Tax Prep Made Easy!

February 28, 2007

I know the perfect way to reduce the time, energy and money you spend paying Uncle Sam. Quit all your jobs. I did.

As part of Starting Over, step one was to chuck the 9 to 5 which was more like 24/7 as a experienced and producing real estate agent in a hot market.  Fortunately, this was done prior to the current real estate slump so I’m thinking the Universe had my back on that one.  From my ten years in real estate, I learned about money, investments, rentals, law, land, contracts, and problem solving. I worked with people from all over the world . I became friends with many of them.

From that business I also learned about ambition, greed, corruption, and how intensely one can feel for their clients.  Protecting the first-time-home-buyers with those stars in their eyes was gratifying. Seeing someone cash in an expensive property in favor of a simpler life made me happy. I loved helping people move on to the next exciting stage of their lives and I became witness to much “starting over”.

Step two, let go of a music equipment retail operation.  This was tough because it affected a lot of people besides myself. But it was my part-time gig (my able partner took care of daily operations) as bookkeeper (bill payer) that had become rote and sucked up hours weekly.  After 17 years, we had so much invested. Investments in friendships, associates, and the community were hard to leave. 

Step three: finish up all other part-time income producing projects like the triplex we were renovating on the week-ends in “our spare time”.

Now with out all of this eliminated from your life you will find your tax preparation will be reduced from 3 or 4 long days to a matter of hours.  I don’t mean the actual tax form preparation (that’s done by M. our accountant), I’m just talking about the amount of time it took to round up the contents of that huge box (papers, receipts, daily records, tax statements, inventory sheets, 1099s, bank statements, etc.) that had to be dragged to M’s office by appointment.

Now my tax prep time is quick and easy.  A slim brown mailing envelope contains all the info M. will need to determine our governmental tithe.  This is great. So why am I stalling?  Some things never change! 

Warm wishes until next time.


One Human Family

February 23, 2007

During my Starting Over process I was cleaning out a box from B.D.D. when I ran across a bumper sticker that read:  “Everyone in the world can share the Official Philosophy of Key West, Florida: All People are created equal members of ONE HUMAN FAMILY”.

It occurs to me now that I am not just missing my Dad but am also missing the life I had in Key West for 17 years. By letting go of my professional life, relocating our homes, and suffering a tragic loss – all in a very short time, I fear I have created for myself the perfect storm… but that is not the subject today.

Key West is a tiny island at the end of a chain of islands (Keys) that pushes itself out into the Atlantic Ocean like a plantling stretching for the sun. Only 90 miles from Cuba, Key West is the USA’s only tropical, frost free oasis to which one can drive.

That is exactly what we did in April, 1989.  Our 23′ long U-haul, plus towed Mustang, arrived in Key West carrying us, possessions to meet immediate needs and enough musical equipment to stock the little music store that we intended to open.

We are proud of our work there knowing that we filled a need that afforded us a modest income and passage into a truly amazing community of characters. The people in Key West are as diverse as those colored sprinkles that top your ice cream cone from the local DQ.

But no one there seems to notice.  It is a very live-and-let-live kind of place.  The movie star lives next to the retired or escaping corporate dude, who lives next to the bartender from Sloppy Joe’s, who lives next door to Cuban bakery.  The cheese toast and buche are enjoyed by everyone on the island including the conch on his way to a City job who lives next door to a household of hotel workers from Mexico.

My friend P. is a fifth generation conch who lives in a turn-of-the-century gingerbread eyebrow house and is a perfect example of the excepting nature of the island.  P’s family included a great, great grandfather from China who married an island girl.  Her family has co-existed with the Cuban folks who came in the 60’s (and still come today), with influxes of Irish immigrants, not to mention the eastern block invasion that happened after the cold war passed.  Even before P’s time, her family was exposed to travelers from all over the world including the US military that has occupied the island and still does today.  P. contends it is the island’s diversity that makes it the special place that it is and I agree.

Not too much “keeping up with the Jones” in Key West. Everyone wears shorts and sandals.  Some don’t have to work, and some have 3 jobs.  Some fill their days with artistic escape, volunteering, partying, some work 15 hours a day just so they can live the remaining hours in this magical space.  At the end of the day, all join together at the edges of the island to praise the Universe for producing yet another dependably stunning sunset over the crystal tipped waves of the Gulf of Mexico. 

I miss Key West, but I miss her people more.  I am a better person for having lived in Key West because I embraced and took with me the concept of One Human Family.  I wish I could put this understanding in a pill that the whole world would take.


Sleeping for 8 Months

February 22, 2007

I awakened this morning with a pleasant but odd feeling. The sun was shining and Johnny Wood, local TV weatherguy, announced that we were in store for a balmy day in the high fifties. I had the distinct feeling that I have been in a long tormented sleep and now I was, for the first time in 8 months, really awake. Really alive.

Instead of trying to figure out what to do with my day (A.D.D. behavior… see 1st blog), I am feeling much more B.D.D. and am thinking of all of the possibilities for my day.  Am I really starting to get over the loss of my Dad?  I know I never will. But I do feel lighter today, without that sad blanket of pain. More a tender soreness than a totally shattered heart.

So today I will try to live in gratitude for a Universe that heals.  I do have much to be thankful for: a partner that has supported me through 23 adventurous years, a loving family and special friends, now having free time, and relatively good health. 

My “starting over” artist self is very grateful for my girlfriend (GF).  I have known GF since shortly after college days when I was already corporately entrenched and she was… well I don’t really remember what she did during the day, but she was and still is a very free spirit.  I do remember evenings filled with youthful hilarity and lots of scotch.  I admired her enthusiasm for life and I still do.

Over the years, we stayed loosely in touch until about 6 years ago.  We happened to be passing through her town on one of our road trips and decided to give her a visit. It was pleasant, reconnecting with her and her delightful partner.  It was as if no time had passed since our last communication. Some friends are just like that, aren’t they?

GF has helped me have the guts to consider the longings of my artist self. She has a way of cutting through the whining and excuses with her xray vision and pulling from me a voice I sometimes could not (or would not) hear for myself.  She squeals with joy at my every artist attempt.  Her encouragement is priceless. And I know should I fall back into an extended sleep she will be right there pinching me to awaken once again.


To Justin and Allison

February 18, 2007

blog-pic.jpgMy only nephew, Justin, is a bright and likable 18 year old trying to decide on a college. I am excited for him and the excellent prospects he has for his future.

Maybe because I am operating A.D.D. (see my first blog entry), I feel compelled to leave my encouragements for Justin and my only neice, Allison, in case they are ever living A.A.A.D. (after Aunt Anita’s death). Don’t worry… should not be anytime soon!

Know I have lived a great life of adventure and love and rewarding challenge.  I wish the same for you.

Justin:

1. Day dream often.  Find your own voice.

2. Make sure the achievement of your dreams is a goal worthy of your life’s work.

3. Remember, it is in the getting there as much as the arriving.

4. Take risks. Intelligent, researched, gutsy risks.

5. Have contengency plans.

6. Have balance.  (Yin and yang)

7. Give back.

8. Thank your Creator. Be a creator too.  Create something worthwhile and understand your value in the Universe.

9. Be thoughtful and kind.

10. Don’t judge.  But when you have to, be fair.

To Allison:

You are a spunky, think-for-yourself kind of girl that makes me so proud.

1. Be a participator, not just an observer, of life.  (Sorry, know you’ve heard this from me before.)

2. Grab life and make the most of it.

3. Find joy.  For yourself and others.  It is your right and your responsibility.

4.  Be still and listen to your heart.

5.  Give yourself options.  Understand completely your choices.

6. Be brave.  Fight for right. Fix, Allison, what we don’t have yet right.

7.  Make the world a better place. You know you can.

 Lastly I would want both of you to know how much I care about you and how my life is enhanced having the two of you in my world. 

Warm wishes to all. Anita


Another Look

February 14, 2007

Time to take another look at a creative classic.  Whenever I need a creative kick in pants, I usually drag out Julia Cameron’s 1992 The Artist’s Way.  It is, for me, a kind of Creative Bible. See SpiritSite.com  (I really have to learn how to insert links)

This book will be old news for many of you advanced creatives but for me finding it was Divine.  It empowered me, helped me to understand that I not only have permission to be creative but in fact am expected to be by the very Creator in me.

Julia taught me about Morning Pages.  Even if I had no desire to write or paint, the journaling exercises she encourages I have returned to repeatedly for personal therapy.  Unloading onto a page frees my mind and allows me to hear my own voice and feel free enough to create something to express it.

Warm wishes until next time.


Changing Gears

February 13, 2007

Sunday was breakfast at Mom’s which is an event one does not want to miss.  This quintessential country breakfast includes huge hot flaky biscuits, Tennessee Pride mild country sausage gravy, bacon, ham, fried eggs and sliced garden red tomatos.

My mother is such a wise and talented woman.  She understands that this loved filled breakfast banquet is not just a tradition about once a month, but is one of the most cherished and grounding ceremonies of her family’s lives.  She knows that breakfast at “meema’s ” will represent a happy childhood memory for the grandchildren and an oasis of restful comfort for the busy adults.  An effort for her at 70, but one would never know it as the meal is presented with confidence and selfless love to her adoring, grateful and always hungry family.  Very high on the love per calorie scale.

Yesterday, Mom and I drove to a little town just north of Bristol called Abingdon.  She needed quilting supplies from Jeanie’s Fabric and I needed to hook up with some kind of art community.  In Abingdon, they have King Arts Center where, I have heard, one could get classes in painting and other fine arts endeavors.

Big sigh.  The arts center was closed.  I really wanted to see the twig furniture exhibit. [I just re-read this last sentence and think… I have given up my professional business life for twig furniture!  I willingly gave up hot careers that were lucrative and challenging. bummer.]

But before I could make it back to the car I was thinking… traded stressful long hours, right brain activities for a quiet day with my mom and the graceful curves of hand hewn wood lovingly constructed by historic craftsmen. Hmmm, happy again.  I’m just having a hard time changing gears.  

Warm wishes for all until next time.


First Exposure

February 11, 2007

anitaforweb3.jpg
Hi everyone! Welcome to my first exposure to blogging. 

 If we define ourselves in terms of how we spend our time, I have been: a college student, a department store buyer, a music store owner, a real estate investor, rehabber and Realtor, and now a want-to-be artist and writer. 

If we describe ouselves in terms of where we have lived, for me that would be the amazing blue hills of East Tennessee or the tropical sanctuary of Key West. I lost count with over a dozen residence changes since college days.

No matter how we define ourselves, whether by address or occupation, it is certain that life is not static and change happens.  Whether we change jobs, move to a new home, suffer some great loss like the death of a family member or friend, retire, start anything new or give up a bad habit, we have all had the feeling of starting from the beginning.  

For me just now, a new life cycle began with the death of my father.  We were close and the past seven months since his passing have been some of the most difficult days of my life.  I can’t help thinking in terms of B.D.D. or A.D.D., which is before Dad’s death or after Dad’s death.  I was a different person B.D.D.  A person that had never experienced the gut wrenching pain of loss. I know for me it represents one of those starting over moments.  Starting over without Dad. 

B.D.D. I could call on my father’s wisdom anytime I wanted, A.D.D. I can only guess how he would advise me.  B.D.D. I thought he would be around forever, A.D.D. I know none of us will be.  It’s a hard pill to swallow.

And now as a card carrying blogger, I wonder about the starting over experiences of others.  Let me know about your starting over experiences. Hope to update often. Thanks for visiting and warm wishes to all.

PS. E-mail me at anitamorrell at aol dot com
Also stop by our Art Blog at dailyart.wordpress.com
Please comment by clicking on highlighted “comment” at end of each blog. Thanks for visiting with me.