Thursday, May 28, 2009

Random Thursday

I sit in traffic so much, not moving (um, isn't that what "sitting in traffic" means?), I have plenty of time to think. So today I thunk, and decided I have too many random thoughts in my head, and not one of them would be enough for a post, so I bring you Random Thursday. That is, a whole bunch of nothing worth much of anything, but in combination I'll get a post out of the deal. :-)

I shall number my random parts-is-parts so you know when one ends and another begins. Just a safe-guard in case I ramble on or something. Let us commence.

1. I actually had a good Customer Service experience this week! It was with EZ-Pass of Virginia. Even though I live in MD and only rarely cross the river to VA, when I do, I usually take the Toll Road. What a pain the the patootie to search for the exact change! So one year I broke down and purchased an EZ-Pass for my vehicle, so now when I visit my pal in Sterling (when she gets back from Greece next year) or when I go to Angela's, I get to go through the EZ-Pass lane. Woo-hoo!

The way it works is they have a credit card on file, and they automatically re-charge your account once you get down to under $10. Too easy! BUT, when you need to change your credit card on file, you need to access their Web site. Long story short, I have to call them every stinkin' time I need to update my account. I just cannot manage to remember my login, and since I have to call to get reset, I just do my transaction over the phone. This time I called because my bank did a mass-replace of all their Visa credit cards, so I needed to remember where I had it on file for recurring expenses (like EZ-Pass). Turns out I have my Amex on file there, so no need to change anything.

(FINALLY she gets to the point.) The most-helpful person on the other end of the phone said I'd had my pass long enough to be reaching the end of battery life, so she arranged to have a new one sent to me, and would I please return the old one once I got it. I think I started blubbering something about how nice she was, and we had a virtual nice-nice moment. Sigh ... all is not lost.

2. Old friends and staying in touch. I've talked before about how once I started making cards, I stopped communicating with people. And that's with people I have known for a long time. The people who fall into the category of second-tier, which would be people you know through other people, well they really get the short stick in the communication arena. And then, as you age, all of a sudden they have the nerve to die. This whole thing happened to me over a week ago, and I am still bummed.

A friend of my family has had our whole brood over to her house for dinner since I was a pup. Back when I was married and we still went, she would occasionally invite someone to join us. My friend has been a volunteer for the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra since ... well, since I was a pup! So this one year she invited none other than the music director and conductor of the Phil to join us all for dinner.

We found him to be a very interesting fellow! The thing I remember the most, besides his charm and non-snootiness, was the time my Dad asked him what kind of music he listened to. When you spend your life with opera and the great composers, I guess you wouldn't listen to Top 40's, ya know? His answer was, "If I want to listen to music, I just read a score." See? What an interesting fellow to know!

Well, over the years we kids have scattered to the wind, and we no longer do the massive gatherings we used to do, so we lost touch with Mr. Music Director. Imagine my shock when I got a letter last week from my friend, and inside was a copy of the news article of Mr. Music Director's untimely passing. He was only 71. Her personal note enclosed with the article said something to the effect of how sad we did not work harder to stay in touch with such a marvelous man.

So to all of you out there with second-tier friends, I implore you to be a better communicator. I know I will try to be. You just never know when someone who has touched your life will be gone, and you did not get so say goodbye.

3. On to something MUCH less somber! Traffic! No, you are not on my b1tchin' blog, as this is not a rant. I have found that with enough time, and the right meds, you can laugh at the stupidity of others! And let me tell you, I see enough of it to laugh every day!

Here is a photo that you really need to click on to get the full effect of my tale. This is the intersection one block from my street...the first stop light I hit every day on my way to work.

Yes, it was gray and rainy, but that's not my point, though I am sure the stoopidity level was bumped a few notches because wet stuff was falling from the sky. This photo's purpose is to show you the 'me me me' in this area.

Do you see how I have the green light? Do you see the recycle truck that turned right when his light was green, even though he could not fully get into the intersection? Do you see the 5 vehicles who did the same thing from the left, and have managed to block all the lanes of traffic? I do give kudos to the two cars in front who have not entered the intersection yet, although I am not sure they could have if they'd tried. Note to self: see if we can get the powers that be to work on the timing of these lights. Something is just not right. BTW, it took two more cycles of the light before I crossed that intersection.

Same intersection, and since I was waiting for another cycle of the light, I took this shot in my side mirror so you can see a force-merge first-hand. See that car? The one without it's lights on, in the pouring rain, contrary to our LAW that states you must have your lights on if your wipers are on? Yeah, that car. She is between the lanes, straddling the line. No directional, no nothin', just between the lanes. You see, we were stopped, and she decided to wedge herself between two stopped cars, because, well, she is better than the rest of us, you see. Pthhhhhtp!

4. Do not mess with a good thing. I started selling my cards because I made too many to ever use myself. A good friend advised me to keep doing what I loved, and not to make something because someone asked for it. My answer was supposed to be, "No, sorry." Because if you make something just to sell, or if you make something too specific, and if it doesn't sell, then you are stuck with something you will not even use yourself. So my going-in business model (I do crack myself up sometimes!) was I would only use what I bought for my personal use to make cards to sell. Then I stepped over the line and started making cards I thought would sell. They did okay, but not as well as cards I made because they flowed from my crooked brain, through my fingers and onto card stock. I broke my "good thing". I find if I have to try too hard, I shouldn't be doing it. I do not "need" Sympathy cards; I think I should have Sympathy cards. Who said so?!

So my new business model is to go back to my old business model and only make what I feel like, and I'll tell everyone else, "Sorry, I do not have a card for that." What pushed me over that edge? This card did:

This is my Duck Drives Car card that I tried to make into a Grad card, because I should have more grad cards. See what happened?! Holy CARP, what was I thinking?! And when I hated it, I kept adding more to it! Aaaaugh!

Then I took out even more stamps and made a full A2-sized one. (Uh-oh, I just saw I forgot to stick on his grad cap.)

So I think I'll go back to simpler, more basic cards, and maybe leave the Duck Driving Car parts for something like "always take the scenic route" cards. (But that car is pretty cute, no?)

5. This is what the road looks like most days on my way home from work. The only difference here is I was actually moving. The reason I took this shot was to get a pic of the pick-up truck up ahead of me on the right. I have a closer (although fuzzier) pic below.

See that red arrow? It points to the truck with a BAD ATTITUDE emblazoned on his tail gate. Oh, yeah, perfect for the daily commute! :-)

6. Since I plan to have a tent set-up this Saturday at the market, I needed to stock up on kitty litter to use as my corner weights. I did manage to fit three of the containers onto the floor, and I had one on the passenger seat. I can cram a lot of stuff into this car.

Oh, and in a Miata, this is not called kitty litter. It is called "ballast".

7. More rain. The ballast came in handy as the skies decided to open up on my way home. I took this photo of the water small river next to my car as it rushed into the drain. I swear, I thought it was going to hail.

8. What are these? These are bagels from Cosi. Does Cosi sell bagels? Only for breakfast sandwiches. By the time lunch rolls around, they are usually all gone.

I know all of this because I once asked the manager at lunch if they ever have bagels left over, and he said they do sometimes, but if I wanted any, I'd need to call around 11 and ask for them to hold some for me.

Unfortunately, I do not 'plan' my lunch that far in advance. I usually find my stomach is growling or my cube neighbor asks if I plan to eat today and I check the clock to find I need to leave the building so I can get back in time for a meeting, and when we do leave the building, we are usually half-way to nowhere before we decide where we want to eat. So calling ahead at 11:00 is just not gonna happen.

So how, you might ask, do I have 4 (now 3, *burp*) of these lovelies in my possession? Because we went to Cosi for lunch today, and I bugged the manager again to ask if he had any bagels left over, and they did! How many did I want? OMG, so I got two Everything and two Cranberry-Orange. Yes, I paid for them, but I am set for the weekend, baby! I see egg sammies on perfect little square bagels in my future!

9. Meet the Brown Bag Envelope. Yep. When I placed my most recent order with clearbags, I included a package of these. They are available in an assortment of colors and come in 70lb text weight (nice, not too thin). They are 100% Recycled, at least 20% PCW, and I think they'll be cool to use with 'guy' cards, or anything that falls into the 'rustic' category. I got a package of just plain brown instead of a variety pack - I really like the brown ones..

Holy moley, I have managed to blather on quite a bit, haven't I? If you are still reading this, I thank you for sticking with me! Now I think I'll go stamp something and see what happens. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. 1. I love my EZPass too! Though I still take the high traffic route most of the time to save $, but I also usually don't venture out near a.m. or p.m. rush hour.

    2. Sorry to hear about the music director. He does sound like an interesting person to have known.

    3. Drivers in the 'burg are more considerate...last Friday (Memorial Day weekend)I had scheduled a make-up therapy for Julia at 4:30pm...what was I thinking? It was only 4 miles away, but traffic was unreal. But no one blocked any intersections!!!

    4. Your MD grad card cracks me up! You should display that at market...surely it will sell! It is 100% Leslie Hanna.

    5. I got nothin' to say on this :)

    6. I love your corner weights! And if you ever stop going to market, you are well stocked for Kitty.

    7. Glad you are home safe and sound! You could have used an ark yesterday afternoon to get home. It might have been quicker.

    8. We have no decent bagels in the 'burg! Panera is as close as we come *sigh*.

    9. I like your new brown envies. That reminds me I probably need to place a clearbags order soon myself.

  2. As I am no where near as sweet as June to take the time to do a point by point response to this post, I just want to say that I like posts like this. It makes me feel like a part of your day to day these are the kind of things we might speak about over coffee. So do one whenever you like :)
    I do have to say that I particularly liked those envies though....very nice!

  3. Your commute and my commute look pretty similar. :)


I'd love to hear what you really think! :-)

PS: I've had to disable Anonymous comments, because the spammers were killing me. If you are unable to comment, please email me your comment and I'll get it posted for you. Sorry. (stoopid spammers)