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I try to take Sundays off of social media, but it has occurred to me that what I really mean by that is "fast" social media, the constant churn. So perhaps Sunday is the right day to take 5 minutes to type a longer post. And there is one such post that ought to be done!

Cassius recently turned 7. Seven!! How is this possible?!? He starts 2nd grade tomorrow, and he's very excited to go back and see his school friends again. He says that he's met the teacher one time before. He seemed comfortable with her at the school open house, so that's great. This year he is no longer in Early Childhood Special Education, so he won't be getting the same kind of assistance and interventions. Fingers crossed that everything goes well! He seems ready. His fine motor strength has improved a lot, and if he's still a little socially awkward, well, who among us isn't?

At age 7, Cassius is full of thoughts and full of chatter. He finds it exceptionally difficult to stop talking unless he's reading a book. His reading has really taken off in the last few months. He's reading chapter books on his own, and loving it. He particularly likes nonfiction, whether it's about dinosaurs or the pyramids or inventions or engineering.

When he grows up, he wants to be a scientist or an engineer or an architect. He thinks maybe a toy engineer, although recently he's also discussed game design as something he's interested in.

He is very happy that we have recently acquired a dog. A Dog Called Hawk is a one-year-old, 60 lb, black lab with all the energy and self-control of a puppy.

Cassius loves playing Pokemon, whether it's Pokemon Go (anybody want to be friends?) or the card game. He also likes reading all about the Pokemon. He has recently started watching Lolirock, which I can only describe as magical girl rock star anime. He really likes shows in that kind of genre. He's started tackling a half-size Rubik's cube. He really enjoys building Lego kits.

Cassius is very sensitive and concerned about other people's feelings. He has fears about losing his parents/family in a crowd, and about being left behind. He is 100% lawful-good. He is extremely concerned about following the rules and making sure others do the same. He does not like scary movies (unlike his younger sister) even if things turn out okay.

Challenges: when he gets upset, he tends to run away from us if we are out and about (like in a grocery store or at the mall), which isn't safe and which we are working on. He'll also sometimes just refuse to walk. Apparently nonviolence resistance techniques are genetic. Who knew? He and his sister love each other (they missed each other so much on the recent son-daddy trip to Wisconsin) very much, but they also tussle constantly and do things deliberately to tick each other off. But they hate being separated. Oof.

Brother and sister reunited
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (tender)
Thanks to everyone who made it to my birthday party! I was really happy I was able to just hang out and talk with so many of my friends. And after the party, I have a lot of interesting and tasty things to drink, and the equivalent of an entire large (and tasty, but rather overwhelming) carrot cake left over.

And I learned never ever to mention that I don't know who Journey is ever again.

Names of things I couldn't remember at the time:

La Chaya Bistro is the restaurant we went to on my actual birthday. It's a Mexican-Italian fusion place that uses organic, local ingredients. The food is delicious and has a good kick to it, but if you don't like cilantro, inquire before ordering.

Lagaan (Land Tax) is the Bollywood movie set in colonial India, in which a band of villagers must learn to play cricket well enough to defeat the British. If they do, they won't have to pay the harsh land tax for 3 years. It's a very good Bollywood movie, and by the end of it, you will have a better appreciation for cricket too!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (handgun)
1. It is really not okay to park somebody in at a restaurant.

2. When you sit on the patio for 5-10 minutes as the waiter tries to find the driver, and then you say, "Oh! I was wondering if it was me!" followed by a silly-me giggle and, "I thought that car must be driven by somebody that works here!" because that car is not as nice as yours? It makes us hope that you get carjacked.

For the record, parking in people of a presumed lower socioeconomic class than you is not okay either! Got it, bitch?
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 11:50 + Hot cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
  • 11:51 + A nice bike ride into work on a newfound bike path (on a street ironically called Park).
  • 12:42 After eating leftovers at my desk, it occurs to me that maybe I should have gone out for lunch to celebrate. Ah, well.
  • 13:38 Want a good estimate? Make 2 and average them. SciAm:
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 06:57 Today is my birthday. It's a grey day, but I'm wearing a bright orange broomstick skirt, green shirt, green knee-highs, and ballet flats. #
  • 07:54 ++Working in the IDS building today, not NgithOwl, which means will hopefully be killing time online and not actually *working*. #
  • 08:30 Old news, but 1) yay for gene tests, and 2) Ron Paul's a huge douchebag. (SciAm) #
  • 08:56 What in downtown Mpls has good birthday specials? ::pondering where to go for lunch:: #
  • 11:20 Fleeing work early to meander through candy store and book store before lunch at The Local. Freedom to do whatever I choose is awesome. #
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cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Today has been a very weird day, because it is Sunday and my birthday, but I had to work all day--and I mean I got home after 10 p.m. But I got a free gourmet dinner with wine and tasty cake and people singing happy birthday to me when I had a piece of cake with a candle in it delivered.

It was the first day of the big Bush Foundation orientation for the new fellows, which I got to sit in on (and help with the wrangling and the tidying and the arranging, of course) and take photographs for. This was fantastic, as not only did I get to meet a bunch of people whose creative talents and collective wisdom I stand in awe of, but I learned things that will be highly useful to my writing/photography career(s), which I would usually have to pay large sums of money to learn (seminars, tax consultants, workshops, etc.).

Useful tax knowledge gained (applies to Schedule C):
* All of the monthly internet fee is tax-deductible, even if you do other stuff online
* As long as your only office for the Schedule C profession is at home and it is mostly populated by the related things, you can claim it as being solely for work, despite using it occasionally for other things (see the first *)
* If you're filing multiple Schedule Cs, you can put your major equipment amortizations and your home office deduction on 1 schedule, instead of trying to spread it out appropriately
* I can deduct every bloody fiction book I buy with no problem. (I've heard elsewhere that one should only deduct non-fiction research books, but this canny tax lady trumps those sources.)
* I should set up a Roth IRA
* I should get one of those HM(A?) accounts with the swipable card that you just use to pay anything medical
* Really, a tax accountant might be a very good idea. Especially this one, who specializes in creative tax accounting. She's sneaky. And good at all sorts of creative people's taxes (Fox Tax, LLC).

Tax knowledge anybody who graduated recently should know: if you're filing a Schedule C (artists, writers, performers, etc.), and you went to school for this, you can deduct your actual tuition. I think she said you can retroactively correct a tax filing for fifteen years (or it's valid for fifteen, or something)--which means get thee to a tax lawyer if you're doing creative contractor-y/on your own type stuff in a field you went to school for.

And I practiced forms in the little sunken cement plaza on Nicollet & 5th while waiting for the bus home. Y'know, sometimes it's nice to just feel cool. Even if nobody's watching.
Make that especially if nobody's watching.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
My birthday is June 3rd. Since I'll be fully booked that weekend for details involving the work conference, I don't know if/how I'll celebrate. It may be a weekday dinner at The Red Dragon on Wednesday a week from tomorrow or something low-key like that.

However! I am very fond of receiving birthday cards. Presents, too, but that might be a bit much to expect....

If you feel so moved, this is my address. )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Even though it's not for another four days, I'm already tallying up the tribute:

From the lawyers of the world: the possibility of getting a small check because of a class action lawsuit against our title company
From grandparents-in-law: a not-small check and a gorgeous card
From Office Depot: a free pen if I pick it up on June 2nd.
From Minneapolis: a new library that I love and will be doing lots of writing work in this summer
From AMC: two free movie tickets to go see Omen on June 5th.
From my book club: yet another beautiful card and coupons for free shipping and handling and buy one/get one free
From my writing: an acceptance from a publication that pays in more than peanuts
From my mother-in-law: cucumber-scented bodywash and lotion
From the in-laws (actually given as an anniversary present, but taking place within the time period that I define free/wonderful things as being "birthday gifts" whether or not they are intended as such): a porch swing!

On the other hand, I'm quite confused by the "Denny's is Hiring!" brochure that was mailed to me by name. I don't want to work for Denny's!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Oog. Feel like zombies ate my brain. Party last night went well, I think. People started really showing up after nine (silly people), and the ones who weren't crashing here left around 3:30. I think there were about thirty people. People played Spades. People drank a lot, cheap beer and champagne alike. People smoked and talked and told tall tales while sitting out in our backyard. There's apparently a new dent in our kitchen ceiling. I was looking for Fame and Fortune all night, but I don't think I found them. People showed up en masse and then invited other people I didn't know over, which is, I think, one of the indicators of a good party. We didn't run out of anything except orange juice, and my house is not even remotely trashed. In fact, it looks better than it did yesterday morning before we commenced cleaning. Even if all the counter space in the kitchen is taken up with empty bottles. Yeah.

Thank you all for coming over!


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Abra Staffin-Wiebe

March 2019

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