Second part first: After Lisa and I came back from a grocery expedition to Reno/Sparks, I did our income taxes. After spending a couple of hours making sure I had all of the itemized deductions (including mortgage interest and several thousand dollars' worth of mostly-SFSFC-related charitable donations), TurboTax informed me that the standard deduction is more worthwhile anyway. That probably means I'll never have enough deductions to justify itemizing, since the amount of mortgage interest will decrease over time. But of course this just means that I didn't spend >$12K in deductible expenses last year.
I e-filed my federal taxes because that's included in TurboTax, but because I don't see why I should pay $20 to make California's job easier, I printed a paper copy to file while Lisa and I were together to sign it.
Now the bad news: My friend Richard Hallock (he was best man at Lisa and my wedding) e-mailed me to tell me the sad news:
Erlinda Hallock, my wife of 22 wonderful years, passed away last Saturday [February 2]. She was to go in for surgery for a growth on her Kidney on Feb 8th, but she collapsed on January 31st. I got her to the local emergency room and then transfered to UC Davis where the doctors were more than helpful.
Erlinda was also a very good friend of mine. We dated for a while before she and Rick got together (I was "standby best man" for their wedding), and the three of us were nearly inseparable in the late 1980s and early 1990s before my life and theirs went in different directions.
Among other things, Erlinda (then Siller, before she married Rick) co-starred with me in The Zombie Legions, the amateur Doctor Who movie that Rick produced when we were in Chico. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 are on Vimeo; however, you'll not see her face anywhere in the movie because she was in a rubber suit as The Doctor's alien companion.
Here's a screen capture from the beginning of the sequel, Those Darn Daleks (Parts 1, 2, and 3 also on Vimeo) with me as The Doctor and Erlinda as a "humanized" version of The Doctor's companion. I am actually only in the very beginning, as we wrote my version of The Doctor out in favor of Loren Schneider as a future Doctor, but Erlinda is a prominent co-star in the sequel.
Although I hadn't seen Rick & Erlinda for several years after their move to their current home in Placerville (and mine to the Bay Area, and I'm over-simplifying the details), both of them were still my dear friends and I thought of them often despite our general interests diverging a bit. I was very sad to hear of Erlinda's passing away, and I hope to be able to attend a memorial service Rick says will be held next month. Rick has said I'm always welcome at his house and Lisa says I need to make time to go see him, even at the expense of a trip home to Fernley some weekend.