Reading – let’s collectively not make it a lost art

Do you have time to read this post and as a society, do we have time to reflect on our communication habits?

Society has become a ‘hurry-up’ ‘instant gratification’ culture.  We collectively have so much on our minds and  things to do we don’t in general take the time to do one thing really well.

                              Stop, breathe, look around.

DidIMAG0519 you see the sunset?
Did you smell the flowers in bloom?
The scents of a fresh rain on the ground or the smile of your partner so many things taken for granted in our lives that really could be appreciated more.

Do you remember the art of writing letters and the joy of receiving a letter?  Not an email! A letter -a handwritten letter!

About 10 yrs ago or longer we as a society started getting computers and thus came the ability to send and receive emails.  Emails used to be great.  You could take your time and write an email that would be sent instantaneously and received whenever that recipient opened their email.  We still wrote and we still read and we still enjoyed communicating.

In the recent years, I have noticed that the mobile phone and tablets have replaced our computers or seem to be much more utilised than our computers.  As such, if people receive your email they rarely write more than a 2-3 sentence reply if even that much!  Worse than that, there seems the tendency to not actually read the email but rather to skip & skim around to whatever seems the important part to them and questions you’ve asked or thoughts you’ve written of remain unanswered.

I have friends who virtually never write emails but rather forward me emails of things they’ve found.  Then those emails can border on spam since those people virtually never write an email but rather, send out 3-5-10 emails a day all forwarded links etc.  On the rare occasion those people send an actual written email it can become lost in the mixture of all the forwards.  (kind of like the boy who cried wolf) I personally have discovered that I am more inclined to pay attention to a forwarded email from those who rarely forward them.

I would much rather have a written email of the person’s thoughts any day over a forwarded one.images

I am guilty of not replying to emails in a timely manner.  I would prefer to send a real reply rather than a sentence or two unless it is just in answer to a basic question.  I basically don’t do a full reply to an email unless I am at my computer and can give it my full attention.  In this society of instant gratification this can seem an insult to some.  I certainly don’t mean to be rude by not replying instantly but my thought is that a reply sent when I can give it my full attention is a quality reply and not a matter of a few sentences jotted off in a hurry.

What do you think?  Please use the comment section below to tell of your experiences/expectations in the art of our electronic communications.  I would love to hear from you!

integrity and holding good expectations

I’ve written in the past about the glass half-empty or half-full and I am again reminded of the need to see the half-full glass!

I recently made a purchase off of the local craigslist the other day. It was a  Sprint hotspot (internet service tied to a cellular network plan).  I made a call to Sprint before the purchase while the seller was waiting to make sure the device could be activated on my account. Sprint was taking too long to verify validity so it seemed pointless to keep myself and the seller zingwaiting for the over 20 minutes.  The gentleman showing it to me had all the info from the previous account though he himself had never activated it.  When I finally had a chance to endure the 45+ minute phone call with Sprint,…well the outcome was not favourable.  Long and short of it, the previous account holder would need to do an account turnover to me.

One of the risks in dealing with Craigslist is the potential disappointment of a device such as this not being able to be activated.  I was concerned that I was going to have to lose the $50 and the person who sold it to me may not want to deal with me again.  There is a reputation regarding Craigslist buyers and sellers.  The reputation of buyers is that they tend to be ‘flakes’ and don’t show up when they say they will and the reputation of sellers is that they can easily scam you or sell you a dud and you have no repercussion or safety.

My thoughts back on the sales event was that everything seemed legitimate.  At no time did I think I was buying a stolen item and though this was not stolen it certainly had an associated headache which both myself and the seller would need to endure for a positive outcome.  My overall thought in life is to try and find the good and know that good is always around us and an available outcome.

The seller attempted to resolve the situation by approaching her neighbour from whom she had purchased the unit but Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 7.58.05 AMafter a few days of no response she offered to just take the device back and refund me with my money.  Of course this meant I needed to make the 40 minute drive back out to meet her but she was more than happy to meet and insisted on refunding my money .  I just wanted to write about this as a reminder to all that there really are good honest people in the world and holding good thoughts about people really does go a long way.  I am reminded of the thought from my previous post about the need to see the glass half-full and not half-empty!!

Dogs, Racoons and Rural living

remote_harbourLiving in a rural area as I do means living in the vicinity/proximity of wildlife.  We have deer, turkeys, rats, raccoons, snakes  and even a mountain lion has been sighted on occasion.   My dogs for the most part stay reasonably close by but once they get the scent for something to chase -well the chase is on!  At night time I have lights for them to wear.  Super bright led lights.  Sky my Australian Shepherd wears the red lights and Zulu the green lights so I can easily tell them apart when they are running in the dark.

Last Tuesday when I got home from work at about 11pm after a double shift I had plans to take the pups for a brief walk around our marina.  Mostly just over to the beach but not too far from my dock.

We had barely started our walk when Zulu, my 48lb Catahoula took off and ran all the way up to the habour master’s house.  I could see his green lights from his collar going crazy as if he was in a fight with something (wild animal) but without the noise from his adversary.

I ran to his aid.  (This is the first time I have attempted running since my ankle tendon replacement surgery last July – and I mentally took note of this and mentally said a short prayer for both myself and the pup).  I was terrified that he was being injured by his prey which I could only assume to be the most common of our night critters, the raccoon.

Anyone who has encountered the cute little raccoon up close knows that there cuteness is generally racoon (1)accompanied by a ferocious claw and a temperament that is not prone to surrender.  They are vicious animals in the up close and personal!  This does not mean that I wish harm on the raccoon -only that that their cuteness must be accompanied by a wariness for their viciousness.

Zulu by nature is a hunting/prey driven animal.  He is almost 5 years old now and has become far more of a ‘home-body’ than even me.  He used to be gone for hours in his hunting explorations but now he comes almost instantly when called, and stays closer to home than my Australian Shepherd (known for her desire to be invisibly underfoot – like in your blind-spot-step-on-the-poor-dog zone!!) Zulu was right in the middle of this audible altercation and not backing down and I was scared and running ! 

I came upon Zulu and his foe.  They were in open space right under me.  I was yelling at Zulu to drop the raccoon and simultaneously trying to kick the racoon – they were really right in the middle of the drive and literally under foot.  Reason set in with me and I realised that the only sounds of distress were coming from zuluthe raccoon.  Ideally I would have loved for both animals to walk away unharmed but in this circumstance I had to root for Zulu and pray he would be ok.  He apprantly had the raccoon in a death grip and the two of them circled and circled through the brush and up and down a small crest of hill.  The harbour masters’ son, Mark, heard our calls of distress -(mostly mine) but the dog’s & raccoon’s as well and came out with a shotgun in hand.  He warned me that it would be loud but there was really nothing to be done until Zulu released the raccoon and that didn’t happen until Zulu felt he had won.

Mark yelled at Zulu to get out of the way and then put the raccoon out of his misery.  I don’t think either Mark or myself had any pleasure or desire to see any living being having to be shot but as the circumstances warranted this deemed the only humane solution and I do thank Mark for being there and helping to end the altercation.

I was so grateful that my other dog Sky, my Australian Shepherd did not attempt to go to Zulu’s aid or get involved.  After it was all said and done the three of us, Zulu, Sky & myself headed back home.  Zulu, as if another day in the life and nothing had happened stopped to relieve himself in a matter of fact way.  I personally was rather shaken up and in disbelief.

Ever since that day I have found a way to have the pups on leash after about 6 pm.  It gets dark around 430 or 5 pm.  I really don’t want to be in this situation with either of my dogs again and was an idiot for not having had them on leash at the time.  Lights or not raccoons are probably our most dangerous foe in the immediate neighbourhood.  Yes there is the mountain lion we have seen and the occasional coyote over the years but in all honesty the most viable threat in the immediate vicinity and regular appearance would be the raccoon.  As sorry as I am to see a life lost in the situation (the raccoon’s) I remain grateful that it was small enough (about 10-15lbs) for Zulu to be the victor in this instance.

2015-01-12 17.10.17-2We live in a remote area where wildlife, humans and pets must find ways to coexist.  The raccoons and the rats eat the trash in the outside trash cans and the dogs keep the boundaries defined.  The humans remind the dogs that there are boundaries and the dogs remind the humans that there are wildlife.  We all have a purpose and a meaning – for today I am just grateful Zulu was the winner and is an especially good rat hunter and keeping those rodents off the docks and at bay!

Summary of my unplanned Carmel Vacation in Carmel

2015-11-07 10.17.04-1My trip to Carmel was meant to really just be an overnight quick getaway.  I had no intention of spending 3 nights there by any means, but, that is just what I did.   In general I am not really a person who knows how to go on vacation and get away from the miscellaneous things that need to be done at home.  Although my dogs are with me all the time at home around my place, it is a whole different thing to be going on vacation with them and focusing on activities that all three of us can do together.  At home my dogs only come with me when the weather is good and even then I don’t usually eat out with them or do much more with them than take them to work or to the beach or a park.

In Carmel, I never left the dogs behind in the hotel room or the car.  They went to all my meals except for my first dinner.  They went to parks with me and then the best of all to be able to hang out with me in the Cypress Hotel Lounge and just lie there on the carpet whilst the different performers played was perfect.  The dogs first meal out on this trip to Carmel was at the Forge in the Forest Restaurant.  They were a little restless at first but loved their chicken strips dinner which I ordered for them from the canine cuisine menu.

Overall they were real angels and though I say that with prejudice I am being quite honest in my assessment of GRPark_2015-11-05-13.52their behaviour.  I received a number of compliments on their behaviour even from other dog owners.

One lady said she had been advised against getting a dog such as an Australian shepherd because they are so much work and so high strung.  I really have never had any trouble with them in public places.  I brought them both to Carmel when Zulu was less than a year old and even back then they were both on their best behaviour.  I suppose the real key is to let them have adequate activity and play time before trying to get them to sit still.

 

Friday evening really was the highlight of our stay and I’m glad we hung out another day.  Debbie Davis was the zulu_debbie_2015-11-06-19.30.12performer accompanied by pianist Gennady Loktionov.  Gennady is well known Clint Eastwood’s music arranger and he is a phenomenal musician.  Debbie and Gennady performed for 3 hours without break on Friday and evening and Debbie did an amazing job of engaging her audience.  There was one dog who stole the show from them and that was a Rhodesian Ridgeback.  The dog was humongous and Debbie told the owner that he would need to stay off the main part of the floor so as to not trip her.  If you check out the pictures below you’ll see this dog tried to make its home in the smallest of cushions and later the owner wound up relinquishing his seat for the dog.  I wasn’t real impressed to see the dog get on one of the lounge chairs and make himself at home but no one seemed to mind and he really did steal the show!!

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Carmel Vacation, The Birthday Party (night 2)

hdr_00003_1After our great dinner at Forge in the Forest and a quick walk on themastiff_cake beach to enjoy the sunset we headed over to the Cypress Inn.  Cypress Inn is known for their Dog Friendliness!  They did not disappoint.  There was a dog that
had just turned 3 that was fortunate enough to have his birthday party at the Cypress!  Just take a look at his birthday cake.
There was a great music for most of the evening provided by Lee Durley & Joe Indence. The music was a jazzy laid back style and very relaxing and enjoyable. Cypress_Thurs_2015-11-05-19.21
We went back to the hotel and checked into a new room (number 22) for the night.  I had observed that the cottage across from the one I stayed in the first night had a really cool little patio that backed up to empty land and woods.  This is the best little cottage.  Love the patio and the amenities!

 

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The unplanned vacation. Day 2 (Nov 5th, 2015)

Day 2 began with a 9am breakfast with Dana & Kurt.  We all went for a quick walk on the beach afterwards and Dana & Kurt headed on home to Southern California.  I had intended to leave after 1 night and head back home.  Then I realised, I really had nothing pressing at home and could actually use some true decompression time.  Why not stay another night!

The pups and I went to Garland Ranch Regional Park  where we enjoyed a couple of hours of exploring.

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W2015-11-05 16.03.59e had dinner at Forge in the Forest and when I say we had dinner that’s what I mean!!  They had the Hen House  Chicken Strips and had no problem wolfing them down in a hurry!!  I ate here before a few years ago and have to say that the previous visit seemed more dog-friendly.  Last time there were stainless steel dog dishes and the staff didn’t act afraid of the dogs.  The staff on duty on this particular night seemed to dread the dogs on patio even though this is one of the things they cater to.  Sky and Zulu were not deterred and enjoyed their dinner and I enjoyed my dinner very much as well.  There was nice fire place going on the patio and all the patrons, with or without dogs were very friendly.

 

 

The unplanned vacation. Day 1 (Nov 5th, 2015)

As mentioned in my last post, an unfortunate bumper car incident put me in a rental car whilst my truck was being repaired.  I had family that had contacted me only days earlier to see if there was any chance I could meet them in Carmel, California.  Carmel is about a 2 hour drive from my home and is a town I love because it is known as the most dog friendly town in the United States!  It’s known for stuff like art and food too but what’t the point of any of that stuff if you have to leave your best friends (the dogs) at home?

The pups and I headed to Carmel on the 4th of November.  We arrived just in time to enjoy a dinner_w_Dana_Kurtwonderful dinner with my birth mother Dana & her husband Kurt at Il Fornaio. After a good dinner and conversation we parted ways around 9pm and I headed off to find my hotel and they headed back to their accommodations.

In the past I have always stayed at Carmel Resort Inn – some little cottages that were in a nearby neighbourhood and dog-friendly.  Fortunately I had called them before heading to Carmel because they are no longer a dog-friendly hotel.  This was a disappointment to me but as it turns out the place I did find, Carmel River Inn is a true gem!  Carmel River Inn had the option of cottages as well as regular hotel rooms.  I had booked my room and advance and discovered that by booking the room (the cottage that is) through my smartphone Expedia App I was able to save $25.

Carmel River Inn was perfect!!  I loved the place so much that I knew at least 1 more night was in order.  So Thursday afternoon after I officially checked out of the hotel, I used the Travelocity App on my phone to book another night (saving another $25) and requested that I move to a different cottage, cottage 22 which I observed to be slightly more private and with a great little outside patio.

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Cottage 20
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Very comfortable for our needs!

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