Monthly Archives: May 2013

SIM card saga

ImageI had a little bit of a shock this week when I was trying to get my iPad ready for travel to Lombard, IL, next week for the Tonner doll convention. I tried to sign up for cellular service (through Verizon) and received an error message saying my SIM card was no longer supported.

According to the Apple iPad website:

When you decide to activate data service, you can choose the amount of data per month you want to buy — with no long-term contract. So if you have a business trip or vacation approaching, just sign up for the month you’ll be traveling and cancel when you get back.

What they don’t tell you is, if you cancel your cellular service and don’t sign up again for five months, your SIM card is essentially “burned.” Meaning deactivated. Meaning it ain’t gonna work no more.

So yesterday, I left work early and took myself and my iPad to the local Verizon store here in town to see if they could help me fix the problem. From having researched the problem on Google beforehand, I warned my coworkers I might not be back, as it could take a while.

It took an hour and 45 minutes.

Now, to be fair, the folks at Verizon were some of the nicest people I’ve met in a while. They didn’t try to sell me a phone. They didn’t try to get me to upgrade any services. They were only concerned with my SIM card problem. At one point, I had six Verizon employees trying to figure out how to fix my iPad cellular service.

The problem, it turned out, was they couldn’t just give me a new SIM card without activating it first. But they couldn’t activate it with a prepaid plan. But they tried. They tried for an hour and a half. In the end, I just had to sign up to a monthly plan with a promise that I could cancel it when I got back from my trip. No contracts, no deactivation fee. Not what I wanted, but at least I’ll have cellular service on my trip. And I won’t have to go through all this again next time I travel. I’ll just have to go in and resign up for a monthly plan. A little bit of a hassle, but one I can live with.

I would like to thank the Verizon folks for putting me at ease. My social anxiety was going through the roof for the first half hour, but by the time I left, I felt like I had made new friends.

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Filed under messed up me, tech

Getting ready for convention

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Tonner’s Antoinette in spring time.

Next week, my dad and I will be attending the 2013 Tonner Doll Convention in Lombard, IL. I signed up for it in January, and the time has gone quickly by until the convention is almost upon us.

I am way beyond excited, but at the same time, very anxious about it at the same time. We’re driving from our house in Tennessee, all the way up to Chicago, IL. That’s at least a 10-hour drive. We’ll be leaving at 4 a.m. next Wednesday.

There’s always so much to do to get ready for trips like this. What to wear, what to take… I’m a nervous wreck just trying to get ready. I don’t even have my suitcase out… am not even sure where they are (probably in the attic). I am sure I will be spending the majority of next weekend just getting ready to go.

This isn’t my first doll convention. I’ve been to one other, this past October, but it will be the first time I enter a competition piece. Not in any of the doll categories… can’t sew to save my life, but in the craft category. I did a cross stitch piece I designed myself. It’s approximately 8×6 and took over a month to complete. I have no illusions of winning anything, I just wanted to participate.

I wanted to enter the photography category, but the weather has not been cooperative this month. Hopefully I can squeeze in a quick shoot sometime this week in between rain showers. Otherwise, I’ll have to forego entering. I waited so late because I wanted spring to arrive to take some outdoor shots. Indoor shots never look as good.

Wish us luck in traveling… that’s something else I have to do, print out driving directions! Maybe I should start making a list of everything that needs to be done before we leave. 😀

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Filed under this is my life, vacation

Ode to a website

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The last layout I did for my blog, Epiphany. *sigh*

I miss my old website. Sometimes I’ll visit the Way Back Machine and type in my old URL, just to revisit the past. And to see my old layouts. I think I made some damn good layouts for anime fan sites back in the early ’00s.

I would make a new layout for my main site every few months or so. Same with my blog, back when I used Blogger. And I used Blogger a LOT back then. It seems weird, looking back on some of those old entries, how much head garbage I used to pour out into my blog. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I can think of anything to write about. Take today for instance. I’ve been scouring Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and HuffPost looking for a topic until I remembered my old blog.

I can revisit the pages I made at home, on my computer where all my files are. Unfortunately, over the years and the newer computers we’ve had, I’ve lost some. I don’t think I even have my old blogger archives anymore. How sad.

I finally gave my website up a few years ago when my domain name, yanagi.nu, just got to expensive to maintain, not to mention the monthly site hosting fees. I do miss the designing though, and wish I knew more about how WordPress worked so I could design my own layout, but when I think of the time and effort I put into it, it makes me tired just thinking of it. I don’t think I have the energy anymore.

Alas, my poor website of yore.

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Filed under nostalgia, stuff and nonsense, totally random topic

Learning how to dine solo

ImageDinners are a family affair for me. Unless it’s an extremely rare occasion where I eat out with friends, I eat dinner with my parents every night, whether we go out or stay in for one of Dad’s delicious, home-cooked meals. But ever since my nephew was born five years ago, my parents have been traveling to Chattanooga once or twice a month to stay with my brother and his family, leaving me to my own devices when it comes to dinner.

Usually I would dig into the fridge for leftovers or pop something in the microwave to eat, as I am too dangerous to be let loose with the stove. Other times I would pick something up from a local restaurant and take it home. But lately, I’ve taken to eating out alone, something I would have been horrified to do just months ago.

The very thought of eating out alone, especially in a sit-down restaurant, used to cause my rotten social anxiety to soar. What would people think if they saw me eating solo? Would they pity me for not having anyone to eat with? Would they think I was some spinster who couldn’t get a date? Well, why that last one may have a ring of truth to it, I decided one night that I really didn’t care what people thought of seeing me alone in a restaurant, so I picked up a magazine and took myself on a date to a local eatery.

Talk about a nerve-racking experience. The first time I ate out alone, I was so nervous, I sat myself in the very back of the restaurant, hoping no one would notice me. I kept my eyes glued to the magazine I had brought, not daring to look up, afraid of people staring at me. Despite the fact that I had told myself I didn’t care what people thought, I lacked the confidence of believing it. I ate as quickly as I could and left as soon as possible.

I didn’t think I would be able to do that again, but the next time my parents went to Chattanooga, I decided to try.

The second time was easier. The hostess just gave me a friendly smile when I told her, “It’s just me tonight.” I went armed with a book again, but found myself so engrossed in my delicious dinner, I barely looked at. This time I raised my eyes and did a little “people watching” of my own. Nobody seemed to notice me all by myself, aside from my waitress who was extremely friendly and charming. Success!

This past weekend, I ventured out by myself for the third time, this time to a fast-food joint. I took my tray to a table, deliberately not choosing one in the back. I had a magazine with me again, but I didn’t touch it. Instead, I just sat by myself, by the window, and watched the world outside while I ate. I was halfway through my meal when I noticed a man sitting two tables away eating by himself. And not long after, another lone woman entered the restaurant, taking her food to the back of the dining area. I had to smile. I was not alone in being alone.

A Google search yielded some helpful hints on dining alone.

1. If you’re in the mood for conversation, ask to be seated at the bar or counter if available. If there’s not one available, go at off-peak times and spark a conversation with your server.

2. If talking to strangers isn’t your thing, bring a book or magazine.

3. Take along your social network. You’re never really alone if your online friends are along for the ride.

4. Ask for the check even if you aren’t finished eating. This will cut down on the time you must sit alone at the table after you are through.

5. Have confidence in yourself. Eating alone should be enjoyable, not something to be afraid of.

While I will probably always have that burst of social jitters before stepping into a restaurant alone, I know now that it is something I can do. And if you happen to see me out and about myself, stop by and say hi. Even if I have a book or magazine with me, I always enjoy a friendly conversation.

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Filed under published writing, this is my life