Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Greetings From The KardKorner!

photo by Suzanne * April 16,2011

Just cruising by to wish all of my faithful readers a wonderful and safe Easter holiday.  And, of course, I would like to share a few oldies but goodies with you. 

An Easter photo that I believe was taken in 1952.  We lived in Kansas City, Kansas and both of my parents were photo bugs!  Left to right: Me, my brother Stan, and my sister Leta.


Who are these two guys?

Are they cousins? Neighbors?  Are they brothers?  Father and son, you say?  EXACTLY!!!  Did these two plan this?   I mean, who'd of thought?  Which one is which, you ask?



                 My son Rusty * 2 yrs old and his son, my grandson, Shawn * 2 yrs old
They kind of look alike I think, and both are engrossed in those Easter baskets!
I think both pictures were taken by the same person...who?


I would like to share a bit of nostalgia.  The photo below contains a collection of an important part of my childhood memories. The small prayer book is one I received for my First Communion, June 10, 1956.  It is still in pretty good shape, however, I open it very carefully.  My name and the date of my First Communion, along with the name of my church and our priest, is handwritten in the prayer book.  The various religious pictures are what we called "Holy Cards".  We attended Catechism classes throughout the school year and two weeks of what we called "summer church school" once school was out.  We would receive these "holy cards" as rewards for learning prayers and, I think, for just being there and having wonderful nuns as teachers.  I have quite a collection of them.  The small gold box is a charm that looks much like a bible.  I have lost the bracelet chain somewhere over the years-the lid is covered with what appears to be white pearl or onyx, and it had a tiny blue cross on it (which eventually came off and I have missplaced it).  Inside the little bible is a blue rosary that you see draped on the outside.  This, I also received for my First Communion.  And there is a handpainted ceramic cross standing up against the potted plant.  My mother sent me this cross probably about 12 years ago-not antique yet, but I keep it on my desk.  I have to tell you, I am glad I kept these items throughout all of my life.  I keep them put away, but still nearby.  And, now, I get to share them with some wonderful folks that I have found to appreciate such keepsakes! 

photo by Suzanne * April 20, 2011

Once again, thank you, my dear readers for stopping by-WHEW!!! Tax season is pretty much behind us...onwards to what's left of spring ( springtime in Texas is short!).  And upwards to outdoor grilling, the lake and summer holidays!  Actually, not looking forward to mosquito season! 
Have a joyous and safe Easter holiday-I'm off on a much needed four-day weekend! YES!!!

"And on the third day he arose again from the dead:
He ascended into heaven,
Sitteth at the right hand of God The Father Almighty:
From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead."
~from the Apostle's Creed

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mushroom Garden Instantaneously!

This morning when my husband Karo went out to feed our huskey, Whitey, he discovered a surprise garden resting atop a bale of hay that we negleted to put up out of the rain.  Mysteriously, there had appeared some tiny mushrooms just sprouting from that hay.  Of course, I had to fall all over myself to get the camera and shoot out the door!  So I did get some shots of the "tiny garden", and then wanted to find out what they are.  I have always taken an interest in mushrooms, and eat them almost every day.  Of course, I won't try to eat these, and I'm sure they'll disappear by tomorrow, but I've never been up close and personal with this type of 'shroom before.  So I did my best to find them and I think I may have hit paydirt!

According to "" these are "Inky Cap" mushrooms.  They are conical shaped with gray/black gills that release black spores when the cap disintegrates and turns into ink.  The mushrooms decompose and grow on lawns, pastures and manured habitats.  Hmmm, I wonder, can the ink be used for anything in particular, if you could be there "johnny-on-the-spot" to capture it?
Oh, well, maybe another post...this is actually just a TEST post!!!

Thank you so much for stopping by
Thank you
Thank you

"Their mass rotted off them flake by flake
Til the thick stalk stuck like a murderer's stake,
Where rags of loose flesh yet tremble on high
Infecting the winds that wander by."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Beatles "dis" the "Taxman" for the 45th year...Are We Having Fun Yet?

photo taken by suzanne in fort worth, texas on 03/31/11
this inflated statue sits atop "Liberty Tax Serivce" in Fort Worth
edited by suzanne at kardkorner headquarters

Well, Well, we are again-it's the IRS's favorite time of year, or is it?  Do we honestly think the IRS enjoys putting up with all of the tax returns being shoveled in by the post office?  Are they laughing at those who scramble and race to the post office before midnight on deadline day? And do IRS employees get paid overtime for sorting out the "YES"-"I've enclosed a check" envelopes from the "NO"-"you owe me" envelopes?  Can they read our handwriting, especially if it's done in pencil?  Has Turbo-Tax and E-File slowed down the volume of mail going to the IRS?  How about all the questions we have?  "Do I really need to file?"  "Can I claim this, or that?"  Does the IRS appreciate all of the phone calls with questions that are answered online, if we would only LOOK it UP?   Or do we really like the IRS?  Kind of like, "I can't wait to have all of my teeth pulled!"

Modern income tax emerged in 1913, and mandatory withholding was established in 1942.  Withholding taxes is considered to be a less painful way of meeting tax liabilities and was presented as a benefit to taxpayers.  Do we, the taxpayers, actually believe that federal withholding is easier on us because we have never seen the money we're paying with? Who wrote that book?  And at the end of each year, we still have to file and report the $.28 per month interest we've received on our savings account, because we're afraid of being "taken down" by the IRS!

No, really, I'm just kidding!!! Or, am I?  I do our income tax returns each year myself, and so far, I have done pretty well.  I figure my son's returns, and I have done returns for others, although I'm not a CPA.  In 1988, I was laid off my job and needed to work. I managed to land a temporary job doing tax returns in a convenience store-Cool, huh?  It was fun-just lasted through tax season and by that time I had found another job.  I put up a card table and chairs in the store, and the customers would come in during their lunchtime or after work until 8:00 at night.  I could do only personal returns, you have to be licensed to do corporate returns.  I met a lot of people and got some good experience in the meantime.

So what do I REALLY do for a living, you ask?
Actually, I work for a stock brokerage firm.  I've been in the business since 1980.  But, rest assured-


I work in Branch Operations processing client deposits, and disbursing checks for interest income and proceeds from sale of stock.  For a few years I worked in the department by myself, but we have taken on more Financial Advisors, more support staff, thus increasing our client base, so I now have two co-workers to share the duties with. There are approximately 60 employees in our Fort Worth branch and we stay bussssy!  I also receive physical stock certificates and deposit the stock into clients' accounts for safekeeping.  We get some pretty colorful stock certificates, and, one of my favorites to see is the Walt Disney Stock.  It actually has pictures of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on it.  Stock certificates are like money-some of them even feel like the dollar bill!  I work in a locked, secured area called "The Cage" (we get teased a lot about being "cagey") and we have to use a security pod to get in and out.  More of my duties include entering actual stock and option orders (buying/selling) over the wire to the New York Stock Exchange.  Even though the brokers have the capabilities now to enter their client orders themselves on their computers, some stocks require a handwritten ticket entered over the wire by me.  It's pretty exciting and you have to be on your toes!  These are only a few of the tasks performed by us in "The Cage"-grrrrrrw.   

Tax season is serious business in our office.  Clients who have IRA's must to deposit their contributions for the prior year before the tax deadline.  And we need to make sure we get the contributions deposited and coded correctly before that time.  This year, the tax deadline to file for the year 2010 has been extended to Monday, April 18, 2011.  And we are all asked not to take off during this time-we are all needed to get through this event as smoothly as possible.  As always, there are procrastinators who wait, and, in some cases, their CPA's are trying to help them decide the best methods to use in order to bring their tax liabilities down.  Our Financial Advisors work with the clients' CPA's and assist in reviewing clients' statements, outlining the client activity from the previous year.  It is a very busy time, and not without stress.  But most of our clients have been really good, and have taken care of their 2010 business early.  Kudos to our clients!

I know, I know-we all try to follow the rules, as much as we whine about them (myself included).  Sometimes we make out like a bandit-sometimes not!  But, the law is the law, and we all wish to be law abiding, don't we?  So we try to give the IRS a break and swear we'll get our returns in early.  How does that work for most of us?  Nyeh! Nyeh!

Actually, I found just a few statistics suggesting that maybe more Americans are being honest and filing income returns.  This following was posted by Daniel Downs in 2008:
* In 2007, 74,152,000 returns were received
* In 2008, 78,792,000 (an increase of 6.3%) were received
* 2007, returns filed by tax professionals was 37,942,000 * self -prepared 15,204,000
* 2008, returns filed by tax professionals was 40,040,0000 * self-prepared 17,705,000
* In 2007, the average refund was $2,427
* In 2008, the average refund was $2,492
AND-visits to in 2007 were at 95,534,000 with a 16.7% increase in 2008 at 111,491,000!  You know, I've done that myself in the past few years and have found some real helpful hints, along with the necessary forms needed to process our returns.  They're trying to keep us from calling so much, n'est ce pas?  ...moving right along

Do you have time for a short story and a little fun?

George Harrison 
February 25, 1943 * November 29, 2001

We all know who this handsome man is...George Harrison, born in Liverpool, England-one of the Beatles!  I can't even tell you which one of the Beatles was my favorite, because each one of them possessed a uniqueness of his own.  George was lead guitarist and backup vocals for the group.  Sometimes, he did perform lead vocals on a song.  One of the first songs he wrote was in 1966.  He had asked John Lennon to help some with the lyrics and they came up with "Taxman".  George had said, "I started writing Taxman when I realized that we were giving most of our money away in taxes."  It was said that he wrote the song in anger, attacking the high levels of tax taken by the British Labour government  that had put the Beatles in the United Kingdom's top tax bracket.

This song is featured on the Beatles 1966 album Revolver and is still played annually by DJs in the United States during tax season.  During his solo career, George Harrison would perform the song and it has been performed by Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Tom Petty, to name a few.  I have always thought this was a fun song-the lyrics and music are dynamic!  George, you are missed!

 Please join me in remembering George Harrison by viewing this cool video I came across on YouTube.

My gratitude goes out to:
George Harrison
The Beatles
You Tube
My job for the past 20 years!

Thank you readers for taking the time out of this BUSY time of year to read my blog, and REALLY have a few laughs!  I hope your tax experience this year is swift and painless (if that's possible!).

***note:  this post was written in fun, and not intended to offend anyone ***
 (if you are an employee of the IRS). 

"My coffee gets up and brings ME to the kitchen!"