a little something extra

Monday, February 25, 2008

why is today a good day?

The day that the Girl Scout cookies are delivered is always a good day!

Friday, February 22, 2008

did you know...

that today is National Margarita Day?

Well, would the Worldwide Web lie to you??

Go forth and honor the day with tequila, triple sec and fresh lime juice. Personally, I'll take mine on the rocks with salt.

Other favorites coming up on the Holiday Calendar:

the Italian Feast of the Incappuciati, which is tomorrow, when we lament the woeful fate of those who can't get their morning coffee with steamed milk, and are thus incappuciated

National Chocolate Souffle Day, on the 28th. If you're reading this, you probably have my mailing address -- feel free to send festal libations on that day. (The 28th is also Kalevala Day. Salmon and chocolate... yummm...)

And March 1, Whuppity Scoorie Day in Scotland. What do you think that one means? Post theories in the comments.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

happy V Day from the rose garden

Found this quick, fun quiz on someone else's blog in honor of Valentine's Day:

You are a Lavender Rose

You represent love at first sight and enchantment.

Your vibe: intense and intriguing

Falling in love with you is: deep and meaningful

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

annual mailing

A day or two ago, my annual mailing from the Soc.ial Se.curity arrived.

Because of my age, and the unstable state of the program as frequently described in the mainstream media, I take this mailing with a grain of salt. Yes, S.S.A. may not exist by the time I hit the relevant birthdays.

But that's not really the point. I like this annual mailing because it shows the progress of my earning. They're always one full year behind, so this mailing I just received only goes up to 2006. Still, it's nice to see the following:

According to S.S.A., my earning doubled in nine years.

It tripled in about 12 years.

Of course, neither of those proportions will probably hold up over the next nine or twelve years. So I might as well enjoy them while I can. :-)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

worker bee

The past couple of days have been especially demanding at work. This has been a positive phenomenon, for the most part, even though my stamina flags about an hour before the workday is "officially" over.

My theatre is planning like planning was going out of style. We're planning the big festival that happens in the spring. We're planning next season's roster of plays. We're planning a new performance series, and a new ticket pricing structure to support it. We're planning our Web strategy for the next three years. You got something? We're planning it. We are a planning machine.

Being in the middle of all the planning conversations gives me a chance to exert more influence than I have historically had. This bodes well for my ongoing happiness in my job. And, I'm trying to keep my head in the midst of it, and recognize opportunities to move towards my goals for this theatre.

So far most of those moves have seemed to go well. Keeping particular plays in consideration for production next season. Taking initiative to refresh a connection with a NY-based director that had been allowed to languish by some bad communication. Bringing an award-winning local director on board for an upcoming opportunity -- and for whatever reason, the usually hypermicromanaging big boss was inclined simply to let me make it happen, rather than take it out of my hands. Delivering and delivering and delivering on what everybody in the theatre company wants and expects of me.

This is an intense period. I don't know how long this phase will last, but I'm hoping that whenever it ends, I'll look around and realize that all this hard work has moved me yet further up the mountain at my theatre company, and that I have stockpiled even more "political capital" than I had before.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

scraps of paper

I'm feeling better today. Not quite 100%, but definitely better than yesterday or Friday. So, after sleeping in and running a couple of errands, I decided to break out the Annual Storm of Scraps of Paper.

The Annual Storm is a crucial element of my tax preparation every year. There's a wonderful woman who used to be the director of finance for the theatre compay where I used to work (i.e., neither of us works there anymore). She runs a side business preparing tax returns for artists, based on her intimate knowledge of all the ins and outs that help the unorthodox earning lives of artists come out looking as good as possible against the IRS' expectations and systems.

I first hired her to prepare my taxes in 2003. In 2004, she saw me through the purchase of my house. In 2005, she saw me through the cross-country move to California, doing my federal and two state tax returns. In 2006, she saw me through the rental of my house in GA. This year doesn't bring any specific challenges, though it will be the first year that my taxes are affected by a full year's lease on the house.

One of the things she taught me to do was to save the receipts for all the theatre tickets I buy, meals or drinks I have over meetings with other artists, travel expenses to conferences or to see plays (like I did when I went to Ashland, OR this past year). My incredibly sophisticated system involves simply stashing all the receipts in a folder labeled "Receipts for 2007 Taxes."

Then, on some rainy afternoon like this one, early in the year, I open the folder and the Annual Storm commences. I sort, I label, I add up, I curse, I add up again, I wail, I add up a third time. I go diving into my House file for records of how much I paid in mortage interest, homeowner's insurance and county taxes, and into my Auto Registration file to see how much I paid for that this year ($40 less than last year, because last year my relocation caused a kerfuffle that meant my renewal bill didn't reach me until it was already past its due date). I add up the water bills for my rental property, and the total I spent on repairs and improvements (a whopper this year because of the expense of replacing the air conditioning system last summer). I detail my charitable contributions. And everything has its own scrap of paper.

The scraps of paper add up to a lot. A LOT. I boil them all down to a single sheet to send to my wonderful tax preparer, who has in recent years found me refunds that equated to something between two and four weeks' worth of my regular take-home pay. This year it will probably be less, because of the income from the rental property. We'll see how the numbers play out, and whether I need to adjust my 2008 withholding based on her findings.

Part of me is hoping for a small refund, meaning that I didn't give much of an unintentional, interest-free loan to the government this past year.

Another part of me is hoping for a larger refund, because I have two good things I could do with the extra money.

Either way, as the Annual Storm of Scraps of Paper settles, I have reason for hope. :-)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

germ invasion

Cause of yesterday's mood was...


Yes, note to self: Next time Inexplicable World-Shaking Crankiness hits, remember this -- you are probably on the cusp of getting sick.

My two bosses each had minor colds last week, one chest and one head. I had had some tightness in my upper bronchi for a couple of days, but nothing more serious until about 3 p.m. yesterday. While I was watching a run-through of a children's play currently in rehearsal, I felt the little microbial claws sink into my cells. Oh no, here we go. Chest tightness became coughing, plus headache, plus fever.

I had planned to take a road trip this weekend to see friends and see plays. I wound up choosing not to go, and notifying my friends this morning that they would not be seeing me tonight and tomorrow. It's just a cold and I'm not sick enough to need medical attention, but I am sick enough that a many-hundred-mile round-trip drive over just two days would not have been a good idea.

Instead I spent the morning in bed and the afternoon taking care of relatively easy chores: laundry, cooking a meal, cleaning up the hallway after its paint job, interspersed with naps and watching episodes from Season 2 of Lost. Nothing that brought me into direct contact with other people. I shall soon make a toddy and go back to bed. By tomorrow, I hope I'll be fever-free and no longer fear that I might pass the germs along by doing my grocery shopping or picking up the bracelet I had out at a shop for repair.

Thus, I close this entry with the hot toddy recipe I learned from the lighting design professor at my graduate school. It'll cure what ails ya.


1. In a coffee cup, mix about a teaspoon of your favorite sweetener (I usually use honey or brown sugar) and a jigger of your preferred whiskey. (Tonight, bourbon. This is not a suitable use for quality single malt.)

2. Cut a lemon in half. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon into the coffee cup and drop the lemon half in too. Put the other half away for some other use.

3. Top up the coffee cup with boiling water. Mix thoroughly and taste -- add more lemon, whiskey or sweetener as it suits you.

4. Get in bed and drink this. You'll most likely be asleep before you finish it.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Once upon a time, there was a cartoon published in a newspaper. If I could find it online, I would link it here.

The panels featured two little round-headed human stick figures in dialogue. Their entire script consisted of the words "cranky" and "annoying."

Thing One would say "Cranky," meaning that Thing Two was being cranky.

Thing Two would respond "Annoying," meaning that Thing One was being annoying.

Back and forth they'd go.
"Cranky." "Annoying."
"Cranky..." "Annoying..."

And that is my day. A phone chat with my dad during my morning commute was a very good moment; afterwards, everything went hellwards in handbasketry.

I am craaaankyyyyy.

Everything, and everyone, is annooooooyiiiiiiing.

But acknowledging it helps shrink it to manageable size!