Originally posted on Even More Photography On The Citadel:

Howdy folks!

So on Monday, Vanna and I travelled up to Bemidji to visit our good friend Sharissa. We had a great time eating, watching videos online and general hanging out. And, as promised, I have pictures for you!

Unfortunately it was raining most of the day (super bad on the drive north) so we were limited in what we could do, but I think there’s enough in the slideshow below to interest you. Enjoy!

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Crystal Cave Trip Pictures! (Well…More Like A Driving Slideshow)

Originally posted on Even More Photography On The Citadel:

Howdy folks,

Boy this week went fast. Tuesday and Thursday were busy work days for both of us (granted Vanna had a more tiring time than I did) and sandwiched between them was Wednesday (obviously), when Vanna and I went on an impromptu road trip to Wisconsin!

Why Wisconsin? Well, we wanted to go somewhere different for this spontaneous road, which meant the few locations I know about (Duluth, Ely, Twin Cities) were subsequently ruled out. Also deemed untenable were our more ambitious plans to visit the likes of Montana (don’t ask me where specifically…just Montana) and Mt Rushmore, as it would be impossible to get there given the time restrains (Vanna worked 6am the next day). So, after a brief chat with family members, we were left with one solid option: Crystal Cave, Wisconsin! Vanna has only gone there once when she was much younger, while I’ve…

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I’m Not As Fast A Typer As I Thought I Was…

Howdy all,

So I have good news! Last Thursday I started work typing up assessments for a psychologist! I work from home (bypassing all those driving problems I complained about in my last post) and each assessment takes me between two and four hours (for reasons I’ll explain in a few paragraphs) to complete. So far I’ve finished 3 reports. I get paid per page (sadly I can’t put it in huge font to triple the page number…) and, uh yeah…that’s about it. A job!

Currently I’m busy typing up a load of older reports which should lead to a nice pay cheque at the end of the month (I have to write an invoice for that, maybe I’ll put Vanna’s new bookkeeping skills to the test and get her to do it for me!). I’m not sure how frequent the reports will be after that, but it will supplement our income regardless. And it’s a new experience, a new skill and it’s pretty interesting, so I have to say I’m enjoying it so far!

Only disadvantage is that I don’t have a functioning foot pedal for the recorder (I thought that sounded weird before it was explained to me, but it means you can stop/start the tape without taking your hand off the keyboard; no pedals means it takes me at least an hour more to do than it would otherwise) which isn’t great. Fortunately there is another, hopefully operational, pedal that I should have for tomorrow, and I’m not expected to continue doing the assessments without it (hence why I’m not doing one right now).

So that’s what I’ve been up to this past week! Nice, right? It’s probably a good thing too as I don’t really have anything else to talk about! The football is practically over, the weather has been awfully dreary, and everybody back home seems to be equally miserable because of the election results. Oh well, it’s only…life I guess.

Right, I’m going to do some prep for tomorrow’s work. I also need to get back into my book; all these assessments have cut into my editing time. Ugh. Busy, busy, busy.

Speak to you later,


Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Howdy folks,

First, my apologies for this latest blog silence. I had every intention of posting a quick update last week, but because of one thing or another I never got around to getting online. Next thing I know it has been 14 days since I last posted. Whooops. Sorry about that.

So to continue from my last blog post, albeit with a more negative outlook,  today I’m going to talk about how things haven’t quite moved forwards like I had hoped they would back in late April.  Generally we are doing well (Vanna got a new job book-keeping which she is enjoying), but there have been a few frustrating moments lately which have hindered our progress somewhat. For example…

The DMV Continues To Be Difficult

I love driving so much. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it over winter until I got behind the wheel again last month. A few weeks ago we went for an impromptu drive out into the country which was great. With the weather so beautifully warm and sunny…there is nothing better than driving out on the open road. I love it. Unfortunately,  I will have to be a passenger again in July…unless I can bypass the status check on my license.

But wait; didn’t I get a work permit recently? The reason I’m having these problems is because the DMV is hung up on my permanent residency (unreasonably if you ask me…but whatever), or lack thereof. But a work card verifying that I can work should surely be appropriate authorization for them?

Hmm. You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Well it isn’t that straightforward, because of reasons (oh, those reasons! of course!). You see, when I went into the DMV to get my permit, I was told that once I had some proof of residency (all the letters weren’t enough) I should come back in immediately and they’ll validate my license.

So once I had my biometrics appointment and received my card, I went back into the DMV as requested with my information. Finally I was going to get it sorted! Ha! Nope! The lady at the desk instead told me they couldn’t do anything yet, and I needed to wait until July.

Uhhh…what? That is the complete opposite instruction to the one given to us by the first woman! Hmm. Now, I suppose one could accuse the second worker of laziness/incompetence, but hey, I’m not going to question her professionalism like that. What I will say however, is that she didn’t seem too keen to do any work. Uh, is that any better?

Well, regardless of motive, the woman sent us away, which means I’m still waiting for confirmation on whether I can drive permanently or not. This may not seem like a big deal, but my inability to apply for a driver’s license is affecting me in other ways. I’ll explain that shortly, but first, let me complain about Straight Talk!

Trying To Do A Good Deed Has Only Caused  Problems

During our trip to Crosby on Saturday to visit family, Vanna gave my old phone to her sister. Well, tried to anyway. She ran into problems setting the mobile up in her sister’s name almost immediately, because it appears that my old phone still has my current number on it, and refuses to relinquish it.

I won’t bore you with the details, but Vanna was on the phone to Straight Talk’s ‘customer helpline’ for about three hours. In that time, she was switched from rep to rep, and not a single one was able to fix the problem. In fact, one particular genius in the Straight Talk ranks actually made matters worse, because he elected to shut down the number entirely. You know, the number that I’m using. Isn’t that great?

Thankfully I can still text and make phone calls, but I can’t access 3G. This doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that is the main reason I use my phone. Vanna was also charged for my old phone’s new service plan…even though the damned thing doesn’t actually work. Right now we are paying for two phones and neither are functioning in the way that they should. Again, isn’t that just great?

So yeah…Straight Talk suck. Feel free to share that information around.

Applying For Jobs Isn’t Straightforward Either

Remember at the end of my first complaint (I’d hope so, it wasn’t that long ago) when I mentioned that not having a driver’s license is a hindrance for one big reason? Well, that big reason is finding a job.

Why is that the case? The main problem is that, in this area, most people are entirely reliant on access to a vehicle because there are very few options when it comes to public transport. I am no different; without Vanna and her car, I can’t really go anywhere. As a result, my job opportunities are limited to what works with Vanna’s schedule. Finding a suitable job isn’t impossible, but you can understand my search is made harder than it would be if I had my own vehicle.

In fact, I don’t even need a vehicle; I just need a driver’s license.  Right now I can’t drive unless Vanna is with me, which is a serious inconvenience. The ability to drive alone would at least open up a few more doors. For example, I could drop Vanna off at her work, drive to my job, and then pick her up afterwards. It wouldn’t be perfect, but we could make it work.

Sadly though, I can’t do that. At least not until the DMV accepts that I’m not just mooching here for the summer. In the meantime, I’m just going to have to struggle to find suitable work. Thankfully we aren’t dependent on me bringing in money, but I’d rather start contributing sooner rather than later. Every little helps, right? And it would get me out the house on a regular basis, which would be greatly appreciated. I suppose I’ll just have to keep looking and hope something interesting pops up.


But Hey, It Isn’t All Bad News

Chelsea, the football team I support, won the league on Sunday, and I did apply for a few jobs earlier today. I’ll let you know if anything happens.

Speak to you soon,



Yet Another Step Forward!

Howdy folks,

I have good news, and I have great news! Both announcements have been referred to before, but as they are now verified reality, I reckon they are worth a standalone blog post.

What’s happened? Well the first thing is that my driving permit has finally been validated, which means I can start driving again! Typically the weather has turned awful again (it snowed today…snowed! I thought it was over, I THOUGHT IT WAS OVER!) but I’m excited to get behind the wheel again. That’s my good news.

My great news is that my temporary work permit has also been authorized, so I can start working now too! It’s only taken six months, but whatever. Better late than never, right?

So, what’s next?

  1. Take my word permit to the DMV and use it as proof of residency. Even if I can’t take a driving test, at least I’ll be covered until my birthday (when the work permit expires).
  2. Americanize my C.V. As my qualifications are largely unknown here, I need to change my resume to instead explain what I have done, and what I can do. I doubt I’ll be pulling up trees, but hopefully I’ll be able to display my skills enough to get an opportunity.
  3. Start looking for work! As my driving permit requires a licensed driver in the passenger seat (as well as an available vehicle) any job I go for needs to suit Vanna’s schedule (which can be all over the place) so it’s going to be interesting to see what options I have. I do have preferences, but at the moment, I’m mostly willing to do most jobs. I guess I’ll just have to see who is hiring and hope for the best!

And that is largely it for now. I’ll let you know what happens.

Bye for now!


Kite Flying…Well Trying To Anyway (Pictures!)

Originally posted on Even More Photography On The Citadel:

On Saturday, Vanna and I went for a family dinner up in Palisade. While we were there, we attempted to fly a kite for Marley (well, I watched from the sidelines and offered support; I was too full and tired to run around like a goon…) and after that failure, we went for walk. During both activities, I took pictures. Slideshow is below. Enjoy!


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Duluth (A Picture Journey)

Originally posted on Even More Photography On The Citadel:

Hello all,

On Thursday, we drove to Duluth for a 2pm biometrics appointment. Because two hours is a long time to drive for a fifteen minute session at the Customs House, Vanna and I decided to go up early and make it a day trip. After all, we hadn’t been to Duluth for over a year, so why not take advantage of this opportunity?

Sadly the weather wasn’t great, so we couldn’t spend much time outside like we had hoped to do. But we still managed to have fun; we went to the mall (I think we were in Barnes & Noble for at least two hours looking through all the books), bought two delicious caramel apples in Canal Park, had a tasty pizza for dinner at Old Chicago(as well as Erberts and Gerberts for lunch!) and then walked along the pier before we finally headed home. It…

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