Monday, August 31, 2009

That explains it!

In March I was gathering up all my paper work for my accountant so she could prepare my annual tax return. As I was doing that I came across a Federal receipt that I didn’t recognize. It turned out that I should have been claiming capital gains/losses on some investment funds that I’ve had since 2002. I had completely overlooked those papers but luckily I save everything so I had all the information I needed to file “T1 Adjustment Request for 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 tax years”. The forms were complicated so I had my accountant prepare them along with my tax return.

Here is what ensued:
April 27 – mail T1 Adjustment Requests
June 12 – received a letter from the CRA “You don’t qualify under ‘Voluntary Disclosure’” (which is how I filed just in case they got unhappy about the fact that I’m seven years let telling them about this)
June 22 – Another letter from CRA “We got your information. We’ll let you know when we look at it.” (uh, thanks)
August 17 – Phone call, I need more info (easy peasy, a bit of BS and a fax and we’re good)
August 25 – Third letter “I’ve reviewed it, I’ll let you know the outcome in a separate mailing. Oh, but don’t worry about 2005. There’s no change there...but keep everything in case we decide to audit you.”
August 31 – Received FOUR separate envelopes. Bottom line? You owe us $26.53

Yep, that’s your tax dollars at work folks! No wonder they don't get anything done. If I had to send a letter everytime I moved a file on my desk I'd take forever too! At least the damage wasn't too bad.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Fill-in #139

Friday Fillins Blog

1. He was a lawyer? Really? Why isn't he a lawyer anymore? What kind of law?

2. Wearing socks is what I look forward to most this time of year. I heart wearing socks

3. My best friend is going to New York with me!!!

4. It feels pretty surreal to be honest with you.

5. Appearances can be deciving sure but sometimes they're not. Sometimes what people look like really is who they are, what they stand for and how they act.

6. The last person I gave a hug to was my brother Seth when I said good-bye :(

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a surprise engagement party, tomorrow my plans include the annual square dance picnic...which I've NEVER made it out to and Sunday, I want to see Doc Walker at the PNE!

I'm going to New York!

It doesn't feel real.

My best friend Meredith and I have been planning a trip to New York City for our "25th Anniversary" for years. I moved to the neighbourhood in October of 1984 (although when we actually met is up for debate) so 2009 is our "25th Anniversary". I love the idea of New York at Christmas time so we were planning our trip for sometime in December. Last night we booked it.

Leaving Seattle on Boxing Day (December 26th) on a red eye flight and arriving in New York at 6 in the morning. We'll be there for five full days and coming home on New Years Day. That means we get to do New Years Eve in New York. Wow!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I’m the hero of the office.

And I’m a fraud. Actually, you already know I’m a fraud. I named this blog “Coffee, Country Music and the Corporate world” but only because the “C” of coffee fit the alliteration I was looking for. “Starbucks” is really a better term. I don’t drink “coffee” at Starbucks, or at Tim Hortons for that matter. I love going there though and I drink all the frou-frou drinks. At home I drink ::gasp:: instant, sometimes French press if I’m feeling fancy…which isn’t usually, and at work, I drink whatever’s available.

At work I’m responsible for sourcing the coffee so I generally buy whatever is readily available, within budget and satisfactory. Not great, but satisfactory. Well the coffee snobs rebelled. They managed to get our boss to agree to a fancy smancy “grind and brew” coffee machine. I’m a hero because I picked it up from the store. They set it up yesterday and it was like someone had a new puppy. Everyone was oohing and ahhing and watching the first beans be ground. Whatever.

I’m drinking my first cup from the new machine right now and its fine. Better than the crap coffee I normally buy but not something I’m willing to chip in to subsidize.

So, hero, fraud. You be the judge. Me? I’ll stick with basic coffee…and laugh at the snobs :D

Thursday Thunks

1. Have you ever played Bullshit?
Yep, we called it the more benign "cheat" and it usally followed a rousing game of "Asshole"...which we called "Peon". Definite favourites in our house.

2. A dog licks you on your face. Are you disgusted or thinking it was sweet?
Disgusted. I can't stand licky or yappy dogs. Actually, I'd take a drooling baby over a dog any day.

3. Tell us about a fun/special memory you have of a grandparent.
I was in "my" bedroom at their house one evening. The door was open and I saw them pause in the hallway and kiss. My grandparents were NOT at ALL physically demonstrative and I think that's the only time I ever saw them kiss. It was a very private moment that I got to witness and I remember sleeping so soundly because I could feel the love and I felt so secure that night.

4. Have you ever pet a rat?
Possibly. Not something I'd go out of my way to do.

5. If I walked into your kitchen, where are the cups?
In the cupboard between the sink and the fridge.

6. Since you already let me in your home, I found the cup and had water, now where's the bathroom from the kitchen?
Go back towards the front door, turn left and right and it's at the end of the hallway. It's the room with the toilet in it :D

7. Have you ever pet a turtle or tortoise?
Yes, although "pet" is an odd word.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Saturday in Words and Vancouver Aquarium on Sunday

Robert arrived by plane Friday evening and did the "guy thing" after the rehersal that evening. Saturday morning Seth had to report at 9am for pictures before the wedding so Mom, Dad, Aaron and his friend Nathan, Robert, Brittany and I went out for breakfast. After that Robert and Brittany were meeting up with Seth for the wedding so I headed out to Hicks Lake for a birthday party for Chris & Leah's daughter, Brooklyn's birthday party. I didn't take any pictures there but it was a nice relaxing day by the lake. We sat around and visited, watched Brooklyn open her presents and went for a canoe ride. In the evening I came back to Mom & Dad's and canned peaches!

Sunday morning Seth and Brittany drove Seth's friend Conrad to the ferry and then we met up with them at the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. Between Brittany and myself we took well over 300 pictures during the day. I've uploaded about half to Facebook. These ones are some of my favourite.

The Aquarium was BUSY! It's a good thing we go there as early as we did because we got in without having to wait. The rest of the day the line stretched way out the door and down the side of the building. Crazy considering it costs $28 to get in. Yes it's a fantastic facility and they do good work but I still think that's an atrocious amount. Heck, I thought it was bad back when it was $14. $28 is highway robbery. Anyways, after I bit the bullet and paid the entrance fee we started planning out where we wanted to go. Robert needed to be at the airport by 6 to get on standby for his flight home so we were on a bit of shortened time line. We decided to start with the new "4D" experience, hence the glasses on Mom and Brittany, right.

Next we caught the dolphin show. My camera has a bad time lag so it was hard to capture these fast critters, but I got a few good shots.

After the dolphin show we left the Aquarium and got our picnic lunch from the car. Seth had requested Mom's "bandito wings" so she made a batch of those along with potato salad. After lunch we headed back to the Aquarium and worked our way sysytematically through the displays.

We saw the beluga tank with the new baby beluga, although we only saw them from above because the line to go below was over 20 minutes long. Inside we saw everything from sharks and alligators to starfish and sea anenomes and even "found Nemo"!

We felt kind of rushed all day but we managed to see everything and that's what counted. This is my favourite picture of Robert. A few of the tanks had these bubbles that you could view the fish from. It gave a totally different view.

When we finished at the Aquarium we drove around Stanley Park and stopped at Prospect Point for a few minutes to admire the view. Then we headed home. Of course after all that hurrying we ended up with more time than we thought so we managed to fit in one last family dinner before Mom and Dad took Robert to the airport.

Later in the evening Mom, Dad, Seth, Brittany and I went mini golfing. It was a great way to end the day.
Monday Seth and Brittany were at the PNE all day so I didn't see them at all. Tuesday I saw them at Mom & Dad's in the evening for a bit and today we're going out for lunch before they hit the road again.
It has been wonderful having them here. Hopefully next time it won't be so long before we see them again!

Summer Night Market

Friday evening Seth was at the rehersal so Mom, Brittany and I went shopping! Our ultimate destination was the Summer Night Market in Richmond but it didn't open until 7pm so we popped in to Daiso on the way. Daiso is basically a Japanese dollar store (well, two dollar store) but it's fun to visit.

We got to the market around 7:30 and started with the food booths because we were all starving. You can get plenty of weird and wonderful food there. It's like a fair, but with Asian flair! I started with a "wheel cake" which is a doughy pastry filled with Nutella. There was a lot of Nutella available there. Yummy!

Next up was huge spring rolls, and skewers of chicken and potato wrapped in bacon with a mango drink to wash it all down. Oh, and deep fried sweet potato balls. They were really, really gooey and I ended up throwing half the stick away.

We skipped all the seafood although there was plenty of it available. Squid, prawns, "curry fish balls" etc. No thank you!

The booths are filled with all sorts of things. Lots of cell phone accessories, Brittany got a charger for her iPhone, movies, decorations, blankets, shoes, purses (I FINALLY found a white purse that I love. I've been looking for months) and more. Part of the market is the thrill of the hunt. The other part is just enjoying a beautiful summer evening in an incredibly diverse city.
I uploaded a bunch more photos to Facebook if you're interested.

Friday, August 21, 2009

This is different

I was going through some draft posts yesterday and I found this one. I wrote it on February 7th of this year but never published it for some reason:
I was just talking to my brother Seth. He and Robert are out shopping for Valentines gifts and the question of "how much should an engagement ring cost" came up so they called for my opinon. Of course they prefaced it by saying they're NOT buying rings, just wondering.

Anyways, Seth also told me that whoever he marries, be it his current girlfriend if it develops like that or someone else, needs to have a lot of MY qualities! My willingness to try new things and be spontaneous. Wow. I know they say a girl often looks for someone like her dad but I've never heard a guy admit that he likes the qualities in his sister that much...
It's timely because, as you know, Seth is here right now with his girl friend Brittany. We had dinner in White Rock last night with my parents and then walked along the water front. The path doesn't allow for five people to walk abreast so Brittany and I strolled ahead. We had a blast. Laughing, making comments about people and their clothes and discussing everything from cheap sunglasses to country music.

I started this blog after Seth broke up with his first long time girlfriend (aka the bride at the wedding on Saturday) so I haven't talked about her here. I'm trying to remember if she and I ever "clicked" like Brittany and I have. Maybe it's been to long but I don't think it was ever this way. She was always "Seth's girlfriend" whereas Brittany seems to be much more of her own person and relates to us that way.

The rehersal is tonight followed by a "guys night out" so I'm taking Brittany and we're going shopping :D I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We're Together Again

Seth’s here. He arrived with his girlfriend Brittany yesterday. They’ll be in town for about a week but will be busy with wedding stuff this weekend. Seth’s best friend is marrying Seth’s ex-girlfriend…and Seth’s the best man. A little too close for my tastes but it’s not my life.

Last night Dad set up the brand new patio set that he bought on the back deck. He just finished sanding the whole deck and painting it too so it’s really nice and fresh out there. We had a lovely dinner of bar-b-que steak, baked potatoes and corn on the cob with “pie a la mode” for dessert.

Today Seth, Brittany and possibly Aaron are shopping at Metrotown and I think we’re planning on getting together this evening. If Robert can get off work he may be flying out for the weekend (in on Friday night, out on Sunday night) but we haven’t heard yet. If he can it will be nice to have the whole family together again!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'll take that as a compliment

There were three bananas on the top of the fridge at work all last week. Finally on Friday one of my coworkers presented them to me (gotta love the bonuses at a non-profit LOL) I took them home and made them into banana bread. I brought it in Tuesday morning and left it on the counter in the kitchen. By 3:30 there was only one piece left. I'll take that as a compliment!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rational Hesitation

From my Starbucks cup on Wednesday:

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Rational hesitation. That’s the story of my life. As I get closer to my goal of moving to Ontario, my commitment deepens and I have to admit, my hesitation is going away as well. More and more people are learning of my plan and, once they hear my reasons, they support me whole heartedly.

My newest consideration/decision, what ever you want to call it, is the idea of going to school when I move to Ontario. The timing certainly makes sense and I am looking for a change. School would be a big change and a good challenge. I’m still not 100% sold on what I’d take but that’s part of the fun of it. Exploring different options.

So now my rational hesitation about school. There are so many pros and cons.


  • Is school ever wasted?
  • I’d learn so much!
  • It would be fun
  • It’s slightly more flexible than having a full time job although I’d be poor
  • I can justify working at Starbucks (something which I’m inexplicably obsessed with doing)


  • Financially student loans are the only way to swing is. Is that crazy?
  • Are there actually jobs in the history field? (which is what I’m leaning towards studying. Aside from teaching. I don’t want to teach.)
  • It’s school. It’s been ten years since I was in school.
  • I know nothing about being a student. It’s a whole new world to learn about.

I can’t even think about apply for the 2010/2011 year until September so I can’t commit to anything. Until then the rational hesitation rules.