Sunday, February 19, 2012

Happiness of the Unexpected: Sunday Thoughts on Taxes, Employment, and Art

--When the scale goes up a few pounds from one morning to the next, I reassure myself that there's no way I've really gained x amount of weight in 24 hours.  When the scale goes down, I assume I've lost those pounds.

--Does that mindset about weight, its ups and downs, replicate itself in other areas of my life?

--I did my taxes yesterday.  Thank goodness for my spouse, who had sent the IRS more money this past summer than we remembered.

--In addition to my regular job, we are both self-employed.  My spouse has to pay all sorts of tax.  He ends up paying roughly one third of what he makes to the federal government, not just in income tax, but also because there's no employer paying his share of Social Security tax and Medicare tax.

--When we wonder why small businesses aren't creating jobs, my spouse's experience gives a window into why they don't.  Employees are more expensive than we might think, even if you don't give them health insurance.

--My employer has managed to keep my health care premiums the same cost to me across several years.  I'm in awe.

--There are so many ways my working life could be worse.  I'm incredibly lucky.

--One way my working life could be worse:  I could be the tuba player in a band:

--I had forgotten how big the tuba is.  Of course, if my tuba music led people to dance, maybe the pay off would be worth the huge instrument:

--She's wearing a Fair Isle sweater!  When I was in high school, I got the most beautiful Fair Isle sweater for Christmas; it made me incredibly happy.

--I'm happy that my side business as a writer gives me a bit of money and a reason to hold on to receipts.  If we go to lunch, and I talk about writing, lunch has suddenly become tax deductible!

--How I love to go to lunch and talk about writing--or any creative pursuit.

--I'm also happy that my art form doesn't involve scary, Industrial Revolution era tools:

--Of course, I don't get to blow molten material into a glass shape:

--I don't shape/bend glass to my will:

--My hope is that my words make people as happy as this window of glass shapes made me last night at the Hollywood ArtsPark:

--I got this shot with the flash on, but there wasn't that glare that often happens when shooting with the flash.  I love the speckling effect, which I certainly didn't anticipate when I took the picture.

--That's the joy of exploring a new art form, the extra joy, the extra happiness of the unexpected.  I've been writing enough years that I don't experience that same joy in writing as often.  It's a different joy with writing, the joy of years of practice leading to my feelings of competence, with flashes of "Oh, I didn't expect this at all."  With photography, there's no feeling of competence yet.  There's the taking of the pictures, which makes me look at the world differently, followed by the anticipation of what will emerge, as I plug the camera into the computer.

--And then there's the joy of using the pictures later, working them into a blog post for example.  It's a different kind of collaging, isn't it?  Last night when I took the pictures, I didn't know I'd use them in this way.

--May this Sunday bring us all happiness, both the expected and the unexpected.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Oh, I do love the speckling and the collagey joy of this! This builds my courage as we approach--aauugghh--taxes!

Ah, I see that my "prove you're not a robot" words for today are:


I will be very, very kearful not to let the pressure get to me, thanks to you!