Monday, August 31, 2009

good news

Today I got a letter from Polar Expressions Publishing, saying that my short story has been short-listed to the final round of their competition. As a result, my story will be published in their anthology, BELOW THE CANOPY. Winners of the final round will receive copies of the book, but I can buy one now with all taxes and costs paid. Later, the taxes and costs will be added on. First prize is $500, second prize is $250, and third prize is $100. The title of my story is "The Fire". It is not kidlit, but entering contests is always a good idea. Final winners will be announced in late November, 2009.

Friday, August 28, 2009

hotel experience never-to-be-repeated

The manager of the Penticton Sandman phoned me again today. Not surprisingly, he offered me a gift certificate for a free night at the same hotel. I told him that the experience had left a nasty taste in my mouth and I doubted if I'd use the certificate. I suggested a simple partial refund, but he said he was unable to do that, but that he would send me the certificate anyway. "Maybe you can give it to a friend." But I said I wouldn't inflict that on a friend. Anyway, I guess the certificate is coming.
One word of comfort was that the staff had a meeting on the issue, with two answers. The first is that they will monitor the bookings that come from Expedia and other similar booking agencies to see what exactly was booked, so the reservation can be entered on the local computer and guests won't be stuck with "whatever" when they arrive. The other condition that caused my unfortunate experience was that some guests who were supposed to leave, actually extended their stay and the staff didn't know how to handle it. Henceforth, new guests (pre-booked) will be given priority over those who just don't want to leave.
I cannot stress enough, though, that the staff of this hotel have infinite patience and courtesy. And that I do appreciate.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

hotel experience never-to-be-repeated

The manager of the Penticton Sandman sent me an email today, and later phoned while I was out. I don't know what he can do. I don't want a free stay in any Sandman, because I'm sure I'll never go into one again. As I said before, there is no fault in the staff. And the hotel itself was adequate (although lack of internet access is a bit 20th century in this third millennium). Their booking arrangements are inadequate. Apparently, just because you've registered online does not mean that the hotel has the information. So, prepaid booking online is not registration in the Sandman hotel. I guess direct contact with the manager of the hotel in question, and written confirmation of an actual room number, is necessary. I had the confirmation of the booking from the booking agency, which clearly stated it was for a twin-bed room, but the hotel did not have this information. If prepaid booking does not equate registration, what is it? Kinda useless, eh? Last year I travelled in Italy & the UK, and prebooked in at least four of the hotels I stayed in, although I didn't prepay. I had a bed in each of all four hotels.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Saw the movie today. I was amazed that they were actually able to get all of that huge book into one movie. They took a few shortcuts, of necessity, but it was still an excellent movie. Can't wait for hubby to finish the next book and then for those two movies to come out. Apparently, according to the last reports I heard on the subject, they can't get all of the last book into one movie.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I've finally finished reading the book (couldn't put it down!), and am now ready to see the movie! We have the last book, but I have to wait until hubby finishes it. It won't be long, I'm sure. He's a faster reader than I am.

hotel, continued

I need to clarify that the reason my husband was not able to take the floor and let me have the bed is that while my back has two broken vertebrae, his back was broken in 5 places and he has far more health problems than I do. He's also 5 1/2 years older than I am, and walks with a cane. So, don't blame him! Chivalry has its limits!!

hotel experience never-to-be-repeated

When you book into a hotel, do you expect a bed? Actually, I don't care what else there is. They can keep their television and coffee making stuff, although I do usually make use of both. I don't miss them if they aren't there. I don't even mind if the biffy is down the hall. The hotels I stayed in in Europe last year lacked all those amenities, in fact. I hardly noticed. Because I always got a bed.
But on Friday, August 14th, my husband and I booked into the Penticton Sandman and I experienced the most intolerable situation I've ever seen in any hotel. My husband had tried to get us into the two or three hotels we've stayed at in on other occasions. Unfortunately, all were full. So, after a long search, he found a vacancy at Sandman, so he booked and prepaid online. That was on June 22nd, for our August 14th arrival.
At the desk, I handed over the printout that said we were registered there, and there was no problem. The printout stated clearly that we were booked into a room with twin beds. (For various medical reasons, I need a separate bed.) When we got to the room, we found that there was only ONE bed. For some odd reason, we had a fridge and stove "kitchenette". But only ONE bed. I immediately went back to the desk and said there was a mistake. But no. There was no other accommodation. (Prepaid reservations, notwithstanding!) So, I asked, could I have a cot brought in? No. There were no cots. After some time, it was finally conceded that I WOULD HAVE TO SLEEP ON THE FLOOR! So, on the nights of August 14th and 15th, I--at age 70 (I'll be 71 next month)--I slept on the floor in a hotel! I did take a photo, but it'll be a while before I get a chance to scan it into the computer. I'll post it here (and on Facebook) as soon as I can. I think everyone needs to know, that just because you've booked AND PREPAID, doesn't mean you'll get what you paid for.
Last year I stayed in a total of 11 hotels, and over my lifetime I've stayed in hotels as far east as Moscow,USSR (1975), as far south as Mexico, and as far north as Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Never before have I been given a room but refused a bed. AND, by the way, had to pay over $100 a night for the privilege.
To their CREDIT: the staff at the hotel never lost their courteous attitude. I think they were embarrassed by the situation. For our third and last night of stay at the Sandman, we were moved to the room next door (rm 212 to rm 210) and we had our twin beds. That was, after all, all I wanted.

1st half of August 2009

Well, let's actually start back in July. The last week of July was really interesting. We had Vacation Bible School at St. James, and not only was I up to my neck in it, but also my husband and two of our sons. It was St. Paul and the Underground Church in ancient Rome. We had so much fun with it, that we might just do the exact same one (with our own innovations) next year. We'll see.
August started off with a writers' group meeting at Queen Elizabeth Park. Only three of us actually turned up, but it was interesting and helpful, IMHO. Unfortunately, I never think of sunblock, and so got baked to a crisp! One night of discomfort, eased with cucumber slices on my face, and it was only a memory. Tough skinned cookie, that's me.
Two weekends away: one at Rivendell Retreat Centre, on Bowen Island--our retreat in preparation for my husband's profession into the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis. I had my profession (with preceding retreat and confession) in May of this year. The only difference for my husband's profession was that I got to officiate, having been given permission because I was professed.
The second weekend away was our annual family picnic in Penticton this past weekend. Members of our (deceased) eldest son's family were conspicuous by their absence. No one's fault, just hard to get everyone together all on the same weekend. We have to make a more concentrated effort next year to see that each of our children's family has at least one adult representative at the picnic. We also try to get together at Epiphany (in January). This year we have had the two extra "reunions", those being the TSSF professions. I think we've seen more of each other this year so far than in many years in the past. So, no complaints.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

new link added

For those who are enjoying the 3 minute online retreat from, I've added for the daily office. Makes daily worship at home much easier.