Archive for January, 2004

Giant Sticker Campaign

January 28, 2004

(of interest to Matt):

http://www.obeygiant.com/

fingerprints and biometrics

January 26, 2004

This weekend we received Notices Of Action in the post regarding my applications for Adjustment of Status (leave to become a Conditional Resident in the US) and my Employment Authorisation. (posted December 29th 2003) We were expecting a long wait for this as we have to file via the Atlanta Local Office and they are hugely backlogged and are currently processing applications received in September 2003 for the Employment Document, and as far back as July 2001 for the AOS. However, it looks like change is afoot as my file has instead been transferred to the Missouri Service Centre (so I even have a receipt number that can be used to check status online) and they are saying it will take 30-90 days for the EAD and about 6 months for the AOS.

The receipt notices asked me to call the National Customer Service Helpline and arrange appointment times for fingerprinting and biometrics so I did that this morning. I phoned about twenty to nine and after a short wait was able to speak to an representative who, contrary to some of the helpline horror tales I’ve read about, was very nice and helpful and booked me into Atlanta for the first available appointment: March 4th at 9am. Sweet. Though the prospect of being fingerprinted fills me with sadness and I feel like a criminal, at least things are moving and this period of enforced unemployment should soon be over.

Actually, that reminds me, I was browsing one of the immigration forums the other day and read about an Irish guy who was applying for a US Visa and knew that as he had lived in the US for a few years previously he’d need a Police Check run over in the States. He was told that the FBI did this and that they required a fingerprint form completed. So he went down to his local bobbies and was met with much laughter, consternation and amusement when he requested they fingerprint him. Not surprisingly no one had ever asked them to be fingerprinted before.

Tall tales

January 25, 2004

It’s been raining heavily all day today so Bill and I decided that a trip to the cinema was in order, Bill then promptly passed out on the couch and zonked out so hard we missed our intended screening. Eventually made it to the theatre later on in the afternoon, bought our fizzy beverage of choice and snackage and settled back to watch Tim Burton’sBig Fish. A flick which promised a tale of one man getting to really know his dying father as he trys to sift through the reality behind the illusions his dad weaved him through his fantastical tales.

The film was quite enchanting at times, and as usual Steve Buscemi has managed to pick a winner. Both Bill and I got a little misty towards the end. My coat collar is a little damp, although, I wasn’t half as bad as one lady I saw in the bathroom afterwards, she was grabbing loo roll and attempting to recompose herself.

Was amused when the family were sat done to eat dinner and I noticed that the son’s French wife was using her knife and fork with proper ettiquette, while the “Americans” were just going at their food just as they pleased. So true.

Yesterday we took Quince and drove up to Mary’s to return her cooler. Quince got all excited when he realised where he was, but unfortunately Mary and Hank were out riding their horses with the dogs so he didn’t get to see his cousins.

We were supposed to then head further up North so we could take Quince for a walk and so I could get to see more of leafy Georgia. However, we realised we weren’t going to make it to our intended destination (Bill missed an exit coming from Decatur and getting to the Leslie’s took FOREVER!) so we went to a walking place nearby only to find that it is closed until mid-Feb (grrr, not Quince’s day at that point!).

Ended up having to head back to Atlanta and went to somewhere called Lake Claire where there is a park and lots of people let their dogs run free in a kind of bowl area. Bill followed his nose and the semi-remembrance of talk of a hiking area nearby and we discovered a great woody place with trails where we could let Quince run free. He went mental and totally joyed out for a while.

Back at the doggy bowl some other beasts had arrived, amongst which there was a gorgeous King Shepherd we were introduced to. She was called Fiona and Quincy adored her. He has a thing for big dogs, always tends to ignore dogs if they are smaller than him, but bigger and he freaks out with adoration. Larry, another dog was also there, but we don’t like him because he kept trying to ride Quince and indulge his carnal fantasies. They all got very excited, (Quince doing his best to ignore Larry’s advances while trying to play havoc with Fiona) and raced off out of bounds, right into into this muddy stream and Bill wouldn’t let him back into the truck. Quince rode home with the wind in his ears strapped into the back of the truck. I think he had a great time.

Had to give him a bath when we got home

Circus Dog

January 23, 2004

Quince and I at Fort Pulaski.

Wow..it’s been a whole month…

January 23, 2004

…since Bill and I became Mr and Mrs Allen! That’s a tad scary. Happy “Anniversary” us! I’m still wearing my nice (not so) shiny wedding band with pride, unlike hubby who is a very naughty boy and forgot to put his on today. Tsk tsk.

I still need to do a write up of the big day, especially because I want to include it in the guestbook/scrapbook with a copy of the vows, Dad’s speech, and stuff like that but as usual I’ve let it slide. Things just got crazy emotional after the wedding and we had a roller coaster first few weeks.

The day after the wedding, Bill and I had to go to Fulton County Probate Court and sort out getting a copy of the wedding certificate so we could file the immigration papers I need to be able stay in the States. Nicky and Lyns came in with us and we were wandering around Underground Atlanta when we got a call from my brother. He’d been trying to contact us for ages with some bad news from home. Nanna Hayton, who had been spending Christmas with my Aunt and Uncle had had a stroke on the wedding day, and was in hospital.

To cut a long story short, the next few days were fairly fraught as my parents weren’t due to fly home until the Saturday and we were all worried about Nan. We still had a wonderful Christmas Day spent with Hank’s parents who made us very welcome and gave us a fantastic Stateside Crimble to remember, but underneath it all our thoughts were with Nanna lying in a coma back in the UK.

Boxing Day we got another call, this time from my Aunty, telling us that Nanna had passed away.

Was completely swamped at this point. Couldn’t help but think she’d done this on purpose. She always seemed to have a funny turn whenever she wasn’t centre of attention on special days (she had to leave the reception meal at Sy and Mel’s wedding). Course, I’m sure you can’t help when you have a stroke, but that is how it felt.

Spent a sombre last few days with Mum and Dad in Atlanta. This was also upsetting because I won’t get to see them very often (can’t leave the States now until my residency comes through, unless I pay a fee and apply for Advance Parole), already hadn’t seen them for 3 months, and I’d been really looking forward to doing some fun things with them once the stress and craziness of the wedding was over. We did spend a lovely Boxing Day afternoon wandering around the Botanical Gardens in awe of their orchid collection, but it was pretty miserable at the same time.

Missed them very much when they flew home the next day. Missed my friends too. It had been so great to see everyone that week and when they were all gone I felt very homesick and empty. Did a lot of bursting into tears at the slightest thing.

On top of that Bill and I couldn’t just relax and enjoy being newlyweds, we had to race around sorting out my immigration status, which was a complete nightmare of unintelligible paperwork to wade through.

The tide however turned on New Year’s Day when we decided to make an impromptu escape to the coast and get away for a few days. We packed the dog up and headed for Savannah where we had a great few days and were able to take some deep breaths and enjoy ourselves. At Tybee Island I saw the Atlantic from this side, much to Bill’s amusement went paddling (got that on video!), did a chicken dance on the beach (was supposed to be a seagull!) and waved to Blighty. We took Quince to a Civil War fort (Fort Pulaski), ate pizza at Vincent Van Go Go’s, breakfasted at the Tybee Island Breakfast Club, explored Skidaway Island Nature Trail with the dawg and were completely cut off from all communication while we were away.

On the way back to Atlanta we also stopped off at the Allens in Milledgeville and hung out with Bill’s Mom and Dad for a while. That was great too. I like them very much and always enjoy going to see them.

Anyway, shook off the bad feelings with that little trip and came home to start the new year afresh with my lovely hubby. I still keep feeling very unsettled every so often, but a hug from Bill makes everything better. 🙂

Protected: Myers Briggs Test Results

January 21, 2004

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Sugar and Sporty Spice

January 20, 2004

I’ve been trying to be very good lately and have been going to Cardio-Kick classes at the Y, using the gym, as well as Tang Soo Do. Also, going swimming with Bill after TSD on Friday nights and using the steam room is working out rather nicely. This has meant I’ve been running out of clothes lots though as I only had one pair of track trousers and a solitary suitanble bra to wear to get sweaty in. UGH.

At long last I finally managed to buy a new sports bra and gym clothes on Saturday. The bra front has been quite an ordeal. Up until now I’ve been wearing my one and only two year old, and thus rather manky one and trying to make do as I’ve had a terrible time trying to find a replacement that actually fits. Acquiring a small size sports bra is far too difficult, they only seem to be readily available in large sizes and I was getting quite fed up. Having something decent to wear underneath my dobok, for extra padding and decency is rather essential you know. Anyway, we gave Mary a call and she had some great suggestions which led us to Galyan’s Sports, and a decent appropriate bra IN MY SIZE!! Whoo hoo!! I was so excited I bought two!

There was a sale on too and so I also snagged a couple of pairs of run around trousers, and Bill spotted a really cool pair of trainers for himself. Yay! New acquisitions! Strutted around the house in the new gear when we got home and can’t wait for the next gym trip now. Cool.

Actually talking about Cardio-Kick, that’s been rather fun. I wanted something to potentially help my sparring at TSD and boost my stamina so I can keep on fighting longer. 😉 I’ve been twice so far and am proud of myself because it was very scary the first time I went and I was very nervous indeed. . So far I’ve not had the scheduled instructor though, two different stand-ins with completely different styles took the class instead. The first was a funny male boxer who did a lot of kicks and boxing punches in his workout, the other was a black girl who did a whole heap of booty shaking. Lots of fun, but there’s no way I could do those! Failed miserably. It’s held in one of those rooms with the mirrors too so I got to see myself make a complete tit of myself. Yikes. Watching little Kay try to keep up with all those aerobic types is horribly funny, and I look so damn young and lost in the mirror too.

Tang Soo Do has picked up and we should be doing more sparring imminently. Last class Bill came in after the lesson and has ordered me some sparring gear. Wheee!! I was given the forearm and shin guards on Friday which I was quite excited about, but I’m going to have to talk to my instructor about those as I’m really not convinced of the fit. I’ve emailed him about this, but he’s not got back to me. Hope it’s not going to be an issue. 😦

Okay, so there was no sugar, whatcha gunna do?! :p

Domesticity, couch potatoes and a lone dawg.

January 20, 2004

Had another packed weekend, but this time it was a three day one. We even managed to not come into work on one of them. Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial Day so everyone got the day off to commemorate his achievements and goals.

We took off down to the Sear’s Outlet and purchased ourselves a dishwasher with the remains of our wedding present cash. Otherwise know as the Scratch and Dent store, they have a huge warehouse full of either discontinued models or appliances that have suffered some sort of cosmetic damage.

Ummed and ahhed with decisions for a while before picking out a smart black Whirlpool that wasn’t too badly damaged, just a few barely noticable minor scratches. RRP $500 on sale for $330. Score!

No waiting around or paying extra for delivery either, just loaded it straight into the back of the truck and took it homeward.

Bill then took on manly man duties and got on with installing it. Did a great job, it now works, is in the right place, and there are no superfluous holes in the walls. Fantastic work babe.

I helped by walking Quincy and then chasing him around the front yard with a broom, while trying to gather up some of the leaves to dump onto the compost. He was a little freak and got very bouncy and bounded around arfing happily.

Got sucked into Reality TV in the evening, much to Bill’s dismay. I had up until now had a clean record regarding Pop Idol, or in this country American Idol and had never seen an episode. Last night I buckled as it was the first of the new series and I wanted to see all the dire people audition. Frightening. Bill rolled around the house grumbling, muttering, and occasionally being sucked in himself.

Next up was My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance. The premise of this one is that the bride is up to win half a million dollars if she can convince her folks that she is in love with a disgusting doofus of a bloke, and get them all to attend their forthcoming wedding (in 12 days time) without anyone objecting or spotting the ruse. She however doesn’t know that her husbby to be is in fact an actor paid to thwart and drive her crazy. Splendid.

Bored by formula TV by this point, but as anything was better than watching Bill play more XBox Golf we then flipped over to Average Joe Hawaii. This one has the beautiful flawless girl setting up challenges for a bunch of male suiters so that she can whittle the competition down and hopefully find the man of her dreams. The draw to this program is that instead of having a bevy of toned hunks to chose from, all the wooers are less than picture perfect handsome. In fact, they are all average, and downright nerdy and geeks to boot. Compelling viewing even if it did drive Bill and I to distraction.

Bill then took over on the XBox and was setting us up with some multiplayer mayhem when I got freaked out by the next door neighbours about 11.20pm. There was the distinct sound of smashing glass coming from their back porch and when I went to investigate (by cowardly peering out of the kitchen window at them) there appeared to be nobody home as all the lights were off, no cars were in the drive and the house looked dead. I kept a vigil for a while and spotted a guy moving around back there. At which point Bill did a little investigation of his own but drew a blank. Kept an eye on the house for the rest of the time I was up and finally a car pulled into the drive and next door’s wife arrived home. All the lights then went on inside the house and there was nothing else unusual to see so we presumed everything must be well. Have come to the conclusion that the husband must have been in the house in the dark and the glass breaking was their recycling.

As Bill said “next door are freaks.”

Didn’t half worry me though.

This morning I’m back in at BrightHouse. Aaaargh! On the way in we spotted a babe of a puppy wandering around on the side of Lowery Boulevard, alone and without a collar on. It had a huge bone or something it was chomping on and as we were stuck at the lights we watched it huddle down and find a place to scarf it. The lights changed and we couldn’t stop or anything, and we think if we had it would have legged it or thought we were trying to steal it’s snack anyway. Dammit. It was so cute and now I feel bad and hope to goodness that when we drive past later we don’t find it squished on the road. It was all black and glossy and like a little Molly dog. We are actually on the look out for a pal for Quince, though I can’t imagine this gorgeous pup didn’t have an anxious owner somewhere already. *worries and goes mushy over puppy*

January 14, 2004

On the way into BrightHouse this morning we almost got turned into roadkill by not one, but two idiotic breakdown trucks. Bill avoided one truck pulling out haphazardly in front of him and then couldn’t believe it when another pulled the same maneouvre but hit the brakes right in front of us. We had to career out of the way and narrowly missed ploughing straight into him. Really annoying thing (as if almost being goners wasn’t enough) was there was a policeman directly adjacent to this in the HOV lane who was engaged in dealing with a driver. Did he even look up or bat an eyelid? Hell no!

Took the truck and went back home this afternoon to walk the dog and make the place a little more habitable. Also managed to go the YMCA for a bit and finally got my ID card done. That was quite a laugh actually, the guy would take my pic then ask me if it was okay? I couldn’t help but make him take it again and again for me, and of course each one looked identical to the last! Had me in giggles though.

Oooh, Bill’s finished, we’re off to the scratch and dent store to source a dishwasher! Whoo hoo!

Protected: Letter to Nicky (on Wonder Woman paper)

January 5, 2004

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