Monday, September 29, 2008

Thought I Forgot?

About the prize yarn for September's K.A.Y.E. drawing?

Ok, so yeah, sort of. I picked this up barely in the nick of time!

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Some laceweight Misti Alpaca handpaint in Color #10.

I don't think I've ever done laceweight as a prize yarn before.

And this color just screamed "September" to me.

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Could just be all those apples I've been eating lately!

Tomorrow's the last day to enter--if you have no clue what I'm talking about, click the K.A.Y.E. link above, and follow the instructions if you qualify!

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chain Your Bike To A Wino

Well my pretties, the move into Newark went quite well.

Last week Chunky asked me what city my office was at, I replied:

"Newark."

And he responded:

"I know mom, it's your new work, but what city is it in?"

Me:

"New-ark"

Chunky:

"I don't get it."

Ha ha!

But the whole thing went smooth--except for the lack of air conditioning/ventilation on our floor. It wouldn't have been bad had we not been hefting boxes and crap.

Let's just say seeing certain older attorneys in just their undershirts? Not a pretty sight.

As for the commute? I'm still on the fence. I found a good route getting TO work--but I have an appointment tomorrow morning and will be coming in late. And Tuesday is Rosh Hashanah, meaning traffic will probably be light. I won't be able to fully gauge how the commute goes until Wednesday.

The way home I'm a little worried about. All the roads I would LIKE to take are closed off for construction. Hopefully they'll reopen soon. But it just means that I've got to leave at 5:00 p.m. on the dot. No big deal--my new cubicle is located as such that it's not directly outside the door of my Big Cheese boss...so escape at 5:00 p.m. will be much easier!

In digging around this weekend I found this comic from a series of Dilberts I had saved way back in February when we first learned the office was moving to Newark. I'd love to blog the other three or four strips in this series where Dilbert's office moves, but posting this is probably already illegal--but oh so funny!

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And in case you thought I didn't get anything else done this Sunday--I got home in time to bake four loaves of pumpkin bread AND make the boys lasagna (Chunky's had a hankering).

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Midnight at the Oasis

I did end up watch the last half of the debates and was throughly unwowed.

But enough of that crap.

I decided to do some spinning last night. The clickety clack of the spinning wheel was better at drowning out the pathetic jabs Wingus and Dingus traded on TV last night.

But unlike the debate, this roving came out a clear winner.

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This is the best I've spun sofar.

This picture shows a better representation of the color of the yarn.

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The details:

Fiber: Yarn Ahoy, Merino in the color "Oasis" (although I think "Guacamole" sounds better--it's the color of fresh guacamole with light brown flecks--just like guac gets when you let it sit out a bit.) Courtesy of Stitchcounter!

Ratio: 6:1

Amount: approximately 240 yds./4.6 oz.

This is going into the stash to wait for the perfect project. I love this yarn!

I'm trying to squeeze a weekend into one day. It's working pretty good.

The office movers showed up at 9:00 a.m. yesterday and by 11:00 a.m. all of our desks were gone so we all just left!! Makes up for having to show up tomorrow for four hours to unpack our desks.*

I was able to run some errands and say goodbye to Livingston.

Sadly when I left the farm stand across the street was still closed. I didn't get to get my final apple-cider fix. I've got 1/2 a gallon left and if no one at the Newark Wednesday Farmer's Market sells any--then yes, I will drive to Livingston to stock up. Why no, I'm not addicted to cider!!

What can I say? There's no better way to unwind than a mug of apple cider nuked for 2.5 mins and steeped with apple cinnamon herbal tea. It's the epitome of fall!

Anyway, tomorrow should be interesting. I've heard our new workstations are pretty cushy. And I've heard that even though we have to share them, there's a bit of privacy between us and our cube-mate. Which is good because I'm stuck with a Chatty Cathy that pulls her own string employee.

Remember Milton from Office Space? She's kind of like that but with less mumbling and more Joisey accent.

*They've given us the option of taking 4 hours of doubletime or an extra full day off. I've opted for the day off. Chunky's got a lot of early dismissal days coming up the end of November and we've got family visiting at Christmas for the first time in a long time--so I've been squirreling away my vacation days for those things and I'll gladly take an extra day! Plus missing a day close to Christmas/Thanksgiving is nicer than a regular day off because my bosses are less likely to be there at the holidays--thus generating less crap for me to do when I get back!

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Sigh.

It was bound to happen.

I'm sitting in my car.

At the drive thru. I hate Friday night dinners.

A 50+ man knocks on my passenger window.

Dr. Mad Scientist cracks the window.

The man asks if we have any McCain/Palin bumper stickers too.

Oh god, here we go.

Because he "really loves" my kickin' ass window sticker.

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Damnit.

Dr. Mad Scientist and I set the old man straight--I sported that sticker WAY before McCane picked Palin.

I drive off as old man is muttering the requisite shit about how hot she is and something about how cool it is to do something in the wilderness.

I really don't want to know what something old man was thinking about.

Although I can't say I haven't had my share of fun doing "something in the wilderness" with Dr. Mad Scientist back when I was just a Buddie (not a Bezzie) and he was Student Mad Scientist. ;-)

Maybe I should get an Oboner sticker to stick on the other side of my window?

I really should be watching the presidential debates when they come on tonite, but I'll be honest, I think I'm just going to curl up on the couch with Chunky and watch a pair who might just be able to run this country just as good as McCane or Oboner could.

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I'll read the transcripts tomorrow.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Here Fishy Fishy Fishy!

Kristi is having a Tessalating Fish contest after trying to enlist her mother to help her knit enough of the infamous tessalating fish and coming to the conclusion that there was no way she was going to finish enough for a blanket for her boys' second birthday in November. (It seems like just yesterday she was wearing her Larry King Pregnancy Garter Belt!)

So she's having a contest. Send in a fish, get your name entered.

I'm not so interested in the contest as I am about unloading the 10 fish that have been haunting me in the bottom of my knitting odds n'ends bag in the closet.

A while ago when the Tessalating Fish afghan first hit the scene, I was enamoured and thought I'd make one. I got 10 fish into it and quit.

Ever since then I knew there was no way I was going to ever make one of these blankets, but what to do with the 10 fish I knit?

I dug them out last night to package off to Kristi and I noticed this:

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Holy cow. These ARE old fish! I knit these before I realized I didn't know how to knit!!! Ha ha! See those twisted stitches in the stockinette triangle that occurs in the head of each fish?

I believe it was June/July 2006 when I finally realized I was purling wrong and corrected myself so I didn't get these twisted stitches.

Thank you Kristi for taking these vintage fish off my hands!

And if you've made it this far--enjoy some classic Sesame Street.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Fellow Vagina Americans*

BORING POST ALERT--MAJOR RANTING--NO PICTURES--NO KNITTING--YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Monday was a meeting at work to answer the final questions people had concerning the move to Newark.

We were given a packet of information with maps, places to eat, places to get your nails done (such an east coast thing--I've never met so many people obsessed with their fingernails til I moved here), and attractions. I'm a cheapass, so I won't be eating out, I could give two shits about the state of my finger and toenails, but I did find a nice Farmers' Market that allegedly takes place every Wednesday til the middle of October in a park across the street.

Hopefully that will take the sting off of having to leave my beloved Farm Stand currently across the street from our office.

One of the last topics covered was parking.

The final word on parking?

"Females will get spaces on-site; everyone else will have to park in the parking garage."

Oooooooo.....let me describe how mad this makes me.

First up, let me give you a schematic of the office and parking layout:

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See how close the parking garage is to the office? If you parked in the garage, you'd have approximately one block (the block OUR office takes up--there's another office building on the other side of that street that I didn't draw) to walk to get to work.

Apparently that wasn't safe enough for my fellow female co-workers.

They don't want to walk a whole city block and thru a parking garage. Something might happen to them!

Never mind that 45% will be leaving the office at 4:30 p.m. (arriving at 8:30 a.m.), another 45% (me being one of this group) will be leaving the office at 5:00 p.m. (arriving at 9:00 a.m.) and the other 10% will be leaving at 6:00 p.m. or later (female attorneys with no set hours, a random female secretary who might have to work late, and one employee who lives nearly in PA who commutes into the office--she shows up at 10:00 a.m. and leaves at 6:00 p.m.).

That 10% is the ONLY group I'm willing to entertain a "I can't walk that far" whine from. By the time they leave the office it will be dark. The other 90% of us? Notsomuch.

Now, let's look at the statistics.

I've done some research on all the places I've lived.

In Anchorage, as a teenager, I would ride the bus in from downtown to mid-town for work.

In Greeley, Colorado one of my favorite things to do was to go for walks in the dark--past frat houses and what people told me was not a good part of town.

In San Antonio, I would often have to walk past a very busy bus terminal that had many mentally unstable people waiting for buses or loitering (it was past a hospital).

In Lansing, well, did I ever blog about my close friend's sister being taken from her home while her children slept, to a different home where she was tied up, tortured, set on fire and murdered? Sadly they didn't kill her before they set her on fire. They still haven't caught the person(s) who did that.

I pulled the 2003 crime statistics for Anchorage, Lansing, San Antonio, and Newark.

Now I know comparing these statistics is like comparing apples to oranges because lets face it--San Antonio dwarfs Lansing with it's population of 1,212,789 to Lansing's mere 118,937.

But in some ways it's NOT comparing apples to oranges because I've spent time in all of these places.

However, keeping in the apple to apple comparison, I'm going to compare Anchorage, AK (population 271,085) to Newark, NJ (population 278,551) (all of these numbers are from the 2003 FBI Report of Offenses Known to Law Enforcement).

Murders in Anchorage: 17
Murders in Newark: 81

Forcible Rapes in Anchorage: 244
Forcible Rapes in Newark: 85

Car Theft in Anchorage: 1197
Car Theft in Newark: 6018


Hmm...interesting huh? I'm more likely to have my car stolen and be murdered in Newark, however I'm more likely to get raped in Anchorage.

But let's look at the overall violent crime v. property crime numbers.

Overall Violent Crime in Anchorage: 1744
Overall Violent Crime in Newark: 2731

Overall Property Crime in Anchorage: 11706
Overall Property Crime in Newark: 13861

So we're talking about a 987 difference in violent crime in Newark v. Anchorage with Newark topping Anchortown.

And a 2155 difference in property crime in Newark v. Anchorage with Newark topping.

If you use the overall population rates as a base, then I've got a .98% chance in Newark of being a victim of violent crime, and a 4.97% chance of being a victim of property crime.

In Anchorage? A .64% chance of being a victim of violent crime, and a 4.32% chance of being a victim of property crime.

Holy cow. Those are some scary percentages.

The underlying reason this chaps my ass is given these numbers and stereotypes of urban areas, it's women like my coworkers that hurl a dingleberry on a Vagina American's chance of ever being considered equal to a man.

I could see if one was unable to physically walk a block -- and our office hitman accounts receivable guy is one of those people -- but being a woman makes me physically unable to walk that extra block in the daylight? Huh?

The whole thing disgusts me.

I believe tomorrow morning I'm going to see if the Office Manager won't let me park in the garage and walk. Chances are she won't respond to me because quite honestly the poor woman has bigger fish to fry than listen to me right now until we get moved and settled.

It's possible that this move is just wearing really thin on me for reasons I don't want to get into, but I'm failing to see why the women in my office are so scared to walk a block.

I mean we all know someone or of someone who has been raped, murdered, mugged, or had their car stolen or broken into, but a block? A block down a busy street in broad daylight?

Maybe y'all can enlighten me, maybe I'm neglecting to see some glaring obvious point out there--what would be your reason for not being able to walk a block in broad daylight?

And if you're not a Vagina American--would you really worry about your wife/mother/daughter/sister/girlfriend walking a block to work in broad daylight?

Ok, rant over! Push out the jive, bring in the love!!!

*Once again, I have to thank The Daily Show for introducing me to the term "Vagina Americans."

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Monday, September 22, 2008

She's a Lady

Woah, woah, woah she's a lady!

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It's my February Lady sweater.

You can't see from this picture, but I took a page from Trillian's book and have marked every two pattern repeats with a marker. This has alleviated (but not eliminated!) me screwing up the lace pattern.

You also can't tell, but the sweater is being posed on a map of my county.

Yesterday we went on a trial run to where my new office will be starting next week. Dr. Mad Scientist came along to provide me with some of his "southside" navigational knowledge (many of his AA meetings and/or AA buds are in the southern part of our town that abuts Newark.)

Let's just say that commute is going to be a bitch.

Less mileage--yes. But I will be idling in traffic a lot more due to pathetic city planning and a bridge construction project that won't be over until Fall 2009. Not cool.

I'm one of those weirdos that would much rather be constantly moving--even if it's 20 mph--as opposed to sitting in traffic creeping towards my goal.

On this upcoming Sunday when they're requiring us to come to work (to unload our crap and set up our workstations) I'll be investigating an alternate route.

On our way home from the trial run, we hit the town's Harvestfest.

They had the typical fair-food and the vendors, were um, OK. It's like they found every dealer of fake bags and sunglasses from NYC and invited them to come.

And for some reason there was a large number of vendors selling socks. Buy a Guccie Bag, a pair of Ray Banns and a 10 pack of sweat socks!

They also had some simple kiddie carnival rides.

Dr. Mad Scientist and Chunky took a spin on the ferris wheel.

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I love the look on Chunky's face when the wheel started up!

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Here's a picture of me on the ground "looking like an ant" as Chunky said.

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Overall--good weekend. Next weekend I have to squeeze it all into one day. Here's hoping they're prepared to pay us all OT for Sunday!

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

First Day of Fall!

We really lucked out this summer--there might have been three weeks tops where the temperatures were digusting and unbearable (95 deg. plus). But that doesn't stop me from rejoycing that fall is officially here!

Yesterday I "celebrated" the last day of summer by canning some applesauce and roasting some pumpkins.

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First I started with the two sugar pumpkins I bought from the farm stand.

I cut them in half and set Chunky to work de-seeding them.

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As you can tell from his jammies, I started early on Saturday (about 10:00 a.m. which is early to me!)

After Chunky seeded them, I scraped the rest of the guts out put the pumpkin halves on my jelly roll (or you could use a cookie sheet) pan.

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I flipped 'em upside down,

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Added about 2.5 cups of water to the bottom of the pan, and covered the whole thing with foil.

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I then popped it into the oven for an hour at 375 degrees.

Don't worry, the seeds were roasted!

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While I was waiting for the pumpkins to roast, I prepped the apples for the applesauce.

I need a bigger stock pot. I only got 5 pints of applesauce--I had enough apples for 8 pints, but I ran out of room in my stock pot!

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I added a bit of water to the apples and put them on low heat.

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While they were cooking, the pumpkin finished.

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Steamy!

I worked on the applesauce--smashing it (it came out chunky style, but that's OK) and canning it--while the pumpkin cooled.

After it cooled, it was easy to scoop the pumpkin flesh off of the rind with a spoon.

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I tossed the pumpkin in my mini-food processor that someone gave us when we got married (it never had a card, so the gifter remains unthanked), and pureed the pumpkin.

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I measured out the pumpkin into 1 cup portions and stuck it in ziploc bags to freeze (since most pumpkin recipes call for 1 cup denominations of pumpkin).

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After starting at 10:00 a.m.--I finished up at 3:00 p.m. (this includes the time to wash all the dishes created by said applesauce canning and pumpkin pureeing).

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I ended up with 6 and 3/4 cups of pumpkin and 5 pints of applesauce. The lighter jars are "plain" applesauce and the darker ones have cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg added. We cracked open a jar of the plain stuff to have as a side to our grilled porkchops last night--and YUM! is all I can say.

It's amazing how sweet it is. Those commercial applesauces have got to be adding sugar to their applesauce. Gross!

Tomorrow I'll give you a WIP update on February Lady since that's basically the only thing I'm working on. I've also doing another Bezzie Bottom Market Bag for my college friend for Christmas, but those are even more boring in WIP form than a sweater.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Boxes Boxes Everywhere

Fall is in the air, and it's a time of transition.

At work, we're T-minus 6 days and counting until we report to Newark.

All of our nerves are wearing very thin and people are snapping at one another. Whether it be about who should assemble boxes (apparently attorneys didn't go to law school for that) or what day we can wear jeans to work (we've got clients coming in tomorrow, so no jeans until the 22nd--because if we were to wear jeans in addition to all the moving boxes and crates, what would those clients think of us?!).

Tomorrow is also the last day of my friend Rebecca at work.

At one point we had four Rebecca's working there. After she leaves, it will be just one--me.

For those who don't know, Rebecca is my first name and my "professional" name. Outside the walls of the office no one calls me Rebecca due to people shortening it to Becky when I was a baby and my parents putting an end to that by calling me by my middle name--Kaye instead. Due to nomadic moves and whatnot, it just got easier to go by Rebecca instead of explaining the whole Becky-hatred thing (my apologies to any Becky's reading--I'm just not a "Becky" and with a last name that started--and still starts--with a "B" it was some very awful alliteration). I've only gone by Rebecca for about 8 years now.

Anyway, Rebecca is moving to Cleveland, Ohio to go to broadcasting school. She grew up here in New Jersey and as such, really doesn't know much about snow.

Don't get me wrong, New Jersey isn't texasslike in their snowfall--but the Great Lakes region of the midwest has New Jersey beat hands down in the snow department: Lake Effect. That's all I need to say about that.

Anyway during one of the maybe two large snowfalls we got last winter, I caught Rebecca eyeing me clearing the snow off my car. I keep a kiddie plastic snow shovel in my trunk to do this. It beats the hell out of those lame-ass long scrapers with nylon bristles or just a plain ice scraper. And since the shovel is plastic, it doesn't scratch the paint.

I decided to get one for her (I had to special order it since it's September!) and turn it into a commeorative shovel:

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Obviously NJ and OH are not drawn to scale!

I hope she likes it.

The place I ordered it from sent it in the biggest box I have ever seen!

Chunky asked if he could have it. I told him sure, but only until the next paper/cardboard recycling day.

He's dubbed it his "coffin" and now watches TV in it.

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I'm sure if I let him, he'd sleep in it.

As for knitting? I haven't gotten much lunch knitting done as I've been working thru lunch or making sure I patronize the farm stand across the street from the office while I still can (they've got apple cider!). I am chugging away on February Lady. Be on the lookout for that.

Until then, you get to listen to me bitch about boxes!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

6!

The final hat in my sextuplet of hats for my Younger Brother's family for Christmas is done!

WOO!

This one is for my favoritist little hunk of nephew--L. He was shoot, 2.5 when I first met him (and my brother's wife, and his other four kids for that matter! That is the life of a true Alaskan--you only visit your next of kin very rarely), and oh man what a damn cute kid!!!

I kept telling my sister in law I was going to swap L. for one of our cats when we left to continue our trek for New Jersey/New York. Never mind that she really doesn't dig animals of the feline persuasion!

Anyway--I finished his hat. I hope it fits his head and isn't too babyish for him (he'll be 4 in March if I'm doing my math right).

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The deets:

Pattern: My own

Yarn: Some mystery acrylic I had in my stash. Ok, so normally I gift my acrylic to non-yarno-philes, but it also makes great kidswear yarn. At least in my mind. I'm a lazy homemaker. I love me some machine wash/machine dry knitwear!

Needles: US7

Notes: This hat was the hardest because L. is so little. I had to harken back to nearly three years ago when Chunky was that little and what kind of stuff he was into. Since it seems dinosaurs really don't go out of style with the under 10 set--I figured I was safe making this hat.

I knit the tail and the legs flat because I didn't want them stuffed and bulky for when he might be riding somewhere in his carseat and have his head against something. Stuffed appendages would be too annoying.

Six Christmas presents down! Only about 6 more to go!!!

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Aggie Weekend

We had a great weekend.

On Saturday, Chunky and I harvested the Urban Potato Plant.

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Not as big of potatoes as last year, but ah well. I need to remember to layer my taters throughout the year for more production.

On Sunday, we had planned to go apple picking (since the apple tree in the front yard had a dismal performance this year).

I found a place on the Jersey Fresh website that offered u-pick apples (and veggies, and peaches and berries).

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The place was huge and very crowded--if you're in mid-Michigan think Uncle John's Cider Mill on 'roids.

I had envisioned a crisp fall day for walking thru the orchard picking apples.

Instead we got a 98 degree day with full-on humidity.

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Ugh.

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After we paid for the apples, Chunky wanted to climb Hay Mountain.

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We ended up picking a bushel of apples.

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Yeah, we went a little overboard. And it was a little expensive. But it was our first year doing this. Next year we'll exercise a bit more restraint!

And maybe we won't be hauling nearly 40 pounds of apples back from the orchard in near 100 degree heat!!!

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Friday, September 12, 2008

5.5

I'm about half way done with hat number 6 for the B6 Clan:

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A boring blue hat...but not for long! Muahahahahahaha!

Hopefully next week I'll have the unveiling and put that Christmas project to rest.

On the political front--good news for McCane!

I was filling up my car today (at the BP station, not the Exxon station across the street--Dr. Mad Scientist and I avoid Exxon as much as possible) and I always seem to get the gas station attendant there that has to tell me about his trip to Alaska back in 1972 when he floated the Yukon River starting in Kotzebue.

He tells me these things because he always sees my Alaska Girls Kick Ass window sticker.

Today Gas Man handed me back my card and receipt to me and told me he realllly like that Sarah girl from Alaska. I laughed politely and responded:

"You do huh?"

"Yeah, she's HOT!"

So good job McCane--you thought you'd lure the female vote picking her and instead you got the horny old man vote!

Moments later as I'm listening to NPR in the car, they played a clip of Oboner dishing it back out to Palin. In the clip he mentions her hometown of Wasilly.

Earlier this week, a coworker was using his Harvard education as a selling point on me.

It's nice to know a Harvard educated person can't pronounce Wasilla (pronounced: Wah-sill-ah). It's not like she was the mayor of the aforementioned Kotzebue, Kenai, Napakiak, Koyukuk or Tok.

As of today, neither the panderer to the hornball vote nor the Senator from Illinoise has my vote and it's not looking good for either of them.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Good Old Fashioned Rant!

Oh, it's been a while. I don't know if it's maturity, recent life changing events or the new phases of the moon that have kept many things from ruffling my scales more than they used to, but I've recently come across something that's really pissed me the eff off.

More knitting to come. There's not much to speak of in that department. February Lady is about 5" into the lace. The last hat for the B6 Clan is in progress. Taking WIP pictures bores me, talking about WIPs bores me even more.

Onto the rant!

At the end of July, I went online and ordered myself a canning rack and a set of tongs because the ghetto fabulous canning rack I had been using (a metal plate at the bottom of my canning pot) wasn't really cutting it. Nor were my normal non-jar tongs (I've been unable to locate canning tongs anywhere around here).

I put in an order with a company where I finally found a rack that would fit my pot. I spent a long time trying to find a rack that would fit the pot—most were too big.

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Said order went in on July 27.

Per the company's website—they say most orders placed before 2 p.m. that day ship that (business) day. Orders placed after 2 p.m. ship the next business day. They ask you to allow 14 days for receipt of your order but that most people receive their order between 3 to 6 business days after ordering.

When you order they have a way for your to track the status of your order online.

Two weeks goes by—I receive nothing.

Three weeks goes by—I receive nothing and the online order status shows my order as still not having shipped. I email the company.

Three weeks and two days go by—I hear nothing from the company replying to my email. I email them again.

Three weeks and five days go by—I decide that despite the fact they have weird phone hours (9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Mountain time when Arizona is participating in Mountain time, isn't that for only part of the year and then they synch up again with Pacific time? Regardless their phone hours are limited and times when I'm at work.) I'll call and leave them a voicemail.

Their voice mailbox is full.

Four weeks goes by—-exactly one month since I placed my order. I call them one more time. Still a full voicemail box.

I contact the Arizona Better Business Bureau and file a complaint.

A few hours after I file the BBB complaint—I get an auto-email from the canning company that my order has shipped.

Until I receive my order, I do not cancel the complaint.

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A week later, I finally get my order in—but the canning rack only—not the tongs. There's a handwritten note on the invoice that those are allegedly on back order.

I get a reply from the BBB stating they've contacted the Cooking & Canning Company and are waiting for a reply.

Yesterday, I get a phone call from the Cooking & Canning Company wanting me to call them about my complaint and my order.

Hmmm….yes, let me think about that. You never uttered a peep to me regarding any of my inquiries on my order in the month you sat on it. Let me call you back TODAY!

At this point, I'm squabbling about $10 since I've at least received half of my order. I decide taking time out of my busy day to reply to these fucknuts is not worth $10 of my time.

I email the Arizona Better Business Bureau and cc every email address I've ever written to at the Cooking & Canning Company just so they have my email for their information (as that's one of the purposes of cc-ing a person on an email or letter--right?) requesting that the BBB to withdraw my complaint.

I get a reply today from the Cooking & Canning Company that reads:

"did you contact the BBB about that if not please do so."

Wow. Should I really be surprised that the morons running this company couldn't comprehend that they were cc'd?

After suppressing my urges to write something really vile and snippy to the fucknuts running this so called "business," I merely wrote back:

"Please reference my original email and note that the email was directed to the BBB
and cc'ed to your company for your information. Thank you."

I doubt I'll ever see my tongs, which is fine.

At this point to be rid of this problem and this company that only bothers to communicate with their customers when their customers file complaints with third parties is resolution enough.

They can keep the $10/tongs they owe me.

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I mean I know what it's like to be a small internet business.

Life happens. And I'm even willing to cut people some slack when serious life shit goes down.

For example one place I order stuff from—her husband just had a massive heart attack two months ago. But five days after he had it, what did she do? She left her husband for a brief moment in the ICU and she emailed everyone who had ever ordered from her informing them of this set back and to expect any orders to be late.

Shit, I bought something off ebay years ago from a lady in Virginia. It just so happened it was right as Hurricane Whateverthenamewasbackthen was about to hit. Before she fled for higher dryer grown she dropped me a fast email explaining that she would be a little late shipping out whatever it was that I ordered from her.

I don't even remember what the hell I ordered from that lady—but I remember that bit of the transaction. That she took the 5 minutes to inform me of what was going on.

And take today for example--I ordered Issue #4 of KnitCircus (I am in LOVE that (maga)zine!). The head of the magazine emailed me individually with a status report of when they expect the issue back from the printer and when it will be popped in the mail.

When I ordered, I knew it wasn't coming out for a bit--so I wouldn't have tried contacting her until November if I hadn't received anything, so it was a pleasant surprise for her to email me the ETA of my (maga)zine.

But lessoned learned. For every 10 good internet merchants out there, you're going to get one deadbeat loser that couldn't run a business out of a wet paper bag.

And I'll get by without the jar tongs.

The farmer across the street from the office is selling some killer apples that are going to make some delicious applesauce.

Alas our backyard apple tree seems to have been traumatized by the storm we had earlier this year. We lost a lot of applelings in that storm and the production on that tree has been pretty pathetic.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Feme Meme

Have you seen that meme that surfaces from time to time about the books?

The one where they list like the top 100 books of all times? I think Modern Library came out with it.

I hate that list. It's full of stuffy old penis fiction.

For some reason, and I don't know why, as I get older, the less desire I have to read anything penned by a dude.

The first time I saw that meme it was on Wendy's blog. I made some offhand comment about how I felt it was full of stuffy old penis penners, and she later posted the list below.

So instead of boring you with that boring old meme, I give you the Feme Meme of Books. (ETA: This list was originally developed by Feminista! and is their version of the top 100 20th Century female authors. Thus why you see no Austen, Alcott, etc.)

I've highlighted all the books I've read, and starred the authors I've read, but not specifically the book listed. If they're highlighted and starred, then I've read more of that author's catalogue in addition to the book listed.

Allison, Dorothy. Bastard Out of Carolina, 1992
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969
Atwood, Margaret. Cat's Eye, 1988 ***
Bainbridge, Beryl. The Bottle Factory Outing, 1974
Bambara, Toni Cade. Gorilla, My Love, 1992
Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood, 1937
Barker, Pat. Regeneration, 1992
Brookner, Anita. Hotel du Lac, 1984
Brown, Rita Mae. Rubyfruit Jungle, 1973
Buck, Pearl S. The Good Earth, 1931***
Byatt, A.S. Possession: A Romance, 1990
Carter, Angela. Nights at the Circus, 1984
Castillo, Ana. So Far From God, 1993***
Cather, Willa. My Antonia, 1918
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening, 1900
Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street, 1984 ***
Compton-Burnett, Ivy. Elders and Betters, 1944
Desai, Anita. Clear Light of Day, 1980 (I started this but it was a yawner!)
Dinesen, Isak. Out of Africa, 1938
Doerr, Harriet. Stones for Ibarra, 1984
Drabble, Margaret. The Radiant Way, 1987
DuMaurier, Daphne. Rebecca, 1938
Emecheta, Buchi. Second Class Citizen, 1974
Erdrich, Louise. Tracks: A Novel, 1988
Fitzgerald, Penelope. At Freddie's, 1985
Flagg, Fannie. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, 1987
Frame, Janet. Yellow Flowers in the Antipodean Room, 1969
French, Marilyn. The Women's Room, 1977
Goldstein, Rebecca. The Mind-Body Problem: A Novel, 1983
Gordimer, Nadine. July's People, 1981 (another yawner)
Gordon, Mary. The Rest of Life, 1993
Hall, Radclyffe. The Well of Loneliness, 1928
Head, Bessie. When Rain Clouds Gather, 1968
Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1955
Hobhouse, Janet. The Furies, 1993
Hulme, Keri. The Bone People, 1983
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937
Jackson, Shirley. The Haunting of Hill House, 1959
Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer. Heat and Dust, 1975
Jong, Erica. Fear of Flying, 1973
Kincaid, Jamaica. Lucy, 1990
Kingsolver, Barbara. The Bean Trees, 1988 ***
Kingston, Maxine Hong. Tripmaster Monkey, 1989 ***
Kogawa, Joy. Obasan, 1981
Laurence, Margaret. The Fire-Dwellers, 1969
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960
Lessing, Doris. The Golden Notebook, 1962
Lively, Penelope. Moon Tiger, 1987
Loos, Anita. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1925
McCarthy, Mary. The Group, 1963
McCullers, Carson. Ballad of the Sad Cafe, 1951
McMillan, Terry. Mama, 1987
Manning, Olivia. The Balkan Trilogy, 1981
Miller, Isabel. Patience and Sarah, 1969
Mitchell, Margaret. Gone with the Wind, 1936
Moore, Lorrie. Anagrams: A Novel, 1986
Morrison, Toni. Beloved: A Novel, 1987 ***
Mukherjee, Bharati. Wife, 1975***
Munro, Alice. Lives of Girls and Women, 1971
Murdoch, Iris. A Severed Head, 1961
Oates, Joyce Carol. You Must Remember This, 1987
O'Brien, Edna. House of Splendid Isolation, 1994
O'Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find, 1955
Olsen, Tillie. Tell Me a Riddle, 1979
Paley, Grace. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, 1974
Parker, Dorothy. The Collected Dorothy Parker, 1973
Phillips, Jayne Anne. Black Tickets, 1979
Piercy, Marge. Braided Lives, 1982
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar, 1963
Porter, Katharine Anne. Ship of Fools, 1962
Powell, Dawn. The Golden Spur, 1962
Proulx, E. Annie. The Shipping News, 1993
Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead, 1943
Renault, Mary. The King Must Die, 1958
Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966
Robinson, Marilynne. Housekeeping, 1980
Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things, 1997
Sarton, May. Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, 1965
Shields, Carol. The Stone Diaries, 1994
Shreve, Anita. The Weight of Water, 1997
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Almanac of the Dead, 1991
Simpson, Mona. Anywhere But Here, 1986
Smart, Elizabeth. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, 1966
Smiley, Jane. The Age of Grief, 1987
Sontag, Susan. The Volcano Lover, 1992
Spark, Muriel. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1961
Stead, Christina. The Man Who Loved Children, 1965
Stein, Gertrude. Three Lives, 1909
Taylor, Elizabeth. Angel, 1957
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club, 1989 ***
Tyler, Anne. If Morning Ever Comes, 1964
Urquhart, Jane. Away, 1993
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple, 1982 ***
Weldon, Fay. The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, 1983
Welty, Eudora. Selected Stories, 1943
West, Rebecca. The Return of the Soldier, 1918
Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome, 1911
White, Antonia. Frost in May, 1933
Winterson, Jeannette. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, 1985
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway, 1925

I'll fess up.

When I saw this list on Wendy's post, I had hit a dry spell in my reading (my regular writers only publish so often!), so every three weeks I take this list with me to the library.

It's a nice change of pace from the regular stuff. But in all fairness to the stuffy penis writers--some of the books I've read on this list suck just as hard as their penis-lit counterparts.

A few of them have been like reading a novelized version of The Feminine Mystique. I mean that was a decent period piece of non-fiction, but when you novelize it, it's almost too much. As my sister T. would say--the writing is in the style of hitting you on the head with a 2x4.

Sometimes it's fun when the author doesn't spell shit out for the reader.

Ok, so there's my anti-bandwagon book meme. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to knit some more on my February Lady sweater!

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

What's Goin' On...

Not much!

Chunky LOVES first grade.

The second day of school we had to wake up early to take Dr. Mad Scientist to the train station so he could get to work early to make up for the hour he had to leave early that day (for class).

When we got home, I was tired and took a nap on the couch. I told Chunky to wake me up when Fairly Oddparents ended.

At 8:00 a.m. Chunky's poking me awake. He's got his backpack on.

I tell him to go take his vitamins, brush his teeth and pack his lunchbox into his backpack.

"Oh I already did those things Mom! I'm gonna go wait outside for you ok?" and he bolts out the front door.

What a nerd. I guess when you plant potatoes, you get potatoes though.

This upcoming week is going to be hard on both of us because they sent home a note stating not to drop your kid off prior to 8:25 a.m. Chunky's going to have to rein it in a bit.

And I'm going to have a hard time getting to work by 9:00 a.m. in the morning. I didn't sign him up for Before-Care because I assumed that our office move to Newark would have been done by now. As it stands, getting from school to Newark (6 miles) won't be a big problem. But getting from school to the current office location in Livingston (12 miles) is going to be a bitch for the three weeks before we complete the move.

But I've alerted the HR Lady and my partner boss (the one that has the most clout--or The Swiss as HR Lady and I have dubbed him as he's the big cheese of my three bosses) that I may be 5 to 15 minutes late each day. They're cool with it which is nice.

But making up that 5 to 15 minutes by taking it out of my lunch hour ruins my knitting time!

Seguing into what I've been knitting...

The bandwagony February Lady:

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I decided to do the top in stockinette with a garter stitch neck and 10 st. garter stitch on each edge. I've got one more row of the first lace repeat before I break off the sleeves.

I should have knit the top edge in more garter stitch than just three rows--it's starting to roll. But I think I may be able to block and tack it out in the end to fix it. After the severe Lily sweater rolling I had, this is nothing!!

Yesterday Chunky and I also went to a birthday party in Wayne.

At 3:15 p.m. when we left Tropical Storm Hanna decided to reach Northern New Jersey.

After driving through West Paterson to get to Wayne, Chunky had a really good time at the party.

I got to mingle with the wide variety of parents at the party. I was the only American born one there. But thank god I'm from Alaska! It made me just as interesting in the small talk department as being born in say Latvia, Mexico, or Columbia.

I also got to confirm that the birthday boy's grandma is playing for the other side. I always had my suspicions, but meeting her girlfriend or "Assistant Grandma" as she introduced me confirmed it.

They're all cool people. I'll miss the intimacy of Chunky's old school where all the families know each other.

At his new school the only mom I consistently recognize is Soprano Mom. She's got the Jersey big hair, takes a daily bath in bronzer, wears the blinged out Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses, and has long fake nails. I'll take lesbian grandma any day!!!

After the party we drove home through the Fountains of Wayne created by Hanna.

Thank the stars my Buick made it through many gigantic puddles of standing water.

On the 11:00 NYC news that night they showed pictures of West Paterson and Wayne--a few hours after we must have driving through--completely flooded.

But now that I think back, the Noreaster that hit us in April 2007 West Paterson and Wayne flooded pretty bad.

Overall, using the Bez-Leaking-Closet-Roof Method of storms (see here for the April 2007 Noreaster Results)--Hanna wasn't so bad:

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Zorba's mouthpiece has informed us that they can't fix the leaking roof without replacing the roof--something Zorba won't/can't shell out the money for. This closet WILL start leaking again.

Until the next storm I guess!

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

School, You Love School

School is where you wanna be and it's very plain to see you love school!

I wish I could find that Sesame Street clip on YouTube, but I came up empty.

September after Labor Day marks the return to school. And just as my mother sang us that song to annoy the piss outta us that we had to go back to school for another 9 months, I've been singing it to Chunky all week.

Ugh. Such vivid childhood memories of Mom bounding into our bedrooms to flick on the switch and cry out "Time to get up girlies!"

Or, if we were lucky--she'd hit my brothers' room first and you'd have approximately 10 seconds to enjoy the wonderful comfort of your bed from the time she'd yell out "Time to get up boylies!" in their room to busting through your door.

Needless to say, I don't do that to my boys. I usually just open Chunky's door (if he doesn't beat us awake--he must have inherited Grandma's early-morning gene) or I'll threaten to throw a cat on Dr. Mad Scientist if he's dragging ass in the morning.

Nothing like the threat of flying felines to get you moving in the morning.

But where was I?

Ah yes, the first day of school.

Wednesday marked Chunky's foray into first grade, and more importantly, the public school system.

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Ah, the white picket fences of New Jersey. I feel like a schmoe driving him to school it's so close to where we live--but until the office moves to Newark, I'm getting into work on time by the skin of my teeth.

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Ha ha, I love the look on his face here. Never mind the snaggle tooth (it's really loose and about to fall out) nor the toothpaste goatee!

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Please Mom! Enough pictures!"

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And away he went into school! The lady in the brown dress holding the paper is his new teacher. I want to say she's pregnant--say a solid Palin-five-months perhaps? If she is that will make her due right around the turn of the year. I find this amusing because Chunky's kindergarten teacher was fired right before they went on Christmas break last year. At the rate this kid is going, he'll think it's the norm to have two teachers each school year!

100_6239,
What happened to my baby??

But Chunky's not the only one going back to school this week.

After a lot of thought and going against one of the major tenets of AA ("No big changes the first year of sobriety." Apparently they don't even like you to get a cat that first year...) Dr. Mad Scientist will be matriculating at Montclair State University this semester. Well he'll be going to classes part time and working full time at least until next semester (the working that is).

Because seriously, you can't just go to one MSU in your lifetime.

He will be studying towards his Masters of Arts in Teaching.

He's come to the conclusion that research isn't something he sees himself growing old and doing.

Quite honestly, I don't blame him. The more I view (from my sidelines vantage point) people in research, I don't think he's got the right kind of personality.

No offense to anyone reading this who might be in research, but I think you have to have a dash of craziness to be successful in it.

Now I'm not talking tin-hat-talk-to-aliens crazy...I mean a more frenetic craziness. More of an insane drive/ambition to go after your final research goal (of which there really is none but you don't let that stop you!) at a breakneck speed and with an obsessive quality.

Dr. Mad Scientist just isn't like that.

He's often tossed around the idea of teaching--even way back in the days when he attended his first MSU. And he quite enjoyed his time spent teaching undergrads as part of his requirements for grad school.

Therefore, he decided to jump in and go for getting his certification to teach high school biology (with a later emphasis in chemistry).

Now you might be wondering how the fudge we're going to pay for all of this. And so was I, at first, I figured we'd have to take out student loans (because you know we've finally gotten his Bachelor's student loans down to $7000 left to pay)--and maybe we will.

But when he was interviewing with the Education Department before they accepted him, they turned him on to this program.

Basically there is this large insurance company here in New Jersey that will pay all tuition and fees for graduate students pursuing an MAT in science education on the promise that they will teach high school in Newark for three years.

Of that three years, half a year is your student teaching and for the rest of the two and a half years you have a mentor that observes you in the classroom and guides you.

Being simple Alaskan people, we don't have the preconceived notions about Newark that a native Jersinian might. And trust me, they do. (If I have to hear one more fucking woman at the office complain that they're going to get raped on the way to their car/train station when we move the office to Newark--I'm going to smack them.) Call me naive, but if you think like a victim, chances are you are going to be victimized.

So it's very exciting. It will mean about 5 years guaranteed here in Jersey, but that's OK. We did more than that in Michigan.

The best part of all of this? If he gets his teaching certificate this opens us up to travel anywhere in the world!

We could finally return back to our homeland! The land of pregnant teenagers, secessionists, marijuana smokers, and 20+ year old DUIs! Oh wait, that's not right...

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