Wednesday Jan 21, 2009

Sun Door Closes, Barn Door Opens

And so it will be told, that after 19.62 years with Sun Microsystems, Kimberley left the room.

Yup.   I am outahere.   Hasta la vista!   Sayonara.   Au revoir et salut.   Phir Milenge.   Ciào.   Tschüss.

And what next?   Well, as one sage person reminded me, as one door closes, another opens.   For me, it's a huge barn door.   I have decided to focus on my number two passion in life.   (Number one is my husband and fellow Sun employee, Georg Edelmann).   Yes, it is time to do what some thought I was doing already...   :-)   ...Play with horses all day!

And so, as CEO, CFO, President, Marketing Director, HR Director, and Chief Learning Officer of Kearsarge Meadows in Warner, New Hampshire, I am going to focus on the horse business, at least for a while.   After 32 years in the Computer Industry, I think it's time for a little break.

FY09 Goals will include getting to the US Dressage Federation Championships again.   And WITHOUT a broken toe this time!   Great goal and good fun!

(That's me with a happy face of deep concentration and bright sunshine.)   I'll be spending more time training, teaching, and competing with my favorite KWPN Dutch Warmblood and top dressage partner, Jeddien (by Bustron).   While we are both getting long in the tooth, she continues to enjoy her work, competing, and teaching my dressage students "the moves".

My husband's pet, Piper Warrior (by Ferro), will also get more of my time this year.   His first full year of competition came late in life and is chronicled in my blog Dressage-Queen.blogspot.com.   2009 is going to be a great year for the handsome, lovable boy!

Our two little ones who were born in 2006 will be learning how to carry a rider very soon.   Exciting times ahead for the little critters who have really done nothing much more than.... well, horse around really!

As Jeddien's only offspring, little Bea Yewtee (left) already has a special place in our hearts.   But with her sassy attitude and flashy four white socks, she is destined to follow in Jeddien's hoofprints as a diva in the dressage arena.

Big Ben (right), who had no problem growing into his name, is my big Teddy Bear.   His education is well underway and I'm really looking forward to his future.

For me, the adventure at Sun comes to an end.   International travel.   Great coworkers.   SUNW lows, highs, "retirement prices", and whoops.   Tons of great customer interactions.   Sigma.   Metrics.   Director at last!   (Thank you Diann Olden & Rich Green)   Technology galore.   Dragons.   Scorpions.   Planets.   Two international moves.   British Citizenship!   (Thank you again, Ian White & John Sanders)   Doughnuts.   Beer busts with Scott McNealy in El Segundo.   Town Halls.   PANIC!   (Thank you again, Chris Drake!)   Cooking lessons, including how to convert Thanksgiving turkey leftovers into a fabulous curry!   (Thanks to all my friends & colleagues in Bangalore India!)   And so much more.   But, now, a great new adventure begins.

And so with that, I'd just like to finish by saying "Thank you all for a most exhilarating ride!"

Kimberley Brown
aka Frau Edelmann

Thursday Jan 08, 2009

More Fraud Emails

Whether we work in hi-tech with its deluge of daily email, or just have a private email account through which we communicate with friends, family, and acquaintances, my guess is that most of us get junk email of some kind.   This can include various flavors of fraud and phishing.

Today, while investigating whether the sentiments in an email received were genuine or not, I found the very useful Fraud Guides website.   It was the first I've seen in a while with a nice index of fraud on the left, and links to TONS of informative fraud websites.

While I believe I can still spot a fraud email from 50 paces away, I do wonder....   At what point will the criminals behind fraud emails become clever enough to trip me up?

Until then, I don't think I'll be responding to the nice lady in a developing country who wishes to send her two children to Warner New Hampshire for 2 months of prepaid riding lessons.

PHEW!   'Nearly fell for that one.   Not.

Tuesday Jan 06, 2009

New Goals in 2009

There are so many events in life which one can observe with little reaction or response.   We can write them off easily as someone else's reality, things we can't change, and things that simply don't matter....   whatever the reason.

And then, there are some observations which do impact us.   Things that color how we see the world & life. Things that change our opinions.   Things that cause us to drop whatever we're doing and radically shift gears.

Recently a friend & work colleague suffered a heart attack.   He is doing really well now and is making changes to his lifestyle.   Surprisingly, his crisis had an impact on me personally.   It reminded me that each of our lives are finite in length.   It reminded me to look at my own life and, as one Sun VP, Diann Olden, would say, "Inspect what you expect"...   assessing if my life path is going in the right direction, in the direction I want.

And with that, over the holiday season, I realised that all is about 98.5% good...   starting with a superbly wonderful marriage and happy homelife....   a very satisfying 33 year career in the computer industry, the co-authoring with friend & Sun colleague Chris Drake of Panic!, a highly successful technical book, impressive successes in my "hobby" of horse training & dressage competition, travel in 16 countries around the world (mostly for customer site visits), excellent friends & families, both here and abroad, and a wonderful home.

But, for the past few years, one more great big target has been shining in the distance, tempting me to aim for it.   But, due to other committments, I haven't even considered it.   Until now.   Thanks to my friend's own brush with death, I can now actually envision going after one more goal before my own heart stops beating...   Someday...   Someday soon.

Here's to 2009!   May it be an interesting year!

Thursday Dec 18, 2008

Pictures from NH Ice Storm '08

For friends, colleagues, and family...

Photos from around our property, taken the first days after the storm can be found here.

After The Storm

It's now being called "Ice Storm '08" by the local news.   After 4 and a half days, we got full power back.   But half the town is still without power, as are many in New Hampshire and apparently Massachusetts as well.

We have cleared up most of the mess...   downed tree limbs and broken fences...   but a couple of big hardwood trees will be left to age over the winter, then we'll hit them with a chainsaw in the spring.

At least the driveway (right) is no longer an obstacle course.

We lost a lot of refrigerated and frozen food when temps soared into the 50's before power returned.   And 4 copper heating pipes burst, ruining the carpeting in the process.   But overall, we fared better than many.

Our personal version of the Ice Storm '08 crisis is over.   Now, a big snowstorm is coming.   Oh well.   Ya gotta love New England weather.   It's that or time to move out!

:-)

Saturday Dec 13, 2008

Water, Fire, and Malibu Lights

As I write this, much of New Hampshire is without power.   After an impressive ice storm, many trees took down power lines.   At 1:47 am Friday morning, we lost power in Warner.   That was about 40 hours ago.

Like many of our neighbors, we have a generator for these rare emergencies.   Our home is wired to support the water pump, the oil furnace, a couple lights and two power sockets run off a generator.   And that's good enough!

In the past two days, we have come to appreciate access to water, first and foremost.   Not only for ourselves, but for the horses, chickens, dog and bird.   Next, we are glad we stocked up on firewood.   The woodburning stove not only provides warmth and a bit of light, it is kinda fun to cook on!

But the real challenge is lighting.   Especially for the 20 horse barn, which is not wired for the generator.   However, after a full day of cold but strong winter sunlight, we found our solar powered Malibu lights placed every 12 feet along the aisle are good enough to provide just enough light to tend to the horses one last time before bed.

Venturing out, we had to travel 20 miles to get gas for the generator.   The local super market, DeMoulas Market Basket, is running on minimum generator power and selling canned & dry goods, wine, beer, and a lot of water.   Meat, fish, and frozen goods were pulled from the shelves soon after the power failure looked more than momentary.   But the town is happy they are open and serving the community as best they can.   The hardware store next door, Aubuchon's, is out of all major emergency provisions.   Big batteries.   Generators.   Portable lights.   But they are open, running on a borrowed generator.   And as usual, we ran into some neighbors there.   Talked about the weather.   Talked about the power failure.   And learned that Warner lost power into our sub-station.   They say we should have power back by.....   Next Thursday!!!

At home, every fenceline on our property is down with fallen trees.   But in comparison to what we saw while out and about, we faired well.   Electric wires are down in the roads.   Some homes have been damaged.   Some roads are closed.   And the local rivers are creeping over their banks and will get higher when the temperatures lift out of the teens and into the 30's and 40's in the next day or two.

While temps are sub-freezing, we are keeping the former contents of our freezer outside and the contents of the fridge on the porch.   As it gets warmer, we will no doubt be eating the thawing meats with priority.

Finally, we have no mobile phone reception at all, but our land phone line is working, and therefore, we also have Internet access via laptops only.   However, that is at about 2 gallons per hour.   :-)

To those who sent us emails, thank you.

Tuesday Nov 04, 2008

Voting - So Easy!

Today marks my first Presidential Elections!   Cool!   And wow!   Such an easy process in my little town in central New Hampshire.

It's a 4 minute drive to the Town Hall.   Plenty of parking out front.   Then a short walk past campaign sign holders who only said, "Thank you for voting", and made no attempts to push their favourite candidates.   So friendly and polite.

I walked straight to A-F registration desk person, announced myself as Brown, then remembered I'm actually Edelmann (oops), and was handed my one page paper ballot.

I went straight to one of 8 booths, only half of which were occupied.   Picked up the pencil and quickly went down the page....   Tick, tick, tick....

From there, I walked straight to the A-F completion desk person, stated "Edelmann" correctly, on the first try I would like to add, and walked a few more feet to the ballot collection box, and dropped mine in.

Done.   All totalled, the process within the Town Hall took about 3 minutes, if that.   Small town.   Gotta love it !   Such a pleasant & easy experience.

Had it not been for running into friends and neighbours with whom Georg and I simply had to say hello and chat with a bit, the whole experience, home, there, and back home again, would have taken less than 15 minutes.

But with perfect warm sunny weather, we found ourselves chatting with fellow town folk, and then went next door to the local restaurant for breakfast and, yes, some more chatting with other locals who were doing the same thing.

My first Presidential Election.   It feels good.   And such a pleasure!   And, according to Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, the big thing to do today.   :-)

Thursday Oct 23, 2008

Tight Budget? Eat Lobster!

Oil prices are still jumping around.   Like many, we locked in our winter oil heating costs at a ridiculously high rate only to see the prices drop recently.   Ugh.

A wet summer damaged local hay crops, resulting in higher hay prices and less hay supplies to get everyone though the next winter.   Even wood shavings, used as bedding for our horses, has gone up 20% in the past year.

Fertiliser prices are skyrocketing, impacting the costs of many agricultural products.   Even organically grown maple syrup is at an all time high price and is expected to increase in price with the upcoming season.

Yup.   The cost of living just keeps going up and up, and now we get to factor in the global economic crisis and wonder HOW and when things will, if ever, turn around.

Meanwhile, lobster is selling for $3.99 a pound at our local DeMoulas Market Basket supermarket.   Cheaper than most steak.   Cheaper than a hamburger meal.   Cheaper than a foot long sub.

Things are tough right now.   Unless you happen to love lobster.     :-)

Monday Jan 21, 2008

Truckin'

In England, I drove a big lorry.   6.8 tonnes unladen, to be exact.   One that I describe to Americans as being a super deluxe luxury model "Winnebago" for people and horses.   It was truly gorgeous and an absolute joy to drive.   German engineering (M.A.N 8.163 chassis) mixed with British styling (Whittaker coachbuilt horsebox).

Driving my lorry, including the 60 hours of HGV driver training I took before my UK driving exam, I gained a better appreciation of the men and women who drive lorries in the UK.   And, as part of my training, I learned one of the common courtesies truckers give each other when overtaking....

....Giving a signal when it is safe to cut back in after passing.

Tonight, in New Hampshire USA, while driving home from our local sushi restaurant (local being 20 miles away), an 18 wheeler overtook us in our little VW Cabrio on the interstate.   Once he was clear, I signaled to him.

Georg noticed I signaled and immediately commented that "that doesn't work in the USA".   But no sooner had he finished saying this when the truck indicated he was going to cut in, and did.   Then, he clearly signaled back to me his thanks!

I have to admit, these little exchanges do not seem to happen often in these here parts.   Whereas in the UK, the use of lights as a conversation between road sharers, especially truckers, is quite common.

I miss those quick friendly rolling encounters.

Sunday Jan 20, 2008

Un Be Liev A Ble! Way to Go Patriots!

It is a whooping 12 degrees Fahrenheit here at home.   The wind continues to blow a bit.   Windchill factors are, well, simply bloody cold.

About 100 miles south of here, at Gillette Statium in Foxboro where the weather is not much warmer, the New England Patriots have done it again !   They have kept their perfect season record alive.   And they beat San Diego to win the AFC Championship Title!

Our local team is going to the Super Bowl!   Again!   Way to go, Pats!

Thursday Jan 17, 2008

777

Ouch!   Talk about hard landings!

Not a good day for my favourite airline, my 2nd favourite aircraft, nor one of my favourite airports.

BBC News reports on the incident at Heathrow where a British Airways Boeing 777, flight 038 coming in from Beijing, crash landed short of runway 27L.   Amazingly (thank goodness!) only minor injuries resulted to some passengers.   The aircraft, however, did not fare as well.

With over 12 years of excellent service, I believe this is the first real blemish for the "Triple 7".   But certainly not one that would scare me off!   It's still my favourite passenger aircraft, after it's bigger older brother, the Boeing 747-400.

Friday Jan 11, 2008

Thanks for Shovelling

In the winter, our electric bill triples due to use of electrically heated water troughs in the fields and water buckets in the barn.   So, when we receive mail from the Public Services of New Hampshire in the winter, we brace ourselves before viewing the hefty utility bill.

Earlier this week, we got December's bill.   December was a cold month.   So, it was an expensive month.   But today, we received an unexpected second piece of mail from PSNH ...

... a thank you letter!

"As our meter readers have to wade through deep snow and climb over banks daily during the winter months, it is a pleasure to find someone like yourself who has cleared a path to the meters.

We would like to express our appreciation for your thoughfulness in taking the time from your schedule to think of the meter reader.

Thank you for your cooperation."

As customers, this was a really pleasant letter to receive from our utility provider.   Little do they realise, however, that Georg truly enjoys using his snowblower and is happy to spend hours clearing lovely paths around the property.   Hardly a burden really....

:-)

Tuesday Jan 08, 2008

Vote By Vote - NH Results

For those who like to see details, I just stubbled across a great interactive website at http://www.politico.com which shows the actual votes per town.   Very cool.

As you roll the mouse over each town, the numbers are shown per candidate.   Nice website.

How did Warner vote?   Barack Obama & John McCain took the lion's share with Hillary Clinton & Mitt Romney closest behind the party leaders.

Total votes from Warner --->   1382 !   That's nearly half the town !

Voting for the First Time, NH Primary

Amazing!   I'm now a registered voter in the USA.

With temperatures in the 50's & 60's today, we enjoyed a taste of Spring while the NH Primaries were underway.   It looked to me like lots of folks in town went to the Warner NH Town Hall to cast their votes, and yup, I was one of them.

The process could not have been easier!   It involved a circular trip around the small auditorium, stopping at each table for each process step.

At the first table, I filled out the voter registration form, showing my NH Driver's License.   At the next table, since I had not registered as a Democrat nor a Republican, I had to choose between the pink sheet or a blue sheet...   voting ballots color-coded by party.   Interesting.

I noted that there were A LOT of names on the ballot that I did not recognise, as well as an empty line.   This struck me as odd.   I asked what that was for and was told I could add another name to the list if I so desired.   I asked if this meant I could vote for "Ted Young", one of our town's well known residents, and they said I could.

Okay, that's cool.   :-)

Moving on, I took my ballot sheet behind a little curtain and quickly ticked off my candidate of choice.   I won't say who I voted for, but suffice to say I think she's a good "two for the price of one" kind of candidate.

At the next table, my name was added to the list of registered voters and marked off as having voted.   Next table, I handed in my marked ballot.   Next table, I got to return to my "undeclared / undecided / independent" party status, confirming my desire to not be aligned with either the Democratic nor Republican parties.

And finally, I was back at the starting point, where I was congratulated on voting for the first time.

On the local news, they're talking about long lines and over 500,000 New Hampshire residents voting today.   Is it the weather bringing people out or a strong desire amongst citizens to try to make something new & positive happen?   I don't know.   But for this first time voter, I can only say that my first NH Primaries experience was actually rather fun.

Monday Jan 07, 2008

A New Voter

It has taken leaving the USA for 12 years and returning to America to convince me it's time for me to register to vote.   After watching the BBC news tonight and seeing New Hampshire and the primaries on the BBC news, I hit me.   It is time.

Now to figure out...   What party do I support?   What issues do I care about?   Which candidate do I like, and more importantly, which candidate do I BELIEVE can do the job?

But first things first.   Gotta register.

About

Kimberley

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