking you to bring a contribution (whatever you can afford to give) to The Other Place, a homeless shelter here in Dayton.

Wishing you a HOPEFUL 2009!

Ann and John

2008 Annual Holiday Party Menu

We've done it! We have a menu for our annual holiday party!!

Spicy Grilled Shrimp
Prosciutto & Asiago Rice Cakes with Pesto Aioli
Stilton, Bacon and Scallion Puffs
Parmesan Puffs
Crab and Wild Mushroom Cheesecake
Roquefort Terrine
Smoked Bluefish Pate
Tricolor Vegetable Pate
Skit Steak with Mushrooms and Chipotle Aioli
Smoked Turkey Breast with Chutneys
Cranberry Black Pepper Chutney
Spicy Chutney Barbecue Sauce
Apricot and Rosemary Chutney
Sweet Potato Salad with Orange-Maple Dressing
Brussels Sprouts and Glazed Pecan Salad
Chocolate Truffles
Candied Espresso Walnuts

Monday, August 11, 2008

Travelpod: Stanley Idaho

I'm taking my 91 year old Grandmother to her niece's 50th Wedding Anniversary in Stanley Idaho. From what I've gathered the area looks beautiful.

Welcome photo taken from Google Maps by by photodegraff. (Until I can get my own photo up there)

Read more: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/noumena12/3/tpod.html#ixzz1Ifzct8wo

Sunday, June 08, 2008

100+ Women Who Care - 2nd Quarter

In January, I posted about an organization that I participate in called 100+ Women Who Care. At that time, 100+ Women Dayton had 107 members. As of our April meeting, we had 166 members!! That translates to $16,600 dollars donated to a non-profit. That kind of money MAKES a difference locally!

The 2nd Quarter recipient is Clothes That Work. Clothes That Work provides interview appropriate clothing and personalized, confidence building image services for clients. The 100+ Women donation will be used to provision of large-sized clothing for both men and women since there are never enough garments of those sizes.

An update from Dayton Children's Hospital, the second 100+ Women recipient, provided examples of how the 100+ Women donation has helped through the needy patient fund. In the midst of the great fear and trials of having a child critically ill, the needy patient fund has helped with rent, with electric and gas bills, in any number of ways to take some of the burden off the family.

You can make a difference locally! Join 100+ Women at our next meeting on July 15!

AIDS Resource Center RED Event

I'm a little late posting about this event...but here it is. John and I sponsored a table (with the help of our friends) for this spectacular event. Every two years, ARC hosts what was generally referred to as the "table top event." This year they took it WAY beyond just table tops...entire rooms were created. Joining John and I for this year's event were: Bruce and Ellen Holroyd, Lillian and Dave Sullivan, Steve Makovec, and Lavonda Webster.

If you didn't make it to the Table Top event here are a few more dates to mark on your calendar:
Red Ribbon Society, 26 September, hosted by John and I on the roof of the Firefly Building
Masquerage 2008, 18 October {See photos from the 2007 event}

Thursday, January 17, 2008

We All Give What We Can

Sometimes it is $25, $50, $100 or more. We donate our money, time, and services in order to make a difference in our community and in the lives of others. Sometimes I would wonder whether my small contribution was really making a difference. I've found a way to make MY $100 be the difference.

Consider this... The Dayton Boys and Girls Club (DBGC) has a room of 16 computers that don't work consistently if at all. The kids may or may not be able to use them for their homework. These are kids without access to a computer at home. In addition, these kids parents have very limited computer skills and limited access to computers; in today's technologically savvy market that means that you can't even apply for a job at Kroger's without access to a computer. Replacing the computer equipment is beyond the capability of the existing operational funding. Enter 100+ Women Who Care. Because of 100+ Women Who Care, the DBGC was able to acquire brand new computers for the club. The kids at the club have been developing their computer skills and using the computers to help with their homework and the reports they need to write. Their parents are also benefiting! Because DBGC has new computers, they received a grant from Microsoft for additional software. Because of the new computers, they have been able to develop programs such as a summer program that will tie the kids in with the Columbus Zoo.

How did my $100 make a difference? If I had just donated $100 to the Dayton Boys and Girls Club it wouldn't have had the same dramatic impact. 100+ Women Who Care currently exists in only four (4) cities and Dayton OH is one of them! (Other chapters include Jackson, MI; Dupage County, IL; and Albion, MI.) Since it's inception in April 2007, 100+ Women Who Care Dayton donated over $22,000 dollars LOCALLY. That really amazing! What a great way to make a local impact! (NOTE: I've been writing checks since I joined last summer but was only able to attend my first meeting the other night. That's why I'm so jazzed about this group of women!)

What is 100+ Women Who Care? It's really a GREAT model that keeps your donation local and makes an impact.
  • Each member donates $100 per meeting ($400 per year)
  • The donations will be given to charities/worthy causes serving locally in the Dayton area.
  • Controversial charities/non-profits/causes will be avoided and official, researched charities (501(c)3)/nonprofits will be considered. Worthy causes will also be considered and the donations will be handled by a bank with a trustee administering the fund to issue checks after receiving receipts.
  • No national programs will be considered. The purpose is for 100% of the contributions to stay in the community.
  • Any member may put a suggestion she has researched in the drawing at each meeting; three will be drawn for consideration.
  • Each of the members who submitted the charities/non-profit which are drawn will be given five (5) minutes to make a presentation. No representative of the organizations may make the presentation.
  • The membership votes and majority rules. Even if a member's first choice isn't selected, each member is committed to donating at each meeting.
  • Members write their check directly to the selected charity/nonprofit.
Each meeting lasts one (1) hour. That makes the commitment four (4) hours a year and $400. It's about strength in numbers...And what a difference it makes!

Want to get involved here in Dayton? Email me and I'll send you the literature and commitment form.
Want to learn more about 100+ Women Who Care? Check out the 100+ Women Who Care website.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm a sharpie addict

So, I'm in the office supply section at Sam's. (Please if there were a Cosco nearby I wouldn't have to go there. But they truly have the BEST deal on Scotch Bubble Mailer envelopes.) And what do I see but a 28 pack of ultra fine point sharpies. Do I need them? Nope. Probably not a chance as I have a drawer full. Can I stop myself from buying them? Nope. Not a chance. I think there are colors that I don't have. Besides, the cats are always running off with them and hiding them under the furniture. I now have 28 new sharpies. Life just doesn't get much better.