First, I want to mention that I will probably not be able to update tomorrow and Saturday. I'm not sure yet whether I will backfill entries or just do a single catch-up entry.
Second, I got my raise notification today. Our raises start this week, so I'll see it in the paycheck I get next week. I'm pretty happy with the amount. Money may not be my biggest motivator, but it doesn't exactly hurt.
Third, I happened to read a newspaper article about the IRS rules on the standard rate for mileage deductions and I'm puzzled. The 2006 rate for using a car for business is 44.5 cents a mile. But the rate for medical or moving mileage is 18 cents a mile and for miles driven in service of a charitable organization is 14 cents a mile. It turns out that the IRS sets the rates for business and for medical and moving purposes, but Congress sets the rate for charities. And, even more confusingly, if a person deducts the mileage, there is one rate, but, if a charity reimburses the driver, the rate which they can pay without the person having to claim taxable income is higher. This sounds way more complex than it needs to be. Not that it affects me at all, but I like simplicity.
What I really wanted to write about today was triggered by a meme making the rounds. The meme has people making various lists of four things, starting with four cities they've lived in. I'm not really interested in simple lists like that, but I thought it would be interesting to run through the places I've lived.
Bronx, New York. I was born within the sound of the bats at the Heart of Darkness (i.e. Yankee Stadium) and lived in the West Bronx (University Heights) until I was three. I don't really remember anything about living there, but we used to go back to visit my grandparents. Mostly I remember my grandfather's jewelry store on West Burnside Avenue.
Parksville, New York. When we lived in the Bronx, we spent summers at a bungalow colony in Parksville. There were cows and fields and lots of women playing Mah Jongg.
Island Park, New York. Island Park is the place I really consider my home town. It's your basic small suburban town, possibly the smallest incorporated village in Nassau County, though we actually lived outside the village boundaries. I spent most of my childhood and all of my adolescence just wanting to leave. As an adult, I can see the positive side of small town life. But it is very hard to be at all non-mainstream in that environment.
I spent summers at a few different camps. There was one year each at Big Island Farm Camp (somewhere on the Susquehanna River in New York) and at Camp Birchbrook on Lake Kezar in New Hampshire. Those were fairly.normal camp experiences with sports and swimming lessons and making lanyards in arts and crafts and having color war. I also spent two summers at Camp Ein Harod in Ellenville, New York, where we played Aliyah Bet (an evening activity based on illegal immigration during the British mandate over Palestine). The summer before my senior year of high school, I went to a National Science Foundation Program in Biochemistry at the Loomis-Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut. They reassure me that I will get the smell of rat liver out of my hair any decade now.
Cambridge, Massachusetts - I spent my undergraduate years at MIT. From the misty eyes of 25+ years down the road, I have fond memories, but I know that I wasn't all that happy all the time. I got a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, spent most of my spare time dancing (folk dance club, jazz dance classes), and fell in love with the Red Sox.
Berkeley, California - Grad school was not a great experience for me. There are things I like about Berkeley (good restaurants and book stores and some nice places to walk), but I should not have gone straight to grad school. Berkeley is also where I met Robert.
Los Angeles, California - I never planned to live in L.A. for more than 3 or 4 years, but ended up staying 17. (Well, except for the 9 months in there when I meandered around Africa, the South Atlantic, and the U.K..) I firmly believe that the way to thrive in a big city is to find smaller communities that you focus your life around. Storytelling did that for me. I hate the traffic and the high cost of living there, but I wouldn't have stayed so long if the positives hadn't outweighed that.
Fairfax, Virginia - So here I am in suburbia. There are trees and birds. I live conveniently near the metro so I hardly use my car. But there are lots of cute little towns within an hour or two which are good day trip destinations. The best thing about living here is all the nice places to walk, with paved paths and well maintained trails in every park. Washington, D.C. is just a half-hour metro ride away and has no shortage of things to do. All in all, it's a pretty good place to live.
Copyright 2005 Miriam H. Nadel