Those lucky ducks who receive fatty refunds filed as soon as you got your W2. Those of us who have to pay up come tax time aren’t in any rush. Well, there’s no more time for dicking around. Tomorrow is the day. Avoid Turbo Tax. Some states aren’t accepting the e-filings from Turbo Tax due to wide-scale fraud perpetrated using the software to file fake returns. I asked an accountant friend which program he used, and he recommended freetaxusa.com. It works just like Turbotax – by prompting you with a series of inquires and totaling your refund or payment as you go, but it costs much less and is a easier to use. Currently through Ebates, you can get 25% cash back on your freetaxusa.com purchase as well as a 10% off coupon to apply to the state filing charge of $12.95. With applicable discounts, you can get your taxes done quickly and efficiently for about $10. And if you are wondering if it is just too hard, I have employee wages, independent contractor income requiring a schedule C, investment earnings and losses, and a number of business write offs. Even with all those complicating factors, I was still able to complete the assignment in less than 2 hours. It’s not too late procrastinators.
I’ve reflected on how to comment on the return of Bethenny Frankel to the Real Housewives of New York. Most of us hold Mizz Frankel in ambivalence and can all generally agree that last season of RHNY sucked pinot. Therefore her return is in many ways much welcomed. In response to her comeback episode, “Poor Little Rich Girl” has been the standard refrain from both mainstream and independent media. Certainly, I get why the shrill multimillionaire appears unsympathetic to most. She’s rich as fuck and skinny as fuck and those two qualities together are just too much good fortunate for most people to swallow without a bitter chaser of jealousy. I understand her frustration. I wouldn’t want my ex living in apartment I paid for, gutted, and designed to my specific taste. However, I would have the good sense not to ball my eyes out to Fredrik Eklund on national television over the private matter. I guess that what makes me discreet and Bethenny good television. Vast personal fortune notwithstanding, doesn’t she seem desperately lonely? The only people around her she either gave birth to or are on the payroll. During her dizzying ascent, she’s alienated nearly everyone. Furthermore, it’s tragic she’s recreating the same chaos in her daughter’s life that she experienced as a kid. And even though she has no business giving advice on relationships, I’ll still probably read her dumb new book out of pure curiosity. That’s the magic of Bethenny. Love her or hate her, we’re always interested in her next move (to SoHo when the renovations are complete).
Happy Birthday Aries! You are the initiator and where the astrological cycle begins. It all starts with you, Aries, and now the Sun has come to light your very best angles. With the spark of the Sun catching you fire, there isn’t anything you can’t accomplish this month. Swagger into work. Set that start-up into motion. On the 4th of the month, we get the change-forcing energy of an eclipse. For you Aries, this energetic reckoning manifests in your relationship sector. The eclipse will either nudge you together or launch you into different orbits. Why fight what is inevitable? Tension brews between your professional obligations and your personal desires for freedom. Who are you beyond your occupation? Right now, you feel like a foot soldier in someone else’s army, when your true destiny is to lead your own brigade.
A yearly tradition of a spa week in April would be a beautiful gift to yourself, Taurus. Even if you can’t literally slip away into a tub of mud, self-spa whenever possible this month. Chow on the first wave of organic spring vegetables. Slip crisp white linens on your bed. Artistic endeavors feel good in April; dance, sing, paint, crochet. Create an offering. The eclipse of the 4th triggers a manic cleaning spree not a minute too soon. A clean home streamlines your life, Taurus. April isn’t going to be easy interpersonally. Relationships suffer the strain of some tense celestial standoffs. Bulls are usually the stubborn ones, but this month others will test your resolve.
You’ll be even more addicted to your FB page in super social April, Gemini. You can’t wait to connect with your friends and celebrate spring with a few rounds of cocktails on the lanai. At work, always the smarty, Gemini enjoys problem solving with new colleagues. The eclipse on the 4th influences your romance realm. If you are alone, you might find yourself together. If you are together, you may find yourself suddenly alone. Eclipses force change, so expect a palpable shift. Romance, friendships, and your sense of stability compete for attention in April. Everybody has an agenda. Your tendency to slow down and retreat may come in handy towards the end of the month when you’ll need some much needed grounding.
All aboard the train to your professional destiny, Cancer! This train has several stops, so you should invest in the sleeper car and settle in for the long haul. The first depot houses your accumulated career accomplishments. A moment to grandstand in the cacophony of accolades won’t hurt. The 4th’s eclipse causes drama in ladytown. Conflict ignites with a close female friend or relative, and neither of you much feels like compromising. After some retroactivity in your career section, April 8th eliminates that resistance you’ve been experiencing and professional matters progress in a profitable fashion. If you find yourself annoyed with other people this month, you are the one who is actually annoying.
Spring Break, anyone? You are ready to get the fuck out of dodge for some much needed rest in a far-flung locale, Leo. April’s all about big risks and big rewards for you. The 4th offers an eclipse which inspires change on the homefront. Perhaps a reworking of your interior is in order? Your mind and body are at odds this month. Your deep need for self-expression manifests in a few awkward moments in April. Leo struggles between needing to shut the fuck up and needing to scream from the roof tops. In all your interactions, consider a happy medium between shouting and silence in the form of clear and assertive commentary.
Virginal what? You’re a dirty slut this month, Virgo. How fun! Just teasing you Virgo, it isn’t sluttery that interests you but, deep, total, and complete merger on every satisfying level. You’ve put a significant amount of thought into how you want your life to look though you doubt your ability to execute your dreams on your own terms. Hogwash. You don’t need deep pockets or any seal of approval to move forward on shaping a visionary life, Virgo. The eclipse of the 4th influences your finances with sudden epiphanies about work and the best use of your talents. Listen Virgo, you know you can be a real dick at times. This April nobody has the patience to deal with your ornery bullshit.
April provides a great opportunity to evaluate your primary partner, Libra. Are you getting what you need out of this relationship whether personal or professional? April amplifies any imbalances in this relationship making the unequal efforts painfully clear. The eclipse on the 4th challenges your sense of personal independence. Have you been so consumed with painting a pretty picture of your life that you neglected to assert your needs? Libra struggles among the competing forces of self, primary relationship and family. This month, nobody seems to keen to compromise, but that doesn’t mean it is your obligation to give in to unreasonable demands.
Among your myriad talents, practicality stands out as one of your most useful, Scorpio. In April, you apply your no-nonsense approach to organizing and streamlining every area of your life. Results-oriented accomplishments like completing your taxes, sorting stacks of paperwork, and clearing the clutter feel particularly satisfying to you now. The eclipse of the 4th presents an opportunity for healing. It may be time to let go of something, someone, a notion, or unrealistic idea. This month, Scorpio offers a grounding and calming influence to those coming undone. Don’t come unraveled yourself.
Spring fling, Sagittarius, April is all about fun for you! Start with an inspired shift in your appearance. Why not go really dramatic and start conversations? You still gotta deal with rigid-ass Saturn harnessing your glee, and this month the task-master planet goes retrograde. Keep up the diligent work you’ve been doing on yourself and you should survive with relatively few limitations on your festivities. Fortunately, Jupiter starts moving again and encourages you to expand your horizons – perhaps with a little travel? The eclipse on the 4th creates division in the team. It is up to you to pull all the uncompromising factions back together.
Snug up Capricorn, you don’t feel like doing much outside your home this April. Make your favorite meals. Hang with your favorite women. On the 4th, an eclipse influences your professional sphere. Eclipses are synonymous with abrupt change and a realignment of priorities. In the midst of the upheaval, turn to trusted male figures for guidance. There will be moments in April where it feels like every major area of your life is at odds from your personal identity to family and your career. If the situation becomes too pressured, flee for solitude where you can do you best thinking, sorting, and deciding.
Hey smarty! Aquarius thinks, writes, and communicates on a higher frequency this April. Your admirable quality output will be the envy office-wide. Apply any excess energy and verve to help those who could use a hand – particularly with writing like resumes and professional materials. April 4th’s eclipse has you asking deeper questions about the trajectory of your life. Does your day-to-day routine support your higher calling? If not, enroll in a program or shift your focus so that your daily activities support your larger mission. While others struggle with each other this month, your conflict is primarily a self-limiting internal chafe between your personal growth, subconscious beliefs, and intellect.
Your mind is on your money this April, Pisces. Your issue is spending, so get realistic about your income to outcome ratio. Part of the problem is your fondness for convenience and your tendency towards laziness. It’s easier to run to the corner store and buy one ice tea than hike it all the way to the bulk store for the best buy, but those hassle-lessening decisions are draining your bank account. A smidge of effort in planning your week and budget make major impacts on your bottom line. The eclipse of the 4th brings a reckoning to that new relationship in the form of an explosive conflict that only the strongest connections will survive. This epic battle exposes the unworthy – and this time it might be you that’s lacking.
I went to see the indie duo Sylvan Esso recently. I had weak expectations of the folk singer/EDM collabo, but these two found a way to fill up the stage and the sold-out venue despite their lean two-party operation. Amelia and Nick only have one eponymous record, so it was a quick and dirty performance. They had to dig deep for the encore. Nonetheless, the show was a delightful little treat. I’m sure these two will hit the festival circuit hard this summer, so catch a set if you get a chance.
I’ve always admired Kim Gordon. I’ve listened to her music. I’ve followed her efforts at fashion. I delighted at her family’s cameo on Gilmore Girls and her scrunchy moment on Girls. One of my first and most memorable boyfriends loved Sonic Youth, and every time I hear Mildred Pierce I think of him. As some of you know, Kim and Thurston recently split. Sonic Youth is no more. Gordon wrote a memoir, and yes, it includes some mention of the other woman, but Kim Gordon’s life is so fucking interesting and intersected with dynamic and influential people that her split with Moore represents just one sad (but matter of fact) song in the EP of her life. I love her straight-forward and insightful writing. You will too. Read Girl in a Band: A Memoir.
I’m not going to pretend there aren’t things I don’t miss about my ex. I wouldn’t have been with him for close to a decade if he didn’t have some redeeming qualities. Since we’ve split, we rarely talk. His hateful parents were a major reason we broke up. They aren’t very nice. They don’t seem to like anyone. They participate in long estrangements from family for flimsy reasons. They grumble. They complain. Too cowardly to say it to your face, they would rather just passive aggressively back-bite. I did not want to form a family amidst the discord. And the thought of dealing with them over a lifetime felt like an emotional prison sentence destined to indefinitely ruin every holiday and cause innumerable conflicts. My ex’s sister and husband just had a baby, and the parents came out to visit from another state. After years of ill-feelings, not even a brand new little sweet baby could serve to keep the peace. The parents departed early leaving behind a dirty diaper full of fermenting bad feelings.In the wake of their departure, I got the inevitable text from the son-in-law with concerns he didn’t know how much longer he could take it. The hateful parents are causing a major strain on the marriage even from hundreds of miles away. I can’t help but feel like I dodged a bullet getting out when I did. Even though my ex has a number of wonderful qualities, his inability to appropriately deal with his unreasonable parents spelled disaster for the future of our union. If you don’t like your partner’s family, don’t get married because it can only really play out two ways. Either 1) suck it up and forever deal with people who despise you; or 2) set boundaries limiting your contact with the mean ones which in turn distances your partner from his family thereby breeding resentment in your relationship. See why this will never work? Don’t even bother.
Do you ever watch Suze Orman? She includes a segment at the end of her show where she “denies” or “approves” purchases based on an unknown algorithm. I’ve been thinking on whether it’s ethical for me to encourage someone to spend on a trip that he arguably can’t afford. Yes, he could throw the trip on credit cards, but I don’t want a few days on white sandy beaches to turn into years of indebtedness. Conversely, life is short. And if you’ve ever seen a retiree try negotiate the steps of Prague Castle, you know you don’t want to save your most adventurous traveling for your financially solvent, but psychically feeble golden years. I know some of my more affluent girlfriends might opt to pay a larger share of the bill just to keep everybody happy, but something about that doesn’t sit quite right. That sort of imbalance breeds resentment over time.At a minimum, before splurging, you gotta have a year of living expenses saved up, a maxed IRA contribution, no credit card debt, and the money for the splurge saved up separately. Without those basics in order, approval for the purchase must be DENIED. But then again, who am I to tell someone else how to spend his money? If I limit my social invitations only to folks that fit into that aforementioned category of preparedness, I would be engaging in most activities alone. It’s your money and ultimately you must decide how to negotiate the tightrope walk between adventure and safety net.
Thanks to all my wonderful friends and students who came out to support me on a very big day. I’m grateful for you.