Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Either incredibly boring, or incredibly illuminating. Or neither!

Perhaps you're wondering just why the CilleyGirl vanishes from the face of the earth twice a year, most notably during the month of December.  Perhaps you're not!  Oh well, you can please all of the people some of the time or some of the people all of the time or tickle ferrets with your toes. 

So anyhow, I thought I'd try to convey an idea of what it's like around here.

First, the big deadline at this time of the year is designated by statute as December 31.  Given how the weekend and the New Year's holiday falls this year, that is extended to January 3, 2012. 

In mid October, I start thinking about year end. 

At the beginning of November, I start pointing out that I am thinking about year end. 

By Thanksgiving, we really need to get our asses in gear.

Hopefully by December 1 we are ready to start preparing for the year end deadline. 

All around and through this, my boss is talking about how he wants to do things differently this year, implement some grand new scheme, blah blah blah.  To sum up:  He wants to fix what's not broke and take as long as possible to perhaps notice that. 

This year we started prepping around December 15.  In other words:  Really fucking late.  Plus the other full time employee in my office was fired.  Yippee!!  (those are sarcastic explanation points).

Moving along.  I have a spreadsheet with every active file in the state listed.  For 2011, there are currently 942.  For each of those files, here's pretty much what needs to be done.

  • Pull current year assessment data.  We may already have this on file, or it needs to be looked up online or we have to call to get it.
  • Compare the current year to the prior year.
  • Summarize the most recent year's appeal with the outcome.
  • Summarize the number of units or square footage and the vacancy.  Track down the information in filing if we have it, otherwise request from client. 
  • Calculate income and expenses.  Ditto on tracking down the paperwork.
  • Cap the income to determine a value.
  • Compare against any appraisals or sales.  Ditto on tracking down the paperwork.
  • Give it the sniff test.
  • Make the call whether to appeal, to not appeal, or to pass it up to my boss for his call either way.
  • If appealing, draft the petition.  Some times this means a trip to the copier.
  • Note the outcome on the master spreadsheet and route the filing back wherever it now needs to be.
942 times, I do this.  The shortest time to do this is probably 10 minutes.  On something new and/or complicated, it can take an hour or longer.   Most fall into the 20 to 30 minute category.  Thankfully each file does not take an hour because that would mean it would take more than 23 weeks to do this. 

And I really can't stay awake for that long.

Oh, and I forgot to mention:  After the review and preparing of any petitions, they have to be re-reviewed for completeness (i.e., are they signed) and then they are copied, logged, and sent out the door. 

I really need a day off!

the CilleyGirl

Poetry Monster

I don’t want to be

Soft and flabby.
I want to be strong and lean.
I don’t want to be seen
As no lazy girl.
I don’t want to be lumpy, bumpy, or frumpy;
I want to be seen.
I want to scream
That I gleam
With good health
And a complete sense of self.
The way I should.
That’s how I want to be.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Where did December go?

I tend to have a loose grip on the concept of time throughout the year thanks to my job and by the month of December all bets are off.  I'm so focused on my year-end deadline -- officially December 31 but your mileage may vary due to how the holiday/weekend falls -- that I forget about every other date in December.  Mainly, Christmas.  Or Hanukkah, if you swing that way.  Or whatever.

Anyhow.  The fallout from the recent personnel change at work has not been so bad, at least from my perspective.  Which is really the only perspective that counts, right?  Seriously though.  Do you work with -- or are you -- someone who, if they had to replace you, it would take more than one person to fill their shoes?  Or, conversely, do you work with someone where you have a sneaking suspicion that their job could be done by a hamster on crack with ADD?  So far, we've fallen somewhere in between. 

I've found out about a few "WTF??  Why would you do things like that???" things where clearly the time, she was a'being wasted.   I don't know if resulted from her taking over a convoluted process that she never changed to make more efficient or maybe she just liked reinventing the wheel on a regular basis, but there are some things.....  I'm all about not wasting time, mainly because I am inherently lazy.  I've got better things to do with myself.  If I can do it faster, better, stronger, I will.  Because I am the Six Million Dollar Woman.  And because why on earth wouldn't you?

Maybe it's a consequence of the results-oriented work environment we have in this country.  Where keeping your ass in your chair for forty hours a week is all that really matters.  If TPTB were to find out it only took you 20 hours a week to do your job, you would't exactly advertise that.  If you took you 60 hours a week to do your job, you would do things faster, right?  If you had to fit it all into 40 hours, I mean.  Is this making any sense?  Long story short (too late!), my uninformed opinion is that about 20 hours worth of work a week was being stretched into an average of 45.  I still don't know where or how we're going to squish that extra 20 into the rest of our work lives but it is better than 60. 

It still leaves me shaking my head, though. 

Well, as I said I'm focused on getting through to January 3.  Odds are not looking good that I will make the January 1 resolution runs.  So far, I'm not sad about that either.  It's been fairly chilly here in the PNW lately.  I'd rather catch up on my sleep under a nice, toasty down comforter :)

the CilleyGirl

Monday, December 12, 2011

Whatta Monday

I'm trying to stay awake through my last hour or so at work so I thought I'd pop in here.  I'm sleepy because of the benedryl, and I took benedryl because we got our office Christmas tree (or winter solstice bush, if you prefer) yesterday and I am allergic to evergreens.  Good thing I live in the Pacific Northwest, you're saying?  Yeah, outside trees don't bug me (except in high pollen season) unless I rub one all over me.  Then that's bad.  But inside there's a lot less air and too much pollen/tree/mold/whatever.  Around 3:00 I started wheezing and I don't have my inhaler with me (note to self:  bring inhaler to work tomorrow) so I dug some little pink pills. 

And now I'm not as wheezy or snorfelly (that's a word, really) but I'm ready to pass out on my keyboarrrrrrrrrrrrrdrfsdasfdasdflkaoie ,mna,mncliux,kanlkldlkja.

Friday we had a lovely shakeup at work.  This is a really small office.  My boss, another attorney who works part time, me doing legal work full time, an office manager full time, a part time bookkeeper, and a secretary/data entry/file clerk/receptionist who is a temp and works a little less than full time. 

Ten minute after getting here on Friday morning, I am now the only full time employee.  We no longer have a business manager.  The plan to divide up her job duties?  There isn't one.  "We're just all going to pitch in a little."  Because, you know, she didn't do anything actually important and vital that we might want to make sure keeps getting done on a regular basis or anything.

And no, I still have yet to sit down with my boss to discuss being compensated for the last three people that left and I absorbed a big chunk of their jobs.  Now there's four.  Bah. 

And being the type of person who prefers to have all the trains run on time, I'm stepping up to herd the various cats around.  I guess I don't have to; I'm not obligated and I could just let it all blow up to hell.  But I know that that would cause me infinitely more stress in the long run.  Better to be my responsible self and try to make sense of this all.

But I WILL get paid for this.  Dammit.

the CilleyGirl

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Awesome Body Plan update!

Here's the plan so far....

1. Make appointment with allergist to get the good drugs to make the sinus problems all better. 

This one is all done!  I went to the allergist's office today and we talked about exactly what symptoms I've been having.  I'll be on a course of antibiotics but also on a heavier round of prednisone.  I'm having less problems with mucous and more with inflammation and the prednisone targets the inflammation.  Probably going to get a CT scan in 2012 to figure out if there is more than can be done -- maybe surgery -- to stop these sinus infections!

2. Make appointment to visit prospective gym(s).

Not yet, but I got a call out of the blue while I was at the allergist's today from my former gym.  They're offering me $29.99 per month for a year to come back -- I was paying $65 a month before.  It'd be $39.99 per month after that on a month to month.  I do like having the indoor track, it's a convenient distance from the house and office, and I doubt I could beat the price at the other places I was looking at.  The other places are much nicer but ideally my old gym will someday finish that remodel....  I may just end up going back to these guys.

3. Tour prospective gym(s).

See above.

4. Sign up with gym.

I'm going to pull the trigger on the old gym by next Friday.  Then I can cross three things off my list!

5. Rid kitchen of grains, legumes, and processed sugar.

I threw out the leftover brownies last night.  I have peanut butter but I never really eat peanut butter anyhow; maybe I'll bring that in to the office for somebody else to eat it.  That leaves just one hamburger bun (to be eaten tonight) and a few english muffins (this weekend's breakfast).  Then I think I'm all purged...

6. Create workout plan to build base mileage back up.

7. Decide if I want to do marathon or half marathon training for the first half of 2012.

I am signed up for the Portland Rock 'n Roll Half next May.  I still hope to do the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2012.  Starting to lean towards signing up for the half marathon training....

8. Sign up for either marathon or half marathon training for the first half of 2012.

9. Implement base mileage plan.

10. Start marathon or half marathon training.

11.  Take Vitamin D and fish oil supplements.

I started doing this again this week.  I really think it helps my mood to be a little sunnier...

Stay tuned!

the CilleyGirl

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The CilleyGirl with the CilleyPlan

I thought I should start writing down the steps I need to take to accomplish my 2012 Awesome Body Plan.  Let's see....

1.  Collect underpants.
2.  ???
3.  Profit.

Oh wait, that's the underpants gnomes' business plan.  I need an Awesome Body Plan.

Okay, let's try this....

1.  Make appointment with allergist to get the good drugs to make the sinus problems all better. 

This one is all done!  I go in tomorrow at lunch time.  Gimme prednisone baby, yeah!

2.  Make appointment to visit prospective gym(s). 

3.  Tour prospective gym(s).

4.  Sign up with gym.

5.  Rid kitchen of grains, legumes, and processed sugar. 

6.  Create workout plan to build base mileage back up.

7.  Decide if I want to do marathon or half marathon training for the first half of 2012.

8.  Sign up for either marathon or half marathon training for the first half of 2012.

9.  Implement base mileage plan.

10.  Start marathon or half marathon training.

That's all I got so far.  What do you think?

the CilleyGirl

Monday, December 5, 2011

She stirs, she scores!

I made turkey broth from Ollie's carcass and then cream of turkey soup yesterday.  Absolute home run on both!

Can you see the specks of soup between her eyes and on her nose?

Gigi says "Yum!"

I ended up not using a recipe so much as a formula.  The basic formula is four parts broth to one part heavy cream; I used half and half.  Before adding the liquid, melt four tablespoons of butter and mix in four tablespoons of flour.  If you want a thicker, richer soup, add three beaten egg yolks to the butter/flour mixture.  This I didn't do.  Salt/pepper/spice to taste; I added kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, parsley, garlic salt, and chicken bouillon granules.  Except for the pepper, it was about three tablespoons of each.  I tripled this recipe, so adjust your quantities accordingly or to your taste.  It also wasn't as thick as I wanted -- I wanted it to coat the spoon but not stick to the spoon -- I added about six additional tablespoons of flour mixed with some water.  That came out to the perfect consistency for me.  Oh, and I added about three cups of chopped turkey, both dark and light meat, once the soup was the consistency I wanted.  Overall, extremely tasty although maybe just a tiny tad too salty -- I think I could've done with a tablespoon or two less bouillon -- but I would definitely make this again.  And I made so much soup and broth that I can freeze a good portion of it.  Yippee!

the CilleyGirl

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fondling Ollie

So.  Thanksgiving.

Ollie turned out fine but I did not like the sugar and spice rub I tried.  The cloves, the nutmeg -- just the wrong tastes in my mind. 

Here is naked Ollie.  Sadly, he came with his own bondage gear so I didn't get to tie him up myself.

This is the sugar/salt/spice rub that I rubbed into a naked Ollie.  While not so good on turkey, it'd be find on say dessert.

Ollie, after he's been rubbed down and wrapped in saran.  I kept walking around all morning, saying "He's dead, wrapped in plastic" in that Twin Peaks accent.  Remember that?  Pretty hard to avoid Twin Peaks when you live in the Pacific Northwest. 

He may not have tasted like I expect a turkey to taste, but he sure came out pretty.  And he was moist.  Today I took his stripped down carcass and made broth.  And that smelled like turkey should.  Tomorrow I make cream of turkey soup from scratch.  Yum!

Gigi is doing better.  The night I wrote about how she was in mourning, we took a walk to the mailbox and then we went for a long car ride.  She sat in the back seat with a huge doggy grin on her face the whole ride.  Even when I left her in the car for about 20 minutes while I got some sushi, she was so happy just to be out and looking around with new sights and new smells.  We've had a few digging incidents this week but not every night and not as bad.  Today we've been hanging out and petting each other.  She's keeping my toes warm right now.

I've been thinking about goals for the new year.  I'll do a formal recap in January but I know that I sucked at meeting my goals for 2011.  And I'm finally starting to get the running bug again.  I haven't had it since the marathon, and when I realized that Gigi was sad about Maggie being gone I also realized that I've been very sad too.  It was the day after the marathon that she crossed the bridge, so the timing makes sense.  While I don't want to be out in the cold and wet right now -- I've got a wicked squared to infinity sinus infection again, almost enough to send me to urgent care today -- I'm starting to plan for 2012.  I'm leaning heavily towards signing up with a marathon training program through Fit Right Northwest, a local running store.  It's a great bargain in my opinion, $120 for 20 weeks, two in person training sessions per week.  It would run from the end of January to the middle of June, culminating in the Vancouver USA Marathon. 

In conjunction with that, I'm planning to sign up with a gym again by the middle of this month.  I would need to back into running three times a week by the end of January, in order to avoid a recurrance of a stress fracture.  The gym I'm looking at also has a nice selection of group classes, with ones that I would want to take at the times I would want to take them -- in other words, at o'dark thirty. 

I know I say this every year, but I am really sick of being fat.  I know the goals I have in mind for my body.  I want to to be lean and strong and muscular.  I want to have control over what I can do.  I'm not going to do that by doing nothing, or even doing a little.  I've got to make what is likely to be a big change; the little ones that build on each other don't work for me.  I tend to forget why I'm doing what I'm doing.  I need to go cold turkey on my life in order to make a new one. 

But more on that later.

the CilleyGirl