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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 #49 Gnome 1 Human 0

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.

Side note, after the fact.

I was attempting to write all during our 2020 pandemic and complete one of the prompts each week, the pandemic got the better of me and I just stopped. My mind is not so much in a better place but I am so bored I need to find something to challenge me, so here we go again and I try to complete the last few challenges. Here goes nothing.

Question: You have a garden gnome who comes to life overnight. What does he see?

This was a warm spring day and it was nice to play in the dirt, I thought it might be time to reset the decorative items in the front yard. Typically we have a garden gnome and a large concrete mushroom that goes next to the wire sculpture pieces out front. Just for fun I think we will put some of these in the back yard. I do embrace change and sometimes change things just for the fun of it. So my gnome and mushroom are happily sitting in the yard and my work outside is done for the day.

About 1 in the morning it sounds like one of the branches from our big old trees has come down. It’s too dark to see anything so I will go look in the morning.

The gnome is sitting next to the wire shaped in the form of a rabbit and the gnome starts laughing. He is telling the rabbit how he saved his own life by moving in the back because a huge branch just fell from that old oak tree right on the spot he used to sit in. Now what level of thought process did I use to get her to change my spot, nothing I just kept slowly turning towards the sun so one side of me was really faded and moving me was easier than repainting me. People are so easily fooled.

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99 words only – My Light Was Peggy

Over at Carrot Ranch the January 21, 2021, prompt is: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that rephrases ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’ Think of how the cliche replacement communicates a hopeful ending and aligns with your character or story. Go where the prompt leads!

Walking down a big city street at night seems like a scary prospect. Peggy was a night person and thought this was the best time to test yourself and/or your friends. We just didn’t know it was a test.

One night at a local bar she was cajoled into a drinking match of shots with the guys. Next thing I’m being dragged onto the dance floor. She whispered, “dancing to sober up.” Becoming an accomplice to her not losing the bet was a test and certainly shed a light on our friendship for many more years. She never lost.

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99 Words Only – Lights, Camera Etc.

January 14, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about dressing up. It can be a child or another character. Be playful or go where the prompt leads!

Respond by January 19, 2020. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Saturday night and the theater lobby lights sparkle on the sequins as we walk around. We are in our suburban neighborhood and no paparazzi are stalking us for photos. It is opening night. Who’s idea was it to make this a fancy dress event? It seems pretty silly all these years later. Yet, the photo of us from that evening is one of my most treasured items. Who would imagine that adults would play dress up for all the world to see on such a “normal” day. Imagine we really were that young and playful only three + decades ago.

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Palindrome Today

1/20/2021. Depends on where you stand , is this a lucky or unlucky thing. Maybe if we just take a simplistic look and are grateful that we survived 2020, sort of, and made it into 2021 that is enough of a mystical sign.

I am extremely grateful that I have survived until today, I was able to see the first female to be elected as vice-president of this country. In my lifetime, Queen Elizabeth has been the figurehead of her country for many years. Golda Meir was Prime Minister as was Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher. We who should be a country of leadership aren’t even traveling in the same century.

Today was an overall great day.

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99 words only- Butterfly Stone

January 7, 2021 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the contrasting prompts butterfly and stone. It doesn’t have to be a western ranch chore; it can be any routine task. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by January 12, 2021. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Photo by Alina Vilchenko on Pexels.com

We went to an abandoned quarry entrance to see the best view of the city and mountain that lay ahead of us. It was some type of marble quartz that was being pulled we were told. Walking up to the top of the hill I looked at the well-worn path. I spotted a pretty shaped stone and reached down to put it in my pocket.

My friend collects heart shaped stones on her travels and this looked like a beauty. Once in my hand the pinkish stone appeared to be more of a butterfly than a heart. New goals.

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Fibbing Friday – Jan 8, 2021 – Answers

Welcome to Fibbing Friday! Just be sure your answers bend, stretch, break, or outright ignore the truth. Tag your response as “Fibbing Friday”, and link back here so we can all see what a great fibber you are! Pingbacks are enabled, or you can just leave a link in the comments.

  1. What do the abbreviations, B.C. and A.D. stand for? To the best of my recollection, this stands for two of the major Saturday morning western cowboy shows, Bill Connors and Andy Devine.
  2. What do the abbreviations, B.C.E. and C.E. stand for? Big City Encounters vs City Encounters, the new dating apps if you live in a big city or a small city. The big city one has way more filters to keep the crazy away, the city one doesn’t need that. We know everyone and crazy lives upstairs or next door, HA.
  3. What event triggered the start of the U.S. Civil War? Are you a cat or dog person question on the census form.
  4. What were “The Wars of the Roses?” The usual Saturday football game between Rose Academy and the Lilac School for the Exceptional.
  5. Where was the Kingdom of Prussia located? This is hidden in a small valley in the Swiss Alps .
  6. According to the account in Genesis, what happened at the Tower of Babel? Mama left the party at the Tower of Babel when she found out there was a better party at the Tower on 27th Street.
  7. What artistic style is Pablo Picasso famous for? He is world renown for his Pop Art. All items are signed PPP which stands for Pablo Picasso’s Pop.
  8. January 6th was two days ago. What makes it special? When you add the numbers 1 + 6 it equals 7. This is a special day to find depth, meaning, a spiritual connection and the only bar in town that has the New Year’s confetti all cleaned up from the floor.
  9. In the comic strip, Calvin & Hobbes, who or what is Hobbes? He is Hobbs the last of the Hippie Hamsters.
  10. The song, “Home on the Range” asks for a home where what two animals play? We all know it was dogs and angora cats.
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Sedition

Conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.

This happened today in my country, the United States of America, January 6, 2021 and many of us were witness to this unfolding on television in real time.

Insurrection

A violent uprising against an authority or government.

This also happened today in my country.

I had to look both of these words up, I know I have heard them but never had any real context to apply against in my own world. I also looked to see what type of punishment could be handed out. Starts with a fine, the cost of clean-up and additional forces now required should be the starting point of that fine. Next they may be sentenced to serve in a federal prison, I would suggest the longest possible time allowed. Last is ineligibility to serve in public office. If you are not outraged at this activity, then you are complicit.

Sadly today a “friend” was posting on-line that it was our own fault and we should have expected this response. I simply don’t have words for that level of stupidity.

Please accept my apology, I don’t usually use this space as this type of public forum. I was really hoping to go to see the inauguration and due to Covid had to cancel my plans. My disappointment at both of these things is monumental and I am so sad at the place we are now in. I can only keep hope in my heart that things will change and we can step up and support the change.

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Pine Cone Play

The creative wall block has just loomed in front of me at about 90 feet tall and it’s a combination of writers block, no access to the products and/or equipment I need. Stop me quick this sounds like whining which does no one any good. I could use a giant thunderbolt to activate my creative gene. Since that is probably not going to happen let me share a little bit about my latest project.

One very tall ( 50 foot) tree in front of the house produces these most adorable tiny pine cones. The average size is 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Every day as I walk out into the front yard I look for these tiny little gems and typical haul is about 6 to 10. We had a couple of wind storms and after those I was able to find greater quantity.

Long story short I remembered a technique I used many years ago to make pine cone wreaths and thought why not. So as I did my daily walks I also looked for acorns and nut shells. We have black walnut and hickory trees and the squirrels open the nuts and leave us the outer shells. The pine cones are some days very hard to find when we have a cover of leaves.

Finished product.

I added some peach pits and seed pods from the garden and began creating. It takes about 50 to 60 of the small pine cones to do a small, 8 inch wreath along with various nut shells or fruit pits and seed pods. I have become totally enamored of these tiny beauties. So family got some as Christmas gifts this year. The other day we had a big wind rain snow storm and a branch with lots of pine cones was knocked down from the tree. That is the bowl full of pine cones, almost enough to complete another wreath. Some are still encased in ice so they simply need to dry out before I use them.

Hopefully this will motivate me to work on some other neglected creative projects soon. Only 70ish days until spring and we can be outside daily again.

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End 2020, Begin 2021

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

For most of us this change can’t come soon enough, we are exhausted by 2020 and all that we collectively experienced. I have seen several people writing about their accomplishments in 2020 so the year does not seem like a total fail. Several lists have truly impressed me and I hope good habits learned become permanent in their lives and all the bad habits stay away.

So this leads to thoughts that maybe I missed the mark somehow this year. I do have a couple of positives to share but mine pale in comparison to most I have seen, not that there is a competition. I really learned to shop online, I was in the amateur category before and have advance to professional now. Not sure if that is good or bad.

I competed in several 5K’s from all across the country. My first time ever I was interested in actually running well, jogging in my case. I joined for the t-shirts mostly and the fact that this was a way to contribute to a variety of causes in a minimal involvement way. The t-shirts are so I can make a quilt for myself as a good reminder of this year. This is probably something I will continue as long as I don’t have to get into a huge crowd of people and can run the track at my local closed school.

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

I also discovered a couple of online music venues to watch some of my favorite performers “live” performances. Some did live performances on FaceBook , but many of them were really not prepared for no performances or no paycheck anytime in the near future. To keep their families fed they did paid performances online. The cost was less than a regular show and you did not have to be in the town of the performance. It’s great and I am good with this as an option.

I also participated in several online classes to learn or improve skills in a variety of artsy techniques, this was fun but not like in person. Not sure how much of this I will continue.

One of my big disappointments was the lack of travel. I have done a fair amount of travel and had a number of trips already planned. I haven’t been near an airport in over a year. I sure miss seeing my friends in other cities and countries. I will wait until I no longer have to quarantine for 2 weeks upon reaching another city, most of my trips are only 1 or 2 days not for months.

Photo by Jason Toevs on Pexels.com

I agree with the thought of good riddance to 2020. I was at one point happy I stayed alive long enough to live in this year. Today I am happy I made it to December.

Happy New Year.