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An art book of Chris Baker's work on "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence".

... well, what I really want for Christmas is my very own Gigolo Joe... but since we're not quite there in terms of tech, I'll take the book. Squeeeeeeee! *goes off to write it down on my Christmas wish list for George to go shopping with*
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I'm having a fairly shitty day what with missing my mom and all, but as George just reminded me, it could be a lot worse.

GEORGE: *pausing in typing at the G5* "Listen! Do you hear that sound?"
ME: *pausing in typing at the iMac* "...?..."
G: "That dim and distant sound... like the roaring of the ocean... or hundreds of people screaming..."
M: "..."
G: "..."
M: "Oh my fucking God... it's the poor bastards at the malls, isn't it?"

Yep, all those people who waited until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping. All those people running around like panicked chickens in the final shopping hour before THE BIG DAY. All those people whose gift choices, now that the shelves are picked clean, boil down to a lime green and pink popcorn maker, a $3 set of oven mitts, or a $250 deluxe crock pot.

I might be almost sick with grief, but at least I'm not at the mall on Christmas Eve.

And that actually makes me feel a little bit better. Ah, sweet Schadenfreude...
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Today, in order to get George his gifts, I actually went to the mall. And not just any mall -- what, in Winnipeg, is THE MALL TO END ALL MALLS, St. Vital Centre.

In short, the place where all the insane people congregate during the holiday season. And silly me, I budgeted two and a half hours there between the time I arrived and the time I was scheduled to meet [ profile] eastpath, who works in THE MALL, for lunch.

Two and a half hours is way, WAY too long to spend at St. Vital Centre when it's crammed full of holiday shoppers who flit around like extremely lively zombies, mindlessly searching for the best deal.

It's WAY too long to listen to Christmas music.

It's DEFINITELY way too long to be bombarded with the sparkly, shiny, flashy manifestations of the Great God Commerce.

And don't even get me started on The Pit of Venality and Twopenny Dreams Wal-Mart. I got thirty feet into the store and had to turn back. The stink of corruption was just too appalling.

I discovered that being in THE MALL's food court between noon and 1 PM is the auditory equivalent of having your brain eaten by mice. I also learned that high-end Italian pullover sweaters run about $175. Sweet baby Jesus!

But I did get George's gifts, and this year's "special ornament" for our tree. And lunch with [ profile] eastpath was a lot of fun. So it wasn't a total loss.

A tip for any Winnipegers who might be reading this and who actually dare to brave the horrors of THE MALL: The Starbucks franchise on the food court near the exits is actually an oasis of calm, peace, and sanity. Highly recommended.

It's going to take me a while to calm down from the sensory overload. *sigh*
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We've finally got a couple of cheques in. Yes! Now I can afford to ship Christmas presents!

Today George and I went to our optician's shop and bought him a new pair of long-range glasses to replace the ones he left behind in the taxi cab a couple of months ago. This will be a great relief to him, because once he gets them tomorrow he can watch TV again without getting a headache. Cost of a pair of frames that make him look like he's in his 30s and the lenses: $160 and change.

We parted company after that. George had to go to the art store for paper, and I ended up having lunch with a friend that I ran into downtown. Then I went to Osborne Village, where I stopped at Safeway and discovered, to my disappointment, that they only sell cheese balls at Christmas. I did pick up some sliced roast chicken on sale, however, and some Chunky Soups, including Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (which is heating on the stove even as I type this). Then I went to Desart, which is an upscale gifts and keepsakes store, and bought gifts for Terri and for my MM editor. I can't tell you what Terri's is because she reads this LJ from time to time, but for my editor I bought a blank journal, the covers of which are the rescued covers of a previously existing book: Goodbye, Mr. Chips, in fact. If [ profile] eastpath is willing to take a photo of it, I'll put one up later, because it is a VERY cool looking journal.

Oh, and I picked up a pack of donuts for George at Safeway as well. He is tickled pink, and I might sneak one of them later myself.

Off to have the soup, and then back to work on HB. Tomorrow is shaping up to be a busy day as well, including a haircut (which I desperately need) and a trip to the bank to deposit my latest MM cheque.

(The client loved those two covers we did yesterday. I'll post jpegs of the finished versions a bit later if George is okay with that.)
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Yesterday was a very hard day. I stayed in bed until 6 pm because when I tried to get up at 8 am, a wave of depression hit me and knocked me flat. It was about my mother, and this being my first Christmas without her. I slept most of the day and had many dreams about her.

After I got up at 6 pm, I discovered that George had been working all day and hadn't gotten out to get the Christmas candies that we'd promised to bring to his family's get-together on Christmas Day. Bugger.

At about 8 pm we went over to [ profile] eastpath's apartment, which is just down the hall from us, where she and her SO served us an amazing dinner of perfectly roasted turkey, wonderful stuffing, mashed potatoes, and yams. We brought over some brown-sugar-and-margerine glazed carrots. They also provided coffee, tea, ginger ale, and eggnog; I had some of the eggnog, in spite of its high sugar content, because Christmas does only come once a year. For dessert they had pumpkin and blueberry pie (my favorite), with real whipped cream. Yummmmmmmmmmm! :-)

I slept the sleep of the truly sated last night, because I literally ate until I was ready to burst at [ profile] eastpath's place (including three slices of blueberry pie!!!). George and I finally got up at about 11 am. We haven't had enough money to get each other presents this year, so we only had one gift to open -- a copy of the book Spanish Fly by Will Ferguson, courtesy of Terri. It looks like a super book, AND it's autographed!

Terri had bought me a copy of Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips, which I opened the day she gave it to me and have just finished reading. It's a light romp with a cynical edge, well-constructed and with deft characterization. I enjoyed it a lot, so I highly recommend it.

In about half an hour we'll be heading out to Selkirk to spend Christmas with George's family. Fortunately the Shoppers Drug Mart in Osborne Village is a 24 hour store and was open today, so I was able to run down and pick up about 3 kg of soft candies (jelly beans, jujubes, and fake candied fruit slices) for $15. And his sister, as it turns out, was able to find hard candies at the Shoppers Drug Mart in Selkirk, so yay! there'll be candies for Christmas.

I look forward to waddling/rolling home again tonight, just like I did last night. :-)

My out-of-town friends who normally get gifts (you know who you are), I'll have to ask you to be patient a little while longer. When I get my next cheque, I'll be sending out your presents. Rest assured that you have not been forgotten in the rush.

I guess I'll head back into the living room and watch some more of A Christmas Story, which CBC is running today. WTBS used to run it again and again in a 24-hour block over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but doesn't any more -- damn it, because I really enjoyed coming home from George's family's dinner on Christmas Day and watching it through a couple of times back-to-back. Fortunately, George has found a copy of it via his newsgroups and is downloading it right now. It is THE best of the modern Christmas movies, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
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Let's see... how was this Christmas?

I gave away all the presents I wanted, and am fairly pleased with the ones I received in return. A couple are still to come, but my mother gave us some lovely calendars and $50 each to spend as we wish (I have my eye on either a Sleep Machine (simulates the sounds of waves, rain, or a train on tracks to ease you to sleep) or a Bast statue from Quagga), and George and I gave each other a "teaser" present, in my case a lovely little Goddess Christmas tree ornament, and for him a collectors tin of Werthers caramels.

As for the ones I gave away... my mother LOVED the printer George and I gave her, a Canon Pixma IP4000. Many people on my gift list this year received silk-tassel-and-gemstone bookmarks from a local artisan, and Terri and Roger ended up with some handmade pottery (soup server and casserole dish). For [ profile] cockatiel_art, a scented trivet, some Christmas lights, and a plastic offering bowl in a harvest theme. There were others, but darned if I can remember them all right now or be arsed to go get the list from the living room, lol.

Today I'd planned to go to some Boxing Day sales but ended up sidelined in bed with depression/sensory overload -- not pleasant, but after two days of intense social activity not exactly a surprise either. Perhaps tomorrow I'll make it out, or at the least on Wednesday, when I have an appointment to see my doctor for diabetes management.

And I'm almost feeling well enough to return to step training. Almost. Hopefully in the next day or two I'll get back on that horse again. Also, I hope to catch [ profile] matrixrefugee online to do a bit of Christmas RP, both in the DegSep universe and (hopefully) in the A.I. universe.
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That was me this evening, at the Christmas Craft Sale at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. Holy crap... I dropped almost $300, but I DID get gifts for everyone on my list except George and my mother (though I did pick up something for her cat), and a good chunk of it went to a pair of housewarming/wedding/Christmas presents (finally!) for Terri and Roger, who have been very good and understanding about not having received anything yet.

So needless to say I can't disclose anything that I bought. ;-) Well, except for my mother's new cat's present: a catnip blanket with a pattern featuring cats looking at classic art pieces redone with cat themes (what a mouthful!), and a bag of high-test organic catnip. Yowza! I rushed it right into the freezer as soon as I got home, and Emmie was STILL getting high off the fumes clinging to the plastic bag I carried the stuff home in.

Before the craft sale, I dropped off the amulet bag and blessed candle to Sandy, the girl at the Second Cup who approached the Witches Meetup group for aid. Apparently Gabriel, her cat, is doing a bit worse today, but the vet has waived the fees for the surgery this morning to implant a catheter, which is good news.

And since it's now been more or less 24 hours since we performed the rite, I can post the text of the spell. X-posted to [ profile] wiccanmoons.

Bast Healing Ritual -- NOW WITH PICTURES! )

Contents of the amulet bag:

-- a bit of Gabriel's hair
-- allspice (healing)
-- bay leaf (protection)
-- catnip
-- cinnamon (healing/protection)
-- juniper berries (health)
-- pine (healing)
-- thyme (health, courage)

Incense offered to Bast:

-- catnip
-- rose petals
-- Kyphi