Monday, July 14, 2014

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Yes, it is that time of year again. That time of year when I forget that I am (practically) a native and  have lived most of my entire life right here. I'm sure I sound pathetic when I whine about the heat when you consider with the exception of:

The first twelve months of my life when I lived in San Jose;
The 45 weeks of summer(s) I spent in Boise;
The 8 or 10 weeks of winter I spent in Boise;
The week of spring I spent in Hawaii;
The week of winter I spent in Europe;

I have spent my entire life in the valley. Yes, I am girl raised in the Sacramento Valley. I grew up playing in the sunshine and splashing in the rain. I have driven in fog so thick you couldn't see the steering wheel and I have felt the shake, rattle and roll of earthquakes. I've been through tornado warnings and hail the size of baseballs. I've survived floods and drought. I've even laughed in the rain and tried to capture snowflakes in my hand.

Sacramento pretty much has amazing weather. Until the heat is turned up. One year we had 30 days in a row with temperatures over 100*. Of course that preceded a winter with nearly 6 weeks of non-stop rain. The rain, the cold air. The crispness of a fresh morning as the day dawns wrapped in an icy splendor of crystalline mist clinging to roof tops and lawns --- everything looks so sleepy and magical. Even the wind doesn't bother me. Bring it on! Turn up the volume and let the thunder and lightening roll. 

Laughter in the rain I can do. Hot, hot, HOT I can not. I live with the ac cranked and popsicles at hand. Yes, I know it is going to be hot. I just really don't like the heat. I thrive in the cooler temperatures.

So, for those of you who are hot weather hounds ~~~ enjoy this time as you romp and play in the sun. Enjoy the warmth as it penetrates your soul and brings you happy joy. I wish you all the joy you can handle and all the blessings of the warm sun. Let the golden rays pour into you.

I will be sitting in the ac; trying not to complain too much as I enjoy a frozen popsicle or other icy cold treasure. Winter is coming. I'll hand you a sweater.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

World Class Customer Service - with laughter and a smile!

Dear Customer Service Client,

In order to enable your Customer Service Professional to provide you with the world class service you deserve, please consider the following:

Begin the conversation by sharing your name. I’d like to respectfully address you as the individual that you are. You are not a number to me. You are my 1st priority.

Tell me your issue. We all have issues in life. But for today, for the reason you called, please try to state the facts; and not go off on a tangent. I want to hear the relevant details regarding the issue that caused you to reach out for assistance; but I may not need to know that your Great Aunt Sally’s cat, who is the neighborhood menace, was chasing a bird that flew into your house through the hole in your back porch screen door which your son broke last summer when he ran head first through the mesh. The poor terrified bird, feeling trapped in the house, was still being chased by the cat and was squawking something fierce; flapping his wings wildly in an effort to scare off the cat but instead caused the dog to bark in excitement and the sleeping baby in the other room to wake. All of which startled you out of the fog of inactivity you were in as you zoned out on daytime television and made you spill your drink into your lap causing you to leap out of the chair with a reckless abandon tripping and falling to the ground. Your shoelaces had been tied together at the sneaky little hands of your high spirited; always busy, but quite naughty and totally darling young nephew while you tried to catch a quick moment of peace and tranquility while you thought both he and the baby were sleeping. If this does not relate to why you called the company I work for seeking assistance and will not help me to help you ~ I may not need to know about it. At least, not until I have had the opportunity to resolve your issue. Then I’d be happy to share a chuckle with you.

But first, please give me the facts (“Just the facts, Ma’am”) and allow me to reiterate those facts of your issue back to you as I understand them from you without interrupting me so that I can be certain that I have all of the relevant details. If I am wrong, when I have finished speaking; please correct my errors so that I then have my facts correct. This is called conversation. Conversation is an informative 2-way exchange of words and courtesy. It is a practice that is becoming less common in today’s society of instant data gratification given by the digital devices that are consuming our world. But, we’ll practice conversation together. Teach your friends.

When you are speaking, I will be silent. Please allow me the same courtesy. I am not able to address your concerns if you won’t allow me to speak. Interrupting me while I try to answer you; or ask for more information from you is not helpful and causes frustration for both of us. If I need clarification; I will ask you questions until I fully understand your situation. They will be relevant questions that will help lead me to the proper solution so that I may resolve your concern.

I want to help you. That is what I am here for and what brings me joy. My function is your satisfaction with the product I represent while I am at work.

Remember, I work for the company you are calling. I am a paid employee who is happy to have a job and be able to provide assistance to people like you. More than likely I did not invent or in any way create the product you purchased. I didn’t set the price, the policies regarding the sale, or the warranty parameters. I am just an employee here to serve you the best way I am able.

Like you, I am a person who is trying to make the best of this life on Earth. I probably have issues also. I appreciate your kindness and your time. I appreciate the money you spent on the product/service you are calling about and I want you to be satisfied. I am not the reason you are not happy at the moment. The product is.

If the product you are calling about needed installation and we do not offer installation: I didn’t choose the contractor you hired; or tell him how to do his job. He is an independent contractor that you decided to hire. If the product is not working because of his errors in installation; I will refer you back to him for resolution. Why? The product didn’t fail because of a manufacturer defect; it failed because the installer you hired (and most likely paid for his service) failed to install the product properly. Your issue is with him; not the product. Your independent installer will need to properly rectify his errors. (By the way, I’m sure we will hear from him and deal with him regarding product replacement concerns; but that is between him and the company.)

When you ask me a question; listen and be prepared for my answer:
Customer: “What is the price of that Wysiwyg-Dee-Doo B76754321?”
Employee: “Wysiwyg-Dee-Doo Model B76754321 is $999.93.”
Customer: “Oh, wait, I wasn’t ready; let me get a pen and a paper. Can you repeat that?”

Remember, YOU called me to ask for information. You should be prepared for an answer. Have the tools you need to document my response ready.

When I provide you with a price or answer you don’t like; don’t ask for my Manager or Supervisor. They are the one who provided me with the prices and answers in the first place. Ask for my Manager or Supervisor if I have offended you; or treated you in any way that is less than respectful.

Ask for clarification of information if you don’t understand what I said. I will be happy to re-explain in a way that is better for you. I understand we don’t all comprehend the same. Each of us is unique and we may need to hear things differently before we “get it.”

There are times when I will not be able to resolve your concerns. This does not bring me joy. It is merely a situation that occurs. I may believe that you are right and that I should do more for you; even though company policy says otherwise. But, I am bound by the guidelines I am given. I will do everything I can to validate your concerns and not make you feel like you are being a bother or wasting my time.

“Thank you for calling Wysiwyg; my name is Customer Service Professional, how may I help you today?”

“Thank you for allowing me to assist you today. Have I resolved your concern to your expectation?”

“Please let me know if there is anything else I can be of assistance with. Your complete satisfaction is my priority.”

Sincerely yours,
Your Customer Service Professional

Friday, March 7, 2014

Dishin' with Tina: Better Foods Deli

Dishin' with Tina: Better Foods Deli

Rest in Peace Joe.

Roseville lost a wonderful man yesterday: Joe Lucchessi. He and his family have owned and operated Better Foods Deli since the 70's. Our entire community will feel the loss of this sweet person. He made more than a as which; he made a difference. 

Rest in peace my friend. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What Are You Collecting?

Have you ever thought about the "things" you collect? Are they just things? Or could they be symbolic of something else? Could your collections be about a search for happiness; or trying to fill a void in your life? Could your collections be hiding a secret longing or hurt?

Have you ever thought your collections were anything but a singular item that you purchased and then desired more of? 

I'm a bit OCD, a bit of an addict and a bit of a hoarder all at once. I love color, texture and completeness. If I'm going to "do" something I'm going to do it and not just half way. But, is that always a good thing? Did you know that I have several collections? Or, were my collections part of my secrets of life that are kept locked in my "vault" waiting to be dealt with?

It is entirely possible this post is not making sense to anyone but me. I'm my own choir and I'm speaking to myself. I'm questioning myself and the motives behind the things I collect. 

I love to read. I'm a passionate believer that books are meant to be devoured and enjoyed. I've always leaned towards light hearted, uplifting books. I love books that focus on my interests: encouraging words and stories; cookbooks, scrapbook magazines. Romance novels. There. There you have it. My big secret: I'm a Harlequin Romance junkie. After a stealthy foray into my Mother's stash of reading material by her nightstand and the procurement of a paperback novel that I secreted into my yellow bedroom and stashed in my dresser drawer .... I read my first Harlequin while I was still in elementary school. I was in the 5th grade and I became totally entranced with the idea that a romance could bloom within the space of 110 pages of neatly spaced text. One of these days I may even find the intestinal fortitude to write my own novel and submit it. 

These days I read my Harlequins on my Kindle. They are light hearted stories that I enjoy. Some people call them trash and say a good Christian shouldn't read them. One man's trash is another man's treasure....and I am a good Christian who loves to read a good romance. Yes, I occasionally wince at the words and actions of the characters; I read them any way. 

I love to have my spirit uplifted. Words of encouragement and hope. Of a journey that impacts the hearts of others.....I have an awesome collection of Chicken Soup books. I love magazines that inspire me....and I have several collections sitting on a bookshelf collecting....DUST! I collected scrapbook and paper crafting magazines for years. I still own them haven't looked at them for years and can't get rid of them. 

Cherished moments...or rather Cherished Teddies are also something I collected and enjoyed. I obsessively collected ones that had names or themes which are special to my life and times as a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. Sitting on oak shelves behind glass and nestled among Crystal glassware these adorable teddies are cherished. But, do they serve a purpose?

The third bedroom of our home is filled with wall to wall bookcases. The shelves house yet another Creative Memories scrapbook, Stampin' Up! rubber stamp and paper craft collections. As someone recently said, "it's like Michael's only bedroom sized." Yes, I am/was a bit obsessive with making certain I had everything I needed to complete those perfect pages/hand made cards. And to think that passion started by attending a single party given by a friend. 

With each of these collections I can define a period of my life. Each period encompasses a stage of life that includes growth, pain, and change. Several of them encompass family and friends and social interaction. 

But, does any of them really achieve what I was trying to make happen? What was my motivation behind collecting things without realizing that is exactly what I was doing?

The answer is easy. I was trying to create that euphoric feeling of happiness by buying it. I wasn't working for my happiness. I was trying to buy happiness and peace without putting any energy into it. 

The phrase; "Know God; Know Peace ~ no God; no peace"  just popped into my mind. I was replacing the love, peace and joy of God with other idols. I was trying to buy an intimate relationship with happiness without having a true relationship with my Heavenly Father. Thank goodness for his merciful forgiveness and unending love. Through Christ I have the joy and peace I was seeking.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13

Does this mean I have to get rid of my collections to clean out my vault and know true joy. Nope. Not. At. All. It means I can enjoy these items which give me a moment of happiness with the understanding that they give me happiness but they are not my happiness. It means I am free by the mercy of Jesus to enjoy these products and not idolize them. It means through His wisdom I know the difference between being happy and trying to buy happy. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Let's get BLOG!

It is the new year; and once again I find myself ready to be an active participant in my own life. What?!? You are probably wondering what the crazy meaning is behind that statement. Well, in the process of living life in 2013 I kind of left a piece (okay, several pieces) of myself behind. I stopped blogging. I stopped creating hand stamped cards. I stopped taking the dogs to playgroups and/or training and I stopped noticing that I wasn't fulfilling my personal needs. I was letting the changes and challenges of life restrict me rather than challenging the changes and restrictions to make me grow and learn and reach for a healthy balance. It is time to move forward and live my life.

I am social. I am fascinated by people, places and creating/doing/helping to accomplish things that I enjoy. I adore being involved at Bayside: serving creates a special warmth that connects me to other servants of Christ who are fulfilled through service and agape love. I adore being a part of a Small Group for Women's Bible Study. I adore meeting and interacting with others. I grow and learn and become a more balanced Christian through healthy fellowship. My family thrives when I thrive and stay committed.

I am creative. Whether I am writing, cooking, stamping, taking pictures, or organizing a space for better usage I fully appreciate the colors, textures, scents and visual balance that indulging my creative side releases. I'll admit that messes, failures and errors happen along the way. I think that allows learning, growth and laughter. Creativity lends to socialization. I need to reach out to my stamping friends and reconnect. I've missed them.

We are a Beagle family. Beagles require training and a high level of activity. With Eleza Kerfoot of Paws in Progress we each get respectful, intelligent, motivational ~ much needed training and education. Dog training is not just teaching a dog how to sit. Training is about creating a family that includes our dogs. Training includes exercise for both humans and canines. Our pups adore training exercises and we've failed at keeping them on track. That is not okay. Our Carly and Cannon are sweet, intelligent and fun. They love interaction with humans and canines. Carly loves Agility. Cannon loves to play and run. I miss our training family.

I'm ready to live my life. I realize my budget is way different than it used to be. I've let that control what I do instead of controlling my budget to live a balanced life that is full of enjoyment. I'm tired of migraines and more importantly  I'm tired of fighting minor depression that I hide behind a smile and laughter.  Yes! I am happy. Yes! I am blessed and grateful. I'm also human and need to live as an active participant in my life.

Join me on my journey!