Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Other Talents/Hobbies/Interests...

A couple weeks ago I came across this posting on the Photojojo forum:

"After having a chat with a few of you on another thread it seems that a number of us "creative types" also like to try out methods, other than photography, of letting our creative juices flow."

Here's my own personal list of other creative pursuits I occasionally practice:
creative writing, cooking/baking (and I have a pretty impressive collection of cookbooks too!), scrapbooking (what do you think I do with all the photos I continually take?), and making arts and crafts.

I did once take a drawing class, but don't think I have a huge amount of talent in that area.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Holiday Gripes

If this were being written by my husband I think he’d say putting up Christmas lights, sending cards, buying presents, making Christmas desserts, and definitely Christmas music and TV specials (so pretty much everything, but he’s an atheist, so what do you expect?)

Trying to get in and out of parking lots. I don’t object to having to park far away. In fact, that’s preferred because there’s less chance of someone dinging your car and it’s usually easier to get in and out. I hate the people who sit and wait for your parking spot while others car are forced to sit in the traffic queue building up behind them.

The holiday TV viewing schedule. It annoys me how TV Channels show all their holiday specials during the first two weeks of the month and then nothing but crap for the rest of the month. Some of us are so busy with holiday chores that we often don’t have time to sit down and enjoy TV until the second half of the month. Thank goodness for DVR!

Special holiday deals and free shipping. Stores that keep coming up with better and better offers and free shipping once you’ve finished your shopping. It’s like buying something and seeing it go on sale the next day. This system seems to reward last minute shoppers while “spanking” those who are actually organized enough to get it done early.

Long lines at the post office. All post offices should be fully staffed at the counter at all times (especially at lunch time!) to help cut down on the long lines. Also, if you’re coming in to apply for a passport, for the sake of the rest of us, please do that as early in the day as possible, or better yet, do it prior to December. You’ll save a lot of ugly looks from annoyed customers behind you in line. If you’re coming in to pick up mail, don’t. Why not just have the mailman deliver it straight to you? Post offices - Maybe you could come up with a better system, like having different lines for different needs to streamline things a bit.

Christmas cards with glitter. Yes, glittery Christmas cards are pretty and magical and all that crap, but mostly they’re just annoying when they spill out their little gift everywhere. Glitter is one of those things that seems to linger for months, even long after most pine needles.

The Must-Have Toy of the Year. This is especially disappointing when it turns out to be complete and utter crap. Last year it was the Sliders game. Bidding wars were fought on E-bay for this winner (which likely hasn’t been played since last Christmas). Even worse are the people who wait outside on Black Friday to buy the maximum amount of an item just so they can flog it on E-bay for a profit. May those people rot in retail hell!

Charities Coming out of the Woodwork. I enjoy buying stuff for and donating to charities, but I never feel like I’ve done enough. Just when I think I’ve finished writing my last check, a new charity pops up. I guess you just need to draw up a budget and stick to it.

Not knowing what to buy people. Some people are easier than others. For those of you who have it all and don’t want anything, what are your favorite charities? Come on and help us out. We’re not all mind readers you know!

Office Parties/Lunches/Dinners. Depending on the company you work for, these can either be fun or dismal. Long live David Brent and his charity dance on THE ORIGINAL “The Office” Christmas special.

The inequity of Christmas. I know it’s the thought that counts, but what do you do if either someone gives you something and you accidentally overlooked them (or the other way around)? Or what do you do if either the gift you give or receive is outclassed by what the other person gave/received? I know you’re supposed to just shut up and pretend not to notice, but it’s still the elephant in the room. My mother hates it when people either spend too much on her (when she knows they can’t afford to) or get her something when she hasn’t bought them anything.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What I REALLY WANT for Christmas….

First of all, for the meager few who actually read this blog, I just want to say ahead of time, that I will be grateful for whatever I receive for you from Christmas, including your presence, which is just as important if not more so to me. However, in this rush up to the holidays, many things have become painfully clear to me.

1) There is never enough time to do everything. Actually that’s true all the time, but especially at the holidays when things seem to speed up the day after Thanksgiving. Hence, I would like the gift of TIME. I would prefer it in 24 hour intervals, but would gladly accept 12 hours or even 4 if that’s all I could get. In return you get my insanity and eternal gratitude.

2) Courage. Unlike the cowardly lion, I’m not afraid of Cairn Terriors (Toto), though I don’t much care for the breed. Most of my fears come out once I’m behind the wheel. Ohio winters don’t thrill me, nor do busy freeways, or traveling to unfamiliar places. Therefore, I could use a little injection of courage please.

3) Focus and Follow-through. Just ask my husband. How many projects do I start and not finish? I have big ambitions, but little energy when it comes to seeing them to fruition. I can blame life all I want, but what I really need are the two F’s mentioned above. I think I also need to whittle down the list to a more manageable size. Do less, but do it better. Perhaps it's the quality rather than the quantity that's important.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Here are four of my favorite novels - most set in the run up to Christmas. So, grab your snuggie and a mug of hot cocoa and find a comfortable chair by the fireplace to curl up for a good read. (all summaries provided by www.shelfari.com)

Finding Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn
In Finding Father Christmas, Miranda Carson's search for her father takes a turn she never expected when she finds herself in London with only a few feeble clues to who he might be. Unexpectedly welcomed into a family that doesn't recognize her, and whom she's quickly coming to love, she faces a terrible decision. Should she reveal her true identity and destroy their idyllic image of her father? Or should she carry the truth home with her to San Francisco and remain alone in this world? Whatever choice she makes during this London Christmas will forever change the future for both her and the family she can't bear to leave. Robin Jones Gunn brilliantly combines lyrical writing and unforgettable characters to craft a story of longing and belonging that will stay with readers long after they close the pages of this book.

Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
The events of a December afternoon, during which a father and his daughter find an abandoned infant in the snow, will forever alter the 11-year-old girl’s understanding of the world and the adults who inhabit it; a father who has taken great pains to remove himself from society in order to put an unthinkable tragedy behind him; a young woman who must live with the consequences of the terrible choices she has made; and a detective whose cleverness is exceeded only by his sense of justice. Written from the point of view of 30-year-old Nicky as she recalls the vivid images of that fateful December, her tale is one of love and courage, of tragedy and redemption, and of the ways in which the human heart always seeks to heal itself.

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to L.A. in time for Christmas. Forced to take the train across the country because of a slight "misunderstanding" at airport security, he begins a journey of self-discovery and rude awakenings, mysterious goings-on and thrilling adventures, screwball escapades and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people's essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.

The Gift by Danielle Steele
On a June day, a young woman in a summer dress steps off a Chicago-bound bus into a small Midwestern town. She doesn't intend to stay. She is just passing through. Yet her stopping here has a reason and it is part of a story that you will never forget. The time is the 1950s, when life was simpler, people still believed in dreams, and family was, very nearly, everything. The place is a small Midwestern town with a high school and a downtown, a skating pond and a movie house. And on a tree-lined street in the heartland of America, an extraordinary set of events begins to unfold. And gradually what seems serendipitous is tinged with purpose. A happy home is shattered by a child's senseless death. A loving marriage starts to unravel. And a stranger arrives—a young woman who will touch many lives before she moves on. She and a young man will meet and fall in love. Their love, so innocent and full of hope, helps to restore a family's dreams. And all of their lives will be changed forever by the precious gift she leaves them.