Sunday, December 05, 2021

The Sunday Five - Service

We talk about a service economy, and there have to be some superstars of service out there. Service is more than doing your job, it is doing what is necessary to help others enjoy the experience.  What is the sign about?  The Bike Shop is tiny inside, impossible to stay 6 feet away from others.  Honk the horn, and they will come outside, and help you.  

1: What coffee shop has the best service near you? 

2: Is there a restaurant that remembers you, remembers the way you like things? 

3: What online retailer has the best customer service in your area? 

4: When was the last time you spoke with a teller at the bank? 

5: What local retailer has the best customer service? 

My Answers: 

1: What coffee shop has the best service near you? Gregory's coffee near my office on Connecticut Ave in DC. Much better service than your know who.  

2: Is there a restaurant that remembers you, remembers the way you like things? The deli on the lower lobby of my office, they were closed for 15 months, and reopened with just two staff. Wonderfully Jose came back, he is the best.  

3: What online retailer has the best customer service in your area? Not the one I use the most (Uncle Jeff's)  - - - Target.  The order are always prompt, accurate, the delivery information is more accurate. 

4: When was the last time you spoke with a teller at the bank?  At least two years ago, I moved a chunk of money into my account to buy a garage space, and didn't want to deposit a rather large check in the ATM.  Then the seller decided not sell the garage space. 

5: What local retailer has the best customer service? An independent card and paper goods shop Penny Post on King Street in Alexandria. 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, December 04, 2021

The Saturday Morning Post - Who Is Watching Who

It was amazing to watch people walk by the deer and not see it, but I could tell from the tilt of her head, that she was watching everything, every movement of every person. I pointed out the deer to a couple of passers by, one wise person asked what I had my lens focussed on.  Many were so engaged in trivial conversation that they missed the glories of nature that they were walking in the midst of. 

We have deer are here in the DC suburbs, but not in huge numbers.  There is too little forest, to many busy roads.  There was a doe and twin fawns inside the fence here at the Condo this year (we are four high rise towers on 35 acres, we have deep wooded ravines around the buildings.) Down along the River, I saw deer two or three times in a year, only once did one stand still so I could get a good photo.  

This photo was taken in Huntley Meadows, a county park not far from home.  The property is large, 200-300 acres. Bow hunting is allowed on about half of the park, this wise doe was on the other side of the park.  Still she was watching and being weary.  Wise lady. 

I suspect, the deer see me, more than I see them.  This is their environment, they know how to blend in, how see without being seen. Who is watching who? 

Friday, December 03, 2021

Foodie Friday - Grows on Tree

Especially when it came to money, my father would say, "it's not like it grows on trees!"  Well some things do.  Olives for example.  I like olives, at times, some kinds of them I love.  It is amazing the varieties, based on the variety of the tree, green or ripe, and how they are cured or pickled.  I have read that raw off the tree olives are inedible, they require some kind of processing to be tasty.  

I have only once seen Olives growing on trees.  In Athens, I realized that Carole, and Kent and J were standing under an Olive tree, and the tree had ripe olives on it.  Just after I took this photo, I shook the tree, and olives lightly rained down around them.  I don't understand why, but I still smile when I think about that.  Olives grow on trees, when they are ripe you can shake them out of the trees.  

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Thursday Rambles - December Already?

Is it December already?  Time flies when we are having fun.  And I have had fun this year. Not as much travel as I would have normally done, but we did have a nice visit to New York, and a quiet away from people week at Lake Tahoe.  I have had lots of fun at home, I love to cook, and I have had lots of time to do that.  I read cookbooks, not just look up a recipe - I look for books that have a narrative and I read them.  Then I get randomly inspired to create something. I have had some nice walks, read some great books. Work has been busy, we were short handed early in the year with someone leaving for a new opportunity, it has taken some time to get the new person up to speed, she is an incredible addition to our team, I hope she stays.  

We are starting the process of planning a kitchen replacement.  Gut the room to the walls, move things around, all new cabinets, flooring, appliances. The only thing that stays is the washer/dryer I bought last summer.  It will be late spring before the work starts, it will take 2-3 weeks.  The bids are already more than I paid for my first house 40 years ago, and we haven't picked out appliances yet.  We are maximizing what can be done, in the rather limited space we have to work with.  Only once have I ever had a custom kitchen, the last house I built for myself in Florida.  And every time I worked in it, I enjoyed things being where I wanted them (even if the cabinet guy did mess up and forget two-feet of cabinet and countertop.) We are dreaming of a prettier and more functional space, and YES it WILL HAVE UPPER CABINETS. 

I talked with my middle brother last week.  He retired last February.  He sounded good. He has adjusted to being in charge of his time, to changes.  It sounds like he has a new routine, a different day to visit the doctors, once a week driving across town to his favorite fast food restaurant for lunch.  We all thrive on routine, and Gary especially does.  He sounded like he is finding ways to manage his own.  He reminded me that he is still storing a large framed family tree from Dad's house for me, I need to drive to Florida someday. 


Wednesday, December 01, 2021

The Way We Were Wednesday - Getting Started Online

This was taken with my first decent digital camera, in Toronto.  I had only had the camera a few days when we left on trip to drive around Lake Erie, we went to Cleveland, Niagra, north to Toronto, back across on Ontario to Michigan, and then south past the west end of the lake at Toledo.  This was taken in the subway system in Toronto. 

I know this is an early photo because the file is labeled VT.  VT was Vitrual Tourist.  VT was an early online travel bulletin board. I discovered it when I was looking for tips on Christmas in Paris.  It allowed members (and membership was free) to build pages with photos and text about their travels.  I was so happy with what I had learned, that when we came home from Paris* I took the plunge and created pages for places we had traveled to.  This was a couple of years before a friend introduced me to blogging.  VT shut down several years ago. It struggled for a while trying to become an online travel agency, and with some advertising, but ultimately it failed.  The model today, might work with advertising revenue and user created content.  But then it would compete with the mega social media companies and probably be bought out for a billion to make it go away.  Maybe it was ahead of its time.  

* More about that trip in a couple of weeks. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Travel Tuesday - An unexpected stop

It is time to go into the vast unsorted travel photo library and do some random travel, and this is where I landed.  I remember the random drive and unexpected stop.  To be honest, I was kind of lost, following the little voices to find my way back to the hotel.* 

The second time I went to England with J for the Oxford Patristics Conference, I sent him off to Oxford, and I hopped on the Eurostar to Brussels. From there I revisited Amsterdam.  Then my flight from Amsterdam to Normandy went haywire and I ended up on the TGV.  I was destined for a few days in a rental car exploring Normandy.  I was driving back from touring the D-day beaches late one afternoon and came across a local village festival, the kind you read about in books by expats living in rural France.  Parking was in a mowed field, I stopped and wandered around for a while. Very much a random and unexpected stop.  I remember buying a small bottle of calvados from this vendor.  I could have spent hours, but I had dinner reservations, and my encounter with Norman-Cider, that led to tromp in a freshly cut field of wheat.**  Very random, and very fond memories.     

* The voice from the Garmin GPS unit

** Very powerful stuff, and very good.  

Monday, November 29, 2021

My Music Monday - Muskrat Love

This song came out when my one and only Cousin was a baby, he would smile at the muskrat sounds, and fall asleep to this tune.  I think he turns 50 next March.  I wonder if the song still resonates with him.