I'd like to post a whole bunch of pictures of the big Braun gathering, but I don't want to make this page take forever to load so I'm gonna put them up on my Christmas tree page.
If you are family, or if you are just nosy, click here to see some photos of my extended family celebrating Christmas together. If that's not enough photos for you there were billions of digital cameras there and I expect some people to be putting up their own pictures shortly.
K. Enough talk. I'm gonna go work on getting the pictures up.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
I'd like to post a whole bunch of pictures of the big Braun gathering, but I don't want to make this page take forever to load so I'm gonna put them up on my Christmas tree page.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Two more things that are better leftover:
- Chocolate pie.
I just reread this and it sounds dumb. I can't even think of a title. Time to go make some chocolate fondue.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
One more sleep till Christmas! I love gifts. I love giving them and I love getting them. I love picking them out and I love wondering what people picked out for me. I love wrapping them and watching them be unwrapped. I love the way they look under the tree and the way our living room looks after they have all been opened and the pretty paper has been thrown all over the place. I love looking around at the gifts in my life that aren't wrapped in pretty paper. I love having all of my best gifts together in one place. Best of all, I love celebrating the gift that was given to all of us on a Christmas long ago.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Dumb stuff makes me laugh. It makes me laugh even more if Ang is with me to see the dumb stuff. For instance... Today Ang came for supper at Glen's mom's cause there was soup. Glen's mom lives in this insane condo. It has so many rules the mind literally boggles. I would rather use my teeth to gnaw my foot off and use it as a ball in an impromptu game of keep-away with Magic Johnson and that really tall guy from My Giant than live in that place.
Anyways. Today when we walked down the hall we came across this:Ha ha ha! Oh man. Could that wreath be any bigger? I don't know what made me happier... The totally ludicrous size of that thing or looking over at Ang when we first caught a glimpse of it as the elevator doors slowly opened. Frickin' awesome.
Anyways. I think the enormity of this particular decoration deserves some kind of tribute and so I institute the first ever alittlestone FREEZE FRAME GAME! Where fans like you can write a funny caption and win big BIG prizes for the best ones. Wait. Cancel that... Where fans like you can win useless junk for the ones that make me laugh. Wait. Cancel that. How about I just pick one I like and announce on here somewhere that I think you are funny?
Sounds good to me. Let the game begin. And....... GO!
*Update: Thanks Trav. Apparently I fit under the dumb stuff heading very well.
Friday, December 22, 2006
I rocked out to the sweet sounds of Neil on today's trip to Saskatoon. I have to tell you... It helped bring my stress levels way down when the car filled with the sound of Neil singing, "Where it began, I can't begin to know when. But then I know it's growing strong." And, yes, the stress levels were high. But we're here now.
Anyways. I've always loved Neil Diamond. Okay, not always, but from around grade six when I first played Mom's Beautiful Noise record. (Which was then lost by my Grade Six teacher Mrs. Turgeon after I brought it to school for a class music project. Mrs. Turgeon if you're reading this: I want that record back.) Neil may not be saving the world with rock, but not all of us can be Mother Teresa and Gandhi.
That's all. I'm tired.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Today is Bev's funeral. It's at 2:00 if any of you out there in the blogosphere see this and could remember us, especially Heather, in your prayers.
Contrary to the look of things on here lately, it's been a hard week for me. I have to admit that I am terrified of being on the highway on Friday. It's put a little bit of a cramp in my Christmas packing, as all I can think about is the possibility that Friday could be my last day on Earth. I don't think it's the dying that bothers me so much as the idea of the pain that would be left behind if any or all of us die.
I can't stop thinking that Bev was alive a week ago and planning for this week... Planning her Christmas shopping, her house cleaning, the little errands she needed to run. She had no idea that the end of her life was approaching so quickly. She had no idea that this week her friends and family would be at her funeral. I don't know why that bothers me so much.
I suppose it might have to do with the fact that I don't like surprises and I hate suspense. When I watch shows like Survivor I enjoy them much more when I know the ending of the show. Usually I tape them, watch the end, and then rewind to the beginning. That's how I would like to live my life. Tape it. Watch the end. And then rewind to the beginning.
But I know the end don't I? Not just the end of my life, but the end of this life. Jesus is coming back for me. I need to somehow grab hold of that promise and let it permeate me this week. It's so hard though. It's hard to see Heather in pain. It's going to be hard to see Bev's family, students, and friends in pain. It's hard to push aside the vision of the people I would leave behind in pain if I died tomorrow... Or today... Or any day.
And that's the kicker isn't it? When something like this happens we are all reminded that the end could be any day. This morning might be your last bath, the last time you eat breakfast, the last time you lock (or forget to lock, in my case) your door when you leave. Today might be your last chance to hold your children, or hug your spouse, or tell the people who matter most to you that they matter.
And so, at the certain risk of sounding overly dramatic and mushy, to all of you out there... You matter to me. I can't think of you without smiling because you fill my heart to bursting with love. I want to name all of you one by one. I want each of you to read this post and think, "She was writing that about me. She means me. She loves me." Because it's true.
I'm writing this about you. I mean you. I love you.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
There is this website I love called Visual Recipes. On it there are recipes that people send in with accompanying photos. Firstly, I love it because I only cook new things if I have pictures of them. I almost never try recipes from my cookbooks that don't have photos. Secondly, I love it because some of the photos are awesome and just make me laugh. I am thinking of joining the ranks of the Visual Recipe cooks by sending in this:Mmmmm... Doesn't that make you want to try out my recipe? Heinz it up people! Heinz. It. Up.
Anyways... The fifth day of Christmas is all about leftovers. There are some foods that are just better the next day. Here is a list (yes) of my favorites:
- Kraft Dinner. To me fresh KD is repulsive. I can eat maybe two bites and then I am done. However, if it is left over night in the fridge and then zapped till it's crispy in the microwave I am all over it. I don't like ketchup on the fresh stuff either. It's gross. So gooey and sloppy. However, when it's on crunchy little niblets of leftover mac and cheese it is a gourmet experience. The textures! The colors! Yum.
- Marshmallows. Again. Gross fresh from the bag. However, if they are opened and then left in a cupboard for around half a year till they are hard I am all over them. They should sell those things like that and call them "Aged Marshmallows". Yum.
- Spaghetti. I don't think there are many people that would argue with this one. Spaghetti is great leftover.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken. Again. Gross fresh. It is so slimy. I don't know how people eat that stuff hot. I very much prefer KFC the next day right out of the fridge. I think it tastes better cold and preferably leaning up against the counter with a Pepsi in a jar. (More about jars in my next post.
I think there's more... Hold on while I consult my list. I can't remember. Hmmm... Let's see here... Oh yeah! How could I forget?
- Cheese and Crackers. Yes. You heard me. I think this stems from childhood lunches. For some reason, even I know this one is weird, I love cheese and crackers when the crackers go a little stale and soggy. Yum. The problem with this one, like all of these, is the waiting time involved when I am craving them. Right now, for example, because I am thinking about them I am wanting some. In order to have them the way they are good I would have to make them, wrap them in saran wrap, and leave them on the counter for three hours before I could enjoy them the way they should be enjoyed. I have no patience though and I know if I go make myself some I will eat them right away. They'll still be okay, but not fabulous.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
A friend of mine, lets call her... Donna, likes to make fun of me because I like to sleep. She is one of those freaks that gets up at six in the morning even when she doesn't have to. While I was pregnant with Ben she used to wonder what I would do when I had kids cause I seriously like/need to get twelve hours of sleep a night. Right now I get about seven hours a night and I'm surviving. And that was the answer I gave her. "I'll survive." I sure don't like it though.
Sam had a bad night last night and a brutal day today. I'm not sure if he is getting sick or what, because the kid won't stop crying and just needing. He's probably teething. All I know is if someone offered me a couple hundred bucks and a Moxie's coupon I'd trade them for it. (Oh, calm down you bleeding hearts. I'm kidding.) What does this have to do with sleep you ask? I'm not sure. Where was I? Crap. I'm so tired.
Sam and Ben somehow managed to synchronize their naps today. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the fact that Sam slept for around four hours this afternoon to catch up on the sleep he missed last night. Ben slept for around two of those four hours. And I slept for around one of them. And it was so fun.
'Cause I love to sleep. Especially during the day. It seems so luxurious. Today it was very sunny and warm in Yorkton and my bedroom window faces south so we get a lot of direct sunlight. It was shining through the tree in front of my window and making the most beautiful patterns on my curtains. I could watch all of the little shadow birds landing on the tree and flitting from branch to branch as I fell asleep. I had the window open, (because Ben had been playing in my room with a poopy diaper just before I put him down for a nap and no one could enjoy a nap with that kind of putrescence) and I could hear the birds and feel the cool breeze. What a perfect day for an afternoon nap.
Sigh... Four more hours till bedtime.
P.S. My spell checker is telling me that I spelled putrescence right, which is making me very nervous. For one thing I didn't think it was a real word when I typed it, and for another this girl I know, let's call her... Ang, has a spell checker that has been making a mockery of her spelling for a few days now and I don't like being mocked. I like mocking though. Oh yes, I like it plenty. Maybe that should be the fifth day of Christmas?
Monday, December 18, 2006
Just so you all know... If you are planning on sending an ornament for the tree the deadline is Thursday. We leave for my Mom and Dad's on Friday and I won't have access to photo shop again till we get home and by then Christmas will be over and it will be time to put away all the decorations.
So no pressure...
No guilt either. It's not like I need cheering up or anything...
Okay. Apparently thinking of new non-silly posts is more work than picking a silly post off of my list. And I do love Survivor. I taped it last night and watched it today. I think this season was the first time when everything that I wanted to happen actually happened. Usually the people I don't like just keep taking out the people I do like, and by the end I don't care who wins becuase I can't stand any of them. This season I didn't care who won because I loved them all. I don't think I can even express to you how happy it made me to see my two favorites in the final two. I think it may even have been better... Okay, not better... As good as the Rob and Amber season... Sigh.
My only question is, now what am I supposed to watch till next season?
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I am not in a place to write a silly 8th day of Christmas. Not that there is anything wrong with silly. In fact, being silly is one of the things I love best in life. Still, today I am going back on what I said about not writing about the obvious things that bring me joy... Like my family and friends, or my Faith, or sunrises and starry nights... And I'm going to write about my Benjamin.
I spent some time crying last night... And walking... And then some more time crying... And when I cried Ben said to me, "You're sad Mummy." And I told him he was right. I was sad. I am sad. And then my little boy climbed on my lap and cuddled with me. He got some nice cars to try and cheer me up with. He showed me some pretty slick dance moves. And I was still sad, but my heart didn't feel so shattered.
I still ache for my friend. Her hurt is so deep that it is painful to watch. I wish I could take some of her pain and absorb it for her, but I can't.
So for now, I will fix my heart on the beautiful things in this world around me. We had our family Christmas yesterday. Ben was so happy with his new house and the Fisher Price Little People that came with it. It has a mommy, a daddy, and a baby. We found Ben a "guy" that looks just like him, so his make believe world is complete. Here "he" is waiting for "Dada" to come home from work to play with him...He just makes my heart ache with happiness, even while it aches with sadness.
Yesterday, my friend Heather from here in Yorkton was driving with one of her very good friends, Bev Shore, and they were in a serious car accident. Heather is very bumped up and in pain, but she will be okay physically. Her friend Bev was killed.
Heather and Bev are both friends from the musicals Glen and I were part of for a few years here in Yorkton. Here is a picture of the three of us doing something we all love... Singing our hearts out in costume. That's Bev on the right and Heather is in the middle.Please pray for Bev's family and many friends. And please pray very hard for my friend Heather who is hurting so badly right now. I'm going to sign off with a verse that a friend of Bev's read in church this morning...
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 NIV
Showing where I've been
But how much of me
Is left there in the snow?
You can see
My feet are small
And in some places
My steps drag.
But the steps I left behind
Can't show the cold places
On my cheeks
Where the winter wind touched my tears.
Right now after I've just been
My footprints seem so clear
And my past
So close to me.
But soon the cold unfeeling wind
Will blow the snow
To cover up
The bit of me I left behind.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Today seems to be the appropriate day for this post because I watched two of my favorites... White Christmas and Holiday Inn. I like them both, but Holiday Inn has Fred Astaire. Not only does it have my favorite leading man of all time, but it has him playing a scoundrel, which I just love. He dances one song with a smoke in his mouth and another as a drunk. That's the kind of stuff that makes old movies great. Everything the stars did back then was so... Hollywood. Who else could dance a whole number with a smoke hanging out of his mouth and come across as cool? No one. That's who. Oh Fred... I love you so.
You know, there is just something about that man that makes me happy. Actually, there isn't just something. There are some things. Oh sure, his dancing is unreal, but the way he carries himself makes me feel like I would have liked him if I'd known him in person. He has this shy little smile he does with his eyes kind of looking down sort of bashfully... Sigh.
You know that question that everyone gets asked at one time or another? "If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?" Of course, the easy answer is Jesus, 'cause I bet I could get a lot of stuff figured out over one meal, but Fred Astaire runs a very close second. Actually, I'd like to have dinner with Patrick Stewart too. I love Picard... Ho man. Those are some good pictures on those links. Look at him! Look at that crinkled up smile in the first one! What is not to love about that? I ask you!
Where was I? Oh yeah, I think I was saying something about how likable Fred Astaire seems on camera, even when he is playing a bad boy you have to love him. And I do. Fred, I love you.
Friday, December 15, 2006
There are lots of things that are just better when they are fat... Cats... Paychecks... Actually, other than snowflakes that's all I can think of. So maybe there aren't lots of things, but there are some things anyways. (If you can think of more things that are better when they are fat feel free to add them in the comments. I don't feel like using my brain today.)
Anyways. I was gonna do a fun and exciting Tenth Day of Christmas, but I have cramps for a reason we won't get into here and frankly, I'd rather go lie down than fart around on the internet today. (Literally.) So enjoy this picture of the fat snowflakes falling outside my window. I'm gonna go put a hot water bottle on my ovaries... Or whatever it is in there that is making me feel like curling into the fetal position.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
In my mind, as long as you are wearing cute socks you are looking good. I can be deathly ill, pale and sweaty, with greasy hair cause I haven't bathed for days, a red chafed nose, and as long as I put on some cute socks I feel fabulous. I think this may be why I never wear makeup or do my hair at home. I pretty much feel like I am dressed up if I am wearing nice socks.
In general my socks must match my outfit and the boys' socks also need to match their clothes and pajamas. This has caused a few minor arguments in our family as it is hard for other people to understand why it is important that Ben doesn't wear brown socks with his Superman pajamas.
If, however, the socks are really soft and fuzzy they don't need to match the outfit. I think I might even prefer that they don't so they stand out more. This is why I have a thing for Christmas socks. I have these red striped ones that are very soft and fuzzy and they have reindeer at the top and they just please me. They look like I am wearing candy canes on my feet. Fuzzy candy canes. I suppose I should have taken a picture of those ones, as this is a twelve days of Christmas post, but I try to portray the real me on my blog and the real me is wearing pink socks today. Heh heh. Actually... If you want the truth, the real me is lazy and the red striped socks are all the way upstairs in my room so you get a picture of the pink ones 'cause they are already here on my feet.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
All right... I know that technically the twleve days of Christmas are supposed to happen after Christmas but this is my blog and that's just too bad. As part of my wind up to Christmas I am posting twelve of my favorite things on the twelve days leading up to the big day. Now don't get too excited. These are not going to be particularly moving or well thought out posts. They aren't going to be about my very favorite things like Sam saying "Ga ga gaaaa, da daaaaaaa da," or Ben giving me a hug just because he wants to, or the sound of Glen laughing with one of our boys... Nope. They will be about the little things that please me or make me giggle. So without further ado I give you favorite thing number twelve...
Oh yes. I love lists. I love to buy cute little notebooks to write them in. I love to compose them in my head. I love to write them out and then follow them to the letter. I love to check things off or scribble them out. (Preferably with different colored pens.) Right now I have about six lists going and here is a list of them: (A list of lists. Could this get any better?)
- Christmas cards. (Who gets them, what type of card they get, whether I can deliver them myself or they have to be mailed, and whether they get a picture or not.)
- Christmas shopping. (Practically everything is crossed off in green or red pen and it just makes me so happy.)
- Vacation things to pack. (Hmmm... Must remember to put Beyond Balderdash on there. Don't worry Ang, I've already got Mario Party right at the top.)
- Things to do. (This list currently includes updating my "things to do" list on my blog.)
- Grocery shopping. (Boring, but necessary.)
- My favorite things to post on my blog. (There are about 20 things, but you will only get to see twelve. Does that make you sad?)
- Stuff I want for Christmas. (This one also needs to be updated on the blog.)
Monday, December 11, 2006
Mom and Dad came this weekend for a visit. Before they came I decided I had better clear off the memory card on our camera so I would have lots of room for all of the great pictures I was going to take. Since I had uploaded all of the pictures onto the computer before I went to bed that night, I got ready to select "erase all", but just before I did it I thought I should check and make sure I hadn't taken some since the night before. (Yes, I take so many pictures that I can no longer keep these things straight in my head and yes, I am that paranoid about losing even one of them.) So I checked the camera and this is what I found...I looked at it for a while trying to remember when I would have taken a picture like it. "When did I take a picture of Ben and Sam's feet? That's weird." I selected the next picture..."What is that?" Now, thoroughly confused, I selected the next picture...And then back to the previous picture... "Oh for crying out loud. That's Sam's PJ's." Next picture...This picture has to be my favorite and when I saw it I burst out laughing. It would seem that I am not the only shutterbug in the family...
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Okay everyone. I can't wait any longer. I was going to try and hold out till Friday for a few reasons:
- 'Cause Friday seems like a day for fun stuff.
- To increase the suspense by leaving up the construction page for a day or so.
- 'Cause my real tree isn't decorated yet, and somehow it seems weird if my virtual life is going better than my real life.
- 'Cause Friday is always fun no matter what. It's the end of the week. That's all anyone really needs to pull them through the day. Right? Of course right.
- Even though increasing the suspense is the most valid reason to wait, anyone who knows me knows that I suck at being patient, and Christmas is definitely not a time that I am interested in working on that particular flaw.
- Let's all face facts here. My virtual life is fabulous and I don't really give a hoink about trying to make it look like I am not obsessed with my blog. I am, and I choose to embrace the dysfunctional blogger within.
Make sure you click the link underneath the tree and join in the fun! You heard me! Join in the fun! Weeeeee! Ho man. I love Christmas. So much.
(If this post and all of these decorations is a little to happy-happy-joy-joy for you then I advise you to head over to Ang's for a little bah humbug stuff to balance out all this giddy bliss.)
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
INT. GLEN AND BECKY WILLEMS KITCHEN - MORNING
We hear a baby fussing in another room. The cries are getting more and more agitated as Becky staggers to the kitchen counter and begins making a bottle. She looks up, surprised. Something is different.
What? When did this happen? When I went to bed last night this place was a wreck!
INT. WILLEMS BASEMENT - EVENING
Becky is sitting at a computer mumbling angrily to herself. CLOSEUP of a phone beside the keyboard. We see Becky shake her head, then glare at the phone. We hear a door open somewhere in the house.
I'm sorry I'm late.
And I know I didn't phone. And the worst part is that I really don't have an excuse. I was playing a game and the time got away from me. So tonight I want you to have a free hour to make up for me being late and to make up for not phoning you can have any favor you want. Maybe I can cook dinner for our date night...
(smiling to herself)
Hmmm... That apology was so good I think I might actually be happy he came home late...
INT. WILLEMS MASTER BEDROOM - LATE EVENING
Becky is frantically digging through drawers and boxes crying.
(calls from kitchen)
Are you sure you had them when we came home from Saskatoon?
Yes! I remember them being on the nightstand, but I don't remember them being there when I cleaned my room! I don't remember ever putting them away! I hope I didn't throw them out! I bet I threw them out!
Glen moves to stand in the doorway.
Do you think you did?
(brushes past him and continues her search in the living room and hall closets)
I don't know! See? This is why I shouldn't buy Christmas presents ahead of time! I always lose things! Why am I so stupid? They aren't anywhere! And now we aren't going to be in Saskatoon till just before Christmas and the ornaments I bought are going to be all sold out.
Can't we just get different ones?
No! These ones were special! I like the Hallmark keepsakes. None of the other kinds are as nice. I don't want new ones. I want the ones I bought. Plus Ben's is part of a series! I'm never gonna be able to get one the day before Christmas!
Ahhhhh! I'm so mad at myself! How can I have lost them? I wish the house was messy so there were more places to look! There's no where to look! Why do I clean up? I just throw out important things.
(cries a little more)
Glen starts looking. Becky finally gives up and goes back downstairs to watch Ben and Sam.
(calls from basement)
You won't find them if I can't! They're just gone. Why do I always do stuff like this?
Mommy is sad Ben.
Mummy is sad. It's okay Mummy. Dat's okay Mummy.
INT. BASEMENT STAIRS - LATER THAT EVENING
CLOSEUP of Glen's feet at top of stairs. CUE theme song. As Glen descends stairs more of his body is visible in frame. Glen is smiling, but quickly hides it when Becky looks up.
Oh. I was sure you were coming down here because you found them.
You thought I found the ornaments?
(looking closely at Glen who is still trying to look discouraged)
Did you find them?!
Glen takes hand from behind back and displays missing Christmas ornaments.
You're my hero! I can't believe you found them! How did you find them?
FADE OUT to the following picture as music reaches crescendo. See? Sometimes life is just as good as the movies! I love you SuperGlen!
Monday, December 04, 2006
This is my friend Angerama and her little baby Truan. I went to see her and meet Truan for the first time this weekend. It was love at first sight. I already miss his funny litttle cry.
It was crazy to come home to my boys though. When I left, Sam was still a little baby and when I came home it seemed like he had transformed into some giant toddler type baby overnight. He's huge people! And he's strong! And he's so independant! And he is so smiley and he is practically talking!
Okay. So maybe he isn't talking, but it is so amazing how a change of scenery can change the way you see the things around you. Especially little things. Little slobbery things. With boogers.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
You know what? I think God is out to get me. I hate that I think that. A friend of mine told me recently that sometimes she sees God as a teddy bear who gives her whatever she wants. It made me think about who I really think God is... No. Not who I think He is, but what I really believe in my heart about who He is in my life...
When I was younger, and before my parents came back to their faith, I used to go to youth group and sometimes church by myself. I always felt inferior. I always felt like I was being judged and found wanting. There was plenty of evidence to support this feeling and I don't think I have ever fully recovered from it.
I fell in love once before Glen... At least I thought it was love. The guy I was dating was a great Christian. I looked up to him, I wanted to be like him, and I was so grateful to have him in my life. We talked about getting married and I felt so blessed. Then he broke up with me because "God told him to." Maybe God did, maybe He didn't, but at the time, I believed him. It was easy for me to believe that God took away someone I loved because He wanted to protect one of his favorites from me.
I want a girl baby. I want one so badly it hurts sometimes. I know I won't get one though, way down deep in my heart. I know it because I want her more than I want anything. I know it because God wants to punish me, not bless me.
Isn't that terrible? In my head I know that all of the things I just wrote are lies. I know that God loves me as much as He loves anyone. In my head I know that. In my heart I know that I will never be good enough for Him to love, I know that I am not deserving of His blessings... And that's okay, because none of us are. What's not okay is that I don't have the faith I need to believe that God's love is big enough to overcome those obstacles. What's not okay is that what Jesus did on the cross for me is somehow not speaking to my heart the way it should. What's not okay is that even though I tell myself otherwise, and even though there is plenty of evidence to the contrary... I still think God doesn't like me as much as He likes "good-Christian-so-and-so" or "perfect-Saint-happy-face"... I still think... Oh, I can't believe I am actually "saying this out loud"... I still think... Jesus wouldn't have died just for me.
Sometimes, I find myself turning away from God because I don't want to be hurt by His rejection. I have this big dark fear that if I let myself love Him the way He wants me to, He'll break up with me too. I've always had this disturbing feeling that once people really get to know me they won't love me. I've never really noticed till just now that I think the same thing about God... And since He does know me, better than anyone... He can't love me.
Another thing for me to work on... Or for God to work on... Or for us to work on... Yeah... Us. Together.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Spring 2004 - Becky makes the fatal mistake of signing up for a kids book club with Grollier.
Spring - Winter 2004 - Becky receives and pays for a number of kids books, then decides she's had enough and cancels her membership.
Winter 2004 - Becky moves at around the same time she cancels her membership so she also gives Grollier her new mailing address. She receives a few more books in the mail from Grollier at her old address and marks them "return to sender - MOVED" and drops them in the mail.
May 2005 - After not hearing from Grollier for 5 months Becky receives a letter in the mail from a collection agency telling her she owes around $30.00. After calling Grollier to confirm and tell the company her mailing address again Becky pays it.
September 2005 - Becky receives another letter from another collection agency telling her she owes around $70.00. Becky gets really angry and now things start to get messy...
So I phoned Grollier. I find out that they have charged me late payment fees. Why were my payments late? Because I never got the bills. Why did I never get the bills? Because they still have me listed at my old address. I tell them I want to talk to a manager. They ask why. I explain the whole story. They put me on hold to transfer my call. I end up in some crazy system with a whole bunch of french streaming past me and all I can make out it that the recording is saying a number at the end of every sentence. Obviously I am expected to select the appropriate extension. So I press a random number. I end up with a person who can barely speak English telling me that I am in the wrong place. I explain the whole story again. I get told to hold while my call is transferred again. I am back in the world of rapid French and numbers at the end of sentences again. I press another number. I find another person who can barely speak English and once again give them my story. I tell this one that they better not put me back in that menu and that I want to talk to a manager right now. (I am starting to feel a large ball of rage rolling through my body.) She puts me on hold, but not in the menu, and another person comes on the line. This person tells me she can't do anything to change how much I owe. I ask her who can. She tells me I need to speak to a manager.
Lets just take a little break here while I try to calm down. Even reliving this more than a year later makes my pulse start to race. I don't think I have ever dealt with a company that has customer service this bad. My theory is that they want to make you so furiously frustrated that you will pay whatever sum of money they ask without question just to get them out of your life. Sadly, I am not the type of person to stand for something like this. It's the principle of the thing. Anyways... Back to the phone call.
I am now getting extremely angry and I tell her that I thought she was a manager. She says that she is just a shift manager or something and that the real manager is not there. Since it is business hours I say something like, "How can there be no manager during regular business hours?" She does not reply to my question but says in a snotty voice something like, "Mrs. Willems if this bill isn't paid it will negatively affect your credit rating."
Let's take another moment to just take a few deep breaths shall we? In... And out... In... And out. Does everyone feel better? Good. Let's continue then.
Unfortunately I was too angry to take some deep breaths and so I tell her, "I don't give a damn what happens to my credit rating. You can shoot it straight to hell for all I care. I am not paying that money. You will have to take me to court." She suggests that I might like to leave a message on the manager's voice mail. I tell her that would be fine. "Please hold while I transfer your call." I am back on the French menu with the numbers at the end of sentences.
In... And out... In... And out.
I hang up. I try to go on with my day. I really do. I try to calm down. I write this post. I stew about things while I try to set up some shelves for our storage room. I break a drill bit and crack one of the pieces. I decide to call back.
I get another woman with a French accent and tell her the whole story. I tell her if she puts me back on that menu I am never calling back and I am never paying them anything. Ever. I tell her I want to talk to a manager. She says the best she can do is let me leave a message. This time I get her name and extension number because I am sick of telling my whole story over and over. I tell her if I don't get the manager's voice mail that I am going to be very angry and that I will be phoning her back. She puts me on hold and I am finally connected to some one's voice mail. I leave a crazed message with statements like, "... worst customer service I have ever had to deal with..." and "... never see a cent..." then I give her my account number and tell her to phone me as soon as possible.
A week later there is still no phone call and so I phone back. I manage to stay calm and tell the woman on the phone that since it is apparent that I am never going to get to talk to a manager (she offers to let me leave another voice mail message) that I would like them to send me a full account history and then I will decide how much money, if any, I will pay them.
A month later we still have no account history. This time I get Glen to phone. They still have us listed at our old address and have no record of me ever asking for an account history. They tell him it never happened. I must have been hallucinating again. They get our new address and promise to send a full account history out that day.
We never got one. We never phoned back.
November 28, 2006 - Becky receives a notice in the mail from a collection agency instructing me to send a payment for around $70.00 to Grollier immediately.
November 29, 2006 - Becky phones Grollier and is told that they sent the account history last October. After the woman tells me repeatedly that I was sent the information and I tell her that I never got it (Why is it that they always tell you things happened or didn't happen like you have no grasp on reality and should just say, "Oh, okay. I got it? Sorry. My mistake.") I tell her, "Look, there is no point in both of us getting mad here. I want to speak to a manager." She tells me she can't connect me to a manager, of course, and that I can speak to someone in collections since she can't do anything for me anyways. I say, "It would have been nice if you'd said that at the beginning." She tells me that I didn't ask.
In... And out... In... And out... And in...
She says, "Please hold while I connect you to Sophia in collections." Then I hear a whole bunch of rapid French and then, "This is Sophia, please leave a message including your account number and I will get back to you as soon as possible." So I left a message.
I am telling you people. I would rather go to court and end up doing community service before I would ever pay that company a cent. They are crooks of the first order. A friend of mine told me that they had tried to charge her over and hundred dollars for books she never received. About a month after she had cleared everything up and closed her account she received some books in the mail from them along with another bill. Her husband phoned and told them that they would send these books back, but if they ever got anything in the mail from Grollier again they would consider it a gift.
The moral of the story? Always read the fine print. If any of it says Grollier... Run, don't walk, as fast and as far away as you can. Trust me.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Lots of people hate snow. It's pretty common for someone living in Saskatchewan to say something like, "If it never snows again, that would be too soon." I love it, but it's easy for me. I don't have to get up in the morning and shovel it off my car. I don't have to try to drive to work through it, and then get stuck in it along the way. I don't even have to be outside in it all day like my dad does.
Instead, I get to watch it gently falling outside my window, covering the world outside in a pristine whiteness that makes even ugly things like our house look like a Christmas card. I get to take my sweet little boy outside with it softly falling around us and watch as his face lights up when he discovers a whole new world in our driveway. I get to laugh while he "helps" me shovel the driveway and then I get to bring him inside with his soft cheeks all cold and pink and his eyes bright with pleasure. I get to look forward to sled rides and snowmen. Who wouldn't like snow in that kind of circumstance?
That's life though. Our circumstances can dictate how we feel about so many things. Husbands and wives find it easier to love each other when they are on their honeymoons than when they are grocery shopping with crying children and empty wallets. Siblings can play happily together swimming at a beach, but if you send them into the kitchen to do dishes together war breaks out. There is nothing better than being a parent until your baby won't stop screaming and your toddler throws your remote control into your Pepsi... Again.
There have been times in my life when loving God... Worshiping God... Giving my life to God was just easy... Natural. It was a joy to make sacrifices for Him because the rewards were so evident. The people around me were filled with his love and a desire to share that love with others and so witnessing was as easy as breathing. I wanted to be changed even if it meant having to give up things I liked or thought were important. I didn't have to struggle to find faith and trust. It was so simple to just believe.
But life moves on. And suddenly you find yourself slogging through the snowdrifts instead of lying in the quiet softness making snow angels. And it seems like the rewards, the desire, the joy is no longer attainable. So you scrape the snow off of your windshield and wonder why you live in a horrible place like Saskatchewan when you could move to a place where there is no snow at all.
Monday, November 27, 2006
My eye hurts. I hope it's not iritis again. I hate getting that. I hate the drops. I hate walking around with one of my eyes dialated. I hate when the drops don't work and I have to get a needle in my eye. I hate worrying that I am going to have to have a needle in my eye.
I wish my eye would stop hurting.
See Ang? I can post three times in one day too!
Why is it that one of my children always wakes up early and the other one always sleeps in? Why can't they get it together, at least once in a while, and we could all sleep in? I swear they have some kind of schedule set up to make sure they never sleep in on the same day.
It's sort of like in high school when Sheila and I would buy the same clothes and then have to make rules about what days we were allowed to wear our Wind River sweatshirts and what days were off limits...
You'll never guess so I'll tell you. Tonite I went out on a girl's night with my friend Darcie. (Yes I know! I actually went out. With no kids. This is huge! But there's more! There is!) We went to this shopping night at The Bay. Darcie bought us tickets. We got coupons and food and a fashion show. Sound lame? Then I am guessing you probably aren't usually stuck shopping with two little kids crying in your cart. We had a lovely time shopping at a nice leisurely pace for once. I bought some fabulous Clinique lotion, body wash, and lip gloss and some jammies for Ben. Then it was time for the draws. I got to enter the Clinique draw plus the draw just for buying something plus a draw for spending over $100.00. (That Clinique stuff is pricey!) Anyways... As we watched the first few draws with no results I said to Darcie, "I'm going to be ticked off if I don't win anything. I never win anything. If only one of us wins something we have to share." She didn't seem to be too impressed with my idea... Until I won the Clinique draw. It was a gift basket of stuff worth over $300.00. Yesssssss! Then I won another basket. This one was only worth around $50.00. Only. Ha ha. Then I won another basket. Same deal. Then it was time for the big prizes. Have you guessed yet? No? Okay. I'll tell you, but only 'cause you asked me to, not cause I feel like bragging. They called my name AGAIN! I won a gift basket with over $500.00 worth of perfume, lotions, and makeup! Yes I did! I did!
Happily, Darcie won a basket too. Sadly, Darcie only won one of the smaller baskets and it had men's cologne in it and she doesn't wear men's cologne. Happily, she has a husband who does. Sadly, I don't wear perfume. Happily, Darcie does. So it all works out. Plus what a rush! I couldn't even carry all of my stuff! I couldn't!
What a night. I think it may have been too much excitement. Except it wasn't. It was so fun! It was!
Saturday, November 25, 2006
How do you say boo in french? Or sucky? What a let down. You can read this dumb article if you want to, but I couldn't make it through it so I don't expect anyone else to. Stinkin. I'm just glad I wasn't one of the almost 13000 people in the stands freezing my whatoozee off just to watch something I really didn't want to see. Ah well... At least we have cool hats...
Friday, November 24, 2006
When I was around ten I remember thinking that when I got older everything would be so different. I remember this because I was reading Blubber and the little girl in the book writes that she thinks her costume makes her look at least twelve... Maybe even thirteen! I thought, "That is so old. I wonder what it feels like to be really old."
That's why I was so surprised as the years went by that I didn't feel any different. I was still me, only older. It seemed so strange to me that I didn't seem to change, only my age did. I thought I was going to be a totally different person when I got older and it was looking like I had been wrong about that. I would always be Becky, I would always be the same.
I think that's why I was so surprised (again) when a few years ago I turned into a totally different person. At least from my perspective. I suddenly started seeing myself differently than I had before. If I had often looked at myself as a smart person with limitless possibilities in front of me, I now saw myself as an average person with very few choices left to make. If I had used to believe that I was a passionate person with a lot to give the world I started believing that even if I had passion there were some things I couldn't change and the world would go on much the same with or without me.
I think one of my biggest image shifts has been a musical one. I used to think of myself as above average as far as musical talent goes. It was a big part of the definition of who I was. I've lost that in many ways. My flute, once such a big part of my life, is broken. I can't play it. I have nightmares about picking it up and not remembering the fingering... Or that my embouchure will be so poor that I won't even be able to make a sound. To many of you this may not sound like a big thing, but to a person who used to put in four hours a day of practice... It's a big thing. I never play my guitar anymore, I almost never bother writing down or recording the songs I write, and today my piano went away. I bought it with the intention of taking lessons so I could put actual written music to some of the songs I've written. Something more than chords anyways. I took some lessons. I think I would take more, but we can't fit it in the house so it had to go. As I watched the moving van pull away with my piano inside of it I felt the sobs building up inside of me. I thought I had said goodbye days ago. I sat in the cold garage and played through all of the songs I had written on it, then I closed the lid for the last time and walked away.
I feel like I am losing a part of myself. I guess it seemed like as long as I still owned the piano there was a possibility that I might do something with that part of me that aches to make music. That sounds so hokey, even to me, but it's true. Music is a part of who I am, and not just any music. My music.
So I guess I feel, in a way, like another little part of me is being changed forever today... That part that said I had a talent and that I was going to do something with it... And I wonder who I am without it.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Phoner: Hello, could I please speak with (pause) Mr. (long pause) Glen Williams?
Me: Who's calling?
Phoner: This is Capital One calling.
Me: What is this regarding?
Phoner: I would like to speak with Mr. Williams.
Me: Yes, I know that, what do you want to speak to him about? (starting to insert cold and scary substitute teacher voice into conversation)
Phoner: This is Capital One, he has an account with us...
Me: Yes I know, this is his wife, my name is right beside his on the card and I asked you to tell me what this phone call is about.
Phoner: Is there a better time to talk with Mr. Williams?
Me: No, he is a busy person and since this is probably just some offer of a new service or some kind of free trail period I am not going to bother telling him you want to talk to him. If this is important than you can tell me what it is about and I will make sure you get to talk to him. Otherwise you can forget it.
Phoner: Well... (longish pause then racing through script) I am actually calling to talk to Mr. Williams about whether he is satisfied with the service...
Me: Oh, he's satisfied. You want to know why? Because I don't bother him with crap like this. Don't bother calling back until you have something important to talk to him about.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
- Babies cry a lot when they are sick.
- Toddlers leave snot everywhere when they are sick.
- Chicken soup tastes much better if you don't make it yourself.
- If your phone rings and it is a long distance number from Ontario, and there is no one there when you answer it, you are guaranteed to hear from a telemarketer within the next half hour.
- Tickly throats are really irritating.
- Kleenex tissues with lotion really do keep your nose from getting all dried out no matter how many times you have to wipe it. (It sucks that they come in such ugly boxes though.)
- Leftover chicken stir fry smells very bad if it is over a month old.
- If you sell your piano to get it out of your garage and it never gets picked up you still won't be able to park in your garage.
- Playing cars for hours at a time can be very boring.
- It is hard to get baby puke out of your clothes if your baby has prunes for supper.
- A clean bedroom feels really good.
- When you only clean one room in your house it makes the rest of your house seem really crappy.
- When a show you like has a finale the week before, that means it won't be on this week.
- If you teach your toddler the word for the thing he's been playing with the last year in the bathtub you will have to open his diaper for him so he can look at it all day long.
Monday, November 20, 2006
So the boys got sick Friday. I got sick Sunday. Really sick. I feel like crap. Last night I said to Glen, "I wish you would get sick so you could stay home with me." Which, I know, sounds selfish and mean to most of you. But at least if Glen was sick then there would be two sick people to do the work of caring for two sick babies. Instead of one. Me.
Happily, Glen gets earned days off for his extra-curricular stuff. I made him take one. I figured if today isn't a good day to take one then what is? So now there is one healthy person to do the work of taking care of two sick babies and one sick mommy. Hurrah.
I said on Dixie's blog today (who is home sick with no hubby to help, poor girl) that I wish that sick stay-at-home moms could call in sick and there was some kind of fairy godmother that would come and watch our kids and bring us tea... Now if I could just get Glen to make me tea I would have it made.
I'm going to go lie down. I feel dizzy.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Okay, so my mood of a few hours ago has taken a drastic turn. Like Carrie I am going to use point form to explain:
- Also like Carrie: "that time" arrived this afternoon.
- I just spent 2 hours shopping at Superstore trying to spend the $200.00 necessary to get the free $25.00 gift card, only to find out at the till it doesn't go into effect until tomorrow. The cashier tells me this happens all the time since they send the coupon out the day before it is allowed to be used. Hello? Wouldn't you think someone would notice this and adjust the coupon accordingly? No. Stinkin'. I hate that place more than anywhere else on earth. Now tomorrow I have to go back and do my grocery shopping all over, because not only are they "unable" to use our receipt tomorrow to give us the $25.00... They are also "unable" to keep even our non-perishables behind the customer service desk for us to pick up. I swear, I was very close to buying it all and telling them I'd see them tomorrow when I returned it all and then bought it all over again. I don't think there is any other experience in my life that makes me want a good stiff drink more than shopping at Superstore.
- Ben is getting sick. His nose is runny and his throat is all scratchy.
- Sam is getting sick. His nose is runny and his eyes are red-rimmed.
I am loving my neighborhood today.
I love the way melting snow smells and sounds.
I love the sunshine coming through our south facing windows, even though it is making it very difficult to see my monitor right now.
I love all the birds here. Do you know we actually get Blue Jays in our backyard? We do and they are so pretty! The other day we had a squirrel too. (It freaked me out at first... I thought it was a rat.)
I love how the police always get called by someone on our street when there is a loud party. We never have to do it. Someone always calls and the police always show up and shut it down.
I love the neighbors on either side of us. They are both older couples and they are always so nice to us. This fall one of the ladies baked us a pie and brought it over still warm from the oven while we had our garage sale. When we took Ben to their houses on Halloween they dumped way too much candy in his pumpkin pail and asked for pictures of him.
I love it when my neighborhood friend Darci and I get together with our boys. We can call each other up and meet at the park or walk over to each other's houses. It's so nice. Yesterday she came over with her boys and Ben had such a good time. I did too.
I love having three good friends only a few houses away from me. Today I walked over to Staci's to meet her sweet new baby, Noah. On my way I passed by Heather's house and caught her on the way to her musical practice. We chatted in her driveway. I could see my house and Staci's house from where I was standing. It just made me happy.
There ya go. Maybe the cornball motto of Dorkton isn't a complete fallacy. "Where good things happen"... At least some of the time.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Ahhh... What a rush. Sadly, it lost a bit of it's shine when I got the results of the next quiz...
It turns out the fact that sometimes I drink alcohol and I drive a used car makes me a little less Christian than I should be. Dang. I knew I should have just bought myself a good pair of sandals. At least all that "studying" paid off and I might not go to hell. 'Cause that's what being a Christian is all about... Knowing the right answers. Sheesh.
This just goes to show that any dummy can post a quiz on the internet and I'll do it hoping to validate my sorry life. Too bad I had to "find out the hard way". Stinkin'. It's not the score on the third quiz that bothers me. Well it is, but only as it affects my feelings about my scores on the first two. Blast it all! Can't a girl get a little boost? Is that asking too much?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I was going to write a post about the coolest Oprah show ever, but some other bloggers beat me to it. Now I've lost my motivation. So you'll just have to read about it here... Or come over and watch the best bits of it again with me, 'cause I taped it and then pushed in that little tab that prevents you from taping over what you taped... On your tape.
It was cool though. SO stinkin' cool. Really cool. I wish Sam was young enough to test this stuff on. I'm dying to see this in real life, and on DVD, but I have to wait for both apparently. If this post makes no sense to you then you have only Becky and Heather to blame.
Monday, November 13, 2006
On our way into Saskatoon this weekend we had to stop to take some pictures...
The freezing rain that fell last week coated the prairies with ice. The rays of the setting sun caused the ordinary fields around us to glow like everything in them was made of glittering glass. It really was breathtaking.It lit up some other stuff too. Just as beautiful... Just as breathtaking.