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!

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!!


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!


2015-11-06 13.14.23

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.