Monthly Archives: November 2010

Only 4 non-shopping weeks left to Christmas

Today is Buy Nothing Day, and while it was a long way from my 4:34 a.m.* shopping start last year South of the border, I did buy something. Four somethings, in fact. Four studded snow tires for my car, and I paid to have them installed. $565.29. I could make the argument that snow tires are essential safety equipment, but it was well above freezing with clear blue skies today. I could have waited till next week, or had them installed yesterday. But today was convenient for me. Therefore, whereby Buy Nothing Day is not only a stand against spending excess dollars and the First-World consumption crisis, but against the convenience-culture of our time, I completely failed at Buy Nothing Day 2010.

In defense of my 4:34 a.m. shopping start last year, we were jet-lagged, making it a very reasonable 8 a.m. for us. It was my one and only venture to the United States, exactly a year and one day ago today. I’d like to argue it was purely for anthropological and societal observation, but the truth is we bought a camera and a dozen blocks of butter (Hello! Three dollars a pound? I’ll take twelve!) and some heavily discounted clothes for the baby that had not yet been born. Arriving in Montana on the Eve of Black Friday was purely coincidental, but we did take shopping advantage while we were there.

Despite my total lack of commitment to Buy Nothing Day, I’ve taken a personal vow to make all my Christmas presents whenever possible, and to purchase only from artists, independent businesses or not-for-profit organizations if I can’t make it myself. And when tangible things will not do, I vow to give gifts of experience such as language lessons, concert tickets, etc. I don’t have a long shopping list, so four weeks will be plenty of time. (The baby is getting empty boxes wrapped in foil paper, all things I have on hand already. It’s sure to be her best Christmas yet.)

I make similar promises to myself each year, but this year I make that promise in a public forum, and I expect you, my loyal blog readers, to keep me in line.

Except… (and there is always an exception). I have already purchased one gift from an international retailer, a gift that is trademarked to another international corporation. I can’t divulge the precise gift for fear the recipient will read it here, but it truly is impossible for me to make myself, and it will bring such delight on Christmas morning…. and it’s already purchased and wrapped, so I’ll just go ahead and make a mark in the naughty column for you.

Here’s to a corporate-free, (almost) Trademark-free Christmas! Bring it on!

The tally so far:

Gifts purchased from big-box store: 1
Experience gifts: 1
Gifts purchased from the artist: 1
Gifts handmade: 2, both in progress.

*I have the picture to prove it somewhere.


I’m on Jeopardy!

It’s true! Check it out.

What, you didn’t know I was a black belt?

Update: I WON! $28,800! Sweet!

Button, button, who’s got awesome buttons??

I’ve spent the past 5 days making a mess of my house, with the goal of purging, cleaning and reorganizing my life surroundings. So far I’m giving away a never-used mini coffee grinder, a giant lemonade urn, and a used-once counter top grill (one of those George Foreman jobbies, but not GF authentic). Any takers?

Meanwhile, look what the baby figured out how to do:

Standing in her crib! Time to lower the mattress...

Apparently I’ve got a button collection I didn’t know I had. A few gems:

I wish I could tell you, but there are no words

Retro CBC colours. Can you say awesome?

I’m fighting a lingering headcold/sinus infection, but finally got outside for some fresh air this afternoon. We took the Chariot and walked the old railway bed until we could go no further. Thanks, Igor .

More Igor damage to the old railway bed

Finally, a little something to get you all in the Christmas spirit!

I’ve got a whole ‘nother post about Christmas coming up, so stay tuned.

Tunes for the road

If I could update this blog from the driver’s seat of my car, you’d all be inundated with new posts.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road lately. One of the many pains and pleasures of living where I do (56 kilometers from the closest whole-wheat anything). It’s a pain, because small babies don’t take kindly to long car rides. And when said baby distracts you from your grocery list (or when you forget a grocery list altogether), you end up at home with four acorn squash and enough apples to keep the whole town in pies, but still no olive oil. So the distance is a curse, and the gas tank is awfully thirsty.

On the other hand, my new car came complete with a CD player! And while I was sad to retire my collection of mix-tapes (lovingly compiled by myself and others over the past 15 years. In fact I am sure some of them – Emmylou Harris, Hot House Flowers – pre-date even my own tape-making career, having been pilfered from my father’s car some years back), I am enjoying listening to tunes on the go.

I’ve always loved driving and road trips and being behind the wheel, and my job requires a lot of driving – 10 to 15,000 km a year. But when I was on company time, I felt obliged to tune in to CBC and Open Line shows to make sure we didn’t miss a news tip. I’d get a short reprieve anytime the signal went fuzzy, but otherwise it was all-top-of-the-hour-news-updates-all-the-time.

This was not a problem. I’m listening to CBC right now, actually. (Hello, Jian!). But at a certain time of night (The Late Show, anyone?) there’s only so much public broadcasting one can take. Likewise Open Line. And as CBC Radio 2 is seriously lacking in broadcast strength outside the overpass, I’m rediscovering the pleasure of scrolling pavement and loud music. Yes, loud. Even when the baby is asleep.

On my motoring playlist recently there’s been a whole lot of Josh Ritter, a lot of Dead Language and, when the baby is awake, a lot of Collen Power‘s For Little Ones. Also on repeat the only Lyle Lovett tune I have.

My car CDs are wearing a little thin, and I am open to suggestions to broaden my driving karaoke soundtrack music. What music do you like best for the car?