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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Half Year to You! (PART TWO: March and April 2011

In March, I posted a few entries about my appreciation for the trainers at the Apple Store on the upper westside of Manhattan, and if you'd like, you may refer to those posts by clicking here and here. Since that time a few trainers have left that store, including Tim Larsen, whose doing so was addressed in a comment, made by someone who read a blog posting that I had made this past November.
(You may view post and his comment by clicking here.) When Tim Larsen first left Apple, I wrote a letter to corporate on his behalf and a copy of it is posted below:

Dear Joanna,
It was a pleasure speaking with you by phone yesterday and I truly appreciate your willingness to forward my email to someone who might look into revisiting an Apple policy. As you can see I've "cc-ed" Steve Jobs, but I am sadly aware that health issues may prevent him from going through his email, so I especially appreciate your willingness to bring my concerns to someone's attention — a person who may have the authority to consider my suggestion.

By way of background, I have been enrolled in Apple's One to One Program since March of 2010, and have been very grateful for it since day one. This is a fact that I have expressed in an Acknowledgement Page, which I included in a  project I created in iWeb in the spring of 2010. I have also expressed my gratitude to the excellent and attentive managers (Steve Gockerman, Anthony Aliffi, and Gerald Malachi) at Apple UWS store on many occasions (including a presentation that I gave at Apple UWS this past October, as well as a formal essay that I wrote and gave to  the helpful Anthony Aliffi in November of 2010 — a copy of this essay is on my blog which you can read by clicking here). Additionally, I recently found a small way of expressing my appreciation to the staff at Apple UWS when I celebrated my year anniversary of one to one membership, and you can read about these efforts as I wrote about them in two separate blogposts which you can read by clicking here and here

Moreover, I have been impressed with the team spirit of Apple, and have also expressed this on my blog, which you may read by going to this post, this post, and this post. My enthusiasm and gratitude towards Apple remains, but, I am very saddened by a recent circumstance that occurred at Apple UWS last week, which is the firing of Tim Larsen. He truly was an asset to Apple, and in a review of his performance as a trainer (that I was asked to submit on August 30th 2010), I said this:

  "Tim Larsen is an excellent trainer. He is very knowledgeable and willing to share his expertise. I first worked with Tim on April 28th 2010,and he helped me with masking in iWEB. On May 3rd , I worked with him again and he showed me how to search for colors and "grab" them for the web-site I built in iWEB. We worked again on May 28th and June 3rd, resolving a lot of issues in using MAC , as I unfortunately came from a PC background. On June 6th, I worked with Tim again and made the leap of cutting my umbilical cord known as bootcamp, and thus eliminating the windows side of my Mac Book Pro. On June 9th, Tim suggested I up my RAM, and on June 11th, with his advice, I purchased more RAM, and I love the smoother sailing! I did not get to work with Tim again until August 12th, but when I did , he once again helped me with a problem I was having . This time it was with a brochure that I created in Pages. Additionally, because the memory-card to my camera was damaged, he suggested I try the Eye-Fi card; which I have purchased, and I am enjoying. I had a chance to work with this card as it relates to iphoto when I had the session with Tim on August 30th. He knows his products. He is willing to share "trade secrets" and "tricks of the trade" which make using the Mac Book  Pro a rewarding experience. Apple surely knows what a great trainer he is and how passionate he is about sharing his knowledge. Thanks for the opportunity."

Since this review, I have upgraded many of my Apple products, purchased new software, and I have worked with Tim on many, many other occasions. There is so much that I could add about his talents, and his evident love for Apple products, but my doing this would fill volumes, and I am already being a bit too wordy for email. However, I would certainly like to add that not only has Tim been helpful to me, but he has been valuable to many other one to one clients (I see this first hand when I am at Personal Projects), folks with "genius bar" issues, and to his team of one to one trainers who often seek his expertise when they are helping other clients.

Tim Larsen's dismissal was evidently provoked by attendance issues. It is common knowledge that Tim has a long commute, and additionally, this past winter, New York City suffered from many snowstorms, which even caused banks and post offices to close, but not Apple. As I write this, I want to clarify that I am not sure if Apple "forgave" snow related absences, or, if those absences were included. I also assure you that Tim did not complain about this, or about anything related to Apple or complain about anything for that matter.

My point in writing to you, is to let you know that Tim Larsen's dismissal has caused a cloud to linger over Apple clients, and I am truly concerned about the well being of other Apple trainers. It would be very easy for them to become disheartened in light of Tim's situation. There are many talented individuals at the Apple UWS store and they empower clients with skills which is smart (although not their main motive) because the clients then want to purchase Apple products.

If policy is not revisited, these trainers could become just pay check collectors, and time-clock punchers (like many horrible teachers that I have had at various academic institutions), and depart from their being willing to work at learning additional programs to be more qualified; or they may hesitate to be engaging, because if they are penalized for things, then ultimately what is their incentive to persevere?

It is also common knowledge that Steve Jobs recently gave employees three days paid vacation. This indicates to me that he would be open to revisit Apple's attendance policy — especially in the instance when ALL evidence of good stacks up against a few absences. Steve Jobs, as everyone knows, refers to his Apple community as a "team", and I am imploring you to work as a team to revisit your policy, and thus insure that you will continue to have the best of the best working for an organization such as Apple — that one would think — is a cut above adhering to rules that could be altered. Perhaps you could call a revisited policy "the Tim Larsen" clause.

With Appreciation for your time and consideration in this matter as well as gratitude for what Apple has brought to many lives,
Patricia Youngquist

All of my Apple correspondence took place before I ever discovered Ms. Fabio's blogs referred to in Part One of this special half-year posting, as well as in one of a prior blog entries, which you may read by clicking here.  One of the things as I have stated that I liked about Fabio's blogs was that she followed up on topics that she discussed. Another thing that I liked was that she took an action to help someone in need. In this case the someone in need was Benny the goat, pictured at the top of this blog entry (for image credit click here).

However, the point of my follow up today is not Benny (you can read about that story if you like by clicking here), but my point is  about Fabio's response. Allegedly when Fabio heard about Benny, she said to herself, "I have to do more than tweet about this", and she did; by creating a Facebook Page for Benny's cause, and also by writing a letter to a court official, that her readers could cut and paste into an email and send it to the official as well (which yours truly was pleased to do).

So what's a goat in danger of being ousted from the digs it has lived in since it was quite young, and Fabio's response, have to do with Tim Larsen leaving Apple and to my writing a letter on his behalf? Like Fabio, (though I had not heard of her or her blogs at the time), I wanted to take an action that might help Tim, or at the very least raise awareness at Apple. However, thus far, I do not tweet about anything, nor do I have a Facebook Profile, so I did some research to see how to reach the "powers that be" at Apple, and I made the necessary phone calls to confirm my findings; then I wrote the letter on behalf of Tim. The old "if you see something say something" method. Therefore, when I discovered Fabio's blogs and noticed she had done things on the behalf of others I felt a kinship.

Writing a letter is no big deal, I realize, but not writing on someone's behalf, when you are able to so, is a big deal, in my humblest opinion. Having said this, it is a pleasure to let you know dear reader, that since Tim Larsen's leaving Apple this past spring, he has not only landed a great job, but he was  also cast in a lead role in the play, Panic. 

He played John Housemann. This took place in Leonia, New Jersey at The Players's Guild of Leonia's playhouse. I saw the production, and Tim was fantastic; which should come as no surprise to anyone fortunate enough to have worked with Tim on anything. I happened to take a few pictures from the event which can be seen posted below. 

Tim subsequently sent me the following photograph of the "actor less set".

 In terms of April 2011 blog post follow ups, I have two. The first is regarding my rooftop garden. 

My Actinida kolomikta and Actimida AKA Kiwi Vines (featured in my first garden movie, The Kiwi Vine Speaks Fifteen Minutes of Fame almost . . .), are now turning the corner on the rail of my rooftop garden, and heading west as seen in the photograph posted below.

The second thing that I wanted to follow-up on in terms of ideas discussed in April of 2011 is this, on April 17th, 2011, I introduced my readers to Maida pictured here (again) in the photograph posted below. 

And, dear reader, you may recognize her unusually open and animated features while recalling that Maida is a resident at an ecumenical place where I have done volunteer work since November of 2003. 

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @

The place is often referred to as "the home", but, Maida has pointed out to me, the connotation of it being called "the home" is troublesome to her. "It is a residence, "  she explains and goes on to say that by folks referring to it as a "home", there is an implication that she and her fellow residents do not have severe physical or mental capabilities, and often wonders aloud why folks just don't call where she lives a "residence."

Maida, like yours truly, is very sensitive to language and has an appreciation for literature — a fact that I referred to in my April 17th blog entry when I mentioned her love for T.S. Elliot. 

Most recently Maida has been reciting poems from  memory from her tattered book, The Galaxy of English, which she says was stolen from her room. I am always moved by the stories of the lives of the residents in the place I volunteer, and I mentioned in April my idea of adding a weekly or bi-weekly column to my blog, featuring different ones of them. It is an idea for which I am still working out the logistics, so please stay tuned.

For now I will say I am gathering photographs and stories and most likely will begin the series with interesting stories concerning Little Shirley and Doctor Marilyn, both very charming residents pictured below respectively.

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @


  1. My mom worked as a nursing supervisor in a long-term care facility for many years, and growing up in a house that included my grandparents, I've always felt a unique kinship to older folks -- I think they soothe my old soul. Looking forward to more on Maida and co. :)

  2. Your comment came in just as I was tweaking my post for this morning, July 26th 2011 — a post dedicated to Saint Anne — patron Saint of grandmothers. Supposedly in Italy when it rains, it is called "Saint Anne's gift" which made me think of you as I was writing my entry, and then your comment came in. Serendipity or great minds thinking alike . . . (-;

    Meanwhile, as per your comment, Michelle, while I did not grow up in a house with grandparents as you apparently did, my maternal grandparents lived a block and a half away from the house I grew up in, and I saw them everyday, because after my father divorced my mother, she returned to her career as a teacher. Consequently my sisters and I went to my grandparents' house everyday after school.

    Also like you, I have always felt a "unique kinship" to older folks which I attribute to spending so much time around my grandparents. I can relate to your feeling as if you were an old soul. I have felt that way since I was a child only now my age is catching up with my soul (-;

    Maidia will be delighted that you mentioned her name. The other Sunday, she recounted a poem to me that was read to her by a "boy in college" who pursued her. The poem is by Andrew Marvel, and he wrote it for "his coy mistress" starting with the line "Had we but world enough and time . . . " Maidia's eyes lit up as she recited the poem and spoke of the "boy" who wanted to woo her with it. My college years were certainly nothing like Maida's, but I must say that I am delighted for her happy memories. And I am looking forward to including stories from the lives of the wonderful folks I "serve" when I visit the assisted living residence on Sunday mornings.

    Thank you again for your taking the time to read this post, Michelle, I know it was lengthy and that you are busy so I especially appreciate as I do your thoughtful and heartfelt comments.

  3. "Author's Note": Maida, the first woman seen in the three photographs of the folks at the assisted living center pictured in this entry, contacted a cold a month or so ago, and she was hospitalized. Upon her "so-called" recovery, she was moved to another facility and did not return to the home where I do volunteer work. As of now, I am unable to get specific information as to her whereabouts.

    That being said, nearly a year has passed since I expressed my intent to feature a resident and their given "story" in my blog, and I've yet to do so. This is because I have not figured out a way in my mind as to the best way to do this, so the project remains on the back burner. Details TBA.

  4. Just let them tell their stories! You are doing a wonderful job. I've written many "abbreviated" life stories for seniors. It's amazing when someone with a dementia can give you the story of their early years and not miss a beat. The long term memory is the last to go, so they are more comfortable talking about their early years than what happened five minutes ago.

  5. Yes, I want to let them their stories — when they want to do so, Karen.

    Maida did not want to talk too much about her "other life" as she called it, which was a shame because whenever she told stories about her past, her eyes lit up. But some of the other folks there enjoy sharing their lives and I am always happy to hear about it!


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