Tag Archives: learning

All or Nothing Day – July 26, 2016

Listen. are you breathing just a little
and calling it a life,
Mary Oliver

Several days ago I received an email from a young woman whom I didn’t know.  Her name is Heather Von St James and she told me she was a 10-year survivor of a rare cancer called mesothelioma, given just 15 months to live upon diagnosis, then and there she decided it was all or nothing from that day on.

Having read her story I wanted to get involved in Heather’s most recent campaign for All or Nothing Day. She asked if I would help spread the word.   Those of you who have followed me know that this is absolutely what I approve of and so of course I agreed.

I claim to Choose how I will spend the rest of my life and some of you have accompanied me through a few pitfalls followed by picking myself up and starting again.

At the ripe old age of 60, I found myself Suddenly Single after my husband of 41 years died, and had to learn how to live life on my own.  A couple of years later I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but a lumpectomy and some radiation therapy quickly sorted that out.  Then when I was getting used to life on my own, I met and reconnected with an Architect with whom I had worked many years previously.  And yes, we got together and decided to spend the rest of our lives together.

Just over a year ago he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and 8 weeks later he died.  My 2 year Magic Carpet Ride came to a halt and once again I was living life on my own.

Well, you just have to get up and get on with it.  I was doing well on my own when suddenly in April this year I had an accident that resulted in major brain damage.  But hey – I’m alive and things are gradually getting back to normal.  Every day is a bonus and I am so grateful for the medical team and the rehabilitation team who brought me to the stage I am today.

I’m going out walking with my physiotherapist when she visits each week and last week I had a walk on my own and did some Retail Therapy.  I’m lucky and blessed with a supportive family and friends and I will continue to Choose how I spend the rest of my life.  However long that may be.

I shall continue to be the best friend I can be, the most loving sister, mother and grandmother offering and accepting the love showered on me  And because some of my independence is lost until I’m allowed to drive again, I’m working on accepting the help offered graciously.

And also this from Mary Oliver

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.” ~ Mary Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retail Therapy

“Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.”
Mary Oliver, Evidence: Poems

 

I went into town today to meet a friend for coffee.  Unfortunately for me but fortunately for her, she had promised to take her grandson to the movies, so it was a very short meeting.  After she left, I had another coffee and thought about what I would do until my driver picked me up one hour later.

So here I was out on my own for the first time in 12 weeks.  It seemed like some retail therapy was called for.  I made it to only one department store almost opposite where we had coffee, but I felt pleased with myself for trying this.

I bought some tights, some makeup and a new perfume.  So al in all a good use of an unexpected free hour.  And to finish off,  while I waited for the driver, I bought some handmade chocolates from the chocolate shop.

Then home again with my caring and careful driver.  I’m so lucky that I have access to these women in Driving Miss Daisy.  They are all in their 50s and 60s and really look after me.

A quick lunch and then onto the bed for a nanny nap.

Another milestone reached and overcome.

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Up on Rant.

Oh dear me.  I set that last post to be posted today – February 16.  Wordpress decided in its wisdom to post it yesterday.  Ho hum.

And following on the rant – no word from any source about the furniture.  I did call the carriers again today (they were supposed to call ME yesterday) to be told that the furniture was on its way to Wellington.  Hurrah!  But when will t be delivered.  Apparently the driver will call me tonight and tell me when.  Oh really.  Not hanging by my thumbs waiting.

End of follow up rant.

But the sun is still shining and all’s well with the world.  Unless that is, you have been waiting for furniture delivery for weeks.

I have so very little to complain about when I look around me.  Several friends drifting into dementia, some battling life threatening illnesses, one battling and helping her son through depression – and I am fit and well.

End of another post. 

225686-Today-I-Will-Be-Thankful-For-My-Blessings

Today’s Rant

it’s now time for a rant about Customer Service.

A few weeks ago I wrote about fantastic service I had received.  Today we go to the other end of the scale.  Right to the bottom…

I was so angry that for the first time ever I wrote a review on their webpage.

“I am totally amazed at the lack of customer service offered by this company. I originally ordered two pieces of furniture by phone and first thing next morning I asked to cancel the order and to have the charge reversed on my credit card.

That started a series of phone calls and emails (emails only accepted by Head Office obviously they don’t want to interact with the public).

  • I was told they didn’t accept “returns” on furniture – the furniture hadn’t left their store.
  • I was told they could have sold the two pieces to someone else – the receipt is dated 4.22 pm and they close at 5pm. My first call to them was at 9.10 the next morning. Don’t think that argument stacks up.

They sent me a “Gift Voucher” while we were still having discussions about the furniture. Totally useless as I live in Wellington and they are in Tauranga some 520 kms away. Eventually in despair I agreed to take the furniture to be told that they had sold the couch. Surely they broke the contract with me then.

I was then told that the furniture would be picked up on February 4 and on February 11 after calling the carriers I found it still hadn’t left the shop. I’m never going back to that retailer. It is without doubt the very worst experience I have ever had with a retailer. Customer service – it’s non existent at The Importer”.

And I still haven’t heard from the shop whether or not the furniture has been picked up by the carriers.

Ho hum!  Never going back to that shop.  Surely the owners, directors would prefer to have one happy customer rather than a totally unhappy one who is busy spreading the word.

“Customers may forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel” – Unknown

The quote works equally well for both sides of the coin.

 

If it seems too good…

Everyone knows the old adage and many have been stung by its inevitable truth.  If it seems to good to be true then it probably is.

I consider myself quite worldly wise – well one couldn’t have lived through this many years and not learned plenty.  We have all read and probably received scam letters by email, but some time ago I received one that was slightly different to the norm.

Brochure

It  was my birthday and when I opened the envelope containing what I thought was a birthday card, I found instead a catalogue from a travel company.  The company was marking nine years in  business and was offering a variety of prizes to  celebrate.  Inside were two scratch pads and so of course, I scratched them and lo and behold I was the winner of the second prize – $US160,000.  Too good to be true?

Bear in mind that this catalogue came in an envelope addressed to me- not the usual scam email.  I was required to call a number in Malaysia which I did and was told that I had indeed won second prize and would I scan and send the scratch card to their office.  I did this and received a phone call almost immediately telling me that while I held the second prize card they couldn’t find my customer number.  Not surprising as I had never heard of the company.  Apparently a mistake had been made on their part and instead of a minor prize being offered to encourage people to use their company, a major prize that should have only been offered to clients, was included in the mail to me.

However, undaunted the folk in Malaysia said that this shouldn’t preclude my being given the prize and several telephone calls from them ensued.  After a couple of days (and more calls) I was told that the sponsors had reluctantly agreed to pay out the prize but before doing so I was asked to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement.  Apparently this was necessary in case any of the sponsors’ clients found out that it was being paid to a “non-client”.  I did so and then was asked to call them in Hong Kong.  I had already checked out both these companies and to all intents and purposes they are legitimate.  The website of the sponsors in HK showed registration number etc and this checked out.

The conversation with the Operation (sic) Manager of the company went well and it appeared that I was to receive the prize, but wait, there was one small hitch before the money could be sent to my account a Letter of Authorisation was required from the HK Government; this to provide me with proof that the money sent to my account was winnings and not the proceeds from drugs or anything illegal.  To obtain the Letter it was necessary for $7,200 to be lodged with the Government Department and my share of that was $3,600.

I told the man at the other end of the line that while this was all very good I should have to break a deposit to produce $3,600 (US or HK it was not clear) and so I suggested that he send me a letter saying that I was to receive this money and then my bank here in NZ would advance the funds.  He explained that because I had signed the Non Disclosure as had he, he couldn’t do this.  When asked what he would usually do in this situation I was told that the winnings would go into the client’s account.  When I suggested that he open an account for me he demurred saying he couldn’t as all his clients “were holders of substantial funds”.  So my dream of winning an unexpected bonus came to an end.

I did email my man in Malaysia who had been so very helpful and explained what had happened.  I told him that while I was very comfortable dealing with his company I didn’t feel comfortable with this other company.  He assured me that the company in Hong Kong was legitimate and then suggested that I get on a plane to meet the “Operation” Manager in person.  Not going to happen.

A day or so later I received a call from him apologising profusely for the fact that the money could not be sent to me but telling me to look out for a “compensation package” that would be sent from his company and would I let him know when it arrived.  Guess what, nothing has arrived.

So while this now is shown to be a scam it appeared to be legitimate:

  • I had received a brochure by mail
  • I had a ticket showing I was a winner
  • I made one call to the number in Malaysia and all other contact with that company was made by them and by phone – so at their cost
  • The requirement for a Non Disclosure Agreement added a degree of legitimacy to the whole thing
  • The only other call I had to make was collect to Hong Kong.  When I did this they called me back so that the call was at their cost.

And because it was a scam I have no problem in breaking the Non Disclosure Agreement I signed.

‘Perhaps that suspicion of fraud enhances the flavour.”
C S Forester, English Novelist 1899-1966

 

 

 

 

 

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Who Said You’re Too Old?

Following on yesterday’s post when I wished for several things for you, I should like to add this to that list.

Take time to enjoy the moment.

On February 12 2013 I wrote about Matilda Kline who at 94 danced the foxtrot with a young man.

Now today, watch the video as 90 year old Hollywood Swing Dance legend Jean Veloz at FatCat Ballroom in Phoenix, AZ on October 4th, 2014 for the Arizona Swing Jam – a weekend of Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Swing Dancing, and Big Band Music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FffaCtMwIBI

and also

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjCf2O7JsPU

So what will you do on this glorious Saturday? Sing, dance and be happy.  Take note of these oldies and see how they are enjoying themselves.

  • Can’t dance?  Then sing.
  • Can’t sing. Then paint
  • Can’t paint – then read, walk, run whatever makes your heart sing.

“You’re never too old to set a new goal or
dream a new dream”
C S Lewis

And Wikipedia tells us “
Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer,
and Christian apologist.

It Has Arrived

 

“There   are three rules for writing a novel. Unfotunately.  nobody knows what they are. W Somerset Maugham  “

The long awaited day is here. The fiction writing course starts today and lasts for eight weeks. Pencils sharpened, new notebooks ready, mind cleared of extraneous matter and ready to go.  Well I think my study buddies, Chris, Donna and Joss will be at that stage, me? I’m still swanning around in Tauranga. The weather has turned and the rain has been falling on and off all day.  The farmers will be pleased but not so the holidaymakers or the 1800 passengers off the Sea Princess that docked here this morning. How sad that they’ve missed the good days, but I’m sure the retailers are making them welcome.

So tomorrow I shall leave my friends and make the six hour drive home. It’s strange how we begin to look forward to going to our own home when we have been away for a while. And my little bolt hole is becoming more like home.

So then I shall read all the information on the course that I received today and the next day I shall get into the course – pencils sharpened, new notebook ready, mind cleared of extraneous clutter (wishful thinking?) and ready to go.

image

 

Back to School

Have you heard?  Several weeks ago following a rush of blood to the head I signed up to a course to improve my fiction (and any other) writing skills. And then I convinced Chris in Kitchener Ontario to join and she in turn convinced Donna, who seems to live sometimes in Mexico and sometimes in Canada. Well it seemed like a great idea at the time.

But now the countdown is on the course begins on Monday and it’s so long since I studied anything seriously.  So things could get a little hairy over the next few weeks. I don’t quite know what to expect but it will no doubt be a great learning experience.

Meantime, I am still swanning around on my extended holiday in Tauranga where the lovely weather continues and I am thankful that I live in this bountiful land.  We are far from the strife raging around the world but I hope we are not lulling ourselves into a false sense of security.  Terror and terrorists can strike at any time as we read and hear in the media. We must be vigilant even in our little corner of the world.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember,
involve me and I learn.”  Benjamin Franklin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florence Day 5

Well I don’t know what the workmen were digging towards but the reverberations made the apartment shake at 7 am .  A rather rude awakening.

I started the day early with a Skype call during which I talked to my partner’s two little granddaughters.  They were agog to see me and when he showed them where I m on the globe  they were even more amazed.  But as they grow older they will take these modern miracles of technology for granted.

I decided that I wouldn’t go into the city today and instead would wander around this neighbourhood to see what it is like.  So I started off with the idea that before I left I would do the washing.  What a good idea except that I couldn’t get the machine to work..  A call on the next door neighbour was needed. The wife answered the door and came into the apartment, looked at the washing machine, shook her head and said something about her marito and supermercado  so I assumed she would send her husband in  when he returned from the supermarket.  Next a ring on the doorbell and Guilliano the husband appeared.  He is a large jovial fellow who went out to the shed that houses the laundry, fiddled with a few knobs and then I think he said he couldn’t make it work and would call Ornella the mother of the owner.  She was particularly unhelpful telling him to push the knob we had both been pushing.  So after molto grazie from me and prego from him he left.  Shortly thereafter the doorbell went again – turning out to be a busy morning.  There was the neighbour and his daughter Bette who spoke un po Inglesie.  So we trouped out again to the washing machine.  Bette pushed the knobs that we had, checked the water was connected and the electricity connected, shook her head and admitted failure.  So the outcome?  undies washed by hand in the hand basin in the bathroom.  Oh well they are now clean again.  And it really was like something out of a sitcom comedy – perhaps the Big Bang with Sheldon in charge.

Well after all that I needed a sit down and a cup of coffee.  So I didn’t get out until after lunch time to start exploring the neighbourhood.

Florence Day 5 017

I started with macchiato a usual but as it was after 1pm I didn’t have a brioche instead I had a Panini type sandwich.

Florence Day 5 013

Florence Day 5 004

Complete disregard for pedestrians

No parking's the same in any language I guess

No parking’s the same in any language I guess
The footpaths are in a shocking state of disrepair

The footpaths are in a shocking state of disrepair

Florence Day 5 009

Some really grand buildings-now converted into apartments

Some really grand buildings-now converted into apartments

Florence Day 5 014

A smart homeware shop – the only shop in the street. Unfortunately, it was closed for the siesta.

 

And another buildingAnother nice building

Bikes and more bikes

Bikes and more bikes

Auto shop 2

Auto shop

A repair shop around every corner

A repair shop around every corner

Another beauty shop

And almost as many beauty shops

Beauty shop

A bridal gown shop

A bridal gown shopFlorence Day 5 019

A car audio shop

A car audio shop

School of Music

School of Music

Florence Day 5 031

Supermarket

Supermarket

 

Florence Day 5 023

Woman was sitting in window watching the world go by

Woman was sitting in window watching the world go by

 

 

 

Tennis court inside dome

Tennis court inside dome

Roof o dome

Roof of dome

This was a fascinating way to spend a few hours just rambling around the district.

 

 

A Mistake

Yesterday I published two posts.  The second by mistake.  I was so taken up with the story of Maisie and the Swarthy Gent in the Panama hat, that I hit publish and so it did so immediately. I had meant to programme it for today.

So today I am going to rest on my laurels and hope you enjoy both of yesterday’s posts – the one in response to the Trifecta Challenge entitled An Extremely Difficult Task and the second one continuing the saga of Maisie and her friends.

Two women on beach

Oh yes, they still had their hats but…