That time the power went out…


I went out Monday evening.  While I was at my friend’s house, her power flickered on and off a few times.  We were a little bit weirded out by it, because the weather was pretty good, and in the middle of February there’s really no reason beyond an ice storm or someone crashing into a hydro pole for the power to go out.

At about 11:15 I decided I really should go home because, well, sometimes I need to sleep to be able to teach well :) …. sometimes.

On my drive back to my neighbourhood, only about 10 minutes away from hers, I come down a hill and to a stop at a T intersection.  Normally this is a pretty well-lit intersection that doesn’t make me think twice about my drive home, even though my neighbourhood is truly not the greatest.

Monday night, though, it was dark.  The street lights weren’t on, and the whole neighbourhood was dark.

As I got closer to my house, I had to very carefully navigate my way through a traffic light that wasn’t working either, just hoping that anyone else approaching it would also treat it as a 4-way stop.

By this point it was clear that the power in my neighbourhood was in fact out.  I had no idea how long, though it was reasonable to assume it had been about an hour, given that that’s when my friend’s power was flickering.  I didn’t yet know what had happened, though.

It’s funny the things we take for granted, having power.  I remembered that I’d left my back porch light on, otherwise it’s hard to see to get the key into the lock on the back door… but it was dark and I had a hard time doing that.  Upon finally getting in the door, my first instinct was to switch on the lights (despite knowing that I had no power).

I checked my phone because, it being my alarm clock, I needed to make sure it could last through the night with no electricity with which to charge it…. sadly, no.  37%.  I used it as a flashlight for a couple minutes which brought it down to 29%.  Because my phone has a flashlight, I don’t actually own one, so…. I should probably fix that at this point.

I got the bright idea to plug my phone into my fully charged laptop, and let it charge off the laptop’s battery — but I also knew that that could only last so long.

My plan when I got home had been to have a shower, hard-boil some eggs so I had lunches for the week, and go to bed.  I couldn’t do any of those things!

With my phone plugged into my computer, I checked Facebook to see if there was any information — apparently a car crashed into a transformer, knocking out the power to my neighbourhood and most of the next one over.

I fumbled around in a drawer to find matches to light a candle so I could leave my phone charging.  This would let me brush my teeth (with a bottle of water, mind you :p ) and get ready for bed.  My thermostat was down to 62º F (16.7º C), which is not a big deal since I enjoy sleeping in the cold, but when it’s 5º F (-15º C) outside, you just know that the 62 isn’t gonna stay there for long.  I bundled up, expecting a cold night, and prayed that my pipes didn’t freeze if the power was off for too long.

Right as I was about to crawl into bed, I heard my refrigerator compressor kick in, then the furnace blower (my furnace is natural gas, so it would stay working, but the blower has no power so it doesn’t throw any heat when the power goes out).  Then I noticed that my laptop was charging.  I quickly got up, cranked the thermostat up so that if the power went out again, at least it had further to fall before it got too cold in my house again, and I jumped in the shower.

I was praying prayers of thankfulness that I didn’t have to suffer too long, and that everything righted itself.

And that’s when it hit me. (I do my best and deepest thinking in the shower…)

Someone crashed their car into a transformer hard enough that power was out all over my neighbourhood for at least 2-3 hours.  I have friends about 5 minutes away who said their furnace didn’t kick in until about 3 hours later than mine did.  The accident happened right in front of my school board’s office, and they didn’t have power back until mid-morning.

It occurred to me that while I was being thankful that my house didn’t get colder than 62º, someone or more than one someone could be in the hospital fighting for their life.  At that point I didn’t know who was in the car or the circumstances of the accident, but I don’t even really think those circumstances matter.  Someone crashed hard enough that they could very well be dead or dying, and I was praying prayers of thanksgiving over my furnace.  Yes, I’m grateful for my furnace working, as I hear burst pipes aren’t the most fun… but I’m also grateful for many other things.  And I felt I had to say a prayer for those potentially injured in this situation.

I also felt strongly that I needed to ask God to protect those who were out in that cold Monday night, worried about more than their pipes freezing, because they don’t even have pipes to freeze.  There have been several nights this winter where the fate of the homeless have been on my mind, because I know I don’t like to be out in that cold very long at all, and I’m usually dressed for it!  I can’t imagine knowing that the temperature is going down to -20º C with a windchill, and that you’ll have to find something to bury yourself under so that the wind doesn’t kill you in your sleep.  I just…. can’t wrap my mind around it.

Anyway, I’m sure there are things I can do, and I’ve been pondering that.  Praying about that.  Thinking on that…. but at the very least on Monday evening, I was whacked in the face with a huge load of perspective.

Film Review — The Drop Box


The Drop Box is a new film put out by Focus on the Family about a South Korean Pastor named Lee Jong-Rak.

Focus on the Family says this about the movie:

Hundreds of unwanted babies are abandoned on the streets of Seoul, South Korea, every year, forgotten by the surrounding culture.

The Drop Box is a documentary about the work of Pastor Lee Jong-rak and his heroic efforts to embrace and protect his community’s most vulnerable children. By installing a drop box outside his home, Pastor Lee provides a safe haven to babies who would otherwise be abandoned on the streets to die.

It’s a heart-wrenching exploration of the physical and emotional toll associated with providing refuge to save those deemed unwanted by society.

But it’s also a story of hope. And a celebration of the reality that every human life is sacred, has a purpose and is worthy of love.

I was given a link to watch an advance screening of it before it comes out in select theatres March 4th and 5th.  Check out this link to see if it’s showing up in a theatre near you!  I checked Ontario and there are many locations.  Focus on the Family says it’s playing in the States as well, so for my American friends, I’m sure it’s coming somewhere near you too!  Here’s a spot you can put your zip code in and check to see where it’s appearing :)

I suppose though, if you’re reading this you’d like to know what I thought of the movie, so here it is!

 

I have an aching-heart passion for kids who get abandoned.  It breaks me when I hear stories of children who just aren’t wanted.

This documentary highlights that so well.  Pastor Lee sacrifices so much of himself to be available for disabled and completely abandoned children.  He puts a box on the door of his house so people stop abandoning children on the streets of Seoul to die.

It tugged at my heart in a very real way.  Normally, when I watch movies, I’m doing a couple things at a time.  If you intend to watch this movie you’ll find that’s not a possibility because it’s mostly subtitled and spoken in Korean (I’m really not sure why I was surprised by that, because I should not have been).  When I focused though, I found it to be a very engaging and beautiful story.

I was inspired by the love Pastor Lee and his wife and all of the kids they’ve taken under their wings shared for each new child that came to live with them.  My heart soared with happiness when I saw the real love of Jesus poured out through this family.  I know the Jesus I love isn’t happy with children being abandoned.  I know that’s why every time I’ve asked for my heart to be broken for what breaks the heart of my Saviour, I’ve felt more strongly that kids are a big deal.

I hope you’ll check to see if it’s popping up near you in early March.  It’s worth the watch, and I recommend it to anyone, but most of all to those looking for a clear picture of what it means to love sacrificially, like Jesus did.

 

That time I went to the movies by myself… and nothing happened.


Last Tuesday I really wanted to go see Into the Woods.  There are friends of mine who would see it with me, sure, but my usual movie buddy was absolutely not interested.  Something about it being a musical and a fairy tale adaptation combined, I think, haha.  (I do highly recommend the movie if you like musicals and fairy tales.  I loved it.)

I decided I was going to try some independence and not care what anyone thought of me, and I was going to go by myself.  After all, I had a pretty good feeling I’d enjoy it, knowing my love for musicals and fairy tales.  Once Upon A Time, anyone?

I did get a little apprehensive though about going to the movies alone in the same city where I teach… so I planned to go to the next city North of here, mostly because I had stuff to return at Old Navy and I don’t have an Old Navy… but also so I didn’t run into students at the movies by myself.  At least this way, if someone thought I was lame, I’d never know about it.

I headed out of the city though and it started to snow… not just flurries.  Snow.  Especially at night, the “if it’s snowing, I’m not going” mantra tends to fit me well, and especially to leave town.  I ended up getting quite nervous about what my drive home would be like if it snowed like that the whole time I was gone.  I turned around.

I went back to the theatre in my city, determined that I was going to see this movie, and determined that I didn’t care if anyone cared.  I had visions of being able to pile my stuff on the seat beside me, sprawl out, not care if my movie buddy liked the movie or not, and just really enjoy myself…. until I walked into the theatre and it was so jam packed full of people (and kids!)…. I guess I forgot it was Tuesday because it was Christmas break, but Tuesday is cheap night and it being Christmas break, that made it even busier.  You could hardly get in the doors.  I left.

I was disappointed in myself though because I did want to see the movie.  I ended up watching “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” on Netflix — Brilliant, if you haven’t seen it.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Friday morning, I checked the weather — clear skies, dry roads, I was good to go.  I headed North into the next town, made my Old Navy return, and because I wouldn’t have time to make my massage appointment later in the afternoon if I stayed for the 1:40 show in the other town, I came back to my town for the 1:00 (I love it when these are my dilemmas — Christmas break rocks).

Here’s the thing…. I kind of expected at least one person would look at me funny for being alone.

No one cared.  Is it possible this has been MY hang up all this time and not anyone else’s?

What’s the big deal?  You don’t talk to the people you’re with during the movie anyway!

I got to pick my upper corner seat, I got to spread my stuff out because the theatre wasn’t very full… not even half I’d say.  And because I sat right above the stair well, I got to put my feet up on the wall in front of me.  Comfort.

I munched on my popcorn and almond M&Ms in peace, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire movie.

This will not be the last time I go by myself ;)

Why I’m not one of Dean Brody’s Canadian Girls


Disclaimer:  I know the song was not written to be an all-encompassing description of the definitive Canadian Girl.  It’s just that every time I hear the song it makes me snicker to think how much it doesn’t describe me, so I’m blogging it.

 

First, if you haven’t heard this song, check it out ~

 

And now, please chuckle along as I pick apart how different I am from the lyrics of this song :P

She grew up watching hockey
With her daddy on Saturday nights

Nope, not me!  I hate hockey!  And my Dad never really watched it!
He taught her how to tie her skates
Her brothers taught her how to fight

I hate skating.  I don’t know how to tie skates.  I fall down when I skate.  I don’t like falling down… so I avoid skating.
She can wear high heels or flannel

I don’t like high heels all that much, and I don’t think I own anything flannel, though I’m sure I could wear both if I wanted to… though not at the same time.  That’s a no-no I’m sure.
She can look sexy in a tuque

No one looks sexy in a tuque.  Warm?  Yes.  Sexy?  No.
She likes snow storms and Gordon Lightfoot

I like neither of those things.  Neither.
And if you’re lucky she’ll love you

That’s true….
Canadian girls, Canadian girls
Irresistible, lovable, trouble though sometimes – girls
We could travel the world
From New York to Paris, France
But we’re always gonna come back, Canadian girls

Baby, she likes to snowboard

I did try that once, I liked it.  It was fun.
And spend her summers out on a boat

Nope.
Thinks the perfect night out is a cabin
Smell of coffee on an old wood-stove

I’m sure that smells awesome, but that doesn’t sound like the perfect night.
She won’t admit she watched Degrassi

I can’t admit it…. I didn’t watch it… I’ve never seen it.
She’s proud and she’s sometimes quiet

I’m never quiet.
A true north national treasure
She’d give her life for the red and white

I am a national treasure, but…..

Canadian girls, Canadian girls
Irresistible, lovable, trouble though sometimes – girls
We could travel the world
From New York to Paris, France
But we’re always gonna come back Canadian girls

Well us boys we like our fishin’
Our hockey and Ron McLean

Who is Ron McLean??  And why do boys like him?
We like Moosehead beer and whitetail deer
Stompin’ Tom and the USA
And we like the foreign ladies
Their accents are really nice
But there ain’t nothin like our northern girls
To keep us warm at night

Canadian girls, Canadian girls
Irresistible, lovable, trouble though sometimes – girls
We could travel the world
From New York to Paris, France
But we’re always gonna come back Canadian girls

From the mountains to the ocean sands
Tuktoyaktuk to Newfoundland
You keep us coming back Canadian girls

 

I’ve been waiting a long time to pick this song apart… just happened to be in my head tonight because it was the last song on in the car when I got out.  I like the song, don’t get me wrong, I’m just nothing like the Canadian girl he describes ;)

Are you?

Exodus: Gods and Kings — Read the Book Instead.


I’m not one to be preaching on the “read the book instead” soap box.  I love movies.  I prefer them to books.  I like books, don’t get me wrong, I’d be a terrible writer if I didn’t like books, but I prefer movies.  Mostly, I think, I have a hard time visualizing the details, so especially in a book that has intricate details written in, I struggle to picture what the author is talking about.  I have the same problem whenever anyone tries to explain something visual to me.  Hearing or reading it do not help.  I for real need to see it.

This was one of the reasons I was really looking forward to Exodus:  Gods and Kings.  That, and because I want to see these Bible Stories turned Hollywood Blockbusters so that when those who know I’m a believer ask me what I thought, I have an opinion.  Well boy, do I have one.

If you want to see it without my biased opinion as an influence, you should probably stop reading.  I was going to try to avoid spoilers, but, as I write my thoughts out I have quickly realized that I can’t be honest with you without sharing details.  SO — if you want to see it and don’t want to know why I think you shouldn’t bother, quit reading.  If you want an honest opinion from a Christian who’s beginning to think that “to be able to talk with my friends who’ve seen it who want to question why it went down the way it did” isn’t a good enough reason, and that actually maybe I should avoid all Bible-Story movies like the plague (heh… plagues), keep reading.

 

So, here we go:  If you’ve decided to stick with me, here are my thoughts.

As a Hollywood action movie, it was great.  It was entertaining, it was visually stimulating, there was plenty of conflict, and there were daring action scenes where our hero had opportunities to make huge choices, and those choices impacted the outcome of the story.

Perfect set up, right?  It also had a pretty solid cast…. though I struggled greatly with the believability of Christian Bale as Moses.  I struggled the same way with the believability of Russell Crowe as Noah.  They acted well, don’t get me wrong, but in this case… a Hebrew man living in Egypt just wouldn’t have looked like Christian Bale.  Just…. no.  I’ve been reading a lot lately about women and ethnic minorities and how they’re downplayed in Hollywood films…. and that this is precisely one of the ways it’s done.  A movie that should likely have had someone of Egyptian descent play the main character just doesn’t because, well, Christian Bale sells.  He is Batman, after all.  I had a hard time getting past that one, I have to admit.  And I wonder if I don’t need to be far more conscious of it, to the point of refusing to see a movie where a character who should clearly be represented BY a minority is played by a white man.

(As an add-on after I’ve read other reviews, I found this quote appalling, “I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such,” Scott says. “I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.”

When the downplaying of an entire ethnic group comes down to budget, my conscience has a hard time paying the man, and I regret having spent money on two tickets.)

I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be great when the Burning Bush wasn’t even really acknowledged, and a child appeared to Moses while he lay in a pile of mud assuming he was delusional.  Turns out, the child is supposed to be Ridley Scott’s representation of God… Really?  And the boy is British.  God is a pre-adolescent British boy.

I knew it wasn’t going to be great when Moses left his staff with his son before returning to Pharaoh’s palace to work at freeing his people.  I leaned over to the friend I went with and whispered “doesn’t he need that??”  Turns out…. not if you’re Ridley Scott’s Moses.  He didn’t use his staff at all…. because he left it with Gershom.   He used the sword he was given by Pharaoh far more often.  I guess that’s part of him playing him up as a soldier?

I think the biggest hang-up for me is how downplayed God was.  This movie was the story of how Moses could save his people pretty much all on his own, with a little bit of input that he considered heeding from a kid that we assume is portraying maybe God…. maybe.   Moses was a man who, the way I read the story in Exodus, was afraid of what God asked him to do… he was afraid he wasn’t a good enough public speaker and that no one would be convinced by him, so God provided Moses’ brother Aaron (who was hardly mentioned).  Not so, here.  Moses never once objected because he didn’t think anyone would listen to him.  Instead, he burned down a bunch of Egyptian store houses (this is not what I remember!)

But… something that concerned me in all of this, is that I found myself caring more about the fate of Ramses than the fate of the Hebrew people… and that’s not at all where reading the account of Moses leaves me feeling.  So I know that something’s not right when I’m left feeling sorry for Ramses.  I know the point of view of Ramses isn’t one we’re often really afforded, but…. I don’t want to side with someone who was so absolutely resistant to a clear example of the will and power of God that he led many of his people to their own undoing and death through the ten plagues… which were knocked off in quick succession, after the messenger we presume is God tells Moses to “just watch for a bit.”  Yeah… really?  Just watch?  I know that the God I serve is totally capable of having delivered His people from Ramses on His own, but if that was His plan, He’d never have gone to Moses.  Leaving Moses on the sidelines for this was really frustrating.

And the Red Sea?  Don’t get me started.  Just don’t.  How Moses got lost headed for the Red Sea to begin with is lost on me, because, well, God was there the entire time guiding the Hebrew people.  Or at least He should have been.  It’s akin to your GPS saying turn Left, then you turn Right and wonder how you got lost.  But once again, God was absent in this.  Moses got the people lost.  Moses did it all on his own without God because apparently this isn’t a story of how God delivered His people through Moses.  It’s a story of how Moses takes a suggestion from a pre-teen God-like figure and runs with it all on his own.

Oh… and the crocodiles in the Nile… I suppose that’s not a big detail, but… lots of crocodiles.  Too many crocodiles.  So many crocodiles….

Hear me:  I know this was a Hollywood film.  I know, I know… artistic license.  Noah had Rock People, Exodus pretty much left God out.  I get it.  The real story probably wouldn’t sell very well… I get it.  But just like all those movie-goers who read the book then end up livid because the movie ruined the book…. well, here I am.

Moses was supposed to be a man who overcame great struggle, great fear, and great adversity in the fight to have the Hebrew slaves living in Egypt freed and led into the Promised Land.  This is not something the real Moses did on his own, and not something he did with God sitting on the sidelines.  God revealed Himself VERY clearly to Moses, but this was very downplayed in the movie and it made me pretty upset.

As the Moses of the Bible fought to free his people, His reliance on the power of God was made very clear as well.  Never was he told to just sit and watch.  And each time something bad happened to Egypt, Moses returned to Ramses, and asked again and again for him to reconsider and to let his people go.  Ramses’ heart was hardened so that God’s Glory could be displayed, but… we never see that in the movie.

I’m sure by now I’ve ruined the movie for you — but I ask respectfully that if you’re going to go see the movie despite everything I’ve said, you read Exodus first.  I ask that you know the version of the story that God wanted His people to know.

I went for a conversation piece, and I got one.  I haven’t wanted to blog a review of something so badly in a long time….

My fear though, is that you’ll go without heeding the warning of a Believer who grew up with this story, and you’ll take Hollywood’s version of God as who God is, and you’ll see Moses as the hero who did it all himself.  While I understand Hollywood wanting to paint Christian Bale as a sweeping hero, this is just not the way I’ve ever read this story.

 

After I wrote my own review, I Googled some.  I found two that I wanted to share with you.  The first pretty much bang-on agrees with me, and the second provides some really clear fact-checking.  It’s really evident in reading the second one just how ridiculously outrageous this film is.

How to Ruin a Moses Movie
Fact-Checking Exodus

And now I understand how all of you feel who read the books before you see the movies.  You have my empathy from here on out.  Well, from Noah on out, really, because… Rock People.

An Open Letter to the Canadian Government


Dear Powers that Be who work in Government Offices:

And maybe even ‘Dear Canadian Government.”

I’m a socialist as much as the next person (well, I suppose not as much as the next person, or we wouldn’t have the government structure that we have currently).  I love it that services are provided to our population that other countries don’t necessarily have, and I would love to see those services provided more widely and more effectively.  I don’t think that’s possible in our current political climate, but alas…. I’d even *gasp* pay higher taxes to make it so.  Or at least, within reason…. But I digress.  This is not the hill I want to die on, today.

Almost exactly four years ago, I found myself in need of such social services and I was reliant on Employment Insurance as I had only managed to find half time employment but still had full time expenses.  Mine being the only income in my household, this was quite the hit.

I applied for EI and was approved.  I understand the need to consistently report on my income because, well, as much as I believe in social assistance and I believe it needs to exist, I also find myself enraged when such services are abused.  While filling out these reports, I made a mistake in reporting the income I’d earned because you asked for bi-weekly reports and one of my pay-stubs was given monthly.  I had to do some figuring of my own and what seemed like it should be simple division apparently was not.  I made a mistake, it happens.

Four years ago, you sent me a request for information to back up my claim because you found my mistake before I did.  At that point, I realized my mistake and I sent in the information along with an explanation, expecting to be required to repay what I’d been overpaid, which is the thing that made the most sense to me.  I was dreading it, because I was working half time, and so I couldn’t afford such a set-back, but I wanted to make it right.

And then I never heard from you again.

Well, never’s a strong word.

Four years later, I received a letter in the mail stating that I owe you 679.00.

I’ve tried to make some calls about this amount, because as you can imagine, I want to make sure there’s not four years worth of interest on that bill, since I didn’t know.

But you know what I’ve discovered?

All government services have ridiculous working hours.  I’ve tried to call, but you don’t have an answering machine service when your lines are too busy to pick up my call (and it has been several times that I’ve tried to call).  Your phones are only answered from 8:30-4 anyway, Monday-Friday so anyone with a job with regular hours would struggle to find time to sit and wait on hold to speak with you.  Your offices are also only open Monday-Friday, 8:30-4, while I’m at work.  So I can’t talk to you in person because your phone lines either drop my call because you’re too busy, or you’re closed… and I can’t come in in person because I can’t make it there on time from work.  I almost made it on Tuesday…. I thought the office closed at 4:30 and I booked it up the stairs to the second floor at 4:02 to find locked doors.

I appreciate the services.  They’re helpful.  They’re necessary.  And quite frankly, without them, four years ago I don’t know what I’d have done.  But the fact that your working hours are really only conducive to those who either aren’t working or who don’t keep regular daytime hours is very frustrating.

I don’t know what the solution is, but I thought you should probably be aware.  Perhaps consider hiring a second shift of employees so your offices could be open maybe between the hours of 7 and 7?  And perhaps have people on the phone from those times?  And…. perhaps…. just perhaps…. you could consider just having a hold queue so that if someone is willing to wait on speakerphone while doing other things for the next available attendant, they could?  Don’t drop my call because you’re too busy to talk to me?  If I’m willing to wait 35 minutes every single time I need to talk to a Rogers representative, don’t you think I’d be willing to wait to discuss 679.00??

Sincerely,

Frustrated.

#wewantboth, a copycat recipe, and the reason for a budget.


This is old news.  Gosh, it’s SO last week.  Or maybe even last month.  Maybe I just jumped on the band wagon last week.

You’ve probably heard about this, but Starbucks Canada decided that since the Gingerbread Latte sold better in the Eastern part of the country, and since the Eggnog Latte sold better in the Pacific North West, they would sell their popular holiday drinks “regionally.”

Basically — Starbucks Canada decided that the Pacific North West could have eggnog, and everywhere East of Saskatchewan could only have the Gingerbread latte.  Well, I say ‘only’ with the full understanding that there are plenty of other options, including a peppermint mocha and a new-this-year Chestnut Praline Latte which, to me, sounds lovely, but I haven’t tried one yet.

Naturally, the internet threw up its arms in outrage.  #WeWantBoth they cried!  Starbucks is ruining Christmas, I tweeted!  My tweets of despair were favourited and retweeted, and I gained new Twitter followers.  It was a bittersweet 28-ish hours.

The next day, I received incredible news (that’s right, I didn’t know until a mere two days before the holiday drinks were slated to roll out that my drink of choice, the eggnog latte, would not be gracing me with its presence)!  A friend shared an article from CTV with me that basically expressed, due to the outrage across various social media platforms, Starbucks Canada would be replacing the eggnog latte in the East, and giving the Pacific North West back their Gingerbread.

Part of me felt spectacularly elated that I played a small part in a Twitter Revolution that led to me getting what I wanted (albeit not until November 17th, but alas…), but very shortly thereafter I was faced with a rather sobering thought.  If the country can band together and fight for our rights to have the latte we want, why can’t we do that on issues that matter?

I’m not judging anyone who will buy a holiday latte from Starbucks.  I would be lying if I said I don’t plan to leave 15 minutes early for work on Monday to go snag one for myself, even though I’ve figured out how to make a reasonable alternative.

I just can’t help but think that there are so very many issues in this country that would benefit from an outcry like that, and if we could see it, what kind of change would we be able to affect?  I know this is cheesy since it started as a post about coffee, but could we change the world?  Or do we just care too much about our five dollar coffee to mobilize together?  I get it — we wouldn’t all agree on what would need to be done.  In this case, it was a fairly simple solution:  “Starbucks, #wewantboth and we’re outraged that you made such a stupid decision.  Fix it.”

And fix it they will.

But what about issues that are close to my heart?  Human trafficking, forced sex trade working (both of which happen in our very own country, by the way), forced prostitution, homelessness, hunger…. If a child died of hunger in the cold on the streets, and Canada banded together and screamed #thatsnotok while demanding that our government do something to fix it, could we change the world?

Or is our government not as agreeable as Starbucks?

It all got me thinking.  Money talks, right?

There are places I’d love to be able to give money, but I simply don’t currently have it because I owe too much for various reasons.  I have a mortgage, I have student loans, and I have a line of credit.  Between those three things, I feel like my hands are tied behind my back and I’d love to wriggle them free.  That said, I’ve created a budget, so… I guess we’ll see how that goes.  I know how to create them, it seems to be the follow-through that kills me.

Deep thoughts started by Starbucks though, right?

Speaking of Starbucks, before I learned that Starbucks was going to give me my latte after all, I decided I’d best learn how to make my own, because I certainly don’t want a Gingerbread Latte.  I bought some eggnog (thank you, Christmas season, for giving me eggnog!  The only reason I haven’t learned how to make eggnog itself is because I’d legit weigh a ton.  For real.  I’d chug it in August.  No shame….).  I heated some (about a third of my travel mug) in the microwave and then brewed some Green Mountain Dark Magic on my most concentrated setting into the heated eggnog.  It’s no Starbucks, but it certainly tastes yummy.  I’m a little weirded out though by the fact that the eggnog and coffee don’t mix on their own… I had to stir it up quite well, and the bottom was still much MUCH sweeter than the top (which I didn’t mind so much).

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The Dollarama Incident


Yesterday evening, something happened that I feel I must share with you, my faithful readers.  I was (wrongly) accused of shoplifting yesterday in a Dollarama… of shoplifting chocolate bars.

I hadn’t, naturally.  There are better things I can think of attempting shoplifting on for the first time than a Peanut Butter Oh Henry and a Reese Peanut Butter Cup.

But here’s the story.

I went into Dollarama after a trip to Costco with a friend.  I can’t remember even 24 hours later what I went in for, it couldn’t have been that important, but I went in because I obviously thought I needed something.  I go into this Dollarama all. the. time.  It’s maybe a minute from my house, and teaching means Dollarama is a girl’s best friend.  No joke.  At least once a week.

While I was in the candy aisle, texting a friend, I was kind of pacing back and forth.  My hands were in and out of my pockets because that’s where my phone was, and I kept picking up chocolate bars and putting them back down because a) I couldn’t  make up my mind on what I wanted, and b) I was trying to remember what I went in for, and c) my friend and I were making plans for tonight.  While I was pacing, I caught sight of this woman who appeared to have just paid for her purchase, standing just by the cash register counters.  She was staring at me, and not discreetly.  When I caught her stare, I looked back at her with a “what?!” kind of look, and when she continued to stare, making me uncomfortable, I put the chocolate bars down and turned to leave the aisle.

See, my first thought was that she was fat-shaming me.  I don’t know why I assumed this, because she was about the same size as me, but my own insecurity played out and my inner voice saying “you don’t need this” led me to jump to the absurd conclusion that this woman was judging me for buying candy.

Somewhat thankfully, she was not fat-shaming me.  Instead though, she was assuming that when I put the chocolate bars down, I didn’t put them back on the shelf but in my purse.  She alerted a cashier of her assumption.  I can’t fault her for this, I guess.  I suppose as I look back at this incident that if I was sure I saw someone shoplifting, I’d probably tell someone as well.  After all, when things get stolen, prices go up because the store isn’t making their projected profit.  Also, on the level of my inner Junior Kindergarten student, it isn’t fair that I have to pay for things when other people don’t.  Yup, I’m petty like that.  What I hope I wouldn’t do is stare awkwardly, even after alerting staff to the situation.

This woman did that.

Over the PA system came the alert “Security scan all aisles.”  I didn’t think anything of it.  I hadn’t done anything unseemly.  A cashier I was familiar with (like I said, I’m in there all the time) came down the aisle I was in, and I turned and said hi.  She walked up behind me, and the conversation went like this:

“It’s been reported to us that you were seen putting chocolate bars into your purse.”

“I didn’t, I put two down, back in their box, cuz that lady at the cash counter is staring at me and making me uncomfortable.”

“Would you mind showing me your purse?”

“Sure, I don’t have anything to hide.”

I took my purse apart, showed her the various pockets, and then rifled through the collection of tampons, pepto bismol, advil, lip gloss, hair brushes, bobby pins, and elastics that collect at the bottom.  Satisfied with what I’d shown her, she apologized and thanked me for cooperating.

That should be the end, because like I said, I didn’t do anything wrong, but as I rounded a corner, this woman was still staring at me.  I still couldn’t remember what I was there for, so now I’d taken to wandering up and down the aisles, looking for whatever it was I went in for.

Down to the heart of this…. I feel like I need to share what’s bugging me about it.

Just minutes before all of this went down, and then again just a minute or two later, I had run into one of our grade 8 students from my school.  As a teacher, we’re cautioned very strongly about our reputation, and even more strongly about the perception of our reputation.  I don’t think this grade 8 student saw me being searched in the middle of the store, right in front of the toy section, but I know that it wouldn’t be good if he did.  He’s a lovely student, and so I’d hope he’d be able to see the truth and not spread rumours, but rumours are all it takes before parents don’t trust their child’s teacher because they heard she steals.  I run our school’s book fair, I collect student money on occasion…. if my students’ parents hear that I was accused of shoplifting at Dollarama, why would they have any reason to trust me with their money?

What I would like to have seen is a discreet cashier who gave me the opportunity to show her the contents of my purse in private.  I didn’t think it through in the moment, I just wanted to show very quickly that I wasn’t a thief.  It was embarrassing, though, to have to do that with complete strangers standing watching, and I spent a good deal of time last night fretting about what was going to happen at school today if the student saw anything or said anything…. and I sincerely feel that that was unnecessary.  It was unnecessary worry in the first place, and I know that, and I should have known better, but it isn’t a situation that should have happened, in my opinion.  I sincerely believe that there’s a more dignified way to prove you’re not a thief.

I don’t know what it is, because I imagine if I HAD tried to sneak the chocolate bars into my purse, asking to speak to me in private wouldn’t have helped, because the crowd of witnesses would have been helpful while I refused to open my purse based on the privacy act and blah blah blah…..

I just think there has to be a better way.

Am I the only one?

Has this happened to you before?

What do you think?

After Stares-a-lot left the store and I regained my composure, though I never did remember what I went in for, I finally decided on at least a Toblerone and went and stood in line to pay for it.  The cashier that had searched my purse in the first place came over to me to apologize, explaining that as soon as she saw who they’d accused, she thought it couldn’t possibly be true, because “you’re in here all the time and you always pay for your stuff.”  To be honest, I’m not sure if that’s comforting or disconcerting.  I mean, I’m glad I’m trustworthy and all, but that might mean I’m in Dollarama FAR too often.  She said she hoped I wasn’t offended, and apologized sincerely again.  I was not upset with her in the least, she was just doing her job.

I paid for my Toblerone and went on my way, but while leaving the store to go to my car, I saw the lady who’d reported me leaning against the wall outside the store with her friends, still staring at me.  All I can say is I think she’s lucky I wasn’t in the mood for a fight and that Gotham was about to start, because I had half a mind to go encourage her to be a bit more certain next time she accuses someone of shoplifting.  But, I guess on the good side for all of us, Gotham was about to start, and I had a Toblerone to eat.

Dancing with Myself


I went to a wedding this weekend.  It was beautiful, it was lovely, it was awesome!  It was my brother’s wedding, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.  It was my little brother’s wedding.

He’s not that little, I mean, he’s 27.  I am 29 and my wedding hasn’t happened, and I’m totally ok with that, because I haven’t found someone I want to walk down the aisle with, and I refuse to settle.

The thing is, a couple times during the evening, I was told the following things:

“You’ll never get a boyfriend if you keep doing that [taking ridiculous selfies].”
“I hope you can find someone to be happy with.”
“Your time will come.”

The ‘your time will come’ didn’t bug me quite as much because it wasn’t quite so condescending, despite the fact that I don’t think any of them were meant to be condescending.  In fact, I suspect the last two were meant to be encouraging, but… anyway.

The first one made me jump to my own defense.  See, normally I’ll take those comments and accept them, assuming that perhaps the person is right and I am doing something that’s keeping me single.  After reading a blog post though about food shaming and a lady who stood up for herself, I decided I’d do the same.  The conversation went down like this:

Me:  (sitting taking ridiculous selfies of myself at the dinner table)
Someone:  You’ll never get a boyfriend if you keep doing that.
Me:  No.  I don’t think that’s true.  There’s someone out there who will love me for all that I am, stupid selfies and all…. and if there isn’t, well, then I’ll be happy being single because I don’t want to change just to get a guy to like me.

I felt pretty proud of myself, because normally I internalize that stuff, but while I do believe the person who said it was just telling me something they thought would be helpful information, I don’t believe it to be true for a second.  I’ll find someone someday with a silly side who loves that I take stupid selfies.  It’d be awesome if he’d even lean in for a couple every once in a while.  I’ve been taking selfies since before selfies were cool… legit… I’d turn my disposable cameras around backwards and then be mad when I’d develop the film and half of the pictures were of half of my face cut off because it’s hard to angle them when you can’t see a screen.  Technology has made them a lot easier!  I’ll post some of mine from my bro’s wedding for you to see… haha I figured I wasn’t gonna look that dolled up again until my own wedding day.  Some people say they’re attention seeking.  Some say they’re narcissistic.  I think they’re just plain fun, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

 

To “I hope you find someone to be happy with” I responded that I’m already happy, and that a man can make me miserable if he’s not a good choice, so I’m not just going to settle for someone for the sake of being with someone.

 

Lastly, to “your time will come” I simply said “thank you.”  This person was pretty much a stranger, and didn’t really know me, so had no way of knowing that I don’t resent my lil bro for getting married before me.  Also, can I tell you how much I LOVE my sis-in-law?  My brother’s got fantastic taste.

 

With my new-found self-confidence that evening, I got out on the dance floor and danced like no one was looking, even though people were watching.  This is not like me, I promise.  I had grandparents watching, and sometimes they were laughing… because, well, I was doing the lawnmower and the shopping cart… I deserved to be laughed at haha.  But you know what?  I had fun.  I dragged my grandmother out on the dance floor, and I taught her how to slow dance.  That was so much fun, and it’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.  My grandma had never danced before, and she even came out on the dance floor during a fast song and started shuffling and moving her arms to the beat… determining that “I think it’s just about having fun!”  and she’s right.  So it doesn’t matter who’s watching.  It doesn’t matter if anyone thinks you don’t look amazing.  It doesn’t matter if all you know how to do is shuffle to the beat or jump up and down (hello high school lol).  My step-Dad taught me how to polka, and it was fun!  and I don’t care if I didn’t look good doing it.  My Grandma was right, it’s just about having fun.

 

Anyway, selfie time!  Here they are!  Allow me to state that as someone who enjoys taking pictures very much, the ability to play with the light from behind me, whether it be from the sun-reflected lake or bouncing off the glorious fall leaves… it’s fun.  I suspect the admonition that stupid selfies won’t get me a boyfriend probably comes more from the 2 silly ones (which, by the way, I didn’t post on Facebook and am only putting here to make a point), but anyway…. here they are.

 

 

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Yeah. This.


These are the things I’ve been trying for …. a long time …. to articulate.

I haven’t been able to.

So I haven’t done it.

Now, granted, I don’t relate to every single bit of this, but I sure relate to a heck of a lot of it, and I couldn’t have said these things better myself.  Perhaps I’ve been too scared?  Anyway.  Who cares?  I found someone who can say it for me, so here it is.  The post is called “Are you sure you should eat that?”

Thanks so much, Jenny Kanevsky at In Other Words… you’re on my follow list and I will be sticking around.  I found you on BlogHer and I’m so glad I did.