Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Told you so

Study: Chocolate could reduce heart risk

The Easter Bunny might lower your chances of having a heart problem. According to a new study, small doses of chocolate every day could decrease your risk of having a heart attack or stroke by nearly 40 percent.

Add bacon and peanut butter and that grows to 60 percent.

Since I'm living on Reese's Peanut Butter Cups right now (thank you, Ricky, for sharing and restocking your secret stash) this gives me some comfort. Add microwave bacon, for the fastest made sandwich in the west, and I'm set until April 15.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gotta' look good

I have the Oklahoma/Kentucky women's basketball game on in the background - happened to look up and notice some of the women athletes with their heavy mascara and eyeliner.

My first reaction is my old reaction - a real basketball player doesn't wear makeup.

Then I think of all the games the last few weeks in which the guys display their full body makeup of tattoos.

I guess real basketball players keep up appearances, no matter what it takes.

At least their pants are not on the ground!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A. B. D.

There ought to be all new fresh faces in the Final Four this year. I watched with glee as West Virginia beat Kentucky. I agonized over Kansas State's loss to Butler, but you knew it was coming when K-State had to go to double-overtime to barely beat Xavier.

The game on television right now is Tennessee vs. Michigan State. Who will win? Who cares? Tennessee would be the sentimental favorite, overcoming a longer drought.

But please, please, please let the Baptists beat the Evil Ones. I'm a huge fan of the Big XII Conference, having grown up in the old Southwest Conference. My alma mater, Rice University, a former Southwest Conference member, is a baseball powerhouse, but lives in the basketball poorhouse. Big XII basketball is the next best thing and, with my other teams out, I'm rooting for Baylor.

Baylor University is less than two hours south of here. It's a team so hungry and has overcome a difficult past. Many of my husband's former students and other kids we know are at Baylor. And Baylor's No. 41, an agile, graceful giant, reminds me of my childhood hero - No. 6 Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics.

(Did you know that Bill Russell, one of the greatest to ever play the game, only played one year of high school basketball? The basketball coach recruited him from the track team because he was tall. A college scout happened to see the one decent performance he had in high school and he received a basketball scholarship to the University of San Francisco. The rest is history. I know all this because I read his biography, and all things Bill Russell, while in junior high.)

It's not long until tip-off.



Duke !

Life in a bubble

It's 7:15 on a Sunday morning and I've been at work for almost two hours.

That pretty much sums up my life every March and first half of April. It's the price tag for being my own boss, able to set my own hours, and having an easy schedule at the end of the year during the holidays.

Of course being able to set my own hours is a joke for this six week period. I am a slave to my clients and the arbitrary March and April 15 deadlines for having tax returns filed or extended with the proper payments.

This time of year is when I most feel like I'm still in college, although college finals didn't extend for six weeks at a time. It's a challenge each year, knowing that it will all get done, but never sure of the path.

Each year has its own priorities. One year it was a new baby sleeping in my lap as I worked. Another year was full of wedding planning that could not be deferred. A few years ago I took my daughter and her friends to San Antonio the weekend before April 15 to watch the women's NCAA Final Four basketball games. Sometimes it's client issues that make a tax season challenging. A couple of years, including this year, IRS audits of my corporate clients have demanded hours I have to pull out of a hat.

The most stressful tax season I had was the first one after my CPA friend died. I added several of her clients into my mix and there was a steep learning curve. Sally had a twenty year history with these new friends of mine and I had to catch up. And every file was full of her notes in her handwriting, a daily reminder of my loss. That was the year I started work at 4:00 am every day. There were days I wasn't sure I would make it.

But I did, as I always do, with family support and the faith that it is not the end of the world if I screw up. I do my best, it will either be enough or it won't.

In many ways, life is simpler during tax season. I get up, work for a while, get dressed, work for a long time, take Wiley from one school to another in mid-afternoon, work for a while, eat supper, then work for a long time. There comes a time in the evening, sometime between 10:30 and 1:30 that my eyes glaze over, and then I'm done for the day. If it's late, and my clothes are comfy, I don't even change before getting into bed. (Pretty romantic, huh?)

Some days I get dressed up for a project I work on at a client's office each year. Every now and then a client stops by. That can be kind of dicey, though, since it usually looks like a paper bomb has gone off around here and I have to allow time to straighten up. Weekends are a little easier, since the phone doesn't ring.

My friends play along with my schedule, for which I'm grateful. They aren't offended if I can't meet for lunch or have a long phone call. My book club is on hold. Church attendance is spotty. I ration out my participation in family activities. Wiley has a soccer tournament next weekend. My goal is to make one of the three games. My daughter is hosting Easter lunch. Last year the boys went, but I worked instead. This year I hope to be there. The family events have the highest priority, even over sleep, but I still can't make them all.

And now I know I can't, physically or mentally, keep up any kind of regular posting on my blog during this time of year. So I'll continue with brief comments and pictures and flits of fancy. I've had several things come up I would write about in a normal month, basketball and politics and aging and teenagers and dogs........but they can wait. They have to wait. I've started several posts when the muse called, but then I laugh at myself. I am so tired I can't finish a sentence, much less a coherent paragraph. If I stop moving to take time to think, my thoughts quickly turn from words on a page to dreams. I even fell asleep in my car waiting five minutes to pick up Wiley one afternoon.

But today, I'm optimistic. I got up early and got stuff done. I have allowed myself the luxury of thirty minutes of posting. Now a quick shower, another hour of work, then off to church. Then back at work for the rest of the day.

It will all get done.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Takin' Life Easy

Nine days old, but who's counting?

Me, of course!
Counting, I do that for a living, so it needs to be fun. I'll be counting to 56 this time. (And I even did that without a inside joke for us CPAs.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quote of the Weekend

“Desirable or not, any end that can be attained only by the use of bad means must give way to the more basic end of the use of acceptable means.”

- Milton Friedman


The boys are at the Dallas Stars' hockey game this afternoon. This is what's going on outside the arena - on this literally freezing, wet and nasty day. These protests are going on all over the county. There are an estimated 30-40,000 people on the mall at the Capitol today, protesting the potential federal takeover of our healthcare choices. (You won't see pictures unless you go to blogs or FoxNews.)

Is there any way we can channel this energy into enacting term limits? Nothing would help stop bad legislation more than limiting the perpetuators. Don't ya' think?

On another note, St. Mary's just whipped Villanova in the NCAA tournament. Watching snippets of the game, I remember both teams from last year's tournament and should have anticipated the result. In my bracket picks, I had picked St. Mary's to win their first round game, but not this one. I'm glad, anyway.

I picked 21 games correctly out of the first 32. How's your bracket holding up?

Friday, March 19, 2010

The difference a day makes

We just got back from eating really good Mexican food. It was a nice break for me before I start my marathon tax return weekend (with NCAA basketball in the background.) It has been a lovely afternoon, still nearly 75 degrees. Driving to a client's office this afternoon, I was delayed by all the zoo traffic that had backed up the interstate.

It's too early for wildflowers - the Indian paint and Texas bluebonnets. But the trees are all abloom or past bloom. The weeds are green and spring plantings are started. I wore a sleeveless shirt today. Flip flops and capris are next.

I've been planning my work schedule, hoping to make Wiley's first spring soccer game for his club team. The game is scheduled early Sunday morning.

It may not be an issue. The forecast for tomorrow, Saturday, has a winter weather advisory. We should expect wind chills in the twenties and up to two inches of snow. It should be about 30 degrees at game time.

I don't know what to say except - I'm going to see snow in Texas on March 20. Maybe we've found the 4th dimension, a parallel universe of contradictions, and somehow slipped into it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Sometime I will tell the "tail" of my first venture into the world of dog. I've gone completely crazy.

This week is so filled with work and deadlines and work related travel that I have to limit my posting.

But what do you think?

Is there a "keeper" here?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Not yet back to a regularly scheduled program

It's March 12th, with a weekend left to meet the corporate tax filing deadline on Monday.

It's still way too cold for Texas in March. And there may be another arctic blast on its way late next week.

The time change is this weekend - that spring forward widget that makes me give up another hour of sleep.

I'd rather play with my dog, but if I can't do that, at least I can hear her "sing" when Wiley plays with her.

Who says chromatic scales can't be fun? You just need the right harmony.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Breaking with tradition

A long standing tradition for me is to have the Oscars on while I work on tax returns, it being March and all.

This year I just can't do it. Of the ten Best Picture nominees, I've seen exactly........ two. Can you guess which two?

The drum roll please - and the nominees are "Up" and "Up In The Air." I would give Best Picture to "Up." The first twenty minutes of that movie, if you are married, have ever been married, or ever want to be married, will take your heart and turn it inside out.

The best marriage will be full of dreams deferred and dreams remembered, because living and loving gets in the way of dreams sometime. In the best marriage, you can share your dreams, always part of who you are, and be content with both the realized dreams and the fantasies that are there to flirt with.

Good night, sweet dreams.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Election Results

This is what happens when you are a high school teacher and your students know where you live. We didn't get "forked" or "flamingoed," we got "signed."

Tuesday, March 2, was primary day in Texas. One of our friends was running for re-election. He has two sons, one of whom is in Ricky's class, the other is in school with our son Wiley. The boys all had a good time while Ricky and I were at the hockey game.

As I drove down the street toward our house after the game, I noticed several cars stopped in the street. My first thought was there had been a wreck. It was dark and hard to see. I anxiously looked for and found our daughter's car safely parked. So what, then? Only as I pulled into our driveway did my attention shift to our house.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. The cars, loaded with teenagers, sped away.

Ricky then went on Facebook and posted dire messages about missing grades for certain students, etc. The banter went back and forth between him and the kids in the posted comments. At one point Ricky wrote that signs in the yard were better than eggs in the mailbox, which we have had, too. That's when we learned we needed to check our mailbox. It was full of campaign brochures, not eggs, thank goodness.

Congratulation to our friend Todd Smith, who won his primary bid for re-election.

And even better, we actually have sunshine today and in the forecast for the rest of the week. This year's never ending winter weather has been the worst EVER.