Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Unmet Obligations

Hmm, yes, I was supposed to write in this blog every day, but, alas, I didn't make it a priority, did I? Oh, I wasted Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing Day on other things all right. We finished our jigsaw puzzle on Christmas Day. It was a secondhand 1000-piece affair depicting that iconic Beatles album cover. These things are real time-wasters and I only allow us to do them once a year. As I mentioned last time we spoke (on the 23rd) jigsaws have many lessons to teach, especially when worked on by more than one person. There are the different approaches: looking for a particular piece outlined wholly or partly by the partially-finished puzzle vs. picking up a piece and looking for where it might go and what pieces it might go with. There are the different tolerances for spending time with the puzzle: hours intently assembling a section as opposed to walking by occasionally and finding a fit and walking away. There's the grabbing of the box top with the completed picture by the various participants. This puzzle had the picture top and bottom but the top, while bigger, was partially obscured. In this house, we assemble the edge first. I sorted the pieces a little while doing this. At first I forced some pieces into the wrong places and thought pieces were missing, but finally figured it out. One loses oneself in the puzzle and it drives out the worry about everything from posting to Holidailies to starting to worry about taxes. I think this is why people do them in ICU waiting rooms, nursing homes, etc.

Christmas Eve was busy with our new traditions. We visited the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar to walk around and look at some booths selling various oddments and to hear Christine Albert and Chris Gage do a set.
A collage from old circuit boards at the Christmas Bazaar.

Chris and Christine on stage.

Since I'd climbed to the top of Doug Salm Hill last year on Christmas Eve, we made it a tradition and did it this year, too.

Things looked different last year before new buildings were rising:

We continued with our Christmas Eve traditions by stocking up for staying home on Christmas Day. (Two trips to Trader Joe's: one to buy eggs, bananas, salad greens, sourdough bread; and one to buy flowers and Guinness.) We met two other couples for dinner at Second Bar and Kitchen. Then we went to one set of Jon Blondell's Christmas Eve show at the Elephant Room. Our friend Butch Miles was in our group and sat in for a couple of tunes.
Christmas Day we did not leave the house. We worked on our puzzle, read papers, worked crosswords, watched the documentary about Roger Ebert ("Life Itself"), and watched "BBC World News" which always calms me in today's awful news cycle (I think it's the accents). The day withered away. I have no idea what else I did. I never took off the sweatpants and old T-Shirt I slept in. 

Boxing day (the 26th) we didn't give anything to the help. (Who would that be? The concierges, maintenance guys? Already contributed to their bonuses.) But I played tennis. The day was drizzly and cool and cloudy. The hard courts were unplayable. Only one other clay court had people having some fun. Later the day turned a bit more bitter. There was a fiercer wind from the north and more drizzle. We didn't venture far. A couple of blocks north of the apartment to Austin Wine Merchant for a Boxing Day Tradition of tasting Siduri Wines. Then a couple of blocks south of the apartment to see a movie. ("Call Me By Your Name.") Then one block north again later to our 'local' (the bar at Fixe) to meet a friend for an early supper and drinks. Home to vegetate with mindless TV and newspapers and, finally, a few pages of my current book before sleep. 

Today I started tax season by preparing stuff for the CPA for our Subchapter S Corp and mortgages we own. The looming taxes spoil the holidays every single year. FFP has been working on our charity deductions spreadsheet for weeks even though we won't be able to file a personal tax return for months because of late K1's. I'll spend lots of time between now and the 1040 filing worrying about it. Ah, well, there's always a spoilsport. Death, taxes, health, finances. It's always something.

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