Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Want.....

This is a list of things I want to buy but won't because my personal consumer confidence is not there. Perhaps if the Republicans would stop spending so much time and money trying to make President Obama look bad things would be different, but they are not. Between the Tea Party and the Republican hard liners the market will probably take a huge nose dive and panic will set in driving the American economy further into the toilet. So....why would I buy any of these things or spend any money on anything that I don't deem necessary?

Stuff I want....and not in any priority order

  • 40" LCD for the back house so I don't get bored while on the elliptical

  • DVD player for above

  • 50" LCD for the guest room so I can set up a game room

  • Sonos music system - allowing wireless music of different genre's/playlists in different rooms

  • Cricut Impressions machine with a gypsy for scrapbooking

  • Another pair of New Balance 965's - Made in the USA and the best runner ever

  • Microsoft's Kinect gaming system
  • An Ipad 2 because, well, it's an Ipad and it's the latest....but in all truth, I would probably just wait until September for the new iPad HD.
  • Hawaiian vacation....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Changed my Mind

Dena had a brilliant idea - look in the scrapbooks for dates for entries/exits into the USA, after all, pictures were taken - scrapbooks made.... So we did. Between that and my passports (past and present) and I compiled quite a comprehensive list. This required a seperate piece of paper attached to the N400 form. So off my form went with my $795 check ($180 for biometrics) on June 13th.

On June 15th I received notification of receipt of the form via email. If you send your N400 with your email address to one of the three "lockbox" receiving centers in the US then you will receive update notifications via email for the duration of your application for citizenship. Seven days later I received my official snail mail letter stating that they are in receipt of the application. Then I received a notice of my fingerprint appointment for July 14th. I'm so excited. Ironically on the 13th I was pulled in to the Customs & Border Patrol office in International Falls, MN for a document check. Where is International Falls you ask? Just see the next blog post with the picture, its on the Canadian/US border to the East of the purple line. They took my picture and my fingerprints....then on the 14th, again. You just have to shrug and laugh.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Freedom of Information Act

I've been dragging my feet in filing my American citizenship for the sole reason that one question is incredibly difficult to answer on the form. The question is - "since you received your permanent residence card, itemize your travel outside the Unitied States". This section of the form included exit and re-entry dates, where and duration. I would think with the exit and re-entry dates you could figure out the duration without me having to fill it in, but hey, it's the government so ours not to question why.

I received my permanent resident alien card (you didn't know I was an alien did you) in December of 2001. I was thrilled. Little did I know that I should have been keeping track of every time I left the country? Throughout the past 10 years I've gone in and out countless times sometimes more than once a day. This was simply a matter of geography as most of my relatives live just over the border from the US (see map insert).

As you can see by the picture the shortest path from Winnipeg (Canada) to my Gramma's house in the little rural hamlet of Morson, NW Ontario is through an area close to the NorthWest Angle - the US. Don't get me started on this geographic abomination....

So how was I to determine the ins and outs to/from the US? After contacting United Airlines whom I was a high status frequent flyer for many years and fruitlessly asking for my statistics an epiphany hit me - The Freedom of Information Act would save me! Herein called the FOIA. I wrote away and filed a request - 2 months later I received a note back that it was filed incorrectly. Now since the form was simple and my request straightforward I couldn't figure out how I screwed it up. I called them. That was a waste of time. You get a different group that basically tells you that your only contact with the FOIA people is by mail or email. Naturally I had emailed them first. After about a week of frustration I received an email from someone stating that they had re-submitted my request and here was the new tracking number. Two months later I received an envelope in the mail. I was so excited - finally! The envelope contained one completely illegible copy of my passport (I think). Useless. This all was somewhere around October 2010.

Last week I received a CD in the mail from the FOIA. Shocked I ripped it open and popped it in to the drive only to discover 2 documents on it. One from the FOIA people telling me that they forwarded my request to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and the other from CBP stating that they felt the request was answered with the original response from FOIA. Confused and hopeless I surrendered. Fine, I'll just renew my green card.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow - Part 2

This is a picture of one my watermelon radishes. Quite pretty inside but incredibly spicy on the finish. I had no idea a radish could hold such a wallop.

So I am a complete idiot - I am growing them in the beginning of the heat of summer here. I've been wondering why my second batch went "woody" very quickly. "woody" is a term I just learned from my mom that means the radish is hard inside and tastes like wood. I've just discovered in researching for this blog that these are a winter radish that is normally planted in the fall. So....I guess out they come. I suppose I should research what grows well in hot summer besides tomatoes!

Friday, July 01, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow - Part 1

I have a number of cucumber plants growing in my garden - three lemon cucumbers, a couple bush cucumbers and a couple english cucumbers. Each variety is having its success stories and its failures. I have one particular english cucumber plant that has been just taking over one of my entire plot areas. I've had to put 3 tomatoe cages up for it to climb on. It's quite bushy and since there are a bunch of flowers on it I hadn't really done any peaking. I did just the other day and Oh my - those are monstrous english cucumbers! Who knew these were hiding under here! They are about 14" long now. I'm not sure when they are supposed to be ready.