Di Has Stories…

(and they’re all true)

Blog Dump – Long Past Due July 28, 2008

In Which We See Cute Things and Receive Spiritual Guidance from I Can Has Cheezburger

In Which We See Awesome Things That I Or Someone I Love Need To Purchase Post Haste

Pickle Jar With Fork from Ooh-Shiny.Net  (Sarah, I’m looking at you)

The Agreeable Sheep from Ooh-Shiny.Net  (Heather?)

Puppet Hoodie from Ooh-Shiny.Net (This one is for me, but it’s not in my size….do these things stretch in the wash?)

The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City on Boing Boing.  (Sarah, you again)

Roku: $100 gadget for watching Netflix movies on your TV (Freaking EVERYONE!  This looks awesome!!)

Portable cardboard toilet on BoingBoing.  Yes, the Shit Box.  My beloved has decided that, because we only have one bathroom, he needs a bucket with a toilet seat in the garage in case we both have the flu or something at the same time.  Last time we were at Home Depot he bought the seat for it.  For the record, I have been lobbying for the installation of a random basement toilet, but so far he’s not going for it.  As a resonable second, I think that we should at least get a shit box.  If I’m going to be emptying my bowels in the garage, I want a proper receptacle.  Those of you that Twitter will find that this is my new icon.  This is why I should never, ever show Christy funny stuff while I am drunk.  When she says, “that would make a great icon”, I’m on it like white on rice.  However, even when I sobered up I still thought it was pretty awesome.

In Which We Have A Commentary On My Job, Which I Am Not Currently Working

From GraphJam:

In Which The Holiest Part of Christianity is Blasphemed for Our Personal Pleasure

From Loltheist:

In Which We Listen In On Conversations:

So I’m Sorry I Did That, Amber  (from Overheard Everywhere)

English teacher: Calling someone a douche is not a constructive comment, even if it’s true.
Flora High School
Columbia, South Carolina

The Pen Had It Comin’! (from Overheard in Minneapolis)

Metro Transit phone employee (on speakerphone): Take the sixteen bus towards…
18 year old girl trying to get directions: Wait, wait you’re talking too fast and my pen died.
Metro Transit phone employee: You killed your pen? You heartless BITCH.

Univeristy/ sixteen bus line
Overheard by Death to ink.

Relax, I’m Just Horngry (from Overheard in the Office)

Financial specialist, in front of his pregnant wife/coworker: God, I would nail someone if they had some bacon right now!
Wife/coworker: What the hell is wrong with you?
Dallas, Texas
Overheard by: God Help Me

Then How Come It Got Me More Time on My SATs? (from Overheard in the Office)

Boss on phone: That is not clinical! Being an asshole is not a clinical condition.
Ginko Industrial Park
Warminster, Pennsylvania

Is It Still a Place Where You Wash Your Hands? (from Overheard in the Office)

Kitchen grunt: You ever poop and suddenly find the world a better place?
Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana

Overheard by: RDC

In Which We Are Surprised.  Wait, No We Aren’t

U.S. still flunks healthcare test, group says

Absolutely fucking OUTRAGEOUS! by Paulius

Fox’s “Anti-Aging Fix” for McCain by Technology Expert

Larry Craig, Daniel Vitter Co-Sponsors of “Marriage Protection Amendment” by Technology Expert

Vampire babies on the attack! by Jen

In Which I Have A Whole Other List of Books To Check Out

List of every book read by Art Garfunkel since 1968.  I’d like to point out that Art started this list the very month and year that my beloved was born.  And that while Art is referenced in this article as a “voracious” reader, he averages about two books per month.  This year, I am averaging two per year.  And I really need to get going on cataloging them.

Speaking of books, some of my favorite books when I was a kid (and even now, I’ll admit it) were the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. 100 Candles Anne of Green Gables grows old and gets her due. When my mom introduced me to Anne, the books were actually out of print in the states, and I read the same copies that she had read as a child…the hardbound editions with all of the dust covers missing.  For years I thought I was named after Diana Barry, Anne’s best friend, my dad recently told me he picked the name from the Paul Anka song.  When my oldest sister was born, when I was 11, I was allowed to pick her middle name.  I choose Anne.  Although my sister didn’t grow up to be a sassy redhead (wait, yeah she did), she can at least say – for sure! – that she was named after Anne of Green Gables.

In Which I Find New Websites to Waste My Time With

Things I Should Throw Out: Clippings From The Eighties

In Which I’m Just….Amazed.  And A Bit Disturbed

Man electrocutes pickle to demonstrate power of Christianity So, because I don’t love Jebus, I will not glow in the dark and I can’t make any difference in the world?  What?

In Which I’m Just Amazed

The Pregnant Man.  I cried recently when I learned that Thomas Beatie and his wife had safely delivered their little girl.  While I might just be a little sensitive about the whole having-babies thing right now, it makes me so happy when people who desperately want children are able to have them, in whatever way it happens.  Birth, adoption, whatever – these people wanted an expression of their love for each other in the form of a child, and they were able to do it in an unconventional way.  It’s beautiful.  It would have been beautiful if they’d been able to do it in a “normal” way, too, but then the rest of us wouldn’t have been able to share in the joyous birth of a child who was so, so wanted.

In Which There Is a Gratuitous Post About Bacon

In Which Women Smarter Than I Talk About Life and Other Big Things

Is HAES Unhealthy? by Well-Rounded Mama

Yeah, whatever, Kate Moss by peggynature

The cult of dieting by attrice

Possibly, The Most Tasteless CUSS Post to Date by Suzanne

ChronicBit: Lab tests demystified Via Lab Tests Online, where you can search for just about any test and learn what it means. Excellent tool for us Babes… thanks for the top, ChronicPal Shannon!

Family Pride by Happy Villain

Eye-Opener by Happy Villain

 

Someone stole my pork roast April 8, 2008

Filed under: bitching,work work work — Diana @ 7:35 am

Last week, I made a – if I do say so myself – killer pork roast. I will admit that most of the credit goes to Archer Farms for having the foresight to put garlic, herbs, and a layer of cheese on top the pork roast that we purchased. It was a damn fine roast.

The next day, which was last Friday, I brought the leftovers to work to enjoy for my lunch with a yogurt. However, part way through the day, it occurred to me that the flimsy plastic knives we have at work were probably not going to be able to help me carve my delicious roast into bite-sized pieces, and as I prefer not to gnaw large hunks of meat at my desk, I thought that I would bring a knife to work to polish off the roast.

Yesterday being my birthday, I knew I wouldn’t be eating at work (thanks to Sarah for taking me out for a birthday lunch!), so I had planned to bring a knife to work today, Tuesday. However, when I went to make my coffee yesterday, I noticed that my roast is gone.

Let me repeat:

Some bastard stole my pork roast from the work fridge.

Who would do such a dastardly thing?

 

Things I Would Rather Be Doing February 7, 2008

So, the Super Crazy Busy period of the year has passed us by, and the reorganization has not yet happened, so I am now in that time in my job – as I have been on many other occasions – where I do not have enough to keep me busy, but still have to look like I am busy 100% of the time.

 

Interestingly, since I went part time in July, my workload has increased, but not enough to fill the hours of my day.  I’m not entirely sure why I am doing way more than everyone else that works “full time”, yet still have a good chunk of the day to while away.

 

In an effort to look busy while sitting at my desk without the use of my forefinger and a nostril, here are the things I would be doing if I could go home when my work was finished instead of when the clocks says I can:

 

(1)   I started the Mother-in-Law’s sweater during lunch.  I am on the beginning of the third row, and have already messed it up.  I don’t know what it is about me that makes me unable to remember the difference between seed stitch and ribbing until I can actually see that I am ribbing instead of doing seed stitch.  I think that part of the problem is that I learned to knit from my grandma in kind of a half-assed way, and not properly.  I call things all the wrong things, and I tend to label the stitches by what I did to get them than by what they look like afterward.  Therefore, on a seed stitch when it tells me to knit the knits of the previous row, I knit the stitches that I knit the previous row, instead of the ones that will turn out like a “knit” stitch instead of what I call the “purl” stitch.  It’s all fucked up.  It’s almost like watching a lefty knit. 

 

(2)   Short of frogging the 230 stitiches of the sweater and starting over, which I will do at Caribou tonight while waiting for my beloved to be done with his allergy shots, I would take working on the present for Carla’s baby (which needs to be done in 16 short days, not that I’m counting) or casting on for Sarah’s baby (which needs to be done whenever it is that we finally decide her baby shower is going to be).

 

(3)   Already be waiting for my sweetie at Caribou. 

 

(4)   Figuring out more stuff on the knitting machine.  Last night my knitting group came over and they figured out how to set the thing up, but there are all sorts of attachments and do-hickeys and things that we can do with it.  I emailed the Textile Center to see if anyone would help us out (for a fee), and I can’t wait to get started on this one.  Baby blankets, here we come!

 

(5)   Taking a shower.  I slept in today, and I need one.

 

(6)   Starting work on our corn bags.  They are all cut, and with the purchase of pinking shears yesterday, I am ready to cut the labels and start sewing! 

 

(7)   Cutting out the quilt that I promised Jeff I’d make two years ago.  This keeps getting further and further down the pile.

 

(8)   Reading the book I got in the mail yesterday.  I am on track to make my reading goal this year!

 

(9)   Be hanging out with my girls.  I haven’t had enough social time lately, and I miss it.  Then again, I am deep enough in the February blahs to not want to get off my ass and do anything.

 

(10)                       Anything, really, as long as it doesn’t involve wasting my time!

 

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger

Filed under: crafty goodness,home life,knitting,work work work — Diana @ 12:58 pm

Forgive me, WordPress, for I have sinned.  It’s been more than three months since my last “real” blog entry.  Here are a few of the things that I have been doing in the real world instead of writing about them:

(1) Working like a crazy, crazy bitch.  The end of the year is always a mess around The Organization for Which I Am Employed, and this one was extra-special with the introduction of a new benefit that needed a lot of attention.  Yay, work.  The good news is that we are “restructuring” and as of March 1, I will never take another phone call!  Yay!!!  So, while not terribly interesting or fulfilling, my job at least is rising above the I’d Rather Slit My Wrists Than Be Here situation it was for the last year or so.

(2) Fucking holidays.  Need I say more?  I think that every year I hate Christmas more and more.  I hate the fakery of love, I hate how early it starts, and I hate that (for my family), it’s not about the things that’s important – it’s about giving and getting shit (not that there’s anything wrong with that – I got some great stuff!).  The best part of Christmas this year was that I did NO shopping beforehand.  I highly recommend it.  Since we were going to Ireland, I told everyone that they were getting their gifts after the trip.  Not only did that save me a ton of time shopping (which I don’t like), but I think that I was much more pleased with what I got everyone.   I think that this year I am going to embrace the Homemade Challenge and not buy anything pre-made for Xmas, if not for all holidays.  So much nicer.

(3) Going to Ireland!  My beloved and I spent two weeks in Ireland, driving all over the southern part and took the train to Dublin for a couple of days.  We took 1,799 pictures (you can see the short version here) and generally had a faboulous time.  It was really hard to go back to real life after that – not only because Ireland was so wonderful and I wanted someone to dismantle my house and send it and my animals to me there – but because Jeff and I actually enjoyed spending every moment together.  After that, now it seems like we never see each other.  😦

(4)  Starting a business.  Yep, K and I (mostly K) have finally come up with an idea to do something with that will hopefully, someday, free us from the constraints of regular employment.  We are making corn bags under our old business name of Epiphany, and are busily sewing like mad, and coming up with the makings of our FIRST CRAFT SHOW in March.  Yay, us!

(5) Trying to get knocked up.  I’m just not talking a whole lot about how that’s going, or any details of the manufacturing process, thank you very much.  Let’s just say that at this point, I have given up The Drink (except for when I have my period…might as well have SOMETHING to look forward to!) and am taking vitamins up the yin-yang.

(6) Speaking of babies, Carla and Sarah are both pregnant, and I’m not saying that I might be working on gifts for them, because that would totally take the surprise out of everything, but that might be the case.  In other crafty goodness news, today I am casting on my first sweater, for my mother-in-law’s birthday.  As I am pretty sure that she has never even heard of my blog, I think I am going to document the progress online.  If you could think happy crafty thoughts for me, I’d appreciate it.

(7) Getting a new kitty!  Boris needed a friend, so on Sunday Jeff and I went to our local Humane Society and became the new parents of Checkers, a 12-year-old tortoiseshell and white kitty.  She’s adorable, and snuggly, and SMALL – Boris runs about 15-17 pounds, and she’s under 7 right now.  Of course, HE is scared of HER.  Go, Boris.  Checkers has a cold (not uncommon for shelter kitties) and isn’t eating terribly well, so I’m picking up her old food for her (cheap supermarket stuff that I would never feed my babies) and see if I can get her eating again.

Whew.

While I have not been actually blogging for a while, I have been thinking about blogging during that time.  When we were in Ireland, I was really wishing we had a lap top so I could write about the trip at night, and download the pictures we had taken during the day – I think it would have been a nice way to journal, and not been such a huge job when we got home.

Anywho, while thinking about blogging, the Tolstoy comment about all happy families being the same keeps coming back to me.  I mean, I started this blog as a way to talk about my horrible dates, and job, and friend fun stuff, but now I’m all old and shit, and settled into where I want to be…and I’m HAPPY.  And it’s boring to everyone else.  I mean, do you ever call up your friends and say, “Hey, just so you know, I am delighted to be alive.  I have enough money, food, shelter, a wonderful bunch of friends, I’m healthy, and things just couldn’t be better.”?  Of course not!

But maybe we should.  Maybe instead of writing about what I think will make a good blog entry, maybe I’ll just start writing about the dull old life that brings me such delight.

So, friends and readers:

I am delighted to be alive.

I have the best husband ever, and every day I am with him is the best day of my life.

I love my house, and I don’t hate my job.

We have enough money, enough food, and our house is in good shape.

My friends are wonderful and fill my life with joy.

I am experiencing better living through chemicals, and feel pretty good most days.

Life is good.

I am happy.

 

Please use your manners November 19, 2007

Filed under: bitching,work work work — Diana @ 1:21 pm

Before placing a call, blow your nose.

Please remember that “Or what?” is never, ever, EVER the appropriate way to end a question.

Please die in a fire.  Thank you.

 

American Billing Systems November 16, 2007

lol-blogthis.jpg

A few months ago, Kristy talked me (and Jeff) into going to a seminar held by American Billing Systems.  The basic  premise is that they sell you a “business opportunity” to do medical claims biling (and some other services) from home, for almost nothing (only $15,000!!), guaranteeing immediate riches and early retirement.

 

K has been looking for something for the two of us to do for several years.  We are both disenfranchised with corporate whoredom, and would love to be able to make money in a way that is more flexible so that we can do more important things, like spend time with children (K) or  yarn and animals (me).  Medical billing seemed like a great thing – it can easily be done from anywhere, anytime, and since we have both worked in the medical/insurance industries for a long time, we figured we knew the right language, and could pick up the actual billing pretty quickly.  When in doubt, consult the coding books.  🙂

 

American Billing Systems would supply us with the software, marketing materials, and ongoing training and support to set up our business.  It’s not a franchise – it’s in a different class of business called a “business opportunity” which is basically showing you how to do something, and then releasing all activities (and responsibilities) to the “licensee”.   It sounded great – get to pick the brains of people that knew what they were doing, but still get to do everything our own way, in our own time.

 

The problem?  We needed money.  I think that our personal assets at the time were about seven dollars, and we were both about to buy new homes.  I had just gotten married.  We were flat bum buster.  We needed an investor.

 

Banks sure weren’t going to give either of us money, so I asked my Local Bank of Daddy if he might be interested in getting involved.  He has mentioned over the years wanting to get into some sort of business, or that if I found something he might be willing to fund it.  I thought this might be the thing.  Local health issues had made continuing “regular” employment difficult for me, and I thought that he would agree that it was time for me to strike out on my own.

 

I talked to him about lending the money, but he wanted a lot more answers than I had.  I was going to have to research.

 

American Billing Systems had provided K with a list of licensee references, but I didn’t want to talk to them.  I knew that, as with any reference list, the people on it were only going to tell me glowing things about their experience.  I wanted to talk to real people.

 

My friend Google and I did some research, and found about 40 licensees that I could identify online.  They all had about the same web page (ABS can set you up with one –  a $2,000  value FREE!!) and I filled out a bunch of contact forms so that someone would call me and talk about their experience.

 

What I found out about the company through their licensees didn’t impress me, and what I found out at the seminar downright terrified me (but that’s a story for a different day).   However, what was interesting was that a couple of days after I started talking to people, I started getting phone messages from Sarah King, the Director of Licensing (and the daughter of the founders/owners).  One day, I had three messages on my voicemail after work.  And then the emails started.  And the mailings.

 

Now, I had never contacted ABS on my own, and I asked K if she had given them my information, which she hadn’t.  She was also not receiving any emails or phone calls.  I figured that one of the people I had spoken to as references squealed that I was asking questions.

 

After the seminar, and the treatment we received there, K and I decided that we were not interested, and were pretty much told by their “Success Coach” that we were not a fit for them.  We started thinking of other opportunities (if you have any ideas, we are open to suggestion!)

 

Even after we had been summarily dismissed by ABS,  I continued to get email and mailings.  Even though I moved almost two months ago, they sent me something just this week – to my new address.  A while ago, I had sent an email in reply to the one I received asking to be taken off the mailing list.  I got a reply from Sarah King herself that there was an unsubscribe button on the messages.  (I never found one until today – Gmail automatically filters out “pictures” from unknown sources, and that link showed up as a picture,  and not at all as text I could follow.)

 

The messages kept coming and I kept ignoring them.  Until today.

 

I got yet another message, and replied – again – to TAKE ME OFF YOUR MAILING LIST.

 

Here is the response I got:

You could’ve unsubscribed yourself at ANY time.

I have gone into our system and gladly done it for you.

Thank you and have a nice day!

 Sarah King

Director of Licensing

American Billing Systems, Inc.

Phone: 866-565-8413 Ext. 102

Fax: 817.281.3748

www.americanbilling.com

Excuse me?  Do we need to be listed on Passive-Aggressive Notes? I had apparently not had enough coffee, and I shot off this reply:

Considering the fact that I never signed up for your email lists, and that my personal information was given to you by one of your licensee stoolies when I was investigating investing, I don’t feel as if I should have needed to request that the harassing emails and phone calls cease.

To which I got:

I’m sorry you feel that way, because it’s simply not true. No one is harassing you.

Please do not respond as your e-mail address has been blocked.

Thank you,

I particularly like the complete avoidance of how they got my information, since it wasn’t from K, and it sure as hell wasn’t from me.

And can I point out what a Big Woman this is?  I ask to be taken off your mailing list.  You refuse.  I ask again.  I get a snarky reply.  I point out my irritation of your techniques. So you BAN me from every emailing your organization again?  Have I just been un-friended?  By a business entity?

I’m going to go ahead and admit that I was less than polite, and that had I unlocked the “pictures” which turned out to be links, I could have been off this list quite a long time ago.  However, this exchange just further confirms my opinion that this is a poorly run, unethical organization that is out to make a cheap buck off of unsuspecting and uneducated people.  In my opinion, if you are going to sell a “business opportunity”, you want people investing in this opportunity to check you out, and independently verify your claims.  To be vilified for doing just that tells me that ABS is not a company to be trusted – or invested in.

(Interestingly enough, I got that last email when I was on the phone with my mom, and she suggested I blog about it.  I had been just waiting for an opportunity to use that picture from LOLtheist.)

 

 

What Happened to “Look It Up”? October 29, 2007

Filed under: bitching,work work work — Diana @ 10:46 am

 

When I was little, and I wanted to know something – like how to spell a word – my mom would tell me to “look it up.”  Granted, this is before the interwebs, and I’d have to go to my dictionary or encyclopedia.  I always thought she was just a lazy mother (or didn’t know the answer herself), but now that I am older, I appreciate that she showed me those skills, and made me less dependent on always having to ask for help.  It was only permissible to ask once I’d exhausted the options available to me.

 

When I was in college, I worked at the Writing Center of my college as a tutor.  Under the direction of Suzanne (hi!), we practiced a theory of “minimalist tutoring.”  The goal was to show the student the tools they had, and teach them skills, so that down the line they wouldn’t need us. 

 

For example, a student comes into the Writing Center, pushes his/her paper at me, and says, “Tell me what’s wrong with my paper.”

 

Old method:

I tell the student what is wrong with the paper.

 

Minimalist method:

I push the paper back, ask him/her what s/he thinks is wrong with the paper, and we work through it together.  The student (hopefully) learns something useful, and applies it to future work.

 

Even though it was harder to work in the minimalist method (certainly not minimal work!), I liked that we were, in essence, telling people to “look it up.”  I only worked there for a year, but I saw progress in some of my regulars.  They were making new, exiting, and more advanced errors in their writing – because they had learned from the previous errors.

 

Now, at work, I find myself surrounded by new people.  They are older than I am, for the most part, but because I have been here for two years (on Wednesday – longest held job ever.  Can you believe it?) I am assigned as their “buddy” – the gal that answers all of their dumb questions. 

 

And dumb they are.  Granted, we have a lot of systems, and rules that aren’t “rules” in the strictest sense, and lots and lots of processes that make no sense whatsoever.  I am the first to admit that.  But I’ll also admit that for things like this we have some good documentation, and our plan documents are among the best that I’ve seen. 

 

That being said, none of these people will look a damn thing up.  Or, next best, putz around with things until they figure them out.

 

For example:  today one of my “buddies” had a call re: an address change.  All calls have to be documented.  She didn’t know what category to put it in.   Did she (a) flip through the options until she found one that made sense (such as the ADDRESS CHANGE one?), or (b) turn around and ask me.

 

If you picked b, DING DING DING DING!

 

And another:  one of the new people is also doing one of my processes (although I have indicated to the Powers That Be that I think that’s a horrid idea as during training he can’t keep up with simple concepts, but that’s a rant for a different day), and has been assigned an alphabetical portion of the work.  The first day this was implemented I got some of the stuff in his split, and threw it on his desk.  When finding it, did he (a) look at the files I gave him, and check the system to see where these people were in processing, or (b) ask me what’s up with them, and what we have received so far.

 

B is the answer of the day, people. 

 

And this is constant.  Not that I have a ton of work or a backlog, but I bet I spend a good three hours of my day answering questions that could – and should – be looked up.  After all, someday they are going to be on their own, and have to look up their own information.  Why can’t that day start today?

 

Well, because that’s just not the way we do things here at Employer.  Thinking for oneself is not encouraged, or even allowed most of the time.  Suggestions are not taken (see above re: training issues).  You do what you are told, and answer what you are asked, and let it go.

 

Argh.  This, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with people in general.  No one is willing to do their own thing, and I’m tired of being the one to do them, just because they need to be done.

 

When did doing it yourself become a bad thing?  Why don’t people have pride in what they do, and learning about the things around them?  Why isn’t curiosity rewarded? 

 

Discuss among yourselves.