Absence

 Posted by
Nov 072011
 

For no good reason at all, I have been absent.  The past several months have not gone as I had expected/hoped.  However, after much though about blogging, I decided I am interested in rambling, and so this post is to put it out there that I’ll be making a few posts on updates we’ve done, such as painting a couple of rooms, our fireplace, getting an insert, building a ‘wood organizer’, and a few other things.

Stay tuned!

My job

 Posted by
Jul 132011
 

On March 22nd, I lost my job.  Was I upset?  More than I thought I would be.

After 10 years with the same employer, my position was made ‘redundant’.  The news of restructuring came to us on February 15th…that same day, two roles consisting of about 50 people, were eliminated.  The administrative assistants were to go through an A&S process from which 2 would be made redundant and 5 would remain.

Our company is going through a lot of changes.  Since I moved down to RTP, I’ve gone through several A&S processes, this being the fourth.  A&S is an appointment and selection process; like an interview but on paper to see who will keep their job and who will be let go. We fill out a form and a certain criteria needs to be met. What criteria? We haven’t a clue!  After the forms are completed, a panel of people who do not know us review the forms and a decision is made.  I did not embellish my answers.  Maybe this was a mistake – who knows, but regardless, I truly believe I was an asset to the group.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses.  I am a genuinely positive person, self-motivated, punctual, conscientious, compliant with systems we HAD to use, exceedingly reliable (according to my manager), deliver results quickly and accurately, a quick learner, a challenge seeker and always ask for more work. Sorry about that list of adjectives, I guess I am already in marketing mode to get myself a new job! My role was not particularly challenging. I would have liked it more if it were but I always did my best to provide good support and I truly cared about my work/performance, as well as for the people I supported.  Before it was decided who would be supporting ‘my people’, I provided my manager with input on who I felt would be a good match for him and the team. The input was appreciated and given consideration by my boss.

From the day we got the notice, I started telling myself that maybe I wanted, and could use a break. I even considered volunteering to receive a severance package. I was tired of going through these A&S processes every year to fight for the job that I already had and was good at. After all, I thought that better than good job performance should provide some job security. The reality is that I wanted my job more than I thought.  Maybe it’s because one gets used to a routine, seeing/working with the same people for so long.  I realize that we are nothing more than numbers to those who do the deciding, the bottom line is what’s important.  This should make it easier to move on quicker but it isn’t any easier.

A layoff is never a good thing but we can chose to make the best of it.  Even though I had a few things in mind about what to do before I was “de-selected”, this ‘time off’ has not played out exactly as I expected. A break sounded great and I can definitely make the best of the situation, but it’s best to find a new position as soon as possible.  This is why I was hoping to find a new position within the company before June 28th, but unfortunately none of the positions that I applied for worked out. As of June 28th I am officially terminated. If I want to get into my old company again, I have to wait six months!

As everyone knows, the economy is in shambles and I just heard a report on the radio that stated that the national unemployment rate went up and that new jobs on the market are at a low. I’ve been actively searching for a new job. It is my hope that in the next month or so, a new opportunity comes up. Who knows, maybe I will pursue a new direction in my professional life.

Regardless, I am doing my best to not stress much. Things happen for a reason, right?!

Have you or someone you know gone through a similar situation? How did you cope? What has helped you to maintain a positive attitude?

~ Lili

 

Image from Dave Granlund

Jul 102011
 

As everyone, we have a lot of things we need to do in our house.  Things we NEED to get done and things we’d like to because it would be nice for the house and would make us happy.  We also have non-house  things we need to save up for.

I find the easiest way to keep track is to have one big list with categories.  Under each category I’ll list the “to do” item and put a line through it when its completed.  I also add items as needed.  Once in a while I re-write my list.  because if I have too many things crossed out, I feel it looks too messy – I like clean lists = )

Here are some of the things we need to get done and/or save up for:

Important needs:

Jeep Engine

Sasha’s amputation and chemo treatment Updated May 20, 2012

Save up for Tommy’s surgery (rear left leg)

Tires for Carlos’ WRX

Find out why Jeep is overheating/repair  September 30, 2012

Repair WRX’s AC

Tires for my Jeep  Updated May 20, 2012

Important wants:

New Laptop Updated September 30, 2012

To Do:

Remove kitchen linoleum

  • Install laminate the floors

Redo storage unit!!

  • Organize both storage units and carport
  • Create under-eaves storage as seen here but maybe 1/2 the size so that we can install a zinc next to it

Sand and stain coffee table

Sand and stain side tables?

Install rod and curtains above patio doors

Clean all molding in house

Connect laminate floor to hardwood floor

Paint living room 1

Paint living room 2

Make or buy curtain rod for living room

Make or buy curtains for living room

Install molding in the fireplace living room and dining area  Updated September 30, 2012

Paint paneling in kitchen

Sand and paint kitchen cabinets

Convert carport into garage?? and move washer/dryer out??

Furnishings/Projects to Slowly Save Up For:

Sofa for fireplace living room

Fire place insert  Updated May 20, 2012 –  Completed Winter of 2011

Rug for living rooms

1 large rug or 2 small rugs for our bedroom

Rug for 2nd bedroom

Rug for office

New curtains for french patio doors

Furniture for fire place living room Purchased the Avery sofa!

Redo deck most of it got done the 4th of July weekend

  • Finish deck

Wooden fence  We have decided to keep the chain link fence and save our pennies for other things

Furnishings we will attempt to build:

2 beds from Ana White

Modular office desk from Ana White  or like this DIY desk from little HOUSE BLOG

Buy or build a new TV/media console

Buy or build night tables

Outdoors:

Fix crawl space leak

Clear gutters

  • Fix broken gutter!  Updated May 20, 2012

Make something to hold our firewood  Updated May 20, 2012

Clear and improve vegetable garden

Clear and improve vegetable bed

Check pots we have for planting in spring

Plant asparagus under kitchen window?—>next season

Clear-up under living room window – heavy duty tools will need to be rented

Rent a pressure washer to wash house (we got a pressure washer – used but free and works great!)

Small Miscellaneous:

DIY a dry erase calendar or, DIY a chalk board as seen here

Organize and paint coat closet

Organize offce/3rd bedroom (build a storage day bed??)

Paint pantry

As you can see, our list is LONG and I didn’t list everything – it would just be too much!  As many things as we’d like to get done, we need to prioritize.  We’d love to buy another house w/more land…at least 1/2 – 3/4 of an acre!  So, with this in mind.  We need to be smart about the things we want to/need to/should get done.

Do you keep lists?  How do you organize them?  How do you tackle your projects, one room at a time or every room at once, little by little?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

~ Lili

Lamps

 Posted by
Jun 222011
 

A while ago we purchased two lamps at JCP for our living/TV room.  As much as I like them, what I want for this room is different.  I feel the one we currently (similar to a light house) have is too small and I’d like something more substantial.  Couldn’t find the lamp on JCP site but, I was considering buying the Heath Spheres Table Lamp to go on the other table.   We also purchased the Elgin Floor Lamp, though it’s not what I would really like.

Sunday we took a stroll in World Market looking for a rug for the kitchen.  We didn’t find a rug that we’d liked but, I did see a couple of lamps that I like more than what we have now:

  1. Agora  Ceramic Table Lamp, it can be found in red and green and,
  2. Tristan Floor Lamp

And just for kicks and because I like animals…I really like the Elephant Ceramic Table Lamp = )

Right now the Agora lamps are on sale for $39.98.  The Elephant lamp is $70.99.  I think I’ll wait to see if it goes on sale and when/if it does, get it…I really like it.  I’ve heard elephants are good luck!

I hear people talk about finding deals at stores like T.J. Maxx, Home Goods, Ross, Stein Mart.  The few times I’ve been there, I haven’t found things I like.  Maybe I need to go more often.  And we should definitely visit some second hand/thrift/antique shops in search for something unique!

May 292011
 

So mid December last year, Carlos and I were debating on whether to get new windows or get the fireplace insert we’ve been wanting for our fireplace.

New windows would add a good resale value to the house, if we were to put it on the market (though there are no plans of doing this anytime soon) and they would give us efficiency throughout, not to mention the low-e glass will help keep the house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.  With our current double-pane windows, we feel a breeze around almost all of them but especially in our master bedroom and TV/living room.  In our master bath, the top of the window does not stay put!  And in our TV/living room, one of the glass rectangles was broken by our 65 lb American Bulldog Alli – guess she didn’t realize that even if the glass was not there, she could not fit through the rectangle, LOL!  Even though fixing the broken glass would’ve been inexpensive, we haven’t got around to fixing it.  But even if we had fixed it, there’s that breeze I mentioned around the frame.  A plus to getting new windows is that we’d get the tax credit along with a rebate that our Energy company had going on, making our total expense much less.  Yay for savings!

We have a wood fireplace and we love to have a fire in cooler weather.  Even though a fire is lovely, our fireplace is inefficient because it makes the rest of the house cold – making the furnace work harder to keep the house warm.  A fireplace insert would allows us to have a nice fire – especially if we get one with glass doors (which is what I want) – while at the same time, keeping the rest of the house warm by allowing us to not have to use the furnace which in turn would save us even more money.  We would have a highly efficient fireplace and save money.  It’s great plus its green!  Only ‘issue’ might be getting wood but, Carlos frequents craigslist and there are always people getting rid of wood…for free!  So we could potentially save a lot of money on getting the insert.

Have you made your house more efficient lately?  I’d love to hear about it.

~ Lili

Today

 Posted by
May 152011
 

I’m priming the kitchen pantry.  And trying to decide on a color for the walls!  I’m considering a blueish color on the walls and leaving the shelves/molding a crisp white.

Carlos is searching what is causing a certain noise in his car.  Doggies all being lazy due to the weather…too humid!

Soon we’ll head outside to plant tomatoes, cucumbers and a cantaloupe plant for my hubby = )

How are you enjoying your Sunday?

May 152011
 

Has anyone tried this chicken?  It’s so yummy and so convenient.  It’s great to make crispy chicken sandwiches, added in a salad or to make buffalo chicken.

The best way, in my opinion, is the way my hubby prepares it.  This is what he does:

Pre-heat oven to 450

Place chicken on bake sheet/pan

Drizzle EVOO

Grind Trader Joe’s Every Day Seasoning

Put in the oven for 20 minutes

For extra crispy, put it broiler for 1-2 minutes

Serve and eat.

We always make baked broccoli or baked green beans as a side.  And if you like spicy food, we recommend using some ‘hot oil” from Chinese restaurants!

To try the buffalo chicken, follow the same directions as above.  Once 20 minutes are up, just place chicken on a plate, pour some buffalo sauce on it and then just dip into your favorite blue cheese dressing.  We use Frank’s Buffalo Sauce and Marie’s Premium Super Blue Cheese.

We love both ways but have not eaten it buffalo style for a LONG time.

Have you tried it?  How do you prepare it?  If you haven’t had it and you do try it, let me know how you like it!

And no, I don’t work for Trader Joe’s and they did not pay me to endorse their products.

Heya!

 Posted by
Mar 252011
 

So, I’ve started my blog.  After much hesitation, I’ve decided to make it live for all of you to see!

Welcome and thanks for stopping by.  I truly hope you enjoy reading whatever I may write about.  Most importantly,  I hope you leave comments and share your experiences.

~ Lili

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