Friday, December 31, 2010

Time to make the list

Sky

Resolutions and things I want to accomplish in 2011:

Get packed up and across the pond with the cat.
Get into teacher training so I can teach in England.
Get back into an exercise routine.
Go back to Weight Watchers.
Take trips around the UK.
Visit Steve's folks.
Have 1st anniversary at Disney World.
Take Education classes online in the summer.
Get a television for our bedroom.
Have an awesome post-Christmas.
Have an awesome Christmas in Dec together.
Keep up on my blogs.
Graduate from TWU with my Master's in Library Science.
Get a Windows 7 phone once my iPhone contract is up.
Have a great first year as a married woman.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Feels like Christmas

Hoho sweater

I love that it's 79F degrees again. I want to enjoy my Floridian lifestyle the right way for the next six weeks. I'm fine with having a sunny Christmas this year.

I also found out that one of the UK colleges where I applied for the teacher training courses has offered me an interview. (If you'll recall, the first place I sent my application was all worried about their high school test scores, which may be the case with all their college entry requirements.) Anyway, I'll have to request a rescheduling of the interview as they want to conduct it on the day I'll get to England. But if I can get it for a couple days after, Steve showed me how easy it will be to get on the bus and take a 30 minute trip to the University. The idea of learning to ride the bus, not to mention the metro, will be a whole adventure in itself.

Right now Steve's at his Christmas work dinner and I'm contemplating what to have for dinner myself. I tried to get to the gym yesterday but I did my Christmas shopping instead. (Got Mom a green Christmas sweatshirt for her to wear now though.) I knew that school was out today and more people would be in Wal-mart and Target. I have what I want for everyone now. I still have a few things to get Dad for his birthday and Steve for our post-Christmas (both in January.)

I'm still working on setting up my online education classes too. I still like the idea of taking classes that count toward an MEd degree.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

A very good year

Today I finally got my UK Visa.  It took a little over a month to process, taking into account the Thanksgiving holiday.  After getting the papers together for two months so a one month turn out rate from the British Consulate isn't bad at all.  (I think they deserve a Christmas card.) 

Now that the hard part is over, the paperwork part, there is the planning to think of.  By the end of January, I'll be in the UK.  It will be a great start to the new year.  While I hate being away from Steve for Christmas, it does make the holiday much easier to get through knowing that I'll be there soon enough.  This means two Christmases!  We'll put up the tree and open presents and watch A Christmas Story just like it's December 25th.  I still like to think that this will be a great story for our grandkids.  2010 was a wonderful year and starting off 2011 with my official move to England will make it another wonderful year.

So that gives me about six weeks to enjoy my break from school, have Christmas with my parents, get myself packed up, and my money saved.  At least I won't have to fight the holiday crowds at the airport (I can only imagine what the lines at the body scanners will be like next week) and I can have a better pick of flights.  I thought about going over for Christmas, then coming back to get Jake, but that will be a whole plane ticket's worth of cash that I need to get Jake to London.  I was thinking it would be $400-$500 for a cat to travel across the pond but online I'm hearing an estimated $1000 to bring a pet.  That, along with my own plane ticket and the extra baggage fees (I have a lot of sweaters to bring) is going to be a bit pricey. 

Still, I'll be headed to my new home soon and that's made me feel way more Christmasy.  Today I went with my parents to the mall, ate Chic-Fil-A (and the rest of that gingerbread I made at home, thank you very much), got a candy cane from Santa, picked out some new Nike + shoes (purple!) as one of my Santa gifts and had an all around nice outting.  I won't start my new classes until the 18th, and then I should be headed across the pond a week later.  That makes it way convenient to not be travelling and having big, important assignments due at the same time.  I'm still looking into the Education classes I'll take next year too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dear Santa

I know what Santa's bringing me this year.  I have wanted an Amazon Kindle or something similar for over a year now.  I investigated the new NookColor but there was a better review for the Kindle on PCWorld, so I asked my parents for it instead.  While I love books and I love browsing books and feeling so happy to carry armloads of them out of the library or bookstore, I really like the idea of a Kindle.  Since I'll be moving (sometime...more on that later) I really can't cart a bunch of books around.  Granted, yes, I have some and I'll always have books I find to pick up, but the majority of them can be housed in one convenient little gadget.  And everyone knows how much I love gadgets. 

The benefits as well will be that I'll be a city gal once I move.  I'll be spending my time taking the bus, the metro and the train.  Instead of worrying that I've forgotten my book each time I step out of the house, I can have this with me.  The battery life lasts for 1 month, it holds 3,500 books, tons of the classics are free or 99 cents and whenever I want a new book, I just download it and start reading.  I also like the idea that I can start up on the page of the book where I left off, turn on the audio reading option and listen to the book for the few pages I need to while I'm on the bus or at the gym.  When I get home, I can have it bookmarked where it left off, and go back to reading it.  That's very cool. 

It reads PDF files too.  Not sure if I'll need that for any kind of work/school related thing but it's nice to know.  I'm not sure how the web browsing works either.  If I can figure out how to update my Twitter and check my email, that's enough for me.

So I wrote on my "professional"  Endeavours in Librarianship blog that I'm getting some future plans set up. I have my MLS degree final term around the corner, then by finding out that I have my Professional Teaching Certificate in FL, I can take classes at University of Phoenix so I can keep my certificate valid while I'm gone.  Now, the problem is going to be getting work in the UK.  I just wrote a post to the TDA Facebook page saying, I was just rejected from a PGCE program because I did not have GCSE scores. I'm in the US and gave them my information on my high school transcripts. I have a professional certificate, teaching experience and am working on my second Master's degree. Why are my qualifications not enough? What should I do? Thanks.

If by not taking their high school exam (this is comparible to the FCAT or the SAT), despite the graduate degrees and teaching experience I have, I can't get in the program, it makes me wonder what else I'll be shut out of.  I don't understand that when the program is called the Post Graduate Certificate in Education.  I've graduated college, so I'm eligible, right?  Anyway, if I can't get a teaching job, I'll have to wait around for the "0" library job listings to raise to at least 1 or 2 so I can have a chance of having a decent job there.  Otherwise I'll be working at Starbucks (which isn't at all bad, mind you) and volunteering at the library (another not so bad scenerio.) 

We're still waiting on the UK Visa anyway.  If I don't get anything by the end of the week, it pretty much means I'm not going to be able to get to Steve by Christmas.  We have that whole 10 day time frame to get Jake ready to go with his Pet Passport and I just don't know if I can get him there during the week of Christmas.  It really is disappointing to us both.  We have plans to visit his family after spending our first Christmas together as a married couple.  The UK Consulate may very well take that opportunity away from us.  But we'll manage around it, I know, if we can't be together on Dec 25th.  It's just a bummer to be married for 2 1/2 months and still not know if you'll be able to spend the holidays together.  I was even going to cook a turkey and we were going to go to our church to Christmas service.  I'm already not going to the work Christmas party or the Christmas lights in the park.  Major, major bummer.

So aside from my Kindle for Christmas, I'm asking Santa for my UK Visa, my plane ticket, my cat's Pet Passport and my train ticket home with him and Steve.  I promise, I've been really good this year!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Macy's: Good parade, awful store

Here is the letter I wrote to Macy's today that I will be sending with the order I'll return the minute it arrives in the mail:

Dear Macy's Customer Service:

I am returning this item order.  The item was listed as a sale item but you charged me full price and denied to give it to me at the listed sale price. 

The item option that I listed for the return of the Larry Levine purple coat was not full price.  I even indicated that if the 1st return option, a different Larry Levine white coat, was not available for the sale price of $90 to send me the Tommy Hilfiger white coat which was on sale and about $80.

I am outraged that you would overcharge me for this item and expect a full refund of $238.50 for the price of this order.  Even now online this Tommy Hilfiger coat is listed online as $119 and you have charged me full price at $225.  

I am very upset with Macy’s handling of this order.  I tried to call and get this order price resolved now that I have the shipping confirmation email, but the customer service rep told me that they couldn’t track down the one day only sale that was only a few days ago when I sent the return information in.  I even sent the information from the website in with the coat and the return order form with a note indicating the price and size.  I even tried to contact another customer service rep who could help me but the same girl kept answering, giving me a different name each time. 

When I contacted customer service for price adjustments, an internet clerk, J.M.J.,  stated that the order was placed on Oct 2nd and the 14 day policy made them unable to honor the price adjustment.  What kind of customer service is this when the clerk cannot even read the date of a return item that reads Nov 17, 2010?

Even when I tried to get a gift card at the store for returning this item, I was told at the Merritt Island store that they would not give me full price on my gift card for this return item.  This is why I sent them coat back in the first place.  I’ve already had issues with the store in Merritt Island before where they misled me on orders.  I shopped for Docker’s men’s suit separates, which the store told Dockers did not make.  I know this is untrue because JCPenney sells Docker’s suit separates.  I will continue to shop at JCPenney before going to Macys.  I have no issues with returning items or finding good prices on what I purchase when I shop with them.

Again, I’m very upset with Macy’s handling of this order and will not shop at Macys.com again.  I’ve unsubscribed to the email newsletters and have let me friends and relatives know what a horrible, shady company you are.  You do not honor sale prices, which is false advertising and you do not offer any kind of customer service except to ignore the customer’s legitimate claims.

My complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau is listed below:

I ordered a coat on Oct 2, 2010, which I sent in for an exchange on Nov 17, 2010.  In the return package I sent the unwanted coat, the exchange order form and the information for the coat I wanted in exchange from their website.  They had a one day only sale online on Nov 17.  The original coat was $80 and the coat on sale that I wished to exchange it for was approximately $80-$90. 

When I was given information that my exchange order had been shipped on Nov 23, they had charged me full price, $225, for the new coat.  On Nov 23 the coat was listed as being $135.  When I contacted customer service on the phone they told me that they could not find any information for a one day only sale.  When I contacted customer service price adjustment online they sent me an email today, Nov 24, stating that since the order was placed on Oct 2 (the date I ordered the coat I returned) they could not honor any sale price after 14 days anyway.  Today the item is listed as $119 and they refuse to give me any other price other than full price.

So they have falsely advertised sale items, refused to give me compensation and my only hope is that I can send the coat back and have my $225 replaced on my credit card. 

Thank you.

What I'm thankful for

In the grand tradition of Thanksgiving, I'll post my list of what I'm grateful for:
My sweet baboo, our wonderful wedding and honeymoon, my parents, my cat, my classes being almost over, my iPhone keeping my communication up (even though I'm going to write a new blog post about what to do with this thing after the contract is over. Sending it into space is my first option), the library for giving me Season 3 of "Ugly Betty" finally, having winter clothes for England, knowing I'll go to England soon (even though the Consulate still hasn't sent me my email saying I've been approved), not having to pay a ton to send my most recent box of winter clothes, the snow on the ground outside the flat in England, knowing Christmas is coming soon, and having a great future ahead of me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Turkey week

Watching "Family Ties" on The Hub channel. I'm glad that it's Thanksgiving week so I can have my holiday fill of pumpkin pie and turkey. However the holiday week may hold up the Visa review process. We're still waiting. I've not posted anything for a while because nothing's really happened. I get no updates from the Consulate so all I can do is pick up and pack up here and there. Not a whole lot to save since I'm Queen of having things I don't really need. I've donated a lot but there's a lot that I can only pitch. I'm limiting myself to a couple of suitcases. I have to send what I can in boxes ahead of time. Still, all I can bring are clothes really. The forecast is for snow there this week. That will be a big temperature shock for someone who runs around in flip flops and t-shirts each day. This is why I have a new collection of sweaters, coats and boots.

Anyway, so I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and is able to enjoy some of the Black Friday sales. I've said it once and I'll say it again - I'll be so glad when this recession is over.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

(do not) Return to sender

After going through a very stressful ordeal yesterday with the possibly lost, possibly undeliverable envelope, I needed some kind of refreshment.  Granted, I don't drink that much, if at all, these days, so the idea of sipping a fake beer that is pink and lemony was a fine idea.  I slept through the night and woke up this morning at 6AM to the sounds of Monsters in the Morning on 104.1FM on my clock radio.  Ahh...back to normal.

So here's the story of my envelope:  I sent our supporting documents via USPS on Friday.  It had to go to the British Consulate in NY and I wanted it there as quickly as possible.  I wasn't sure if they took mail on weekends or not, but figured it couldn't hurt to send something to be delivered on a Saturday.  So on Saturday, my tracking number listed that the mailman had "left notice" and "to pick up or schedule redelivery contact USPS."  Hhmm...so they won't just redeliver if it's Express Mail?  This makes me start to worry.

I wrote USPS and said to have it redelivered.  Waited until Monday and the tracking info was the same.  So by 2PM I was starting to freak because the mail should have gotten there by 3PM (on Saturday they delivered by 11AM).  I called 1-800-ASK-USPS.  Here are the answers I got:  "We can't give you any information, call this (never answered) phone number for the Post Office in NY."  and "Oh, if you didn't indicate not to have it delivered on Saturday or a holiday, it'll just be sent back to you..."  What? 

I called the British Consulate.  "Notice?  You can't just tell the Post Office to have it resent?"  "Um, no, they list it as you getting a notice and needed to ask for redelivery."  "Oh...hang on."  I got put on hold then finally the very nice clerk told me that when the mailman comes on Saturday, the doormen tell them that no one is there to sign for it.  The envelope should be brought back again that Monday and I'd get an email when they had it.  It was almost close of business that day so it should turn up.  But if I don't hear from then in a day or so it may be ("unfortunately") sent back.  Great. 

I emailed USPS.com, and phoned the local Post Office.  Both responses finally gave me the right answer:  They will try two attempts and wouldn't send it back without letting the business know they had something for them and they'll never just let an envelope sit around without trying to deliver.  They also said that the tracking info isn't updated until the mailman/mailwoman gets back with their scanner and then it's uploaded into the system.  So I could be waiting until 7PM before seeing that it was delivered.

This was the point where I bought the snacks and girl booze.  I was in a state.  I mean, this has been the most difficult, long, arduous process.  And I know they do it on purpose so we will be put off by it.  But when I can't even know if an envelope is delivered, that's just beyond my control and I didn't know how else to keep fighting.  I've called tons of places over and over just to get what the Consulate wanted: 6 months of bank statements, letter from the school with specifics about my attendance, proof of direct deposits, proof of existing, proof of marriage, proof of relationship.  I mean, really.  I don't think getting a mortgage is this hard.

By my second lemonade at about 6:30PM, sure enough, the USPS tracking information said that the envelope had been delivered - at 10AM.  Now I have to wait for the Consulate to email me but at least I know the silly envelope got delivered.  I still do have a slight fear that the envelope tore open and all our precious contents are strewn over NYC, but I'll let that worry subside for now.  After sleeping a good night's sleep, knowing my supporting documents are where they need to be, I rested easy.

For anyone who has to go through this, here's some advice:  look at the list of info that the UK Border Agency website lists.  When you fill out the online application they just say "evidence of..."  The website for Settlement Visas is much, much more specific.  That's where we had some back slide because we thought we had everything but found out, nope, they wanted more.  Get your fingerprints done as soon as you can and when you know you have everything you need.  If you get them done, then have to wait on something else (like I did from TWU) you end up having a 2-week long clock ticking and the risk of not being able to send your supporting documents in time really gets scary.  Also, have the mail send Express on a weekday.  The Consulate apparently does not accept mail in any form on Saturday.  Check your tracking number and talk to your local post office (not the 1-800-ASK-USPS) if you have questions.  If you need to phone the Consulate, keep pushing "5" and you'll get a rep at the office.

Now there's more waiting, but it's a better kind of waiting.  I can relax more because my work is done.  There's nothing else I can do.  That was the whole problem - it was just a constant struggle and fight to get things organized and sent off in time.  I want to be soon so each day we spent waiting on paperwork to get sent to us to send up to the Consulate was another day we weren't together.  *sigh* 

But for today I'm making stroganoff with meatballs instead of beef stew (Winn-Dixie didn't have any lean stew meat yesterday).  Then I may take a trip to the library so I can finally get caught up on this reading.  This week I had Catherine, Called Birdy, The Wednesday Wars and now I'm trying to get through The Green Glass Sea.  I know it's won awards and maybe for science buffs it would be interesting but, it's just not going anywhere.  I was all excited when someone died because I thought finally something interesting would happen but, nope, just a brief bit about the President dying.  It's just the same thing over and over.  Talks about the two kids and their parents working on "the gadget" during the war.  Interesting premise? Yes.  Interesting plot line? No.  As one Amazon reviewer said, "The plot was altogether uncaptivating. I found myself drifting away from the book and forced myself to read it."  Yup, that sums it up nicely.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just one more step

I'm lying in bed with the cat eating Chex Mix (yes, he thinks he should have some) at 2, I mean 1AM. I read more of my book tonight so I'll be ready to write the review on Thursday. The book was fine until it started talking about math and physics and zzz.

I'm still slightly freaking out about this Visa paperwork. Apparently the office was closed yesterday so they left a notice that the office can either request to have the envelope resent or picked up. I took the liberty of requesting it to be resent myself. I don't want to risk it getting sent back. That stuff had to be there within two weeks of the fingerprints. I just want this stuff at their office, so I can relax a bit. Just tired of this whole process. Once the application is approved and everything is sent back to me, then I can really relax. Well, no, I will have the pet passport to deal with after that. Maybe I'll just relax once I get home with Steve.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The waiting game

This Express Mail envelope full of bank statements, bank letters, copies of checks, pay stubs, pictures, passports, school transcripts, tax forms, phone records, emails and any other like item that I could think of is on its way to be reviewed and approved. I thought I would feel relieved and excited about getting this application completed but I didn't.  I started worrying that the envelope would rip open because I didn't tape it on the bottom (the postal worker told me I didn't need to) and all the contents would be lost.  It's just a scary thought to have your whole life in a large envelope with the potential of it getting lost on the way to its destination.  I have a tracking number and the envelope contents are insured but, wow, it's freaky.  I was way more nervous leaving the post office instead of feeling excited.  Now the waiting game starts.

I've been watching Teach: Tony Danza again tonight.  Now, what strikes me the most about this show is the way they accurately show that no matter what a student does, it's the teacher's fault.  Tonight on the episode "Teacher's Pet", Mr. Danza is teaching the students a five-paragraph essay.  The class gives little effort and Mr. Danza goes over the format again.  Continually he gives them on-on-one talks, telling them that they need to try harder and offers help.  The next scene, they show the guidance counselor telling the principal about how Mr. Danza's class didn't do the essay well.  Immediately the assumption is that heisn't teaching them well and is just coasting through the curriculum without caring about if the kids actually learn the material or not.  Ridiculous.  These kids are not failing except for one student who refuses to turn in work and Mr. Danza has talked to the student's mother repeatedly.  So what is he, as a teacher, supposed to do in situations like this?  It's his fault because he doesn't "connect" with a few students?  Please!

On the days that I think I want to work in the public school again, even as a librarian, I watch this show and remember how it is to be put under that firing squad.  I guess that this isn't the kind of situation that all teachers get into but, again, blaming the teacher for the students' lack of care of interest in what is going on in class is just absurd.  I gave the FCAT to students who Christmas tree-ed the whole test and slept or danced in their desk through the rest of the test time.  I feel for poor Tony Danza.  He's not alone in getting this kind of treatment.  He's had way more training than a lot of first year teachers get and he's qualified.  It just seems like he's been made a target and given even more pressure on him because of who he is (and those students, by the way, had no idea who he was).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Slow and steady wins the race

In order to make myself feel less stressed about this paperwork stuff, I decided to bake.  As you can see, I made cinnamon muffins this evening.  They were pretty good.  I think they'll taste better with my Santa's White Christmas coffee in the morning.

Today was the day I thought we'd finally gotten everything we needed for the Visa.  I got Steve's bank statements in the mail (6 days for Airsure service - not bad) and I was on the brink of getting the Enrollment Verification Form letter from TWU.  I'll say this up front, the people at the Registrar's Office did do a great job at getting what I needed today.  However, I did call them once yesterday and three times today to make sure stuff got done.  In my letter I need to have it state that I am taking online classes (so the Visa reviewers know that I am not dropping out of school when I move.)  When I send out my request for the letter last Thursday, I wrote that I needed this, and to have the letter faxed and sent to me.  I even provided my own SASE for Priority Mail so they can get this thing back to me this week.  After calling today to ask if they were going to fax this thing to me, they said yes they would.  I used my "teacher voice" and let them know that I couldn't wait around.  It had to be done so I could send it in the mail.  At 3:30PM I called back just to hear them say, "We are still waiting on the library school to verify that your classes are online."  I told them that I can see in my online school account that the classes are online, so they told me to fax a print out of that screen too.  So I did.  I called back an hour later.  Nothing had happened yet.  I told the girl that I'd faxed the letter, she went to check, came back to the phone, said she'd type it up and fax it.  She did. 

I ran to the Post Office and got in right before 5 o'clock.  As I waited in line, I looked at the the letter and it says "if there is a stamp, it's official."  That would make this look like just a print out or copy.  I decided to just call Steve on my iPhone (you're welcome, AT&T, for that bonus this month) and asked him if I should wait around on the official, mailed letter that would get here sometime this week.  He pointed out that it's best to do that so there's no question in our minds or the Visa suits reviewing the application papers.  He also reminded me that I tend to rush things, which I do.  It's true that people end up with a spouse who has different characteristics because it benefits them.  I tend to rush and Steve thinks things through.  Obviously his ways are better than mine.

So now after the third call to the Registrar's Office to confirm that they did send my letter in the Priority Mail envelope I provided them, I have to wait just a few more days.  That's when I went to the grocery store and bought my cinnamon muffin mix and a frozen pizza.  I feel way more relaxed now.

Another odd thing that happened today during the midst of all this, was that someone came to the door today leaving a card from a U.S. security bureau.  Thinking maybe I was being checked out to prove I am who I am, I called the number only to find out that they wanted me to verify that the cops hadn't been called lately on a neighbor whom I didn't know, who had moved in October.  I told her that I never heard or saw of any problems around here and she took my statement for her review.  Odd.  I didn't know they did that.  Wonder what kind of security clearance that's for.

But now that the excitement is over, I'll have to go back to the library tomorrow.  I need to read and get some homework done.  Enough with this paperwork nonsense!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November is the month

Today I got my fingerprints done in Orlando. It was intimidating just because this isn't something you do every day. The building doesn't allow cell phones, and you're greeted by an armed guard. But everyone there was friendly and I was chatted to while I got my fingerprints done. Made me a lot less stressed about the whole thing.

Now I have the last bank statements from Steve and my letter from TWU. They tried to fax it already but my answering machine picked up instead. Now I have the fax machine set right, the answering machine off (all I'm getting are political campaign calls anyway). I'd love to have everything sent out by tomorrow. I want this application completed and put behind us. It's really been a huge process and I'll be glad to have it over with.

Nothing much happened for trick or treat. We had our own little computer party and that was all. The Snickers I left outside were taken but i'm not sure they were taken by kids. There were kids partying late at the flat which kept Steve up until 4AM. A house is definitely in our near future. Being around people who come and go and turn the complex into a dorm room is not something we're willing to put up with anymore.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mexican food and make-up work


Today I visited with my old work crew at El Tucan in Merritt Island.  It is always so nice to see everyone again and see how things are going.  I got to finally show off my ring and my photo album too - I never tire of that.

I did my make-up homework as well.  My professor had emailed me back, asking when I would be able to turn it in.  I replied with "just re-submitted them."  I still am not sure I'm doing them right but after three attempts, I should have gotten something on that rubric to give me credit.

Visa papers will go out next week after I get my fingerprints done on Monday and get Steve's last bank statements in the mail.  I'm so sick of running around over this.  We're both at our wits' end with papers and more papers.  It's starting to freak me out at how much I have and how long it will take for them to approve me.  We can only pray that I can be there by Christmas and keep our plans with that intent.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dumb movie, lots of papers

"Sex and the City 2" has been the stupidest movie I've seen in a long time. I can handle girlie movies. I can handle middle aged women singing karaoke. But the dialogue was forced so the funny, witty punchlines just seemed too fake. Plus the plot is just stupid. Like Aiden (such a great name) would just happen to be in the Middle East. And this whole "we're strong women and no man respects us" thing is a bit old. All in all it's just a flop. I'm sad to see this second, much awaited movie to be plain terrible.

In other news the paperwork has become more detailed. I filled out my application, get my fingerprints done Monday, then I send our documents. The Express envelope weighs 4 lbs already and I don't even have a handful of bank statements yet. Each time we think we have everything, we discover more things they want from the long list of supporting documents. But once I have the bank letters, another couple months of statements and a letter from the school stating that I'm in online classes, then I can send everything. I just can't wait to get this application done and approved. Christmas is still some time away but it's close enough and I want my plans to go, well, according to plan.

And tomorrow is homework day. I wish I could get rid of this cold. My medicine makes me feel so groggy all the time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A scenic view


Today we investigated what all we'll have to do on the day Jake and I arrive in the U.K.  After my plane ride that will land at 7AM or so, I'll wait on Steve to come pick me up after he's taken the train down South.  Once he gets there, we'll have to take my luggage (I will try to scale it down to one large suitcase and a carry-on.) Then we have to pick Jake up at the Animal Reception Centre after a short taxi ride.  Once we have him, we'll go back to the airport, grab the express train up to Victoria, then on to King's Cross.  Best part about all this will be that I can see London.  Finally!  The airport is outside of the city, so I never saw any inkling of London other than the paraphernalia sold in the airport gift shop.  Of course I'm going to be majorly tired by the time I get in that morning, but the excitement will keep me awake enough until we get home.  Ah, home, it's waiting for me!  Even my pictures are up on the wall!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another step closer


Due to my recent interest in peas and pea cookery, my sweet and dear husband bought me a new U.K. slow cooker (a crock pot to us Southerners).  As you can see, I already have my coffee maker waiting on me too. (An item that a tea drinker would have no reason to have until I came around.)

I almost have all of our paperwork we need.  The last of the bank statements are on the way and I have everything I think would be pertinent to the application.  I even included my school transcripts, my resume and the proof that I'd gone to the library in town and inquired about volunteering.

I ordered Jake's cargo carrier as well - cushy, water retaining pad and all.  It's been a lot of organization and research on my part to make sure I have absolutely everything the way it should be.  Now all I need is to finish getting my paperwork, apply, get my fingerprints done and then send off all my documents.  I can't wait to get that approval letter!

A productive Friday

I had a really productive day today. I started out by going to the doctor to get some cold medicine. When I was waiting, another patient came in who has to have the ambulance called for them. She had possibly had a bad reaction to Alleve. Makes me wonder what over the counter drugs have such big consequences if our system doesn't tolerate them.

Afterwards I went to the DMV. It's cool how they have it set up here where you press a button for the category you're there for, then get your "next in line" ticket. I waited a little over 30 min in a less than great waiting room. I was happy that when they called my number I went to a desk where a nice, smiling lady greeted me. I had all my necessary papers, all organised and accepted by DMV standards. I have my picture with my funky bun in my hair and my yellow t-shirt (I match the license). I knew if I didn't put picture clothes on and expect to get the renewal done, there would have been too many people or something keeping me from getting my DL. But low and behold, I had my DL an hour after I got there. Another big task all done!

I also got a big wedding album that holds 200 photos. Now I can get that all organised for us. I printed out the pictures that I'm sending with the Visa paperwork. I made copies of a bunch of my identity papers that I used today for my DL. I'd rather go overboard and put everything possible they could need rather than send in just enough and hope for the best.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Morning

I picked the right week to get sick. I didn't have any homework except to re-do an assignment that I flubbed up on. Other than that I just got my books at the library for my next two sections. The rest of the time I just hung out at home. I'm finally going to the doctor today.

The paperwork business is getting done. It's a big process to have everything I possibly need to send in: bank statements, birth certificate, pictures, phone records, etc. But I think we have everything we need now. I just have to get the application done and send everything out. I want to be in England by December.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Paperwork, peas and Twitter


Today I have to run back to the library. I finished up my reviews for my children's poetry section and our next section is historical. Larger books to read in two weeks, so I have to get cracking. I will grab the ones I need for the section after historical as well. I have to get what I can get done before I go.

I finally got my passport renewed with my name change and smiley photo. Next is the big Visa application. I have to apply online, make an appointment in Orlando to get my fingerprints done, and send in a lot of required materials. It's a big process but as long as we've been researching this, we should be all set. It amazes me how daunting it all looks. I don't want to miss any possible ounce of "evidence" they may need. Phone records, emails, bank statements, certificates and license to name a few. I don't know how long it will take for them to approve the Visa either but my plan is to go after Thanksgiving. With having to get Jake's paperwork ready after mine, that gives me time to get us ready. Plus, I get to watch the Macy's parade and eat pumpkin pie! The pumpkin pie mix that's imported to England is low this year.

And that's how things are rolling right now. I'm still not very packed but when I can only bring so much, there's not a whole lot I can do with these things (except donate what I can of course.) I'm sending what I can ahead of me (you can put 70 lbs worth of stuff in a Priority Box and send it internationally - winter clothes, of course, only make the box weigh about 6 lbs.)

Also, I really am not "feeling it" with Twitter.  It just reminds me of those chat rooms we use to have in the 90s where people would come into a room, start an argument, get everyone in a fluff and generally torment people for their own enjoyment.  This is why I like Facebook - I don't have to look at random strangers' posts about atheism, drinking or inappropriate behavior.  I just don't want to sift through that garbage.  I like talking to the library community and seeing cool links here and there but now I understand why 70% (some statistic on the news the other day) of Twitter updates get ignored.  It just seems like a big mess to me. 

But right now I'm still working on my Scandinavian pea soup. The recipe said to put in the crock pot on high for the first 4-6 hours, low for the second. I've had it on low all night. No wonder they wouldn't get mushy! I think they're actually cooking now. Non-mushy peas wouldn't be very British of me now would they?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

And the fun begins


Today I gutted the closet a little more since I had bought some more storage bins yesterday.  I found scads of clothes that I bought on sale years ago that still had the tags on them.  This is the thrift store shoppers lucky day!  I'd so rather it go to someone who can use them than have them sit in this closet.

Also, I started getting my named changed on my SS card and my passport.  In my haste of getting my things in the mail before 5PM, I forgot to add the extra money for the expedited shipping on my passport (I do not have 6 weeks to wait!)  As I was saying in my updates earlier, when I went to Walgreens to have my new photo done, the girl working there made me come back and retake it after someone else had processed the pictures.  "You can't smile in the passport photos."  "Yes you can.  I'm smiling in the one I got last year.  My husband is smiling in his too..."  "Well, they get sent back to us."  "Huh.  Must be a new rule."  "Well, people will bring theirs back saying they aren't accepted though I know they look perfect."  Red flag.  I let her take my straight on, unfun picture, then proceeded on to the Post Office where I had the postmaster not only take the right picture (smile and all) but put everything in the Priority envelope with delivery confirmation and all.  I felt much better about the whole thing once I had the P.O. handle things - that is until I realized I didn't pay my extra fees for fast processing.  Department of State said I could call in later and give them my payment over the phone for that though once they have the application.  Hooray!  Everything is fine in the world of me again!

I watched "Teach: Tony Danza" finally.  Man, they treated that guy really badly on his first day.  Yes, there are cameras involved and a potential distraction to students.  But if he hadn't been a celebrity I think they would have given him way more respect and way more encouragement.  I'm talking administrators and parents, not the kids necessarily.  Those kids are too young to have seen "Taxi" or maybe even "Who's the Boss?" (except for the one girl who said she was into the 80s and knew who he was.)  I really feel for the guy.  He's qualified to teach, he'd had more instruction and more mentoring than lots of other new teachers have.  I just really empathize with that "we assume you're going to fail and we'll let you know about it" attitude they gave him.  Even that AP who was telling him, in front of student no less, to "stop being vain and put on his glasses."  Yup, I give the man credit for walking into that minefield.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Books and Boxes


I've started taking survey of what I absolutely need to pack up.  First of all, my books.  I looked through a lot of them but I just can't part with most of them.  Either I used them for classes or they're classics or I just plain like them.  So I'm packing them all up for storage.

After that I'll work on my keepsakes and other things here and there that I want to keep.  The computers, yes.  The summer clothes, yes.  All I need to take with me right now is my laptop, my iPhone and my winter clothes.  Jake too.

It's hard to look around and wonder exactly where to begin when you're going to move.  Especially when you can't just hire some movers to put a bunch of stuff in a truck and tell them you'll meet them in Canada or wherever.  But I'll have what I need and the rest easily accessible when I come back for visits.  The rest is going to be donated (as I've already started to gut my closet with donations over the summer) or tossed out.

For my Children's and YA Lit class, I started reading What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones.  I love that Push poetry type verse that this book is in.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I love rock n' roll and the reference desk

Today I went to the library and stalked the reference desk for a while.  I had to observe a reference interview so it was easy to just park myself at a table with my laptop and eavesdrop.  There are plenty of people who go to those reference librarians asking all sorts of questions:  Questions about school projects, new books, old books, how to look for ebook and if they could help with the computers.  I think I'd like working at the reference desk.  I certainly know enough about helping people out from teaching and I have a fairly decent knowledge of literature and researching.  I think it's the right job for me.  Now all I need is the degree and the library to higher me.

I just finished watching "The Runaways."  It was an okay movie.  I guess I would be more impressed if I liked Kristen Stewart, was interested in 1970s drug-induced bands or knew any other songs besides "I Love Rock n' Roll."  Still, it wasn't that bad and Dakota Fanning did a good job.  Kristen Stewart is just boring as all get-out to me but that made her totally fit the part of Joan Jett's character;  hunched shoulders, mumbling voice, lack of real pizazz in her actions.  Maybe Joan Jett is more fun at a party but as far as that movie made it seem, she was snooze central.  Anyone else watch it?  What did you think?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rain gets in the way

The electricity went out at least two times tonight. I finally got my homework finished. Apparently I have to stalk a librarian by Thursday. I just have to sit around and watch to see what they do at the Reference Desk. I had my massage and felt so relaxed afterward. The rain really helped me nap for a bit before I got my assignments finished. I have to read my children's books and write reviews for them by Friday as well. I guess I won't be swimming this week due to this Tropical Storm we have hanging out here. Oh well, plenty of things to do indoors while God goes bowling up there. I took that picture today before the storms started. Those black specs are love bugs. `Tis the season!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Back to work

Last week was absolutely amazing and now I'm getting back to normal before I get myself back to being crazy busy. I've caught up with my homework, gone swimming for 30 minutes (before it rained) and backed up my pictures from my iPhone. Tomorrow it will be more homework and my birthday present to myself - my first massage at the spa. I'm not exactly sure what to expect but everyone who has one says they love it.
I'll be waiting on my marriage license in the mail, then getting my name changed on my driver's license, social security card, voter's registration, passport, etc. Then once I'm go for travel, I'll get myself a ticket, get the cat his Pet passport, pack up what I need and jump across the pond. I'm so excited! The only things I can think of that I really need to take are winter clothes, gadgets, books and the cat of course. Anything else I may need I can get at Christmas time.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Purse inventory

Inventory from my purse cleaning: 3 combs, 2 watches, 5 contact lenses, 2 pairs of sunglasses, 4 pens, 3 lip balms, 7 lipsticks, 1 car registration, 1 wallet, 1 compact, 2 watches, 2 hand lotions, 1 hand sanitizer, 1 check book, 12+ receipts, 1 notebook.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The dress fiasco

So here's what happened: after signing into to David's Bridal and looking around after being told all dresses are "European" sizes {rollseyes} I need two sizes larger. So that's fine but that put me in the plus category which I've never worn. The dresses weren't that great and when I picked one to try the girl put me in a room in the lobby, amongst families and fianc├ęs to put a big bra, corset and slip on alone. So when I tried to put on a bra way too small but said it was a size larger than I usually wear, some customer lady opened the door (my name was on the door in big pink letters, mind you) I was exposed to the whole store. I called Mom to come in, who agreed, the bra was way too small and I decided I wasn't going through that for a dress I didn't want. I walked out, telling the consultant I didn't want to get dressed in front of an audience. It was too crowded, no privacy and just not worth those $1150 dresses they have on display. File under: wedding dress experience FAIL

Monday, August 9, 2010

Almost done

It's midnight and I've almost gotten all my homework done. I have the project that I have to turn in for my volunteering 3/4 finished, and my little discussion board assignments for tomorrow morning are finished. Now tomorrow I'll get the rest of the volunteer reflection paper done and the 2 discussion board questions for this week done by Wednesday. I'm really tired of going to school now. I'm ready to have the degree and not have homework. I'd rather concentrate on my life and all that needs my attention instead of typing up quotes from books and trying to come up with good advice for case studies. Only three more classes to go and I'll be done - with this program at least.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Up early

Up really early because Steve's back's been hurting so he's not sleeping all that well. Poor guy. So maybe that I'm up early I can be productive today. I still have the rest of my homework for the term to do by Monday. Since the weather says it's going to be raining for three days, I take it that hitting the pool isn't going to happen. Guess I'll have to go head to the treadmill instead.

I've not been keeping up with my library blog, which I'll have to update once I have my final report submitted.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Party time!

I was surprised with a going away party thrown by the library staff today. I got a card, signs, breakfast casserole (homemade) and apple danish. It was such a nice surprise. I am so grateful - everyone here was so nice to me.

Last day at the library

Today is the last day of my library internship. I got up at 5:00AM because Steve's in Edinburgh today and I wanted to see what he was up to. Now I'm watching Joyce Meyer, having coffee and getting ready to leave for the library at 8:00AM. I'll stop and get breakfast first. Maybe an iced coffee from BK.