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Start Date 2008-06-04 11:41:45 |Comments 1,367 |Entries 818 |Images 2,353 |Videos 58 |Mobl 341 |

Category: cranky

04/05/10 10:50 - 50ºF - ID#51338

"young lady"

It's passably okay when someone 70+ calls me "young lady." It's really not okay when the speaker is approximately the same age as I am. It's so dismissive both on age and gender grounds - I can't possibly be able to speak knowledgeably about the topic because I'm young! and a girl! grrrr.

I'm so stressed (again). I had a final paper due last week that I totally procrastinated on and I don't think I did very well because I didn't think through the issues sufficiently. Oh well, it's only 1 credit and doesn't really count for anything. A B is sufficient.

I have a final tomorrow at 6. I had a 12-hour day today, starting with the 440 client and ending at 8:15 in my oil & gas law class. I (politely, via email) called the prof out on being wrong on PA law about oil & gas severance and property taxes and he still couldn't admit he was wrong, and gave this convoluted answer about "in theory, PA has no property or severance tax on oil & gas" uh... there's not a huge difference between theory and reality on a statement like "we conclude that there is no authority for imposing a real estate tax on such [oil & gas] interests" IOGA-PA v. Fayette County (2002). The reality *is* that there's no tax on oil & gas in PA, unlike coal, limestone and other hard things underground that people want to dig up and burn or use. He described the final paper and gave the deadline. The deadline is really unworkable for me, given that I have to go out of town this week to deal with all my clients at home for quarterly tax filings, so I asked for an extension - the first time I've ever asked for an accommodation - and got turned down flat, even though he had said to contact him if there was going to be trouble with the deadline. wtf. it's okay to get sick right before the deadline, but not to be responsible about it and say that it's not workable in advance. I just love all the assumptions about "this is what *real* practice is like" and "it's about being disciplined". baloney. like he knows what -my- life is or will be like. i'm not a cookie-cutter 20-something with no fucking experience.

approximately April 17 I'll have a chance to breathe for one day before tackling the backlog of schoolwork that's accumulated during this out-of-control semester. I hope to be done with finals by May 14. and then i'm going to spend the summer dancing in the sun. or in the rain. or by bonfires. or in lafayette square.




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Permalink: _quot_young_lady_quot_.html
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Category: home

03/18/10 10:02 - 41ºF - ID#51217

Accomplishment

I've been working on a baby blanket since January for Jill's third child Bodhi, who will be born April 5. I finished it in time for the baby shower that I was the slacker-host for. I'm really proud of it so I'm posting a rather extensive set of photos.

Crocheted with Lion Brand Yarn LB Collection Cotton Bamboo in Magnolia, Snapdragon and Chocolate Dahlia using my great-grandmother's size G hook. It took 25-30 hours. Please note, crocheting and reading law texts are incompatible activities. However, crochet and hot chocolate at Cafe Taza are highly compatible.

Early February.
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Finished - detail
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A's shoe box was too big.
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One of the shower games was the most eco-friendly packaging. Since I was judge I couldn't win, but you know I totally did. The 100% compostable Sunchips bag is shiny on the inside. It was A's idea.
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Squished it in a box I found at Uncle Dudley's so the Sunchips bag would fit around it.
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All wrapped - I crocheted the rosette and string, too.
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I didn't put a label or card on the box, and it was the first present Jill picked up to open, so she's asking who this is from.

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"You made this??" In our six years of working together, I had never mentioned that I crochet. She was astounded.
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She later said, "This is my dream blanket! I might have to hang it on the wall."
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Some table decorations from the shower. Kelly and Jill had spent lots of time planning the shower and then Kelly's son Christopher (one of the triplets) ended up in the hospital with pneumonia for nearly two weeks so she couldn't even go. And since I'm a slacker and have no idea what to do for or at a baby shower, Jill ended up doing all the work. She's still a little grumpy at me, although the blanket helped win me some points.

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All I really did for the shower was buy some bamboo plants in cute elephant pots at Wang's 99 Cent City on Sheridan. Honestly, who thinks it's a good idea to have a single, childfree late-thirties woman host a baby shower?

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Permalink: Accomplishment.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: home

03/13/10 09:09 - 36ºF - ID#51179

Mud puppy

Nisha and I went for a little picture-taking walk at Big Pond, the former reservoir for the village of Morris Run. There was still ice on the pond. I used to ice skate there as a kid. An older man who lives in one of the two houses and one camp around the pond saw me taking pictures and came out to show me the photos he had recently gotten printed at Walmart. They included close ups of a yearling deer that comes right up to his back porch. I'm pretty sure his daughter used to baby sit me but I've forgotten their names. (gmap: )

The chopped off bushes are blueberry bushes - so yummy!
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Nisha walked out on the ice, luckily she trotted right back up on the shore when I called her. It would have been really difficult to rescue her if she had fallen in.
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Nisha was muddy up to her knees by the time we were done.
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Part of the water treatment facilities.
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(Yea for autostitch: www.autostitch.com - now for iphones!)

The creek below the reservoir - Morris Run.
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This is a classic saltbox-style company house built for coal miners who owed their souls to the company store. Uncle Dudley lived here when I was a kid. My other aunt and my grandparents lived in saltbox houses just up the street. My family lived in the company office. When my brother was born, we needed another bedroom, so Dad took out the double brick wall (about 12" thick) between the big and little safes and made a bedroom for me. He put in a normal door, but there wasn't anywhere to put in a window because the outside wall was connected to the garage so I lived in a windowless safe.

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Category: home

02/19/10 10:34 - 29ºF - ID#51044

I <3 home

I drove to Bloss today, met with a client, and I also talked to someone who's been a client in the past and would like to be again, about a cake or two for Jill's baby shower, which I stupidly scheduled for the same day as the St. Patrick's Day parade! Argh!

Then I went to the office and Jill & I strategized about several of our projects, and then went to A's house, since even tho we are no longer involved, my doggie still lives there and I wanted to pick her up. I hung out with his bratty little brother and showed him how to properly hook his laptop to his tv without frying anything. Then Nisha and I went to Uncle Dudley's. Uncle Dudley, her bf Bernie and I went to the American Legion Post 572, a fav drinking hangout, which happens to have been my great-great grandfather's home. My great-great grandfather, William B. Wilson, was the first U.S. Secretary of Labor, and one of the very few (only?) Democrats elected to the House of Representatives in what is currently PA-5, a completely red area save the blue-ish dot of State College. Several years ago I wrote a biography about him for our website (even wikipedia references it ) and that got him re-noticed by the Dep't of Labor and we all went to DC one day to celebrate his induction into the Labor Hall of Fame where we met Elaine Chao, GWBush's sec'y of labor, and Roy Blunt, ew-Missouri, and the Anheiser-Busch heir Adolphus Busch IV or something because his granddad was being inducted into the labor hall of fame, too.

But in addition to being a total overachieving immigrant with only two years of formal education, GGGdad William B. Wilson was a teetotaler. And I drink in his living room. Life is good.


(Most of the time I really appreciate the google-friendliness of estrip, but I know tomorrow when I get a google alert about this post, I'm going to regret it.)
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Permalink: I_lt_3_home.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: work

02/05/10 02:26 - 31ºF - ID#50973

West Side Bazaar

I've been volunteering with Westminster Economic Development Initiative since last summer helping low-income people start up small businesses on the West Side . It's really neat work that helps people become financially independent and create wealth-building assets, as well as stabilizes the neighborhood by occupying previously empty storefronts and creating economic activity where there wasn't any before.

In collaboration with MicroBiz Buffalo, Councilmember Rivera's office, Grant-Ferry Association, and other West Side groups, WEDI is working on a bazaar, a kind of retail incubator. We're providing one-on-one mentoring and workshops to help wanna-be entrepreneurs do it right from the start. This includes a creating business plan and cash-flow projection, getting a sales tax certificate of authority, health dept licenses, other permits & licenses that the biz might need, working on customs/import issues, etc. The location is still up in the air, but is starting to get settled. We plan on opening in June. We hope to have about 20 vendors at opening - we're currently working with about 33 vendors but when June comes, 20 ready vendors would be great. Vendors are eligible for Individual Development Accounts through MicroBiz Buffalo & the Belmont Shelter - they put in $500 from earned income and get $2000 back after six months and use it for start up costs for their new business. (About IDAs ).

Vendors have a wide variety of backgrounds - refugees & immigrants from Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, Sudan, Burma, Arabic-speaking and Latin American countries; African Americans, Latinos and whites. They're interested in starting businesses with a wide range of products: food, electronics, imported crafts, locally produced crafts, books, gift items, other stuff.

This photo is of one bazaar vendor who will be selling baskets made in refugee camps in Darfur. How freakin' cool to help someone set up a business that not only helps her but also helps alleviate some of the most awful conditions in the world.

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I'm posting this to ask if any of you would be interested in mentoring. Mentors don't have to actually know the business stuff in advance, they can learn business how-tos along with the vendor-to-be. Mentors are supportive and helpful and know how to ask questions/get answers - kind of like a link to the mainstream. I'm particularly asking (e:jason) & (e:joshua) to consider this - it's helping people become capitalists, right? ;-)

For more information, comment here or message me and I'll connect you & my colleague Bonnie Smith, economic development director at WEDI. Bonnie's the keeper of the mentors and has all the info you'd need to start as an effective mentor.

I gave a presentation on recordkeeping to the vendors & mentors last week that included the basics of sales tax, the point-of-sale process, banking process, and the concepts of a profit & loss statement and a balance sheet. I'm not going to directly mentor any of the vendors, but I'm available as a resource on many of the aspects of the business start up process.

To support the West Side Bazaar, WEDI is holding a fund raising event tonight at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Ave., $15 per person. Doors open at 6:30, music by the Sugar & Jazz Orchestra starts at 7. Hors d'oeuvres, cash bar, silent auction, raffle. Some of the bazaar vendors will be set up to sell things.




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Category: crafts

02/04/10 02:00 - 28ºF - ID#50966 pmobl

glitter glue!

(e:mike)! glitter glue $1 a bottle @ joann fabrics!
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: work

01/29/10 06:26 - ID#50933

Taxes!

Someone (e:messaged) me about my comment to (e:metalpeter,50910) - since I'm not sure who, I'll just make a new post.

1. Don't go to H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt or Liberty Tax. If your return is actually complicated, you should have a real accountant (enrolled agent, CPA, lawyer). If it's as simple as most people's returns (W-2 income, maybe 1099s, a mortgage, child care, student loans) then you should be doing it yourself using one of the excellent online filing applications.

2. Absolutely do not get an "instant refund" or "refund anticipation loans." They are predatory loans with fees and interest representing an annual percentage rate of 50-500%.

You now not only paying H&R Block an obscene amount of money to do a few simple data entry tasks, now you're paying them an even more obscene amount of money to give you your own money! You lent the government your money interest-free during the year when your employer collected payroll taxes from you. Your refund is YOUR money! You deserve ALL of it!

Instead, file and wait the 8 or so days that it'll take for the IRS to deposit your refund into your checking or savings account.


In general, the effective annual percentage rate (APR) for a RAL can range from about 50% (for a $10,000 RAL) to nearly 500% (for a $300 RAL). If a $40 add-on fee is charged and included in the calculation, the effective APRs range from about 85% to nearly 1,300%. An average RAL of $3,300 carries an APR of 72%.



National Consumer Law Center (PDF)

(More refs: Kiplinger Tax Girl and an excellent report by the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina (PDF) )

3. FREE FILE!

New York state free file options: I've used Taxslayer and I-Can EFile

(not free NY options: )

The IRS will also help you find a company to free file or efile with. I've used TaxAct (one of the paid versions) for about eight years. Pennsylvania's direct efile site is pretty easy, and free!


Free Tax Help Available Nationwide

R-2010-15, Jan. 29, 2010

WASHINGTON - Nearly 12,000 free tax preparation sites will be open nationwide this year as the Internal Revenue Service continues to expand its partnerships with nonprofit and community organizations performing vital tax preparation services for low-income and elderly taxpayers.

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free tax help to people who earn less than $49,000. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program offers free tax help to taxpayers who are 60 and older.





I'm happy to rant about this if you'd like me to continue :-) Everyone should have a basic understanding of what their paystubs say, how payroll taxes work, W-4s and their annual income taxes. This should not be a big mystery or intimidating.

If you don't have a bank account to direct deposit your refund into, you should (unless you're trying to stay off grid, of course). This helps you build credit history and legitimacy. There are several good area banks that help contribute to a healthy local economy by keeping investment here, including First Niagara, Northwest, Lake Shore, and Five Star. (Thanks to (e:dcoffee) for this link) Another option is the Buffalo Coop Credit Union if you're a member of one of the participating coops, such as the Lexington Coop.

Hope this helps!
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Category: work

01/24/10 08:47 - 44ºF - ID#50900

Printer!

I bought myself a printer a few weeks ago (thanks (e:enknot) & (e:terry) for bringing it upstairs and starting the setup!). I finally got it set up today - the book instructions were pretty bad and I had to resort to the extra network setup manual on the CD. I managed to destroy my wireless network in the process and had to reset that, too! I was feeling pretty technically incompetent.

But it works now! I've got it set up on my laptop and desktop.

WIRELESSLY!


Brother HL-3070cw color wireless printer. It uses LED technology, not laser.

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I don't know if my Asus EEEpc with its odd linux distro will ever connect to it, but I might try.

I'm in town a lot over the next few weeks - let's do stuff! Classes don't start until 2/4.

Don't forget Mardi Gras 2/16 @ Nietzsche's. (artvoice: ) I had a blast last year. I made it a meetup for the Buffalo Queer Women group, but I want to invite all the (e:peeps), too! Lagniappe's is planning an alligator roast, according to Chris' facebook page.


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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: work

01/21/10 10:41 - 26ºF - ID#50878

Save North Penn High School? Check.

(A follow up to (e:heidi,50116) and (e:heidi,50510) )

I'm sorry I can't do some nifty (e:video) trick, but here's some interesting news coverage of my town and our successful effort to save our high school (and you get to see Jill):
Such a cute little town! I'm tickled by the video images.

NYS has a moratorium of sorts on drilling in the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation, but PA doesn't. I find it really interesting that the headline for the Syracuse-based News Ten Now Time Warner Cable channel is about how great the gas drilling is for our area, but this article in the Elmira (NY) Star Gazette doesn't mention gas at all: Since I don't watch local news and only follow the loudest NYS news, I don't know what the current media landscape looks like wrt to the Marcellus Shale gas play in NY but this looks like a political point about how it could be benefiting small NY towns if only the gas companies were allowed to drill.

This article in the Williamsport (PA) Sun Gazette has a more balanced approach that mentions the impact gas well drilling is having/going to have on school enrollment yet also shows some of the work the community put into saving the school.

The best article is from our weekly county newspaper but they don't web publish all their content, just article teasers:

I've been working on this project since mid-October and it's been eating gobs of time & energy. I wasn't expecting a vote until Feb. 8 - when I wouldn't have been able to attend the meeting - so I'm happy that I got to be there and that my campaign plan was so successful, but it feels weird to have had a plan that doesn't need to be followed through on because we won! early!
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Category: politics

01/15/10 12:31 - 35ºF - ID#50819

Take Back the Night Rally @ Days Park



Two well-publicized homophobic attacks occurred on New Years. Others go unreported or under-reported far too often.

Enough is enough. We are encouraging as many as possible to rally at Days Park on Friday, January 15 at 7 PM to take back our city from bigots.



We will then march down the sidewalk of Allen Street to Main Street at about 7:15 to 7:30.

If you are able, please bring candles, and if you are also willing, please wear rainbow and/or hot pink items. We want to be as noticeable as possible.

Flyer, feel free to print off and post:

More details will come soon.



If anyone is interested in joining a neighborhood watch for Allentown, please join this group:


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mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

joe said to grandma
OMG welcome!...

joe said to mike
New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...