Saturday, December 31, 2005

Introducing the 2005 Intense Christmas Sweaters!

Stopped at the South Bay Galleria and found two sweaters covered in beads and embroidery. Then my daughter found one she insisted I get for its novelty value. The one with the tree covering the entire side is the one she picked.

It's been pouring rain today and the drive from my family's place back to my daughter's place was a bit more stressful than I like, but we're all home safe and warm now.

I want to say hi to a new friend that I hear has read my blog and answer a few questions she had.

Not married - I've been living with my boyfriend for almost 15 years. Tried being married once - that didn't work out so well. Would I do it again, sure. He has to ask though *smile*

I work full time outside the home. Right now I'm doing "vendor management" for a large high tech company. The vendors are mostly technical consultant suppliers.

I'm 48.5 years old.

What's my worldview. Good question. Politically I'm more libertarian than Republican but that doesn't really fit either. I'm socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I'd like to see less government where it doesn't belong and more of it where it can do the most good. As a life long reader of Science Fiction I have read about thousands of possible futures. I don't think we're headed for dystopia a la Philip K. Dick but I don't think we're headed towards a Star Trek future either, unfortunately.

As it's New Year's Eve I'll hope that 2006 is supremely better than 2005 was for all of us. If I brought anyone a smile last year then it was a good year. I hope to keep bringing smiles next year as well.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Helping Spread a Different Kind of Meme

Nope, it's not Monday and it's not silly but it does come from my association with Absolute Write. Jenna Glatzer (editor and chief of Absolute Write and kind hostess of the Water Cooler forum attached thereto) has a blog and on it she has posted about a pledge she hopes many will sign - over 300 already have.

It's recently popped up on Joanne's blog as well as Macallister Stone's - I want to help spread it further. You can read more about the pledge and her reasons for starting it on her website.

Here's a teensy excerpt (teensy because I want you to go to her site)
My brother is the coolest person I know. He's nice to everybody, and he can always make me laugh, even if I'm feeling down. It hurts us when people use words like "retard" and "retarded" in the wrong way, because it makes him feel like they think he's stupid. He had to work very hard-- harder than most people-- to learn how to read, write, play the piano, and use the computer. He has graduated from high school and works at a nursing home. He deserves to be respected, not insulted.

A dear, longtime friend has a brother with Down Syndrome. I believe she feels much the same way about him and hurts like Jenna hurts when people toss cruel words about without thinking. For her, and for Jenna, I signed the pledge and I hope you'll consider doing the same. Thanks.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Pacific Between - A Review

By Raymond K. Wong, available at Ray's official site and, where I would have liked to have posted this review, but apparently can't right now, and Barnes & Noble, where I have posted this review, but it may take a few days to show up.
In The Pacific Between we are introduced to Greg Lockland who has recently lost both of his parents. He is in his thirties, unmarried and coping with this loss without the support of an extended family. He has come back to California for the funeral and re-connected with Kate, the daughter of his parents' close friends, after ten years of growing steadily apart.

Greg's longtime friendship with Kate seems to be on the verge of becoming something more, but before Greg can truly understand that for himself, he discovers letters and pictures that bring up more questions than answers about his past, his father's relationships, and ultimately, whether the woman Greg really loves is Kate or Lian. Without explaining why he must go, or what he is feeling, to Kate, Greg leaves for Hong Kong to confront Lian with what he thinks he's learned.

The Pacific Between artfully moves between scenes from Greg's past and the present. Greg's search for Lian is also his search for understanding about himself and his relationship with his father. Woven throughout the book are scenes with other friends and acquaintances of Greg's that expose for us the boy he was, the man he has been and the man he is becoming.

The secondary characters are full of life and personality; each scene with them is just as important to the book as the scenes with Kate and Lian. Equally compelling are Raymond Wong's descriptions of Hong Kong that fully envelop one in the sights, sounds, and smells of the island.
He truly has a fantastic way with words. I was transported to Hong Kong - it was colored by my memory of Tien Mou, Taiwan, and my more recent trip to Singapore, I'm sure, but I really felt like I was seeing it thru Greg's eyes. I want even more to go to Hong Kong after reading this book.

The Pacific Between is so tightly woven I'm hard pressed to uncover one extraneous bit of dialogue or description. The shift from chapter to chapter is effortless; the ending lives up to the rest of the novel in that it is the honest outcome of the journey Greg has made.

Ray, I hope I did ok with my review and didn't give away too much - I truly enjoyed your book and hope it is a great success.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

She's Gone Off Half-Crocked!

I'm not much of a homemaker, I'll be the first to admit it. There's a lot of stuff I should do more regularly and just don't. One of the things I don't do much is cook meals. There's a lot of work involved! Deciding the menus, buying the ingredients, actually putting it all together instead of forgetting about that pound of meat in the freezer for several months and having to toss it out. Work, work, work.

However, the last few days I've spent some time in the kitchen actually preparing meals that took more work than popping in the microwave for 5 to 7 minutes on high.

Christmas Eve I did a lovely beef stew in the slow cooker - I chopped veggies and added spices and everything. Christmas day I baked a ham. These meals were served with side dishes as well. (hey, it's an achievement, don't smirk)

Today I was a bit lazy and tossed a Banquet Crock Pot Classics bag of Chicken and Dumplings (although how they can claim those noodles are dumplings is beyond me) in the crock pot - it wasn't bad tasting and saved me having to cut up chicken breasts and veggies. A small step above nuking a frozen dinner at least.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring but I'm thinking I want to do something with the wok. There's a great oriental market down the street...maybe I'll do a nice stir fry. I'm betting the SO is wondering what's gotten into me. The kids are gone and I finally get domestic?

Well, I should have been better with that when they were around. It's one of the (many) things I regret about how I raised the kids. We ate too many microwaved, frozen, delivered or drive through meals. I won't go into any rationalizations, it was just weak, lazy and bad of me. The upside might be that my grandchildren will be better fed as my kids decide that their kids won't eat like they did. I can only hope.

Then granny will come visit and subject them to the evil that is Taco Bell and McDonalds. What are grandparents for, anyway?


Monday, December 26, 2005

Happy Boxing Day!

Or, as it's known here in the States, "Huge Discounts on Seasonal Items! Stores open early, don't miss out!" day. In years past I have been one of the brave souls driving through thick Tule Fog, which settles upon Bakersfield this time of year, at 6 or 7 a.m on the 26th to shop at the Valley Plaza on Ming Ave. (featured in Trekkies, by the way - it's the mall that the young man, Gabriel Charles Köerner, whose dad has the shuttlecraft car, visits), especially at Robinson's/May - newspaper coupons in one hand and my Robinson's/May charge card in the other.

If I'm depressed at all today, it's because I'm not there filling my arms with wonderful sales items. Yep, I'm actually getting weepy. Where will I find next year's highly embellished Christmas sweater at 75% off? The tears are streaming down my cheeks now. It's not that I've succumbed to the commercialization of Boxing Day. For me it's the death of another personal tradition that crushes my spirit. You'd think that weighing the benefits (no charges to pay off, no risking life or limb driving in killer fog, an extra hour or so of sleep) of not going, against the relatively small payoff of a couple of sweaters would make me feel better but it doesn't.

I have lifted my spirits somewhat by finding two Christmas sweaters online, on sale. Hope they get here before Thursday.

I saw a meme over on Making Light. If you miss the you can do that one. Even if you don't do the meme, you should make a New Year's Resolution to read Making Light regularly. Highly literate comments to thought provoking posts. Sometimes so thought provoking it makes my brain hurt.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What Do the Gifts In My Christmas Stocking Say About Me?

I was reading a thread on AW about the “Best Christmas Gift” and was hard pressed to come up with one; I have received so many wonderful gifts throughout the years. What was easier for me was to recall other gifts – ones that made me wonder if there was a deeper message to the gift than just "Merry Christmas." For example:

Personalized jewelry. So, what's the message in that gift? The giver thinks I'm a narcissist? Wants me found by a stalker? Has trouble remembering my name so they hoped I'd wear the gift and spare them embarrassment next time we met? As an aside, nothing is weirder than having a stranger call you by name making you wonder, “how do they know me?” then remembering that your earrings are spelling it out for them in quarter inch high block letters.

“Jeweled” pocket calculator. ‘Cuz, you know, “Math is Hard,” so let’s make it pretty. I think the real message was that the vendor got a lot of 100 at a really cheap per piece price and handed them out to all their female clients. I bet the men got booze. Damn.

A “ladies” electric shaver. It was pastel and shaped all curvy, created especially for women. Women with silky fine down-like feminine leg hair that’s probably so pale you could forgo the shaving all together and nobody would notice. The stubble on my legs is at least as tough to shave as any man’s beard. It is also black – deep dark midnight black. Sadly, but truly, I get a ‘five o’clock shadow’ – from my knees to my ankles. Was this gift given in a state of denial about my need to use a fresh bladed razor daily?

While I’m on the subject, does anyone remember the “Epi-lady”?? a 40,000 rpm spinning spring that snagged and yanked the hair out of your legs….I’m convinced a sadistic misogynist came up with that device. But I stray…

Heated eyelash curler. Now those are just scary. I’m convinced something will go wrong with it and set my eyelashes on fire, which will then ignite my eyebrows and from there, “Good bye hair”. I’m sensing hostility in this gift.

Further along those lines – tweezers. Not a grooming kit that contains tweezers, just, specifically and all by themselves tweezers. At this point while emptying my stocking, I’m beginning to think that people are not satisfied with my grooming or there’s a werewolf somewhere in the family tree and this is their subtle way of getting the message across.

“50 Colors!” eyeshadow sets – they look like fun but only two or three of the colors are attractive on me and there’s not enough shadow in each of them to do my eyes for more than a week. I once experimented with different combinations of colors and was mistaken for a confused football fan. “So that eye wants the Raiders to win and that one is for the Bengals?” I think this gift says “Go wild! You’re boring.”

Scented bath set – you know, the ones with the soap, powder, and lotion to match some perfume you’ve never heard of? If you apply all three items, after your ablutions folks will smell you coming a mile off and avoid meeting with you in person (although that might be worth considering). If you don’t use all of the items you’ll get the “Why is there still a full bottle of that lotion I bought you at Christmas?” talk sometime around the Fourth of July. This gift is either saying “I stopped at Walgreens this morning on the way to our Christmas get together and this is all I could find for under $20.” or, “You smell bad.” (no grammar lessons here, please – it’s dialog and that’s how people talk about you when you are odiferous).

“Sampler” boxes of candy. For some reason I seem to get boxes of candy from vendors and the guys get the boxes of real food, with beef sticks and cheese and nuts. There are a number of those candies that I dislike intensely and some I can’t eat at all (I can’t eat anything with shreds of coconut). Here, I’ll make it simple – if it has to be candy I like the Ghirardelli Chocolate squares with caramel and See’s peanut brittle, or those See’s dark chocolate suckers. All the other candy gets eaten by everyone else, so how is that a gift for ME???? If you want to give me food for a present, I like Hickory Farms beef sticks (the Cajun flavor is great). Although after a long day shopping I’m tempted to ask for the candy filled with liqueurs. I think the hidden message here is “My cousin is a dentist” or maybe a heart surgeon.

Here's a gift I have saw online and pondered with amusement and had to share - in case you have a 'message' to put in someone's stocking next year:

The “Miss Army Knife” It’s PINK! Quote from the ad copy: “comes with 15 must-have female emergency items — including a flashlight, needle and thread, nail file, scissors, a pill box, mirror, safety pin, tweezers (there those are again) and even a secret compartment to put an emergency bottle of perfume!” I’m tempted to ask for this for next year. Someone else can figure out what that says about me…

I hope your stockings are full of interesting stuff and no coal this year. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2005

AW Monday Meme #3

This meme comes from Veinglory's blog. I loved it (almost as much as the gay zombie penguins, but not quite). So, in the truest tradition of meme-ing I'm passing it along to you. (and, yes, I did post my 'memory' in Veinglory's comments. You'll understand what I mean when you read on.)

This is a bit like a writing prompt. You are being asked to compose a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and someone else on AW or your blog-roll. It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE. Identify who the person is and link to their blog or AW Profile as well. Feel free to tag them to pass on the meme if you'd like.

Now, if you want to propagate the meme, as part of your post you should include the following text:

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me. It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.

As always, I'd love it if you'd use the 's tag.

I've gotten some comments about that tag - that folks have used it and they're not showing up on Technorati. Since I'm not an expert in how it works all I can suggest is that you manually ping Technorati that you've updated your blog. If you want me to drop by your blog and see if you've done the tag right, I'm happy to do so. Just ask me in comments, on the AW Monday Meme's thread or PM me.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Nope, didn't do it after all

It has been raining all day. I hate being out in the rain. I hate driving in rain. I decided not to go out, after all. Guess that means I'll be joining the last minute shoppers on Friday as I have that day off.

I ordered two Hawaiian shirts, one for me and one for the SO. Mine will be red like the picture, the SO has the same print but on a black background. What you might not be able to see well from the picture, is that the shirt design, in addition to the pointsettias, has red "Woodies" with a surfboard sticking out of them, sitting on large leaves. It's priceless. And for a Southern California Christmas, perfect.

I'm re-reading The Fountainhead and doing laundry.

Don't forget, tomorrow I'll be putting up the last Monday Meme of the year.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Survivor - Shopping Mall

I am too tired to move. This morning I went to the mall. Got there at 9ish, great parking spot right near the door. Mall wasn’t too busy, either. That would change in about 90 minutes.

I needed to get a number of things that my daughter had mentioned on her Christmas list. I also had the SO to shop for. That wasn’t as much of a success, but I did find a couple things I’m happy with. I can’t say what because he knows about this blog and could come reading.

The bad news is that I need to go back out tomorrow. I was too tired to go on after 5 hours so I came home – but I wasn’t done. So I go trudging off again tomorrow, early.

The other thing I was going to see if I could find is this year’s Christmas Sweater. I wanted something really flashy. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. I eventually bought a sweater but it’s practically, cringe, subtle.

I will keep looking. Last year my best sweater was found at an after Christmas sale. One of the advantages of doing the family Christmas late is the opportunity to shop at the after Christmas sale for 1) the sweater and 2) cool gifts for the family at half price.

Looks like the family get together will be on New Year’s Eve this year. I’ve booked the flight down to San Diego, reserved a car and a hotel room (and yes, this time I double checked the date). I’m all set.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Wherein Dawno Attempts a Pome

Unique has tagged me. Here is my response.

The two of us are
following separate paths,
spinning contrariwise to the other,
a howling, discordant wind
uprooting things along the way
disregarding them as valueless.

Occasionally we’ll almost collide,
travel beside each other,
together - for just a little bit.
Perhaps then the sound of our passing
is less cacophonic to stander’s by,
it’s certainly more harmonious to us.

, wanna give this a shot? :-)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

May I Recommend for Your Blog Reading Pleasure...

In my Seven Things meme, below, I mention that I cannot knit. I love knitted stuff. I own lots of great knits – including some St. John stuff I shouldn’t have bought, but hey, it was from the outlet and on sale!! Anyway, I need to draw your attention to this site and to this post in particular. Maybe it’s ok that I don’t knit. Gotta get that site into my blogroll soon.

I got a phone call from my daughter and a visit from my son tonight. My SO made sure that both of them know what the new present that appeared under the tree today is. My son was very impressed. Now I’m really curious – but I’ll wait for Christmas.

I need to go shopping. Yep, this year I wasn’t good and got it all done early. Saturday morning I’m getting up at oh dark hundred, as they say in the military, and hitting the mall. I think it’s too late to get anything from online delivered in time.

I have no idea what the family Christmas plans are. Another result of my deepening depression over a number of aspects of my life spiraling out of my control is that I keep forgetting to do certain stuff – like call my family. I wish they either posted on AW or blogged. Absent that, they could at least email. *sigh* I must call Dad soon.

Don’t forget – if you know anyone who wants to hire a professional caliber organizer, I’m willing to work cheap to establish credentials. *smile*


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Seven Things Meme

Mark Pettus over on his blog The Bluff tagged me. Just me. It’s a singular honor. *snirk* I made a pun…

I enjoyed thinking about it and writing it quite a bit. However, because I subject all my AW cyberspace friends to the weekly AW Monday Meme I hesitate to tag any of them, so, if you like this meme, I encourage you to do it and propagate it.

Seven Things to Do Before I Die:
  • Go back to Ireland and see the places I didn’t see the first time

  • Go back to Australia and actually snorkel off the Great Barrier Reef

  • Completely humiliate my children by including my grandkids (currently only in my imagination) in my second childhood

  • Find work I’m passionate about and do it till I go completely senile

  • Take a cruise – I think I want to take an Alaskan one

  • Perform in a musical – community theatre, I have no aspirations to being on Broadway

  • Get published
Seven Things I Cannot Do:
  • Wink (I lost the ability after my recovery from Bell’s Palsy

  • Stay mad at someone, no matter how they test me

  • Knit. I can do just about every other form of needlecraft – I can tat for goodness sake! But give me two needles and I fail.

  • Stay productive when I disagree with what’s being asked of me

  • Touch a picture of a bug, unless I don’t know that I’m touching it. Give me a book with a bug on the cover and I either put a book cover over it or remove the dust jacket.

  • Eat raw oysters

  • Be alone
Seven Things I Say (or write!) Most Often:
  • I Love You

  • Thanks!

  • Just (I edit that word out of more sentences than any other)

  • Disappointed (this is the word I use a lot with suppliers at work who’ve screwed up royally – I’d rather say “you screwed up royally” but instead I say “I’m very disappointed in…” they’re not fooled – they know I’m very upset)

  • But (as in, “but did you consider looking at it from another angle?” I’m saying that more and more these days. See 4th bullet in the list of 7 things I can’t do, above)

  • So (another word I edit out of all kinds of things I write. It’s a bad habit of mine to start a sentence with “So, yadda yadda”)

  • Dawno (I sign a lot of stuff that way – on top of the occasional ramble, a la Bob Dole, wherein Dawno talks about herself in the 3rd person)
Seven Books (or series) I Love (this one is so hard – I could go on for pages):
  • Everything Stephen King – but especially Dark Tower as a series and The Stand – my most re-read book ever

  • Discworld series (Pratchett)

  • Everything Asimov

  • Star Trek books (except for Voyager and Enterprise)

  • Pern series (McCaffery)

  • Dune (Herbert)

  • Valdemar series (Lackey)
Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again:
  • The Shawshank Redemption

  • When Harry Met Sally

  • Sleepless in Seattle

  • French Kiss (and no, it’s not Meg Ryan I have a thing for)

  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

  • Star Trek: First Contact

  • Dr. Strangelove

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Having Thoughts About a New Career

Having Thoughts About a New Career

I am fanatic about organization – a bit compulsive, to be honest. I have gone through a number of different calendaring systems in  my life, from simple stuff I did on graph paper to make sense out of my college schedule to things like DayTimer, Franklin/Covey, the venerable ol’ Filofax, Priority Management System (spent a couple hundred of my own dollars on that one), my current favorite is Circa (more later on why that’s important).

I didn’t use to be quite this, uh, deranged. It got started in the second quarter of my first year in college. I had tested out of my freshman year so I was already a sophomore and I was determined to graduate in 3 years, but still have fun, and work ten to fifteen hours a week as the Student Assistant to the English Dept. Secretary. I often joked that I was engaged to the ditto machine and cheating on him with the Xerox copier. I got about 5 hours of sleep a night. On a ‘lazy’ night, that is.

I was in choir, drama and taking a full load of academics in the Honors at Entrance program. I had already declared a double major in English Lit. and Political Science. I was cracking under the stress.

I went to the bookstore on campus and found a little book about time management. I read it through. I got some highlighters and read it again – this time I started highlighting the things I was going to do. I went out on a shopping trip for supplies the next day. I won’t go into details but it saved me. And, I’ve never looked back. I’ll just say one thing – I scheduled myself in 15 minute increments. Every thing I did, all day – I even scheduled sleep…ok, that was a euphemism – let’s just say my boyfriend didn’t know he was on a schedule.

And how does Dawno organize her life today?

I have color coded, alphabetized, tabbed and labeled folders for everything I do at the office. Red is personal (reviews, promotion letters, awards), yellow was employee relations when I did HR, purple are completed projects, green are vendors under consideration for one program, blue are the vendors in phase one of a different program, orange are the ones in phase two. There are more colors – I’ll just stop there, though.

I use these folders with multiple inside dividers and two-hole punch brads at the top – in all the available colors, as well. This is for when I have multiple document tracking to do on a specific project.

My computers have dozens of folders. My work email has dozens of mailboxes and filters. My personal Gmail, well it does a good job all by itself so I don’t have to organize it.

I have Post-it notepads in all sizes and colors. I use them for huge wall mounted project maps.

I think you get the point – I won’t bore you with the closet…but just think about what one can do with organizing by color, short vs. long, seasonal vs. year round…shoes! Oh, goodness…excuse me, I need to fan myself.

Back to Circa. I need some paper refills for my Circa notebooks. I go to the Levenger catalogue. I decide to peruse the other pages and see something I want to put on my wish list. I also go to this page thinking I might just buy it for myself and tell the SO to get me the other one for my birthday (Christmas is already shopped for).  Now, scroll down a bit on that last link’s page. There’s a graphic in the middle of the page. It says “International Association of Professional Organizers.”  *faint*

I revive myself. Why had I never heard of these guys before? Could I be turning my obsession into a profession? I’m a teensy bit excited now. How I would love to spread the joy of compulsive color coordination and evangelize the best organizing choices for pen drawers (By color? Size? Width of point? How about by length? Am I deranged? You do have a pen drawer, right?)

I don’t like the idea of doing home organization for people. But business organization – be still my beating heart. Seminars – evaluations – consulting…oooh, I’m nearly dizzy just thinking about it.

And, if I did go this route – I could WRITE organizing books!! I’m inspired.

Monday, December 12, 2005

AW Monday Meme #2

Only 13 more shopping days until Christmas. Less if you give gifts on the Solstice, slightly more if you give gifts on Chanuka or Kwanzaa (my calendar says Chanuka starts on the 26th and Kwanzaa is on the 26th as it right?) but you're going to be fighting those crowds at the After Christmas sales.

What does this have to do with the meme, you say? Ok, I imagine you're saying it. No, I'm not off my meds and hearing voices.

If you've been out shopping you've been hearing holiday songs. Often the same ones, over and over and over. My poor children both work retail (let's hear it for my daughter, Abercrombie and Fitch's newest employee) and they get to hear them all day long, every day of work. My son claims to know many of these by heart now. Involuntarily. He whistles sometimes and without thinking about it he's started to whistle holiday songs. When he catches himself he says naughty words. I know this because I heard it happen a couple times Sunday while we were out shopping with him.

So, this got me an idea for today's meme:

List the holiday songs you know by heart, but only the ones where you know more than just the first verse.

You you can list as many as you want - could be bragging rights at stake here...;) Certainly feel free to quote any verse you're unusually proud you know. Like the third verse of Adeste Fedelis...I'd be proud if I could remember it, but I only know two by heart.

By the way, a "holiday song" is any seasonal song you sing. Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or even Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer...

I'd love it if you'd use the Technorati tag - and if you'd link back to the AW thread.

My List:
Song/# of verses

Silent Night/2
Jingle Bells/2 (there are 4 verses, I looked it up - and I don't think I've ever heard the last two sung)
Joy to the World/2
Adeste Fidelis/2 (aka Come All Ye Faithful and I only know two verses in English as well)
The First Noel/2
O Holy Night/2 (strangely the first and last only. Wonder why I don't know the second verse - I went and looked this one up because I thought it had more than 2 verses.)

I'm beginning to think that my various choir conductors only had us ever sing two verses or I'd know more of them...

I think know all of Silver Bells - seems like 3 verses when I sing it...Deck the Halls - six really short verses there.
I seen to I know all of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" as sung by Andy Williams. I blame it on the radio station that plays holiday music 24/7 that I've been listening to in my car. Seems to play that one alot.
I know all of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" too - probably for the same reason.
I know bits and pieces of "Holly Jolly Christmas" but I think out of order and certainly missing spots.
This is harder than I thought it would be! I'm going to stop here before I strain my brain any more.

:-) I look forward to yours.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Oh Tannenbaum!

Yep. The tree went up and the ornaments will be going on it as soon as we get the tablecloth out of the's kinda hairy (the cats liked to get under the occasional table it covers and they left quite a bit of fur on it). We've been using a pre-lit artificial tree for several years now (that picture is from last year) and it's about 4 foot high so we put it on top of a little table that for the rest of the year holds a lamp and a glass chess set.

I've put out the greenery on the mantle and shelves, and the wreath is on the door.

But the thing that really indicates that the holiday season is upon us is:

Dawno Gets Out Her Christmas Sweaters

I have 13 of them now. They are all what a friend of mine called "intense." For example - last year's sweaters:

I don't think I've been collecting them for 13 years because occasionally I get two, but I've been doing it for at least the last 8 or 9. It was a thrilling year for me when I finally had 5 sweaters and could wear a different one to work each day the week before Christmas. Hey, I look for excitement where ever I can find it and I set the bar low enough not to miss.

I am taking my son to the mall tomorrow since he doesn't drive and he wants to shop for his girlfriend, so he can't very well ask her to give him a ride. Yes, yes, I could tell him to take a bus. I want to tell him to take a bus - but it's Christmas so I'll do it. Even though I hate shopping in malls this time of year most of all. The upside of it is that while I'm there I can shop for a new Christmas sweater. Hopefully there will be some good intense ones left.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

'Tis the Season for Business Gifts

I’ve held a lot of jobs through the years where folks who have done business, or want to do business, with my company during the year feel an impulse to celebrate this ‘relationship’ with a token of appreciation.

Like today, I got a gift basket in a big cardboard box shipped directly from the warehouse to my office. Nothing like taking a moment to personally browse a catalogue! When I saw the box I got a bit excited – it said “Wine Country Baskets” and I was thinking “ooh Napa Wine!!”

No such luck. It’s probably the first of many highly impersonal gift baskets full of stuff I don’t like that I will break up and pass around the office. The weird dried fruit things and the ‘cashew roca,’ along with the raspberry bon bon candies and some ‘cheese nibbles’ are sitting at the bagel spot in our office with a sign that says “Help Yourself – Happy Holidays”

I admit, I did bring home a few of the items for myself and the SO. He has already consumed the butter cookies and the summer sausage. I think the sesame water crackers and La Region Des Vignobles Camembert Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread will be left alone for me to nibble. I’m hoping one of the baskets I get this year will have a big bag of pistachios; I love them and nobody else does.

I’ve also in days of yore, received gift items that initially look really thoughtful and classy – like a leather padfolio – until I opened it and saw their big embossed gold leaf logo inside the cover. I deal with lots of companies, so I don’t want to seem like I favor one over the other. I guess I could try to remember to swap out my notepad from my plain leather padfolio into their embossed padfolio when they visit – but it’s a bit of a bother. First time I got something like that I tried to take off the gold leaf with nail polish remover. Not recommended for real leather. I actually thought it was ‘faux’ and was mistaken. Live and learn.

I wish it wasn’t gauche to just say “How about you forget the embossed items and donate the money to a charity?” I sent a bunch of these guys an email from my personal account (so it wouldn’t seem like my company was involved) telling them all about Stories of Strength. So far two of them have mentioned that they were buying copies for clients. Alternatively, if you have to get me something or your boss will fire you, I’ll take a nice mid-priced bottle of Merlot. Either way, someone will get something that makes them happy.

I used to be an account rep. I was a vendor to the company that I currently work for before they lost their minds and hired me during the dot com frenzy. I had a couple special clients here that got personalized gifts. Everyone else got a nice corporate card that said a donation was being made to some charity by my company in their name. But the special clients – I knew them, I’d spent time with them during the year and learned things about them that I bothered to remember. And every year in early December, I’d go to a bunch of places and hunt down about $50 each worth of items that would be special and meaningful to them. For example, one of my clients was a British ex-pat. I always put a box of “crackers” in his basket. Not the kind you eat, but those tubes of paper with little toys and a paper crown in them that you pull apart and they go “Pop!” There were other little things – English biscuits, jam, teas…stuff like that. I think he appreciated the personal effort more than the gift – and that was the point. He and I are still friends. Every year I buy him a “Demotivators” calendar for Christmas (we both share a rather cynical sense of humor about work) and he puts it up in his office, so I’m pretty sure he appreciates it.

Well, I guess I’ll know who the reps are that think of me as a special client – they’ll either be sending out Stories of Strength and letting me know about it or I’m in for a very Star Trek holiday.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Best Blogs 2005

Weblog Awards 2005 - no, I'm not a contestant. But Making Light is - if you haven't been reading it and you're a writer or like writers or like writing you should be reading it.

BitchPhD. is up for best liberal blog. Yes, I'm letting you know my preferences here - it's my blog after all. My blog that's not even a dark horse grass roots write in candidate.

There's a category, as well, for best conservative blog. I haven't read any of them but I'm going to check out Right Wing Nut House.

Not to leave my friends in the Great White North out of it, there's a best Canadian blog category, too.

I didn't see a best writing/author blog. Too bad. Neil Gaiman's blog (on his website it's listed as "Journal") is wonderful, he writes regularly and deserves the notice for his willingness to let people into his live and world.

On another note, I submitted a 450 word humorous piece to the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition.

Monday, December 05, 2005

AWMondayMeme - Inaugural Post

Feeling rather holiday-ish tonight I thought the first AWMondayMeme should be: what are the 10 books or sets of books you most wish you could find under/beside/in your {insert appropriate holiday decor/object}?

Get creative - whether it's a signed first edition or a illuminated manuscript, anything goes - it's just a meme!

Here's mine:

1. An original UK published edition of Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (and signed would be sweet!)

2. The entire 1920's set of Book Trails that I think my dad has in a box at his new place - if he didn't already give them away to one of my siblings.

3. Any one of the SF books I read from the Edwards A.F.B. library as a kid, complete with library card with my signature on it and the funny plastic covers they used. An Asimov or Heinlein would be nice, but any of them would be fine.

4. A leather bound deluxe set of Stephen King's Dark Tower books

5. Early edition of Alice in Wonderland with the original illustrations

6. All three of Stephenson's Baroque Cycle books in Hill House editions

7. Ray's The Pacific Between (it's not due out 'til after the holidays)

8. Oxford English Dictionary

9. Hattie, Get a Haircut (Amazon says it'll ship on Dec. 13th)

10. That copy of The Silmarillion my dear friend from High School gave me that is in some box in storage in Bakersfield, buried under all the other stuff piled up ten feet high, ten feet wide and ten feet deep.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Just Gotta Share...

OK, so I'm doing a bit of research for something I'm writing and I start Googling stuff about the London Underground (that's the subway, not a group of WWII freedom fighters) and I come across this blog all about, you guessed it, the London Underground.

All activity has ceased as I read it because I am a dyed in the wool totally drooling fangirl Anglophile. I LOVE that blog. I wanna go live in London.

OK, back to work.

Monday Meme

The first AW Monday Meme will be posted here (and on Absolute Write) sometime before I go off to work tomorrow morning. Even if you're not an Absolute Write member you're more than welcome to play along.

I'm asking everyone to tag their posts with a Technorati tag (you can pick up the HTML at that link). If you don't blog on Blogger you might need to do a 'manual ping' (I don't really understand all this stuff, I just follow directions) to get your tagged post on the list.

If you decide to join Please use just this tag so all the meme posts will show up under the same search. Thanks!

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Friday, December 02, 2005

The Meme Virgin Tags Dawno - Fifteen Book Facts

Self proclaimed MemeVirgin, emeraldcite, did his first meme and tagged me. The request is "list 15 facts and personal preferences about books."

Without further ado:

1. I taught myself to read sometime between age 3 & 4. I was already reading well beyond grade level when I started Kindergarten. My favorite books were my family's set of "Book Trails" from the 1920's and I practically had the first book (For Baby's Feet") memorized, I had read it so often.
2. My first Science Fiction book was Robert Silverberg's Lost Race of Mars, Scholastic Book Club paperback edition purchased in 1964 when I was in second grade.

3. I have collected every Star Trek novel written except for the Voyager and Enterprise series. I'm particularly fond of the ones that are about Vulcan history and culture.

4. I mostly buy hardbacks. If someone introduces me to an author who's been writing a series I'll get the previous books in paperback if that's the only way I can find them but any new ones, hardbacks.

5. I refuse to read a book out of sequence if it's in a series. I'll put it aside until I've found every previous book and read them all first. Imagine my frustration at having to wait for special orders on a series that goes back over a dozen years and althought the books aren't out of print, for some reason Amazon took FOREVER to get them to me. Worth the wait.

6. I have been sorely disappointed in several award winning literary books lately. I'm not an unintelligent or non-critical reader, but does literary have to be the same as STUNNINGLY BORING???? Sorry. I'm sure there are literary books that aren't. I will continue to try and find them.

7. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius wasn't.

8. I don't use the library. I can't bear not to own books I've read and enjoyed.

9. I have a few signed first editions - but very few. I'd like to have more. I'm very glad I got to see Terry Pratchett and get a signed copy of Thud.

10. I love to read out loud.

11. Like emeraldcite, I usually have several books going at once.

12. Also like emeraldcite I re-read constantly. I have a couple of series I take regular 'pilgrimages' through. McCaffery's Pern books, Bujold's Vorkosigan books, Pratchett's Discworld books, Stephen King, the aformentioned Vulcan themed Star Trek books, Silverberg's Majipoor books were recently added and I'll be re-reading the Baroque Cycle and Cryptonomincon by Neal Stephenson one of these days. I really wish I could afford the deluxe Baroque set from Hill House. At $200 a pop I don't think it'll happen soon.

13. I'm interested in everything about books. I read the "about the typeface" stuff some books put on the last page. I get a giddy fan girl rush everytime I read something that even hints of 'insider' info. I subscribed to the Publisher's Weekly "PWdaily" email update. I don't understand but a fraction of who they're talking about but it's cool anyway.

14. I'm disappointed when someone I like doesn't like the same books I like. Even worse is if they don't read at all.

15. The most memorable moments I've had were seeing Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (c.1410) and a Gutenberg Bible (c.1455) at the Huntington Library and The Book of Kells at Trinity College, Dublin (c. 800).

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