Thursday, November 13, 2008

Attempts at Audit Survival

Years ago, the first time an envelope arrived with a return address from the IRS, I panicked- turned out to be estimated tax payment vouchers. I learned to stop panicking because they kept sending me innocuous information letters, vouchers, etc. So when yet another nondescript letter from the IRS arrived two weeks ago, I didn't even open it. There it sat on my desk for a few days, unopened without any air of urgency.

Let's call it my October surprise (yay that there was none for the election this year- whew!), but yes, when I finally got to that letter on very last day of October, I was pretty damn shocked. It stated that I had been selected for an IRS examination. Yes kiddies, that meant the most dreaded thing ever, an audit (cue in screams & shrieking banshees). Not particularly surprised considering how bad the economy is, makes sense that the government is trying to find money wherever they can. Those of us who are self-employed are at much higher risks for audits. Well, I paid a lot of freaking taxes for the year that I am being audited- they are going to be sorry that they picked me because I have decided that the IRS will probably end up owing me money when that audit comes in four weeks. Paws crossed!

How am I preparing for my audit? After calling my accountant in a state of sheer distress and then digging up paperwork from 2yrs ago, it was time to sort through and basically recreate my financial life for 2006. With some sage advice from Fcat (who went through this yrs ago), "Focus, be methodical, not emotional." (oh that was good!), I was ready to get to it.

Well, I would have been ready if I wasn't in the midst of a hellish shoot where I was still frantically casting for models and about to start a huge casting on another big project shooting soon. Not good to be audited, but much worse when you are completely swamped...

So after ordering a 2006 moleskine date book from Ebay, because I should have been keeping a business journal all this to ashtanga for some balance. Stress affects your body in unimaginable ways, I was so tightly wound & off balance- it was as if I had never practiced yoga before, but I was able to get through the grueling feel-good class. Next stop had to be Whole Foods...where vegan goodies, stress-relief mist, sandalwood oil for centering and a vial of Hornbeam from Bach's Original Flower Essences awaited- this stuff is fascinating.

There are 38 Bach Flower Essences and all are quite specific. The Hornbeam label reads:
"Restores energy when you are mentally weary, procrastinate and doubt your ability to face the task ahead." Hey, that's me with audit & work! Bach's Rescue Remedy was a life-saver for both Booboo & I during the move, so there's no doubt the flower essences work. I've been taking the Hornbeam daily and seems to be working.
Here are my audit necessities:
I love me some vegan rugelach.
And since I am officially stressed, I have allowed myself a little too much vegan junk my new fave, Kettle Death Valley Chipotle Chips and glazed blueberry donut holes from Nutrilicious, also available at Whole Foods- love that big Vegan sign where the vegan desserts are!
Let's see yummy delicious catering at the shoots not quite hitting the spot since it wasn't so veg friendly this time called for my lovely assistant to run downstairs to Two Boots Pizza for their vegan "Earth Mother" slice- yummy garlicky saucey slice on sicilian crust without any cheese. It's really good despite the bad pic.

It hasn't been a junk fest everyday, I did make some swiss chard ala V'Con in peanut oil & sesame that was extremely tasty with quinoa, Field Roast apple sage sausages & roasted butternut squash.
How about something not junk but still comforting like swiss chard & pinenuts pasta- so to get those carbs in.
Exciting things besides nasty audit letters come through the mail too, like my order of V-Pure Omega 3's- the only veg omega 3's with both DHA & EPA. It was back ordered on Vegan Essentials and the other online veg shop sites, so I bought direct from the source Water4Life
not thrilled about the shipping from overseas part, but started taking it the other day and waiting to see if I feel any differently.
Lastly, everyone should take on more than they can chew- in the midst of the crazy work project and audit, there are the strays that live down the block from us in a lot that I worry about on a saily basis. They are young cats and my bff has decided to rescue one and hopefully, with a whole lot of coaxing, Fcat & I will also welcome a rescued Booboo friend. The cutest thing is that the two that are the friendliest are apparently best-friends and my bff & I had spoken of them separately & had no idea that they were best-friends. Will try to get better pics and wish us luck that we catch them soon!
Okay, forging ahead and back to audit prep. Hope everyone is well and will try to visit blogs when I take a breather!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day 2008...Anxious Much?

As you can see, Booboo is waiting for election results and yes, she will be waiting on the edge of the bed all day until this evening, hoping to celebrate her candidate's win once those Eastern swing states close...she is much calmer than I am to say the least. She wasn't even born yet when we had an election stolen from us- the heartache & depression that followed, I think NYC was ready for secession after that loss...paws & fingers crossed that all goes smoothly this year.

Election anxiety aside, I have been blessed to have a ton of castings & shoots going on. Giant casting sessions can be hard work, so I definitely need a sugary pick me up! My new favorite, I-hearts-it-the-most vegan cookie is The Essential Cookie from Cindy Klotz Productions- 100% vegan and sold in delis around NYC. The ingredients are all natural and just the tastiest cookie around. I know two delis that carry the cookie that usually don't even carry vegan products. Hurray!
Other ways to quell election anxieties? Food. My other new love is the cutest little place in Greenpoint, Brooklyn: Papacitos Brooklyn- Mexican Street Food & Beer Garden. They have a great vegan selection!
My favorite: Grilled Seitan Asada Burrito...yes, I say OMG, it's so damn tasty...
Pictures do the tastiness no justice. My bff & her husband took me- we biked over from LIC to Greenpoint just over the Pulaski Bridge. I was a nervous nelly on the bike because I have never biked in the city ever (except as a kid around the block, doesn't count...), but it was all worth it and the traffic was almost nonexistent. Get there whatever way you can for that seitan asada...
Except for the occasional foray out, we have been quite good about cooking at home- a fabulous kitchen with fancy appliances does make it much more enticing...made a brunch of baked tofu scramble with broccoli, FYH Monterey Jack, peppers & onions with a side of roasted fingerlings.
Fcat made a delicious kale, portobello, tomato pasta. Hands down, he makes the best pasta dishes. We have been cooking while watching talking heads go at it dissecting everything from percentage points to Bradley Effect to "You Bet'cha" (oh don't get me started on that...). Love watching the pundits talk it up.
Tonight, will settle back & have Purely Delicious Coconut Milk Line- Mint Chip on a good.
Looking forward to tonight and watching it all come together. Praying for the best and at worst would consider moving to Canada or Italy...hope springs eternal.
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