Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Taxes

Now that tax day is over we can breathe a sigh of relief for another year. It seems like one of the most stressful times of the year and I'm always happy to see it over.

I remember when I was first working and had to file my first tax returns. I went with a friend to H & R Block and paid $2.50 to have some guy fill out thee form for me. It seemed like money well spent. How easy was life back then?

Now I stress over making sure I remember everything. I am terrified off an audit. I worry about keeping records carefully. And I hate paying money if needed at the end of the process!

Taxes are the price we pay for living in this country. I don't resent them - I accept them. We may argue about the necessity for some of our taxes. We can talk about governmental waste. We can certainly agree that none of us like taxes. But as was said before, they are as inevitable as death. Now that's a happy thought!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Painting

My husband is painting again. This time its the new office that we are creating out on our sun porch. So far I haven't picked up a brush and it is one of my least favorite jobs. Our styles are quite different so its not a job that lends itself to our doing together.

We've done lots and lots of painting in our 40 years together. Whenever we moved we painted every room in the "new" place. Since we've been in this house long enough to pay off the mortgage I think is safe to say we've painted every room at least 3 times, some as many as 5 or 6.

This sun porch was a rather unattractive (but typical 1950s) green when we moved in. The first time we painted it we used a bold floral wallpaper on one wall and painted the rest the dark blue of the background color. Then when the wallpaper came down we painted it white. Now, although much of the room is white because there are 6 windows and a doorway so lots of trim, the wall area is becoming a color called "bamboo". That sounds like a light brown but I would call it more of a mocha color - not dark brown but not light brown either. Its a nice color and although its not done yet, I already know I'm going to like it. This choice came after I considered nearly every other color no the chart from yellow to raspberry. But in the end the neutral won out. And I like it.

I would love to be able to pick out colors and have someone come in and paint whatever room needs it. It would be done quickly and professionally and that would be exciting. Maybe in my next life

Monday, April 14, 2014

Prep

I've been busy doing preparations for Easter this past weekend. I bought bags of plastic eggs that I had to fill, making sure that each grandchild had his or her own color and appropriate prizes inside. I also stopped at Pier 1 (my favorite go-to place for decor) and grabbed something cute for the table. pastel gingham napkins and a raffia bunny will make the table festive and pretty.

I also planned the menu for Easter Sunday dinner. This is a challenge since we are tied up at church from early choir rehearsal at 9:15 to about 11:30 when we get home. I scoured the internet and found a recipe for pork roast that is slow cooked over a few hours - perfect! I can prep it before church, put it in the oven, and complete it when we get home.  I did a little more research and found side dishes which could be made the day before and heated through on Sunday. I had m menu and made a complete shopping list.

I'm hoping for an Easter Sunday just like this past weekend was - sunny and warm. Somehow Easter seems right when the weather cooperates. If people dream of snow at Christmas, they also expect sun on Easter Sunday.

So the prep as begun the week will be busy. My favorite kind of busy.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palms

I always loved Palm Sunday as a kid. Easter week becomes so somber and dark as we walk with Christ through that final week leading up to the celebration of Easter, but Palm Sunday was like Mardi Gras - one last celebration before our time of sadness. So my memories are good of Palm Sundays.

And of course there was the excitement of getting ready for Easter. We shopped for new outfits, including hats, gloves, and shoes. We anticipated the arrival of the Easter baskets that were such a treat in a family where candy was not a normal part of our diet.

So today, Palm Sunday, was always and still is a fun day for me. I like the celebration and I enjoy the idea of the people laying palms in front of the donkey that carried Christ into the city. It's a day for music and cheering. And the beginning of a long week in the Christian calendar.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Turn

Watching the new television show on AMC last weekend called "Turn" was really fun. It's not often we get to watch history that was made in our own back yards.

I always was fascinated with the Culper spy ring story that took place right here on Long Island. Not only did it involve a distant relative by the name of Anna Strong, but this was a woman who was involved in dangerous espionage during thee Revolutionary War! Wow!

I have no doubt that women have been involved in many important ways in every part of history. But it is a rare thing to hear about it. Other than the negatives (i.e. Marie Antoinette and Lizzie Borden) we usually think of women as being home keeping the children and taking care of the homestead while the men did all the  "smart" work. Other than Molly Pitcher, Madame Curie and Clara Barton, how many women can you name who made important contributions to history? Not many I imagine. So Anna Strong was a stand out for me growing up.

Now I get to see her every Sunday night being smart, brave, and devious right there in the small screen, proving to me what I've always known: the women were there - they just didn't get recognized too often in "his"tory....

Friday, April 11, 2014

More

Speaking of our deer problem - I have to find a way to deal with our decimated yews this year.

We have a driveway that comes right up to our outdoor deck so years ago we planted a row of yews along the deck side where the cars are parked. It made a really hedge to soften the effect of the cars being right there, but the deer have totally destroyed it. I don't think there is anything we can plant there now that these voracious creatures won't destroy so I'm trying to figure out how to deal with this spot in our yard now.

I think perhaps using some lattice, which we have on our overhang, might be a good option. My husband thinks it would look better to shingle a simple short wall there. I'm not sure but I think the simpler the project the more likely it is it get done. We are still working on the home office renovation, weeks later now, and I know from experience these things take forever when you do the work yourselves.

Another example of the way the deer are costing us big time. They've destroyed all kinds of landscaping e sent good money o and now we're going to have to build something to replace this hedge. I am really so tired of these creatures. I know they're cute but there are clearly too many of them when they are eating things they never used to eat. When their food source is scarce they are desperate.

And now so am I.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pests

I've really had it with the deer.

I know there are deer lovers out there and I hate to offend any of them, but I have come to detest the creatures. I am at the point where I feel the same way about them that I do about the mice that get into my house and the occasionally rat (shudder) that I see in the wild. I even would compare them to ants. They are annoying and need to be controlled.

When we moved into this house I began planting things. I planted hydrangea bushes and irises. I planted azaleas, hostas, and yews. It took me many years to create gardens around my house because money was always tight and I would add a little each year.

About 6 years ago the deer began eating the things in my yard. First they decimated the day lilies. Then the yews were hit. Eventually as the years have passed and the deer population has exploded, they have eaten everything I have in my yard, even the things they had never touched before, with the exception of my daffodils.

This year they are hitting the daffodils. My first sign of spring. The thing that makes me smile when I walk out of my back door.

I hate the deer.