Friday, September 28, 2007

To everything there is a season, to some things there is a time to rave!

Being the owner of a small business, I'm often confronted with challenges, mostly financial in nature, but not always. Today is a day of celebration in my little corner of the world, and I want to share with you why.

I walked into the bank this morning to conduct two orders of business. One was straightforward, a simple deposit. The other, without going into detail, required sitting down with the manager of Small Business Accounts. On entering the bank, I was immediately greeted by an enthusiastic young lady with a big, bright smile on her face:

ATB Girl - "Welcome to ATB! Can I interest you in a coffee, a piece of cake and a cookie?"

ME - "Uh... well, wow... thanks! I actually have to see Scott and I don't have an appointment..."

ATB Girl - "No problem, help yourself to whatever you'd like, sit and relax - we're not ALL about business ALL the time here; I'll check with Scott to see if he has a minute for you."

Immediately I felt warm and fuzzy. But then, since having switched to Alberta Treasury Branch I've quite often felt that way about doing business with them.

It was about the time I finished my cake and cookie when Scott invited me into his office. We did our business, I thanked him. I also asked for one of his cards because a number of weeks ago I was chatting with the new owner of the pizza place not far from my house. He was asking me who I banked with because he was looking for "something better". Scott told me he'd already been in a couple times, and thanked me for the referral.

I then proceeded to the teller to do my regular deposit. Now, I know that on 'customer appreciation day' the staff are 'supposed' to be happy and helpful, but they're like that every day here, and today was no exception. Despite being extremely busy, everyone who helped me seemed almost overjoyed to do so, and thanked me quite sincerely for doing business with them. The teller I ended up at was someone I'd not dealt with, and right off the bat she and I struck up a rather comfortable rapport. This blew me away: SHE COMMENTED ON HOW ORGANIZED I WAS! I couldn't believe my ears. ME??? ORGANIZED??? HA! We had a little banter about A-type personalities, of which I am not, and she exclaimed,

"I got that from you right away - you seem very laid-back and easy-going."

Then we talked about introverted VS extroverted people and so on... eventually the business was done and I was on my way.

To give you a bit of personal perspective, the reason I rave on about these folks is that I honestly believe I haven't seen service like this ANYWHERE, EVER; not in retail, not in the service industry, and certainly not at a bank... EVER. I'm forever confronted with excuses like:

"Oh, you're self-employed"
"Oh, you work from home"
"Oh, by the 'rules' you don't QUITE qualify, so I'm sorry..."
and this one was the catalyst for my switch:
"Well, I know you've been with us for XX years, but it looks like 'they' decided to decline your request."
...what... nobody can take responsibility for anything?

At ATB, I'm told,

"Thank you, David, for coming in today."
"That's what we're here for..."
"Anytime you need anything, just pop in or send me a quick email; I'll take care of it."

So to everyone at Alberta Treasury Branch, let me tell you I will RAVE about the service and send everyone I know to you.

Driving back to my home office, I was on a high - a serious high, too. I was beaming from ear to ear; I couldn't help it!

Last night I took in a film at the Eau Claire market, part of the Calgary International Film Festival. On the list of Sponsor credits was a name I quickly recognized: Unlimited Video Staging - Aaron Buchanan. Well over a year ago, I posted here about how Aaron (in that post, referred to as "Mr. Hopeful") not only gave me incredible service, but quite literally pulled my ass out of the fire that was raging at the time.

The world is a small, but wonderful place full of people who know people who have all, somewhere along the way, helped me out on my path. I know Aaron through Rick at FWY Productions. Rick I know from high school electronics class.

I cannot mention Rick, of course, without mentioning his sister, Teri who works for my chiropractor, at Hands on Health. Their help, although professional in nature as well, helps me in a very personal way. The world gets smaller still as my referral to Hands on Health came from fellow-blogger Sarah.

I know this is a long post already, but as I think of people who are connected to people, I think back to last Monday evening. Sarah's room mate, Gord, is an accomplished cyclist - among many other things, I've come to understand. He graciously offered to help fix my bike. What we thought might be 'open heart surgery' ended up an 'outpatient procedure'; my bike being new, simply needed some tweaking that I was not yet versed in.

Did I mention the grunt? No, I think not. Sarah fed us both, full to the brim, with a fabulous east-coast dinner of fish casserole and... hold on to your seats... BLUEBERRY GRUNT.

Oh, one more connection... a couple years ago I worked for a fellow who runs BC fruit and Taber Corn stands around Calgary. He, himself is a Saskatchewan farm boy, but has lived in Calgary for the better part of 12 years. He's one of these guys who can turn a dollar at everything he touches. He has the gift. Sherwyn supplied the BC blueberries that went into the grunt.

Sherwyn at one of his stands - fruit and corn second-to-none!

Sherwyn stops at nothing to advertise; this was but a sampling of his signage!

Gosh... have I forgotten anyone??? If so, I'll be sure to write a supplementary post!

OH, I must thank you, my blog-friends for putting up with such a long post; needless to say, I am both thankful and absolutely ecstatic today.

The world is a fine and beautiful place, and it would seem that it is the people in it that make it so.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cheating blogger

I really have no creative energy today. I did, however, come across this post which made me laugh - hard! Another reason I'm proud to be a Canadian, and thankful to be living on this side of the boarder.

It may be considered 'cheating' to simply link to a brilliant blog, but today I don't care.

Thanks to Anvilcloud for a delightful read.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I cannot afford this

I haven't been blogging much - especially about everything I've been up to since the beginning of September. A couple posts ago, it was all about being sick.

This post is no exception.

I thought I was over this nastiness, but it would appear that after having spent Sunday outside in the snow and slush of the Alberta Foothills, I am, once again, not well.

I would really rather be blogging about anything other than this, but right now, THIS is what's eating up my time - getting better! Grr...

I opted out of English class this morning, and won't be going to yoga. I haven't been to pottery in ages either.

I simply do not have the stamina.

It seems, as of late, that I've simply been going through the motions - doing only what is absolutely necessary. For a number of weeks now, it seems I've not been wholly involved in all these things I've been so excited about - Detective Fiction at the U., Pottery, Yoga; all these things that have, up until recently, made for me a wonderfully balanced life.

I also recognized that I'm incredibly connected socially. I didn't realize to what extent until I started hearing from people who have been wondering, "Where's Turtle?"

I love people, and there are so many good ones in my life. How do I keep up??

Everything seems like an effort today - perhaps today is not the best day to ask.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

When is 'sick' really SICK?

I don't 'pop pills' or rely on dopey medications and a quick-fix prescription from the doc. I may feel lousy when I get the sniffles, but it's never been my cue to pack it up and head straight for the clinic at the fist sign of a cold.

There's something going around here, and it seems everyone I know has it. I've been taking notes and collecting handouts for a girl in my English course this week, only because I know her from last term's class. She's so sick, she hasn't made it to any classes all week - this, the first week back to school for most University students. (I will post about this soon, but right now Turtle Health Care is on the top of the agenda!)

Tuesday came around, I went to class feeling like I had a cold, but nothing to hold me back; really tired though, so opted out of yoga.

On Wednesday I went to the chiropractor. I hardly said a word while in the office - the staff KNEW there was something up! The chiropractor came in, and placed his hand on my back, as is normal procedure. Immediately he said,

"OK, Dave... have you been sick? Everything's swolen!"

I remember uttering something, not quite sure what. He did the regular adjustments, which seemed really harsh in comparison to most weeks.

"There. This one will definitely kick-start your immune system."

At that point, I felt fluid move into my right ear. This is when I know a cold is serious. As soon as my ears are involved, I'm usually headed for a prescription.

On Wednesday night, I lost my voice. I decided to skip the monthly board meeting at the church, and to email my prof. to let her know that if I didn't show in the morning, that was why. I regained my voice overnight and felt quite OK by morning. (That, and I didn't want to miss one of M.'s lectures - golden words, I swear!) She was quite happy to see me, but noticed that I had taken a seat off to the side and away from the class. She remarked in an email later,

"I was pleasantly surprised to see you in class this morning, though I thought you looked a bit peaky"

"Peaky"... must be a touch of British slang, me thinks.

I slept Thursday afternoon, thinking I was quite on the mend. Supper time rolled around and my throat was so sore, eating was a challenge.

As I write this in the wee hours (because I cannot sleep), the back of my tongue is swolen, and my throat is so sore it hurts when I move my head side-to-side, let alone when I try to swallow. I tried gargling some mouthwash - no good, I had to swallow it, but it felt good as it went down.

This must be it. I'm off to see the doctor come 8:00; I think I'm sick.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Recycling made easy, and lemon scotch

Did I find the coolest thing today!

I took my recycling over to the V.R.R.I. bottle depot this afternoon.

I had with me, also, a mass amount of glossy magazines, newspapers and cardboard. I didn't see any recycling bins on site, so I asked the fellow at the cash register if there were any such bins close by. It seems not all the malls have them anymore, and the ones that do seem to be further and further from my house. (

To my amazement, the fellow said,

"Yes, we have a green bin at the very back of the lot. Just throw all your stuff in there."

I said,

"Do I have to separate it?"

"No, there's just the one bin, and I was told it was for all papers and cardboard. Just toss it in."

Cool! I'm beginning to LIKE recycling! Makes me wonder though, why do they make you sort it at most of the recycling depots around town?

In the process of dumping out my magazine box, I promptly allowed it to slip and fall straight down into the bin. A fellow who worked there was having a smoke. He came over and fetched my plastic file box out of the bin for me, in exchange for telling him what time it was. I think I got the better end of THAT deal!

Recycling today was a nice break from having slugged away in the office on dreaded paperwork. I opted out of yoga class for today because of the effects of this nasty head cold I've had. In dealing with this, I've discovered that if you lace Neo Citran with a shot of scotch, it really does make a difference to the quality of sleep you get in a night.

That, and it's really nice and lemon-ey...

I highly recommend it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bob, my buddy - rest and be free

BOB - June 1993 - September 7, 2007

About half an hour ago I said goodbye to Bob. His kidney failure had progressed to the point where keeping him here would serve only for my comfort.

Back in October of last year, I said goodbye to DJ. I remember wondering then if I had been something of a coward, staying only until he was sedated.

I promised Bob I would stay to see him on.

The whole experience was the same, but different in a way. Somehow, it seemed the right thing to do - regardless of whether I truly have the right to play God or not.

Below are some photos of Bob, and I'd like to share the rather humorous story of how he came to live with me back in 1994.

I came home one evening to find a cat on my front door step. It was cold - in the minus 20 degree range. I let him in. It's no mystery that when you start feeding cats, they don't leave.

About two months later, the Census lady came around asking all the usual questions. Only, this year there was one more:

"Do you have any pets?"

Bob was sitting on the pony wall at the front door. I said,

"Well, I've got this thing, but he wasn't by choice, he just kinda showed up."

She said,

"That's funny, the guy across the street said he HAD a cat up to a couple months ago."

We had a little laugh, and she said,

"I'll go tell him I found his cat!"

So, over comes my neighbour. He says,

"Oh, you can keep Bob. I found him out of town as a stray. I have Thor, my German Sheppard."

What makes this story funnier, is that this fellow's house mate was allergic to cats; thus, Bob was living in the garage. I've always pictured what it must have been like: Bob sitting in the middle of the road, looking one way thinking,


the other, thinking,

"Garage...", the choice was abundantly clear.

Over the years I've become quite fond of Bob. I think what I will miss the most is how he always wanted to be in the same room as I, not necessarily on my lap or 'in my face', but he just wanted to be 'around'. We also had a mutual understanding in that when he needed his space, he took it. When I needed mine, I'd have to close the door. There was something one-sided about that, I know, but I loved him none the less.

Rest, my good friend, and know you brought me and many others lots of joy while you were here.

Namaste, peace.

...there was the time Bob had an abscess in his foot and had to wear a cone. He wasn't happy, but he looked rather funny.

Bob used to hang out in the office with me to 'supervise'. The 'boss' was such a tyrant!

This is one of my favourite moments: when I walked into the bathroom to discover he was makin' trouble!

My private life, private.

As I sat down to post this morning, I was thinking about what I would write.

I came up short, quite honestly.

My life has been so full and rich these days, I've not blogged about much. I was going to write about my visit with N. last night around the fire pit, over scotch. Both the scotch and the conversation were good. N. is one of my 25-year-plus friends. Those longterm friendships are rare and rightfully treasured. But as I was typing, I decided not to write about that.

I began thinking about blogging and how much we tend to share with everyone, and openly and candidly at that. I was reading over some of my early posts here to discover that I did, indeed, share a great deal, and likely that is why I have what seem to be rather 'close' (if I may use that term) blog-relationships. We all have our regular readers and passers-by, and that is likely because we share a great deal of ourselves and our lives here.

Then I thought about the times I could have posted recently, but chose not to. I suppose some things are worthy of sharing, while others are deserving of their own private moments.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Off and away

For those of you who were successful in your bids at the Armchair Auction, you'll be interested to know that all pieces were shipped this afternoon. Expected delivery time, 11 business days.

I'm looking forward to some delicious returns - figuratively and quite literally!


About Me

My photo
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.