Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Evasive Maneuvers

President-elect, Barack Obama, promised many things during his historic run for the white house, and as January 20 draws near, Americans wait, with open wallets, for him to make good on those promises. Tax cuts, new jobs, green energy (and extra cash to pay for them), etc.

But there was one, little mentioned promise, that the company I and my husband have invested in is taking steps to side-step, for the coming year, at least. What was that promise, you ask? To double the dividend tax. "But wait", you say, "He said over and over that anyone making less than $250,000 a year would not have taxes raised, but lowered".

HELLO?! Did every voting citizen in this country forget that income tax is only one of many taxes you pay and that is the only tax he promised not to raise???

So, for those of us that are not counting on the myth of Social Security to be around when we reach that magic age, nor relied on an arm-twisting union thug to squeeze pensions out of a failing company to support us forever, but actually chose where to invest our own money and counted on dividends as part of our financial strategy - we're going to feel a bit leaner for the next 4 to 8 years (increased capital gains tax, estate tax, dividend tax, and even a 401K contribution tax).

But thanks to evasive maneuvers by one company we're invested in, for us, it will only be the next 3 to 7 years. They have decided to pro-rate 2009 dividends and pay them out before the end of this year, subjecting them to the nice, low 2008 tax rate and not the promised, doubled 2009 rate.

God Bless corporate America.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Not a Creature Was Stirring....

Someone call Terminix! I have had an infestation - of over-active creativity. Again. Here's my defense. My children go to a private school where they get Godiva Chocolate Sampler boxes from their classmates as treats (which I promptly confiscate as being "way too good for children"). So what I lack in funds, I have to make up for in creativity. Hence, the perennial favorite, the Christmas candy cane mouse. Lots of them. One hundred and thirty three to be exact.

Hey, they're cute, cheap and easy.

(but enough about Sean's ideal prom date.)

there is no
the end

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dashing to the Mail

It's that time of year when many of us momentarily ditch our digital lives of email, texting, cellphones, online bill paying, and yes, facebooking, and we use that oldest of old forms of communication - the US Mail. Yes, it's Christmas letter time! The only time of year that I actually beat my children to the mailbox. I love this annual celebration of exchanging photocards and yearly wrap-ups with a little bragging thrown in gratis. And I noticed that most Christmas cards fall into one of three categories. So here they are:

The Shameless Boaster
"Little Johnny is an all-star baseball player destined for the MLB. He got all A's in his superior-brains-only classes, got the lead in the school play" and on and on it goes. Every child is a prodigy, the husband is a super successful corporate ladder climber, and the wife does triathalons and has her own scrapbooking or jewelry company. The family picture is a stunning portrait in matching outfits at an exotic location. Your smile, when you receive these letters, has a tooth grinding quality to it.

The Tom Clancy Letter
These Christmas letters usually come in multiple pages, small print. "We went to the park, Aunt Jody came to visit, we made sloppy joes for dinner and little Suzie lost a tooth. The next week...." You learn things you never knew you didn't want to know. These letters are accompanied by not one, but multiple pictures in various locations. It's like being forced to sit down on their couch and look through their family photo album while they prattle endlessly about themselves. If only there were a Cliff Notes version.

The Identity-Theft Paranoid
These are the kinds of Christmas letters that come from people in the witness protection program. They consist of a generic card that may or may not be signed with no personal word of greeting or acknowledgment. You have to look at the return address to see who it's from. There's no picture, no letter, nothing you could track them down with. All the same, they went through the trouble of putting a stamp on the envelope, so you feel a morsal of their love and holiday warmth.

But, no matter the category, I love getting Christmas cards and I devote an entire wall in my house to display them every year. As Christmas draws near the wall fills up and I try to leave them up for at least a week after I get the last one. Although if I waited for my sister, Becky, they'd be up until March. So run to your mailboxes, because my shameless bragging, Tom Clancy letter with our picture in matching outfits at the beach is on the way!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Wealth of Stupidity

I don't recall making any designer fashion purchases lately but for some unknown reason, I received a Tourneau catalog in the mail. For the mere mortals out there, Tourneau is an ultra high-end watch company that puts Gucci in Dior on the back pages for the lesser customers.

Within the glossy pages of this uber-elegant catalog were watches inlaid with gold, forged with platinum, encrusted with diamonds and/or bound with alligator leather all costing more than most people's houses. This little dandy is a Breguet Classique and can be yours at the triffling price of $214,000. No kidding.

My question is, if it takes brains to be wealthy (Paris Hilton aside) why would anyone spend that kind of money just so they can keep track of the time? Isn't high fashion just a big-time scam to dupe the ultra rich out of their money by making them believe ordinary items are worth many times their cost just because of a label or name?

I don't get it.

there is no
the end

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm Coming Out

Don't Panic mom ! I simply would like to take a moment to say that we all have skeletons in our closets. The skeletons of which I speak of are those songs and artists that we may not be so eager to admit that we listen to or like.

I have decided to disclose this personal information about myself because I truly believe we all have someone we listen to that others find silly, outdated, or just downright repulsive.

So here is a list of artists and songs that I like and maybe a little sentimental reason behind why I am so loyal.

First and foremost Michael Jackson. He's creepy and strange with less than one percent of his original face left ( and the rest detachable) but gosh darn it , I just want to bust a move every time I hear his old school stuff.. what can I say.

Lenny Kravits ( If he ever shows up at my door and asks me to run off with him, I told Alex, he will just have to understand.)

Billy Idol - White wedding ( if you say you don't like Billy .. you are lying)
Bobby Brown - ahh junior high school
Cake - Short skirt long jacket/ every girl wants to be like the one described in this song ( with fingernails that shine like justice)
Black eyed Peas- my kids get psychotic when I sing their songs
Boyz 11 Men - oh baby !
The Carrs - okay when I was a kid they had a video on MTV and he was a fly, after that I was hooked
Kool and the Gang - She's Fresh ( that song is so fresh)
Pet Shop Boys - Eastern Boys Western Girls .. so hot
Wyclef Jean - sometimes I just want to move to Port Au Prince, make my hair into dreads and strum my guitar on the beach.
Duran Duran - Hungry Like the Wolf
Tom Petty - a little demented .. which is just how I like it
Sting/Police - Don't stand so close to me - The theme song of every good looking male high school teacher
Toto - Africa
Toni Tony Tone - I got nothin here
Flock Of Seagulls - I ran ( when one feels like running )
Rolling stones ( table dance!)
Wang Chung ( eighties party song yeah!)
New Edition
Earth Wind and Fire ( great for romantic moments .. which people my age no longer experience)
George Michael ( I liked him before he came out okay? Besides after he did his music just wasn't that good anymore anyways. )

I think I've embarrassed myself enough .. your turn.