Friday, December 28, 2007

Boxing Day Blowout or How to Spend More Money After Christmas

Here in this area of the world, Boxing Day is a required holiday, and we're lucky if the local gas station is open. But while that may make a few avid shoppers' skin crawl, it probably is an attempt to temper the anxiety of not being able to shop one day of the year, that is Christmas Day.
But that kind of backfires, too.
My kids got money for Christmas, and my son got an MP 3 player that according to him, only plays a few songs and he needed one with quadruple the memory. So, even with a Nor'easter on the way, we hopped into the little car and drove to the mall. I decided on the little car because I wasn't sure how good the parking would be and taking the SUV might make parking a nightmare. Of course, I ignored the fact a storm was coming and taking the SUV would have been a more sensible precaution. Thankfully, the storm held off until we were done fighting the crowds by then.
My son steered me to the electronic games store. EB something or other. We stood dutifully in line, waiting to get in. I hate waiting in a line to give my money away. There's something inherently wrong with that. But my son was quiet and so was I.
Then I realized his motives. It wasn't for a new MP 3 Player. It was for a Wii. I had made the mistake earlier of saying that I was interested in getting one, only because it would get my son more active, and now I was discovering that we were standing in line to get one.
Finally, we were allowed the special privilege of entering the store. I felt honoured and touched and slightly in awe. Actually, I felt none of those things. I was hot in my winter jacket and feeling a bit claustraphobic. But once in the store, we patiently waited in line again. Only after the thirteen pre-teen kids in front of me had spent all their money on violent games, was I able to face the poor cashier.
"Have you got any Wiis?"
"When do you plan to get them in?"
"Probably January 25th."
"Are you taking names for them?"
"Only if you pay in advance."
"How long is the list?"
"I'm not allowed to tell you."
"So, it's like some national secret?"
"Can I get a refund even before the Wii comes in?"
"How much is it?"
"$269 plus tax."
I paused. The big moment. Up until that time, I had used the excuse of there not being any Wiis available, but now I had my son behind me, who didn't get too much for Christmas this year, and the only thing he wanted didn't hold enough songs because I was stupid in not reading and understanding what 512 mb is. Apparently, it's the equiviant of having a computer that still runs on DOS, but frankly, I'm going to tell you that the computer I had with DOS never crashed.
Finally, I took the plunge. A Wii will get my son moving this winter, and allow us to play some games and stay active. With a bit of remorse at the growing debt, I handed over my credit card.
We left shortly after that, and I allowed my son to pick out some MP 3 player that had video capability. He bought it himself.
Then we went looking for boots for him, but strangely enough, there were none he liked.
I left him to drag myself to the nearest coffee kiosk and ordered a caramel coco-mocha latte with extra whipped cream, caramel drizzles and chocolate sprinkles.
I'd just finished it and the chapter of the book I was reading when my daughter and her boyfriend appeared. She'd dragged the poor boy along to carry her parcels. Ahh, young love.
We met up with some family, helped a young niece develop her own personal style, and then realized my son had not returned to the rendevous point. So we scouted out all the usual suspect shops, but didn't find him.
That's when I spotted the perfect birthday gift for my daughter. And felt my credit card burning again in my pocket. It was perfect. It was also expensive. And it was packed in another big box for my future son-in-law to carry.
It was a dressmaker's mannequin. On sale. Still expensive and remembering that I couldn't just buy a Wii for my son and ignore my daughter.
So I bought it. Note to self. Intercept the credit card bill before husband sees it.
We returned home, and I checked my email. What a delight! The travel agent with whom we had booked our March Break Trip to Cuba had written to tell us she'd posted the balance of our bill onto our credit card.
Ahh, but isn't that what Boxing Day is all about? Spending money you haven't earned yet, while appeasing your guilty conscience?

Monday, December 24, 2007

I know blogging isn't as cool as MySpace or ...

Now blogging like this isn't as cool as other things like MySpace or Facebook or like kind, but this is easiest for a dinosaur like me.
I wanted to write this blog to wish you Merry Christmas and remind you that even those who aren't Christian by faith are generally completely cool with wishing you a Merry Christmas, and not that generic and stupid Happy Holidays. So go ahead and don't feel bad. Well, maybe I will say something later about that, but in the meantime, I want you, all what 2 of you probably, to know that I like blogging. I don't do it daily, as quite frankly, I'd bore both of you to death and since you're my only readers, that's not good business to kill your readers. Darlings in stories are fair game.
So please keep reading, keep wishing everyone Merry Christmas, and remember that sometimes those sites like MySpace are good for pics and such, but they're mostly just window dressing, as opposed to the meat in my blog.
All right, so there's not so much meat in my blog. But I like to sometimes share with the world my little corner of it.
Saturday I went snowshoeing and it nearly killed me. The snow had a crust on it that wasn't thick enough to hold our weight, even with snowshoes, and when I picked my feet up out of it, the tip of the snowshoe got caught in the crust and I'd fall flat on my face. But I got a good workout.
I'm ready for Christmas. Presents bought, cantata over and done with, turkey in the oven, and I've written enough of my story to last over Christmas Day.
If you have some time, check out
It'll lift your spirits over the holidays, if you're getting tired of hearing Happy Holidays.
Merry Christmas, and may the blessings of Christmas, this is love joy and peace, be upon you.
Barbara Phinney

Friday, December 7, 2007

I'm supposed to be nice...

Okay, I'm supposed to be nice. All the older ladies in my church think I'm nice. Here's a little secret. I'm not, at least not all the time.
I've been sick this week, and last week, with two of the three writing deadlines I had still hanging over my head, I wasn't planning to be nice this week.
And why mess up a good plan?
So, this week, my deadlines done, and no more sleepless nights, I am supposed to be nice.
But I'm not.
Still sick, I was up in the night last night, sipping ginger beer to settle my stomach, and turned on the TV. Some survivor guy was living out in the Sahara, and showed me how to eat a live scorpion. No thank you.
And we had a huge snowstorm this week, only to discover the snowblower had a gas leak, and my husband kept tracking in gasoline. I hate the smell.
Then, my pastor's wife told me how she wasn't able to get in to the hospital for her surgery because of the storm and how the taxis were telling her she had to wait. She was so kind and polite. Much more than I'd have been!!! They kept telling her a twenty minute wait, until she missed her appointment, while I would have been telling the dispatcher that I was needed at the hospital right now! (I told you all I wasn't nice) Of course, it may have been like shooting myself in the foot, but you have to be honest with yourself.
Then, today, it had come to a head. I receive the Romance Writers Report and often read how these young upstart writers are selling stories to electronic publishers after only a few years, (It took me 11) and now they're down to months!! PULEEAASSSE!
What's next? Signing the a contract for three books when you've never written a sentence? What's wrong with paying your dues?
Oh, sure, some of you say it's just sour grapes, and you're probably right, but a part of me is just expressing what most of us have actually thought at some time or another. Right?
Don't look away. Look me in the eye. And know that, like you all, I'm not always the nicest person around.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

deep down in the deadline

I have two deadlines. I've dreamt of this time, of facing deadlines feeling fresh from a good night's sleep, full of imagination and creativity.
Well, I have neither. I actually spent all my creativity decorating the church vestry. I redid the Guardians of Hope bulletin board, putting two velvet stockings under it with Guardians of Hope booklets in each one. That's it. And considering I make flatbread roll ups for the snack meant there simply isn't any creativity left.

I shouldn't have left her alone!

That crazy Georgina has done it again!  I left her alone for a few minutes, and now another one of her books is free ! Get it here! ...