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Showing posts from January, 2008

Moonlight

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I did it. Photographed moonlight. My friend from another site, BeautifulWolf, inspired me and gave me some hints. The picture is taken from my dining room window, looking out towards the beaver pond - nightlight unplugged - using a mini-tripod on the windowsill, a two second delay on the shutter release, and a 15 second exposure. That was all that my camera allowed.


Full Moon, Cold Night, Work Done

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[Originally written Wednesday, January 23, 2008)

I found zero today. I am ready for the board meeting tomorrow, after I sacrifice some tree limbs to make copies of all the documents I finished today. Preliminary financial statements for fiscal year 2007 (9 pages). Finance resolutions for the annual organizational board meeting, reauthorizing banks and signatures, and listing transfers to and from and between fund balances (5 pages). 2008 budget, with cover page showing results for 2007 and projections for 2008, organized by program and grant (17 pages). Little of which will actually be read... They'll read the budget cover page and the resolutions, because they are written in words rather than numbers.

We ended up with a teensy bit of red ink (.08% of $1.65 million), and the net from operations was within $100 of what I predicted at this time last year.

I'm happiest with the new budget. I was able to find a bunch more money for utility bills, and keep salaries largely untouched.…

Questing for Zero

I've spent much of January questing for the elusive zero.

I've written about what zero means to an accountant before - peace, balance, completion. My task, to be completed before Thursday, January 24, was first of all to find zero in all of the activities of 2007 in my workplace, then to paint a picture of 2008 with a beautiful, shiny zero at the center of the tale.

The quest is simple in concept: identify everything that belongs in the year that just happened, and record it. The wear and tear of equipment, hours worked in one year and paid in the next, everything other people owe you, everything you owe to other people. It takes time, though. And when you are closing in on writing the last page of the year's story, all of your errors surface, and have to be corrected.

When I finally cornered the beast, it was colored red.

As I investigated deeper, the red started to fade. 2007's story included using money left over from 2006, and I had not yet recorded that transaction. O…

Deja Vu All Over Again

Unbeknown to me, even as I posted the previous post on Ice Storm '98, my home had no electricity. On January 9, we had a very strong wind storm throughout our region, and we lost power at 10 AM that morning.

The power did come back on, a little more than 48 hours later.

While the power was off, we lived in a home with kerosene lights and candles for light, and no heat. Since the last ice storm, we installed a copper coil in the woodstove to preheat water for our hot water system. Alas, without electricity to power the pump that keeps the water moving in that coil, we dare not have a fire in the stove.

It got down to 53 degrees in the house. That's pretty chilly. I even wore a nightgown and socks to bed.

Robert would have taken the coil out of the stove earlier, but the power company kept assuring us that the electricity was coming back on in a few hours. It never seemed worthwhile to undertake messy alterations to the stove that would have to be reversed with such a short time to …

What January Means to Me

I feel like I am already deep into January.

This is my most challenging month of the year. January is a perfect storm of business and personal financial deadlines. This year, it is complicated by our workplace becoming a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site. I have taken on the responsibility of Site Coordinator, and have additional duties to shoehorn in over the next few weeks as a result.

My business tasks over the next few weeks:
Close the 2007 books.Prepare and mail 1099's. Fortunately I don't have to do W-2's. Oops - I haven't even ordered the forms yet! [I just created an event on my Palm Pilot that will beep incessantly tomorrow morning to remind me to do this.]Review the tentative 2008 budget and modify it where necessary.Prepare a long list of financial resolutions for the organizational board meeting.Put a brand-new line of credit in place with a local bank. I have to start working on this one ASAP.Get the tax-prep software up and configured on my compute…

Remembering Ice Storm '98

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the ice storm that hit a large swath of the northeastern US and southeastern Canada. Our local public radio station is running stories daily about events 10 years ago, and my memories are being stimulated of a time when life seems to have been strikingly different for me.

Ice Storm '98 is the closest thing to a natural disaster I've ever lived through. I'm not going to compare the event to a hurricane or tornado, because buildings and roads were not severely damaged. Powerlines were the main infrastructure that was affected, and miles of them had to be rebuilt, including the line to our house.

I kept a journal throughout the period, from the day the power went out through the day our power was restored. I have 100 handwritten pages in a file cabinet. Someday I will type them. I will pull them out and read them again soon.

Events started on Monday and Tuesday, with freezing rain. I can remember driving home on Tuesday from a 4-H meeting …

Mother-Daughter Bonding at the Sewing Table

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Ana came home with grand plans for sewing. She wanted to piece together a quilt top, back it and fill it, attach binding, and baste it so it would be ready to be quilted by hand. She also wanted to sew a coat she has been fantasizing about making ever since she saw The Matrix.Yeah, she wanted a coat like Neo's.

I decided to join her and finish sewing a jacket I had started years ago - how many years, I don't know. I have fantasized about this jacket for a long, long time.

Ana did considerably better at accomplishing her goals than I did with mine.

The quilt is ready for quilting. She will hand quilt it a block at a time as a relaxing past-time after she goes back to school.

The coat is done, too, and it is spectacular.

She found the pattern on eBay. A priest's hassock - which she realized was the basic coat from the movie. (Oh, yes, another religious allusion from The Matrix).



She wanted to line it. I suggested that she get another fabric that she liked for a lining, and sew two…