Monday, April 6, 2020
Hanging Gardens and Taxes
There was a lot of this going on yesterday. Olga and I barely left the house. I took her for a neighborhood walk in the morning, but otherwise we stuck to the garden. It was a beautiful day, sunny and relatively warm, and I sat out and read The New Yorker while Dave watered plants.
I always love the garden when the blue forget-me-nots come out. Here's a close-up:
We have some other interesting flowers at the moment, too.
Our snake's head fritillary is blooming. (Much smaller than the one I saw on the Heath a couple of weeks ago.)
And this is honesty, which you may remember I grew from seed last year. It's finally big enough to bloom. Woo hoo! Later it will (hopefully) form its characteristic windowpane-like seed pods.
Our candytuft is just beginning to flower.
Someone asked for a picture of our "hanging gardens," the plethora of hanging baskets we've wound up with this year. This photo shows no less than nine objects hanging from our trees: wind chimes, a gong, two bird feeders, a lantern, Totoro and three baskets (one in the background over the bench). There are two more on the patio and another on the other side of the yard (just visible above and to the right of Olga in the top photo).
Finally, I filed our US income taxes yesterday. What a relief! It's always such a chore pulling that together, even though we normally don't pay anything -- foreign income is excluded up to a point and we already pay taxes here in the UK. But as US citizens, we're required to file. Interestingly, our income in dollars actually went down last year, I suppose because the value of the pound has dropped.
At one point I tried to log in to a web site to retrieve a 1099-DIV, the form that reports the annual dividends (about $15) from my meager stock holdings. The site asked not only for my username and password, but the answer to a security question -- the "name, breed and color" of my current pet. Are you kidding me? OlgaStaffyWhite? OlgaStaffordshireTerrierWhite? OlgaStaffyWhiteandBrindle? OlgaStaffySpots? I have NO FREAKING IDEA what the answer to that question could be, although I must have provided it to them at some point. I tried unsuccessfully three times, got my account locked, sent them an annoyed e-mail and fortunately retrieved the dividend information some other way.