Thursday, February 18, 2010

I've Decided to Do It

Despite the economy or because of it, I've finally decided to move forward and file for my American Citizenship, I've been eligible for years but have dragged my feet for a variety of reasons, one of them being jury duty. Who wants to do that? The second reason was the $795 filing fee but the main reason was this section on the form that I couldn't imagine how I could get right.

The section of the citizenship form I'm referring to is where you have to fill in the # of days you have been out of the US of A since you received your green card and what day you exited and re-entered. Well, for somebody who stays home and watches soap operas all day this is very simple, but for a world traveller like me, it's rather challenging, especially considering those bastards at United Mileage Plus do not offer records past one year old online. I called them today asking for the last 10 years. I got some chick in India who told me to send a letter to Rapid City Iowa. I'm sure that letter would be filed in the trash.

In steps Google. You gotta love the internet and Google. Up popped a helpful little government website with information regarding the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act). I filled in a form (G-639 ) that allows you to request this of the USCIS (basically Homeland Security aka US Citizenship and Immigration Services). Sort of ironic don't you think? That I have to request my exit and entry dates from the same agency that needs them to process my citizenship papers.

So, I just emailed them a notarized G-639 form. Can you imagine, you can email the US government? I'll keep you posted on how this moves along. I cannot file my N400 form (Application for Naturalization) until I get this form back but at least I've made a step. I'm excited now actually, because rumor on the forums is that the current wait time for citizenship is down to 3 months. This is an incredibly short period in the history of the process so the time is now. Rumor has it that applications are down because the economy sucks and the filing fee is so high, no one can afford it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Five continents and 19 years of adventure mark this day, February 16th, Dena and I's anniversary. As my mind cruises over the memories I cannot help but smile. We've journeyed across oceans and continents, through hardship and joy and with family and friends while our love has continued to grow. Sure there have been tough times, one of those times being now, but these blips in our history only serve to strengthen our love and commitment to each other.

I knew when I first saw you standing on the stairway landing in Mammoth Lakes that you were the one. I was excited, nervous and terrified. It's surreal to think that we've moved through our thirties and forties together. What will our remaining decades hold? Truth be told it doesn't really matter as there is no one I'd rather live life with except you my love.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ode to our Lovebird

Coming into our lives in 1992, Ginghi was just a fledgling from her parents, Herbie and Vanna. Dena named her Ginghi as it means red head in Hebrew. She was our first bird and we were probably bad parents, feeding her only seed her entire life. That never stopped her however, and Avian vets, bird stores, the birdie hotel and other birders always remarked that she was the oldest lovebird they had ever seen.

Ginghi was full of piss and vinegar right from the beginning and her first adventure was while her mom's were away vacationing in Hawaii. She was entrusted to the care of a dear friend and Ginghi bit her. Our friend freaked out, screamed and her big rottweiler picked Ginghi right out of mid air. Fortunately, the rottweiler was trained and a quick drop command and Ginghi was summarily spit out. Ginghi never missed a beat recovering quickly and none the worse for wear.

Several years ago she started to grow a tumor near her groin area. The tumor quickly got larger and grew to the size of a golf ball. Off to the Avian vet we went and the first vet said that since she was 16 years old she probably wouldn't live too much longer and we should put her down. Undaunted and unconvinced we got a second opinion and soon we were examining her x-rays. There is nothing funnier than seeing your little bird splayed out on film as the Avian vet says it took 4 vet techs to hold her down. The tumor was surgically removed and she didn't even need a cone. I was sort of looking forward to photographing my little cone head but the vet said she wasn't picking at it and was up and running around biting the vet tech minutes after the anesthesia wore off. Powerful females run in our family.

Ginghi had the personality the size of a Macaw, greeting us every morning with her whistles, guarding the house at night being a good watch birdie, she missed absolutely nothing. She enjoyed swinging in the sunlight during the warm summer days and the joy she brought to us will be sorely missed. She went out in a big way giving her mom Dena a last good hard love bite to remember her by.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Garbage Disposals

I have a real problem with garbage disposals. We've had nothing but issues with our garbage disposal and pipes in the kitchen since we moved in 16 years ago to our house. Before that, I seem to remember issues with the condo surrounding the garbage disposal. I hate them.

Where I grew up in Canada we never had a garbage disposal. We put the egg shells and coffee grounds in the vegetable garden, left over meat products went to the fox, veggie waste to the raccoons and bears and fat was either saved for frying later or put out for the chickadees in winter. They need fat to keep warm in those 40 below temperatures.

Why would I write to you now about garbage disposals? Dena loves garbage disposals. She seems to believe that everything should go down them. One time she put about 2 pounds of left over cooked halibut down our disposal. Sure, it ground it up fine but it glued itself to the pipes requiring an emergency plumbing call. You have never smelt anything so nasty as halibut that's been sitting in the pipes for over 30 hours. It came out looking like a granite mining core but smelling much worse.

I discovered our latest incident when the washer drain started overflowing onto our new kitchen floor. Since we recently had our kitchen redone all the old corroded galvanized pipes were replaced with nice new wide PVC with our contractor routing them for optimum slideage of sludge. I thought our (aka my) problems were over. Being that we're saving every penny I bought a drain router kit in lieu of calling a plumber. What a filthy job that was. After much rootering I pulled out about two cups of....wait for it.......................................brussel sprouts.

My dear readers, do not put lettuce, onions, or any skins down your garbage disposal because all these leafy type things do is stick to the side of your pipes like the cholesterol in your arteries clogging and narrowing the flow. Just don't do it.

Below are a couple websites to encourage you to find other ways of disposing of waste:
Being green
proper care and feeding

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

My Eyeballs....

Back in 2001 when I had my laser eye surgery I was 20/2000. Basically, I couldn't see shit, near or far. It was a problem and an inconvenience in so many ways and having the surgery changed my life. As I left the doctor's office that fateful day I was told that this is not a cure for what surely will come in your 40's, reading glasses. I put that out of my mind and revelled in my new freedom.

The inevitable has been approaching faster than I'd like to admit. I don't know if it's constantly staring at the computer, just age or if it's hereditary but it's here. I cannot see anything up close without reading glasses. In 2009 I tried "cheaters". 3 for $20 at Costco. But alas they just gave me a headache. A trip to the eye doctor and two pairs of reading glasses later I suppose I'm better off. But to what end?

This morning as I stared at my face wondering what facial creme would stop the progress of wrinkles I realized that I couldn't read the ingredients and instructions on the lotion bottle. I grabbed a bottle of advil in desperation, I couldn't read that either. Flashes of having to wear my reading glasses on a string around my neck went through my brain. Then more flashes of having to put reading glasses in every room.

This all came on the heels of going out for dinner last Saturday night and having to put the menu down and saying, "you order". My mom does that. Now I know why. It's because she cannot read the damn menu! I'm depressed....