Archives for September 2012

Employee or Independent Contractor?

In my upcoming e-course “Starting Your New Business”, I have a bonus discussion on the difference between employees and independent contractors.  I discuss what makes a person an employee as opposed to an independent contractor.  The items that the IRS takes into consideration when deciding are also discussed.

To make a point of the difference in the responsibilities, I made two lists.  Wow!  Put it in black and white, and it’s obvious why everyone wants independent contractors instead of employees.  Take a look:

Responsibilities when your business has employees

  • Withhold federal and maybe state and local income taxes
  • Withhold social security tax and medicare tax
  • Pay the employer’s share of social security tax and medicare tax
  • Make federal tax deposits
  • File Employer’s quarterly 941 tax return
  • File state and local tax returns
  • File annual federal unemployment tax return
  • Pay federal unemployment tax
  • File annually W2’s and W3
  • File state unemployment reports
  • Pay state unemployment tax
  • Comply with New Hire Reporting requirements

Responsibilities for Independent Contractors

  • File 1099 if you paid a contractor $600 or more during the year

Big difference in those two lists!

Forty Years of Chicken Creole

There is one thing that my ex-husband was right about and I was wrong.  Chicken Creole.  It was the early 1970’s.  He was a medical student and I was a graduate student.  We lived on my teaching assistantship; we lived on very little.  Chicken was about 25 cents a pound, so we were always looking for recipes.  He found a recipe in my aunt’s “Fairyland Cooking Magic” cookbook, copyright 1955 by Fairyland P.T.A., Lookout Mountain, Tenn.  I love my aunt’s Fairyland cookbook which I still have along with a Watkins Cook Book copyright 1943.

“I may eat the chicken, but that sauce sounds terrible.”  I ate those words along with licking the dish clean.  That began my love affair with chicken creole.

I typed the recipe on my college, portable Smith-Corona typewriter, as I did with all of my favorite recipes.  As the years went by, changes were made to the recipe.  I started using diced boneless chicken.  I wanted that sauce covering as much of the chicken as possible.  When I’m wrong, I’m really wrong.  It became a family staple.  My children were raised on chicken creole, starting with it being ground in my little baby food grinder.

In 1984 I shared the recipe in our church cookbook.  It was probably the only recipe in the Baptist cookbook with alcohol.  The amount which by the way, over the years had doubled from the original recipe.


When my children became adults, I delighted when they called wanting to know how to make chicken creole for a special occasion.  The recipe continues to evolve.  Made with fresh, ripe heirloom tomatoes, green pepper, fresh herbs and a bottle of dry white wine captures a summer garden and is my current choice.

All this talk of chicken creole and I can almost taste it right now.

Is another road bike a crazy idea?

This past week I’ve been back to riding my bicycle, my clunky fold up bicycle — an easy six mile ride on a fairly level bike path.  But I’ve been thinking about my road bike.  I purchased it eleven years ago after having not been on a bicycle for years, many years.  Part of my new adventurous attitude at the time — or it could have been a midlife crisis sort of thing.  I remember trying it out for size at the bike store after work one day — a quick ride around the little parking lot, wearing heels and with my skirt tied in a knot to keep it out of the chain.  I’m sure the sales boy was thinking midlife crisis.

To give you an idea of how into “it” I was, those were my favorite biking shirts.  It was a red, white and blue Trek.  It sat in my hallway for about a week before I ventured out on it.  My first trip around the neighborhood, and my thought was, “I’ve made a BIG mistake.”  But I stayed with it, and came to love the feeling of flying.  I wish I had a picture of my bike.  It was stolen a few years ago, and I didn’t replace it.

My children worried about my biking trips.  I think it wasn’t so much that they worried that I would get killed on the road, it was that I would get killed on the road wearing spandex!  Notice the shirt brand — Shebeest.  I thought I was a “she beast” riding a 100 plus miles a week.  For the sake of speed, I even overcame my fear (a BIG fear for me) and used clip on pedals.  I was sure that I was going to come to a stop, not be able to unlock my shoes and just fall over.  It never happened.

But life happened.  And I didn’t ride as much.  Then I didn’t ride at all.  Years have gone by, and now I’m thinking I need a road bike.  Crazy idea?

Growing up on a Battlefield

One of the wonderful things about Facebook is that for someone like me that left my hometown after high school, I’ve been able to reconnect with people.  The daily happenings of people that I haven’t seen in decades, pop up on my news feed.  I think it’s pretty neat.  Today a high school friend, John Godfrey, changed his cover photo.  And I was flooded with memories.

John has given me permission to use his gorgeous photograph of Wilder Tower in Chickamauga Battlefield.  But you can bet that my next trip home will include some time in the park with my camera.

The Battle of Chickamauga was the greatest victory of the Confederacy.  It was also one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, second only to the Battle of Gettysburg.  In September of 1863 during a three day period, a total of over 37,000 soldiers died.  It is said that afterwards, the Chickamauga Creek ran red with blood for days.

Having been a school age child in the south during a time when the Civil War was less than a hundred years in the past, we studied the war of northern aggression.  I probably couldn’t have told you who was president, but I knew Generals Bragg and Longstreet.  Countless school field trips to Chickamauga Battlefield, Chattanooga’s Confederama and Atlanta’s Cyclorama to watch reenactments of the battles.  Seeing Gone with the Wind (and reading it a zillion times) added the characters to the story in my head.

Some of my earliest memories are of slipping through the cow fields and finding my way to the forbidden Chickamauga Creek.  I rode my bicycle in Chickamauga Battlefield — I could fly on the smooth roads compared to the yellow chert road where I lived.  With my learner’s permit, I practiced driving in the park.  On those school field trips, we would run up and down the hills over the battlefield, playing on canons, hiding among the huge trees and climbing the musty, spiral stairs to the top of Wilder Tower.  As teenagers, we were always drawn to the battlefield seeking the ghosts that roam — the crying soldiers and the Lady in White searching for her lost lover.  As a college student, I brought a lover and we flew kites on Snodgrass Hill.  Later, when I had children,  each trip back home always included a trip to the battlefield.

The beauty and the overwhelming sadness that you can feel in the air has always drawn me to this battlefield.  We are fortunate that the battles of today are not in our backyards, but the horror still exists.  What is it in human nature that compels us to kill one another?