Thursday, May 30, 2013

Yeah, Vacation Time has Arrived!

I am so excited about this day, so much so, that I didn't sleep well last night! I'm 99% packed and the apartment is clean enough. I get off work at noon, and the airport shuttle will pick me up around 3:30. Although last week was crazy and stressful, this week is much better and I can go off onto my vacation with some peace of mind. I'm feeling confident that things will change for me for the better in June, so the timing of this holiday is perfect.

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Super Amazingly Craptastic Stressful Week!

After a lovely weekend, this week started off very wrong. I have been stressed out in ways that I never anticipated, a week before my much needed vacation. On Monday, an unfortunate power tripping incident happened at work that cause me great distress. It made me realize that I need to haul ass and move on as soon as possible. I have been trying hard to look for a new job, but with the timing of my vacation, I have planned to just hang in there so that I can take my vacation (which I don't get paid for as a lowly and worthless temp). That way, I will get this time off, and then start looking with a fresh perspective on life. Now that some stupid shit went down on Monday, which I won't go in to, but let's just say that I covered my ass and defended myself. However, through this saga, I learned clearly who I can't trust, and who doesn't really have my back. I'm hopeful after my vacation things will work fast in moving on from my current situation. I'm so fucking tired of being used by this department.

Of course later that day, we learn of the horrible EF-4 Tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. The pictures from that devastated area was just heart wrenching. Is is absolutely amazing to see how high winds that form on a moments notice can kill so many people and animals and destroy homes and buildings, and lives.

To Terrorists!
As a decent human being, I naturally feel empathy and compassion for those suffering, so you can imagine how absolutely horrified I was with the murder of that soldier, in broadfuckingdaylight, in the Woolwich section of London on Wednesday. It was as if I was watching a horror movie being filmed, but it was a real life situation and pretty much confirmed for me that the human race is totally fucked, and as a global society, we will see more horrors placed upon innocent people by evil, worthless, vile assholes in the name of a religion. In this case, yet again, it is Muslim extremists (ie. insane "Muslims" who in actuality, aren't really Muslims because real Muslims aren't insane and evil), but there is some element with that religion that is twisted and distorted to the point that makes feeble-minded, heartless crazy people more crazy and evil. And that's tragic. Radicals of any religion can hijack said religion, over and over again, and eventually make the name of that religion nearly synonymous with terrorism, and that's extremely unfortunate for non-believers and the true and good believers of Islam. Where do we go from here? Well, these Muslim extremists will see how famous the Boston bombers have become, and now the Woolwich murderers have become; and in both situations, they were caught on video and film. They are not even suspects, they are straight up automatically guilty because of the physical and visual proof. What concerns me is that there was so much hubris on display and that's very worrisome because it just ups the ante and it makes me wonder what's in store for June and July. A momentum is building and I wonder when are our governments, both America and Great Britain, going to become more vigilant against these assholes because the perpetrators in both Boston and Woolwich where on the FBI and MI5 watch lists. WTF? If you are on any of these lists as Muslim extremists, there is something very bad and wrong about you, and these two cases prove it! I'm sure the next incident, and there will be another incident, the insane Muslim extremist will be known to the FBI and or MI5/MI6, and that says a lot right there. My prayers and thoughts are with the young soldier who was murdered and I hope he's at peace and that his family survives this horrible, horrible nightmare of having a good person taken in such a cowardly, brutal, and inhumane way.

I know I will be in a better state of mind come this long Memorial Day weekend. I will go see my family, and start cleaning up my apartment, and packing for my trip. Money is very tight, very tight, but I knew it would be this way, and I got enough to pay for all my expenses. I NEED this trip badly, and I hope that someone is looking out for me above and help me through the month of June as I try to manage several matters after my trip. Maybe it's the Buddhist in me that makes me a bit more sensitive to all the negativity in the world, and the nasty games that people play at work. I also sense something on the horizon with the world, and it just all concerns me. But alas, I'm just one person, one human, and I know I'm not alone. One step at a time, one day at a time. Vacation time is very soon!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Paris Change of Plan is a Good Thing

It's amazing what can happen in a span of 24-hours, or rather, let me correct that, in 7 days. This time last week (Friday 5/10), I had different plans for Paris. Well, that changed on Saturday and I was left thinking for the next few days what to do. There's always a Plan B, always, but when you're really looking forward to something and shit changes it, you're left in a mental quandary about what to do. Well, although I'm not the most social person on the planet, I do have my friends in far and away places. My plans for Paris have taken a positive turn and in reality, I'm even more relaxed and comfortable with the plans, and consider the changes to be a true blessing in disguise that benefits me twofold!

So when life throws you a sudden curve ball, just dodge it, or catch it, and throw the ball in the direction you want it to go into. For me, my short time in Paris will be an absolutely wonderful time with a new friend!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I would love to do the Cannes Film Festival one day

WHEN I win the lottery, I will definitely attend Cannes! When I look at pictures of the stars on opening day of Cannes 2013, it really is the epitome of Hollywood and Film. The top stars really look their best, outside of Oscar night, and it looks like so much fun! The images of Nicole Kidman and Carey Mulligan are posted here because they were the best looking ladies of opening night. In the coming days, I'll post a picture of the best dressed actress or actor.

Nicole Kidman in Dior with Steven Spielberg

Carey Mulligan with Leonard DiCaprio
 You were probably shocked just like I was when it was announced yesterday that Angelina Jolie had preventative surgery by having a double mastectomy to avoid developing breast cancer, in which she was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene and therefore, had an 87% risk of developing the disease. And it was also announced just today that she will also undergo additional surgery to remove her ovaries since she is at 50% risk of developing cervical cancer. I applaud her decision but personally, I wish this was an option for my sister whom I lost to breast cancer five years ago this summer. Since breast cancer is common in my family, I need to get tested, but here in America, one needs health insurance to do that. My work situation is on a contract basis and there's no safety net. As you know, I'm working hard to change this. Anyway, Angelina is someone I idolize and I wish her the best.

Meanwhile, I'm just 15 days away from vacation and I made my last arrangement today in reserving my airport transportation. Since I'll be gone for 10 days, I didn't want to drive to the airport and leave my car there for 10 days and paying over $100 to park it. I can get a roundtrip, front door shuttle service, and including a $5 tip both ways for $72. Either way, I have to pay money to get to the airport, I may as well do it in comfort and save money.

Also, yesterday I registered with Instagram so I will be taking lots of pictures on my iPod touch 4 of my adventures in London and Paris. Please note the instagram camera logo near the top along the sidebar, and just click it on to see the latest images I post there.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A New Bookstore in Downtown Ann Arbor

I read about a new bookstore coming to Ann Arbor a few months ago, and as I left the bank on the way back to the office this afternoon, I noticed it was open for business. It is called Literati Bookstore (124 E Washington St.) and it's a beautiful store front that has a museum gift shop vibe to it. It is quiet (no music, no coffee barista), and you don't see people sitting around making it their personal library or office while hogging valuable sitting space and surfing the net. As per their pretty bookmarks located at the checkout counter, it describes the new bookstore - 'Literati, 1. Well-educated people who are interested in literature. 2. Ann Arborites.' I like that!

It is a bi-level store that has the name of the section of each shelving unit written in chalk at the top, in a very nice handwritten form. They have a nice children's section too. But downstairs is very nice, and a bit darker than upstairs because of the lack of windows. And there is where I found my favorite section regarding health and body. I found a book by Kimberly Snyder 'The Beauty Detox Solution', and it was $16.99. Now this is the moment when these independent bookstores lose a sale. Someone can easily look up the book at or worse, go to walmart, and pay $5-$8 less than at this book store. Me being on a budget, but also mindful of the power of my dollars... I chose to purchase the book at Literati, and I'm glad I did. I got a great book that is going to help me 'eat my way to radiant skin, renewed energy and the body I want to get back'. So when you can, please support your local businesses.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Thanks for Nothing Delta Airlines

It was my intentions to purchase my usual r/t airfare with Delta Airlines for my upcoming trip to London, however, I was priced out of the economy section (note to self, don't travel to Europe first week of June). So because I was not going to earn Skymiles from Delta this year, I figured I would redeem my 15,516 miles and get some neat items from their Skymiles Marketplace. I've gotten lovely silver jewelry from them in the past and some magazine subscriptions. My philosophy with the skymiles was use them or lose them.

This afternoon I went to view the marketplace but an odd thing occurred. I could not view the catalog while logged on, that's strange. So I logged off and I was able to review the marketplace and I saw a few things I wanted to get. I clicked on one item that was valued at 13,200 miles, and then it said that I have to be an eligible member to purchase it. Ok, so I logged back on, and at that moment, I could not see the marketplace at all. So something odd was going on. I reviewed the Delta website trying to understand what was going on, then that's when I saw it. To redeem miles, one must be an "eligible member", and that basically means, having enough miles to reach the top 3 medallion tiers to qualify, as well as having specific partner credit cards to participate. What the hell is this now? Since Delta bought out Northwest Airlines, which I miss dearly, shit changes every year! Also, if you read the fine print, in order to meet the requirements to reach a milestone medallion tier, you have to acquire X amount of miles between Jan 1 and Dec 31. Sneaky ain't they? The only type of people who rack up those kind of miles are business travellers (ie. people who don't buy their own tickets) or very wealthy people who travel for pleasure and rack up the miles.

If you're a lame schmuck like me who saves her pennies to fly to Europe once a year on a preferred airliner, you're shit out of luck because that's only 8K miles round trip! And the other people who are lamer than me and only fly to Florida or California for a vacation, depending on where they live in the states, that's at most a 3k round trip flight - and IF that particular flight qualifies to get miles. This is so insane and elitist! It's just cruel to take away a small pleasure that someone like me would receive from Delta for being loyal to them. I have seen the light and learned that they aren't loyal to bums like me who do not fly at LEAST 50,000 miles between Jan 1 and Dec 31!

At, here is their breakdown:
  • 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs achieves Silver Medallion status.
  • 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs achieves Gold Medallion status.
  • 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs achieves Platinum Medallion status.
  • 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs achieves Diamond Medallion status.
The qualification time frame for Medallion status is from January 1 to December 31 of each year.

And here is the email I sent to Delta, and they quickly replied back:

Me: I was visiting the SkyMiles Marketplace to see what kind of
nice item I can redeem with my 15, 516 miles. I have been happy with
several past purchases and wanted to review the latest marketplace. To
my shock and surprise, I now notice that one has to be "eligible member"
to buy from the marketplace. As a long time Northwest customer and now
Delta, I use only one credit card and pay cash for the rest of my needs.
I do not want to apply for another credit card. And now I notice that in
order for me to use my well earned miles - earned from two r/t flight to
London, UK - I now can't redeem my miles to use in the marketplace
without being some kind of "eligible member'? Please explain to me why
this policy change and when did it go into effect? I find this extremely
elitist and I gather it was designed to force people to enroll into the
Delta Skymiles credit card scheme in order to buy from the marketplace.
Please reply back.

 Delta: Dear Ms. Cromer,

Thank you for your e-mail. On behalf of Delta Air Lines, I appreciate
the opportunity to be of assistance with your query regarding SkyMiles

Effective February 17, 2012, SkyMiles Marketplace has become an
exclusive benefit for Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion members and
all U.S. based Delta American Express SkyMiles Credit Cardmembers
. We
realize that SkyMiles Marketplace is a popular way for many of members
to use their miles; however, we have decided to limit redemptions to our
Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion members and co-brand card holders
only going forward. As an alternative, you can visit
to explore other ways you may use your miles.

Ms. Cromer, thank you for your continuing support and loyalty. As a
valued SkyMiles member, I appreciate your interest in our SkyMiles
program and look forward to your continued patronage.


Online Customer Support Desk

It's unfortunate that I missed the memo about this change, and as it all stands, I will surely lose the current 15K miles I have because I have no need to use Delta's services for quite a while, if never again, so these will surely expire and in Delta's eyes, I'll be a worthless former passenger... pretty much what I am already to them. In the past, with Northwest Airlines, I was able to redeem 25k miles, twice, for a free ticket: one to Baltimore and one to Los Angeles. So I know what it's like to be valued by your preferred airliner.

Maybe in the next job I get that allows me to travel for business, I will be able to take advantage of the perks that Delta offers to their beloved business travellers. Meanwhile, I will continue to drive where I need to go, take the train, or use a competitor airliner.

Good bye Delta!

I Can Breathe a Little Now

It's Springtime!! Last week I received my grades for Winter semester Grad school, and I'm happy to report that I maintained my 4.0 GPA!!! I'm 86% complete and I cannot believe it. All those years where I feared going back to school due to the commitment of time and discipline, as well as the costs, I'm surprising myself at how well I am doing. In grad school, one must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in order to receive a Master's degree. I knew that bare minimum would be no problem, but because I hold myself up to high standards, I pursued the highest scores, and I have made my goal. This semester was tough yet again, but I made it!

And this is why I am treating myself to London and Paris in less than a month! Just last week, I finally bought my plane ticket. But I got a little screwed over again for the second year in a row by Delta. Last year I missed the lowest price ticket by a day, and had to pay the highest fee for non-stop round trip. Which is a posh plane ride - Detroit to London in just over 8 hours. But this year, I watched the ticket price DAILY for nearly two months, only to get to the point where the ticket went up $50 which lead me to do some investigating. As I came to realize, all the seats were sold out in economy at the $1501 cost. WTF? Just a couple weeks earlier, about 35% of the seats were still available. But in those couple weeks, I guess a lot more people from the Detroit area have deep pockets and they all want to go to London! So I was priced out of economy - sure, business was available as well as a few first class seats, for $6k. Please!

Delta, the major hub for Detroit Metro, can charge outrageous prices out of Detroit because they are the ONLY airliner that offers non-stop flights to London. No competition = high fares. So I went to and started looking for 1-stop flights. Dammit - I haven't had a 1-stop to London since 1994. I found a 1-stop with US Airways out of Philadelphia for $1321. This isn't so bad after all because I was very concerned about flights taking me West first, like to Chicago, that is just stupid. So going slightly Southeast first, lay over for 1.5 hours, and then hop on another plane straight for London. The bonuses received going this route is that a) I leave Philly still 2 hours earlier than the Delta Detroit to London flight, allowing me to arrive at 10am instead of noon, b) I save $200 (On the return flight, I have to go through Charlotte, NC). Also, I look at it this way, when I get on the plane to Philly, I'm on vacation, so an earlier start on my vacation is even better! So Delta lost me on this trip, and USAirways gained a new passenger. And I even signed up for their frequent flyer program. If Delta is going to play the pricing game with me on a route that I practically take yearly, then I will shop around for a competitor who will still get me to my destination earlier while allowing me to save money, and use those monies to buy other things to help me with my holiday planning. The only thing left for me to do is reserve my shuttle to pick me up at my apartment and drop me off at the airport, round trip. Because I'll be gone for 10 days, it's easier to just do the shuttle instead of leaving my car at an expensive long term ride and park airport parking lot. And I save money on that too. I have never flow on US Airways so I am looking forward to this trip. If it's as seemless as I anticipate, I may use this in the future just for the savings.

I've been doing some shopping to prepare for the trip and I think I'm pretty much done. In all, I've probably spent around $400 in stuff to get me ready for my time in London and Paris. The largest item was an appropriately brand name item large suitcase by - London Fog - it is the 180 degree spinner wheel suitcase. Because I'll be away for 10 days, I need the space. I will surely be bringing back stuff, so I need the room to spare. And since this is International flying, check baggage is free, so I have no issues with that. I have a nice bag to use for carry-on too. The other stuff I have bought have been clothes, shoes, accessories. Stuff that will make me feel good while I'm on holiday. And this past Saturday, I went to Macy's to buy some Capri's and a basic black top. And then I remembered that the new Nordstrom Rack opened up on April 18th, so I finally had a chance to go there, and it was busy, busy, busy! I walked in there and I was immediately impressed. I browsed through the 'Active/Yoga' section, and dammit if they didn't have the very yoga pants and yoga top that I really, desperately, oh so very much, NEEDED! There goes $30. Their prices are just fabulous. Now there are still some pricey stuff in there, but for the most part, it's a store that I know I will get into trouble with if I go there often. The horrible thing is that the store is in walking distance too... so it's right there, to entice me!

In any event, I'm looking forward to meeting four new friends in the coming month and they are all people that I have befriended through my Fassinating Fassbender community. I'll be meeting one girl in Royal Oak on the 18th, and I'll be meeting one in London, and two in Paris on separate days. What an amazing way to top off months of studying and sacrificing all that time by not doing anything else.