Thursday, June 30, 2005


I woke up this morning way before my alarm went off in spite of the fact that the thunder and lightning kept me awake a bit last night. I just felt great! Nothing bothered me today even though it was June 30th, and I had a lot to do. It was a wonderful day! Like the song says... Zippity-do-dah, Zippity-ay! My oh my what a wonderful day! Plenty of sunshine, plenty of rain! Zippity-do-dah, Zippity-ay! Brer Rabbit has nothing on this mouse today!

Isn't it odd how sometimes we wake up that way, and other times we can barely move in the morning. I have never been able to figure out what I do or eat the night before that creates one mood or the other. But I am grateful for the great days!

Today was Fr. Aiden's last "official" day as Pastor, and our new Pastor, Fr. Patrick Irwin spent a lot of the day getting acclimated to the parish. He is quite funny and I think we will get along very well. He seems to have a keen eye for assessing things quickly, and the wheels in his head are already spinning away. I expect he will make some changes sooner than we thought, but they will be good ones. Besides, Fr. Aiden will be helping out part time so we will still get to have him around! I say, the more Irishmen around the better!

Life is good today. I accomplished a lot. I am looking forward to celebrating Aunt Betty Ann's 75th birthday with all of my kids and a lot of the family around. It will be a blast! I hope that tomorrow is another day like today... I will try to make it that way!

I am sure that some of you will be gone for the holiday, so let me wish all of you a Happy Fourth of July! Have a great weekend and a great holiday, but be careful with those fireworks! Cheers!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Is It Wednesday Already?

I am feeling just a bit frazzled. Friday is the first day of July! Not only is this week going quickly... and this month going quickly... but tomorrow is the end of our fiscal year! Today's post will be a bit eclectic since that is how my thought processes are today.

I am also feeling a bit squeezed for time this week... Let's see, payrolls are due tomorrow, the first payroll for the next fiscal year (Biweekly) due on Friday (I will move that payroll to tomorrow as well to simplify my life), end of month reports, end of quarter reports, and end of fiscal year reports... Yay. Yesterday I had no time to work on the old filing since I was working on 3 payrolls... Monthly, Semimonthly, and Biweekly.

Yesterday, we also had a visit from Fr. Edwin (you may remember the story about Father Bird-In-Hand?) who was formerly an associate pastor here... and has just been named as pastor of a Parish in Dade City. He is a hoot. I will save the rest of this story for another post, but I will tell you that at one point I threw a container of crabmeat at him since he was aggravating my state of crabbiness about something going on at the Diocesan offices... and he was just way too smug about the whole thing.

My summer schedule has consisted mostly of 4 day work weeks with longer 9 to 10 hour days. As I have been getting more accustomed to this change, I actually enjoy it. I can usually take a day off since I would go into the no-no overtime hours if I worked 5 days. Originally I was going to work a half day today, but it just didn't work out. I will be a busy lady tomorrow!

It just dawned on me... the reason that 2004 was such a bad year for filing probably had something to do with the fact that I had to pack up for hurricanes last year four times! Actually, after the third time, I just left everything bagged and just added more bags for #4. I was reminded of this last night during the tropical weather update when they were focusing on the second storm of the year which is currently in the Gulf of Mexico just off of the cost of northern Mexico. I sure hope we don't have another year like last year! Hurricanes, audits, end of fiscal year reports... help me Obi Wan Kanobi!

Tonight, I will spend my blogging time reading your posts and leaving comments! Have a great day! :o)

P. S. Did you ever notice that the spellcheck for Blogger wants to replace the word blogging with flogging?!?

Monday, June 27, 2005


My workday today consisted of hours of one of my least favorite duties... filing! Not only do I hate the usual current filing, but I also hate personnel filing, and payroll filing, memos from the insurance office filing, memos from other Diocesan offices filing, and boxing up old filing. I just hate filing. I am behind in my filing. I hate that even more.

Yes, I am that far behind in filing. For a while I was out of cabinet space and had to let things sit in boxes until I could get old files into storage. Did I mention that I hate filing? But there was nothing else that I could do today. I had to file. I cleaned out several drawers in one of my filing cabinets, boxed those files, and then started to organize the files that would fill up the drawers next.

So, I am now more organized in my unfiled files. I have several neat stacks of things to file. I have one box of payroll filing all ready to pop into the appropriate drawer. I have one box that is all old files that were pulled for various reasons and not refiled when they were returned to me... they were just put on the pile of "old files to be refiled" or the "miscellaneous filing" pile. And then there is the box of filing that contains files that I still have to figure out where they should be filed... you know, like memos from the Diocesan insurance office that are corrections to or addendums to other memos... or memos about a subject that another office at the diocese has sent a previous and contradicting memo for, and I am still not sure which memo I am supposed to follow. Sometimes I get requests for the same thing from two different offices at the Diocese that ask for the same information but in different forms... and I have to keep the original memos and copies of my responses. I got smart and started a file called "Diocesan Correspondence" and just throw everything in there. Besides, next week there will be another request for the same information in a different form that supecedes all previous requests.

I was happy that my favorite accountant from the Finance Office ("second in command") told me that I could actually pitch some of the things that I had saved... the check registers... as long as I hold them for a year and print up an all inclusive copy of the general ledger at the end of each fiscal year. Previously, I had thought I had to keep them for 7 years. After the next audit I will be cleaning out all of the old bound registers to make room for more current filing. Yay.

Every year we are supposed to do a "Job and Ministry Assessment" for the fiscal year end. Every year under the question regarding my goals for the upcoming year, I list as one of my top goals to keep my filing current. I have actually done better this year than last year. Most of my 2005 fining is actually up to date. The biggest problem stems from 2004. 2004 was not a very good year for me. I don't know what happened. Something went askew... actually a lot of somethings went askew. So I am now paying the price for my own dereliction of duty. I am a good person. I am a fun person. I am a smart person. I am good at my job. Well, I am good at everything about my job but filing.

This brings me to the other reason I need to get my filing up to date. I will have to go through another audit sometime soon! It does not matter that I had one this past year. Whenever pastors change, it is mandatory that there is another audit. I know it is coming... soon... but not when. I hate having something hanging over my head like this. I am waiting for the kaboom letter that will tell me what I have to get ready for the audit this time... it will be different than the last one... and probably a different auditing company. It would be nice if it was the same one... then I would be able to just review that changes I made after the previous audit and go from there. With another firm, I will have to go through the whole "procedures" review again... like how many people count the money, and who signs off on what, and how is it transported from one place to another, and are the procedures in writing, and are there always at least two people present, and does the pastor open all the bank statements first, and who are the officers for the groups that have auxiliary accounts and do they make sure there are two signatures on each of their checks, and where are my audits of those accounts, and does someone other than the person writing the checks put the checks into the envelopes for mailing (nope), and do I keep copies of the budget (duh), and do I keep copies of our financial statements that I send to the Diocese, and do I keep copies of the minutes of the financial committee meetings that I should also be sending to the head of the Deanery, and do I balance the bank statements and have the pastor (actually the parish manager does it) review these and sign off on them (another duh), and do I make my payroll tax deposits on time (like I would like an audit by the IRS?) and... and... and...

You know how in high schools they give students aptitude and interest tests? Well, when I was in high school, clerical, bookkeeping, and accounting careers were at the bottom of the lists on my tests... right before a career in being a Highway Patrol Officer. I always did well at math, but the clerical stuff has never been my cup of tea. It's a good thing that I love where I work!

Did I mention anything about the fact that I hate filing?

My Get Up And Go Left Without Me This Morning


I am not moving very fast this morning. Even my morning tea is not helping. The energy that I had on the cruise just didn't seem to disembark with me. I did laundry this weekend and picked up a bit, but no exercise to speak of... not a good thing. Maybe the fact that my sunburn has started to peel and the itching is driving me nuts is part of it. Perhaps when I get into work, I will get a bit rejuvenated. There's always hope.

I will plan on posting something a bit more coherent tonight. Have a good day!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Cruise Critique #3

There are a few more comments that I want to make about my cruise. I don't think that I mentioned much about the entertainment. To put it simply, it was everywhere and ranged from very good to excellent. A Polish trio consisting of a violin, cello, and piano, played classical music in the Grand Atrium. There was always some sort of music going on around the Promenade bar and eating areas. Outside on the open deck areas overlooking the pool you could hear the Calypso music from the band at poolside.

There were mixed reviews about the first night's show... a comedian. I missed that first night, and the comedian didn't make it back to the ship in time in Cozumel so he was cancelled the last night. The two other shows were super! I am very glad I did not miss them! We were not allowed to take pictures, or I would be posting them.

One of the first things we had to do after we got on board in Tampa was a life jacket drill. Everyone had to go to their cabins, put on their life jackets (easier said than done) and go to their "muster" stations. This was all a bit confusing since we had yet to figure out where we were on the ship, but crew members were stationed around all of the decks to give directions. We had to wait way too long sitting in our life jackets at our muster station. The jackets were not comfortable and got hot. Some of the passengers were not happy with the fact that they could not be out on deck to watch the ship pulling away from the dock. I figure that this was on purpose to keep us all out of their way! All in all, this was my least favorite thing about the cruise (besides having to come home)!

Let me say a few things about the cabins. Lori and I shared an inside cabin. This is what other cruisers said is the best deal due to the fact that we wouldn't be spending much time in our cabin. I think that Lori and I both agreed that it would have been better to have an outside cabin with a window so that we knew when the sun was up in the morning! The cabin was small but the two of us navigated around it quite well. We really didn't need any more room, but like I said, it would have been nice to have had a window.

Originally I though that I would have had more time to relax on a lounge chair and read. I never opened a book! There was always more to do than I cold fit into a day, and I refused to rush around for anything! Okay, I did rush a bit a couple of times to get up to the spa for an appointment I had made, but that was important! Next time I will not spend as much time (or money!) in the spa. Maybe just one visit there. ;o)

I did get to relax in a lounge chair for a bit, but was burned in less that 30 minutes! It's okay, though. It was great! There was a wonderful breeze blowing up on that deck so it wasn't too hot, and waiters will bring you a drink while you are lounging... even a Mimosa!

Fr. Sean, Lori, Cathy, Fr. Aiden dressed up for the Captain's Reception

This is our group picture posed in the Grand Atrium on the ship.
I'm on the left in the white T-shirt.

Carnival is known to be a "fun" cruise line. It is true. There were a lot of young people and families. I enjoyed that a lot. It would have been boring to be around all retirees. Other experienced cruisers have told me that some of the other cruise lines are a little more upscale with a bit better food, and you don't see as many younger people and families. I think the food was good enough ( I didn't want to overeat anyway!). It was a fun ship, and I had fun. Maybe I would go more upscale for a different kind of cruise... like an Alaskan Inner Passage cruise... but for the Caribbean, if you want to have fun, Carnival is a good choice.

Listen to me! You'd think that I was now an experienced cruiser! It will be interesting to see what my next cruise is like. I can't wait!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cruise Critique #2

It was wonderful!

Getting ready to leave for our cruise! The buses were not airconditioned, but it wasn't bad once we got moving. Our bus driver, Mikey, knew how much I love Mimosas and brought a chilled bottle of Champagne. We shared it on our bus, so it was a fun trip to Tampa!

I didn't spend a lot of time in the casino, but I had a limit to lose and gambled until I reached my limit. I probably should have stopped a few times when I was ahead, but I was having too much fun. Fr. Aiden won $500 on one of the machines (probably lost it later), and Cathy, the parish manager, won $125 on a slot machine just after I got up from it to go to another machine. Oh well, it was still fun. The only negative was that smoking is allowed in the casino.

The menu selections were very good. Of course there was always someplace open for eating, but I did prefer the dining rooms. It was nice to be served and not to have to stand in line. I didn't have a bad meal in the dining room. The fish was excellent (Tilapia), the beef selections were excellent, the lobster tail was done very well, the escargot was super, the derserts were also very good. The only negative I can think of was that two of the derserts were misnamed. The one they referred to as Baked Alaska was really just ice cream with a little cake and some whipped cream, and the Cherries Jubilee was just vanilla ice cream with a cherry sauce... no liquor and not flamed. They were good but the names had our expectations too high for what we were served.

Speaking of serving... the waiters were wonderful... regardless of whether or not it was their job, they were excellent and a lot of fun. The stewards were good as well, and always left us towel animals after making up our cabin. If you have been on a cruise you have probably seen this before. Below are some pictures of my cabin mate and some of the animals as well as some pictures taken at dinners.

My cabin mate, Lori with one of the animals.

Having fun at dinner. The waiters were singing and dancing for us.

Our youth minister being his natural self.

Two of the teachers from our school,
Fr. Sean Hanafin from Ireland,
and Cathy our parish manager

Our waiters singing to Fr. Aiden about his retirement.

Fr. Aiden wishing the rectory cook well.

One of our families at dinner.

Fr. Aiden with one of our cruisers, Ginny.

Fr. Sean and Fr. Aiden in the internet cafe.
This is not an inexpensive activity!

Cathy and Lori at High Tea.

A first-timer at High Tea.

More High Tea photos

The piano player at high tea was wonderful!

Cozumel's water is beautiful, and there is a fabulous reef there.

Our ship docked in Cozumel

Tim and Castro. Tim was the one who showed me how to bargain for purchases. No comments about his outfit, please. He doesn't own white socks and wanted to look like he was from Cuba! ;o)

Tim's wife Jean posing outside of a notorious bar in Cozumel. We didn't go in to imbibe, but I did buy T-shirts for my kids! It was way too hot and humid (even for this Floridian) to be drinking at that time of day... but the bar was packed!

Some pictures from Cozumel

This ring was my best bargain purchase in Cozumel. It is hard to get a good picture of it, but it is opal, and tourmaline. I love it!

Going back to the ship in Cozumel...
Inspiration on the left and Imagination on the right.

I miss my cruise buddies!