Monday, December 8, 2014

Yesterdays walk along the ridge by the river

 There were actually people fishing in the river

 It was a balmy 8C so perfect for a winter walk

Compare these to last month before the first snow came

 Love the autumn colours

This time we enjoyed a long and warm autumn, only one early snow fall in September unfortunately broke many trees and power lines here in Calgary.  See the Chinook Arch in the clouds.

Sunset on the ridge so pretty!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rant and Rave 

Phone Rage
I decided I needed a space to get out my frustrations, just for me, to be able to move on after getting it out.  If it helps someone else in the process, funtastic.   Doesn't it seem as though some days, negative situations just seem to go on and on, one mishap after another in a chain of frustrating happenings? This is why I need a Rant and Rave section, today is the first entry.

Maybe it's just me but I find more and more often I get frustrated with today's phone centre software.  You know the drill, you call a utility company, a bank, or any place really, and you never get what you need even though you research and look for the right number or department before you dial.

Next are the endless recordings and prompts to select 1 for blah blah blah, 2 for blah blah.... and so on and so on. Sometimes after going through them all, there is still no option to speak to a live body, so you select the 0 hoping to get a live person and either get put into the que with the "we're experiencing a high level of calls and appreciate your patience, etc.....recording" or you get the unnerving click and recording "your call cannot be completed as dialled" and cut off.

NO! Now you have to call back and go through it all again.  Endless circles of prompts and nobody there.  Sometimes if you're lucky, you get through to a live person only to be transferred again to a voice mail or the wrong person who asks you for all your information again that you just gave to the first person.

Or, what about the times they get your info wrong, and despite correcting them every time you call, they still have it wrong and insist they will have it corrected this time, but never do.

Or, my favourite, the voice recognition software.  You speak into the phone and they ask you "Is this what you said? If so press 1?"  THESE DRIVE ME NUTS!  It rarely asks what you are calling about, so it gets you nowhere or they keep reminding you to visit their website, well duh, the reason I am calling is because of a problem on their website or because you can't find it there. Sigh.

Teams of people spend endless time wanting to get the best customer service and yet if they would just get rid of the damn software in the first place and go back to good old people talking to you on the first ring, and who aren't reading from a scripted answer like a robot;  customers wouldn't be angry and frustrated when they finally get through to someone and rage at them causing high turnover in employees leaving for stress or because they can't deal with angry people on the phone all day who have to stay on hold for ever after battling with the endless prompts and recorded unsolicited advertising.  Then you go to the place in person and see that they have multiple people working at the reception desk talking to each other, but the software answering the phones.

I avoid calling cell phone companies, utility and insurance companies etc, probably costing me more money in the end;  just to avoid the stress of going through this! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gathering the Harvest for this Moment Gillian R Whipp - I wrote this after a workshop I recently did

As I gather the buds of WISDOM and they turn to seeds
I plant them in my garden of SUCCESS replacing the doubtful weeds
I sharpen my rusty TOOLS of KNOWLEDGE with shiny new ones
UNDERSTANDING that the seeds are sprouting 
Making ROOTS in the garden of my soul
Shine some light with HOPE, CHARITY and LOVE
Till the roots attach themselves firmly in my being
Harvesting the rewards by APPLYING them to this moment right NOW

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween fun, Falling Leaves and my latest Good Read.......

Here in Calgary we have enjoyed an amazingly mild Fall so far.  With the exception of a freak 3 day snow event in September that left our city's trees  broken and a mess of power lines down, up until Halloween, we even had 18C, the trick or treaters, normally put their costumes on top of coats, toques etc; this year a light jack was enough.

I enjoyed many walks with my friend including the above at Carburn Park in Calgary, one of my favourite spots.  The leaves around the small lake are particularly pretty.

One of my daughters costumes

Some spidey decor action and the treat bowl ready for the trick or treaters

Carved pumpkins with my daughter

Such fun decorating the front of the house and putting out orange lamps and lanterns

Need to work on the carving skills!

Another costume Minnie Mouse is in the House

Son and friends did a theme take on the Kokanee beer commercials with the Sasquatch and Kokanee girls, what a riot, they got third prize at Ranchmans!
Sample Beer Commercial 

So what am I reading at the moment? Several books it turns out, but a biography that I am enjoying is Losing it by Valerie Bertinelli.

I particularly like the genre that relates to Rock Wives/stories. Like the book by Pattie Boyd Wonderful Tonight, there are many parallels like the wife not getting what she needs, drugs and booze, or some other addiction overtaking the rocker, and a thread similar to both stories of sadness despite the fame and fortune.

In Valerie Bertinellis case, a problem with self image and not feeling good enough, obsessing about weight (despite being very low weight) because in Hollywood, the expectation and yardstick for what is considered normal or low weight, is quite different to the norm for the rest of us.  By always being on camera, or criticised by the press or trash rags, theirs is a different hell or stressful situation, though still there are similarities that we can all relate to.

I can't imagine the pain from infidelity, mostly with the rocker in the circumstances of being on the road, women throwing themselves at them, the drugs, the booze, the stress of relationships and egos between band members, managers and contracts being unfair to the very hard working rockers, it seems they do pay a very high price for their fame in more ways than one. For the rest of us at least, suffering these things at least is private instead of being in the spotlight on top of the pain.

Happiness is short lived, and relationships, like in the real world are challenging. For the most part the same issues as with relationships in the non famous persons world are the same. Not paying enough attention to the partner/spouse, lack of intimacy, allowing the addictions to booze, drugs, their work or other things, or types of infidelity, plague the marriage. In Valerie's case, there is a happy ending in that they have a son who is now part of the band, what a gift for Eddie VH, and a great joy for Valerie, and she finds joy with her second husband, something you don't often see in famous people's stories, as does Eddie.  Also she realizes her battle with self image and weight has a lot to do with her needs not being met in her relationships, a lesson that many people need to learn, instead of blaming ourselves when things go array, we need to savour each moment, find the good in the lesson, see it for what it really is and try to honor each other, and try to find what is really going on.

Here are some great interviews and insights into Van Halen talking about their early years, as well as a neat recording of an "unplugged" type session with Wolfie VH, Valerie and Ed's son, together with Alex VH and David Lee Roth. L:ooking forward to Valeries other book, Finding It.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Books I am reading

Good Reads......lately some books have dropped into my path through news or other media and I always find great nuggets of wisdom in some books and that makes me want to share them.

 - Soul Survivor is a neat story about a young boy who was reincarnated and from an early age dreamt, drew and spoke of a past life, through this book one relooks at the classic Many Minds Many Masters on reincarnation through a doctors experience with a patient and several sequels written afterwards by Dr Weiss.

Maya Angelou quotes 

Through Oprah shows, I have come across many of Maya Angelou's writings and quotes and they always manage to put a smile on my face or to make me think a little, what a great lady.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
Maya Angelou

Whenever I want to laugh, I read a wonderful book, 'Children's Letters to God.' You can open it anywhere. One I read recently said, 'Dear God, thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.'

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Venezuelan Projects

From November  2013 until September 2014 I was fortunate to work on 2 projects with SAIT Polytechnic and PDVSA Venezuela.  I met some amazing people and spent 3 lovely months with each group.

Now that the project is finished I am sad to say goodbye to the people but they will stay in my heart forever!  Here are some memories we shared in slideshows to some of my favourite asongs!