Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I just don't get it (a rant)

I just don't get people, I guess. A person the age of my kids starts telling me about something I have an intimate knowledge of...taxes and the possibilities of audit, and how this person is going to add this and that onto the business expenses (car payment, gas receipts (without receipts), unsubstantiated mileage, etc.) for a job that she was paid to do "under the table" without having withholding taken out.  I explain how that isn't legal and will likely get the interest of the IRS and an audit to follow. So then she's going to report the work as income to "stick it to her boss" for paying her under the table.  It all seems pretty shaky to me, and I so don't mess around with my taxes that I pay a very good accountant that is also a tax lawyer to do my taxes every year.  I sleep much better at night that way.
Been there with the audit thing, done that, made a simple arithmetic error in a very different situation, but it triggered a not so pleasant trip downtown to substantiate every penny on my return just because of the math error.  What a nightmare.  I had no clue what it was all about when I was "asked" to come in.  It isn't smart to do anything that you don't fully understand on your tax form, so I didn't. I didn't count on being unable to hit the right keys on my calculator being such a problem, so I can only imagine what they'd do with a more complicated situation.  The IRS isn't kidding around, even if you think you did everything right.
So after talking to this person, my frustration level went up as the conversation continued.  Just shoot me, ok?  So you'd think that the voice of reason (me) that advised "talk to someone that knows what they're doing...not Liberty tax for free" before you send it in would have some weight. But no. I get told that "I don't want to talk about this anymore" because I wasn't saying what this person wanted to hear. Great, huh?  That kind of attitude really puzzles me. At least get a handle on some of the questions to ask when you go wandering into the "free tax prep place".  And please remember that you get what you pay for.

I felt like saying "then why even mention it to me if you already were sure that you knew everything that there was to know", but I stayed polite.  Heck, google your questions at the very least prior to running off and doing something that you could really get in trouble for. And in the future, don't even bother to ask me anything, ok?  Because although I have 30 years of life experience on you, everything I say is "stupid" and instantly discounted.  Ok, rant over.

From a sociological point of view, I think that this type of attitude is endemic in society today anyway.  I've seen it more often in the people younger than I am more so than in people my age (and if anyone wants to know, I only admit to being 29).  If a person comes looking for pats on the back and instead they get some good old fashioned feedback that perhaps they should look at the situation a bit differently, then they don't want to hear it.  Heck, I don't care if you take my advice or the advice of any other person on a subject, but at least listen and look into any concerns that you hear.  I don't know if the inability to listen to concerns from another person all the way through is because we're such a "soundbite" society with no attention span anymore due to technology and the constant stream of information coming in that dulls our senses. It sure seems that those that seem to know it all often do the least good research and have the least accurate information.  Ok, I feel better now.  Remind me in a couple of years when this person gets audited that I wrote this post.  :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On a Noro Kick

I've been on a knitting kick lately, thanks to the visit of my dear friend, Loraine. I always thought Noro yarn was pretty but had no idea what I would be able to "do" with it so after I bought a few skeins years ago, they sat ignored in my stash while I was knitting all kinds of socks and such.  While Loraine was visiting recently, we went to three different yarn stores and looked at all the pretty Noro.  She wanted to find some of the Silk Garden Lite to make some easy hats for gifts.

     This whole Noro kick I'm on right now, actually started a year or so ago when Loraine sent me two skeins of a Brown/Grey/Black Silk Garden Noro yarn. The yarn was really pretty, but I couldn't think of what I was going to make from it as they really weren't my colors and I thought they were way too dark.  She suggested that I pair those two skeins of yarn with some yarn I had in my stash that was pink/blue/purple Noro Silk Garden Thaw, I think, and gave me the site to find the pattern. (It's called Brooklyn Tweed).  It's available on Ravelry as Striped Noro Scarf, or feel free to look at my projects on Ravelry, my Ravelry name is "Gator".  It's basically K1P1 all the way across using two rows of each yarn alternating.  As you can see it makes for a very pretty scarf, and it's really soft.  I did 3 rows of the first color and then started the second color on the side opposite of where the first color's row ended to make a very nice edge.  After the first row, you do 2 rows of each color, alternating.  That's it!  All I had to do, since the colors ended on opposite sides, was to wrap the working yarn around the tail of the other color and keep on with the pattern, no slipping stitches required.  The edges came out really well, very consistent, and very soft.  I love this scarf, it's become my favorite go to scarf for the winter.  Even though I'm allergic to wool, especially scratchy wool, I enjoy using this soft and warm scarf.

     As I said, when Loraine was here, she was on the hunt for Noro Silk Garden Lite yarn.  We went to the local yarn store that is about 5 minutes from my house looking for some the first day when she got in town, while we were driving, she told me about the simple pattern she uses to make hats for lots of friends.  The pattern is "Snowflakes on Mulberries Hat" and it's by Amy Klimt.  The pattern is free on Ravelry and there is a Silk Garden Lite version as well as one for the slightly thicker Noro Silk Garden.  It is really easy and quick to knit.  This one is the first one I made.
     Since my son went in the hospital and was there for 6 days, I took my knitting with me and just sat with him and talked to Loraine, my son, my husband and my son's girlfriend while knitting in the hospital.  When this one was finished, I decided that it was long enough for one of my grandsons, but for an adult, I'd add more to the body of the hat in order to make an area large enough to flip up into a brim.  This smaller one had the 5 inches before the decreases started as per the pattern.  Loraine is making one of these for my son...she's been his "other mom" for years and had promised him one of the hats.  She's also making him a cowl. 

     This pastel colored one has about 5.75 inches of body prior to the pattern.  I had enough yarn to finish the hat, and even some left over.  This one has such pretty colors, it might end up being for me.  But never fear, I have a few more skeins of the same yarn in different colorways, and I know where to get more.  We went to another fairly close yarn store that I hadn't been to in 20 years, and there was a good selection of the Silk Garden, and Noro Sock yarn (beautiful colors, but I have so much sock yarn I didn't buy any THIS time).  It was less expensive than the first shop that we went to so I was happy, and they offered a punch card for anything bought in the store, and they were very nice and helpful, unlike when I was there 20 years ago.  I got a book called "Weekend Hats" there which has a bunch of really fun looking patterns for me to work on in the future.  I also got "Knit your own Cat" which is hilarious and I might just knit up a cat that looks like one of the "kids".  Anyway, this one was finished in combination of time knitting at the hospital and time knitting while watching TVat home after leaving the hospital in the evenings so my son could sleep.  The time when he was in the hospital and during his surgery was rather stressful, so I was happy to have my knitting as a de-stressing tool.
A couple of days later, my son was to be released from the hospital.  We knew that it was going to be a waiting game for him to be discharged, so Loraine and I loaded the food we'd cooked for him the day before and took it to where he lives via another yarn store that was kind of on the way.  Ok, it was in the same state.  This time we hit the mother lode of Silk Garden Lite, and it was another 50 cents cheaper than the second shop, a full dollar cheaper than the first one.  I bought three skeins of this darker blue with green and burgundy yarn...but if you're not familiar with striped yarn like this, you can't really tell completely how the yarn is going to look when you knit it up, and the pattern you use will really change the look fo the yarn.  Anyway, I digress.  The first thing I did with my three skeins was to make up a hat for myself from it.  I have to wear a navy blue coat to work so I thought these colors would look nice with that.  I somehow messed up counting so the hat ended up being 4 stitches short and I had to fudge the decreases.  It's a little tight, but it still fits me fine.  I made this one with nearly 6 inches of  body prior to the decreases so it makes a nice brim.  I had enough yarn to finish, but I don't think it would have been enough if I hadn't had 4 stitches less than the usual 120 for the body of the hat.  I'd say that 5.75 inches of body is probably a good point to stop doing the body of the hat and switch to the decrease pattern.

This is a cowl pattern that I found for free on Ravelry.  It's called "Stacked Eyelet Cowl".  I did it on Size 6 needles, though the pattern calls for 7's.  It's CO 120, then P the first row, the second row is YO, K2tog, the third row is all P, then 10 rows knit.  I used a cable cast on and bind off with size 8 needles, but I would use the same size needles in the future as for the knitting since the CO and BO edges were too big, enough so that the edges roll.  I did the cowl with 2 skeins, and is long enough to pull up over my ears and head if I forget my hat.  I wore it the other morning and it's really  nice and warm and soft.  It's the same colorway as the hat above it.  Sorry about the lighting in the pictures, though.

So now, my son is back to work, he's much better since they took his gall bladder out, and hopefully he won't have any more episodes of abdominal pain in the future. Loraine is back where she lives, and I have another hat on the needles.  It feels good to get back to knitting and since I have a lot (A LOT!) of unfinished projects on needles all over the house, I hope I can sustain my enthusiasm in order to finish some or most of them.  I'd really like to make a sweater, but I want to get some of the numerous knitting bags I have out with projects in them put away before I start anything else.  And of course, there is always schoolwork, housework, and the job to contend with. :)