Dec 30, 2006

alive in fairbanks

Posted by Mary |

Sigh. Is it time for another one of those "so sorry I haven't written in a while" posts? Once again I'm out of excuses. I was busy getting ready for the holidays, experiencing the holidays, experiencing the holidays all over again when my Christmas gifts arrived on Dec. 27, getting mentally ready for Texas, blah blah blah.

First: My parents rock for listening to my Christmas desires: No knick-knacks to clutter up my cabin, and an iPod, please. I finally joined the iPod generation (I've had mp3 players, but never an official iPod). I've spent the past few days browsing through my 2,000+ cd collection, trying to select music for it. At first I was being choosy, not wanting to take up precious space with songs I only sort of kind of liked. Now that I'm three days into the process and still have about half the storage left, I'm just throwing songs in willy-nilly. Plus, I got the Belkin car charger/FM transmitter, which leads to this:

heard in the car

Thank you, miss. What the hell are you listening to?
--A grateful, yet curiously questioning hitchhiker

Yeah, good stuff. It was Bollywood, by the way.

So now I'm getting ready for Texas. By my rough estimates, it will be 4 days, 11 workshops, 2 performances and 2 parties. Throw in an overnight visit to Boise (Town motto: Yeah, it's in Idaho. You got a problem with that?), a night spent in a Motel 6 near DFW to try to avoid a 4 am taxi ride to get to DFW and a 7-hour layover in Seattle, and you've got my trip in a nutshell. Fortunately, Heather is moving to Seattle on Jan. 1. I presume she won't have a job by Jan. 8, so she can meet me and we can roam the city together. I'm saving money by shacking up in Fort Worth with some strangers I met over the Internet. Sounds kind of sketchy, so investigate them if I die. Here's what I know: Kyla Khan of Phoenix, Zuza/Valerie of Minneapolis and Andrea of Dallas. I also found another stranger in Boise to meet up with. Ah, the powers of the bellydance network.

As I often do, planned my trip around food. To be specific, I found an Indian lunch buffet in Boise. I shall eat my fill, and then some. Remind me not to have breakfast before the flight.

Dec 15, 2006

famous in fairbanks

Posted by Mary |

Yesterday Dara and I met up to attempt to scale the mountain of cookies we had baked with Jennie on Wednesday night. Somehow simple math eluded us, and we decided (OK, I decided) to get together and bake our cookies. Three bakers, two types of cookies each, one oven.... It was a hellish evening of juggling cookie sheets. And we still had to frost the suckers. With much patience and wine, we finished them off.

Dara also informed me that a client of hers knows me, somehow. Apparently the topic of bellydancing came up, and when Dara said that her friend Mary dances, the woman exclaimed, "Mary Haley? She started the tribal fusion group in town. I love them. Their choreographies are great! I love their costumes!" *ahem* I'm famous!

Last night we had the odd experience of interviewing a potential satellite resident at Hidden Hill, only to decide that the fit and the timing wasn't quite right. It's strange, because it's not like we have an empty cabin that we need to fill. Being a satellite resident means joining the community for meals, socializing, helping with the weekly cleaning, using the shower and laundry facilities, etc. We don't need satellite members, but having them can enrich our community. After he left, we discussed it as a group, and many of us were unclear on why he wanted to join and how much he would be able to participate because of his erratic work schedule. It's worth noting that he moved to Alaska only knowing one person in the area, so one resident felt that we should reach out to him to give him a kind of home base. Personally, I moved here not knowing a single person in the state. It's a choice we make, and I don't know if we should feel obligated to help every new person who arrives in town. Another resident made the point that we have to balance out his needs versus our needs as a community, and that right now we're struggling a bit as a community. In the end, the group seemed to agree with her, and we decided that we may invite this person over to socialize a bit, but that we need to work on our community before we can start to help others. At least, that's my interpretation of it.

In other news, tonight is the annual Hidden Hill bonfire. A word of advice - stay away from the eggnog. Hopefully I'll be in better shape the next day than I was last year.

Dec 6, 2006

heard after dinner

Posted by Mary |

We had one button and we liked it!
--Kyle, griping about kids today
and their fancy video games

Take my check, please

Posted by Mary |

The IRS keeps trying to give me money, and quite frankly I don't trust them. A few days ago they sent me a check for around $400. This time I'm wising up. Instead of cashing it, I'm going to frame it and hang it on the wall. Why you ask? Because they'll be asking for it back soon enough.

It all started around this time last year. I got a letter from the IRS one day saying that I owed them for taxes. As it turns out, I did in fact owe them.* Thus began a series of letters, all informing me that I owed them around $200 and that they would send a bill. After a few months, they actually sent a bill and I paid it. A few months later, they sent me a check for around $400 for "overpayment." Ka-ching, right? Not so much. In August they sent me a letter saying that the check was a mistake and that I needed to repay them $600. For those of you doing the math, that means I essentially had to pay them another $200. I bitched, but I sent them a check. They turned around and sent me a check for $400.

Now if the check were actually mine to keep, I would be just about breaking even. Follow the math:

0 - 200 + 400 - 600 + 400 = 0
But I'm pretty sure they'll realize their mistake soon enough. And if not, there's no expiration date on the check.

*Nah, I didn't deliberately cheat them. I did some work in Connecticut that ended in December 2002, but never got paid until well into 2003. They never sent a W-2, and when April 2004 rolled around, I filed for the work I did in 2003, forgetting that late payment.