Wednesday, 4 June 2008


With credit to Jeff for inventing NEWS FLASH:

NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life.

May was a crazy month. Our water supply vanished twice. We talked to the neighbours and it seems this happens fairly regularly in our rather rural area.

The weekend we sold our car and my dad's car died (timing belt destroyed the engine) the very same day. So, just a few days before our friends were due to arrive from Europe we had no car to take them anywhere during their holiday. That same week my mom hurt a tooth and the bungling dentist ignored the warning signs that led to her getting an abscess and even more dental woes. Anyone know a good dentist? Every time my mom or I find a good dentist... they leave! Three immigrated, two retired. Are we jinxed?

We did manage to get in some fun while our friends were visiting us even if we didn't have the time (hubby had to work) or the transport. I've already posted most of my better photos from our weekend drives, but here are two more I rather like. :-)
Bluebells at the Clava Cairns outside Inverness...
Lochindorb, ancient home of the Wolf of Badenoch...
This one was "WORK", but that's not a topic I can ever think of anything to write about, so I'm going to change it into my favourite quote for the month instead, with one important twist - they have to be words from a fellow blogger!

My Wise Words choice for May:
I believe that although we can see inequalities in every sphere of daily life, much of it has to do with our egos and perceptions about ourselves and misconceptions about others.
From my friend Jacques at the Gypsy Cafe

Not much to report here. It was too hectic a month for deep introspection.

The theme seems to be searching. Mom is looking for a new dentist. Dad is looking for a new car. Mom-in-law is looking for alpine plants for her garden this summer. We're looking for a house we could actually afford to buy. Renting sucks, but prices here suck even bigger. Although the prices may be dropping in the USA and England they are still remaining stubbornly beyond our reach in Scotland. Maybe I should add the word "hope" to the "searching" theme...

May was weddings and anniversaries revisited. Having our friends here, returning to where they were married four years ago, triggered many memories for hubby and I about our own wedding and how we met. Especially since it was in May 2002 that I first stepped onto Scottish soil... and first met the man I'd agreed to marry. Five years later I can honestly say the relationship we share is still both romantic and magical... because we both put 101% into making it that way. ;-)

Here the anxiety theme is more learning to let go of being anxious. May was full of unexpected problems, health issues and hindrances, but we got through it. Truth is most things that cause anxiety are only worsened by anxiety. So... Don't worry - be happy!

Biggest smile of the month for me was discovering really GOOD customer service. In January Hubby and I got a coffee machine as a wedding anniversary gift. Since we were in the process of packing to move house we never tried it out until after we moved into this new house, several months later.

To our great disappointment the water came out lukewarm instead of hot. Tepid coffee is NOT a pretty thing! :-P Hubby was convinced that was that, since we had no proof of purchase and it was bought months back, but I figured I'd let the manufacturers know anyway. I went online, used their help form, and asked if maybe there was a way of setting the temperature controls manually.

Long story short - I received a very friendly and helpful reply email from "Wendy", their representative. A brief discussion by email then led to them sending us a BRAND NEW REPLACEMENT MACHINE! Yep, a complete new machine, here's the proof...

The new machine works perfectly! :-) We've had delicious filter coffee, Cafe Latte and Cappuccino.

Thank you to Wendy and Morphy Richards for restoring my faith in customer service!


The new house still doesn't feel like a home, but that's okay. When you move a lot you are forced to review some of your perceptions as well as your possessions. You start to realise what's valuable... and what isn't. What you can live without as well as what is vital to making life happy. The results can be surprising. I've learnt that a decent can opener is worth twenty ornaments and a good shower is more valuable than diamonds. (this house has such a tiny shower *sigh* ) I've also learnt that people make a home more than possessions - friends, family, loved ones.

Well, that was my month of May. How was yours?


74WIXYgrad said...

I am glad you got good customer service, as that is one thing that's lacking in many businesses nowadays.

If I could start a business of my own it would be as a customer service coach.

These people who sold you your coffee maker have it right. They know if you become a dissatisified customer, you have the potential to influence a total of 250 other people.

PV said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing all of that.

"Five years later I can honestly say the relationship we share is still both romantic and magical... because we both put 101% into making it that way. ;-)"

That's the most heart warming thing I've read all week. Kudos and Congrats.

I agree that realizing what's really valuable, what you can and can't live without can be very surprising. It's also a wonderful thing to know.

Blur Ting said...

Full marks for a very good summary. Sorry to hear about your dad's car and mum's dental woes. I hope the infection goes away and she's well again. I had some dental problems recently and went back twice. Not fun at all.

I hope you'll find your dream home soon. It sucks when you know that you'll have to move again someday, so I wish you can find a permananet home soon.

Michelle said...

very true. I must admit I'm one customer that never returns if I get bad service.

Thank you and yes, moving and packing certainly makes you realise your possession priorities.

Thank you for the wishes. :-)

Jean-Jacques said...

Mine wasn't near as exciting as yours ;-), but it was interesting none-the-less. Working from home is completely NEW to me - or shall I say, WAS - been doing it for about 3 three months full time - very different, but getting used to it nicely. I can live with it ;-). Also walking in the mountain quite a bit - discovered more footpaths last weekend.

You mention buying property - it seems the UK house prices have only just started to fall, so maybe if you guys give it a few more months - see where it goes? Here they're talking about a drop of up to 40%...(hasn't even started) So it might be a global trend.

Great update overall! :-)

PS: You've got quite a classy lookin' coffee machine there - sure you're glad getting it sorted out.

Michelle said...

Hi Jacques

So they're predicting price drops there as well?

Next time you come this way you'll have to visit and we'll be able to offer you really good coffee! :-D

Jean-Jacques said...

:-D Mmmm, now that sounds grand, Michelle. Will add Scotland to my next northern itinerary.

Twilight said...

All part of life's rich(?) pattern isnt it !? Your woes of May sound very much like typical Mercury retrograde experiences, Michelle.

Lovely, lovely photographs ! thanks for sharing.
Scotland is magical, always.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I cannot imagine not having ready access to running water. I know so many people throughout the world suffer because of that, but it would really throw me for a loop not having it in my home.

I'm so sorry about your mom's tooth issues. I hate dental problems more than anything - and I mean that!

Its so lovely to reminisce about romance. Its important to keep those memories close by, I think, as they add so much to the relationship on a day to day basis.

Genie said...

Hey, thanks for the compliments and encouragement on my blog! Nope, Feedblitz hasn't told me about your new posts. Glad I stopped by! I use Feedburner and really like it. I haven't had any problems except that it doesn't send out notice that I've posted for about 12 to 24 hours. That has turned out to be a good thing since I always end up editing my entries and by the time people are notified, I've finally got them sorted out.

So, how did you transport your guests!? How stressful! As a hostess I'd have been really anxious having company and no way to show them around! Congrats on the new coffee machine! I love it when a company cares about customer satisfaction, it makes everything so much better!

Michelle said...

Mercury retrograde? ouch! That would explain a lot!

Apparently it only happens a few times a year, but I'm not at all happy to find that out after we took this house.

I think I might try out Feedburner. Do you have the link?

Thankfully our guests came by car (ferry from Belgium) and they were happy to use their car, but it did mean we cancelled a few ideas we'd had to take them to further more unknown places.

Genie said...

"Further unknown places" sounds really intriguing! And fun! I'm glad it worked out.

I hope that water problem gets sorted out. Having the electricity cut off from time to time is bad enough, but without water.... guess you'll have to start stockpiling!

Michelle said...

Thanks Genie, I'll check it out.

"places further" include some really interesting stone circles about 30 miles East of us. I never knew, but apparently this area of Scotland has unusual "recumbant" stone circles - stones lying on one side like giant altars. Very cool (if you are ancient history geeks like hubby and I)We might check them out ourselves some time.

Genie said...

Oh, gasp, stone circles! Cool! I hope you post photos of that!

graceonline said...

What a wonderful review! This is a beautiful way of taking stock and giving gratitude. Thank you for sharing.