The case of the missing Wallet!

In previous posts I have written about my core outlook on life which includes seeing the good in situations and recognising glass as half full or almost full as opposed to half-empty or empty.  Another key ingredient in my mindset is the belief of good in mankind in general and to eliminate any temptation to allow worry or fear become a driving force in the way I think of or approach a situation.

I was once told that worry is, in essence, ‘ingratitude in advance’!  I love that thought!  I try to focus on being grateful for the things at hand as opposed consuming time and energies with the ungratefulness of worry for those things in the future.  You can’t really worry about things in the past so worry is only an activity wasted on things that may or may not come about in the future!

Why do I mention this?  Well, Weds. the 30th of September, 2015 I was preparing for my trip to the UK (leaving on the 31st).  I went to REI (a outdoor clothing & accessories store) and tried on a pair of pants.  In the process of trying on the pants I wanted to be sure my wallet fit comfortably in my pocket so I put my wallet in the side pocket.  As you 2016-01-10 16.57.19can possibly guess, I forgot to take the wallet back out of my pants and since I wound up not buying the pants….well, the wallet didn’t come home with me !!

I didn’t realise until later that evening that my wallet was missing.  I was in the midst of packing for my trip so I presumed I had just misplaced it during packing.  It wasn’t until much later that same evening that I had a good idea that I had lost it in the REI store.  My flight the next day was not until late in the afternoon so I had time to go back to the store to retrieve it.  Unfortunately, it was not there!.  I went through all the pants I might have tried on and looked through dressing rooms as did the Manager.  He checked lost and found.  All to no avail. I had to leave empty-handed.

That’s when those worrisome scenarios tried to creep in.  Would whoever found it keep it?  Would stolen identity be a problem?  I had to quickly put those types of thought to rest while simultaneously taking the necessary steps to protect myself such as deactivating my credit cards.  The immediate need at hand was to be able to continue my planned trip so time wasted in worry would not have been helpful.

I had just renewed my license so I had an old license, a debit card I had never activated and a credit card reserved for trips not to mention my passport so I was able to continue on my trip as planned.  I was sure that it would turn up and had hopes that maybe I had somehow misplaced it at home and one day it would surprise me when I least expected.

There certainly were times in the weeks to follow where I momentarily entertained thoughts of possible stolen identity and such.  Over and over again I put those thoughts aside and kept knowing that somehow somewhere it would turn up.

That surprise came a few days after Christmas.  I received a voicemail from the Manager of REI.  He had my wallet in the safe at his store.  The following morning I went to the store to retrieve the wallet and spoke with the day manager. She retrieved my wallet from the store safe and was amazed to hear that I had lost it 3 months earlier.  The day manager had presumed I had lost it the preceding night.

As it turns out someone had purchased those pants I tried on and had not used them apparently since purchase.  Upon discovering my wallet they returned it to the store where the Manager still had my contact details!

I am reminded once again to never give up on believing that mankind is inheritantly good at heart and honest.  The media and personal prejudices may try to influence us into believing the opposite but time and time again I have seen the true honesty and goodness of character of mankind in general.  This has been one more proof in my life of goodness out there!

 

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!

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!

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

cottage20_1_2015-11-05-11.41.22
Cottage 20
cottage20_pano_2015-11-04-21.17
Very comfortable for our needs!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It started with a rainbow!

Monday, November 2nd, 2015.  The day was an okay day.  I was doing a lot of driving to help out a neighbour of mine with some work of his.  Unfortunately the day had also been spent re-living some events from a few days earlier which were not quite so pleasant.  I couldn’t seem to break the mesmerism of the in-harmony which had occurred the previous week.  Then I saw the most amazing thing.  In the

.....it started with a rainbow
…..it started with a rainbow

distance a beautiful rainbow.  As I got closer, it became obvious that the end of the rainbow was right in front of me.  It was amazing as far as I was concerned.  I have never seen the end of a rainbow it wasn’t until a few days later that I realised that my dash cam had actually captured this phenomenon!

Unfortunately, in my awe of the rainbow I failed to notice that the traffic in front of me had come to a halt and as such I rear-ended the car in front me.  I wasn’t going fast but distraction had taken me

away from the more important task of full attention on the road and not the rainbow.  I had to get towed and wound up in a rental car but all along I kept thinking to myself, ‘there must be some sort of blessing in this unfortunate incident’.  ‘Something so beautiful as this rainbow must have some blessing to accompany it.’ See my next post …

 

 

Working Dogs – and the Security System!

I work nights at the Oakland airport where the year round average temperature is about 65 degrees F (18 C).  There is always a breeze blowing and basically the weather is the primary reason I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.  I drive a small toyota truck with an extended cab and nice camper shell on the back.  I have 2 wonderful dogs that go with me almost everywhere.  They only accompany me when the weather is conducive.  Having lived in Texas for about 12 years I am well aware of the dangers of a hot vehicle and as far as I am concerned any vehicle parked in the sun when the outside temperature is above about 65 deg is too hot for my dogs.  I work graveyard shift, the overnight shift, so I can have my dogs accompany me to work and hang out in the back of my truck while I work.

I have a 10 hour shift and with 2 hours for driving….if I left them home they would be home alone wondering where I am for 12 hours and no way to go outside or eat etc … In my current situation they have a huge bed in the back of my truck, 3 water bowls, they get to go outside at least once a night usually at least 2 or 3 times and they get to stop at dog parks on the way to and from work.  There has been one night that I deemed to be too hot to take them (last night) – not because of the outside temperature but rather the accumulated temperature of my vehicle over the day seemed to me that it would take too long to cool down so I did not want to have them in the vehicle for the possible 1 hour of slight discomfort.

2015-08-04 07.29.49

This is the picture of their encampment in the back of my truck.  The bed is a PVC frame with 2 large couch type cushions on top.  It is super soft and they seem to sleep in about every position on this bed!  It measures about 4 1/2 feet square! Windows all around and newly cleaned blankets almost daily.

I park in an area of the employee parking where I am allowed to back in.  My goal is that if the dogs bark at anyone – for example getting into their car, I impact the fewest amount of people.  The most people I could impact are about 2.  A person parked on either side of me.  No one can park behind me.  There is a dirt run right behind which I use to walk the dogs at night.  I was concerned that maybe my dogs barked more than I thought so I found a way to add cameras to my truck and have a camera aimed on the dogs and at the time of the incident I am about to speak of there was a  camera aiming forward out of my vehicle so I could see people walking by in the event my dogs barked at them

The following 3 videos show what took place at 0135 am on the morning of August 3rd, 2015.  The employee bus had just passed my car at 1:28 am as seen in the still picture.

_20150803_1_28_37_2
Employee bus passing my truck at 1:28 am

 

People would have been let out at the bus stop about 50 ft behind the location of the bus as it is driving away from that bus stop.

This video was taken at 1:32am -the dogs are awake, looking around -not barking.


This video was taken a minute later. Dogs awake and aware but still not barking or agitated in any way.

Now Check out this video and see how quickly things change!!


This video was at 1:35am. I now have a video camera aimed on the back door of truck. It appears to me from the video that some unsuspecting person decided to try and open the vehicle and did not realise there were dogs inside. As they started to open the back hatch of the truck Sky, the white Australian Shepherd lunged at the door and them and pushed the door the rest of the way open and Zulu decided to follow along for the heck of it I guess.  Now I keep the camper shell locked and have a camera aimed at the back door in the event someone tries this again.  The security system was definitely effective.  Whoever it was was scared off by the dog coming at him or her … Sky ran and was on the outside of the parking lot fence when I go there. Zulu stayed right behind the truck.  I reailised they were gone about 10 minutes after it happened and rushed out to the parking lot to see why my dogs were not in the truck.  The back camper shell door was open and the video evidence I was able to review later gave me a better sense of the chain of events short of having an actual suspect.

I called the police to see if they had any surveillance outside the vehicle.  They didn’t and their thought was that someone who heard my dogs barking and felt sorry for my dogs let them out.  If you look at all three videos the main thing you should notice is that if anything- they did not notice the person who had to have come up from behind my vehicle to open it.  There were no barks ahead of time -only the barks when they were surprised by the intruder.  Hopefully that person has learned better than to open other peoples vehicles and I now lock the camper shell to avoid such intrusions!

Here’s a video of their ride to work – my truck could use some better shocks!  But they seem to be enjoying the ride and the view

And here is Zulu making himself comfortable –making his bed – as you can see ample room for both pups!

I do love my dogs -they are my family and though it would be more convenient for me to leave them at home when I work -but would that really be the humane thing to do.  Left at home wondering for 12 hours where I am .I had to leave them home the other night because it was just too hot.  They seem more on guard and less restful than they do at work …

I had the videos on them of course- Zulu slept peacefully as usual but Sky was vigilant all night long -pacing looking and listening and staying on perpetual guard.  As you can see the size of the bed they chose to sleep in is actually slightly smaller than the one in my truck.  They chose to sleep outside on my other boat as opposed to inside out of the weather.  It was hot inside so I don’t blame them for wanting a little breeze …

I know I’m crazy about my dogs and maybe a bit crazy otherwise but they are worth it.  Right now as I write this, Zulu is sound asleep in his bed and Sky -always needing to know where I am is asleep at the foot of my bed with her head on my leg so she knows my every move.  She is so faithful!!