Saturday, May 30, 2009

Why do they make it so hard?

Arizona continues to be, um, not the best project I've been on. heh This trip back, I'm in Yuma. Up to now, I'd been getting straight flights from Indy to Phoenix and either driving down or catching another flight to Tucson. This time, I flew from Indy to the east coast (Charlotte) and then back west to Phoenix... then had a three-hour drive in the dark on a two-lane highway with tons of construction... to get to Yuma. 16 hours after leaving home, I finally made it to my hotel at 11:30pm. A couple days later, I leave the office I'm working in, start the car... and can't go anywhere. The car won't go into gear. *sigh* So I mess with it awhile hoping it's a fluke and I can get it moving, no luck, finally call the roadside service number and get a nice guy who tries to help. He has to call the office in Phoenix and tells me I'll have to swap cars in Phoenix... three hours away. Right, there's no Enterprise here in Yuma?!? Oh, sure, sure... but they all closed at 6pm... 5 minutes ago. *sigh* Through this I finally get the stupid car into gear and head to a gas station to fill up since I'll be swapping it out and have to return it with a full tank, right? Let's not talk about that the tank wasn't full when I got it. Grr. I stop at a gas station. Can't pay a tthe pump. Go inside... I have to know how much gas I'm putting in and prepay. How the heck am I supposed to know how much gas I need??? She shrugs and says I have to prepay. Fine. I leave and go down the block to a different station where I can pay at the pump. I fill up (after having to back up and pull in on the other side - why the heck do so many cars have the gas tanks on the passenger side now?! The driver fills up the car, right?!). So, the machine prints my receipt... it's blank. I have to go inside and have them print another one. Through all this, I'm still on the phone with the roadside guy and Enterprise and have gone through the whole story no less than four times and been told it's user error multiple times and told repeated how to put the car into gear... a car I drove for two days with no problem. They refuse to give me a different car! Seriously?! The woman at Enterprise finally just said they won't authorize a swap if there's nothing wrong with the car and she hangs up on me! The roadside guy apologizes, but there's nothing more he can do and tells me this happens A LOT. So much for customer service. =( Interesting that there are scratches all around this little plastic cover that says gear shift unlock. Sure, this has never happened before. Idiots. So I get my company's travel person involved. Funny, now that corporate is involved, now Enterprise is willing to give me another car. So after work, I try to leave to head to Enterprise at the microscopic airport here in Yuma (which, BTW, was open until 8:30pm the night before - had I known...), the car won't go into gear again. Yes, I pushed down on the gear shift before I tried to move it over. Yes, the stearing wheel was unlocked. Yes, the car has a major issue! I finally get it into gear, get to the airport and go in search of the car rental counters. No signs anywhere, of course. Find the guy, get him to stop chatting with his buddy and actually wait on me... and he has no idea what the heck I'm talking about when I say who I am and that I'm here to switch cars. The manager didn't bother to tell him anything. Nice. So he calls Phoenix and sits on hold for 10 minutes before getting authorization to give me this other car, tells them yes, it has a full tank of gas. I finally get the keys and surprise! It has just over half a tank of gas. I go back inside... nope, they can't fill it. I just have to take it. I gotta tell ya, if I'd had any choice in the matter, I would have handed him back the damn keys and gone to one of the other car rental companies. I'm so sick of these people! So I went and filled it up and will try to figure out how much gas to put in so I return it with a half tank of gas. =( I know if I ever need a rental personally, I won't be going to Enterprise! Anywhere else has to be better than these people! I get back to my hotel with the new car (this one moves, but it's the most basic thing they could find apparently) and stop at the front desk to fax my paperwork. No one is anywhere to be found. I stand there 10 minutes before some guy wanders through the lobby with a cup of coffee and asks if I'm checking in. Uh, no, you talked to me here yesterday, remember? He takes my paper to fax... then asks this other lady who just walked up if he can help her. Excuse me, you were helping me! Sheesh! After the great service at the hotel in Tucson (Residence Inn Williams Circle), this place is such a great disappointment. Every time I go tot he front desk, they ask if I'm checking in. Dude, I just walked out of the elevator... pretty good guess that I'm already staying here! The same people ask me over and over if I'm checking in. I ask to fax something, they do... and then ask if I'm checking in. hahaha No, I'm just using your free fax, moron. heh I'm stuck here until Monday, then head back to Tucson to finish out the week and head home... where I will hopefully either stay or fly soemwhere else. I'm just praying they don't send me back to AZ. Two months here is MORE than enough!

I do have this outside my window though:

Spotted the parents first. The male flying back and forth gathering twigs an fibers. Then, looking around more, I spotted the kids:

Next tree over. The kids have taken over the nest so I suppose the parents are building on a new wing for themselves. =)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Moving Forward

I've had great timing for my weekends home lately. The last weekend I was home, my niece had her first dance recital so I got to go to that. This time, my oldest nephew, Joe, graduated from high school. =)
I will miss his reception next weekend though. That's him with his little bro, Calvin, who graduates next year. Unfortunately, some of Joe's plans have been altered. He was all set to go into the Air Force mid-June. Two days before graduation, he was out with his friends and went to jump out of the back of a truck, caught his foot and landed on his arm. Broken. Had surgery the day before graduation to have plates and pins put in. Docs say 3 months before he's back to normal. Apparently, the AF won't accept anyone with hardware installed, but he may still be okay since he was already signed up. I'm hoping this delay will get him into a job a little closer to what he ultimately wants to do. Time will tell.

Glad I got home this weekend, but I gotta say, this whole flying on every freaking holiday is getting old. I think Christmas and New Year's have been the only holidays I've not spent on a plane since I started this job last June. I'm beginning to think they're doing it on purpose... Wish I was actually getting holiday pay though. =(

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Over 100 degrees or not...

I had to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the desert around Tucson!

The saguaro cacti are starting to bloom! =) So pretty. Hard to get a good shot though since they're SO tall. haha Once more start to bloom, it'll be easier to find some blooms more at my level, but this shot taken standing on a small rock nearby and holding the camera as far above my head as possible turned out pretty well. haha

I went to the Tucson Botanical Gardens today. Spent a couple hours wandering around enjoying the flowers and cacti and the wildlife - LOTS of little lizards, birds, butterflies and bees.

The cacti are even cool after the blooms have faded. Then the fruits appear. I love these. They look like miniature pineapples!

More to come. Still have to finish uploading pics from the Botanical Gardens and Tucson Mountain Park...

BTW - I actually got rained on here today! First weather (other than HOT and a touch of wind) since I've been in Tucson! Supposed to be more isolated thunderstorms the next couple days as well. I heard thunder today and didn't believe it might actually rain until I felt a few drops. haha I even saw one lightning bolt while driving in Tucson Mountain Park!

Just when you think it's getting better...

Someone comes along and crushes your hope that things might be turning around. Why do miserable people want everyone else to be miserable with them? Misery loves company, right? But why? Does it really make them feel better if everyone around them is just as miserable as they are? Why are some people so quick to assume the worst of someone else? Someone they've known for a year and had no reason to question up to now? Maybe I'm just too trusting. Some people need to have spines like cacti so you know who is dangerous and who you can actually trust.

I did meet a couple of very cool people this week though. One had some very interesting suggestions. We'll see where things go from here... I see definite changes in my near future.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I hate everyone.

Do you ever just want to walk away from everything and everyone? Right now, a little cabin in the woods, up in Oregon or Washington, far away from everyone and everything sounds ideal. Just me and the critters and lots of yarn to play with. I'm irritated. Annoyed. Out of patience. I just feel like I'm not getting a break these days. It's all stress, all the time. I know if I just hold on, it'll get better. Don't get me wrong, I'm really thankful to have a decent job (esp in this economy) and I love getting to see so much of the US on someone else's dime. I'm just annoyed, fed up, way too hot (5 straight days of 100+) and ready to be done with Arizona and move on. I'm just praying I don't get stuck on the Missouri project after this. Maybe I just need a real vacation...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What have you done?

Saw this posted on a couple other blogs and though, why not, I'm stuck inside hiding from the sun... =)

The original instructions: Edit the list, bold for stuff you’ve done,
italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (currently)
Garter stitch

Knitting with metal wire
Shawl (if a stole counts)
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn

Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk (blends)
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Sweater (currently)
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Cardigan (hmm, should my sweater above be here instead?)
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting book (you never know…)
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)

Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dyeing with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting/Ravelympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Teaching a female how to knit
Teaching a child to knit
Reminding someone how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dyeing yarn
Knitting art (since I think it's all art) =)
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO

Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere

Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen (again, blend)
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets

Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Had to look up a couple of those things. Learn something new every day!

Current State of My Knitting

The perfect excuse to stay in and knit:

That, and I've been sick the past few days. =( I have a few projects to keep me occupied in the a/c...

Those are the three currently in the works. I finished the bottom and the sleeves last night so now my 1st sweater is ready for me to pick up the stitches for the button bands - so close to being finished! I'm on the 2nd sock of my 3rd pair for the year. And I've started the 1st block of my 25-block afghan. =) It's all in the numbers. haha

I headed to Trader Joe's for groceries yesterday (and to avoid the unbearable heat). Wandered around a bit more than usual and discovered a few (new to me) items!

Mmm, mango and peach! (and contains no gelatin) =) Love me some mango! I came out with my usual salsa - mango/papaya - and some frozen fruit bars - mango, of course! Then, I found the perfect-sized bag of small potatoes... in red, gold and BLUE.

Num! Great with the (vegan) Indian fare I picked up there as well. Gotta love a store with so many vegan/organic/whole food choices! =)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Back in the desert!

Back in the land of sunny, cloudless days and endless blue skies.

The obnoxious people in the room next to me finally checked out today. Yay! Finally, some peace and quiet. Arizona has been nothing but unnecessary stress so far. Can't wait for this project to end! The constant travel may be losing a bit of it's shine. I'm missing my boys...
Look at those faces! Gotta love 'em! I brought my new little camera home and played with it a bit to test it out. The boys are always willing subjects!

While I was outside taking pics, I had a robin constantly hollering at me. Finally found the source of the poor thing's stress:No wonder she was upset! I'm hoping I'll get to see some fuzzy babies my next trip home. =)

I am getting some knitting done too. Still working on my sweater, but I finished my 2nd net bag on my flight back to Tucson and finished the first of the pair of bright socks I started ages ago. Began the second on the flight back. I really like how the first turned out! (Pics to come later.) Need to get back to my afghan block as well. I have maybe 2" done so far. heh So much for my plan to do a block each trip out. Ah, well. I refuse to stress over knitting... =)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Angela's Debut

My weekend home happened to coincide with my niece's first dance recital:

She's 4 1/2 and obviously had a ball. Unfortunately, I'll miss my nephew's high school graduation... by a day. I fly back from Arizona the day he graduates, but won't get back until several hours too late.

BTW - LOVING the new tiny digital camera! I've played around with still shots indoors and out and then tried out the video feature today. I shot this video with it today in a dark auditorium with just the stage lighting. Turned out very well! (The quality is better on flickr.) I am pleased. =) Totally worth every penny... all none of them. =D

Friday, May 01, 2009

Beautiful Arizona!

Busy, busy, busy. Got all my photos downloaded to my computer and uploaded way too many to my flickr account! Here's a taste. If you want more, follow the link. =)
So many of the cacti are in bloom. Such a contrast between the beauty of the flowers and the harsh spininess of the cacti!
Even the decay is beautiful!
These were all shot at Colossal Cave Mountain Park near Tucson. The park is beautiful, but the cave tour is a bust. Too expensive for what you get (half hour tour) and all the damage in the cave. The "curtains" were pretty cool, but not worth the $8.50 for the tour.
Things are in bloom back home too. I started another market bag on the flight home. Halfway finished!