The Accountant's Garden

Scheduled non-accounting weeks: April 10-14, 2017 June 12-16, 2017 July 24-28, 2017

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Another busy week! It's the end of the third quarter and I'm doing my best to remember all the filings that small, independent business have to do. I'm not as confused as I sound - I'm just overwhelmed by the amounts of filings that I suddendly have to accomplish in the next month.

I haven't had any time to get out and do anything to the garden in the back. We still have tomatoes, and I have a volunteer tomato plant that has sprung up. I'm wondering if I'm brave enough to try and nurture it through the coming winter months. Although winters are very mild here, the garden is often neglected due to lack of good weather. (No one wants to go out when it's wet and muddy!) My eggplant is finally blooming, but I hope that its not too late to harvest some good fruit off that plant.

Next weekend: I will be pulling out most of the summer plants, turn the soil and fertilize, and sow the next batch of crops. I'll try to take pictures.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

We are coming to the close of a most enjoyable and relaxing weekend. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was planning on girls' night out this weekend. So Friday afternoon rolled around, and I rolled up to the North Bay to visit my friend Michelle, while Rudy went to "poker night" at another friend's house. We had a great time - visiting, sharing stories, listening to music and playing cards. We almost had the endless game of Gin, but we both ran out of steam and had to go to sleep.

On Saturday, after being awakened way too early (Rudy!) we went to see an art show of our friend Sybil Ross, in Occidental. I found one of her paintings that was just perfect (see below) and it is now hanging up in our hallway.

Today, we were mostly quiet. I was planning on pulling out the remains of my summer garden, but had to change plans to visit with another friend who was visiting from England. Now, as on any typical Sunday in fall/winter, we are quietly watching football and gathering our strength for the coming week.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

As I walked out into the garden tonight, I could feel the first chill of Autumn. The weather has changed almost overnight, and despit the fact that I know we will still have some warm days, I look forward to cooler evenings, warm meals and indoor projects.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Today ended up being a very productive day. I had plenty of work to do for one of my clients - and exciting work at that. My day began with securing financing and leases and ended with overviewing a business plan and revisiting my MBA/strategic management knowledge.

Even more exciting, I'm going to see my friend Michelle on Friday for "Girls' Night Out." I have plans to pick tomatoes and figure out how to run DVD movies off my computer, as well as trying to remember my bathing suit. It's good to have something to look forward to at the end of the week.

We also watched the gubernatorial debate tonight - all the major players were there - and the house is now filled with a tense, static energy. The amount of contention between the candidates was overwhelming, to the point where it was painful to try and hear each candidates' statements. More interesting was the commentary afterward about "who won." I'm less interested in who won, but more interested in core facts. Major statements that I heard tonight - Huffington has plans to 'mend' Prop. 13, which would affect many homeowners and business owners in the pocketbook, perhaps to the degree where they would be forced to sell. Bustamante wants to raise taxes, but I'm not sure to what degree and which taxes. Schwarzenegger wants to move more funds and control back to the local governments, for the benefit of local governments. McClintock wants to stick to core republican values, which includes not raising taxes as a source of revenue. Camejo wants to have public health care and utilization of pension fund ownership over corporate management. You decide - October 7th.

I don't normally post on political issues, but the dynamics of this event was so moving and stressful, I just felt I had to make a statement.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Yesterday, I researched the next phase in planting my vegetable garden. Although this next step is defined as sowing cool-season crops, I am hesitant to do so, since it is over 90 degrees here! According to the weather experts, it should cool down soon, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

I did spend a good deal of time studying today for my upcoming exam, with a new hope that I will be able to stick to a more reasonable schedule with lighter work load in the next month. Apparently, I underestimated the amount of effort required to get new businesses up and running. But they're set now, and I can only hope that they continue to grow and require my services. With all the hustle surrounding the new business set-ups, I guess I lost sight of the fact that this overwhelming burden of work-study-home is only temporary and that getting frustrated with my lack of time will only be detrimental to passing the exam.

So, in order to maximize benefits now, I have altered my cleaning pattern to the bare minimum, requested help with the yard maintenance, and limited myself to fixing meals that require less than 30 minutes of prep time. I'll let you know how it goes...

Sunday, September 21, 2003

I have always been fascinated at different times of year by what people deem as a "Harvest Moon." Some people just see a large moon in the sky and, regardless of the time of year, state "Look at that Harvest Moon." I have found answers to dispell this confusion. As it turns out, every full moon has a name - people just seem to remember the Harvest Moon. The true Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, in the 8th month of the Lunar year. This year, it fell on September 10th. The Hunter's Moon falls in the 9th lunar month, which will be October 9th this year. To find out more about all the full moons, visit the Farmers Almanac - Full Moons and Their Meanings.

My summer garden is nearing the end of its natural life, I think. It will soon be time to pull out the zucchini and cucmber plants. My cilantro and green beans have already expired. However, the peppers and eggplant are starting to take off and we have tomatoes a-plenty.

Amazingly, despite the hot weather and lack of water, the strawberries are expanding. They're trying to take over!!

And we have peppers and eggplant...

We had a great BBQ this last weekend of summer. One of our very close friends, Graham, moved back into the area, so we had a good time Friday though Saturday. Our BBQ consisted of veggie meats, potato salad, curried coleslaw, cantaloup, vegetable kabobs, and a variety of cheeses.

October Gardening Tip: Plant cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, lettuce and other greens.

Friday, September 19, 2003

I've been too busy to post the past four days. Between Blogspot crises, car problems, work issues and personal faults, I have been unable to post my usual ramblings about the garden, my cats and other junk. And, yes, Happy still thinks that Mr. Slinky's tail is a toy.

On Tuesday, I went to one of those quickie auto shops to get a smog check (after realizing that I had failed to realize that requirement of re-registering my car this week). To my utter disappointment, the car failed. And not only did it just "fail," it failed by 16 parts per million of hydrocarbons at idle. Thats 0.21%!!! And I really couldn't get a satisfactory answer from the technicians as to why it passed by such a small margin. I usually don't name names, but I'll tell you, don't take your car to a Speedy Oil Change for anything, unless you want to be taken advantage of.

This story has a happy ending...I called the Saturn dealership and talked to a service tech there and it seemed that the car was probably not warmed up enough to do a "proper" smog check. So the next day, I took my Saturn to my local service station and the car passed smog. Hmph. The moral of the story: you get what you pay for with auto service; if you take your car to a trusted shop (mine is S & D Automotive in San Ramon) you will get a better-quality repair person working on your car. It costs more, but it's worth it.

The rest of the week had its problem moments as well, but today, we glide into another (hopefully) restful weekend. The garden is a mess, and I think it's time to remove some plants and start a fall/winter garden. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 15, 2003

I feel lost, not having posted to my blog in almost three days! I don't know where to start with my post.

On Saturday, we went to SF MOMA to see the Marc Chagall exhibit - and, we celebrated my friend Michelle's birthday! We had a great time, and finished the day with great Moroccan food and belly-dancing at Amira.

For the rest of the weekend, I spent some time working on Sunday at WEEKEND en espanol, trying to come up with new financial and business strategies. I felt like it went well, but I haven't heard what today's outcome was so I feel like maybe the positive energy from the meeting might not have carried over into today.

Food: Chicken (Qworn - a chicken substitute) enchiladas with spanish rice and black beans (Sunday). Spaghetti with garlic and parmesean and a Morningstar Farms griller (Monday).

Home: Messy. I think I may be catching up on last week's chores. I'm starting to forget what part of my immaculately-planned cycle I should be following.

Study: The CPA exam looms closer and I'm studying less. Hopefully, this week will have fewer billable hours than last week, but I've already started out with 12. This week I should be reviewing Auditing materials.

Friday, September 12, 2003

The Friday Five:

1. Is the name you have now the same name that's on your birth certificate? If not, what's changed? When I was born, I was given my father's last name on my birth certificate, but my mother (being left on her own) gave me her last name. I've carried it ever since, but will probably change it to my married name once I complete getting all my professional designations. It's very hard to change your name just because you're married, especially after you've gone to school, worked, achieved professional credentials and established a credit record.

2. If you could change your name (first, middle and/or last), what would it be? If I was younger, I would say, "Yes, I want a name like everyone else's," but I realize now how unique and tailored my name is to me.

3. Why were you named what you were? (Is there a story behind it? Who specifically was responsible for naming you?) I was named after my Aunt Betty and my great Aunt Betty. I have an Aunt Betty on both my maternal and paternal sides. However, my middle name can be attributed to my paternal aunt, who is a Betty W. - and although I am a Betty W., our middle names are different.

4. Are there any names you really hate or love? What are they and why? I tend to like mythical or fictional names more than real, everyday names. But in the real world, I like my mother's and grandmother's middle name - Charlene.

5. Is the analysis of your name at / / astroexpert accurate? How or how isn't it? I really don't believe much of astrology or numerology as guides to describe my own person. On kabalarians, about half the information was generically pretty true about my personality: "You can have intensely contrasting feelings toward people, either you are fiercely loyal or extremely intolerant. There is rarely a happy medium in your feelings. Consequently, you experience many disappointments in people, tragedy, and the loss of the very things for which you may be intensely striving." The rest of the analysis was pretty much untrue, in my opinion, ("The name of Betty contains within it an intense emotional power that could drive you to put forth great effort to accomplish your ambitions and to do something noteworthy and worthwhile. There are humanitarian ideals in this name, making you feel the urge to champion the cause of the downtrodden, the victims of circumstances and injustices. However, it is difficult for you to materialize your ideals because of a restless, unsettled feeling which causes you never to know just what it is that you should be working toward, and the very intensity of your nature makes systematic concentration and application a challenge...Bitter experiences could make you cynical, critical, and argumentative. You find it difficult to see the brighter or humorous side of a situation.") and as most of you will probably concur. I was completely confused my and astroexpert.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Couldn't resist...

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I looked up at the clock from my nomadic workstation and realized that it was already 4:00 on Wednesday - only two more days left in the work week and one would be spent in a different location. It seems like once I get past Wednesday morning, the rest of the week just catapults me into the weekend and I'm swept away!

Edward Teller died today. I know many people are happy about this, as he was the inventor of the H-bomb. However, I am saddened by his passing. Whatever his creations, or the destructive nature of those, he was a brilliant mind. And where are those inventors and new shining stars in today's world? Far fewer are celebrating the brilliance of decades past, unless we are to assume that the current barrage of hackers and the like are the new breed of genius. Doubtful.

Work: I received my first payment from a new client today, and boy does that add to the liberation from previous clients!

Home: I'm still catching up on yesterday's chores. I actually made it out into the yard today, picking off dead blooms and trimming back my incredible-growing rose bush. I also visited the back yard, gave the small patch of lawn a much-needed trim, sprayed for bugs and harvested a cucumber and five tomatoes. I'm sad to say that I think it's time to remove the zucchini plants - they are starting to look tired and they have ceased production.

Food: Boca casserole (Boca burgers combined with a casserole sauce, broccoli, tomatoes and mushrooms, and topped with stuffing). It tastes a lot better than it sounds.

Study: Federal Taxation - Corporations

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

If I didn't need sleep, I'm sure I would be able to get everything done! I have ended another day, anticipating 4 hours of billable work and billing 8.5. It's just impossible to plan these days. I am totally neglecting my garden - I think there are items to be harvested, but I just haven't gotten out there! I can make it as far as the water valve.

Work: I spent most of the day focused on one client, interrupted only by a two-hour meeting for another client's telecom system. I suffered only one interruption from the fired client, and it was after I had snuck out the "back way" of the office building and was halfway home. It was a tad bit annoying, since I had given him all the physical and data files related to his inquiry.

Home: I finished yesterday's unfinished chores, but was unable to do the day's scheduled yardwork, since it was drizzling by the time I got home this evening.

Food: Herb-crusted cutlets and mashed tomato potaotes. Potatoes - three potatoes and three medium tomatoes. Boil potatoes (peeled and cut in 2" pieces) and 1 large clove of garlic for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and mash together with 1/4 C parmesean, 1/4 C milk, 2 T butter and a little parsley. Gently fold in tomoatoes.

Study: No study time available today. I have decided to try a new strategy on the CPA test prep path. Since I am mentally exhausted after a day of work and the demands of the outside world, I've decided that study should be done in the morning before my brain is overwhelmed with everything else that happens in the day.

Monday, September 08, 2003

No one's going to walk over least, not before I can get their picture! Work went smoothly today, without incident. My former client seems to have given up on asking me questions and is merely giving me the cold shoulder. I couldn't have wished for more :)

Food: Green salad with garden-fresh tomatoes and feta cheese; spinach cheese tortollini with tomato-pine nut sauce.

Study: ARE test prep - Individual federal taxation.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

This weekend, we successfully moved my mom out of her Livermore storage unit (her furniture, not her personally) and into her new house in Hanford. Although I only helped on the Livermore end, I hear that everything was delivered and unloaded successfully. I've been called twice by the client I fired - once on Saturday and again on Sunday. Unfortunately, Saturday I was moving furniture and helping at a garage sale and Sunday I was cleaning out my car. I guess I didn't notice the blinking lights on the answering machine (add your own sarcasm as you read).

Food: Lunch - herb-crusted cutlet (Gardenburger) on a whole wheat bun with lettuce and home-grown tomato and curried coleslaw. Dinner - faux chicken (Qworn) pot pie and salad. Treat for tomorrow: Banana nut bread.

Home: FINALLY cleaned out my car. It was full of golf balls, old papers and miscellaneous garbage. It looks really nice and respectable inside now. Paid bills and cleaned up the house clutter as well.

Study: I'm waiting until tomorrow, unless I get really, really bored (which I doubt, since I bought the Two Towers today and am dying to watch it)!

Friday, September 05, 2003

I had another nerve-wracking day. But I think I've freed myself from the demons that keep me up at night and cause panic during the day. With the help of those close to me, I rid myself of a client (I would mention names, but I think that would be unwise in my case). At any rate, I finally broke today, pulled myself together for one last round, and fired my client.

Of course, you know I did it in a nice way, and left everything organized and easy to figure out, even for a complete idiot. My decision was supported, so I feel that I probably did the right thing. I think if I hadn't terminated the business realtionship, I would have become useless to anyone else because of the prolonged exposure to a poorly-managed business.

Friday Five:

1. What housekeeping chore(s) do you hate doing the most? Cleaning bathroom floors (around the toilet, in particular).

2. Are there any that you like or don't mind doing? Several - cleaning is a fun and rewarding job. Vacuuming, cleaning counters, dusting, yard maintenance.

3. Do you have a routine throughout the week or just clean as it's needed? A routine - definitely. Monday: Vacuum and sweep floors, white laundry. Tuesday: Yard maintenance (mow, weed, trim), dark laundry. Wednesday: Bathroom basins & toilets, launder linens. Thursday: Kitchen counters & sink, other laundry (if any). Friday: no housework. Weekends: projects, like large landscaping or cleaning jobs. Daily: dishes, cooking, cat box, & trash. Yes, I do also work a paying job.

4. Do you have any odd cleaning/housekeeping quirks or rules? I have several, but most notably, I have dishwasher rules. I have a set schema for how things should be placed in the dishwasher.

5. What was the last thing you cleaned? Small: dishes. Large: kitchen counter/sink.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

This business of working for four clients instead of two can be a little draining. So many requests! But working with the 'new' clients is turning out to be fun, despite some small technical difficulties (I have my own laptop that I sync up with my clients' accounting systems). The old business is tiring, to say the least. The owner is very poor at communicating his expectations, and we have had a couple of crossed wires since the closing. This miscommunication went over the top when he started talking to me about his new business. I had a moment of strength - I told him I could not take on any more clients.

Although I gave him the "CPA Exam" excuse, I really just felt that if I had to work with him on his new business, that I would go completely mad. I should have told him that he needed to hire a personal assistant - not an accountant. Just to clarify - have you seen the movie 'Two Weeks Notice'? - it would be just like that, only she was a lawyer (and I'm an accountant), she got a much bigger salary, and she fell in love with her ridiculous boss. Not in the cards for me. No where near.

Anyway, on to other things...

Food: Lentil-Rice loaf (Morningstar Farms) with mashed potatoes, vegetarian gravy, mustard greens and biscuits. (Note: Vegetarian gravy - melt 2 T butter, add 3 T whole wheat flour until it soaks up the butter, stir in 1 C good vegetable stock, bring to a boil stirring frequently until thickened, lower heat and add 1 T soy sauce.)

Home: Cleaned up my old computer workstation by adding a tablecloth and sorter bins for my accumulated papers. Also hid cat litter box under the "clothed" desk.

Study: Ran out of time.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Today was my first day - in several respects. First day in the old office minus most of the furniture and all the people (really pretty depressing). First day in new offices with new clients - which was definitely more fun. I am hoping that closing down this business will require less of my time than I can imagine. Okay, so I can dream.

Home: Harvested several tomatoes and one cucumber. Fixed up a ratty old dresser by clearing clutter (Rudy) and topping with just the right size towel.

Food: Hungarian noodles with veggie sausages (egg noodles, cooked cabbage and Morningstar meat-free sausages).

Study: Accounts Receivable.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Hooray for the Labor Day weekend! On Sunday, we played golf at the Pleasanton Fairways Golf Course, which is inside the race track at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. This event would not usually be blog-worthy, except that the Scottish Games were happening at the same time. The massed bands were performing, to be exact - 800 bagpipes all at once.

Today, we spent our Labor Day Monday playing golf (Rudy) and studying (Betty) But mostly relaxing.

Work: Received three calls this weekend from clients. My question is, why are these people working on 'Labor Day' weekend? And why do they think I want to work? They all got billed.

Home: Cleaned kitchen and hardwood floors. Recommendation - Murphy's Oil Soap. Rudy mowed and edged the lawn, saving me a chore tomorrow.

Food: Appetizer - assorted cheeses (Port Salut, Gouda and Cheddar) with a sliced baguette and crackers. Salad - romaine lettuce with veggie pepperoni, oil cured olives and Feta cheese. Main Course - Spaghetti with tomatoes and garlic and oven-roasted zucchini.

Study: Financial Accounting Concepts; Cash and Cash Equivalents.

Reading: The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis