Still a Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

My family had a great Christmas despite a few bumps in the road. Shane and I were going to spend the holiday with my bro and his family. Mainly because it was Arnold’s first REAL Christmas (his first Christmas was last year but he didn’t really understand what was going on) and we were all very excited to see how he was going to react to everything.

But of course that didn’t happen. Arnold got pneumonia and was admitted to the Children’s Hospital here Tuesday evening. Very crappy. He was very uncomfortable and sick and it killed us all to see him in such pain and discomfort. But he did get excellent care and the nurses even gave him a night pass for a few hours so he could spend Christmas Eve / Morning with his family. That was very nice. He should be getting out for good this evening. He is quite the little trooper and we are very proud of him – I guess his big sis taught him a thing or two.

It would have been very easy for us all to take on the “Christmas is ruined” attitude but overall it was still a very nice Christmas. We wish Arnold could have been feeling better and not suffering like he was. But we all realized pretty fast that there were a lot of kids in that hospital that had it very bad and would not be getting “night passes” or even the chance to go home anytime soon (or sadly worse).

As with most things in life, you usually don’t have to look too far to find someone who has it worse that you – so you always need to be thankful for what you have. In our case, we have a wonderful family that had a great time together and got through a less than pleasant experience all the stronger / closer.

I hope you all have a holiday that brings you closer to the people you love the most!!!

Happiness is…

Well it’s a lot of things but right now it’s the cappuccino that I just made from the espresso that arrived on my doorstep today from Espresso Vivace.

Sure I paid more for shipping than I did for the coffee. Yes there are places here in this city where I could buy espresso beans and not have to wait 2 weeks for delivery.

But these guys know product development. Nothing I have ever tasted in coffee compares to this and trust me I have had my share. When I first emailed them to ask if they delivered to Canada, they said they did but they were very concerned about the quality of the product if it wasn’t delivered within a couple of days. That impressed me so much. They were not just happy to accept my money and laugh their way to the bank – they cared about my service experience enough to risk losing the sale.

I remember reading one of David Schomer’s books (he owns the place) when I was a barista for a coffee shop many moons ago. His goal was to make espresso taste as good as it smelled. This really hit home to me. Probably because I remember as a child taking a heaping tablespoon of coffee grinds and shoving it in my mouth because the smell was so good. I was grossly mistaken. He also demonstrated that presentation was still always important no matter how good something tasted.

A customer’s experience is something that in unique and special to them and the more you care about all the elements that affect that experience (quality, presentation, service, value, etc…) – the more likely they will have a positive one. That’s where customer loyalty is built in my opinion. The more you consistently deliver that experience your customer is looking for – the deeper the relationship will grow. Seems pretty basic doesn’t it? Then why do so many companies fail here?

I learned a lot from that book about making coffee. (Thanks to my former boss for lending it to me) I also quickly learned how to make an otherwise repetitive job exciting by caring about the quality of each individual drink and never sacrificing presentation or service. Plus it also paid for the business degree that hangs on my wall today so all was not that bad.

I also learned that these guys know coffee and for years I made it a point to hassle anyone I knew heading to the Seattle area to bring me back some. Now thanks to the power of the Internet, I have the perfect cappuccino sitting here in front of me and I feel goooooooooooooood!!!

“Virtual” Theft

Online gamer in China wins virtual theft suit – Dec. 20, 2003

Shane just sent me this link – its a pretty interesting development. I have seen people lose “virtual” items in online games to hackers/looters before but I never expected that someone would ever win a case on it…even if it is in China.

I am not sure that I agree the gaming company should have to pay but its quite interesting all the same.

Hug a Newfoundlander

Last week I did some changing to my blog index page to make it a little easier to read (I hope) and to try and freshen things up a bit. For the header, I added a picture of our favorite cook-up/picnic spot. Its one of the many places we enjoyed on this great island of ours this summer. I spent the evening reviewing the hundreds of pictures that we took this summer and now I feel a little sad that the winter has come and therefore fishing, camping, hiking and picnics are at least another 5 months away now.

If you have never been to Newfoundland then I really must insist that you try to visit sometime. No words I could type would even begin to describe the natural beauty that exists here. But if you ever do come to Newfoundland; make sure you let me know so that I can direct you to some of the greatest experiences this place has to offer. Also be sure to bring clothing for all four seasons because you could experience either in the run of a day. Note that the climate here is not one of our greatest selling propositions. However the mountains, whales, birds, icebergs, fishing, and breath-taking sunsets are – so in the end I think its worth it.

Notice how close these big guys will come to shore. (Thanks dad for pic)

This is in Gros Morne National Park where Shane and I went camping for our holidays.

This was our favorite fishing spot – we saw the sun set many evenings from that spot.

This was the view from where we did most of our camping this summer.

Probably the only thing in Newfoundland that surpasses the greatness of its natural beauty is the people that live here. And on that note, I leave you with the following excerpt from an article written by Rick Bell of the Calgary Sun:

The moment you lose your faith in people, I recommend you save up your
pennies and take a trip to Newfoundland. Meet the Newfoundlanders and your
faith will be restored. You will meet total strangers and they will become friends.

You will walk in as an unknown soul and come out with buddies who’ll stand up
for you in any fight. You will hear them laugh at themselves, singing songs and
tell tales. They will take life’s curves with grace and know that being alive is a
whole lot better than being dead. They will treat you for who you are and not
put on phony airs. If you need a hand, you get an army. They will take you in,
buy you a round, make you part of the family and by the time you leave the
Rock, you’ll fall in love with the place. You see, Newfoundlanders are
Newfoundlanders wherever they go.

After all, as John Crosbie once said, you can always tell the
Newfoundlanders in Heaven – they’re the ones who want to go home!

If Your Faith is Sagging, Hug a Newfoundlander!

Rick Bell,
The Calgary Sun

Coming Down

Pretty quiet blogging week however that never means there hasn’t been much going on.

Christmas is approaching – and since it is my favorite time of the year I am quite excited. Shane and I plan on visiting my brother and his family for the holidays – I can’t wait.

Work has been hectic but I am taking some time off for the holidays to help regenerate my mind and motivation. If all else fails I will catch up on all the missed sleep – that has to help a bit.

I turned 27 on Wednesday…a funny age for me really. When I was a kid I thought that everything cool was going to happen when I turned 27. This could be an exciting year…who knows. Shane tells me that 27 has been an unlucky age for some…but I think that only matters if you are a rock star. Being as tone deaf as a rock I truly think I am safe. In fact I’m pretty positive it’s going to be a good year.