Allison's Book Bag

Posts Tagged ‘Six Word Saturday Meme


Halfway through my Customer Service class!

Last spring, I successfully completed Principles of Marketing and anticipated taking marketing classes for the rest of the year. This goal got temporarily put aside when my husband and I bought a new house, I reached the last stretch in the citizenship process, and my family came to visit. Finally, the time was right again this October to take another class.

Customer Service is an online course with a three-month deadline. Students read two chapters per week, complete two or three assignments each week, and comment on at least one answer per week from another student. Unlike Principles of Marketing, we don’t have weekly quizzes or end-of-term papers, and so the pace is a little more relaxed.

The workload still keeps me busy! Even more important, I’m learning and being challenged. To date, I’ve read about best companies, nonverbal communication, telephone and internet service, customer turnoffs, and feedback. In response, I’ve changed my greeting at work, redesigned my office to make it friendlier, and am working on giving better feedback. As for assignments, I’ve accessed myself as a listener, reviewed websites, and acted as a mystery shopper. There is one major project, the first half due mid-term and the other half due end-term, and that is to report on customer service experiences. I expect after this course, I’ll be more analytical of my shopping trips.

That’s what’s new with me! What about you?



Time for my parents to visit!

In the twenty years since I’ve moved to the Midwest, my family has been here just for my wedding. Otherwise, I’ve always been the one to travel to Newfoundland to see everyone. This past Friday my parents flew from Canada to visit Andy and I. Since then, it’s been a full week of introducing them to my life in the Midwest.

For starters, we showed them our new house. Every room except two are unpacked! They also got to meet our three cats and see our dog again. The first day we were all tired, us from moving and them from travel. We slept a lot!

On the days it rained, we used the time to show them where we work. Andy works at our local university as a programmer and as tech support for test software. I’m employed with a church as an administrative assistant. We also used the time to take them shopping for groceries, pet food, and some special meals. At the pet store, my parents got to see how fun ferret can be.  Cheese and crackers from across the world was one of the special meals we ate. In addition, Andy and I took them to our favorite bakery for fruity desserts. Finally, we used the time to attend church and to play games.

On the days the sun shone, we took them to some of our favorite tourist spots. They saw our local zoo. One of the wild birds took a fancy to my step-mom, perhaps because of her red nail polish, and even sat on her lap. They saw our local safari park. The wolves were particularly active. The park has seven of them. The wolves played, explored, and rested. They saw our local gardens. Painted lady butterflies are migrating through our state this fall and were plentiful on the flowers. They also got to see one of our local malls. My step-mom and I brought matching purses. Finally, we all have taken a couple of walks around our neighborhood.

The weekend lies ahead. We’ve got a few more activities planned, but also intend to just hang out by watching television and chatting on whatever topic arises. Thanks to my family for making the trip. I’ve been happy and proud to show them my life.


Nineteen years to earn American citizenship!

After 19 years of visas, background checks, fees, forms, lawyers, worrying, and more, I became an American citizen on September 18. The swearing-in ceremony was held at Beatrice, the same town where my husband and I got married. Prior to the ceremony we ate at Valentino’s with my in-laws. Following the ceremony we revisited favorite haunts. Beatrice is where I rented my first house and adopted my first cat. The town is also about the size of the one I grew up in and so immediately felt comfortable to me. I taught in the area for three years.

As for the ceremony, it was held at Homestead National Monument. There were speeches and awarding of certificates. Thirty-two people from the Congo, Iraq, Canada, and many other far-flung nations, became Americans on this day. Thanks to Andy for the photos!


Five days to find our sheets!

In June, I wrote that in addition to all the major twists and turns in life this year, there was another one on the horizon. Our landlady had called to tell us that she intended to sell her remaining rentals. We had about three months to find a new place. The end of July, God blessed us with our dream home.

This led to an incredibly busy August. I began working ahead on all my writing commitments: reviewing Advanced Reader Copies for Allison’s Book Bag, enlisting guest bloggers for Lincoln Animal Ambassadors, and writing articles for Lincoln Kids. By the end of August, these tasks were all completed, freeing me from those responsibilities in September.

Early August, my husband and I weeding our stuff with the goal of a yard sale. We created signs and price lists and advertised on Craig’s list. Mid-August we held our sale. I enjoyed getting to meet people, wrangle prices with them, and hear stories. As we were packing up leftovers to bring to Goodwill, a wedding bus pulled up. Members of the wedding party put together a basket of goodies from our yard sale as a gift for the bride and groom. What a memorable first yard sale! Oh, and we raised enough to hire college students to help us move.

On September 8, we closed on our new house. Thanks goes to our real estate agent. He took care of us every step of the way. He also gave us a gift card and cookies as a parting gift. The next day we rented a moving truck. Thanks goes to our friends who provided us with boxes and for the four college students who worked eight hours for modest pay and pizza. Much gratitude as well to our neighbor who gave us food for the road. The cheese, meat, and cracker platter provided us with lunches for several days. Without it, we would have resorted to fast food.

Ah moving! We had labeled all our boxes and deposited them to assigned spots. Every day too we stayed up until nearly 10:00 p.m. unpacking stuff. Yet it still took us three days to find cookware and five days to find sheets. We’re still looking for a can opener. Over all though, we’re making good progress and enjoying our first home.



We interrupt this blog … major announcement

A year ago I had been taking a path which, despite some twists and turns, felt comfortable. And then wham! New job…. New writing markets…. New career direction…. New volunteer duties…. In the course of a year, everything changed.

Even so, when the seventh anniversary of this blog rolled around in June, I thought I knew what lay ahead for Allison’s Book Bag. There’s power in words. For that reason, I’ve been picking out books to share with you in the midst of the chaos going on in our world. There’s also power in stories. For that reason, I’ve been moving towards posting more and more stories of my cats. I felt safe about my plans.

But that’s when our landlady called with a bombshell. She plans to sell her remaining rentals, including the one we’re in. We probably have about three months to find a new place.

What does that do for Allison’s Book Bag? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. With each new change that a person juggles, commitments get dropped to allow for new ones. At times one will relinquish those forever; sometimes just for a season.

At any rate, for now, I’m right back where I was last year this time: “Pulling back but not stepping down.” There are reprints I wanted to pull from Animal Ambassadors. Those I’ll add in due time. There are posts already awaiting publication. Those I’ll post in due time. There are Advanced Reader Copies to which I’ve committed myself to review. Those I’ll write in due time. Otherwise, for the immediate future, finding a house is a major priority.

As always, see you around on the blogosphere! And remember: We are meant to thrive in God.

Allisons' Book Bag Logo


I am focusing this year on other commitments. Once a month, I’ll post reviews of Advanced Reader Copies. Titles will include: Freddy Frogcaster and the Flash Flood by Janice Dean, One Two by Igor Eliseev, Incredible Magic of Being by Kathyrn Erskine, Dragon Grammar Book by Diane Robinson, and Wide as the Wind by Edward Stanton.



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