Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

To the pure all things are pure. To the rest of us.....

I received a phone call yesterday morning from Nancy from my church. Nancy works for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Apparently there's a big convention here in town next weekend. Nancy apologized for the short notice then asked if I would possibly interested in making some centrepieces for the tables. Turns out the woman who was originally going to do it had something else come up.

Since sitting around waiting for the hospital to call doesn't exactly take up all of my time, I had no reason to say no. Before the conversation was over, my mind was already building things with the miniscule fifty dollar budget she gave me.

Nancy isn't part of the decorating and set up crew so she told me she'd get someone else to contact me with details of how many, colour scheme and other things I would need to know. She gave me the name of the woman and I responded, "Oh, she sounds very familiar to me. I must have met her before."

She went on to explain what things she does with the Cancer Society but none of it really connected with me.

"Oh, maybe you met her in the office during Relay for Life. She worked the front desk temporarily for a short time," Nancy explained.

"Yes, maybe."

After I hung up the phone it became one of those things that you just know is going to wake you up at three in the morning saying, "A-ha! That's where I know her from."

However it was only three in the afternoon before I said, "A-ha!"

Followed quickly by, "Oh-oh!"

How do I face Nancy at church now, after vehemently insisting that I somehow knew Sue Johansen - same name as the host of the Sunday Night Sex Show.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Clever? Or just 'whatever'?

Ok, give me your honest opinion. Does this not seem exceptionally intelligent to you.
I know I tend to be biased and gush extensively over Xander. Even at times exaggerate my gushiness and enthusiasm for the sake of the blog. But I really do think he's smart.
He was here playing yesterday and as unusual as it was, I did not have a camera pointed in his general direction. I wished I had captured it on video.
He was playing with his foam blocks from Uncle Jed, which he loves. I put the the bucketful on its side just out of his reach on the floor, trying to encourage him to move forward. At the tender age of six months he hasn't quite mastered the art of moving forward and ends up scooting backwards when he tries to move. 
He pushed a couple of times and ended up six or eight inches farther from his goal of the blocks. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but most kids would continue to push themselves away or cry in frustration or get distracted by something else. Not Xander.
He looked purposefully at the blocks. Turned himself a full 180 degrees so he was facing away from the blocks. (Even though there was nothing to distract him in that direction) He scooched himself back 12 inches or so and then immediately turned another 180 and Voila! He could reach the blocks. 
Is it just me, or is that not extreme abstract thinking at it's best for a six month old? He is very clever.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

Having been off work for six weeks now and not having a lot of energy to accomplish much physically, I've been thinking. A lot. This is not unlike my life under normal circumstances except that I don't have to dedicate six hours a day to employment.

It's becoming evident that they can carry on at work without me. Not so evident that I can carry on without a pay cheque. Retirement tempts me. Reality sets me straight. But I have a few irons in the fire, so to speak, and we'll have to see where it all leads. Probably right back to work.

But I have decided to start checking things off my bucket list. And writing my book tops the list.

The idea of writing a book has been bouncing around in my head for about 10 years now, so naturally many ideas have emerged from that. Ten days ago on the back of a motorbike somewhere around Blue River I decided there's no time like the present. The book was never gonna materialize if I didn't just plunk my butt in a chair and start moving my fingers. 

I spent a week looking a books and styles and content. I even read the bible (gasp). Well, not the entire bible, but parts of it - probably all too small parts but that's another story.

One should probably know the style of book they are going to write before plunging headlong into it. There is no way I have the stamina to stay on topic long enough to ever write a novel. Besides my life is so full of glorious content it would seem ridiculous to make things up.

My blog is messing me up. I've already written all the good stuff. As the saying goes: Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free? Who's gonna buy a book when I've already freely published all the content?

However I came to realize that I have no intention of becoming rich and famous as an author - I just wanna see my name on a cover. Besides I'm perfectly capable of exaggerating and spinning the same story twice so that it's nearly unrecognizable. And quiet contemplation clearly shows that I have a whole lot more sh*t goin' on that no one has heard yet.

And so yesterday I crawled into bed with my laptop and began to plunk. I know 1590 words is a long way from a published book, but I've made a start.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Just say "Nein."


Apparently it's exciting when the numbers all align like this. The number of weddings and lottery ticket sales skyrocketed on Wednesday, September 9, 2009. It was also an excuse for retail outlets to promote the economy by offering a myriad of "9" related sales. Walmart was no exception.

Numerous times on Facebook that day people posted that Walmart was having a photo sale. You could get 99 photos printed for $9.99. I even had people phone and tell me about this sale. (I dunno, maybe I have a reputation for taking an exorbitant number of digital photos of Xander or something.)

I appreciated people thinking of me and giving me the opportunity to participate in this. However, each time I got a reminder of the sale I thought things through and reasoned why I would not partake in the sale:

  • Costco is my usual place to print and they are only 15 cents per copy regularly - and I've seen them as low as 6 cents at times.
  • How would I limit my choices to just 99 photos?
  • I really don't need a printed copy - everyone has seen all my pics on Facebook and the blog.
  • I don't scrapbook, so I'd end up with a box of disorganized photos- just like I have of each of my own children.
  • The only reason I would do it is because of pressure from others. I am stronger than that!

But as the day wore on the pressure mounted and I had to keep telling myself, "Just say no."

But alas 11pm found me logged into the Walmart site and wading through the Xander files. At least I'm marginally organized on the computer and I have a folder for "Xander's birth," "one month," "two months" etc.

There was no way I could stop at 99. When I discovered you could order as many as you want and the copies were 10 cents each after 99 I managed to keep it to 158 files uploaded.

I picked them up yesterday. The very first thing I noticed when I opened the large envelope was that they were all glossy when I ordered matte. Although I'll never understand why someone would choose to have a glare on their photos, making them difficult to look at, I figured, "Oh well. it was only fifteen bucks. I can live with it."

Then as I'm going through them I start thinking, "Something is off here." Many of these photos are cut off and off centre. It's ridiculous. It's a good thing it was only 15 bucks. Like they say, "You get what you pay for."

And next time there's a 999 sale, I should just practice my limited German skills and just say, "Nein."

The original:

What Walmart printed (on glossy paper)

The original:

Walmart's glossy version:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

E.I. R.O.E. B.S.

I've been off work for 5 1/2 weeks. Although the weather has been absolutely fabulous the entire time it would have been nice if I felt a little better. However if I felt better, I wouldn't have had the time off work. Catch 22. (No idea where that phrase came from.)

I applied for EI immediately upon leaving work on July 31. I have faithfully logged on each week to submit my reports. The site ensures me they try their hardest to start payments within 28 days. I got a letter today informing me that they can no longer proceed with my claim as they have not received my ROE (record of employment).

I received the "employee" copy of my ROE with my last pay cheque and the bookkeeper ensures me they mailed the "government" copy off the same day.

I phoned the EI office today to find out what's going on.

"My name is Liana Ziemer... My SIN is... My EI access number is... My employer is.... My employer assures me they sent in my ROE. Where is my money?"

"Do you have a copy of your ROE?"

"Yes, ma'am. I have the employees copy only."

"Mrs Z, it's the employee's copy we need."

"Huh? My employer sent in the copy marked Government Copy."

"Oh, that goes to the government. Not the EI office."

Scuse me. I'm a little confused. Is the EI office not the government? Does the "government" not have the capability of posting the "government copy" to their files so all government departments have access to all information? What the h*ll does the government need my ROE for if not for EI? This government who cannot share an ROE but whom refers to me as Liana DeBalinhard when I log into the EI site - a name I have not used for 28 years, long before the days of computer databases. A name I have never filed an income tax under. A name I have never been an employee under. Heck, I don't even use that name on Facebook.

Ah, well. Such is life. I mailed off my Employee's copy today.

And still I sit waiting for the phone to ring and inform me they have a room booked for me in the OR so I can get back to work and forget this EI ROE BS.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Marmalade is as good an excuse as any.

A few weeks ago while looking for an excuse to go for a bike ride we decided to go berry picking at Matt and Cindy's black currant farm in Quesnel.

You may recall my lazy adventures in black currant jam making from last year. Hence when Cindy told of the smaller crop this year due to the hot summer and their lack of irrigation, I almost felt guilty wanting to pick the berries they did have. Then I spied the cases of jam and jelly all stacked up waiting to go to the farmer's market. I handed over a handful of cash and Voila! I had homemade black currant jam. It don't get much easier than that.

She had quite a few varieties to choose from: regular, jam, jelly, sugarless, mixed with other fruits and marmalade. I don't usually care for marmalade but this sounded interesting so I added 2 jars of it to my collection.

I got home and opened a jar of marmalade. I actually enjoyed it. I told Alb it was there and open and suggested he try it sometime, but knowing he probably wouldn't care for it, I avoided putting it in his lunch or on his toast for him.

I was just falling asleep Sunday night and out of the blue Alb says to me, "That jam in my lunch today wasn't very good."

I was so near drifting off to sleep I didn't even have the energy to respond nor apologize for absentmindly putting it in his lunch in the first place.

The next morning with my mind equally groggy, I stumbled towards the bathroom. J comes walking into the kitchen not looking any more awake than I and says, "That jam from Cindy is amazingly fantastic."

Huh? The jar of jam had been open for 3 weeks and suddenly it becomes the hot topic, even when there is no topic. The whole thing struck me as kind of weird that my night would begin and end with opposing opinions on black currant marmalade.

It meant only one thing. Another bike ride was in order. And my opening sentence to Alb as he walked out of the bedroom was, "Change Betty's oil. We're going for a road trip." And two hours later we were headed east to Kamloops.

Consider Yourself Reminded.

Ten years. It's been 10 years today since I was branded with that title that no-one ever wants to wear. That is until you receive it. ...