Saturday, October 26, 2013


Some time ago - a long time ago, actually - I sent off a pair of jeans to be transformed into a skirt. I don't think a jean skirt is all that hard to make but I don't sew. I don't sew because I don't have a sewing machine. (Or I don't have a sewing machine because I don't sew - I can't remember which.)

But I do have a search engine that located an outfit in Missouri that would take my old, worn out jeans and turn them into a skirt. I took before pictures:


As you can see, these were well worn jeans but they were truly on their last legs. It was time to throw them away or do something different.

I did something different. (Have you met me?)

I shipped the jeans to Love My Jean Skirt and asked them to patch the holes - if that could be done - and to make a skirt, re-using as much denim from the pants as could be recycled.

I finally got the skirt back. It took months, far longer than I expected. I came to believe I had been ripped off and that I would never see my jeans again. But then, one day, a miracle happened. My long lost jeans came home.

Can't wait to wear it!

I missed my old jeans!

Wait until you see the inside:

Fully reinforced.

I just couldn't let them go.

Friday, October 25, 2013


My previous post about Teavana in Seattle contained several errors regarding the per capita consumption of tea and coffee. The corrected information follows:
According to this Wikipedia article, the United Kingdom tops the list of tea drinkers consuming an average of nearly 14 pounds of tea annually, per person. The United States rates sixty-ninth, the average being a mere 12 ounces per year. Meanwhile, we consume over nine pounds of coffee per year

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Port Commission approves lease with Tesoro Savage

After more than two hours of public comment on Tuesday, the Port of Vancouver USA Board of Commissioners approved a 10-year lease with the Tesoro Savage Petroleum Terminal (TSPT) for a crude oil handling facility at the port.
... The project now moves into the environmental permitting process. 
Vancouver ⋅ SW Washington Business Journal
Have they read this? The railroad tracks are across the street from where I live.

h/t 76003.1414

One of the True Joys of Turning 50

You get a note from your doctor advising it's time for colon cancer screening.

Oh, joy.

Tea in Seattle?

Starbucks debuts Teavana bar. Although, not really. Teavana has been around since 1997. What debuted is Starbucks $630 million dollar buy into the $90 billion global tea market. Tea, as in the second most-consumed beverage behind water. But not in the United States. And, definitely, not in Seattle. But CEO Howard Schultz should know that.

I guess the new part is "+ Tea Bar" because we already have seven Teavana's in the state of Washington. But the "+ Tea Bar" changes everything. Now,
. . . the Tea Bar will elevate the premium tea experience by delivering a carefully curated assortment of handcrafted tea beverages, premium loose leaf teas, tea-inspired food offerings and beautifully made tea merchandise, making the ritual of tea more elevated and accessible for customers.
Market Watch
Whatever that means.

A second store is scheduled to open in Seattle around Thanksgiving. I guess that's really a second, second store since Seattle already has a Teavana.

According to this Wikipedia article, the United Kingdom tops the list of tea drinkers consuming an average of nearly 14 pounds of tea annually, per person. The United States rates sixty-ninth, the average being a mere 12 ounces per year. Meanwhile, we consume over nine pounds of coffee per year. But I'm sure Mr. Schultz already knows that.

From the USA Today article, "It's doable, but it will be a hard slog," says Allen Adamson, managing director at Landor Associates. And, according to it's own website, Landor is the "world's preeminent brand consulting firm, specializing in creative strategy, design, innovation, and naming." But I'm sure Howard Schultz already knows that.

Howard Schultz must know something. So, cheers. And, good luck with that.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Evening Stroll

Columbia River, Vancouver WA

Pent Up Something

Yippee! The 2014 tax season will start late - the IRS won't start accepting and processing individual tax returns until January 28 but certainly before February 4, 2014.  Or, maybe later. If something comes up.

In 2013, the IRS started accepted returns on January 30th which was a little more than a week after their expected start date of January 22nd. I guess it takes that long to get the computers warmed up. Probably, they run on Windows and have a lot of updates to download.

Even then, people who took a deduction for depreciation on their tax returns - which is anyone with a business or a rental property - couldn't file until February 10th. If you were taking an education credit, you couldn't file until February 14th. If you were eligible for another 29 credits, you could file until March 4th - just six weeks before all tax returns were due on April 15th. This, all due to the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) enacted by Congress in January.

Which makes January 28 - or February 4 - look freaking early! (By the way, it doesn't matter if you file electronically or on paper. The IRS will not process your return, until it does.)

Except, guess what? It doesn't really matter. You still have to file by by April 15th unless you extend and you might as well because you probably won't have what you need to file on time anyway. Employers aren't required to mail your W-2s until January 31st. If the Post Office is still open for business, you won't even get it until February 4th.

If you sold stocks, your broker isn't required to mail your 1099-B until February 15th but there's no deadline, that I'm aware of, for your broker to change the information on the 1099 and send you a corrected one later in the year if not all the information was available when originally prepared.

You won't get the K-1 reporting your interest in a corporation or partnership until the corporation or partnership files its return in March or as late as September if they file for an extension.

Which is why it all doesn't matter. Except if you owe money to the IRS. Then you have to do your best to estimate what you owe and pay it by April 15th whether you file your return then or later. And, if your withholding isn't high enough, you still need to make estimated tax payments against next year's tax return even if you haven't filed this year's tax return.

However, you can skip the last payment due January 15th if you file your 2013 tax return by January 31, 2014, and pay the rest of any tax you owe. Unless, of course, the IRS isn't accepting tax returns. Then, you're back to square one.
“In the days ahead, we will continue assessing the impact of the shutdown on IRS operations, and we will do everything we can to work through the backlog and pent-up demand,” Werfel said. “We greatly appreciate the patience of taxpayers and the tax professional community during this period.” | 2014 Tax Season to Start Later Following Government Closure; IRS Sees Heavy Demand As Operations Resume
Pent up demand?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Welcome To My World

Hubby: What's taking so long?

Me: I had to put lotion on my legs. It's an aesthetic necessity.

Pause, as I make my way downstairs.

Me: If that lotion could relieve pain it would be an analgesic aesthetic necessity.

Pause, as I lace up my shoes.

Hubby: If it also killed germs, it would be an antiseptic analgesic aesthetic necessity.

Pause, as we left the house and shuffled through fallen leaves on the sidewalk.

Hubby: And if your legs go numb, then it would be an anesthetic antiseptic analgesic aesthetic necessity.

Pause, as we turned the corner to the trail by the Columbia River.

Me: Too bad it can't be anti-itch.

No pause, as we both burst out laughing.


Autumn Leaves, or Arrives?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Carol Burnett to Get Mark Twain Prize for Humor

”I can’t believe I’m getting a humor prize from the Kennedy Center. It’s almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington.”
Read more here.

The Middle Round

I’m glad I don’t have a scale where I am because if I stepped on one right now, one of two things would happen:

1) I would be shocked at how much I weigh.

2) I would be shocked at how much I don’t weigh, meaning I could just keep on doing what I’m doing. Or not doing, as the case may be.

I've developed a middle. A muffin top. A belly. I look like a cocktail olive on a toothpick - round in the middle with nothing but stick above and below. And, let me tell you, green is not my best color.

I’m not sure what happened here but I don’t like it. Sure, I turned 50 and I’m told that it’s pretty much downhill from here. But I’m the “skinny” one, remember? They one people like to hate because she’s so thin.

Even as I sit here, eating my doughnut, my belly flops over my size 2 jeans. I know, I know - cry me a river. But whatever this is - this thing that dangles between my breasts and my waistline - I’d like to get rid of it. Preferably, before I wedge myself into a swimsuit when I go on vacation next month to Hawaii.

Groupon to the rescue! I can now buy weight loss hot pants. Wait, what? I can lose weight and look hot? Where do I sign up?

Shorts, flares, menswear, tops, and creams [wait, what are creams?] with slimming technology works when wearers exercise to help increase energy expenditure. [Exercise increases energy production? Who knew?] . . . using infrared technology. [Most of the thermal radiation emitted by objects near room temperature is infrared.] By trapping and redirecting this thermal energy, Zaggora wearers can burn up to 11% more calories than they would when garbed in traditional workout clothes, and 50% more calories than they would while napping in a sweatband. [Weight loss while napping? Perfect!]

I've got to hand it to the Groupon writers. They make this stuff far more interesting than the product’s own website. (Sarcastic copy belongs to Groupon, snide comments are all mine.)

I guess I just have to get off my ass and do something. My foot has been bothering me (self-diagnosed plantar fasciitis), the remedy for which is rest. But resting time is over now. Time to get back out there and walk.

Oh, and maybe lay off the doughnuts.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Strip On!

Went to a gun show today ( Collector's West Gun & Knife show at the Portland Expo Center). Definitely not my thing. Interesting, though. I just saw three men leave with rifles - couldn't tell you what kind but they didn't have wood stocks, if that helps - and I couldn't imagine what they could possibly intend to do with their new purchases. They were so overweight, it was hard to conceive they would ever be deer hunting if it meant they had to expend any kind of energy. Of course, they did manage to walk in from the parking lot but hike through a forest, track a felled deer, and drag it back out? No chance.

Gun owners must be a fairly honest lot. There was a gun check desk at the entrance where incoming guns could be inspected and relieved of ammunition. You could take your own gun into the gun show but you had to leave your ammunition outside. Not to worry, you could buy more inside.

You had to have your gun purchases inspected again on the way out but I don’t know why. I didn't ask. Maybe it was like Costco and you had to prove you weren't stealing an extra roll of toilet paper - or, in this case, a gun. At the entrance, they asked me if I was bringing in any guns. "Nope." When I left, they asked if I was taking any guns out. "Nope." That, despite the fact I was carrying a purse the size of a large pumpkin. Shit, it's harder to pass security at a football game.

Besides ammo, you could, of course, buy a gun. And beer. What could go wrong? Everyone inside looked normal enough and probably every one of them could pass a mental evaluation. There were men, women, boys and girls in attendance. There were camouflage guns for the men and pink guns for the women. Pink rifles, too, and even cute little pink ones for the kids. Those are for killing unicorns in pink forests, I imagine. (Barbie packs. Who knew?)

But it wasn't all fun and games in there. They also sold jewelry, scarves, fudge, and - my favorite - paper targets with pictures of zombies on them. Just in time to get target practice in before the apocalypse. You could buy a full sized violin there, if you were so inclined, or a macramé bracelet. Or, you could have a police sketch artist draw your picture in case you wanted to see what you would look like as a criminal.

I have a badass image of myself - more of an alter ego, really. I wear high heeled boots and can karate chop you into smithereens. But guns don’t interest me.

I had a beer and left the guns and ammo alone.

The gun expo was next door to DeafNation Expo which is exactly what it sounds like. Which means the neighboring expo didn't mind the practice range.

In other news: While strip club owner Stephen Dick is arguing that pole dancing is an art form and shouldn't be taxed by the State of New York, Oregon strip club owner Johnny Zukle (who has the better name, to be sure) is promoting the opening of his new strip club, The Cauldron, just in time for Halloween is a vegan, all-age club featuring a seven-course fine-dining menu. (Casa Diablo, Zukle's other vegan strip club with perhaps a lesser menu, is employer to Lynsie Lee, twitter correspondent with Newark mayor and surefire future presidential candidate Cory Booker.)

No animal products were used in the promotion of this strip tease. Now, don’t you feel better about yourself? Stripping may or may not be an art form but you can certainly feel good about not using animal products here in Oregon.

Shooting them in one corner. Stripping without them in another.

And, finally, I read an article in Willamette Week entitled Headout: PumpkinomicsYour handy conversion chart between Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes and other fall activities. It was a listing of all the Fall/Halloween activities you can partake in over the weekend, listing the prices for each event in terms of how many Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes you’d be giving up to attend.

Which, by the way, vegans are boycotting as it is the only Starbucks beverage that requires a dairy product in the making. (All other drinks can be made with a dairy substitute.) So fine, don’t have a coffee if you don’t want one. You can always go down the street and take in a show.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dick Ducks Stripper Tax

In his submission to the Supreme Court last summer, Dick argued a tax on freedom of expression — specifically, the right to strip naked and dance provocatively — will inevitably lead to levies on other activities protected under the U.S. Constitution. The petition argued the taxation of exotic dancing is akin to “content-based discrimination” — an unconstitutional practice that provides government officials unlimited discretion to determine and tax on the basis of artistic merit.
The Daily Gazette | Supreme Court rejects Latham strip joint
More, ahem, coverage, on The Colbert Report:

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

Maybe Not As Noteworthy As Seeing Jesus

But that is, unmistakably, 3.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Always Remember Never to Forget Something

. . . when you live in a three-story house. Whatever you forgot will never be on the same floor you are on.

Yesterday, I got home from the grocery store and lugged my groceries up one flight of stairs (1) and realized that I left my phone in the car. But I had to go to the bathroom so I dropped the groceries in the kitchen and went up another set of stairs to the bathroom (2). Then I went back down two flights of stairs to the car (3 & 4) only to realize I had inadvertently locked the car. I went up to the kitchen to retrieve my car key (5), then back down to get my phone (6). Finally, I went back to the kitchen to put away my groceries, for a total of seven flights of stairs just to put away my purchases.

Then I set out some yogurt for breakfast when I realized, I left my book upstairs (8) . . .

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Post 15th

What happens after October 15th? A whole lot more goofing off, that's what. See? I'm already hard at work at not working.

Usually, this is the time of  year I write but I don't have anything brewing. I'll probably try to edit some of the stuff I've written before. (I have two novel-length pieces of work that need, well, a lot more work.) But that's already starting to sound like work.

It's also the time of year I like to take lots of pictures of leaves that have fallen to the ground so you can expect to see more photos. Maybe.

I can always start on next year's tax season. Dull, I know, but I always wait until December to start and that's never enough time to get everything ready. I need to start earlier.

The bug guy came back on Saturday. No ants for the time being.

Computer at work is wonky so I'll be getting to that later today.

So, a little this and that.

Monday, October 14, 2013


I have a pair of black, heeled loafers. (Shoes, in case you're wondering - not dirty, barefoot slouchers.) And, they squeak when I walk. Actually, only one of them does. Every time I step on my right foot, I squeak.

When I walk down the hall - step, squeak, step, squeak - I think of Toon Shoe from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. There's no way Jessica Rabbit would be caught dead in a pair of squeaky shoes, I imagine.

I work in a quiet office which means everyone can hear me coming. The only good news is there's generally no one around to hear me.

I keep thinking, I need to get them into a shoe repair shop. I've had these shoes for years and love them. They're comfortable and they go with practically everything. I thought maybe the heel on my right shoe was loose and could be fixed with a little glue. To test my theory, I took it off as I was walking down the hall in my office building. There was no one around. I continued on wearing only my left shoe.

Step, squeak, step, squeak - imagine my surprise when my bare right foot kept squeaking!

This confused me, so I took off the left shoe to test the bizarre and briefly entertained hypothesis that I had a defective right foot. The squeaking stopped. Aha! It wasn't the heel of my right shoe at all but was the leather in my left.

I stood there in my Aha! moment, in my bare feet with two dress shoes in my hands just as I noticed I was standing outside the dentist's office and the receptionist was staring right at me.

Aha! I waved back to her with a shoe. I quickly dropped my shoes to the floor, slipped them back on my feet, and hustled back to my office.

- step, squeak, step, squeak, step, squeak- 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Practically Free Coffee

1. Go to Starbucks website and print two $2 off coupons. ($2 off purchase of two bags.)

2. Buy four 12 oz. bags of coffee that have the gold stickers on them that read, "Buy this bag. Earn free drinks at Starbucks."

3. Get $8 off your purchase with your Safeway card. Get another $5 coupon off purchase of your next Starbucks card if you make your purchase by 10/22/13.

4. Peel off your four gold stickers and enter the codes on the Starbucks website to earn $10.

$35.96 - coffee
-$4.00 - coupons
-$8.00 - Safeway Club Card discount
-$5.00 - discount on next Starbucks card purchase
-10.00 - bonus for inputting four star codes (plus a cup of coffee, plus a food item)

Not free exactly. But that's about what I'd pay for two cups so a pretty good deal.

And a lot of coffee.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bathroom Paranoia

To my knowledge, no one has ever acquired an STD on the toilet seat -- unless they were having sex on the toilet seat!" says Abigail Salyers, PhD, president of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).
WebMD | What Can You Catch in Restrooms?

But watch out for up flush.

Ants and Ice

So this is the skinny on ants and ice: They're both back.

The ants not so much anymore, though. We found them marching across our counter tops from the refrigerator to the pantry and back when we got home from our last out-of-town trip. The bad news - as if that wasn't bad enough - was it would be three days before the pest control guy could come.

He came on Saturday and sprayed and now they're gone. For now. That's the good news. The better news is that in cleaning out the pantry I threw away a lot of stuff that I needed to get rid of anyway. That prompted me to attack my closet and I got rid of a lot of stuff there too. Felt good.

We pulled out the refrigerator so the Orkin guy could spray back there and we turned on the water to the ice maker while we were back there to see if we could figure out what was wrong with it. Nothing, apparently, because it started making ice. Good for Jack but bad for my bare feet if there's something out there just waiting to malfunction. We let it run for the day but then shut it off lest it run over again.

Glad to have these problems solved because I was starting to think it was time to sell the house.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


A quick rundown on the latest news from the IRS.
Sorry, we're closed. But, for the 6 to 7 million people who still need to file their tax returns, they're still due October 15th. And, if you owe any money, you should definitely mail that in. No one will be here to open the envelope, but mail it in anyway.
Speaking of people being here, we won't be so don't call if you need any help with your taxes. If you can't get all the information you need, you'll just have to do the best you can because, hey, we already gave you an extra six months to file. What else do you want?
Oh, a refund? Can't do. We're leaving the computers on that handle electronically filed returns but the one that issues refunds electronically was sent home. And paper checks? Don't make me laugh.
But it's not all bad news, people with appointments related to audits, collection, Appeals or Taxpayer Advocate cases should assume their meetings are cancelled. That is, appointments with people. But the computer that automatically sends nasty-grams, that's still here so you might get one of those. Which, of course, we expect you to respond to in a a timely manner.
So, have a nice day and remember to wish us a Happy Birthday!
Okay, so I paraphrased a little. But the IRS didn't have to work all weekend.

I think the last six or seven million people should paper file.

[Editor's Note: Chocolate Chip Mint, its writers, management, and advertisers do not advocate the filing of tax returns on paper. But we think it's a helluva funny idea.]

Monday, October 7, 2013

Been a little busy here so you'll just have to come to your own conclusions as to how I feel about the following topics:

Topics for future discussion.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Settle Down

I'm wearing my Christmas socks today. Now, before all you Christmas freaks get all jiggly with excitement, I couldn't find socks to match my outfit. And, I wore boots today.

So there.