Basil in my kitchen window.
My last post was December 1 when I posted a poem by Ron Koertge to mark World Aids Day. So it seems I have experienced my usual winter blogging slump even though it has been a very mild winter for us. March has arrived and tomorrow will be in the 80s again so I have no valid excuse. Here is my offering of random ramblings.
“If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” – Mark Twain
Texas is now one of the fourteen states that holds its primary elections on “Super Tuesday,” March 3. In Texas if you are over 65 years of age you are allowed to mail in a ballot. Husband and I decided to take advantage of our senior status and voted by mail for the first time. At first we were reluctant; mailing in a piece of paper was too easy; it was our duty to go down to the polls even if we had to stand in long lines (we seldom had to do that!); we would miss the civic pride being there with our neighbors as we cast our votes at the community center. Of course, during a primary election, the Democrats would line up for the room on the left: the Republicans went to the right. At least that is the way it works in the booming city of Portland. Yes, we vote on the left. One advantage in voting by mail was that we hadplenty of time to see who is on the ballot and research any candidates down ballot that we were not familiar with.
Yesterday I finally planted the herbs (basil, oregano and cilantro)I bought a week ago in pots for the patio. Part of my death cleaning was getting rid of some pots. Most were in the process of passing peacefully, but some I simply had to abort. All of my plants are on the patio and under shade and usually only get nothing but rainwater until about late August when sometimes my rain barrels run dry.
Have you done your taxes yet? I am volunteering again through United Way of the Coastal Bend for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). Last tax season I went in four days a week. This year I am only volunteering one day a week and am grateful to be able help provide free tax preparation for those with a certain level of income.
“In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
About a week ago Husband and I drove to Freer to visit my brother-in-law on a cold, wet and dreary day. Winter seemed to be winning over spring in the seasonal tug-of-war that often plays out in South Texas this time of year. Cardinals were grateful for the treats provided in a bird feeder in the his back yard as we watched from the warmth of the house. As we left we stopped to enjoy the Texas Bluebonnets that appeared to have been scattered carelessly by the side of the dirt road and clustered together as if to defy the 39 degree temperature. Perhaps it was a sign of an early spring and a good year for wildflowers.
Yes, it is tax time! I am volunteering again with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) four mornings a week at the United Way office in Corpus Christi. The site opened in the middle of January when the government, including the IRS, was partially shut down. The IRS website used for processing tax returns was up and running, but we could not communicate with our IRS contact as he had been furloughed. Eventually some employees were called back to handle tax returns. Getting refunds out was deemed essential! Even when the government was opened back up, people who came in were still apprehensive about another shutdown and were anxious to get their tax returns done. Gratefully, that has been avoided with the compromise passed by both houses of Congress and signed reluctantly by President Trump. There were some surprises in refunds/taxes due from last year due to changes in the tax laws but that is another story.
EXCUSE #1 FOR NOT POSTING: I am volunteering again for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program through United Way of the Coastal Bend. Volunteers are trained and certified through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to prepare tax returns for lower levels of income for free. In past years I acted as a greeter/screener but did not do tax returns. This year we have fewer volunteers so I have been doing returns (simple!) as needed. I find that I enjoy it (not as hard as I thought it would be!) and feel that I am helping in the community. We get questions about Hurricane Harvey damage but that is out of our scope. The site opened January 17 and will close April 17. I am there Monday through Thursday, nine am to 1 pm.
SPRING EQUINOX: In January we reluctantly had our veterinarian put our cat, Wiccan, down. She was our last cat and would have been eighteen years old in May; we will not seek another cat. Our other cats have been buried in the back yard, but we chose to have her cremated and saved her ashes to be scattered on a warm sunny day. April 20 was the perfect day. Near the back fence there was a small patch of dirt where the grass has not grown back yet and near where other cats are buried. We toasted her with wine as she joined the other angel cats. We will miss her.
VISIT TO HOUSTON: On St. Patrick’s Day weekend Husband and I visited Son in Houston to celebrate their birthdays early. We chose to have dinner at a restaurant called Tango and Malbec where Argentinian style food is featured. We had been there before but this time we were delighted to find that we would be entertained by tango dancers during dinner. They were excellent and each wore a bit of green. I don’t know the style of tango but blogger A Frank Angle would surely have known; go to his blog but a video of a sultry Argentine tango. We also visited the Rothko Chapel and the Cy Twombly Gallery.
READING AND WRITING: There does not seem to be enough time to read blogs, books, news and write. Perhaps when tax season is over I will have time for all of them. Cheers!
Hello! I had taken time off from blogging since I was volunteering four mornings a week through United Way of the Coastal Bend for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. My last day was April 18 (deadline for filing income taxes!) so I have stretched my hiatus a bit and just enjoyed reading other blogs without pressure to post something. This first post is a rather jumbled collection of thoughts.
Sadly, another vile act unites us against the ineffable evilness of hate that inflicts death and harm upon the innocent. Our hearts go out to those killed, injured and those left with the memory of a happy experience that turned dark. In March of this year my son attended an Ariana Grande concert in California; a few years ago he attended a concert in Manchester. Somehow it seemed very close to home as if it could happen to any of us. Queen Elizabeth visited survivors in a hospital. Click for a photo.
It was a rewarding experience to assist people of varied backgrounds – elderly, first time tax filers, couples, individuals, students and retirees. We all have taxes in common as citizens. Volunteer recognition was held at a local baseball game at Whataburger Field.
VOLUNTEERS FROM THE DIFFERENT VITA SITES WITH THE MASCOT OF THE HOOKS, THE LOCAL BASEBALL TEAM
Current book I am reading:
“Thunderstruck” by Erick Larson
Last three books I have read:
“Catherine the Great” by Robert K. Massie
“MY GRL” by John W. Howell
“Just What I Always Wanted” by Nancy Roman
Books on my list to read:
“Just Women Getting By” by Linda Swain Bethea
“A Cry from the Deep” by Diana Stevan
“Ice Ghosts” by Paul Watson
My blog has never had a set schedule of posts but I did try for a time. Perhaps if I imposed a schedule and deadlines on myself I would be more disinclined. However, I do want to continue with a writing project so I will just see where it leads me. Thanks to all of my readers and fellow bloggers for encouragement and support!
Below is a gargoyle with laptop that sits on a bookcase by my desk. Perhaps he will serve as a muse.