Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why I love Americans….

Among many other things, because you often get amazing customer service experiences from them….they go way above and beyond the call of duty.  They act like real people who realize they are dealing with real people who have a problem and they are willing to help.  Now,  Canadians,  not so much….and the French of France….we won't even go there.

Recently,  I had the worst customer experience I have had in my entire life…even worse than anything we had in France.  That was with Rogers trying to change our cellphones from month to month to a pay as you go plan.   There were times when I thought I would have to check myself into hospital for stress.

The person involved is a "Vickie"  from the California DMV,  Department of Motor Vehicles.  Now,  most people in Canada,  ourselves included,  wouldn't think you'd get much customer service from a government agency that has no reason to help you particularly…especially if you're a Canadian and you have an odd situation.    They call all the shots.

Background.  We bought a car in the US last year and store it in our garage in PS.  The car licence renewal is not tied to insurance like it is in B.C. so you renew separately with DMV.  We have a very small mailbox in PS and like most Canadian snowbirds,  leave a note to the postman not to leave mail so anything that comes is "return to sender".   Our car licence renewal is in Aug so that is the only piece of mail we need to get.  We had our car insurance people help us fill out the "change of address" form so this would come to us in Vancouver.

When it didn't come I became concerned since we wouldn't be able to drive our car legally without it.  I figured I'd get some complete run around when I phoned DMV.  I almost immediately got a person,  the wonderful "Vickie"  and she informed me the change of address hadn't happened and that I owed over $200 in penalties already because I hadn't renewed in time.  She immediately cancelled those penalties,  assured me the sticker and registration would arrive in time since she would deal with it immediately the cheque arrived.  She gave me all the correct things to do including taking my phone number in case there was a problem and also to make sure I put on the envelope "ATTN  Vickie".

So,  the sticker and registration arrived today in Vancouver….thank you,  thank you,  Vickie!

I will be writing a letter of commendation to the DMV and probably a letter to the editor of the Sacremento newspaper where the state DMV offices are and the city where she works.

Wow…the worst and the best all in one week!

Now,  I don't want to rave on too much and actually things in Canada are better than they were.  But in 1977,  when we returned from a year doing graduate studies in Eugene,  Oregon,  we decided to go out for breakfast a few days later.  We went to The Empress, which was the best hotel in Victoria at the time.  We waited over an hour to get our breakfast,  you had to trip a server to get another cup of coffee,  the eggs were cold when it did arrive,  and it was about 4x as much as you'd pay in the US.

Jim and I looked at each other and reflected…ah right…we're back in Canada now.  Welcome home.  Service,  value…non existent.

And while I'm on a rant….which I allow myself very rarely on my blog because I know people don't want to read that.  I hate the anti-Americanism I see in Canada.  People who are intelligent and would never make a racist or homophobic comment,  feel they can make the most outrageous negative generalizations about Americans.  So…enough said.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Out to Delta today….

Carol and Dave prepared a fabulous lunch for us and we all had a great time chatting and catching up….thanks so much!

It was fun driving out and seeing pumpkins and leaves turning and now back just in time for a wonderful sunset.

 Dave and Carol

 Cec and Linda


Panorama photo of our living room

John and Carol were over for lunch yesterday…great time as always.  John took this photo of our living room.  He took one of the view but too much light.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Drawing Conclusions"

"Drawing Conclusions" by Donna Leon

Yes,  still avoiding War and Peace.  A fun read as usual.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Things that make me happy….

My cat who reminds me of Oscar,  the pumpkin represents Fall on the West Coast,  sunflowers remind me of all the wonderful times we had in France,  and the cacti for our paradise in Palm Springs.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

At The Sylvia twice today...

First of all we met Stan and Nicki for lunch there.  They had an appointment downtown.  Great to see them and to hear they not only will be in Palm Springs for November but also Jan and Feb.  Then,  tonight we went to hear the music…Reid Jameson…someone we always enjoy.  Very cosy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


You see the freighters a little differently from Spanish Banks.  These are photos taken yesterday.  It was very very quiet at Spanish Banks except at the far UBC end,  a whole load of cars and movie vehicles so filming was going on.

First day of Fall in Vancouver

-Photo by: Bon Bahar

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Itty Bitty Book Review: "His Whole Life"

"His Whole Life" by Elizabeth Hay

At the ATC meeting,  Susan gave me this great bookmark…especially for me because of the cats!

I've enjoyed everything I've read by Hay but I think I like this one the best.  Wonderful character development and she really captures the often strange dynamic of families.  And the settings of a lake in Ontario and New York take first place…wow.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nordstrom goes to the dogs...

It seems dogs are welcome!



Well,  went to Nordstrom's today.   Interesting and I love that they have a bar….now,  this is real grown up.  I don't get a lot of pleasure out of looking at expensive clothes but I did buy a cute little shirt for a baby.  The best dress shirt Jim ever had and still has was from Nordstrom's in Seattle and before I discovered T J Max and Steinmart in Palm Springs I would go to the Presdients'  Day sales.   I don't remember all this really high end designer stuff…I guess it's what sells these days.

The doorman is a nice touch.

I thought these were very cool!

This salesperson was very sweet.

I used to buy Ferragamo shoes when I wanted some stylish, comfortable mid heel size for standing all day teaching.

The bar!

I quite liked this dress but the price is a bit unreal for me!

Washrooms are worth a visit.

Now,  this is more what turns me on.  Walking back from the bus I counted 16 freighters.

And the Sylvia's ivy is turning red.

Autumn….time for Calvados

I bought a bottle the other day and we enjoyed our first sip last night after coming home from dinner.  The Calvados tastes even better in our wonderful little glasses with the glass apple in them that Don and Elaine gave us.

The bottle and glasses are on the old Victrola cabinet that was in Don's family.  I painted a design  on it and it's been great storage.

ATC Meeting yesterday….

Diane,  who does these wonderful fabric cards some of you have been receiving,  was working on a "tooth fairy"  to give to a friend who recently had 11 teeth out.  The fairy has a little purse with 11 quarters and her "belt" has 11 teeth,  from a halloween necklace and some shells.  Wow…what a great gift for her friend!

And my treasures….my favourite is the last one on its own….from Susan…a drawing of her bike….love it!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Storm watching….

And some kite surfers.

Then,  for dinner,  we walked up to Ginger Garlic, an Indian restaurant we've been meaning to try for a while.  Excellent…we really enjoyed everything about the meal.   And it was fun walking in this wind…wow!