Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's Time For Good News!

This week, I've really been struggling with the news. It's been bright and sunny outside, so the Seattle area has generally had a sunny disposition, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the local news outlets.

Generally, I watch King 5's news broadcast during the last 15 minutes or so before I leave for work in the morning so that I can be up-to-date on current events and also am aware of the current traffic situation. Then, at lunch, I will peruse our local newspaper's Web site,

But this week, it's been really bleak on the news front. I opened up the newspaper the other day and tried to find a positive headline to read. Instead, I was greeted by headlines about multiple dead bodies, starving children, financial issues, and all things depressing. I decided to dial down my news habits, but still seem to be presented with bad news as I'm going through my day. When I watched the morning news, I was hoping for some softer stories about school children doing good or maybe even a "Gardening with Ciscoe" segment next to the weather and traffic. Instead I was greeted with stories on suicides and roadside bombings. Ugh!

So, I'm starting to seek out the good news. There's got to be good things happening in the world, and I'm ready to hear about them. Let's put the smiles on our faces and start to look for the good side of life... consider it a challenge from me. What's your good news? Share it here, I'm ready to smile and cheer for everyone! :-)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sunshine, Sunshine!

The sun has been shining in the Seattle area for a consecutive days now, and I have to say that I have been quite distracted by it. With the temperatures hitting almost 70, I'm definitely not complaining! I've gotten out a few times to enjoy the sun, including a great two hour walk to start of my weekend and to return the smile to my face. There is nothing better than taking in nature and reconnecting with a great friend!

I've also had my nose buried in a few books lately. In the past two weeks, I have finished "The Appeal" by John Grisham (I give it three and a half out of five stars) and "Handle with Care" by Jodi Piccoult (I give that one four out of five stars). Ms. Piccoult's book was definitely a page-turner, and it held my attention... but I was quite disappointed by the ending. (That's all I'm going to say, as I don't want to ruin the book for you.) I guess it just didn't deliver the punch that the rest of the book had for me. Oh well, at least I got to enjoy the journey through the pages.

Not much else to report here, just enjoying the sunshine and getting into the rhythm of life. How are y'all doing?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter and the End of Lent

This year I decided that rather than give up something for Lent, I would try to pick up some good habits instead. So, for Lent, I "gave up" being ill in an effort to get healthy. (You may remember that for a few months leading up to Lent, we had something similar to the plague in our household...) So, we started going to the gym regularly, and I got back to walking and enjoying the outdoors. It has felt really good to be in the habit of going to the gym, and I've definitely started to enjoy my time on the elyptical machine. Some say that it takes 3 weeks to make a habit, and I'm really hopeful that this is now a habit of mine that's going to stick around.

For Lent, and actually for 2009, I also decided to pursue happiness. So, every day I tried to find something joyful or happy to reflect on. Sometimes it was the sunrise or a view on the way to work, other times it was seeing a geat quality in someone that I came in contact with. So far, I'd have to say that I have really enjoyed looking for happiness in everything I do. I highly recommend it, in fact! :-)

I hope you all had a great Easter. Here's to continued health and happiness throughout the year!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Banking & Customer Service

On Friday, I decided to stop at Starbucks for a morning mocha before work. As I sat at the drive through, I handed my debit card to the barista (as I have done many times before), and awaited my coffee and my receipt. Instead, I was embarassingly informed that my card was declined four times. Yep, declined. I was incedulous, to say the least, because I had just been paid, and there was well more than the $5 required in my account. After paying for my purchase with a different card, I hurried to the office and called the bank.

Once I finally got through to Bank of America's customer service line, I was informed that my card was turned off because I was part of a "mass compromise," and a letter would be mailed to me; my new card, it seems, was mailed to my original bank branch without my knowledge, and had been sitting there for the better part of two weeks. Nice. The nice customer service lady informed me that the police had simply called and provided the bank with accounts that may have been stolen and needed to be turned off. This would have been all fine and dandy if they had informed me that they were turning my card off. Instead, the letter telling me that the card was beind deactivated was attached to the new cards; the same cards that were mailed without my knowledge to the bank branch. UGH.

To make matters worse, they cut off my hubby's card too -- his new cards should be at our house sometime soon, we think, but the customer service people don't seem to know, nor are they willing to give us more information. Nice...

Lesson learned: the key to good customer service is to communicate with the customer. Let them know what is going on with their account before it is rudely cut off... or before it sends your customers in a panic thinking that their accounts have been drained. Yep, simple communication would have made me a much happier customer!