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Travel and taxes

Posted by Lois Lowry
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on Thursday, 06 March 2014 in Uncategorized

Taxes. Blizzards. Airports.  these are the things that have been obssessing me for about six weeks. Every year I have to put together my tax informaton for my accountant; what's the big deal? I've done it for years. I am self-employed, so I have to organize all those receipts and document that yes, I did have lunch in the Houston Airport on my way to a conference; and yes, I did need to buy a new ream of computer paper at Staples, and yes, yes, yes...   Nothing much changes, years to year, except the dental bills, which have grown and grown. And I don't cheat, or even try to find ways to ferret out extra deductions.  So I should be used to it, and relaxed about it, but I am not; and I don't know why, each year, I whine and mutter and procrastinate.

But now I have completed the tax stuff, and mailed it to the accountant, so maybe I will stop having the dream about the final exam for which i haven't prepared..at least until next February.

But then there is the endless snow and bitter cold which this year has made Maine feel like Siberia...and has also complicated travel.  I got hung up in Houston during an ice storm (yes, IRS, I had to eat lunch in the Houston Arport). And then my plane out of Madison was cancelled and I had to take a bus to Chicago (yes, IRS, $30 for bus fare: tax deductible); and then a week or so later my plane out of Sarasota was cancelled; and now I am suposed to go to Tucson next Friday and already...ALREADY!...the weather guys on TV are making sounds about a snowstorm....a Nor'easter they are calling it, because TV weather guys love to use that term....late next week.  Can this be true? In March..the very month of my first-day-of-spring birthday???  Of course it can. It happens, at least in New Engand, every March.

In any case I am hoping to get to the Tucson Book Festival, where I am to speak next weekend, and where I will also see a lot of old friends.  And then later in March: the Virginia Festival of the Book, in Charlottesville, where I wil get to see my brother, sister-in-law, their daughter and three grandchilden.

Unless, of course, my travel is once again disrupted by snow.

Today the sun is shining very brightly and I am bemused and curious about the tracks on the snow surrpunding my house. I recognize my dog's prints. He makes the trip around in a circle that varies very little...he is respectful of the underground electric fence which operates even through deep snow. Lately he has, when i let him out after dark, been barking a bit in the area outside my bedroom.  There is no exterior light there so I can't see what he is barking at...but today I can see some prints that are not his. More than not-his, they also cross the electric fence boundary and go up the hill beyond.  I'm guessing fox. They are smallish tracks. And I am just hoping that skunks don't come out in the snow, or porcupines, which have done him in before...but a porcupine would leave a different track.  (I just looked up porcupines, in fact, and learned that they winter in the tops of trees! Who knew?)

I watched the Oscars with three women friends Sunday night and we muted all the speeches when they started thanking their agents and producers and moms and dads. But at least no one pretended that they hasn't prepared a speech, and some speeches, like that of Lupita N'yongo, were very moving. There wasn't too much overly-prepared repartée and the gowns were pretty, and so what if my choices didn't win. It's a pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening and I was able to catch up on "True Detective" the next night.

Here is the moon.

This was taken by my thirteen year old grandson, who is facsinated by astronomy and has a fancy telescope and knows much more than I do (though I was able to tell him that 16th century Danish astornomer Tycho Brahe, having lost his real one in a duel, had a false nose. My grandson had not known that ...and let's face it, a false nose is interesting. Brahe's was apparently made of brass)

I bet it would be cold, though, a brass nose, in a snowstorm.

And I wonder if it would be tax deductible as a medical expense.

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brenda wyckoff
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brenda wyckoff Thursday, 06 March 2014

; > ) "brass nose in a snowstorm": my best smile so far today!

Mary Fister
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Mary Fister Friday, 07 March 2014

Dear Ms. Lowry,
My 6th graders and I started reading The Giver together two weeks ago. I asked them to just read a couple chapters a night so that we could discuss the book together or in small groups. Well, after we got through chapter 5, there was no stopping them! Half the class finished it that night, and now there are several small groups reading Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son. Even my reluctant readers, who claimed not to like The Giver, have finished it and formed the Reluctant Readers No More Group, and are working their way through Gathering Blue.
I have sort of lost control of the class! I am trying to stay on top of who is reading what, but it's not easy! They have begged me not to give them worksheets, or literature circle jobs to complete while reading...they just want to read!
Anyway, my students and I want to thank you for writing these amazing books.
Sincerely,
Mary Fister
LaSalle Language Academy
Chicago, IL

Brittany
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Brittany Thursday, 13 March 2014

Hi, I just finished reading your quartlet. As a person I never really could find a good book. Then my, current,8th grade teacher made us read the giver as a grade. I was first to finish the book in my class, as well as the series. I REALLY loved all the books. I was so devastated when your series came to an end.(ps it would be super cool if you made another series like it. Considering your my favorite author!!!!) Plus I found the topic you wrote about in the the series was engaging to my whole school, including me if course.

Sincerely,
Brittany
Bellevue, Ne

Stephanie
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Stephanie Sunday, 16 March 2014

Dear Lois,

I normally don't take the time to do this but I feel it is necessary! My 10 year old son begged me to take him to see you speak at the UOfA on March 15th, 2014. He is a smart intelligent young man with a passion for reading and writing and you were once his favorite author. That all changed this afternoon. We watched you speak and he was sooooo happy and could hardly wait to get your autograph. He is very shy so we patiently sat and waited until the line died down. When my son went up to the line he was told you refuse to sign anything other than your books. All he had was a piece of paper. I felt horrible. I am a single mom with 2 kids, we don't have much spending money and when we do it goes towards necessities unfortunately I cannot buy my son all the books he wants. Well, my son asked one more time after everyone left if he could get your autograph and he was once again told no but this time as he was told no you were actually autographing it for a woman that was there. Why is he different? Why was he ignored? He sat outside the tent for 20 minutes crying hysterically. All he wanted was an autograph from his now once favorite author. He now has a completely different view on authors. He feels they are all about money and could care less about their supporters and fans. Like I said, I normally don't take the time to do this but my son is crushed and still is. I think it's really sad and being the mother I feel helpless there was nothing I could do. I hope you or your people never make another child feel this way, especially one that looks up to you as the way my son once did prior to this situation. God bless. :( :(


Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Stephanie Hendrix
Regarding my lovely son: Juan Romero

Lois Lowry
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Lois Lowry Tuesday, 18 March 2014

I'm so sorry that happened. I don't know whom you talked to at the event but generally they make rules for various reasons and I think they had decided that because of the long lines, only books would be signed. The problem is, often, that if one kid gets a piece of paper signed, then a hundred kids come with pieces of paper and it takes too much time from the people who are waiting with books. If you email me (click on EMAIL ME on my website) with an address, I can send your son a note and a signature. Remind me, in the email who you are, so it won't get lost in the many many emails!

Stephanie
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Stephanie Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Thank you very much! I appreciate you taking the time to do this, you have no idea how much it means to me. He will be ecstatic!!!!! :) I emailed you via your website from Shendrix03@aol.com.

His birthday is March 24th, this would be an amazing birthday present..



Thank you again

Bethany LaChance
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Bethany LaChance Thursday, 20 March 2014

Happy birthday! :D

Stephanie
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Stephanie Thursday, 20 March 2014

Happy Birthday Lois!! :):)

Wendi
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Wendi Sunday, 23 March 2014

Dear Ms. Lowry,

I am sorry that I didn't get to see you today at Festival of the Book. My favorite book of yours is Summer to Die although I like your other books but that one was special. I am taking a Children's Literature course this semester and it allows me to read all of my favorites and experience new ones such as Gathering Blue and The Quiet Boy. I hope your visits go well with no more weather issues. Take care.

Regards,

Wendi Chapman

Kally Kowalski
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Kally Kowalski Monday, 31 March 2014

I would like to send an email but can't find your email address on this site.

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