Friday, December 4, 2009
A couple of weeks ago the envelope arrives from the mangement company notifying me when the condo annual meeting will be. The notice was wrong - I wasn't sure if the Day of the week was correct or the Date was correct. So in another day or so, a second mailing was sent out correcting the last.
There were the minutes - be it me to remember what was said a year ago. Then there was a budget. Oh my goodness, could they make the numbers any smaller? They have a surplus of over $15K and they want to have over a 9% increase. Just watch me crank the numbers!
Going back a year ago at my first meeting, I spoke up right away. LOL like you'd think I'd just be a quiet bystander? I knew that this association was in trouble when I requested financial information and couldn't get it at the time of purchase. Lucky for me, I did get some information from my current neighbor. So at the meeting, I spoke, eloquently, about the need for a reserve study. After all my experience with my old condo and those condo associations that were my clients, I still am the go-to knowledge lady. If you are not aware of how the association works, simply put, the association collects money on a rateable basis from the members based on a budget. A portion is used for current expenses like electric, snow plowing, etc. - called the Operating Budget. The other portion is to be put aside for big repairs and replacements like roofs, pavement, siding, etc. - called the Fund for Major Repairs & Replacements(FMRR).
I spoke to our lack of and the immediate need to develop a FMRR plan. With my experience, I offered to prepare the plan for the board saving our neighbors thousands of dollars. Days go by, weeks go by, and some time in February I get some information that I promptly put together a sample chart to begin the discussion. So I send it back to the designated board member and days go by, weeks go by, months go by....... and here I am today ready to give them a public lashing in the most diplomatic way. :) :)
I reworked the 2010 numbers in a concise and tell all schedule. It shows 'us' in a much better light and then I had the 'balls' to hand it out at the meeting! There are five board members and this one board member, I'll call her Miss P. She is still cranky, defensive, makes tons of excuses, speaks in platitudes and generalizations that have nothing to do with our present situation. I dislike embarrassing an individual in public, but I could not get her to shut up. My other next door neighbor is on the board and she was funny giving me a wink and a shoulder shrug during Miss P's rant. She goes on and on about having no more time and won't do the FMRR or work on it for the association. I think she needs some seriously loving and a big glass of wine.
I finally get Miss P on point. Oh, Oh, we are going to set up a committee - I get to chair it (deja vue) - you -know-who isn't the happy camper. I gave a brief explanation to my gathered neighbors of what we (committee) needs to do for our community. Then low and behold five of my neighbors are willing to work with me on this project. There hasn't been five volunteers ever in this association at any one time! Even more funny - Miss P wants a report in the middle of March? She should ask for one about April 10th!
I was prepared for this meeting and sometimes I surprise me! A couple of folks had a quick chance to read the one pager I handed out and said they were impressed with the organization of the information. That's a sign of a good schedule! Yahoo!
Stay tuned, I'm sure there will be some more crankies to come my way. We will have an FMRR schedule and a plan to solidify the financial condition of our community.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I had a special surprise visit over the weekend with two great friends, Jim & Frank. These guys lived next door to me in college and they are as much fun today as the time we enjoyed in college. Jim and his wonderful wife, Rhonda, came in on Friday from Texas and left on Sunday, just for a baptism!
Early on Saturday morning, Jim called to say he was in town. A couple of calls and I met them and Frank (his wife was a little under the weather - get better Debbie - we missed you) at Sam's place in Hartford. If you are from the area, then you know the red victoria house on Farmington Avenue. It is the Clemens place - or Mark Twain's home. Just lovely and since we were on the early side, we had a practically exclusive tour of the house and kitchen area! One very interesting fact is that Sam was born and died during the viewing of Halley's Comet. Most of is well know works were written while he lived in his Hartford Home. Actually you could spend a lifetime learning about this truly amazing man. We then took a took a tour of various historic streets and ended up at Avon Old Farms for a great lunch.
What a great time! Jim & Rhonda - see you in the spring! Frank - give hugs and kisses to everyone at home! Wishing you the best and thanks for the surprise!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Mom and I spoke this evening and did the run down. Two pies and cake she'll bake tomorrow, and put out the serving dishes and such. I'm making the salad for the dinner and the special salad for mom and I. My salad is a vegetable salad - it has just about everything in it and is very colorful and good. I'll be making a fresh vinaigrette dressing. She puts the turkey in the oven about midnight and by the morning - the bird is just magnificant! I've picked up various types of bread for dinner - a soft loaf and two crusty loaves.
I'm also bringing another Thanksgiving tradition - the indian apples. Now if you look up indian apple and get the defination - it's not Podophyllum peltatum, native to North America; also known as May-apple, mandrake, wild lemon, raccoon-berry, and wild jalap. It's pomegranates. I remember as a kid enjoying them to no end and always sad when we finished them. That tradition has been passed on to my nieces and nephews. It also seems that I'm the "incharge" on getting and supplying the indian apples for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
What are you traditions? Are you passing them along, remember that those experiences that are passed along are great memories for down the road.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!
PS - The Macy's Day parade begins at 9am!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
A little while ago, I need to return an item to Macy's. If you know me, I really dislike shopping. So just before the expiration of the return period, I got it returned. That lead me by the winter coat area. Last winter I got away without replacing my winter coat. I've had it awhile, it is showing wear. It's a great coat, black, boiled wool JG Hook - classic lines.
So I'm going through the racks, more and more of the same - geez, where are the 'classic coats'? Until I turn around and on the end of a rack, this lone coat calls out to me. With one look and touch, I fell in love. It was so soft and with great texture - it was made from Alpaca! It was so ridulously priced at almost $500. When did winter coats get that expensive? Though it was a sale 40%, and if you put it on your Macy's card - another 15%, and if you don't have a Macy's card and open one on the spot, then you'll get another 20%! Do the Math - 40 + 15 + 20 = 75% Now the coat will cost $187 - such a deal and I took it home.
So you say - what does the dishes have to do with the coat? (it's a story and a half as I take a long breath) It is easy - the new Macy's card gave me a 20% off anything I could charge for that day and the next. Hmmmm. So I go and get a new pair of gloves for my new coat. Then up to housewares - there must be something I can use and get this great discount.
Bottom line - I was looking through the fine china. My china that I got right after college has served me well. I've used it and used it on a daily basis, and it is now showing all the good lovin it has had. Several pieces have just broke as the chips have finally become cracks. While getting china was very low on my list of things, it would be nice to set a great table with dishes without chips and cracks even if it only for me.
So I mixed to patterns - Macy's Hotel brand and Lenox's Tin Can Alley. Two plates from Hotel and two plates and the bowl from Leneox. Actually they look great together and the sales clerk was liking the mixing of the two patterns. Neither pattern had enough of the right size plates. I'm keeping my cup and saucer from my first set. Now get this, the patterns were on sale, and if you purchase them and charge them on your Macy's card, and of course it is in the discount period - voila! I have purchased eight placesettings for a net $49 per place setting - yes - bone china!
If you want to give me a Christmas Gift that I would really love - how about sponsoring a place setting? Mom and Dad have laid claim to two of the place settings. Thank you Momming and Daddy!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
She's been on the road over the last couple of years, first moving from CT to Asheville NC, then to Cape Gerardo MO, and now in the Lake Country of Texas. What a treat for me to have her come and stay with me. While she had an itenerary that would have your spinning, we got to visit quite a bit in-between our respective schedules. She arrived on Thursday and we went out for a quick dinner at Joey Garlics. What great sandwiches - enough that we had lunch for the next day!
Friday she ran around between events, I was gone most of the afteroon as I was preparing to give a seminar on Saturday. Her plans kept her visiting with friends and she stayed over night with one of them. We met up between my seminar and charity event for a quick chat. I had made that lovely barley mushroon soup and there was enough for Leslie to have a big bowl and take a nap. As she said, "you go and do the charity thingy, I'll catch a nap with KC and we can visit when you get back." And we did. It was like being back at ole Woodsedge, hanging out telling stories and discussing the events of the day.
On Sunday, her daughter Shannon came to pick her up and that was another treat. I've watched this young lady grow up over the years and am as proud of her accomplishments as if we was a niece of mine.
So it is my time to get down to visit Leslie - at least she is in a warm place now. Thanks for being such a great guest!
Monday, November 23, 2009
From Into the Wild - by Jon Krauer
I found this quote in my library or book travels. It amazes me how I come across such items in life. I know that it is when you are open to the day at hand, then you are able to accept the gifts given to you.
This quote may really sum up my perspective in life. Each day is quite exciting. Okay I'll admit that some of the day may seem mundane, though even a simple chore is one to take some pride in completing.
In a few days we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Are you going to take time to celebrate, say thanks, or have it be a day, with lots to do, and get it crossed off a to-do list?
I wish to each of you - take a moment, whatever that is to you and say and give thanks to all that you have received in your life.
Friday, November 20, 2009
After a painful neck problem that was cause by my hip be out of place, and with lots of therapy, chiropractic, and massage, I was cleared to begin some type of exercise as long as it didn't jarr the joints. So a little less than two years ago I began taking a yoga class.
The class is offered by Parks & Rec (least expensive class around) and is about an hour and fifteen. Cynthia is our instructor and she is wonderful. It is the quickest time spent, though the most relaxing time. I usually feel the results of the poises for a couple of days. Not an ache, it is an energy that has been awaken within.
If you a looking for a more controled exercise, looking to get limber and build strenght, I truly recommend checking out a class. It is very peaceful, and really a chance to relax in a somewhat busy life we have.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
They were here today to bring in some of the equipment and take more measurements. I am having them put my water heater in a basin so that if it leaks in the future, it will shut off and will pump the water out so it won't go all over the floor.
It's a classy group of guys. This is the same company I used for the mechanicals in my old condo. Not only is it the same company, it is that same team of guys! To start off just right, the owner, Ugo Sr., brought me lunch from Il Panino Restaurant. Great chicken soup, bread of course, and chicken cutlets with mushrooms and macaroni! They only do breakfast and lunch and the food is the best home cooking on the Avenue.
How better to start the process of changing all my mechanicals! Yum Yum
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Our first speaker was Timothy Cole, inspirational as he discussed the various generations of individuals that we have. Like the Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomers to name the younger bunch. He disucssed the differences that each generation has and how "we" as Friends Groups need to address each (in a general way) when we are looking for new volunteers.
After his talk, we split into two group. I was the speaker for "Things your Treasurer Should Know" and Carl was the speaker for "Used Book Sales in Connecticut 2009". While I didn't get to hear Carl's talk, his handout is remarkable. He had gathered surveys for more than 50 friends groups. The survery cover days of sale, pricing, category breakdown, bag sales, and how books are disposed of at the end of the sale. There were two graphs that gave a profit by # of books, and a profit by the population served. It was the popular of the two talks.
My talk was full, with more than 40 treasurers and board members coming to take part in a full packed disucssion on the treasurer duties, record keeping & reporting, and budget preparation. There was alot of participation with lots of questions and comments. Unfortunately, I couldn't finish all the slides prepared, though those slides were included in their handouts.
Overall - the FOCL puts on a great seminar! Those that were able to attend went away with lots of food for thought. There were another 40 folks on the waiting list and rumor has it, we will be putting on this seminar in the spring!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Begin with a yellow onion, carrot, and celery stalk all finely chopped and cook until it is translucent 2-3 minutes or so in some oil and butter. I then added the left over of some white wine to get the bits up from the cooking so far. Add 1 lb of sliced mushrooms and raise the heat to saute until mushrooms begin to soften. This is where I changed the original recipe - it was only 1/2 lb of mushrooms and 1/2 oz of dried porcinis. There were no porcinis so skip it and keep going.
Once the mushrooms are soften, add 2 to 2-1/2 qts of your favorite stock - today's choice - chicken. Since I added the wine, I cut back on the stock. Throw in a couple of bay leafs, S&P, I added some dried parsley and some thyme and cook for about an hour or so until the barley really puffs up and the soup becomes thick.
Oh - one more addition - I cooked up two links of my favorite chicken sausages from the D&D and added them to the soup.
YUM YUM That's one thing I love about cooking - you can always add and subtract to make a recipe - sometimes you come up with just the twist that makes it truly your favorite.
Tomorrow's lunch is going to be really good!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
What is this? It is P2P or Peer to Peer lending. Folks gather toghether at a site, pool their funds, and then lend their funds to folks that need loans. Why only let the credit card companies and banks and etc make all those exhorbitant rates. The site does the paper work, recieves a small percentage of the collections, and the lenders win, the site wins, and the folks that need loans win.
Lending Club is just one of those sites. In order to get a loan through them, you must have at a minimum a 600+ credit score and several other factors. LC has keep up their integrity and not let anyone come through the door. You, the borrower, are assigned an interest rate based on the amount (maximum is $25K) asked for and your credit history information. Then after you make your application, you wait up to a total of 13 days to find out of the Lenders will fund your loan. Some loans can fund in 48 hours, others go to the last minunte. If they do, then you'll have the money in a day or two. Of course, the lenders might not feel you are credit worthy and not fund your loan.
Just some currents statistics :
From May 2007 through today - LC funded 7,220 loans for a total of $65,389,575
LC denied 75,896 loans for a total of $711,131,686
There are lots more information - This is not an endorsement or a recommendation - see the small print. If you are interested, contact me here, and I'll send you a link that will get you a $25 bonus if you would like to sign up and take a look around. Or go to the site and in the referral code - put in - smartfinancing.
Interesting concept - Let's see how November turns out.
Friday, November 6, 2009
In less than two weeks, that date will arrive. The topic will be "What Your Treasurer Should Know". This one is to be from my professional side of my work. So back this past summer I began writting the outline, reading all sorts of books, and before long some six pages of single spaced outline came out. Geez - and I didn't do the exhibits or the content yet.
Carl was checking as I was looking over the outline one evening and exclaimed 'it's only a hour or so, not a three credit college class!".
As this time has drawn near, and in the last week or so, I've had to organize the information and pare it down to what could fit in a hour session, making sure that the attendees will be able to recieve some good content and go back to their Friends group inspired with new tools.
So far, the slides are almost complete, yes a MS Power Point presentation with all sorts of goodies installed! Now it is attempting to streamline the information.
tic toc, tic toc.... I'll keep you posted!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Did you? It still makes me wonder why there is the amount of apathy in the world. Ok - right here in my back yard. I work the polls each year to sign up members of my community for a library card. So over the years, I have seen the ebbs and flows of the number of citizens that come out to vote.
It is only a mayorial election, oh it is only a dog catcher election. I say and so what! For a well run community, whether it be your small town, neighborhood, condo association, non-profit group, the state or the nation, it is your duty and your right to get out and speak with the vote.
If you need some inspiration - here are some quotes that might move you to vote in the very next election you can .....
~ Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~ Andrew Lack
~ Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good: 'Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
~ The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all. ~ John F. Kennedy
~ There can no longer be anyone too poor to vote. ~ Lyndon Baines Johnson
~ Vote early and vote often. ~ Alphonse
By the way - Christy and I worked the Ruth Chaffee elementary school and signed up 18 folks for library cards in our two hour time slot.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
This is the world clock - at normal time - for my time zone. By the time you see this it will be way past the offical end of day light savings time for the year 2009.
So what is the story about changing the clocks. Do we save time, have more 'free' time, and does everybody do it? The easy answer NO, Maybe, NO.
Personally I don't mind it either way - though finding an extra hour today is a bonus to me. It's the change in the spring, generally at a crucial time in tax season, that takes me a day or so to get adjusted. Sitting outdoors for an evening summer concert is really nice - though I'd do it whether or not we changed the clocks - it's warm!
Changing the clocks was conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 though it didn't get attention until World War I in 1916 when Germany and Austria first put it into practice. This policy came about to save power (electric) consumption.
There hasn't been anything standard about going in and out of Daylight Savings Time or Summer Time as it is referred to in England. The railways in the England, the US and Canada were the ones responsible to set a Standard Time. They needed to set their schedules back in the late l800s. The US got on board March 19, 1918 when it first adopted standard time zones as suggested by the railroad. The law was repealed in 1919 and left setting time at a local government option. The law was back in and out many times until President Nixon and then President Johnson in 1966 finally found a method that could be used for DST and is what we practice today(almost). In fact the Department of Transportation is responsible for all "time" matters. Hmmm makes me wonder why they can't fix the roads in a timely manner? :)
Back to my questions:
Do we save time? No - it's the same twenty-four hours. It is how we view the clock. If you don't use the time, it's gone. You can not put that hour in a box to take out later.
Do we have more free time? The thought of enjoying an extra hour of sunlight in the evening was a good idea back in 1918 and it probably did save energy. Here I'm equating free with savings. Though today, this may very well be false. Many American's have the luxury of an automobile and whether or not it is sunny (except for some sports) can drive somewhere to enjoy the extra hour, therefore expending a different kinds of engery. And with the advent of additional home conveniences, such as the microwave, computers, electronic games, heck, it took until 1955 when 80% of American homes had electric refrigerators. Air conditioning - a convenience used during the DST time of the year wasn't available when certain surveys were done back in those days. Gee whiz, last I checked my A/C uses electric!
For those folks living closer to the North and South Poles and those affected by the amount of sunlight can have more health issues and may actually be helped with DST. It has been studied that there are more traffic fatalites after the end of DST as walkers and drivers have to adjust. There are inconclusive studies about the criminal element during non DST months.
Does everybody do it? Those that live on the equator, don't because it doesn't matter. Either way you cut it, they have 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. Japan, most of India, China and most of Saskatchewan don't do it. In the state of Indiana, well most of Indiana, didn't until 2005 yet they observe two different time zones! They found that DST actually cost them more and the cost was attributible to "social costs". Farmers dislike it as their day begins with the dawn and not because of a clock. Did you know that it takes chickens more than three weeks to adjust to the one hour change? Some countries have compromised mostly due to strattling the time zones, such as Kathmandu, Nepal is 5+3/4 hours ahead of GMT, and Calcutta, India is 5+1/2 hours of GMT.
So what to do? Get going with your life! I mentioned the other day - I look forward to the Winter Soltice - around December 21st as it is the turn and summer isn't too far away. Nice to be looking ahead of time.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
So a year has passed, the St. Louis trip was great to stay with my nieces and nephew. The move meant I would have furniture in my home. The election - we all know what happened.
When I moved, I promised myself that within a year, I'd be unpacked and better functioning than at my former home. Now, with only a few days to the 1st, I'm a bit frantic with cleaning up the last of the bits and pieces I haven't done yet. A couple of weeks ago, I unpacked the last box when the sideboard arrived for the dining area. That was a great relief. There are now a few items in the garage that need to be cleaned up. Do garages ever stay clean? I hope so as I'd like to get my car back into it. The last couple of client files of older papers need to be scanned, some straightening out of a couple of closets, especially the basement storage. I need to get the studio in better order - it's been a work in progress between guest visits and lace demonstrating events and life in general. It doesn't look much different from a year ago.
Wish me luck - I know I'll make it by the 1st!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
I'm not a big buff of movies. Ocassionally you'll find me at the cine to see a newly released film as you need to be seen on the 'big screen'. This past summer with my nephew, Spencer, we saw the Dinosaurs - a 3-D film. That was fun as you could feel the animals almost drooling in your lap. He and I would jump every so often as they leap off the screen over our heads.
I don't head out to pick up specific movies - I go with the flow. It is interesting that on several ocassions at the library, I have brought back only foreign films. I'm not sure I know about that - maybe it was that the title was intriguing. One time it was four films that began with the letter M - what a surprise to me and I was thrilled with all of them.
This trip brought home Les Miserables, A Room with a View, and Pretty Woman. Similar story lines, on an interesting time line one from each of the last three centuries.
All three stories end with the riding off into the sunset type endings. There is the troubled young man, head strong woman, and plenty of sub plots to keep your interest.
Pretty Woman - great picture, especially with Julia and Richard. There's a couple
steaming parts, though most of the plot is his transition to realize what he wants. Besides that, great lines, great music.
Les Miserables - an amazing story - about a truthful man who struggles to make a better place in life after a
bishop gave his a chance after his release from prison. He yearns to live the honest way in life, keeping his word, and taking responsibility for his past actions that seem to thwart his life throughout the movie. It's great and I love the scenes from Paris.
A Room with a View - one of those with big scenes, back in the 'gentle' man and woman days. Set in England and bits in Italy. This young woman is traveling and growing. She's expected to marry well, though she learns about herself, her wants and what would make her happy. There is a bit of a fire in her that she struggles to keep under wraps. Costumes are amazing - lots of lace!
For you movie buffs out there, here's an interesting trio you may enjoy.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Our lace group had the distinguished opportunity to view some of the lace collection at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Most, if not all, of the collection is not on public view and therefore Carolyn made arrangements with their director for us to view such great pieces.
Our request was, to see older, 18th century, only hand made, unusual pieces, leave out crochet and tatting - the result was just amazing and equisite. There were pieces of needle lace, bobbin lace in binche, flanders, mechlin, bruges just to name a few. There was a bed cover (in all lace) where the background netting was hand made - mind you, the time to make the netting alone - years? There was this little bumble bee placed onto the netting. We took quite a few pictures and maybe making a pattern for a group project for 2010. Lets say, there was so many ohhh and ahhhs, truly inspirational.
To our surprise - we found that we, NELG, had made a donation of a very unusual piece of lace a couple of decades ago. The director was very kind to bring it out for all of us to see. We need to find out about it's history and how it came to be that we donated it.
The picture above is a border in binche. It is enlarged as the original piece is only 7cm from the top to bottom. Yours truly hasn't had the opportunity to learn binche yet. It is a sample of what we saw. I'm awaiting for some picutres to be loaded as I couldn't take pictures with flash in the room.
Any way it was a great day for our lace makers of NELG. We are now making arrangements to demonstrate making lace at the Wadsworth Antheneum during a special exhibition of "Allure of Lace"
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Jan and I met at a FOCL meeting about a year ago and I was quite surprised that she remembered and called me to do this for them.
I was given 20 minutes to talk about what to do ---- ok out there stop laughing. For the record, I only went over by 2 minutes! When we actually ironed out the content of my talk, it was about beging a good Friend of a Library group. So we focused on their mission statment. A good group stays true to their mission. Often a group can go astray, and that will usually spell trouble for the group. I then spoke about being a good volunteer and making the Friends a good place to volunteer. This area is big. You need to plan and train for your volunteers, manage expectations, teach the message of the Friends, and lastl by not least - say thank you at least one hundred times. Lastly I went over some of the activities I've been involved in that fit their mission of volunteering, fund raising, and advocacy for their library.
It was a great night! Best to the Friends of the Shelton Library - hope to hear from your soon!
PS Jan was looking for two volunteers before the meeting began. After my talk, two Friends came forward and volunteered. I'm so happy for them. I'll be keeping an eye out to hear about all there successes!
PSS - Good Luck at your booksale - anyone in the 'valley', their sale begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday! Stop by and get some good reads for the winter months.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
In his blog he gave such a nice mention to ShelBell, his daughter, my niece So not to forget you,
Last year I wrote birthday wishes for each of my nieces and nephews. It was fun to take some time and wish them the best. 2008 wishes for Shelby can be found here. Now I did remember to call my niece twice and send her a singing card as I knew I'd be away.
Now this year she is 14 years old. I'm in the process of making her 'big girl blanket' . Updates can be found on my Creative Sources blog. Shelby is a remarkable young lady. She and her school mates have gone before the MO legislature to let them know that MO needs to have a smoking ban in buildings. These kids made the news, and the MO legislature, while not voting it in now, the MO legislature is now listening to these kids! She loves to partake in soccer, music and let me not forget that she is her school play!
So Miss Shelby - go out there, remember to enjoy each day even when the homework piles up, you will be successful in what you choose to do, so while it is a couple of days late..... play the card I sent you and Happy Birthday wishes from the blog!
PS Shelby - Camp Aunt Patty is awaiting for you!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
In accounting land, we CPAs a long time ago developed a Peer Review requirement as being part of the CPA profession. My colleagues decided that it was best to have a group of 'peers' keep an eye on our members. I can tell you, we are a tough group. The last person we want in our profession is one that would give a bit of tarnish to our name.
So every three years, all member firms go through a peer review examination. I've had the same firm examine my firm for the last three examinations and for this year's examination. I prepare files for examination, pull information about my license, firm license, continuing education, and then pull out client files to be reviewed.
Earlier tonight I opened an email with the following: "...... based on our review, nothing came to our attention that caused us to believe that the engagements submitted for review by Patricia J. Foley, CPA for the year ended June 30, 2009, were not performed and reported on in conformity with applicable professional standards in all material respects. Firms can receive a rating of pass, pass with deficiencies, or fail. Patricia J. Foley, CPA has received a peer review rating of pass." signed by Solakian, Caiafa & Company LLC.
This is great news for my firm, and actually over this past weekend at my HS reunion, it was hanging over one of my shoulders. Now that this review is complete, a few moments to relish the success and I begin to prepare for the next one in 2012!
"Excellence - High Standards are the Foundation for Great Achievements!"
Monday, October 19, 2009
My time away was filled with the end of tax season - for the last time for 2008. Yes, there are clients that needed extra time to take care of business. I'm glad it's done, like every year, it is good to have it all completed. I've some time to prepare for next year, put my improvements into place, and yes it is exciting to prepare for another tax season - it will be my 31st one at that.
It's Friends membership time of year. My staff and I worked diligently and prepared the letter, the printers took care of printing, folding and stuffing, the post office got them out in the mail and I didn't have to remind the local post office to deliver the letters from the Friends. So far, in about two weeks, we have receive over $12,000 which is more than half we are to raise.
I'm preparing to give two talks - one this week and one in November. So I'm practicing as this week's must be done in 20 minutes!
Then it was my high school reunion - yes the Class of 1974 from Trumbull High School. WOW, you do the math - it was our 35th year. I must say we are a very very handsome bunch. We've aged beautifully. Much thanks to Liz and crew that made all the arrangements. This is the first reunion I didn't organize. I was heavily involved in the fifth, tenth, fifteenth, and twenty-fifth. It is an enormous job to put on a party like this. So big thanks to her and my classmates that stepped forward.
The weekend was just too short. We had over 160 classmates attend (I graduated with over 600). It was like speed dating. You get to say, OH YEAH!!!! I KNOW YOU!! (screaming at the top of your lungs) hug hug kiss kiss, and then the reasonable safe questions, 'where are you now? what are you doing? married? kids? ' and then ding - on to the next classmate. On Sunday at brunch (for those of us that were staying at the hotel) we were remarking, in very horse voices, about who we saw and many of us surprised that 'so-in-so' was there and "I didn't see him/her". We voted, it's a do-over event as we didn't have enough time to see EVERYONE! Just some simple math - 160 classmates and if you spent just 5 minutes with each, I need 800 minutes - and that equates with over 13 hours!!!
I'll make another entry of observations and pictures once all of the pictures are posted.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
If any of us could embrace just a few items on this list that would stretch us as the great people we are, just imagine the greatness we could achieve. Thank you Regina!
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Posted using ShareThis
This past summer my brother, the cable guy, was here with his family. His girls were staying over at my place but only after we took a tour back to our college days.
My BS in accounting was award from this school. In my last year or so, my brother joined me. It was about the only time he and I were in the same school at the same time. He lived on campus and I lived in a student apartment building off campus. My brother and his wife met there at CCSC. Yes it was still a college then. Just about the time I graduated, the administration was putting on the push to have it graduate to university status and they succeeded.
I'd had been back to the school several times since my graduation in 1980! Games, seminars, alumni events and just curious as this spot of land was to me, like so many others, we spent great times, got a great education and grew up. While all of that is still there, it's not that campus any longer. There are new buildings, some buildings are missing, certain student haunts are just memories. The road in the center of campus is missing, and parking is still an issue!! Some things never change. Now, the campus is amazing, it's park like, great places to hang out-of-doors.
To past presidents of the college to have this vision and have it executed - good job! There will always be a special spot in my heart for CCSC now CCSU. To all the young folks out there, I hope that you find a college that will give you the life tools, inspire you to dream, and make being in college a special time in your life.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
When I did my TA work during my MBA, I had some 80 students reporting to me for accounting work class. It was my task to instruct and re-instruct them in the daily lecture by the professor. Unfortunately I was surprised how ill equiped most of them were to take on life and it's challenges. Maybe this video could explain?
Listen up - it is funny and sad in some instances.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
One definition, thanks to WiseGeeks "Conflicts and disappointments are natural of the human experience, but for a certain personality type known as a "drama queen," life's little setbacks can trigger explosive emotional outbursts and other irrational behaviors. The term "drama queen," or less frequently, "drama king" is usually applied to someone with a demanding or overbearing personality who tends to overreact to seemingly minor incidents. A drama queen often views the world in absolutes, and only has two settings on her emotional control button; zero and ten. Psychologists might describe a drama queen or king as a neurotic personality with histrionic tendencies, meaning they tend to become needlessly dramatic whenever order is disrupted".
PS Thanks Leo.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
I sometimes need to remind myself that it all falls into place sooner or later. This time last year I still owned my other condo. Now a year later, I've settled in here and lately have been thinking about decorating and making additional home improvements. But what to do first? Oh my goodness - there is so much. I made a list the other day outlining each floor. Don't get me wrong, it's looks fine, though I would like to get some color and architectual style into the place.
Then the phone rings - it's my heating contractor and wants to know if I want to have my furnace (a hydro / hot air system ) very inefficient and 22 years old, replaced? No problem, I don't know what I should do, and this really isn't the fun decorating stuff I refered to before. My system isn't the best as it uses the hot water to be the heat source for the heating. So I invite Ugo Digrazia over. Let me tell you about this guy. Off the boat from Italy, he's a hand shake kind of guy with more integrity than I have ever met in a contractor. He's an older fellow, has a great crew - funny thing is that I met his crew when they replaced my old furnace/air conditioner. Last year when this furnace blew up and he fixed it, his crew was still with him.
He looks, pokes around, upstairs and back down stairs, a few times over. We discuss the part about furnace, air conditioner, humidifier, the water heater and that there isn't a shut off and a drain if the heater breaks - no problem he says he'll take care of that too, and hook up the dehumidifer so that I do not have to dump a bucket of water. Then we discuss installing gas logs in the fireplace. As I told him, it's not for a heating source in as much as it is "for the romance". He laughed and winked with that Ugo twinkle in his eye. I would like to sit back and watch the fire for a bit - just relax for an hour or so on a cold winter night. Ok this is truly a luxury - but heck, it might not be as big a deal as most folks think. MOre on this later.
So with a little thinking, and I need to crunch some numbers - then of course there is the cost - a little ouch, yet it costs enough for the furnace to get me the full $1500 tax credit - COOL! For those you that are curious - he's suggesting a Carrier.
Anyway - While it is boring to replace the furnace - I surely don't wish to be out of heat, and I'd rather have efficient heat. PS it would take these items of the to-do-list.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Now that is said, stop here first and link through to Amazon :) Thank you in advance,
Friday, October 2, 2009
I have so many favorite people to deal with at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library, one of my favorites is Josh. While the libarary system will send an email telling me when a requested book arrives, Josh is often the staff member that gives me a call to let me know it is in. The Personal Touch. Today was just one of those days and beside the news of the book, a few little pleasantries with this young guy gives you such a smile. Thanks, Josh.
So today I thought I'd begin a book club - a chance to share some Interesting Reads right here with my friends. Don't worry I won't get out the accounting and tax manuals, though I will promise you it will be from the non-fiction arena, fun, though provoking, and hopefully leave you with a smile.
So to begin this - Mike Wallace's book - 50 years from today. It was published in 2008 and are interviews of 60 of the World's Greatest Minds. I hope over the next few weeks to give you a sampling of some of the thoughts and insights.
Introduction - It is rather short, even for Mike Wallace. Though he has us sit back and think of what life will be like around the year 2058. (My 17 year old niece will be 67, I could be 103 years old! ). He sets the stage to hear from some learned folks about "medical and technological miracles", about exploration to space and right here on our own planet, education, and the environment to name a few.
So keep tuned for my review of this book. I've read a bit of it all ready and am quite excited about the discussions and thoughts of the future.
"The future will be shaped by what we do in the present. We just have to decide what kind of future we want - and create it." How true is this statement - every day we can make a choice.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Pronto Printer of Newington - I must take my hat off to this company. They are a local print shop, you can check
out their services with a simple click. I firmly know that your success depends on those individuals/companies that are in your circle. If you need something printed - you need to hire them!
When I began working on membership for the Friends of the Lucy Robbins Welles Library I needed to set up supplies - I needed a printer just for our organization. One that thought we were a good customer. I needed #10 windows, #10 regular, #9 return envelopes. Then the membership broshure and getting the logo just right. I've needed paper cut down, I needed a copy made on very large paper. Every time I asked, they were able to supply an answer. Even if they didn't print it, they would make the arrangements.
When we began, it was easy for my office to mail merge the data and send it to print. That was okay when it was 600 members. Now we have expanded our membership the mailing is over 1100 today. The files become much larger with print and graphics and to print 1100 letters(2 pages both sides) in my office would run at least 4 hours and hopefully without any jams etc. These guys have this gigantic laser printer and they were able to print the job in 40 minutes! They have lots of other great machines that make a mailing no work at all. We worked out a price and they even added a service to fold, stuff and seal the envelopes. Oh my goodness - they completed the entire job in 26 hours.
If you need a printer - these are the guys!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Yes it is, it is that time of year to kick off the Friends of the Lucy Robbins Welles Library fall membership drive.
While we take membership throughout the year, it is the fall when the major push to have members renew. This year's letter speaks to the savings patrons have been able to enjoy because the Friends purchase 27 Museum and Attraction Passes for lending purposes. With respect to a great tradition of the Friends, it is sponsoring the Summer Reading Program. This past summer, more that 2000 adults, teens and children took part and read thousands of books.
The Friends are an amazing and vibrant group of people - over 900 members strong. Many of them are active in the committees that enable the Friends to meet its mission to support the Library with materials, programs, and events.
We are such a great group. Thank you to each member - YOU make our Library the best.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
This is a repeat session that I attend every few years as part of my risk insurance program. Of course we tell some war stories and hear about new court cases where the suits are just ridiculous. We often can get off on a tangent with lots of discussions on using computers, software, and now this cloud computing and social networks.
Social networks - well known like FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Ning and so many others. Their general purpose is to create and cultivate online communities. So folks join in and begin airing themselves in/on screen of the computer. The point is that this typing out there on these networks is recorded on quite a few servers and backedup on numerous more.
What one danger (there are quite a few) is that stuff you write or the stuff that is written about you and lastly who is in your friends, list, etc can and will probably come back to haunt you.
We are talking about everyone that uses them.... kids not a big deal until they begin to apply to college, now FaceBook account may be looked at to see if you are the 'right' kind of person or who you are likely to be 'hangin' with. Job interviews - another place that your tweets and LinkedIn bits could come under scrunity. As you continue in life, possible public service position, whether it be politics or an appointment to a position, once again what you wrote years ago could be found out without much work and come back to haunt you.
I use them, cautiously. It's nice to get picutres of my friends' kids, hear about some successful event, and share a good thought or two.
I would just say be careful what you write out there in cyberland's social networks.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Thank you all for reading my blog. It's celebration time. My counter has exceeded the 3,000 mark. Not that I am counting, (the accountant part of me is ) though with a rough start, learning to write more, and in a fluid fashion, has been a great journey to get to this moment.
It was only back in May 2008, that I wrote my first blog entry here. I had tried it back as far as 2006, though I just couldn't get the writting juices going. I will give credit to my brother Pete's blog and to my niece Taylor's blog1 and blog2 that inspired me to get out there and write.
A friend of mine mentioned the other day, "i don't know how you do it". I can only say is that I tried, practiced, have received 'help' from reading the what and how of other bloggers. The blogging community is amazing group of folks who enjoy writing. I've learned lots about technology, found great reads and some great information that I'll be able to use going forward.
So Thank You Very Much..... see you tomorrow :)
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Ok, I'll admit that when it comes to this little devices, I'm behind the curve. My brothers will make fun of me when I was just out of college and the only device I had was two clock radios - one for the bedroom and one in the kitchen/dining/livng area. Of course they had to solve that problem and gave me a wonderful tuner. Yes I still have it and it works fine.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Beginning September 26th through October 4th is Banned Books Week. Yes Banned Books - it is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
Now you can look at any of these supporters and understand the importance of having books. There are so many freedoms we have that are wrapped up in the ability to be able to read books. We gain information, explore thoughts, and express ideas. Yet when we talk of banned books - that leaves us with not knowing and actually, in my opinion, in a more vunerable position as a society. I understand why some groups challenge books, as it is their point of view. I respect that. We do know that your point of view may not be shared with others, and that's okay. It is about having intellectual freedom.
The following is a selection of classic books that have been challenged or banned. To see the list, click here - These are some of my favorite stories ... The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger; Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis; The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett; of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; Charlotte's Web by EB White; and to round out a short list - Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. If you would like to read why these and others were challenged or banned - click here.
Other authors.... F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, JRR Tolkien, Norman Mailer - many of these authors appears more than once on the list.
In celebration of this week - here are two videos that speak to the point.
This one's message is quite clear - it's what we don't see/read that is what we should be afraid of.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Of course we went through the petting zoo, into the barns for the sheep, (wool sheep arrive on Friday for the next week) beef cattle, got the last peek at the Jerseys, ran over to the horse barn to wish the Connecticut girls good luck on the evenings "fit & show" competition, saw baby chicks born, I even held a 12 hour old chick - so cute. Then llamas, alpacas, bunnies and chickens and this momma pig and her newly born piglets! I was having a field day. Jules was taking it all in. If you haven't been to a big fair - the Big E - will get you a great education.
The vendors were there to hawk there goods from cowboy hats, to decals for your cell phone and everything inbetween. Then there was the parade and it was Connecticut Day! Governor Rell was there with lots of dignataries, lots of high school marching bands - all from Connecticut - Fife & Drum, the Govenors Foot Guard and Band were present along with our mounted police and even the Coast Guard band. It was rounded up with the clyesdale horses - magnificent animals - followed by the pooper sweeper :)
We began to slow down as the sun began to set, so back to a few shops, stopped to see the Sea Lion Splash, sponsored by New Alliance Bank - now it was so cute and we saw the start of the Madi Gras parade and I even picked up a necklace thrown from on of the floats.
It was a great day and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Even more special to me was the chance to introduce my good friend Jules to a favorite New England tradition.
And here's the last of the piglets!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Back when I moved into my place, I had the dilemma of not enough storage in the kitchen/dining area. So I tried this and that, gave up on the third idea though the "this" still seemed to be good. Couldn't decide - and pressed the "hold button". Before you know it, the winter came and went, spring flew by and then the rains and more rain. Just recently, I came into a small used cabinet. Pretty solid, top that can be used as a serving area or just for show. What is best is that it is deep enough to place my largest platters into it! Viola! WOW
I'm somewhat relieved that was done. Now with a little more PMA I stopped at one of the stores on the Tpke to see if any other 'decorating diva' was on the loose and could assist me to finish the corner of the dining area. Oh my goodness the "this" (sideboard pictured) is still at the store. I remeasured it especially the inside dimensions (as I don't need as deep a cabinet now) and will be checking out the space. It's 16.9 cubic feet of heavenly storage and I could finally get the last two boxes of my stuff made useable. How exciting is this!
Ok I'm a bit carried away on it. Let me sleep on it for a week or so. The new sale is beginning Oct 4th and it could go on sale! WOW
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
So life here is just lovely. Miss KC hangs out with me and seems to enjoy her new home (me too!). While the beginning was a bit rough - the trust building stage - I would recommend to anyone, please consider adopting an older pet. They need loving forever homes too.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
It was the Fifth Memorial Ride for Officer Peter Lavery. A great guy, super law enforcement officer on my local PD. The night, December 30, 2004, he responded to a domestic violence call in town. Tragically, he was gunned down in the line of duty. This one incident paralized then polarized this great community I live in.
Today - they ride again. Beautiful day, a 35 mile ride beginning and ending at McGuires Sports Bar on the Turnpike. The funds donated today will benefit the scholarship fund created in his memory. The family, who estabished this fund has raised, with the help of our community and those who support law enforcement, tens of thousands of dollars and has awarded scholarships to many deserving students beginning a law enforcement career.
Thank you to all those individuals who choose to dedicate their lives to protecting our way of life.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
So you haven't thought about it yet? Pull out your papers, look at your current rate - can you lower it by 1 point? If you answer yes, then it is time to seriously look at the opportunities out there.
Where do I go? First of all, try your current lender. For me, that was a bust as my mortgage was sold on day one from one company to Countrywide, then acquired by the Bank of America. Yet, in today's market, many lenders are willing to give good deals to their current clients.
Next - I ventured out to the internet and had one of those sites send me interested lenders. Before I knew it, several emailed and called. That was three months ago. While it didn't take three months, I sat on the paperwork for a bit awaiting the dip of the rate. When it was a go - Village Mortgage - what a great group to work with, it is done (or should be by noon today!). My loan officer - Matt Rice - great guy is a dream to work with.
How much can you save? My rate is dropping from 6% to 4.875% and the savings if it runs the full length of the loan - $36,000+. Nice change! Since I'll pay it off earlier - with the current extra principal and the savings in the new payment - I'll be close to paying it off in 15 yrs - that's a savings of $90,000 - Nicer change!
Want to do the math?? visit my CPA website click on Financial Tools and click on Mortgage Calculators - it's Free. Better yet - you'll be richer because you did.