Not the only thing on the needles by any means, nor necessarily the most interesting, but the one that I had a photo of. If there is interest I will write up the pattern (but only for those of us with size 8.5 narrowish feet).
Ten Good Things About Coming Home After A Vacation.
Sleeping in my own bed again. It may not be perfect (memory foam is not as great as it was proclaimed to be), but I love my bed. It is an adjustable one that we inherited from Smokey's parents and provides the only way I can comfortably read in bed. Given how much I like to read in bed, that is HUGE. I love my comforter, too, and my Very Own Special Down Pillows (although I now take those pillows with me on vacation).
Having my kittehs around again. This is HUGE as well. Hannibal The Fluffball of Doom is the best kitteh I have ever had, and I have had cats since before I can remember. He is awesome -- super friendly, completely pliable (how many kittehs will let you move them to where YOU want them to be, in the position YOU want them to be in, and not protest nor run away), a most excellent purr, and only sheds black hair, which is way less noticeable than orange or gray tabby fur. Even En Esch The Stoopid is preferable to no kitteh -- he is dependably snuggly and tends to scoot outside at bedtime far less than his brother and so is available for snuggling while I am reading in bed (see above).
Using my own computer again. Admittedly, the new iPad may make this less important, but there is something to be said for the computer with the perfect keyboard (yay, Mac!) and good speakers and all my music and a largish monitor and the perfect chair. And not having to make it to a library somewhere when they are open. (We tend to start the day around 3 pm. Or later.)
Really, those first two are the main things. I cannot come up with anything else. I used to sort of welcome getting back to a more productive routine, but ever since that 4-week vacation a couple years ago I am perfectly happy to be on vacation.. forever.
As I was standing in front of our renewable energy table chatting with the vendor next to us, I noticed a fourth-grade girl wearing shoes I would have killed for in fourth grade. I sneaked my camera out of my pocket and Kinneared her as best I could, but this shot... sucks. I could have killed that kid with the red soles for stepping in front of her.
I know that an overexposed photo is more susceptible to computer correction than an underexposed one, but I thought it was worth a try to see what I could do with this dark mess.
The photo will never win any prizes, but at least you get to see the awesomeness of knee-high Cons with purple laces.
One of my knitting groups (I attend 4 on an irregular basis) met at one of the member's farm today because she wanted to show us her baby lambs -- all 38 of them!
The newest was only a few hours old and was still with its mama in the barn.
Later I went to the county recycling center for its annual Earth Day event. There were exhibits by vendors of any number of products -- geothermal HVAC systems, flax meal granola, window blankets -- and by the county health department (How to Catch Lyme Disease in Three Easy Steps) and the UW extension agents and the county land & water department (Jeremy the bug guy was there, as was Amy the water gal, both of them very popular with crowds), plus the county renewable energy committee on which I sit. The recycling center invites all the area schools to send their fourth grade classes, and the place is bustling with 9- and10-year-olds from 9 to 3.
What else did I see? More babies!
These were kids rather than lambs. It is hard to tell their size in the photo, but they were roughly the size of Hannibal The Fluffball of Doom, my cat. And sooo adorable.
"Dick Clark is dead at 82. Now we will not be able to ring in the New Year properly. Well played, Mayans, well played."
* * * * *
I am loving the new iPad. Read the NYTimes in bed this morning (very smugly, I might add).
So far I have Adobe, Kindle, Atomic Lite (a browser specially designed for mobile devices that I have on my iPod as well), Skype, PBS (thanks, Kym!), CBS MN, KARE11, KSTP.com, (those three are Twin Cities TV stations), NPR Hourly News, The Weather Channel, WI State Journal (Madison newspaper), the Wall Street Journal, the aforementioned NYTimes, Twitter, a calculator, a clock/stopwatch/timer/alarm, and G! All of those except the NYT and WSJ were free, which is generally my preferred price.
G!, aka G-Whizz! is something I was not aware of. It is a Google apps browser, with integrated access to Gmail, Gtalk, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Reader, voice, and a number of other googly things. It was free (ad-supported) and I am not yet convinced it is worth the $2.99 it would cost to get rid of the ads. Its Twitter feed does not seem to update properly, and Twitter's own app is so good that really, why would I want another? Time will tell...
A request: All of you who have an iPad, please share the name (and price) of your favorite app in the comments. Knitting apps are, of course, solicited most sincerely.
ETA: I love word games, don't much care for ones like Angry Birds.
Actually, Monday was my last day. Tuesday (today) was the all-day organizational meeting of the new county board. And it WAS all day -- 9am to 4:30, phew. It took that long to revise the rules of order and to vote on committee assignments. I will have my third term on the finance committee (yay!) and managed to get myself elected to the public protection committee. I figure watching Perry Mason, The Defenders (remember them?), Boston Legal, L.A. Law, and every iteration of Law && Order qualifies me to serve on that committee. Right? Right?
The other exciting news is that I am writing this post on my brand-new iPad! What a fun toy. So far I have set up most of the same apps that I have on my iPod Touch -- Gmail and some other Google apps, a couple Twin Cities TV stations for news, Skype, Twitter, a weather app, the Kindle app, Adobe Reader.
Something I figured out while doing all that was that the iPad would be the perfect way to read a daily newspaper again. We have been without a daily paper for most of the past 13 years since we moved to rural Wisconsin. The Minneapolis paper has never had daily delivery here; we subscribed to the St Paul paper for a few months but basically it sucks as a newspaper, we even subscribed to the NYTimes for a while -- always at least a day late but still possibly better than nothing but not enough better to justify the cost. I really, really missed reading the morning paper --it and my breakfast and morning coffee had been a treasured part of my daily routine for many years.
All this is to say I subscribed to the iPad version of the NYTimes tonight.We shall see if it is worth $20/month. The iPad is plugged into its charger right next to my bed. I may start to start the day with the newspaper again.I''m getting excited just thinking about it!
In fourth quarter 2011, MNCPA [Minnesota Society of CPAs] surveyed members to identifythe most creative tax deductions proposed by clients. Survey results are being shared with the media as part of the MNCPA's tax campaign promoting hiring a CPA for tax preparation. Following is the MNCPA list of strange deductions for 2011. It's a good bet that many of these deductions would have triggered a letter from the IRS had a CPA not intervened and encouraged the tax filers to not include them on their returns.
1. Questionable dependents. One woman wanted to include the months she was pregnant, even though she relinquished rights upon the child's birth; another taxpayer wanted to claim his elected official because he "pays his salary;" and one taxpayer wanted to claim a former spouse.
2. Charitable donations? The market value of whole blood that the taxpayer donated; a $100,000 deduction for burning down an old cabin; gambling losses; private school tuition; and raffle tickets.
3. "Fido" as a business expense. Pets proved popular with taxpayers wanting to deduct everything from pet food to vet bills.
4. Inflated mileage calculations. A handyman proposed taking a $25,000 mileage deduction, even though he had only $10,000 in revenue. He justified it by saying he drove 50,000 business miles in one year.
5. Creative medical expenses. A rental house in Arizona; an in-ground swimming pool without a doctor's order; a spouse's drug habit; breast implants and tummy tucks.
6. Investment or not? An attorney's fees for a divorce, considered an "investment" by the former spouse.
7. Business travel and entertainment deductions. A personal luxury car; three country club memberships; a motor home; and the full cost of a wedding.
The saddest part? I didn't even find these funny. They all just sounded like part of a normal day's work...
As I was falling asleep last night it occurred to me that I had not given any background or context for that "I won!" announcement. Not everyone is intimately familiar with all the details of my life ;-)
In 2008 I ran for the Polk County Board of Supervisors, which is equivalent to the boards of commissioners in many states. (Whereas states with county commissioners tend to have boards of 5 - 11 members, Wisconsin takes a different, more grass-roots approach. Our county board has 23 supervisors, although a referendum on yesterday's ballot reduced the size to 15 by an overwhelming majority.) I ran in 2008 because I had been following county politics for a number of years, several people had urged me to run, that year no one else was running in my district. You could way I pushed the "Easy" button to get elected. I was reelected in 2010 and again yesterday, both times defeating the same opponent.
Tax season has been keeping me quite busy (=understatement of the week).
I have photos of interesting things that have happened at the office, but it is all things you have seen in previous years -- the 10-key race, the Saturday morning Bloody Marys.
Yes, we accountants are an exciting lot.
I did a return today for a couple with a couple hundred thousand dollars in income, taxable income of $69,000, and who had zero tax.
I thought there was something wrong with the software. So did the accountant who sits in the next cubicle when I showed it to her.
Even after my manager explained to me how it worked -- something to do with dividend income and the 15% rate -- I still boggled.
It may be right, but it ain't right, if you know what I mean.
Today was election day in Wisconsin. Presidential primary, plus county and municipal elections.
I was up for reelection. I had pretty much resigned myself to not being reelected, for a number of reasons.
Mainly because I did zero campaigning. In previous years I at least sent a flyer to all voters in my district. This year I decided that was a waste of postage because roughly half of them get returned as undeliverable.
I won anyway, 150 to 139.
The high voter turnout was probably due to the presidential primary.
There are ~1900 souls in my district.
I had done such a good job of resigning myself to losing -- think of all the time I would have to knit, with no meetings to go to! -- that I was a bit disappointed to win.