Thursday, August 22, 2019

Thankful, Grateful, Blessed #2

Today I am thankful for great customer service.  It seems like it is something of a thing of the past with all the rushing around and the dog-eat-dog world that shopping and returning and exchanging and needing customer service can be.  This week, I have had two super interactions regarding customer service and I'd like to give a shout-out to these two companies.

1.  Michael Kors - definitely a first-world problem but I somehow lost a dust cover in the move.  I have a couple of designer handbags and because of the cost and the sheer beauty of each one, I take really good care of them.  I store them tucked away in their dust covers so that they will hopefully last as long as I do!  When I found that the cover for the handbag I was currently using was missing, I took the opportunity of being near a Michael Kors store to ask about a replacement.  Sadly, they didn't have any but the customer service representative gave me a card with the company details and suggested that they may be able to help me.  I shot off an email when I got home, receiving a prompt and very nice response that my request would be addressed, and voila! a replacement cover arrived in the mail today.

2.  Ore-Ida - I opened a package of frozen French fries and discovered a more than acceptable number of fries that were green or had black spots.  Not an alarming number but when I purchase a product like this, I don't expect to throw some of the product away.  Ore-Ida has a very user-friendly website although they ask for a lot of information so make sure you have your package handy.  I can understand the need for all the details because a defect in a product (more serious that a few green fries) could be indicative of a production issue and should a recall result, they need all the details to find out where the product is carried so that they can take action.  Again, a prompt and very nice response from the company thanking me for bringing this to their attention and a coupon to cover the cost of the unsatisfactory item.

BZ, as we say in the Navy, to Michael Kors and Ore-Ida!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

way back when...Wednesday #1

I've been having a lot of flash-backs to times gone by, some from as far back as my childhood, some other random thoughts that seem to pop out of nowhere or perhaps be triggered by my environment.  Some will end up in If this is Tuesday or Story Time Friday posts if they are closely related to my early days in England, or just times with my family, but I thought it would be fun to write them down.

I was off work for an appointment today and I took advantage of the extra time and ran to Target.  I ducked into the restroom and as I was drying my hands, I thought back to the days before paper towel dispensers and the ultra-modern Dyson air dryers.  Does anyone remember the cloth towel dispensers?

Surprise, surprise, they still exist!  This company, Phelps, provides uniform and facility services and look what they offer - 
ye olde cloth towel dispenser!  Fascinating that such an item, in our germ-phobia world today, still exists.  I can remember that, after about six or eight people rotated the cloth to find a dry spot, it started to get very damp.  Not only that, it could be a little gross because not everyone comprehends the need to hum Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star as they wash their hands to make sure they are thoroughly washed and vestiges of grim made their way over to the towel.

Can you remember the last time you saw a cloth towel dispenser?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #107

At the top of my bucket list is afternoon tea at Betty's in Harrogate (one of six Betty's locations).  It's an institution, open since 1919 and an experience, visually and gastronomically, to delight the senses.

As I was researching Betty's to write this article, I came across a great blog post that says everything I would want to say about Betty's.  One day, I will share my own photos with you.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Hello Monday

I'm super late with Hello Monday - time just got away from me this weekend.  I spent a lot of time on meal prep - after watching The Magic Pill on Netflix, I was completely re-motivated to get back to clean eating.  I whipped out two of my favorite recipes to keep me going through the week, Paleo Running Momma's Meatloaf (I don't make the ketchup, I use Tessemae's) and 40 Aprons Breakfast Casserole.  Portioned for breakfasts and lunches, I am good to go.

I had, however, my last major splurge for a while when I attended Tea Time with Debbie, an event at what used to be Debbie Macomber's Victorian Tea Room and is now The Grey House.  Debbie still lives in the area and has an office close to The Grey House and today's event was afternoon tea, a signed copy of her new book, and she gave a wonderful talk about how she started writing and shared hilarious snippets from her fan mail.  It was a lovely afternoon.

Vic meanwhile took an excursion to the Maeda Escarpment, more commonly known as Hacksaw Ridge from the movie of the same name.  The Battle of Okinawa is described as the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War; I read the famous account by E. B. Sledge With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa in a military history class and it was very difficult reading.

I wrapped up my Sunday with two PBS specials, Downton Abbey Returns and Downton Abbey Live.  Is anyone else as excited as I am about the upcoming movie?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Story Time Friday #5

It's been over a year since my last Storytime post so I'll give you a quick recap.  I'm chronicling my life story, recreated for the most part, from the stamps in my various passports (remember the good old days when they always stamped your passport?).  So far we have...born in Germany, adopted at birth by an American Army soldier and his British wife (hereinafter always referred to as Dad and Mum), moved from Germany to Boston and then to Norway.  Left Norway for the San Francisco Bay Area where my sister, Barbara, joined the family.  Dad went to Vietnam for a year and when he returned, we drove across the country to New York and hopped on a plane for his next duty station in Belgium.

We flew into Heathrow Airport on December 1.  Our passport stamps say London Airport; the airport was renamed Heathrow the year before but I guess they hadn't updated the passport stamps yet.  The weather was freezing, snow everywhere.  Flights were delayed, cancelled, the airport was a mess.  The airline (Pan Am, I think) wanted to fly us from London, England to Paris, France, then north from Paris to Brussels, Belgium, and then have us take a train down to Mons which was our ultimate destination.  Yes, that's England to France to Belgium, two planes and a train!  Dad was sick, my sister Barbara was sick, and we had fourteen pieces of luggage plus a Pack-and-Play type portable crib, and something else, a high chair or other baby paraphernalia.  It had been a long road trip across the States, delays in New York, and now this.  My Dad had had enough.  He had some sort of diplomatic passport (why I have no idea, another one of those questions I wish I'd asked) and voila! one look at that and all of our luggage came off the plane and our brief stay in England to recover began.

My Dad secured a taxi to take us from London to Manchester in the northwest.  200 miles in a taxi in 1967, can you imagine?  Wish I had the credit card receipt for that jaunt!  Most of Mum's family lived in the Manchester area and whether they were alerted to our coming or we just showed up on the doorstep, I don't know but we soon took up residence in a rented house on Cavendish Road (such a delightfully British street name, isn't it?).  It was a large two-story brick house and I remember a dining room in the front of the house and a living room at the back.  I know there was a kitchen but don't remember any details about it.  Upstairs were several large bedrooms with a very Downton Abbey-esque bell system, I had a lot of fun with that.  I also loved the little office that had a roll-top desk and a collection of rubber stamps that I played with endlessly.

I don't remember how or where we celebrated Christmas.  It might have been at my aunt's (Mum's sister) or at the Cavendish Road house.  I don't recall if we had a tree or any of the other details and I don't think there are any photographs of that winter.  Two days after Christmas, Dad and Barbara nursed back to health, we left England and flew into Brussels.  More to come, or as they say in southern Belgium (the French-speaking region) à venir.

Our ultimate destination - Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE)
There are currently 29 member nations but when we moved there in 1967, there were only 15.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Thankful, Grateful, Blessed #1

Starting a new Thursday feature today.  I joined in with a Thankful Thursday meme two weeks ago but I was disappointed that the other bloggers (apart from the host) linked to random posts and that wasn't what I wanted.  So, I'm branching out on my own.

A little bit of backstory to set the scene.  Vic was up for consideration for promotion this year.  It's one of those time in grade/rank type of deals - you have to have been in your previous rank for a certain period and when you've met that milestone, you are eligible for consideration.  There's a website where all the details about the promotion board are available, including a great tracker that shows the progression of the results as they go through layers of approvals before they are announced.
The Release and Approval Process is a lengthy one. Please be aware that each location on this tracker involves numerous offices within that location. Due to the complexities of the approval process there will be times where no significant movement occurs (possibly weeks) at a particular location. This is NOT uncommon. 
Senate Confirmation
Select Message Released
Secretary of Defense
Secretary of the Navy
Chief of Naval Operations
Judge Advocate General
Chief of Naval Personnel
Board Convened
I've been tracking the board since it convened in May and I knew we were getting close to the results announcement.  Officers get a couple of opportunities for promotion and then if they don't make it, retirement is usually their next step.  This was Vic's first "look" so I was doubly excited - how cool would that be if he made it the first time!

Well, I think you know what's coming next...he made the promotion list!  I actually found out when I got home last Wednesday and found a congratulations message on Facebook Messenger from one of his former co-workers.  I quickly signed on to the website and there was his name, how lovely it was to see it in black and white.  I couldn't wait to talk to him.  He's been calling during his lunch time which is my evening here so that works perfectly.

The phone rang and there he was...I was very nonchalant..."So, dear, how was YOUR day?"  He laughed because he knew I knew.  He was woken up in the early hours of the morning with his phone blowing up with congratulations texts.  I put up a quick post on Facebook about how proud I was, sharing the news and more congratulations came flying in.  Wonderful to read all the lovely comments.

Thankful, grateful, blessed, oh my goodness, yes!  Vic is such a hard worker and he pours so much effort into doing a great job.  He's a wonderful mentor, and strives for excellence in all that he does which is so important when his field is safety.  I could go on and on because, of course, I'm his number one supporter but I guess I'll just wrap this up by saying that I am the proudest wife and so thankful that all he puts into the Navy has been recognized.  I guess I'd better go and look at airline tickets now since I will most definitely be heading to Okinawa to pin that shiny oak leaf on his collar sometime next year.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #106

Happy 69th Birthday on August 15th to Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal

When I started to look for a current photograph, I found this fascinating little tidbit - The Princess Royal was also the Guardian of Row Pacific 2019, a venture by Charlie Martell to be the first person to row across the North Pacific Ocean.  As you can see from her message below, there was a great deal of excitement about this project but sadly, after less than a week, Charlie sustained an injury to his shoulder and had to abandon the venture.

In 2019 Charlie Martell will attempt a Guinness World Record feat – to be the first person in history to row solo and unsupported across the North Pacific Ocean, from Japan to the USA, land to land.
The enormity of this endeavour embodies the spirit of ‘challenge’, to face such a vast and unforgiving seascape, alone. It will encourage many individuals never to give up on their sporting dream, and will raise awareness for four very worthy charities; Give Them a Sporting Chance, Veterans In Action, the Allied Forces Foundation and the VC Gallery.
I am delighted to be involved as the Guardian of Row Pacific 2019; this voyage will enrich the lives, not only of the charities Charlie and Team HESCO are working with, but also the lives of those that follow this adventure. I wish Charlie every success.