pen rainbow

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Saturday Trust—Reasons to Refuse a Bequest

Somebody dies & leaves you with an inheritance you don't want.  Now, what do you do?

It's not necessarily a bad thing to be removed as a trust beneficiary.

photo by dsmp

6 Good Reasons to Refuse a Bequest

Tips from AARP's Estate Planning 

Source:  6 Reasons to Reject a Bequest by G.M. Filisko (13 April 2011)

Generally Speaking
In most instances, when you've been named a beneficiary, and you refuse a bequest, it will be passed onto the next person in line.  Typically, standard trust language stipulates that the "issues" are next in line as if the beneficiary had died, which means that your children will receive the inheritance.

Before you refuse a bequest, it's a good idea to find out how the bequest flows.  In some instances, it may be a good idea to pass it on to someone else, but find out who will be next in line if you refuse.

When an inheritance is refused, the designated beneficiary writes a disclaimer and submits it to the successor trustee.  The disclaimer must be explicitly written and signed, and considered unconditional and irrevocable.

If you do inherit assets that you don't want, it may be possible to refuse one bequest and come up with another inheritance scenario, depending on the authority of the executor to distribute the assets.  Talk with the successor and find out if the bequest arrangement is flexible and how much time you have to decide whether or not you want to accept it.

AARP Recommends

A Wise Tax Decision
If you're in a state where inheritance is taxed, you may want to refuse a bequest, especially if you're in a high tax bracket.  California, Nevada and Florida are among the states that do not have estate or inheritance taxes, but 19 other states do, including Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, Oregon and Tennessee.  The good news is that some states like Tennessee are phasing out their inheritance tax, but the dates vary from one state to another, and the taxation rate sometimes depends on the amount and the relationship to the deceased.

More on which states have an inheritance and/or estate taxes:  States with Death Taxes 2013 Chart, Forbes online

State estate tax:  Red
State inheritance tax: Yellow
State with both: Striped

Crap Property
If the property is hard-to-sell or will incur great expense in order to clean it up, it may be a good idea to avoid it altogether.   Acreage in places like Searchlight, Nevada, for example.

Disqualification for Government Aid
Medicaid, Veterans Affairs Aid and Supplemental Security Income can all be adversely affected by inherited assets.  Medicaid will not even allow for the refusal of a bequest.  The recipient is required to accept the assets and then spend them down in order to requalify for eligibility.

Family Drama
If an inherited asset will be managed by a group of relatives who may not get along, it may be worth it to avoid it altogether.  Family cabins, for example, that are managed and maintained by a family group.  It may be possible to disclaim the bequest and be given an asset of equal value if the authority of the successor allows for a variation in the distribution.

Creditor Debt
In the case of extreme financial debt (i.e. bankruptcy), things get dicey when it comes to inheriting assets.  Basically, the inheritance could go directly to the creditors.  Check with a bankruptcy attorney before responding to a bequest during bankruptcy because there are strict rules that govern disclosure.

A "spendthrift" trust legally allows the beneficiaries to receive regular payments from a trust estate and prevents creditors from accessing the principal.  If you are a beneficiary in a spendthrift trust, it might work out better than you'd expect.  In any case, you'll need to work with a qualified advisor, either a bankruptcy attorney or a bankruptcy trustee.

Doing the Right Thing
If you are well off and don't need to inherit more assets, it's okay to decline and let the bequest go to the next one in line.  Again, it's a good idea to find out who is next in line because they might not be the one who is most in need.  You also have the option of accepting a bequest and passing it on during your lifetime.

My Two Cents    

If you know that you have been named a beneficiary, don't be afraid to express any concerns to the trustee before he or she passes away.  If you really don't want to inherit assets, let the trustee know in advance so that he or she can make the necessary changes in the trust.  

A trust is a legal directive, not a Valentine to friends and family.  As a trustee, I want to make fair decisions for my loved ones, but I need their honest feedback in order to do that.  And as a beneficiary, I have the right to express my wishes with regards to inheriting a potential burden later on.

The goal is to leave the ones we love with positive memories of a life well lived.  But, that does not happen without careful planning, empathy and honest communication.

Have a productive week!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Photoshop Gallery: Tinted B&W

Lesson 12_Let's Get Inspired

Tinting in Lightroom Using Graduated Filters

  • Both pix were first converted to B&W in Lightroom.
  • For the daisy photo below, I created 2 graduated filters in LR_a custom pale yellow & a custom mint green.  The glow was created by adjusting the luminance.
  • Scroll your mouse over the pix to see the before & after fx.

photo by dsmp

  • For the rose, I created a 2 custom graduated filters in LR_a pale pink & a pale yellow.  The opacity and the angle are adjustable, so it's a super-neat way to add totally custom color to B&W photos.

A pale pink rose from the Oakland International Airport flower vendor
Photo by dsmp

Have an inspired week ahead!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday—Paiute Dress 1926

Pix of my grandparents, Pearle Olinghouse & Uther Jones_Pioche, Nevada 1926

My grandparents were from Pioche and Caliente, Nevada, respectively.

89 Years Ago Near Pioche, Nevada

 Southern Paiute woman (Wish I knew her name)_My grandmother, Pearle Olinghouse
My grandfather, Uther Jones 

Eagle Valley Reservoir is about 20 miles east of Pioche.  The variegated feathers in his headdress are most likely eagle feathers, probably from a golden eagle.  They are both wearing braided wigs, so I'm not sure if the headbands are from the local tribe or if they came from some other area.

Her dress is consistent with traditional Paiute design.  The strapping around the base of each feather in the headdress would have been red.  Each feather represents an achievement in leadership or battle.  

The beading & leatherwork would have been in colors of red, blue & yellow

Interesting upright feather headband she is wearing.  

"Costumed" — My grandmother's handwriting
She is wearing a cradle board or papoose on her back

I love the traditional poses in these photos.  

They are both wearing moccasins
Happy Throw-back Thursday!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home: Bzzzzz!

A preview of my next project...

My new EarthWise electric chain saw for cutting up
tree branches that are too big to compost

This one got lots of great reviews on Amazon
from DIY women gardeners

I am super careful with tools!  

✓Gloves  ✓safety glasses  ✓good shoes

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday's Cupboard—Pineapple-Coconut Snacks!

I really love these new individually sized pineapple-coconut snacks from Del Monte!

  • These yummy little treats are great with cottage cheese or as a fruit topping on hot oatmeal with walnuts.  
  • Super-good in a banana smoothie with any of the tropical-flavored yogurts & chilled pineapple-orange juice.      

Breakfast-Lunch-Light Dessert-Anytime!

We bought ours at Safeway

Have a fresh & tasty week!

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Cringeworthies 2015

My favorite tweets & cringe-worthy moments from last night's Academy Awards

Not Enough Scotch on Earth make up for last night's Academy Awards.  

Let's just make a list starting with John Travolta's die-a-thousand-deaths kissy-face with Scarlett Johansson.  She looks like she's about to beat his smarmy lips with a cast-iron skillet. 

photo by EPA/Mike Nelson

2.  #mostawkward  

Followed by more face-stroking & explosive diarrhea-of-the-mouth on stage with Idina Menzel.  

"I deserved that.  I deserved that.  But you, you my darling, my beautiful, wicked and talented Idina Menzel.  Is that right?"

Say what now?  I—what??  Wow...  Let go of my face, you nutter!

3.  #mostcringeworthy      

Too many to list individually, but the most noteworthy cringeworthy moments flowed unconscionably from the host of last night's disaster, Neal Patrick Harris.  

I cringed when NPH attempted to go off-script in a pointless audience exchange with classically trained actor, David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King in Selma.

"Oh sure, now you like him!"

A dig at the Academy for snubbing Mr. Oyelowo's performance in the Best Lead Actor category.

And, the uncomfortable laughs just kept coming...
4.  #bulgingunderpants
An homage to Birdman

The non-stop embarrassing comments to Octavia Spencer throughout the broadcast ticked off twitterspace.  

Janet Mock  Hey, #Oscars, #OctaviaSpencer is not #TheHelp. You can watch that ballot box on your own.

roxane gay   They need to let this Octavia Spencer, box watching gag rest because it is not working.

6.  #bogartTheMike

Pawell Pawlikowski's epic stand against the cut-off music.

The American viewing audience stopped listening after 12 seconds.

7.  #dickpoop

A gift from the Oscar gods.  An unfortunate mispronunciation of nominee, Dick Pope's, name.

Fun_Beard  I want more than anything for Dick Poop to be a real movie.

Andy Cohen   I am very excited for Dick Poop's Oscar Nomination! I hope he wins!!

8.9.10.  #BestOscarTweets

Julia Sweeney  Wow. I'm getting flop sweat for this show, and I'm 2000 miles away. I'd actually rather be watching the entire technical awards

Bill Brioux  Please God--a streaker, Sacheen Littlefeather, Paddy Chayefsky--anything

Owen Benjamin  I'd like to thank the 11 Asian guys that donated their pubes for this dress. 

See you next year!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday—10 Things To Do While You're Waiting for the Oscars to Begin

Charge up the laptop and throw something into the crock pot!  It's Oscar night!!

Start channel surfing at 4 p.m. PT
for the Red Carpet

photo by dsmp

Things to do until the show...

  1. Share your Oscar picks on Facebook
  2. Throw something tasty into the crockpot
  3. Rent one of the nominated movies on Netflix
  4. Watch a bunch of trailers for Best Picture
  5. #Oscars on twitter
  6. Do laundry
  7. Write a blog post
  8. Do a Photoshop lesson
  9. Learn to belly dance (this is surprisingly fun!)
  10. Make up Academy Award nominee pet names (Bark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberscratch...)

Have a fun Oscars Night!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Saturday Trust—Facebook Legacy Security Setting

Leaving your Facebook account to an heir

Say, what now?

An important service from Facebook

The Reason for All of This

Family members die, friends pass away...It's strange when someone dies and leaves a personal Facebook page behind.

Friends of the deceased often flock to Facebook in search of information about memorial services, personal messages from family members, and the opportunity to express heartfelt condolences.  I did this recently when I wanted to send a sympathy card and needed a mailing address.

When a Facebook page remains unattended, it adds to the feeling of loss.  Like it or not, Facebook is an extension of who we are in life and the connections we make online, so it makes sense that our online presence remains after we are gone.   

From a practical standpoint, it's less expensive, faster, and a lot less hassle than leaving it to a family member to write an obit for the newspaper.  When my dad passed away a year ago, I had to deal with the local newspaper idiot who felt that it was his place to edit my obit and then charge me $150 to run the obit for a couple of days.  Bullshit on that.

Who is Using Facebook 

Recent Pew Research demographics (9 January 2015) show that a whopping 71 percent of online adults use Facebook.  

  • 77 percent of women online use Facebook
  • 66 percent of men online use fb
  • 73 percent of Internet users between the ages of 30-49 are on fb
  • 63 percent of Internet users between the ages of 50-64 have fb accounts
  • 56 percent of those who are 65 & older use fb
  • The median number of actual friends reported was 50

Among those with fb accounts...
  • 93 percent of fb users say that they are fb friends with family members other than their parents or their children
  • 91 percent say that they are fb friends with current friends
  • 58 percent say that they are connected to work colleagues

These figures blow away other popular social websites like Twitter (23% of adult Internet users), Instagram (26%), Pinterest (28%) and LinkedIn (28%).  Being connected on Facebook is preferred by the vast majority of Internet users.

Get Started 
  1. In the upper right corner of your fb page, click the little padlock & select "See More Settings"
  2. On the left sidebar menu, click the "Security" gold badge
  3. Under "Security Settings," click Legacy Contact
  4. Select your legacy contact from your friends list
  5. Done!
If you want to change your legacy contact, just go back to your security settings and select a new person from your friends list.

Choose your legacy contact from your friends list

What Your Legacy Contact CAN Do

Your legacy contact may manage your account in the following ways:
  • Post messages to your timeline
  • Respond to new friend requests 
  • Upload photos
  • Update your banner & profile pix
  • Set the privacy perms to allow condolences to be posted, or not

What Your Legacy Contact Cannot Do
  • Log into your account (do not give out your password)
  • Remove or change past posts
  • Read messages you've sent to other friends
  • Remove your friends

Setting Your Account to Delete if You Kick the Bucket

Facebook also has an option of deleting your account if you die.  

  1. In the top right corner of your timeline, click the padlock
  2. Select "See More Settings"
  3. From the left sidebar menu, select the gold badge "Security"
  4. Click "Legacy Contact" & click the delete box instead of selecting a contact from your friends list.
  5. Someone has to contact fb to let them know when an account owner has passed away.  They will require proof that the account owner has died.
Facebook will need documentation that the account owner is deceased

Click HERE for more info about memorialized accounts from the Facebook Help center.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Photoshop Gallery: Color Play & More

My pix from Kim Klassen's 2B class_Lesson 11_Color Play & More

Color Swatches 
I started with this...

This year's pretty red camellias
 First pass in PS & Lightroom:  

I cropped the photo & tweaked the basic settings in LR.  This is a trick I learned at PS World to set everything to dark, then slowly drag up the white setting to boost the contrast.  Then, I added a texture by Kim Klassen called, "Daisy."

I am also studying an artistic method called, chiaroscuro, which is the study of strong contrasts between light & shadow.  It's a technique used in Renaissance paintings.  

A study of chiaroscuro

This was Lesson 11 on creating color swatches in PS.  I used the Camelia photo above & converted it to sepia with a LR filter.  All but the blue swatch are shades taken from the photo.

The font is called, Big Caslon by Matthew Carter (1994) which came with my Mac OS.

This is Kim's lesson on creating a hazy, sunwashed effect.  This involves tweaking the shadow curves in LR.

Have a colorful weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Throw-Back Thursday: Drama Class 1925

This is my grandmother's high school drama class in costume for a school production

Manual Arts High School 1925

Manual Arts HS Play 1925
My grandmother is one of the harem girls

Inspired by THE SHEIK

  • The Sheik premiered on 21 October 1921 based on the best selling romance novel of the same name by Edith Maude Hull.   
  • The Sheik is the official mascot of Hollywood High School, named after the movie.
  • The Son of the Sheik was released 5 September 1926, two weeks after Valentino's death on 23 August 1926 from peritonitis, a complication following a perforated ulcer.
  • Both films were instant hits & grossed $1M within the first year of release.  

See you at the Oscars!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Good for You, Good for Your Mac: How to Take a Screenshot

For Mac users

How to Grab a Screenshot on Your Mac

I'm always forgetting how take a snapshot of my computer screen, so once and for all, here it is!

Command + Shift + 4
to select a portion of your screen

  • Command + Shift + 3 = full screen shot
  • Command + Shift + 4 = selected screen shot (point & release to take the shot)
  • Screenshots will save as png files

Click HERE for more detailed info from Mac_Apple Support 

Have fun!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday's Cupboard—BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

Adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine, January /February 2015

Sometimes, a chopped salad is just right for an easy Springtime supper!  It's fast & super-easy with my substitutions.

My substitutions:

  • Save time by using your favorite non-fat bottled BBQ sauce
  • The chicken can be cooked on a grill or oven-baked, like I did
  • I added a yellow bell pepper 
  • I mixed the toms, red & yellow varieties
  • Save prep time by using Safeway's pre-chopped green onions

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

Fab crispy romaine!


  • 1.25 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large or 2 small romaine lettuce heads, cleaned & chopped
  • 2 cups yellow &/or red grape tomatoes, halved (not whole)
  • 2 medium sweet red & yellow bell peppers, chopped 
  • 1-15.5 oz. can black beans, rinsed
  • 1-15.25 oz. can whole corn, drained
  • 1/4 cup homemade ranch dressing made with Best Foods Lite mayo & nonfat milk
  • 4 oz. container of crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions (or one 3-oz. container of pre-chopped from Safeway)
  • Cracked black pepper

Make It!

Awesome barbecued chicken!

  1. Baste chicken with barbecue sauce & grill or bake until done; slice into bite-sized pieces
  2. In a large bowl, combine chopped romaine, tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn & ranch dressing.  Toss to coat.
  3. Plate the salad & top with chopped BBQd chicken.
  4. Garnish with crumbled goat cheese & green onions.
  5. Finish with cracked black pepper

2 small heads of romaine, pre-packed from Safeway
Tasty mixed red & yellow tomatoes
Easy canned corn, drained
Easy canned black beans, drained & rinsed

Garnish with crumbled goat cheese & chopped green onions


Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday—2015 Academy Awards

Get thee to the movies!

SUNDAY   22 FEBRUARY   4PM  (West Coast Time)

My picks from below are in gold

Cinderella's glasses from the Clark County Heritage Museum 

2015 Best Picture Nominations

  • American Sniper
  • The Imitation Game
  • Birdman
  • Selma
  • Boyhood
  • The Theory of Everything
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Whiplash

Lead Actor
  • Steve Carell_Foxcatcher
  • Michael Keaton_Birdman
  • Bradley Cooper_American Sniper
  • Eddie Redmayne_The Theory of Everything
  • Benedict Cumberbatch_The Imitation Game

Lead Actress
  • Marion Cotillard_Two Days, One Night
  • Rosamund Pike_Gone Girl
  • Felicity Jones_The Theory of Everything
  • Reese Witherspoon_Wild
  • Julianne Moore_Still Alice

Best Supporting Actor
  • Robert Duvall_The Judge
  • Mark Ruffalo_Foxcatcher
  • Ethan Hawke_Boyhood
  • J.K. Simmons_Whiplash
  • Edward Norton_Birdman

Best Supporting Actress
  • Patricia Arquette_Boyhood
  • Emma Stone_Birdman
  • Laura Dern_Wild
  • Meryl Streep_Into the Woods
  • Keira Knightley_The Imitation Game

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game

  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Ida
  • Mr. Turner
  • Unbroken

Costume Design
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Inherent Vice
  • Into the Woods
  • Maleficent
  • Mr. Turner

Animated Feature Film
  • Big Hero 6
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Boxtrolls
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2

Documentary Feature
  • CitizenFour
  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • Last Days in Vietnam
  • The Salt of the Earth
  • Virunga

Documentary Short
  • Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
  • Joanna
  • Our Curse
  • The Reaper (La Parka)
  • White Earth

Film Editing
  • American Sniper
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Whiplash

Foreign Film
  • Ida  (Poland)
  • Leviathan  (Russian)
  • Tangerines  (Estonia)
  • Timbuktu  (Mauritania)
  • Wild Tales  (Argentina)

Makeup & Hair
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

Music, Original Score
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Mr. Turner
  • The Theory of Everything

Music, Original Song
  • "Everything is Awesome"_The Lego Movie
  • "Glory"_Selma
  • "Grateful"_Beyond The Lights
  • "I'm Not Gonna Miss You"_Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me
  • "Lost Stars"_Begin Again

Short Film, Animated
  • The Bigger Picture
  • The Dam Keeper
  • Feast
  • Me and My Moulton
  • A Single Life

Short Film, Live Action
  • Aya
  • Boogaloo and Graham
  • Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)
  • Parvaneh
  • The Phone Call

Production Design
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • Mr. Turner

Sound Editing
  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar
  • Unbroken

Sound Mixing
  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Interstellar
  • Ubroken
  • Whiplash

Visual FX
  • Captain American: The Winter Soldier
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Interstellar
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

Writing, Adapted Screenplay
  • American Sniper
  • The Imitation Game
  • Inherent Vice
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

Writing, Original Screenplay
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Nightcrawler

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday—Have a Sunny Week!

Celebrating the life of Galileo Galilei_ born 15 February 1564 in Pisa, Duchy of Florence, Italy

22 October 2014_Source: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory/LMSAL

The Father of Modern Science
Things did not end well for the Father of Modern Science.  At the age of 51, he was summoned to Rome under the Inquisition for his published belief that the earth revolved around the sun.

A 51-year old who would not keep his mouth shut and was unafraid to stand up for his beliefs.   Imagine that.

As a scientist and an academic, Galileo was forced to defend his Copernican viewpoint against accusations that heliocentrism—the theory that the earth and planets revolve around the sun which is at the center of the solar system—was a direct contradiction to biblical scriptures which clearly stated that the earth did not move.

In 1615, his writings were submitted to the Roman Inquisition, and a year later, he was ordered by Pope Paul V "not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing."

Sixteen years later following the publication of his book, Galileo was again interrogated by the Florentine Inquisitor and found "vehemently suspect of heresy" for defending an opinion that had previously been declared contrary to Holy Scripture.

He was ordered to "adjure, curse and detest" his heliocentric views and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.  His book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was banned forever along with the publication of any past or future writings.

And Yet It Moves
Whether he actually said it or not, it is on record that he muttered, "Eppur si muove," (And yet it moves), after he was forced to recant.

As a condition of his house arrest, he was ordered to read the seven penitential psalms (psalms of confession and sorrow for sin) once a week for the next three years.  His dutiful daughter, Maria Celeste, obtained ecclesiastical permission to take this obligation upon herself in order to relieve her defiant father of this chore.

Still Moving
On January 19, 2015, four telescopes gathering images every 12 seconds on an observatory in orbit around our planet captured the 100 millionth image of the sun.

400 years after Galileo was labeled a heretic, we are still looking through telescopes at this dazzling and beautiful star.


Composite photo of Venus as it travels across the face of the sun
Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory/LMSAL

Coronal loops

Giant magnetic fields soaring through the sun_Coronal Loops
Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory/LMSAL

Lunar Eclipse

Telescopic proof that Galileo was right: The surface of the moon is uneven.  You can see the outline of lunar mountains in the lower left corner of the photo.  November 22, 2014.
The shadow of the moon partially blocking the sun during a lunar eclipse

Click HERE to see more amazing pix

Have a Starry Messenger Week!