Another Year Comes To An End

I love the end of the year.  It’s the time we get to sit back and review what we’ve done, both professionally and personally.  That assessment is so vital to our mental health, even the news media partakes.

They’ll spend the next few weeks going back and collecting info on what they covered; facts, statistics, people stories – all the major stories of the year.  We’ll get to see those recaps and remember with them.  But have we done the same for our own lives?

Every year end, the shortest day of the year, I put together a list of accomplishments.  I then compare that to the list of goals I wrote down last December and compare the two.  How did I do this year?  I don’t know yet, because the year isn’t quite over.  But I’ll tell you more about it December 21st.  In the meantime, I’ll start writing down thoughts on what is important to accomplish in 2014.  I’ll also revisit my goals for 2013 and see what didn’t happen and should it continue to be on the list or have I moved on without it?

I try and access where I want my life to go, how should I spend my money, what should I focus on for jewelry designs, what changes do Tracy and I want to make at the store, what can I do to improve my health?  All questions I’ll think about and ultimately put down on paper.  I learned many years ago to write it down – I won’t remember a year from now and when I check back in the middle of the year to see how I’m doing I won’t have anything to compare it to.  Lots of questions without answers – yet!

Stay tuned – until next time.

Budget Your Time? has a nice short article by Christina Breda Antoniades on making a “time budget”.  During my years as a Congressional Aide, time was my most valuable asset.  There was never enough of it and it’s misuse was very expense – late night work catch-up and work all weekend.

Now, at 64, I find time is still my most valued asset (besides my husband).  I want to write every morning while my brain is fresh.  I need to open our Gallery/Gift Shop at 9AM.  There’s Jewelry to create, sales to record, merchandise to stock, cleaning, government reports to finish and the list goes on.  And at 64, I don’t multi-task near as well.  Sigh!

Christina’s brief but succinct “daytimer” reminded me of the value of “budgeting time”.  I used to do it very well, what happened?  Last year I felt behind the 8 ball all the time .  Why do I have to plan every part of my day?  At my age I should be retired and do what I want.  Instead I’m just tired and not doing anything I want.  I fought using my old habits all the way.  I did it all those years and I don’t want to.  Yet, I want to write; I want to read; I need to run the store; I need to make more jewelry because I enjoy it; I like knitting hats and giving them away; I need to clean the house; I need to do the laundry;  I need to budget my time.  Ick!

But, if I want to do all those things and get the things done I have to do I need to budget my time  It wasn’t hard to fall back into the habit, especially when I want “me time”.

So here’s my days –

  • 7-830 AM write
  • 8:30 – 9  get ready for work and plan dinner – including getting the slow cooker on
  • 9-Noon –  Beadweave and make jewelry – husband takes care of customers and makes lunch
  • Noon – 4PM  Do whatever needs doing in the store (consult list from night before to be sure I get it all done – dust, stock, reports, internet orders, etc and wait on customers
  • 4-6 PM  run errands, make dinner and clean up
  • 6-bedtime – Husband time, talk, read – In the season the store is open until 8PM so I’ll go back in and help him or do laundry because we’re open 7 days a week.

Just before bedtime I’ll write out 6 projects – both work and home – that need attention the next day.

When the store gets really busy during our April through October season, it’ll get harder to “budget” but at least there will be some “me” time.  Thanks Christina for a perfect reminder.  You can read it yourself  at

Oops – time to go!  Even though it’s Sunday and I get 3 hours to sit in my PJ’s and write –  the laundry awaits!




The end of the Lunar calendar and the start of something new.  What will you start new?
For me it’s starting my book.  Learning to use Scrivener and working my way through Greart Grandmothers story.  I’d like to  better my communication with my Grandchildren, and continuine to work on  moving on.  I’ve been doing retail work for 53 years (next June) and I’d like to be done with that part of my career by June of 2013.  It’s been a wonderful experience but standing around the store is really beginning to take it’s toll physically.  I’m grateful the floors are not concrete or it would be worse.
In the meantime, I’m busy making new jewelry for the coming tourist season.  Petrified Wood, gemstones, sandstone, Fossils, and whatever else I can find that might appeal to buyers.  But my passion remains in bead weaving.  Taking little seed beads and weaving them together to make a pattern, spell out a name, or create a piece of jewelry that looks and feels like fabric.  I like to find old shoe buckles and make them into bracelets.  I also like to create small pictures with the beads.  It’s not as easy as counted cross stitch because there aren’t as many colors available.  Sometimes you have to modify the color scheme but it’s still a fun challenge.  You can see some of the weavings at
As for the writing, well it’ll probably appear here slowly.  We have to travel in January for the trade show run to buy product for the store so I think I’ll do some travel writing and post some pictures.  It will keep me writing.
Have a safe and loving holiday and a prosperous New Year.

Negotiate For Your Benchmark Salary!

If the economy does, indeed, get better (but won’t return to the glory years) people will start moving around.  This will create job openings and you need to be ready with your resume.  Many years ago I read a management book that said Men update their resumes as soon as they land a new job – Women wait until they are angry and ready to move on.  Make sure it’s up-to-date and meets current hiring criteria.  Resume formats change every 8-10 years so check with the employment division in your community.
While you’re at the State Employment Department research salaries for the positions you think you might like to have.  Get a sense of what most companies are paying and the type of benefits they offer.  See if that matches your “Enough” list.  I’ll write about making an “Enough” list next week.
But know that negotiating for that first salary is the most important.  If the job was listed at a set amount an hour it doesn’t hurt to make a case for more.  Be sure you’re ready to tell them why you’re worth more.  Victoria Pinchon specializes in helping high-powered women who work in male-dominated fields.  Claire Suddath interviewed her for an article in Bloomburg Businessweek on this very subject.  Victoria told her “it’s critical to know what men make to refrain from unknowingly accepting a lowball offer”.
Claire also interviewed Ofer Sharone, assistant professor of work and employment research at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.  Ofer cautions folks that your “agreement is the benchmark for all future raises, and if you switch jobs your employer will ask what you made at the last company.”  You want to be able to talk about it without embarrassment.  You must learn to be your own cheerleader.