Marriage License by Norman Rockwell
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Franklin, TN, USA Manila, Philippines


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Sunday, January 29, 2006

First week in Dallas

Current Mood:

Can't stay long, have to start packing again for this week's trip--but my first week in Dallas sure was action packed :-). There are a lot of things to learn, plus I have other projects due at the end of the month that I still have to finish.

The client has been WONDERFUL, though. I guess it's that Texan hospitality :-). First night we were there, they took us to see a professional hockey game: the Dallas Stars vs. the Phoenix Coyotes :-). I didn't know until that night that Wayne Gretzky coaches the Coyotes, so I was able to see him from a distance, which was REALLY cool :-)!

I also got to see my share of brawls :-). It was funny--one brawl was about to start between two players and the referee was right there in front of them, but he wasn't DOING anything to stop the brawl from breaking out. I think he was actually waiting for them to start fighting :-).

Then Friday the client asked us if we preferred to see Kobe or Shaq :-). THEN the client took the rest of the team to the Forth Worth Stock Show on Saturday. They've just been so wonderful :-).

There *is* something that I would like to see, and I have an extra day in Dallas by myself to do it at the end of the trip :-). I want to go see Medieval Times--it's a dinner show where knights joust :-). I think that's gonna be REALLY fun :-).

Once the trip is over and things slow down a bit, I'll post pictures :-).

Posted by Unknown | 5:30 AM | 0 Comments |
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Friday, January 20, 2006

Talking to Myself

Current Mood:

I tend to talk to myself a lot. Here's a list of things I found myself saying while working out in front of the TV:

  • "You want me to do WHAT?"
  • "Oh this is MUCH harder than it looks..."
  • "God, why do I DO this to myself?"
  • "How do those other people make it look so EASY?"
  • "There's got to be something wrong with me."
  • "Man, who would've thought you could sweat so much in just half an hour."

Posted by Unknown | 5:30 AM | 0 Comments |
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Sunday, January 15, 2006

If I had a child...

Current Mood:

Have you ever seen an episode of the show Little Einsteins? If I had a child I would love to raise him/her on that show (along with Sesame Street).

Essentially it's about four kids that have all sorts of different adventures, but the show incorporates different art and classical music into each adventure. Today they used "Tree of Life" by Gustav Klimt and "Symphony No. 9" by Antonin Dvorak.

Anything that promotes an appreciation for classical music and art is definitely going to be on the show roster for my child :-). Of course, that will probably doom him/her to a reputation of dorkness in high school, but now that I'm a grownup myself, I think it was worth it :-). Besides, now that there are TV shows like the Little Einsteins, then liking art and classical music will probably not carry the stigma as it did when I was growing up :-).

Posted by Unknown | 7:21 AM | 0 Comments |
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This always happens

Current Mood:

Every time I'm scheduled to go on a business trip this always happens. I start to worry incessantly about things. What if the plane crashes? What if I can't get a rental car when I get there? What if I get lost driving to the hotel?

Mostly it's about the plane, though. You'd think I'd know better by now :-).

And then, while watching Murder, She Wrote, I see this TV movie commercial about Flight 93 (the flight where the passengers heroically took back the plane from terrorists on 9-11, causing it to crash in Pennsylvania). A girl was sobbing into a cellphone, "I'm not coming back home."

Oh yeah, THAT made the butterflies in my tummy go into overdrive :-).

Posted by Unknown | 6:49 AM | 0 Comments |
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Saturday, January 14, 2006

The ride so far

Current Mood:

I thought it would be interesting to actually track how long it took Steve and me to get this far, immigration-wise :-). I've dug through all my letters so I can get precise dates and just how much the applications cost:
  • June 9, 2003 - USCIS receives our fiancee visa petition. Cost: $110.00
  • November 12, 2003 - USCIS approves the fiancee visa petition and says that I will be notified as to when my visa interview will be.
  • November 25, 2003 - I get a letter from the embassy telling me that my interview is on February 13, 2004 and that I should have the medical examination done by then.
  • February 10, 2004 - St. Luke's Extension clinic stamps my passport that I've completed the medical examination. Cost of examination: $95.00
  • February 13, 2004 - I get interviewed. I don't pass the interview just yet because we lacked sufficient documentation. They keep my passport until we send the documentation. We send the required documentation and are told to wait for the decision.
  • April 7, 2004 - A courier delivers my passport with the fiancee visa attached.
  • June 22, 2004 - I book my one-way ticket to the States.
  • July 2, 2004 - I attended the Commission on Filipinos Overseas' guidance and counseling class and they stamp my passport certifying my attendance.
  • July 30, 2004 - I fly to the U.S.
  • September 13, 2004 - Steve and I get our marriage license in Memphis, TN.
  • September 17, 2004 - Steve and I get married in Gatlinburg, TN :-).
  • November 18, 2004 - USCIS receives my application for work authorization (cost: $175) and to adjust status to permanent resident (cost: $385). I'm scheduled for biometrics (i.e. fingerprinting and picture-taking) for my work authorization document.
  • December 10, 2004 - I get my biometrics done.
  • December 28, 2004 - I get my work authorization permit.
  • January 11, 2005 - I apply for a social security number.
  • January 25, 2005 - I get my social security card.
  • October 19, 2005 - USCIS says I need to send them updates of several of my documents since they've expired. I also need to have a new medical exam done.
  • October 24, 2005 - I complete my second medical exam (cost: $225).
  • October 28, 2005 - USCIS sends me confirmation that they have my new address (Steve and I moved in June).
  • November 23, 2005 - USCIS receives my application to renew my work authorization permit (cost: $180).
  • December 15, 2005 - I mail off the updated documents to USCIS.
  • January 12, 2006 - USCIS approves my permanent residency application.
  • January 19, 2006 - I get my green card! It expires January 3, 2008.
  • October 6, 2007 - We mailed our application to remove the conditions of my permanent residency (within the 90 day window before my green card expires. Cost: $545). Paid for delivery confirmation so I'll know when they get it.
  • October 10, 2007 - USCIS receives our application.
  • November 6, 2007 - I get a letter from USCIS saying that my conditional permanent residency has been extended for one year while the paperwork gets processed.
  • November 24, 2007 - I get a letter from USCIS telling me where, what day and what time I should show up for my biometrics appointment.
  • December 5, 2007 - I go to my biometrics appointment. It took less than 10 minutes.
  • December 15, 2007 - I get an email from USCIS telling me that they've ordered the production of my green card.
  • December 19, 2007 - I get another email from USCIS saying that the petition to remove the conditions of my permanent residency has been approved :-)!
  • December 24, 2007 - I receive my new, 10 year permanent resident green card in the mail :-)! It expires December 15, 2017.
  • October 9, 2008 - Express-mailed my application for Naturalization (cost: $675: $595 plus an $80 biometrics fee).
  • October 10, 2008 - USCIS (specifically the Texas Service Center) receives my application
  • October 14, 2008 - USCIS puts my application in the processing queue. Target completion time: 365 days.
  • November 3, 2008 - I get a letter from USCIS telling me where, what day and what time I should show up for my fingerprinting appointment.
Man, it sure took a while, didn't it :-).


Posted by Unknown | 10:03 AM | 0 Comments |
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Friday, January 13, 2006


Current Mood:

Got this email from INS yesterday:

The following is the latest information on your case status

Application Type: I485 , Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status

Current Status:
On January 12, 2006, after approving your application, we ordered you a new card. Your card will be mailed to you as soon as it is ready.

If you have questions or concerns about your application or the case status results listed above, or if you have not received a decision or advice from USCIS within the projected processing time frame*, please contact the National Customer Service Center.

National Customer Service Center (800) 375-5283.

*The projected processing time frame can be found on the receipt notice that you received from the USCIS.
*** Please do not respond to this e-mail message.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

WOO HOO!! Finally, after 13 months, I'll be getting my green card :-)!

My biggest adjustment is probably going to be when I return to the US after a Manila trip (I will probably be sent to Manila on occasion for business reasons). All my life I've always needed a tourist visa. Not anymore--from now on, I'll just need to show the green card :-). That's pretty cool :-).

Posted by Unknown | 8:17 AM | 0 Comments |
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Sunday, January 08, 2006

This can't be good :-)

Current Mood:

Ever seen Bear in the Big Blue House? I have such a fondness for it. It's a kid's show and Bear is a full body Jim Henson puppet (his movements seem so comfortably familiar: he moves like a muppet). I don't usually watch it, I only come across it when I'm channel surfing, but every time I happen to see the show I become a little kid :-).

After my workout this morning I thought I'd do something different and eat a fruit cup (I usually have toast after working out). Then I had to write some emails so I changed the channel to Disney and sat at the dinner table in front of my laptop.

Bear in the Big Blue House came on and Bear always starts the show by talking to the screen. Then he walks right up to the screen and starts sniffing like a big adorable dog. "What's that smell? ...I smell...fruit!"

I looked up at the TV screen and he's sniffing around trying to find the source of the smell and before I could stop myself I said to the TV, "It's me, Bear! I had a fruit cup!"

And he says to the screen, "...Did you just eat some fresh fruit?"

"YES YES!" By this time I was standing in front of the TV utterly delighted that this big Bear puppet was talking to me :-).

And he said, "...Because you smell all (sniff sniff sniiiiifffff) fruity!"

And I'm giggling and squealing like a 4-year old.

...This can't be good :-).

Posted by Unknown | 5:36 AM | 3 Comments |
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Monday, January 02, 2006

Ow ow ow ow ow...

Current Mood:

Like many people, my New Year's Resolution was to get in better shape. I used to go to the small gym in the apartment complex but I wasn't confident that the machines were working all the muscles that I wanted to tone. There isn't a trainer on staff either, so I have no one to ask.

Then the idea of spending money for a gym membership (and then driving all the way over there at least three times a week) or buying big exercise machines didn't really appeal to me either. So while I wanted to get in shape, I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to do that.

Then I discovered that our cable system has FitTV. It's a workout channel. It's actually really good :-). You get to see all the workout shows available and you can just choose the trainer you feel most comfortable with. Then with a visit to the FitTV website, you can see when the next show is and choose the most convenient time slot. The one that I want, Total Body Sculpt with Gilad, works out really well for me because it airs every day at 5am CST (I'm almost always up by then), focusing on different areas of the body each time.

Plus they have these other neat shows, too... there's a belly dancing episode and an afro latin dance episode and a Bhangra dance (Indian dance) episode... getting in shape doesn't seem routine at all when they offer many interesting ways of doing it :-).

I haven't worked out in months. I was so excited about this yesterday that I ended up working out through two shows. And man oh man, am I paying for it today :-). I hurt from the waist down :-). My arms are a little sore too. I'm hurting in places that didn't hurt when I was using just the apartment gym. But you know what? That just tells me I'm toning more muscles this way than the old way :-). It's more convenient, and it works better :-).

Posted by Unknown | 9:07 AM | 3 Comments |
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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Really proud

Current Mood:

I'm so proud of Steve. He's overcome one of his greatest anxieties of working outside the house.

He's now an assistant groomer at Petco--that means he helps with the bathing, blowdrying, and brushing of dogs :-). It may not sound like a glamorous job to the average person, but I'm really proud of him because the idea of working out of the house is something that has caused him much anxiety in the last few years.

And it works out really nice, too--he's so good with dogs and he's enjoying himself. On his second day at work, as we were walking to the truck together, he said that he wasn't feeling nervous--just hoping a little that he doesn't get to do too many BIG dogs today :-). I thought that was a great sign :-).

Another big plus is that his hearing difficulty is actually a benefit :-). Some of his co-workers have already said that they were envious that HE could turn off the noise whenever he wanted :-).

Of course the additional income is wonderful too, it couldn't have come at a better time--but I think the best part is that I look at him, and he's walking taller--prouder. It's the kind of walk that you see in someone who's overcome a major personal challenge :-).


Posted by Unknown | 1:49 AM | 0 Comments |
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