Friday, December 30, 2011

Dead on arrival: Christmas, 2011

Peggy Orenstein writes a brilliant Op Ed piece for the New York Times on gender neutral toys. Hamley's Department store in London (the FAO Schwartz of England) has recently remodeled their children's toy department in to a red and white decor separating inside/ soft toys from outdoor ones. No pink and purple for girls, gray or camo color for boys. I am thrilled. After days of present opening, dozens of batteries and the realization that nearly ALL the presents were made in China, I revel in the small advancement towards toy sanity. Here's hoping that next Christmas/ Hannukah, no one will buy Mateo a cheap, plastic remote anything, or a Disney product that talks, just because he's a boy. By the way, toy industry, both remote cars were dead on arrival. No amount of batteries could revive either one. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mr. XXX at the IRS

On the 23rd of December, 9PM central time, I received a phone call from the IRS. Wow, I said to this stammering guy who identified himself as my examiner, this seems awfully late to be calling us citizens. I work until 1 in the morning. Where are you, I asked, thinking, India? Holtsville, NY.

In what seems like a never ending circle dance to file my taxes since adopting Mateo, Mr. XXX at the IRS, questioned everything about my expenses. Meanwhile, Mateo is in the car backseat, overtired and insistent on hearing Frog Story one more time. Mr. XXX has to listen to me implore Mateo to be quiet for 5 more minutes while I speak on the phone. It doesn't work. Mateo doesn't understand what the heck the IRS could possibly be and why I am looking panicked.

3 minutes into this insane phone conversation while driving through holiday traffic at night, I realize that there's nothing I can intelligently say without my accountant's advice. In a moment of uncharacteristic IRS sympathy, Mr. XXX tells me that's probably a good idea. If you get me a copy of the boy's VISA faxed, I will see what I can do to stall proceedings. And then, I adopted a child in 2008, too. Wow, what candor from a bureaucrat, I thought. Is this the true meaning of a religious holiday?

Friday, December 16, 2011 short video on Marfa, Texas

To watch a funny piece for, created over one of the most chilly weeks in Marfa history, double click on this link: