Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Birthday

My Birthday is July 30. I am telling you this now because I want you to have time to save up for an expensive gift that is about 90 days from now. And since someone has said that it's good to do your life planning in 90 day increments, I thought, I'll make my "Things to get done by my birthday" List.

This is the 90-day list, & so world peace & being a ballerina are going to have to go on a different list. I'm still not really sure what to put on this list, but let's give it a go.

1. Study for, take, and pass the Enrolled Agents Exam. Sound familiar? Yeah... I put it off last year, so now I have to start over and take all three parts instead of just the one I haven't mastered. Oh well. Three parts in three months. I've already joined the National Association of Tax Professionals. That's a step.

2. Take a pottery class. I have wanted to do this for a very long time. As a child, I watched my parents' friend Henrietta make pots and vases and cool things on the wheel in the courtyard of their apartment complex. My siblings took a class, but I think I was too old. Now, I'm not too old anymore and I'm going to do it. I am taking a class at Southern Pottery in Columbia.

3. Clean and organize my house. Yeah right. Whatever.
Hey look what I found while trying to steal pictures:

4. Develop the good habits of eating well and moving often. I mean like walking. Not with a U-haul, although I'm thinking about that too.
And for help with that: Eating the Angel Way blog.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Birthday DAD!

John Joseph Duffy was born in a house his father built... no not really. His father was a pharmacist. He was born in a hospital in Charleston SC April 25, 1931.
My father is a brilliant man. He is funny in a dry sort of way. As an administrator at the University of SC, he inspired loyalty, friendship, and excellence from a diverse & often quirky group of people. Many of those people will gather with him today to celebrate his birthday. What a party.
When I was about seven, I had a friend over to play. She announced that she was Caucasian. My father looked at her with wide open eyes and said, "How wonderful! Will you speak some Russian for us?"
When he wasn't scaring off my little racist friends, he was reading, watching television, and mediating sibling squabbles all at the same time. Many times I remember fighting with my sister & brother, as Dad looked up and said, "Let me read this to you... it's really interesting..." My children and grandchildren enjoy the same experience. Dad will look up and yell names randomly until he gets to the culprit. Now there are just more names to choose from. (It must be genetic, because I do the same thing.) Sometimes he names cats and dogs as well as children.
Since Dad was a college professor in addition to his administrative duties, he knows there may be simple questions but there are no simple answers. If you ask him, for instance, who was Andrew Johnson's vice president, he won't say "no one." He will give you a 90 minute lecture complete with a suggested reading list. I am not kidding. If he is reading this, he is saying, "well, of course. You can't understand the answer without understanding the historical and constitutional issues...." We often wished he'd taught the MWF 50 minute classes instead of the TTh 90 minute blocks.
He and Mom gave us a solid sense of self. I have never understood the concepts of keeping up with the Jones, what will the neighbors think?, or be quiet or you might offend someones bigoted sensibilities.
When faced with social disapproval, Dad will laugh. One of his favorite stories (or maybe it's one of my favorite of his stories): in the late 50s (or early 60s) he was teaching a history course. The local twig of the committee on anti-American activities questioned him, suggesting he had communist leanings. He pointed out that the book he was using was written by former president Herbert Hoover. The guy said, "I'd feel better if it were written by J. Edgar Hoover."
When my mother was a delegate to the Democratic Convention in 1972, she decided to support George McGovern. Some of the local Democrats called Dad and asked him to control his wife, perhaps suggesting his job was at stake. Dad just shrugged. (I'm sure he said something, but I don't know what. I'll ask.)
This is not to say that Dad is overtly anti-conformist. If you saw him in the grocery store, you wouldn't think "Commie-pinko-n*-loving-hippie freak." It's only when you see the twinkle in his eye that you realize what he's said, what he'd done, and how he's done it. The pompous of all political & social persuasions lie like tattered balloons on the floor and all you can think is wow.
Dad has lots of stories and some of them probably have a nodding acquaintance with the truth. But one of the most interesting and admirable things about Dad's stories is that he is not the hero in all of them. He will tell about stupid things he did, poor choices or silly decisions he made. He will talk about the greatness of others. He will share the good, the bad, and the ugly, but never the petty or the mean-spirited.
I started out thinking I didn't know what to say, but now I don't know when to stop. So here: Happy Birthday Dad. I hope we share many many more.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Blog Farts – noun. Def: Crappy ideas that are too short to make a real blog
post, but when combined, join forces to make one unified, albeit half assed,
post. see also: memes, surveys.

Oh great, I set up the Mr. Linky, but I haven't finished the post. Hop to it.

I've sort of had the week off, although instead of a big blank vacation week spent wrapped in a blanket in the hammock, I've been running around, trying to clean up, and working. Yes, working. People still want to get paid. And I'm trying to finish up the church work so the new person can start fresh.

Today and tomorrow I will be cooking a couple of things for my Dad's birthday party tomorrow. There will be lots of people there (some I may even know.) My brother & sister have organized this thing the past couple of years. With me being wrapped up in tax season and generally incompetent, they do the work & I make deviled eggs or something. It will be a nice party. I'll try not to drink too much and get sloppily sentimental. Maybe I should just call in sick.

I colored part of my mandala yesterday. (Idea from Dina.) I need more pens. Or colored pencils. I need extra fine points. I used sharpies, so the ink bled through the paper and made a really cool design on the back. I'm not sure about the meditation part, but once I get past thinking "I really need a finer point" I might be able to meditate. Off to Staples.

I am really cleaning my house today. I'll start as soon as I take the kids to school. Oops... gotta go.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Time off

Germaine Greer said that household chores expand to fill the time you have, so in fact, you are never ever finished. And the more time you have, the more THINGS need to be done.

This week I am sort of off work. The blank calendar page that I see before me is very quickly filling with chores and meetings and THINGS that want to be done.

This weekend, I managed to clean the fridge. Not the freezer, just the fridge. But the fridge is nice.

Yesterday, when I got home from work (there were things to do), I cleaned the bathroom closet. It was pretty satisfying. I put all medicines in a cute little container I already had, after throwing out the medicines that had expired. I put all of the lotions I've gotten over the years in one of my Mary Kay bags. The hair conditioner that comes with the hair dye that I DON'T USE all went into another bag. I threw out the sugar scrubs that became rancid about a minute after I opened them. (What made me think I'd like grapefruit peach more than once?) I sorted and cleaned the make up, washed all the towels and sheets that had ended up tossed to the dusty top shelf and lost. I found a couple of rolls of toilet paper hidden in the back. I threw out the sheet that the cat had kittens on.

I really haven't finished because I didn't touch the drawers, but Robert & Katy brought Brendon & Gabe over, and I have my priorities in order. The three of us went in the back yard. Gabe played ball while Brendon and I listened to the wind. We watched a medium sized black bird chase a hawk away from her nest. Of maybe she was just picking on him. We ate chive blossoms (only one each) and threw magnolia leaves off the deck. I love a kid who cleans. He gets that from his mama's side.

Today, I'm training my replacement at the church. It won't be hard, I'm sure. I need to think about the CSI board meeting tonight, the meeting with the District Superintendent tomorrow and the food for Dad's party next Saturday. And I need to clean up.

Off I go...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday morning

This is the time of year when I am overwhelmed with thinking about all of the things I want to do, need to do, should do... I've put off a lot of things until "after tax season" and now it's here.

Typically, I over scheduled Friday, but I had a productive day.

I went to Carolina School for Inquiry for an extended visit. Fortunately, the school is strong, thanks in large part to the excellent director. However, there are things we need to face, mostly budget crunches. As a public charter school, our funding is per pupil from the state and the school district. No bonds, no building funds, just per pupil. That is being cut even as we speak, since our governor is the smartest man in the world and doesn't think our state needs stimulus money, even if we as taxpayers will be providing it to the states that do take it. We hope that some of those cuts will be replaced, but even then, if the economy is bad, the problem will continue. We are just beginning to seek grants and things on a large scale, and of course, those are drying up too. Parents and teachers need to understand that although we are public, we are different in that they have agreed to take responsibility as well as the benefits of running a school. We need to pitch in and help, we need to make sacrifices, we need to do whatever needs to be done to continue

I have stumbled out of the haze of Tax Season, and realized that my house is really a mess. Really. Right now I'm just cleaning the top layer. Soon I'll need to do more. I saw a bug killing company that claims to be green. I may try that. I need to get rid of these bugs, and they like the Orkin stuff. Whatever we choose, we'll have to clean everything out afterwards. Oh joy.

There are other little things and big things I'm thinking about right now. I need to find my direction. I feel that it's time to make some changes, but I don't know what. I'm sort of drifting and thinking and listening, fixin' to get ready to move ... somehow. We'll see. I'm sure I'll be babbling on about that for awhile.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

There's got to be a morning after...

Even though I double checked all e-filing and extensions before I left work last night, I still dreamed that I forgot someone. I don't think I did, but who knows?

The DAY AFTER TAX DAY is not a vacation day. Today we have to make sure everyone was acknowledged (e-file technical talk meaning yeah I got your return.) Then we have to do a couple of sales tax returns that are due Monday. And there are still the people who filed extensions...

Still, it is quieter than Tax Season. Certainly quieter than the two 11 hour days I've had. Today will be work. Next week will be the time to think about how we are going to carry on for the rest of the year.

Maybe this weekend I can sort through our personal life --- clean house, sort papers, plant stuff. Say hello to my family. (Hey, who's the new guy?)

And tomorrow..... She's baaaaaack!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Morning has broken

"Yellow Morning" by A. D. Tinkham

It is Easter morning. It isn't quite bright and sunny, but the mockingbirds are singing, the dogwoods are blooming, and the Easter Bunny has been and gone.

I am making baked French toast and pineapple upside down cake for the Easter brunch at my sister's house. My brother will make bacon and eggs, Dad is making grits casserole, and my sister is making a fruit salad.

We have plastic eggs for an Easter egg hunt. Joseph cleverly picked a kind that can be labeled, so each child finds his or her own eggs. We don't need to label all of them, but since Mark & Roslyn are 10 & 9 years old, and Gabe is 20 months... well you can see the problem. So we'll label the Gabe eggs and let Mark & Roslyn fight it out.

I can't wait to see Gabe's first Easter Egg Hunt!

Later this afternoon, I will go to work. I need the quiet to finish some huge tax returns. I'm so ready for Wednesday.

I had planned to think about an exit strategy for myself, but in the past few days, several of my friends and family have asked me to do their taxes and possibly take on their business accounting. There have been a few other new business inquiries as well... the ones that keep us going through out the year. In a way it's an exit strategy, because if I bring in and nurture the clients, I have a stake. My boss can't really sell the business to someone else without me being involved, and I'm not going to work for someone else.

Oh well... those are thoughts for May...

Monday, April 6, 2009

10 days...

Today is the first day of Mark's spring break. TAX DAY is 10 days away. Easter is six days away.

Mark will be on the way to DC in a couple of hours, along with his grandparents, his aunt, and two girl cousins. It will be a wonderful trip. Bob's father has arranged tours of both the White House and the Capitol. He is looking forward to the Museum of Natural History or "the rocks." His older brothers went with their grandparents when they were about his age, and my mother-in-law is very excited. I'm excited for them.

He has new pants & socks, clean shirts and underwear, and new pajamas. He usually sleeps in his clothes, but I thought the family would freak about that. His pj bottoms are Mario Brothers and the top says "Do not disturb." He seems pretty happy with it. He also has four disposable cameras, a book, a journal, and his DS game system. I asked him to call me in the evenings just because.

Joseph has to take care of Bob's car today. Last night, a lady hit him as he headed home. She drifted into his lane, then said he had been in the turn lane. Joseph goes through that intersection several times a day. I know he didn't accidentally get in the right turn lane. Then the lady said he had someone else with him & that that person ran away. Not true, but a strange thing to say. Anyway, the police couldn't make a determination so they wrote that both were at fault but didn't give any tickets. They told Joseph his story made sense, but they weren't equipped to make the decision. She had a bunch of kids in the car who would have sworn whatever she wanted, so what can they do?

No one is hurt. Our car is damaged --- a blown tire and bent rim, and a driver's side door that needs to be fixed. Joseph apologized, but Bob told him he didn't need to. He was driving home at a reasonable hour (10:30), he had not been drinking or anything, he remained calm & handled the whole stressful situation very well.

I meant to go to St. M's this morning, but I was too damn tired. It looks like I won't be replaced before the end of tax season, but I'm not able to give them my best. I hate that. But when I went to St. M's from 6 to 8 a.m., then went to the main job from 9 to 6, I was dead by 3 p.m. I really couldn't do what needed to be done. I'm going tonight, after I go to the eye doctor and order new glasses.

Did I mention that the super glue gave way on my glasses & the left lens is now held on with tape? Maybe I'll see if I can get some red electrical tape to hold it until the new glasses come in. Now it's Scotch tape and people are looking at me in that funny way --- you know, when you look at someone but don't look at them? And you talk to someone without looking her in the eye (or broken glasses)? It's interesting.

I miss writing my blogs. Next week... or maybe the next. It takes awhile to recover from tax season. I have all those 1040s & 1120s to mount on my wall....