I was born in Chicago, IL, on August 7, 19-a-real-long-time-ago, to a career Air Force family. I went to five (count 'em, 5) high schools in four years (no, I wasn't a dumb student, we just traveled that much :) eventually graduating from Tecumseh High School in New Carlisle, Ohio. I've lost count of the number of elementary and middle schools, but I don't think I have quite enough fingers to count them all.
We lived on Toul-Rosieres AB, France from the very end of eighth grade (class trip to Paris, wow!) til the middle of 10th grade when we moved to Germany. Did all of 9th grade at TRAB, then the class all went off to Verdun American High School, where we all did a 5-day board. Half way thru that year, we got transferred yet again to Sembach Air Base in Germany, where I spent the rest of 10th and all of 11th at Kaiserslautern American High School Lived there until shortly before my senior year. My Dad was then transferred to Denver for a four month school where I started my senior year at Aurora Central HS, and eventually to Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, and finished up at Tecumseh HS.
I worked for a year or so after graduation to earn some money to go to college, but after just a short time at Sam Houston State College in Huntsville, TX, my Dad was transferred again, back to Europe. Couldn't resist that! We lived in Germany on a (British) Royal Air Force base, RAF Geilenkirchen, near Aachen and the southern Dutch border, where among other things, I learned to fly a glider (yes, I soloed, in a plane like this!) and that the English are definitely NOT as reserved as some people think they are. Silly fools to think that :)
I never did get back to college on a full-time basis, but have taken classes of various kinds, both academic and technical, more or less continuously ever since I was in my 20's.
My Career in Programming
I started out as a Programmer Trainee working for Uncle Sam up in La-La Land on the Potomac, General Services Administration to be specific, then moved to Connecticut where I briefly worked as a programmer for Donahue Sales, the distributor of Talon Zippers and other sewing notions. When the company decided to move itself to Erie, PA, I decided that was just too long a commute, so I wound up at Yale-New Haven Hospital for the next three years we lived in CT. I was a senior level programmer by this time, and enjoyed working for this teaching hospital of Yale University. Very educational in many different senses of the word. Our office was originally right down the hall from the Emergency Room, and I have a memory of a deranged man escaping from the ER and running down the hall being chased by security guards. <Shudder> I was VERY glad when we moved our office to another building!
The next step on the odyssey was a very planned pregnancy that was intended to deliver in Connecticut, but when my spouse was offered his choice of a promotion in either Long Island, NY, or Jackson, MS, well, we soon found ourselves living in the *very* Deep South. Talk about culture shock! Jackson turned out to be mostly a very pleasant place to live, and we enjoyed our time there, short as it was (only about 2 years). Our daughter Leslie was born in Jackson on October 16, 1978. <sigh> Was it really THAT long ago??
Our next stop was Dallas. Again, MAJOR culture shock. If you have ever lived in Texas, but not as a born (or adopted!) native, you may understand what it was like for a family of Yankees-at-heart. Even Jackson was not as bad! Again, I didn't work outside the home for a couple of years, but we soon found ourselves homesick for Ol' Virginny. To facilitate our planned move back (i.e, make some money!!) I worked as a Contract Programmer for a couple of months.
We arrived in Charlottesville in 1982. While there, my husband and I owned a small retail business called "FingerPrints" in Albemarle Square for a couple of years. He eventually went back into the corporate world, and since the job was in Rockville, MD, we moved back to Manassas, VA. We had closed the business since it's nearly impossible to run a business long-distance, and I went back to work for GSA in DC for the second time, as a Programmer-Analyst, eventually settling in Lake Ridge, VA.
After fighting the traffic, crime, overcrowding, overpricing, pollution, etc, etc, in this Washington, DC, suburb for three years, we had enough. Did I mention the traffic and how expensive it is up there? Our daughter was finishing the fourth grade at the time and we decided we wanted to live someplace that had a little more quality of life to it than Northern Virginia, so we moved back to Charlottesville. I didn't work for about a year, then when I tried to find a job here in Charlottesville, found that it was harder than I thought (salaries were too darned low), so I commuted to DC and worked for GSA (for the third time) again. Yep, every-single-day, about a 2-hour *one-way* commute. Yuck. That lasted only 10 months, not surprisingly, and after a bout of fatigue-induced pneumonia, I had enough.
In 1990, I found a job as a Senior Programmer/Analyst with the County of Albemarle, where I remain today. I worked for about 9 years on an IBM 4381 Mainframe with CICS, on applications such as Personal Property Taxes, Real Estate Taxes, Employee Management System, etc, using COBOL, Easytrieve Plus, and Gener/OL.
In July, 1999, I changed positions to become the County's first ever Web Analyst, i.e., the Webmaster. I had created the original County of Albemarle web page on a volunteer basis a number of years ago when I became a charter member of a local community web initiative called Monticello Avenue but when this new position came about, needless to say, I jumped at it! Gee! I get to surf all day long now! (well, you know what I mean!! :) I am responsible for the official County web page, and I love this job!