Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Christmas Countdown

It just struck me that it's only two weeks until Christmas, and I'm so very not ready. I have a very small shopping list, so that can usually be taken care of in a couple of hours, but the only "gift" I've bought isn't even on my list. It's a blanket for the collection being gathered at church. They have a tradition of serving breakfast at a homeless shelter on Christmas morning, and they like to have a blanket to give to each person they serve. Since I'm out of town on Christmas, I contribute a blanket. Now I need to think of gifts for my parents and brother. I've done some of my baking. I always send cookies to my agent, and I did worry about always sending the same thing, and even the same kind of cookies, but my agent assured me that it's something she and her assistant look forward to every year, so I'll chalk that up as "tradition" instead of lack of imagination. I got a little paranoid about that a few years ago when someone in a group I'm in made a remark to the effect of "oh, you brought your cookies again" for the group's Christmas party. I couldn't quite tell if she meant it in a "oh, goody, I look forward to those" way or a "can't you make anything else?" way. But I like baking Christmas cookies, so that's generally what I bring to any "bring a treat" parties. I may need to make one more batch after I send the gift to my agent and take a platter to an event this weekend, since I have one more "bring a treat" party next week.

In other news, the German edition of Damsel Under Stress has come out, and while they used the US cover art on the first two books, they went with something entirely different on the third one:

I suppose you could call it generic, as it doesn't tell you much about the book, but there's something about it that just appeals to me. Maybe it's the fact that my name is bigger than the title -- and would you believe I only just now caught that? In the US, when your name is bigger than the title and when the cover art can be generic and arty instead of telling something about the book, that means you're a name-brand bestseller. I don't think I'm quite at that status, so maybe it's different in Germany.

Finally, if you need a warm fuzzy, read/watch this story (there's both a text story and the video that ran on the news). Definite hanky alert, especially with the video.

And since I find it annoying when people send me links with nothing more than "check this out," here's a bit about that link (spoilers if you don't want to know before going there): Earlier this month, there was a story on the news about a young mother with terminal cancer who's trying to do as much as possible with her kids before she dies, and she's chronicling all of it by taking pictures and making scrapbooks. She took her kids from Oklahoma down here to go to Six Flags, and then on their way home, they stopped to eat at a restaurant. While they were in the restaurant, someone smashed in their car window and stole a bag from the car, and in the bag was her camera. Not only did it have pictures in it, but the camera itself was a keepsake. It had been her father's camera that he'd used to record his time in Vietnam and her childhood, and it meant a lot to her to record her life and her children's lives with it. As she said, it was just an old camera that had no value to anyone but her.

And then a TV reporter got a phone call from someone saying he felt bad, and to check behind a certain car in the TV station's parking garage. The camera and the roll of film that had been in it were there. The story I linked to covered the reporter going up to Oklahoma to give the woman her camera back. The tear-jerking part was that before she knew she was getting the camera back, she was talking about having no hard feelings and being sure that people were good inside. And then the reporter gave her the camera.

I just hope the thief learned to think before he acts. Thievery (and really crime in general) is inherently selfish because it means you're putting your own needs and desires ahead of someone else's and not considering how they'll feel or what the items being taken mean to them. So maybe realizing the impact he had on this woman and feeling bad about it will lead to him being aware of how he affects others when he steals. But yeah, this kind of happy ending gives you hope.

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