I've finally decided that I am a writer - all the other things I do just pay the bills. Someone eloquent once said that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Well, let's just see about that.
Aggie was my fifteen-year-old cairn terrier - or maybe I should say I was her 55-year-old person! She was my faithful companion, spoiled rotten and I am still trying to figure out what to do without her.
Peter the Cat...
This is Peter the gingersnap tabby! He's seven years old and has just been promoted to Peter the Very, Very Good. He is working his way up to Peter the Great...
Bee - the Cat Who Came From Somewhere Else...
Bee is Peter's buddy. He's eight years old and has made himself right at home. I guess cats really do come in pairs or sets of three!
And Jasper makes three!
Jasper is our new guy - the Cat From Another Place. He's four years old and we think he likes it here - so far, so good!
My head is so seriously stuffed up I have resorted to medicinal chili to facilitate breathing. The Zyrtec is just not working its magic today. Of course, the chili (think liquid fire!) is not helping my sore throat.
if Glenn Ford ever played a bad guy - except in The Sacketts? I finished watching the second DVD of the mini-series last night and I was absolutely gobsmacked that screen legend Glenn Ford, one of my dad's favorite actors, played the bad guy. Tom Sunday started out so nice on the first disc and then, well, he wasn't really nice at all. And to think he held a grudge against Tom Selleck, I mean Orrin Sackett - what was he thinking? It was pretty good as westerns go - and it had Sam Elliott in it - so it was worth watching.
it’s Girl Scout Cookie season? They are everywhere, it seems, hawking their wares and tempting those of us with even the best intentions of not buying any. I confess: leaving Publix the other day, I was lured by the gleaming purple box of Samoas – coconut and chocolate and caramel. They remind of cookies my Grandma used to buy when I was a kid; they were almost the same, but called YumYums. Of course, my grandmother would eat anything that had coconut in it or on it. She loved Mounds and Almond Joy and at Christmas, she would make this horrifically, sickeningly sweet coconut candy which she always colored pink for some inexplicable reason. That didn't stop us - we ate it up like there was no tomorrow. I have her recipe, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to make it in years. I don’t know if it’s the memory or the risk of a cavity… Sorry I haven’t thought of anything positive to write today, but coconut is positive, don’t you think? And Girl Scouts!
in the ongoing Gerard Butler film festival! Last night we watched Law Abiding Citizen - thank you, Netflix! I'm not a real Jamie Foxx fan, but the movie was excellent - very suspenseful and if you love a good revenge flick, then this movie is for you. "Vengeance is mine, " saith Clyde Shelton, the protagonist with some seriously sneaky technological know-how.
Yikes! You can see my ugly white socks - but don't you just love my new pukey-green shoes? They're those old-lady Easy Spirit slip on walking shoes. I just love them - ugly but seriously comfortable. I have worn out a white pair and a pink pair and then I got another white pair last year. And then, will wonders never cease, I get this shoe catalog with the same style in pukey-green. Well, they called it lime but we all know what color it really is. I'm wearing a lime t-shirt - and I should have worn my lime green argyle socks!
I just wanted to get in the car this morning and GO somewhere. Alas, I had to work; I had three clients scheduled after lunch, so I had to stick around. Ariela came in and we actually had one spanish-speaking client. Mostly we chatted and had lunch. Cari makes a mean tilapia Caesar salad. After the clients left, Ariela helped me put some stuff in the SUV that I wanted to take home (a table, a silk ginkgo tree and a lamp) and then she followed me home to carry it in the apartment for me. She's a good girl and I appreciate her. We also had a good laugh over Baby's latest adventure. One night last week, Ariela was dead tired and asked Marco, her husband, to watch Baby (he's three) when she decided to go to bed early. Apparently, no one heard her. She awoke some time later to the sound of running water and a funny smell. She found Baby standing in the bathroom, looking into the overflowing toilet and then down at his wet feet. She immediately enlisted Marco to clean up the mess while she cleaned up Baby. She kept asking her little boy what he had done and he kept denying any part in the great toilet paper caper. She ended up spanking him and sending him to bed - and he didn't even complain. I guess he knew he was in trouble because he covered his head up and went to sleep and stayed in his own bed all night long. The next morning, he changed his story, admitted that he had stuffed the paper in the toilet and was very remorseful. Funny how the three-year-old mind works. She said it was hilarious - but of course, she couldn't laugh and Marco was really steamed about having to clean up the mess. I adore Baby, but I am very thankful for my four-legged kid who has no idea what toilet paper is or how to flush a toilet.
I don't usually wish my life away, but I've had a really busy couple of days and I am really looking forward to the weekend. I'm not doing anything special or going anywhere but home, but I really can't wait until Saturday afternoon... I want to go home, put on my pajamas, put my feet up, snuggle up with my little dog and read a book. Or watch a movie. Or just enjoy the silence. I am going to wrap myself in the little cocoon of comfort that my apartment is slowly becoming.
I'm having a Gerard Butler film festival at my house. Last night I watched Timeline again. Aggie slept through it - but I liked it better this time, having actually noticed what a hunky fourteenth century guy Gerard Butler made. I'm not usually much on anything medieval - weird considering my thing for early British literature - but I'll make an exception here. I need to revisit my Netflix queue and add more of his films.
I spent the day at home yesterday - I still felt too bad to drive, much less spend the day at the office. I didn't really miss much - just a few phone calls and a cancellation. For some reason, people always think I'm closed on Federal holidays. I've been doing some catch-up work today and working on the growing pile of tax returns. My regular here's-my-pile-of-crap clients are starting to come in. Some of them are pretty organized but most have, well, a pile of crap. That's okay - I love a puzzle! Sometimes, I guess because I work alone for the most part, I have a little trouble with concentration, what with the phone ringing and people coming in, but when it finally quiets down by mid-afternoon, I manage to get some work done. I've been trying not to come in on Sundays because that's my only day at home with Aggie (and the housework and laundry...). I know that sounds silly, but she's my baby. I'm also pretty excited about my new client who is willing to barter with me for the enclosure reinforcement I need for the screened patio so Aggie can go out there are watch the squirrels to her heart's content. She has really been enjoying the new view - and barking less. I'm happy, too!
I spent the whole day Sunday feeling dizzy and sick and losing what little lunch I had eaten on Saturday. Aggie took good care of me and we watched movies and napped most of the day. I guess I'll be cooking the little rib-eye steak I got for our Valentine dinner tonight. I know, I know, it's meat - but at least it doesn't look like a cow! Oh, and if you haven't seen the movie, Nim's Island, check it out. Very family-friendly and a great story. It has Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler. Breslin is precocious, Foster is agoraphobic and Butler is dashing. That's all I can say - watch it!
You know, I have just got to stop worrying. I have good days when I think that I will be able to handle all of this business of life and running a business on my own and keep going and then I have days when I feel insecure and doubt my ability to be successful and take care of myself. And just when I feel like crying and start feeling sorry for myself, God gives one of my existing clients a gentle nudge and they refer a new client to me and things start looking up again. I need to spend more time looking up myself, I think.
Aggie and I watched Grey Gardens last night. Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange were perfect casting for Big Edie and Little Edie Beale! If you've never seen the original documentary, by all means watch it before you see the movie version. I ran across the original one night several years ago while I was channel-surfing and it was like a complete train wreck. I wanted to change the channel, but I couldn't stop watching. I was so fascinated that I set the TiVo to record the whole thing. Of course, I could see how I could become Big Edie the crazy cat lady - it was horrifying! - and the mother/daughter dynamic between the two hit pretty close to home, too. The new movie version is like watching an enhanced version of the documentary; the protrayals of the Beales are spot-on and the "live action" drama is wonderful. Jeanne Tripplehorn does a good job as Jackie Kennedy, who comes to the rescue of her relatives, albeit almost too little, too late.
Okay, I'll admit it. I'm cheap. I like to say frugal, because it sounds better, but the truth is: I'm cheap. The first year I was in business, I pondered having client tax folders custom-printed, but that was way too cost-prohibitive for my meager budget. I had missed the school supply sale at the end of summer, so I was forced to buy folders by the box from the office supply. Thirty-five cents each! The next year I got smart and bought them for seven cents each when the school supplies went on sale. Well, somehow this past fall I missed the big sale. I bought a hundred folders - all I could put my hands on - for about ten cents each. And then I ran out of folders the other day. How could that be? I plan ahead; I'm organized. I started to panic. I thought I had more in the storage room, but alas - none to be found. I was able to find discount (read cheap) folders online from a school supply warehouse with free shipping. They're not extravagant in the least, but they serve the purpose. One of my new clients said her friend recommended me to her, but the real reason she came in was for the pretty folder. I guess it takes all kinds...
Well, I'm not completely out of the turkey on rye rut, but I did have a big cup of black bean soup for lunch. With chopped onions and sour cream. How can something so ugly taste so good? Of course, the most amazing thing is that while wearing a white shirt, I managed to eat the whole bowl without getting any soup on myself. Yes, there is a God.
Saturday was supposed to be Spanish-Spoken-Here Saturday at the office. Ariela and I arrived bright and early and waited. And waited. I had several regular clients show up, a few new clients, but not a single client who wanted to prepare their taxes speaking spanish only. Ariela had called those potential clients who had requested her and told them about our hours for Saturday and urged them to come in. Nope. No one. Nada, as they would have surely said had they appeared. She was so mad - she hates to sit and do nothing. We are reconsidering the wisdom of trying to accomodate people who clearly cannot be bothered to come in when she is available. I guess we're back to having the die-hards contact Ariela directly. Which brings me to the tamales... Ariela's neighbor makes homemade tamales and sells them by the dozen. I ran by Ariela's house after work to drop something off and she gave me a dozen fresh, hot out of the pot tamales for dinner. I couldn't wait! Seriously, I couldn't wait. So I sampled one on the way home - I keep extra sporks from Taco Bell in the glove box. Hot. And not just the temperature. Just then my phone rang; it was Ariela. She said, "I just tasted the tamales and I said to Marco, 'These are too hot for Dawn.'" I told her that I had sampled one already, but I was confident that a little sour cream on top would alleviate the heat. Onward home I drove and to my surprise, there was a parking spot available right in front of my door. The evening was looking up. And then, disaster. As I walked the short distance from my SUV to my door, the bottom dropped out of the bag with the tamales and the foil wrapper, which I had not properly sealed after my in-transit taste test, came open and to my dismay, there were eleven hot tamales on the sidewalk. Undeterred, I scooped them up and carried the steaming things into the apartment in my hands, trying to hang on to my purse, my keys and my cane. I'm sure it was quite a sight! I shooed Aggie back from the door and dropped a tamale. "No!" I shrieked and picked it up. I finally made it to the kitchen and deposited the steaming pile of cornhusk-wrapped delights on the counter. You see, tamales are exempt from the five-second rule: thank Quetzalcoatl (or Whomever) for imparting the wisdom of wrapping tamales in cornhusks to Albert Einstein Tamale. I quickly unwrapped them all and put them into a sealable container - well except for the ones Aggie and I planned to have for dinner. They were spicy, but wonderful. Sour cream and all.
Oh, and about the movie. It was okay, but a little raunchy for my taste. It was a typical romantic comedy, but I could have done without all of the innuendo and double entendre. Gerard Butler is cute, though.
You know how a dog or a horse senses when a person is nervous around them and they get skittish? Well, I have come to the conclusion that computers are the same way. Only they get skittish when they sense that you are desperate to use them. Invariably when it is crunch time and I really need the office LAN and the internet, some queer electron runs through the system and we are DOWN! I guess I am fortunate that Tim, who set up the network to begin with, was still in Tampa tonight and he came down and fixed the problem, although we had to solve the network printer problem by connecting it with a USB cable to my computer, which is the network server. Tomorrow morning I have to download my 2009 tax software to the other computer because Ariela is coming in to help me with spanish-only clients. Lord, watch over my temperamental office LAN!
Christopher Walken, that is. He's just so quirky - he can play bad, he can play funny, he can play evil and he's sometimes, well, charming in a creepy sort of way. The Maiden Heist is very funny - and how could it go wrong with Walken, Morgan Freeman and one of my favorite guys, William H. Macy. They are all security guards at a museum where each one has his favorite piece of art. And the new curator has decided to move the exhibit containing all three to Copenhagen. Do you know how far away Denmark is? they all ask one another. A plan is hatched and a comedy of artistic proportion ensues. Worth watching!
I really like The Lonely Maiden portrait that Christopher Walken's character is obsessed with:
One of my clients was here the other night with her new boxer puppy (he was huge!) and he was just adorable. I asked his name. Her reply: Nixon. And dang if that dog doesn't look just like our esteemed President Nixon. Rebecca says her Nixon is not a crook.
I've been so busy the last couple of days that I haven't had time to even think about anything but taxes. I just had a brief lull in the chaos that has become my life, so I took five minutes and got out a couple of Valentine decorations. I love valentines! I like making them and I especially love vintage valentines with kids on them. No SpongeBob for me! When I was a kid, the lacier and flowery-er the better. I loved those white paper lace doilies, too! I have this great Stampin' Up stamp set for valentines with kids and hearts - very old-timey looking. I don't know if I'll get a chance to make any cards before the 14th or not at the rate I'm going. But I shall not complain! I put my granola bar giveaway goodies in my Mary Engelbreit mailbox and gave Muffy the job of watching over the supply. She's a bear of few words, so I hope she'll let me know when I'm running low. I used to give out Hershey bars to my clients, but the kids went completely nuts for the chocolate and I'm sure their parents had to scrape them off the ceiling when they got home. No more chocolate - but I am thinking of buying stock in Quaker Oats. People love these things!
If you are anywhere near a Publix, go and buy some Publix Premium Red Velvet ice cream. I was only mildly disappointed (for about two seconds!) that it wasn't chocolate ice cream, but it's sort of pink like it's got red velvet cake crumbs all through it - and it has big chunks of red velvet cake (more like a brownie chunk), pecans and cream cheese icing swirls. It is to die for!