Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bad News and Customer Service

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We got some quite disturbing news this week. I will leave it at that except to say that I know myself well enough to know that I will not be at my best for a while. I am almost certain to have more bad days than good ones, until the news is encouraging. I apologize in advance if I am slow to respond to comments, erratic in posting, and miss many days of making web rounds. 

Meanwhile, some thoughts swimming around in my head: Do you love your bank? Probably not. I know that I wasn't feeling too kindly toward mine. I won't mention the name, but they are one of the biggest in the country and certainly have California pretty well tied up. Specifically, I was ticked off because a business account of mine had recently been whacked with some outrageous monthly fees. I had not dealt with it—just a couple of things on my plate recently. That was my fault. But, that did not stop me from being annoyed by the exhorbitant deductions from my balance every month.

One of the many things we dealt with, while in Los Angeles Tuesday, was banking. Amazingly, this megabank doesn't have a branch in our nearby small town. When I sat down with a lady at one of those lobby desks, I was only there about an ATM card that had expired right around the time I had surgery. (Another thing that hadn't been dealt with, because it wasn't high on my priority list.) Well, lo and behold, this kind lady preceded to ask me about that account with the nasty fees and volunteered that she could switch the account so my required balance would be quite reasonable. Whoopee! No more irritating deductions. I jumped on the opportunity, of course. 

It is one thing when a company takes care of a problem because we have requested said action. It just feels so much better when the company representative spots the situation and offers to solve a problem that wasn't even on your radar at that particular moment. Today, I am still feeling all warm and fuzzy about that big bank with B and A in its name—at least about the representative at that one branch.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Long, Long Days

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Lately, I have been terrible about commenting, and genuinely miss making my daily web rounds. Tuesday was another one of those days that took me completely out of the loop. Our trip to Los Angeles was a particularly long, hard day. In my opinion, any day that begins at 4:30 AM is apt to be an exhausting one.

Now, I don't like sleeping in and can rarely stay in bed past 6:30AM, even if I am not well. But, this 4:30 stuff is a little outside my range. The stress level was high enough most of the day to stifle impulses to yawn in anyone's face, but I wasn't exactly bubbling with energy. Since we didn't roll back into our garage until after 9:30 PM, I was glad to see the day end.

Meantime, Galen becomes better friends with all the folks at the day-boarding facility in town. Everyone there loves him. The adrorable manager of the kennel section (the pet food store is up front) is crazy about our pup and always has to be the one to deliver him to us. She brings him along with his personalized "report card" and a little bag of treats tied with a colorful ribbon.  Galen's report cards are always filled with glowing remarks about his good humor and excellent behaviour. Thank goodness he likes everyone there. (Little secret: Galen loves everyone. He thinks people are keen and that surely everyone lives to play with him.) We missed him desperately for two whole nights, a day, and two mornings and are relieved to have him home with us. I think he like us okay too.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Photo Lab Search

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Over time, I have tested a couple of photo labs, but those early results discouraged me. So much so, that I never really made a thorough investigation of possibilities. Recently, I began thinking, once again, about the option to send out printing. For one thing, I would like to test printing on various materials, but I am not interested in trying it at home. I think I have found my answer, Bay Photo Lab.

There are a couple of advantages to using Bay Photo. Because they are located in California, it means faster delivery. But, here is one of the best things about this arrangement: Their profile is so close to the one for my printer that I can print proofs on my home printer and get a solid reading on what adjustments need to be made before sending files to the lab. My first test order arrived quite promptly and, most importantly, I am happy with the prints. So far, so good. Next, I am ordering some samples on different materials. I will keep you posted.

Out in the World, Again

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During my many months of recovery and relative isolation, I had forgotten what it is like to be out and about with anything resembling a social life. Friday, I went to a birthday luncheon (that lasted three hours—hey, women can talk!). We were celebrating the birth of a dear friend and it was a warm and lovely early afternoon. I came home to feed the dog, catch my breath, and collect The Husband to head off to the the monthly arts gala in town, the First Friday event. That meant two hours of hubbub bouncing back and forth between two galleries, meeting exciting new artists, touching base with artists I knew already, and bumping into old friends that I hadn't seen in months. I came home at the end of the evening totally exhausted physically and so hyped mentally that I couldn't sleep. All this activitiy had come on top having just begun to re-read Freeman Patterson's Photography and The Art of Seeing. It dawned on me Saturday that I had not absorbed that much stimuli over the course of one day in over a year. Yesterday, I was still a bit of both—exhausted physically and buzzed mentally.

I had already committed in my own mind to participate in the BVS Cultural Arts Association Annual Art Show (how's that for a mouthful?) this year, and Friday night solidified that decision. The big order for my friend/client, L, is done, and I'm just waiting for some packing goodies (for a finished sort of gift wrap) to arrive, so I can ship it off. I am ready to take on the next challenge. In spite of the work the art show entails, I am looking forward to it. I hated missing out on it last year.

This past Thursday, we were on the road and will be again one day next week. This time the medical appointments are for The Husband. The photo above was taken on the road west to Arvin. Most of our doctor visits mean the road south to Los Angeles—a not nearly so scenic drive. I decided to mine the more scenic photos for something to post here.

The photo is from the shoot, "On the Road to Arvin" and was taken with the G7. This one is a good example of why I indulge in drive-by photography. All along this route, there are very few places to pull off the road. Besides, we were headed home, running late already, and moving fast. There was no time to think, just react. Afterwards, I realized that I had responded to the frame that surrounded the mountains in the distance.