Monday, April 30, 2007

Blues Man

Today, in the mail, I received this! I was shocked, frankly. When Don sent the postcard to Brian and Jennifer after they lost their dog, Carla, I cried. This postcard made me laugh a little. As Don mentions in his post, there is humor in the blues, surprising as that sounds, and I could not agree more with his sentiment that it is this ability to laugh when the world around you is crumbling shows guts and determination and frankly, the ability to "hand it over." Visit Don's site, Idle Minutes. It's worth every minute. While I'm at it, I'm adding him to the blogroll.

And thanks, Don! :-)

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Project Whenever - #12 (Time to Mow)

Time to Mow
With all of our rain lately, it's been difficult to find a time to mow. The day has finally arrived. Sunny, dry and warm. Perfect mowing conditions. Good bye dandelions. See you next week.


Another Day At The Races

We had another occasion to spend a day at the races yesterday. This time it was the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Race. And some Indy 300 qualifying runs. And what a beautiful day it was. 73 degrees. Sunny. Not too crowded. And good friends.

But the highlight for me was our very own racecar! Well, not really "ours." And not a NASCAR driver. But this was a great opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the humane society we support. Wayside Waifs was fortunate to have an ARCA race team offer to team up with Wayside and sign autographs at our mobile pet adoption trailer. Here I am "posing" by our car outside the adoption trailer with my autographed picture. And the most fortuitous part was that this particular driver actually won his race! It was a good weekend for the dogs. :-)

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Yet Another List

I seem to be on a List roll lately. I like lists, I must admit. But really, I don't know what purpose this one serves for anyone but me. This was something that I saw on another site earlier in the year and thought I'd give it a go sometime. At the end of the day, after racking my brain for a list of concerts I have been to, I realized that, for me, it was more of a walk down memory lane than anything. Every concert represents a special occasion, with good friends and good music, truly some of the most relaxing and enjoyable times of my life. I left off the names of lesser known bands we have listened to at various festivals around the country but tried to list the headliners. I'm sure there are still some lesser knowns on this list, along with some real doozies. *cough* Tommy Twotone *cough* I'd be curious to know if there is any overlap among my "readers." Maybe we were even at the same concert?

Al Green (Kansas City)
Albert King (San Luis Obispo, CA)
BB King (6-7 times, Monterey, CA, KC, SLO,)
Beach Boys (KC)
Bonnie Raitt (Santa Barbara)
Bruce Springsteen (KC)
Buddy Guy (KC)
C.J. Chenier (Eureka Springs, AK)
Charlie Musselwhite (SLO)
Cher (KC)
Chubby Carrier (Eureka Springs)
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown (New Orleans)
Coco Montoya (KC, SLO)
Creedence Clearwater Revival (KC)
Elvis Costello (NOLA)
Eric Clapton (twice, KC)
Etta James (Monterey)
Isaac Hayes (NOLA)
J. Giles Band (SLO)
Jackson Browne (Santa Barbara)
James Cotton (SLO)
Jimmy Thackery (Topeka)
Joan Baez (SLO)
Journey (KC)
Keb Mo (twice, KC, ES)
Koko Taylor (SLO)
Kool & The Gang (Paso Robles, CA)
Little Feat (Seattle)
Little Richard (KC)
Liz Story (twice, Santa Barbara, SLO)
Loverboy (I know. I KNOW!) (Salina, KS)
Marcia Ball (twice, NOLA, KC)
Maria Muldaur (ES)
Michael Hedges (Santa Barbara)
Neville Brothers (Monterey)
Original Low Riders/fka War (KC)
Otis Rush (SLO)
Pat Metheny (3 times, KC, Santa Barbara)
Queen Ida (Santa Maria, CA)
Reba Russell (ES)
Red Hot Chili Peppers (SLO)
Riders of the Purple Sage (PR)
Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers (SLO)
Rory Block (twice, SLO)
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (SLO)
Shadowfax (SB)
Susan Tedeschi (KC)
Tab Benoit (ES)
Taj Mahal (SLO)
Three Dog Night (PR)
Tommy Twotone (Remember "867-5309"?) (Los Angeles)
Van Clyburn (my first concert) (Manhattan, KS)

And while this list seems fairly long to me, I challenge Darko to the task. My guess is that his list would fill a book (but he may not remember them all). ;-)

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Darrell Scott Testimony

I just received this email from my uncle. Many of you may have received the same message. I have pulled from it what I thought worthy of sharing. My favorite part is the poem that Darrell wrote before he knew he would be asked to speak to Congress. I have not verified that this speech was delivered, but I know that I believe strongly in the words that are written here.

The email begins...

"On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton , Colorado , was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful."

"These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:"

"Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the h earts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

"The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart.

"In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don't believe that t hey are responsible for my daughter's death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel's murder I would be their strongest opponent.

"I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy -- it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best. This was written way before I knew I would be speaking here today:

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You've stripped away our heritage,
You've outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question "Why?"
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

"Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation's history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doi ng, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs -- politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

"As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person inAmerica , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, atColumbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA -- I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

"My daughter's death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!"
And for the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre, and their families, AMEN!


Monday, April 23, 2007

What's That You Say?

Yet another meme from John at Blog Meridian. The job this time is to "list the songs on your iPod (or wherever you keep your collection) that begin with the 5 W's (Who? What? Where? When? Why?) and How?"

What I found interesting is that the songs which ask the most questions seem to fall into the blues and gospel sections (as does most of my collection, so my list is fairly long). It seems Johnny Cash may have asked more questions than any other musician. As well he should have. At least by the end of life, he seemed to have found a few of the answers. We can all find some comfort in that, I think.

So here are the "the questions I walk around listening to:"

Who? (This doesn't seem to be the most pressing question, does it?):

Who’ll Stop the Rain, CCR
Who Drove The Red Sports Car, Van Morrison
Who Said That? Dave Brubeck
Who Was Calling, Rory Block
Who You Are, Caedmon’s Call


What’s a Girl To Do, Marcia Ball
What’s New, Billie Holiday
What’s the Buzz, Andrew Lloyd Webber (Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack)
What a Friend We Have In Jesus, Amy Grant
What A Little Moonlight Can Do, Billie Holiday
What A Wonderful World, Chris Thomas King
What Are You Doin in My Life? Tom Petty
What Child is This? (5 versions…my favorite by Taheny & Reid, a Celtic variation)
What Do You Hear In These Sounds, Dar Williams
What Is Not Love, Derek Webb
What is This Thing Called Love, Dave Brubeck
What Keeps Mankind Alive, Tom Waits (surprising this guy doesn't have a few more questions, isn't it? ;-)
What Would Jesus Do? Chris Thomas King
What You Gonna Do, Beau Jocque
What’s New, Charlie Musselwhite


Where Are You, Monty Python (Spamalot)
Where Are You Now, Queen Ida
Where Could I Go But To the Lord, Elvis Presley
Where I Go, Natalie Merchant
Where No One Stands Alone, Elvis Presley
Where The Soul of Man Never Dies, Johnny Cash
Where The Streets Have No Name, U2
Where We’ll Never Grow Old, Johnny Cash
Wherefore and Why, Gordon Lightfoot

Why? (Surprising there aren't more of these)

Why Blues, Chris Thomas King
Why Didn’t You Call Me, Macy Gray
Why Do I, Marcia Ball
Why Phillis Walts, Dave Brubeck
Why Women Cry, Marcia Ball
Why, Charlie Brown, Wynton Marsalis
Why? Tracy Chapman


When A Child Is Born, Ricardo D’Amato
When He Reached Down, Johnny Cash
When I’ve Learned Enough To Die, Johnny Cash
When I Feel the Sea Beneath my Soul, Taj Mahal
When I Grow Up, Michelle Shocked
When I Paint My Masterpiece, Bob Dylan
When I Take My Vacation in Heaven, Johnny Cash
When Love Comes To Town, U2 & B.B. King
When Magnolias Bloom, Chris Thomas King
When My Heart Beats Like A Hammer, Eric Clapton & B.B. King
When My Little Girl Is Smiling, The Drifters
When Nothing Satisfies, Jennifer Knapp
When the Roll is Called up Yonder, Johnny Cash
When the Saints Go Marching In, Queen Ida
When The Saviour Reached Down For Me, Johnny Cash
When You’re Alone, Paul Asaro
When You’re Good To Mama, Queen Latifah (Chicago Soundtrack)


How Big a Fool, Marcia Ball
How Could You Do It, Henry Gray
How Deep is The Ocean, Diana Krall
How Deep the Father’s Love For Us, Joy Williams
How Do You Feel, Jefferson Airplane
How Do You Know, Third Day
How Great Thou Art, Elvis Presley
How Long Blues, Eric Clapton
How We Love You, Vineyard Music
How You’ve Grown, 10,000 Maniacs
How You Carry On, Marcia Ball

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Non-Book Meme

I've been tagged by John B at Blog Meridian, with an unusual (and as it turns out, difficult) meme. The task, it seems, is to identify...

"Things which one has read and has been influenced by which are not confined to those paper-bound vessels of the printed word we refer to as books. Let's call these Non-Books. Or maybe Impossible Books. Or Limen Books? It's up to you. List five."

Limen. Go look it up. I had to. ;-)

Now, I take this to mean, things which I have "read" other than books, but the responses given by previous, uh, responders (including the creator of said meme) includes many things involving other senses and mediums besides that which may be "read." And while I can embrace their creativity and thinking outside the box, I am going to take a more literal approach and list things which I have actually "read" other than books. Here goes...

1) The back of the Cap'n Crunch cereal box, which promised me the much desired Secret Decoder Ring (you think children are not heavily influenced by what is promised on the backs of cereal boxes everywhere? Think again. ;-)

Okay, seriously...

2) Messages to and for loved ones on the AIDS quilt panels which I visited not long after losing a good friend to the disease.

3) The letters "U N" on tanks and trucks along the roads of Croatia during my first visit there; I felt at once comforted to know there were alleged "peace keepers" among us but also extremely vulnerable.

4) This piece of the Berlin Wall, on display in Eureka Springs, Arkansas:

5) And finally, this postage stamp:

And now, I will tag 5 people to see what they have to say on the matter...I've picked those who seem to be particularly in a blogging funk, but anyone is welcome to play along. :-)







Friday, April 20, 2007

A Day At The License Bureau

I took today off of work to recover a bit and to take care of a few errands. Number one on my list was getting new license plates for my new (used) car. My temporary tags had expired and my first trip to the license bureau (ON the expiration date) netted me another item on the To Do list instead of new plates. Does this happen to everybody else also, or is it just me? I think the folks who work there get a secret thrill out of telling people they don't have everything they need (after standing in line for an hour to get to the counter). I think they keep a tally and compare notes at the end of the day or week, with extra points for turning away those who are on their 2nd or 3rd trip.

Me, it took 3 trips.

Trip One, I got half way through the process and was told I needed a vehicle inspection. "But," I said, "I bought it from a dealer; doesn't it have to be inspected before they sell it?" "No, it doesn't," was the answer. Don't ask why I would think this. I know good and well that I may have just purchased the next Lemon and the dealership will claim no involvement whatsoever when the thing bursts into flames, but I expected all of the paperwork in the specially marked "For Glove Box" envelope to be everything that I would need at the license bureau.

Strike One.

Trip Two (following an extensive tour of the mechanic's shop wherein my Prince was poked and prodded and given a clean bill of health), I waited, and waited, and waited, and finally got to the counter only to hear the words, "You don't have your property tax receipts." And I was quick to respond, "But last time, you were able to pull that up online and confirm that they were paid," to which she snapped back, "The system is down. You should always bring your property tax receipts." Hrmph.

Strike Two.

It was quicker to drive to the courthouse (good thing I took the day off) than to drive home to get a copy of my property tax receipts. So I stood in line at the courthouse and for $1, obtained a copy of my paid property tax receipts.

Trip Three. After another long line in the queue, I triumphantly emerged at the counter with all of the requisite paperwork in hand, as if I was finally ready for the oral exam portion of my dissertation. Title work? Check. Property tax receipts? Check, check. Proof of Insurance? Check. Vehicle Inspection certificate? Check. Bill of Sale? Check! License plates conferred!!

And I still have a couple more hours left for the other errands on my list.
You would think I was trying to adopt a child or something. Sheesh.


Kickball Report

I meant to update on the outcome of the kickball game on Tuesday (tax d-day). As luck would have it, I was busy with clients coming in and out and so, I was unable to participate in the game. And since it was a busy day, the game was moved off site so as not to cause damage to client cars, or clients for that matter. Hence, I have no photos to share. But I do have the report.

At 3:00 pm, the 20-something Interns faced off in a violent game of kickball against the highly competitive 30-something Full Timers. At 5:00 pm, we all met up at a local restaurant for drinks and appetizers. The head of our Audit Department and a Sr Tax Manager showed up on crutches! The former, a victim of a nasty slide into home plate (scoring the winning run for the Full Timers nonetheless). His injuries were essentially a nasty case of "road" rash to the right arm and leg. The latter, a victim of hip bursitis that had been laying low all tax season but could not stand the rigors of kickball. I'm afraid the rest of us had a good laugh at their expense. I do wish I had my camera to document the event. It also would have come in handy for video taping the Managing Director rapping a special "song" he had written for the occasion (imagine Michael Scott of The Office and you'll have a mental image of this painful experience ;-).


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Dog Clic

Okay, so I've made it to the other side. Now what? I feel like my brain has just been cleared of about three garages full of clutter and the whole world looks different. Brighter somehow. But now I'm dealing with things the cat drug in while I was "out." A client called yesterday to tell me that the IRS just placed a levy on his bank account and he wants me to "do something!!!" Another has an IRS exam scheduled for tomorrow morning which I will attend on bahalf of the client, and yet another client has been patiently waiting for the end of tax season so I could crunch some numbers for a "big" deal they're doing. But at least I can go home at a reasonable time tonight. I'm just lacking motivation.

Work related posts may now come to an end. :-)

Last week, while operating in overdrive and a little emotionally frayed, I was perusing my friends' blogs for relief and came upon a story that brought tears to my eyes, but in a good way. We need a good cry once in awhile, right? I mean, I cried when Brian and Jennifer lost their Golden Retriever, Carla, but this act of kindness really caught me off guard. While reading it, big tears welled up and rolled down my cheeks, and just as I was writing the words "I hope nobody comes in my office right now," someone did. Fortunately, it was one of my "dog friends" and I quickly assured her that I was okay, but shared with her why I was crying and she immediately started crying too. And she doesn't even "know" Brian or Jennifer or Carla or Don. But then, neither do I, really. So there we were, crying, in my office, when another of our "dog friends" stopped by (this was around dinner time when we take a bit of a break to eat and wander around checking on people). And then there were three, in my office, crying, over a dog that none of us ever had a chance to meet in real life.

I realized then that my friends here at the office are all part of a clic...of dog people. I always hated clics in high school. Hated them! Partly because I never fit into one. Well, I was nominated for Homecoming Queen by the Key Club, so at least I had that going for me. In other words, I had friends that some might have referred to as a clic (many of the Key Club members were also members of the Chess Club, so we did stick together), but we weren't exactly part of any of the popular clics. Which, looking back, is more than fine by me. But now, I run with The Dog Clic and it felt good to let out a few tears among friends. We're sponsoring a table again this year at the Fur Ball, to raise money for our furry friends (cats too, if we must ;-). And we're working on a "Take Your Dog To Work Day." Yes, we're all accountants, but the dogs are the tie that binds. Other clics include The Golfers (there's one in every professional organization, isn't there?), The Hunters, The Poker Club, The Tennis Club, The Bible Study, The Toastmasters and The Wine Club. Similar to high school, there's a small sampling of Aggies and Jocks, but thankfully, no "Popular People" or "Stoners." Every school had these, right?

Dogs Rule! ;-)

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Monday, April 16, 2007

More Caffeine, Please!

Aren't there labor laws against this sort of thing? I just finished filling out my timesheet for the week. 90 hours! That's a lot of hours. And on the tail of three 80+ hour weeks, following four 55-65 hour weeks, I'm exhausted. Oh, and no overtime pay, in case you're wondering. This past week has been like running an 800 meter sprint after completing a 10K race (I'd say marathon, but I don't think this comes close to running a marathon...that's real work!).

I'm winding down though. Mostly all the returns that are going out the door are done. Most of the extension calculations are done (except my own, of course). And now I just have a few meetings to deliver returns, and of course, fight whatever fires flare up at the last minute. There always are some.

And this will conclude Season 25. I think that's plenty.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Mini Train Wreck

Update: For those who wish to skip the rant and move straight to the dog update, I have moved the update to the top of this report:

Smokey update: Smokey is hopped up on steroids and doing much, much better. We are weaning him off of the Prednizone slowly and hope his condition continues to improve even in the absence of carcinogenic ulcer inducing medications.

Rant: I just had my first melt down of the season. Probably not my last.

A client called today, to ask why they just received a big package full of envelopes. Inside were all of their tax returns, with checks that they wrote yesterday, when they were in my office. Trying to be helpful, I offered to mail them from our office so they wouldn't have to stand in line at the post office. Oh, and they asked me to hold them until Monday so they could move money around to cover the checks. Very well, I said. We'll take care of it. Little did I know just how incompetent we are when it comes to routine tasks.

I gave a stack of "naked" white envelopes, addressed to various government agencies to my assistant, and asked her to mail them certified ("because these are tax returns with big checks inside" or something to that effect) and do this on Monday, per client request. I gave her the client's number to charge the postage to (because we're cheap like that).

Imagine my horror when the client called and asked why the returns were mailed to them instead of the Government. And why didn't we wait until Monday to mail them, like he asked? *gulp*

So then, I looked on my assistant's desk for another stack of tax returns I had asked her to mail for a different client (same thing, also for Monday mailing), and on her desk was a copy of the certified receipt showing the client address instead of the government agencies. Only this client lives in Virginia(!) and is out of the country!!

Thankfully, a different assistant was here today and she was able to retrieve the local package by courier from the client and the certified mailing to VA by making a hasty run to the USPS Distribution Center (otherwise, I would have had to ask Jen or Beth to go by the client's home in the DC area to pick it up and get it postmarked by Tuesday ;-).

Now, I know there is one more package out there. The client hasn't yet received it (because it was mailed regular mail...let's hope it gets there before the deadline so we can retrieve it as well). At least there are not large checks in this one, but it is yet another smoldering ember just waiting to ignite. *sigh*

I am very grateful for the assistant's persistence in tracking down the VA package today, and I realize this could have turned out much worse, so I'm at least thankful for that. And I'm glad the assistant responsible for the mistake wasn't here today to take the brunt of my frustration. For the little things, we must be grateful. Having patience is very difficult at this time of year!

Onward...only 3 and a half more days!

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No Kickball For You!

Well, due to the weather (it was snowing last night, but today is has all melted, so whatever), there will be no kickball today. Instead, it has been scheduled for Monday, when more clients will be stopping by to witness the shenanigans. Perfect.


Friday, April 13, 2007

The Light is Closer Than it Appears

I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope it's not this train. And yet another tax season will come to a close (on Tuesday this year...don't forget to celebrate Emancipation Day...your federal guvment will be closed for the day).

We will likely emerge in one piece, God willing. Battered and bruised, battle worn, but survivors nonetheless. It's funny to hear the comments of insiders who have just completed their first tax season..."they warned me that I'd be very busy, but I never could have imagined's insane!" Yes, it is.

Tomorrow is KICKBALL! And maybe snow! Brrr.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Patient

Thank you all for your concern, support and prayers for Smokey. It meant a lot to me. Smokey is doing much better. Still having a lot of difficulty walking but he is walking which is a huge blessing. My husband went to visit him at the hospital after church on Sunday. He had to stay until Monday for my brother-in-law to take a look at him, take more x-rays, more poking and prodding of his neurological fibers and a dose or two of steroids which seemed to help a little. They narrowed his pain down to soft tissue injuries in his front shoulder which won't require surgery and should improve with time. The only bad news is there' s really nothing we can do to hasten the healing process other than keep him from injuring it further.

I picked him up at the hospital last night after his battery of tests, and he practically ran for the door when I opened his cage. No "Hi Mom, I'm so very happy to see you!!" Nothing. Just a beeline for the nearest exit. Can't really blame him. I wouldn't want to be in the hospital either, but, uh, did you forget that you can't walk?! So he rustled his way into the car hurting himself a bit in the process, but knowing it was only soft tissue pain, I worried less about what he might injure in the process of scurrying out of the hospital. By the time we got home, he was worn out but able to walk into the house on his own (with lots of coaxing). After drinking a gallon of water (when he is away from home, he only likes bottled water, he's not spoiled much ;-) he laid down for a long night's sleep (probably his first restful night in a couple days). This morning, he was able to get up (without all the caterwalling we had to deal with on Saturday) and walk outside to do his business (with help up and down the front stoop). We bought him a special shoulder harness to help.

So all in all, I'd say his prognosis is very good and we are very thankful. We still don't know what happened, but I suppose we'll know something when he decides the horse is an evil monster. We're guessing he just tripped in a hole and sprained his shoulder while the horse looked on.

Sitting in the emergency clinic on 3 different occasions made me very thankful that I don't do that for a living. What a stressful job! There were a lot of emergencies over the weekend. A young woman brought in a cat that had been hit by a car. It was going to cost roughly $3,000 to fix her and even then, she was expected to lose a leg, and might not make it. The woman was crying, of course, but filled out credit paperwork to pay for the surgery. I'd have to think long and hard about that. Much as I love my animals, there is a limit. I just don't know what it is until I have to cross that bridge.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

I Wish They Could Talk

"Man's Best Friend" doesn't even skim the surface of the deep bond my husband has with Smokey. The two have worked together every day that weather and working conditions permit since Smokey was less than a year old. He was the chosen one of (at one time) 5 Aussies that we owned...the best behaved, the most loyal and the most intelligent. Smokey is turning 13 this month. It's hard to watch them grow old. Even harder when we lose them.

Last evening, my husband let Smokey and Cocoa out to do their business and after a few minutes heard screaming and crying coming from outside. He ran outside, fearing that one of them had been hit by a car. Instead, he saw Smokey lying in the pasture, writhing in pain with our horse standing over him pawing at the ground. We don't know what happened, only that he couldn't walk and cried loudly whenever we tried to move him. My husband somehow managed to carry him into the house. We don't know if the horse kicked him, stomped on him, or if he just tripped in a mole hole and sprained or broke something. Fearing the worst (internal injuries and broken bones) and not wanting to lift Smokey into the car by himself, my husband called me at work to come home and help. That was a long 35 minute drive home. And then another 40 minute drive to the emergency vet clinic. By midnight we were in the waiting room. They looked him over and took x-rays and the good news is, no broken bones, no apparent internal injuries and he walked out of the hospital (not without a lot of pain and difficulty, but he was able to walk which was a big relief)! The bad news is we still don't know what is wrong. It's obvious he has significant leg pain and the doctor surmised it might be the dog equivalent of a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament in the front knee area but offered no explanation for the rear leg/hip pain.

When we got him home, we had a hard time getting him out of the truck and he refused to get up off the ground, so we rolled him up in a sheet and carried him on his back into the house. We unrolled him onto the living room floor where he spent the night. As did my husband. Every time we left the room, he whimpered and cried. When we were with him, he seemed fine as long as we didn't try to move him.

This morning, he was still the same, unable to stand without us pulling him up with a towel under his chest (he weighs 65 pounds so while not a big, big dog, we can't just pick him up), and more crying.

So I called my brother-in-law who is an orthopaedic vet (he works at the emergency clinic but is out of town right now) and he suggested taking him back in for neurological tests to make sure it's not a herniated disk requiring immediate surgery. So we did that (with much agony transporting him in and out of the truck again, a muzzle, and a gurney ride into the vet's office) and now Smokey is at the hospital for further evaluation and monitoring until my brother-in-law can look at him.

They tell us it's not likely anything serious (a blessing that I want to believe, but until we have our boy home and he is not crying, I can't help but worry). They also tell us he's spoiled and while he can't walk at home he seems to be able to walk (almost) fine at the hospital. Isn't this like taking your car to the mechanic only to have it work just "fine" for them? I figure it's the increased adrenaline at the hospital, but maybe Smokey is just spoiled, you think? ;-)

I know most of my blogroll consists of "dog people," so I'm hoping that with a few extra prayers, Smokey will come home on Monday and be on the road to recovery from whatever ails him.


Friday, April 06, 2007

The Highlight of My far

From today's email box comes the following exchange:

Me: Hi Bob, I hope this finds you well. I have only one question on your tax return. Did you pay more than just the one estimate you listed on the organizer?

Bob: No. When do you anticipate it being ready and how deep a hole should I start digging?

Me: Thanks, Bob. I do not have your return on my desk to review yet, but expect to have it later today. How about Tuesday PM for pick up? I'll let you know the size of the hole as soon as I get the return.

Bob: Oh, so there is a hole! Sigh.

Me: I have not actually confirmed the presence of a hole yet. I'll let you know.

Bob: Ah, good, a CPA with a sense of humor. That’s the reason I’m still working and haven’t far.

Not always a good thing, to have your CPA poking fun at your tax situation, but I'll accept this as a compliment. ;-)


Thursday, April 05, 2007

From the Tax Files

Discovered in one of today's tax return files was an interesting bit of reading. It read a bit like a trashy spy novel or B-grade movie material, or a Dukes of Hazard episode (check out the picture of the security guards at the official site of Wackenhut corporation).

Our investigation all started with a simple stock sale and needing to know what the cost basis was so that we could calculate the capital gains. But where did the client get their Wackenhut stock? It didn't show up in the estate they had just inherited and they claimed no knowledge of ever purchasing any Wackenhut stock. So the preparer went scouting around and came up with some background information for me. A few blurbs from today's reading file:

Wackenhut was founded in 1954, in Coral Gables, Florida, by George Wackenhut and three partners, all former FBI agents. After early struggles — including a fistfight between Wackenhut and one of his partners — he took sole control of the company in 1958, naming it for himself.

Wackenhut is involved in protecting nuclear reactors, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, and other high-security government installations, including those of the Department of Energy.

Wackenhut and Private Prisons

In 1999, Wackenhut was stripped of a $12-million-a-year contract in Texas and fined $625,000 for failing to live up to promises in the running of a state jail after several guards were indicted for having sex with female inmates.

Wackenhut and the CIA

Frequent rumors that his company was in the employ of the Central Intelligence Agency, particularly in the 1960s, were never substantiated, but Wackenhut, who was obsessive about high-tech security gadgets in his private life, did not discourage the suggestion.

Janet Chandler Murder

In 1979, hotel clerk and Hope College senior Janet Chandler was found raped and murdered in a snowbank along Interstate 196 near Holland, Michigan. Initially treated as a robbery, the case remained unsolved until a group of Hope students produced a documentary that uncovered a sex and drugs party atmosphere at the hotel, then occupied by dozens of Wackenhut security guards assigned to protect the facilities of local manufacturer Chemtron during a bitter strike. The documentary prompted a reopening of the case and arrests of six security guards and a hotel supervisor who was Chandler's roommate.

I still don't know how much the client paid for their Wackenhut stock or how they came to own it, but I know a bit more about Wackenhut. Welcome to my world.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Strange Things People Put on Their Job Applications

Not that I'm looking, you understand.

This just in via the daily email from Things found on actual job applications (just a select few, with my half cent in italics):


"Please call me after 5:30 because I am self-employed and my employer does not know I am looking for another job." Needs meds and a dose of integrity.


"Minor allergies to house cats and Mongolian sheep." Don't ask.


"Donating blood. 14 gallons so far." The last job sounds like it pert near drained him!


"Was met with a string of broken promises and lies, as well as cockroaches." These generally go hand in hand.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Music, Art and A Soon to Be New Blogroll Addition

Last night was the Eric Clapton concert I was so excited about. It was excellent! There was a lot more electric, a lot more of his old classics than I was expecting, but I enjoyed it (his sit down acoustic set was still my favorite part of the whole show). The fact that he closed with Cocaine bothered me. But Eric is a joy to watch, casual and meticulous at the same time, gentle but powerful. He sets the bar for guitarists the world over.

I was surprised to find out that Robert Cray opened for him. I'm not a big fan of Robert Cray, but had never seen him perform live. And now, I'm even less of a fan. Technically, I suppose he sings the blues, but it is very sterile and sounds as if the songs are cut for pop radio. There's just no emotion behind the songs, not even live. That is, until he plays with Eric Clapton. They only sang one encore song together (Crossroads), but that one song gave Robert Cray a little more, I don't know, street cred or something. And I don't mean to dis old white guys, but here's an observation from last old white guy backed by a solid team of black guys is much better than one black guy backed by a bunch of old white guys (Cray's keyboardist was better suited for a career as a courtroom stenographer). Just callin' it as I see it, that's all.

Meanwhile, back on the blogging front...

Here is a great article by a newly discovered (by me) blogger. John over at Blog Meridian awarded Hank a Thinking Blogger's Award and I went to check it out. As might be expected of an educator's choice in the thinking category, this post has it all: footnotes, and footnotes inside of footnotes, a bibliography, and fully cited references of all kinds, and a bit of art history, and something about naked women (which is what happens when you start talking about art history, let's face it). Plus it is just downright funny. Even if you don't like art, I think you might like to read about Hank's Blue Painting. It's worth the extra minutes to read the footnotes.

I also got a kick out of this post, partly because I like sailing (or at least the idea of sailing), but mostly because I like the word "insouciant," especially in this context.

Back to work...tick, tick, tick...

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

April's Fool

A while back, I was shocked (SHOCKED, I tell you) to learn that Emma had bestowed upon me the prestigious Thinking Blogger Award. Laughable, I know. But coming from Emma, I was humbled and also quite aware that the award itself was probably a joke. Emma is very funny sometimes. Very funny. Thank you, Emma!

Now, the irony here is that it has taken me this long to figure out how to retrieve the bling that I so proudly accepted and place it in the sidebar of my stinking "thinking" blog. Now, I believe that I have a duty to uphold and until I read John's (much more deserved and eloquently executed) award ceremony this afternoon, had frankly forgotten about it. His list gave me 5 new blogs to bookmark and possibly add to my blog roll, so this is all for a good cause.

Now, without further ado, I would like to present my 5 awards to those I believe are most deserving of the honor. Please know that I can only name 5. If I could name more, I would name all of those in my blogroll over in The Deep End. That's why they are there in the first place. Although this is not a requirement for the Thinking Blogger Award, my selections also deserve special honors for making me laugh. There is not enough thinking and laughing going on in the world today.

Oh, and another thing. If you've already received an award, I am not giving you another one, no matter how deserved it may be. Sorry.

Drum roll....

May I have the envelope please?

And the winners are:

#1 Fire Ant Gazette
While Eric makes you think on a regular basis, he will go out of his way to make you think it's not happening by touting his "content-free" posts.

#2 And Then I Woke Up
Beth's thoughts on theology are always worth reading, as are her random rambles on life in general. Some people just "get it" and Beth is one of the few.

#3 Pencil Shavings
Mis Nomer's pensive, solitary moments are some of her best. Her interests are diverse and her perspective unique but she is one of us. She cuts to the very core of what it means to be human.

#4 Verging on Pertinence
Darko's the one to go to for thoughts on music in particular and all things cultural and worldly. And Darko is a master of archaic words. If ever you find yourself needing a new word in your vocabulary, click over to his site.

#5 Lone Prairie Blog
Where to begin? For one, Julie hates gushing, especially gushing in her general direction. I am fairly certain that she will never stoop so low as to put this blog bling on her blog, but Julie is simply awesome!

That's all folks. I wish I could name more. You are all so deserving! For the five awardees, you may click on this link and get your own blog bling if you like and then go forth and multiply.

Happy April Fool's Day!

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