Friday Five

1. Sometimes when Reggie is tired and he’d like to go to sleep, I find him waiting on the far side of the bedroom between the bed and the windowsill. He’s waiting patiently for me to notice him. This is what I see:

2. How now good lady! A friend who works at Juilliard got us tickets to see the student performance of Henry V. Don’t let the words student performance fool you.  Juilliard is a performing arts college where only 2% of applicants are accepted. So these kids are goooood.  Theirs was a modern interpretation of Henry V:  the actors spoke Shakespearean English, but carried machine guns instead of swords, wore fishnet stockings instead of pantaloons and blared Nirvana during the battle scenes. The king spent lengthy periods sans shirt, which was a very nice innovation. They performed in the round, so the actors had to make all stage entrances/exits through the audience. Sometimes this meant craning our bodies around to see action taking place behind us, but it’s a much more intimate setting that I didn’t mind the trade-off. Because there aren’t that many students in the program, they each took on multiple roles – as many as 5 or 6! I would have given them a standing ovation just for  remembering all of those lines seeing as how I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last night.

Here is the most interesting part. The title of my novel comes directly from a line in Henry V!  A little background: the king has waged war against France with a fairly dubious land claim based on his distant roots in the French royal family.  The climax comes at the Battle of Agincourt. The English are outnumbered five to one against a better supplied and more experienced French army. Henry V delivers a moving speech a la Braveheart to encourage his troops. It’s often known as the St. Crispin’s Day speech. An excerpt from the monologue:

From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

And…the title of my novel is We Happy Few. I hadn’t even given it a second thought until I heard the line in the moment. Of all the plays my friend could have invited me to, she picked Henry V which contains the line I plucked for the title of my novel now in the hands of an editor somewhere. (Agent, please call me!) Is something going to happen with my novel soon? I hope so!

3. If you build it, they will come! Happy news to report! People have registered for the first The Writers’ Salon session! I’m so glad I won’t be talking to an empty room for 1.5 hours. Hopefully the momentum will keep building. Sessions start on March 12, so there’s still time for to get more interested writers.  

4. Y’all know  how I love my soups, so next up on the hit parade: roasted vegetable. This is one of my favorites. It’s hearty with a hint of sweetness. I like to include carrots, parsnips, butternut squash and sweet potatoes, but you could certainly swap in your favorites. Try spaghetti squash for butternut or red potatoes if you don’t like sweet. It’s really flexible though a bit labor intensive with all the chopping and peeling, but well worth the effort. I toss all of the veggies with some olive oil, fresh parsley, salt and pepper and then roast them for about 30 minutes at 425 degrees. Sauteing them would get the job done too, but it wouldn’t result in nearly the same flavor. Once tender, I puree them in the food processor with vegetable stock until velvety smooth. Serve with toasted walnuts on top or swirl in sour cream for a bisque-like soup. Tastes even better the next day.

5. There are only two guarantees in life: death and taxes. I say with relief, pride and just a hint of smugness: I have filed my 2010 tax return. Federal and State! (Doing a little dance over here!) When you get a refund as I do, you get on it as soon as possible. My taxes aren’t terribly complicated, yet it still took me three hours, not including the time I spent getting my receipts organized, etc. Does anyone else think this is ridiculous? Know what else is ridiculous? The confounding IRS language. Maybe it’s just me, but when I read something like this, my eyes glaze over.

The starting point in computing your New York State itemized deduction amount is your federal itemized deductions from federal Schedule A. However, difference between federal and New York State laws make it necessary to make certain adjustments to your federal itemized deductions in computing your New York itemized deduction.

But don’t worry. Help is a click away.

There are situations when a taxpayer may need to manually calculate the taxable state income tax refund using IRS Publication 525. These include: the refund is for a tax year other than 2009, you made your last payment of 2009 state or local estimated tax in 2010, you could not deduct all your tax credits for 2009 or you could be claimed as a dependent by someone else in 2009. If you are required to use Publication 525 then you will need to manually calculate the taxable portion. Enter the correct taxable amount on the State Income Tax Refund Document and enter 2008 as the tax year of the refund. This amount will then transfer directly to Form 1040.

Still need help? Fine.

Enter the amount, if any, of the subtraction adjustments below. These items cannot be deducted from New York income but only to the extent included in total federal itemized deductions.

A – State, local, and foreign income taxes (or general sales tax) from federal Schedule A, lines 5 and 8:

B – Ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred in connection with income, or property held for production of income, which is exempt from NY income tax:

C – Amortization of bond premium attributable to 2010 on any bond whose interest is exempt from New York income tax:

D – Interest expense on money borrowed to purchase or carry bonds or securities whose interest is exempt from New York income tax:

Still need help? Then go to your liquor cabinet.

Query to my international friends: Do you have to file yearly paperwork for income tax payments? Is it crazy like this?



  1. Henry V, with Nirvana as its backdrop? I love that idea. Creative, for sure, but also I’ll bet it really worked.

    It’s snowing here today, so your soup sounds lovely.

    Happy weekend!


  2. This soup is one of my favorites! A little bit sweet and creamy. Yum! I might shake things up and make a minestrone next. 🙂

    Enjoy the weekend!


  3. Indeed! I expected the students to try something unconventional and they really pulled it off.
    I love when these seemingly disparate things come together. Sort of reminds me how everything is connected.


  4. Reggie: That is so cute! Our cat and dog also tell us when they’re ready to go to sleep and want a human to go to bed with them.

    Income Tax: In South Africa it used to be quite a challenge to complete your income tax form every year, with a confusing long form to fill in. They’ve now cut the form for ordinary individual tax payers down to about 4 pages – which you can also submit online. Much less stress now! 🙂


    1. Your income tax preparation sounds a little bit easier. (Even so I’m sure it’s not your favorite thing to do! 🙂 ) We can file online now too which speeds up refunds. But I sure miss the days when I could fill out the easy 1 pager form….


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