Retirement: Things I will NOT miss about my job.

Retirement: Things I will NOT miss about my job.

I have been retired for about three weeks now.  The first almost two weeks were spent on vacation, so they almost don’t count.  Here is a list of the many things I will not miss about my last job (I was there for 12 years).

  1.  Punching a time-clock.  After much of a career as a salaried employee, I was hourly at my last job.  That time-clock represented an absence of trust by my employer that he would get a full day’s work out of me.  The worst part of it was that if I wanted to take vacation, I had to submit my request on the time clock, and it was a big pain in the patootie.
  2. Daily “standup meetings”.  My group was forced to justify our work every day, even on Mondays when we had not yet run our workbenches, which told us what needed to be ordered that week.  Many of the “past due” items on our benches were way out of our control, also.  I felt like a third-grader being called on by the teacher.
  3. Driver Measures, and Action Plans.
  4. The PO Burndown Spreadsheet, where we had to register that we had ordered something, requiring double work for each order placed.  And, after the first six months of the new management, that spreadsheet was mostly current and we couldn’t be held to account for things beyond our control.
  5. Cancel and pushout messages.  Our customers were canceling their orders right and left, and our lives were a mess with continually pushing out orders that had already been pushed out once or twice.
  6. Expedite messages, especially for orders that had just been pushed out.
  7. The “guest network” that kicked me out whenever my device went to sleep, so I had to log back on every time it woke up.
  8. No “personal folders” in Microsoft Outlook.  Before the company was sold, I had extensive personal folders where I would file emails on particular issues.  If I wanted to know which engineer was responsible for an issue, I just had to go to my folder for the supplier and search, and find what I needed.  The new parent company forbid personal folders, so I was always short of information.  Very frustrating.
  9. Having to put on my mask whenever I got up from my desk, even to walk the 10 steps to the printer and back.  The factory had been Covid-free since April.
  10. Spiders.  One of the engineers’ desk was on my walking route to the stock room, and she kept three plastic spiders at the edge of her desk, where I had to look at them every time I passed the desk.  I hate spiders, so that did not improve my mood.
  11. Constant background noise, from always-running HVAC equipment, and intermittent machine noise.  In 2015 the factory did a complete remodel, tearing down internal walls and bringing big screw-machines and metal-punching machines out into the open.  This increased the ambient noise level dramatically, and management never believed the employees when they said the noise was bothersome.  Their answer: Wear your noise-canceling headphones.  Many of us did that, but it decreased situational awareness and made us more-distant from our coworkers.
  12. A certain bald head.  The owner of that head was the cause of many resignations from our group, but not mine.  And I will not miss it one bit.

Lens-Artists Challenge #108 Sanctuary

A sanctuary is someplace you want to be.  It’s often a quiet place, or a less-quiet place with no one else around.  It’s a place to retreat to, when you have had your fill of the honking horns, boomy bass coming from someone’s hot-rod, or just backups in traffic.

Not far from my home is the Narbeck Wetland, a real sanctuary, designed to preserve a tiny portion of wilderness in the city.  Actually, it’s right across the street from the world’s largest factory building, which is remarkable in itself.  Just last week, I packed up my big camera (well, bigger than my phone), and headed over there for a nice taste of nature.  There are two separate paths around the wetland, one with alternating forest path and boardwalk, and one along the perimeter closer to the street.

This time, I took the inner path.  Just at the edge of the parking lot at the start of the path, there is a pool, with trees overhanging, and I started there.  Boy, was I glad that I had brought my phone, which I have found takes just excellent video.  This particular pool was very pretty, but I felt it really needed video to capture its real beauty.

 

The water was just shimmering so enchantingly, I had to capture that.  But only later when I got home and uploaded this to my computer, did I really hear the background noise.  I guess when you’re across the street from an airplane assembly factory, and just a short distance from the county airport, you can expect to hear overhead aircraft!

On I walked, down the path.

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During that entire walk, I met just one other person.  The air was cool, the breeze welcome, and the path inviting.  Just a bit farther on, I reached the boardwalk over the water.

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Just down from here, I stopped and spent a few minutes just leaning on the railing over this pool, just listening to the wind in the trees, and the trickling of the water-it was mesmerizing, and hard to come back to reality.

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A few yards on down the boardwalk, my eye was caught by something on the railing itself.  I looked a bit closer, and was treated to an almost artistic arrangement.  If you pay attention to the little things, you might see something extraordinary.

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Lichens, lacework on the half-decomposed leaf, and a dead leaf almost as pretty as the live one must have been.  Ah, the details!

Right at the end of the boardwalk, I found a pool that looked like a piece of abstract art.

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And so ended my walk in the wilderness, only a short drive from home.

Speaking of home, my little sanctuary at home is my bedroom.  I do spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on my bed reading.  Today, as many days, I was joined by my cat, Kikyo.  She just loves to sit on me.

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I think I am her sanctuary.  That is one relaxed, happy kitty.

Link to Xenia’s Original Post

 

Shall we try “canceling” the California teen…

…who tried, in a Twitter post (sorry, I will not link to anything on Twitter), to humiliate Trader Joe’s Grocery into changing all their generic/ethnic product names?  She did her best to bring down the wrath of the “Twitter Mob” on the grocery chain, who names some of its products after the countries in which they originated.  Say they want to sell soy sauce, they call their brand “Trader Ming’s”, or Italian Olive Oil, “Trader Giotto’s”.  We all know that TJ’s is being funny!  Those brands make their customers smile!

So, Little Miss Scold, @BrionesBedell, attempts to bring down the grocery chain.  Well, funny thing, she did not succeed!  The management at Trader Joe’s received so many notes of support from their customers, that they refused to bend to the winds of Political Correctness, and Cancel Culture!  We who shop at Trader Joe’s regularly, love those product names, and we love Trader Joe’s stores and their products.

So, Miss Briones Bedell, go crawl back under your rock, and be offended in private.  We don’t want to hear your scolding your elders and betters.

I’m very happy to support any of my readers and followers who are on Twitter in calling out this teenager, who needs a taste of her own medicine.

Butt Out

Pete

Mayor Pete has ended his campaign for the DemocRat presidential nomination.  Since the beginning, I have thought of him as “Mayor Butt”.  I figure that many voters just aren’t ready for a homosexual president (count me in that number).  What a waste of cuteness!

BTW, he was a pretty poor mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and would have made a worse president.

Thought Experiment

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What would happen if, with my magic wand (pine wood with unicorn hair, rigid flexibility), I caused the hair color of every woman in this picture to revert to its natural color?  Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Patty Murray, Kamala Harris…  Wouldn’t it be just sweet to see every woman with her natural color, just like me (I love my silver locks, all-natural)?  Just a thought on a lazy Saturday night.

2020 Year of the Rat (and the optometrist?)

2020 Year of the Rat (and the optometrist?)

In the Chinese Zodiac, 2020 is a Rat year.  Now, most people don’t have very nice associations with the Rat, since they bring to mind ideas like Bubonic Plague, Lab Rat, filth, vermin, rat traps, and “dirty rat”.  Rats are normally viewed as pests, and most of us would scream and run away if we saw a rat in our house.

However, in the Chinese zodiac, if you were born in a Rat year, you might show an aggressive attitude and an entrepreneurial spirit.  Rats might make a lot of money in their lives, and triumph over obstacles set in their way.

This is also a year divisible by ten, and most of us humans have a tendency to attribute special qualities to any year divisible by 10.  Perfect vision is denoted by 20/20, so there have been numerous references in various places this year to Vision.  I just came up with  this slogan:

2020, the Year of the Optometrist.

 Citizens, make that appointment with your local optometrist, and make sure your Vision is 20/20 this year!  I wonder if the eye-care community is milking this year for all it’s worth?

On a side note, in college I was a Psychology major, and I was required to take a class in Research Participation, which involved using rats. They looked very much like this:

Lab rat

My lab partner (who later became my husband) was actually afraid of the rats!  I wasn’t, and had no trouble handling them, so I handled the rats while he did the recording when they ran the maze.

Oh, yeah..Be sure to check out Ratburger.org.  It’s their year, too!

So rats aren’t always bad, and if you were born in a Year of the Rat, you might become the next Elon Musk or Bill Gates!  What Chinese Zodiac sign were you born under?

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter

And a big Thank You to JK Rowling for writing the novels that captivated me, an old lady. After seeing the first movie in 2001, I was totally hooked on Potter and his world of witches, wizards, spells, and potions.  I was thoroughly entranced by the movie, and I thought the casting of the main characters was as perfect as it ever could be.  Even today, the first movie is my favorite, and we watch it every so often. Of course, I have all the books, and have read them all dozens of times.  I am collecting the illustrated editions, and can hardly wait for Goblet of Fire this October.  I am a Pottermore user, and have been sorted into my houses at both Hogwarts (Slytherin) and Ilvermorny (Horned Serpent-see a pattern here?).  I have got my wand (pine wood with unicorn tail hair), and Patronus (stoat).

JK Rowling, for me, is just like Dorothy L. Sayers, in creating real people in her characters.  Peter Wimsey, Sayers’s aristocrat detective, seemed just like someone you might meet, and if you look closely, you will see elements that Rowling pulled from Sayers in the Harry Potter oeuvre (where else would she have found the name Cattermole, but in “Gaudy Night”?).

Best wishes to all the Potters, and all the Wizarding World!

Random thoughts on Saturday

School dreams.  We all have them.  There are numerous variations on the situation where you find yourself in class, and it’s test day and you haven’t reviewed any of the course material.  The textbook is a fat volume of stories and you haven’t opened it all semester.  And you’re naked.

I have been having an entirely new variation on the school dream.  I am playing in an orchestra, and it’s concert time.  I open my violin case, and my violin is just a pile of sticks.  Or my bow has broken in half.  This one actually has a small connection to something that happened to me in real life.  I opened my case, and one of my bows had lost half its hair!  Another time, I opened my case and discovered that I had bugs, and they had eaten away part of the tip of my bow (you could see the little bite-marks-gross!). I had to fumigate the case and get the bow repaired, which just happened a couple of weeks ago.

On an entirely different subject, I feel a brag coming on.  I have been keeping a running tally of my finances lately, to show progress toward my goal of financial independence when I retire.  My total of investments at my primary investment company, Vanguard, is now comfortably over a million dollars.  About $650,000 is in my retirement accounts.  I am now a “Flagship” investor at Vanguard, and am entitled to a free meeting with a financial advisor, which I intend to set up sometime in August.  And in keeping track, I discovered that I have run out of digits on my little calculator!  Frustrating, but in a good way.

Last weekend, we took our first drive of the season up to the Diablo Lake Overlook in the North Cascades.  I have zillions of pictures of that area, but I always take my camera and get more.  Here are a couple.

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This is the Skagit River around the town of Rockport.

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This is Lake Diablo.  People for scale over on the left.  The water is always that bright blue-green color, as it is glacier-fed.  However, the temperature that day was about 85 at the overlook, and 92 at Newhalem, the town just where the road goes into the mountains.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

It’s Leavenworth Time!

Once again, its mid-June, and time for the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration.  Hubby and I took last Thursday and Friday off from work, and drove the 2 hours up US2 to the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth.  As usual, it was a beautiful drive, with nice scenery all the way up and over Stevens Pass to Leavenworth in Chelan County.  The pretty town was much the same as previous years, but we did notice some changes on Front Street, the main “tourist trap” (but we love it).  This building had been repainted in front, and there was a new business there.

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There has always been an outdoor store on the main street, but this year the facade had been re-imagined too.  Nice!

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And inside the Festhalle, we saw more changes to the decor.  There was some new wall art.

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And a new piece of equipment.

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Of course, Leavenworth is nothing without the accordions!  There was a special exhibit this year, of very old instruments.

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And, of course, the new ones, on sale at the booth of Tempo Trend Music of Victoria, BC.

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The competitions brought out many new players who we had not seen before, and a few familiar faces.  I especially love the kids, ranging in age from about seven to teenagers.  Here’s a group picture of all this year’s kids.  Those guys on the ends are this year’s judges!  On the left is Emmanuel Gasser of Canada, who has been competing since he was about eight years old.  On the right is everyone’s favorite pro, Gary Blair, from Scotland.

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I also took some video with my brand new iPhone.  This act was the best of the entire festival.  Every time I play it, I get all teary-eyed, since they are so cute!

Of course, I had to do my obligatory pilgrimage to the Taffy Shop on Front Street.  I found  a new product they are selling!

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The proprietor says they are selling like hotcakes.  But here is a fixture at the store that never fails to bring smiles.  How long has it been since you saw one of these?

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All in all, another great year at the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration.

Happy Holidays-Try Tiffany this Christmas

Happy Holidays-Try Tiffany this Christmas

Readers, do you want to really impress your spouse or “significant other” this year?  Have you been wracking your brain trying to think of something to give him or her for Christmas this year?  Are your gift ideas just not making it?  Well, try something from Tiffany.  That distinctive blue box under the tree will excite just about anyone, especially if they are not expecting it.

You say, “Tiffany is way too expensive for me”, or “I’m reluctant to even walk into a Tiffany store past those intimidating guards”.  Let me disabuse you of those notions.  Tiffany sells many products that are within the budget of most people.  Did you know, Tiffany sells a line of home goods, including glassware, barware, and even chopsticks?  Yes, chopsticks! I actually bought my husband a pair of their solid-walnut chopsticks, with a sterling silver end piece that I had monogrammed with his initials.  Very cool!

Get a load of this, just for those who live in cities where plastic straws are banned.  It’s a sterling silver “Crazy Straw”.

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About those door guards…  They are just human beings, and you should not be intimidated by them.  Just think of yourself as a Customer, and like any other retailer, Tiffany loves customers, especially new customers.  So get up your courage, and walk right in, being sure to greet the guard with a smile and a hearty “Good Afternoon”.  Then, just go around and look in all the display cases, and find something that your honey will like.

Tiffany has a huge selection of sterling silver jewelry and accessories that are very affordable.  When I was single and living on a shoestring, I saved up all year to go to Tiffany and treat myself to a pair of sterling earrings.  They come out with new styles all year long, so you should be able to find something in your price range.  And from long experience, I can tell you that Tiffany salespeople understand if you are on a limited budget, so tell them what your price range is, and they will come up with something wonderful.

So, Try Tiffany this holiday season.  You won’t regret it, and your Sweetie will be delighted.  I guarantee it!