Monday, January 28, 2008

I made it through my first day!

Well, I survived my first day on the new job. I was nervous all night and extremely nervous this morning while I was getting ready. Poor Jay was being his usual, playful self and I wasn't playing along. I was just so focused on getting ready and getting there on time that I couldn't interact very well with my family. Once I arrived at the office, my nerves calmed down a little. I started my day by meeting with 2 of the Partners. We had an open discussion, just sharing about ourselves and they told me about the firm and gave me some information about the staff and their corporate culture. I was extremely impressed with the level of professionalism as well as their appreciation for the things in life that matter the most. They value their staff and they are like a big family there. They work hard and play hard and they strive for excellence in all that they do. After the meeting with the Partners, I met with the current Office Manager and she gave me a huge stack of paperwork (which I'm still reading through) and went over the timeline for the next few months so that I will know what to expect. Then, we went to the front desk to being my training. I will be working at the front desk through April 15th and then moving on to the next position. Over the next few months I will be floating from one position to another so that I can get familiar with each position which will help me understand the work flow, as well as enabling me to better manage the staff in the future. I'm happy with the way that they have designed the training program. They are giving me ample time to get trained at each desk before I move onto the next one and Jean (the current OM) will be in the office every other week until I'm sufficiently trained.

We're just starting to hit the really insane workload in the office as we approach tax season, so I will get a real taste for how everyone handles stress and what the work flow is like when things are extremely busy. I will be working every other Saturday starting mid-February and working longer hours during the week, but it's only for a couple of months and it will be good experience.

Today I learned the phone system, got my email and calendar all set up, went over what to do with the 1099 forms that the Partners deliver to the front desk, how to order office supplies, how to sort the mail, and got an introduction to the software where the client base is stored. There was a lot of information to retain, but I know that after a couple of weeks it will all fit together and will start making more sense. Fortunately, everyone is very patient and very friendly so I know that I am in good hands.

That's all to report today! I'll keep you all (ya'll) updated as things progress. Thank you for the prayers and support and encouragement!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Smothered Sirloin Steak in Parmesan-Peppercorn Sauce

Points Value: 4
Servings: 4

1/2 cup Kraft Light Zesty Italian Reduce Fat Dressing, divided
1 lb well-trimmed boneless beef sirloin steak
1/3 cup fat free sour cream
4-1/2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 cup thinly sliced onions (about 1 medium)

Pour 1/4 cup of the dressing over steak in resealable plastic bag. Seal bag; turn to coat. Refrigerate 30 min. or overnight to marinate. Combine sour cream, 2 Tbsp. of the remaining dressing, the Parmesan cheese and pepper. Refrigerate until serving time.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add onions; cook 7-8 min. or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove onions; set aside.

Drain steak; discard marinade. Cook steak in same skillet on medium heat 3-4 min. on each side for medium doneness. Place on cutting board; slice crosswise into thin strips. Serve steak topped with sauce and onions.

This Week

It's been an interesting week so far and I thought I would just write one post rather than trying to write one for each event.

On Monday, I attended the funeral for my Great Uncle Nat. Ignazio J. Loiodice (5/13/25-1/17/08) went home to be with his heavenly Father on January 17, which, coincidentally would have been my Grandfather's birthday if he was still with us. The services were beautiful and although very sad, it was good to see the family. I am blessed with a huge family of feisty little Italians that know how to laugh and know how to fight and definitely know how to eat! No matter what the occassion, you can guarantee that there will be good food and plenty of it. Aunt Anne was holding herself together very well, considering the circumstances. She was able to smile and laugh and she has always amazed me with her wonderful outlook. We will all miss Uncle Nat terribly and it was such a blessing to be a part of his life here on earth.

After the funeral I (Jay and Kendall weren't able to join me) took Aunt Xenia and Uncle Ken over to Henry Mayo hospital to visit Grandma Willett. She is out now, but she had a bad fall and had a bit of a relapse and had lost a lot of blood and was very sad to have missed Uncle Nat's funeral. She looked good when we saw her, they had already given her one blood transfusion and were scheduled for another later that evening. She was in pretty good spirits and was cracking jokes. Uncle Ken said, "they are still waiting for the results of the pregnancy test, Mom." Grandma's reply was, "Yea, and I don't even know who the father is!" This gave me the assurance that she was going to be just fine. From the hospital we went back to Uncle Ken & Aunt Xenia's and I spent the night with them. Aunt Xenia made a yummy spaghetti dinner and I got to visit with my cousins and had a lovely evening. Unfortunately, Jason didn't get home until late so I didn't get to talk to him much, but I got to catch up with Liana and Jenessa and I really enjoyed my time with everyone. I slept in Grandma's bed, which was a little weird for me, because she wasn't there and I felt strange sleeping there without her, but it was comforting at the same time, being surrounded by her things. Hopefully tonight, her first night in her bed after being at Henry Mayo, she will be comforted in knowing that I was there, and am still there in my heart.

Tuesday morning I had a nice visit with Aunt Xenia over breakfast and then got ready and headed out to Westlake to have lunch with some friends from Surfware. Unfortunately, I made a wrong turn and ended up waaaaayyyy out of my way in Canyon Country (thinking the whole time, as much as I LOVE my new XM radio, perhaps GPS would have been more practical?) and had to call my friends to tell them I was delayed and explain my "situation." This was not the first time I have found myself lost and will certainly not be the last, but this time I really went out of my way! Fortunately, I have very understanding friends and they changed our meeting time and went ahead and ordered without me (they were on the clock!) and I just went ahead and ordered when I got there and we still had a very nice visit. After lunch I went to Old Navy and got a new dress and a scarf with the gift card that Dad & Valerie gave me for my birthday. Then, I went back to Susan's and hung out with her and Cooper for the rest of the evening. Her Mom brought us some meatball soup for dinner and we watched The Biggest Loser and played with the puppy and I took a nice, hot shower. It was heaven! I ran out of time in the morning while visiting with Aunt Xenia for my shower so it was really nice to take a shower in the evening and go to bed all fresh and clean!

Wednesday I got up and got ready and met Carrie for lunch at JJ Brewsky's in Camarillo. It was pouring rain and we both were already soaked by the time we got to the door, but we had a nice, relaxing lunch. She made me this gorgeous necklace that has green and yellow beads on it and a beautiful butterfly (of course) pendant on the end. She is so talented! If you haven't already looked at her storefront, check out the Carrie's Crafts link on this page. I may be biased, but she really does amazing work and whenever she gives me a handmade gift, I am thrilled and they are so much better than anything from the store. After lunch I decided to go over to the outlets and almost had Carrie convinced she should go with me until we walked outside of the restaurant to a mini Tsunami and she chickened out. I can't say I blame her, but I know I won't be down to the outlets for a while now that I'm working again, so I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. Plus, no crowds, right? Well, there were no crowds, but it wasn't exactly my favorite shopping trip. I did find a couple cute tops and a sweater for work, but I was soaked to the bone. After I was done shopping I went back to Susan's and tried to do something with my hair (emphasis on the word "tried") and met Staci, Sam, Nancy, Berkeley, Brian (for a few minutes) and Kiml for dinner. It was a combination of birthdays. Staci had Kiml's birthday gift from September, I had Staci's gift from November and Staci & Nancy had my gifts from January so there was a lot of gift opening going on. I didn't realize how long it had been since we'd all been together and there was not a single lull in the conversation and we had a fabulous time. I just love my Pals! After dinner I went back to Susan's and got ready for bed and had a quick visit with her and then it was off to dreamland.

Thursday morning I headed home and stopped in Santa Barbara to fill out some paperwork that needed to be completed before I start the new job on Monday and the drive home was absolutely incredible! Starting in Carpenteria, I could see snow on the hills and when I got to the top of the hill on the 154 there was snow on the ground and a very thick blanket of snow on the hills. I had never seen snow there before and it was so beautiful! I drove into Lake Cachuma and they gave me a 15 minute pass so that I could drive in and get some photos. I had to call Jay on the drive and tell him about the sight before my eyes. I'm hoping we can drive up there this weekend so that I can show he and Kendall. We don't get much snow around here, so when we do, we tend to make a really big deal of it :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

2007 Recap

1) Where did you begin 2007?
At home with Jay and the girls

2) What was your status on Valentine's Day?

3) Were you in school (anytime this year)?

(4) How did you earn your money?
I worked at Surfware through May and then we lived off of Jay's salary for the remainder of the year

5) Did you have to go to the hospital?
I went to visit my Grandmother

6) Did you have any encounters with the police?

7) Where did you go on vacation?
Virginia twice, Kansas, San Diego, Knott's Berry Farm, Colorado Springs (not really a vacation, more of a trip)

8) Did you buy anything over $1000?
Yes, mortgage payment every month!

9) Did you know anybody who got married?
Bridget got married and Nancy got engaged

10) Did you know anybody who passed away?
Yes, my father-in-law and Jeannie Martin

11) Did you move anywhere?

12) What concerts/shows did you go to?
Jars of Clay, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Little Big Town & Martina McBride

13) Are you registered to vote?
Yes, ever since I was 18

14) Who did you want to win Big Brother?
I don't watch

15) Where do you live now?
Orcutt (Santa Maria)

16) Describe your birthday?
Jay and Kendall and I went to Mattie's Tavern for dinner & Dad and Valerie came up one day and spent the day with us and we went to Avila Beach. I also had various dinners with friends. My birthdays tend to last for weeks on end :)

17) What's one thing you thought you'd never do but did in 2007?
Quit my job at Surfware

18) What has been your favorite moment?
Probably surprising Sandi for her 30th birthday. I didn't think I'd be able to keep my trip out to Virginia from her because I tell her everything, but with Aaron's help we were able to pull it off!

19) What's something you learned about yourself?
I'm stronger than I realized

20) Any new additions to your family?
A nephew in March and Susan got a puppy, which is like another nephew :)

21) What was your worst month?

22) What music will you remember 2007 by?

23) Who has been your best drinking buddy?
I don't go out drinking

24) Made new friends?
Of course

25) New best friend?
Same best friends

26) Favorite Night out?
Any date night with my hubby!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

January 19th

For whatever reason, turning 37 was much, much harder than turning 36 for me. Maybe it's because at 36 I can still get away with classifying my age as mid-thirties and perhaps at 37 I can still classify my age that way, but next year, that's all over, I am staring late thirties right in the face. Admittedly, my thirties have been way better than my twenties and getting older certainly beats the alternative, but the problem is that I don't feel like a 37 year old woman and I don't lik the wrinkles that are forming around my eyes. I don't like that half of the males in my graduating class are balding and that not one of us can get away with our "natural" hair color unless we like having table seasonings on our head. But, one good thing about having a birthday is getting showered with love and having lots of excuses to celebrate.

I woke up this morning to a phone call from my Mom from the Ontario airport. She was getting raedy to board her flight and called to wish me a Happy Birthday. After I got off the phone with her, Jay and Kendall sang to me and I could feel their love in every note. The next phone call was from Susan (& Cooper!), my "other" sister. Then, Dad & Val got to our house around noon and we all walked over to Chef Rick's for an amazing lunch. If you have never been to Chef Rick's, it is worth the drive - no matter where you are coming from. I joked with Dad & Val that they will be coming up frequently to go to Chef Rick's and will be calling to say that they'd like to stop by while they are in town. The place is that good! We had a lovely lunch and the waitress brought me a piece of cake (just what I needed) on a plate with "Happy Birthday Shannon" written in chocolate. Apparently, my clever husband gave them my name when he made the reservations so I had no idea they even knew it was a special occassion. And, once again I got a free piece of cake with no singing! After lunch we came back to the house and opened presents. Dad & Val got me a bottle of Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely cologne and an Old Navy gift card and some Cookie Lee jewelry. I opened the UPS package from the Bunns and they sent me a beautiful "I'm so happy to have you as my sister" candle holder and a card that brought tears to my eyes. Kendall & Nicole got me "A Walk to Remember" on DVD, and Jay got me an XM radio complete with car kit and docking station for my new office. I am spoiled indeed!

After Dad & Val left, I got calls from Kiml, Sandi, Carrie and my Mom again and a bunch of wonderful Myspace messages wishing me a wonderful day.

I feel so completely and totally loved and after a day like today, I guess I can accept that another birthday will be on its way in 364 more days.

Baked Beef Ziti

Points Value: 5
Servings: 8

12 oz uncooked ziti
1 tsp olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/3 pound raw lean ground beef
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes (I like the San Marzano)
1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cook pasta according to package directions without added fat or salt; drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks, about 3 to 5 minutes; drain off any fat and return pan to heat.

Add oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; stir to coat beef. Cook until herbs become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Spoon a small amount of tomato mixture into the bottom of a 4 quart casserole dish (just enough to cover the surface). Top with half of the cooked ziti and then layer with half of the reamining tomato sauce and half of the mozarella cheese. Layer remaining ziti on top and top with remaining sauce and mozzarella chese. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

Mom's Visit

Mom (Nana) flew into California from Virginia on January 7th. She stayed with some dear friends Larry & Judy and spent time visiting her parents, Aunt Bobbi, countless friends, Jeff & Lisa, and she saved the best for last (kidding!) and spent Wed-Fri with us. Larry & Judy were generous enough to loan her one of their vehicles (and the GPS system) and we were so thankful she was able to come up and stay in our home. She got in at around 2:15 on Wednesday and got settled in and she and I were able to spend a few hours cuddled up on the couch as she shared the details of her trip with me. That evening, Jay, Kendall, she and I went to Jack's in Old Orcutt for dinner. It's a local restaurant that is very cozy and has portions that are made for Sumo Wrestlers. It's a place we always like to take out of town guests because it sort of represents the spirit of our town with the personal service and friendly wait staff, they make you feel like you are having dinner in their kitchen. We had a wonderful meal and came home and got into our PJ's and camped out on the couch and watched American Idol. Well, Mom and Kendall and I watched American Idol, Jay spent the evening in the computer room doing anything possible to avoid having to watch the show with us. He despises reality TV and rightly so. Most of it is garbage, but I admit there are a few reality shows that I enjoy and AI is one of them. I realize that it is terribly cruel to laugh at the expense of others during the auditions, but in my opinion if you are going to go on national television, then you have to expect that people are going to laugh at you, especially if you are wearing any type of Star Wars costume or you have to leave your audition to have your chest waxed and then come back (did you see that guy?) Where was I again? Oh yes, back to Mom's visit.

Thursday Jay went to work and Kendall went to school, so Mom and I had the day alone. We started by checking our emails in the morning while I filled up the jacuzzi tub for her. My mother LOVES her baths and I couldn't let her go home without experiencing our fabulous jacuzzi tub at least once. It takes about an hour to fill and uses I don't know how many gallons of water, but it is a real treat and I wanted her to get to have the experience. I remember when the Bunns were here and Sandi was in there with all 3 kids and there was still room for more! After Mom's bath and my shower we went to The Madonna Inn for a late breakfast. We went to the Copper Cafe and sat right by the window. Mom told them it was my birthday (ok, so it wasn't my actual birthday, but close enough!), so they brought me a Happy Birthday balloon and a piece of toffee cake that was so creamy, so unbelievably delicious and I don't even want to know how high in calories. Fortunately, the cake came without the singing, so I didn't have to go through the humiliation in order to get my free birthday desert. I had about 4 bites and then boxed the rest up to take home to Jay and Kendall. After lunch we walked around the hotel and I showed my mom the boutiques and we walked back to where the rooms are and sat on the patio in the swing and just looked out over the valley and talked and talked and talked. I just love sitting and talking to my Mom. She knows every memory from my childhood, knows every detail of my life, and can see into my soul. Sometimes it's frightening how she can read my mind, but it's also comforting at the same time. From the hotel we headed to Marsh Street in San Luis for some shopping. I got Valentine's gifts and cards for the girls and half of Jay's Valentine's gift and an adorable sweater dress at the super sale at Express. I just love a good bargain! We got home around 5:00 and rested for about an hour and then went to Bunko. My Mom got the most Bunkos and the most wins!!!! She tied with another lady for both prizes so they each got $50. It's always fun to play Bunko, but even more fun when you get to win some money :). It was fun for me to get to introduce my Mom to all of these ladies that I've been playing with for the last two years and Mom had a really good time. I think we were only partners one time during the entire night, but I could hear her laughing from across the room, so I'm pretty sure she was enjoying herself.

Jay took the day off work on Friday and so I made a nice big breakfast for the 3 off us (Kendall was in school) and chatted with Mom until she had to leave at around 11:30. The visit was WAY too short, but we still loved every minute with her and can't wait for her next trip to California. Next time, we're hoping she'll bring D2 and the Bunns, but there's no pressure or anything....ok, maybe just a little pressure.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Feature - Recipes!

A loved one (who shall remain anonymous to protect her identity) is changing her lifestyle and losing weight, not for vanity, but for her health and I want to support her in every way possible, so I'm going to start posting low-fat, healthy recipes that taste great and will satisfy the whole family. There is no reason to sacrafice taste to lose weight!!!! In fact, I believe that if you deprive yourself, you are only setting yourself up for failure. I have found lots of great recipes from various sources that I can make my entire family. If you have any great recipes of your own that you would like to share, please send them to me and I'll post them on the blog.

Chicken Pot Pie
Points Value: 5
Servings: 6

1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cups water
1/2 cup wine, dry white (you can substitute chicken stock if you want to omit the wine)
2 cube chicken bouillon cube, crumbled
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 cup frozen grean peas
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp white all-purpose flour
5 oz fat-free evaporated milk
15 1/4 oz canned white corn, drained
6 shee phyllo dough (can be found in the freezer section)


Place chicken, water, wine and bouillon cubes in a medium pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook gently, uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Set aside one cup of broth and chop chicken into chunks.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a deep 8-inch (20 cm) pie dish with cooking spray.

Microwave carrots and peas for 2 minutes. Drain. Heat oil in a medium nonstick pan, add onions and cook until soft. Stir in flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes.

remove pan from heat and stir in milk and reserved broth. Return to heat and cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Add carrots, peas, chicken and corn.

Pour chicken into prepared dish. Layer sheets of phyllo over pie, trim edges and press down firmly to seal. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes, lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake until godlen brown, about 20 minutes more.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Italian Famiglia

The truth about Italian Famiglia

Italians have a $40,000 kitchen, but use the $259 stove from Sears in the basement to cook.

There is some sort of religious statue in the hallway, living room, front porch, and backyard.

The living room is filled with old Bombonieri (they are too pretty to open) with pouf fancy bows and stale almonds.

A portrait of the Pope and Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin or all the dining room.

God forbid if anyone EVER attempted to eat Chef Boy-Are-Dee, Franco American, Ragu, Prego, Kraft TV dinner or anything else in a jar box or can.(Tomato paste is the exception.)

The following are Italian Holidays:

1st weekend in October - Grapes for the Wine; 3rd weekend in August - Tomatoes for the sauce. Meatballs are made with pork, veal and beef.

We are Italians, we don't care about cholesterol.

Turkey is served on Thanksgiving, AFTER the antipasto, manicotti, gnocchi and lasagna.

Sunday dinner was at 1:00. The meal went like this... Table is set with everyday dishes...doesn't matter if they don't match...they're clean. What more do you want? All the utensils go on the right side of the plate and the napkin goes on the left. Put a clean kitchen towel at Nonno & Papa's plate because they won't use napkins. Homemade wine and bottles of 7up are on the table. First course, Antipasto...change plates. Next, Macaroni (Nonna called all spaghetti Macaroni)...change plates. After that, roasted meats, roasted potatoes, overcooked vegetables...change plates.

THEN and only then (NEVER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MEAL) would you eat the salad (HOMEMADE OIL & VINEGAR DRESSING ONLY)...change plates.

Next, Fruit & Nuts - in the shell (on paper plates because you ran out of the other ones by now). Coffee (Espresso for Nonna, "Merican" coffee for the rest) with Sambuca. Hard cookies (biscotti) to dip in the coffee.

The kids go play...the men go to lay down.

They slept so soundly you could perform brain surgery on them without anesthesia...

The women clean the kitchen.

Getting screamed at by Mom or Nonna -Half the sentence was English, the other half Italian.

Italian mothers never threw a baseball in their life, but can nail you in the head with a shoe thrown from the kitchen while you're in the living room.

Prom Dress that Zia Ceserina made you...$20.00 for material. Goofy hair-do from Cousin Angela...$ free. Turning around at prom to see your entire family (including grandparents) standing in the back of the gym...PRICELESS!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

At last.....

Well, after months of searching, I finally got a job! I start on January 28th as an Office Manager for C & D, LLP. They are an CPA Firm in Solvang. I am extremely honored to have been chosen and am very excited about this new venture. Just to give you a little insight, I signed on with a temp agency in December and had to fill out a lot of online forms and within an hour of submitting my information, I got a call from the agency to schedule an interview with them. I went in for my interview a few days later and had to do all of the computer testing (Word, Excel, typing, data entry, spelling, grammar, office procedures, etc.) and they told me that they didn't have any local jobs at the time, but would call me if anything came up (they are in Santa Barbara, which is a minimum of a one hour drive from here.) A couple of days later I got a call about this position in Solvang. They told me that they passed along my Resume and they were interested in meeting with me. So, we set up an interview and I went in for my first interview, where I met with one of the partners and another manager at the firm. I felt like the interview went well, but I've been wrong before, so I tried not to get my hopes up. They gave me an application while I was there (5 pages) and asked me to fill it out and either fax it, email it, or send it via snail mail. They said that email was the most secure, so I scanned it in one page at a time (since I have a flatbed scanner) and had to send separate emails because the file sizes were too huge. The next step was to complete a "talent profile" online. This evaluated my personality and my strengths, to help them determine if I am a good fit for their organization. About a week later, they called me for a second interview and I went in yesterday at 10:00am and met with 2 of the partners, plus the manager that was there for my first meeting, plus the existing Office Manager (she's moving to Irvine) and that meeting lasted a little over an hour. After the interview, I went into the Office Manager's office to sign consent forms for the background check and to go over the job description in more detail. I was a nervous wreck all evening and then sat by the phone anxiously all day and at 5:49, the agency called and said that they are really excited about me and want me to come and work for them. Yea me! I went on their website tonight and read some testimonials of their employees and I'm even more impressed than ever. Their employees have been there for years and they treat them well. I'm excited an nervous all at once.

Here are the testimonials from the website

Any firm is only as good as its people. It's an old adage but worth repeating. It's also true people perform at their best when they're in a positive work environment that encourages personal growth and excellence. These comments, taken from discussions over several years, provides some insight what it's like to work at C&D.
"There's a real advantage to our size. It creates unique opportunities and I know I won't be pigeon-holed. I can do a variety of financial work and I like that I'm challenged by the complexity of our clients.". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . There's a high caliber of people here that are driven to get the job done but aren't shy about using the expertise of their co-workers to get even better results for a client. It's not a real up-tight culture. The partners and managers give you the responsibility to get the job done without telling you how to do it. But they're right there if you need the help.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I started as a bookkeeper. C&D is large enough to learn from others and there's been a continual path to grow my technical knowledge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . There's a continual investment in state-of-the-art technology. Computers. Software. This allows us to build our technical skills and I can tell you flat out, not all firms have what we have.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I've learned so much. I came here hungry to learn and I have. The people are generous with their time and I've benefited learning from them.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Best thing? Free coffee. Just kidding.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I've worked at several accounting firms, both large and small. I had to watch my back at some places and I don't see that here. It's a team and there's a real sense of trust in each other.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . There's a huge depth of experience here. It's brought up the level of my work and I've be able to elevate my clients to a new level.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What can I say. This is my home. Because of health issues I work on a flexible schedule. I work hard and they appreciate my efforts. When I talk to the partners they really listen. And often I see the results that were based on something I said.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . It's a whole lot of little things that make this such a good work environment. Look at my office! I'm not sitting with eight other people. There's not boxes and boxes of files stacked up around me. Believe me, this isn't the case at a lot of places. And there's other things like casual Fridays, lunches and massages during tax season.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I think our clients really like us and that makes me like my job.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . As a new person I'm still learning about this place. I'm already feeling there's an opportunity to grow. Management encourages training and education. It's up to each of us to take advantage of that. The one thing I've really noticed is everyone is accessible, from the partners on down.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . There's a family atmosphere. Everyone is pulling in the same direction.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I've nothing bad to say about my former employer but this place is over the top. Lots of places and managements say they listen but the big difference here is you can actually see the results. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . If you like a busy fast-paced environment this is the place for you. You need to be a motivated self-starter and not let your ego get in the way if you need some help; just go ask someone and get on with it. The management makes me feel like I'm important to them. It motivates me to do the best job I can. The biggest perk here? It's the people. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . There's a work hard, play hard attitude at this place. I like that.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I really like working for a firm that's a clear leader in the area. We have a high calibre of clients that have real sophisticated business issues and challenges for us. It's exciting and never dull. I get a lot of support and encouragement from the managers and partners.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . When I started I didn't understand all the speciality tax laws and how they applied to our client. One of the partners, Janet, helped me see the tax laws in a different way and how they can help an industry.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I always thought C&D would be a great place to work because of their long standing reputation as a top notch company. And it is.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . When I joined C&D I was looking for stability along with good benefits. I got that, but better yet I have gotten opportunities beyond my expectations to utilize my strengths and talents. The people are fun and I feel like I belong to the C&D family.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Brain Teaser

I was only able to get 23 myself!

There are 30 books of the Bible in this paragraph. Can you find them? No cheating! This is a most remarkable puzzle. It was found by a gentleman in an airplane seat pocket, on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, keeping him occupied for hours. He enjoyed it so much, he passed it on to some friends. One friend from Illinois worked on this while fishing from his john boat. Another friend studied it while playing his banjo. Elaine Taylor, a columnist friend, was so intrigued by it she mentioned it in her weekly newspaper column. Another friend judges the job of solving this puzzle so involving, she brews a cup of tea to help her nerves. There will be some names that are really easy to spot. That's a fact. Some people, however, will soon find themselves in a jam, especially since the book names are not necessarily capitalized. Truthfully, from answers we get, we are forced to admit it usually takes a minister or a scholar to see some of them at the worst. Research has shown that something in our genes is responsible for the difficulty we have in seeing the books in this paragraph. During a recent fund raising event, which featured this puzzle, the Alpha Delta Phi lemonade booth set a new record. The local paper, The Chronicle, surveyed over 200 patrons who reported that this puzzle was one of the most difficult they had ever seen. As Daniel Humana humbly puts it, "The books are all right here in plain view hidden from sight." Those able to find all of them will hear great lamentations from those who have to be shown. One revelation that may help is that books like Timothy and Samuel may occur without their numbers. Also, keep in mind, that punctuation and spaces in the middle are normal. A chipper attitude will help you compete really well against those who claim to know the answers. Remember, there is no need for a mad exodus; there really are 30 books of the Bible lurking somewhere in this paragraph waiting to be found. God Bless

Friday, January 4, 2008

It's a New Year!

There is always sort of a slight let-down when Christmas is over for me. The decorations must come down, no more beautiful lights on the streets, no more Christmas carols....but at the same time, it is nice to get back to "normal." Back to eating healthy, back to a routine, less traveling and spending. So, although Christmas is over, there is a new year ahead, filled with opportunities. Opportunities to grow, opportunities to love more and live more. Opportunities to count our blessings and appreciate those we love even more. Every day provides an opportunity to start fresh, but there is something about a new year that makes the possibilities seem endless.
I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions. I think it's much to easy to give up if you decide that beginning January 1st you will eat healthy, exercise daily, save money, give up a bad's too discouraging when you have a set back and makes it too easy to give up. So, instead of setting resolutions I am setting goals for 2008. I love goals because they give you a sense of purpose and there is such a sense of accomplishment when you reach a goal. If you do set resolutions or goals for the new year, do not give up if you have a slip-up. If your goal is to lose weight, don't accept defeat because you have a cheeseburger and fries or because you gain 2 pounds during your birthday festivities. If your goal is to work out, do not give up because you have a lazy week and don't walk or hit the gym once. Look at every day as a new opportunity and stay focused! And finally, set realistic goals and break them down into smaller goals leading up to the "big" goal to keep you motivated. I also think it's important to celebrate every time you reach a goal. Give yourself a reward every time you reach a goal. It doesn't have to be expensive, either. You can treat yourself to a manicure or a day away from the kids to enjoying a sport or activity that you love or a date night with your sweetie or a new pair of jeans when you lose that 10 pounds or whatever will keep you motivated, but do not give up on yourself.

Here are some of my goals for 2008

  • Get a job (I just know God has the right position for me and can't wait to find out what it is)
  • Get back into my "skinny" jeans (By doing Weight Watchers and exercising)
  • Take a cooking class
  • Complete 2 Bible studies (maybe more, but 2 is a realistic goal)
  • Get the credit card paid off
  • Take a trip to Virginia
  • Take a trip to Kansas
  • Take at least one weekend getaway with just Jay and I
  • Finish decorating the kitchen & master bathrooms

I have lots of other aspirations, like being more patient, becoming a better Mom & wife, spending more time with friends, increasing my faith, doing more scrapbooking...but those are not measurable and will never be finished, so I'm not putting them on my goals list.

I pray that this new year is a great year for all of you. I pray for health, for prosperity, for joy and for an appreciation of just how special and worthy of love you are!


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