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Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

Just a couple of days ago, I read a blog post titled “Twelve Reasons Why I Don’t Use An E-Reader” and it reminded me of how I felt before I got my e-reader.

I did not want to pay cover price for a new or recent release and not have a physical copy of it.  I wouldn’t be able to lend it out.  I didn’t want to read on anything like a computer screen because computer monitors make my eyes hurt and water which causes me to not be able to read for very long.  I also didn’t want to read on a “cold” piece of electronic hardware.  And I didn’t want to pay the high price of the fragile hardware.

Then, for Christmas two years ago, I was visiting my son and he asked if, while he was at work, I could go to his apartment to wait for a couple of packages that were arriving vía Fed-Ex and would require a signature.  I agreed to do it.  When the packages arrived, one was definitely from Amazon.com and the size of a small-ish hardback book.  I signed for it.  Then I thought about it and wondered if perhaps it might be a Kindle, which my son had mentioned months before that I might want to get one day because of my love for reading.  I felt really bad because I don’t ever tell my kids that what they got for me was not what I wanted.  I don’t even tell them if it doesn’t fit.  I just smile, and thank them and deal with it.  I also knew that a Kindle was, at that time, $260.  That was a lot of money for any of my kids, or even for all three of them together, to spend on me and I was sure it was not something I would use.  I thought I was going to have to smile and accept it and then let it sit without using it.  I almost cried.  I was really upset and the next day was Christmas so I didn’t have a lot of time to adjust to the situation or to figure out a way to solve the problem.

On Christmas morning, the package indeed turned out to be a Kindle from all three of my kids.  My son sat with me and explained how it worked and how simple it would be for me to order a book straight from the device.  He also explained that all Kindle books were priced at no more than $9.99 (this was true at that time but the “Big 6” publishers have changed that even though Amazon.com fought for the consumer) with many being a lot less as the price went down once the book was no longer a new release or a bestseller.  He also showed me how the capacity of the Kindle was about 1500 books (at least of the Kindle 2 which is what that model was) My son set up the device for me with my email address and my Amazon.com account information.  The kids had also gotten me a $30 gift certificate to use on Kindle books.  He showed me how to search the Kindle Store directly from my Kindle device.  He also showed me how the Kindle does not have a back-lit screen which means that it does not cause eyestrain.  We bought my first Kindle book at that time (Edward Kennedy’s True Compass: A Memoir).

I felt a little bit better after he went through it with me and I felt better about the price of the books.  Before getting my Kindle I only bought used new releases and those were always at least $6 for a used physical copy.  I would not have to have more and more bookshelves to fit my new books.  I started to get used to the idea but thought I would only use it for special books, not for every day reading.   That night I started reading my book on my Kindle and lo and behold I read for about three hours straight without eye strain. Reading in bed, holding the Kindle in one hand was so easy and so comfortable.  The e-ink display was wonderful for my weak eyes.  I will still a little iffy about the whole thing but I breathed easier after that first Kindle reading session.

Now, a little more than two years later, I carry my Kindle with me wherever I go.  I have a special cover that I made for it and it travels safely in my purse wherever I go.  I have over 800 titles on it.  I get most of them for free or with gift cards that I earn from taking surveys online or using swagbucks.com.  In the past two years I have spent less than $100 on these  800+ books.  And the bonus is that my mother and my sisters, all avid readers, each have their own Kindle which we registered to my account so we all have access to the same books.  That’s better than lending them the physical copy.  If we want, the four of us can read the same title at the  same time!

There are so many reasons for loving my Kindle.  I can’t name them all here.  However, not a day goes by without using my Kindle!  And because it does not cause eyes strain, I can read it for hours and hours, unlike a physical book which I can read only for a half hour at a time due to the eye strain.  Oh and one of the best things…you can change the size of the font very easily which means that I can read a book with the font size set at the third from the largest size which is comfortable for me and my sister reads it at one size smaller than I do and my mom at the largest size (which is two sizes larger than I need).  Talk about a fit for everyone!

So this is my answer to the post I read the other day.  I’m sure there are lots more reasons why I cannot let go of my Kindle but these are the ones that readily come to mind as I take a few minutes to write this between chapters of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot, which is the title I am currently reading.  I cannot imagine not having my Kindle!

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Christmas Shopping

Earlier today I was at Target shopping for my daughter’s gift. She was on the cell with me telling me which set of pots and pans she wants. Not the 12 piece set of T-fal, she wants the 10 piece set because it comes with three pans, not one. No, not the grey one. She wants a set of red. The problem is that the red, as far as I can see, comes in only the 12 piece, not the 10 piece. I even read the list of which pieces come in each set. We didn’t find what she wants and so far, we are holding out for the one she wants but if it gets closer and we don’t find it, she might have to settle for the grey ones.

I thought it was pretty silly to have her on the cell, basically picking out what she wants but at least that way she won’t be disappointed and I won’t feel horrible because I got the wrong set. Then as I was leaving the parking lot, I remembered another era in which the kids picked their own presents!

When my kids were little it was really difficult to go Christmas shopping and even more difficult to go Christmas shopping for their presents. I had them with me round the clock and I didn’t have anyone to watch them so I could go shop. I had to resort to trickery to do their shopping.

My kids have lots and lots of cousins, most of which are in their age range. Many years ago, we used to exchange gifts with all of them. So I would go shopping with my kids and they would end up getting to pick out their own presents! We would be at Toys R Us and I would get a toy I thought one of them would like and ask their opinion as to whether one of their cousins would like it or not. They would go into detail about why or why not it was a good choice for their cousin. We would decide and we would go pay. What they did not know until Christmas day, was that they were actually picking out what they were going to get.

It worked for about three or four years then they got too old to deceive like that! At that point, I would have to wait until their dad could watch them after work. This only worked closer to the holiday when the stores, including Toys R Us, were open until midnight.

We still laugh at the days when they actually got to pick their own presents!

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It’s Christmas once again and the world is beginning to fill with magic just like I remember from my childhood. Secrets hide behind every corner –good secrets, not the bad ones; grownup secrets about the gifts that are hiding in packages and then the secrets of the children hiding something “naughty” they did that they think no one knows about—especially Santa.

One year, when I was about to turn five, my parents put a miniature tree downstairs in the basement which had been converted into bedrooms for my three brothers. We had not ever had any kind tree, other than the big one we had in the living room and it made us feel that the small tree was really special…two trees in one house! My mother helped us decorate the tree with tiny little ball ornaments. They didn’t put lights on it and it was kind of plain looking so my mom put some little packages she had wrapped up for us under the tree. I remember that the small presents, all wrapped in shiny paper, really made the tree look even more special to us kids.

One weekend, a little over a week before Christmas, my mother and father went shopping. When they had been gone a while, my brothers started talking about the presents. They said we should each open one present. We all had to open one because, according to my brothers who were all older than my sisters and I, if we had all participated, none of us would tattle on the others and we wouldn’t get spanked. They said once we had each opened a present, they would wrap them all up so that my parents would never find out that we had opened them. It would be our secret.

It took them a long time but they finally convinced us to do it. I was elected to be the first to open a package. I picked a shiny red one with a red and green plaid bow. Inside was a white box that now I recognize as one for jewelry but at that time I didn’t know what might be inside. I opened it and found a layer of white fluffy cotton. Once I picked up the cotton, I saw a gold shiny key. On the round end of the key were little pink flowers and clear rhinestones. I picked it up and realized it was a pin to wear on my clothes. Just as I began to smile, we heard the back door open and my parents came in. Before we could hide the evidence, my mother was down the stairs watching us try to hide the package.

She was so angry! She kept asking me why I had done it. I told her everyone was going to open one. In fact, my sister had her box in her hand, ready to open it. My brothers denied it and told her that they were trying to get me not to open one but I wouldn’t listen to them. Besides being angry, my mother was really hurt. I could see it in her eyes. She was disappointed in me and I knew she wanted to cry. The look in her face made me want to cry, or maybe it was knowing that I was going to be spanked! Then she and my father said Santa was not going to bring me any presents because I had been such a bad girl. That was worse than a spanking. I cried even more.

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When I was a teenager, I was often caught up in the romance and sentimentality of song lyrics. One of those songs was Eighteen Yellow Roses, sung by Bobby Darin. For those that haven’t heard it, you can hear it here. The song’s lyrics tell the story of a father’s realization that his little girl is growing up. One day a bouquet of eighteen yellow roses comes for the daughter, and the dad says “…eighteen yellow roses will wilt and die one day but a father’s love will never fade away.” I had a different kind of relationship with my father and I think it was a longing for something I was missing that made me love that song. I used to turn the volume up every time I heard it on the radio and that was a lot because I always listened to the oldies station, even as a teenager.

As my own eighteenth birthday approached in December of 1973, the song became more and more special to me. I had no hope of getting the roses as I had no boyfriend. My father was also gone from our home so having him around for my 18th birthday was up in the air. On Christmas morning, the day I turned 18, I was surprised to find a bouquet of 18 yellow roses and more surprised to find that the card on the flowers had my name on it. The bouquet was from my mom. She wanted to do something special for me and in my eyes, she had done just that.

My mom continued to gift me with yellow roses on my birthday for a number of years. In fact, yellow roses have sort of become my trademark. Now, when I get them (and it’s rare these years) the gift is made more special because I know that the persons giving them to me (my kids) know how special they are and intend to give me something very special.

yellowrose

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Religious Stuff

I’m not a religious person.I don’t go to any church.I don’t pray.I don’t practice any particular faith.I was raised Catholic until second grade.I was baptized a Catholic but I did not complete any of the other sacraments.We stopped going to church when I was around seven years old.

I’m not sure what I believe with regards to God, Christ, heaven, hell, and all tat stuff.However, I respect others’ feelings, beliefs, and faith. (more…)

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