30 May 2014

Not. One. More.

After the horror of last week's shooting in Santa Barbara, and the wrenching statement by Richard Martinez, the father of one of the victims, I used the online tool provided by Every Town For Gun Safety and sent postcards to my elected officials. It was oddly unsatisfying though; both of my senators, and my representative, are supporters of gun control. What I really wanted to do was send a postcard to the ones that need swaying. I looked for a template for a printable postcard, and when I couldn't find one, I made one. (Actually, I whined and got my husband to do the heavy lifting; I'm not so good in inDesign.)

And then I spent part of my sick day today in bed, addressing postcards to the likes of Senator Jeff Flake and Senator Kelly Ayotte and Senator Marco Rubio. (Action, even non-physical activity from the confines of your bed nest, is good for the sick person's soul.)

Just in case you too are spurred to action, here's my template. It'll print 4 up on Avery postcards (I used #8387), but you could also do it on card stock and cut the sheets into four postcards after printing. It's a two page pdf - to print front and back. Fill in your name/address on the left (or use one of the return address stickers you get when the March of Dimes asks you for a donation). (If I'd been really clever, I'd have made it a fill-in-able pdf. But I didn't.) Find a list of all of the senators. Fill in the senator's name on the top line on the right, with the office number and building on the second line. Add a 34 cent stamp.

Be active. Say to yourself "not one more". Make the world a better place.

To recap:
Postcard template

Senators of the 113th Congress

On-line Tool to Send Postcards to YOUR 2 senators and 1 representative

29 May 2014

Maya Angelou: But still, like dust, I'll rise.

I live lightly in the Twitterverse. I dabble from time to time, but I tend to follow and interact with people I know; I don't really follow celebrities. So, I had no idea that Maya Angelou was a tweeter, until I saw that she'd died, yesterday.

Curious, I scrolled through her recent tweets, and stopped, dumbstruck at this one. What a sentiment from a woman not long for this world.

May Angelou was the speaker at my college graduation. She exhorted us to overcome, to rise, to confront life. And I know that all of us, my entire class of 500+ women, were lucky to have her there, kicking us out of the academy into real life. And all of us, people of this world of ours, were lucky to have her words, be they essays, poems, or tweets.

Thank you, Maya Angelou, thank you for your words.

22 May 2014

Djungarians in our Midst

In the end, we succumbed. The girl didn't get a new brother, or a bunny, or another cat, but we are now a household of seven mammals: three people, two cats and two 2 Djungarian (Russian dwarf) hamsters. They are allegedly females, and so have been named Tilly and Tessie, short for Otillia and Anastasia.

Tilly is mostly white and bigger, weighing in at 1.16 ounces. Tessie is striped with grey, and weighs a mere 1.08 ounces1. Tilly is in charge, and the cats are beyond fascinated.

In preparation for the hamster homecoming, the girl made me a $300 Amazon list of things they would need, like food, litter, toys and a big glass cage. I, being cheap - or is that frugal? - found a $25 cage via a local Facebook group. It's one of those fancy habitat things - two connected cages, with tubes and look-out spots and resting platforms - and it brings back dim memories of wishing for such a cool swanky cage when I was little and our gerbils lived in a boring glass aquarium. I'm pleased as punch to be able to give my girl something I'd never had, and at a bargain price to boot.

I tried to take pictures of the little beasts, but they move too fast, and the cage is backlit, being as it's on a window sill. So I ended up with but one unfortunate photo:

Because I like to share, I sent that picture to my siblings. Within seconds, my sister wrote back: "Accidental dong!" Um, yup. Indeed. Yes.

Anyway, we like our hamsters, and the girl loves them and yesterday texted me this:

Hi mommy a big box came
today for you. Can i open
it? I think my hamster
chew toy is in there

Usually I play grammar queen, and write back and correct her punctuation and capitalization, but this slayed me, so I left it alone.

She's sweet. I think I'll keep her.

(It was a box of toner cartridges, by the way.)

1. Why yes, we brought the kitchen scale up to her bedroom, for the weighing. Scientific method. We'd been guessing at their weights over dinner. Daddy had guessed that they were around 4 ounces each. Don't worry, I wiped the scale down well afterwards.

21 May 2014

The Tiny Moments

Every morning, when my girl climbs into my bed for a snuggle, I think to myself that she'll one day be a teenager holding me at arm's length.

02 May 2014

Quirky Tanning Services

Since both Julia and Maggie - the two people I tagged for that #mywritingprocess meme - called me quirky, I thought I'd give you quirky.

Here's what I've been scratching my head about:

You might need to click that to embiggen it, but yes, there is a question on the 990 about indoor tanning. The 990 is the Federal tax return that every organization exempt from income tax must file - that is, your non-profits, your foundations. At the bottom of page five, there is a yes or no question: Did the organization receive any payments for indoor tanning services during the tax year?

What I really want to know is how many exempt organizations receive payments for indoor tanning services, and are there enough of them that it warrants its own question on the tax return?

And why have I never noticed this question before?

* * * * * *

I looked it up. To quote from some accountant's blog:

The reason why such a question is included is because the 990 must be completed by organizations that are tax-exempt under sections of the Internal Revenue Code other than 501(c)(3) – public charities. Therefore, it is possible, for example, that a tax-exempt country club could be operating an indoor tanning service and since this organization also files a Form 990, this question would apply to them.

I suppose that's plausible. But then, why should a country club be tax-exempt‽

* * * * * *

It's hard being quirky.