“Someday is not a day of the week.” ~ Janet Dailey

I probably shouldn’t post this as I do not know the source, but it’s just too . . . well . . . too perfect.

                   

Music by Steve Azar, “I Don’t Have to be Me til Monday”

                   

pleiades choreographic [excerpt]

The theme is forgiveness, the theme is justice
(deferred, delayed, obtained). The theme is rejoicing
alternating with suffering (watercourse, torrent)
Harrowing the fields. Beauty (bound to a thing, entangled)
Making compassion possible
The lyre, lyric (our thirst–ζιφοσ). To frighten away
(chase, reject). A thicket of reeds (δονακευς)
Kindling a fire
What moves through the human body
Before and after the discovery of electricity.

~ Meredith Stricker

Ever The Same

jessie-willcox-smith-new-years-baby
Jessie Willcox Smith, watercolor, charcoal, colored pencil, 1910

“New Year, Same Goal” ~ Joe King 

About that resolution thing . . .

So I tell a friend of mine that I’m going to write about my resolutions for 2009 in my New Year’s blog. Then I realize that that means  that I actually have to put down resolutions for everyone to see, and I’m thinking, hmm, is this really a good idea, what with me putting my whole life out here on a daily basis? And people who really know me know how much of a procrastinator I am, and people who know Corey know how much more of a procrastinator he is, and between the two of us, it’s a wonder anything gets done unless we happen to be cycling on an energy upswing, which hasn’t happened in quite a while, what with the whole unemployment and ensuing downturn in the economy and predictable downturn in moods and related downturn in funds for projects, and then the back, and now the shoulder, and you see where I’m going . . . don’t you?

Breathe . . . two . . . three . . . four.

“New Year’s Resolution: To t0lerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.” ~ James Agate

But actually, there really are things that I would like to put on my “resolve to accomplish” list for 2009, and then really work on accomplishing them, so I shall take a stab at it, as they (just who are they, anyway?) say.

Resolved:

To write at least two hours daily. I have found that when I do this, I feel much better about myself, feel as if I have accomplished something, and feel that I am making headway in my long-term goal towards creating something publishable.

To try (key word being try) to stay more organized so that I don’t miss doctor’s appointments or get the times or dates wrong.

To help Brett get through the rest of this school year without over-stressing.

To work on our personal debt that has grown since the big financial crash of 2008.

To put together the rest of the dining room chairs, and start having dinner together as a family at least half of the time each week.

To download the pictures in the camera and to start doing something with them.

To start scrap booking (see above) and quit thinking that I’ll remember all of this stuff because I won’t

To take better care of myself by getting on the training bike every morning for at least 15 minutes (I can do that, 15 minutes, right?) so that I’m getting some kind of exercise, since I can’t do free weights right now with my shoulder.

To make sure that Corey takes better care of himself by quitting smoking, or at least cutting back, and stops eating things that are bad for his heart.

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives . . . looking for flaws, but for potential.” ~ Ellen Goodman

And a few more:

To paint my bedroom by mid-February so that the bedroom furniture can come out of the boxes in the living room.

To take up the rest of the old carpet in the living room and dining room by March.

To paint the living room and dining room by April.

If Corey has a job, to finish renovating the garage by the end of summer.

To start to work on the deck in the fall.

“Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.” ~ Brooks Atkinson

I think that that’s a pretty comprehensive list. I’m certain that I could add lots more, but I don’t want to overdo it. If I add too much, then I’ll look at the list and start to feel overwhelmed and as they say in the old Monty Python movies, I would have to “run away.” But there are just a few more that I feel a need to add:

Find the copy of the Blade (first) DVD that is lost somewhere in this house

Fix my dangling black earrings that have been sitting in the dish on my dresser

Backup my hard drive because my computer has been acting wacky.

There. I think that takes care of everything, from the mundane to the lofty. Some of these I know that I will be able to accomplish. That’s why I put them on here, just to be able to give myself a sense of accomplishment. Some of these I might get done, but maybe not within the time frame that I’m hoping for. Some things I didn’t put on here because they are a given, and I don’t want to jinx them. I just want everyone out there to send good thoughts to help them happen. And these are the two most important: That Corey can find a job on a boat very, very soon, and that I can find some relief from this constant pain, which I know is exacerbated by the stress.

Thank you for visiting and reading. It means a lot. I hope that you and yours have a very safe and happy 2009. Peace be with you.

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~ T.S. Eliot

XML Hell

I am in the middle of XML hell. This class that I am taking on e-publishing infrastructure is my college algebra nightmare come to life. You know the one: you dream (or at least I do) that you’ve forgotten to go to math class all semester, and now it’s time for the final exam, and you don’t have a clue as to how you are going to pass the exam because you haven’t gone to a single lecture. Well, that’s what this class is like. I’m going to the lectures, but I think that my intake valve is stuck, and nothing is getting through, that or the pain of trying to put together the website still hasn’t ebbed enough for me to be willing to ingest the miasma which is code and the code behind the code. I think the Borg are behind it all. I’m certain that there is some plot to assimilate my consciousness into the computer, which, at this point, is fine with me because I’m just not getting it.

Then again, it may be a serious lack of chocolate that is affecting my brain, or perhaps chocolate overload. My house is full of Easter candy: peanut butter eggs, truffles, jelly beans, chocolate covered marshmallow eggs, other things involving chocolate, coconut and caramel. My youngest son, the thinker, pointed out that he has yet to figure out the connection between the holy holiday and eggs and chocolate bunnies. I nod sagely, and shove more chocolate between my teeth as I move between the kitchen and the bedroom, muttering “why?” over and over, which my family knows is code for “mom is losing her mind over the computer again, and let’s just leave her alone with her chocolate…”

It’s sad, really. My daughter stopped by, this evening to “borrow” a pot to plant her new lily in, and I had plenty since I never got around to potting any plants last year. She wondered aloud as to why I had emerged from my cave. Wasn’t I supposed to be doing my homework, she asked? Exactly, I replied. What a good time to come out and find a container for her new bamboo . . . There is no form of avoidance that I won’t employ in the name of honest procrastination techniques, and this assignment called for drastic procrastinating. So we looked for a vase. Unfortunately, the vase I was looking for had been thrown out or given away about five or six years ago, so we had to look for another one, which was good for at least another half an hour of searching. I managed to waste about 45 minutes before resuming my self-induced Sisyphean torture.

I’m sure that at some point it will all begin to make sense to me (or at least that is what I am hoping), and then I can cease to bemoan my lot, but until that point, it remains one huge boulder that I must push uphill. My only solace? Lots and lots of Pepsi and chocolate.

Death and Taxes

Okay, so I’m not a big conspiracy theorist. I do not believe that the chlorine in our water is actually somehow allowing the government to tap into our brainwaves. If that were the case, there couldn’t possibly be so many damned foolish politicians, and W would certainly have learned how to speak in complete sentences by now, wouldn’t he? I mean, ectoplasmic transfer, thought distillation, something should have gotten through, shouldn’t it have? Anyway, I might actually put an aluminum foil hat on my head one day just because of the scene in M. Night Shamalan’s Signs, and who wouldn’t want to put an aluminum foil hat on to thwart aliens? It seems perfectly logical to me, but that’s another story for another time.

Back to the government and conspiracies: I just finished doing our taxes. I have always been the tax person in the family, even before online programs. I remember creating my own spreadsheet in the unwieldy spreadsheet program Lotus 123 just to make sure I was doing all of my calculations properly, and I’ve never even remotely liked math. I’ve just always liked software programs and any chance to use a new one for any reason. It’s my own personal little nerd fetish (I suppose it counteracts the black boot buying compulsion). But that’s not the point. TAXES. That’s the point. Everyone always moans and complains about the new tax laws and how horrible taxes are and how imcomprehensible the codes are, and year after year I just graduate from a calculator to a spreadsheet to a computer and keep thinking to myself that I must be doing something wrong because I manage to muddle through it all, so I’ve kept my files for the reqired seven years just in case that awful unnamed A thing ever happens. And everything manages to get done (although usually at the last minute because of that procrastination thing of mine). That is, until this year.

This year, for some unknown reason, the U.S. government decided to take state taxes out on my husband’s reserve pay from his former home state of Ohio. Now, let’s try to look at this logically. My husband has not legally resided in Ohio for at least eight years. The Coast Guard managed to get his state of residence correct for the last year of his active duty and for his first part of his reserve status. And then, because last year was decidedly one of the worst years on record for us (for example, he had a torn ACL and had surgery; I had major back surgery and never quite recovered, to name just a couple of minor things), the government decided to complicate our tax filing status by sending us a W2 with Ohio as his state of residence.

Now, some of you might suggest that we should have noticed that sooner, as in when he received his pay, but when those checks are direct-deposited and aren’t your primary means of income, you don’t eyeball the paystubs quite as hard as you probably should, except to make sure the amount is correct. You don’t notice a small OH in the bottom left where a VA should be, and I didn’t notice the small OH until I was inputting the code from the W2s, and then I paused and said Hmmm . . .

Things that make you say “hmmm . . . ” and in such a way that all of the air in the house stops moving and the earth stops rotating on its axis for a moment, and everyone around me pauses and holds their collective breath in ancitipation of the next sound to come from my mouth, which I shall not repeat here. So, I shall skip a few steps for brevity’s sake, and move on to the point at which I have completed the Federal returns, and the program is now asking me which state return I would like to begin next. I’m sorry . . . “which?” The prompt clarifies for me, ‘the nonresidential state should be completed first because it may affect the return for the state of residence.’ Well then, let us proceed without haste to the state return for OH. This is the point at which my tax mojo fails me and things turn ugly.

Now my husband, who I may have mentioned is more than patient with me, has been on standby since I began the returns as he has come to anticipate my completely arbitrary questions, a la, ‘do you remember that receipt for . . .’ and he can actually produce an answer, which keeps the process going at a somewhat reasonably even rate with very little vexation on my part. That is, until I began an Ohio state return, and it begins to ask me all kinds of questions for which I had no answers, and the little bottom line at the top right–you know the one, the ongoing calculator that shows how much you owe or will get back–that one starts to blink that we owe $1400! I think the term that most aptly describes my reaction is apoplexy followed by the vapors. How, I scream at the computer, can you expect us to owe that much when we don’t even live in your stupid state? (apologies to my husband’s family at this point). It only got worse from here. After some backtracking and filling in, it turns out that we owe Ohio $2. I am not spending $29.95 to e-file a return to Ohio to pay $2, so I will just have to download a paper return and do it the old-fashioned way and enclose a check for $2.

It’s been a long day with entirely too much drama; I believe I will now seek solace in CSI or Law & Order and play with the dogs.