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What would you do?

There is a strange thing going on.
So a few days ago we found a large package on our front porch.
I noticed it was from a company that I had ordered once from a few months back,
but nothing I couldn't figure out why they would be sending me something.

I took it inside and opened it up. A bedspread, 2 pillow shams and a blanket.
Nothing I would have ordered. Then inside as I looked further
I found an order slip for a woman in Greenview, Calif.
I've never even heard of that city.
So okay, somehow the company mailed it to me on mistake
when it was suppose to go to Sheryl F in Greenview.
And somehow my address got slapped on the outside of this box.
(And I do mean slapped. It was crooked, in a far corner of the box, and partially torn.)

So I call the company right away and explain. They are as baffled as I am.
They tell me I will need to take it to the Post Office and pay for delivery back to them. 
Then they said I should call them back and tell them how much it cost me,
and then they will send me a check in the mail.
I ask if they could just send a UPS truck to my house to pick it up.
They said, no, they can't do that.

So okay, I tape it all back together and make a new label for it,
and then give it to Den to take to the PO.....just because he does that sort of thing.
He thinks about it for a few seconds and then says it's crazy.
He says that company should just send us a postpaid label for it in the mail.
So he suggests I call them back and request that.

So today I call again and request a postpaid label, and the girl says,
"No we don't do that here. You need to take it to the PO and pay for it 
and then we will mail you a check for the amount."

That's when I say to her, "Does this not sound ridiculous to you? 
This package lands on our porch accidentally from an error your company obviously made, 
and yet you want us to spend our money to send it back to you."

She responds almost robotically, "We will send you a check for the cost of postage."

Me: "I know. But like I said, my husband wants you to send us a postpaid label first."

She: "We don't do that here."

Me: "Even if you aren't set up to do it, you can just go to a PO and pick one up and send it to us."

She: "No. You need to send the package first and then we will send you a check."

I think we went through the same conversation about 3 times and then I'd had enough.
"I will keep the package another few days and then I'm getting rid of it. 
So if someone wants to call me back about it and send me a post paid label I will take their phone call.

"You need to send the package first and then we will send you a check."

Me: "Thank you.....and I'm going now." 

Silence and pause.

Me: "Bye."

Silence and no response.

So I hang up the phone, and as I do I hear her saying in a sort of whiny bratty voice, something like,
"Well goodbye then." I couldn't make out for sure what she said, but I did hear the attitude.

Are we just being stubborn here? Even though I told them I'm going to get rid of their merchandise, when it comes right down to it, I know I can't.
So what do I do with it?
We figure it will cost about $30. to return it to them.
They would probably eventually reimberse us the money,
but I think it's the principle of it all that bothers me.
They are treating me like a unsatisfied customer that just wants the easy way out.
They don't seem to acknowledge that I am not their customer.

So really, I'm curious, what would you do? Anybody have an opinion?

Karaoke @ the Home

I was having too good of a time that night to do a good job videoing it.
So why would I put a video on my blog that is over 9 minutes, and doesn't flow smoothly?


1. The sound is good, and there is some great TALENT here!

2. I LOVE watching my Dad and Susan enjoy themselves.

3. Austin for some reason was in about every scene.
He just pops up everywhere. Sort of like Where's Waldo.
Really, I was amazed because I didn't realize how he was everywhere till I watched it later.
Now it makes me laugh. He is so cute!

4. This made a great activity for mutual (our church youth),
 and maybe someone from another ward will see this and want to do the same.
I love opportunities to mix the older generation with the younger.
I think its'a win-win.

5. There were many residents probably already in bed
by the time this took place,
plus there was a Bingo game going on upstairs at the same time.
But the ones who stayed seemed to enjoy themselves.


Thanks to my friend Allyson, 
or I never would have known about this fun performance!

Oh, and this was Allyson's ward, not ours. But it could be. I'm hoping.

Part 2 on The Miracle Worker

Four of Austin's six siblings were waiting for the play to begin.
Good thing Amy left the twins at home. It would have been too scary for them
with that necessary fighting going on between Teacher Anne and Helen Keller.

While we were looking at this quaint stage waiting, for the play to begin.....

Amy showed us this candy card she made for Austin.
I had never seen a candy card made with all the same candy.
But Amy says that's what he likes. So Reeses it was.
(Reese means "we" on this card, btw.)

After the show I could hardly wait to take pictures of Austin....

Well where is he?

Austin was so impressed with his candy card that he didn't notice, at first,
people who wanted to see him (us)

Austin you did such a great job as Captain Keller!

How is it that Mrs. Kehler never ages?
She was the director/drama teacher back in the day when my boys 
were in all those school plays and yet, she looks exactly the same.

My only regret is that we didn't see this play in the first week. 
Since we didn't get to go till closing night, I can't tell others how fabulous it was.
Truly one of the best shows I've ever seen! 
And I'm usually partial to musicals, which of course this one was not. 
The acting was outstanding.

Not sure what this picture is all about.
But whatever, they were all interested!

My Grandma taught me about Helen Keller when I was a little girl.
Her story influenced me from then on. Sometimes when I was sick,
or having a difficult time with something, I would think of Helen Keller
and be thankful that I could at least see and hear.
I am hoping her great story will stay in my grandchildren's minds as well.

"Be kinder than necessary"

Good thing I read my friend Darlene's blog post yesterday before going to the play last night.
She was reviewing the book, Wonder, by RJ Palacio.
She mentioned a quote from this book that I had heard before, "Be kinder than necessary."

Ever since last year when I saw Barefoot in the Park at this theater in the round,
I wanted to take Elora to the next play there so she could experience it....
since she loves theater so much.

So we made sure to get there an hour before it started,
as soon as the box office opened at 6:30.
I knew exactly which seats would be the best to get that upclose and personal feeling.

So we stood there and waited.
Okay, so maybe we got there a bit too early. But others soon joined us until they sold out!

But right before we were to go in, a lady and her granddaughter
I had seen sitting on a nearby couch all the time we had been standing in line,
came up and said they were here before us so they were first in line.
My first thought was how unfair, and even rude.
But thankfully that little voice in my head said, "Be kinder than necessary."

So we stood there, and talked to this pair and found out they been waiting at the theater since 3pm!
The grandmother thought she could get tickets but then found out the box office didn't open till 6:30
so I guess they waited outside till then.
Perhaps they were from out of town, I'm guessing....
because otherwise they would have gone home and come back at 6:30.

Since they were so determined to see this play I asked,
"So do you know someone who is preforming tonight?" They both said no. then I wanted to say,
'Then why is it so important to you that you got here 4 1/2 hours before it started??'
But I didn't. It was about then that Elora whispered to me,
"That girl is blind, Grandma." I hadn't even picked up on that.

The play we saw was The Miracle Worker.
I'm guessing that Grandma was trying to do whatever she could
to share that play with her blind granddaughter.

"Be kinder than necessary" is my new motto.

The play was blow us away outstanding and Austin had a major role!
I will be back soon with pictures.

Children and cemeteries

I never even entertained the idea of taking my sons to a cemetery
while they were growing up. Not until their Dad died did we venture out there.
But Hailey and Elora taught me this week
what a sweet blessing a cemetery can be to children.

We went out there last Monday of course to see Hailey's mom's grave.
And then what Hailey and Elora did together was totally their own.
I just watched in awe.

Would anyone happen to know anything about this baby's grave towards the end of this video?

The play, sleep, and write together.

It's been a whole year since Elora and Hailey have been together
and I am SO happy it is working out for their reunion this weekend.
They are 2nd cousins, besides being kindred souls, and have the exact same hair color!

They always request a "hospital lunch" so this was their bedtime snack.

I am so not a dog person.
But there was no way I was going to tell Hailey she could not bring Heather.
Especially since she says Heather is like having a little sister.

Hailey is incredibly nurturing and protective of her little Heather.

I woke up to find them eating breakfast they had put together by themselves.
I thought I had thrown those Fruity Os away. 

Going around town with Hailey's Grandma (my SIL) is quite the experience.
While we were getting a table for lunch, Wendy was telling the restaurant owner
that she loved him about 4 times because his
"menu worked for vegetarians (Hailey), Gluten free (Me), and kids with braces (Elora)."

Then when we were at Sweet Tomatoes tonight, she introduced herself to Fred,
and he said he really liked her because she was "charismatic."
AND, he even asked if she was single!

Oh, and also this morning before I got up, Hailey and Elora wrote this story.
All on their own with only some help from spell check.
They are only 9 and 10! Look what they came up with together.

We are wondering is there may be some hidden meaning here.

Please come back.....I have more to show you soon.

Our Valentine Visitors

Our 2 little Valentine guests had much to say to each other last night. I heard, a lot: 

"Joas your arm is hurting me. Move over."
"Téa don't put your leg there by mine!"
This went on for a long while...

Yet, what I found interesting is, neither one of them made any effort to move over. 
And later when they finally fell asleep, this is how we found them:

Then again, how could it be any different when they started out like this in utero?

However, when they grow up and find their true loves, 
I can pretty much bet they will not have marriages like this one in 1947. 
 I know, I know. I can't let go of these old stories.

Interesting what they considered newsworthy back then

Reader Digest.....this one is from December 1935.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Women in 1935

Lately I've been living in the past.
Ever since I found that little stack of Reader's Digest Magazines at the thrift store,
I've become fascinated with the 1930s and 40s.
This was the era my parents grew up in.
Not only was the culture different back then, but people thought differently.
Like this article below written by a woman in 1935.

In case you don't have time to read it, 
just scroll down to the highlighted parts. Those were most amazing to me. 
Perhaps you will not agree. (with what I found interesting, I mean)

The above was written when my mom was about 5 years old. 
However, my grandmother would have none of this. (Grandma was a very unusual woman for her time.)
She told Mom she was not allowed to get married until she graduated from college. 
So she graduated on a Friday with a degree in social work, 
and married my Dad two days later.
Grandma and Mom in 1948

Mom pregnant with her first baby in 1952.

She use to tell me, "One of the best kept secrets ever, 
is being a wife and Mom is the best job in the world."

(...Despite what the RD's article of 1935 implies!)

We never know what is being planned for us.

A few weeks ago I came home to an empty house so I quickly turned on the TV
for some noise while I made lunch. I had flipped on the BYU channel,
and there was the President of that university, Cecil Samuelson talking along with his wife.
They were standing side by side sharing some earlier fertility/ pregnancy hardships
they went through in the early years of their marriage.

They had to wait 3 years for their first child, and another 5 years for the second one,
and then her Dr said there would be no more babies.
They tried to adjust to this fact but it was hard
because they both very much wanted a large family.

Then several years later they heard of a family adopting a baby from Guatemala.
They quickly checked into this idea and 2 months later were able to adopt
Guatemalan twins (who are 36 years old now and have families of their own.)
Several years after the adoption they surprisingly became pregnant with one last child!

The following quote from President Samuelson really struck me 
so I repeatedly went back with the help of my DVR to get it right:

"We share these experiences only to show 
the hand of the Lord in our lives 
and to remind ourselves and others 
that seeming disappointments and disasters 
often are the keys that unlock the door 
to greater blessings and opportunities 
that might ever been hoped for or even conceived."

I like also how President Samuelson pointed out that while he sees the Lord's hand
often in his life, he usually recognizes it better in retrospect than while it is actually taking place.
That was a relief to hear because that is usually how it is with me, too. But he also added,
"We fully believe that rarely, if ever, 
do good things happen to us 
without the influence of the hand of heaven."

Which one is not like the other?

Logan, Utah
Provo, Utah
Fresno, California

Give up?
I will tell you.
Logan, Utah was voted safest city in the US.
Provo, Utah was voted #2.
And guess where my beloved hometown is on the list of safest cities?
Fresno is #342 out of 358 cities in this annual contest. 

Unfortunately I am not surprised.

Six things I learned this week....

1. Am I the only one who didn't know about these free standing toothbrushes?
I bought one thinking since I wanted really soft bristles I would buy a child's size.
Then it turns out this one stands all by itself with no container. I like that feature.
It would be especially nice in a hotel room where there is never a toothbrush holder.

2. Last night while eating at Whole Foods we saw a very normal looking man
pick up a whole avocado (I assume he paid for it) and took a bite of out it.
Then from that little hole he made from his bite,
he squeezed that avocado all over his salad and it came out, all of it, like it was no big deal.
Den asked him about it and he admitted this is the only cooking skill he knows.

3. This tastes so good and is great for tummy aches and sleeping problems.
I've had chamomile tea many times before, but it's never tasted like this.

4. Have you seen this stuff?

I would not use this on a child since it stings alot for about 1/2 a minute
but it works really well on men who are 64 with thinning skin.
Normally Den bleeds and bleeds after even a small cut, for days sometimes...
but last night he put this on a new hand cut and the bleeding stopped,
and the seal didn't even come off in the shower.

5. I learned this next thing in the comment section of another blog yesterday.

From looking a very early ultrasound the Ramzi method.
says you can predict the sex of the baby by looking for 2 things:
forehead dominate is a girl, and eyebrow line dominant is a boy. 
I have no idea if there is anything to this, but it sort if makes sense to me
since bone structure is so different between males and females.

6. To me this was the best of all.
Tyler and Karen learned that he has been accepted for a summer internship
as an actuary with the same company McKay works for in Portland!
So they will be moving in with the McKs for 3 months.

I smile every time I think of Grant and Rich being little roomies for the summer.
They may need the moral support when they both see a bassinet by their parents' bedside come July!

Crockpot Northern Beans and Ham

After soaking the beans, you put them in your crockpot along with the few other ingredients
and let them simmer all day.
Then just make some cornbread, and you have dinner!

I love the flavor of these. I love the heartiness. And I love the simple prep. 

They are very similar in flavor to some beans my Mom use to make for Christmas
and Easter every year but hers took LOTS more effort and time. 

The first time I made these I put the brown sugar in right from the start.
I didn't realize I was suppose to wait and add it later.
But we liked it so much the way I accidentally did it,
that now I just add everything all in the beginning.

Instead of ham hocks, I use "seasoned ham pieces" that are packaged
and cut up by the butcher at Savemart down the street from us. Any kind of ham would work. 

Since I've been gluten free since October, I don't make this kind of Cornbread anymore,
but it really is the best tasting:

If you don't like beans, you're out of luck.

A Day in the life of my Dad

Susan needed to go to Chico to see her family so I got to spend a couple days with my Dad.
I think this is the first time I slept under the same roof as him since 1974!
So I got to see what he experiences just about every day.

His new wheel chair goes in so much easier than the last one that he had since September.

Look at all the leg room I get in the back seat.

Off to Physical Therapy. NOT his favorite place to be.

 These pictures may not look grueling but it was. 
It was hard to watch Dad working so hard. And for a full HOUR.
 But then I had to remind myself that my Dad has always done hard things. 
He's tough, and he's a survivor. 
It wasn't that long ago that he set out to run across the US.
Running about 50 miles a day and sleeping on high school gym floors with my Mom.

And it wasn't that long ago that he ran 35 marathons (15 of them in Boston).

He never complains. Just does what he has to do.

 No rest for the weary at home either.

No sense suffering along with him. 
I went off the dining room and had breakfast. 
I felt like I was eating in a really nice hotel.

Sorry about what's on the screen there. 
I thought I had a picture of the stock market which he spends hours on everyday.
Usually with phone in hand.

Backwards Day @ the home. Interesting to see some of the way people dressed that day.
 Some of them really get into this. Like in high school.
 That's my new friend Annette. If you want to know anything about this place just ask her. 
She knows it all. 

 The next day it was "RED" day in honor of the American Heart Association and the 49ers.

 Susan got back last night and surprised him during dinner!
 The best part was seeing these two light up as they were reunited.

Dennis' Sad Barber Story

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