Freaky Stuff Happens

As some of you will know, my planned trip to New Zealand to celebrate my 10th Wedding Anniversary was thrown into chaos due to the Apocalyptic elements of Sydney weather early this morning (SMH article, Flickr photostream, BOM warning).

Whilst at the airport, the Air New Zealand staff did the best they could to explain the situation (in essence, no planes landed in Sydney to take passengers to NZ…simple really) due to limited visibility over Sydney. Our first flight (7am) was cancelled due to engineering issues so were provided a meal voucher to the food court (awesome!) and put on later flight (9:30am). At 7:30am it was apparent nothing was coming into or out of Sydney; the 9:30am was cancelled (due to weather) + the best we could do was call Reservations and make changes. I had confirmed seats on the same flight on the 24th, so decided to go home and make alternate arrangements for the rest of the trip.

Whilst on the phone with United (as the flights were booked through United, not Air New Zealand), I got to speaking to a lady by the name of “Chen” who helped me change my flights, and she was so lovely asking if it was OK to put me on hold many times. (Of course it was OK, I have worked in Customer Service and know how things work), to which I joked “sure it’s OK, I’m not going anywhere yet!” We got to chatting and I said to take her time as I understood there are delays in making changes and I didn’t mind waiting, at which point I asked her “how are other passengers/callers handling things?”

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference”

She said it’d been quite a tough morning as the majority of the callers were screaming, mad, angry and frustrated that their plans were thrown into chaos as well. I explained to her that Freaky Stuff Happens beyond our control, and getting mad at others over stuff you can’t control is stupid. I explained that I had time and wasn’t going to get mad, and wonder why others would get in such a way over something they can’t control. She replied “thanks very much for sharing that with me, it helps to get through the day to hear such kind words”

I believe I helped change the way her day will pan out, But wonder where other peoples’ heads are? When the Freaky Stuff Happens, knowing what you can control and what’s beyond your control should help you best direct your energies to achieve a resolution. Screaming at customer service people over the phone for no Freaky good reason is pointless, damaging and unproductive.

To anyone out there in a customer service role ‘affected’ by today’s Freaky Stuff, I wish you all the best to get through the tough day ♥☺♥.  To all people inconvenienced by today’s Freaky Stuff, revel in the different day this is turning out to be, and don’t turn into an ugly zombie!

Blood…

For those that don’t know, I am very passionate about donating blood, simply because I know the benefits it provides and know that it’s a very small imposition on me to donate something which I have plenty to give. I recently received a medal for passing 50 donations (of whole blood – Apheresis donors can donate many more times per year) and recently made donation #57.

I believe that anyone who can donate blood, should donate blood.

However, I do understand there are many reasons why people don’t: some are medical, some are pathological. Consider the rise of cancers in the world today – more than a third of donated blood is used to help cancer patients. Do you know of anyone who has or has beaten cancer? I have heard many stories where people donate blood to help out a family member undergoing surgery, however your blood can also be used to help other people along the way. I like to look at people as I walk down the street and wonder if I’ve helped them in some small way. You can read the stories of many people who rely on blood donations, such as Georgio, Jai, Marnie or Sophia (in their own way these people have their own Inner Story)

Where does my donated blood go?

My Special Blood.
However, I have something special in my blood that I’d like to tell you about. I make regular donations 4 times a year like most others, but my blood is not used for transfusions. I am a member of the Red Panel cell donors, and in order to understand what this means, I refer you to an explanation from the Manager of the Red Cell Reference Laboratory:

The Panel is a project that has been in operation for over 20 years and continues with the support of special donors like Andrew. We currently provide three types of panels – Abtectcell II, Abtectcell III and the Phenocell A panel. Andrew is a part of the Phenocell A panel. The project involves the collection of donations which are sent to the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories in Melbourne, where they are bottled and packaged. The product is then sent to hospital laboratories all over Australia and used to identify irregular red cell antibodies found in pregnant women and in patients requiring transfusion. By identifying such antibodies, we are able to give a patient blood which is compatible for transfusion.
Donors are selected to join this program based on their extended red cell phenotype. The blood groups of all of the donors in this program need to complement each other, and together they must cover all the blood groups that can cause transfusion problems.

Andrew’s extended red cell phenotype is:Group O; cDe, C-, E-, CW-; K-, k+, Kp(a-b+); Fy(a-b+); Jk(a+b-); M+, N+, S+, s+; P1-; Le(a-b+); Lu(a-b+); Co(a+b-)

Andrew’s Rhesus phenotype is found in just 2% of the population. When combined with his antigen negative status of some of the other blood groups, this makes him an especially valuable member of our program.

Why am I telling you this? In some small way it makes me feel special to know my blood is used in a way to ensure other units of blood are compatible before donation. You could say with the special bits in it (in no way am I going to use the language from the above text as I am not an expert and don’t claim to be) my blood is an enabler – in a way, similar to my view on life – to be an enabler to help others achieve their goals.

Perhaps you have something special in your blood and don’t yet know it? Let me know if you have any questions about donating blood by leaving comments below! (Please Note: I am passionate about donating blood but am not affiliated with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service)

A bedtime poem for my boys.

I made up this little poem whilst tucking Mr4 into bed a few days ago. I thought I’d share this with you all!

The time for fun is over,
It’s time to go to bed;
I love you from your little toes,
Up to the top of your head!

Nice & simple, just the way I like it 🙂 Do you have any little sayings or poems you recite to your children? let me know!

(With thanks to 2 pioneering dads that blog, Writerdad & Bloggerdad who often share their thoughts about fatherhood!)

Half Marathon

I am excited to be running my 1st half marathon (as part of the Sydney Running Festival) in less than 2 weeks. For someone who had not done more than a few hundred metres at a time back in May, I think it’s been pretty good going. Some people (notably friends through Facebook and Twitter) have asked why I’m doing this and what preparation I’ve had.

My lead-up to this was the 11km Sutherland2Surf, as well as the 14km City2Surf. Each week I’ve been going to 2 x 1hr Aerobic Kickboxing sessions and a 10-13km run on Fridays. I am not taking this so seriously to be locked into a training regime as my initial goal is simply to get fit! 🙂

This is one of my 2009 Goals which I had decided on back in January. I believe that pursuits such as walking/running rely less on technology and more on your own ability. Most other sports rely on other objects (balls, other players, equipment, etc.). Running really does force you to rely on yourself to get through. I am aiming to complete the Half Marathon in under 2 hours.

I decided that as I am fit and well, I’m going to see how far I can push myself whilst I have the capability to do so. It will help me understand who I am (in a physical sense) and provide me a mechanism to get fitter and relieve stress at the same time (I find running and cycling quite therapeutic 🙂 I’m also working in other ways to expand myself in the realms of thinking, creativity and relationships – I’ll share those thoughts with you soon.

I have not yet chosen my next ‘big’ goal, but will be looking to complete the goals I have set for myself for 2009. Let me know of some of your goals, or if you will also be running in the Sydney Running Festival!