Category Archives: people

The art of listening

Do you actually listen when someone is talking to you, or do you listen to respond? Or perhaps listen to the beginning and wait until the person is over to tell your own story?

It really is an art to listen just to listen. To hear the person’s words. To recognize the story they are telling. To listen and be empathetic.

I am guilty of not always listening. But for the most part, I believe I’m a good listener. I don’t listen and then jump in right away to tell a story of my own. I try to respond appropriately and with empathy. It’s not always easy and sometimes I get quite distracted with life.

I have encountered many people in my life, and most recently on a weekly basis, people who don’t really listen to what me or others are saying and immediately start talking about their own stuff. There is one person in particular who comes in and takes care of my dad once a week. She just doesn’t listen to listen. I find this frustrating and just separate myself from her. On the plus side, she takes good care of my dad which I am grateful for.

I wonder sometimes that if maybe we all learned to be more empathetic to others that we could make this a better world to live in.

So today – listen. Listen to the words and feelings people are saying. Don’t listen to respond. Just listen. You may learn more than you think.

This amazing, generous world

We live in a world that is usually seen as incredibly greedy, self-centered, ignorant, and just generally not nice these days.  The world of Trump, North Korea, so much sadness – it can definitely put a negative spin on our world.  And yes, there is a lot going on in this world that is sad, depressing, scary – but then you come upon a place that makes you see the world as it should be – a beautiful, amazing generous place.  I was lucky to have found this place, but I am not sure if that is the right word in the circumstances that led up to discovering a most amazing place.

 

My father suffered a heart attack two weeks ago and ended up being transferred to Hamilton, Ontario in order to have surgery.  I am happy to report that he is on the mend, albeit slowly, but he is definitely healing.  When the decision was made to head to Hamilton, my mother, of course, was going to go with him to be by his side.  Seeing that I am living with my parents, I made the decision to forego work for the week and went to Hamilton to be with my mother.  My sister did some research and through her research, she put my mom’s name in for a room at a house near the hospital.  I cannot thank my sister enough for leading us to this house!

 

The name of the place we stayed at was the Mark Preece Family House – this lovely unassuming building situated a block away from the hospital.  We were in touch by phone with the weekend volunteer, Paula, who was incredibly helpful in giving us directions and information.  A couple of hours later, we arrived with Paula at the front door waiting for us.

 

We walked into this building, awed by the beauty that awaited us.  A gorgeous lounge/library with books and magazines to read, colouring books if we chose to do that (and yes we did indulge in colouring while there), coffee, tea and cookies, a fireplace, and gorgeous antiquey (yes that’s a word – MY word!) furniture.  And that was just the front room!  After we filled out the necessary paperwork, we were given a tour.  It was like coming into a second home – we had a very nice room with very high ceilings, beautiful duvets on the bed and a private bathroom.  We were taken down to the kitchen/dining room area – two big fridges, a big eating area, a TV to watch, a pantry shared by all, our own bins in the fridge and second pantry.  Communal dinners on numerous nights during the week.  Wonderful people were met that were staying there – Kellie from Vancouver, Rose and her husband from Thunder Bay – just to name a few that we ended up befriending, all of us staying there while waiting on news of our relative’s health.  It was such a homey feeling, something you would never get in a hotel.

 

The executive director, Pearl, is a wonderful woman who takes the time to chat with everyone staying there (when she gets a few minutes!) – she is a wealth of information and so friendly.  The ladies at the front desk with helpful information about the walk safe program through the Hamilton Health Services and so many other things I asked.  And of course – the cookies!!!  Cookies to be shared by all – I would lie if I said I didn’t partake in some of the cookies.

 

I cannot say enough about the wonderful and calming atmosphere the Mark Preece Family House gave us during this stressful week.  It is a place to feel like home, even when you are miles and miles away from your home.  A truly comforting place to be in to take away some of the stresses of the hospital.

 

The Mark Preece Family House is a gem of a place for those who are in need of a room while a family member is in hospital.  This amazing house, and the amazing volunteers that keep it running, are proof to me that this world really is an amazing, general place.

This amazing, generous world

We live in a world that is usually seen as incredibly greedy, self-centered, ignorant, and just generally not nice these days.  The world of Trump, North Korea, so much sadness – it can definitely put a negative spin on our world.  And yes, there is a lot going on in this world that is sad, depressing, scary – but then you come upon a place that makes you see the world as it should be – a beautiful, amazing generous place.  I was lucky to have found this place, but I am not sure if that is the right word in the circumstances that led up to discovering a most amazing place.

 

My father suffered a heart attack two weeks ago and ended up being transferred to Hamilton, Ontario in order to have surgery.  I am happy to report that he is on the mend, albeit slowly, but he is definitely healing.  When the decision was made to head to Hamilton, my mother, of course, was going to go with him to be by his side.  Seeing that I am living with my parents, I made the decision to forego work for the week and went to Hamilton to be with my mother.  My sister did some research and through her research, she put my mom’s name in for a room at a house near the hospital.  I cannot thank my sister enough for leading us to this house!

 

The name of the place we stayed at was the Mark Preece Family House – this lovely unassuming building situated a block away from the hospital.  We were in touch by phone with the weekend volunteer, Paula, who was incredibly helpful in giving us directions and information.  A couple of hours later, we arrived with Paula at the front door waiting for us.

 

We walked into this building, awed by the beauty that awaited us.  A gorgeous lounge/library with books and magazines to read, colouring books if we chose to do that (and yes we did indulge in colouring while there), coffee, tea and cookies, a fireplace, and gorgeous antiquey (yes that’s a word – MY word!) furniture.  And that was just the front room!  After we filled out the necessary paperwork, we were given a tour.  It was like coming into a second home – we had a very nice room with very high ceilings, beautiful duvets on the bed and a private bathroom.  We were taken down to the kitchen/dining room area – two big fridges, a big eating area, a TV to watch, a pantry shared by all, our own bins in the fridge and second pantry.  Communal dinners on numerous nights during the week.  Wonderful people were met that were staying there – Kellie from Vancouver, Rose and her husband from Thunder Bay – just to name a few that we ended up befriending, all of us staying there while waiting on news of our relative’s health.  It was such a homey feeling, something you would never get in a hotel.

 

The executive director, Pearl, is a wonderful woman who takes the time to chat with everyone staying there (when she gets a few minutes!) – she is a wealth of information and so friendly.  The ladies at the front desk with helpful information about the walk safe program through the Hamilton Health Services and so many other things I asked.  And of course – the cookies!!!  Cookies to be shared by all – I would lie if I said I didn’t partake in some of the cookies.

 

I cannot say enough about the wonderful and calming atmosphere the Mark Preece Family House gave us during this stressful week.  It is a place to feel like home, even when you are miles and miles away from your home.  A truly comforting place to be in to take away some of the stresses of the hospital.

 

The Mark Preece Family House is a gem of a place for those who are in need of a room while a family member is in hospital.  This amazing house, and the amazing volunteers that keep it running, are proof to me that this world really is an amazing, general place.

Boycotting stores – who does it help?

I have been working at Tim Horton’s, an iconic Canadian coffee shop, for the past three months.  I love it there – the people I work with are so much fun and while there are off days when one or most of us are grumpy, I wake up every day excited to go to work.

 

At the beginning of this year, the province I live in, Ontario, increased the minimum wage from $11.60 an hour to $14 an hour.  Because of that, some of the franchise owners have made some newsworthy decisions, such as taking away the paid breaks that were provided before and no longer paying for benefits.  To make this clear, the franchise owners I was hired by DID NOT DO THIS!!  However, we are seeing the brunt of these other franchise owners.  People have been talking about (and actually doing this) boycotting Tim Horton’s in general.  We have many people in the store and going through the drive-thru telling us that they will no longer be coming here in protest of what the owners are doing.  I patiently explain that the store I work in is NOT affected by this.   Some people still insist in not coming anymore (yet they are in the drive-thru or in the store, buying a coffee… go figure.

 

I have explained my thoughts on this to many people – boycotting stores are NOT going to help the employees.  By boycotting any business because of unfair treatment of their staff, you are hurting the very people who you claim you are helping.  By boycotting Tim Horton’s, since this is the store I am talking about, sales will go down.  When sales go down, fewer employees are needed to work because of the lack of business.   So less employees means more savings for the company and the employees have LESS WAGES to live on.

 

I know not everyone agrees with my thinking, however, it makes sense.  Fewer customers, less sales, fewer people needed to work.  It is that simple.  So rather than boycotting the company you are angry at, write letters to the head office.  Complain to the head office.  It is NOT the employees who need to be hearing this – we cannot do anything about what the head office or franchise owners are doing.

 

And if you are inclined to continue patronizing Tim Horton’s (and I thank all those who are!), be understanding to the staff.  We are occasionally understaffed and we try our best to give you the fastest service possible.

 

I always treat the customers with a smile and a thank you – I would like to be treated the same way back.  I think that is just general common courtesy –  and how all people should treat each other!