Friday, January 02, 2009

Startling Ten

Ten Unexpected Things That Happened During the Holidays

A lady I met at the New Age place where I buy my herbs recognized my aura or chakrahs or something, and insisted we knew each other in a past life. According to her, I'm the reincarnation of a musician named Paul.

Interesting that I came back completely tone deaf. Maybe Paul sucked.

I agreed to join a group blog.

First I hemmed, hawed, obsessed and argued with myself for a week. Details to follow as soon as they're all ironed out.

I did not eat ALL the patisseries.

I have no idea, however, what happened to the package of Ice Cubes sent from Germany or the hand-dipped truffles from Belgium. Perhaps international chocolate thieves broke in for five or six nights in a row and took one at a time, so we wouldn't notice.

Friends I haven't seen since high school came into town, met up with me and bought me a lovely lunch, during which they presented me with a copy of our senior yearbook, which I had been too poor to buy in high school.

Now someone just has to explain to me how the dreamy guy I had that huge crush on during senior year somehow got his picture switched with one of Slash from Velvet Revolver. Wait a minute . . . I think maybe he is Slash.

My guy and I successfully rescued three runaway horses.

We first found them peacefully grazing in our backyard on New Year's Day, but when they saw us they took off. While my guy got some feed from a neighbor's barn and used it to catch them, I drove like a bat out of hell down the road to get horse people and bridles. This will only be funny to those of you who know how terrified I am of horses.

My stepdaughter called to tell me that she and her new fiance are moving to the states (he has dual citizenship) and they plan to get married and settle over here.

Since I only see my Eurokid once or twice a year, this was the cause of instant celebration. At least until I remember that this will make me -- gulp -- mother of the bride.

One of the grand dames of RWA invited me to join the organization.

I said no, I was still in therapy from the first time. All the Sisters of the Immaculate Love Scene may now breathe a sigh of relief.

Purely by accident I picked up a box of Fire Roasted Tomato & Olive Oil Triscuits instead of the regular kind.

Didn't realize it until I took a bite, and fell instantly in love (I know, they're just crackers, but I have to eat whole wheat every day. Which after two years is like eating cardboard every day. These things are way better.)

Santa brought me a lovely heating pad/back massager chair pad that got rid of the crick in my neck that I've had since October.

Now if it could rebuild my knee and do something about my left hip, I'd stop walking like Long John on a bender.

Someone (you know who you are) sent me a gorgeous little hand carved puzzle box from Japan.

And I will thank you, just as soon as MIT gets back to me on how to open it. Unless I shouldn't. Hmmmmm.

What sort of surprises did you get over your holidays? Let us know in comments.

32 comments:

  1. DH bought me a gorgeous ring and then had it customized, taking out three of the stones and replacing them with the kids' birthstones.

    I almost started crying.

    And he also bought the Wii Fit thing...i asked for it since I don't always feel like messing with the gym. Just used it for the first tonight and I love it.

    And I'm in serious shock. You joined a group blog???

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  2. I got snowed in for a week over Christmas! In Portland, Oregon, that's amazingly, stupendously rare. So rare most of us don't own shovels. Which is, perhaps, why we were all snowed in for a week. But it was the kind of snowfall you remember as a kid, fresh and perfect, until the temps got back up to normal and it was gone in a day. Utterly dreamy.

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  3. Emma Frost1:14 AM

    My biggest surprise? Reading what I thought was the last book in the series, only to find that it's rolling over into a whole new series.

    John? Wherefore art thou??

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  4. Having a blind date the day after xmas that turned out really really really good. Having someone really awesome to kiss on NYE was a nice and unexpected treat.

    Oh, and I may I recommend the Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits as well as the Cracked Pepper Triscuits if you want to change up flavors. Those two are my favorite. :)

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  5. My friend and I saved a stray pit bull and got her to safe shelter a few days before Christmas. We found out that pit bulls are automatically euthanized in Miami-Dade County, so we drove her to Broward instead.

    I came home from vacation to find a handsome, charming, albeit slightly pink, Darkyn waiting for me. Bespelled instantly by his l'attrait, and the excellent story, I'll blog about it this weekend. You rock!

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  6. Tammy9:36 AM

    My two surprises for the holiday My mom pssed away on Dec 21, and when we went to the attorney's we found a nasty little clause in the mortgage that may let the mortgage company foreclose if we take her name off the deed.

    I'm really hoping 2009 is a better year for us. And I can't wait for Robin's story (even if the cover is an ............interestingly unusual color........I did it without using that P word!)

    What would make it a great year is if I win that Kindle over at that other blog. :-) Heading over to check there next.

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  7. Serena10:09 AM

    My Zune froze on 12/31/08...along with everyone else's of the same generation.
    2008 was a grim one for me so I was pleased that my holidays were mostly uneventful.
    Thanks, PBW, for all of the wonderful ebooks in the last month. Those were a surprise, and a welcome one.

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  8. "One of the grand dames of RWA invited me to join the organization."

    Oh, oh, oh! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during that conversation. How in the world did the invite even come about?

    My biggest holiday surprise were the extra pounds I now have that I didn't have back in November. Where in the world did those come from?

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  9. Still chuckling re Long John on a bender.

    Wait - what's this?? - I agreed to join a group blog

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  10. The biggest surprise for me during Christmas was the 'K' pendant my mother got me. She bought it while we were in San Francisco together in October. We were actually in the same store at the exact same time buying different gifts for each other and neither of us knew about them until we opened them on Christmas.

    The other surprise was when I went to the Butterfly Pavilion here and squealed a little bit when a butterfly took flight from a plant right as I bent down to look at a different. My mom was a bit exasperated because, as she told me, it couldn't hurt me. Of course, that does nothing to stop me from being startled and squealing because of my fear of flying bugs/insects. lol

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  11. My biggest and best holiday surprise was hearing from my best friend from elementary school. A close second was receiving ten letters my dad wrote to his sister that chronicle his meeting my mother.

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  12. At the end of a fabulous dinner party, a handsome stranger kissed me under the mistletoe. I thought that only happened in romance novels.

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  13. The biggest surprise for me was finding out that I'll be an auntie in July! I'm thrilled about it, but since my sister is not married, my parents are still processing.

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  14. Shiloh wrote: DH bought me a gorgeous ring and then had it customized, taking out three of the stones and replacing them with the kids' birthstones.

    Oh, honey. Hang onto that man.

    And I'm in serious shock. You joined a group blog???

    Yup. And they know me, too, that's the really scary part. Ha.

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  15. Jessa wrote: I got snowed in for a week over Christmas! In Portland, Oregon, that's amazingly, stupendously rare.

    That probably explains why I couldn't reach my little sister on Christmas Eve; she lives in the vicinity. You sound like you were a really good sport about it. Me, I'd be snowmobiling out to the nearest airport to get the heck out of Dodge. :)

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  16. Emma wrote: My biggest surprise? Reading what I thought was the last book in the series, only to find that it's rolling over into a whole new series.

    Hmmmm. I can't imagine whose series you're referring to. Maybe that Kenyon chick, huh? Or Kenley, Kinsey, or whatever she's calling herself these days. Lol.

    John? Wherefore art thou??

    Only the Shadow knows. I've always wanted to put that in a comment.

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  17. D. wrote: Having a blind date the day after xmas that turned out really really really good. Having someone really awesome to kiss on NYE was a nice and unexpected treat.

    Awww. That's wonderful. (Best NYE I ever had was with this surfer dude with whom I had absolutely nothing in common, and who ended up being the love of my life.)

    Oh, and I may I recommend the Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits as well as the Cracked Pepper Triscuits if you want to change up flavors.

    Holy toledo -- you mean there are MORE cool flavors? Why has everyone been keeping this from me? Is this some sort of healthy snack cracker conspiracy?

    I am so going to the store in the morning to hit the cracker aisle, big time.

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  18. Mary wrote: My friend and I saved a stray pit bull and got her to safe shelter a few days before Christmas. We found out that pit bulls are automatically euthanized in Miami-Dade County, so we drove her to Broward instead.

    That's a long haul for you, Mary. Bravo for taking her to a shelter where she'll be given a chance to find a new family.

    I came home from vacation to find a handsome, charming, albeit slightly pink, Darkyn waiting for me.

    Santa was really into pink this year. :) Hope you enjoy.

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  19. Tammy wrote: ...My mom pssed away on Dec 21, and when we went to the attorney's we found a nasty little clause in the mortgage that may let the mortgage company foreclose if we take her name off the deed.

    I know words are never enough, but I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I hope the first good news of 2009 will be a positive turn on the house situation.

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  20. Serena wrote: My Zune froze on 12/31/08...along with everyone else's of the same generation.

    Argh, I hate when things like that happen. I found info on the fix from Microsoft for the problem, if that will help:

    "First, disconnect the Zune from its USB and AC power sources. Because the player is frozen, its battery will drain, which is a good thing.

    Then, wait until the battery is empty and the screen goes black. If the battery was fully charged, this might take a couple of hours.

    Wait until after noon GMT on January 1, 2009 -- 7 a.m. Eastern or 4 a.m. Pacific time in the U.S. (now a moot point, since that time has passed).

    Connect the Zune to either a USB port on the back of a computer or to AC power using the Zune AC Adapter and let it charge.

    Once the battery has sufficient power, the player should start normally."

    (The above is quoted from the full article on fixing the glitch is here.)

    2008 was a grim one for me so I was pleased that my holidays were mostly uneventful.

    I hear you. I had a mix of the grim and the good during the holidays (I can't talk about the grim just yet) but mostly good, and for that I was very grateful, because I got to the point where you think "If one more thing happens...." and imagine your skull exploding. Luckily, nothing else did, so I didn't blow a fuse.

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  21. Margaret wrote: Oh, oh, oh! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during that conversation. How in the world did the invite even come about?

    Innocently enough, via e-mail regarding an entirely different subject that had little to do with publishing. In her defense, I don't think she knows who I am, professionally speaking (alas, my fifteen minutes of fame, gone already.)

    My biggest holiday surprise were the extra pounds I now have that I didn't have back in November. Where in the world did those come from?

    Not from me. All mine plus a few more are still on me, lol.

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  22. Lainey wrote: Still chuckling re Long John on a bender.

    You should see when I go into pet stores. Parrots try to land on my shoulder.

    Wait - what's this?? - I agreed to join a group blog

    It's only because the SEALs turned me down. ;)

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  23. Karin wrote: We were actually in the same store at the exact same time buying different gifts for each other and neither of us knew about them until we opened them on Christmas.

    I love when that happens. My guy and I did that once, buying the exact same gift for each other and then missing each other at the checkout by about two minutes.

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  24. Darlene wrote: My biggest and best holiday surprise was hearing from my best friend from elementary school.

    Now that's a determined friend. :)

    A close second was receiving ten letters my dad wrote to his sister that chronicle his meeting my mother.

    Awwwwww, that's so romantic. Unbeknownst to me, my guy kept all the letters I wrote to him when we were on opposite sides of the country, courting long-distance, then dragged out the box one night fifteen years later and started reading them to me. I swooned.

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  25. Urban Literati wrote: At the end of a fabulous dinner party, a handsome stranger kissed me under the mistletoe. I thought that only happened in romance novels.

    That is pretty fabulous. And speaking as a writer of romance novels, we don't make up everything, you know. :)

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  26. madkestrel wrote: The biggest surprise for me was finding out that I'll be an auntie in July!

    Hooray! Nieces and nephews are very cool; I love all mine.

    I'm thrilled about it, but since my sister is not married, my parents are still processing.

    That's a tough one, but have faith. Parents can be wonderful in a situation like this, especially once the baby arrives.

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  27. No surprises. Not a one, which is sort of surprising, I guess. Happy new year!
    Hey, congratulations on the return of the prodigal daughter.

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  28. I found out my employer overpaid me for 24 straight pay periods and I never noticed and they never noticed and now I owe the firm 9,000 dollars. I will be paying it back every two weeks for the next two years. Husband was ridiculously understanding about the situation. I'm still hating myself.

    The next two years will suck, unless I find 1000 people who'll give me nine bucks each, or I write the next Twilight or BDB. I have 60,000 words of my werewolf romance, and I think it's good, but it ain't that ghreat.

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  29. Miss Kate wrote: Hey, congratulations on the return of the prodigal daughter.

    Thank you, ma'am. I'm already studying Bride magazine so I might defuse any expected bliss-nukes. I must say, weddings sure have changed since I stopped marrying men.

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  30. Holly wrote: The next two years will suck, unless I find 1000 people who'll give me nine bucks each, or I write the next Twilight or BDB. I have 60,000 words of my werewolf romance, and I think it's good, but it ain't that ghreat.

    That really does suck, but it's a small blessing that you can pay it back over time versus having to hand it over immediately.

    Some other thoughts: Selling two novels @ $5K advance each (industry standard) would solve the problem immediately. If you're really not happy with your current WIP, take a step back and play with some new ideas. With a very strong pitch and an idea that is potentially very marketable, you can sell two novels on a synopsis and three chapters for the first and a synopsis of the second.

    I once paid off a similar debt leftover from an ex in three years by writing freelance pieces and using the money toward the debt. I wrote all kinds of little stuff for small jobs -- $25 fillers, $100 articles, $50 greeting cards, etc. I even hired myself out to write sermons and speeches, took in typing and helped a guy out with his thesis.

    Look at the classified ads in the back of writers magazines and check out the available writing jobs in your area on Craigslist. Even if you make just a few hundred dollars writing freelance, that can go toward paying off the overage, and free you from the burden a little sooner.

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  31. Lynn:

    You are so cool - I hadn't thought about Craiglist or the writers magazines - I don't have a long resume of writing for hire, but I'm an English major/librarian and I type 90 wpm, so maybe I can find something. I have ghostwritten quite a few college papers, but I don't normally include that on a resume :)

    I didn't think I could pitch my WIP till it was substantially complete. I haven't sent out query letters or even started looking for an agent yet.

    And you're right - two years is way better than selling a kidney.

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  32. Holly wrote: I hadn't thought about Craiglist or the writers magazines - I don't have a long resume of writing for hire, but I'm an English major/librarian and I type 90 wpm, so maybe I can find something. I have ghostwritten quite a few college papers, but I don't normally include that on a resume

    With your background I'd also try for some jobs working as a part time proofreader, copyeditor or copywriter. I know a lot more companies are going to be cutting back on office positions and sending out work to freelancers and subcontractors because it's just more cost effective, so you could probably land some secretarial/typing jobs easy.

    I didn't think I could pitch my WIP till it was substantially complete. I haven't sent out query letters or even started looking for an agent yet.

    I always recommend as-yet-unpublished writers have a finished manuscript to hand over to anyone they pitch if possible, let me say that up front. You don't want to make an interested agent or editor wait for a ms. they've requested. That said, if you have a strong idea and you'd like to test the waters, and you feel certain you can finish the manuscript in a reasonable amount of time (no more than say, three months) then it might not hurt to try submitting it to some agents or publishers. Be sure to verify first that whoever you submit to will accept a synopsis and three chapters, which you can find out from the publisher's or agent's submission guidelines, either in the latest copy of Writer's Market (available at most large libraries) or online at the agent or publisher's web site.

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