Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Stuck No Longer--Unleash the #BOTB Winner!

      No A to Z on Sunday, but still I'm posting.  Today I've got the results for my most recent Battle of the Bands.

Battle of the Bands

Stuck in the Middle with You

       In the middle of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge which falls in the middle of the month seemed like an ideal time to revisit the Stealer's Wheel song "Stuck in the Middle" using two quite different remakes.  For reference you can find this Battle on my last Sunday post of April 15th.

         My reaction to this Battle between the mellow sounds of Jodi Pederson and the hiccuppy bouncy Frantic Flintstones was that Jodi gave a pleasant listenable performance which was my favorite at first.   But then after several listens, like happened with some of the voters, I began to prefer the Frantic Flintstones.   Jodi was off to a good start early on in the contest, but the wave for Frantic Flintstones swept through and gave them a decisive win.

Final Vote Tally

Jodi Pederson                  5 votes

Frantic Flintstones         12 votes

Next Battle of the Bands on Tuesday May 1st.  Since I've got just about a week of A to Z to post and I'm still writing those posts, I have no thoughts about my next Battle.  Guess you will have to find out then what song I'll be using next.   The Battle will happen since it is one of my favorite things.

        Are you ready for the upcoming summer months?    Any vacation plans for this year?   When in your life have you felt most stuck in the middle of your situation?  

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Statements ( #AtoZChallenge )

Say what you want, but whatever you say is your statement.   Please make it mean something or make it funny...

A Statement About Statements

         Back before this past December I had several boxes of bank and credit card statements going back to the eighties.  After years of delay I finally culled through those boxes and reduced my statement collection into two relatively small boxes, labeled and stacked together on a shelf in my garage.  This was achieved by getting rid of envelopes, advertising inserts, and pages with no relevant information on them.

         You might wonder why I would continue to keep these statements from so far back.  These records of purchases long past and other money flow in bank accounts that no longer exist seems rather non-functional--at least from any standpoint of personal finances.   But for me these statements are a record of something different than my spending and saving habits in the past:  They represent a part of my past life.   Cumulatively taken, these statements are like a diary that reconnects me to who I was and what I was doing.

        If arranged in chronological order, I can read through the statements as though they were a journal that I had kept during that time period.   I can see times of frivolity as well as tough financial straits, I can see what was purchased and where and when.  By deduction and memory I can figure a lot about the times surrounding the statements.

          Now that I've rid myself of the junk portions (it all went into my recycle bin) I have a compact record of facts that I can relate to emotions and events of another time of my life.  This goes into my research library.  This is the memoirist in me--the writer.  Those statements can help set the scenes for stories and even tell stories themselves.

          I don't know if I've convinced anyone other than me that I have some good reason to keep these boxes of statements.   It probably doesn't matter much to anyone but me since these boxes represent my history and my research files for some later time.  That's why I think they are worth keeping for a while at least.  Besides, who is to say whether reading a great or even average novel is more satisfying than reading a stack of receipts.  It all comes down to the story being told and what that story means to the reader--a reader who might also be a writer.

Has a credit card or bank statement ever inspired you to imagine a story?   What kinds of things might  credit card charges tell you if you were looking at someone else's statement?   Have you ever gone back to look at the charges on an old statement?

Friday, April 20, 2018

Receipts for Recordkeeping ( #AtoZChallenge )

        I was just reading my Walgreens receipt.   They put a lot of information on those things.   And in two languages!

My file cabinet laden with receipts.

Receipts and Records

         One of my weird bad habits comes out of an old good habit of saving receipts.  When I started working as an independent contractor I saved any receipt that I could use as a tax deduction.  Also I kept receipts to check against my credit card statements if I had charged something.  And there were the receipts I kept to make it easier to return something if that needed to be done.  There are a lot of good reasons to keep receipts for at least some designated period of time. 

          Now I'm in the habit of tossing receipts on top of my office file cabinet whenever I have them in my pockets.  They pile up until they overflow onto the floor and I attend to the fallen while ignoring the pile.   Periodically I'll weed out some of the receipts or file them accordingly, but the pile seems to grow faster than I can keep up with. 

           I need to come up with system that works for me--probably a neater variation on what I've got now.  For the time being I've cleaned the receipts off the top of that file cabinet.  I like seeing it that way, but a few things on top don't bother me either.  But the neater cabinet top will be an inspiration for at least a few days.

After cleaning receipts from top of file cabinet.

         My father was an accountant so he was kind of a stickler about saving receipts since we could take a lot of tax deductions for our side job as a juggling act.  He ingrained in me the idea of saving receipts.  Old receipts and statements can be helpful for jogging the memory, something which I wrote about several years ago on my memoir blog.  I'll have a bit more to say on this topic in my next post:  S for Statements. 

          Do you save a lot of receipts?   Do you use expense deductions for your income tax?   Have you ever run across very old receipts for past purchases by parents or others?