IRS 2018 Tax Return Filed - Almost

irs_logo.pngWhen the new tax rates came into effect in early 2018, we did our spreadsheet analysis to try and pinpoint the correct withholding to use for the remainder of the tax year. I think we did pretty well with the withholding although we got a bit more in the deductions due to a couple of things: 1) we were especially generous this year with a couple of new pro-2A foundations* and 2) we paid the vehicle tax on the motorhome for 2019 in advance when we were upgrading to the W7GD call plates. All this resulted in a modest over-withholding to the tune of getting a good chunk back from the Feds and a small amount from the state. For the latter, our contributions to the Arizona Private Education Scholarship Fund completely eliminates any state income tax liability and are also deductible under 501(c)(3).

So, now all that is left to do is the actual filing; on-line for the Fed and via mail for the state. Since I only got the last of the 1099s today and because of an unusual circumstance involving class-action litigation from which we received a modest sum, I want to go over the numbers one more time before pulling the big handle.

So, that’s just about it for the 2018 tax fiasco. I am going to adjust the 2019 withholding spreadsheet since the Damsel will now start to get a small pension from her previous employer. We are still waiting for those figures to come in for us to account for them.

* Arizona Citizens Defense League Foundation and Gun Owners of America Foundation, both 501(c)(3) charities.

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Diet Support Kitchen Gagetry

VeggieSpize Spiralizer

One of the things we most lamented about when we started on our diet last October was giving up pasta. For years, we have enjoyed dishes with all those carbohydrates and all the adverse effects they may have been having on our metabolic systems.

Now that we are on our reduced carbs diets and have been for about three months, we see our results taking place. Damsel is losing a little weight but more importantly, is reducing her blood glucose (she will be tested for that soon at the clinic). I have lost about twelve pounds and two belt notches since the start.

And all the while, we have been enjoying our new cooking lifestyle with substitutes for those things we thought we couldn’t live without. Instead of mashed potatoes, we have mashed butternut squash. Instead of noodles, we have enjoyed Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles) and that brings us to the gadget in the photo.

The photo shows the spiralizer cranking out zucchini noodles. It is a VeggieSpize Spiral Slicer available from Amazon. Damsel and I used it for the first time last week to prepare Zoodles to be served with her homemade low carb pesto.

You can buy prepared zoodles and other veggie or tofu products already packaged in the store, but the drawbacks there are 1) cost and 2) preservatives and other additives. Packaged zoodles in the size that correspond to one spiral cut zucchini is about $3.00. To do it yourself as in the photo is about $0.55 in cost and you know what’s in the final product.

As far as spiral-cut veggies being a substitute for pasta, they do the trick; zoodles, like spaghetti, actually take on the flavors of the sauces and are of no special value other than to transport to your taste buds. The Pesto Zoodles made a nice side for some Filet Mignon steaks we had last week.

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Purple Haze Lavender Rose

Purple Haze Lavender Rose

Yesterday was the last day that these beautiful roses were on display in the vase on the sofa table in the great room. We bought these a week ago and they lasted until yesterday in the vase. I managed to get this photo of one of the prettiest of them before they wilted.

I read that these flowers originate in Ecuador. From Magnaflor:

Purple Haze

The Purple Haze rose is a wonderful pale lavender bloom with creamy undertones and rosy edges. Lavender symbolizes love at first sight and will elicit feelings of spirituality.

Ecuadorian roses have an advantage due to the growing conditions; they get natural light the whole year, due to the country’s location by the equator. Artificial illumination is not necessary in Ecuador. Most farms are at an altitude of between 2800 and 3000 meters above sea level. With farms being closer to the sun roses produce the largest blooms and longest stems.

I replaced the roses today with Spider Mums in yellow and Violet. Maybe a photo of those later. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Classic Ford Stake Bed Truck

Ford Truck

Earlier this week, I went to the dentist for a check-up and cleaning. Since the dentist’s office is about 400 feet west of where we get our F-150 serviced, I figured to kill two birds by dropping off the truck and walking over to the dentist. The idea was to have the truck be finished when I was done at the dentist. Naturally, that didn’t happen. I had to wait at the Quick Lane an additional hour while they finished with the service.

While I was waiting, I was texting with Damsel and captured this photo of a late 1920’s Ford Stake Bed Truck that the dealer had on display in the showroom. I sent the photo to my computer so I could post it here. The classic truck was clean inside and out. I didn’t open the hood, but I’m sure it is clean in there as well. Click on the image to enlarge.

The visit to the dentist went well. No new problems with the teeth and the oral cancer screening was negative. The hygienist says to “keep up the good home care.”

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What’s for New Year’s Day Dinner?

I know that this post is a few days late since we enjoyed this Holiday dinner, but here it is regardless.

For many years, we have had a New Year’s Day dinner tradition of serving up a great batch of ham and 15-bean soup with a nice bakery roll. It seemed to us that a hot bowl of soup would be an appropriate meal for the usual cooler weather at this time of year. This year, however, we both are on a low-carbohydrate diet that (unfortunately) excludes legumes and bread. Our holiday tradition needed to be changed.

Well, since meat has no carbs, we would prepare a roast of some sort. We decided on having a popular roast of beef tenderloin using a Chateaubriand recipe.

Preparation for the dinner starts at the butcher shop. We bought a whole beef tenderloin on sale (≈$40) and had the butcher cut it to order. We put a bunch of tenderloin steaks (Filet Mignon) and various other pieces of the tenderloin in the freezer. We had the butcher cut us a pound and a half roast from the center of the tenderloin which would be used for our Chateaubriand.

Sear Season Roast

At home, the preparation was pretty simple; sear the roast in butter and extra virgin olive oil using a cast iron skillet. Reserve the pan drippings for the sauce later. Place the seared roast on a rack over an oven pan and coat with herbs and seasoning per recipe. Roast at 375° until a temperature probe in the center of the roast reads 125°. Transfer the roast to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve the roast drizzled with the sauce. Add some lo-carb side dishes.

Sliced Roast with Sauce

So there it is - our revised New Year’s Day dinner tradition - Chateaubriand. Click on any image to enlarge and try not to drool on your keyboard.

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Happy New Year!

happy-2019.png

We had a pretty good day today. It started out with a little light snow, some of which stuck. Snow is unusual for us here and, coincidentally, it snowed here on New Year’s Eve in 2014, but today’s snowfall was nothing compared to that event. After it warmed up a bit, some gentle rainfall slushed all the snow away this afternoon.

2018 was good to us. Even though we had some surgery on the thyroid last march, there have been no health issues other than the usual arthritis and other aging things. We started a diet a couple of months ago and it has been working. I lost over 10 pounds so far and a couple of notches on the belt. Damsel is doing as well.

In the coming year, we have springtime plans to head to Colorado. This year, we had a marker placed on an ancestor’s grave in Montrose, CO and we are planning to go view the work and to place a wreath or three. We also will be visiting in Pueblo, CO to place more wreaths and perhaps meet up with some long lost cousins.

For 2019, we wish everyone a wonderful, prosperous and happy new year!

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New Arizona Ham Radio License Plate

W7GD License Plate

That was a pretty fast turn-around! I ordered the new plate 29 days ago and it was already in the PO Box this morning. The lady at the MVD that took the order said about 30 days while the literature on line said six weeks. Regardless, it’s here and already mounted on the Motorhome.

They only issued a single plate because AZ doesn’t require a front license plate. I think I can get one for the front of the RV, though. I will check on-line and see if that is possible.

We won’t be able to show off the new plate until springtime because we’re not going to go on our planned trip to Colorado until the weather changes. Maybe we will have some other place to go in the meantime, but we’re not planning on anything yet.

So, there ya go . . . a good-looking ham radio call plate on a good-looking Motorhome. Click on the image to enlarge.

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