December 6, 2017:

Hola!

It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!

Jan

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Two Fabulous D-I-Y Alternatives for the I DON'T THINK THEY'RE AWFUL "BOOB" LIGHTS

Hola darlings!

Never heard or read the term "boob light" until I started visiting D-I-Y and decorating blogs. Which is probably a good thing, because calling this budget-wise and (let's be frank, ladies) practical type of light such a sexist oinky name is downright insulting.  I would have been appalled having such lights installed at Maison Newton if they were called such insulting names back then, but they weren't called "boob lights" then, and there were no such things as blogs (or even the internet) back then, either.  Not sure I'm going to replace my own BOOB LIGHTS in this house, either.  I am fond of my boobs.  I am, actually, outright PROUD of  my big boobs, and they even have nipples. GASP!  What is so fricking wrong about boobs, anyway?  I'm not interested in looking like an anorexic wannabe America's Next Top  Model, either in body, or in my home.

I have such lights here - at least three of them that I can readily see: (1) in the driveway hallway entrance into the kitchen/basement stairs; (2) above the sink; and (3) on the ceiling in the bath/bedroom hallway.  I've seen these identical lights advertised at certain big-box stores on sale THREE FOR $25.  What's not to love about a budget-friendly alternative when one needs new light fixtures to update a space money is tight or you just want to throw up a light fixture while getting ready to sell your house, heh? They aren't obnoxious and just what is this fixation with a woman's boobs, anyway?  Rather sicky, if you get my drift.

I don't have a thing against boob lights. Would I prefer to replace them with more "glamorous" and expensive light fixtures?  Sure. But budget is always a consideration.  I have to tell you, replacing my boob lights is not on the radar of my decorating want-to-do-over.  I don't even notice them.

But -- that's not to say some people don't have a definite hang-up about "boob" lights.  So, as I am a blatant liberal and do not wish to discriminate against anyone, even someone who has issues with budget-friendly light fixtures that they think are shaped like a woman's boobs, check this out, all booblightphobiacs:

 I happened to come across TWO absolutely incredible transforming treatments that just turned my head around in circles, and that normally doesn't happen. I'm not Linda Blair from the Exorcist.  How many of you even know what the hell that is, LOL!

Anyway, here they are.  The first one is from one of my regular-visit-blogs, Simple Details:


It is absolutely beautiful, and much easier to create than I ever would have dreamed possible.  It uses a simple flush mount white glass shade and a Martha Stewart sunburst mirror that retails for around $30 or so,combined together.  Thank you so much for making this incredible do-over, Pam.  Check out the easy to follow tutorial.  I am definitely considering this as a project for my wonderful Handyman, Kevin, as a Spring 2015 project to replace the ceiling fixture (notice I did not use the term "boob light")  in the bedroom-bathroom hallway.  There is not enough room in the areas above my kitchen sink or in the back-hall for this treatment to fit.  So --

Check out this equally glamorous and cost-efficient redo, put together by Emily at mysocalleddiyblog of the Mia Faceted-Crystal Flush-Mount Ceiling Fixture at Pottery Barn -- really pretty:


Thing is, if I upgrade my ceiling light fixtures to look like either of those above, I'm not going to be very happy with the rest of the house... And do I really want a mini-crystal chandy hanging above my kitchen sink?  Not so much -- just imagine all the gunk that it will accumulate when I'm pan-broiling on top of the stove (despite my super-duper exhaust fans).  I have been entertaining having the ceiling mount fixture replaced with a pendant light, maybe two (three?)  Ideally, want to ditch the soffits in the kitchen altogether, but with what seems like a lot of money to me ($20,000), but is a TEENY-TINY budget for a kitchen remodel, don't know if that is possible.

One thing I I fairly sure about, the light fixture in the driveway-side entry into the kitchen/basement stairs isn't going to be switched out!

Tick, Tick, Tick to RETIREMENT!

Hola darlings!

This is it - FIVE MORE WORKING DAYS TO R DAY!

It's coming true - early retirement, and I still can't believe it, but I don't want to pinch myself because if this is just a dream, I sure don't want to wake up.

I gave my "official" notice to Human Resources on January 5th and then spoke with the head of the Practice Group I am in, in early afternoon, giving him the news and the whys/wherefores.  From there, news spread like wildfire.  Until I gave "official notice" I had kept it very close to my vest, telling only one friend at the office whom I knew would keep her lips zipped.  She did.  And of course, my best buddy Ann, whom I've known since 1991.  So it was a BIG surprise, this news of my impending retirement, and something of a bomb to everyone at the firm.

Suffice to say that my bomb turned into a NEUTRON BOMB.  Wow - I never imagined so much drama, but there's been drama a-plenty, mostly surrounding who would be my successor.  It's been - interesting, since we learned, although it's never been officially announced, that evidently the firm's new "policy" is NO NEW HIRES.  Nope - those left behind will have to suck it up and take over the gargantuan work-load (and incumbent stress) I shouldered.  Well, good luck with that.



My last work day is January 30th.  I cannot tell you how many people have come up to me -- people I didn't even know knew who the heck I was -- wishing me well and congratulating me on my "early escape."  There have been lots of lunches with co-workers, a supper with special friends last Tuesday night (it was SO much fun!), and my last week will be very busy with social events and work.

Monday afternoon there will be a "goodbye"get-together with my co-workers over cake in one of our conference rooms. Thursday lunch with two of the attorneys I've worked with for years at the firm.  Friday night, FREEDOM DAY, dinner and drinks with two special friends at Kegel's, one of my favorite places to eat, drink and make merry.  I will turn in my card-keys and commuter-pass and cell phone I never learned how to use, and collect a check for my accumulated PTO and start paying a ridiculously expensive amount every month to COBRA my health and dental insurance.  I won't qualify for Medicare for 18 months.  But my investment advisor and I have both crunched the numbers (me, several times), and I have enough for a comfortable (not lavish) retirement.  Investment advisor advised me to travel, play chess, and laugh a lot.  I like his advice :)

We had a meeting a week ago Saturday and went over the numbers once again and I received lots of good news.  Mind you, I'm not sure I believe his projections 100%, but he does this day in and day out for his living, working with people of moderate means like moi, and he's an upright guy, so I take what he says more seriously than anything I might hear from the kinds of "advisors" and brokers I interact with on a daily basis.  JH is, first and foremost, NOT a salesman. He truly cares about his clients.

I've saved a lot over the years, diligently working at it.  It was a concept I absorbed and adopted as a credo way back in the early 1970's, when I started working full-time.  Dad had always told us that if we wanted something, we would have to do it for ourselves, that nobody was going to magically appear and hand anything to us on a platter.  We would have to work HARD for what we wanted.  My parents did not preach, they worked their butts off (Mom worked full-time outside the home as well as Dad to support our family of eight) and showed us how to go by example.  Mom took me to the local bank when I was 15 to open my very first savings and checking account. I received a "free" Miriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary for opening a savings account of $150. (I still have that precious dictionary more than 45 years later). After that, I was solely in charge of the funds I earned at a part-time job after school and on weekends during school year, and worked full-time in an office (at $1.65 an hour) during the summer from the time I was 14. (Mom and Dad got tired of running my checks through their checking account!)  Of course, before that, there was baby-sitting and chore money saved up, a quarter at a time, turned over to the parents or put into a piggy bank. Every penny counted then - and now!  I still pick up found coins off the street - what can I say?  You know the old saying, A PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY EARNED.

Please do not under-estimate teaching your children and young loved ones the ins-and-outs of saving money from an early age on.  Hopefully it will stand them in good stead in future years.

Earlier this year, as things shook out, I ended up downsizing to a smaller and less expensive house (I called it my Retirement Home), when early retirement wasn't even on my event horizon!  Downsizing had always been my plan, it just happened earlier than I thought it would.  As it turned out, it was a fortuitous event. The disciplined saving habits of this child of Depression-Era parents has and will continue to pay off. Thank you, Mom and Dad!  I am very fortunate, and very grateful to be in this position.

Best of all, the anxiety/stress induced angina I've been suffering through for months is rapidly fading into nothingness.  I fully expect to be angina-free as of 5:00 p.m. on January 30, 2015.  WHOOP WHOOP!

What's the saying - one picture is worth a thousand words?  What is a music video worth, then?  I love DONE (Band Perry, above), because in a work context it expresses fully what I've experienced my past twelve plus years of working at the firm.  Time to say GOOD BYE-EYE, OOO OOOH MY-EYE, OOMPH.

I also came across this wonderful music video from the early days.  Does anyone remember the band YES?  I did not remember their name, but I remembered a phrase from the song that cropped up into my memory the past few days. I went hunting for it on You Tube last night.  Found it!  Outside of the wonderful movie "Joe Versus the Volcano" which contains galvanic scenes of worker bees drudging toward the monolithic concrete monster building in which they slave away day in and day out, the words of this song, but most of all, the imagery, fully speaks to what I am experiencing in these, my final days of WORKING ON SOMEONE ELSE'S TIME CLOCK.   I hope you enjoy it's message and meaning as much as I do: