Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hey! I've Moved!

If you're looking for my blog, I've moved!

Head over to and come see me... :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ponderings on Music and Me

I was on the way to take care of some stuff with my mom yesterday, and I knew it was going to be stressful. I have playlist on my iPod that consists only of my favorite classical choral music that I play for comfort.

Music has always been a big part of my life. Did the requisite piano lessons as a child. Played the violin for awhile. Played guitar, somewhat badly, and I have a banjo here that I swear I'm going to learn to play. It's on the bucket list, so I have to.

But I've always loved to sing, and fortunately I've been blessed with what people tell me is an above average voice. Mezzo-soprano, thankyouverymuch, although I currently sing alto. I've been a part of choirs since I was in the 8th grade. At the girls school I attended from 6th to 9th grade, you were eligible to be in the main chorus when you got to the 9th grade, and they had an audition only group that I was fortunate enough to make. We always did a Christmas concert with the boys school across town. I still remember how wonderful it was when I heard all four parts of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" together for the first time, and how cool it was when we sang it in performance and the whole crowd stood up. I didn't know the back story of it at the time.

The two schools merged, and I sang with the chorus there. We had to learn all sorts of classical pieces. I hated it. HATED it. I hated the repetition. Hated all those pesky eighth note runs. But my friends were in it. I remember sitting with my friend Karen, throwing Atomic Fireballs on the floor of the Chapel to break them apart and eating them during practice, and bothering the tenors sitting in front of us (just because we could). I didn't know at the time I was learning discipline and that those pieces I hated would become some of my best loved music.

Went to college and sang with the choir there. Discovered the Bach "Magnificat" and how you could really freak people out singing a capella in Latin in the middle of a welcome center. Found out how hard it could be juggling finals and Christmas concerts at the same time. But I'll never, ever hear "Once in Royal David's City" without remembering processing through Glenn Memorial Church at those concerts. I also remember being mesmerized by the string instruments -- I had never sung with anything other than a piano or organ, and it was quite a thrill singing with an orchestra.

After college, I didn't sing for awhile, and I missed it. I tried singing with a community chorus, but it didn't really work out. I had a major disagreement with the director's wife, who was trying to make me stand where I couldn't see the director during the performance. ALL my directors had taught me that I needed to look at them, and by golly, I was gonna do it.

Then, I saw a sign on a local church advertising that they were singing the "Messiah" -- that very same piece with the "Hallelujah Chorus" and all those pieces I had hated in high school with all those blasted eighth note runs. My friend Cathy went there and sang with the choir, so I told her to tell her director that if he needed a soprano who knew the choruses to have her director give me a call. Jerry called the next day. I've been there ever since.

I have to thank Jerry, because singing with him has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I've sung the old familiar classical pieces I knew, and he's added so many new ones to my repertoire. The choir has become some of my best friends and it's my safe place during so many of life's storms. And where else can you find a group of people who will sing Beethoven's "Hallelujah" from the "Mount of Olives" a la Elmer Fudd? "Hawewujah unto Gods awmighty Son..."

Today I'm going with the youth of our church to sing to one our members who is in hospice care. She always told me how much she enjoyed our music and how much she loved hearing us sing. I'm hoping this will bring her comfort... even more than my little playlist on my iPod brings to me.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Well, so much for that

Ok. So, I said I wasn’t going to disappear, and I did.

Well, a lot of stuff happened. Like the end of tax season. This in itself tends to be a whole ball of crapola all wound up in a very short period of time. Except that this year, I had an extra complication:

Yeah, that’s my mom’s house, and that huge green thing is a tree. It’s a tree that my Dad planted. I used to jump over it when I played as a child, and he’d get all over me for doing it. On April 15, there was a huge storm, and the tree fell onto the house. All in all we were blessed; it nipped the corner where it could easily have gone smack into the middle of the house and basically destroyed it. Instead, there was a hole in the roof, three rafters broken and lots of cosmetic interior damage to my childhood bedroom.

Mom was in the house when the tree fell, and she was understandably shaken up. I had been unable to get her on the phone for about half an hour, knowing she was home, and I had already gotten in the Hummer and was halfway there when Richard got the call from the neighbor that the tree had fallen. In case you’re wondering, I can now say with absolute certainty that an H3 will do speeds exceeding 90 in stormy conditions, although they do shake a lot when you get them up to that speed.

No power, no phone, no cable – Mom refused to leave. So Richard came up (Penny stayed home because insulation was everywhere) and we camped. I came back the next day and finished returns and extensions; the day after, power and phone was restored (kudos to Georgia Power and AT&T) and she finally got cable back the day after. But she lost the contents of two freezers due to the power outage – that was a lot of food to lose.

Repairs are underway. I’ll be really glad when they’re done, because it’s been difficult shuttling between here and there to supervise things.

The next thing that’s been keeping me amused is the committee looking for an interim minister at our church. I’m a member of the Presbyterian Church, USA, and if you know anything about Presbyterians, you know that we do everything “properly and in order”. In other words, we go around the world to get from point A to point B. It’s been a two-month long often frustrating process, but I’m hoping we’re about to draw it to a close.

And, to top it off, there’s going to be some changes with my business. I won’t go into them just yet… but everything will work out for the best.

I realized a few days ago just how long it had been since I’d done any stitching when I took out a piece to start and began treating overdyed cotton as if it were just plain DMC. I was completely mortified. Between work, looking after Mom, and church, there’s not been much time to do anything I like. I’ve been doing some fairly simple knitting, but not a lot. Evidently, this is a signal that something has to change. I’ve got to learn to take care of the caretaker. And somewhere along there, I’ll have to regain my sense of humor about a lot of stuff.

I did at least get two domain names reserved: and -- I hope to move the blog to the latter one sometime in the near future, so keep a look out.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Been a bit of a week

...yeah, the usual tax season slogging about. Most of my clients have begun to wake up and realize "Say... perhaps I should get my taxes done." The next three weeks will be incredibly busy.

Outside work is busy too. Our pastor is retiring on Sunday. I'm on the Interim Pastor Search Committee, chiefly because I'm the disbursing treasurer. Let's just say that our committee and the Presbytery are having a disagreement over some things, and I'm not really happy with the Presbyterian Way of doing things right about now.

To top it off, I broke a tooth last week. It's tax season, so I must need a crown, right? (Four of my five crowns have now been acquired during tax season.) Went to the dentist yesterday - now, let me say up front that I love my dentist. Been going to him for 22 years. But yesterday, for some reason, the novacaine didn't work. Three shots of it didn't work. The tooth never got numb. (Cringe with me, people.) The drilling was Not. Pleasant. At. All.

So, after a week like this, what's a person to do?

Order more Wollmeise, obviously.

I totally blame my friend Benne on Ravelry. Yeah. That's it. See, normally I'd just lurk around The Loopy Ewe to see when some Wollmeise might go up and then try to snag some, but Benne is wise and crafty. She's locked into the time on the Gen-u-ine Wollmeise website out of Germany as to when they put up new product. So she told me about it, and I promptly bookmarked it. By the way, they send you a pack of gummi bears when you order from them.

So today, Benne let me know that they had grab bags up. What did I order?

I don't have a clue -- it was all in German.

But if it looks anything like this, we're golden:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Is this thing on??


Ok. I know I kinda went on radio silence there for (*cough*sevenmonths*cough*) awhile. I'll try not to do the disappearing act again. I could use the trite old excuse that things got busy, or that life got overwhelming... but all of you are way too smart to fall for that trick. Bottom line is: I'm lazy. And, I didn't think I had anything particularly interesting going on. You have to admit you get tired of me yammering on about business and taxes. I know the look -- it's that glazed over look people get right before their eyes roll back in their head... or that kind of glassy stare they give me right before they say "uh huh..." very earnestly and I know they have no clue what I've just said.

Fortunately for me, Steve (my new business partner) is a fellow geek. He also gets excited about taxes, of all things. We were positively beside ourselves with one return with a total boatload of income that ended up owing no taxes due to all the taxfree bonds (srsly, we nearly blacked out the name and put that one on the bulletin board). And we just about threw a party when an audit letter came back showing zero liability.

Dang, when you think about it, we're sooooo easily amused.

Steve's the tall blond on the left. We've even got our name on the office, so we look official and all. The thing is stalled a bit. Our programmer kind of bit off more than he could chew, and he didn't deliver the e-filing portion. Let's say he's now our ex-programmer. Unfortunately, that means we're still filing these forms by hand, which is so not what we wanted at this point.

So, it's now tax season. Outside of a laptop failure (what? you don't think that copy of Windows I have is legal? what is this box on my desk, then?) and subsequent laptop shopping (how fast is the hard drive? No. 2.3 ghz is not the hard drive. No. An I3 is not the hard drive. Never mind.), it's been going ok. We have an intern now -- and along with it comes the opportunity to warp shape a young accountant to be.

Other than work, you ask? Miss Penny (aka "Princess Chunky Butt") is now officially 2 years old. She's grown into quite the beautiful pup, if I do say so myself.


Of course, she rules our house with an iron paw. She went on her first vacation trip to Highlands this summer, charming everyone within her sphere of influence. She particularly likes to charm them out of food and is now up to 17 pounds of dachshund fury, which is how she got the "Chunky Butt" moniker. She had her annual checkup yesterday, and the v-e-t said the ugly "D" word... as in "Diet". Richard and I gasped in horror, since Penny can be quite the pawfull when she's hungry.

Stitching and knitting? Been doing a little... not a whole lot. When I get in at night, I generally sit down and immediately fall asleep. But I did crochet these booties for a friend who is expecting a little girl.


I was fairly pleased with them. I've got a lot of stitching here, and I put stitches in here and there, but I never seem to get anything finished. Perhaps if that stitching ADD wasn't so bad and I worked on one thing at a time, eh??

That's my little catch up... I'll try not to disappear again. I thank those of you who contacted me and told me you missed my little blog. Makes me feel good to know you notice.

And please, pray for the people of Japan. I have Japanese clients who were there when the quake hit -- we've heard from them, and they were in Tokyo -- and many of their employees are from Japan and have families there who are affected (to my knowledge, everyone has checked in and is fine). Japan is a strong country, but this has been a hard hit and it's going to take a lot of help for them to get back on their feet. Please watch out when you donate to relief organizations and make sure they're legitimate. Go to and check them out if you're not sure.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

If you want to sell me something, just listen to me

Ah yes. The role of the salesperson. Particularly in computer stores. One would think that if a customer was in essence telling you exactly what they needed, the salesperson would sell it to them. Seems to me to be easiest sale of the day. No work involved. In essence, I'm pretty lazy, so I'm all over the fact that there's no work involved.

As I blogged last time, I and some other gentlemen are involved in a venture to file the new tanning tax online. Accordingly, we needed a computer we could dedicate to transmitting these returns to the IRS -- talking to the IRS and to the customers all the time connected to the internet. We had some pretty specific requirements, one of which was that we would not be running a Windows operating system, so any machine used would be stripped of the existing hard drive and have two brand spanking new drives installed (running mirrored for backup) and using Ubuntu.

(For those of you whose eyes are now rolling back in your head, I promise that's as technical as I'm going to get. Come back toward the light...)

So one of my partners and I went to Micro Center. We got hold of a salesperson, George, who, bless his heart (and I mean that with all Southern inflection), didn't appear to be quite on the ball. We told him what we were doing with the computer. He had sort of the same glassy-eyed reaction I imagine many of you did at the paragraph above (keep in mind what this guy does for a living..). We made the mistake of saying the word "server" -- at which point, like some demented Looney Tunes cartoon, you could literally see his eyeballs replaced by dollar signs as he eagerly steered us to some of the most expensive boxes in the store.

Uh no. Listen to me, dude. I'm telling you exactly what we want.

Much to George's chagrin, we ended up purchasing a much lower end box -- and then he had to call in more help when we told him specifically, in excruciating detail, exactly which hard drives we needed. Down to the manufacturer. Evidently dear, befuddled George couldn't guide us to that bin on the hard drive aisle. We threw those, a monitor and a UPS in the cart and beat a hasty retreat to the cash registers -- but not before a manager blew past us in the hard drive aisle without even an "excuse me". Rude.

This was Thursday. On Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday, hubby did everything he could to get Ubuntu installed on this machine. Wouldn't run. He tried multiple versions. Wouldn't run. With each version he tried, the computer had difficulty talking to various parts of its innards.

On Sunday morning, frustration had taken over in a major way. I decided that desperate times called for desperate measures: time to buy a whole new box -- and not from George. After church we went to Office Depot, where I'd had luck buying machines before and which had a Lenovo machine that looked like it would fit the bill. Told 'em I'd take it.

There was a hold up. Turns out they had to verify the virus software.

Excuse me? I just told you I wasn't using that Windows hard drive. I'm taking it out of the machine. I don't care about virus software (and seriously - last time I bought a computer that had McAfee installed I had to remove it because it slowed down the system something fierce).

Oh no, their corporate office prohibited them from selling a computer on which they hadn't verified the virus software. So they finally bring me the computer. In an open box.

Now, I'm a little ticky about things like that. If I'm spending hundreds of dollars on electronics that are brand new, I want the box to be sealed. I want to make sure that I'm the first person playing with them. (I've checked around too. I'm not the only person who feels that way.)

Office Depot couldn't sell me a computer in a sealed box. Evidently it's against their corporate policy because they have to check it for my own good. Or it's against their religion. Either way, it wasn't working for me so I left.

Across the street to Best Buy, where I tell the guy that two people have already pissed me off, and I'd really prefer it if he weren't the third. Asked him if he could sell me an HP computer in a sealed box. He didn't have a problem. We took it home. Installed Ubuntu. Worked the first time.

...which left me with the box from Micro Center, which I put in the car and took back on Monday. The conversation with the customer service department began with "You might as well just get your manager now, because I'm not paying the 15% restocking fee..." - before I set into the litany of what had happened. Frankly, I think I scared the guy, but I got my money back.

So we now have a bright, shiny new HP computer with dual 500GB hard drives and a static IP address that will be conversing with the IRS on a regular basis. I'm hoping they'll be more reasonable with the computer than they are with most of our clients.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I've been reminded... some friends of mine who dutifully check my blog for my musings that I've been entirely too quiet since the last Danica rant. Frankly, the heat down here has sapped my will to do just about anything. I know I've lived in Georgia all my life, but really. It's been a long time since it's been so nasty so early. And today I'm living the joy of getting a brand, spanking new central A/C unit installed upstairs. Woo. There goes a crapload of yarn money! Actually, we've been lucky to get 13 years out of the builder-grade unit that was up there, so we've been living on borrowed time.

It's been so hot here that we're driving Penny down to the pool in the subdivision for some interaction with people. Last time we did that, she got out of the car, ran to the grass to take care of some business, then trotted back over to the car as if to say "you've got to be kidding; it's stinkin' hot out here! I need to be back in air-conditioned comfort, thank you." We take her to Starbucks on Saturday mornings for meet & greets, and it's even getting too hot to sit outside there. Gak.

So what have I been up to?? Well, DF Judy came to visit, and I spent a lot of money. DF Teresa came to visit, and I spent a lot of money. You should be seeing a pattern right about now. :-) Actually, I had a blast with both of them, and their visits were far too short. Wish I could have gotten both of them here at the same time along with DF Ann... but maybe we'll work on that later in the year.

During Teresa's visit we hit the Vera Bradley store, because it was her birthday and you get spiffs for going there on your special day. As it happened, one of the designers of the bags was in the store, and asked for our opinions... if you know me and Teresa, you can picture what happened after that. Even add in Richard's two cents. :) (Seriously, if you don't want to know, don't ask.) We also went to a needlepoint store and Teresa bought a canvas, and as it happened a teacher was there who was teaching a class on designing your own stitches -- and lucky duck that Teresa is, the teacher helped her pull threads and did a stitch guide for her right there! We decided that we needed to try to take her class in September, so we got on the waiting list. We also decided if we can't get into the class, we'll go down there and press our sad panda faces up against the glass until they let us in...

Business is going well. As Richard says, I'm trying to make money off Snooki and The Situation by capitalizing on the tanning tax. :) Go to if you wonder what I'm talking about. :) Heck, if they're going to enact these stupid taxes I don't agree with, we may as well make a buck trying to help people comply with them, right? Actually, it's been a great experience working with some folks that I worked with many, many years ago and reconnecting. Never fails to amaze me how things go around and God brings people back into your life when they need to be there.

Stitching and knitting? Not much, actually. I seem to have the attention span of a flea with ADD. I am easily distracted by shiny things and screaming at the politicians on TV (maybe that's my new hobby...). I have some fantastic canvases that I haven't started (it's really hard to stitch with a puppy who loves to grab the thread), and knitting is also a challenge (see aforementioned puppy issues). Yeah, Penny is a year and 4 months old, but she's still in full-blown puppy mode. I'm trying to enjoy her while I can. There'll be plenty of time for stitching and knitting later.

I'm psyched because we've got reservations in Highlands in a couple of weeks. Haven't been in two years, because Oscar was too feeble his last year, and last summer Penny was just too young. This year I'm hoping to arrange a meeting with DF Mish from Ravelry! Woo! Hoping to blog again after the trip with pictures (to make this a tad more interesting...). :)