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Posted in 2020, Challenge, humor, kathy70, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge # 22 The Runaround

These challenges come from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week.  (Sort of like being in a writing class where you are assigned the topic to write about.)

Question:

Have you ever been given the runaround?  What did you do?

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Runaround Sue?

My most recent encounter.  Yes we have all been on the receiving end of someone trying to play pass the buck, it’s not my area of work, your question is way above my pay grade or simply a runaround.  I have worked in a customer service capacity for many, many years and I make it harder for someone to ignore me when I need help.

As an employee in what is considered a service industry there are many things that I have learned along the way.  I try to get the nameless person on the other side of the phone on my side so they don’t hang up on me.  Today it seems very easy to bully or badger a faceless voice at the end of your phone and that tactic rarely works in the long run.  If you happen to get the one person who really cares, you don’t want to lose them.

I recently called my insurance company because of a letter sent to me by a government agency that regulates insurance.  I mainly called because I wanted to know what was up with that.  The person on the other end assumed that I was angry and kept trying to pass the buck and transfer me to another department or another company.  I was just as insistent, in a polite way, that might not really be the best result because I simply wanted to know why this happened, not who was to blame.  I persisted that she needed to listen to my full question regarding this situation.

Eventually, after about five minutes trying to explain the full question, she agreed to look into it.  Then she realized it was something she could handle and said she would do that.  It took explaining repeatedly, using slightly different phrases each time for her to really hear me.  I think the one that got her was when I said   “This sounds like I am living in crazy town.”  She actually laughed at my comment, that was when I knew she heard me.

I, have since had another situation where the person heard only half of my question and said she needed to transfer me.  Again, I said please hear my whole question and then tell me who to talk to.  She had the perfect answer for me and it worked beautifully.

Many of the companies judge the employee based on volume not on quality.  If you answer X number of calls does not make you a better customer service person, yes volume is important, but so is quality.  I would call and compliment each of these agents because they both helped to resolve my problem.

Moral of this story is that it has been a few weeks and the situation is cleared up.  Make them laugh or cry or cringe in horror at your story, never blame the person on the phone unless it truly is the last stop.  Most of the people doing the job are just like us and trying to survive one phone call at a time.

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Posted in 2019, Quilts, Sewing, Travel, Uncategorized, Yes

Drunkards Path II

With more than 600 quilts on display in the Mountain Quiltfest 2019, I still have a ton of beautiful quilts to show you.  This is from that same group requirement with the drunkards path block.

It almost defies logic that the same block makes up these 2.

The same blocks with variations.  Amazing.

These have added a very modern twist.  It almost defies logic.

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Challenge # 46 Pumpkins

This challenge comes from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week.  My personal goal is to do this for one full year. I am so glad this is almost over, it has now reached the tedious level and I have no plans for after it’s over. I know the writing group is getting together but I have not been brave enough to attend a gathering of that sort yet.

Question:

Have you ever carved a pumpkin? What did you design? Describe the experience in a poem.

Pumpkin

This is based n a party my old roommate hosted. The barn of her suburban house was transformed each year with a new theme. Food was always great and we all came in costumes and we all carved pumpkins. These created the backdrop for her parties each year.

I know I picked just the right one.

This will be beautiful when I’m done.

To pick a pumpkin requires some skill

Wait, is that a better one on top of the hill?

I came here with three friends of mine

There is Bill, his friend Sue and my friend Tyne.

We have a party we all go to each year

It’s costumes, pumpkins, food and lots of beer.

The pumpkin carving is a sight to see,

There are castles and high rises and a TV.

Snow White with all the dwarfs are on one

Another is really huge and must weigh a ton.

The winner this year is a scene from Game Of Thrones,

The Charlie Brown winner is one that looks like a bag of bones.

My carving this year is a simple garden flower,

This Covid brain has very little creative power.

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Challenge #45 It’s A Rap

This challenge comes from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week.  My personal goal is to do this for one full year. I am so glad this is almost over, it has now reached the tedious level and I have no plans for after it’s over. I know the writing group is getting together but I have not been brave enough to attend a gathering of that sort yet.

Question:

Write a short rap song about yourself. Make sure it rhymes.

I can tell you with all positive information this has never been on my radar. I am not sure if I have ever listened to a full rap song. I may have heard bits and pieces but that is it. So I did the only thing I could figure out, I cheated, well not really but I looked for some help. There is a thing on the internet that will help you write a rap song, you enter a few details and it spits out a song. Not a pretty one or even one that could be considered interesting but one that meets the requirements of the challenge. The only saving grace is that it really is short.

It’s A Rap

Hey all my crafty friends, it’s time,

It’s time, all my crafty friends

Beyond the wall of quilts life is defined

I think of quilting when I am in a Chicago state of mind.

In a Chicago state of mind,

What more could you ask for? The bright silk?

You complain about not enough time,

I gotta love it though somebody still speaks for the ilk

I’m rappin’ to the thread

And I’m gonna move your spread.

Beyond the wall of quilts, life is defined,

I’m in a Chicago state of mind.

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Challenge # 44 My California

This challenge comes from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week.  My personal goal is to do this for one full year.

Question:

When you think of California, what comes to mind?

My California

Right now, I think of California with a great deal of sadness because of the fires and the loss of lives and property and the uncertainty they are experiencing. It is such a dangerous situation for so many. The first time I went to California was about thirty years ago and I was flying out to visit a friend. It was also the first time I saw fires burning on the mountains as we were flying over and I was very amazed at the isolated areas in the state, coming from the Chicago area where almost every inch seems like it is taken up by some building.

It was a fabulous trip and as we drove around you could smell the ocean and feel the cool air as we got closer to it. Her home was up in the hills and you could watch the fog “walk” up the hill during the course of the day and then magically see the ocean below.

Years later I was living in San Francisco and loved the very cool evenings in the summer. I was frustrated, again because I am from the Midwest, the lack of weather reports on the local news because the weather didn’t change much from one day to the next. Day trips to smaller towns along the ocean or into the mountains.

Special trips to Santa Barbara for the Summer Solstice celebration, what fun. The magnificence of the Hearst Castle and my delight in fulfilling a bucket list item. I was able to help decorate and then watch the float in the Rose Parade in Pasadena. We were also lucky enough to have tickets to the Rose Bowl that year.

Overall I have fond memories of the places and friends I experienced in California. I know there are a lot of not so nice things also, but every place has both good and bad. I was lucky and think it would be nice for everyone to have an opportunity to live there at some point in their lives.

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Challenge #43 Age Improves

This challenge comes from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week.  My personal goal is to do this for one full year.

Question:

Name something that gets better with age.

Age Improves

First thing that pops into my mind is of course me! Well, friends and family may greatly disagree, but we all know people who improve with age. Dolly Parton, my all-time favorite just gets funnier and smarter as she ages. Cher, who defies age, just gets better and better. That’s just the first two who popped into my mind.

Cheese that just gets better and better is cheddar. We just purchased some 15 year old cheese that wound up costing at least 5 times more than any of the other cheeses purchased at that point and worth every cent.

Music in my mind in many cases is timeless. Operas performed and appreciated today that same as they were 100 years ago. I was a big fan of folk music from the 50’s and 60’s and I appreciate it just as much today as then and much of it seems as relevant today as it was then.

A pot of soup, stew, spaghetti sauce or chili always tastes better after a few days. If I have the time I will always prepare any of these items in advance of when I am planing on serving it. At least one day will certainly help the flavors to blend and deepen.

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The Lemon Queens

 August 27, 2020, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features Lemon Queens. Maybe it’s an ancient fairy tale or a modern brand name. What ideas seep into your imagination? Is there a character or place involved? Go where the prompt leads!

This is my current contribution. Enjoy.

The Lemon Queens.

In this year like no other in memory, I am spending more time in the garden. The flowers are mostly putting on their last show for this season. All the veggies know their time is almost at an end, how do I stretch the days. Is there any way to keep the sun higher and brighter in the sky. I, the oldest of the Lemon Queens will need help doing this task. I gather all the queens and instruct them on the chant. As we gather an eclipse happens now the sun is really gone for four more years.

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Dress Code

With Labor Day rapidly approaching, I am reminded of a major rule about not wearing white pants after Labor Day. I have been known in the past to ignore or more precisely blast rules out of the water, a bit of that still remains, however I like to know if anyone else still follows those rules.

With the white pants rule, I gathered some of my white shorts and jeans and have been wearing them every day this week. (See photo for a few.) I have more than enough to cover this week with white every day, kind of my last hurrah to summer, what??? In the 60’s they came out with a winter white that I instantly fell in love with, I could now wear my white suit for Christmas, made me happy.

I began to think about a few other rules that I may have crossed paths with. In the 70’s and working in an office, women were not allowed to wear pants. This also applied to my high school, my first college it did not matter, but in high school we wore pants, especially in the winter, under our skirts. Then stood in the front hall of the building taking the pants off so the rest of the school would not be offended by our pants. At my workplace, the rule was it had to be matching pants and jacket, a full suit to wear to work. It was October, I will never forget my purple corduroy pants with a matching jacket. I must have looked like a giant grape. I would probably still rock that outfit today once I added more fabric for the extra pounds.

It was brave of me as I was the first in not just my office, but the entire building to wear pants to work on a Tuesday. I also worked for a very conservative department store in the 80’s and we could only wear pants if our work area was open to the outside, like a loading dock and the temperature was below freezing. Also, no sneakers as we stood on our feet for 8 or more hours each day.

Today I wear my white pants all year long, pants are allowed in schools and offices and I can wear my sneakers to a formal event or wherever. I am glad I broke a few rules, have you?

Posted in 2020, Aging, Challenge, kathy70, Quarantine, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge #42 Mission Statement

This challenge comes from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week.  My personal goal is to do this for one full year.

Question:

Outline a “mission statement” for your life.

My Mission Statement

At one point in my life, when I was in a stable well-paying position,  I joked that I wanted to live long enough to be a “burden on society.”  In my reality, this did become my mission statement.

Part of the reason for this truth is my own fault. I was never a competitive or driven person for most of my life I just rolled with the flow and never needed to make long term plans. For a very brief time in my life things were on an upward trajectory and it looked like I would wind up as a complete and solid person.  Sadly that was not to be.

I grew up in a poor house and never learned the benefits of saving money or developed the tools to be able to do that.  No idea of disposable income versus savings versus retirement.  My grandparents were always retired in my lifetime and money was never talked about, but they seemed to be fine.  My mother did not work outside the home until I was a teen and then it was part-time.  In high school I worked part-time and saved the $100.00 needed to go on my senior class trip and didn’t save for anything after that.

summer job 2

Junior College after high school didn’t require much money and my job more than paid for all of that.  Within a year I decided to quit school and worked full time, lived at home and only took public transportation.  Had a great wedding on the cheap.  Fast forward three kids and 1 divorce later with no savings or pension on the horizon.

At times I worked 3 jobs just to make ends meet and saving was not a possibility.  The company I was working for was hit bad by the recession and my job was eliminated.  First time ever on unemployement.  Back to college for the third time and I found a great position that I loved but did not pay well.  Then 9/11 happened.  My small pension and 401k were hit very bad and I lost my job again.

At my age it was almost impossible to find a position and wound up working at a big box store for minimum wage and part time only.  So with all this happening close to my retirement my Social Security is tiny and it’s very hard to understand the system.

Help, I really am a “burden to society”.

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First Flight

August 13, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a first flight. It can be anything or anyone that flies. What is significant about the first? Go where the prompt leads!

Here is my contribution for this week.

I’m taking the early first flight out this morning. Handy trick learned years ago that allow options if I miss it. DC is ugly hot this summer. Today’s assignment is to meet an old friend for lunch. Twenty years is a long time, I wonder how he’s changed. Will he know me? My job today is simply gathering information on what’s next years hot clothing color. How does a nice girl from Kansas get in the spy business? Should I have married that farmer? On my flight there is a familiar face in the next seat. “Hi I’m Dorothy.”

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Covid Safe Travel

Sorry, hope the title did not give you the false impression that a private jet was pulling up to your doorway to whisk you away on your dream vacation.  Since I am in the same time-out, stay-at-home, do not pass go, lock-down plus “your grounded” feeling most all of you are having, I want to give you a little hope.  Extreme-mini-vacay is what we are talking about here.

My first suggestion is a trip to the closest nursery or garden center.  If you have a garden space outside here is a chance to pick some new  plants to live in that space.  If you have no garden area, it’s just nice to go and look at what they have that is blooming.  Take a few photos or make a sketch or two of your favorite plants on display.

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Also, take your time.  This is not a place to race through to get the best bargains or sale items, enjoy the beauty, enjoy the fragrances, enjoy the sunshine or rain, enjoy just being out of your house.  Since most of these are outside it becomes a very safe place to be, but wear your mask while walking around.

Posted in 2020, Challenge, kathy70, Quarantine, Uncategorized, Writing, Yes

Challenge #41 Tea Time

This challenge comes from a small writing group.  We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share.  The goal is to answer at least one per week.  My personal goal is to do this for one full year.

Question:

What is your cup of tea?

Tea Time

I have learned to love tea, I grew up as a coffee drinker, my grandparents would have coffee time and ask an individual grandchild over to have “coffee”, what a treat!  The coffee was always more milk than anything else, but it was one on one time with grandparents.  I do drink more tea these days than coffee.

I love my herbal teas as well as Chai tea, no green tea for me, my system does not like it and let’s me know.  I have recently learned how to make my own Chai Latte and this may have serious consequence on me gaining the quarantine 15 (much like the freshman 15).

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I love a Russian tea that has great spices and orange tones as a breakfast tea. A peach herbal is my newest favorite for making sun tea, which I like iced.  My sun tea never sees the sun, I simply put a number of tea bags with water in a container in the refrigerator, leave it there for at least one day then pour into my glass filled with ice.

It is always a toss up for my day to start with either coffee or tea.  Today it was tea.