Friday, January 02, 2009

Done Deal & Other News

Many belated greetings and wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy 2009.

There are many things I need to write but for the moment you'll all have to suffer through this long laborious entry.

First - Sometime during the season a friend sent me an eMail asking if a digital camera was still on my wish list. I never replied, but it kind of kicked my butt to reevaluate the situation. Some of you (not those related to me) will be SHOCKED to know that I LOATH taking pictures - almost as much as I HATE being in them. But I've come to realize that:

  • there are times when I WANT to take a picture of something that I'm writing about, have purchased, done to my body/house/car etc.

  • even when someone else is around with a camera - they don't always send the pictures to me

  • I dislike asking people to BRING their camera - and/or loan me theirs

There was a time when I was trying to find a deal on eBay. But I never found the deal - and it takes a lot of time. Besides, I was scared to death I'd by "the wrong camera".

So I just gave up.

In December I got a bonus. I've started a spreadsheet - and have listed specific things I'm going to spend this money on ... (otherwise, I'll just let it get absorbed into my savings account or daily household crap.)

One of the things was a camera. It hit me (because I'm obviously BRAIN DEAD) that I have a on-line subscription to Consumer Reports ... and since I've used it to find the coffee maker I wanted (ok - does that sound bizarre?? 'cause it felt weird to be EVALUATING such a small thing) ... so WHY NOT A CAMERA??? (slaps hand on forehead a la V-8)

So today - when it was INCREDIBLY SLOW at work, I started doing my homework. I had two different cameras picked out. About $65 difference in price. My biggest criteria were that they be rechargeable and lightweight... because I suck at keeping batteries around - I'm cheap - hate paying over and over for things and I’M LAZY.

THEN ... because I'm a glutton for punishment ... I talked to Pete (also know as "Hot Sauce Pete" or "my carpool mate"). HE IMMEDIATELY had an opinion ... and it was different than what I'd been looking at ... (wouldn't you know?). The first words out of his mouth as he looked at the tear sheets for a Samsung SL130W and a Sony Cyber Shot DSC-H10 were "Cannon". I told him why I chose these two cameras: rating 69 and 71 ... and the price range was $160 to $280.

**(short testimonial for Consumer Reports ... they have this new thing called "Price Grabber" ... it searches the web for the best prices on whatever item you're looking at ... so those price ranges they list are a median price.)

Pete also had this long tirade about how much BETTER it was to have a camera that uses AA batteries than a camera that needed to be charged.

He also said he owned a Cannon, one of our coworkers bought the Cannon one step up from his, and his Aunt-in-Law bought the model one step below. They've all been great cameras with no problems.

SO ... WITH A BIG SIGH ... I returned to Consumer Reports (and yes ... there are friends out there that offered valuable camera purchasing advice ... hopefully this meets what you told me ... 'cause I was afraid to add too many more factors to the mix) ... and searched for CANNON.

That is how I came to buy a PowerShot A590 ... it rates just one point below the Sony ... and was listed as $140 dollars cheaper. When I did the "Price Grabber thing" I found a place selling them for slightly more than $100 dollars. Not only that ... the light bulb went off in my head and I realized I could BUY A BATTERY CHARGER TOO!! (yes, I R SMRT)

So - sometime in the UPS Ground Shipping Future, I'll have a digital camera and a battery charger (with two batteries).

(Well ... that little bit of a story went on MUCH LONGER than I anticipated.) PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME I'VE DONE THE WRONG THING or I shall burst into tears and send you a morose eMail.

I'll make the rest of this short: (maybe)

Christmas day - was nice ... and dismal.

I've decided (nothing new) that I hate phones/phone calls and holidays. Because of my phone hatred, I called no one ... and therefor wished no one a Merry Christmas.

I stayed at home Christmas Day … procrastinated by reading the paper - then cooked like a mad person ... and was late by 30 minutes to the Christmas dinner I'd been invited to attend.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I'd assumed it was a family Christmas ... and so bought three gifts. (and if you know me - and how much I hate buying gifts, you'll understand how amazing this is ... )

When I arrived, I discovered it wasn't a family gathering. Not even an extended family gathering - but a large (27 people) gathering of friends and family.

It was a great time; with great food and great conversation ... but there was no need for me to have purchased the three different gifts - and there was no sitting around the tree opening presents. Instead, as I left they handed me a bottle of flavored olive oil, WHICH IS LOVELY ... and I can't wait to use, but … not so much the excitement of “Opening Christmas Presents” scene.

So - my Christmas Day was comprised of opening a coffee maker (which I asked Santa for and it is exactly PERFECT), a cookbook “The Ultimate Thai and Asian Cookbook” (I LOVE IT!!!) with three spice packages. (Star Anise, cloves and … something dried, green, and leafy) by myself.

I also got a GREAT gift card from my brother ... I'd just opened it up earlier, as I didn't realize the Christmas Card they sent me contained the gift card.

(I am also NOT COMPLAINING about what I got ... only pointing out that opening presents by yourself is slightly anti-climatic and lonely.)

The next day I headed off to Florida to spend time with my Alabama friends. We had good winter beach weather - lots of great food prepared by ourselves.

We took a day excursion to Fairhope (a known local for generating great authors ... and holding writer's retreats) ... besidesSonny Brewer, founder of the Fairhope Center for Writing Arts,Winston Groom, W.E.B. Griffin, Rick Bragg, C. Terry Cline, Judith Richards, Jimmy Buffett, Tom Franklin, Suzanne Hudson, Frank Turner Hollon, Joe Formichella, Clarence Darrow (Supreme Court Judge), Sherwood Anderson,Upton Sinclair, Monroe Thompson, Mark Childress, Fannie Flagg, Everett Capps, Sidney Thompson, Jennifer Paddock, Tom Kelly, Brad Watson, Brewster Milton Robertson, Jack Kerley, Michael Morris, Ben Erickson and Roy Hoffman are among those authors who have called Fairhope and the Eastern Shore home.

I always hope some of the magic will rub off on me!

Which brings up the next topic ... I am going home to California in January for a visit. While I'm visiting my parents, I'll also be adding two fun side trips.

One trip will be to this library in Nevada City ... where I'll get to do some research for the story/novel I'm trying to write. I was extra excited to find out that this library was endowed by the family of a man who went west to mine gold, only to discover he could make more money at this original occupation as a lawyer . This very character exists in my imagination - and is the best friend of my protagonist. The library has newspaper articles dealing with the lawsuit that is central to the story and ultimately he (the real man, not my made-up man) becomes a California Supreme Court judge! I am so excited to make this discovery - and have a chance to look at these materials. Hopefully it will give me the added push and inspiration to move the story forward.

The second trip will occur when I meet friends on the east side of the wine country. We're going to hang out for a few days in Clear Lake and try to avoid the crowds. But one day we are venturing forth ... into the hubbub … to go visit the PAUL HOBBS winery. They typically do NOT do tasting/tours for the public, but have made an exception after I sent them a cute story about traveling in Mississippi – and a conversation with a local store owner about the winery and the owner.

On my way home from the beach, I stopped in Atlanta and visited with a friend. We had so much fun talking – I didn’t start cooking dinner ‘till after ten o’clock on New Year’s Eve. As we were finishing our dinner I glanced at the clock and realized we’d just missed the New Year count-down! We laughed, continued talking and then I slipped off to bed. The next morning we went to The Flying Biscuit for breakfast. It was a great breakfast – and I cannot wait for the Raleigh restaurant to open (in the next month or two!!)

I guess the only other thing to report is that a friend is coming from Ohio to stay at my house while I'm gone ... and he is going to do some minor home repair work for me. Although he is not "in-the-trade" I am happy to know my $$ will be helping someone who doesn't have many chances to earn an income. When I return, I shall have painted ceilings without cross-hatch shadowing, a repaired roof shingle, driveway flood lights that turns on/off with movement, a toilet waterline that doesn't leak minusculely ™ onto my bathroom tile, and the water damaged hardwood under my washer/dryer will be replaced. There's a possibility the (now rotting) tree trunk will be cut into firewood too.

This has become far too long, so I will close.

I am well and looking forward to a 2009 full of accomplishments, progress, and travel (and continued employment).

I Hope all is well with you!


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Mit!!

Good choice with the Canon camera. We have the Power Shot A95, and it has served us very well over the last 3.5 years.

I'm sorry that you didn't have an exciting "Opening Christmas Presents" scene this year. I know how you feel. I got a few "wolf in sheep's clothing" gifts from some folks this year. You know, the kind that are all dressed up as nice and generous gifts, but are really just hopeful wishes that the recipient will change their ways. Aaaah, the gift of deception and imposition...they are the gifts that keep on giving (headaches, frustration, fits of Tourette's syndrome, etc).

Have a super fun time in CA!! Don't forget to come back!!



ctatplay said...

I agree totally with the Canon camera choice. I've had your same model for two years now and love it....easy point and click. And Morgs asked for one for Christmas too. Also bought a handy USB device which lets me plop in any memory card (camera or other) to easily upload/download from my computer. Good choice!

Love the blue-cheese pecan bread recipe and printed it out to try it.

Agree with Allie's comment....don't forget to come back. We need you here.

I H8 24 said...

Wow! Glad you'll be getting the camera! Now, you'll be the one snapping pics of everything that you want someone to see! You'll enjoy it! And with the money saved by getting this one, you can buy yourself that "Fry Daddy" that you've been secretly wanting so bad!! Ha!Ha! We enjoyed the time spent with you and I loved the trip to Fairhope!! Hope 2009 is filled with all good things for you. Happy New Year and lots of love to you!!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you didn't get to open presents with anyone - you got that right - lonely ! We did the same. Too bad there's sooo much geography between us !!!

How about forwarding that Spread Sheet you refer to - for birthday present ????

I am sooo thrilled that you finally bought a camera - YEAH !!!
I know - responsibility makes it no fun !!! *o* But, I do hope to see some of those pictures once in awhile - please --- tp